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    球探体育平台登录He went home to Mary in high feather.


    Another thing that sent people’s eyebrows up was the supper to which Mary sat them down as the clock struck ten. At this date she had not been long enough in Buddlecombe to know it for an unalterable rule that, unless the invitation was to dinner, a heavy, stodgy dinner of one solid course after another, from which, if you happened to be a peckish eater, you rose feeling as though you could never look on food again; except in this case, the refreshment offered was of the lightest and most genteel: a biscuit; a jug of barley-water for the gouty, or lemon-water for the young — at most, a glass of inferior sherry, cellars not being tapped to any extent on such occasions. But Mary had gone at her supper in good old style, giving of her best. And Mahony was so used to leaving such matters entirely to her that it had never entered his head to inferfere. Not until the party was squeezed into the little dining-room, round a lengthened dinner-table on which jellies twinkled, cold fowls lay trussed, sandwiches were piled loaf-high — not till then and till he saw the amazed glances flying between the ladies, did he grasp how wrong Mary had gone. A laden supper-table was an innovation: and who were these newcomers, hailing from God knew where, to attempt to improve on the customs of Buddlecombe? It was also a trap for the gouty — and all were gouty more or less. Thirdly, such profusion constituted a cutting criticism on the meagre refreshments that were here the rule. He grew stiff with embarrassment; felt, if possible, even more uncomfortable than did poor Mary, at the refusals and head-shakings that went down one side of the table and up the other. For none broke more than the customary Abernethy, or crumpled a sandwich. Liver-wings and slices of breast, ham patties and sausage-rolls made the round, in vain. Mrs. Challoner gave the cue; and even the vicar, a hearty eater, followed her lead, the only person to indulge being the worthy gentleman who had caused half the trouble — and HIM Mahony caught being kicked by his wife under the table.
    They all laughed; and Mother covered her old confusion by picking up the sugar-tongs and dropping an extra lump into Mahony’s cup.


    1.But not for long. As suddenly as Richard had thrown himself into the whirl, so suddenly he tired of it, and at the first hint of spring — it was early February; birds had begun to twitter in the parks, the spikes of the golden crocus to push up through the grass, and Richard petulantly to discard his greatcoat — on one of these palely sunny days he came home restless to the finger-tips, and before the evening ended was proposing to start, then and there, for the Continent. Why should they not shut up the house, send the children to the seaside, and jaunt off by themselves, hampered only by the lightest of luggage, and moving from place to place as their fancy led them?
    2.Many were the inquiries made after Mary, the regrets expressed at her absence; but he in his heart (as probably they in theirs) felt relieved that she had not accompanied him. For Mary would certainly have put her foot in it. There would have been no keeping out of her face the pity she burned with; she would have made presents where presents were an injury; have torn down veils that were sacred, even between the women themselves; would, in short, have come hopelessly to grief amid the shoals and quicksands through which it was necessary to steer a course. Whereas to him the task was second nature. He took leave of them without regret. Once away, however, he was conscious of a feeling of something like guilt towards them. For he understood now, only too plainly, what the withdrawal of the ninety to a hundred pounds yearly, which in his later, palmy days he had been able to allow them-what the abrupt stoppage of this sum must have meant to them. It had no doubt made all the difference between comparative ease and their present dire poverty. Yet never by so much as a word had they hinted at this. There was surely something great about them, too — for all their oddity.
    3.Of these early travels, the most vivid memory he retained was, oddly enough, the trifling one of being wrapped in an opossum-rug and carried in some one’s arms from a train to a ship, and back to a train. But in those buried depths of his mind to which he had normally no access, a whole galaxy of pictures lay stored; and, throughout his life, was the hidden spring that released them touched, one and another would abruptly flash into consciousness. As a small boy they put him in many an awkward fix; for he could never prove what he said, or even make it sound probable; and, at school, among companions whose horizon was bounded north, south, east and west by the bush, they harvested him a lively crop of ridicule and opprobrium. (“A tarnation liar . . . that young Cuffs MAHONY!”) But there WERE houses built in water — somehow he knew it — and bridges with shops on them. Boats with hoods, too, and men who stood up in them to row with a single oar. There WAS a statue so big that you could climb into its nose and sit there, and look out of its eyes: rivers, not red and muddy but apple green; a tower that leaned right over to one side; long-legged birds that built their nests on chimney-tops. — But then again, on the heel of such bold assertions, a sudden doubt would invade the speaker; a doubt whether he had not, after all, only DREAMT these things. With no one to whom he could turn for confirmation, with every object that related to them lost or destroyed, Cuffy, throughout his later boyhood, swung like a pendulum between fact and dream, and was sadly torn in consequence.
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