Jaffery eBook

William John Locke
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about Jaffery.
to Jericho, becomes desperately enamoured of the elfin princess.  There he is, great, ruddy, hairy wretch:  there she is, a wraith of a creature made up of thistledown and fountain-bubbles and stars.  He stares at her, stretches out his huge paw to grab a fairy, feathery tress of her dark hair.  Defensive, she puts up her little hand.  Its touch is an electric shock to the marauder.  He blinks, and rubs his arm.  He has a mighty respect for her.  He could take her up in his fingers and eat her like a quail—­the one satisfactory method of eating a quail is unfortunately practised only by ogres—­but he does not want to eat her.  He goes on his knees, and invites her to chew any portion of him that may please her dainty taste.  In short he makes the very silliest ass of himself, and the elfin princess, who of course has come into contact with the Real Beautiful Young Man of the Story Books, won’t have anything to do with the Ogre; and if he is more rumbustious than he ought to be, generally finds a way to send him packing.  And so the poor Ogre remains, planted there.  The Fairy Tales, I remark again, are very true in demonstrating that the Ogre loves the elf and not the Ogress.  But all the same they are deucedly unsympathetic towards the poor Ogre.  The only sympathetic one I know is Beauty and the Beast; and even that is a mere begging of the question, for the Beast was a handsome young nincompoop of a Prince all the time!

Barbara says that this figurative, allusive adumbration of Jaffery’s love affair is pure nonsense.  Anything less like an ogre than our overgrown baby of a friend it would he impossible to imagine.  But I hold to my theory; all the more because when Adrian and I returned from our stroll round the garden, we found Jaffery standing over her, legs apart, like a Colossus of Rhodes, and roaring at her like a sucking dove.  I noticed a scared, please-don’t-eat-me look in her eyes.  It was the ogre (trying to make himself agreeable) and the princess to the life.

Presently tea was brought out, and with it came Barbara, a quiet laugh about her lips, and Liosha, stately and smiling.  My wife to put her at her ease (though she had displayed singularly little shyness), after dealing with maid and taxi, had taken her over the house, exhibited Susan at tea in the nursery, and as much of Doria’s trousseau as was visible in the sewing-room.  The approaching marriage aroused her keen interest.  She said very little during the meal, but smiled embarrassingly on the engaged pair.  Jaffery stood glumly devouring cucumber sandwiches, till Barbara took him aside.

“She’s rather a dear, in spite of everything, and I think you’re treating her abominably.”

Jaffery grew scarlet beneath the brick-coloured glaze.

“I wouldn’t treat any woman abominably, if I could help it.”

“Well, you can help it—­” and taking pity on him, she laughed in his face.  “Can’t you take her as a joke?”

Project Gutenberg
Jaffery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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