Meet the artist!
Lulu said, fairly loudly: ‘He has a water-colour temperament of course – pastel shades with subtle nuances of depth. And a wonderful instinct for group patterns.’
‘And how young is he?’ Piers asked.
She quite genuinely missed the sardonic overtone.
‘Only twenty-three,’ she said. ‘When one thinks … Haven’t you met him, though?’
Piers shook his head, his lips pursed up in regret.
‘I’ll bring him round to the Regent to-night,’ she said. ‘You should meet him.’
I wondered again what impulse of masochism it was that made her betray herself so continuously to Piers’s cynical contempt. He looked at her now levelly, curiously, an entomologist dissecting a fly, and the fly didn’t even have the sense to know it should wriggle.
‘Party member?’ Piers inquired seriously.
She said: ‘No. Not yet anyway. But his work has a real dialectical value.’
Piers looked at her again. ‘Twenty-three? Yes, I’ll bet it has.’