After kissing her hand, he sucks one of her fingers into his mouth. Her face goes as hot and pink as the inside of his mouth. She snatches her hand back. He laughs at her. Apologizes? Got carried away? “I forgot you were a Methodist.”
“But your wife—”
“You think about my wife a good deal more than I do, and a good deal more than you ought.”
She runs away.
Next time she goes to Rye takes a footman, mails a letter in which she asks Lady Tassell “Do you know what ails the lady? Should I be watching for symptoms in the daughter?”, he brings up the mail thing AGAIN which tells her he asked the footman where she went.
Suddenly the woman appears at Sunday services in a long veil (heavily drugged with laudanum).
Sir Kit preached a sermon about gossip that Sunday. “Impelled by curiosity, they search out every petty transaction of the neighborhood; sift it again and again to the very bottom; and treasure up in their memories, in such matters too faithful, each particle of intelligence which they have collected. They pry into the interior of families; worm out every incident of the day…”
I felt ashamed, and sorry for him, too; he spoke with unfeigned earnestness, and I remembered how his own neighbors had clustered around me, asking, What do you think of Lady Palethorp? [check]
Tells Mary, “Give your mama a kiss” and she throws a tantrum and refuses. Lady P barely reacts.
Governess guilt trips her into apologizing afterwards, Sir Kit says “Mama is very tired now and can’t see anyone. You can see her tomorrow.”
Somehow tomorrow there is another excuse, and another.
Tries door and finds it locked. Listens again. The wood of the door was familiar to my ear by now.
I still didn’t know for certain where she was from, but I imagined her: not much strength left after shutting herself away so long, but her dark eyes still burned in her sallow face, her nose curved and jutted malevolently, and her mass of black hair curled thick and vibrant as if it sucked the life from her wasted frame. I saw her swathed from head to toe in black lace, plucking restlessly at her counterpane with bony fingers—those hateful eyes fixed on the door behind which she knew I lurked, the upstart who dared to be admired by her husband. A spider at the center of the house, waiting for me to come to her.
Thinks of the cut guitar strings and shivers.
Repetition of “Lady P has everything she needs”. Neighbors tell her they can see Sir Kit is very fond of her and she must have a care for her reputation, don’t encourage him, she wants to ask “If I’m turned off, will you give me a character? Will you find me a new place?” But they ask her to trust them and she thinks about how much she has severed herself from human love out of fear. Comparison to fire.