Digory is briefly left alone to wait and to wonder, and Aunt Letty takes the stage.
Aunt Letty is seriously THE BEST.
“Get out of my house this moment, you shameless hussy, or I’ll send for the police.” […]
“What woman is this?” said Jadis. “Down on your knees, minion, before I blast you.”
“No strong language in this house if you please, young woman,” said Aunt Letty.
Then when the Witch discovers that her “blasting” power was somehow lost, she picks up Aunt Letty and throws her across the room, leading to this:
If Aunt Letty had fallen on bare boards or even on carpet, I suppose all her bones would have been broken: but by great good luck she had fallen on the mattress. Aunt Letty was a very tough old lady: aunts often were in those days.
She stands up to the Witch without a second thought (and it’s implied that she stands up to Uncle Andrew on a fairly regular basis). I love this woman.
Anyhow, with the Witch and Uncle Andrew gone, Digory gets plenty of time to worry about her while she’s still at a safe distance.
The problem was how to get the Witch back to her own world, or at any rate out of ours, as soon as possible. Whatever happened, she must not be allowed to go rampaging about the house. Mother must not see her. And, if possible, she must not be allowed to go rampaging about London either.
He eventually decides to wait for them to return and touch the Witch while he’s wearing the appropriate ring. Meanwhile, Polly has been confined to her room for two hours due to her getting her clothes wet and generally making her parents worry. While Digory’s waiting, he happens to overhear something that gets the gears in his mind turning.
If he had heard that bit about the land of youth a few days ago he would have thought Aunt Letty was just talking without meaning anything in particular, the way grown-ups do, and it wouldn’t have interested him. He almost thought so now. But suddenly it flashed upon him that he knew (even if Aunt Letty didn’t) that there really were other worlds and that he himself had been in one of them. At that rate there might be a real Land of Youth somewhere. There might be almost anything. There might be fruit in some other world that would really cure his mother! And oh, oh – Well, you know how it feels when you begin hoping for something that you want desperately badly; you almost fight against the hope because it is too good to be true; you’ve been disappointed so often before. That was how Digory felt. But it was no good trying to throttle this hope. It might – really, really, it just might be true. So many odd things had happened already. And he had the magic rings. There must be worlds you could get to through every pool in the wood. He could hunt through them all. And then – Mother well again. Everything right again.
He’s moments away from going through with it there and then, when he’s loudly reminded why he was sitting at the window in the first place. But the seeds are planted in his mind. What fruit they will eventually bear (for good or ill) is yet to be seen.
Until next time…