Loving, Living, Party Going

Loving, Living, Party Going by Henry Green Read Free Book Online

Book: Loving, Living, Party Going by Henry Green Read Free Book Online
Authors: Henry Green
Tags: Fiction, General, Classics
but then she's only a kid.'
    'Are they makin' a search?' Kate went on and she fixed her small eyes unwavering on Edith. The lampman made no reply. He seldom did.
    Edith while she blushed hot was picturing that wet afternoon Mrs Jack had last been over to Clancarty. While Mrs T. and her daughter-in-law were on with their dinner Edith had been in the younger woman's room busily clearing up. She hung the thin coat and skirt of tweed which held the scent used, she put the folded web of shirt and stockings into drawers of rosewood. She laid the outdoor crocodile skin shoes ready to take down to Paddy. She tidied the towels then went to prepare that bed, boat-shaped black and gold with a gold oar at the foot. She moved softly gently as someone in devotion and handled the pink silk sheets like veils. The curtains were drawn. Then all that she had to do was done. Those oil lamps were lit. But she stuck a finger in her mouth, looked about as if she missed something. Then she searched, and faster. She had gone through everything that was put away faster and faster. When she was sure those drawers Mrs Jack had worn to go out were astray her great dark eyes had been hot to glowing.
    'I'll wager they had everything of gold,' Raunce said, still on about the excavations.
    'And wore silk on their legs,' said Edith, short of breath.
    'Don't talk so silly,' Miss Burch took her up. 'They never put silk next to themselves in those days my girl. It wasn't discovered.'
    'Did they have silk knickers then Paddy,' Kate asked giggling.
    'I never heard such a thing,' Miss Burch replied. 'You'll oblige me by dropping the subject. Isn't it bad enough to have dinner late as it is,' she said 'You just leave the poor man alone. You let him be.'
    Bert spoke. 'The nursery never had much of theirs,' he said. 'I must've took back the better part of what I carried up.'
    'Oh dear,' cried Raunce in the high falsetto he put on whenever he referred to Nanny Swift.
    'You should have seen 'er,' Bert added.
    Both girls giggled softly while Charley still in falsetto asked whose face, holy smoke.
    'Now that's quite enough of that,' Miss Burch said firm. There was a pause. 'I knew Mrs Welch had been upset,' she went on, 'and now I perceive why, not that I'm trying to excuse those potatoes she just gave us,' she said All of them listened. She seemed almost to be in good humour. 'They were never cooked,' she added, 'and I do believe that's why they put salt on spuds,' looking at Paddy, 'but I'll say this, those precious peacocks of yours would have spurned 'em.'
    Right to the last meal Mr Eldon had taken in this room it had been his part to speak, to wind up as it were, almost to leave the impress of a bishop on his flock. This may have been what led Charley to echo in a serious tone,
    'Miss Swift is a difficult woman whilst she's up in her nursery. But she can be nice as you please outside.'
    'That's right,' Miss Burch said, 'and as I've often found, take someone out of their position in life and you find a different person altogether, yes.'
    The two girls looked at one another, a waste of giggling behind their eyes again.
    'But our potatoes this afternoon were not fit for the table,' Raunce said to Miss Burch.
    'Thank you Mr Raunce,' she replied. In this way for the first time she seemed to recognize his place.
    'Well look sharp my lad,' he said to Bert. He appeared to ooze authority. 'Holy Moses see what time it is.'
    He hastened out like a man who does not know how long his new found luck will hold. Also he had to make his first entry in the red notebook, to record the first tip. He put the date under Mrs Tancy's name, and then '3d'. 'Wonder what happened in that six months gap,' he murmured to himself about Mr Eldon's last date, 'she's been over to lunch many a time since and he'll have had the old dropsy out of her. He was losing grip not entering it, that's what,' he added aloud. Then he laid the books aside.
    He first addressed an envelope. 'To Mrs William Raunce,'

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