"Youve never told me about your marriage, Laura? said Duke Ayland.. . . Yes. Its only - Im very fond of Alfred, said Laura, taking the plunge and temporarily unaware that almost all wives begin conversations about almost all husbands in precisely the same way"Laura has been married for seven years. On those occasions when an after-dinner snooze behind The Times seems preferable to her riveting conversation about their two small sons, Laura dismisses the notion that Alfred does not understand her, reflecting instead that they are what is called happily married. At thirty-four, Laura wonders if shes ever been in love - a ridiculous thing to ask oneself. Then Duke Ayland enters her life and that vexing question refuses to remain unanswered . . . With Laura, beset by perplexing decisions about the supper menu, the difficulties of appeasing Nurse, and the necessity of maintaining face within the small village of Quinnerton, E.M. Delafield created her first "Provincial Lady". And in the poignancy of Lauras doubts about her marriage, she presents a dilemma which many women will recognise.

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