Sunday, 19 October 2008


Extract from Jean Rhys, Smile Please – An Unfinished Autobiography:

As soon as I got to Government House several people congratulated me on my dress. And Mr. Hesketh came up and asked me to dance the first waltz with him. Among his other accomplishments he was a very good dancer indeed and like all good dancers he could make his partner feel she too was an expert.

All the furniture had been taken out of the room, there was only the dark polished slippery floor with a few chairs set round it, the white walls and the music. I don't remember whether it was the local band, which consisted of a concertina, a steel triangle and what they call a shakshak, or perhaps it was a piano and violin. In any case the musicians were behind a screen. I longed for that waltz to last forever, to skim forever round and round with Mr. Hesketh's arm about me. I stopped being shy and managed to laugh and talk to him. I waltzed three times with Mr. Hesketh and each time was better than the last and I was happier. I went home, I suppose, somewhere between twelve and one and looking at myself in the glass I knew that that night had changed me. I was a different girl, I told myself that I would be just as happy the next day, now I would always be happy.

No comments: