The Painted Veil Chapter 4

Kitty, coming to Hong-Kong on her marriage, had found it hard to reconcile herself to the fact that her social position was determined by her husband’s occupation. Of course every one had been very kind and for two or three months they had gone out to parties almost every night; when they dined at Government House the Governor took her in as a bride; but she had understood quickly that as the wife of the Government bacteriologist she was of no particular consequence. It made her angry.

‘It’s too absurd,’ she told her husband. ‘Why, there’s hardly any one here that one would bother about for five minutes at home. Mother wouldn’t dream of asking any of them to dine at our house.’

‘You mustn’t let it worry you,’ he answered. ‘It doesn’t really matter, you know.’

‘Of course it doesn’t matter, it only shows how stupid they are, but it is rather funny when you think of all the people who used to come to our house at home that here we should be treated like dirt.’

‘From a social standpoint the man of science does not exist,’ he smiled.

She knew that now, but she had not known it when she married him.

‘I don’t know that it exactly amuses me to be taken in to dinner by the agent of the P. and O.,’ she said, laughing in order that what she said might not seem snobbish.

Perhaps he saw the reproach behind her lightness of manner, for he took her hand and shyly pressed it.

‘I’m awfully sorry, Kitty dear, but don’t let it vex you.’

‘Oh. I’m not going to let it do that.’