If Winter Comes eBook

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

Low Jinks, her matchless training at the level of mysteriously performed duties pat to the moment and without command, appeared with a tray of vases.  Each vase was filled to precisely half its capacity with water.  There were also a folded newspaper, a pair of small gilt scissors and a saucer.  Low Jinks spread the newspaper at one end of the table, arranged the vases in a semicircle upon it, and placed the gilt scissors precisely in alignment with the right-hand vase of the semicircle, and the saucer (for the stalk ends) precisely in alignment with the left-hand vase.  She then withdrew, closing the door with exquisite softness.  Sabre had never seen this rite before.  The perfection of its performance was impressive.  He thought, “Mabel is marvellous.”  He said, “Shall I take them out of the basket?”

“No, leave them.  I take them up just as I want them.”

She took up a creamy rose and snipped off a fragment of stalk over the saucer.  “Why does she call you ’Marko’?”

He was utterly taken aback.  If the question had come from any one but Mabel, he would have quite failed to connect it with the letter.  But there had distinctly been an “incident” over the letter, though so far closed, as he had imagined, that he was completely surprised.

He said “Who?  Nona?”

“Yes, Nona, if you like.  Lady Tybar.”

“Why, she always has.  You know that.”

Mabel put the rose into a specimen vase with immense care and touched a speck off its petals with her fingers.  “I really didn’t.”

“Mabel, you know you do.  You must have heard her.”

“Well, I may have.  But long ago.  I certainly didn’t know she used it in letters.”

He felt he was growing angry.

“What on earth’s the difference?”

“It seems to me there’s a great deal of difference.  I didn’t know she wrote you letters.”

He was angry.  “Damn it, she doesn’t write me letters.”

She shrugged her shoulders.  “You seem to get them anyway.”

Maddening!

And then he thought, “I’m not going to let it be maddening.  This is just what happens.”  He said, “Well, this is silly.  I’ve known her—­we’ve known one another—­for years, since we were children, pretty well.  She’s called me by my Christian name since I can remember.  You must have heard her.  We don’t see much of her—­perhaps you haven’t.  I thought you had.  Anyway, dash the thing.  What does it matter?”

“It doesn’t matter”—­she launched a flower into a vase—­“a bit.  I only think it’s funny, that’s all.”

“Well, it’s just her way.”

Mabel gave a little sniff.  He thought it was over.  But it wasn’t over.  “If you ask me, I call it a funny letter.  You say your Christian name, but it isn’t your Christian name—­Marko!  And then saying, ’How are you?’ like that—­”

“Like what?  She just said it, didn’t she?”

“Yes I know.  And then ‘Nona.’  Don’t you call that funny?”

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Project Gutenberg
If Winter Comes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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