Cressida and Hermione

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Tagg’s Island, Sir Alfred Munnings, 1919. Philip Wilson Publishers, 1978.

Cressida’s fiancé Rupert plays midfield for the Tottenham Hotspurs. Her friend Hermione, only daughter of Sir Hubert Dalgleish, fancies Orlando, an enigmatic striker for the Northampton Avengers. Tut tut. Le coeur a ses raisons, etc., wouldn’t you say, if only you knew French?

A soupçon of tension thus invades the heiresses’ amity; they cheer respectively for bitter rivals on the football pitch.

Cressida learns from Rupert, quite casually, that Orlando is the subject of certain rumours involving the daughter of Archibald McClackmannanham, whose company will build the new bridge over the Firth of Forth. Rupert has reported Sir Alistair Chichester to have muttered audibly to Sir Hubert over a tot of Sheep Dip in the Thane of Thoth that McClackmannanham was a “bloody arriviste” egged on by “his cohort of toadies.” Such is the disdain of old wealth for new wealth.

Cressida imparts this intelligence with delicate reluctance to Hermione, who receives it with a sharp intake of breath and a prolonged glance through the French doors giving out upon the manicured grounds of Pelfe Chase, her family’s ancestral manor.

Your assignment is as follows: Pretend you have the sensibilities of gentlefolk. On a scale of One (“Undetectable”) to Ten (“Seismic”), where must Cressida’s sympathy for her friend register? On the same scale, how horrid must poor Hermione now feel?

(Social Math — UK, Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.)

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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