**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Marriage a la Mode
by [?]

But the imbecile thing, the absolutely extraordinary thing was that he hadn’t the slightest idea that Isabel wasn’t as happy as he. God, what blindness! He hadn’t the remotest notion in those days that she really hated that inconvenient little house, that she thought the fat Nanny was ruining the babies, that she was desperately lonely, pining for new people and new music and pictures and so on. If they hadn’t gone to that studio party at Moira Morrison’s–if Moira Morrison hadn’t said as they were leaving, “I’m going to rescue your wife, selfish man. She’s like an exquisite little Titania”–if Isabel hadn’t gone with Moira to Paris–if– if…

The train stopped at another station. Bettingford. Good heavens! They’d be there in ten minutes. William stuffed that papers back into his pockets; the young man opposite had long since disappeared. Now the other two got out. The late afternoon sun shone on women in cotton frocks and little sunburnt, barefoot children. It blazed on a silky yellow flower with coarse leaves which sprawled over a bank of rock. The air ruffling through the window smelled of the sea. Had Isabel the same crowd with her this week-end, wondered William?

And he remembered the holidays they used to have, the four of them, with a little farm girl, Rose, to look after the babies. Isabel wore a jersey and her hair in a plait; she looked about fourteen. Lord! how his nose used to peel! And the amount they ate, and the amount they slept in that immense feather bed with their feet locked together…William couldn’t help a grim smile as he thought of Isabel’s horror if she knew the full extent of his sentimentality.

“Hillo, William!” She was at the station after all, standing just as he had imagined, apart from the others, and–William’s heart leapt–she was alone.

“Hallo, Isabel!” William stared. He thought she looked so beautiful that he had to say something, “You look very cool.”

“Do I?” said Isabel. “I don’t feel very cool. Come along, your horrid old train is late. The taxi’s outside.” She put her hand lightly on his arm as they passed the ticket collector. “We’ve all come to meet you,” she said. “But we’ve left Bobby Kane at the sweet shop, to be called for.”

“Oh!” said William. It was all he could say for the moment.

There in the glare waited the taxi, with Bill Hunt and Dennis Green sprawling on one side, their hats tilted over their faces, while on the other, Moira Morrison, in a bonnet like a huge strawberry, jumped up and down.

“No ice! No ice! No ice!” she shouted gaily.

And Dennis chimed in from under his hat. “Only to be had from the fishmonger’s.”

And Bill Hunt, emerging, added, “With whole fish in it.”

“Oh, what a bore!” wailed Isabel. And she explained to William how they had been chasing round the town for ice while she waited for him. “Simply everything is running down the steep cliffs into the sea, beginning with the butter.”

“We shall have to anoint ourselves with butter,” said Dennis. “May thy head, William, lack not ointment.”

“Look here,” said William, “how are we going to sit? I’d better get up by the driver.”

“No, Bobby Kane’s by the driver,” said Isabel. “You’re to sit between Moira and me.” The taxi started. “What have you got in those mysterious parcels?”

“De-cap-it-ated heads!” said Bill Hunt, shuddering beneath his hat.

“Oh, fruit!” Isabel sounded very pleased. “Wise William! A melon and a pineapple. How too nice!”

“No, wait a bit,” said William, smiling. But he really was anxious. “I brought them down for the kiddies.”

“Oh, my dear!” Isabel laughed, and slipped her hand through his arm. “They’d be rolling in agonies if they were to eat them. No”–she patted his hand–“you must bring them something next time. I refuse to part with my pineapple.”