IN THE ADMIRABLY APPOINTED, white-enamelled, wickerworked, be-mirrored lounge of the best hotel of that town Sylvia Tietjens sat in a wickerwork chair, not listening rather abstractedly to a staff-major who was lachrymosely and continuously begging her to leave her bedroom door unlocked that night. She said:
"I don't know. . . . Yes, perhaps. . . . I don't know. . . ." And looked distantly into a bluish wall-mirror that, like all the rest, was framed with white-painted cork bark. She stiffened a little and said:
The staff-major dropped his hat, his stick, and his gloves. His black hair, which was without parting and heavy with some preparation of a glutinous kind, moved agitatedly on his scalp. He had been saying that Sylvia had ruined his life. Didn't Sylvia know that she had ruined his life? But for her he might have married some pure young thing. Now he exclaimed:
"But what does he want? . . . Good God! . . . what does he want?"
"He wants," Sylvia said, "to play the part of Jesus Christ."
Major Perowne exclaimed:
" Jesus Christ! But he's the most foul-mouthed officer in the general's command. . . ."
"Well," Sylvia said, "if you had married your pure young thing she'd have . . . what is it? . . . cuckolded you within nine months. . . ."
Perowne shuddered a little at the word. He mumbled:
"I don't see. . . . It seems to be the other way . . ."