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Undertow (Chapter11)

2006-08-22 21:10

  Chapter Eleven

  The dinner was an ordeal; her partner was unfortunately interested only in motor-cars, of which Nancy could find little that was intelligent to say. She felt like what she was, a humble relative out of her element. After dinner they were all packed into cars, and swept to the club.

  Darkness and the sound of a comedian's voice in monologue warned them as they entered that the entertainment was begun; after much whispering, laughing and stumbling however, they were piloted to chairs, and for perhaps an hour and a half Nancy was quite alone, and much entertained. Then the lights went up, and the crowd surged noisily to and fro.

  She lost sight of Bert, but was duly introduced to new people; and they spoke of the successful entertainment, and of the club-house. Nancy danced only once or twice, and until almost two o'clock sat talking, principally with a pleasant old lady, who had a daughter to chaperon.

  Then the first departures began, and Nancy had a merry good-night from Dorothy, called over the latter's powdered shoulder as she danced, and went home. She was silent, as she undressed, but Bert, yawning, said that he had had a good time. He said that Dorothy had urged them to stay until Monday morning, but he did not see how he could make it. He hated to get started late at the office Monday morning. Nancy eagerly agreed.

  “You do feel so?” he asked, in satisfaction. “Well, that settles it, then! We'll go home to-morrow.”

  And home they did go, on the following afternoon. Nancy, counting the hours, nevertheless enjoyed the delicious breakfast, when she had quite a spirited chat with one or two of the men guests, who were the only ones to appear. Then she and Bert walked into the village to church, and wandering happily home, were met by Dorothy in the car, and whirled to the club. Here the pleasant morning air was perfumed with strong cigars already, and while Bert played nine holes of golf, and covered himself with glory, Nancy won five rubbers of bridge, and gained the respect of Dorothy and Elaine at the same time. She was more like her spontaneous self at luncheon than at any other time during the visit, and driving home, agreed with Bert that, when you got to know them, Dorothy's set was not so bad!

  “Her baby is frightfully ugly, but that doesn't matter so much, with a boy,” said Nancy. “And I don't think that a woman like Elaine is so rude as she is stupid. They simply can't see anything else but their way of thinking, and dressing, and talking, and so they stare at you as if you were a Hottentot! I had a nice time, especially to-day——but never again!”

  “Dorothy never did have any particular beau,” Bert observed, “She just likes to dress in those little silky, stripy things, and have everyone praising her, all the time. She'll ask us again, sometime, when she remembers us.”

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