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The Short Form

“A Difference in Temperament”

Daphne Du Maurier

Excerpt

He leant against the mantelpiece, nervously jingling the change in his pockets. He supposed there would be another scene. It was so unreasonable the way she minded him going out without her. She never seemed to realise that he just had to get away sometimes—for no particular reason, but because it gave him a sense of freedom. He loved to slam the front door behind him, and to walk along the street to a bus, swinging a stick. There was something about the feeling of being alone he could not explain to anyone, not even to her. The delicious sense of utter irresponsibility, of complete selfishness. Not to have to look at his watch and remember, “I promised to be back at four,” but at four to be doing something quite different that she would not know. The feeblest thing. Even driving in a taxi she had never seen; to have the sensation of leaning back and smoking a cigarette without turning his head and being aware of her beside him. He would come back in the evening and tell her about it; they would sit in front of the fire and laugh; but at least it would have been his afternoon — not theirs, but his alone.