Halfway House: A Comedy of Degrees

By Maurice Hewlett | Go to book overview

XI
COOL COMFORT

SATURDAY'S wonders, Sunday thrills -- with her declared lover monumentally in the Rectory pew and his relatives all unconscious that they were soon to, be hers (hers, Mary Middleham's: O altitudo!) - did not release her, in her own mind, from the promise of Sunday afternoon. Not only had she promised, not only had she something to tell him, a solid base for her feet from which to regard him, and a sanctuary in which to hide, from which to emerge at will, ready for any encounter; not only so, but she must put herself right with him. He had seen her, must have seen her, in a delicate situation -- nothing to him, of course, but somehow everything to her. She could not, she said, afford that he should deem. her a girl of the sort -- to be kissed in a doorway by anybody, gentleman or no gentleman. There were reasons -- special reasons for it; and since, as the fact was, these reasons did not now seem as cogent as they had yesterday, there was nothing for it but to cry them over and over to herself. "Engaged to be married -- engaged to be married -- to Mr. Germain -- to Mr. Germain of Southover House. And he loves

-113-

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