Old People and the Things that Pass
Ottilie gave herself up to her French novel, for Steyn de Weert had entered the room, with Jack leaping in front of him. And any one who had seen Mamma a moment ago and saw her now would have noticed this phenomenon, that Mamma became much older as soon as her husband entered. The plump cheeks contracted nervously and the lines round the nose and mouth grew deeper. The little straight nose stuck out more sharply, the forehead frowned angrily. The fingers, which were tearing the pages of a novel anyhow with a hairpin, trembled; and the page was torn awry. The back became rounder, like that of a cat assuming the defensive. She said nothing, but poured out the tea.
"Coosh!" she said to the dog.
And, glad that the dog came to her, she patted him on the head with a half-caress; and the foxterrier, giving a last sharp bark, spun round upon himself and, very suddenly, nestled down on Ottilie's skirt, with a deep sigh. Steyn de Weert, sitting opposite her, dr