鈥攄own to the lowest depths of impotence, than which 鏉窞澶滅綉hzywthere is no worse state. She made herself comfortable with fiction and preferred everything to truth. An amazing capacity she had for compelling others
to acquiesce in her self-deceptions by tickling their sentimentality so that it rose in them like a flood of treacle and slopped over their imagination and critical faculty. Had it ever occurred to her to exercise this power in print she might have become an enormously successful novelist. She was to all appearances much loved, and all her acquaintances and many of those whom she called her friends always spoke of her as 鈥渄ear Mrs. Folyat.鏉窞姘寸（澶氬皯閽?鈥?She was never unhappy, but, on the other hand, she was never happy. In all material matters she was a furious optimist. She liked eating and sleeping and gossiping and going to the theatre and reading. If she could indulge in all these seemingly 鏉窞涓嶆瑙勬礂娴?harmless pleasures to the extent of her appetite it seemed to her that all was well with the world.
When she married Francis, ambition was stirred in her and satisfied. Through the long years at St. Withans she bore him children with great regularity and also with [Pg 172]the indifference of an automaton. She regarded herself as a perfect wife because she was faithful, and as a perfect mother for no other reason than that she was a mother. When her children offended her she chastised them, when they pleased her she kissed and fondled them. On the whole she brought them up on the 鏉窞澶滅敓娲昏创鍚?principle of Rabelais鈥?Abb茅: Fais ce que vouldras. On that principle also she conducted her own life, but, unhappily, she never wanted anything much.
She believed herself to be a Christian. She was so familiar with the Bible that it had absolutely 鏉窞娌瑰帇398 no meaning for her. Her memory was astonishing, so that she did not need to read the book. Her childhood had been spent in an atmosphere of great piety, and she had absorbed the whole Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, through the pores of her skin rather than through her brains. What most nearly penetrated her consciousness was, curiously enough, the prophecies of the end of the world: There shall be wars and rumours of wars, and every now and then she indulged herself in the luxury of terror, reading signs in everything. She was extremely superstitious and would never walk under 鏉窞姘寸（浼氭墍婊ㄦ睙 a ladder, nor sit thirteen at a table, and when a mirror was broken in the house or salt was spilt or knives were crossed, she would see in the next disaster,
great or small, the infallible consequence. She was delighted when she met a hunchback in 鏉窞淇濆仴鎸夋懇浼氭墍 the street, for that portended luck; alarmed on an encounter with a cross-eyed woman, for that boded no good. Her mind was like a dusty empty room, the door of which was sealed with cobwebs, showing that she had not for many years passed out nor had any entered in. She was romantic and picturesque, loving the romance of fiction, and entirely oblivious of the romance of fact. Only twice in her life did she deliver herself of utterances the least philosophical, and as, being what she was, her sincerity must remain suspect, neither