Page:Queen Lucia.djvu/43

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39
“QUEEN LUCIA”

his side again Georgie had never said that he was in love with her (nor would it have been true if he had), but by his complete silence on the subject coupled with his constancy he seemed to admit the truth of this bloodless idyll. They talked and walked and read the masterpieces of literature and played duets on the piano together. Sometimes (for he was the more brilliant performer, though as he said “terribly lazy about practising,” for which she scolded him) he would gently slap the back of her hand, if she played a wrong note, and say “Naughty!” And she would reply in baby language “Me vewy sowwy! Oo naughty too to hurt Lucia!” That was the utmost extent of their carnal familiarities, and with bright eyes fixed on the music they would break into peals of girlish laughter, until the beauty of the music sobered them again.

Georgie (he was Georgie or Mr Georgie, never Pillson to the whole of Riseholme) was not an obtrusively masculine sort of person. Such masculinity as he was possessed of was boyish rather than adult, and the most important ingredients in his nature were womanish. He had, in common with the rest of Riseholme, strong artistic tastes, and in addition to playing the piano, made charming little water-colour sketches, many of which he framed at his own expense and gave to friends, with slightly sentimental titles, neatly printed in gilt letters on the mount. “Golden Autumn Woodland,” “Bleak December,” “Yellow Daffodils,” “Roses of Summer” were perhaps his most notable series, and these he had given to Lucia, on the occasion of four successive