She opened it to an almost blank page, and with a weak little laugh, pointed to the thing that was written there:
“‘March fifteenth, nineteen twelve!’ Your birthday, you see, and the day we met each other.”
And then, down below, the only note she had made during the whole of that lecture, he read: “Never marry a man with a passion for principles.”
“That’s the trouble with us, you see,” she said. “If you were just an ordinary man without any big passions or anything, it wouldn’t matter much if your life got spoiled. But with us, we’ve got to try for the biggest thing there is. Oh, Roddy, Roddy, darling! Hold me tight for just a minute, and then I’ll come and help you pack.”
The World Alone
THE LENGTH OF A THOUSAND YARDS
“Here’s the first week’s rent then,” said Rose, handing the landlady three dollars, “and I think you’d better give me a receipt showing till when it’s paid for. Do you know where there’s an expressman who would go for a trunk?”
The landlady had tight gray hair, a hard bitten hatchet face, and a back that curved through a forty-degree arc between the lumbar and the cervical vertebrae, a curve which was accentuated by the faded longitudinal blue and white stripes—like ticking—of the dress she wore. She had no charms, one would have said, of person, mind or manner. But it was nevertheless true that Rose was renting this room largely on the strength of the landlady. She was so much more humanly possible than any of the others at whose placarded doors Rose had knocked or rung ...!
For the last year and a half, anyway since she had married Rodney Aldrich, the surface that life had presented to her had been as bland as velvet. She’d never been spoken to by anybody except in terms of politeness. All the people she encountered could be included under two categories: her friends, if one stretches the word to include all her social acquaintances, and, in an equally broad sense, her servants; that is to say, people who earned their living by doing things she wanted done. Her friends’ and her servants’ manners were not alike, to be sure, but as far as intent went, they came to the same thing. They presented, whatever passions, misfortunes, dislikes, uncomfortable facts of any sort might lie in the background, a smooth and practically frictionless, bearing surface. A person accustomed to that surface develops a soft skin. This was about the first of Rose’s discoveries.