Mr. Britling Sees It Through

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Book: Read Mr. Britling Sees It Through for Free Online
Authors: H. G. Wells
hunt in any old clothes. Our soil is a rich succulent clay; it becomes semifluid in winter—when we go about in waders shooting duck. All our finger-posts have been twisted round by facetious men years ago. And we pool our breeds of hens and pigs. Our roses and oaks are wonderful; that alone shows that this is the real England. If I wanted to play golf—which I don’t, being a decent Essex man—I should have to motor ten miles into Hertfordshire. And for rheumatics and longevity Surrey can’t touch us. I want you to be clear on these points, because they really will affect your impressions of this place. … This country is a part of the real England—England outside London and outside manufacturers. It’s one with Wessex and Mercia or old Yorkshire—or for the matter of that with Meath or Lothian. And it’s the essential England still. …”
    Â§ 11
    It detracted a little from Mr. Direck’s appreciation of this flow of information that it was taking them away from therest of the company. He wanted to see more of his new-found cousin, and what the baby and the Bengali gentleman—whom manifestly one mustn’t call “coloured”—and the large-nosed lady and all the other inexplicables would get up to. Instead of which Mr. Britling was leading him off alone with an air of showing him round the premises, and talking too rapidly and variously for a question to be got in edgeways, much less any broaching of the matter that Mr. Direck had come over to settle.
    There was quite a lot of rose-garden, it made the air delicious, and it was full of great tumbling bushes of roses and of neglected standards, and it had a long pergola of creepers and trailers and a great arbour, and underneath over the beds everywhere, contrary to all the rules, the blossom of a multitude of pansies and stock and little trailing plants swarmed and crowded and scrimmaged and drilled and fought great massed attacks. And then Mr. Britling talked their way round a red-walled vegetable-garden with an abundance of fruit-trees, and through a door into a terraced square that had once been a farmyard, outside the converted barn. The barn doors had been replaced by a door-pierced window of glass, and in the middle of the square space a deep tank had been made, full of rain-water, in which Mr. Britling remarked casually that “everybody” bathed when the weather was hot. Thyme and rosemary and such-like sweet-scented things grew on the terrace about the tank, and ten trimmed little trees of arbor vitae stood sentinel. Mr. Direck was tantalisingly aware that beyond some lilac-bushes were his newfound cousin and the kindred young woman in blue playing tennis with the Indian and another young man, while whenever it was necessary the large-nosed lady crossed the stage and brooded soothingly over the perambulator. And Mr. Britling, choosing a seat from which Mr. Direck just couldn’t lookcomfortably through the green branches at the flying glimpses of pink and blue and white and brown, continued to talk about England and America in relation to each other and everything else under the sun.
    Presently through a distant gate the two small boys were momentarily visible wheeling small but serviceable bicycles, followed after a little interval by the German tutor. Then an enormous grey cat came slowly across the garden court, and sat down to listen respectfully to Mr. Britling. The afternoon sky was an intense blue, with little puff-balls of cloud lined out across it.
    Occasionally, from chance remarks of Mr. Britling’s, Mr. Direck was led to infer that his first impressions as an American visitor were being related to his host, but as a matter of fact he was permitted to relate nothing; Mr. Britling did all the talking. He sat beside his guest and spirted and played ideas and reflections like a happy fountain in the sunshine.
    Mr. Direck sat comfortably, and smoked with quiet appreciation the

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