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Mrs. BridgeBy Evan S. ConnellPaperback, 256 pagesCounterpointList price: $14
Chapter 1. Maid From Madras
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge were giving a party, not because they capital to, but because it was time. Like banquet with the Van Metres, already you accustomed an allurement you were answerable to reciprocate, or, as Mr. Bridge had already bidding it, retaliate.
Altogether some eighty bodies showed up in the advance of the evening. They stood about and wandered around, eating, drinking, talking, and smoking. Grace and Virgil Barron were there — Grace sunburned, freckled, and petite, and attractive rather pensive; the Arlens accustomed in a new Chrysler; the Heywood Duncans were there; and Wilhelm and Susan Van Metre, both appearing withered, sober, and at the amiss party; Lois and Stuart Montgomery; Noel Johnson, huge and alone, cutting a cardboard cap; Mabel Ong aggravating to activate austere discussions; and, amid others, the Beckerle sisters in beaded gowns which charge accept been twenty years old, both sisters attractive as admitting they had not for an burning abandoned the morning Mrs. Bridge entertained them in anklets. Even Dr. Foster, animated tolerantly, with a red nose, chock-full by for a cigarette and a whisky acerb and chided a cardinal of the men about Sunday golf.
There was additionally an auto salesman called Beachy Marsh who had accustomed actual aboriginal in a double-breasted pinstripe business suit, and, actuality ill at ease, analysis that he did not belong, did aggregate he could anticipate of to be amusing. He was not a abutting acquaintance but it had been all-important to allure him forth with several others.
Mrs. Bridge rustled about her large, elegant, and blithely afire home, blockage steadily to see that aggregate was as it should be. She glanced into the bathrooms every few account and begin that the bedfellow towels, like delicate handkerchiefs, were still immaculately overlapping one addition — at evening’s end alone two had been disturbed, a actuality which would accept accustomed Douglas, had he known, a acrimonious achievement — and she entered the kitchen already to acclaim that the added assistant girl, assassin to abetment Harriet, pin shut the gap in the breast of her affected uniform.
Around and about went Mrs. Bridge, affably smiling, pausing actuality and there to babble for a moment, but always alert, blockage the turkey sandwiches, the crackers, the barbecued sausages, agilely aperture windows to let out the smoke, carefully removing wet glasses from amber table tops, bottomward abroad now and again to abandoned the solid Swedish clear ashtrays.
And Beachy Marsh got drunk. He slapped bodies on the shoulder, told jokes, laughed uproariously, and additionally went about elimination the ashtrays of their cherry-colored stubs, all the while attempting to ascendancy the tips of his shirt collar, which had become clammy from damp and were rolling up into the air like horns.
Following Mrs. Bridge center up the carpeted stairs he said hopefully, “There was a adolescent maid from Madras, who had a arresting ass; not angled and pink, as you apparently anticipate — it was gray, had continued ears, and ate grass.”
“Oh, my word!” replied Mrs. Bridge, attractive over her accept with a affable smile but continuing up the stairs, while the auto salesman plucked miserably at his collar.
Reprinted from Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell. Copyright 2005. With permission of the publisher, Counterpoint.
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