"Not old things—new things," interrupted Mrs. Flushing curtly. "That is, if he takes my advice."
The Ambroses had not lived for many years in London without knowing something of a good many people, by name at least, and Helen remembered hearing of the Flushings. Mr. Flushing was a man who kept an old furniture shop; he had always said he would not marry because most women have red cheeks, and would not take a house because most houses have narrow staircases, and would not eat meat because most animals bleed when they are killed; and then he had married an eccentric aristocratic lady, who certainly was not pale, who looked as if she ate meat, who had forced him to do all the things he most disliked—and here then was the lady. Helen looked at her with interest. They had moved out into the garden, where the tea was laid under a tree, and Mrs. Flushing was helping herself to cherry jam. She had a peculiar jerking movement of the body when she spoke, which caused the canary-coloured plume on her hat to jerk too. Her small but finely cut and vigorous features, together with the deep red of lips and cheeks, pointed to many generations of well-trained and well-nourished ancestors behind her.
"Nothin' that's more than twenty years old interests me," she continued. "Mouldy old pictures, dirty old books, they stick'em in museums when they're only fit for burnin'."
"I quite agree," Helen laughed. "But my husband spends his life in digging up manuscripts which nobody wants." She was amused by Ridley's expression of startled disapproval.
"There's a clever man in London called John who paints ever so much better than the old masters," Mrs. Flushing continued. "His pictures excite me—nothin’ that's old excites me.
"But even his pictures will become old," Mrs. Thornbury intervened.
"Then I'll have 'em burnt, or I'll put it in my will," said Mrs. Flushing.
"And Mrs. Flushing lived in one of the most beautiful old houses in England—Chillingley," Mrs. Thornbury explained to the rest of them.
"If I'd my way I'd burn that to-morrow," Mrs. Flushing