On another day they went to San Rocco, for Mr. Osborne found to his amazement that 마사지알바 it was impossible to see all the pictures in Venice in one “go,” even if you spent the whole morning at it. This seemed strange, since you could see the whole of the Royal Academy in a less time. But the remedy was simple. Why not build a new picture gallery, hang all the pictures in Venice there, charge two lire, and have them all catalogued in{171} one book? That was the kind of suggestion that cornered Dora: it seemed scarcely worth while to say that many were in the churches, and that it would be a pity to move them since they were painted for the places which they occupied. But, trying to be patient and kind, she did say so, and Mr. Osborne was fired with the brilliant thought of having copies made for the churches. Claude thought this an excellent idea. “The Gov.’s hit the nail on the head this time,” he said, and was surprised when Dora, turning aside, said, “Oh, Claude!” to him. But apart from the pictures at San Rocco, which did not have a great success, the visit was memorable because Mrs. Osborne said “Bon giorno” to the custodian, just as if she did it every day of her life. He understood perfectly, and made a suitable reply about the loveliness of the day. That was a little beyond Mrs. Osborne, so she said “Grazie,” and her husband admiringly commented, “Lor’, you speak it like a native! I told you the mother would have it by heart in no time,” he said.

On this morning they had still an hour to spare before lunch, since the Tintorets were not interesting or beautiful, and they rowed across to the Giudecca to see a garden. The garden was fairly appreciated, though to Mrs. Osborne’s mind the borders, where the southern June was rioting, were not quite so trim as she would have had them; but the great sugar factory was found to be most attractive, and Mr. Osborne was much surprised to find that Dora did not know whether it was possible to see over it or not. However, Claude made inquiries, and found it could be shown. He took his father there next day, and they were late for lunch. But Mrs. Osborne{172} and Dora were late too: they had been ordering a very handsome gilt frame for the copy of “The Assumption,” and the “pattern” on it wanted a lot of choosing.

Dora and Claude dined that night at the Dandoli, and Mr. Osborne announced that he and the mother had settled to stay on another week, for they were both thoroughly delighted with Venice.

“And its grateful to you, my dear, that we both are,” said Mr. Osborne, “for telling us about it, and making us feel as how we should like to see it. There’s fifty different things in Venice I should like to see a score of times, and if we’re spared, my dear, we’ll spend another month next year as per this sample.”

Now Dora did her best when this little speech was made, but Sirocco had been blowing all day, and, as usual, it had made her feel rather jerky and irritable. Also, it must be remembered, Mr. Osborne, with the best and most appreciative intention in the world, had, as may be conjectured from the foregoing details of their days, succeeded in spoiling everything for her. Who could look at and enjoy a picture while he was wondering why Tintoret hadn’t given St. John something more on, or feel the magic of the approach across the lagoon when Mrs. Osborne said that the gray shining mud-flats called to mind the Fal below Truro at low tide, and Mr. Osborne confirmed the accuracy of this impression? But Maria had such an eye for likenesses.

In consequence, Dora had a little failed in cordiality of tone on the receipt of the news, for by this plan they would leave Venice all together, and every day till their departure would be taken up with these nightmare{173} excursions, for it was part of the plan that they should do everything together. Her words, whatever they were, had been expressive of delight at their remaining, but Claude, at any rate, had noticed the failure in tone, and on their way back after dinner he spoke about it in kindly fashion, but so, it seemed to Dora, with a matchless awkwardness.

“Sorry you’re a bit off colour, dear,” he said. “I know Sirocco always makes you feel like that.”

Dora saw the obviously tactful intention; her conscience also a little accused her, and she knew quite well what he had in his mind and was probably going to say.

“Feel like what?” she said, though she knew this to be useless fencing.

“Oh, feel like what you felt when you said you were so glad the pater and mater were going to stop here. I don’t say that they noticed, but I did. I expect I’m quicker than them at feeling what you feel. What you said was right enough; it was just the way you said it.”

He leaned forward in his seat a little, looking her full in the face. And somehow the sight of him and the proximity failed for once to make themselves felt. His presence did not mitigate what he said, or stamp it with the old magic.

“I wish you would explain,” she said.

“As if there was any need, darling,” he said. “As if you don’t understand as well as I do. You said you were delighted they were stopping, but only your voice said it. What’s wrong? There’s something up. And I thought we were having such jolly days together. Father{174} and mother are enjoying it ever so much, and if they pretend they find it just a shade more delightful than they really do, why, it’s just to please you, and make you feel it’s a success that they do it. They settled to stop on, I believe, just for that.”

This made matters no better. Dora felt she ought to be delighted they were doing so, and ought to be touched and pleased with the reason Claude had conjectured. But she was not: Venice, as a matter of fact, or rather these days of Venice, were being spoiled for her. She would as soon, as Claude had once said to her, though with inverted meaning, have spent them at Clapham Junction if the Osbornes were to be with her. It was a great pity that they should stop on, if their motive in doing so was to gratify her. She hoped it was not that.

“Oh, I don’t think that is it, Claude,” she said. “Dad likes—likes the sun and the—oh, lots of things, Stucki’s sugar factory for instance, and your mother likes the pigeons and the shops. But it isn’t Venice they like.”

“That’s just what I say,” said he, “they stop to make you think they do. They think the world of you, you know.”

“Yes, the darlings,” said Dora quickly. “That—that makes it so pathetic.”

“Pathetic? You mean that you don’t think so highly of them?”

Dora’s heart suddenly sank. She had not meant that: she had meant only that it was a pity they stayed in Venice to please her, when in reality she was not enjoying their stay. She knew well that they were out of {175}place in Venice ... it was hopeless to try to explain. But even if she had meant the other, it would have been a fatal error on Claude’s part to put it into words. He called this kind of frankness “getting at the bottom of the thing.” She felt he was certain to use that phrase now. He did so.

“Let’s get at the bottom of it, dear,” he said, “and as we always do, I shall speak my mind, just like you. Perhaps it will sound harsh to you: I’m sorry if it does.”