Produced by Suzanne Shell, Beginners Projects, Virginia
Paque, and the Project Online Distributed
First Published London, 1908.
(Book One of THE LITTLE OTTLEYS)
[Illustration: Love’s Shadow]
Love like a shadow flies
When substance love pursues;
Pursuing that that flies,
And flying what pursues.
‘There’s only one thing I must really implore you, Edith,’ said Bruce
anxiously. ‘Don’t make me late at the office!’
‘Certainly not, Bruce,’ answered Edith sedately. She was seated opposite
her husband at breakfast in a very new, very small, very white flat in
Knightsbridge—exactly like thousands of other new, small, white flats.
She was young and pretty, but not obvious. One might suppose that she
was more subtle than was shown by her usual expression, which was merely
cheerful and intelligent.
‘Now I have to write that letter before I go,’ Bruce exclaimed, starting
up and looking at her reproachfully. ‘Why didn’t I write it last night?’
Edith hadn’t the slightest idea, as she had heard nothing of the letter
before, but, in the course of three years, she had learnt that it saved
time to accept trifling injustices. So she looked guilty and a little
remorseful. He magnanimously forgave her, and began to write the letter
at a neat white writing-table.
‘How many g’s are there in “Raggett”?’ he asked suspiciously.
She didn’t answer, apparently overtaken by a sudden fit of absence of
‘Only one, of course. How absurd you are!’ said her husband, laughing,
as he finished the letter and came back to the table.
She poured out more coffee.
‘It’s a curious thing,’ he went on in a tone of impartial regret, ‘that,
with all the fuss about modern culture and higher education nowadays,
girls are not even taught to spell!’
‘Yes, isn’t it? But even if I had been taught, it might not have been
much use. I might just not have been taught to spell “Raggett”. It’s a
name, isn’t it?’
‘It’s a very well-known name,’ said Bruce.
‘I daresay it is, but I don’t know it. Would you like to see the boy
before you go?’
‘What a question! I always like to see the boy. But you know perfectly
well I haven’t time this morning.’
‘Very well, dear. You can see him this afternoon.’
‘Why do you say that? You know I’m going golfing with Goldthorpe! It
really is hard, Edith, when a man has to work so much that he has
scarcely any time for his wife and child.’
She looked sympathetic.
‘What are you doing today?’ he asked.
‘Hyacinth’s coming to fetch me for a drive in the motor.’
His face brightened. He said kindly, ‘I am so glad, darling, that you
have such a delightful friend—when I can’t be with you. I admire
Hyacinth very much, in every way. She seems devoted to you, too, which
is really very nice of her. What I mean to say is, that in her position
she might know anybody. You see my point?’
‘How did you meet her originally?’