Page:Court Royal.djvu/147

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one of perplexity. At last she said, ‘I don’t understand, and I can’t understand.’

‘What, Joanna?’

‘My lady, you do not and you cannot understand me, and I do not, and try as I may I cannot, understand you. We belong to different worlds.’

‘And are forgetting the bond between us—the flowers.’

Presently Lady Grace pointed to an arcade, where, against the wall, oranges, limes, and citrons were growing.

‘Do you notice these trees?’ she said; ‘they are very ancient, one or two of them are as much as two hundred years old.’

‘What a pity!’ answered Joanna; ‘they must be worn out. You should stub them out and plant new, improved sorts.’

Lady Grace went into the vinery, and brought thence a large bunch of green Muscatel grapes on a leaf. She presented it, smiling, to Joanna.

‘It is a pleasure,’ she said, ‘to have grapes for the sick and those who have no vineries of their own. They do enjoy them so greatly.’

‘Do you give grapes away?’

‘Yes, of course we do.’

‘But you might sell them and make a lot of money—enough to pay the gardener’s wage.’

Lady Grace coloured and laughed. ‘We couldn’t possibly do that.’

‘Why not?’

‘For one reason, because then we should have no grapes to give away.’

‘But you are not obliged to give them away?’

‘To the sick, of course we are.’

‘Why of course?’

‘Why, because they are sick.’

‘They should buy grapes for themselves if they require them.’

‘They are poor, and cannot do so.’

‘Then let them do without. You are not bound to them, nor they to you.’

Lady Grace, with a little sadness on her brow, but a smile on her lips, said, observing her, ‘It is a pleasure to give them what they cannot get themselves. There, it is a greater pleasure to me to watch you enjoying that bunch of Muscatel than if I were eating it myself.’

Joanna shook her head. ‘We belong to different worlds,’