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Anne severn and the fieldings

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Title:AnneSevernandtheFieldings
Author:MaySinclair
ReleaseDate:January29,2004[EBook#10817]
Language:English
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ANDTHEFIELDINGS***

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ANNESEVERNANDTHE
FIELDINGS
By
MAYSINCLAIR


1922


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
IChildren
IIAdolescents
IIIAnneandJerrold
IVRobert
VEliotandAnne
VIQueenie
VIIAdeline
VIIIAnneandColin
IXJerrold
XEliot
XIInterim
XIIColin,Jerrold,andAnne
XIIIAnneandJerrold
XIVMaisie
XVAnne,Jerrold,andMaisie


XVIAnne,Maisie,andJerrold
XVIIJerrold,Maisie,Anne,Eliot
XVIIIJerroldandAnne
XIXAnneandEliot
XXJerrold,Maisie,andAnne
ANNESEVERNANDTHEFIELDINGS


I
CHILDREN
i
AnneSevernhadcomeagaintotheFieldings.Thistimeitwasbecauseher
motherwasdead.
Shehadn'tbeeninthehousefiveminutesbeforesheasked"Where's
Jerrold?"
"Fancy,"theysaid,"herremembering."
AndJerroldhadputhisheadinatthedoorandgoneoutagainwhenhesawher
thereinherblackfrock;andsomehowshehadknownhewasafraidtocomein


becausehermotherwasdead.
HerfatherhadbroughthertoWyck-on-the-Hillthatmorning,thedayafterthe
funeral.HewouldleavehertherewhenhewentbacktoIndia.
Shewaswalkingnowdownthelawnbetweenthetwotallmen.Theywere
takinghertothepondatthebottomwherethegoldfishwere.ItwasJerrold's
fatherwhoheldherhandandtalkedtoher.Hehadanicebrownfacemarked
withalotoflittlefine,smilingstrokes,andhiseyeswerequickandkind.
"Yourememberthegoldfish,Anne?"
"Iremembereverything."
Shehadbeensuchalittlegirlbefore,andtheysaidshehadforgotten.


ButsherememberedsowellthatshealwaysthoughtofMr.FieldingasJerrold's
father.Sherememberedthepondandthegoldfish.Jerroldheldhertightsothat
sheshouldn'ttumblein.Sherememberedthebiggreyandyellowhousewithits
nineball-toppedgables;andthelawn,shutinbyclippedyewhedges,then
spreadingdownwards,likeafan,fromthelastgreenterracewherethetwo
enormouspeacocksstood,carvedoutoftheyew.
Whereitlayflatandstillunderthegreenwallshesawthetenniscourt.Jerrold
wasthere,knockingballsoverthenettopleaselittleColin.Shecouldseehim
flingbackhisheadandlaughasColinranstumbling,wavinghisracquetbefore
himlikeastiffflag.SheheardColinsquealwithexcitementastheballsflewout
ofhisreach.
Herfatherwastalkingabouther.Hisvoicewassharpandanxious.
"Idon'tknowhowshe'llgetonwithyourboys."(Healwaystalkedabout
Anneasifshewasn'tthere.)"Ten'sanawkwardage.She'stoooldfor
ColinandtooyoungforEliotandJerrold."
Sheknewtheirages.Colinwasonlyseven.Eliot,thecleverone,wasverybig;
hewasfifteen.Jerroldwasthirteen.
SheheardJerrold'sfatheransweringinhisquietvoice.
"Youneedn'tworry.Jerry'lllookafterAnneallright."
"AndAdeline."
"Ohyes,ofcourse,Adeline."(Onlysomehowhemadeitsoundasifshe
wouldn't.)
AdelinewasMrs.Fielding.Jerrold'smother.
Annewantedtogetawayfromthequiet,seriousmenandplaywithJerrold;but
theirideaseemedtobethatitwastoosoon.Toosoonafterthefuneral.Itwould
beallrighttogoquietlyandlookatthegoldfish;butno,nottoplay.Whenshe
thoughtofherdeadmothershewasafraidtotellthemthatshedidn'twanttogo
andlookatthegoldfish.Itwasasifsheknewthatsomethingsadwaitedforher
bythepondatthebottom.ShewouldbesaferovertherewhereJerroldwas
laughingandshouting.Shewouldplaywithhimandhewouldn'tbeafraid.


ThedayfeltlikeaSunday,quiet,quiet,exceptforthenoiseofJerrold'slaughter.
Strangeandexciting,hisboy'svoicerangthroughhersadness;itmadeherturn
herheadagainandagaintolookafterhim;itcalledtohertoforgetandplay.
Littleslimbrownminnowsdartedbackwardsandforwardsundertheolivegreen
waterofthepond.Andeverynowandthenthefatgoldfishcamenosingalong,
orange,withsilverpatches,shining,makingthewaterlightroundthem,stiff
mouthswideopen.Whentheybobbedup,smallbubblesbrokefromthemand
sparkledandwentout.
Annerememberedthegoldfish;butsomehowtheywerenotsofascinatingas
theyusedtobe.
Aqueerplantgrewontherockborderofthepond.Greenfleshystems,with
bluntspikesalloverthem.Eachcarriedatinygoldstaratitstip.Thick,cold
juicewouldcomeoutofitifyousqueezedit.Shethoughtitwouldsmelllike
lavender.
Ithadaname.Shetriedtothinkofit.
Stonecrop.Stonecrop.Suddenlysheremembered.
Hermotherstoodwithherbythepond,darkandwhiteandslender.Anneheld
outherhandssmearedwiththecrushedfleshofthestonecrop;hermother
stoopedandwipedthemwithherpockethandkerchief,andtherewasasmellof
lavender.Thegoldfishwentswimmingbyintheolive-greenwater.
Anne'ssadnesscameoverheragain;sadnesssoheavythatitkeptherfrom
crying;sadnessthatcrushedherbreastandmadeherthroatache.
Theywentbackupthelawn,quietly,andthedayfeltmoreandmorelike
Sunday,orlike—likeafuneralday.
"She'sverysilent,thissmalldaughterofyours,"Mr.Fieldingsaid.
"Yes,"saidMr.Severn.
Hisvoicecamewithastiffjerk,asifitchokedhim.Heremembered,too.


ii
Thegreyandyellowflagstonesoftheterracewerehotunderyourfeet.
Jerrold'smotherlayoutthereonapileofcushions,inthesun.Shewasvery
largeandverybeautiful.Shelayonherside,heavedupononeelbow.Underher
thinwhitegownyoucouldseethebiglinesofhershoulderandhip,andofher
longfullthigh,taperingtotheknee.
Annecrouchedbesideher,uncomfortably,holdingherlittlebodyawayfromthe
greatwarmmassamongthecushions.
Mrs.Fieldingwasawareofthisshrinking.Sheputoutherarmanddrew
Annetohersideagain.
"Leanback,"shesaid."Close.Closer."
AndAnnewouldleanclose,politely,foraminute,andthenstiffenandshrink
awayagainwhenthesoftarmslackened.
EliotFielding(thecleverone)layonhisstomach,stretchedoutacrossthe
terrace.Heleanedoverabook:AnimalBiology.Hewasabsorbedinadiagram
ofarabbit'sheartandtooknonoticeofhismotherorofAnne.
AnnehadbeenattheManorfivedays,andshehadgotusedtoJerrold'smother's
caresses.Allbutone.EverynowandthenMrs.Fielding'shandwouldstrayto
thebackofAnne'sneck,wheretheshortcurls,blackasherfrock,sprangoutina
thickbunch.ThefingersstirredamongtherootsofAnne'shair,stroking,
stroking,liftingthebunchandlettingitfallagain.Andwhenevertheydidthis
Annejerkedherheadawayandhelditstifflyoutoftheirreach.
Sherememberedhowhermother'sfingers,slenderandsilk-skinnedandloving,
haddonejustthat,andhowtheirtouchwentthrillingthroughthebackofher
neck,howitmadeherheartbeat.Mrs.Fielding'sfingersdidn'tthrillyou,they
werebluntandfumbling.Annethought:"She'snobusinesstotouchmelikethat.
Nobusinesstothinkshecandowhatmotherdid."
Shewasalwaysdoingit,alwaystryingtobeamothertoher.Herfatherhadtold
hershewasgoingtotry.AndAnnewouldn'tlether.Shewouldnotlether.


"Whydoyoumoveyourheadaway,darling?"
Annedidn'tanswer.
"Youusedtoloveit.Youusedtocomebendingyourfunnylittleneckand
turningfirstoneearandthantheother.Likealittlecat.Andnowyouwon'tlet
metouchyou."
"No.No.Not—likethat."
"Yes.Yes.Likethis.Youdon'tremember."
"Idoremember."
Shefeltthebluntfingersonherneckagainandstartedup.Thebeautiful,wilful
womanlaybackonhercushions,smilingtoherself.
"You'reafunnylittlething,aren'tyou?"shesaid.
Anne'seyeswereglassed.Sheshookherheadfiercelyandspilledtears.
Jerroldhadcomeupontotheterrace.Colintrottedafterhim.Theywerelooking
ather.Eliothadraisedhisheadfromhisbookandwaslookingather.
"Itisrottenofyou,mater,"hesaid,"toteasethatkid."
"I'mnotteasingher.Really,Eliot,youdosaythings—asifnobodybutyourself
hadanysense.Youcanrunawaynow,Annedarling."
Annestoodstaring,withwildanimaleyesthatsawnoplacetorunto.
ItwasJerroldwhosavedher.
"Isay,wouldyouliketoseemynewbuckrabbit?"
"Rather!"
Heheldouthishandandsheranonwithhim,alongtheterrace,downthesteps
atthecornerandupthedrivetothestableyardwheretherabbitswere.Colin
followedheadlong.


AndasshewentAnneheardEliotsaying,"I'vesenseenoughtorememberthat
hermother'sdead."
Inhisworsttemperstherewasalwayssomefiercepity.
iii
Mrs.Fieldinggatheredherselftogetherandrose,withdignity,stillsmiling.It
wasasmileofgreatsweetness,infinitelyremotefromalldiscussion.
"It'smuchtoohothere,"shesaid."Youmightmovethecushionsdownthere
underthebeech-tree."
That,Eliotputittohimself,wasjustherwayofgettingoutofit.ToEliotthe
irritatingthingabouthismotherwasherdexterityingettingout.Sheneverlost
hertemper,andneverrepliedtoanyseriouscriticism;shesimplychangedthe
subject,leavingyouwithyourdisapprovalonyourhands.
InthisEliot'syoungsubtletymisledhim.AdelineFielding'smindwasnotthe
clever,calculatingthingthat,atfifteen,hethoughtit.Heronesimpleideawasto
behappyand,asameanstothatend,tohavepeoplehappyabouther.Hisfather,
orAnne'sfather,couldhavetoldhimthatallherideasweresimpleasfeelings
andimpromptu.Impulsemovedher,onemoment,toseizeonthefaithful,defiant
littleheartofAnne,thenext,togetupoutofthesun.Anne'stearsspoiledher
brightworld;butnotforlong.Coolnesswasnowtheimportantthing,notAnne
andnotAnne'smother.AsforEliot'sdisapproval,shewasnolongerawareofit.
"Oh,tobecool,tobecoolagain!Thankyou,myson."
Eliothadmovedallthecushionsdownunderthetree,scowlingashedidit,for
heknewthatwhenhismotherwasreallycoolhewouldhavetogetupandmove
thembackagain.
Withtheperfectcurveofagreatsuppleanimal,sheturnedandsettledinherlair,
underhertree.
Presently,downthestepsandacrossthelawn,Anne'sfathercametowardsher,
grave,handsome,andalone.


HandsomeevenafterfifteenyearsofIndia.Handsomerthanwhenhewas
young.Moredistinguished.Eyeslighterinthesallowishbronze.Shelikedhis
lean,eager,deerhound'sface,readytostartoff,sniffingthetrail.Alittlestrained,
leashednow,John'seagerness.Butthatwashowheusedtocometoher,with
thatlookofbeingready,asiftheycoulddothingstogether.
ShehadtriedtofindhisyouthinAnne'sface;butAnne'sblacknessand
whitenesswerehermother's;herlittlenosewasstillsoftandvague;youcouldn't
tellwhatshewouldbelikeinfiveyears'time.Still,therewassomething;the
samestrangequality;thesameforward-springinggrace.
Beforehereachedher,Adelinewassmilingagain.Asmileofthedelicate,
instinctivemouth,oftheblueeyesshiningbetweencurledlids,underdark
eyebrows;oftheinnocentwhitenose;ofthewholesoft,milk-whiteface.Even
hersleek,darkhairsmiled,shining.Shewasconsciousofherpowertomake
himcometoher,tomakeherselffeltthrougheverything,eventhroughhis
bereavement.
ThesubtleEliot,lookingovertheterracewall,observedherandthought,"The
mater'sjollypleasedwithherself.Iwonderwhy."
ItstruckEliotalsothataCommissionerofAmbalaandaMemberofthe
LegislativeCouncilandawidoweroughtnottolooklikeMr.Severn.Hewas
toolively,tooadventurous.
Heturnedagaintotheenthrallingpage."Thestudentshouldlayopenthe
theoraciccavityoftherabbitanddissectawaythethymousglandandother
tissueswhichhidetheoriginofthegreatvessels;soastodisplaytheheart…"
Yearp,thevet,wouldshowhimhowtodothat.
iv
"Hisname'sBenjy.He'sabutterflysmut,"saidJerrold.
Therabbitwasquietnow.HesatinAnne'sarms,couching,hisforepawslaidon
herbreast.Shestoopedandkissedhissoftnosethatwentinandout,pushing
againsthermouth,inadelicatepalpitation.Hewaswhite,withblackearsanda
blackovalattherootofhistail.Twowing-shapedpatcheswentupfromhisnose


likeamoustache.Thatwashisbutterflysmut.
"Heissweet,"shesaid.
Colinsaiditafterherinhisshrillchild'svoice:"Heissweet."Colinhadahabit
ofrepeatingwhatyousaid.Itwashiswayofjoiningintheconversation.
HestretcheduphishandandstrokedBenjy,andAnnefelttherabbit'sheartbeat
sharpandquickagainstherbreast.AshiverwentthroughBenjy'sbody.
Annekissedhimagain.Herheartswelledandshookwithmaternaltenderness.
"Whydoeshetrembleso?"
"He'sfrightened.Don'ttouchhim,Col-Col."
Colincouldn'tseeananimalwithoutwantingtostrokeit.Heputhishandsinhis
pocketstokeepthemoutoftemptation.BythewayJerroldlookedathimyou
sawhowhelovedhim.
AboutColintherewassomethingbeautifulandbreakable.Dusk-whiteface;
littletidynoseandmouth;darkhairandeyesliketheminnowsswimmingunder
thegreenwater.ButJerrold'sfacewasstrong;andhehadfunnyeyesthatmade
youkeeplookingathim.Theywereblue.Nottiresomelyblue,blueallthetime,
likehismother's,butsecretlyandsurprisinglyblue,abluethatflashedatyou
andhidagain,movingqueerlyinthesetsquarenessofhisface,presentingat
everyturnadifferentJerrold.Hehadapleasingstraightupanddownnose,his
oneconstantfeature.Thenostrilsslantedslightlyupward,makingshadows
there.Yougottoknowthesethingsafterwatchinghimattentively.Anneloved
hismouthbestofall,crossoneminute(onlyneverwithColin),sweetthenext,
tiltedatthecorners,readyforhislaughter.
Hestoodclosebesideherinhiswhiteflannels,straightandslender.
Hewaslookingather,justashelookedatColin.
"Doyoulikehim?"hesaid.
"Who?Colin?"
"No.Benjy."


"Ilovehim."
"I'llgivehimtoyouifyou'dliketohavehim."
"Formyown?Tokeep?"
"Rather."
"Don'tyouwanthim?"
"Yes.ButI'dlikeyoutohavehim."
"Oh,Jerrold."
SheknewhewasgivingherBenjybecausehermotherwasdead.
"I'vegotthegreydoe,andthefawn,andthelop-ear,"hesaid.
"Oh—Ishalllovehim."
"Youmustn'tholdhimtootight.Andyoumustbecarefulnottotouchhis
stomach.Ifyousqueezehimtherehe'lldie."
"Yes.Ifyousqueezehisstomachhe'lldie,"Colincriedexcitedly.
"I'llbeeversocareful."
Theyputhimdown,andheranviolentlyroundandround,drummingwithhis
hindlegsontheflooroftheshed,startlingthedoesthatcouched,likecats,
amongthelettuceleavesandcarrots.
"Whenthelittlerabbitscomehalfofthemwillbeyours,becausehe'llbetheir
father."
"Oh—"
ForthefirsttimesinceFridayweekAnnewashappy.Shelovedtherabbit,she
lovedlittleColin.AndmorethananybodyoranythingshelovedJerrold.
Yetafterwards,inherbedinthenightnursery,whenshethoughtofherdead
mother,shelayawakecrying;quietly,sothatnobodycouldhear.


v
ItwasRobertFielding'sbirthday.Annewastodinelatethatevening,sitting
besidehim.Hesaidthatwashisbirthdaytreat.
Annehadmadehimapenwiperofgreenclothwithalargebluebeadinthe
middleforaknob.Hewasgoingtokeepitforever.Hehadnocandlesonhis
birthdaycakeattea,becausetherewouldhavebeentoomany.
ThebighalloftheManorwasfurnishedlikearoom.
Thewideoakstaircasecamedownintoitfromagallerythatwentallaround.
TheywerewaitingthereforMrs.Fieldingwhowasalwaysalittlelate.That
madeyoukeeponthinkingabouther.Theywerethinkingabouthernow.
Upthereadooropenedandshut.Somethingmovedalongthegallerylikealarge
light,andMrs.Fieldingcamedownthestairs,slowly,prolonginghereffect.She
wasdressedinheroldpearl-whitegown.Aropeofpearlswentroundherneck
andhungbetweenherbreasts.Rollaboverollofhairjuttedoutatthebackofher
head;acrossit,theforemostcurlroselikeacomb,shining.Hereyes,intensely
blueinhermilk-whiteface,sparkledbetweentwodarkwingsofhair.Hermouth
smileditsenchantingandenchantedsmile.Shewasawarethatherhusbandand
Johnwatchedherfromstairtostair;shewasawareoftheirmen'seyes,
darkening.ThensuddenlyshewasawareofJohn'sdaughter.
Annewascomingtowardsheracrossthehall,drawnbythemagic,bytheeyes,
bythesweetflowersmellthatdrifted(notlavender,notlavender).Shestoodat
thefootofthestaircaselookingup.Theheavenlythingsweptdowntoherand
shebrokeintoacry.
"Oh,you'rebeautiful.You'rebeautiful."
Mrs.Fieldingstoppedherprogress.
"Soareyou,youlittledarling."
Shestoopedquicklyandkissedher,holdinghertighttoherbreast,crusheddown
intothebedoftheflowerscent.Annegaveherselfup,caughtbythesweetness
andthebeauty.


"Yourogue,"saidAdeline."AtlastI'vegotyou."
Shecouldn'tbeartoberepulsed,tohaveanythingabouther,evenacatoradog,
thathadnotsurrendered.
vi
Everyevening,soonafterColin'sNannahadtuckedAnneupinherbedandleft
her,thedoorofthenightnurserywouldopen,lettingalightin.WhenAnnesaw
thelightcomingsheshuthereyesandburrowedundertheblankets,sheknewit
wasAuntieAdelinetryingtobeamothertoher.(YoucalledthemAuntie
AdelineandUncleRoberttopleasethem,thoughtheyweren'trelations.)
EverynightshewouldhearAuntAdeline'sfeetonthefloorandhercandle
clatteringonthechestofdrawers,shewouldfeelherhandsdrawingbackthe
blanketsandherfacebendingdownoverher.Themouthwouldbrushher
forehead.Andshewouldliestiffandstill,keepinghereyestightshut.
To-nightsheheardvoicesatthedoorandsomebodyelse'sfeetgoingtip-toe
behindAuntAdeline's.Somebodyelsewhispered"She'sasleep."Thatwas
Jerrold.Jerrold.Shefelthimstandingbesidehismother,lookingather,andher
eyelidsfluttered;butshelaystill.
"Sheisn'tasleepatall,"saidAuntAdeline."She'sshamming,thelittlemonkey."
Jerroldthoughtheknewwhy.Heturnedintotheoldnurserythatwasthe
schoolroomnow,andfoundEliotthere,examiningafly'slegunderhis
microscope.ItwasEliotthathewanted..
"Isay,youknow,Mum'smakingajollymistakeaboutthatkid.Tryingtogoon
asifshewasAnne'smother.Youcanseeitmakeshersick.Itwouldme,ifmy
motherwasdead."
Eliotlookedasifhewasn'tlistening,absorbedinhisfly'sleg.
"Somebody'sgottotellher."
"Areyougoingto,"saidEliot,"orshallI?"


"Neither.IshallgetDadto.He'lldoitbest."
vii
RobertFieldingdidn'tdoitallatonce.HeputitofftillAdelinegavehimhis
chance.Hefoundheraloneinthelibraryandshehadbegunit.
"Robert,Idon'tknowwhattodoaboutthatchild."
"Whichchild?"
"Anne.She'sbeenherefiveweeks,andI'vedoneeverythingIknow,andshe
hasn'tshownmeascrapofaffection.It'sprettyhardifI'mtohouseandfeedthe
littlethingandlookafterherlikeamotherandgetnothing.Nothingbuthalfa
coldlittlefacetokissnightandmorning.Itisn'tgoodenough."
"ForAnne?"
"Forme,mydear.Tryingtobeamothertosomebodyelse'schildwhodoesn't
loveyou,andisn'tgoingtoloveyou."
"Don'ttrythen."
"Don'ttry?"
"Don'ttryandbeamothertoher.That'swhatAnnedoesn'tlike."
TheyhadgotasfarasthatwhenJohnSevernstoodinthedoorway.Hewas
retreatingbeforetheirappearanceofcommunionwhenshecalledhimback.
"Don'tgo,John.Wewantyou.Here'sRoberttellingmenottobeamotherto
Anne."
"Andhere'sAdelineworryingbecauseshethinksAnneisn'tgoingtoloveher."
Severnsatdown,consideringit.
"Ittakestime,"hesaid.
Shelookedathim,smilingunderloweredbrows.


"Timetoloveme?"
"TimeforAnnetoloveyou.She—she'ssodesperatelyfaithful."
Thedressing-bellclangedfromthebelfry.Robertleftthemtofinishadiscussion
thathefoundembarrassing.
"IsaidI'dtrytobeamothertoher.Ihavetried,John;butthelittlethingwon'tlet
me."
"Don'ttrytoohard.Robert'sright.Don't—don'tbeamothertoher."
"WhatamItobe?"
"Oh,anythingyoulike.Apresence.Aheavenlyapparition.Animpossibleideal.
Anythingbutthat."
"Doyouthinkshe'sgoingtoholdoutforever?"
"Onlyagainstthat.Aslongassheremembers.Itputsheroff."
"Shedoesn'tobjecttoRobertbeingafathertoher."
"No.Becausehe'sabetterfatherthanIam;andsheknowsit."
Adelineflushed.Sheunderstoodtheimplicationandwashurt,unreasonably.He
sawherunreasonablenessandherpain.
"MydearAdeline,Anne'smotherwillalwaysbeAnne'smother.Iwasnever
anywherebesideAlice.I'vehadtochoosebetweentheGovernmentofIndiaand
mydaughter.You'llobservethatIdon'ttrytobeafathertoAnne;andthat,in
consequence,Annelikesme.Butshe'llloveRobert."
"And'like'me?IfIdon'ttry."
"Givehertime.Givehertime."
Herose,smilingdownather.
"YouthinkI'munreasonable?"


"Theleastbitintheworld.Forthemoment."
"MydearJohn,ifIdidn'tloveyourlittlegirlIwouldn'tcare."
"Loveher.Loveher.She'llloveyoutoo,inherrumway.She'sfightingyounow.
Shewouldn'tfightifshedidn'tfeelshewasbeaten.Nobodycouldholdout
againstyoulong."
Shelookedattheclock.
"Heavens!Imustgoanddress."
Shethought:"Hedidn'tholdoutagainstme,poordear,fiveminutes.
Isupposehe'llalwaysrememberthatIjiltedhimforRobert."
AndnowhewantedhertoseethatifAnne'smotherwouldbealwaysAnne's
mother,hiswifewouldbealwayshiswife.Washedesperatelyfaithful,too?
Always?
Howcouldhehavebeen?ItwascharacteristicofAliceSevernthatwhenshe
hadtochoosebetweenherhusbandandherdaughtershehadchosenAnne.It
wascharacteristicofJohnthatwhenhehadtochoosebetweenhiswifeandhis
Government,hehadnotchosenAlice.HemusthavehadadventuresoutinIndia,
conductedwiththediscretionbecominginaCommissionerandaMemberofthe
LegislativeCouncil,butadventures.Perhapshewasgoingbacktooneofthem.
SeverndressedhastilyandwentintotheschoolroomwhereAnnesatreadingin
hersolitaryhourbetweensuppertimeandbed-time.Hetookheronhisknee,
andshesnuggledthere,rubbingherheadagainsthisshoulder.Hethoughtof
Adeline,teasing,teasingforthechild'scaresses,andeverytimerepulsed.
"Anne,"hesaid,"don'tyouthinkyoucanloveAuntieAdeline?"
Annestraightenedherself.Shelookedathimwithcandideyes."Idon'tknow,
Daddy,really,ifIcan."
"Can'tyouloveheralittle?"
"I—Iwould,ifshewouldn'ttry—"


"Try?"
"TodolikeMummydid."
Robertwasright.Heknewit,buthewantedtobesure.
Annewenton."It'snouse,yousee,hertrying.Itonlymakesmethinkof
Mummymore."
"Don'tyouwanttothinkofher?"
"Yes.ButIwanttothinkbymyself,andAuntieAdelinekeepsongettinginthe
way."
"Still,she'sawfullykindtoyou,isn'tshe?"
"Awfully."
"Andyoumustn'thurtherfeelings."
"HaveI?Ididn'tmeanto."
"Youwouldn'tifyoulovedher."
"Youhaven'teverhurtherfeelings,haveyou,Daddy?"
"No."
"Well,yousee,it'sbecauseIkeeponthinkingaboutMummy.Iwantherback—
Iwanthersoawfully."
"Iknow,Anne,Iknow."
Anne'smindburrowedunder,turningonitstracks,comingoutsuddenly.
"DoyouloveAuntieAdeline,Daddy?"
Itwasterrible,butheownedthathehadbroughtitonhimself.
"Ican'tsay.I'veknownhersuchalongtime;beforeyouwereborn."


"BeforeyoumarriedMummy!"
"Yes."
"Well,won'titdoifIloveUncleRobertandEliotandColin?And
Jerrold?"
ThatnighthesaidtoAdeline,"Iknowwho'lltakemyplacewhenI'mgone."
"Who?Robert?"
"No,Jerrold."
InanotherweekhehadsailedforIndiaandAmbala.
*****
viii
Jerroldwasbrave.
WhenColinupsettheschoolroomlampJerroldwrappeditinthetableclothand
threwitoutofthewindowjustintime.HeputthechainonBilly,thesheep-dog,
whenhewentmadandsnappedateverybody.ItseemedoddthatJerroldshould
befrightened.
Aminuteagohehadbeenhappy,rollingoverandoveronthegrass,shouting
withlaughterwhileSandy,theAberdeen,jumpedonhim,growlinghismerry
puppy'sgrowlandbitingtheballedfiststhatpushedhimoff.
Theywerealloutonthelawn.AnnewaitedforJerrytogetupandtakeherinto
Wyck,tobuychocolates.
EverytimeJerroldlaughedhismotherlaughedtoo,athroaty,girlishgiggle.
"IloveJerry'slaugh,"shesaid."It'sthenicestnoisehemakes."
Then,suddenly,shestoppedit.Shestoppeditwithaword.
"Ifyou'regoingintoWyck,Jerry,youmighttellYearp——"


Yearp.
Hegotup.Hisfacewasveryred.Helookedmournfulandfrightenedtoo.
Yes,frightened.
"I—can't,Mother."
"Youcanperfectlywell.TellYearptocomeandlookatPussy'sears,Ithink
she'sgotcanker."
"Shehasn't,"saidJerrydefiantly.
"Shejollywellhas,"saidEliot.
"Rot."
"Youonlysaythatbecauseyoudon'tliketothinkshe'sgotit."
"Eliotcangohimself.He'sfondofYearp."
"You'lldoasyou'retold,Jerry.It'sdownrightcowardice."
"Itisn'tcowardice,isit,Daddy?"
"Well,"saidhisfather,"itisn'texactlycourage."
"Whateveritis,"hismothersaid,"you'llhavetogetoverit.Yougoonasif
nobodycaredaboutpoorBinkybutyourself."
BinkywasJerry'sdog.Hehadrunintoamotor-bicycleintheEasterholidays
andhurthisback,sothatYearp,thevet,hadhadtocomeandgivehim
chloroform.ThatwaswhyJerroldwasafraidofYearp.Whenhesawhimhesaw
Binkywithhisnoseinthecupofchloroform;heheardhimsnortingouthislast
breath.Andhecouldn'tbearit.
"Icouldsendoneofthemen,"hisfatherwassaying.
"Don'tencouragehim,Robert.He'sgottofaceit."
"Yes,Jerrold,you'dbettergoandgetitover.Youcan'tgoonfunkingitforever."


Jerroldwent.Buthewentalone,hewouldn'tletAnnegowithhim.Hesaidhe
didn'twanthertobemixedupwithit.
"Hemeans,"saidEliot,"thathedoesn'twanttothinkofYearpeverytimehe
seesAnne."
ix
ItwastruethatEliotwasfondofYearp'ssociety.Hewouldspendhourswith
him,learninghowtodissectfrogsandrabbitsandpigeons.Hedroveaboutthe
countrywithYearpseeingthesickanimals,theewesatlambingtimeandthe
cowsattheircalving.AndhespenthalfthemidsummerholidaysreadingAnimal
Biologyanddrawingdiagramsoffrogs'heartsandpigeons'brains.Hesaidhe
wasn'tgoingtoOxfordorCambridgewhenheleftCheltenham;hewasgoingto
Barts.Hewantedtobeadoctor.Buthismothersaidhedidn'tknowwhathe'd
wanttobeinthreeyears'time.Shethoughthimawful,withhisfrogs'heartsand
horrors.
NexttoJerroldandlittleColinAnnelovedEliot.Heseemedtoknowwhenshe
wasthinkingabouthermotherandtounderstand.Hetookherintothewoodsto
lookforsquirrels;heshowedherthewildflowersandtoldheralltheirnames:
bugloss,andlady'ssmockandspeedwell,king-cup,willowherbandmeadow
sweet,crane'sbillandcelandine.
Onedaytheyfoundinthegardenatinyegg-shapedshellmadeofgold-coloured
latticework.Whentheyputitunderthemicroscopetheysawinsideitathing
likeagreenegg.Everydaytheywatchedit;itputouttwogreenhorns,anda
ridgegrewdownthemiddleofit,andonemorningtheyfoundthegoldenshell
broken.Along,elegantflywithslenderwingscrawledbesideit.
WhenBenjydiedofeatingtoomuchlettuceEliotwassorry.AuntAdelinesaidit
wasallputonandthathereallywantedtocuthimupandseewhathewasmade
of.ButEliotdidn't.HesaidBenjywassacred.Thatwasbecauseheknewthey
lovedhim.AndhedugthegraveandlineditwithmossandtoldAuntAdelineto
shutupwhenshesaiditoughttohavebeenlettuceleaves.
AuntAdelinecomplainedthatitwashardthatEliotcouldn'tbenicetoherwhen
hewasherfavorite.


"LittleAnne,littleAnne,whathaveyoudonetomyEliot?"Shewasalways
sayingthingslikethat.Annecouldn'tthinkwhatshemeanttillJerroldtoldher
shewastheonlykidthatEliothadeverlookedat.ThebigHawtreygirlfrom
MedlicotewouldhavegivenherheadtobeinAnne'sshoes.
ButAnnedidn'tcare.HerloveforJerroldwassharpandexciting.Shebrought
tearstoitandtemper.ItwasmixedupwithGodandmusicandthedeathsof
animals,andsunsetsandallsorrowfulandbeautifulandmysteriousthings.
ThinkingabouthermothermadeherthinkaboutJerrold;butsheneverthought
aboutEliotatallwhenhewasn'tthere.
ShewouldrunawayfromEliotanyminuteifsheheardJerroldcalling.
ItwasJerrold,Jerrold,allthetime,saidAuntAdeline.
AndwhenEliotwasbusywithhismicroscopeandJerroldhadturnedfromher
toColin,therewasUncleRobert.Heseemedtoknowthemomentswhenshe
wantedhim.Thenhewouldtakeheroutridingwithhimovertheestatethat
stretchedfromWyckacrossthevalleyoftheSpeedandbeyonditformilesover
thehills.Andhewouldshowherthereapingmachinesatwork,andthegreat
carthorses,andtheprizebullocksintheirstallsattheManorFarm.AndAnne
toldhimhersecret,thesecretshehadtoldtonobodybutJerrold.
"Someday,"shesaid,"Ishallhaveafarm,withhorsesandcowsandpigsand
littlecalves."
"Shallyoulikethat?"
"Yes,"saidAnne."Iwould.Onlyitcan'thappentillGrandpapa'sdead.
AndIdon'twanthimtodie."
x
TheyweresayingnowthatColinwaswonderful.Hewasonlyseven,yethe
couldplaythepianolikeagrown-upperson,veryfastandwithloudnoisesin
thebass.Andhecouldsinglikeanangel.Whenyouheardhimyoucouldhardly
believethathewasalittleboywhocriedsometimesandwasafraidofghosts.
TwomasterscameoutfromCheltenhamtwiceaweektoteachhim.Eliotsaid
Colinwouldbeaprofessionalwhenhegrewup,buthismothersaidheshould
benothingofthesortandEliotwasn'ttogoputtingnonsenselikethatintohis


head.Still,shewasproudofColinwhenhishandswentpoundingandflashing
overthekeys.Annehadtogiveuppractisingbecauseshediditsobadlythatit
hurtColintohearher.
Hewasn'tintheleastconceitedabouthisplaying,notevenwhenJerroldstood
besidehimandlookedonandsaid,"CleverCol-Col.Isn'theawonderfulkid?
Lookathim.Lookathislittlehands,allovertheplace."
Hedidn'tthinkplayingwaswonderful.HethoughtthethingsthatJerrolddid
werewonderful.Withhischild'slegsandarmshetriedtodothethingsthat
Jerrolddid.Theytoldhimhewouldhavetowaitnineyearsbeforehecoulddo
them.Hewasalwaystalkingaboutwhathewoulddoinnineyears'time.
AndtherewasthedayofthewalktoHighSlaughter,throughthevalleyofthe
SpeedtothevalleyoftheWindlode,fivemilesthereandback.EliotandJerrold
andAnnehadtriedtosneakoutwhenColinwasn'tlooking;buthehadseen
themandcamerunningafterthemdownthefield,callingtothemtolethim
come.Eliotshouted"Wecan't,Col-Col,it'stoofar,"butColinlookedso
pathetic,standingthereinthebigfield,thatJerroldcouldn'tbearit.
"Ithink,"hesaid,"wemightlethimcome."
"Yes.Lethim,"Annesaid.
"Rot.Hecan'twalkit."
"Ican,"saidColin."Ican."
"Itellyouhecan't.Ifhe'stiredhe'llbesickinthenightandthenhe'llsayit's
ghosts."
Colin'smouthtrembled.
"It'sallright,Col-Col,you'recoming."Jerroldheldouthishand.
"Well,"saidEliot,"ifhecrumplesupyoucancarryhim."
"Ican,"saidJerrold.
"SocanI,"saidAnne.


"Nobody,"saidColin"shallcarryme.Icanwalk."
EliotwentongrumblingwhileColintrottedhappilybesidethem."You'rea
fearfulass,Jerrold.You'resimpleruiningthatkid.Hethinkshecancome
buttingintoeverything.Here'sthewholeafternoonspoiledforallthreeofus.He
can'twalk.You'llseehe'lldropoutinthefirstmile."
"Ishan't,Jerrold."
Andhedidn't.HestruggledondownthefieldstoUpperSpeedandalongthe
river-meadowstoLowerSpeedandHayesMill,andfromHayesMilltoHigh
Slaughter.Itwaswhentheystartedtowalkbackthathislegsbetrayedhim,
slackeningfirst,thenrunning,becauserunningwaseasierthanwalking,fora
change.Thendragging.ThenbeingdraggedbetweenAnneandJerrold(forhe
refusedtobecarried).Thenstaggering,stumbling,stoppingdead;hischild's
mouthdrooping.
ThenJerroldcarriedhimonhisbackwithhishandsclaspedunderColin'ssoft
hips.Colin'sbodyslippedeveryminuteandhadtobejerkedupagain;andwhen
itslippedhisarmstightenedroundJerrold'sneck,stranglinghim.
AtlastJerrold,too,staggeredandstumbledandstoppeddead.
"I'lltakehim,"saidEliot.Heforbore,nobly,tosay"Itoldyouso."
Andbyturnstheycarriedhim,fromthevalleyoftheWindlodetothevalleyof
theSpeed,pastHayesMill,throughLowerSpeed,UpperSpeed,andupthe
fieldstoWyckManor.Thenupthestairstotheschoolroom,pursuedbytheir
mother'scries.
"OhCol-Col,mylittleCol-Col!Whathaveyoudonetohim,Eliot?"
Eliotboreitlikealamb.
OnlyaftertheyhadleftColinintheschoolroom,heturnedonJerrold.
"Someday,"hesaid,"Col-Colwillbeaperfectnuisance.Thenyouand
Anne'llhavetopayforit."
"WhymeandAnne?"


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