scepticism, and that was rather becoming, for it had quenched the
eagerness of her prime, the mercenary principle I had so suffered from.
She had grown weary and detached, and since she affected me as more
impressed with the evil of the world than with the good, this was a
gain; in other words her accretion of indifference, if not of cynicism,
showed a softer surface than that of her old ambitions. Furthermore I
had to recognise that her devotion to her daughter was a kind of
religion; she had done the very best possible for Linda.
Linda was curious, Linda was interesting; I've seen girls I liked
better--charming as this one might be--but have never seen one who for
the hour you were with her (the impression passed somehow when she was
out of sight) occupied you so completely. I can best describe the
attention she provoked by saying that she struck you above all things as
a felicitous FINAL product--after the fashion of some plant or some
fruit, some waxen orchid or some perfect peach. She was clear