Harriet and Vesey have known each other since they were children playing hide and seek. There had always been some sort of tension between the two as they hid from the younger children to steal a few moments alone. As they grew up the games and tension began to become not so innocent. Harriet realizes her love for Vesey, an aloft young man who defies all conventions of a gentlemen, as she grows older. Making a turn into adolescence her sweet crushes become intense obsessions fueled by the sometimey hints from Vesey who turns hot and cold at a whim. He is playing a sort of hide and seek game of his own with Harriet. I was never sure if Vesey knew about the games he was playing. It was hard for me to tell if he was aware of the tugging on her heart he caused. Vesey leaves for school without a word. Seeing no other options Harriet leaves her job as a shop girl and marries Charles and starts a family and seems to have put aside the feelings and is raising her daughter Betsy. Then as luck would have it Vesey returns, he is an actor in the theater, to uncover all those passions that Harriet did her best to cover.
This is my second Elizabeth Taylor and I really enjoy her work. She does a wonderful job in constructing the scene and thoroughly drawing each character out into the open so that we get to know them, both through their own eyes and through the eyes of others.
Though maybe not meant to be comical I laughed at reading this:
She and Miss Lazenby gave Harriet a great deal of conflicting advice, but Miss Brimpton’s ruled through both. Miss Brimpton bade her turn her back on men; no relationship in which a woman might stand to a man but debase her: she evoked a procession of downtrodden wives, bullied mothers, cast-off mistresses; the jilted, the enticed, the abandoned; harlots, doormats, birds in gilded cages. Were not men, she asked, all ungenerous or tyrannical or both, peevish, bestial? They were also vain-glorious and ugly. They had, she always ended hairy legs. There she shuddered. She took up her cup and drank tea slowly, as if rinsing her mouth.