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When, in the enthusiasm of my youth, I remarked on this to Rose Waterford, she said:

"Milk is very nice, especially with a drop of brandy in it,

but the domestic cow is only too glad to be rid of it."

1а, 5

, 20а


And you felt sure that she was an admirable mother. There were photographs in the drawing-room of her son and daughter.


The son -- his name was Robert -- was a boy of sixteen at Rugby; and you saw him in flannels and a cricket cap, and again in a tail-coat and a stand-up collar.



She smiled, her smile was really very sweet, and she blushed a little; it was singular that a woman of that age should flush so readily.



She smiled to cover her shyness, and I fancied she had a fear that I would make the sort of gibe that such a confession could hardly have failed to elicit from Rose Waterford.



One morning Mrs. Strickland sent me round a note to say that she was giving a dinner-party that evening, and one of her guests had failed her.



It was the kind of party which makes you wonder why the hostess has troubled to bid her guests, and why the guests have troubled to come.



The Stricklands "owed" dinners to a number of persons,

whom they took no interest in, and so had asked them;

these persons had accepted.



There was a K.C. and his wife, a Government official and his wife, Mrs. Strickland's sister and her husband, Colonel MacAndrew, and the wife of a Member of Parliament.

1а, 1а


The respectability of the party was portentous.


The women were too nice to be well dressed, and too sure of their position to be amusing.



There was about all of them an air of well-satisfied prosperity.

4, 11


They talked of the political situation and of golf, of their children and the latest play, of the pictures at the Royal Academy, of the weather and their plans for the holidays.



Strickland shut the door behind her, and, moving to the other end of the table, took his place between the K.C. and the Government official.


The K.C. told us of a case he was engaged in, and the Colonel talked about polo.



He was a man of forty, not good-looking, and yet not ugly, for his features were rather good; but they were all a little larger than life-size, and the effect was ungainly.



He was probably a worthy member of society, a good

husband and father, an honest broker; but there was no reason to waste one's time over him.



They were even more attractive than their photographs had suggested, and she was right to be proud of them.



I was perhaps a little lonely, and it was with a touch of envy that I thought of the pleasant family life of which I had had a glimpse.

1а, 20б


They would grow old insensibly; they would see their son and daughter come to years of reason, marry in due course -- the one a pretty girl, future mother of healthy children; the other a handsome, manly fellow, obviously a soldier; and at last, prosperous in their dignified retirement, beloved by their descendants, after a happy,

not unuseful life, in the fullness of their age they would

sink into the grave.

11, 1б, 4


It reminds you of a placid rivulet, meandering smoothly through green pastures and shaded by pleasant trees, till at last it falls into the vasty sea; but the sea is so calm, so silent, so indifferent, that you are troubled suddenly by a vague uneasiness.



On reading over what I have written of the Stricklands, I am conscious that they must seem shadowy.



As they stand they are like the figures in an old tapestry;

they do not separate themselves from the background, and at a distance seem to lose their pattern, so that you have little but a pleasing piece of colour.



There was just that shadowiness about them which you find in people whose lives are part of the social оrganism, so that they exist in it and by it only.



A pleasant, hospitable woman, with a harmless craze for the small lions of literary society; a rather dull man, doing his duty in that state of life in which a merciful Providence had placed him; two nice-looking, healthy children.

4, 7


I do not know that there was anything about them to excite the attention of the curious.


I think that I have gathered in the years that intervene between then and now a fair knowledge of mankind, but even if when I first met the Stricklands I had the experience which I have now, I do not believe that I should have judged them differently.



But because I have learnt that man is incalculable, I should not at this time of day be so surprised by the news that reached me when in the early autumn I returned to London.


It meant that she had heard some scandal about one of her friends, and the instinct of the literary woman was all alert.

4, 1а


Not only her face, but her whole body, gave a sense of alacrity.



I could not do her the injustice of supposing that so trifling a circumstance would have prevented her from

giving them, but she was obstinate.


In those days my experience of life at first hand was small, and it excited me to come upon an incident among people I knew of the same sort as I had read in books.


I confess that time has now accustomed me to incidents of this character among my acquaintance.


Strickland was certainly forty, and I thought it disgusting

that a man of his age should concern himself with affairs of the heart.

11, 1а


With the superciliousness of extreme youth, I put thirty-five as the utmost limit at which a man might fall in love without making a fool of himself.

1а, 23


I would come on a certain day to drink a dish of tea with her.


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