At this time, Delancey avoided me, but I heard that “Transition” was to be dramatised and that the film rights had been bought. How the endless chaotic mass, loosely held together by semi-colons, was to be moulded into a drama or a movie was quite beyond my imagination, but evidently some enterprising people had decided to call their play “Transition.” “Delancey must,” I reflected, “be getting very rich indeed.” But still he didn’t come near me, until one day I sent for him. He looked, I thought, just a tiny bit care-worn. The all conquering light had gone out of his eye. His boots were a little dusty and he wore no tie-pin. He had, I suppose, become rich beyond the symptoms of prosperity.
“Well,” I smiled at him to reassure him.
“It has all been very surprising, hasn’t it?” he said with an embarrassed expression.
I didn’t know whether to say “yes” or “no,” that I was glad or that I was sorry.
“But it doesn’t alter the quality of your book,” I consoled him.
He brightened, “No,” he said, “it doesn’t; I am glad you said that.”
We talked about other things, music and old furniture and people. He had, he said, thought of buying a house in Chelsea. It was, I realised, not exactly the entry he had planned but I encouraged the idea. There was, I explained, nothing like the Thames.
And so we rambled on till he took his leave. But five minutes after his departure I heard the bell ring. Delancey burst back into the room,
“I forgot to tell you,” he said, “that 185,000 copies of ‘Transition’ have sold.”
[To ALICE LONGWORTH]
There is a special quality about a December sunset. The ruffles of red gold gradually untightening, the congested mauve islands on a transparent sea of green, the ultimate luminous primrose dissolving into violet powder and then the cold biting night lit up by strange patches of colour that have somehow been forgotten in the sky.
Eve was walking home, her quick, defiant movements challenging the evening, her head bent slightly forward, her chin almost touching her muff, while her eyes shone and her cheeks glowed and her lithe figure seemed almost to be cutting through the icy air.
“This is happiness,” she thought exultantly, “this bitter winter stimulus—I feel so light—as if my heart and mind were empty—only my body is quivering with life—the pure life of physical fitness. Why think, or feel, or look forward?” She doubled her pace until her feet seemed to be skimming the road. “I feel like a duck and drake,” she laughed to herself. “Nothing matters, nothing, while there is still frost in the world.”
And then she saw a little motor waiting on the other side of the road. She stopped dead and her heart stopped with her.
“There is no reason why it should be his. Hundreds of people have motors like that.”