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Mrs. Rose

A bottle of Sorina's perfume.

In Episode 24, we are introduced to Sorina’s friend Mrs Rose – the first of her friends that Dick has met, despite having known Sorina for a year. Through Dick's writings about Mrs Rose, we can, I think, learn a great deal more about Sorina.

Dick first meets Mrs Rose on November 8th, 1932 at dinner at the Criterion.

"A very lovely meeting with Sorina last night. We went to the Criterion at about 10pm, and Sorina bought one of her friends, a Mrs Rose with her. It was the first time that I had met any of Sorina’s friends.

Mrs Rose is a strange, nice person, who said to Sorina “Ich liebe dich” several times. It was all the German she knew. However, she is very sympathetic and I liked her - especially as she liked me and paid me several compliments. “You dear” she would say to me at intervals.

Sorina flirted with her good deal. I have never seen a woman attracted to others in quite such a way before, and yet I felt that it was not really very profound. Mrs Rose is an ardent member of the Oxford Group*, and we pulled her leg a good deal. She is a very dreamy person with an artistic nature. 32, but she looks older. Her husband died three years ago, and I think that practically ended life for her. She has two daughters."

Two nights later they meet again when Dick and Sorina are invited to Mrs Rose's for dinner.

"Last night at Mrs Rose’s – with Sorina– even still more lovely than ever before. All today I have still been filled with Sorina’s loveliness. Mrs Rose is a dear. I enjoyed the evening immensely, especially the drive back with Sorina afterwards.

I know that Mrs Rose asked me there so that I might be with Sorina somewhere other than in a restaurant or café or theatre. She is not pretty or beautiful, but attractive and I like her. I feel that she understands how I feel towards Sorina and wants to help me. She adores Sorina too, and Sorina lets Mrs R kiss her on the lips - but she will not let me.

Mrs Rose gave us cocktails and it was fun. I do not remember ever having been so happy in my life. Sorina gave me a little bottle of her scent with a little perfume left in it. I had asked for this because I had learnt how powerfully perfumes can bring back people and scenes. If I am alone and shut my eyes and then take a little of Sorina’s scent - then I can almost imagine that I have Sorina. Her scent is called Dans Le Nuit, and it is a sweet little bottle."

By the following week, Dick is starting to feel jealous of Mrs Rose, and his feelings are exacerbated by the news that Sorina and Mrs Rose are going to spend 4 days in Eastbourne. (see Episode 24).

The only other mention of Mrs Rose is on December 8th, and I think that this journal entry is fascinating.

"Yesterday, Sorina and I had lunch together and nothing in the world could have been more jolly. I thought afterwards that it would be impossible for me to be happier. All through the afternoon and evening, I was filled with joy because of it.

Tonight I was also with Sorina and everything was perhaps even more wonderful than ever – and yet now that I am home again, I only want to cry. Often without knowing it, Sorina tells me things that only makes life more difficult for me, that only makes me desire her more than ever. So it was tonight.

We went to see the play Fraulein Elsa and afterwards, we talked of the theme and similar things, and then it was that Sorina told me three things which it is out of the question ever to write down for her sake. Afterwards, I took her home in a taxi. Now that I am back in my room I have thought over the situation a great deal.

A quarter of an hour before meeting Sorina, I hurried to Piccadilly Circus to have a quick sandwich and, as I crossed the street, I ran into Mrs Rose! She came and had a sandwich with me, but told me things which troubled me very much, and have worried me the whole evening. She seemed to try to make me think badly of Sorina and of myself - to cheapen our relationship and make it coarse. The truth is that there is something rather common about Mrs Rose. Sorina says the same. Amongst other things, she said to me that if I was a real man I would just take what I wanted more or less by force. And then we saw this play where the man more or less does this – then Sorina told me these things.

All of which has made it very clear to me that it is the coarse and vulgar people in this world who get what they want. The people who have fine feelings and consideration for the feelings of others get nothing. Mrs Rose gets so much from Sorina– kisses and all that– but I not… because it would only have value for me if Sorina gave it of her own free will. And so I have nothing of this – simply because I have decent feelings."

Dick doesn't write any more about Mrs Rose, nor does he ever write again about those three things that Sorina told him. I think that the relationship between Sorina and Mrs Rose has more significance than Dick is prepared to admit - and perhaps there is a connection with this story that I shared with you earlier.


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