April 13, 2021 | pages 148-168 — start: "Well, I think that was rather nice"
“Their behavior was marital. It was incomprehensible to everyone…”
Stead has a gift for seeing funny patterns in human behavior like a botanist describing the curious patterns on leaves.
“Everyone likes Robert at first sight. It is only much later you find out that he has a heart of stone.”
To hear Mrs. Trollope speak with candor, at last, about Mr. Wilkins is like beholding the glowing flow of lava from a volcano that erupts at night, while most people are asleep in their beds.
Stead’s humor, Randall Jarrell wrote, “is of an unusual kind…there is a bewitching rapidity and lack of self-consciousness.”
In our painfully self-conscious era, it is refreshing to read scenes in which there is no predicting what absurd statement or behavior may be coming, and from whom.