Chapter 12: Twelfth Chapter
It was a Saturday afternoon, gay and brilliant after abundant
rains, and the spirit of youth dwelt in it, though the season was
now autumn. All that was gracious triumphed. As the motorcars
passed through Summer Street they raised only a little dust, and
their stench was soon dispersed by the wind and replaced by the
scent of the wet birches or of the pines. Mr. Beebe, at leisure
for life's amenities, leant over his Rectory gate. Freddy leant
by him, smoking a pendant pipe.
"Suppose we go and hinder those new people opposite for a
"They might amuse you."
Freddy, whom his fellow-creatures never amused, suggested that
the new people might be feeling a bit busy, and so on, since they
had only just moved in.
"I suggested we should hinder them," said Mr. Beebe. "They are
worth it." Unlatching the gate, he sauntered over the triangular
green to Cissie Villa. "Hullo!" he cried, shouting in at the open
door, through which much squalor was visible.
A grave voice replied, "Hullo!"
"I've brought some one to see you."
"I'll be down in a minute."
The passage was blocked by a wardrobe, which the removal men had
failed to carry up the stairs. Mr. Beebe edged round it with
difficulty. The sitting-room itself was blocked with books.
"Are these people great readers?" Freddy whispered. "Are they
"I fancy they know how to read--a rare accomplishment. What have
they got? Byron. Exactly. A Shropshire Lad. Never heard of it.
The Way of All Flesh. Never heard of it. Gibbon. Hullo! dear
George reads German. Um--um--Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and so we
go on. Well, I suppose your generation knows its own business,
"Mr. Beebe, look at that," said Freddy in awestruck tones.