My first intimation of tender relations between them came from my sight of them in February in Wellings Park. Since then, of course, I have much which I will tell you as best I may.
So now for Betty’s story, confirmed and supplemented by what I have learned later. But before plunging into the matter, I must say that when Betty had ended I took up my little parable and told her of all that Randall had told me concerning his repudiation of Gedge. And Betty listened with a curiously stony face and said nothing.
When Betty puts on that face of granite I am quite unhappy. That is why I have always hated the statues of Egypt. There is something beneath their cold faces that you can’t get at.
Gedge bitterly upbraided his daughter, both for her desertion of his business and her criminal folly in abandoning it so as to help mend the shattered bodies of fools and knaves who, by joining the forces of militarism, had betrayed the Sacred Cause of the International Solidarity of Labour. His first ground for complaint was scarcely tenable; with his dwindling business the post of clerk had dwindled into a sinecure. To sit all day at the receipt of imaginary custom is not a part fitted for a sane and healthy young human being. Still, from Gedge’s point of view her defection was a grievance; but that she could throw in her lot openly with the powers of darkness was nothing less than an outrage.
I suppose, in a kind of crabbed way, the crabbed fellow was fond of Phyllis. She was pretty. She had dainty tricks of dress. She flitted, an agreeable vision, about his house. He liked to hear her play the piano, not because he had any ear for music, but because it tickled his vanity to reflect that he, the agricultural labourer’s son and apprentice to a village carpenter, was the possessor both of a Broadway Grand and of a daughter who, entirely through his efforts, had learned to play on it. Like most of his political type, he wallowed in his own peculiar snobbery. But of anything like companionship between father and daughter there had existed very little. While railing, wherever he found ears into which to rail, against the vicious luxury and sordid shallowness of the upper middle classes, his instinctive desire to shine above his poorer associates had sent Phyllis to an upper middle class school. Now Gedge had a certain amount of bookish and political intelligence. Phyllis inheriting the intellectual equipment of her sentimental fool of a mother, had