Genevra was silent for a moment.
“I had not thought of that,” she said soberly.
THE BURNING OF THE BUNGALOW
He went in and had tiffin with them in the hanging garden. Deppingham was surly and preoccupied. Drusilla Browne was unusually vivacious. At best, she was not volatile; her greatest accomplishment lay in the ability to appreciate what others had to say. This in itself is a treat so unusual that one feels like commending the woman who carries it to excess.
Her husband, aside from a natural anxiety, was the same blithe optimist as ever. He showed no sign of restraint, no evidence of compunction. Chase found himself secretly speculating on the state of affairs. Were the two heirs working out a preconceived plan or were they, after all, playing with the fires of spring? He recalled several of Miss Pelham’s socialistic remarks concerning the privileges of the “upper ten,” the intolerance of caste and the snobbish morality which attaches folly to none but the girl who “works for a living.”
Immediately after tiffin, Genevra carried Lady Deppingham off to her room. When they came forth for a proposed stroll in the grounds, Lady Agnes was looking very meek and tearful, while the Princess had about her the air of one who has conquered by gentleness. In the upper corridor, where it was dark and quiet, the wife of Deppingham halted suddenly and said:
“It has been so appallingly dull, Genevra, don’t you understand? That’s why. Besides, it isn’t necessary for her to be so horrid about it. She—”
“She isn’t horrid about it, dear. She’s most self-sacrificing.”
“Rubbish! She talks about the Puritans, and all that sort of thing. I know what she means. But there’s no use talking about it. I’ll do as you say—command, I mean. I’ll try to be a prude. Heaven alone knows what a real prude is. I don’t. All this tommy-rot about Bobby and me wouldn’t exist if that wretched Chase man had been a little more affable. He never noticed us until you came. No wife to snoop after him and—why, my dear, he would have been ideal.”
“It’s all very nice, Agnes, but you forget your husband,” said Genevra, with a tolerant smile.
“Deppy? Oh, my dear,” and she laughed gaily once more. “Deppy doesn’t mind. He rather likes me to be nice to other men. That is, if they are nice men. Indeed, I don’t forget Deppy! I shall remember him to my dying day.”
“Your point of view is quite different from that of a Boston wife, I’d suggest.”
“Certainly. We English have a colonial policy. We’ve spread out, my dear.”
“You are frivolous once more, Agnes.”