Wednesday, October 10, 2018

But actually we're just impressed by their sheer boorishness

From Death Under Sail by C.P. Snow. Page 66.
"I'll tell you what rooms you're going to have," she said firmly. "You young ladies aren't married?" Avice and Tonia shook their heads." Then you'll both sleep in that room there" - she pointed to a room leading out of the sitting-room, and looked round at us as though willing to withstand opposition. Philip suddenly burst out into a giggle which he had been trying vainly to suppress. Mrs. Tufts glared at him.

"I know what you young people are," she told us. And then, looking at me, Heaven knows how unjustly, "and some old enough to know better."

Finbow interrupted courteously.

"I'm sure everything your arrange will be perfect, Mrs. Tufts. "May this gentleman" - he pointed to me - "and I share that room there?" This was the one opposite to the room which the girls were to have. "Where the oldest people in the party and sometimes we like to talk to each other."

I have rarely seen Finbow rebuffed, but Mrs. Telus was equal to it.

"I suppose you can sleep there if you like, but you ought to have something better to do at your age than to want to talk to each other," she answered curtly. "And you three will have the other double room and the single one between you."

She dismissed Christopher, William and Philip from her notice. She went out of the room, throwing behind her as she went:

"Lunch will be at one. I never wait for anybody."

Fender remark thoughtfully:

"It's curious how completely powerless almost all Englishmen are, if they're brought up against genuinely thorough rudeness.
And in our absurd muddleheaded way we always estimate it as a sign of character. Dr. Johnson and the Duke of Wellington and Queen Victoria and Mr. Shaw and Mr. Snowden – we find other reasons for approving of them, but actually we're just impressed by their sheer boorishness. Mrs. Tufts is very much like them. No one in England can be a great man if they have any manners. I am not a great man."

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