`Why that's Looloo!' he exclaimed. And he looked down in surprise, hearing the almost inhuman chuckle of the child at his side.

Gerald was away from home when Gudrun first came to Shortlands. But the first morning he came back he watched for her. It was a sunny, soft morning, and he lingered in the garden paths, looking at the flowers that had come out during his absence. He was clean and fit as ever, shaven, his fair hair scrupulously parted at the side, bright in the sunshine, his short, fair moustache closely clipped, his eyes with their humorous kind twinkle, which was so deceptive. He was dressed in black, his clothes sat well on his well-nourished body. Yet as he lingered before the flower-beds in the morning sunshine, there was a certain isolation, a fear about him, as of something wanting.

Gudrun came up quickly, unseen. She was dressed in blue, with woollen yellow stockings, like the Bluecoat boys. He glanced up in surprise. Her stockings always disconcerted him, the pale-yellow stockings and the heavy heavy black shoes. Winifred, who had been playing about the garden with Mademoiselle and the dogs, came flitting towards Gudrun. The child wore a dress of black-and-white stripes. Her hair was rather short, cut round and hanging level in her neck.

`We're going to do Bismarck, aren't we?' she said, linking her hand through Gudrun's arm.

`Yes, we're going to do Bismarck. Do you want to?'

`Oh yes--oh I do! I want most awfully to do Bismarck. He looks so splendid this morning, so fierce. He's almost as big as a lion.' And the child chuckled sardonically at her own hyperbole. `He's a real king, he really is.'

`Bon jour, Mademoiselle,' said the little French governess, wavering up with a slight bow, a bow of the sort that Gudrun loathed, insolent.

`Winifred veut tant faire le portrait de Bismarck--! Oh, mais toute la matinee--"We will do Bismarck this morning!"--Bismarck, Bismarck, toujours Bismarck! C'est un lapin, n'est-ce pas, mademoiselle?'

`Oui, c'est un grand lapin blanc et noir. Vous ne l'avez pas vu?' said Gudrun in her good, but rather heavy French.

`Non, mademoiselle, Winifred n'a jamais voulu me le faire voir. Tant de fois je le lui ai demande, "Qu'est ce donc que ce Bismarck, Winifred?" Mais elle n'a pas voulu me le dire. Son Bismarck, c'etait un mystere.'

`Oui, c'est un mystere, vraiment un mystere! Miss Brangwen, say that Bismarck is a mystery,' cried Winifred.

`Bismarck, is a mystery, Bismarck, c'est un mystere, der Bismarck, er ist ein Wunder,' said Gudrun, in mocking incantation.

`Ja, er ist ein Wunder,' repeated Winifred, with odd seriousness, under which lay a wicked chuckle.

`Ist er auch ein Wunder?' came the slightly insolent sneering of Mademoiselle.

`Doch!' said Winifred briefly, indifferent.

`Doch ist er nicht ein Konig. Beesmarck, he was not a king, Winifred, as you have said. He was only--il n'etait que chancelier.'

`Qu'est ce qu'un chancelier?' said Winifred, with slightly contemptuous indifference.

`A chancelier is a chancellor, and a chancellor is, I believe, a sort of judge,' said Gerald coming up and shaking hands with Gudrun. `You'll have made a song of Bismarck soon,' said he.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.