Chapter 12: Twelfth Chapter
"Well, I can't help it," said a voice close ahead, and Freddy
reared a freckled face and a pair of snowy shoulders out of the
fronds. "I can't be trodden on, can I?"
"Good gracious me, dear; so it's you! What miserable management!
Why not have a comfortable bath at home, with hot and cold laid
"Look here, mother, a fellow must wash, and a fellow's got to
dry, and if another fellow--"
"Dear, no doubt you're right as usual, but you are in no position
to argue. Come, Lucy." They turned. "Oh, look--don't look! Oh,
poor Mr. Beebe! How unfortunate again--"
For Mr. Beebe was just crawling out of the pond, On whose surface
garments of an intimate nature did float; while George, the
world-weary George, shouted to Freddy that he had hooked a fish.
"And me, I've swallowed one," answered he of the bracken. "I've
swallowed a pollywog. It wriggleth in my tummy. I shall die--
Emerson you beast, you've got on my bags."
"Hush, dears," said Mrs. Honeychurch, who found it impossible to
remain shocked. "And do be sure you dry yourselves thoroughly
first. All these colds come of not drying thoroughly."
"Mother, do come away," said Lucy. "Oh for goodness' sake, do
"Hullo!" cried George, so that again the ladies stopped.
He regarded himself as dressed. Barefoot, bare-chested, radiant
and personable against the shadowy woods, he called:
"Hullo, Miss Honeychurch! Hullo!"
"Bow, Lucy; better bow. Whoever is it? I shall bow."
Miss Honeychurch bowed.
That evening and all that night the water ran away. On the morrow
the pool had shrunk to its old size and lost its glory. It had
been a call to the blood and to the relaxed will, a passing
benediction whose influence did not pass, a holiness, a spell, a
momentary chalice for youth.