Outside, the night was cold and wet, but in the small living room the curtains were closed and the
fire burned brightly. Father and son were playing chess; the father, whose ideas about the game
involved some very unusual moves, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary danger that it
even brought comment from the white-haired old lady knitting quietly by the fire.
“Listen to the wind,” said Mr. White who, having seen a mistake that could cost him the game after
it was too late, was trying to stop his son from seeing it.
“I’m listening,” said the son, seriously studying the board as he stretched out his hand. “Check.”
“I should hardly think that he’ll come tonight,” said his father, with his hand held in the air over the
“Mate,” replied the son.
“That’s the worst of living so far out,” cried Mr. White with sudden and unexpected violence; “Of
all the awful out of the way places to live in, this is the worst. Can’t walk on the footpath without
getting stuck in the mud, and the road’s a river. I don’t know what the people are thinking about. I
suppose they think it doesn’t matter because only two houses in the road have people in them.”
“Never mind, dear,” said his wife calmly; “perhaps you’ll win the next one.”
Mr. White looked up sharply, just in time to see a knowing look between mother and son. The
words died away on his lips, and he hid a guilty smile in his thin grey beard.