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The Unbearable Bassington by Saki
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THE UNBEARABLE BASSINGTON




CHAPTER I



Francesca Bassington sat in the drawing-room of her house in Blue
Street, W., regaling herself and her estimable brother Henry with
China tea and small cress sandwiches. The meal was of that elegant
proportion which, while ministering sympathetically to the desires
of the moment, is happily reminiscent of a satisfactory luncheon
and blessedly expectant of an elaborate dinner to come.

In her younger days Francesca had been known as the beautiful Miss
Greech; at forty, although much of the original beauty remained,
she was just dear Francesca Bassington. No one would have dreamed
of calling her sweet, but a good many people who scarcely knew her
were punctilious about putting in the "dear."

Her enemies, in their honester moments, would have admitted that
she was svelte and knew how to dress, but they would have agreed
with her friends in asserting that she had no soul. When one's
friends and enemies agree on any particular point they are usually
wrong. Francesca herself, if pressed in an unguarded moment to
describe her soul, would probably have described her drawing-room.
Not that she would have considered that the one had stamped the
impress of its character on the other, so that close scrutiny might