If Winter Comes eBook

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about If Winter Comes.

“Well, you might do a good deal worse, you know.  There’s no one like Dickens, taking everything together.”

She flushed.  You could almost see she was going to say something rude.  “That’s a very kind thing to say to uneducated people, Mr. Sabre.  It makes them think it isn’t education that prevents them enjoying more advanced writers.  But I don’t suffer from that, as it so happens.  I daresay some of my reading would be pretty hard even for you.”

Sabre felt Mabel pluck at his sleeve.  He glanced at her.  Her face was very angry.  Miss Bypass, delivered of her sharp words, was deeper flushed, her head drawn back.  He smiled at her.  “Why, I’m sure it would, Miss Bypass.  I tell you what, we must have a talk about reading one day, shall we?  I think it would be rather jolly to exchange ideas.”

An extraordinary and rather alarming change came over Miss Bypass’s hard face.  Sabre thought she was going to cry.  She said in a thick voice, “Oh, I don’t really read anything particularly good.  It’s only—­Mr. Sabre, thank you.”  She turned abruptly away.

When they were outside, Mabel said, “How extraordinary you are!”

“Eh?  What about?”

“Making up to that girl like that!  I never heard such rudeness as the way she spoke to you.”  Sabre said, “Oh, I don’t know.”

“Don’t know!  When you spoke to her so politely and the way she answered you!  And then you reply quite pleasantly—­”

He laughed.  “You didn’t expect me to give her a hard punch in the eye, did you?”

“No, of course I didn’t expect you to give her a hard punch in the eye.  But I should have thought you’d have had more sense of your own dignity than to take no notice and invite her to have a talk one day.”

He thought, “Here we are again!” He said, “Well, but look, Mabel.  I don’t think she means it for rudeness.  She is rude of course, beastly rude; but, you know, that manner of hers always makes me feel frightfully sorry for her.”

“Sorry!”

“Yes, haven’t you noticed many people like her with that defiant sort of way of speaking—­people not very well educated, or very badly off, or in rather a dependent position, and most frightfully conscious of it.  They think every one is looking down on them, or patronising them, and the result is they’re on the defensive all the time.  Well, that’s awfully pathetic, you know, all your life being on the defensive; back against the wall; can’t get away; always making feeble little rushes at the mob.  By Jove, that’s pathetic, Mabel.”

She said, “I’m not listening, you know.”

He was startled.  “Eh?”

“I say I’m not listening.  I always know that whenever I say anything about any one I dislike, you immediately start making excuses for them, so I simply don’t listen.”

He mastered a sudden feeling within him.  “Well, it wasn’t very interesting,” he said.

“No, it certainly wasn’t.  Pathetic!” She gave her sudden burst of laughter.  “You think such extraordinary things pathetic; I wonder you don’t start an orphanage!”

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If Winter Comes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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