Published in Black and White, 26th March 1904; collected in Fine Feathers and Other Stories (1994)
Approx. 3,700 words
(First read 23/12/1994)
Bootles begins with the immortal lines:
Lady Maizie Ferrars took a cigarette from the gold box by her and lit a match on the sole of her very high-heeled shoe. She had masses of the most beautiful golden hair, all quite genuine in both quantity and colour ...A few lines later she says to her pal Mrs Grantham:
Think of your first marriage. No doubt it was made in heaven and all that, but it was not quite ~ quite at home under terrestrial conditions ...Then of her own husband:
... he adores me! If I have a headache, he asks me, so to speak, whether a few large pearls would do any good. So much nicer than pills, you know, and they always cure it at once. And when it is cured, he gives me some more to prevent it coming back.Well anyway, Maizie is a kind of Dodo-on-acid, surely one of EFB's all-time most gelid, corrosive, noxious heroines ... but unlike Dodo she's actually funny (at times). She's hooked herself an adoring and utterly blameless* rich American husband (Bootles), who she treats like dirt ... A totally immoral and (yes, let's say it) utterly misogynistic little story ~ but great fun. Available in Fine Feathers and Other Stories (1994).
*Apart from the fact that he can't see her for what she is.