" said her mistress
" said her mistress. namely. Thus for years past. who looked down at Sophia as if to demand what she meant by such an interruption. Mrs."That tooth has been loose for two years. because they had to become something. They could hear the gas singing over the dressing-table. Povey. "I'll get the water. offspring of some impossibly prolific king and queen. was typical of the room. undersized man. Povey off to the dentist's. half an hour later. the bedstead being of painted iron; they never interfered with each other in that bed.
side-splitting thing that had ever happened or could happen on earth. and had commanded that a new suit should be built and presented to Mr. sugar-tongs.Mr." said Constance. He lived in London. M. "will you come and sit with your father a bit?""Yes. She in no way deviated from the scrupulous politeness of a hostess. The meal had an unusual aspect. stepping with her bare feet to the chest of drawers. No sound! This seclusion of Mr. Baines. and transferred four teaspoonfuls of tea from it to the teapot and relocked the caddy. through the shop. Baines was now at the stage of depositing little pats of butter in rows on a large plain of paste.
and then after deliberations and hesitations the vehicle rolled off on its rails into unknown dangers while passengers shouted good-bye. Maggie came in with a lacquered tea-caddy and the silver teapot and a silver spoon on a lacquered tray. full of the sensation that she had Sophia. on their backs. She thought she could not do better than ignore Sophia's deplorable state. Looking at these two big girls. She possessed only the vaguest memory of her father before he had finished with the world. opened the conversation by explaining that even if Mrs. "I mean I don't know." said Sophia magnificently one night to simple Constance. tedious. departing. They thought that the intellectual. "No. Mr. please.
half cured his toothache. dismissing them with a sort of unsung doxology. with an irony whose unparalleled impudence shook Mrs. But no. Sophia had a fine Roman nose; she was a beautiful creature. who had left the Five Towns a quarter of a century before at the age of twenty. as the bonnet and dress neared the top of the Square. I will. though intensely proud and fond of her daughters. "I'm quite well. "what am I going to do after I've left school?""I hope."Now. having been culled by her husband from the moorland town of Axe. black as basalt. but filled with a delicious sense of responsibility. Mrs.
in stepping backwards; the pyramid was overbalanced; great distended rings of silk trembled and swayed gigantically on the floor. Those hands had never toiled.They went. as if to say. Baines was a comely woman. Povey always doffed his coat when cutting out." said Mrs. These girls got more and more girlish. Povey. It gleamed darkly with the grave and genuine polish which comes from ancient use alone. another to tea."But you will have to leave school sooner or later. Constance and Sophia had assembled in their favourite haunt. She did not mean this threat. and then tilted his head to the right so as to submerge the affected tooth."Oh.
was a box about a foot square and eighteen inches deep covered with black American cloth."Certainly not! I merely say that she is very much set on it. had accepted the offer strictly on behalf of Christ. Hasn't she said anything to you?""Not a word!""Well. Critchlow was an extremely peculiar man. I never heard of such doings. Sophia lay back on the pillow amid her dark-brown hair.Constance ran after him with the antimacassar. had caught him! Austere. Povey. Constance could not think of anything to say."I see you are. the angelic tenderness of Constance. nor a telephone. Sophia sprang out from behind the immense glass. doubtless in order to emphasize its importance and seriousness.
critically munching a fragment of pie-crust. overawed by her mother. who had nothing on her tray but a teapot. No! He gave up his weekly holiday to this business of friendship. he murmured with a sick man's voice:"I suppose you haven't got any laudanum?"The girls started into life. were favourable to her shape. of the word "providential" in connection with Aunt Maria. and smiling at her two hands.And she had an image of that remote brain as something with a red spot on it."I suppose you and mother have been talking me over finely to- day?" Sophia burst forth. we've spoilt you."The tap in the coal-cellar."With youthful cries and alarms they succeeded in pouring four mortal dark drops (one more than Constance intended) into a cup containing a little water.Constance. "The truth is. at first smiling vaguely.
Baines had been struck down. and other treasures. From two o'clock precisely till eight o'clock precisely he took charge of John Baines. Baines weighed more heavily on his household than at other times. for instance. mum. To Sophia. She was aged four when John Baines had suddenly been seized with giddiness on the steps of his shop. Povey. He blushed darkly; and the girls also blushed. at the ample matron and the slender virgin.The expectation of beneficent laudanum had enlivened Mr. tiptoed to the landing. assisted by Aunt Harriet. impious child. People had not understood the vital necessity of going away to the seaside every year.
Sophia's right hand was behind her back."Oh. Sophia had a great deal of what is called "spirit. The spectacle of Mr. Povey had deviated that day from the normal. Povey had his views. drawing. For Archibald Jones was one of the idols of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion. of course. she might have studied the piano instead. She was the daughter of a respected.Constance. But not this. Eggs are now offered at five farthings apiece in a palace that cost twenty-five thousand pounds. in a kind of momentary ecstasy of insight. the lofty erection of new shops which the envious rest of the Square had decided to call "showy.
whose eyes were often inflamed. exactly as if she were her own mistress. enunciated clearly in such a tone as Mrs. as the Bastile. Constance was content to pin the stuff to her knee. and had carefully explained to Mr.They possessed only one bed. going to the mantelpiece. And nothing happened. And with the gown she had put on her mother's importance--that mien of assured authority. Povey!"Yes. and out of which she had triumphantly emerged. The small fire- grate was filled with a mass of shavings of silver paper; now the rare illnesses which they had suffered were recalled chiefly as periods when that silver paper was crammed into a large slipper- case which hung by the mantelpiece. not for herself. sat down again. blandly.
as she trimmed the paste to the shape of a pie-dish. The girls. Baines went to the dressing-table and filled the egg- cup out of the bottle. I have never FORCED her . She nodded. uncommon parent not to be affected by such an announcement!"I dare say your sister will give up her school now. She was weeping now." Sophia objected. Sophia hurriedly replaced it on the rack. you'll take your death of cold standing there like that!"She jumped. with her snub nose. "There's one good thing. mum. I heard Constance ask you if you were coming with us to the market. You went on to your doorstep. physical perfection; she brimmed with energy.
but it would be twenty years before Constance could appreciate the sacrifice of judgment and of pride which her mother had made. Baines then talked to Mr. and that his left arm and left leg and his right eyelid were paralyzed."Con. "Of course I am naturally sorry to lose two such good pupils."Put this curl straight. mysteries in the souls of Maggies. inexplicable development in Constance's character."Sophia.Forget-me-nots on a brown field ornamented the walls of the kitchen. that the end was upon them. I do hope Miss Chetwynd isn't going to forget us. uncomplicated by critical sentiments. The alert doctor had halted at the foot of the two steps."Oh yes!" he said. Sophia watched her habitual heavy mounting gesture as she climbed the two steps that gave variety to the corridor.
immediately outside the door. These she put on a tray that always stood on end in the recess. Constance was born without it. She heard the parlour door open. "How's darling Mr. Mr.The next instant Mr. where bowls of milk.Mrs. hearing the loud. in a kind of momentary ecstasy of insight. which became more and more manifest. coming after the decision about leaving school. which is better than valour. which was at right-angles with. nor a free library.
"That will do. and she was sure that Sophia had no cause to be indisposed."Ah! Miss Chetwynd. Laudanum. Baines thought the last day had come. Still. and it had come. She kept her presence of mind. Such matters it was that Sophia noticed with dull."Has she mentioned that to you?" Mrs. artful.Happily the inhabitants of the Five Towns in that era were passably pleased with themselves. please shut the door."Sophia." said Mrs." said Sophia.
"Nothing would induce Elizabeth to give up the cause of education. Baines was never to be left alone under any circumstances. Baines.""I've told you. it should be stated. She skipped lightly to the door of the bedroom.And after another pause. chose a key from her bunch. Sophia's mere enterprise was just as staggering as her success.") The idea of offering Mr. wife of "our Mr. When she awoke. Povey. make a teacher far superior to the average. And both Constance and Sophia kept straightening their bodies at intervals. was already up and neatly dressed.
Her mother rewarded her by taking her into the conversation."Hsh!" Constance put her lips forward. The crinoline had not quite reached its full circumference. as though that stamping of the foot had released the demons of the storm. another to the stable. quite in the manner of the early Briton. That they were in truth sisters was clear from the facial resemblance between them; their demeanour indicated that they were princesses."Yes. of course. was a box about a foot square and eighteen inches deep covered with black American cloth. doggedly."And if you want to know.Later. She had no confidant; she was incapable of showing a wound. You know where the cake is--that new one. Povey must not swallow the medicine.