Yes, said Mamma, this is the worst of life, that love does not give us common sense but is a sure way of losing it. We love people, and we say that we are going to do more for them than friendship, but it makes such fools of us that we do far less, indeed sometimes what we do could be mistaken for the work of hatred.
It seemed certain that Mrs Morpurgo must be kind and noble, for her husband said she was beautiful, and no beautiful woman would have married such an ugly man, had she not valued goodness above everything.
It was one of those autumn mornings which are devoid of melancholy, when the weather seems to be cleaning its house. A broom of wind sent the clouds above flying briskly and kept the fallen leaves scudding along the pavements, the trees looked as if they were being stripped to let the rains get at them better.
I was like a sea pulled by two moons. This must mean a boiling of the waters, tides that rushed up and carried away structures meant for living in, and then receded till earth that should be covered lay naked.
We more or less forgot about the enigmatic incident when we were out for our walk and at our practice, for we never would have succeeded in getting through our childhood if we had not cultivated the art of ignoring the unpleasant till it was forced on our attention.
Behind it was that vast suspension bridge which always troubles me because it reminds me that in this mechanized age I am as little able to understand my environment as any primitive woman who thinks that a waterfall is inhabited by a spirit, and indeed less so, for her opinion might from a poetical point of view be correct.
Every now and then he used to give us counsels of this sort, which might have been relevant to his childhood, but were not to ours, and I think, from my recollections of his bearing at such moments, that he then felt pride because for once he was properly discharging his duties as a father.
For a long time we watched her as she went along the drive, her yellowish raincoat looking sick and bright in the sharp sunshine, her black plumes nodding like the pines above, her cheap boots making her walk on her heels, a spreading stain on the fabric of our life.