Yes, they would all have tea out here, if Henrietta was willing. And, if Henrietta would for the moment excuse her, she would go and order Hordle—her father’s man—to see to the preparation of it himself. Foreign waiters, whatever their ability in other departments, have no natural understanding of a tea-pot and are liable to the weirdest ideas of cutting bread and butter.
With which, conscious she was guilty of somewhat incoherent chatter, Damaris sprang up and swung away along the terrace, through the clear tonic radiance, buoyant as a caged bird set free.
“Go with her, Marshall, go with her,” Mrs. Frayling imperatively bade him.
“And leave you, Cousin Henrietta?”
She rose with a petulant gesture.
“Yes, go at once or you won’t overtake her. I am tired, really wretchedly tired—and am best left alone.”
WHICH CONCERNS ITSELF, INCIDENTALLY, WITH THE GRIEF OF A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE AND THE RECEPTION OF A BELATED CHRISTMAS GREETING
Henrietta Frayling left the Grand Hotel, that afternoon, in a chastened frame of mind. Misgivings oppressed her. She doubted—and even more than doubted—whether she had risen to the full height of her own reputation, whether she had not allowed opportunity to elude her, whether she had not lost ground difficult to regain. The affair was so astonishingly sprung upon her. The initial impact she withstood unbroken—and from this she derived a measure of consolation. But afterwards she weakened. She had felt too much—and that proved her undoing. It is foolish, because disabling, to feel.
Her treatment of Damaris she condemned as mistaken, admitting a point of temper. It is hard to forgive the younger generation their youth, the infinite attraction of their ingenuous freshness, the fact that they have the ball at their feet. Hence she avoided the society of the young of her own sex—as a rule. Girls are trying when pretty and intelligent, hardly less trying—though for other reasons—when the reverse. Boys she tolerated. In the eyes of young men she sunned herself taking her ease, since these are slow to criticize, swift to believe—between eighteen and eight-and-twenty, that is.—We speak of the mid-Victorian era and then obtaining masculine strain.