PART I

CHAPTER I
INITIATION OF THE CANTEEN

IN modern Society, one thing after another, this spice on that, ensures a kind of memoristic vacuum, and Fleur Mont's passage of arms with Marjorie Ferrar was, by the spring of 1926, well-nigh forgotten. Moreover, she gave Society's memory no encouragement, for, after her tour round the world, she was interested in the Empire--a bent so out of fashion as to have all the flavour and excitement of novelty with a sort of impersonality guaranteed.

Colonials, Americans, and Indian students, people whom nobody could suspect of being lions, now encountered each other in the 'bimetallic parlour,' and were found by Fleur 'very interesting,' especially the Indian students, so supple and enigmatic, that she could never tell whether she were 'using' them or they were 'using' her.

Perceiving the extraordinarily uphill nature of Foggartism, she had been looking for a second string to Michael's Parliamentary bow, and, with her knowledge of India, where she had spent six weeks of her tour, she believed that she had found it in the idea of free entrance for the Indians into Kenya. In her talks with these Indian students, she learned that it was impossible to walk in a direction unless you knew what it was. These young men might be complicated and unpractical, meditative and secret, but at least they appeared to be convinced that the molecules in an organism mattered less than the organism itself--that they, in fact, mattered less than India. Fleur, it seemed, had encountered faith-- a new and "intriguing" experience. She mentioned the fact to Michael.

"It's all very well," he answered, "but our Indian friends didn't live for four years in the trenches, or the fear thereof, for the sake of their faith. If they had, they couldn't possibly have the feeling that it matters as much as they think it does. They might want to, but their feelers would be blunted. That's what the war really did to all of us in Europe who were in the war."

-523-

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A Modern Comedy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Book I - The White Monkey 1
  • Part I 3
  • Part II 86
  • Chapter II - Victorine 97
  • Part III 167
  • Interlude - A Silent Wooing 250
  • Book II - The Silver Spoon 265
  • Part I 267
  • Part II 347
  • Part III 426
  • Book III - Swan Song 521
  • Part I 523
  • Part II 605
  • Chapter VII - Two Visits 653
  • Part III 699
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