When Miss Baxter questions and chides Linda, the girls are surprised by the older woman’s reference to her position. It’s a matter to consider: her position. And Miss Baxter is frustrated, so she doesn’t mince words: “My position is that I owe your parents a great deal in return for this trip. Your position is that you are spoiled, silly and rich.”
And, it’s true: the trio of girls are privileged and preoccupied by their own aspirations and desires. They haven’t given much thought to Miss Baxter at all. Linda was fully capable of sending the cable even in Baxie’s absence – so, she did. Her concerns afterwards were about the photo shoot, that’s all.
The girls are oblivious to the class issues at hand. And in the moments in which Linda was cabling her parents, Miss Baxter was oblivious to her charges’ intentions. She was getting to know the locals. Sight-seeing. But not churches.
Here again, we have Gallant’s precise and natural dialogue work. And the delight of an unexpected scene. Because if there was a whiff of presumed scandal at the encounter which led to Linda’s invitation, there is a more pronounced waft in Miss Baxter’s corner of the story.
“We are not like the Italians,” he said. The waiter took away their small glasses and set fresh drinks before them.”
“Thank goodness for that,” Miss Baxter murmured, not really listening.
“Our boys are good boys,” the man said. What he next had to say he assembled from his dictionary. Miss Baxter sipped her new drink, smiling at everyone. He had found the words: “I should say that, with our people, what matters is only the pure animal pleasure of making love.” Uttered in bald English, it sounded quite wrong. Hastily, he ruffled his dictionary again.