As usual, readers have a sharp and evocative impression of Digby’s mother, too: “As for Mrs. Glover, her passion for furniture and arranging rooms had led her to resemble a piece of furniture – but had she not always? There were photographs of her taken thirty years before that a clever caricaturist could have turned into something stiff and unremarkable – a Par[m]igiano ballroom chair.”
And of the judgements and prejudices that simmer beneath the surface of the characters’ experiences, the ever-active assessment of worth, their class and status: “It was odd. The three girls from Janet’s office seemed to agree with her. They glanced at Digby’s hands to see if he hadn’t a touch of coloured blood.” (These are clearly the opinions of the characters, not the author.)
All the while, the characters observe their surroundings in a way which reveals other facets of their perspectives on the world. When Mrs. Glover decides that her son, Digby, should choose the destination of the family vacation that June, and he determines to return to the place in Spain where he and Janet first met, she is disappointed and relieved.
And happy to point out the loss of a view that had once been more impressive. Beautiful, even. “Janet, my dear, I’m afraid I lost you, too. I spent some time looking for the pine trees, and then when I saw them they were dead.”
Janet noticed the trees. Their absence. But to establish much more about her reaction would be to write another story.