Chapter 10: Cecil as a Humourist
"Well, if they are coming-- No, Minnie, not Saturn." Saturn was a
tennis-ball whose skin was partially unsewn. When in motion his
orb was encircled by a ring. "If they are coming, Sir Harry will
let them move in before the twenty-ninth, and he will cross out
the clause about whitewashing the ceilings, because it made them
nervous, and put in the fair wear and tear one.--That doesn't
count. I told you not Saturn."
"Saturn's all right for bumble-puppy," cried Freddy, joining
them. "Minnie, don't you listen to her."
"Saturn doesn't bounce."
"Saturn bounces enough."
"No, he doesn't."
"Well; he bounces better than the Beautiful White Devil."
"Hush, dear," said Mrs. Honeychurch.
"But look at Lucy--complaining of Saturn, and all the time's got
the Beautiful White Devil in her hand, ready to plug it in.
That's right, Minnie, go for her--get her over the shins with the
racquet--get her over the shins!"
Lucy fell, the Beautiful White Devil rolled from her hand.
Mr. Beebe picked it up, and said: "The name of this ball is
Vittoria Corombona, please." But his correction passed
Freddy possessed to a high degree the power of lashing little
girls to fury, and in half a minute he had transformed Minnie
from a well-mannered child into a howling wilderness. Up in the
house Cecil heard them, and, though he was full of entertaining
news, he did not come down to impart it, in case he got hurt. He
was not a coward and bore necessary pain as well as any man. But
he hated the physical violence of the young. How right it was!
Sure enough it ended in a cry.
"I wish the Miss Alans could see this," observed Mr. Beebe, just
as Lucy, who was nursing the injured Minnie, was in turn lifted
off her feet by her brother.