A Cathedral Courtship HTML version
together was not unpleasing; but Roderick Abbott is not in aunt Celia's itinerary, which
reads: "Winchester, Salisbury, Wells, Bath, Bristol, Gloucester, Oxford, London, Ely,
Lincoln, York, Durham."
Aunt Celia is one of those persons who are born to command, and when they are thrown
in contact with those who are born to be commanded all goes as merry as a marriage bell;
So here we are at Winchester; and I don't mind all the Roderick Abbotts in the universe,
now that I have seen the Royal Garden Inn, its pretty coffee-room opening into the old-
fashioned garden, with its borders of clove pinks, its aviaries, and its blossoming horse-
chestnuts, great towering masses of pink bloom!
Aunt Celia has driven to St. Cross Hospital with Mrs. Benedict, an estimable lady tourist
whom she "picked up" en route from Southampton. I am tired, and stayed at home. I
cannot write letters, because aunt Celia has the guide-books, so I sit by the window in
indolent content, watching the dear little school laddies, with their short jackets and wide
white collars; they all look so jolly, and rosy, and clean, and kissable! I should like to kiss
the chambermaid, too! She has a pink print dress; no bangs, thank goodness (it's curious
our servants can't leave that deformity to the upper classes), but shining brown hair,
plump figure, soft voice, and a most engaging way of saying, "Yes, miss? Anythink
more, miss?" I long to ask her to sit down comfortably and be English, while I study her
as a type, but of course I mustn't. Sometimes I wish I could retire from the world for a
season and do what I like, "surrounded by the general comfort of being thought mad."
An elegant, irreproachable, high-minded model of dignity and reserve has just knocked
and inquired what we will have for dinner. It is very embarrassing to give orders to a
person who looks like a judge of the Supreme Court, but I said languidly, "What would
"How would you like a clear soup, a good spring soup, to begin with, miss?"
"And a bit of turbot next, miss?"
"Yes, turbot, by all means," I said, my mouth watering at the word.
"And what for a roast, miss? Would you enjoy a young duckling, miss?"
"Just the thing; and for dessert"--I couldn't think what we ought to have for dessert in
England, but the high-minded model coughed apologetically and said, "I was thinking
you might like gooseberry tart and cream for a sweet, miss."
Oh that I could have vented my New World enthusiasm in a shriek of delight as I heard
those intoxicating words, heretofore met only in English novels!