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Chapter 4

  • What's the use of trying to read Shakespeare, especially in one of thos_ittle thin paper editions whose pages get ruffled, or stuck together wit_ea-water? Although the plays of Shakespeare had frequently been praised, eve_uoted, and placed higher than the Greek, never since they started had Jaco_anaged to read one through. Yet what an opportunity!
  • For the Scilly Isles had been sighted by Timmy Durrant lying like mountain- tops almost a-wash in precisely the right place. His calculations had worke_erfectly, and really the sight of him sitting there, with his hand on th_iller, rosy gilled, with a sprout of beard, looking sternly at the stars, then at a compass, spelling out quite correctly his page of the eterna_esson-book, would have moved a woman. Jacob, of course, was not a woman. Th_ight of Timmy Durrant was no sight for him, nothing to set against the sk_nd worship; far from it. They had quarrelled. Why the right way to open a ti_f beef, with Shakespeare on board, under conditions of such splendour, shoul_ave turned them to sulky schoolboys, none can tell. Tinned beef is col_ating, though; and salt water spoils biscuits; and the waves tumble an_ollop much the same hour after hour—tumble and lollop all across the horizon.
  • Now a spray of seaweed floats past-now a log of wood. Ships have been wrecke_ere. One or two go past, keeping their own side of the road. Timmy knew wher_hey were bound, what their cargoes were, and, by looking through his glass, could tell the name of the line, and even guess what dividends it paid it_hareholders. Yet that was no reason for Jacob to turn sulky.
  • The Scilly Isles had the look of mountain-tops almost a-wash….
  • Unfortunately, Jacob broke the pin of the Primus stove.
  • The Scilly Isles might well be obliterated by a roller sweeping straigh_cross.
  • But one must give young men the credit of admitting that, though breakfas_aten under these circumstances is grim, it is sincere enough. No need to mak_onversation. They got out their pipes.
  • Timmy wrote up some scientific observations; and—what was the question tha_roke the silence—the exact time or the day of the month? anyhow, it wa_poken without the least awkwardness; in the most matter-of-fact way in th_orld; and then Jacob began to unbutton his clothes and sat naked, save fo_is shirt, intending, apparently, to bathe.
  • The Scilly Isles were turning bluish; and suddenly blue, purple, and gree_lushed the sea; left it grey; struck a stripe which vanished; but when Jaco_ad got his shirt over his head the whole floor of the waves was blue an_hite, rippling and crisp, though now and again a broad purple mark appeared, like a bruise; or there floated an entire emerald tinged with yellow. H_lunged. He gulped in water, spat it out, struck with his right arm, struc_ith his left, was towed by a rope, gasped, splashed, and was hauled on board.
  • The seat in the boat was positively hot, and the sun warmed his back as he sa_aked with a towel in his hand, looking at the Scilly Isles which—confound it!
  • the sail flapped. Shakespeare was knocked overboard. There you could see hi_loating merrily away, with all his pages ruffling innumerably; and then h_ent under.
  • Strangely enough, you could smell violets, or if violets were impossible i_uly, they must grow something very pungent on the mainland then. Th_ainland, not so very far off—you could see clefts in the cliffs, whit_ottages, smoke going up—wore an extraordinary look of calm, of sunny peace, as if wisdom and piety had descended upon the dwellers there. Now a cr_ounded, as of a man calling pilchards in a main street. It wore a_xtraordinary look of piety and peace, as if old men smoked by the door, an_irls stood, hands on hips, at the well, and horses stood; as if the end o_he world had come, and cabbage fields and stone walls, and coast-guar_tations, and, above all, the white sand bays with the waves breaking unsee_y any one, rose to heaven in a kind of ecstasy.
  • But imperceptibly the cottage smoke droops, has the look of a mourning emblem, a flag floating its caress over a grave. The gulls, making their broad fligh_nd then riding at peace, seem to mark the grave.
  • No doubt if this were Italy, Greece, or even the shores of Spain, sadnes_ould be routed by strangeness and excitement and the nudge of a classica_ducation. But the Cornish hills have stark chimneys standing on them; and, somehow or other, loveliness is infernally sad. Yes, the chimneys and th_oast-guard stations and the little bays with the waves breaking unseen by an_ne make one remember the overpowering sorrow. And what can this sorrow be?
  • It is brewed by the earth itself. It comes from the houses on the coast. W_tart transparent, and then the cloud thickens. All history backs our pane o_lass. To escape is vain.
  • But whether this is the right interpretation of Jacob's gloom as he sat naked, in the sun, looking at the Land's End, it is impossible to say; for he neve_poke a word. Timmy sometimes wondered (only for a second) whether his peopl_othered him…. No matter. There are things that can't be said. Let's shake i_ff. Let's dry ourselves, and take up the first thing that comes handy…. Timm_urrant's notebook of scientific observations.
  • "Now…" said Jacob.
  • It is a tremendous argument.
  • Some people can follow every step of the way, and even take a little one, si_nches long, by themselves at the end; others remain observant of the externa_igns.
  • The eyes fix themselves upon the poker; the right hand takes the poker an_ifts it; turns it slowly round, and then, very accurately, replaces it. Th_eft hand, which lies on the knee, plays some stately but intermittent piec_f march music. A deep breath is taken; but allowed to evaporate unused. Th_at marches across the hearth-rug. No one observes her.
  • "That's about as near as I can get to it," Durrant wound up.
  • The next minute is quiet as the grave.
  • "It follows…" said Jacob.
  • Only half a sentence followed; but these half-sentences are like flags set o_ops of buildings to the observer of external sights down below. What was th_oast of Cornwall, with its violet scents, and mourning emblems, and tranqui_iety, but a screen happening to hang straight behind as his mind marched up?
  • "It follows…" said Jacob.
  • "Yes," said Timmy, after reflection. "That is so."
  • Now Jacob began plunging about, half to stretch himself, half in a kind o_ollity, no doubt, for the strangest sound issued from his lips as he furle_he sail, rubbed the plates—gruff, tuneless—a sort of pasan, for havin_rasped the argument, for being master of the situation, sunburnt, unshaven, capable into the bargain of sailing round the world in a ten-ton yacht, which, very likely, he would do one of these days instead of settling down in _awyer's office, and wearing spats.
  • "Our friend Masham," said Timmy Durrant, "would rather not be seen in ou_ompany as we are now." His buttons had come off.
  • "D'you know Masham's aunt?" said Jacob.
  • "Never knew he had one," said Timmy.
  • "Masham has millions of aunts," said Jacob.
  • "Masham is mentioned in Domesday Book," said Timmy.
  • "So are his aunts," said Jacob.
  • "His sister," said Timmy, "is a very pretty girl."
  • "That's what'll happen to you, Timmy," said Jacob.
  • "It'll happen to you first," said Timmy.
  • "But this woman I was telling you about—Masham's aunt—"
  • "Oh, do get on," said Timmy, for Jacob was laughing so much that he could no_peak.
  • "Masham's aunt…"
  • Timmy laughed so much that he could not speak.
  • "Masham's aunt…"
  • "What is there about Masham that makes one laugh?" said Timmy.
  • "Hang it all—a man who swallows his tie-pin," said Jacob.
  • "Lord Chancellor before he's fifty," said Timmy.
  • "He's a gentleman," said Jacob.
  • "The Duke of Wellington was a gentleman," said Timmy.
  • "Keats wasn't."
  • "Lord Salisbury was."
  • "And what about God?" said Jacob.
  • The Scilly Isles now appeared as if directly pointed at by a golden finge_ssuing from a cloud; and everybody knows how portentous that sight is, an_ow these broad rays, whether they light upon the Scilly Isles or upon th_ombs of crusaders in cathedrals, always shake the very foundations o_cepticism and lead to jokes about God.
  • /*
  • "Abide with me:  Fast falls the eventide;  The shadows deepen;  Lord, with me abide,"
  • */
  • sang Timmy Durrant.
  • "At my place we used to have a hymn which began
  • /* Great God, what do I see and hear?" */
  • said Jacob.
  • Gulls rode gently swaying in little companies of two or three quite near th_oat; the cormorant, as if following his long strained neck in eterna_ursuit, skimmed an inch above the water to the next rock; and the drone o_he tide in the caves came across the water, low, monotonous, like the voic_f some one talking to himself.
  • /*
  • "Rock of Ages, cleft for me,  Let me hide myself in thee,"
  • */
  • sang Jacob.
  • Like the blunt tooth of some monster, a rock broke the surface; brown; overflown with perpetual waterfalls.
  • /* "Rock of Ages," */
  • Jacob sang, lying on his back, looking up into the sky at midday, from whic_very shred of cloud had been withdrawn, so that it was like somethin_ermanently displayed with the cover off.
  • By six o'clock a breeze blew in off an icefield; and by seven the water wa_ore purple than blue; and by half-past seven there was a patch of rough gold- beater's skin round the Scilly Isles, and Durrant's face, as he sat steering, was of the colour of a red lacquer box polished for generations. By nine al_he fire and confusion had gone out of the sky, leaving wedges of apple-gree_nd plates of pale yellow; and by ten the lanterns on the boat were makin_wisted colours upon the waves, elongated or squat, as the waves stretched o_umped themselves. The beam from the lighthouse strode rapidly across th_ater. Infinite millions of miles away powdered stars twinkled; but the wave_lapped the boat, and crashed, with regular and appalling solemnity, agains_he rocks.
  • Although it would be possible to knock at the cottage door and ask for a glas_f milk, it is only thirst that would compel the intrusion. Yet perhaps Mrs.
  • Pascoe would welcome it. The summer's day may be wearing heavy. Washing in he_ittle scullery, she may hear the cheap clock on the mantelpiece tick, tick, tick … tick, tick, tick. She is alone in the house. Her husband is out helpin_armer Hosken; her daughter married and gone to America. Her elder son i_arried too, but she does not agree with his wife. The Wesleyan minister cam_long and took the younger boy. She is alone in the house. A steamer, probabl_ound for Cardiff, now crosses the horizon, while near at hand one bell of _oxglove swings to and fro with a bumble-bee for clapper. These white Cornis_ottages are built on the edge of the cliff; the garden grows gorse mor_eadily than cabbages; and for hedge, some primeval man has piled granit_oulders. In one of these, to hold, an historian conjectures, the victim'_lood, a basin has been hollowed, but in our time it serves more tamely t_eat those tourists who wish for an uninterrupted view of the Gurnard's Head.
  • Not that any one objects to a blue print dress and a white apron in a cottag_arden.
  • "Look—she has to draw her water from a well in the garden."
  • "Very lonely it must be in winter, with the wind sweeping over those hills, and the waves dashing on the rocks."
  • Even on a summer's day you hear them murmuring.
  • Having drawn her water, Mrs. Pascoe went in. The tourists regretted that the_ad brought no glasses, so that they might have read the name of the tram_teamer. Indeed, it was such a fine day that there was no saying what a pai_f field-glasses might not have fetched into view. Two fishing luggers, presumably from St. Ives Bay, were now sailing in an opposite direction fro_he steamer, and the floor of the sea became alternately clear and opaque. A_or the bee, having sucked its fill of honey, it visited the teasle and thenc_ade a straight line to Mrs. Pascoe's patch, once more directing the tourists'
  • gaze to the old woman's print dress and white apron, for she had come to th_oor of the cottage and was standing there.
  • There she stood, shading her eyes and looking out to sea.
  • For the millionth time, perhaps, she looked at the sea. A peacock butterfl_ow spread himself upon the teasle, fresh and newly emerged, as the blue an_hocolate down on his wings testified. Mrs. Pascoe went indoors, fetched _ream pan, came out, and stood scouring it. Her face was assuredly not soft, sensual, or lecherous, but hard, wise, wholesome rather, signifying in a roo_ull of sophisticated people the flesh and blood of life. She would tell _ie, though, as soon as the truth. Behind her on the wall hung a large drie_kate. Shut up in the parlour she prized mats, china mugs, and photographs, though the mouldy little room was saved from the salt breeze only by the dept_f a brick, and between lace curtains you saw the gannet drop like a stone, and on stormy days the gulls came shuddering through the air, and th_teamers' lights were now high, now deep. Melancholy were the sounds on _inter's night.
  • The picture papers were delivered punctually on Sunday, and she pored lon_ver Lady Cynthia's wedding at the Abbey. She, too, would have liked to rid_n a carriage with springs. The soft, swift syllables of educated speech ofte_hamed her few rude ones. And then all night to hear the grinding of th_tlantic upon the rocks instead of hansom cabs and footmen whistling for moto_ars…. So she may have dreamed, scouring her cream pan. But the talkative, nimble-witted people have taken themselves to towns. Like a miser, she ha_oarded her feelings within her own breast. Not a penny piece has she change_ll these years, and, watching her enviously, it seems as if all within mus_e pure gold.
  • The wise old woman, having fixed her eyes upon the sea, once more withdrew.
  • The tourists decided that it was time to move on to the Gurnard's Head.
  • Three seconds later Mrs. Durrant rapped upon the door.
  • "Mrs. Pascoe?" she said.
  • Rather haughtily, she watched the tourists cross the field path. She came of _ighland race, famous for its chieftains.
  • Mrs. Pascoe appeared.
  • "I envy you that bush, Mrs. Pascoe," said Mrs. Durrant, pointing the paraso_ith which she had rapped on the door at the fine clump of St. John's wor_hat grew beside it. Mrs. Pascoe looked at the bush deprecatingly.
  • "I expect my son in a day or two," said Mrs. Durrant. "Sailing from Falmouth with a friend in a little boat…. Any news of Lizzie yet, Mrs.
  • Pascoe?"
  • Her long-tailed ponies stood twitching their ears on the road twenty yard_way. The boy, Curnow, flicked flies off them occasionally. He saw hi_istress go into the cottage; come out again; and pass, talking energeticall_o judge by the movements of her hands, round the vegetable plot in front o_he cottage. Mrs. Pascoe was his aunt. Both women surveyed a bush. Mrs.
  • Durrant stooped and picked a sprig from it. Next she pointed (her movement_ere peremptory; she held herself very upright) at the potatoes. They had th_light. All potatoes that year had the blight. Mrs. Durrant showed Mrs. Pasco_ow bad the blight was on her potatoes. Mrs. Durrant talked energetically; Mrs. Pascoe listened submissively. The boy Curnow knew that Mrs. Durrant wa_aying that it is perfectly simple; you mix the powder in a gallon of water;
  • "I have done it with my own hands in my own garden," Mrs. Durrant was saying.
  • "You won't have a potato left—you won't have a potato left," Mrs. Durrant wa_aying in her emphatic voice as they reached the gate. The boy Curnow becam_s immobile as stone.
  • Mrs. Durrant took the reins in her hands and settled herself on the driver'_eat.
  • "Take care of that leg, or I shall send the doctor to you," she called bac_ver her shoulder; touched the ponies; and the carriage started forward. Th_oy Curnow had only just time to swing himself up by the toe of his boot. Th_oy Curnow, sitting in the middle of the back seat, looked at his aunt.
  • Mrs. Pascoe stood at the gate looking after them; stood at the gate till th_rap was round the corner; stood at the gate, looking now to the right, now t_he left; then went back to her cottage.
  • Soon the ponies attacked the swelling moor road with striving forelegs. Mrs.
  • Durrant let the reins fall slackly, and leant backwards. Her vivacity had lef_er. Her hawk nose was thin as a bleached bone through which you almost se_he light. Her hands, lying on the reins in her lap, were firm even in repose.
  • The upper lip was cut so short that it raised itself almost in a sneer fro_he front teeth. Her mind skimmed leagues where Mrs. Pascoe's mind adhered t_ts solitary patch. Her mind skimmed leagues as the ponies climbed the hil_oad. Forwards and backwards she cast her mind, as if the roofless cottages, mounds of slag, and cottage gardens overgrown with foxglove and bramble cas_hade upon her mind. Arrived at the summit, she stopped the carriage. The pal_ills were round her, each scattered with ancient stones; beneath was the sea, variable as a southern sea; she herself sat there looking from hill to sea, upright, aquiline, equally poised between gloom and laughter. Suddenly sh_licked the ponies so that the boy Curnow had to swing himself up by the to_f his boot.
  • The rooks settled; the rooks rose. The trees which they touched s_apriciously seemed insufficient to lodge their numbers. The tree-tops san_ith the breeze in them; the branches creaked audibly and dropped now an_hen, though the season was midsummer, husks or twigs. Up went the rooks an_own again, rising in lesser numbers each time as the sager birds made read_o settle, for the evening was already spent enough to make the air inside th_ood almost dark. The moss was soft; the tree-trunks spectral. Beyond them la_ silvery meadow. The pampas grass raised its feathery spears from mounds o_reen at the end of the meadow. A breadth of water gleamed. Already th_onvolvulus moth was spinning over the flowers. Orange and purple, nasturtiu_nd cherry pie, were washed into the twilight, but the tobacco plant and th_assion flower, over which the great moth spun, were white as china. The rook_reaked their wings together on the tree-tops, and were settling down fo_leep when, far off, a familiar sound shook and trembled—increased —fairl_inned in their ears—scared sleepy wings into the air again—the dinner bell a_he house.
  • After six days of salt wind, rain, and sun, Jacob Flanders had put on a dinne_acket. The discreet black object had made its appearance now and then in th_oat among tins, pickles, preserved meats, and as the voyage went on ha_ecome more and more irrelevant, hardly to be believed in. And now, the worl_eing stable, lit by candle-light, the dinner jacket alone preserved him. H_ould not be sufficiently thankful. Even so his neck, wrists, and face wer_xposed without cover, and his whole person, whether exposed or not, tingle_nd glowed so as to make even black cloth an imperfect screen. He drew bac_he great red hand that lay on the table-cloth. Surreptitiously it closed upo_lim glasses and curved silver forks. The bones of the cutlets were decorate_ith pink frills-and yesterday he had gnawn ham from the bone! Opposite hi_ere hazy, semi-transparent shapes of yellow and blue. Behind them, again, wa_he grey-green garden, and among the pear-shaped leaves of the escalloni_ishing-boats seemed caught and suspended. A sailing ship slowly drew past th_omen's backs. Two or three figures crossed the terrace hastily in the dusk.
  • The door opened and shut. Nothing settled or stayed unbroken. Like oars rowin_ow this side, now that, were the sentences that came now here, now there, from either side of the table.
  • "Oh, Clara, Clara!" exclaimed Mrs. Durrant, and Timothy Durrant adding,
  • "Clara, Clara," Jacob named the shape in yellow gauze Timothy's sister, Clara.
  • The girl sat smiling and flushed. With her brother's dark eyes, she was vague_nd softer than he was. When the laugh died down she said: "But, mother, i_as true. He said so, didn't he? Miss Eliot agreed with us…."
  • But Miss Eliot, tall, grey-headed, was making room beside her for the old ma_ho had come in from the terrace. The dinner would never end, Jacob thought, and he did not wish it to end, though the ship had sailed from one corner o_he window-frame to the other, and a light marked the end of the pier. He sa_rs. Durrant gaze at the light. She turned to him.
  • "Did you take command, or Timothy?" she said. "Forgive me if I call you Jacob. I've heard so much of you." Then her eyes went back to the sea.
  • Her eyes glazed as she looked at the view.
  • "A little village once," she said, "and now grown…." She rose, taking he_apkin with her, and stood by the window.
  • "Did you quarrel with Timothy?" Clara asked shyly. "I should have."
  • Mrs. Durrant came back from the window.
  • "It gets later and later," she said, sitting upright, and looking down th_able. "You ought to be ashamed—all of you. Mr. Clutterbuck, you ought to b_shamed." She raised her voice, for Mr. Clutterbuck was deaf.
  • "We ARE ashamed," said a girl. But the old man with the beard went on eatin_lum tart. Mrs. Durrant laughed and leant back in her chair, as if indulgin_im.
  • "We put it to you, Mrs. Durrant," said a young man with thick spectacles and _iery moustache. "I say the conditions were fulfilled. She owes me _overeign."
  • "Not BEFORE the fish—with it, Mrs. Durrant," said Charlotte Wilding.
  • "That was the bet; with the fish," said Clara seriously. "Begonias, mother. T_at them with his fish."
  • "Oh dear," said Mrs. Durrant.
  • "Charlotte won't pay you," said Timothy.
  • "How dare you …" said Charlotte.
  • "That privilege will be mine," said the courtly Mr. Wortley, producing _ilver case primed with sovereigns and slipping one coin on to the table. The_rs. Durrant got up and passed down the room, holding herself very straight, and the girls in yellow and blue and silver gauze followed her, and elderl_iss Eliot in her velvet; and a little rosy woman, hesitating at the door, clean, scrupulous, probably a governess. All passed out at the open door.
  • "When you are as old as I am, Charlotte," said Mrs. Durrant, drawing th_irl's arm within hers as they paced up and down the terrace.
  • "Why are you so sad?" Charlotte asked impulsively.
  • "Do I seem to you sad? I hope not," said Mrs. Durrant.
  • "Well, just now. You're NOT old."
  • "Old enough to be Timothy's mother." They stopped.
  • Miss Eliot was looking through Mr. Clutterbuck's telescope at the edge of th_errace. The deaf old man stood beside her, fondling his beard, and recitin_he names of the constellations: "Andromeda, Bootes, Sidonia, Cassiopeia…."
  • "Andromeda," murmured Miss Eliot, shifting the telescope slightly.
  • Mrs. Durrant and Charlotte looked along the barrel of the instrument pointe_t the skies.
  • "There are MILLIONS of stars," said Charlotte with conviction. Miss Elio_urned away from the telescope. The young men laughed suddenly in the dining- room.
  • "Let ME look," said Charlotte eagerly.
  • "The stars bore me," said Mrs. Durrant, walking down the terrace with Juli_liot. "I read a book once about the stars…. What are they saying?" Sh_topped in front of the dining-room window. "Timothy," she noted.
  • "The silent young man," said Miss Eliot.
  • "Yes, Jacob Flanders," said Mrs. Durrant.
  • "Oh, mother! I didn't recognize you!" exclaimed Clara Durrant, coming from th_pposite direction with Elsbeth. "How delicious," she breathed, crushing _erbena leaf.
  • Mrs. Durrant turned and walked away by herself.
  • "Clara!" she called. Clara went to her.
  • "How unlike they are!" said Miss Eliot.
  • Mr. Wortley passed them, smoking a cigar.
  • "Every day I live I find myself agreeing …" he said as he passed them.
  • "It's so interesting to guess …" murmured Julia Eliot.
  • "When first we came out we could see the flowers in that bed," said Elsbeth.
  • "We see very little now," said Miss Eliot.
  • "She must have been so beautiful, and everybody loved her, of course," sai_harlotte. "I suppose Mr. Wortley …" she paused.
  • "Edward's death was a tragedy," said Miss Eliot decidedly.
  • Here Mr. Erskine joined them.
  • "There's no such thing as silence," he said positively. "I can hear twent_ifferent sounds on a night like this without counting your voices."
  • "Make a bet of it?" said Charlotte.
  • "Done," said Mr. Erskine. "One, the sea; two, the wind; three, a dog; four …"
  • The others passed on.
  • "Poor Timothy," said Elsbeth.
  • "A very fine night," shouted Miss Eliot into Mr. Clutterbuck's ear.
  • "Like to look at the stars?" said the old man, turning the telescope toward_lsbeth.
  • "Doesn't it make you melancholy—looking at the stars?" shouted Miss Eliot.
  • "Dear me no, dear me no," Mr. Clutterbuck chuckled when he understood her.
  • "Why should it make me melancholy? Not for a moment—dear me no."
  • "Thank you, Timothy, but I'm coming in," said Miss Eliot. "Elsbeth, here's _hawl."
  • "I'm coming in," Elsbeth murmured with her eye to the telescope. "Cassiopeia,"
  • she murmured. "Where are you all?" she asked, taking her eye away from th_elescope. "How dark it is!"
  • Mrs. Durrant sat in the drawing-room by a lamp winding a ball of wool. Mr.
  • Clutterbuck read the Times. In the distance stood a second lamp, and round i_at the young ladies, flashing scissors over silver-spangled stuff for privat_heatricals. Mr. Wortley read a book.
  • "Yes; he is perfectly right," said Mrs. Durrant, drawing herself up an_easing to wind her wool. And while Mr. Clutterbuck read the rest of Lor_ansdowne's speech she sat upright, without touching her ball.
  • "Ah, Mr. Flanders," she said, speaking proudly, as if to Lord Lansdown_imself. Then she sighed and began to wind her wool again.
  • "Sit THERE," she said.
  • Jacob came out from the dark place by the window where he had hovered. Th_ight poured over him, illuminating every cranny of his skin; but not a muscl_f his face moved as he sat looking out into the garden.
  • "I want to hear about your voyage," said Mrs. Durrant.
  • "Yes," he said.
  • "Twenty years ago we did the same thing."
  • "Yes," he said. She looked at him sharply.
  • "He is extraordinarily awkward," she thought, noticing how he fingered hi_ocks. "Yet so distinguished-looking."
  • "In those days …" she resumed, and told him how they had sailed … "my husband, who knew a good deal about sailing, for he kept a yacht before we married" … and then how rashly they had defied the fishermen, "almost paid for it wit_ur lives, but so proud of ourselves!" She flung the hand out that held th_all of wool.
  • "Shall I hold your wool?" Jacob asked stiffly.
  • "You do that for your mother," said Mrs. Durrant, looking at him again keenly, as she transferred the skein. "Yes, it goes much better."
  • He smiled; but said nothing.
  • Elsbeth Siddons hovered behind them with something silver on her arm.
  • "We want," she said…. "I've come …" she paused.
  • "Poor Jacob," said Mrs. Durrant, quietly, as if she had known him all hi_ife. "They're going to make you act in their play."
  • "How I love you!" said Elsbeth, kneeling beside Mrs. Durrant's chair.
  • "Give me the wool," said Mrs. Durrant.
  • "He's come—he's come!" cried Charlotte Wilding. "I've won my bet!"
  • "There's another bunch higher up," murmured Clara Durrant, mounting anothe_tep of the ladder. Jacob held the ladder as she stretched out to reach th_rapes high up on the vine.
  • "There!" she said, cutting through the stalk. She looked semi-transparent, pale, wonderfully beautiful up there among the vine leaves and the yellow an_urple bunches, the lights swimming over her in coloured islands. Geranium_nd begonias stood in pots along planks; tomatoes climbed the walls.
  • "The leaves really want thinning," she considered, and one green one, sprea_ike the palm of a hand, circled down past Jacob's head.
  • "I have more than I can eat already," he said, looking up.
  • "It does seem absurd …" Clara began, "going back to London…."
  • "Ridiculous," said Jacob, firmly.
  • "Then …" said Clara, "you must come next year, properly," she said, snippin_nother vine leaf, rather at random.
  • "If … if …"
  • A child ran past the greenhouse shouting. Clara slowly descended the ladde_ith her basket of grapes.
  • "One bunch of white, and two of purple," she said, and she placed two grea_eaves over them where they lay curled warm in the basket.
  • "I have enjoyed myself," said Jacob, looking down the greenhouse.
  • "Yes, it's been delightful," she said vaguely.
  • "Oh, Miss Durrant," he said, taking the basket of grapes; but she walked pas_im towards the door of the greenhouse.
  • "You're too good—too good," she thought, thinking of Jacob, thinking that h_ust not say that he loved her. No, no, no.
  • The children were whirling past the door, throwing things high into the air.
  • "Little demons!" she cried. "What have they got?" she asked Jacob.
  • "Onions, I think," said Jacob. He looked at them without moving.
  • "Next August, remember, Jacob," said Mrs. Durrant, shaking hands with him o_he terrace where the fuchsia hung, like a scarlet ear-ring, behind her head.
  • Mr. Wortley came out of the window in yellow slippers, trailing the Times an_olding out his hand very cordially.
  • "Good-bye," said Jacob. "Good-bye," he repeated. "Good-bye," he said onc_ore. Charlotte Wilding flung up her bedroom window and cried out: "Good-bye, Mr. Jacob!"
  • "Mr. Flanders!" cried Mr. Clutterbuck, trying to extricate himself from hi_eehive chair. "Jacob Flanders!"
  • "Too late, Joseph," said Mrs. Durrant.
  • "Not to sit for me," said Miss Eliot, planting her tripod upon the lawn.