BOOK EXCERPT 4:
(sections of pp76-78)
As usual, his mother was talking even before she entered the parlour with the tea tray, "… and she left a number where you can call her back."
"Robin! Haven't you heard a thing I've said to you? Virgina Cox-Gordon!"
There had been a time when he would have been very excited to hear that Virginia Cox-Gordon had called. He had, shortly, been very interested in her. She was pretty, witty, rich, and he liked being seen with her. But Virginia picked her boy friends for their pocketbooks, and Robin couldn't afford her. ... As for his Flight Lieutenant's pay, you could book that under "petty cash" as far as the Cox-Gordons of the world were concerned. … he hadn't inherited a fortune and he wasn't going to make one either - and Virginia wasn't going to give sustained attention to anyone without.
His mother set the tea-tray down on the coffee table, and Robin took his crutch and hobbled over to sit on the sofa. "I dropped by the Mission to see Aunt Hattie today," he remarked.
"In your condition?!" his mother answered, horrified. She had never approved of him "hanging about" the Seaman's Mission, because he came in contact with "bad company" there. Robin, on the other hand, … always spent time down there when he could, often helping Cook because the retired seaman had a wealth of fascinating - and by no means completely sanitized - stories.
"There was a new girl working there. Emily Pryce."
"Good heavens! What do you want with the girls Hattie drags in? For all you know she was a you-know-what! She might well be diseased."
"With a Cambridge education and quoting John Maynard Keynes?"
His mother had no answer to that, but didn't need one. The telephone started ringing out in the hall, and she rushed to answer it.
"Yes, yes!" Robin heard her say breathlessly into the phone, and then, "He just got in. I'll go fetch him." She rushed back into the sitting room and stage-whispered at Robin. "It's Miss Cox-Gordon!"
"I don't want-" He thought better of it, took a crutch and limped into the hallway. He took up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Robin, darling! I was so worried! Are you really quite all right?"
"Brilliant. Wizard. Nothing but a bashed ankle. Cast comes off in a couple of weeks or so. Then I'm back on ops."
"So soon? Then we must get together at the first opportunity. What are you doing tomorrow? I'm having a few friends down to the country." She meant her father's country estate in Kent. "Why don't you join us?"
"Sorry. Can't drive yet. Not 'till the cast comes off. Nice of you to think of me, though. Just have to wait 'til I'm fit. I'll give you a call."
Virginia tittered. … "You know I've got a job with the Times, don't you?"
"Congratulations. Society Page?"
"No! Who cares about that now-a-days? I'm covering London, actually. You wouldn't believe all the silly questions these Americans insist on asking everyone! 'Will Britain bear up?' 'Can the RAF stop the Luftwaffe?'"
Virginia tittered again. "You're a card, Robin. You should know."
"Haven't the foggiest. Look, Virginia, my aunt just got in, and I must entertain her." He was looking at Aunt Hattie, who - having let herself in - was coming up the stairs. "I'll ring you later in the week. Thanks for calling."
He'd already hung up.
"Just who was that?" Hattie asked giving him a piercing look.
Hattie's eyebrows went up. She didn't read the gossip pages, but many of her staff - and of course her sister Lydia - did. She knew exactly who Virginia Cox-Gordon was: daughter of a millionaire, debutante, the "catch of the season" just last year, before the war started.
"You know your other girl friends call my flat," she told him a low, reproachful voice.
"Just how many girls did you give my number to?"
"Only two." He thought about it. "Three."
Hattie sighed and gazed at him sadly.
"I am sorry they bothered you," Robin insisted, looking sincere. "I told them not to call unless it was an absolute emergency, and-"
"Yes, well, I'm sure things look very different from your superior male vantage point, but to us poor females here on the ground, the fact that you were last seen duelling with two Messerschmitts over the ruins of Calais in the midst of the worst rout in English history seemed very much like an 'emergency.' I can't say I blame them, but I do wonder about you sometimes…."
Robin concluded it might not be the best moment to ask her for Emily Pryce's telephone number.
|NOTE: In building this site, I thought about many things - such as what spelling standard I should use in
referring to World War II, and what keyword spelling people might use
in a search engine to find this page. I found it interesting to
note the following numbers of page listings for the various ways one
might type World War II into a search engine.
6,050,000 for world war two
5,860,000 for world war 2
134,000,000 for world war II (using the capital i for the 2)
83,900 for world war ll (using the lower case L for the 2)
26,200,000 for second world war
310,000 for 2nd world war
21,600 for ww two
804,000 for ww 2
7,130,000 for ww ii (using the i for the 2)
46,300 for ww ll (using the lower case L for the 2)
21,600 for w.w. two
804,000 for W.W.2
7,130,000 for w.w.II (using the capital i for the 2)
46,300 for w.w.ll (using the lower case l for the 2)
Note that capitalization, punctuation and spacing changes introduced no differences. So if you are looking for information on a particular subject, remember to use all variations of the wrods related to the subject. The pages a search engine will give you to look at will vary with each method. Also in general, I have referred to World War II on these pages using WWII (using the capital i for the 2).
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