strange caressive, protective voice, as if she were always the elder, the mother superior. “_Vieni dire Buon’ Giorno alla zia. Mi ricordi, mi ricordi bene—non è vero, piccolo? È vero che mi ricordi? È vero?_” And slowly she rubbed his head, slowly and with ironic indifference.
“Does he understand Italian?” said Ursula, who knew nothing of the language.
“Yes,” said Hermione at length. “His mother was Italian. She was born in my waste-paper basket in Florence, on the morning of Rupert’s birthday. She was his birthday present.”
Tea was brought in. Birkin poured out for them. It was strange how inviolable was the intimacy which existed between him and Hermione. Ursula felt that she was an outsider. The very tea-cups and the old silver was a bond between Hermione and Birkin. It seemed to belong to an old, past world which they had inhabited