They both came to think of it as the General Election Row, though it didn’t happen on the night of the election, on which they were apart, but almost three months afterwards,
and disliking scenes as they did, neither raised his voice.
It began in the affectionate fractiousness of disagreements between intimates, each of whom believes he can anticipate the other’s arguments a little more precisely than is actually so,
and grew vituperative as political disputes tend to between persons who have cast their choice in the same way for quite opposite reasons.
Laurie had voted in a spirit of disinterested pessimism; Ralph in sceptical pragmatism: it turned personal before a third of the bottle of Black & White had been drunk.
‘Mary, you have delighted us long enough,’ Laurie muttered, casting his eyes up at chipped, nicotined plasterwork.
‘Was I? Light me one too, will you?’
‘You were. Positively parsonical.’ Laurie handed over the cigarette.
‘In the eighteenth century the virger would have left a flask of brandy and a bucket in the pulpit, but it’s not considered quite so amusing now.’
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