Peter came down from Saturday to Monday, telling them that every officer and every civilian serving in India was recalled, but he had not yet learned when he was to sail. They were sitting in the wrens' garden with the children. "Earley's going," Tony said importantly. "Earley!" Jan exclaimed. "Going where?" "To fight, of course," little Fay chimed in. "Oh, poor dear Earley!" Jan sighed.
I wish you'd pick up my cigarette case for me; it's fallen into the lavender bush just below." "Yes, Miss," a voice answered that was certainly not Earley's. Meg leaned out of the hammock to look behind her. "Hullo!" she said. "Why are you not in church? I can't get up because I'm a prisoner on parole. Short of a thunderstorm nothing is to move me from this hammock till Miss Ross comes back."
Withells took Hugo for a drive, Meg left her children in Earley's care the minute she heard the car depart, and went to look for Jan in the house. She found her opening all the windows in the dining-room. Meg shut the door and sat on the polished table, lit a cigarette and regarded her own pretty swinging feet with interest. "How long does Mr. Tancred propose to stay?" she asked.
Meg drank the deliciously cold water and arose refreshed. And somehow the homely comfort of Mrs. Earley's presence made her realise wherein lay the essential difference between these two men. "He still treats me like a princess," she thought, "even though he thinks ... Oh, what can he think?" and Meg gave a little sob. "There, there!" said Mrs. Earley, "don't you take on no more, Miss.
Earley's slow Gloucestershire speech rumbled on in muffled obbligato to the higher, carrying, little voices. The whirr of a sewing-machine came from the morning-room, now the day-nursery, where Meg was busy with frocks for little Fay. In a distant pantry somebody was clinking teacups. Jan shivered, though the air from the open window was only fresh, not cold.
We were debating whether or not it would be safe to keep the road, which led directly past the court house, when a mounted officer, who had evidently found some applejack somewhere, came riding down to meet us, and when he learned from us that we belonged to the 32d Georgia, and had just come from Earley's army, wanted the latest news.
Down the drive they all four ran, accompanied by a joyfully galumphing William, who was in such good spirits that he occasionally gave vent to a solemn deep-chested bark. When they came to the squat grey lodge, there was Mrs. Earley standing in her doorway to welcome them. Mrs. Earley was Earley's mother, and Earley was gardener and general factotum at Wren's End. Mrs.
Meg came out from the nursery with two pairs of small slippers in her hand: "Where are my children? I left little Fay with Earley while I finished the overalls; he's a most efficient under-nurse I suppose you left Tony with him too. Such a lot of letters for you. Did you get your mail? I heard from both the boys. Ah, sensible Earley's taking them round to the back door. Where's William's duster?