His reply to this came to-day.
“Dear Sir,—I have no child.
“Yours faithfully, Jno. McAndrew.”
I was so staggered that I could only think of one adequate retort.
“DEAR SIR,” I wrote,—“I never have a bath.”
* * * * *
So that’s the end of Johnny, my boy prodigy, for whom I have suffered so long. It is not Johnny but Jno. who struggles with the National Anthem. He will give up music now, for he knows I have the bulge on him; I can flood his bathroom whenever I like. Probably he will learn something quieter—like painting. Anyway, Dr. John Bull’s masterpiece will rise no more through the ceiling of the flat below.
On referring to my encyclopedia, I see that, according to some authorities, “God Save the King” is “wrongly attributed” to Dr. Bull. Well, I wrongly attributed it to Johnny. It is easy to make these mistakes.
A HANGING GARDEN IN BABYLON
“Are you taking me to the Flower Show this afternoon?” asked Celia at breakfast.
“No,” I said thoughtfully; “no.”
“Well, that’s that. What other breakfast conversation have I? Have you been to any theatres lately?”
“Do you really want to go to the Flower Show?” I asked. “Because I don’t believe I could bear it.”
“I’ve saved up two shillings.”
“It isn’t that—not only that. But there’ll be thousands of people there, all with gardens of their own, all pointing to things and saying, ‘We’ve got one of those in the east bed,’ or ’Wouldn’t that look nice in the south orchid house?’ and you and I will be quite, quite out of it.” I sighed, and helped myself from the west toast-rack.
It is very delightful to have a flat in London, but there are times in the summer when I long for a garden of my own. I show people round our little place, and I point out hopefully the Hot Tap Doultonii in the scullery, and the Dorothy Perkins doormat, but it isn’t the same thing as taking your guest round your garden and telling him that what you really want is rain. Until I can do that, the Chelsea Flower Show is no place for us.
“Then I haven’t told you the good news,” said Celia. “We are gardeners.” She paused a moment for effect. “I have ordered a window-box.”
I dropped the marmalade and jumped up eagerly.
“But this is glorious news! I haven’t been so excited since I recognized a calceolaria last year, and told my host it was a calceolaria just before he told me. A window-box! What’s in it?”
“Pink geraniums and—and pink geraniums, and—er—”
“Pink geraniums?” I suggested.
“Yes. They’re very pretty, you know.”
“I know. But I could have wished for something more difficult. If we had something like—well, I don’t want to seem to harp on it, but say calceolarias, then quite a lot of people mightn’t recognize them, and I should be able to tell them what they were. I should be able to show them the calceolarias; you can’t show people the geraniums.”