Also amazing tides of glory when she was watching for her son, and saw him.
Young Perch was a tall and slight young man with a happy laugh and an air which suggested to Sabre, after puzzlement, that his spirit was only alighted in his body as a bird alights and swings upon a twig, not engrossed in his body. He did not look very strong. His mother said he had a weak heart. He said he had a particularly strong heart and used to protest, “Oh, Mother, I do wish you wouldn’t talk that bosh about me.” To which Mrs. Perch would say, “It’s no good saying you haven’t got a weak heart because you have got a weak heart and you’ve always had a weak heart. Surely I ought to know.”
Young Perch would reply, “You ought to know, but you don’t know. You get an idea in your head and nothing will ever get it out. Some day you’ll probably get the idea that I’ve got two hearts and if Sir Frederick Treves swore before the Lord Chief Justice that I only had one heart you’d just say, ‘The man’s a perfect fool.’ You’re awful, you know, Mother.”
He used to reprove his mother like that.
Mrs. Perch would give a grim little laugh, relishing her strength, and then Young Perch would give an involuntary little laugh, accepting his weakness.
That was how they lived.
Young Perch always carried about in one pocket a private pair of spectacles for his mother and in another a private set of keys for her most used receptacles. When the search for her spectacles had exhausted even her own energy, Young Perch would say, “Well, you’d better use these, Mother.” It was of no use to offer them till she was weakening in the search, and she would take them grudgingly with, “They don’t suit me.” Similarly with the keys, accepted only after prolonged and maddening search. “Well, you’d better try these, Mother.”—“They injure the lock.”
Sabre often witnessed and took part in these devastating searches. Young Perch would always say, “Now just sit down, Mother, instead of rushing about, and try to think quite calmly when you last used them.”
Mrs. Perch, intensely fatigued, intensely worried:
“How very silly you are, Freddie! I don’t know when I last used them. If I knew when I used them, I should know where they are now.”
“Well, you’d better use these now, Mother.”
“They don’t suit me. They ruin my eyes.”
Yet Mrs. Rod, Pole or Perch, who confided much in Sabre, and who had no confidences of any kind apart from her son, would often say to Sabre: “Freddie always finds my keys for me, you know. He finds everything for me, Mr. Sabre.”
And the tide of glory would flood amazingly upon her face, transfiguring it, and Sabre would feel an immensely poignant clutch at the heart.