Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/374

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The Voyage Out

She set them all thinking vaguely of the things they wanted. Mrs. Elliot knew exactly what she wanted; she wanted a child; and the usual little pucker deepened on her brow.

"We're such lucky people," she said, looking at her husband. "We really have no wants." She was apt to say this, partly in order to convince herself, and partly in order to convince other people. But she was prevented from wondering how far she carried conviction by the entrance of Mr. and Mrs. Flushing, who came through the hall and stopped by the chess-board. Mrs. Flushing looked wilder than ever. A great strand of black hair looped down across her brow, her cheeks were whipped a dark blood red, and drops of rain made wet marks upon them.

Mr. Flushing explained that they had been on the roof watching the storm.

"It was a wonderful sight," he said. "The lightning went right out over the sea, and lit up the waves and the ships far away. You can't think how wonderful the mountains looked too, with the lights on them, and the great masses of shadow. It's all over now."

He slid down into a chair, becoming interested in the final struggle of the game.

"And you go back to-morrow?" said Mrs. Thornbury, looking at Mrs. Flushing.

"Yes," she replied.

"And indeed one is not sorry to go back," said Mrs. Elliot, assuming an air of mournful anxiety, "after all this illness."

"Are you afraid of dyin'?" Mrs. Flushing demanded scornfully.

"I think we are all afraid of that," said Mrs. Elliot with dignity.

"I suppose we're all cowards when it comes to the point," said Mrs. Flushing, rubbing her cheek against the back of the chair. "I'm sure I am."

"Not a bit of it!" said Mr. Flushing, turning round, for Mr. Pepper took a very long time to consider his move. "It's not cowardly to wish to live, Alice. It's the very reverse of cowardly. Personally, I'd like to go on for a hundred years—