Monday, September 10, 2007

It started out a nice, normal noisy evening. It was Saturday, and we were waiting for Daddy to come home for dinner. Usually he's home early Saturday, but this day he had a maternity case, and babies don't wait for office hours...Mother had a standing rib roast cooking in the oven...and the kitchen smelled wonderful with it. Uncle Douglas and John were out in the old barn working on John's space suit, but the rest of us were in the kitchen...Mother had the record player on, Brahms's Second Piano Concerto, kind of loud to drown us out. Suzy was performing an appendectomy on one of her dolls. She was doing this at the same time that she was scraping carrots, so the carrot scraper was a scalpel as well as a scraper.
Rob was supposed to be helping her, both with the appendectomy and the carrots, but he'd become bored so he was on the floor with a battered wooden train making loud train noises, and Colette, our little grey French poodle, was barking at him and joining in the fun. Mr Rochester, our Great Dane, was barking at one of the cats who was trying to hide behind the refrigerator. I was being angelically quiet, but this was because I was doing homework - a whole batch of maths problems. I was sitting near the fireplace and the fire was going and I was half baked...on one side, but I was much too cosy to move.

...Then the telephone rang...

She stood there by the phone without saying anything, and Suzy said, 'Mother, what is it? What is it?' and Mr Rochester began to growl, and Rob said, in the terribly serious voice he gets when he thinks something important is going on, 'Mr Rochester, I think you'd better be quiet.' Mother said, 'Vicky, go and get Doug.'

It wasn't dark yet, because we were still on daylight saving, but it was cold, windy cold, the way it gets around the time of the first frosts, and I ran across the brittle grass to the barn, shivering; I wasn't sure whether I was shivering because I was cold or because something awful had happened.
From MEET THE AUSTINS by Madeleine L'Engle

The great writer Madeleine L'Engle has died. New York Times obituary here.


Anonymous David said...

Ah well. She had a pretty good innings, though, didn't she?

I have only ever read A Wrinkle in Time, which was kinda cool. It was sorta lacking in sex and explosions, but I still enjoyed it.

7:57 am  

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