“He worked contentedly for some time and was deep in the intricacies of a genealogy when the telephone rang. It was a colleague, Everard Bone, who with his wife Mildred was to be one of the guests at the dinner arty that evening.
‘Such a nuisance, Mildred seems to have flu,’ he said irritably. ‘She thought it would be unwise to come out this evening, so I’m afraid that’s that. She sends her apologies, of course.’
‘I’m so sorry, said Rupert, ‘but I quite see that she shouldn’t come out. I’d been looking forward to seeing you both, and I had wanted to discuss that Unesco thing with you.’
‘Oh, I shall be coming,’ said Everard. ‘I only rang to say that Mildred can’t.”
NOOOOO!!! How could you, Ms. Pym??
How could you do this —
a) at all,
b) off stage,
c) without ever letting us know how Mildred feels about her choice, neither when she first made it nor now, some years down the road,
d) AND as we learn in the next part of the conversation, to add insult to injury, leave flu-sick Mildred in the care of Everard’s mother of all people??
[TA howls in frustration.]
And granted, a match with Everard is in the cards at the end of Excellent Women. But still … (sigh).