“White people were so stupid about such things for that they usually asserted that they were able to tell; and by the most ridiculous means,”—scientific racism—“finger-nails, palms of the hands, shapes of ears, teeth, and other equally sill rot. They always took her for an Italian, a Spaniard, a Mexican, or a gipsy. Never, when she was alone, had they even remotely seemed to suspect that she was a Negro. No, the woman sitting there staring at her couldn’t possibly know.” (16)
“He drew back her chair and she sat down behind the fat-bellied German coffee-pot …With his long, nervous fingers he picked up the morning paper from his own chair and sat down.
Zulena, a small mahogany-coloured creature, brought in the grapefruit.
They took up their spoons.
Out of the silence Brian spoke. Blandly
She stopped short, suddenly too wrathful for words.
… ‘More coffee,’ she offered.
…Zulena came in bringing more toast” (54-5).
[Clare]“I’m used to risks. And this isn’t such a big one as you’re trying to make it.”
“Oh, but it is. And it can make all the difference in the world. There’s your little girl, Clare. Think of the consequences to her.”
Clare’s face took on a startled new look, as thought she were totally unprepared for this new weapon with which Irene had assailed her. Seconds passed, during which she sat with stricken eyes and compressed lips. “I think,” she said at last, “the being a mother is the cruelest thing in the world.” Her clasped hands swayed forward and back again, and her scarlet mouth trembled irrepressibly.
“Yes,” Irene softly agreed. For a moment she was unable to say more, so accurately had Clare put into words that which, not so definitely defined, was so often in her own heart of late. At the same time she was conscious that here, to her hand, was a reason which could not be lightly brushed aside. “Yes,” she repeated, “and the most responsible, Clare, We mothers are responsible for the security and happiness of our children. Think what it would mean to your Margery if Mr. Bellew should find out. You’d probably lose her. And even if you didn’t, nothing that concerned her would ever be the same again. He’d never forget that she had Negro blood. And if she should learn—Well, I believe that after twelve is too late to learn a thing like that. She’d never forgive you. You may be used to taking risks, but this is one that you mustn’t take, Clare.” (67-8)
“She [Irene] remembered her own little choked exclamation of admiration, when, on coming downstairs a few minutes later that she had intended, she had rushed into the living-room where was Brian was waiting and had found Clare there too. Clare, exquisite, golden, fragrant, flaunting…” (74)