29 July

29 July 1920

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead - London

[. . .] And you really won't mind Susannah's bed for the night, Mr Taylor? said Mrs Downing anxiously, pouring him out a second cup of tea.
Not at all Mrs Downing. I shall be as happy as a king, said good cheerful Mr Taylor.
At that moment Susannah herself came in from the garden. She leaned her elbows upon the round walnut table, crossed her legs, & cupped her burning cheeks in her hands. But Susannah's eyes opened very wide. Her lips parted. She stared first at her Mother & then at Mr Taylor's black coat, gleaming collar & big yellow hands.
Is Mr Taylor going to sleep in my bed, Mother? said she, astounded.
Yes dear but only for tonight, said her mother, absently folding a piece of bread & butter. Mr Taylor smiled his broad smile. She imagined him lying in her bed, his head tilted back, snoring like he snored on Sunday afternoons.
How awful.
With me, she asked, horrified.
Mother flushed faintly & Mr Taylor gave a loud snort that might have been laughter.
Don't be such a silly little girl, Susannah. Of course not. You are going to sleep in the spare room with Miss Skeritt.
This was more mysterious still. Oh dear! Why were grownups like this.
She had only run in for a piece of bread & butter. She wanted to get back to the garden & here they were sitting in this dark room - it looked very dark & the white cups shone on the walnut table like lilies on a lake after the bright outside.  [KM Notebooks, undated]