“I shall leave you here,” I said, after I had smoked a cigarette and dipped into the catalogue again, “and make my purchase. It will be quite inexpensive; indeed, it is marked in the catalogue at one-and-six-pence, which means that they will probably offer me the nine-shilling size first. But I shall be firm. Good-bye.”
I went and bought one and returned to her with it.
“No, not now,” I said, as she held out her hand eagerly. “Wait till we get home.”
It was cooler now, and we wandered through the tents, chatting patronizingly to the stall-keeper whenever we came to pink geraniums. At the orchids we were contemptuously sniffy. “Of course,” I said, “for those who like orchids—” and led the way back to the geraniums again. It was an interesting afternoon.
And to our great joy the window-box was in position when we got home again.
“Now!” I said dramatically, and I unwrapped my purchase and placed it in the middle of our new-made garden.
“A slug-trap,” I explained proudly.
“But how could slugs get up here?” asked Celia in surprise.
“How do slugs get anywhere? They climb up the walls, or they come up in the lift, or they get blown about by the wind—I don’t know. They can fly up if they like; but, however it be, when they do come, I mean to be ready for them.”
Still, though our slug-trap will no doubt come in usefully, it is not what we really want. What we gardeners really want is rain.
I was talking to a very stupid man the other day. He was the stupidest man I have come across for many years. It is a hard thing to say of any man, but he appeared to me to be entirely lacking in intellect.
It was Celia who introduced me to him. She had rung up her brother at the flat where he was staying, and, finding that he was out, she gave a message for him to the porter. It was simply that he was to ring her up as soon as he came in.
“Ring up who?” said the porter. At least I suppose he did, for Celia repeated her name (and mine) very slowly and distinctly.
“Mrs. who?” said the porter, “What?” or “I can’t hear,” or something equally foolish.
Celia then repeated our name again.
There followed a long conversation between the two of them, the audible part of it (that is Celia’s) consisting of my name given forth in a variety of intonations, in the manner of one who sings an anthem—hopefully, pathetically, dramatically, despairingly.
Up to this moment I had been rather attached to my name. True, it wants a little explaining to shopkeepers. There are certain consonants in it which require to be elided or swallowed or swivelled round the glottis, in order to give the name its proper due. But after five or six applications the shopkeeper grasps one’s meaning.