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Reading Aloud

Aldous’ wife

She told me the other day how much she loved me for being so good to other people, like the Orms. She even gave me a kiss for that – I couldn’t avoid it. She had just heard that I had fetched them from hospital and taken them home. I don’t know why she keeps inquiring about Mr Orms. I suppose we want to activate our potential of good feelings, feeling sorry, glad, happy for someone. We can do that best by hearing about somebody, discussing him. Nothing we can do. It’s incurable. How are they going to cope? Isn’t it awful! Have you seen the pretty flowers in my field? We’re going to dig some up and plant them in the garden. And do you know that the president of the W.I. is going to move away? After thirty-three years in Green Hamlet!
Aldous’ wife thought this was wrong. Silly in fact. Fancy leaving all one’s friends and retire into the West Country. Imagine something happening to one of them? Who’s going to look after the other one? “Anyway, we have to give her a present”. Aldous’ wife had to arrange for a special meeting to decide about this question.

I told her I had seen their neighbours’ dog recently, a very handsome animal, I thought, slim and shining and good-natured. A bitch. “Oh, it’s alright and friendly with me,” she said, “it just barks a lot and is kept in this horrible place.” A concreted place, it is true. But a large area. Then she bent down to one of her dogs – a bitch, too – who was ill and needed attention: “How are you, my girl. Oh what a delight for mummy to see you are better.” Then to me: “She was so ill, you know. I couldn’t visit George’s wife, because I had to take her to the vet’s. And I take her for walks in my shopping caddy.” “What did the vet diagnose?” I was informed that he didn’t know what it was. “How can he give her treatment then?” She had had an injection and tablets. I heard that the injection of antibiotics was just in case it was an infection. Apparently it would enable her to get over it more quickly. But it might well be poisoning from agricultural chemicals. Anyway, she seemed better, that was the main thing.