Sabre, ambling his bicycle along the pleasant lanes towards Tidborough one fine morning in the early summer of 1912, was met in his thoughts by observation, as he topped a rise, of the galloping progress of the light railway that was to link up the Penny Green Garden Home with Tidborough and Chovensbury. In the two years since Lord Tybar had, as he had said, beneficially exercised his ancestors in their graves by selling the land on which the Garden Home Development was to develop, Penny Green Garden Home had sprung into being at an astonishing pace.
The great thing now was the railway.
And the railway’s unsightly indications strewn across the countryside—ballast heaps, excavations, noisy stationary engines, hand-propelled barrows bumping along toy lines, gangs of men at labour with pick and shovel—met Sabre’s thoughts on this June morning because he was thinking of the Penny Green Garden Home and of Mabel, and of Mabel and of himself in connection with the Penny Green Garden Home. Puzzling thoughts.
Here was a subject, this ambitiously projected and astonishingly popular Garden Home springing up at their very doors, that interested him and that intensely interested Mabel, and yet it could never be mentioned between them without.... Only that very morning at breakfast.... And June—he always remembered it—was the anniversary month of their wedding.... Eight years ago.... Eight years....
What interested Sabre in the Garden Home was not the settlement itself—he rather hated the idea of Penny Green being neighboured and overrun by crowds of all sorts of people—but the causes that gave rise to the modern movement of which it was a shining example. The causes had their place in one of the sections he had planned for “England” and it encouraged his ideas for that section to see the results here at his doors. Overcrowding in the towns; the desire of men to get away from their place of business; the increasing pressure of business and the increasing recreational variety of life that, deepening and widening through the years, actuated the desire; the extension of traffic facilities that permitted the desire; all the modern tendencies that made work less of a pleasure and more of a toil,—and out of that the whole absorbing question of the decay of joy in craftsmanship, and why.—Jolly interesting!
These were the pictures and the stories that Sabre saw in the roads and avenues and residences and public buildings leaping from mud and chaos into order and activity in the Garden Home; these were the reasons the thing interested him and why he rather enjoyed seeing it springing up about him. But these, he thought as he rode along, were not the reasons the thing interested Mabel. And when he mentioned them to her.... And when she, for her part, spoke of it to him—and she was always speaking of it—the reasons for her enthusiasm retired him at once into a shell. Funny state of affairs!