Open main menu

Page:Tono-Bungay.djvu/221

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
213
MARION

pure fiction, pure poetry, instead of all this stuff with allusions—allusions? . . . Excuse me! There's something up behind that locked door! The keyhole! In the interests of public morality—yes, Sir, as a pure good man—I insist—I'll look—it won't hurt me—I insist on looking—my duty—M,m,m—the keyhole!'"

He kicked his legs about extravagantly, and I laughed again.

"That's Grundy in one mood, Ponderevo. It isn't Mrs. Grundy. That's one of the lies we tell about women. They're too simple. Simple! Women are simple! They take on just what men tell 'em. . . ."

Ewart meditated for a space. "Just exactly as it's put to them," he said, and resumed the moods of Mr. Grundy.

"Then you get old Grundy in another mood. Ever caught him nosing, Ponderevo? Mad with the idea of mysterious, unknown, wicked, delicious things. Things that aren't respectable. Wow! Things he mustn't do! . . . Any one who knows about these things, knows there's just as much mystery and deliciousness about Grundy's forbidden things as there is about eating ham. Jolly nice if it's a bright morning and you're well and hungry and having breakfast in the open air. Jolly unattractive if you're off colour. But Grundy's covered it all up and hidden it and put mucky shades and covers over it until he's forgotten it. Begins to fester round it in his mind. Has dreadful struggles with himself about impure thoughts. . . . Then you get Grundy with hot ears,—curious in undertones. Grundy on the loose, Grundy in a hoarse whisper and with furtive eyes and convulsive movements—making things indecent. Evolving—in dense vapours—indecency!