She devoted herself to the difficult art of filling up her day. Accustomed to having every moment occupied, she could hardly cope with the vast stretch of idle hours. After a day or two she found herself obliged to give up having breakfast in bed. From force of habit she woke every morning at five, and could not endure the long wait in her room. If the weather was fine she usually went for a walk on the sea-front, from Rock-a-Nore to the Monypenny statue. Nothing would induce her to bathe, though even at that hour and season the water was full of young men and women rather shockingly enjoying themselves and each other. After breakfast she wrote laborious letters to Broadhurst, Wilson, Mrs. Tolhurst, Ellen, Mene Tekel—she had never written so many letters in her life, but every day she thought of some fresh thing that would be left undone if she did not write about it. When she had finished her letters she went out and listened respectfully to the band. The afternoon was generally given up to some excursion or charabanc drive, and the day finished rather somnolently in the lounge.
She did not get far beyond civilities with the other visitors in the hotel. More than one had spoken to her, attracted by this handsome, striking, and probably wealthy woman—through Ellen’s influence her appearance had been purged of what was merely startling—but they either took fright at her broad marsh accent ... “she must be somebody’s cook come into a fortune” ... or the more fundamental incompatibility of outlook kept them at a distance. Joanna was not the person for the niceties of hotel acquaintanceship—she was too garrulous, too overwhelming. Also she failed to realize that all states of society are not equally interested in the price of wheat, that certain details of sheep-breeding seem indelicate to the uninitiated, and that strangers do not really care how many acres one possesses, how many servants one keeps, or the exact price one paid for one’s latest churn.
The last few days of her stay brought her a rather ignominious sense of relief. In her secret heart she was eagerly waiting till she should be back at Ansdore, eating her dinner with Ellen, sleeping in her own bed, ordering about her own servants. She would enjoy, too, telling everyone about her exploits, all the excursions she had made, the food she had eaten, the fine folk she had spoken to in the lounge, the handsome amount she had spent in tips.... They would all ask her whether she felt much the better for her holiday, and she was uncertain what to answer them. A complete recovery might make her less interesting; on the other hand she did not want anyone to think she had come back half-cured because of the expense ... that was just the sort of thing Mrs. Southland would imagine, and Southland would take it straight to the Woolpack.