She had rather a long nose and this pleased her, for she once read somewhere that long noses were aristocratic. She stroked her nose as she read.
Her complexion was pale, though this was perhaps exaggerated by her colouring, which was dark. Her features were noticeably regular and noticeably refined, though her eyes were the least little bit inclined to be prominent: when Sabre married the Dean of Tidborough’s only daughter, it was said that he had married “a good-looking girl”; also that he had married “a very nice girl”; those were the expressions used. She liked the company of men and she was much liked by men (the opinion of the garrulous Hapgood may be recalled in this connection). She very much liked the society of women of her own age or older than herself, and she was very popular with such. She did not like girls, married or unmarried.
Mabel belonged to that considerable class of persons who, in conversation, begin half their sentences with “And just imagine—“; or “And only fancy—“; or “And do you know—.” These exclamations, delivered with much excitement, are introductory to matters considered extraordinary. Their users might therefore be imagined somewhat easily astonished. But they have a compensatory steadiness of mind in regard to much that mystifies other people. To Mabel there was nothing mysterious in birth, or in living, or in death. She simply would not have understood had she been told there was any mystery in these things. One was born, one lived, one died. What was there odd about it? Nor did she see anything mysterious in the intense preoccupation of an insect, or the astounding placidity of a primrose growing at the foot of a tree. An insect—you killed it. A flower—you plucked it. What’s the mystery?
Her life was living among people of her own class. Her measure of a man or of a woman was, Were they of her class? If they were, she gladly accepted them and appeared to find considerable pleasure in their society. Whether they had attractive qualities or unattractive qualities or no qualities at all did not affect her. The only quality that mattered was the quality of being well-bred. She called the classes beneath her own standard of breeding “the lower classes”, and so long as they left her alone she was perfectly content to leave them alone. In certain aspects the liked them. She liked “a civil tradesman” immensely; she liked a civil charwoman immensely; and she liked a civil workman immensely. It gave her as much pleasure, real pleasure that she felt in all her emotions, to receive civility from the classes that ministered to her class—servants, tradespeople, gardeners, carpenters, plumbers, postmen, policemen—as to meet any one in her own class. It never occurred to her to reckon up how enormously varied was the class whose happy fortune it was to minister to her class and she would not have been in the remotest degree