Chapter 18: Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and The Servants
Windy Corner lay, not on the summit of the ridge, but a few
hundred feet down the southern slope, at the springing of one of
the great buttresses that supported the hill. On either side of
it was a shallow ravine, filled with ferns and pine-trees, and
down the ravine on the left ran the highway into the Weald.
Whenever Mr. Beebe crossed the ridge and caught sight of these
noble dispositions of the earth, and, poised in the middle of
them, Windy Corner,--he laughed. The situation was so glorious,
the house so commonplace, not to say impertinent. The late Mr.
Honeychurch had affected the cube, because it gave him the most
accommodation for his money, and the only addition made by his
widow had been a small turret, shaped like a rhinoceros' horn,
where she could sit in wet weather and watch the carts going up
and down the road. So impertinent--and yet the house "did," for
it was the home of people who loved their surroundings honestly.
Other houses in the neighborhood had been built by expensive
architects, over others their inmates had fidgeted sedulously,
yet all these suggested the accidental, the temporary; while
Windy Corner seemed as inevitable as an ugliness of Nature's own
creation. One might laugh at the house, but one never shuddered.
Mr. Beebe was bicycling over this Monday afternoon with a piece
of gossip. He had heard from the Miss Alans. These admirable
ladies, since they could not go to Cissie Villa, had changed
their plans. They were going to Greece instead.
"Since Florence did my poor sister so much good," wrote Miss
Catharine, "we do not see why we should not try Athens this
winter. Of course, Athens is a plunge, and the doctor has ordered
her special digestive bread; but, after all, we can take that
with us, and it is only getting first into a steamer and then
into a train. But is there an English Church?" And the letter
went on to say: "I do not expect we shall go any further than
Athens, but if you knew of a really comfortable pension at
Constantinople, we should be so grateful."