“Uncle Benjamin was considered to have gone entirely too far.”
Strony biernej często się używa, aby zrelacjonować czyjeś sądy, opinie czy przekonania – szczególnie wówczas, gdy chcemy pominąć autora przytaczanych wypowiedzi czy myśli, np.:
The students have been informed about test results.
Uczniowie zostali poinformowani o wynikach testu.
The electrical system was considered unsafe.
Układ elektryczny został uznany za niebezpieczny.
Podobnie możemy relacjonować opinie dotyczące osób, np.:
Jim is believed to be an expert in genetics.
Jim jest uważany za eksperta w dziedzinie genetyki.
Przyjrzyj się, jak zdania w stronie czynnej zostały przekształcone na stronę bierną:
People think that Mandy lives in Sweden.
Ludzie myślą, że Mandy mieszka w Szwecji.
It is thought that Mandy lives in Sweden.
O Mandy myśli się, że mieszka w Szwecji.
Jeśli podmiotem zdania po przekształceniu ma być osoba, o której coś się mówi lub myśli (tu – Mandy), zdanie po przekształceniu będzie wyglądało następująco:
Mandy is thought to live in Sweden.
O Mandy myśli się, że mieszka w Szwecji.
Jeśli czynność, którą relacjonujemy, wyrażona jest w czasie Perfect lub przeszłym, użyjemy bezokolicznika Perfect (to have been + Past Participle), np.:
People think that Mandy lived in Sweden.
Ludzie myślą, że Mandy mieszkała w Szwecji.
Mandy is thought to have lived in Sweden.
O Mandy myśli się, że mieszkała w Szwecji.
Czasy Continuous przekształcimy, używając bezokolicznika w formie ciągłej (to be + czasownik z końcówką -ing lub to have been + czasownik z końcówką -ing), np.:
People think that Mandy is living in Sweden.
Mandy is thought to be living in Sweden.
People think that Mandy was living in Sweden.
Mandy is thought to have been living in Sweden.
Oto inne przykłady:
They believe the factory is about to go bankrupt.
Sądzą, że fabryka niedługo zbankrutuje.
It is believed that the factory is about to go bankrupt.
Sądzi się, że fabryka niedługo zbankrutuje.
Some people feel the government is responsible.
Niektórzy czują, że odpowiedzialny jest rząd.
The government is felt to be responsible.
Niektórzy czują, że odpowiedzialny jest rząd.
Jeśli w zdaniu, które przekształcamy, pojawi się czasownik nieprzechodni, przy transformacji musimy wykazać się większą elastycznością i np. zastąpić go synonimem:
People gossip that he counterfeits money.
Ludzie plotkują, że on fałszuje pieniądze.
It is rumoured that he counterfeits money.
Plotkuje się, że on fałszuje pieniądze.
Szkółki niedzielne (Sunday schools), obecnie kojarzone głównie z edukacją religijną, powstały z myślą o edukacji ogólnej jako miejsca, w których mogły się kształcić dzieci z ubogich rodzin. Ruch ten narodził się w Anglii w latach 80. XVIII stulecia. Rozpędzająca się wówczas na Wyspach rewolucja przemysłowa przyniosła ze sobą wiele negatywnych społecznie skutków – w powstających jak grzyby po deszczu fabrykach chętnie zatrudniano dzieci, przez co nie mogły one uczęszczać do szkół w dni powszednie. Co więcej, godziny pracy były bardzo długie – w 1802 roku, na mocy wprowadzonych regulacji prawnych, „ograniczono” dzienny wymiar pracy dla dziecka do 12 godzin (stan ten utrzymał się aż do 1844 roku), nie wyłączając sobót.
Problemem postanowili się zająć, i wyciągnąć pracujące dzieci z analfabetyzmu, chrześcijańscy filantropowie. Naczelnym propagatorem ruchu został anglikański duchowny i dziennikarz Robert Raikes (1736–1811). Dostrzegając fatalne położenie edukacyjne młodzieży, otworzył w 1781 roku działającą w niedzielę szkołę, gdzie wykorzystując w charakterze elementarza Biblię, uczył dzieci czytania i pisania. Wizję Raikesa podchwyciły wkrótce inne organizacje (głównie religijne, choć nie tylko) i ruch szkółek niedzielnych błyskawicznie zyskał na popularności. W 1785 roku do Sunday schools uczęszczało już 250 000 angielskich dzieciaków. W samym tylko Manchesterze działało 5000 takich instytucji. Do Stanów Zjednoczonych ruch przeniknął w ostatniej dekadzie XVIII stulecia. Nauczyciele rozdawali tysiące darmowych elementarzy i egzemplarzy Pisma Świętego. W połowie XIX stulecia zwyczaj chodzenia do szkółek niedzielnych objął już niemal wszystkie dzieci. Trafiała do nich nawet młodzież rodziców, którzy nie odwiedzali kościoła regularnie. Członkowie klasy robotniczej byli niezwykle wdzięczni za możliwość darmowego kształcenia swych pociech. Dodatkowymi atrakcjami były również urządzane przez szkółki festyny, parady czy pikniki.
Oprócz nauki czytania i pisania opartej na Pismie Świętym, w szkółkach niedzielnych wykładano również podstawy katechizmu, uczono modlitwy i pieśni religijnych. Jednym z celów ruchu było bowiem wpojenie młodym umysłom reguł chrześcijańskiej moralności i cnót. Wychowankowie Sunday schools nierzadko sami zostawali w nich nauczycielami, co było jedną z niewielu możliwości awansu społecznego dla dzieci robotników. Rolę szkółek niedzielnych jako narzędzia uświadamiającego proletariat doceniali nawet niektórzy historycy lewicowi, zwykle przecież niechętni religii.
Zarówno w Anglii, jak i w USA w latach 70. XIX wieku wprowadzono obowiązek szkolny i od tego momentu nauka czytania i pisania odbywała się już w placówkach państwowych, natomiast szkółki niedzielne ograniczyły się do edukacji religijnej. Niemniej wielu rodziców wciąż posyłało do nich swoje pociechy, uważając, że uczęszczanie do szkółki niedzielnej stanowi nieodzowny element dzieciństwa i wychowania. Popularność takich instytucji zmalała dopiero w latach 60. XX wieku, wraz z laicyzacją życia i powstaniem nowoczesnego modelu kształcenia młodzieży.
Tin Lizzie („Blaszana Elka”) to popularne określenie forda model T. Samochód ten był produkowany w fabrykach Henry’ego Forda od 1 października 1908 roku do 26 maja 1927 roku. Powszechnie uznaje się ten pojazd za pierwszy przykład samochodu o cenie na tyle przystępnej, by mogli się nim cieszyć członkowie amerykańskiej klasy średniej. Tin Lizzie umożliwił rzeszom Amerykanów podróżowanie i zmianę miejsca zamieszkania, choćby w pogoni za pracą. Samochody, naturalnie istniały już od kilkudziesięciu lat, lecz dopiero Model T – m.in. dzięki wprowadzeniu w zakładach Forda rewolucyjnej koncepcji ruchomych linii montażowych, co usprawniło produkcję i obniżyło jej koszty – trafił pod przysłowiowe strzechy.
Od początku reklamowano Tin Lizzie jako niezawodny i łatwy oraz tani w utrzymaniu środek masowej komunikacji. Poskutkowało – w ciągu kilku pierwszych dni sprzedaży Ford otrzymał aż 15 000 zamówień. W ogłoszonym w 1999 roku plebiscycie na najbardziej wpływowy samochód XX wieku Blaszana Elka zajęła pierwsze miejsce, wyprzedzając BMC Mini, Citroena DS i Volksvagena 1. Fordów Model T sprzedano w sumie 16,5 miliona, co według danych z 2012 roku daje mu ósme miejsce na liście najczęściej kupowanych samochodów osobowych wszech czasów.
Na koniec oddajmy głos samemu Henry’emu Fordowi, zapowiadającemu wprowadzenie rewolucyjnego pojazdu na rynek:
„Zamierzam zbudować wóz dla mas. Będzie dostatecznie przestronny, by pomieścić całą rodzinę, a jednocześnie na tyle mały, żeby mógł go prowadzić i utrzymywać człowiek samotny. Zostanie skonstruowany z najlepszych materiałów przez najlepszych fachowców, podług najprostszych dostępnych nowoczesnej myśli technicznej rozwiązań. Samochód ten będzie również na tyle tani, że na jego kupno będą mogli sobie pozwolić wszyscy pracujący za przyzwoitą pensję. A kiedy już do niego wsiądzie ze swymi bliskimi zaznają wielu godzin przyjemności podróżowania pod bezkresnym niebem Pana Naszego” (H. Ford, S. Crowther, My Life and Work, 1922).
1. Napisz wyrazy odpowiadające poniższym definicjom. Niektóre litery zostały już podane.
a) o_ _ _ _l – lots of suffering
b) _br_ _ _ – harsh, talking hastily
c) _ _s_ – to move quickly, to rush
d) _ _ _ne_ _ _ _ – seriously, solemnly
e) _ _co_ _t_ _ – to meet, to find
f) o_ _ _v_ _ _s – not remembering of something
g) fu_ _ _v_ – done or acting in a secretive way
h) _ _ _ _ter_ _ _ _er – a forger
i) _r_ _at_ _ _ – happening too soon
j) _pp_ _ _ _ _si_ _ – fear
2. Uzupełnij luki odpowiednimi przyimkami.
a) Her latest novel didn’t actually live …… to critics’ expectations.
b) He wore a funny hat …… a rakish angle.
c) After another failure, he’s simply grasping …… straws.
d) I don’t think it’s easy to put …… with pupils’ misbehavior.
e) Tony and Rebecca fell …… with each other, but I hear they have finally made …… .
f) The article I’m referring …… was published in “Nature”, so don’t call it rubbish.
g) Diana’a parents strongly disapprove …… her plans.
h) In spite of these straws …… the wind that the situation might change, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions.
3. Utwórz zdania z rozsypanych wyrazów.
a) an; expected; is; leader; make; official; party; statement; the; to
b) writer; works; was; to; the; somebody; plagiarized; have; famous; else’s; considered
c) trouble; to; the; supposed; of; lot; is; have; damage; caused; a
d) war; to; the; spied; she; is; have; during; believed
e) been; eloped; has; it; rumoured; that; they; together
f) be; cheating; his; is; Jim; on; thought; to; wife
g) abandoned; be; been; building; discovered; has; old; the; to
h) been; effective; felt; have; is; politics; quite; their; to
4. Zgromadź informacje dotyczące życia, kariery i działalności Henry’ego Forda. Przygotuj prezentację multimedialną dotyczącą biografii przemysłowca (około 10 slajdów).
Meanwhile the dinner in its earlier stages was dragging its slow length along true to Stirling form. The room was chilly, in spite of the calendar, and Aunt Alberta had the gas-logs lighted. Everybody in the clan envied her those gas-logs except Valancy. Glorious open fires blazed in every room of her Blue Castle when autumnal nights were cool, but she would have frozen to death in it before she would have committed the sacrilege of a gas-log. Uncle Herbert made his hardy perennial joke when he helped Aunt Wellington to the cold meat – “Mary, will you have a little lamb?” Aunt Mildred told the same old story of once finding a lost ring in a turkey’s crop. Uncle Benjamin told HIS favourite prosy tale of how he had once chased and punished a now famous man for stealing apples. Second Cousin Jane described all her sufferings with an ulcerating tooth. Aunt Wellington admired the pattern of Aunt Alberta’s silver teaspoons and lamented the fact that one of her own had been lost.
“It spoiled the set. I could never get it matched. And it was my wedding-present from dear old Aunt Matilda.”
Aunt Isabel thought the seasons were changing and couldn’t imagine what had become of our good, old-fashioned springs. Cousin Georgiana, as usual, discussed the last funeral and wondered, audibly, “which of us will be the next to pass away.” Cousin Georgiana could never say anything as blunt as “die.” Valancy thought she could tell her, but didn’t. Cousin Gladys, likewise as usual, had a grievance. Her visiting nephews had nipped all the buds off her house-plants and chivied her brood of fancy chickens – “squeezed some of them actually to death, my dear.”
“Boys will be boys,” reminded Uncle Herbert tolerantly.
“But they needn’t be ramping, rampageous animals,” retorted Cousin Gladys, looking round the table for appreciation of her wit. Everybody smiled except Valancy. Cousin Gladys remembered that. A few minutes later, when Ellen Hamilton was being discussed, Cousin Gladys spoke of her as “one of those shy, plain girls who can’t get husbands,” and glanced significantly at Valancy.
Uncle James thought the conversation was sagging to a rather low plane of personal gossip. He tried to elevate it by starting an abstract discussion on “the greatest happiness.” Everybody was asked to state his or her idea of “the greatest happiness.”
Aunt Mildred thought the greatest happiness – for a woman – was to be “a loving and beloved wife and mother.” Aunt Wellington thought it would be to travel in Europe. Olive thought it would be to be a great singer like Tetrazzini. Cousin Gladys remarked mournfully that HER greatest happiness would be to be free – absolutely free – from neuritis. Cousin Georgiana’s greatest happiness would be “to have her dear, dead brother Richard back.” Aunt Alberta remarked vaguely that the greatest happiness was to be found in “the poetry of life” and hastily gave some directions to her maid to prevent any one asking her what she meant. Mrs. Frederick said the greatest happiness was to spend your life in loving service for others, and Cousin Stickles and Aunt Isabel agreed with her—Aunt Isabel with a resentful air, as if she thought Mrs. Frederick had taken the wind out of her sails by saying it first. “We are all too prone,” continued Mrs. Frederick, determined not to lose so good an opportunity, “to live in selfishness, worldliness and sin.” The other women all felt rebuked for their low ideals, and Uncle James had a conviction that the conversation had been uplifted with a vengeance.
“The greatest happiness,” said Valancy suddenly and distinctly, “is to sneeze when you want to.”
Everybody stared. Nobody felt it safe to say anything. Was Valancy trying to be funny? It was incredible. Mrs. Frederick, who had been breathing easier since the dinner had progressed so far without any outbreak on the part of Valancy began to tremble again. But she deemed it the part of prudence to say nothing. Uncle Benjamin was not so prudent. He rashly rushed in where Mrs. Frederick feared to tread.
“Doss,” he chuckled, “what is the difference between a young girl and an old maid?”
“One is happy and careless and the other is cappy and hairless,” said Valancy. “You have asked that riddle at least fifty times in my recollection, Uncle Ben. Why don’t you hunt up some new riddles if riddle you MUST? It is such a fatal mistake to try to be funny if you don’t succeed.”
Uncle Benjamin stared foolishly. Never in his life had he, Benjamin Stirling, of Stirling and Frost, been spoken to so. And by Valancy of all people! He looked feebly around the table to see what the others thought of it. Everybody was looking rather blank. Poor Mrs. Frederick had shut her eyes. And her lips moved tremblingly – as if she were praying. Perhaps she was. The situation was so unprecedented that nobody knew how to meet it. Valancy went on calmly eating her salad as if nothing out of the usual had occurred.
Aunt Alberta, to save her dinner, plunged into an account of how a dog had bitten her recently. Uncle James, to back her up, asked where the dog had bitten her.
“Just a little below the Catholic church,” said Aunt Alberta.
At that point Valancy laughed. Nobody else laughed. What was there to laugh at?
“Is that a vital part?” asked Valancy.
“What do you mean?” said bewildered Aunt Alberta, and Mrs. Frederick was almost driven to believe that she had served God all her years for naught.
Aunt Isabel concluded that it was up to her to suppress Valancy.
“Doss, you are horribly thin,” she said. “You are ALL corners. Do you EVER try to fatten up a little?”
“No.” Valancy was not asking quarter or giving it. “But I can tell you where you’ll find a beauty parlour in Port Lawrence where they can reduce the number of your chins.”
“Val-an-cy!” The protest was wrung from Mrs. Frederick. She meant her tone to be stately and majestic, as usual, but it sounded more like an imploring whine. And she did not say “Doss.”
“She’s feverish,” said Cousin Stickles to Uncle Benjamin in an agonised whisper. “We’ve thought she’s seemed feverish for several days.”
“She’s gone dippy, in my opinion,” growled Uncle Benjamin. “If not, she ought to be spanked. Yes, spanked.”
“You can’t spank her.” Cousin Stickles was much agitated. “She’s twenty-nine years old.”
“So there is that advantage, at least, in being twenty-nine,” said Valancy, whose ears had caught this aside.
“Doss,” said Uncle Benjamin, “when I am dead you may say what you please. As long as I am alive I demand to be treated with respect.”
“Oh, but you know we’re all dead,” said Valancy, “the whole Stirling clan. Some of us are buried and some aren’t – yet. That is the only difference.”
“Doss,” said Uncle Benjamin, thinking it might cow Valancy, “do you remember the time you stole the raspberry jam?”
Valancy flushed scarlet – with suppressed laughter, not shame. She had been sure Uncle Benjamin would drag that jam in somehow.
“Of course I do,” she said. “It was good jam. I’ve always been sorry I hadn’t time to eat more of it before you found me. Oh, LOOK at Aunt Isabel’s profile on the wall. Did you ever see anything so funny?”
Everybody looked, including Aunt Isabel herself which of course, destroyed it. But Uncle Herbert said kindly, “I - I wouldn’t eat any more if I were you, Doss. It isn’t that I grudge it – but don’t you think it would be better for yourself? Your – your stomach seems a little out of order.”
“Don’t worry about my stomach, old dear,” said Valancy. “It is all right. I’m going to keep right on eating. It’s so seldom I get the chance of a satisfying meal.”
It was the first time any one had been called “old dear” in Deerwood. The Stirlings thought Valancy had invented the phrase and they were afraid of her from that moment. There was something so uncanny about such an expression. But in poor Mrs. Frederick’s opinion the reference to a satisfying meal was the worst thing Valancy had said yet. Valancy had always been a disappointment to her. Now she was a disgrace. She thought she would have to get up and go away from the table. Yet she dared not leave Valancy there.
Aunt Alberta’s maid came in to remove the salad plates and bring in the dessert. It was a welcome diversion. Everybody brightened up with a determination to ignore Valancy and talk as if she wasn’t there. Uncle Wellington mentioned Barney Snaith. Eventually somebody did mention Barney Snaith at every Stirling function, Valancy reflected. Whatever he was, he was an individual that could not be ignored. She resigned herself to listen. There was a subtle fascination in the subject for her, though she had not yet faced this fact. She could feel her pulses beating to her finger- tips.
Of course they abused him. Nobody ever had a good word to say of Barney Snaith. All the old, wild tales were canvassed—the defaulting cashier-counterfeiter-infidel-murderer-in-hiding legends were thrashed out. Uncle Wellington was very indignant that such a creature should be allowed to exist at all in the neighbourhood of Deerwood. He didn’t know what the police at Port Lawrence were thinking of. Everybody would be murdered in their beds some night. It was a shame that he should be allowed to be at large after all that he had done.
“What HAS he done?” asked Valancy suddenly.
Uncle Wellington stared at her, forgetting that she was to be ignored.
“Done! Done! He’s done EVERYTHING.”
“WHAT has he done?” repeated Valancy inexorably. “What do you KNOW that he has done? You’re always running him down. And what has ever been proved against him?”
“I don’t argue with women,” said Uncle Wellington. “And I don’t need proof. When a man hides himself up there on an island in Muskoka, year in and year out, and nobody can find out where he came from or how he lives, or what he does there, THAT’S proof enough. Find a mystery and you find a crime.”
“The very idea of a man named Snaith!” said Second Cousin Sarah. “Why, the name itself is enough to condemn him!”
“I wouldn’t like to meet him in a dark lane,” shivered Cousin Georgiana.
“What do you suppose he would do to you?” asked Valancy.
“Murder me,” said Cousin Georgiana solemnly.
“Just for the fun of it?” suggested Valancy.
“Exactly,” said Cousin Georgiana unsuspiciously. “When there is so much smoke there must be some fire. I was afraid he was a criminal when he came here first. I FELT he had something to hide. I am not often mistaken in my intuitions.”
“Criminal! Oh course he’s a criminal,” said Uncle Wellington. “Nobody doubts it” – glaring at Valancy. “Why, they say he served a term in the penitentiary for embezzlement. I don’t doubt it. And they say he’s in with that gang that are perpetrating all those bank robberies round the country.”
“WHO say?” asked Valancy.
Uncle Wellington knotted his ugly forehead at her. What had got into this confounded girl, anyway? He ignored the question.
“He has the identical look of a jail-bird,” snapped Uncle Benjamin. “I noticed it the first time I saw him.”
“’A fellow by the hand of nature marked, Quoted and sighed to do a deed of shame’,”declaimed Uncle James. He looked enormously pleased over the managing to work that quotation in at last. He had been waiting all his life for the chance.
“One of his eyebrows is an arch and the other is a triangle,” said Valancy. “Is THAT why you think him so villainous?”
Uncle James lifted HIS eyebrows. Generally when Uncle James lifted his eyebrows the world came to an end. This time it continued to function.
“How do YOU know his eyebrows so well, Doss?” asked Olive, a trifle maliciously. Such a remark would have covered Valancy with confusion two weeks ago, and Olive knew it.
“Yes, how?” demanded Aunt Wellington.
“I’ve seen him twice and I looked at him closely,” said Valancy composedly. “I thought his face the most interesting one I ever saw.”
“There is no doubt there is something fishy in the creature’s past life,” said Olive, who began to think she was decidedly out of the conversation, which had centred so amazingly around Valancy. “But he can hardly be guilty of EVERYTHING he’s accused of, you know.”
Valancy felt annoyed with Olive. Why should SHE speak up in even this qualified defence of Barney Snaith? What had she to do with him? For that matter, what had Valancy? But Valancy did not ask herself this question.
“They say he keeps dozens of cats in that hut up back on Mistawis,” said Second Cousin Sarah Taylor, by way of appearing not entirely ignorant of him.
Cats. It sounded quite alluring to Valancy, in the plural. She pictured an island in Muskoka haunted by pussies.
“That alone shows there is something wrong with him,” decreed Aunt Isabel.
“People who don’t like cats,” said Valancy, attacking her dessert with a relish, “always seem to think that there is some peculiar virtue in not liking them.”
“The man hasn’t a friend except Roaring Abel,” said Uncle Wellington. “And if Roaring Abel had kept away from him, as everybody else did, it would have been better for – for some members of his family.”
Uncle Wellington’s rather lame conclusion was due to a marital glance from Aunt Wellington reminding him of what he had almost forgotten – that there were girls at the table.
“If you mean,” said Valancy passionately, “that Barney Snaith is the father of Cecily Gay’s child, he ISN’T. It’s a wicked lie.”
In spite of her indignation Valancy was hugely amused at the expression of the faces around that festal table. She had not seen anything like it since the day, seventeen years ago, when at Cousin Gladys’ thimble party, they discovered that she had got – SOMETHING – in her head at school. LICE in her head! Valancy was done with euphemisms.
Poor Mrs. Frederick was almost in a state of collapse. She had believed – or pretended to believe – the Valancy still supposed that children were found in parsley beds.
“Hush – hush!” implored Cousin Stickles.
“I don’t mean to hush,” said Valancy perversely. “I’ve hush-hushed all my life. I’ll scream if I want to. Don’t make me want to. And stop talking nonsense about Barney Snaith.”
Valancy didn’t exactly understand her own indignation. What did Barney Snaith’s imputed crimes and misdemeanours matter to her? And why, out of them all, did it seem most intolerable that he should have been poor, pitiful little Cecily Gay’s false lover? For it DID seem intolerable to her. She did not mind when they called him a thief and a counterfeiter and jail-bird; but she could not endure to think that he had loved and ruined Cecily Gay. She recalled his face on the two occasions of their chance meetings – his twisted, enigmatic, engaging smile, his twinkle, his thin, sensitive, almost ascetic lips, his general air of frank daredeviltry. A man with such a smile and lips might have murdered or stolen but he could not have betrayed. She suddenly hated every one who said it or believed it of him.
“When I was a young girl I never thought or spoke about such matters, Doss,” said Aunt Wellington, crushingly.
“But I’m not a young girl,” retorted Valancy, uncrushed. “Aren’t you always rubbing that into me? And you are all evil-minded, senseless gossips. Can’t you leave poor Cissy Gay alone? She’s dying. Whatever she did, God or the Devil has punished her enough for it. You needn’t take a hand, too. As for Barney Snaith, the only crime he has been guilty of is living to himself and minding his own business. He can, it seems, get along without you. Which IS an unpardonable sin, of course, in your little snobocracy.” Valancy coined that concluding word suddenly and felt that it was an inspiration. That was exactly what they were and not one of them was fit to mend another.
“Valancy, your poor father would turn over in his grave if he could hear you,” said Mrs. Frederick.
“I dare say he would like that for a change,” said Valancy brazenly.
“Doss,” said Uncle James heavily, “the Ten Commandments are fairly up to date still – especially the fifth. Have you forgotten that?”
“No,” said Valancy, “but I thought YOU had – especially the ninth. Have you ever thought, Uncle James, how dull life would be without the Ten Commandments? It is only when things are forbidden that they become fascinating.”
But her excitement had been too much for her. She knew, by certain unmistakable warnings, that one of her attacks of pain was coming on. It must not find her there. She rose from her chair.
“I am going home now. I only came for the dinner. It was very good, Aunt Alberta, although your salad-dressing is not salt enough and a dash of cayenne would improve it.”
None of the flabbergasted silver wedding guests could think of anything to say until the lawn gate clanged behind Valancy in the dusk. Then –
“She’s feverish – I’ve said right along she was feverish,” moaned Cousin Stickles.
Uncle Benjamin punished his pudgy left hand fiercely with his pudgy right.
“She’s dippy – I tell you she’s gone dippy,” he snorted angrily. “That’s all there is about it. Clean dippy.”
“Oh, Benjamin,” said Cousin Georgiana soothingly, “don’t condemn her too rashly. We MUST remember what dear old Shakespeare says – that charity thinketh no evil.”
“Charity! Poppy-cock!” snorted Uncle Benjamin. “I never heard a young woman talk such stuff in my life as she just did. Talking about things she ought to be ashamed to think of, much less mention. Blaspheming! Insulting US! What she wants is a generous dose of spank-weed and I’d like to be the one to administer it. H- uh-h-h-h!” Uncle Benjamin gulped down the half of a scalding cup of coffee.
“Do you suppose that the mumps could work on a person that way?” wailed Cousin Stickles.
“I opened an umbrella in the house yesterday,” sniffed Cousin Georgiana. “I KNEW it betokened some misfortune.”
“Have you tried to find out if she has a temperature?” asked Cousin Mildred.
“She wouldn’t let Amelia put the thermometer under her tongue,” whimpered Cousin Stickles.
Mrs. Frederick was openly in tears. All her defences were down.
“I must tell you,” she sobbed, “that Valancy has been acting very strangely for over two weeks now. She hasn’t been a bit like herself – Christine could tell you. I have hoped against hope that it was only one of her colds coming on. But it is – it must be something worse.”
“This is bringing on my neuritis again,” said Cousin Gladys, putting her hand to her head.
“Don’t cry, Amelia,” said Herbert kindly, pulling nervously at his spiky grey hair. He hated “family ructions.” Very inconsiderate of Doss to start one at HIS silver wedding. Who could have supposed she had it in her? “You’ll have to take her to a doctor. This may be only a - er – a brainstorm. There are such things as brainstorms nowadays, aren’t there?”
“I - I suggested consulting a doctor to her yesterday,” moaned Mrs. Frederick. “And she said she wouldn’t go to a doctor – wouldn’t. Oh, surely I have had trouble enough!”