“I don’t see how,” said Lilly.
“I don’t see HOW—But I had a vision of it.”
“What sort of vision?”
“Couldn’t describe it.”
“But you don’t think much of the Japanese, do you?” asked Lilly.
“Don’t I! Don’t I!” said Jim. “What, don’t you think they’re wonderful?”
“No. I think they’re rather unpleasant.”
“I think the salvation of the world lies with them.”
“Funny salvation,” said Lilly. “I think they’re anything but angels.”
“Do you though? Now that’s funny. Why?”
“Looking at them even. I knew a Russian doctor who’d been through the Russo-Japanese war, and who had gone a bit cracked. He said he saw the Japs rush a trench. They threw everything away and flung themselves through the Russian fire and simply dropped in masses. But those that reached the trenches jumped in with bare hands on the Russians and tore their faces apart and bit their throats out—fairly ripped the faces off the bone.—It had sent the doctor a bit cracked. He said the wounded were awful,—their faces torn off and their throats mangled—and dead Japs with flesh between the teeth—God knows if it’s true. But that’s the impression the Japanese had made on this man. It had affected his mind really.”
Jim watched Lilly, and smiled as if he were pleased.
“No—really—!” he said.
“Anyhow they’re more demon than angel, I believe,” said Lilly.
“Oh, no, Rawdon, but you always exaggerate,” said Tanny.
“Maybe,” said Lilly.
“I think Japanese are fascinating—fascinating—so
quick, and such
FORCE in them—”
“Rather!—eh?” said Jim, looking with a quick smile at Tanny.
“I think a Japanese lover would be marvellous,” she laughed riskily.
“I s’d think he would,” said Jim, screwing up his eyes.
“Do you hate the normal British as much as I do?” she asked him.
“Hate them! Hate them!” he said, with an intimate grin.
“Their beastly virtue,” said she. “And I believe there’s nobody more vicious underneath.”
“Nobody!” said Jim.
“But you’re British yourself,” said Lilly to Jim.
“No, I’m Irish. Family’s Irish—my mother was a Fitz-patrick.”
“Anyhow you live in England.”
“Because they won’t let me go to Ireland.”
The talk drifted. Jim finished up all the beer, and they prepared to go to bed. Jim was a bit tipsy, grinning. He asked for bread and cheese to take upstairs.
“Will you have supper?” said Lilly. He was surprised, because Jim had eaten strangely much at dinner.
“No—where’s the loaf?” And he cut himself about half of it. There was no cheese.
“Bread’ll do,” said Jim.
“Sit down and eat it. Have cocoa with it,” said Tanny.
“No, I like to have it in my bedroom.”