She awoke because it was so beautiful outside, and because there was a beautiful day coming. You could see the day secretly making preparations behind a shining mist. She heard a sound of breathless singing, and the whipping of stirred grass in the garden, the sound of some one unbearably happy, dancing. Now there is hardly anything but magic abroad before seven o’clock in the morning. Only the disciples of magic like getting their feet wet, and being furiously happy on an empty stomach.
Sarah Brown went to her window. The newborn trembling slants of smoke went up from the houses of the island. There was a sky of that quiet design which suffices half a day unchanged. A garden of quite a good many yards lay behind the house; it contained no potatoes or anything useful, only long, very green grass, and a may tree, and a witch dancing. The extraordinary music to which she was dancing was partly the braying of a neighbouring donkey, and partly her own erratic singing. She danced, as you may imagine, in a very far from grown-up way, rather like a baby that has thought of a new funny way of annoying its Nana; and she sang, too, like a child that inadvertently bursts into loud tuneless song, because it is morning and yet too early to get up. A little wandering of the voice, a little wandering of the feet.... The may tree in the middle of the garden seemed to be her partner. A small blot moved up and down the chequered trunk of the tree, and that was the shadow of a grey squirrel, watching the dancing. The squirrel wore the same fur as the two-and-a-half-guinea young lady wears, and sometimes it looked with a tilted head at the witch, and sometimes it buried its face in its hands and sat for a while shaken with secret laughter. There was certainly something more funny than beautiful about the witch’s dancing. She laughed herself most of the time. She was wearing a mackintosh, which was in itself rather funny, but her feet were bare.
A voice broke in: “Good for you, cully.”
It was Sarah Brown’s fellow-lodger leaning from her window.
The squirrel rippled higher up the may tree.
The pleasure of the thing broke like an eggshell. Sarah Brown turned back towards her bed. It was too early to get up. It was too late to go to sleep again. Eunice, her hot-water bottle, she knew, lay cold as a serpent to shock her feet if she returned. Besides, the Dog David was asleep on the middle of the counterpane, and she was too good a mother to wake him. There are a good many things to do when you find yourself awake too early. It is said that some people sit up and darn their stockings, but I refer now to ordinary people, not to angels. Utterly resourceless people find themselves reduced to reading the penny stamps on yesterday’s letters. There is a good deal of food for thought on a penny stamp, but nothing really uplifting. Some people I know employ this morning leisure in scrubbing their consciences clean, thus thriftily