Full text: Mrs. Dalloway

MRS. DALLOWAY 
deeply she might be sunk in these reflections of a de- 
tached spirit, of an uncorrupted soul whom life could 
not bamboozle, because life had not offered her a trinket 
of the slightest value; not a curl, smile, lip, cheek, nose; 
nothing whatever; Lady Bruton had only to nod, and 
Perkins was instructed to quicken the coffee. 
“Yes; Peter Walsh has come back,” said Lady 
Bruton. It was vaguely flattering to them all. He had 
come back, battered, unsuccessful, to their secure shores. 
But to help him, they reflected, was impossible; there 
was some flaw_in his character. Hugh Whitbread said 
one might of course mention his name to So-and-so. 
He wrinkled lugubriously, consequentially, at the 
thought of the letters he would write to the heads of 
Government offices about “my old friend, Peter Walsh,” 
and so on. But it wouldn’t lead to anything—not to 
anythiag permanent, because of his character. 
“In trouble with some woman,” said Lady Bruton. 
They had all guessed that that was at the bottom of it. 
“However,” said Lady Bruton, anxious to leave the 
subject, “we shall hear the whole story from /Peter 
himself.” 
(The coffee was very slow in coming.) 
“The address?” murmured Hugh Whitbread; and 
there was at once a ripple in the grey tide of service 
which washed round Lady Bruton day in, day out, 
collecting, intercepting, enveloping her in a fine tissue 
which broke concussions, mitigated interruptions, and 
spread round the house in Brook Street a fine net where 
things lodged and were picked out accurately, instantly 
by grey-haired Perkins, who had been with Lady 
Bruton these thirty years and now wrote down the ad- 
dress; handed it to Mr. Whitbread, who took out his 
pocket-book, raised his eyebrows, and, slipping it in 
(19
	        

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