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There Are More Things:
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Date first posted: May 2023
Most recent update: May 2023
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"I'M sure," said Camilla, "that I'm not a bit ungrateful, or cynical, or anything of that kind—but—oh, well!"
"Which means, I suppose," replied Mrs. Battishill, "that you find life dull, wearisome, boring, tiresome—"
"Oh no, no," protested Camilla. "How could I?"
"How, indeed?" responded her friend with just an inflexion of hardness in her careful voice. "But it is you fortunate people who do get bored."
"I'm not bored. I'm not, I'm not," said Camilla vehemently.
"You're ashamed to say it, anyhow," smiled Mrs. Battishill. "I suppose that is a saving grace. Bored? You've had a fairytale life. And you've the whole world before you. Think of it, my dear, the whole world."
"It doesn't mean anything, really," said Camilla quickly.
"It does." The visitor was drawing on her long soft gloves. "You know it does. But I can quite understand that you are bored. People like you, who have everything, always are."
Camilla reflected a second, with white wrinkled brows.
"I suppose you want a new sensation," remarked Mrs. Battishill.
"There aren't any," smiled Camilla.
To anyone who knew her, it might seem that she was right; wealth, beauty, culture, luxury, love, all the joys and glories of the earth, had always been hers. Camilla Attwood was not only of immensely rich people; she was in herself lovely, gifted, fascinating and popular. Wherever she went, she "queened it"; her friends were like a court about her; she had shone and dazzled through Europe and America; she was both exclusive and popular, adored by the elect, worshipped by the people.
She was really lovely, the culmination, as it were, of a type; and she was really clever, not in any superficial manner, or on merely "smart" lines. She had genuine gifts, and money had been poured out lavishly on the cultivation of them.
There was very little that she had not done, there were very few places that she had not seen, very few notable people she had not met, absolutely no accomplishment that she could not claim proficiency in; and now she was engaged to Sir Michael Warrington, an enormously rich banker and a finished cosmopolitan of admired intellect, pervading charm, and universal popularity.
As Lady Warrington, her life would be, if possible, even more delightful, varied, and dominant than it was now. She had chosen Sir Michael from literally a "crowd" of suitors, and as she had no reason for consulting anything but her heart in her choice, it was generally believed that she was extremely happy in her imposing lover's adoration.
Mrs. Battishill, however, as she rose to take her leave, wondered. She had known Camilla since she was a baby, and never before had she seen any hint of this restless boredom, this dissatisfied melancholy, that Camilla showed now. Oh, just a faint hint, but there it was.
"You're overwhelmed by the gifts of the gods," smiled Mrs. Battishill. "Too much has happened to you—you're only twenty-five, Camilla!"
"How long that makes the rest of life seem," answered the girl. "How strange to look ahead and see years and years of repetition and every year, I suppose, things getting more and more stale."
"What a horrible way of looking at it!" exclaimed the elder woman. "I don't want to throw truisms at you—but really!"
"I know," smiled Camilla. "Count my blessings and all that—"
"It would take you a long time to count them," said Mrs. Battishill dryly.
Camilla, pulling at a chain slung with diamonds, Sir Michael's last gift, looked, up earnestly; the fire-glow was vivid over her slimness and the gold and violet cushions behind her in the satin chair.
"This is what frightens me," she said seriously. "I don't see what can happen—that hasn't happened before—one knows life so well, every turn of it; one knows people, one knows places—it's awful, I know. Why should we crave for something fresh? Yet we do."
"She's not in love!" thought Mrs. Battishill. "Poor Sir Michael!"
Aloud she said:
"It seems to me there is a novelty every day, in everything—from religions to chocolates—
"It's only the old flavours, the old dogmas turned about a bit," said Camilla quickly. "One is so tired of sampling—new religions and new chocolates!"
"I suppose," said Mrs. Battishill, "you don't know what you want?"
"Nothing, nothing. This is idle talk. I'm tired, I think. Oh, I don't know! I''m going down to Kitty Groves' to-night—and then—oh, I'm sick of London—the Riviera, I think. I like to break up seasons; the old round becomes like, a treadmill."
She was to be married in the spring, and this was late autumn. Mrs. Battishill wondered if she looked on the future as a "treadmill."
"Well, Camilla," she said, kissing her blooming cheeks, "keep up your courage—any day you may come upon something really new. There's the old tag, you know: 'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' You might find one of them yet!"
Camilla smiled, in rather a listless fashion.
Kitty Groves had a queer little place in Sussex. She was there only for a few weeks in the year. It was near some rather famous golf-links, and the beautiful sea air was particularly soothing to Kitty's famous "nerves." She had a few people with her now, all come either for the golf or their nerves, except Camilla Attwood, who was there with rather the air of an incognita princess, weary of homage and festival.
She caused a certain amount of awe even among this choice gathering of witty, worldly people.
Her beauty, her fame and her wealth made her delicately overwhelming.
Wherever she went there was a slight atmosphere of withdrawal.
Camilla was scarcely aware of this, she was so used to it. She felt lonely, and this gave a slight haughtiness to her accomplished manners. She tried to write a long letter to Sir Michael, then in Paris on some very portentous business; but her efforts all disgusted her, and one by one were torn up and cast into her bedroom fire.
"Of course she's too wonderful," sighed Kitty Groves. "How Sir Michael ever had the courage—"
It was early October and a wet and windy season.
From her window Camilla could see five miles across the marsh to the sea, when the scudding rain and wind-driven mist lifted. This blue line of ocean with the faint shapes of ships gave her a faint pang of homesickness, an absurd feeling, she considered, since she had gazed unmoved on many fairer, more strange aspects of the ocean than the wistful homely view across the Sussex marsh.
There came one perfect day that seemed washed in liquid gold. There was a chill in the glorious air, but it was fresh and exquisite; the azure heavens were filled with swift clouds, full of colour, shot with sunshine; there were a few stinging showers, and in the afternoon a great rainbow.
Kitty Groves' "cottage" was really an old Tudor farm-house most carefully and extensively "restored" and fitted up like a luxurious little toy.
On the close-shaven lawn to-day the wind-flung apples lay round and red, glistening from the rain, and long yellow leaves from the cherry trees scattered over the still bright grass.
Camilla stood on the wet brick path and watched the piled-up clouds that raced across the beautiful expanse of sky.
And again something caught at the heart as it had when she looked at those dim distant sails.
Kitty Groves had lamented "the horrible weather." Camilla somehow was rejoicing in it.
The artless but costly garden ran down to the sloping pastures that ran down to the marsh and was divided from these by a mere hawthorn hedge now vivid with scarlet berries.
Several of Kitty's guests were wandering idly here looking at a new lead statue that had been set up in a lily pond; they had just motored back from the links and were waiting for tea.
A man came across the fields, leant over the hedge and spoke to them.
"I've lost a sheep," he said. "Have you seen a stray sheep?"
They told him, civil and slightly amused, that they had not.
Camilla heard the question and the reply; she lowered her gaze from the mighty clouds, and came slowly towards the hedge of thorn trees.
She looked at the farmer, who lingered, as if at a loss, and she had the impression of a tall, heavy man, red, gold and brown, lit by the flecks of shifting sunlight and somehow the colour of the warm, rich marsh landscape.
"You've lost a sheep?" she asked, humouring him.
She could not help it that she felt that she was conferring a vast favour on him by merely speaking to him, nor that her sweetness covered a boundless pride; she was Camilla Attwood and used to her courtiers.
"Yes," answered the farmer.
Camilla caught the flying end of her flame-coloured silk scarf; the wind was up and blowing in an exhilarating fashion.
"I'm sorry," she said—she smiled in a deliberately dazzling fashion. "I suppose it has strayed—that is what sheep do, don't they?"
She felt that he ought to be absolutely amazed by her graciousness; however condescending queens may deign to be, they like to have the fact noticed.
But this young man merely glanced at Camilla and away again in the most indifferent fashion she had ever been fronted with.
"I'm sorry to have disturbed you," he said. "I thought it might have wandered into your garden."
He lifted his rough cap and turned away. The wind was blowing away from Camilla; she loosened the flame-coloured wisp of silk; it flew out of her hand and was hurled against his arm.
He had to bring it back to her; he wasn't a rustic, as she had noted.
As she took it from him she again smiled vividly.
"I hope you'll find the sheep. How do you know you've lost one?" she added with an infantile air of melting sweetness.
Without the least flicker of a smile he replied
"I come every day and count them."
"Oh," said Camilla.
She took in with her lovely practised glance his broad shoulders, deep chest and red hands; he was a new type to her. She had known athletes, sportsmen, nothing so rough and crude as this; yet he was, in the old much-abused term, "a gentleman."
"I should like to help you find the sheep," said Camilla, who was used to having her lightest caprices not only indulged but taken seriously.
Now the stranger did laugh, in the shortest, most vexatious fashion.
"It would be hardly a job for you," he answered, and lifted his cap again and turned away, the eager ragged blue sheep-dog at his heels.
Now Camilla prided herself, among many other things, on not being silly or effeminate or in any way the "fluffy" type.
Though she was neither athletic nor "mannish" in her tastes or pursuits, still she was a fine horsewoman, fencer, swimmer, and she had often deliberately undertaken adventures, camping out, roughing it, and so on, and she was most workmanlike in her clothes.
Therefore the young man's obvious contempt was peculiarly annoying to Camilla.
"As if I was a chorus girl in high heels and a satin frock," she thought indignantly.
The wind blew fiercely in a mad race towards the sea; the long yellow leaves were whirled off the cherry tree; round and red and glistening the apples lay on the vivid wet green lawn.
A big blue wain drawn by big brown horses and piled high with straw went by.
There was a smell of burning weeds and a thin veil of bluish smoke tossed on the speeding wind.
A few yet unfurled roses drooped on the bare bushes, sodden, brown at the tips, never to bloom now.
Camilla went into the house and gloomed over her tea.
The little house, so pretentiously "rustic," so carefully "restored," so altogether "artistic" and "picturesque," the ostentatious luxuries of service, food, and every possible modern device, seemed to her paltry. Kitty Groves, she thought wearily, had always been the kind of fool to imitate other fools.
By the time tea was finished, the electric lights, disguised as lanterns, and candles were diffusing their becoming rosy glow.
Camilla reflected on all the plans proposed for her amusement.
She went upstairs, put on her warmest coat, her closest motoring cap, her stoutest brogues, watched her opportunity and quietly ran down the garden, opened the little gate in the thorn hedge and hastened across the field.
It was raining now and nearly dark; the wind blew intermittently. In the constant big rifts of the scudding clouds the mounting moon showed in the first quarter, sailing in a mist of pallid silver stained with a faint red like old, washed-out blood.
Camilla stood still a moment on the little upland.
She enjoyed the chill wind rushing past her, the sense of space, of immensity, the silence, the sting of the rain, the vast space of moving cloud above her, that dead light of the ancient moon.
She walked on, down the field that sloped to the marsh. The pasture grass was thick and wet about her ankles; she soon had to climb a fence that was surrounded with clay-like mud.
Across another field more steeply sloping and then a belt of wood crossed her way.
This was broken by a little stream, crossed by a few planks with a stile at either end.
She could smell the rather rank odours of the soaked undergrowth and rotting leaves, and hear the drip of the raindrops in the wood that had a steady ordered sound, like the prelude to stately music.
Overhead a flight of rooks went past, cawing on their homeward way.
Camilla could hear the noise of their wings. She climbed the stile, crossed the bridge, and by the other stile paused.
In front of her was another open field, bordered all along the right side by the little wood, on the left rising up like a humped shoulder, clear against the cloudy heavens, and then running straight down to the sheer flatness of the marsh.
Crossing this uplifted line of the field was the man of this afternoon's adventure—thus Camilla called those few words with the farmer—an emotional adventure, she would have defined it, because of the type of the man, and his rudeness and the "queerness" of the whole little incident.
And of course the queerest part of the whole thing was that she, Camilla Attwood, should have taken any interest at all in so absolutely trivial an affair.
"Have you found the lost sheep?" she called.
Her voice sounded clear and sweet in the lonely twilight.
He turned quickly, amazed she was sure, and that he should be amazed, amused and pleased her.
Yet he answered as if she had been a farm boy who was questioning him.
"No—she must have got on the marsh," he said shortly.
"Are you going on the marsh?" Her voice was blown to him.
"I'd like to come too."
She laughed, swaying with the wind that was buffeting her whole body towards the sea.
"Yes—I'm bored indoors. I've never been really on the marsh."
She had crossed the cold wet field to where he stood, pausing, hesitant.
Camilla was almost afraid that he was going to say something about long-defunct conventions.
Would she have to remind the man that women did exactly as they liked nowadays? And that such a woman as she was, always did as she liked in any age, and under any conditions?
But he gave her no opportunity of any such remarks.
"All right, come along," he said. Camilla was swiftly elated.
Here at least was something new in her experience—the man, the place, the time, all had a tang, a freshness, invaluable to Camilla.
Side by side the man and woman tramped down the field.
It was quite queer enough to satisfy even Camilla Attwood's most wayward fancy, as marvellous to her as the loaf of home-made bread was to the king in the fairy-tale, who was gorged with rich dainties.
Her companion seemed to accept her as a matter of course, with no sense of amaze, honour, or excitement.
Never had she been taken quite so much for granted as by this casual stranger.
She wondered if he had looked at her; it was too dark now even if he had turned to look at her, which he did not.
The wind was veering wildly; the clouds were clotting closer over the stars; the moon struggled through these high embanking vapours only occasionally.
The dark was falling rapidly, closing in, it seemed to Camilla, shutting out earth and sky, isolating her with her companion.
"There's a gale coming up and it will soon be dark," he said. "You had really better go back."
"I'm enjoying it," she answered, bent to the wind that now was rushing up from the sea. "I don't bother you, do I? My name's Camilla Attwood."
He did not show any interest in her famous name. She was rather piqued at that; she had never known it not produce an effect before. There was piquancy in the experience.
"My name's George Lorimer—and if you don't mind not being conventional, it doesn't trouble me," he replied casually.
Camilla pounced on his words.
"My dear man," she said sweetly, "where do you come from? Do you really think that such a thing as conventionality exists any longer?"
"I believe in it—for women," he answered shortly.
"How nice of you to be so rude," smiled Camilla. "It fits in with the novelty of the whole thing. I really believe I've shocked you. Isn't that delicious? I've always lived with people you couldn't shock—"
"Yes?" he said indifferently.
They were nearly on the marsh now, and Camilla had a struggle to keep her feet. The wind was simply buffeting against the cliff; the volume of the rain was increasing, and the icy slash of it against her face was blinding and deafening.
Also she had already found that the garments that had seemed so trustworthy were not meant for this kind of work; the gorgeous motor-coat was uncomfortably clinging and twisting, the wet was squelching in round the tops of her shoes, her skirts impeded her. She wished that she was in the breeches and leathern jerkin she had often worn as Rosalind, her favourite amateur actress part; she maliciously wished her companion had seen her in that kit.
"The marsh is half under water," he said suddenly. "You had really better go back."
"No," said Camilla.
"You really ought to."
"I've never done the things that I really ought to—on principle. You're refreshingly old-fashioned, aren't you?"
She lightly climbed the last fence that divided them from the great stretch of marsh.
"Where is the sheep likely to be?" she asked in matter-of-fact tones.
"It may have got into one of the dykes. I've been all over Hither Marsh and didn't find it.
"Is it valuable?"
"Not in the least—"
"So this is pure humanitarianism?" smiled Camilla.
"I should call it doing one's job."
They were tramping across the marsh towards the first dyke.
"Have you got a farm near here?" asked Camilla.
"Oh, a little place."
"You do all this sort of thing yourself always?"
"I do my job," he repeated, as if she amused him. "I suppose you never had one?" he added.
"I have done everything there is to do!" laughed Camilla.
He was not to be drawn into as much as a glance at her. They were down on the marsh's lowest level now, battling against the wind and rain, their feet sinking into the spongy ground.
Camilla's coat was torn, her skirts were draggled, her cap was becoming plastered to her head, hair and veil were twisted in wet strands behind her.
"Listen," said the farmer brusquely.
Camilla paused, breathing hard from the struggling effort of her progress.
Through the bleak, stormy twilight came a faint distressful cry.
This sound gave Camilla a sharp thrill; without a word she trudged behind George, Lorimer as he plunged forward in the direction of the plaintive sound.
When they reached the steep sides of the first dyke it was still light enough to see the dim white shape at the bottom, amid the harsh reeds, struggling piteously.
Camilla stood at a loss; she really did not know what to do to help, though she wanted to help more than she had ever wanted to do anything.
She made an instinctive plunge forward, but he put her back with a decision that showed his strength of wrist, and himself scrambled down the wet bank.
He got the sheep without much difficulty, but the animal was heavy, frightened and awkward, and there was one moment when it seemed likely to slip back again. Then Camilla had her chance; she eagerly knelt down and clutched the wet wool and dragged at the struggling body, while the man heaved the creature up from below.
When the sheep was at last pulled and pushed on to the bank, where it flung itself down, quivering with exhaustion, the two rescuers stood panting either side, with torn clothing, mud to the waist, dishevelled and violently buffeted by the great slaps of the icy north-easter.
Camilla remembered Mrs. Battishill—"There are more things..." that lady had quoted—and Camilla now admitted that she was right. How undreamed of such a thing as this had been only yesterday!
Her whole being thrilled and tingled as it had never thrilled or tingled before—the wind, the rain, the racing clouds overhead, the moon so high above her, the vast loneliness of sky and marsh, the sense of real fatigue and exertion, and at her feet the panting live thing she had helped to save from death...and, as it were, crowning and completing all, the presence of the man, engaged in man's work, conveying, in his indifferent simplicity, strength, resource and fearlessness.
"I shall have to see you home now," remarked the farmer.
"Do you mean me or the sheep?" asked Camilla.
"Both of you."
"I could find my way," said Camilla.
"Could you? You've come farther than you know—the marsh is dangerous too."
"You've got to look after this poor beast first," she answered.
He had already gently put the animal on its feet and felt its limbs carefully.
"No bones broken—she'll do—good thing I found her before it got dark; she would have been dead by the morning."
Camilla meekly followed him, this time along the edge of the dyke. They went slowly, he driving the sheep, and by the time they had reached the road it was quite dark save for the fitful, pallid gleams of the moon.
Mr. Lorimer began to talk now, quite cheerfully and indifferently, about commonplace objects, and Camilla understood that he had been silent before not out of embarrassment at her company, but because of anxiety about his lost animal.
Camilla was still young enough to remember fairy-tales vividly, and presently they came upon a cottage that at once reminded her of a fairy-tale. It stood back from the road by just the space of a little garden and the vague moonbeams showed the shape of it; every window was uncurtained and glowed a yellow square of warm light. In one of the downstair rooms stood a table laid with a white cloth; there were the hearty flicker of a great fire, the gleam of pots and pans on the walls, a clean old woman moving about, and the savoury smell of cooking floating into the wet night. The farmer opened a gate in the hedge near the house and turned the sheep in.
"Is this your house?" asked Camilla eagerly.
"May I come in? Do give me some supper."
"I suppose it is like a new toy to you, Miss Attwood."
His tone made Camilla say:
"You do know who I am?"
"Well—may I come in?"
"It is hardly worth while—it's such an awfully poor show. And Mrs. Martin would be—"
"—shocked?" finished Camilla.
"You'd like to see her—as a curiosity?" he asked.
Camilla, battling against the wind, made a sudden pause by the dripping gate and glossy privet hedge.
"Please let me come in," she said.
The big man answered with pleasant indifference:
"I really think you've had the full flavour out of this adventure, Miss Attwood—it ends here."
It was the first favour she had ever asked anyone and she had been refused; her mind spun a little. She was about to reply, and without her usual poise, when they were both blinded by the white headlights of an oncoming car that was ripping out along the wet road; the heavy throb of powerful engines rose above the storm.
Camilla felt her arm clutched; she was pulled aside as the car stopped with a groan of protesting brakes.
The man driving stared into the pool of white light made by his own lamps.
"I say, can you tell me the way?" he began; then his glance fell on the dishevelled muddy girl behind the dishevelled muddy man. "Camilla!" he cried in sheer amaze.
Camilla smiled wanly; it was Sir Michael Warrington.
"You can take me home, Michael," she said. "Good night, Mr. Lorimer. I hope the sheep will be all right."
Sir Michael sprang from his car, a slight figure in leather and goggles.
"I got away sooner than I thought," he stammered. "I've driven up from Dover—crossed to-day—thought I'd look you up at Kitty's."
Camilla stepped into the luxurious car. George Lorimer had already disappeared inside his own gate. She noticed a curtain being drawn over the window of the front room, shutting out the prospect of the cosy firelight and homely supper.
She was wet, her teeth were chattering, the water was streaming down her face, her clothes were muddy and torn; in her ears was the rush of the wind, before her eyes the moon swinging in the vast cloudy heavens—"There are more things..."
Lifting the speaking tube, she gave Sir Michael directions to Kitty Groves' toy house. When they reached it and he assisted her out, she looked at him as if he was a stranger; he seemed somehow wizened and mean and paltry.
And he on his side was plainly vexed and disturbed.
As they walked up the wet brick path he said:
"I don't like escapades, Camilla. I always thought that so wonderful about you—you were so modern, but so—so—"
As he hesitated for a word, she supplied it:
She did not wait for his answer but ran upstairs and stripped off her wet coat and cap and laughed at herself in the mirror.
It was really very late; she had been gone quite a long time. Sir Michael was perhaps justified at the anger he showed at her indifference to his rebukes as she sat, radiant and lovely, in Venetian blue chiffon, before the blazing log-fire in the little music-room discreetly abandoned to them.
Camilla was not angry. She merely said:
"I'm sorry, Michael."
And her engagement ended with the interview.
The next morning when the storm was over and the sun shining into ruddy autumn clearness the great banker took his leave of Kitty Groves. Before he went he had another brief interview with Camilla.
He informed her, not without the malice of a bitterly wounded man, of his private information of a financial disaster abroad that would involve nearly her whole fortune; her father would remain a comparatively wealthy man, but she would be penniless.
"That means, if you don't marry me, that you must give up everything you care for," he finished grimly.
Camilla did not answer; she looked radiant.
"You've lost everything," he repeated angrily. "I came over to tell you—"
"That it didn't make any difference?" smiled Camilla. "That's good of you, Michael—but—"
"You seem pleased," he frowned, puzzled.
"I am," said Camilla.
She stood still, smiling, while he continued to press on her the dreary recital of her misfortunes. He had always known these fantastic foreign investments of hers would go wrong; a big concern had gone simply smash—of course "penniless" was a figure of speech—but doubtless she had debts, and her father had got her brothers to think of—
"I wanted to break it to you myself," he finished, "but last night—"
"I made you angry," agreed Camilla.
He faced her squarely.
"Look here, Camilla, hadn't you better think it over a bit?"
She shook her head.
"What has happened to you?" he asked.
"You couldn't guess, you couldn't understand," smiled Camilla. "You know, there are more things in heaven and earth..."
A few minutes later Sir Michael's swift little car ripped away along the London road.
Camilla put on her plainest cloak and went out to find the cottage of last night.
The sun was unclouded, the thinnest, clearest gold overlaid the rich tinted landscape.
The big man was in the cottage garden, tying up big heads of dahlias and Michaelmas daisies that last night's rain had blown down.
"Good morning," said Camilla, leaning over the gate. "How is the sheep?"
He looked at her, standing with the sheaf of flowers in his hands.
And then they both laughed.
"Please, may I come in?" said Camilla meekly. "I'm very good now. I've lost all my money and I've sent away Sir Michael—and, please, I'm not quite spoilt. I can cook and sew and garden—"
"What do you want?" he asked in a queer voice.
They gazed at each other with dancing eyes.
"You knew I'd come back," she said.
"Yes—that was why I was tidying up—"
He came down the path and opened the gate.
"It is like a fairy-tale," whispered Camilla.
"It is a fairy-tale," said the big man. "You darling!"
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