Set in England and Hong Kong in the s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Maugham's last major novel, The Razor's Edge. Title: The Painted Veil Author: Maugham, W. Somerset [William Somerset] ( ) Date of first publication: Edition used as base for. Page 1. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. More at or ImagineFX Presents - H.

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The Painted Veil (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics). Read more · VEIL (The Veil Series) · Read more · Painted. Read more · The Veil · Read more · The Veil. THE PAINTED VEIL. US, , John Curran. Walter Fane is an English bacteriologist. He encounters a young woman in London, Kitty, courts her and. THE PAINTED VEIL S i Hi gave a startled cry. "What's the matter?' 1 he asked. Notwithstanding the darkness of the shuttered room he saw her face on a sudden .

The two-week overland journey takes them to a far-off place called Mei-tan-fu where there is an outbreak of cholera. Travelling overland is more arduous and uncomfortable for Kitty not least for him too than travelling down the river. The sultry and suffocating weather starkly contrasts with Edward's cold and controlled emotions. Two years earlier, Walter was so smitten by Kitty, a vivacious socialite of high society that despite being shy and awkward in character he had made an uninviting proposal to her.

After discovering Kitty's clandestine affair, Walter changes and shows unimaginable cruelty to his wife. The intensity of Walter's hatred and vengeance played by a superb Edward Norton is shown by a throbbing vein on his forehead. On discovering Kitty's infidelity, Walter threatens to file a petition for divorce. Walter gives Kitty two horrifying alternatives particularly for a British woman living in the s : she could obtain a divorce on grounds of adultery and be held up to public scorn or leave Shanghai with her husband to a remote and dangerous place with a sweeping cholera epidemic.

Naomi Watts plays beautifully the part of Kitty, who is quite selfish and spoilt. She does not love Walter, has never loved him, never been in love with him or even considered him as a good catch.

Though se would accept a divorce, she does not like the idea of Edward exposing her to a scandal. At the same time, she is loathed to the idea of continuing her marriage in an isolated place where she could risk dying of cholera.

She runs to her lover for she mistakenly thinks he truly loves her. Where she expect to find true happiness —something which she has never felt with Walter-, she finds just a "painted veil". But when her lover rejects her, she has no choice but to follow her husband obtorto collo wherever he wants to go.

Walter is so consumed by vengeance he barely speaks to Kitty and long silences fall upon them both. Kitty quickly falls into a sea of solitude and desperation. How is it possible for love to emerge from a union like this? This is a marriage based on Walter's initial infatuation and Kitty's desire to be freed from her overbearing mother eager to dispose of her daughter in a society where women are not offered many other opportunities for social dignity. Kitty worked herself up in to a tower ing passion.

She had that feeling which you describe her. She heard. She '. Ill I not scream. H e was lull. It was raised o n pestered her into marrying him and now she was I IIC" last word in order to g ive his remark a casual air. All that had happened was l Ic e lips trembled so that she could hardly frame: If he wanted to make a scene.

Her heart sank. Wh o cared abo ut bridge? H is dark eyes. He knew everything. He was repulsive to Jilc shivered. Her heart was beating wildly Oh. I II' came into the room. He took it When was he go ing to speak?

He wo uld not had an illness and were still weak. H is eyes when there was a party he was standi ng at a table we re cast down as she passed him. Ihat he had looked it th rough and th rough. She was afraid to make the ag reeable. He made anot her o bservation. She tried to read. She " her. She was shattered.

She realised that he could not bear to look She did not know if her legs wo uld support her. T he words were " Yes. As a rule in the evening. She lay aga in on the sofa and took her They sat down and for a moment there was silence INNlk.

She had to force the sittins-roo m he too k up the illustrated pape r o nce herself to ente r. It gave K itty the He left the room. For two or impression that he was speaking from a long way off. She gave up the trivial. It was stra ngely unnatural. She looked at him now and saw that his eyes were When wo uld he speak? She put on a tea-gown and when she went " If. H e was leaning back was so commonplace it had a siniste r air. Then he made a rema rk and beca use it I hey played coo n-can or patience.

Her head began to ache v iolentl y. Dinner is ready. I'm a working man. I was thinking. Now l " Yes. I wouldn't do that if I were you. She ling ered outside a moment as th ou gh " It's very important. She clenched " Arc YO ll the re? She noticed a trace o f irritation in his voice. Yen H ot el very well.

I darcsay you'll have go ne to bed by " Well. H as anything happened? And don ' t you think it would be bette r if 1 didn't come in that same easy att itude. Ii' played. H is stillness was " 1 must sec 'OU at once. Can I come down to the h. It gave Kitty the feeling of a wild There was a pause and she was afraid that she had beast prepared to spring.

But a boy wh o was standi ng there on the " Oh. He sat qui te still. He was smiling still. It was stuffy and there was an acrid smell of opium. IIc took her quickly in his arms and kissed her lips. Townsend no come yet.

It was natu rally a shock. His mouth drooped a Iinlc " It makes me fed bette r just to see you. You go top-side. She dr opped her eyes. Kitty sat very still on the sandal. She sat down on understood. She was not sure if Charlie locked the door that led into the bedroom.. His face bore a sullen look. The Chinese followed her and un. But all at once he looked up and a gleam He sat down on the bed and lit a cigarette.

II the corners. Walter doesn't give me the impression. It's " Eve rything. His look. If he'd wanted to make a row l1l: She thought there his eyes in a' case of this sort.

Townsend came in and shut the door behind " I don ' t know. She walked in quickly. HIS In a moment she heard a heavy step on the creaking hole body g rew tender and passionate with hIS kiss. She did not know what he meant. H IS eyes There was an instant's pause before he answered.

W hat has he to gain by was a shade of anxiety in his eyes. Perhaps he isn't quite so tacks a bacteriologist is no g reat sha kes.

H e irradiated an encourag ing. He's got his bread and butter to think " That's where you ' re wrong.. It and her belief in his passion warmed her heart. She knew how shy Walter was. I've discovered -that. Perhaps she public. I bet you anything " Well. I'm as him.

H is blue eyes sparkled and he was o nce more For the first time she laughed. There's only one way in wh ich a man " Well. She knew and loved that charming loo k of his. The chances much in love with you as he was. H is confidence was his gay and jovial self. As Believe me. He put his ar m Kitty move d uneasily. I know you ' re going to say can save his face when he's in that sort of position and " llllething awful. I don 't want to say anythi ng dis.

I'd accep t anythi ng rather than that if you were my "Oh. His mouth sought hers. She felt fairly sure wished that Walter were going to insist on a divo rce. They were dining " You' re simply wonderful. J Ie took her face in his hand and kis sed her lips.


You know. He lifted her almost to rture. H is last words had struck her: She coul d unders tand that. The love she fclt for him was murnph: H e knocked at her door.

I swear held tight in h is anus. Now that all dange r was past she almost IlI. H er body became limp and She ga ve a littl e laugh. She was read y before h e was an d " I knew I could count on you. You say he's in love with you. A thrill of pride passed through xxi her. I won' t let you down. And you know fl 'lI he? How long will " I'm su re you need no t be nervous.

I was shaking like a leaf "ur rhar eve ning and when he came back fro m the Club when I came here and you've ma de every thing all right. His face was set and stern. Th en she ga ve her his hand to alight. Charlie "I Suppose you're going away soon? O n the other hand. He IIis shyness was a disease. Charlie was the most popular man really his eyes looked enormous and in that pale face il l I IIC Colony and soon would be Colonial Secretary. Has he been working.

K iuy ironically. He had told her once that when he wa s sub- heat if ] don't want to go all to pieces. He never made a speech if he could year. While Kitty chatted gaily with he loved her as much that he was afraid she would leave neighbours she watched Walter. She made an observation or two as they d rove dow The idea of those unfortu nate ladies trying to indulge the hill.

He was deathly pal him.. They drove j Of course he knew. There were too many people and to lhing? Was it really because. She had noticed that when he And there was anoth er thing: He coal black. Th e thou ght made her eve r so slightly despise him. She shrugged he III small talk with that grim mask not a little diverted shoulders. Men were strange: He seemed to have some dozing.

It gaye Kitty a shock. Suddenly he looked full at her. He was staring straigh t in front of him. He spoke gravely. She hesitated. I want to have virile arms. She slipped her bare feet into mules and The more she considered it the more likely it seemed wrapped herself in a kimono. There was no indulgence in it.

She was f: Jad to do as he asked: He left her. Her heart exulted as she thought of her lover' s IWO days. She recognized her husband's voice and she sat up " Have you ever heard of Mel-rae-fa? She looked in the glass. She stood more on her husband. It the doo r for a moment. Iler heart gave a sudden beat against her ribs.

I'll put on a dr essing-gown. D readful! She had not thought he would tak e it His eyes were still fixed on her and she could not like that. I've offered to go and take charge: She couldn't let him do that. It would be roo awful if She sraned violently. T here's a French He smiled. But the thought shocked her. It will be an admirable chance for research wo rk.

She could not understand. She leaned her convent there and of course there's the Custom s man. But no w the smile in his eyes had travelled He spoke almost flippantly and when she glanced at I n his lips. There was a medical missionary there. H er first thought was that if he something happened. It was a derisive g rimace.

I believe it's the worst they' ve " But won ' t it be awfully dangero us? Hi s dark eyes were fixed o n her. The fact " Yo u and I. She look ed away in embarrassment. It was no thing short of Everyone else has got out. Why did he watch her like that? I go of my ow n free will. How could he look so stead ily? H e d id not even Tears flowed softly down her cheeks. It lower hers. Supposing you died?

She thought she had go od. T hey' ve H is vo ice was cold. It was cruel. It's on a trib utary of the Western River. She tried to read his exp ression. But the people are " You 're no t obliged to go. She of a smile on ce mo re crossed his eyes.

She could n't nervous. H e did not felt herself go scarlet. Hayward said I must get out of T chin g-Ycn on account " I don't understand what you're talking about. There's no reason [or me to go. She saw in it a look of hatred. What he said was so unexpected that at the first morpent she coul d h. I shall stay here unt il it's time for me to Rvcn to hersel f her repl y rang false. I h ate illness. If you think you ought to go it's your S Il E looked at him blankly.

I' ve just remembered that she said they left " I don't think any one could reasonably blame me fo r some place on account of cholera. Bu t really you can ' t expect me to. She loo ked at him in her despera.

The Painted Veil

I could never stand th e heat up ther e. It's monstrous to ask me. It would be mad ness and comfort me: She was confused.: The missionary J Ie was openly mocking her now. You know how delica te I am.

She answered her own o utrage ous I th ought. I met her at a o r was merely trying to frighten her. A cholera epidemic. She grew even a little paler. Ill y petitio n. I' rn face. I should be frightened out of my wi ts. Hi s face had a so rt of black pallor which suddenly terr ified her.

I shall immediately file H e did not answer. I don' t pretend to be " What on earth are you talking abo ut? And " I should n' t have thought it needed more than cholera. I never sho uld have done it.

She was recovering he r Kiny a tri fle uneasy. I suppose you have no objection to " He's said it over and ove r again. O U mean? She was not quite sure thar Charlie nerve. The tears flowed from her eyes uatrering and delightful things. She had been accus- without any particular anguish ami she did no t d ry tomed to find him subservient to all her whims.

He seemed to read His tone was so contemptuous that she flushed wit h her though ts. He g ee'v willing to divorce him and we shall be marrie d the imp atient. She was un. It was a mistake that ] ever " Townsend will mar ry you only if he is co.

I was a fool. H e loves to the smallest inconvenience on you r account? Ir means no thing to a man. D orothy Townsend is perfectly concern. He means "I have m uch too gre at a regard for you r welfare. We're sick to death of secrecy and com - " What do. We never had anything in. You've found out. H e's on ly to o Bu t her mind was blan k. It's no t much l 'lll not going to deny anyt hing. H e watch ed her wi thout anxious to marry me. She began to cry. A nd perh aps her ange r was grea tcr because she " I've g ot all the proof necessary.

They made in he r a certain indignat ion. Wh Y' should I? We' ve to ask you to behave like a gentleman. He faintly heard such thi ng s said to her befo re. She felt that big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I like the wh en the y're in lo ve with some one and the love isn't. I loved you so " I'm not very well educated and I'm not very clever. I knew T " Do you kn ow why I ma rried you?

I'm thankful it's '0 11 to love me. I didn' t see any reason that you should. I never expected by the thi ngs that int erest you. Oddly enough. I di dn't care. I do n' t like the people you like and I'm bored II l1grr and bitte r. I like daocing and tennis and theatres and I like.

I kn ew how frig htened you wer e of intellig ence " Eviden tly. They grow lil y life. I tri ed no t to bo re you wit h my love.

I knew tha t. But she kept her tempe r in check. Mos t people. I knew that you r aims and ideals were vulgar and vindictive than a lioness robbed of her cubs. I was th ankful to He watched her without a gestu re and without a he allowed to love you and I was enra ptu red when now move ment of his face.

Blind wrat h. But I loved yo u. But I loved II ml throb. Kitty's common place. But I loved you. I wasn't like that. I t's comic whe n I think hideousness and her beautiful eyes were black with how hard I tr ied to be amused by the things that amused malice. He listened attent ively and no. IIriving out fear. But her self-respect obliged her to violence with violence. I see nothing to laugh Charl ie?

You might at least have tried to thrash him. If you decide to come with me. H e leaned back in his Ven ice: I should have en joyed myself much more I hair and lit a cigarette. They 1 lI11e to Mei-tan-fu I shall file my petition. I t's quite true that I've always " I think I've said all I had to say: He looked at his watch. I daresay my sense of humou r But the moment she had said this she flushed.

Yo u " Why wo n't you consent to let me divorce you? Ki tty. She could have me t disconcerted her. His self-con trol was inhuman IIITept his offer in the gra nd manner. He looked at her once more. I am to o " You had better loo k sharp if you want to catch proud to fight.

T ow nsend will give me her assurance th at to be. Fo r a moment long er he held her in his. The shadow of a smile flickered on 1. Why d id n' t you of laughter. She flushed angrily. Iler to-mo rro w. He smo ked it to the end without playing golf at Sandwich. I will do that. You can hardly blame me for that.

H e did not answer. She had no deliberate intent ion of SHE sent in a little note to Charlie on which she had. II is IIrgml. She had never seen him in spectacles before. Townsend would sec her in five minutes. I '" only use them fo r reading: He rang the bell and when the boy came to the ushered into his room Charlie came forward to shake. I t was not " I his manner. He loo ked at her blankl y.

Wh en he noticed H e sat at followed her as she walked with measured step fro m l hl" desk. It really is the only thing that matters III walls were painted in two shades of terra cotta. I've got an awful lo t to do and we lo nger.

The and every sacrifice that ou r love calls fo r will be as easy "nly furnitu re cons isted of a large desk.

She wished she could have had a littl e working hou rs. You can have "Well.. She " 1 wouldn' t have come unless it was necessary: It intimidated Ki tty to sit in th is.

I'm afraid you'll have to. It was just damned bad in his. She watched him anxiously. I co uldn' t help it. I've co m e straig ht from the She smothered a gasp. There was a moment 's silence. His body sti ffened. Charlie sat on the arm of " This is a bloody mess wc've go t into. I'm sure that old fellow at the curio " A re you qui re sure? She gave him a searching loo k. Even if he'd seen sharply. He did not precisely bore herj he left her indifferent. She was' introduced to him only when with her husband she went to dine at his house.

Kitty was on the defensive. Uiarles Townsend was Assistant Colonial Secretary and she had no mind to allow him to use her with the condescension which, notwithstanding her good man- ners, she discerned in Mrs.

The room in which they were received was spacious. It was furnished as was every other drawing-room she had been in at 1 ching-Yen in a comfortable and homely style. It was a large party. They were the last to come and as they entered Chinese servants in uniform were handing round cocktails and olives. Townsend greeted them m her casual fashion and looking at a list told Walter whom he was to take in to dinner. Kitty saw a tali and very handsome man bear down on them.

She immediately felt at ease and the sense of hostility v. Though his eyes were smiling she had seen in them a quick look of surprise. In- understood it pcrfecdy and it made her inclined to ugh. Some one really ought to have warned me. How was I to know that I was going to meet a raging beauty? Leave me to do the talking. He must have asked.

And Town- mi, looking down on her with his laughing eyes, MtiUlenly remembered.

Fane's bride. Her father's a doctor or a Ijwyer or something. He's far and away the besti bridge player at the Club. He plays a winning hand very well, bi when he has bad cards he goes all to pieces. I should dcscribi myself as a very good player in the second class, Townsend thinks he's in the first. He isn't. I believe he's noi bad at his job and every one says he's a good sportsman.

He doesn't very much interest me. She asked herself why it was necessary to be so prudent: She had liked Charles Townsend very much. And she had not expected to. He was probably the most popular man in the Colony, It was supposed that the Colonial Secretary would retire soon and every one hoped that Townsend would succeed him. He played tennis and polo and golf.

He kept racing ponies. He was always ready to do any one a good turn. He never let red tape mi. He put on no airs. Kitty did not know why she had resented hearing him so well spoken Of, she could not help thinking he must be very con- ivitcd: She had enjoyed her evening. They had talked of the theatres in London, and of Ascot and Cowcs, all the tlungs she knew about, so that really she might have met him at some nice house in Lennox Gardens; and later, when the men came into the drawing-room after dinner, In had strolled over and sat beside her again.

Though he had not said anything very amusing, he had made her laugh; it must have been the way he said it: Of course he had 1 h. That was what made him so pleasant. I Ee was well-dressed, the best-dressed man in the zoom, and he wore his clothes well. She Uked a man to be 1 1 tart Her eyes wandered to Walter: She noticed Townsend's Cuff-links and waistcoat buttons; she had seen similar ones at Carder's.

Of course the Townsends had private means. He had black hair, short and brushed vet sleek. But of course his eyes, under thick, bushy eye- brows, were his best feature: No man who had those blue eyes could bear to hurt any one. She could not but know that she had made an im- pression on him. If he had not said charming tilings to her his eyes, watm with admiration, would have betrayed him. His ease was delightful. He had no self- consciousness.

Kitty was at home in these ci rcu ms ta ncet and she admired the way in which amid the banter whicl was the staple of their conversation he insinuated evct now and then a pretty, flattering speech. When shj shook hands with him on leaving he gave her liand pressure that she could not mistake. He had told her since that he was crazy about her on diat first evening.

She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He remembered the dress she wore; it was face wedding dress, and he said she looked like a lily of dve valley. She knew that he was in love with her before he told her, and a little frightened she kept him at a distance. He was impetuous and it was difficult. She was afraid to let him kiss her, for the thought of his arms Ibort her made her heart beat so fast. She had never been in love before. It was wonderful. And now that the knew what love was she felt a sudden sympathy for I he love that Walter bore her.

She teased him, playfully, and saw that he enjoyed it. She had been perhaps a little afraid of him, but now she had mote confidence. She , bated him and it amused her to see the slow smile with which at first he received her banter. He was surprised 0d pleased.

One of these days, she thought, he would iKcome quite human. Now that she had learnt some- ,1,,ng of passion it diverted her to play lightly, like a lurpist running his fingers across the strings of his harp, ,m his affections. She laughed when she saw how she kwildered and confused him. And when Charlie became her lover the situation between herself and Walter seemed exquisitely absurd.

She could hardly look at him, so grave and self-con- imlled, without laughing. She was too happy to feel unkindly towards him. She looked eighteen once more. She was at the height of her glowing loveliness. It was impossible not to remark it and her women friends asked her in little friendly asides if she was going to have a baby. The indifferent who had said she was just a very pretty woman with a long nose admitted that they had mis- judged her.

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She was what Charlie had called her the fust time he saw her, a raging beauty. They managed their intrigue with skill. He had a broad back, he told her "I will not have you swank about your figure," she Interrupted lighdy , and it did not matter about him; but for her sake they mustn't take the smallest risk. They could not meet often alone, not half often enough for him, but he had to think of her first, sometimes in thc curio shop, now and then after luncheon in her house when no one was about; but she saw him a good deal here and there.

It amused her then to see the formal way he spoke to her, jovial, for he was always that, with the same manner he used with every one. Who could imagine when they heard him chaff her with that charming humour of his that so lately he had held her in his passionate arms? She worshipped him.

He was splendid, in his smart top boots and his white breeches, when he played polo. In tennis clothes he looked a mere boy. Of course he was proud of his figure: He took pains to keep it. He never ate bread or potatoes or butter.

She liked the care he took of his hands; he, was manicured once a week. He was a wonderful athlete and the year before he had won the local tennis championship. Certainly he was the best dancer she had ever danced with; it was a dream to dance wiih him. No one would think he was forty. She toid him she die not believe it. He was well pleased. Fm a middle- aged gent. In another two or three years I shall just be a fat old party. She wondered whether it was they that gave his blue eyes their disturb- ing expression.

He was full of accomplishments. He could play the ptano quite well, rag-time, of course, and he could sing a comic song with a rich voice and good humour. She did not believe there was anything he could not do. He was very clever at his work too and she shared his pleasure when he told her that the Governor had particularly congratulated him on the way he had done some difficult job. It was not as though any one would suffer very much.

It was habit that held them "p-tlicr, convenience, and of course the children. It i asier for Charlie than for her: Charlie had told her that he could noL make out how she came to throw herself away orl Walter Fane, She wondered, half smiling, why a litde while bcforJ she had been terrified at the thought that Walter had? Of course it was starding to see the handle of the door slowly turn. But after all they knew Lhe worst that Walter could do, and they were ready for it.

Walter was a gentleman, she would do him the justice to acknowledge that, and he loved her; he would do the right thing and allow her to divorce him. They had made a mistake and the lucky thing was that theyj had found it out before it was too late. She made up her j mind exactly what she was going to say to him and how she would treat him. She would be kind, smiling, and firm.

There was no need for them to quarrel. Later on she would always be glad to see him. She hoped honesdy that the two years they had spent together would remain with him as a priceless memory.

There's absolutch nothing for her to do in Tcbing-Yen. She'll be able n, spend all the holidays with her boys. And then she's got her father and mother in England. And then she and Charlie could marry. Kitty drew a long sigh.

They would be very happy. Confusedly, inc picture jostling another, she thought of the life they would lead together, of the fun they would have and the little journeys they would take together, the house they Wi tuld live in, the posidons he would rise to and die help she would be to him.

He would be very proud of her Rod she, she adored him. But through all these day-dreams ran a current of n i irehension. It was funny: Sooner or later Walter must come In true and her heart beat fast at the thought of meeting liim. It was strange that he had gone away that after- noon without saying a word to her.

Of course she was nut frightened of him; after all what could he do, she I prated to herself; but she could not quite allay her Uneasiness. Once more she repeated what she would i v to him.

What was the good of making a scene? She was very sorry, Heaven knew she didn't want to cause him pain, but she couldn't help it if she didn't love him. I I was no good pretending and it was always better to tell i In- 1 rotih. She hoped he wouldn't be unhappy, but they i' mi made a mistake and the only sensible thing was to Kt knowledge it. She would always think kindly of him. And because she was frightened she grew angry with him.

If he wanted to make a scene, that was his look-out; he must not be surprised if he got more than he bar- gained for. She would tell him that she had never cared two pins for him and that not a day had passed since rhcir marriage without her regretting it.

He was dull. Oh, how he'd bored her, bored her, bored her! He thought himself so much better than anyone else, it was laughable; he had no sense of humour; she hated his supercilious air, his coldness, and his self-control.

It was easy to be self-controlled when you were interested in nothing and nobody but yourself. He was repulsive to her. She hated to let him kiss her. What had he to be so conceited about? He danced rottenly, he was a wet blanket at a party, he couldn't play or sing, he couldn't play polo and his tennis was no better than anybody else's. Who cared about bridge? Kitty worked herself up into a towering passion.

Let j him dare to reproach her. All that had happened was his own fault.

She was thankful that he knew the truth at last. She hated him and wished never to see him again. Yes, she was thankful that it was all over. Why couldn't he leave her alone? He had pestered her into marrying him and now she was fed up. Fed up! She was holding an open book as thongb she had been reading. He stood for an instant Wl the threshold and their eyes met.

Her heart sank; she I. It on a sudden a cold chill pass through her limbs and ifee shivered. I 1 Is face was deathly pale; she had seen it like that once I ote, when they sat together in the Park and he asked Iiit to marry him. His dark eyes, immobile and inscrut- ibli: He knew everything. She was terrified. She was afraid she would I urn. It was raised on Ihe last word in order to give his remark a casual air, but ' was forced.

He dropped his eyes. She was shattered. For two or three minutes she could not stir, but at last, raising herself from the sofa with difficulty, as though she had had an illness and were still weak, she found her icet. She did not know if her legs would support her.

She felt her way by means of chairs and tables to the veranda and then with one hand on the wall went to her room. She put on a tea-gown and when she went back into her boudoir they only used the drawing-room when there was a party he was standing at a table looking at the pictures of the Sketch. She had to force herself to enter. Dinner is ready. When was he going to speak?

They sat down and for a moment there was silence between them. Then he made a remark and because it was so commonplace it had a sinister air. He made another observation, equally trivial, about a tennis tournament that was about to be j played, and he spoke at length. His voice as a rule was j agreeable, with a variety of tone, but now he spoke or one note. It was strangely unnatural. It gave Kitty the impression that he was speaking from a long way off.

He would not meet hers. She realised that he could not bear to look hi her. His eyes were cast down as she passed him. When they reached I he sitting-room he took up the illustrated paper once mi. I don't think I've seen it. I haven't noticed. He took it mill sat down. She lay again on the sofa and took her lunik. As a rule in the evening, when they were alone, 1 1 h v played coon-can or patience.

He was leaning back in. She tried to read, but she pould not see the print before her eyes. The words were lilu r red. Her head began to ache violently. W hen would he speak? They sat in silence for an hour.

She gave up the. He sat quite still, in that same easy attitude, and stared with those wide, immobile eyes of his at the picture. His stillness was strangely menacing. It gave Kitty the feeling of a wild beast prepared to spring. When suddenly he stood up she started. She clenched her hands and she felt herself grow pale. Now I "I have some work to do," he said in that quiet, toneless voice, his eyes averted.

I daresay you'll have gone to bed by the time I've finished. I'm a working man. Can I come down to the office?

What about this afternoon? Has anything happened? You'd better go to Ku- hou's and I'll come along as soon as I can. She noticed a trace of irritation in his voice. I'll go to Ku-Chou's. But a boy who was standing there on the witlch for customers, recognising her at once, gave her a broad smile of connivance. She walked in quickly. Townsend no come yet.

You go top-side, yes? The Chinese folJowed her and un- locked the door that led into the bedroom. It was stuffy and there was an acrid smell of opium. She sat down on a sandalwood chest. In a moment she heard a heavy step on the creaking stairs. Townsend came in and shut the door behind him. His face bore a sullen look, but as he saw her it vanished, and he smiled in that charming way of his.

He took her quickly in his arms and kissed her lips. He sat down on the bed and lit a cigarette. He was smiling still, but his smile was a little set and unnatural. She thought die re was a shade of anxiety in his eyes. There was an instant's pause before he answered, "What did he say? His look. The way he talked at dinner. She was not sure if Charlie understood. His whole body grew tender and passionate with his kiss. His face once mole was sullen and there was a frown between his brows.

But all at once he looked up and a gleam i if malicious amusement came into his eyes. She did not know what he meant. What has he to gain by m;iking a row? If he'd wanted to make a tow he would h. It was naturally a shock. It's u damned humiliating position for any man. He always Innks a fool. You know, it's a very good plan to put yourself in somebody else's shoes and ask yourself how you would act in his place.

There's only one way in which a man can save his face when he's in that sort of position and that is to pretend he knows nothing. I bet you anything you like that that is exactly what he's going to do.

His blue eyes sparkled and he was once mote his gay and jovial self. He irradiated an encouraging confidence. He's got his bread and butter to think of, like the rest of us: Believe me, he's got everything to gain by holding his tongue and everything to lose by kicking up a row. Perhaps she didn't know him very well, but Charlie didn't know him "lias it occurred to you that he's madly in love vuih me? She knew and loved that charming look of his.

I know you're going to say Mimcthing awful. His confidence was I Itching. Perhaps he isn't quite so lunch in love with you as he was. She knew II. He put his arm round her waist.

You know, this sort of thing is awfully difficult to prove. You say he's in love with you; perhaps he doesn't want to lose you altogether.

I swear I'd accept anything rather than that if you were my wife. Her body became limp and yielding against his arm. The love she felt for him was almost torture. His last words had struck her: She could understand that; for that was how she felt towards Charlie. A thrill of pride passed through her, and at the same time a faint sensation of contempt for a man who could love so slavishly.

She put her arm lovingly round Charlie's neck. I was shaking like a leaf , when I came here and you've made everything all right.

He took her face in his hand and kissed her lips. Now that all danger was past she almost wished that Walter were going to insist on a divorce. His mouth sought hers. He lifted her in her feet and not letting her go but holding her close to his breast he locked the door.

He knocked at her door. How long will pOU lie? She was ready before tie was and 11 he came downstairs she was already seated in 1 he car. She made an observation or two as they drove dowl the hill, but he answered curtly. She shrugged he] shoulders; she was growing a trifle impatient: Tbey drove ir silence till they reached their destination.

There were too many people and tot many courses. While Kitty chatted gaily with hei neighbours she watched Walter. He was deathly pak and his face was pinched. Has he been working very hard?

He never looked at her.

She had noticed that when he came down to the cat he kept his eyes averted, and he did the same when, with his usual politeness, he gave her his hand to alight.

Now, talking with the women on either side of him, he did not smile, but looked at them with steady and unblinking eyes; and really his eyes looked enormous and in that pale face coal black.

His face was set and stern. The idea of those unfortunate ladies trying to indulge I mall talk with that grim mask not a litde diverted 1 1. Of course he knew; there was no doubt about that, urn I he was furious with her. Why hadn't he said any- thing? Was it really because, though angry and hurt, he bved her as much that he was afraid she would leave 1 1 11 The thought made her ever so slightly despise him, hut good-naturedly: On the other hand, perhaps I us silence was due merely to a morbid timidity.

Charlie right when he said that no one would hate a scandal 1 re than Walter. He never made a speech if he could help it. He had told her once that when he was sub- I'lirnaed as a witness on a case where he was to give I pert evidence he had hardly slept for a week before. I I is shyness was a disease.

And there was another thing: Then she wondered whether by any possibility Charlie was right v. Charlie was the most popular man In the Colony and soon would be Colonial Secretary. He could be very useful to Walter: Her heart exulted as she thought of her lover's strength and determination; she felt so defenceless in Ids virile arms. Men were strange: The more she considered it the more likely it seemed ] that Charlie was right; and she turned her glance once more on her husband.

There was no indulgence in it.

J It happened that just then the women on cither side ; of him were talking with their neighbours and he was left alone. He was staring straight in front of him, forgetful of the party, and his eyes were filled with a mortal sadness. It gave Kitty a shock. At that hour she was unaccustomed to be disturbed. I want to have. She slipped her bare feet into mules and wrapped hetself in a kimono. She looked in the glass; die was very pale and she put on some rouge.

He spoke gravely. She was glad to do as he asked: I Jc sat also and lit a cigarette. His eyes wandered rest-! He seemed to have some iliHlcidty in starting. Suddenly he looked full at her; and because he had In- Id his eyes so long averted, his direct gaze gave her m h a fright that she smothered a cry.

She hesitated. A tliuthnot was talking about it last night. There was a medical missionary there. He died of cholera three days ago. There's a French convent there and of course there's the Customs man. Everyone else has got out.

The Painted Veil

She tried to read his expression, but she was nervous, and she could only discern a strange watchful- ness. How could he look so steadily? He did not even blink.

They've turned the orphanage into a hospital. But the people are dying like flies. I've offered to go and take charge. Her first thought was that if he went she would be free and without let or hindrance could see Charlie. But the thought shocked her.

She felt herself go scarlet. Why did he watch her like that? She looked away in embarrassment. The fact that I'm first and foremost a bacteriologist is all to the good. It will be an admirable chance for research work. She could not understand. It was a derisive grimace.

She leaned her lureheadonhcrhand. It was nothing short of 1 hat.Kitty was a success. This is the first time Kitty met Charlie Townsend along with his wife, Dorothy. These things become dominant, thus it becomes an easy way to describe a large idea mostly about the genre. But a boy who was standing there on the witlch for customers, recognising her at once, gave her a broad smile of connivance.

But then Walter asked her back, on what grounds Kitty would divorce him?