She cut the first rose and held it to her lips, smelling it. “Lovely. Who was your letter from, Mark?”
He thought, “How on earth did she know?” He had forgotten it himself. “How ever did you know? From Lady Tybar. They’re back.”
“I saw you from the window with the postman. Lady Tybar! Whatever was she writing to you about?”
He somehow did not like this. Why “whatever”? And being watched was rather beastly; he remembered he had fiddled about with the letter,—half put it in his pocket and then taken it out again. And why not? What did it matter? But he had a prevision that it was going to matter. Mabel did not particularly like Nona. He said, “Just to say they’re back. She wants us to go up there.”
“An invitation? Whyever didn’t she write to me?”
“Whyever” again!—“May I see it?”
He took the letter from his pocket and handed it to her. “It’s not exactly an invitation—not formal.”
She did what he called “flicked” the letter out of its envelope. He watched her reading it and in his mind he could see as perfectly as she with her eyes, the odd, neat script; in his mind he read it with her, word by word.
back. We’ve been from China to Peru almost.
up one day and be bored about it. How are you?
His thought was, “Damn the letter!”
Mabel handed it back, without returning it to its
envelope. She said,
“No, it’s not formal.”
She snipped three roses with astonishing swiftness,—snip, snip, snip!
Sabre sought about in his mind for something to say. There was nothing in his mind to say. He had an absurd vision of his two hands feeling about in the polished interior of a skull, as one might fumble for something in a large jar.
At the end of an enormous cavity of time he found some slight remark about blight on the rose trees—the absence of it this year—and ventured it. He had again an absurd vision of dropping it into an enormous cavern, as a pea into an immense bowl, and it seemed to tinkle feebly and forlornly, as a pea would. “No blight this year, eh?”
“No; is there?” agreed Mabel,—snip!
Nevertheless conversation arose from the forlorn pea and was maintained. They moved about the garden from flower bed to flower bed. In half an hour the shallow basket was beautified with fragrant blooms and Mabel thought she had enough.
“Well, that’s that,” said Sabre as they reentered the morning room.