Just as the Mayor of Gloucester’s wedding-coat might fail for want of a twist of cherry-coloured silk, so might the patchwork quilt that Grandma and Emily are sewing for want of an ell of crash tussore. Emily is given sevenpence and must betake herself down the village street to buy a length of that silken fabric from Mrs Tulliver’s stall. ‘Walk,’ says Grandma. ‘Be like a lady.’
But Emily skips and skips into a dream parade. A butterfly flutters companionably alongside her; thistledown and wild flowers gather about her person; kittens and dolls and two great dogs from the pub mingle happily together. But the ell of crash tussore is not to be had, for Miss Tulliver is away, playing her flute with the village band, and only by a kind of magic is Emily’s errand finally accomplished.
The beauty of Mayne’s storytelling, his gentle smile at the comedy he is creating, carry this pastoral beyond any accusations of the fey. And everybody is accompanied too by the delectable Sophy Williams whose soft-focus pastels complete to perfection this midsummer day’s dream.