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

“Married?  Oh, yes, he’s married.  Has been some time, I believe, though they’ve no kids.  I had lunch at his place one time I was down Tidborough way.  Now there’s a place you ought to go to paint one of your pictures—­where he lives—­Penny Green.  Picturesque, quaint if ever a place was.  It’s about seven miles from Tidborough; seven miles by road and about seven centuries in manners and customs and appearance and all that.  Proper old village green, you know, with a duck pond and cricket pitch and houses all round it.  No two alike.  Just like one of Kate Greenaway’s pictures, I always think.  It just sits and sleeps.  You wouldn’t think there was a town within a hundred miles of it, let alone a bustling great place like Tidborough.  Go down.  You really ought to.  Yes, and by Jove you’ll have to hurry up if you want to catch the old-world look of the place.  It’s ‘developing’ ... ’being developed.’...  Eh?...  Yes; God help it; I agree.  After all these centuries sleeping there it’s suddenly been ‘discovered.’  People are coming out from Tidborough and Alton and Chovensbury to get away from their work and live there.  Making a sort of garden suburb business of it.  They’ve got a new church already.  Stupendous affair, considering the size of the place—­but that’s looking forward to this development movement, the new vicar chap says.  He’s doing the developing like blazes.  Regular tiger he is for shoving things, particularly himself.  Chap called Bagshaw—­Boom Bagshaw.  Character if ever there was one.  But they’re all characters down there from what I’ve seen of it....

“Yes, you go down there and have a look, with your sketch-book.  Old Sabre’ll love to see you....  His wife?...  Oh, very nice, distinctly nice.  Pretty woman, very.  Somehow I didn’t think quite the sort of woman for old Puzzlehead.  Didn’t appear to have the remotest interest in any of the things he was keen about; and he seemed a bit fed with her sort of talk.  Hers was all gossip—­all about the people there and what a rum crowd they were.  Devilish funny, I thought, some of her stories.  But old Sabre—­well, I suppose he’d heard ’em before.  Still, there was something—­something about the two of them.  You know that sort of—­sort of—­what the devil is it?—­sort of stiffish feeling you sometimes feel in the air with two people who don’t quite click.  Well, that was it.  Probably only my fancy.  As to that, you can pretty well cut the welkin with a knife at my place sometimes when me and my missus get our tails up; and we’re fearful pals.  Daresay I just took ’em on an off day.  But that was my impression though—­that she wasn’t just the sort of woman for old Sabre.  But after all, what the dickens sort of woman would be?  Fiddling chap for a husband, old Puzzlehead.  Can imagine him riling any wife with wrinkling up his nut over some plain as a pikestaff thing and saying, ‘Well, I don’t quite see that.’  Ha!  Rum chap.  Nice chap.  Have a drink?”

CHAPTER II

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