Not Clara Durrant.
The Aberdeen terrier must be exercised, and as Mr. Bowley was going that very moment—would like nothing better than a walk—they went together, Clara and kind little Bowley—Bowley who had rooms in the Albany, Bowley who wrote letters to the “Times” in a jocular vein about foreign hotels and the Aurora Borealis—Bowley who liked young people and walked down Piccadilly with his right arm resting on the boss of his back.
“Little demon!” cried Clara, and attached Troy to his chain.
Bowley anticipated—hoped for—a confidence. Devoted to her mother, Clara sometimes felt her a little, well, her mother was so sure of herself that she could not understand other people being—being—“as ludicrous as I am,” Clara jerked out (the dog tugging her forwards). And Bowley thought she looked like a huntress and turned over in his mind which it should be—some pale virgin with a slip of the moon in her hair, which was a flight for Bowley.
The colour was in her cheeks. To have spoken outright about her mother— still, it was only to Mr. Bowley, who loved her, as everybody must; but to speak was unnatural to her, yet it was awful to feel, as she had done all day, that she must tell some one.
“Wait till we cross the road,” she said to the dog, bending down.
Happily she had recovered by that time.
“She thinks so much about England,” she said. “She is so anxious—–”
Bowley was defrauded as usual. Clara never confided in any one.
“Why don’t the young people settle it, eh?” he wanted to ask. “What’s all this about England?”—a question poor Clara could not have answered, since, as Mrs. Durrant discussed with Sir Edgar the policy of Sir Edward Grey, Clara only wondered why the cabinet looked dusty, and Jacob had never come. Oh, here was Mrs. Cowley Johnson...
And Clara would hand the pretty china teacups, and smile at the compliment—that no one in London made tea so well as she did.
“We get it at Brocklebank’s,” she said, “in Cursitor Street.”
Ought she not to be grateful? Ought she not to be happy?
Especially since her mother looked so well and enjoyed so much talking to Sir Edgar about Morocco, Venezuela, or some such place.
“Jacob! Jacob!” thought Clara; and kind Mr. Bowley, who was ever so good with old ladies, looked; stopped; wondered whether Elizabeth wasn’t too harsh with her daughter; wondered about Bonamy, Jacob—which young fellow was it?—and jumped up directly Clara said she must exercise Troy.
They had reached the site of the old Exhibition. They looked at the tulips. Stiff and curled, the little rods of waxy smoothness rose from the earth, nourished yet contained, suffused with scarlet and coral pink. Each had its shadow; each grew trimly in the diamond-shaped wedge as the gardener had planned it.
“Barnes never gets them to grow like that,” Clara mused; she sighed.