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was worth the whole of France. Durley (who was
reading Great Expectations with a face that expressed
release from reality) put in a mild plea for Stoke New-
ington, which was where he lived; it contained several
quaint old corners if you knew where to look for them,
and must, he said, have been quite a sleepy sort of
place in Dickens's days. Reverting to my original
topic, I remarked, "We've got an old barometer, too,
but it never works. Ever since I can remember, it's
pointed to Expect Wet from JV.J5. Last time I was on
leave I noticed that it's not Expect but Except—though
goodness knows what that means!" My companions,
who were disinclined to be talkative, assured me that
with such a brain I ought to be on the Staff.

Strolling under the aspens that shivered and
twinkled by the river, I allowed myself a little day-
dream, based on the leisurely ticking of the old Lud-
low clock. . . . Was it only three weeks ago that I had
been standing there at the foot of the staircase, be-
tween the barometer and the clock, on just such a fine
summer morning as this? Upstairs in the bathroom
Aunt Evelyn was putting sweet-peas and roses in
water, humming to herself while she arranged them
to her liking. Visualizing the bathroom with its cop-
per bath and basin (which "took such a lot of clean-
ing"), its lead floor, and the blue and white Dutch
tiles along the walls, and the elder tree outside the
window, I found these familiar objects almost as dear
to me as Aunt Evelyn herself, since they were one
with her in my mind (though for years she'd been
talking about doing away with the copper bath and

Even now, perhaps, she was once again carrying a
bowl of roses down to the drawing-room while the
clock ticked slow, and the parrot whistled, and the