“Sylvia, her long arm held out from a yard or so away, was stretching out her hand to Valentine’s mother. With her clear, high, unembarrassed voice she exclaimed, also from a yard or so away, so as to be heard by everyone in the room:
‘You’re Mrs Wannop. The great writer. I’m Christopher Tietjens’ wife.’
The old lady, with her dim eyes, looked up at the younger woman towering above her.
‘You’re Christopher’s wife!’ she said. ‘I must kiss you for all the kindness he has shown me’
Valentine felt her eyes filling with tears. She saw her mother stand up, place both her hands on the other woman’s shoulders. She heard her mother say:
‘You’re a most beautiful creature. I’m sure you’re good!’
Sylvia stood, smiling faintly, bending a little to accept the embrace. Behind the Macmasters, Tietjens and the staff officers, a little crowd of goggle eyes had ranged itself.
Valentine was crying. She slipped back behind the tea-urns, though she could hardly feel the way. Beautiful! The most beautiful woman she had ever seen! And good! Kind! You could see it in the lovely way she had given her cheek to that poor old woman’s lips…And to live all day, for ever, beside him…she, Valentine, ought to be ready to lay down her life for Sylvia Tietjens…”
Some Do Not (Ford Madox Ford)