Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/319

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317
THE VOYAGE OUT

But the kindness of the smile in her rather worn and courageous face made them feel that although she would scarcely remember them as individuals, she had laid upon them the burden of the new generation.

"And in that I quite agree with her," said a voice behind; Mrs. Thornbury had overheard the last few words about not liking ginger. "It's associated in my mind with a horrid old aunt of ours (poor thing, she suffered dreadfully, so it isn't fair to call her horrid) who used to give it us when we were small, and we never had the courage to tell her we didn't like it. We just had to put it out in the shrubbery—she had a big house near Bath."

They began moving slowly across the hall, when they were stopped by the impact of Evelyn, who dashed into them, as though in running downstairs to catch them her legs had got beyond her control.

"Well," she exclaimed, with her usual enthusiasm, seizing Rachel by the arm, "I call this splendid! I guessed it was going to happen from the very beginning! I saw you two were made for each other. Now you've just got to tell me all about it—when's it to be, where are you going to live—are you both tremendously happy?"

But the attention of the group was diverted to Mrs. Elliot, who was passing them with her eager but uncertain movement, carrying in her hands a plate and an empty hot-water bottle. She would have passed them, but Mrs. Thornbury went up and stopped her.

"Thank you, Hughling's better," she replied, in answer to Mrs. Thornbury's enquiry, "but he's not an easy patient. He wants to know what his temperature is, and if I tell him he gets anxious, and if I don't tell him he suspects. You know what men are when they're ill! And of course there are none of the proper appliances, and, though he seems very willing and anxious to help" (here she lowered her voice mysteriously), "one can't feel that Dr. Rodriguez is the same as a proper doctor. If you would come and see him, Mr. Hewet," she added, "I know it would cheer him up—lying there in bed all day—and the flies—But I must go and find Angelo—the food here—of course, with an invalid, one wants things par-