Mr. Pole was perceived entering the garden, rubbing his hands a little too obsequiously to some remark of the baronet’s, as the critical ladies imagined. Sir Twickenham’s arm spread out in a sweep; Mr. Pole’s head nodded. After the ceremony of the salute, the ladies were informed of Sir Twickenham’s observation: Sir Twickenham Pryme, a statistical member of Parliament, a well-preserved half-century in age, a gentleman in bearing, passably grey-headed, his whiskers brushed out neatly, as if he knew them individually and had the exact amount of them collectively at his fingers’ ends: Sir Twickenham had said of Mr. Pole’s infant park that if devoted to mangold-wurzel it would be productive and would pay: whereas now it was not ornamental and was waste.
“Sir Twickenham calculates,” said Mr. Pole, “that we should have a crop of—eh?”
“The average?” Sir Twickenham asked, on the evident upward mounting of a sum in his brain. And then, with a relaxing look upon Cornelia: “Perhaps you might have fifteen, sixteen, perhaps for the first year; or, say—you see, the exact acreage is unknown to me. Say roughly, ten thousand sacks the first year.”
“Of what?” inquired Cornelia.
“Mangold-wurzel,” said the baronet.
She gazed about her. Mr. Barrett was gone.
“But, no doubt, you take no interest in such reckonings?” Sir Twickenham added.
“On the contrary, I take every interest in practical details.”
Practical men believe this when they hear it from the lips of gentlewomen, and without philosophically analyzing the fact that it is because the practical quality possesses simply the fascination of a form of strength. Sir Twickenham pursued his details. Day closed on Brookfield blankly. Nevertheless, the ladies felt that the situation was now dignified by tragic feeling, and remembering keenly how they had been degraded of late, they had a sad enjoyment of the situation.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
Emilia alone of the party was as a blot to her
I cannot delay; but I request you, that are here privileged
I detest anything that has to do with gratitude
Love, with his accustomed cunning
No nose to the hero, no moral to the tale
Nor can a protest against coarseness be sweepingly interpreted
One of those men whose characters are read off at a glance
The majority, however, had been snatched out of this bliss
Their way was down a green lane and across long meadow-paths
They, meantime, who had a contempt for sleep
Women are wonderfully quick scholars under ridicule