Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
Part 1, Chapter 11 (view annotations)

A few days after Van’s arrival Uncle Dan came by the morning
train from town for his habitual weekend stay with his family.
Van happened to run into him as Uncle Dan was crossing
the hall. The butler very charmingly (thought Van) signaled
67.05 to his master who the tall boy was by setting one hand three
feet from the ground and then notching it up higher and higher
—an altitudinal code that our young six-footer alone under-
stood. Van saw the little red-haired gentleman glance with
perplexity at old Bouteillan, who hastened to whisper Van’s
67.10 name.
Mr. Daniel Veen had a curious manner, when advancing
toward a guest, of dipping the fingers of his stiffly held right
hand into his coat pocket and holding them there in a kind of
purifying operation until the exact moment of the handshake
67.15 came.
He informed Van that it was going to rain in a few minutes,
"because it had started to rain at Ladore," and the rain, he said,
"took about half-an-hour to reach Ardis." Van thought this was
a quip and chuckled politely but Uncle Dan looked perplexed
67.20 again and, staring at Van with pale fish-eyes, inquired if he had

[ 67 ]

familiarized himself with the environs, how many languages he
knew, and would he like to buy for a few kopecks a Red Cross
lottery ticket?
"No, thank you," said Van, "I have enough of my own
68.05 lotteries"—and his uncle stared again, but sort of sideways.
Tea was served in the drawing room, and everybody was
rather silent and subdued, and presently Uncle Dan retired to
his study, pulling a folded newspaper out of an inner pocket,
and no sooner had he left the room than a window flew open all
68.10 by itself, and a powerful shower started to drum upon the
liriodendron and imperialis leaves outside, and the conversation
became general and loud.
Not long did the rain last—or rather stay: it continued on its
presumable way to Raduga or Ladoga or Kaluga or Luga,
68.15 shedding an uncompleted rainbow over Ardis Hall.
Uncle Dan in an overstuffed chair was trying to read, with
the aid of one of the dwarf dictionaries for undemanding tourists
which helped him to decipher foreign art catalogues, an article
apparently devoted to oystering in a Dutch-language illustrated
68.20 paper somebody on the train had abandoned opposite him—
when an abominable tumult started to spread from room to
room through the whole house.
The sportive dackel, one ear flapping, the other upturned
and showing its gray-mottled pink, rapidly moving his comi-
68.25 cal legs, and skidding on the parquetry as he executed abrupt
turns, was in the act of carrying away, to a suitable hid-
ing place where to worry it, a sizable wad of blood-soaked
cottonwool, snatched somewhere upstairs. Ada, Marina and two
maids were pursuing the merry animal but he was impossible
68.30 to corner among all the baroque furniture as he tore through
innumerable doorways. Suddenly the whole chase veered past
Uncle Dan’s armchair and shot out again.
"Good Lord!" he exclaimed, on catching sight of the gory
trophy, "somebody must have chopped off a thumb!" Patting

[ 68 ]

his thighs and his chair, he sought and retrieved—from under
the footstool—the vestpocket wordbook and went back to his
paper, but a second later had to look up "groote," which he
had been groping for when disturbed.
69.05 The simplicity of its meaning annoyed him.
Through an open french door Dack led his pursuers into the
garden. There, on the third lawn, Ada overtook him with the
flying plunge used in "American football," a kind of Rugby
game cadets played at one time on the wet turfy banks of the
69.10 Goodson River. Simultaneously, Mlle Larivière rose from the
bench where she had been paring Lucette’s fingernails, and
pointing her scissors at Blanche who had rushed up with a paper
bag, she accused the young slattern of a glaring precedent—
namely of having once dropped a hairpin in Lucette’s cot, un
69.15 machin long comme ça qui faillit blesser l’enfant à la fesse.
Marina, however, who had a Russian noblewoman’s morbid fear
of "offending an inferior," declared the incident closed.
"Nehoroshaya, nehoroshaya sobaka," crooned Ada with great
aspiratory and sibilatory emphasis as she gathered into her arms
69.20 the now lootless, but completely unabashed, "bad dog."

[ 69 ]

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