Young, Orphaned, and Left on One's Own

Elizabeth Bowen has a knack for creating moments.  And in this book they are moments with largely unlikeable characters, though I must admit, I haven't seen enough of Daphne to know what to make of her.

from The Death of the Heart
Elizabeth Bowen

As Portia came round the curtain Daphne did not look at her, but with unnerving politeness switched the wireless off. It snapped off at the height of a roar and Mrs. Heccomb looked up. Daphne popped the last piece of macaroon into her mouth, wiped her fingers correctly on a crêpe-de-chine handkerchief and shook hands, though still without saying anything. She gave the impression that she would not speak till she had thought of something striking to say.

I must say that the world would probably be a good deal better off if more of us adopted the assumed attitude of Daphne in that last sentence.

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