Lady Stutfield Oh, I think one can always know at once whether a man has home claims upon his life or not. I have noticed a very, very sad expression in the eyes of so many married men.

Mrs Allonby Ah, all that I have noticed is that they are horribly tedious when they are good husbands, and abominably conceited when they are not.

Lady Hunstanton Well, I suppose the type of husband has completely changed since my young days, but I’m bound to state that poor dear Hunstanton° was the most delightful of creatures, and as good as gold.

Mrs Allonby Ah, my husband is a sort of promissory note;° I’m tired of meeting him.

Lady Caroline But you renew him from time to time, don’t you?

Mrs Allonby Oh no, Lady Caroline. I have only had one husband° as yet. I suppose you look upon me as quite an amateur.

Lady Caroline With your views on life I wonder you married at all.

Mrs Allonby So do I.

Lady Hunstanton My dear child, I believe you are really very happy in your married life, but that you like to hide your happiness from others.

Mrs Allonby I assure you I was horribly deceived in Ernest.

Lady Hunstanton Oh, I hope not, dear. I knew his mother quite well. She was a Stratton, Caroline, one of Lord Crowland’s daughters.

Lady Caroline Victoria Stratton? I remember her perfectly. A silly fair-haired woman with no chin.

Mrs Allonby Ah, Ernest has a chin. He has a very strong chin, a square chin. Ernest’s chin is far too square.

Lady Stutfield But do you really think a man’s chin can be too square? I think a man should look very, very strong, and that his chin should be quite, quite square.

Mrs Allonby Then you should certainly know Ernest, Lady Stutfield. It is only fair to tell you beforehand he has got no conversation at all.

Lady Stutfield I adore silent men.

Mrs Allonby Oh, Ernest isn’t silent. He talks the whole time. But he has got no conversation. What he talks about I don’t know. I haven’t listened to him for years.

Lady Stutfield Have you never forgiven him then? How sad that seems! But all life is very, very sad, is it not?

Mrs Allonby Life, Lady Stutfield, is simply a mauvais quart d’heure° made up of exquisite moments.

Lady Stutfield Yes, there are moments, certainly. But was it something very, very wrong° that Mr Allonby did? Did he become angry with you, and say anything that was unkind or true?

Mrs Allonby Oh dear, no. Ernest is invariably calm. That is one of the reasons he always gets on my nerves. Nothing is so aggravating as calmness. There is something positively brutal about the good temper of most modern men. I wonder we women stand it as well as we do.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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