“Of course, we know all about Boston, Mrs. Everill,” her partner was saying, “it produces beans and Cabots and blue-stockings—and brides,” he added, smiling.
Tony and Vivian were still sitting on their sofa. As she passed, she heard Vivian laugh, “Do you remember?”
The evening seemed to Lucy interminable. Tony was very good. He did his duty very nobly, dancing with every one, even his wife.
At half-past one they went home.
“How charming Lady Dynevor is,” Lucy murmured.
“Charming?” Tony looked puzzled. “Vivian?”
It obviously seemed to him an almost grotesquely irrelevant, inadequate word. And then, feeling that something was expected of him, “She is a wonderful woman, loyal, faithful, a real friend.”
“She is very pretty,” Lucy said.
“Pretty, is she? I hadn’t noticed it.” Again he seemed puzzled, as if it were really too difficult to connect up these absurd adjectives with Vivian. Then an idea occurred to him.
“You’re not jealous, sweetheart, are you?”
“No,” she lied.
“Vivian is—well, Vivian,” he explained, making matters worse. And Lucy knew that if she had said “beautiful, fascinating, majestic,” if she had used all the superlatives in the world, they would have seemed to him equally irrelevant and inadequate. But Tony was very much in love with his wife and she knew it and soon, in his tender, whimsical, loving, teasing way, he had made her perfectly happy again.
She was standing in front of her dressing-table, her cendre hair—shadows shot with sunlight—falling like a waterfall over her shoulders. With one hand she was combing it, with the other she fingered a bundle of snapshots taken on their honeymoon—lovely snapshots, full of sunshine and queer, characteristic positions and expressions. They might, she thought, have been taken by a loving detective.
Tony came in.
“Do you remember,” she said—and then, suddenly, with a wave of misery, she realised it. The phrase did not belong to her.
[To H.G. WELLS]
I, myself, have always liked Delancey Woburn. To begin with, there is something so endearing about the way he displays his defects, never hiding them or tidying them away or covering them up. There they are for all the world to see, a reassuring shop window full of frank shortcomings. Besides, I never can resist triumphant vitality. Delancey is overflowing with joie de vivre, with curiosity, with a certainty of imminent adventure. If you say to him, “I saw a policeman,” his face lights up and so it would if you said “I saw a dog,” or a cat, or a donkey-cart. To him policemen and dogs and cats and donkey-carts are always just about to do something dramatic or absurd or unexpected. Nor is he discouraged by unfailing regularity in their behaviour. Faith is “the evidence of things not seen.”