Jane frowned, in the way the twins always frown when people put things less bluntly and crudely than they think fit. For some reason they call this, the regard for the ordinary niceties of life, by the foolish name of ‘Potterism.’
‘When Oliver fell?’ she corrected me, still in that quiet, listless, almost indifferent tone. ‘Oh, yes. He wasn’t here long.’
‘Well, well,’ I said very gently, ’we must let bygones be bygones, and not grieve over much. Grief,’ I added, wanting so much that the child should rise to the opportunity and take her trial in a large spirit, ’is such a big, strong, beautiful thing. If we let it, it will take us by the hands and lead us gently along by the waters of comfort. We mustn’t rebel or fight; we must look straight ahead with welcoming eyes. For whatever life brings us we can use.’
Jane still sat very still at the writing table, her head on her hand, her fingers pushing back her hair from her forehead. I thought she sighed a little, a long sigh of acquiescence which touched me.
This seemed to me to be the moment to speak to her of what was in my mind.
‘And, my dear,’ I said, ’there is another thing. We mustn’t think that Oliver has gone down into silence. You must help him to speak to you, a little later, when you are fit and when he has found his way to the Door. You mustn’t shut him out, my child.’
‘Mother,’ said Jane, ‘you know I don’t believe in any of that.’
‘I only ask you to try,’ I said earnestly. ’Don’t bolt and bar the Door.... I shall try, my dear, for you, if you will not, and he shall communicate with you through me.’
‘I shan’t believe it,’ said Jane, stating not a resolve but a fact, ’if he does. Of course, do what you like about all that, mother, I don’t care. But, if you don’t mind, I’d rather not hear about it.’
I decided to put off any further discussion of the question, particularly as the child looked and must have been tired out.
I went down to the kitchen to talk to Emily about Jane’s lunch. I felt that she ought to have a beaten egg, and perhaps a little fish.
But I wished that she had told me frankly about that man Gideon’s visit last night. Jane was always so reserved.
AN AWFUL SUSPICION
It was rather a strange, sad life into which we settled down after the inquest and funeral. Jane remained in her little Hampstead house; she said she preferred it, though, particularly in view of the dear little new life due in January or so, I wanted her to be at Potter’s Bar with us. I went up to see her very often; I was not altogether satisfied about her, though outwardly she went on much as of old, going to see her friends, writing, and not even wearing black. But I am no stickler for that heathen custom.