“To Judas Iscariot.” (Smash went the egg!)
Sabre said feebly—he could not handle his arguments—“Well, anyway, ’always with us’—there you are. If you’re going to create a place where life is going to be lived as it should be lived, I don’t see how you’re going to shut the poor out of it. Aren’t they a part of life? They’ve got as much right to get away from mean streets and ugly surroundings as we have—and a jolly sight more need. Always with us. It doesn’t matter tuppence whom it was said to.”
“It happens,” pronounced Mr. Boom Bagshaw, “to matter a great deal more than tuppence. It happens to knock the bottom clean out of your argument. It was addressed to the Iscariot because the Iscariot was trying to do just what you are trying to do. He was trying to make duty to the poor an excuse for grudging service to Christ. Now, listen, Sabre. If people thought a little less about their duty towards the poor and a little more about their duty towards themselves, they would be in a great deal fitter state to help their fellow creatures, poor or rich. That is what the Garden Home is to do for those who live in it, and that is what the Garden Home is going to do.”
He stabbed sharply with the butt of a dessert knife on the dessert plate which had just been placed before him. The plate split neatly into two exact halves. He gazed at them sulkily, put them aside, drew another plate before him, and remarked to Mabel:
“You know we are moving into the vicarage to-morrow? We are giving an At Home to-morrow week. You will come.”
The plural pronoun included his mother. He was intensely celibate.
The day ended in a blazing row.
In the afternoon Mr. Boom Bagshaw carried off Mabel to view the progress of the Garden Home. While they dallied over coffee at the luncheon table, Sabre was fidgeting for Bagshaw to be gone. Mabel, operating dexterously behind the blue flame of a spirit lamp, Low Jinks hovering around in well-trained acolyte performances, said, “Now I rather pride myself on my Turkish coffee, Mr. Boom Bagshaw.”
Mr. Bagshaw, who appeared to pride himself at least as much on his characteristics, replied by sulkily looking at his watch; and a moment later by sulkily taking a cup, rather as if he were a schoolboy bidden to take lemonade when mannishly desirous of shandygaff, and sulkily remarking, “I must go.”
Sabre fidgeted to see the words put into action. He wanted Bagshaw to be off. He wanted to resume his sudden intention of remedying his normal relations with Mabel and the afternoon promised better than the intention had thus far seen. That niggling over the unexpectedness of his return,—well, of course it was unexpected and upsetting of her household routine; but the unexpectedness was over and the letter incident over, and Mabel, thanks to her guest, delightfully mooded. Good, therefore, for the afternoon. When the dickens was this chap going?