It occurred to him that she had spent these last few years entirely among men, seeing no women apart from a few like Louisa Wogan; she spoke rather as men, and somewhat raffish, moneyed, loose-living men, speak when they are alone together. ‘She has forgotten the distinction between what can and what cannot be said,’ he reflected. ‘A few more years of this company, and she would not scruple to fart.

You will not be afraid of all those rough men?’ asked Sophie, when Clarissa came down. ‘No. As far as I have seen, apart from mere brute strength they are no more formidable than we are. Less so, indeed, since most have that dog-does-not-bite-bitch rule deeply engrained, while nothing of that kind applies to us.

On and on she sailed, in warmer seas but void, as though they alone had survived Deucalion’s flood; as though all land had vanished from the earth; and once again the ship’s routine dislocated time and temporal reality so that this progress was an endless dream, even a circular dream, contained within an unbroken horizon and punctuated only by the sound of guns thundering daily in preparation for an enemy whose real existence it was impossible to conceive.

What is a potto?”
“It is a little furry creature that sleeps all day with its head between its legs and then walks about very, very slowly all night, high in the trees, slowly eating leaves and creeping up on birds as they roost and eating them too.

Few had much room to cast stones, but hypocrisy has never failed the English middle class in any latitude, and they flung them in plenty with delighted, shocked abandon – rocks, boulders, limited in size only by fear for their husband’s advancement. Conciliating discretion had never been among Mrs Villiers’s qualities, and if subjects for malignant gossip had been wanting she would have provided them by the elephant-load.

1 2 3 4