On the doorstep Adele met Tony Limpsfield. She hurried him into her motor and told the chauffeur not to drive on.News! she said. Lucia's going to have a lover.No! said Tony in the Riseholme mannerBut I tell you she is. He's with her now.They won't want me then, said Tony. And yet she asked me to come at half-past five.Nonsense, my dear. They will want you, both of them. . . . Oh Tony, don't you see? It's a stunt.Tony assumed the rapt expression of Luciaphils receiving intelligence.Tell me all about it, he said.I am sure I am right, said she. Her poppet came in just now and she held his hand as women do and made him draw his chair up to her and said he scolded her. I am not sure that he knows yet. But I saw that he guessed something was up. I wonder if he's clever enough to do it properly. . . . I wish she had chosen you, Tony, you'd have done it perfectly. They have got--don't you understand?--to have the appearance of being lovers, everyone must think they are lovers, while all the time there's nothing at all of any sort in it. It's a stunt: it's a play: it's a glory.But perhaps there is something in it, said Tony. I really think I had better not go in.Tony, trust me. Lucia has no more idea of keeping a real lover than of keeping a chimpanzee. She's as chaste as snow, a kiss would scorch her. Besides, she hasn't time. She asked Stephen there in order to show him to me and to show him to you. It's the most wonderful plan; and it's wonderful of me to have understood it so quickly. You must go in: there's nothing private of any kind: indeed, she thirsts for publicity.Her confidence inspired confidence and Tony was naturally consumed with curiosity. He got out, told Adele's chauffeur to drive on and went upstairs. Stephen was no longer sitting in the chair next to Lucia, but on the sofa at the other side of the tea-table. This rather looked as if Adele was right: it was consistent anyhow with their being lovers in public, but certainly not lovers in private.Dear Lord Tony, said Lucia--this appellation was a halfway house between Lord Limpsfield and Tony and she left out the Lord except to him--how nice of you to drop in. You have just missed Adele. Stephen, you know Lord Limpsfield?Lucia gave him his tea and presently getting up, reseated herself negligently on the sofa beside Stephen. She was a shade too close at first and edged slightly away.Wonderful play of Tchekov's the other day, she said. Such a strange, unhappy atmosphere. We came out, didn't we, Stephen, feeling as if we had been in some remote dream. I saw you there, Lord Tony, with Adele who had been lunching with me.Tony knew that: was not that the birthday of the Luciaphils?
E.F. Benson
Some women I talk to are so frightened of growing old. I sense their desperation. They say things like I m not going to live to be old I m not going to live to be dependent. The message young women get from youth culture is that it s wonderful to be young and terrible to grow old. If you think about it it s an impossible dilemma how can you make a good start in life if you are being told at the same time how terrible the finish is Because of ageism many women don t fully commit themselves to living life until they can no longer pass as young. They live their lives with one foot in life and one foot outside it. With age you resolve that. I know the value of each day and I m living with both feet in life. I m living much more fully... The power of the old woman is that because she s outside the system she can attack. And I am determined to attack it. One of the ways in which I am particularly conscious of this stance is when I go down the street. People expect me to move over which means to step on the grass or off the curb. I just woke up one day to the fact that I was moving over. I have no idea how many years I ve been doing that. Now I never move over. I simply keep walking. And we hit full force because the other person is so sure that I am going to move over that he isn t even paying any attention and we simply ram each other. If it s a man with a woman he shows embarrassment because he s just knocked down a five foot seventy year old woman and so he quickly apologises. But he s startled he doesn t understand why I didn t move over he doesn t even know how I got there where I came from. I am invisible to him despite the fact that I am on my own side of the street simply refusing to give him that space he assumes is his
Barbara MacDonald