Monday, 18 October 2010

Mollie Panter-Downes

This is an extract from the beginning of a short story entitled 'Only A Silly Memory" written by the seventeen year old Mollie Panter-Downes  in 1924. Published in John O'London's Weekly, June 7, 1924.

She wanted diamonds, but he dissuaded her.
"No, not diamonds for you."
"Why not?"
"They are so brilliant."
"Am I not brilliant?"
"Yes, but not in that hard, passionless way. I want you to have emeralds. They suit your temperament."
She smiled at this a little vaguely.
"Green for jealousy? Beware, Robert!"
"You know that it is not you who are likely to run risks on that score! I consider that I am a brave man to marry such a beautiful woman."
This pleased her. She felt sleek and well fed and purring.
"Am I beautiful?"
"Too beautiful for peace of mind. But to return to the emeralds, they are your jewel without a question. Like you, they are flawless, deeply lustrous, glowing with a thousand hidden fires. Like you, too, a little inscrutable. They are not brazenly beautiful, like diamonds, nor intimate, like pearls. They have an air of mystery, as if they are guarding some deep, centuries-old secret. You also have that delicate air. Give me the delight of seeing you wearing emeralds, Flavia."
So not unwillingly, she gave in.
They went to a big Bond Street jeweller's together. The attendent who looked like a blase young god in a frock-coat, brought out for them, with the air of one conferring an Olympian favour, trays of emerald rings. They looked wicked, winking up at Flavia in the softly-shaded lght. She tried on rings set with stones of all shapes and sizes - square, oval, hoops, clusters.
Robert would have none of them. He conferred with the Olympian young man, who brought forth from some mysterious hiding place a platinum ring set with one huge emerald. She tried it on - it fitted perfectly. She laid her hand on the black velvet which covered the counter, the effect was ravishing. The big stone looked like a drop of creme de menthe spilt on the whiteness of her hand.
"Do you like it, Robert?"
"It is your ........