Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about If Winter Comes.
interested if any one had told her how numerous the class was.  It never occurred to her that any of these people had homes and it never occurred to her that the whole of the lower classes lived without any margin at all beyond keeping their homes together, or that if they stopped working they lost their homes, or that they looked forward to nothing beyond their working years because there was nothing beyond their working years for them to look forward to.  Nor would it have interested her in the remotest degree to hear this.  The only fact she knew about the lower classes was that they were disgustingly extravagant and spent every penny they earned.  The woman across the Green who did her washing had six children and a husband who was an agricultural labourer and earned eighteen and sixpence a week.  These eight lived in three rooms and “if you please” they actually bought a gramophone!  Mabel instanced it for years after she first heard it.  The idea of that class of person spending money on anything to make their three rooms lively of an evening was scandalous to Mabel.  She heard of the gramophone outrage in 1908 and she was still instancing it in 1912.  “And those are the people, mind you,” she said in 1912, “that we have to buy these National Insurance stamps for!”

III

Mabel was not demonstrative.  She had no enthusiasms and no sympathies.  Enthusiasms and sympathies in other people made her laugh with her characteristic burst of sudden laughter.  It was not, as with some persons, that matters calling for sympathy made her impatient,—­as very robust people are often intensely impatient with sickness and infirmity.  She never would say, “I have no patience with such and such or so and so.”  She had plenty of patience.  It was simply that she had no imagination whatsoever.  Whatever she saw or heard or read, she saw or heard or read exactly as the thing presented itself.  If she saw a door she saw merely a piece of wood with a handle and a keyhole.  It may be argued that a door is merely a piece of wood with a handle and a keyhole, and that is what Mabel would have argued.  But a door is in fact the most intriguing mystery in the world because of what may be the other side of it and of what goes on behind it.  To Mabel nothing was on the other side of anything she saw and nothing went on behind it.

A person or a creature in pain was to Mabel a person or a creature “laid up.”  Laid up—­out of action—­not working properly:  like a pencil without a point.  A picture was a decoration in paint and was either a pretty decoration in paint or a not pretty decoration in paint.  Music was a tune, and was either a tune or merely music.  A book was a story, and if it was not a story it was simply a book.  A flower was a decoration.  Poetry, such as

    “While the still morn went out with sandals grey,”

Follow Us on Facebook