Jaffery eBook

William John Locke
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 296 pages of information about Jaffery.

Our friends carried out the evening’s programme.  Liosha behaved with extreme propriety, modelling her outward demeanour upon that of Mrs. Considine, and her attitude towards Jaffery on a literal interpretation of Barbara’s reprehensible precepts.  She was so dignified that Jaffery, lest he should offend, was afraid to open his mouth except for the purpose of shovelling in food, which he did, in astounding quantity.  From what both of us gathered afterwards—­and gleefully we compared notes—­they were vastly polite to each other.  He might have been entertaining the decorous wife of a Dutch Colonial Governor from whom he desired facilities of travel.  The simple Eve travestied in guile took him in completely.  Aware that it was her duty to treat him like an overgrown baby and mould him to her fancy and twist him round her finger and lead him whithersoever she willed, making him feel all the time that he was pointing out the road, she did not know how to begin.  She sat tongue-tied, racking her brains to loss of appetite; which was a pity, for the maitre d’hotel, given a free hand by her barbarously ignorant host, had composed a royal menu.  As dinner proceeded she grew shyer than a chit of sixteen.  Over the quails a great silence reigned.  Hers she could not touch, but she watched him fork, as it seemed to her, one after the other, whole, down his throat:  and she adored him for it.  It was her ideal of manly gusto.  She nearly wept into her Fraises Diane—­vast craggy strawberries (in March) rising from a drift of snow impregnated by all the distillations of all the flowers of all the summers of all the hills—­because she would have given her soul to sit beside him on the table with the bowl on her lap and feed him with a tablespoon and, for her share of it, lick the spoon after his every mouthful.  But it had been drummed into her that she was a woman of the world, the fashionable and all but incomprehensible world, the English world.  She looked around and saw a hundred of her sex practising the well-bred deportment that Mrs. Considine had preached.  She reflected that to all of those women gently nurtured in this queer English civilisation, equally remote from Armour’s stockyards and from her Albanian fastness, the wisdom that Barbara had imparted to her a few hours before was but their A.B.C. of life in their dealings with their male companions.  She also reflected—­and for the reflection not Mrs. Considine or Barbara, only her woman’s heart was responsible—­that to the man whom she yearned to feed with great tablespoonfuls of delight, she counted no more than a pig or a cow—­her instinctive similes, you must remember, were pastoral—­or that peculiar damfool of a sister of his, Euphemia.

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Jaffery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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