A Man Could Stand Up, by Ford Madox Ford

3

She said eventually to Miss Wanostrocht who had sat down at her table behind two pink carnations:

‘I didn’t consciously want to bother you but a spirit in my feet has led me who knows how . . . That’s Shelley, isn’t it?’

And indeed a quite unconscious but shrewd mind had pointed out to her whilst still in the School Hall and even before she had broken the telephone, that Miss Wanostrocht very probably would be able to tell her what she wanted to know and that if she didn’t hurry she might miss her, since the Head would probably go now the girls were gone. So she had hurried through gauntish corridors whose Decorated Gothic windows positively had bits of pink glass here and there interspersed in their lattices. Nevertheless a nearly deserted, darkish, locker-lined dressing-room being a short cut, she had paused in it before the figure of a clumsyish girl, freckled, in black and, on a stool, desultorily lacing a dull black boot, an ankle on her knee. She felt an impulse to say: ‘Good-bye, Pettigul!’ she didn’t know why.

The clumsy, fifteenish, bumpy-faced girl was a symbol of that place — healthyish, but not over healthy; honestish but with no craving for intellectual honesty; big-boned in unexpected places . . . and uncomelily blubbering so that her face appeared dirtyish . . . It was in fact all ‘ishes’ about that Institution. They were all healthyish, honestish, clumsyish, twelve-to-eighteenish and big-boned in unexpected places because of the late insufficient feeding . . . Emotionalish, too; apt to blubber rather than to go into hysterics.

Instead of saying good-bye to the girl she said:

‘Here!’ and roughly, since she was exhibiting too much leg, pulled down the girl’s shortish skirt and set to work to lace the unyielding boot on the unyielding shin-bone . . . After a period of youthful bloom, which would certainly come and as certainly go, this girl would, normally, find herself one of the Mothers of Europe, marriage being due to the period of youthful bloom . . . Normally that is to say according to a normality that that day might restore. Of course it mightn’t!

A tepid drop of moisture fell on Valentine’s right knuckle.

‘My cousin Bob was killed the day before yesterday,’ the girl’s voice said above her head. Valentine bent her head still lower over the boot with the patience that, in educational establishments, you must, if you want to be businesslike and shrewd, acquire and display in face of unusual mental vagaries . . . This girl had never had a cousin Bob, or anything else. Pettigul and her two sisters, Pettiguls Two and Three, were all in that Institution at extremely reduced rates precisely because they had not got, apart from their widowed mother, a discoverable relative. The father, a half-pay major, had been killed early in the war. All the mistresses had had to hand in reports on the moral qualities of the Pettiguls, so all the mistresses had this information.

‘He gave me his puppy to keep for him before he went out,’ the girl said. ‘It doesn’t seem just!’

Valentine, straightening herself, said:

‘I should wash my face if I were you, before I went out. Or you might get yourself taken for a German!’ She pulled the girl’s clumsyish blouse straight on her shoulders.

‘Try,’ she added, ‘to imagine that you’ve got someone just come back! It’s just as easy and it will make you look more attractive!’

Scurrying along the corridors she said to herself: ‘Heaven help me, does it make me look more attractive?’

She caught the Head, as she had anticipated, just on the point of going to her home in Fulham, an unattractive suburb but near a bishop’s palace nevertheless. It seemed somehow appropriate. The lady was episcopally-minded but experienced in the vicissitudes of suburban children: very astonishing some of them unless you took them very much in the lump.

The Head had stood behind her table for the first three questions and answers, in an attitude of someone who is a little at bay, but she had sat down just before Valentine had quoted Shelley at her, and she had now the air of one who is ready to make a night of it. Valentine continued to stand.

‘This,’ Miss Wanostrocht said very gently, ‘is a day on which one might . . . take steps . . . that might influence one’s whole life.’

‘That’s,’ Valentine answered, ‘exactly why I’ve come to you. I want to know what that woman said to you so as to know where I stand before I take a step.’

The Head said:

‘I had to let the girls go. I don’t mind saying that you are very valuable to me. The Governors — I had an express from Lord Boulnois — ordered them to be given a holiday to-morrow. It’s very inconsistent. But that makes it all the . . .

She stopped. Valentine said to herself:

‘By Jove, I don’t know anything about men; but how little I know about women. What’s she getting at?’ She added:

‘She’s nervous. She must be wanting to do something she thinks I won’t like!’

She said chivalrously:

‘I don’t believe anybody could have kept those girls in to-day. It’s a thing one has no experience of. There’s never been a day like this before.’

Out there in Piccadilly there would be seething mobs shoulder to shoulder: she had never seen the Nelson column stand out of a solid mass. They might roast oxen whole in the Strand: Whitechapel would be seething, enamelled iron advertisements looking down on millions of bowler hats. All sordid and immense London stretched out under her gaze. She felt herself of London as the grouse feels itself of the heather, and there she was in an emptied suburb looking at two pink carnations. Dyed probably: offering of Lord Boulnois to Miss Wanostrocht! You never saw a natural-grown carnation that shade!

She said:

‘I’d be glad to know what that woman — Lady Macmaster — told you.’

Miss Wanostrocht looked down at her hands. She had the little-fingers hooked together, the hands back to back; it was a demoded gesture . . . Girton of 1897, Valentine thought. Indulged in by the thoughtfully blonde . . . Fair girl graduates the sympathetic comic papers of those days had called them. It pointed to a long sitting. Well, she, Valentine, was not going to brusque the issue! . . . French-derived expression that. But how would you put it otherwise?

Miss Wanostrocht said:

‘I sat at the feet of your father!’

‘You see!’ Valentine said to herself. ‘But she must then have gone to Oxford, not Newnham!’ She could not remember whether there had been women’s colleges at Oxford as early as 1895 or 1897. There must have been.

‘The greatest Teacher . . . The greatest influence in the world,’ Miss Wanostrocht said.

It was queer, Valentine thought: this woman had known all about her — at any rate all about her distinguished descent all the time she, Valentine, had been Physical Instructress at that Great Public School (Girls’). Yet except for an invariable courtesy such as she imagined Generals might show to non-commissioned officers, Miss Wanostrocht had hitherto taken no more notice of her than she might have taken of a superior parlourmaid. On the other hand she had let Valentine arrange her physical training exactly as she liked: without any interference.

‘We used to hear,’ Miss Wanostrocht, said, ‘how he spoke Latin with you and your brother from the day of your births . . . He used to be regarded as eccentric, but how right! . . . Miss Hall says that you are the most remarkable Latinist she has ever so much as imagined.’

‘It’s not true,’ Valentine said, ‘I can’t think in Latin. You cannot be a real Latinist unless you do that. He did of course.’

‘It was the last thing you would think of him as doing,’ the Head answered with a pale gleam of youth. ‘He was such a thorough man of the world. So awake!’

‘We ought to be a queer lot, my brother and I,’ Valentine said. ‘With such a father . . . And mother of course!’ Miss Wanostrocht said:

‘Oh . . . your mother . . .

And immediately Valentine conjured up the little, adoring female clique of Miss Wanostrocht’s youth, all spying on her father and mother in their walks under the Oxford Sunday trees, the father so jaunty and awake, the mother so trailing, large, generous, unobservant. And all the little clique saying: If only he had us to look after him . . . She said with a little malice:

‘You don’t read my mother’s novels, I suppose . . . It was she who did all my father’s writing for him. He couldn’t write, he was too impatient!’

Miss Wanostrocht exclaimed:

‘Oh, you shouldn’t say that!’ with almost the pain of someone defending her own personal reputation.

‘I don’t see why I shouldn’t,’ Valentine said. ‘He was the first person to say it about himself.’

‘He shouldn’t have said it either,’ Miss Wanostrocht answered with a sort of soft unction. ‘He should have taken care more of his own reputation for the sake of his Work!’

Valentine considered this thin, ecstatic spinster with ironic curiosity.

‘Of course, if you’ve sat . . . if you’re still sitting at father’s feet as much as all that,’ she conceded, ‘it gives you a certain right to be careful about his reputation . . . All the same I wish you would tell me what that person said on the phone!’

The bust of Miss Wanostrocht moved with a sudden eagerness towards the edge of her table.

‘It’s precisely because of that,’ she said, ‘that I want to speak to you first . . . That I want you to consider . . . Valentine said:

‘Because of my father’s reputation . . . Look here, did that person — Lady Macmaster! — speak to you as if you were me? Our names are near enough to make it possible.’

‘You’re,’ Miss Wanostrocht said, ‘as one might say, the fine fruit of the product of his views on the education of women. And if you . . . It’s been such a satisfaction to me to observe in you such a . . . a sound, instructed head on such a . . . oh, you know, sane body . . . And then . . . An earning capacity. A commercial value. Your father, of course, never minced words . . . ’ She added:

‘I’m bound to say that my interview with Lady Mac-master . . . Who surely isn’t a lady of whom you could say that you disapprove. I’ve read her husband’s work. It surely — you’d say, wouldn’t you? — conserves some of the ancient fire.’

‘He,’ Valentine said, ‘hasn’t a word of Latin to his tail. He makes his quotations out, if he uses them, by means of school-cribs . . . I know his method of work, you know.’

It occurred to Valentine to think that if Edith Ethel really had at first taken Miss Wanostrocht for herself there might pretty obviously be some cause for Miss Wanostrocht’s concern for her father’s reputation as an intimate trainer of young women. She figured Edith Ethel suddenly bursting into a description of the circumstances of that man who was without furniture and did not appear to recognize the porter. The relations she might have described as having existed between her and him might well worry the Head of a Great Public School for Middle Class Girls. She had no doubt been described as having had a baby. A disagreeable and outraged current invaded her feelings . . .

It was suddenly obscured by a recrudescence of the thought that had come to her only incidentally in the hall. It rushed over her with extraordinary vividness now, like a wave of warm liquid . . . If it had really been that fellow’s wife who had removed his furniture what was there to keep them apart? He couldn’t have pawned or sold or burnt his furniture whilst he had been with the British Expeditionary Force in the Low Countries! He couldn’t have without extraordinary difficulty! Then . . . What should keep them apart? . . . Middle Class Morality? A pretty gory carnival that had been for the last four years! Was this then Lent, pressing hard on the heels of Saturnalia? Not so hard as that, surely! So that if one hurried . . . What on earth did she want, unknown to herself?

She heard herself saying, almost with a sob, so that she was evidently in a state of emotion:

‘Look here: I disapprove of this whole thing: of what my father has brought me to! Those people . . . the brilliant Victorians talked all the time through their hats. They evolved a theory from anywhere and then went brilliantly mad over it. Perfectly recklessly . . . Have you noticed Pettigul One? . . . Hasn’t it occurred to you that you can’t carry on violent physical jerks and mental work side by side? I ought not to be in this school and I ought not to be what I am!’

At Miss Wanostrocht’s perturbed expression she said to herself:

‘What on earth am I saying all this for? You’d think I was trying to cut loose from this school! Am I?’

Nevertheless her voice was going on:

‘There’s too much oxygenation of the lungs, here. It’s unnatural. It affects the brain, deleteriously. Pettigul One is an example of it. She’s earnest with me and earnest with her books. Now she’s gone dotty. Most of them it only stupifies.’

It was incredible to her that the mere imagination that that fellow’s wife had left him should make her spout out like this — for all the world like her father spouting out one of his ingenious theories! . . . It had really occurred to her once or twice to think that you could not run a dual physical and mental existence without some risk. The military physical developments of the last four years had been responsible for a real exaggeration of physical values. She was aware that in that Institution, for the last four years, she had been regarded as supplementing if not as actually replacing both the doctor and the priest . . . But from that to evolving a complete theory that the Pettigul’s lie was the product of an over-oxygenated brain was going pretty far . . .

Still, she was prevented from taking part in national rejoicings; pretty certainly Edith Ethel had been talking scandal about her to Miss Wanostrocht. She had the right to take it out in some sort of exaggerated declamation!

‘It appears,’ Miss Wanostrocht said, ‘for we can’t now go into the question of the whole curriculum of the school, though I am inclined to agree with you. What by the bye is the matter with Pettigul One? I thought her rather a solid sort of girl. But it appears that the wife of a friend . . . perhaps it’s only a former friend of yours, is in a nursing home.’

Valentine exclaimed:

‘Oh, he . . . But that’s too ghastly!’

‘It appears,’ Miss Wanostrocht said, ‘to be rather a mess.’ She added: ‘That appears to be the only expression to use.’

For Valentine, that piece of news threw a blinding light upon herself. She was overwhelmingly appalled because that woman was in a nursing home. Because in that case it would not be sporting to go and see the husband! Miss Wanostrocht went on:

‘Lady Macmaster was anxious for your advice. — It appears that the only other person that could look after the interests of . . . of your friend: his brother . . . ’

Valentine missed something out of that sentence. Miss Wanostrocht talked too fluently. If people wanted you to appreciate items of sledge-hammering news they should not use long sentences. They should say:

‘He’s mad and penniless. His brother’s dying: his wife’s just been operated on.’ Like that! Then you could take it in; even if your mind was rioting about like a cat in a barrel.

‘The brother’s . . . female companion,’ Miss Wanostrocht was wandering on, ‘though it appears that she would have been willing is therefore not available . . . The theory is that he — he himself, your friend, has been considerably unhinged by his experiences in the war. Then . . . Who in your opinion should take the responsibility of looking after his interests?’

Valentine heard herself say:

‘Me!’

She added:

‘Him! Looking after him. I don’t know that he has any . . . interests!’

He didn’t appear to have any furniture, so how could he have the other things? She wished Miss Wanostrocht would leave off using the word ‘appear’. It was irritating . . . and infectious. Could the lady not make a direct statement? But then, no one ever made clear statements, and this no doubt appeared to that anaemic spinster a singularly tenebrous affair.

As for clear statements . . . If there had ever been any in precisely this tenebrous mess she, Valentine, would know how she stood with that man’s wife. For it was part of the preposterous way in which she herself and all her friends behaved that they never made clear statements — except for Edith Ethel who had the nature of a female costermonger and could not tell the truth, though she could be clear enough. But even Edith Ethel had never hitherto said anything about the way the wife in this case treated the husband. She had given Valentine very clearly to understand that she ‘sided’ with the wife — but she had never gone as far as to say that the wife was a good wife. If she — Valentine — could only know that.

Miss Wanostrocht was asking:

‘When you say “Me”, do you mean that you would propose to look after that man yourself? I trust not.’

. . . Because, obviously, if she were a good wife, she, Valentine, couldn’t butt in . . . not generously. As her father’s and still more her mother’s daughter . . . On the face of it you would say that a wife who was always striding along the palings of the Row, or the paths of other resorts of the fashionable could not be a good — a domestic — wife for a Statistician. On the other hand he was a pretty smart man, Governing class, county family and the rest of it — so he might like his wife to figure in Society: he might even exact it. He was quite capable of that. Why, for all she knew, the wife might be a retiring, shy person whom he thrust out into the hard world. It was not likely: but it was as possible as anything else.

Miss Wanostrocht was asking:

‘Aren’t there Institutions . . . Military Sanatoria . . . for cases precisely like that of this Captain Tietjens? It appears to be the war that has broken him down, not merely evil living.’

‘It’s precisely,’ Valentine said, ‘because of that that one should want . . . shouldn’t one . . . Because it’s because of the War . . . ’

The sentence would not finish itself.

Miss Wanostrocht said:

‘I thought . . . It has been represented to me . . . that you were a Pacifist. Of an extreme type!’

It had given Valentine a turn — like the breaking out of sweat in a case of fever — to hear the name, coldly: ‘Captain Tietjens,’ for it was like a release. She had been irrationally determined that hers should not be the first tongue to utter that name.

And apparently from her tone Miss Wanostrocht was prepared to detest that Captain Tietjens. Perhaps she detested him already.

She was beginning to say:

‘If one is an extreme Pacifist because one cannot bear to think of the sufferings of men, isn’t that a precise reason why one should wish that a poor devil, all broken up . . . ’

But Miss Wanostrocht had begun one of her own long sentences. Their voices went on together, like trains dragging along ballast — disagreeably, Miss Wanstrocht’s organ, however, won out with the words:

‘ . . . behaved very badly indeed.’

Valentine said hotly:

‘You ought not to believe anything of the sort — on the strength of anything said by a woman like Lady Mac-master.’

Miss Wanostrocht appeared to have been brought to a complete stop: she leaned forward in her chair; her mouth was a little open. And Valentine said: ‘Thank Goodness!’ to herself.

She had to have a moment to herself to digest what had the air of being new evidence of the baseness of Edith Ethel; she felt herself to be infuriated in regions of her own being that she hardly knew. That seemed to her to be a littleness in herself. She had not thought that she had been at little as that. It ought not to matter what people said of you. She was perfectly accustomed to think of Edith Ehel as telling whole crowds of people very bad things about her, Valentine Wannop. But there was about this a recklessness that was hardly believable. To tell an unknown person, encountered by chance on the telephone, derogatory facts about a third party who might be expected to come to the telephone herself in a minute or two — and, not only that — who must in all probability hear what had been said very soon after, from the first listener . . . That was surely a recklessness of evil-speaking that almost outpassed sanity . . . Or else it betrayed a contempt for her, Valentine Wannop, and what she could do in the way of reprisals that was extremely hard to bear!

She said suddenly to Miss Wanostrocht:

‘Look here! Are you speaking to me as a friend to my father’s daughter or as a Headmistress to a Physical Instructor?’

A certain amount of blood came into the lady’s pinkish features. She had certainly been ruffled when Valentine had permitted her voice to sound so long alongside her own; for, although Valentine knew next to nothing about the Head’s likes or dislikes she had once or twice before seen her evince marked distaste on being interrupted in one of her formal sentences.

Miss Wanostrocht said with a certain coldness:

‘I’m speaking at present . . . I’m allowing myself the liberty — as a much older woman — in the capacity of a friend of your father. I have been, in short, trying to recall to you all that you owe to yourself as being an example of his training!’

Involuntarily Valentine’s lips formed themselves for a low whistle of incredulity. She said to herself:

‘By Jove! I am in the middle of a nasty affair . . . This is a sort of professional cross-examination.’

‘I am in a way glad,’ the lady was now continuing, ‘that you take that line . . . I mean of defending Mrs Tietjens with such heat against Lady Macmaster. Lady Macmaster appears to dislike Mrs Tietjens, but I am bound to say that she appears to be in the right of it. I mean of her dislike. Lady Macmaster is a serious personality, and even on her public record Mrs Tietjens appears to be very much the reverse. No doubt you wish to be loyal to your . . . friends, but . . . ’

‘We appear,’ Valentine said, ‘to be getting into an extraordinary muddle.’

She added:

‘I haven’t, as you seem to think, been defending Mrs Tietjens. I would have. I would at any time. I have always thought of her as beautiful and kind. But I heard you say the words: ”has been behaving very badly,” and I thought you meant that Captain Tietjens had. I denied it. If you meant that his wife has, I deny it, too. She’s an admirable wife . . . and mother . . . that sort of thing, for all I know . . .

She said to herself:

‘Now why do I say that? What’s Hecuba to me?’ and then:

‘It’s to defend his honour, of course . . . I’m trying to present Captain Tietjens as English Country Gentleman complete with admirably arranged establishment, stables, kennels, spouse, offspring . . . That’s a queer thing to want to do!’

Miss Wanostrocht who had breathed deeply said now:

‘I’m extremely glad to hear that. Lady Macmaster certainly said that Mrs Tietjens was — let us say — at least a neglectful wife . . . Vain, you know; idle; overdressed . . . All that . . . And you appeared to defend Mrs Tietjens.’

‘She’s a smart woman in smart Society,’ Valentine said, ‘but it’s with her husband’s concurrence. She has a right to be . . .

‘We shouldn’t,’ Miss Wanostrocht said, ‘be in the extraordinary muddle to which you referred if you did not so continually interrupt me. I was trying to say that, for you, an inexperienced girl, brought up in a sheltered home, no pitfall could be more dangerous than a man with a wife who neglected her duties!’

Valentine said:

‘You will have to excuse my interrupting you. It is, you know, rather more my funeral than yours.’

Miss Wanostrocht said quickly:

‘You can’t say that. You don’t know how ardently . . . Valentine said:

‘Yes, yes . . . Your schwärm for my father’s memory and all . . . But my father couldn’t bring it about that I should lead a sheltered life . . . I’m about as experienced as any girl of the lower classes . . . No doubt it was his doing, but don’t make any mistakes.’

She added:

‘Still, it’s I that’s the corpse. You’re conducting the inquest. So it’s more fun for you.’

Miss Wanostrocht had grown slightly pale:

‘If; if . . . ’ she stammered slightly, ‘by “experience” you mean . . . ’

‘I don’t,’ Valentine exclaimed, ‘and you have no right to infer that I do on the strength of a conversation you’ve had, but shouldn’t have had, with one of the worst tongues in London . . . I mean that my father left us so that I had to earn my and my mother’s living as a servant for some months after his death. That was what his training came to. But I can look after myself . . . In consequence . . .

Miss Wanostrocht had thrown herself back in her chair.

‘But . . . ’ she exclaimed: she had grown completely pale — like discoloured wax. ‘There was a subscription . . . We . . . ’ She began again: ‘We knew that he hadn’t . . . ’

‘You subscribed,’ Valentine said, ‘to purchase his library and presented it to his wife . . . who had nothing to eat but what my wages as a tweeny maid got for her.’ But before the pallor of the other lady she tried to add a touch of generosity: ‘Of course the subscribers wanted, very naturally, to preserve as much as they could of his personality. A man’s books are very much himself. That was all right.’ She added: ‘All the same I had that training: in a suburban basement. So you cannot teach me a great deal about the shady in life. I was in the family of a Middlesex County Councillor. In Ealing.’

Miss Wanostrocht said faintly:

‘This is very dreadful!’

‘It isn’t really!’ Valentine said. ‘I wasn’t badly treated as tweeny maids go. It would have been better if the Mistress hadn’t been a constant invalid and the cook constantly drunk . . . After that I did a little office work. For the suffragettes. That was after old Mr Tietjens came back from abroad and gave mother some work on a paper he owned. We scrambled along then, somehow. Old Mr Tietjens was father’s greatest friend, so father’s side, as you might say, turned up trumps — If you like to think that to console you . . .

Miss Wanostrocht was bending her face down over her table, presumably to hide a little of it from Valentine or to avoid the girl’s eyes.

Valentine went on:

‘One knows all about the conflict between a man’s private duties and his public achievements. But with a very little less of the flamboyant in his life my father might have left us very much better off. It isn’t what I want— to be a cross between a sergeant in the army and an upper housemaid. Any more than I wanted to be an under one.’

Miss Wanostrocht uttered an ‘Oh!’ of pain. She exclaimed rapidly:

‘It was your moral rather than your mere athletic influence that made me so glad to have you here . . . It was because I felt that you did not set such a high value on the physical . . . ’

‘Well, you aren’t going to have me here much longer,’ Valentine said. ‘Not an instant more than I can in decency help. I’m going to . . .

She said to herself:

‘What on earth am I going to do? . . . What do I want?’

She wanted to lie in a hammock beside a blue, tideless sea and think about Tibullus . . . There was no nonsense about her. She did not want to engage in intellectual pursuits herself. She had not the training. But she intended to enjoy the more luxurious forms of the intellectual products of others . . . That appeared to be the moral of the day!

And, looking rather minutely at Miss Wanostrocht’s inclined face, she wondered if, in the history of the world, there had ever been such another day. Had Miss Wanostrocht, for instance, ever known what it was to have a man come back? Ah, but amid the tumult of a million other men coming back! A collective impulse to slacken off! Immense! Softening!

Miss Wanostrocht had apparently loved her father. No doubt in company with fifty damsels. Did they even get a collective kick out of that affair? It was even possible that she had spoken as she had . . . pour cause. Warning her, Valentine, against the deleterious effect of being connected with a man whose wife was unsatisfactory . . . Because the fifty damsels had all, in duty bound, thought that her mother was an unsatisfactory wife for the brilliant, greyblack-haired Eminence with the figure of a stripling that her father had been . . . They had probably thought that, without the untidy figure of Mrs Wannop as a weight upon him, he might have become . . . Well, with one of them! . . . Anything! Any sort of figure in the councils of the nation. Why not Prime Minister? For along with his pedagogic theories he had had political occupations. He had certainly had the friendship of Disraeli. He supplied — it was historic! — materials for eternally famous, meretricious speeches. He would have been head-trainer of the Empire’s pro-consuls if the other fellow, at Balliol, had not got in first . . . As it was he had had to specialize in the Education of Women. Building up Primrose Dames . . .

So Miss Wanostrocht warned her against the deleterious effect of neglected wives upon young, attached virgins! It probably was deleterious. Where would she, Valentine Wannop, have been by now if she had thought that Sylvia Tietjens was really a bad one!

Miss Wanostrocht said, as if with sudden anxiety: ‘You are going to do what? You propose to do what?’ Valentine said:

‘Obviously after your conversation with Edith Ethel you won’t be so glad to have me here. My moral influence has not been brightened in aspect!’ A wave of passionate resentment swept over her.

‘Look here,’ she said, ‘if you think that I am prepared to . . .

She stopped, however. ‘No,’ she said, ‘I am not going to introduce the housemaid note. But you will probably see that this is irritating.’ She added: ‘I would have the case of Pettigul One looked into, if I were you. It might become epidemic in a big school like this. And we’ve no means of knowing where we stand nowadays!’

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/f/ford/ford_madox/man-could-stand-up/part1.3.html

Last updated Friday, March 14, 2014 at 21:53