E. M. Forster: A Room With a View

Part Two
Chapter 19: Lying to Mr. Emerson (continued)

But her mother was annoyed. "I should be told, dear, that I am unsympathetic. But I cannot see why you didn't tell your friends about Cecil and be done with it. There all the time we had to sit fencing, and almost telling lies, and be seen through, too, I dare say, which is most unpleasant."

Lucy had plenty to say in reply. She described the Miss Alans' character: they were such gossips, and if one told them, the news would be everywhere in no time.

"But why shouldn't it be everywhere in no time?"

"Because I settled with Cecil not to announce it until I left England. I shall tell them then. It's much pleasanter. How wet it is! Let's turn in here."

"Here" was the British Museum. Mrs. Honeychurch refused. If they must take shelter, let it be in a shop. Lucy felt contemptuous, for she was on the tack of caring for Greek sculpture, and had already borrowed a mythical dictionary from Mr. Beebe to get up the names of the goddesses and gods.

"Oh, well, let it be shop, then. Let's go to Mudie's. I'll buy a guide-book."

"You know, Lucy, you and Charlotte and Mr. Beebe all tell me I'm so stupid, so I suppose I am, but I shall never understand this hole-and-corner work. You've got rid of Cecil--well and good, and I'm thankful he's gone, though I did feel angry for the minute. But why not announce it? Why this hushing up and tip-toeing?"

"It's only for a few days."

"But why at all?"

Lucy was silent. She was drifting away from her mother. It was quite easy to say, "Because George Emerson has been bothering me, and if he hears I've given up Cecil may begin again"--quite easy, and it had the incidental advantage of being true. But she could not say it. She disliked confidences, for they might lead to self-knowledge and to that king of terrors--Light. Ever since that last evening at Florence she had deemed it unwise to reveal her soul.

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