“You can never repay Pinehurst,” said the witch.
Lady Arabel did not seem to hear. For a long time there was nothing to be heard but Sarah Brown, murmuring to her Dog David. You must excuse her, and remember that she lived most utterly alone. She was locked inside herself, and the solitary barred window in her prison wall commanded only a view of the Dog David.
Rrchud’s mother said at last: “I really came to tell you that Rrchud came back on leave unexpectedly last night. Of course you must meet him—”
“Rrchud home!” exclaimed Miss Ford. “How odd! I was just telling Miss Watkins about his Power, and how strongly she reminded me of him. Do tell him to keep Wednesday afternoon free.”
Lady Arabel, ignoring Miss Ford by mistake, said to the witch: “Will you come on Tuesday to tea or supper?”
“Supper, please,” said the witch instantly. Tact, I repeat, was a stranger to her, so she added: “I will bring Sarah Brown too. I bet you twopence she hasn’t had a decent meal for days.”
And then the Mayor arrived. The witch saw at once that there was some secret understanding between him and her that she did not understand. Her magic escapades often left her in this position. However, she winked back hopefully. But she was not a skilled winker. Everybody—even the Dog David—saw her doing it, and Miss Ford looked a little offended.
THE EVERLASTING BOY
Mitten Island is a place of fine weather, its air is always like stained glass between you and perfection. Always you will find in the happy ways of Mitten Island a confidence that the worst is left behind, and that even the worst was not so very bad. You can afford to remember the winter, for even the winter was beautiful; you can smile in the sun and think of the grey flush that used to overspread the island under its urgent crises of snow, and it seems that always there was joy running quickly behind the storms, joy looking with the sun through a tall window in a cloud. Even the most dreadful curtain of a winter’s day was always drawn up at sunset; its straight edge rose slowly, disclosing flaming space, and the dramatic figures of the two island churches, exulting and undying martyrs in the midst of flames.
It is a place of fine weather, and this is a book of fine weather, a book written in Spring. I will not remember the winter and the rain. It was the Spring that brought Sarah Brown to Mitten Island, and the Spring that first showed her magic. It was the Spring that awoke her on her first morning in the House of Living Alone.