The Razor’s Edge Chapter 4

WHEN I PASSED through Paris again the Maturins had gone and other people lived in Elliott’s apartment. I missed Isabel. She was good to look at and easy to talk to. She was quick on the uptake and bore no malice. I have never seen her since. I am a poor and dilatory correspondent and Isabel was no letter writer. If she could not communicate with you by telephone or telegram she did not communicate with you. I had a Christmas card from her that Christmas with a pretty picture on it of a house with a Colonial portico surrounded by live oaks, which I took to be the house of the plantation that they had been unable to sell when they wanted the money and which now they were probably willing to keep. The postmark showed that it had been posted at Dallas, so I concluded that the deal had gone through satisfactorily and they were settled there.

I have never been to Dallas, but I suppose that, like other American cities I know, it has a residential district within easy motoring distance of the business section and the country club where the affluent have fine houses in large gardens with a handsome view of hill or dale from the living-room windows. In such a district and in such a house, furnished from cellar to attic in the latest mode by the most fashionable decorator in New York, Isabel certainly dwells. I can only hope that her Renoir, her flower piece by Manet, her landscape by Monet, and her Gauguin do not look too dated. The dining-room is doubtless of a convenient size for the women’s luncheons which she gives at frequent intervals and at which the wine is good and the food superlative. Isabel learnt a great deal in Paris. She would not have settled on the house unless she had seen at a glance that the living-room would do very well for the sub-deb dances which it would be her pleasant duty to give as her daughters grew older. Joan and Priscilla must be now of a marriageable age. I am sure that they have been admirably brought up; they have been sent to the best schools and Isabel has taken care that they should acquire the accomplishments that must make them desirable in the eyes of eligible young men. Though I suppose Gray by now is still a little redder in the face, more jowly, balder, and a good deal heavier. I can’t believe that Isabel has changed. She is still more beautiful than her daughters. The Maturins must be a great asset to the community and I have little doubt that they are as popular as they deserve to be. Isabel is entertaining, gracious, complaisant, and tactful; Gray, of course, is the quintessence of the Regular Guy.