The following is an excerpt from the Graham Greene novel "The End of the Affair," recently turned into a movie. In the novel, published by Penguin Viking Inc., New York, the scene is 1944 in wartime Great Britain. Sarah is writing in her diary about her husband, Henry, a high-level civil servant, and referring to her affair with Maurice.
Sir William Mallock came to dinner. He was one of Lloyd George's advisers on National Insurance, very old and important. Henry of course has nothing to do with pensions any longer, but he keeps an interest in the subject and likes to recall those days. Wasn't it widows' pensions he was working on when Maurice and I had dinner for the first time and everything started? Henry began a long argument with Mallock full of statistics about whether if widows' pensions were raised another shilling they would reach the same height as ten years ago. They disagreed about the cost of living, and it was a very academic argument . . . I couldn't think of anything to talk about . . . I longed suddenly to tell everybody about coming downstairs and finding Maurice buried (when a V-1 missile struck his apartment in London while she was there the other night). I wanted to say, I was naked, of course, but hadn't time to dress. Would Sir William Mallock had even turned his head, or would Henry have heard? He has a wonderful knack of hearing nothing but the subject in hand and the subject in hand at that moment was the cost-of-living index for 1943. I was naked, I wanted to say, because Maurice and I had been making love all evening.