Copyright: This work is in the public domain in the USA only.
There had never been a week of worse weather, even for Whinburn, and that was saying something! Mavis, sitting up in bed with a dressing-jacket and two shawls round her and three comfortable pillows tucked at her back, could just see out of the window if she craned her neck a little. The prospect which greeted her was anything but pleasing—a wilderness of roofs covered with dirty snow, and a row of factory chimneys belching forth grimy smoke against a leaden sky. From the street came the noise of tram-cars and tramping feet; a motor-lorry, thundering by, shook the house like an earthquake. Mavis, in the blessed lull between two storms of coughing, turned her eyes resolutely from the forlorn view of the outside world to the cheery interior of the bedroom, with its glowing fire, its bookcase full of attractive volumes, and its walls so covered with framed prints, photos, and picture postcards that there hardly seemed a vacant inch of space left. Directly facing her, and in the place of honour, was a water-colour representing a landscape with a peep of the sea beyond. The trees in the painting were bare, but the undergrowth was green, and a patch of gorse blazed in the foreground, a rift of light from the sky gleamed on the waters of a stream, and the figure of a little girl was stooping to gather ferns. Mavis gazed at the picture for some time in silent contemplation, then: "Muvvie, dear," she said suddenly, "I think you must have made a mistake when you told me you painted that in December."