March 15, 1885
For once, the entertainment was interesting enough that a bored family member hadn’t thought to start a bloodbath. In any case, the one usher during intermission had been plenty to tide them over until a late supper. They walked through the park afterward, unwilling, just yet, to disturb the convivial atmosphere and split up for hunting.
“I enjoyed the one about the little list. I can think of quite a few other things that never would be missed,” mused Darla, with a pointed look at the youngsters. In truth, she was feeling unusually beneficent, but there was no need to let them know that. “Which part did you like best, Angelus?”
“The ‘Three Little Maids’ appealed to me, most certainly. You know me and little maids, Darla,’ he teased. “All done up like cakes, they were. Very pretty morsels.”
Darla murmured her agreement, “Indeed they were. Those silks . . . ”
Drusilla twirled along the path, calling, “William! Do you think I am sufficiently decayed?”
William strode after her, laughing. “You are aged to perfection, as you well know, my wicked petal. I adore both of your elbows, and everything else besides.”
Drusilla giggled coyly, “Oh, fool! To shun delights that never cloy!”
“I shall not shun any delights at all that you’ve got on offer,” he promised, catching her round the waist and spinning with her for a few turns, before leaning in for a kiss.
Darla smiled indulgently. “They really aren’t so bad, at times.”
Angelus regarded her with amusement. “You will not condemn them to the chopper for their profligate flirting, then? Magnanimous of you.”
Darla smiled and shrugged. She walked in silence for a while, then abruptly spoke, “I think we should take a trip, the four of us. Shake off the filth of London.”
“And pick up the filth of someplace else, then?” Angelus responded with a grin. “As you wish. Did you have a particular destination in mind? As if I need to ask.”
“You know me so well, sweet boy. I admit it: I find I’ve a wish to see the Orient. There, I said it.” She sighed. “It’s just a silly impulse, I suppose. You know I loathe traveling by cargo ship.”
Angelus tucked her gloved hand into the crook of his arm. “I propose a pact between you and I, that we’ll be on the first passenger ship to the Far East. What do you say to that?”
“I say that is a wonderful thing to look forward to. I do hate waiting, though.”
William and Drusilla strolled up. Drusilla cocked her head toward Darla speculatively.
“What’s this, Grandmum? You wish to sail to exotic shores?” Drusilla began to hum the march from the play. “It will be a great adventure, you know.”
“Yes,” replied Angelus. “Darla has got a bee in her bonnet to see the eastern lands. But not if she’s to travel with swine, and I don’t mean present company.”
“I hear they’ve got an exhibition of a Japanese village, just over in Knightsbridge,” offered William. “Would you like to investigate there, first? They have kites and fans, and all sorts of interesting things, I believe. There’s real Japanese tea and real Japanese people.”
“I wonder if they taste the same as Englishmen?” wondered Drusilla. The others looked at her with raised eyebrows, instantly just as curious as she.
Angelus knew a brilliant plan when he heard one, even from the mouth of his youngest. “Willie, m’boy, that sounds a treat! Will that do you for now, then Darla? An excursion to mysterious Knightsbridge, to gather intelligence for the journey to come?”
“Why, yes Angelus. I believe that will be just the thing,” she replied with mock primness
With the prospect of so exciting an outing, the youngsters gleefully began, once again, to act out their favorite bits of the evening’s play. William leapt atop a statue (it might’ve been Apollo) and began to belt out the ingénue’s solo:
The sun, whose rays are all ablaze
With ever-living glory,
Does not deny his majesty —
He scorns to tell a story!
He don't exclaim, "I blush for shame,
So kindly be indulgent."
But, fierce and bold, in fiery gold,
He glories all effulgent!
He was in fine voice, and only made it a little comical. He bowed deeply at the applause from his family, who soon split up to find their dinners.
When he was alone, he realized he envied the sun of the song. He yet lacked its boldness and fierceness, but felt sure those things would come. Someday, he vowed, he too would blaze with ever-living glory.