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THE WINDOW 127not about himself or about Tolstoi, but whether shewas cold, whether she felt a draught, whether shewould like a pear.

No, she said, she did not want a pear. Indeed shehad been keeping guard over the dish of fruit (with-out realizing it) jealously, hoping that nobody wouldtouch it. Her eyes had been going in and out amongthe curves and shadows of the fruit, among the richpurples of the lowland grapes, then over the hornyridge of the shell, putting a yellow against a purple,a curved shape against a round shape, without know-ing why she did it, or why, every time she did it, shefelt more and more serene; until, oh, what a pity that

they should do it—a hand reached out, took a pear,and spoilt the whole thing. In sympathy she lookedat Rose. She looked at Rose sitting between Jasperand Prue. How odd that one’s child should do that!

How odd to see them sitting there, in a row, herchildren, Jasper, Rose, Prue, Andrew, almost silent,but with some joke of their own going on, she guessed,from the twitching at their lips. It was somethingquite apart from everything else, something theywere hoarding up to laugh over in their own room.It was not about their father, she hoped. No, shethought not. What was it, she wondered, sadlyrather, for it seemed to her that they would laughwhen she was not there. There was all that hoardedbehind those rather set, still, mask-like faces, for theydid not join in easily; they were like watchers, sur-veyors, a little raised or set apart from the grown-uppeople. But when she looked at Prue to-night, shesaw that this was not now quite true of her. Shewas just beginning, just moving, just descending.