At one end of the peculiar table Jeremy
sat, and talked about poetry to Carl.
He was a bit of a nutter. Next to him, Sheila
was eating a farinaceous dish. Lewis
listened intently to the words of Ursula.
They were all drinking cider. And so was Jane.

There was something quiet and achieved about Jane—
of course she was a good deal older than Lewis—
and she hadn’t got the manic quality of Jeremy
nor did she understand engineering, like Carl,
or the details of catering, which obviously Ursula
had at her fingertips. They all liked Sheila.

They all agreed there was no one like Sheila
for lovability. Music to Jeremy
was the breath of life. Often, to Carl,
he would play his autoharp—this delighted Ursula
and certainly caused some pleasure to Jane—
sitting the meadow with the cows and Lewis.

‘Lewis?’ said Jane. ‘He’s a dark horse, Lewis!’
‘You never know what he’s thinking!’ cried Sheila.
‘He’s a very nice boy’ was the verdict of Ursula;
he seemed more ordinary to Carl and Jeremy.
He was fond of Milton (he once told Jane)—
but only modern poets appealed to Carl.

There was a hint of dark Satanic mills about Carl,
a contained intelligence; no fly-by-night Jeremy,
he hadn’t the open character of Ursula,
in this respect he was more like Jane
or the sheep and the cattle. And only Sheila
seemed to understand him—except for Ursula.

There was a bardic bravery about Ursula.
Not even Lewis, or Jane, or Sheila
had her bravura—in the words of Lewis
‘She is the mother of us all!’ For Jane
Ursula’s writing was the tops, and Carl
confessed he was staggered, and even Jeremy,

though he liked Carl and respected Jane
and admired Lewis (and the work of Sheila),
said how he, Jeremy, really worshipped Ursula.


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