Henry Masterman Mist Diaries and Prisoners Pie Magazine
Revision as of Dec 21, 2020, 10:54:40 AM, edited by 172.16.1.125
They sat in the soft light of shaded lamps in one of these modern, old-fashioned, oak rooms of a small but cosy café. Around them rose the gentle hum of subdued conversation, interrupted now and then by the clearer note of spoons and teacups. They had just finished tea, and Ronald Allison, an artist of about thirty, was leaning back in his chair, lazily smoking a cigarette, and watching his companion. Agnes Heatherley's clear, pale profile and well-poised, little head showed up well on the dark oak panels, he thought in a detached manner. Suddenly he leant forward.
"Well, what do you say, Agnes?" he asked. "You see, being away so long has put me out of touch with things here, and I am always pretty lonely. You know me sufficiently well of old to know that I am quite easy to get along with, and when you have nothing else to do, we can amuse each other."
Agnes Heatherley did not appear surprised at the proposition. She looked calmly across at him, and then said:
"You always were a rather queer fellow .... But I'm quite agreeable. Only, there is one condition."
"And that is?"
"You mustn't make love to me. Not that I would really mind your doing so, but -- --" and she looked at him, her cheeks dimpling in a light smile -- -- "as you say, I know you of old, and don't wish to waste time at so obvious a game. Flirting is only interesting when one or other of the parties may be sincere."
"Very good" he said. "I see I shall have to live down my reputation, although I had hoped that it would have been buried in my absence. However, it's a bargain, and I shall keep you to it."
She nodded carelessly and let her eyes drift around the room. He lay back again, and thoughtfully noted the delicate effect of blue-grey, smoke streamers upon warm, brown hair.
Shortly afterwards they left together.
. . . . . . . . . . .
For the next three or four weeks Allison saw quite a good deal of Agnes Heatherley. Arriving back in his native town, after seven years abroad, in France and Italy chiefly, where he had studied painting and music, he found himself out of all sympathy with the majority of his former acquaintances, and was quite pleased to have the company of one who possessed a certain natural sympathy (in spite of a purely conventional training), a fairly keen insight into human nature, especially that of men, and a curious, slightly cynical turn of mind which made her conversation both interesting and stimulating. He had met her first as a boy of fifteen while on a visit to his aunt during the summer holidays, and had promptly fallen in love with her, chiefly on account of her hair, which was then quite golden. Even then, he
BC Archives, MS-2570 Box 1 File 6 / MIST, Henry Masterman / Ruhleben magazine, Prisoners’ Pie, 1916.