‘The gold and the pearls help,’ said Stephen. ‘The one echoes her hair and the other her teeth. I will tell you a thing about women. They are superior to men in this, that they have an unfeigned, objective, candid admiration for good looks in other women — a real pleasure in their beauty. Yours, too, is a most elegant dress: other women admire it. I have remarked this. Not only from their glances, but most positively, by standing behind them and listening to their conversation.’
‘Get over, you bastard,’ said the girl, in her pure clear young voice. Jack had never heard a girl say bastard before, and he turned to look at her with particular interest. She was busy coping with the mare’s excitement, but after a moment she caught his eye and frowned. He looked away, smiling, for she was the prettiest thing — indeed beautiful with her heightened colour and her fine straight back, sitting her horse with the unconscious grace of a midshipman at the tiller in a lively sea. She had black hair and blue eyes; a certain ram-you-damn-you air that was slightly comic and more than a little touching in so slim a creature. She was wearing a shabby blue habit with white cuffs and lapels, like a naval lieutenant’s coat, and on top of it all a dashing tricorne with a tight curl of ostrich-feather. In some ingenious way, probably by the use of combs, she had drawn up her hair under this hat so as to leave one ear exposed; and this perfect ear, as Jack observed when the mare came crabwise towards him, was as pink as . . .