Bly. [Taking up his pail] I’m greatly obliged; she’ll appreciate anything you can do for her. [He moves to the door and pauses there to say] Fact is—her winders wants cleanin’, she ’ad a dusty time in there.
Mr march. I’m sure she had.
Mr Bly passes out, and Mr march busies himself in gathering up his writing things preparatory to seeking his study. While he is so engaged faith comes in. Glancing at him, she resumes her placing of the decanters, as Johnny enters by the window, and comes down to his father by the hearth.
Johnny. [Privately] If you haven’t begun your morning, Dad, you might just tell me what you think of these verses.
He puts a sheet of notepaper
before his father, who takes it and
begins to con over the verses thereon, while Johnny looks carefully
at his nails.
Mr march. Er—I—I like the last line awfully, Johnny.
Johnny. [Gloomily] What about the other eleven?
Mr march. [Tentatively] Well—old man, I—er—think perhaps it’d be stronger if they were out.
Johnny. Good God!
He takes back the sheet of paper, clutches his brow, and crosses to the door. As he passes faith, she looks up at him with eyes full of expression. Johnny catches the look, jibs ever so little, and goes out.
Cook’s voice. [Through the door, which is still ajar] Faith!
Faith puts the decanters on the table, and goes quickly out.
Mr march. [Who has seen this little by-play—to himself—in a voice of dismay] Oh! oh! I wonder!
A fortnight later in the March’s
dining-room; a day of violent
April showers. Lunch is over and the table littered with, remains—
twelve baskets full.
Mr march and Mary
have lingered. Mr march is standing
by the hearth
where a fire is burning, filling a fountain pen. Mary sits at the
table opposite, pecking at a walnut.
Mr march. [Examining his fingers] What it is to have an inky present! Suffer with me, Mary!
Mary. “Weep ye no more, sad Fountains!
Why need ye flow so fast?”
Mr march. [Pocketing his pen] Coming with me to the British Museum? I want to have a look at the Assyrian reliefs.
Mary. Dad, have you noticed Johnny?
Mr march. I have.
Mary. Then only Mother hasn’t.
Mr march. I’ve always found your mother extremely good at seeming not to notice things, Mary.
Mary. Faith! She’s got on very fast this fortnight.