Parade's End

Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford Read Free Book Online

Book: Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ford Madox Ford
Tags: Retail, 20th Century, Literature, Amazon.com, v.5, british literature
bitter bywords, as you call them,’ Sylvia said. ‘More like curses than kisses.’
    ‘It was you that used them then,’ Mrs. Satterthwaite said. ‘Christopher never said a bitter thing to you.’
    An expression like a grin came slowly over Sylvia’s face as she turned back to the priest.
    ‘That’s mother’s tragedy,’ she said. ‘My husband’s one of her best boys. She adores him. And he can’t bear
her
.’ She drifted behind the wall of the next room and they heard her tinkling the tea-things as the Father read on again beside the candle. His immense shadow began at the centre and ran along the pitchpine ceiling, down the wall and across the floor to join his splay feet in their clumsy boots.
    ‘It’s bad,’ he muttered. He made a sound like ‘Umbleumbleumble… . Worse than I feared … umbleumble… . “
accept resumption yoke but on rigid conditions
”. What’s this: “
esoecially
”; it ought to be a “p”, “
especially regards child reduce establishment ridiculous our position remake settlements in child’s sole interests flat not house entertaining minimum am prepared resign office settle Yorkshire but imagine this not suit you child remain sister Effie open visits both wire if this rough outline provisionally acceptable in that case will express draft general position Monday for you and mother reflect upon follow self Tuesday arrive Thursday Lobscheid go Wiesbaden fortnight on social task discussion Thursday limited solely comma emphasised comma to affairs
.”’
    ‘That means,’ Mrs. Satterthwaite said, ‘that he doesn’t mean to reproach her.
Emphasised
applies to the word
solely
… .’
    ‘Why d’you take it …’ Father Consett asked, ‘did he spend an immense lot of money on this telegram? Did he imagine you were in such trepidation… .’ He broke off. Walking slowly, her long arms extended to carry the tea-tray, over which her wonderfully moving face had a rapt expression of indescribable mystery, Sylvia was coming through the door.
    ‘Oh, child,’ the Father exclaimed, ‘whether it’s St. Martha or that Mary that made the bitter choice, not one of them ever looked more virtuous than you. Why aren’t ye born to be a good man’s helpmeet?’
    A little tinkle sounded from the tea-tray and three pieces of sugar fell on to the floor. Mrs. Tietjens hissed with vexation.
    ‘I
knew
that damned thing would slide off the tea-cups,’ she said. She dropped the tray from an inch or so of height on to the carpeted table. ‘I’d made it a matter of luck between myself and myself,’ she said. Then she faced the priest.
    ‘I’ll tell you,’ she said, ‘why he sent the telegram. It’s because of that dull display of the English gentleman that I detested. He gives himself the solemn airs of the Foreign Minister, but he’s only a youngest son at the best. That is why I loathe him.’
    Mrs. Satterthwaite said:
    ‘That isn’t the reason why he sent the telegram.’
    Her daughter had a gesture of amused, lazy tolerance.
    ‘Of course it isn’t,’ she said. ‘He sent it out of consideration: the lordly, full dress consideration that drives me distracted. As he would say: He’d imagine I’d find it convenient to have ample time for reflection. It’s like being addressed as if one were a monument and by a herald according to protocol. And partly because he’s the soul of truth like a stiff Dutch doll. He wouldn’t write a letter because he couldn’t without beginning it “Dear Sylvia” and ending it “Yours sincerely” or “truly” or “affectionately”. He’s that sort of precise imbecile. I tell you he’s so formal he can’t do without all the conventions there are and so truthful he can’t use half of them.’
    ‘Then,’ Father Consett said, ‘if ye know him so well, Sylvia Satterthwaite, how is it ye can’t get on with him better? They say:
Tout savoir c’est tout pardonner
.’
    ‘It isn’t,’ Sylvia said. ‘To know everything about a person

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