Monday, January 18, 2010

NO ONE TO PLAY WITH, part 2 of 3, by Marion Temple (1917)

He heard the soft rustle of her clothes as she rose from the forbidden chair and lest he might fall captive to the alluring spell of her voice he turned and fled, not staying his course till he reached the safe refuge of the nursery. For some days after that Philip merely caught glimpses of the wonderful being who was "living in his house."

Nurse asked him each evening if he would like to go down to see her but he always refused. She never came to the nursery and gradually he found himself possessed of a great curiosity about her. He tried all he could to harden his heart and not to listen over the landing gate to the fascinating way she swished downstairs; he tried not to hear her gentle voice when she called up to Nurse to ask how he was getting on.

He knew in a dim way that in not trying to bribe him with irresistible gifts she was deserving of praise but he refused to admit it. Then there was Meg, her great staghound, who kept so close to his mistress that it was difficult to be friends with one and ignore the other, and he desired intensely to talk long and often with the wonderful dog.

He would peep cautiously out of the nursery window to see her mount her chestnut mare for her morning ride. A lady putting her foot in a man's hand before giving that little jump into the saddle, was a new experience of thrilling interest. He would wait for what seemed hours watching for her return. He even caught himself weaving fancies and fairy stories about her and yet no disillusioned lover, no anchorite ever hardened his heart against woman as he did against her.

As the days passed slowly, he found each one more lonely than the last and one day when his father came up and told him that he had to go away on business for sometime, Philip felt something falling down inside him as if there was nothing to look forward to any more. He was lonely.

He confided all his troubles to "the boys"--a motley collection of striking individualities, five in number, a bohemian crowd flung together by frolicsome fate. A large white flannel duck, with an eyeglass and cane, a stuffed squirrel in a poke bonnet, a rag doll representing a French admiral, were parvenus of the society. A disreputable coster and an elderly Teddy Bear of enormous proportions dated back to Christmas and birthday when "Mummy" was here.