when it's white?"
Most of these recollections leave Roland cold. One is so apt to look upon him as much older than he is and is suddenly made aware of his youth by his rather merciless indifference to trifles that concern other people very much. Mrs. Leighton says she is a hard-hearted creature, so perhaps once she was very much the same, but she is quite different now and is genuinely interested in everything, however small.
We both wanted to talk to her on the selfish but inevitable subject of ourselves, but Mr. Leighton seemed as if he would not go and Roland remarked to me that we seemed unable to get on to our subject. At last however he did go, and on Mrs. Leighton saying we ought to go to bed and wonder what my father would think of such hours, Roland plunged into his theme desperately by saying "I suppose I ought to write to him." Mrs. Leighton looked at us both very critically for a moment. Then she said "Look here, I can't talk to you both together on this subject; I can only manage one of you at once." Although I knew I was the one she wanted to talk to, I was seized with a sudden fit of shyness and said "Oh! I'll go." Roland however quietly but firmly said he was going and departing ostensibly to bed left me alone with his Mother almost before I realised he had gone. We were both standing, and remained in absolute silence for about a minute. Mrs. Leighton was looking at me very earnestly and there were tears in her eyes. Then she sat down on the edge of the table and said to me half-crying "You do love him, don't you? This isn't at all what I meant to say to you, dear, but you must forgive me, for though I have always tried to treat them all alike, none of the others have been like
Brittain, Vera, Diary, 22 August 1915
when it's white?"