The Wrong Set: And Other Stories

By Angus Wilson | Go to book overview

SATURNALIA

"I really can't understand it," said Ruby Mann to her friend Enid. "I thought things would have been humming long ago. Hi there," she shouted to the two medicos from Barts, "a little action from the gang, please." "It isn't a bit like the Mendel Court to be so slow. It's more like that morgue the Ventnor," Enid answered. Scrawny-necked and anaemic, since childhood she had been drifting from one private hotel to another. She knew.

There was no doubt that the first hour of the staff dance had proved very sticky; servants and guests just wouldn't mix. Chef had started the evening in the customary way by leading out Mrs. Hyde-Green, and the Commander had shown the young chaps the way to do it in a foxtrot with Miss Tarrant, the receptionist. But these conventional exchanges had somehow only created greater inhibitions, a class barrier of ice seemed to be forming and though a few of the more determinedly matey both of masters and men ventured from time to time into this frozen no man's land they were soon driven back by the cold blasts of deadened conversation. A thousand comparisons were made between this year's streamers and last year's fairylights; every measurement possible and impossible was conjectured for the length of the lounge; it would have verged on irony to have deplored even once more the absence through illness of the head waitress who had been such a sport the year before -- by nine o'clock the rift was almost complete.

-68-

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The Wrong Set: And Other Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Fresh Air Fiend 3
  • Totentanz 20
  • Union Reunion 44
  • Saturnalia 68
  • Realpolitik 80
  • A Story Of Historical Interest 90
  • The Wrong Set 113
  • Crazy Crowd 124
  • A Visit In Bad Taste 148
  • Raspberry Jam 157
  • Significant Experience 178
  • Mother's Sense Of Fun 201
  • Et Dona Ferentes 219
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