Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/148

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shadow they sat in the sun, which was still hot enough to paint their faces red and yellow, and to colour great sections of the earth beneath them.

"There's nothing half so nice as tea!" said Mrs. Thornbury, taking her cup.

"Nothing," said Helen. "Can't you remember as a child chopping up hay—" she spoke much more quickly than usual, and kept her eye fixed upon Mrs. Thornbury, "and pretending it was tea, and getting scolded by the nurses—why I can't imagine, except that nurses are such brutes, won't allow pepper instead of salt though there's no earthly harm in it. Weren't your nurses just the same?"

During this speech Susan came into the group, and sat down by Helen's side. A few minutes later Mr. Venning strolled up from the opposite direction. He was a little flushed, and in the mood to answer hilariously whatever was said to him.

"What have you been doing to that old chap's grave?" he asked, pointing to the red flag which floated from the top of the stones.

"We have tried to make him forget his misfortune in having died three hundred years ago," said Mr. Perrott.

"It would be awful—to be dead!" ejaculated Evelyn M.

"To be dead?" said Hewet. "I don't think it would be awful. It's quite easy to imagine. When you go to bed tonight fold your hands so—breathe slower and slower—" He lay back with his hands clasped upon his breast, and his eyes shut, "Now," he murmured in an even, monotonous voice, "I shall never, never, never move again." His body, lying flat among them, did for a moment suggest death.

"This is a horrible exhibition, Mr. Hewet!" cried Mrs. Thornbury.

"More cake for us!" said Arthur.

"I assure you there's nothing horrible about it," said Hewet, sitting up and laying hands upon the cake.

"It's so natural," he repeated. "People with children should make them do that exercise every night.... Not that I look forward to being dead."

"And when you allude to a grave," said Mr. Thornbury,