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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Romance on the omnibus
How rarely does one find people unaffectedly content with themselves and their social status; keeping well within that status; not deigning in any way to ape the attire of a superior class or to attempt any other similar deception of manner; and yet attaining to dignity. On the bus I met two of these scarce creatures: a rather ugly but pleasant featured young man of thirty, dressed, with a suspicion of carelessness, in roughly-cut clothes of good material; a girl of twenty-four or twenty-five, with high cheek-bones and a face which, while indicating firmness of character, was eager to smile; she wore a neat green-and-yellow dress, with a low hat to match, plain and well-made, but clearly inexpensive. Both belonged to what is called the lower-middle class, and both were well-to-do, in that their means were obviously more than sufficient for their needs. They talked with a northern accent, quietly, confidentially, about domestic affairs, and were certainly in love with each other - probably engaged to be married.
On neither side was there any affectation of conventional manners, nor a trace of that low instinct to pose which one encounters so frequently in public vehicles. They got off without stopping the bus; the man jumped down first, and running along gave his hand to the girl, who sprang lightly forward into the air, and smiled victoriously to find herself safe on the ground ... I very nearly said to the conductor: "Isn't that pretty?"
Had I observed this scene sooner I might have used it in "A Man from the North". Just the sort of thing that Richard Larch might have observed and reflected on, perhaps wondering if he was prone to posing and affectation.