Soon after I arrived I went down into the engine-room, where I saw machinery as scrupulously clean as if it were part of some gigantic watch which a grain of dust might throw out of gear. On the deck are delightful P. and O. lounges with their arms doing duty for small tables. All around the wheel and upon the roof of the deck-house, and here and there on stands against the bulwarks, there are ranged in pots, bright red geraniums contrasted with the yellow calceolaria, and the deliriously scented heliotrope. Altogether, everything is charming.
We go delightful trips every day, and it doesn’t matter whether there is a favourable wind or not, as Jack’s is a steam yacht. We have slept on board except one night when it was rather rough, and then Mrs. Vivian and I stayed at the South Western Hotel.
Altogether I am enjoying myself more than I have ever done in my life. Jack is an angel and adores me, the darling.
From your affectionate
P.S.—There is a Mrs. Tenterden, a widow, coming down to the yacht on Thursday to stay for a few days. Mrs. Vivian tells me that she is very good-looking.
From the Same to the Same.
July 22nd, 1901.
We are still here. Mrs. Tenterden, the lady I spoke about in my last letter, arrived here on Thursday.
I hate her! I hate her!! I hate her!!!
You will doubtless wonder why I, who am, as a rule, a quiet, harmless little dove, should indulge in such sinful feelings, but you will cease doing so when I tell you the truth.
Mrs. Tenterden has set her cap at Jack! He has—I know it—fallen under the spell of the enchantress. And she is an enchantress. She is a woman of about thirty, tall, fair, with striking features, lovely eyes, and the most superb complexion I have ever seen. The best complexion I ever recollect was that of a peasant girl’s at Ivy Bridge in Devonshire, but hers was nothing to compare with Mrs. Tenterden’s. It is perfect. I can say no more.
Then she is extremely amusing, being a brilliant talker (for I heard Jack say so) and very witty (for he is constantly laughing at the things she says, and which for the most part I don’t understand).
But this I know, that since her advent I have changed from the happiest girl in the world into one of the most miserable.
Mrs. Tenterden is the widow of Colonel Tenterden, who was a brother officer of Jack’s father, Colonel Vivian. Her husband died in India about six months ago, and she has lately returned to England. Jack had never seen her before, but Mrs. Vivian, who knew her as a young girl, asked her down here.
She has made a dead set at Jack, and I feel (I can’t help it) that he has fallen a captive to her bow and spear, for his manner towards me has entirely changed. He is not my darling, loving Jack, at all, but merely a polite friend.