The Red House/Chapter 1
CONVENTIONALLY our life-story ended in a shower of rice at the church door, amid the scent of white flowers, with a flutter of white favors all about us. We left behind us those relatives whose presence had been so little desired by us during our brief courtship, and a high-heeled white satin slipper struck the back of the brougham as we drove off. It was like a parting slap on the shoulder from our old life—the old life which we left so gayly, eager to fulfil the destiny set as the end of our wooing's fairy story, and to “live happy ever after.”
And now all that was six months ago; and instead of attending to that destiny, the fairy princess and her unworthy prince were plunged over head and ears in their first quarrel—their first serious quarrel—about the real and earnest things of life; for the other little quarrels about matters of sentiment and the affections really did not count. They were only play and make-believe; still, they had got our hands in, so that when we really differed seriously we both knew exactly how to behave—we had played at quarrels so often. This quarrel was very serious, because it was about my shaving-brush and Chloe's handkerchief-case. There was a cupboard with a window—Chloe called it my dressing-room, and, at first, I humored her pretty fancy about it, and pretended that I could really see to shave in a glass that faced the window, although my shoulders, as I stood, cut off all light. But even then I used really to shave at Chloe's mirror after she had gone down to make the tea and boil the eggs—only I kept my shaving things in the embroidered vestments which my wife's affection provided and her fingers worked, and these lived in the “dressing-room.” But the subterfuge presently seemed unworthy, and I found myself, in the ardor of a truthful nature, leaving my soapy brush on her toilet-table. Chloe called this untidiness, and worse, and urged that I had a dressing-room. Then I put the brush away. This had happened more than once.
On this memorable morning I had set up the pretty ivory shaving-brush, clean and pleasant with its white crown of lather, among her hair-brushes. Chloe came up just then to ask me whether I would have two or three eggs. Her entrance startled me. I cut myself slightly, but infuriatingly, and knocked the brush down. It fell on Chloe's handkerchief-case—pink satin, painted with rose and cupids, a present. Chloe snatched it up.
“You are horrid,” she said. “Why don't you shave in your own dressing-room?”
“Whatever does it matter?” said I.
“My sachet's ruined,” she said, dabbing at it with her pocket-handkerchief.
My chin was still bleeding.
“It's no use,” she went on. “I spend all my time trying to keep the house nice, and you're always putting things down on things. You put your hateful fountain-pen down on the new drawn-linen table-centre only yesterday, and it's made a great ink mark. Yes, you did—when you were writing the check for the butcher.”
I was ill-advised enough to murmur something about trifles.
“But they're not trifles,” said Chloe. “They're just the little things that make all the difference between a home and—”
“And other places. Breakfast will be quite spoiled. You're frightfully late. And I don't think this girl means to stay; she's been quite rude about the haddock already.”
Now that I knew what my wife was so cross about, I might, perhaps—but I didn't. My chin was still bleeding.
I said, “Please don't wait breakfast for me, and began to brush my hair with a dignified aloofness. Chloe went out, and I own that she banged the door.
When I was ready I went down to breakfast. Chloe was reading the paper—a thing she never does. She poured out my tea and gave it to me without a glance. Thanking her coldly, I helped myself to haddock and opened my letters.
It was with the second letter that the shock came. I read the letter twice. And I looked round our little dining-room—it was about ten feet by nine—and I sighed. For I knew—surely if inexplicably—that the dove of peace which had folded its wings there had spread them on a flight from which it would, perhaps, never return. I had quarrelled with my wife—about a shaving-brush; but that episode had now shrunk to less than nothing in the presence of the new, the wonderful danger that threatened our home.
I looked at the neat breakfast-table, bright with our wedding-presents—cruet-stands, butter-dishes, and silver-plated teaspoons. I looked at the row of shelves over the mantel-piece, where the more attractive of our crockery stood displayed; at the corner cupboard, picked up for a song in Great Portland Street, and fitted with a lock inexorably guarding the marmalade, the loaf sugar, the sardines, the bottled beer, and such like costly items. I looked at Chloe, mutinously reading the paper—in a white muslin blouse which had been green, with white flowers on it, when we bought it together in the Lewisham High Street for twopence three farthings the yard, and which to my mind was all the prettier for the theft, by soap and water, of its original hue and design. I looked at the remains of the haddock on the dish, the two eggs in the eggstand—another wedding-present. And again I sighed.
Chloe laid down the paper irresolutely and looked towards, but not at, me.
I sighed again and stirred my tea. I could see that Chloe was making a heroic resolve to overcome her pride and end the quarrel. She did it.
“Are you sorry you were so cross?” she asked, severely.
“Frightfully sorry.” I spoke from the heart.
“Then so am I!” she cried. And suddenly the first quarrel found itself over. Presently we went on with the breakfast. To be more accurate, we began. But my thoughts refused to bury themselves in the beefsteak-pudding which Chloe unfolded as a brilliant dinner prospect, and I sighed once more.
“What is the matter now? Have you forgotten that you're not cross any more, and you're never going to be again—or—is the haddock really like she said?” Chloe asked, making horseshoes in her pretty forehead, as she always does when life presents to her any problem not immediately soluble in a laugh or a joke. “Is it another bill? Never mind! I'll ask them to wait. You'll get the check for that detective story on Monday, if the editor has a thread of conscience left, and I'll go up to town to-morrow and draw the money from old Moses for those last drawings of ‘The Holy Life.’”
“It's not a bill, madam,” I said, “and Moses can send his money by post. To-morrow we have another errand. To-day, alas! I must finish my article for the Weekly Wilderness.”
“Do you want to drive me to suicide?” she asked. “Give me the letter!”
“Allow me,” I said, “the melancholy pleasure of communicating its contents. If you have quite finished your eggs and things you may come and sit on my knee.”
She came and perched there.
“Don't be a pig, Len,” she said. “I'm not a baby, to have bad news broken to me.”
Then I put my arm round her and spoke out roundly.
“My dear,” I said, “we are ruined.”
“Oh, Len, are we really?” said Chloe, much interested.
“Yes,” I said, firmly. “Hitherto we've worked for our living and earned it. Now we are degraded from the ranks of the noble army of workers. My uncle James has died, and he has left us a hundred a year and a house. Our independence gone—it's a cruel blow! We'll ride over and see it to-morrow as ever is.”
I am not sure that Chloe did not weep for joy. Though as a rule, one knows, that sort of weeping is only done in books. You see, we really had worked so very, very hard. However much in love one may be, one does not like to work ten hours a day. Though two may not grudge it as the price of life together. I wrote, Chloe illustrated—we worked hard—hard—hard, and earned enough to keep body and soul and the two of us together in our microscopic house.
“The Bandbox” we called it, but on its gatepost it called itself Ross Villa. And now—a hundred a year, and a house—such a house. It came back to me out of my youth, a monument of comfortable affluence, with vineries and pineries, and pits and frames, clean-shaved lawns and trim orchards, yew avenues, box edgings, stabling and coach-houses and pigsties and henneries. Chloe and I clung together in an ecstasy, till “the girl” came in to clear away breakfast. I never saw anything more dramatic than the way in which she indicated, as she bore out the empty dish, that her opinion of the haddock was not only entirely unaltered, but indeed confirmed, by our having eaten it.
My article for the Weekly Wilderness got itself written somehow, but with difficulty, for Chloe, demoralized by our good fortune, interrupted me at every sentence—a thing we have carefully trained each other not to do.
“Has it a garden?” she asked, suddenly, stopping in front of me with a compelling wave of her wand, or feather brush. “Are you sure it has a garden?”
“More or less,” I said. “Don't chatter, there's an angel.”
“And out-houses?” after a pause and an interval of fluffy energy.
“Of sorts,” I said; “but don't talk, my dearest child. You lost me an epigram then.”
“I am so sorry—but—since you are interrupted—dear, dearer, dearest Len, tell me in six words, what is the Red House like?”
“It's not red at all—at least only one wing of it. It's a big yellow house—stands all alone in fields. Has a great alarm-bell and, I believe, a ghost. Now be quiet or I shall slap you. To-morrow we'll see it.”
But the interruption ruined a delightful sentence, conceived in a spirit of the most delicate irony, and dealing with the late deplorable action of the London water companies—and again I experienced that premonition of unrest. Never again, I felt certain, should I be able to be sure of a clear morning's work. I made allowances for my wife. I was not, I feel certain, unjust or unreasonable, but I saw that while the house and the money were new topics, she could not be expected to preserve on them the hours of silence which my writing exacted. And by the time the topics were stale, the beautiful habit of letting each other alone during working-hours would have been broken forever. I laid down my fountain-pen to make these reflections. I heard Chloe pulling out drawers and opening cupboards in our room overhead. Yet before I could snatch up my pen she had whirled in and caught me idle.
“Oh, you're not doing anything. Then I sha'n't interrupt you if I just ask whether there's a hen-house.”
“I don't know,” I said, beginning to write very fast, and not sufficiently grateful, I fear, for her indifference to the money as compared with the house. “Why don't you settle down to your work? This is the beginning of the ruin I foresaw.”
“I—I don't think I'll work to-day,” she said, guiltily. “I'm looking over some things. But I won't bother.”
But she was back again in less than half an hour with a question about larders burning on her lips, and my article degenerated from the clear, sustained logical argument which it meant to be, to a piece of patch-work—of patch-work ill fitted. I became desperate, and avenged my poor broken article by telling Chloe anything rather than the truth about my uncle's old house. In the end this disingenuousness was paid for to the uttermost. If I had prepared her, if I had had the intelligence to overpaint, even, the charms of that old house—but I was firm, firm to the point of spitefulness. “A yellow brick house, as ugly as a lunatic asylum, standing alone in the fields, bearing an alarm-bell and a ghostly reputation.” This was the most she got out of me.
My piece of patch-work got its last stitches put in sooner than I expected. I put it in its envelope, addressed it, and went up to our room.
All the wardrobe drawers were pulled out. Chloe was sitting on the floor amid a heap of stuffs—a roll of chintz which her mother had given her for covers to our drawing-room furniture, if ever we had any; some bits of velvet, soft reds and greens, that we had bought together at Liberty's sale; and she was snipping and tearing at a muslin and lace gown—a gown I had always admired. I remember she wore it to breakfast the day after our wedding. I felt as though my tenderest memories were being unpicked, stitch by stitch.
“What on earth—” I said. She looked up with a flush of excitement on her little face.
“Oh, Len, look here. Don't you think these velvets would cover some cushions very nicely? And the chintz would make lovely long curtains, and I thought I could get at least four short blinds out of this muslin for the new house.”
My blood actually ran cold. I sat down suddenly on the clothes-basket. Chloe was not too preoccupied to tell me not to, for perhaps the twentieth time.
“You know it won't bear your weight,” she said. “Look here. I shall put the lace like that, and like that, and tie it back with yellow ribbon. I've got a soft sash here.”
She got up, scattering muslin and velvet, and began to turn over a corner drawer. I found a trembling tongue.
“But, my dear child, we can't live in the house.”
She dropped a lace scarf and her best ivory prayer-book to look at me.
“It's too big. We can't afford it.”
“But we pay rent for this—and we shouldn't for that.”
“It's impossible. Why, of course we must let it. It ought to bring us in a couple of hundred a year.”
Chloe's eyes actually filled with tears.
“My dear, my dear,” I said, “this is very terrible. Is it possible that after so short a time I find you longing to leave the Bandbox—our own little Bandbox—the pride and joy of our hearts?”
She came to me then and asked me not to be so horrid.
“Don't tease,” she said, “just when I was so pleased, too! You don't know how I hate the people next door, Len. Oh, fancy having no one next door! I'd live in a barn on those terms.”
I talked to her in a thoroughly reasonable way, and she presently promised that she also would be reasonable. She agreed that we must let the house. Also she insisted that as I had finished my work, we should go at once and look at it. I in my turn agreed. It was while I was lacing my boots that she said, sighing:
“Well, it is hard. But you say it's absolutely hideous—that's one comfort.”
Even then I might have put up an arm to ward off the blow fate was aiming at me, but my bootlace was in a hard knot, and I said nothing on any other subject.
In the hour when afternoon ends and evening begins, we set out to see the Red House. We rode our bicycles, of course. Poor as we were, we could yet command, on the hire system, machines which, at any rate, in their first youth, might have been the desire of princes. Once we had passed the dusty avenue of little villas (wherein our Bandbox, the corner house, squeezed in between two more portly brethren, is of all the most unworthy), and had done the three miles of respectable semi-detachedness which form on this side of town the outer fringe of London's loathly suburbs, our way lay through green lanes where hawthorns were budding in pink and pearl. And here I received a final note of warning.
“Oh, Len,” Chloe sighed, reining in her shining steed to gaze wistfully on the trim green of the scattered suburban pleasaunces, “if we could only live out here—away from the washing and the organ-grinders and the people next door! Oh—I know we can't—but I wish we could.”
“I wish so, too,” I said, briskly. It was merely a polite acquiescence in her aspiration, but it was noted. I, blind mole, noted nothing. The most explicit warnings pass us by unheeded; it is only after the doom stroke has fallen that we perceive the significance of portents.
We climbed the hill and passed through the long, sunny village street, clamorous now with bean-feasters and superior private pleasure parties in wagonettes drawn up in front of the “Spotted Dog” and “The Chequers” and the “Castle Hotel,” for was it not Saturday, and the village but a bare ten miles from Charing Cross? Then came the sharp turn to the left, the delicious downward rush through hawthorn-scented air, the black bar of shadow from the railway bridge, a red cottage, a red wall, tall chestnut-trees, pyramids of green fan-leaves and miraculous-scented flowers—a green gate.
“This is it,” I said, and Chloe brought down the brake in that reckless way of hers, and sprang to the ground. The sun-blistered, old, green gate swung long and wide on loud, red, rusty hinges as we led our beasts in. We left them under the biggest of the chestnut-trees, and walked up the wide, moss-grown drive to where the front door, fortified by heavy stone pillars, seemed to defy us, the besiegers.
“Is this really it?” asked Chloe, in a whisper. And well might she ask. The yellow brick on which in my talk I had laid so much stress was hidden almost—at any rate transformed, transfigured—by a net-work of great leaves and red buds; creepers covered it—all but. And at the side there were jasmine that in July nights would be starry and scented, and wistaria, purple-flowered and yellow-leaved over its thick, gnarled boughs, and ivy; and at the back, where the shaky green veranda is overhung by the perilous charm of the white balcony, Virginia-creepers and climbing roses grew in a thorny maze. The moat was there, girdling the old lawns—where once the Elizabethan manor stood—with a belt of silver, a sad swan and a leaky boat keeping each other company. Yellow laburnums trailed their long hair in the water, and sweet lilac-bushes swayed to look at their pretty plumes reflected in it. To right and left stretched the green tangled mysteries of the overgrown gardens.
We stepped back onto the bridge that crosses the moat, and looked up at the tall house. Before the ivy dressed it, it must have been very ugly. I suspect my uncle of having had that ivy clipped to its last leaf every spring; and he must have had the house scraped and “pointed” pretty often. How otherwise account for the yellow brick hideousness that glared at me through the mist of the years lying between me and my childhood?
The Red House is square, and very tall, but it has two large, low, long wings ending in four square brick turrets with pointed roofs. We stood and looked at it, and I said,
“You see it's much too big for us to live in—”
Chloe assented, feverishly: “Oh yes, of course, ever so much. But can't we get in?”
We couldn't, because I had forgotten to call at the plumber's in the village for the key.
“But I'll go back for it,” I said, “only—I didn't think of it—the shop's sure to be shut. It's Saturday, you know.”
“Then we won't waste time,” said Chloe, firmly. “Let's be burglars. Break a pane of glass, and let's get in by a window.”
Already she was stooping for a stone.
“Well—if you insist. But let's at least find a window without shutters.”
We went round the house and round the house, like the snow in the riddle; but every window had its eyelids down, as Chloe said.
“Stupid, sleepy thing,” she said, “we must wake it up. Can't you climb up to the balcony and get in there?”
“Shutters again,” I said. “My worthy uncle believed in them. Now I come to think of it, he had shutters to every window, and a patent fastening for each, and all different. But—”
I was looking at the thick, twisted stems of the ivy that clung to the wall of the low left wing.
“There used to be an apple-room with a window opening on the leads. In happier days—”
“No—earlier! I have climbed up the ivy in my time. But I dare say the apple-room is locked. But I'll go and see, if you insist upon it.”
Chloe measured the height with her eyes, some ten feet.
“Very well,” she said, meekly. And I went up the ivy. It was as easy as going up a ladder; but I own that as I stepped onto the leads I did not expect to hear my wife's voice just below my feet, saying,
“Look out—you'll kick me.”
She had climbed up the ivy behind me. I said nothing till I had pulled her up to stand safely beside me, and then I fairly shook her.
“You wicked,” I said. “Suppose you had slipped? You might have broken that little, silly neck of yours.”
“My dear boy, I was climbing trees when you were in your cradle!”
As I was out of my cradle twenty-two years ago, and that was three years before she was even in hers, this insult called for no reply.
“Did you really think I should allow you to see an inch of even the apple-room without me?” she said. “Come on—oh!—how jolly the garden looks from here! Is this the window?”
It was. I broke one of the cobwebby panes, and opened the window, but, of course, it was barred.
“Idiot that I am—I remember now—I used to creep through. I've grown since then. It's no good. We must give it up.”
Chloe was looking at the bars. Suddenly she took her hat off.
“I'm not so very big,” she said. “You called me a shrimp only yesterday.”
The bottom of the window was level with the leads. She twisted her skirt round her ankles as she sat down, and pushed both feet between the bars.
“You can hold on to my arm if you like till I feel the floor. Oh, don't be silly. I must.”
She twisted herself like an eel through the bars.
“Right. Let go,” and the next moment she was laughing at me out of the dark window.
“Mind the stairs,” I said.—“Open the door at the top, and I can come in, too.”
She disappeared. The little door shook to her withdrawal of the rust-locked bolts. I bent my head and stepped in. A kiss met my face in the dark.
“Welcome to your house,” she said.
We went down the little, dark, rickety staircase. At the bottom was a door. Locked.
“Oh, this is too much!” said Chloe.
“Go back a few steps,” I said, for my blood was up now, and, besides, the door did not feel very firm.
“Broad shoulders are useful sometimes,” she said, when the door had given way to the pressure of mine, and we found ourselves standing in the great, dark kitchen, where the thin, dusty shafts of yellow sunlight shot through the shutter-cracks.
We had down those shutters, and looked out through the dingy windows on the moat.
“Oh, Len, what a place!” she said, and kissed me again. “Just look at the roasting-jack, and the rack for guns, and the hooks in the roof to hang hams and things—and, oh—there's a great bacon-rack. It is too beautiful!”
We explored the pantry and the servants' hall, the little bedrooms above, and then along the flagged passage to the great hall, tiled with white and red marble, with the oak staircase winding up out of it.
We explored the living-rooms that led from it, and before we had climbed the first flight of stairs to the great drawing-room, my wife was breathless with enthusiasm. She kissed me in every room—“for luck,” as she explained—and when at last even the great attics held nothing concealed from us, I calculated that I had received twenty-nine kisses.
“It ought to let for a good bit,” I said, thoughtfully, when at last I had replaced all the shutters, and had persuaded her to come out and let me bang the big door after us.
“It'll want some doing up, won't it?” said Chloe. “That's a very dangerous hole in the staircase. Come, let's go round the garden.”
We went. The old garden had always been beautiful to me, even in the days when I used secretly to eat gooseberries there, and plums, and peaches in an unripe state; and it was beautiful now, even as I remembered it, only now its trees and bushes were incredibly grown—moss-cushioned its paths. Its fountains were dry and weed grown, and its sun-dial was covered with briony and woody nightshade. I put aside the green trails to show Chloe the motto, Horas numero nisi serenas (“I chronicle only the sunny hours”).
She leaned her elbows on the top of the sundial, and looked at me.
“There now, you see,” she said. “We must live here! We simply must. Only sunny hours!”
“My dear, it's madness. We can't live here. We can let it for two hundred pounds a year.”
“I don't care if we could let it for two thousand,” said she.
“And our furniture would about fill the servants' hall and the kitchen.”
“Then we'll live in the servants' hall and the kitchen.”
“And we could never keep up the garden. It would take three men all their time.”
“It wouldn't. And I'd get up at three in the morning and weed.”
“But you promised to be reasonable.”
“I am; it's you who aren't; and if I did I don't care. It's what I've wanted all my life. Oh, Len, you must.”
“If you're so keen on the place we might live in one of the cottages.” There were four on the estate.
“I hate the cottages. Poky little things.”
“They're bigger than the Bandbox,” I said.
“I hate the Bandbox,” she said, mutinously. Then I laughed.
“After that heresy,” I said, “I shall take you home. My darling lunatic, come away. The Red House has turned your brain.”
Chloe mounted in silence, and in silence we rode away. In the village I stopped at the plumber's—he is also a builder and a house agent, and though it was Saturday, he was, after all, at home—and rather hurriedly told him to try and let the Red House.
Chloe said nothing, but stood beside me pale with the strain of her inward protest.
We rode on.
“How could you?” she said, presently. “When shall we ever have such a chance again? That glorious green garden, and the orchard, all pinky and white, and the drawing-room—it must be forty feet long—and the cottages, and the still-room, and the dear, darling, little apple-room. The whole place is like a picture out of Silas Marner. I'm sure that long, low room where you have to go down two steps was called the white parlor. It's like all the houses I've ever dreamed of. And after I've kissed you in every room for luck, too, and everything! Oh, Len, you don't really love me, or you'd let me live there!”
“You certainly put a great strain on my love, madam,” I said, “when you cry for the moon in this disgraceful manner on the king's high-road. Cheer up! Perhaps you'll feel saner in the morning. If not, we'll send for the doctor.”
“Well, you'll never let it,” she said, riding faster and faster in her indignation. “That's one comfort! If you do, I shall never believe in anything again. It's the most beautiful place in the world—and it's ours—our very own. You'll see; no one will dare to take it.”
What spells she worked I don't know, nor how she worked them. But, curiously enough, no one did take the house. City gentleman after city gentleman approached and retreated after a parley, that always ended in suggestions for repairs to the tune of from four to five hundred pounds. At first each new applicant was to me an object of interest, and to Chloe an object of jealous detestation. But as time wore on, and each new candidate told the same unflattering tale of the shocking state of repairs at the Red House, the hour came when at the accustomed formula I merely smiled. But Chloe laughed, a laugh of triumph and delight.
We used to ride over there every day to see if the house was let, and it never was; and more and more flowers came out in the garden—old, small sweet tulips and forget-me-nots and hearts-ease, and the roses were in tiny bud.
And never for a day did Chloe cease to cry for the moon.
The 27th of May is her birthday. It is also the anniversary of the day on which I first met her. So that when, on that day, she held her hand up to look at her new turquoises, and said, “It is a lovely ring, and you're a dear, reckless, extravagant millionaire, and I love you; but oh, Len, I wish you'd give me the Red House instead”—I could hold out no longer.
“Very well,” I said, “you shall have the moon, since you won't give up crying for it. But don't blame me if you find it's only green cheese, after all.”
“Oh, you darling!” she cried. “But I knew all the time you would—if I only kept on—”
“This revelation of your methods of government—” I began, with proper severity.
But she stopped my mouth quite irresistibly.
“Now, don't growl when I'm so happy,” she said. “We shall never have any horrid rent to pay again. We are just being economical, that's all. We can't afford to keep a great house eating its head off in the stable; and, anyway, we sha'n't dun ourselves for repairs.”
“There will be rates,” I said.
“And roses,” said she.
“And the expense of moving.”
“And the economy of moving.”
“And we can't afford a gardener.”
“And we don't want one.”
“And we've got no furniture.”
“Yes, we have; a whole Bandbox full.”
“And there's a ghost.”
“We sha'n't see it—”
“And if you do?”
“I'll train it to run on errands and clean the windows.”
“No servant will stay with us.”
“They won't as it is.”
“There's a condition,” I said.
“Anything on earth,” said she.
“If I give you the Red House for a dear little birthday present, I must insist on being allowed to put my shaving-brush down anywhere in it; just anywhere I choose.”
“You shall. There's room enough,” she said, but even at that moment she sighed.
“When do you wish to move in?”
“On your birthday, of course.”
And so it was decided. The blow I had dreaded had fallen. My own hands had guided it. On the 6th of June we were to take possession of an immense mansion, standing in its own grounds, replete with every possible inconvenience. Chloe dropped her work and sewed curtains all day. I had never known her so happy. And indeed, now that the die was cast, I myself felt that our new experiment had in it at least all the elements of interest. I owned as much.
“Ah,” said Chloe, “I knew you hid a kindly heart under that mask of indifference. Interesting? Oh, my dear boy, you haven't the faintest idea of the interesting things that are going to happen to us at the Red House.”
Nor had she. Had either of us even faintly imagined a tenth part of what was to befall us in that house— And yet I don't know. Chloe says now that she would have left the safe shelter of the Bandbox just the same. And I—well, as you see, if Chloe only “keeps all on,” I am foolish enough for anything.