A look of suspicion came into Nutty's eyes. Elizabeth was not often as lyrical as this.

'There's a catch somewhere,' he said.

'Well, as a matter of fact,' said Elizabeth, carelessly, 'the water's off again.'

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'Confound it!'

'I said that. I'm afraid we aren't a very original family.'

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'What a ghastly place this is! Why can't you see old Flack and make him mend that infernal wheel?'

'I'm going to pounce on him and have another try directly I see him. Meanwhile, darling Nutty, will you get some clothes on and go round to the Smiths and ask them to lend us a pailful?'

'Oh, gosh, it's over a mile!'

'No, no, not more than three-quarters.'

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'Lugging a pail that weighs a ton! The last time I went there their dog bit me.'

'I expect that was because you slunk in all doubled up, and he got suspicious. You should hold your head up and throw your chest out and stride up as if you were a military friend of the family.'

Self-pity lent Nutty eloquence.

'For Heaven's sake! You drag me out of bed at some awful hour of the morning when a rational person would just be turning in; you send me across country to fetch pailfuls of water when I'm feeling like a corpse; and on top of that you expect me to behave like a drum-major!'

'Dearest, you can wriggle on your tummy, if you like, so long as you get the fluid. We must have water. I can't fetch it. I'm a delicately-nurtured female.'

'We ought to have a man to do these ghastly jobs.'