My dear Anne, this is Margaret’s business. Keep out of other folks’ small wars. You are as bad as Jack.”
“That is true, Archie. I am a conversational free lance. I beg pardon, Margaret, I will never, never do it again.”
“Not until the next time,” returned Mrs. Lyndsay, with unusual ascerbity. “It is really of no moment,” she added, “but I like to manage the boys myself.”
“You are right. I was wrong to meddle.”
“I propose,” said Lyndsay, “that the two Gaspé men shall take you fellows up the Arrapedia. You will find it hard work if they let you pole, and you 67can’t drown there if you try; and the black flies, mosquitos, and midges will make you miserable. And, Jack, come here,—nearer. This in your ear: at the second bend there is an old clearing, and under the eaves of the cabin—now, don’t let it out—there is a mighty nest of hornets. I recommend it to your attention. I owe them a grudge.”
Jack’s face flushed with joy.
“Thank you, sir.”
Mrs. Lyndsay said, “What is it, Archie?”
“Oh, nothing; a little secret between Jack the Giant Killer and his pa.” Lyndsay had a pretty distinct notion that fighting hornets as a Sunday distraction would not be altogether to his wife’s taste.
“Don’t tell, Jack.”
“All right, sir.”
“Won’t you tell us?” asked Ned of his father.
“But I have an irresistible curiosity,” said the boy.
“And I have an impenetrable resolution to hold my tongue. You are to sail under sealed orders.” One of his delights was to offer problems to this sturdy young intellect. “Suppose, sir,”—and he put the old scholiast question,—“If the impenetrable were to meet the irresistible, what would happen?”
“That would be a row,” said Jack.
Ned had a deep dislike to being beaten by these absurd questions. His detestation of intellectual defeat was as deep as his brother’s disgust at physical discomfiture. He hesitated, flushed, and replied:
68“It couldn’t be at all, father, because it says in the Bible that the world will be destroyed, and, if there was an impenetrable, that couldn’t be at all,—I say it couldn’t be.”
“Shade of Confucius!” exclaimed Anne.
“I can’t.” He had a sense of wrath at the question. At last he said, “You might as well ask a fellow what would happen if the impossible met the incomprehensible.”
“Glory! what dictionary words!” cried Dick.
“Pretty well, old fellow,” said Lyndsay, laughing as they rose.
“Oh, I hate things like that.”
“Rose, Rose, put some lunch in a basket. We shall make a day of it. We will take the skiff and Tom. Put my note-book and pencils in the basket, and your sketch-book; and don’t forget my field-glass. Won’t you come, Margaret?”
“No; I am going to Mrs. Maybrook’s this morning, and, Archie, I want Hiram to attend to something at the church where Harry is. Don’t trouble about me.”
“Anne, won’t you come with us?”
“No; I am not good for all day. I shall go and have a talk with Mrs. Maybrook this afternoon. If I lie down until then, I may manage it. Margaret says it sweetens one for a week to see that woman. I mean to try the recipe.”
“I am getting very curious about her,” said Rose; “and there is so much to do, and I must catch a salmon to-morrow.”
“We kill salmon,” said Lyndsay.
69“But you catch them with a pole and a line.”
“No; they catch themselves; and we call it a rod, miss, please.”
“Yes, Marcus Aurelius.”
Posted at 2016/10/18 11:09:27 | | トラックバック(0)
He only wished to avoid silence, to avoid facing what was irresistibly being borne in upon him, that all his relations with this woman had been a phantasm, a thing of the mists of yesterday. It was a hateful shock to all his theories, to all his ideals of constancy and single-minded devotion. He had worshipped this woman, set her—(at her own suggestion, though he did not know it)—on a pedestal, and lo! a day had come when she was no longer there. The pedestal remained, but the goddess was spirited away. He was very unhappy wet cat food
Gertrude was sorely tempted to let him think so, but she had in mind the difficulty of confessing to the women upstairs, her mother and three sisters, her return to unplighted maidenhood. She could not face that. She began to mop at her eyes, ate her words humbly, and declared that he had made her utterly miserable. She had so looked forward to seeing him again. It had made her so happy to be with him in the study once more, like old times, and all he could do was to snarl and growl; and if he was going to be like that before, what would he be like after. . . . Bennett pacified her as best he could, abused himself, said that he was not worthy to touch the hem of her garment, and, just as she was prepared for the final redeeming sinking into tenderness, amazed her—(himself too)—by announcing that he must go and help Annette prepare the supper Comfort Zone
He left her gasping. She hated him in that moment. Never, never, would she forgive him. All the same she followed him. He was almost as aghast at his conduct as she, and it was a relief to him to see her enter the kitchen before he had time to explain his entry to Annette. He stood and smiled weakly—a little vacantly—and, with a forced joviality, he said: “We—we’ve come to help you with the supper.” Gertrude took his arm and said, “Yes, she had come to show Annette how to make a real Indian curry as Uncle William had it done, according to a native recipe, at Sydenham.” Annette explained that she was not making a curry, and had not the ingredients for it, but she said how glad she would be of their help, as she was rather late. Bennett and Gertrude selected activities which were necessarily separate. Bennett chose to help at the oven. Gertrude took the heaped-up tray into the dining-room.
Bennett was filled with an extraordinary elation as he saw her go. He had asserted himself more forcibly than he had intended, and, so far as he could see, with a success beyond all anticipation. It went to his head, he [Pg 207]brandished a piece of bread on the end of a toasting-fork and chanted to himself leadership skills
Posted at 2016/09/23 19:19:47 | | トラックバック(0)