Chapter 12: Twelfth Chapter
"These abrupt changes of vegetation--this little spongeous
tract of water plants, and on either side of it all the growths
are tough or brittle--heather, bracken, hurts, pines. Very
charming, very charming.
"Mr. Beebe, aren't you bathing?" called Freddy, as he stripped
Mr. Beebe thought he was not.
"Water's wonderful!" cried Freddy, prancing in.
"Water's water," murmured George. Wetting his hair first--a sure
sign of apathy--he followed Freddy into the divine, as
indifferent as if he were a statue and the pond a pail of
soapsuds. It was necessary to use his muscles. It was necessary
to keep clean. Mr. Beebe watched them, and watched the seeds of
the willow-herb dance chorically above their heads.
"Apooshoo, apooshoo, apooshoo," went Freddy, swimming for two
strokes in either direction, and then becoming involved in reeds
"Is it worth it?" asked the other, Michelangelesque on the
The bank broke away, and he fell into the pool before he had
weighed the question properly.
"Hee-poof--I've swallowed a pollywog, Mr. Beebe, water's
wonderful, water's simply ripping."
"Water's not so bad," said George, reappearing from his plunge,
and sputtering at the sun.
"Water's wonderful. Mr. Beebe, do."
Mr. Beebe, who was hot, and who always acquiesced where possible,
looked around him. He could detect no parishioners except the
pine-trees, rising up steeply on all sides, and gesturing to each
other against the blue. How glorious it was! The world of
motor-cars and rural Deans receded inimitably. Water, sky,
evergreens, a wind--these things not even the seasons can touch,
and surely they lie beyond the intrusion of man?