Page:Queen Lucia.djvu/26

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22
"QUEEN LUCIA"

she would jot down material for a sequel to her essay, or write another covering a rather larger field on “The Gambits of Conversation Derived from Furniture.”

On the table there was a pile of letters waiting for Mrs Lucas, for yesterday’s post had not been forwarded her, for fear of its missing her—London postmen were probably very careless and untrustworthy—and she gave a little cry of dismay as she saw the volume of her correspondence.

“But I shall be very naughty,” she said “and not look at one of them till after lunch. Take them away, Caro, and promise me to lock them up till then, and not give them me however much I beg. Then I will get into the saddle again, such a dear saddle, too, and tackle them. I shall have a stroll in the garden till the bell rings. What is it that Nietschke says about the necessity to mediterranizer yourself every now and then? I must Riseholme myself.”

Peppino remembered the quotation, which had occurred in a review of some work of that celebrated author, where Lucia had also seen it, and went back, with the force of contrast to aid him, to his prose-poem of “Loneliness,” while his wife went through the smoking-parlour into the garden, in order to soak herself once more in the cultured atmosphere.

In this garden behind the house there was no attempt to construct a Shakespearian plot, for, as she so rightly observed, Shakespeare, who loved flowers so well, would wish her to enjoy every conceivable horticultural treasure. But furniture played a prominent part in the place,