“There is the luncheon bell.
“We are longing for your letter to-morrow to hear how you are settling down. Mrs. M’Cosh has baked some shortbread for you, which I shall post this afternoon.
“Love from each of us, and Peter.—Your
“Is this a world to hide virtues in?”
“You should never wear a short string of beads when you are wearing big earrings,” Pamela said.
“But why?” asked Jean.
“Well, see for yourself. I am wearing big round earrings—right. I put on the beads that match—quite wrong. It’s a question of line.”
“I see,” said Jean thoughtfully. “But how do you learn those things?”
“You don’t learn them. You either know them, or you don’t. A sort of instinct for dress, I suppose.”
Jean was sitting in Pamela’s bedroom. Pamela’s bedroom it was now, certainly not Bella Bathgate’s.
The swinging looking-glass had been replaced by one which, according to Pamela, was at least truthful. “The other one,” she complained, “made me look pale green and drowned.”
A cloth of fine linen and lace covered the toilet-table which was spread with brushes and boxes in tortoiseshell and gold, quaint-shaped bottles for scent, and roses in a tall glass.
A jewel-box stood open and Pamela was pulling out earrings and necklaces, rings and brooches for Jean’s amusement.
“Most of my things are at the bank,” Pamela was saying as she held up a pair of Spanish earrings made of rows of pearls. “They generally are there, for I don’t care a bit about ordinary jewels. These are what I like—odd things, old things, things picked up in odd corners of the world, things that have a story and a meaning. Biddy got me these turquoises in Tibet: that is a devil charm: isn’t that jade delicious? I think I like Chinese things best of all.”
She threw a string of cloudy amber round Jean’s neck and cried, “My dear, how it becomes you. It brings out all the golden lights in your hair and eyes.”
Jean sat forward in her chair and looked at her reflection in the glass with a pleased smile.
“I do like dressing-up,” she confessed. “Pretty things are a great temptation to me. I’m afraid if I had money I would spend a lot in adorning my vile body.”
“I simply don’t know,” said Pamela, “how people who don’t care for clothes get through their lives. Clothes are a joy to the prosperous, a solace to the unhappy, and an interest always—even to old age. I knew a dear old lady of ninety-four whose chief diversion was to buy a new bonnet. She would sit before the mirror discarding model after model because they were ‘too old’ for her. One would have thought it difficult to find anything too old for ninety-four.”
Jean laughed, but shook her head.