‘You simply clutter up your head with all that stuff and nonsense, what’s your name, yes, you, Edmée. An idea for the smoking-room? All right, here’s one: Blue for the walls – a ferocious blue. The carpet purple – a purple that plays second fiddle to the blue of the walls. Against that you needn’t be afraid of using as much black as you like and a splash of gold in the furniture and ornaments.’
‘Yes, you’re right, Fred. But it will be rather drastic with all those strong colours. It’s going to look rather charmless without a lighter note somewhere . . . a white vase or a statue.’
‘Nonsense,’ he interrupted rather sharply. ‘The white vase you want will be me – me, stark naked. And we mustn’t forget a cushion or some thingumabob in pumpkin-red for when I’m running about stark naked in the smoking-room.’
Secretly attracted and at the same time disgusted, she cherished these fanciful ideas for turning their future home into a sort of disreputable palace, a temple to the greater glory of her husband.