“Yes, I know your theory of life, or rather, your lack of one.” Frank had been insinuating the same philosophy at their various meetings. She was aware that the insinuating process had an ulterior motive, for she was unable to deceive herself or walk blindly into the arms he held out to her. But so far she had kept him off very delicate ground. She knew she could not do so much longer, and she wondered at herself that she did not capitulate. For more and more her thoughts dwelt on those pleasures of which she had been deprived. The spring air tantalized her and made the blood run hotter in her veins. Nature craved its proper food; youth seconded its demands.
Sick people are notoriously capricious in their likes and dislikes, and Gilbert seemed to have taken a dislike to Colin. They had been together quite amiably at Le Touquet, but once at Wynnstay, Gilbert never suggested that he should come down, and once, when Colin motored down, received him in such an indifferent manner that no one could have misunderstood. Then, at the beginning of July Colin had gone up to Lancashire to pursue some investigations on the Child Labour problem for Sir Michael Carton, and since then Claudia had only had letters from him. The letters were always charming, unobtrusively encouraging and subtly sympathetic, telling her something of his work and discussing the books in the Currey library, which helped to while away her time, but she missed him. She wondered why he and Pat did not announce their engagement, and therefore she was not in the least surprised when she got the following letter from Pat one morning in August:
1.“You’re a fool, Claudia, a fool! a fool! a fool!” she said through her half-closed teeth. “You want things that you will never get, that probably don’t exist except in your stupid imagination.”
3.“Having your portrait painted, Claudia? That’s good news. To increase the joy of nations you must give him some sittings.”