“He hasn’t many things,” said Peter, looking vaguely round for them. “I got him a rattle and a ball, but he doesn’t seem to care about them much; Lucy says he’s not young enough yet. Here’s his bottle. And his night clothes are upstairs, and his other day clothes, and his bath. Thomas leads the simple life, though; he really possesses very little; I think he’s probably going to be a Franciscan later on. But he can sleep with me here all right; I should like to have him; only it would be awfully good of you if you’d have him to-morrow, while I’m out at work. But in the night he and I rather like each other’s company.”
“Rubbish,” said Peggy. “You’re both coming along to fifty-one this minute. You don’t suppose I’m going to leave you two infants alone together like that. We’ve heaps of room at fifty-one”—she sighed a little—“people have been fading away like the flowers of the forest, and we should be thankful to have you back.”
“Oh, we’ll come then; thanks very much, Peggy.” Peter’s ready sympathy was turned on again, having temporarily been available only for himself and Rhoda and Thomas. He remembered now that Peggy and Hilary needed it too. He and Thomas would go and be boarders in the emptying boarding-house; it might amuse Thomas, perhaps, to see the other boarders.
“And we’ll have him baptized,” went on Peggy, thinking of further diversions for Thomas and Peter. “You’ll let him be a Catholic, Peter, won’t you?”
“Thomas,” said Peter, “can be anything he likes that’s nice. As long as he’s not a bigot. I won’t have him refusing to go into one sort of church because he prefers another; he mustn’t ever acquire the rejecting habit. Short of that, he may enter any denomination or denominations he prefers.”
They were collecting Thomas’s belongings as they talked. Thomas lay and looked at them with the very blue slits that were like his father’s eyes grown old. And suddenly Peggy, looking from son to father, saw that Peter’s eyes had grown as old as Thomas’s, looking wearily out of a pale, pinched face.
Peggy’s own eyes brimmed over as she bent over Thomas’s night-shirt.
A LONG WAY
Lord Evelyn Urquhart dined with his nephew on the last evening in February. It was a characteristic Urquhart dinner-party; the guests were mostly cheerful, well-bred young people of high spirits and of the worldly station that is not much concerned with any aspect of money but the spending of it. High living, plain thinking, agreeable manners and personal appearance, plenty of humour, enough ability to make a success of the business of living and not enough to agitate the brain, a light tread along a familiar and well-laid road, and a serene blindness to side-tracks and alleys not familiar nor well-laid and to those that walked thereon—these were the characteristics of the pleasant people who frequented Denis Urquhart’s pleasant house in Park Lane.