However, I must do my best; and in my more hopeful moments I see the conversation going like this:—
“Oh, wonderful.” (With emotion) “Really wonderful.”
“You see them all there?”
“Yes, yes. It’s really—wonderful. Meredith—I mean—well, it’s simply—(after a pause) wonderful.”
“You see Meredith there most?”
“Y-yes. Sometimes. And then (with truth) sometimes I—I don’t. It’s difficult to say. Sometimes I—er—Shaw—er—well, it’s—” (with a gesture somewhat Gallic) “How can I put it?”
“Not Thackeray at all?” he says, watching me eagerly.
I decide to risk it.
“Oh, but of course! I mean—Thackeray! When I said Meredith I was thinking of the others. But Thackeray—I mean Thackeray is—er—” (I’ve forgotten the author’s name for the moment and go on hastily) “I mean—er—Thackeray, obviously.”
He shakes me by the hand. I am his friend.
But this conversation only takes place in my more hopeful moments. In my less hopeful ones I see myself going into the country for quite a long time.
III. SUMMER DAYS
A SONG FOR THE SUMMER
Is it raining? Never mind—
Think how much the birdies love it!
See them in their dozens drawn,
Dancing, to the croquet lawn—
Could our little friends have dined
If there’d been no worms above it?
Is it murky? What of that,
If the Owls are fairly perky?
Just imagine you were one—
Wouldn’t you detest the sun?
I’m pretending I’m a Bat,
And I know I like it murky.
Is it chilly? After all,
We must not forget the Poodle.
If the days were really hot,
Could he wear one woolly spot?
Could he even keep his shawl?
No, he’d shave the whole caboodle.
THE SEASON’S PROSPECTS
The great question in the Mallory family just now is whether Dick will get into the eleven this year. Confident as he is himself, he is taking no risks.
“We’re going to put the net up to-morrow,” he said to me as soon as I arrived, “and then you’ll be able to bowl to me. How long are you staying?”
“Till to-night,” I said quickly.
“Rot! You’re fixed up here till Tuesday any how.”
“My dear Dick, I’ve come down for a few days’ rest. If the weather permits, I may have the croquet things out one afternoon and try a round, or possibly—”
“I don’t believe you can bowl,” said Bobby rudely. Bobby is twelve—five years younger than Dick. It is not my place to smack Bobby’s head, but somebody might do it for him.
“Then that just shows how little you know about it,” I retorted. “In a match last September I went on to bowl—”