Authors: Evelyn Waugh
Tags: #Fiction, #Unread
place and all it means to you." "Tell me more about your terrible life," said Tony, leading her back to the central hall. "You are shy of talking about yourself, aren't you, Teddy? It's a mistake, you know, to keep things bottled up. I've been very unhappy too." Tony looked about him desperately in search of help; and help came. "Oh there you are," said a firm, child's voice. "Come on. We're going down to the woods now. We must hurry, otherwise it will be dark." "Oh, Johnny-boy, must I really? I was just talking to daddy." "Come on. It's all arranged. And afterwards you're to be allowed to have tea with me upstairs." Tony crept into the library, habitable today, since the workmen were at rest. Brenda found him there two hours later. "Tony, here all alone? We thought you were with Jenny. What have you done with her?" "John took her off... just in time before I said something rude." "Oh dear... well there's only me and Polly in the smoking room. Come and have some tea. You look all funny-have you been asleep?" "We must write it down a failure, definitely." "What does the old boy expect? It isn't as though he was everybody's money." "I daresay it would all have been all right, if she hadn't got his name wrong." "Anyway, this lets you out. You've done far more than most wives would to cheer the old boy up." "Yes, that's certainly true," said Brenda.
Another five days; then Brenda came to Hetton again. "I shan't be here next week-end," she said, "I'm going to stay with Veronica." "Am I asked?" "Well you were, of course, but I refused for you. You know you always hate staying away." "I wouldn't mind coming." "Oh, darling, I wish I'd known. Veronica would have loved it so... but I'm afraid it will be too late now. She's only got a tiny house... to tell you the truth I didn't think you liked her much." "I hated her like hell." "Well then...?" "Oh, it doesn't matter. I suppose you must go back on Monday? The hounds are meeting here on Wednesday, you know." "Are we giving them a lawner?" "Yes, darling, you know we do every year." "So we do." "You couldn't stay down till then?" "Not possibly, darling. You see if I miss one lecture I get right behind and can't follow the next. Besides I am not mad keen to see the hounds." "Ben was asking if we'd let John go out." "Oh, he's far too young." "Not to hunt. But I thought he might bring his pony to the meet and ride with them to the first covert. He'd love it so." "Is it quite safe?" "Oh, yes, surely?" "Bless his heart, I wish I could be here to see him." "Do change your mind." "Oh no, that's quite out of question. Don't make a thing about it, Tony." That was when she first arrived; later everything got better. Jock was there that week-end, also Allan and Marjorie and another married couple whom Tony had known all his life. Brenda had arranged the party for him and he enjoyed it. He and Allan went out with rook rifles and shot rabbits in the twilight; after dinner the four men played billiard fives while one wife watched. "The old boy's happy as a lark," said Brenda to Marjorie. "He's settling down wonderfully to the new régime." They came in breathless and rather hurried for whisky and soda. "Tony nearly had one through the window," said Jock. That night Tony slept in Guinevere. "Everything is all right, isn't it," he said once. "Yes of course, darling." "I get depressed down here all alone and imagine things." "You aren't to brood, Tony. You know that's one of the things that aren't allowed." "I won't brood any more," said Tony. Next day Brenda came to church with him. She had decided to devote the week-end wholly to him; it would be the last for some time. "And how are the abstruse sciences, Lady Brenda?" "Absorbing." "We shall all be coming to you for advice about our overdraft." "Ha, ha." "And how's Thunderclap?" asked Miss Tendril. "I'm taking her out hunting on Wednesday," said John. He had forgotten Princess Abdul Akbar in the excitement of the coming meet. "Please God make there be a good scent. Please God make me see the kill. Please God don't let me do anything wrong. God bless Ben and Thunderclap. Please God make me jump an enormous great oxer," he had kept repeating throughout the service. Brenda did the round with Tony of cottages and hot houses; she helped him choose his button-hole. Tony was in high spirits at luncheon. Brenda had begun to forget how amusing he could be. Afterwards he changed into other clothes and went with Jock to play golf. They stayed some time at the club house. Tony said, "We've got the hounds meeting at Hetton on Wednesday. Couldn't you stay down till then?" "Must be back. There's going to be a debate on the Pig Scheme." "I wish you'd stay. Look here why don't you ask that girl down. Everyone goes tomorrow. You could ring her up, couldn't you." "I could." "Would she hate it? She could have Lyonesse-Polly slept there two week-ends running so it can't be too uncomfortable." "She'd probably love it. I'll ring up and ask her." "Why don't you hunt too? There's a chap called Brinkwell who's got some quite decent hirelings I believe." "Yes, I might." "Jock's staying on. He's having the shameless blonde down. You don't mind?" "Me? Of course not." "This has been a jolly week-end." "I thought you were enjoying it." "Just like old times-before the economics began." Marjorie said to Jock, "D'you think Tony knows about Mr. Beaver?" "Not a thing." "I haven't mentioned it to Allan. D'you suppose he knows?" "I doubt it." "Oh, Jock, how d'you think it'll end?" "She'll get bored with Beaver soon enough." "The trouble is that he doesn't care for her in the least. If he did, it would soon be over... What an ass she is being." "I should say she was managing it unusually well, if you asked me." The other married couples said to each other, "D'you think Marjorie and Allan know about Brenda?" "I'm sure they don't." Brenda said to Allan, "Tony's as happy as a sand-boy, isn't he?" "Full of beans." "I was getting worried about him... You don't think he's got any idea about my goings on." "Lord no. It's the last thing that would come into his head." Brenda said, "I don't want him to be unhappy you know... Marjorie's been frightfully governessy about the whole thing." "Has she? I haven't discussed it with her." "How did you hear?" "My dear girl, until this minute I didn't know you had any goings on. And I'm not asking any questions about them now." "Oh... I thought everyone knew." "That's always the trouble with people when they have affaires. They either think no one knows, or everybody. The truth is that a few people like Polly and Sybil make a point of finding out about everyone's private life; the rest of us just aren't interested." "Oh." Later he said to Marjorie, "Brenda tried to be confidential about Beaver this evening." "I didn't know you knew." "Oh I knew all right. But I wasn't going to let her feel important by talking about it." "I couldn't disapprove more of the whole thing. Do you know Beaver?" "I've seen him about. Anyway, it's her business and Tony's, not ours."
Jock's blonde was called Mrs. Rattery. Tony had conceived an idea of her from what he overheard of Polly's gossip and from various fragments of information let fall by Jock. She was a little over thirty. Somewhere in the Cottesmore country there lived a long-legged, slightly discredited Major Rattery, to whom she had once been married. She was American by origin, now totally denationalised, rich, without property or possessions, except those that would pack in five vast trunks. Jock had had his eye on her last summer at Biarritz and had fallen in with her again in London where she played big bridge, very ably, for six or seven hours a day and changed her hotel, on an average, once every three weeks. Periodically she was liable to bouts of morphine; then she gave up her bridge and remained for several days at a time alone in her hotel suite, refreshed at intervals with glasses of cold milk. She arrived by air on Monday afternoon. It was the first time that a guest had come in this fashion and the household was appreciably excited. Under Jock's direction the boiler man and one of the gardeners pegged out a dust sheet in the park to mark a landing for her and lit a bonfire of damp leaves to show the direction of the wind. The five trunks arrived in the ordinary way by train, with an elderly, irreproachable maid. She brought her own sheets with her in one of the trunks; they were neither silk nor coloured, without lace or ornament of any kind, except small, plain monograms. Tony, Jock and John went out to watch her land. She climbed out of the cockpit, stretched, unbuttoned the flaps of her leather helmet, and came to meet them. "Forty-two minutes," she said, "not at all bad with the wind against me." She was tall and erect, almost austere in helmet and overalls; not at all as Tony had imagined her. Vaguely, at the back of his mind he had secreted the slightly absurd expectation of a chorus girl, in silk shorts and brassière, popping out of an immense beribboned Easter Egg with a cry of "Whooppee, boys." Mrs. Rattery's greetings were deft and impersonal. "Are you going to hunt on Wednesday?" asked John. "They're meeting here you know." "I might go out for half the day, if I can find a horse. It'll be the first time this year." "It's my first time too." "We shall both be terribly stiff." She spoke to him exactly as though he were a man of her own age. "You'll have to show me the country." "I expect they'll draw Bruton wood first. There's a big fox there, daddy and I saw him." When they were alone together, Jock said, "It's delightful your coming down. What d'you think of Tony?" "Is he married to that rather lovely woman we saw at the Café de Paris?" "Yes.' "The one you said was in love with that young man?" "Yes." "Funny of her... What's this one's name again?" "Tony Last. It's a pretty ghastly house, isn't it?" "Is it? I never notice houses much." She was an easy guest to entertain. After dinner on Monday she produced four packs of cards and laid out for herself on the smoking room table a very elaborate patience, which kept her engrossed all the evening. "Don't wait up for me," she said. "I shall stay here until it comes out. It often takes several hours." They showed her where to put the lights out and left her to it. Next day Jock said, "Have you got any pigs at the farm?" "Yes." "Would you mind if I went to see them?" "Not the least-but why?" "And is there a man who looks after them, who will be able to explain about them?" "Yes." "Well, I think I'll spend the morning with him. I've got to make a speech about pigs, fairly soon." They did not see Mrs. Rattery until luncheon. Tony assumed she was asleep until she appeared in overalls from the morning room. "I was down early," she explained, "and found the men at work stripping the ceiling. I couldn't resist joining in. I hope you don't mind." In the afternoon they went to a neighbouring livery stables to look for hirelings. After tea Tony wrote to Brenda; he had taken to writing letters in the past few weeks. How enjoyable the week-end was, he wrote. Thank you a thousand times for all your sweetness. I wish you were coming down next week-end, or that you had been able to stay on a little, but I quite understand. The Shameless Blonde is not the least what we expected-very serene and distant. Not at all like Jock's usual taste. I am sure she hasn't any idea where she is or what my name is. The work in the morning room is going on well. The foreman told me today he thought he would begin on the chromium plating by the end of the week. You know what I think about that. John can talk of nothing except his hunting tomorrow. I hope he doesn't break his neck. Jock and his S. B. are going out too. Hetton lay near the boundary of three packs; the Pigstanton, who hunted it, had in the division of territory come off with the worst country and they cherished a permanent resentment about some woods near Bayton. They were a somewhat ill-tempered lot, contemptuous of each other's performance, hostile to strangers, torn by internal rancour; united only in their dislike of the Master. In the case of Colonel Inch this unpopularity, traditional to the hunt, was quite undeserved; he was a timid, inconspicuous man who provided the neighbourhood with sport of a kind at great personal expense. He himself was seldom in sight of hounds and could often be found in another part of the country morosely nibbling ginger nut biscuits in a lane or towards the end of the day cantering heavily across country, quite lost, a lonely scarlet figure against the ploughed land, staring about him in the deepening twilight and shouting at yokels for information. The only pleasure he gained from his position, but that a substantial one, was in referring to it casually at Board Meetings of the various companies he directed. . The Pigstanton met twice a week. There was seldom a large field on Wednesdays, but the Hetton meet was popular; it lay in their best country and the prospect of stirrup cups had drawn many leathery old ladies from the neighbouring packs. There were also followers on foot and in every kind of vehicle, some hanging back diffidently, others, more or less known to Tony, crowding round the refreshment table. Mr. Tendril had a niece staying with him, who appeared on a motor bicycle. John stood beside Thunderclap, solemn with excitement. Ben had secured a powerful, square-headed mare from a neighbouring farmer; he hoped to have a hunt after John had been taken home; at John's earnest entreaty nanny was confined indoors, among the housemaids whose heads obtruded at the upper windows; it was not her day. She had been out of temper while dressing him. "If I'm in at the death I expect Colonel Inch will blood me. "You won't see any death," said nanny. Now she stood with her eyes at a narrow slit gazing rather resentfully at the animated scene below. "It's all a lot of nonsense of Ben Hacket's," she thought. She deplored it all, hounds, Master, field, huntsman and whippers-in, Miss Tendril's niece in her mackintosh, jock in rat-catcher, Mrs. Rattery in tall hat and cutaway coat oblivious of the suspicious glances of the subscribers, Tony smiling and chatting to his guests, the crazy old man with the terriers, the Press photographer, pretty Miss Ripon in difficulties with a young horse, titapping sideways over the lawn, the grooms and second horses, the humble, unknown followers in the background-it was all a lot of nonsense of Ben Hacket's. "It was after eleven before the child got to sleep last night," she reflected, "he was that over-excited." Presently they moved off towards Bruton wood. The way lay down the South drive through Compton Last, along the main road for half a mile, and then through fields. "He can ride with them as far as the covert," Tony had said. "Yes, sir, and there'd be no harm in his staying a bit to see hounds working, would there?" "No, I suppose not." "And if he breaks away towards home, there'd be no harm in our following a bit, if we keeps to the lanes and gates, would there, sir?" "No, but he's not to stay out more than an hour." "You wouldn't have me take him home with hounds running, would you, sir?" "Well he's got to be in before one." "I'll see to that, sir." "Don't you worry, my beauty," he said to John, "you'll get a hunt right enough." They waited until the end of the line of horses and then trotted soberly behind them. Close at their heels followed the motor-cars, at low gear, in a fog of exhaust gas. John was breathless and slightly dizzy. Thunderclap was tossing her head and worrying at her snaffle. Twice while the field was moving off, she had tried to get away and had taken John round in a little circle, so that Ben had said, "Hold on to her, son" and had come up close beside him so as to be able to catch the reins if she looked like bolting. Once boring forwards with her head she took John by surprise and pulled him forwards out of his balance; he caught hold of the front of the saddle to steady himself and looked guiltily at Ben. "I'm afraid I'm riding very badly today. D'you think anyone has noticed?" "That's all right, son. You can't keep riding-school manners when you're hunting." Jock and Mrs. Rattery trotted side by side. "I rather like this absurd horse," she said; she rode astride and it was evident from the moment she mounted that she rode extremely well. The members of the Pigstanton noted this with ill-concealed resentment for it disturbed their fixed opinion according to which, though all fellow members of the hunt were clowns and poltroons, strangers were without exception mannerless lunatics, and a serious menace to anyone within quarter of a mile of them. Half way through the village Miss Ripon had difficulties in getting past a stationary baker's van. Her horse plunged and reared, trembling all over, turning about, and slipping frantically over the tarmac: They rode round her giving his heels the widest berth, scowling ominously and grumbling about her. They all knew that horse. Miss Ripon's father had been trying to sell him all the season, and had lately come down to eighty pounds. He was a good jumper on occasions but a beast of a horse to ride. Did Miss Ripon's father really imagine he was improving his chances of a sale by letting Miss Ripon make an exhibition of herself? It was like that skinflint Miss Ripon's father, to risk Miss Ripon's neck for eighty pounds. And anyway Miss Ripon had no business out on any horse... Presently she shot past them at a canter; she was flushed in the face and her bun was askew; she leant back, pulling with all her weight. "That girl will come to no good," said Jock. They encountered her later at the covert. Her horse was sweating and lathered at the bridle but temporarily at rest cropping the tufts of sedge that lay round the woods. Miss Ripon was much out of breath, and her hands shook as she fiddled with veil, bun and bowler. John rode up to Jock's side. "What's happening, Mr. Grant-Menzies?" "Hounds are drawing the covert." "Oh." "Are you enjoying yourself?" "Oh yes. Thunderclap's terribly fresh. I've never known her like this." There was a long wait as the horn sounded in the heart of the wood. Everyone stood at the corner of the big field, near a gate. Everyone, that is to say, except Miss Ripon who some minutes ago had disappeared suddenly, indeed in the middle of a sentence, at full gallop towards Hetton hills. After half an hour Jock said, "They're calling hounds off." "Does that mean it's a blank?" "I'm afraid so." "I hate this happening in our woods," said Ben. "Looks bad." Indeed the Pigstantons were already beginning to forget their recent hospitality and to ask each other what did one expect when Last did not hunt himself, and to circulate dark reports of how one of the keepers had been observed last week burying Something late in the evening. They moved off again, away from Hetton. Ben began to feel his responsibility. "D'you think I ought to take the young gentleman home, sir?" "What did Mr. Last say?" "He said he could go as far as the covert. He didn't say which, sir." "I'm afraid it sounds as if he ought to go." "Oh, Mr. Grant-Menzies." "Yes, come along, Master John. You've had enough for today." "But I haven't had any." "If you come back in good time today your dad will be all the more willing to let you come out another day." "But there mayn't be another day. The world may come to an end. Please, Ben. Please, Mr. Grant-Menzies." "It is a shame they shouldn't have found," said Ben. "He's been looking forward to it." "Still I think Mr. Last would want him to go back," said Jock. So John's fate was decided; hounds went in one direction, he and Ben in another. John was very near tears as they reached the main road. "Look," said Ben, to encourage him. "Here comes Miss Ripon on that nappy bay. Seems as if she's going in, too. Had a fall by the looks of her." Miss Ripon's hat and back were covered with mud and moss. She had had a bad twenty minutes since her disappearance. "I'm taking him away," she said. "I can't do anything with him this morning." She jogged along beside them towards the village. "I thought perhaps Mr. Last would let me come up to the house and telephone for the car. I don't feel like hacking him home in his present state. I can't think what's come over him," she added loyally. "He was out on Saturday. I've never known him like this before." "He wants a man up," said Ben. "Oh, he's no better with the groom and daddy won't go near him," said Miss Ripon, stung to indiscretion. "At least... I mean... I don't think that they'd be any better with him in this state." He was quiet enough at that moment, keeping pace with the other horses. They rode abreast, she on the outside with John's pony between her and Ben. Then this happened: they reached a turn in the road and came face to face with one of the single decker, country buses that covered that neighbourhood. It was not going fast and, seeing the horses, the driver slowed down still further and drew into the side. Miss Tendril's niece who had also despaired of the day's sport was following behind them at a short distance on her motor bicycle; she too slowed down and, observing that Miss Ripon's horse was likely to be difficult, stopped. Ben said, "Let me go first, miss. He'll follow. Don't hold too hard on his mouth and just give him a tap." Miss Ripon did as she was told; everyone in fact behaved with complete good-sense. They drew abreast of the omnibus. Miss Ripon's horse did not like it, but it seemed as though he would get by. The passengers watched with amusement. At that moment the motor bicycle, running gently in neutral gear, fired back into the cylinder with a sharp detonation. For a second the horse stood rigid with alarm; then, menaced in front and behind, he did what was natural to him and shied sideways, cannoning violently into the pony at his side. John was knocked from the saddle and fell on the road while
Miss Ripon's bay, rearing and skidding, continued to plunge away from the bus. "Take a hold of him, miss. Use your whip," shouted Ben. "The boy's down." She hit him and the horse collected himself and bolted up the road into the village, but before he went one of his heels struck out and sent John into the ditch, where he lay bent double, perfectly still. Everyone agreed that it was nobody's fault. It was nearly an hour before the news reached Jock and Mrs. Rattery, where they were waiting beside another blank covert. Colonel Inch stopped hunting for the day and sent the hounds back to the kennels. The voices were hushed which, five minutes before, had been proclaiming that they knew it for a fact, Last had given orders to shoot every fox on the place. Later, alter their baths, they made up for it in criticism of Miss Ripon's father, but at the moment everyone was shocked and silent. Someone lent Jock and Mrs. Rattery a car to get home in, and a groom to see to the hirelings. "It's the most appalling thing," said Jock in the borrowed car. "What on earth are we going to say to Tony?" "I'm the last person to have about on an occasion like this," said Mrs. Rattery. They passed the scene of the accident; there were still people hanging about, talking. There were people hanging about, talking, in the hall at the house. The doctor was buttoning up his coat, just going. "Killed instantly," he said. "Took it full on the base of the skull. Very sad, awfully fond of the kid. No one to blame though." Nanny was there in tears; also Mr. Tendril and his niece; a policeman and Ben and two men who had helped bring up the body were in the servants' hall. "It wasn't the kid's fault," said Ben. "It wasn't anyone's fault," they said. "He'd had a lousy day too poor little bastard," said Ben. "If it was anyone's fault it was Mr. Grant-Menzie's making him go in." "It wasn't anyone's fault," they said. Tony was alone in the library. The first thing he said, when Jock carne in was, "We've got to tell Brenda." "D'you know where to get her?" "She's probably at that school... But we can't tell her over the telephone... Anyway Ambrose has tried there and the flat but he can't get through... What on earth are we going to say to her?" Jock was silent. He stood in the fireplace with his hands in the pockets of his breeches, with his back to Tony. Presently Tony said, "You weren't anywhere near were you?" "No, we'd gone on to another covert." "That niece of Mr. Tendril's told me first... then we met them coming up, and Ben told me all that happened... It's awful for the girl." "Miss Ripon?" "Yes, she's just left... she had a nasty fall too, just after. Her horse slipped up in the village... she was m a terrible state, poor child, what with that and... John. She didn't know she'd hurt him until quite a time afterwards... she was in the chemist's shop having a bandage put on her forehead, when they told her. She cut it falling. She was in a terrible state. I sent her back in the car... it wasn't her fault." "No, it wasn't anybody's fault. It just happened." "That's it," said Tony. "It just happened... how are we going to tell Brenda?" "One of us will have to go up." "Yes... I think I shall have to stay here. I don't know why really, but there will be things to see to. It's an awful thing to ask anyone to do..." "I'll go," said Jock. "There'll be things to see to here... there's got to be an inquest the doctor says. It's purely formal of course, but it will be ghastly for that Ripon girl. She'll have to give evidence... she was in a terrible state. I hope I was all right to her. They'd just brought John in and I was rather muddled. She looked awful. I believe her father's bloody to her... I wish Brenda had been here. She's so good with everyone. I get in a muddle." The two men stood in silence. Tony said, "Can you really face going up and seeing Brenda?" "Yes, I'll go," said Jock. Presently Mrs. Rattery came in. "Colonel Inch has been here," she said. "I talked to him. He wanted to give you his sympathy." "Is he still here?" "No, I told him you'd probably prefer to be left alone. He thought you'd be glad to hear he stopped the hunt." "Nice of him to come... Were you having a good day?" "No." "I'm sorry. We saw a fox in Bruton wood last week, John and I... Jock's going up to London to fetch Brenda." "I'll take him in the aeroplane. It'll be quicker." "Yes that will be quicker.' "My maid can follow with the luggage by train... I'll go and change now. I won't be ten minutes." "I'll change too," said Jock. When he was alone Tony rang the bell. A young footman answered; he was quite young and had not been long at Hetton. "Will you tell Mr. Ambrose that Mrs. Rattery is leaving today. She is flying up with Mr. Grant-Menzies. Her ladyship will probably be coming by the evening train." "Very good, sir." "They had better have some luncheon before they go. Something cold in the dining room. I will have it with them... And will you put a call through to Colonel Inch and thank him for coming. Say I will write. And to Mr. Ripon's to enquire how Miss Ripon is. And to the vicarage and ask Mr. Tendril if I can see him this evening. He's not here still?" "No, sir, he left a few minutes ago." "Tell him I shall have to discuss arrangements with him." "Very good, sir." Mr. Last was very matter of fact about everything, the footman reported later. It was perfectly quiet in the library for the workmen in the morning room had laid aside their tools for the day. Mrs. Rattery was ready first. "They're just getting luncheon." "We shan't want any," she said. "You forget we were going hunting." "Better have something," said Tony, and then, "It's awful for Jock, having to tell Brenda. I wonder how long it will be before she arrives." There was something in Tony's voice as he said this which made Mrs. Rattery ask, "What are you going to do while you're waiting?" "I don't know. I suppose there will be things to see to." "Look here," said Mrs. Rattery, "Jock had better go up by car. I'll stay here until Lady Brenda comes." "It would be awful for you." "No, I'll stay." 'Tony said, "I suppose it's ridiculous of me, but I wish you would... I mean won't it be awful for you? I am all in a muddle. It's so hard to believe yet, that it really happened." "It happened all right." The footman came to say that Mr. Tendril would call after tea that day; that Miss Ripon had gone straight to bed and was asleep. "Mr. Grant-Menzies is going up in his car. He may be back tonight," said Tony. "Mrs. Rattery is waiting until her ladyship arrives." "Very good, sir. And Colonel Inch wanted to know whether you would care to have the huntsman blow 'Gone Away' at the funeral." "Say that I'll write to him," and when the footman had left the room Tony said, "An atrocious suggestion." "Oh, I don't know. He's very anxious to be helpful." "They don't like him much as Master." Jock left soon after half past two. Tony and Mrs. Rattery had coffee in the library. "I'm afraid this is a very difficult situation," said Tony. "After all we scarcely know each other." "You don't have to think about me." "But it must be awful for you." "And you must stop thinking that." "I'll try... the absurd thing is that I'm not thinking it, just saying it... I keep thinking of other things all the time." "I know. You don't have to say anything." Presently Tony said, "It's going to be so much worse for Brenda. You see she's got nothing else, much, except John. I've got her, and I love the house... but with Brenda John always came first... naturally... And then you know she's seen so little of John lately. She's been in London such a lot. I'm afraid that's going to hurt her." "You can't ever tell what's going to hurt people." "But, you see, I know Brenda so well."