voice, that seemed to take no count of her guests. She held out her hand to him.
“Oh Mrs Crich,” replied Birkin, in his readily-changing voice, “I couldn’t come to you before.”
“I don’t know half the people here,” she said, in her low voice. Her son-in-law moved uneasily away.
“And you don’t like strangers?” laughed Birkin. “I myself can never see why one should take account of people, just because they happen to be in the room with one: why should I know they are there?”
“Why indeed, why indeed!” said Mrs Crich, in her low, tense voice. “Except that they are there. I don’t know people whom I find in the house. The children introduce them to me—‘Mother, this is Mr So-and-so.’ I am no further. What has Mr So-and-so to do with his own name?—and what have I to do with either him or his name?”
She looked up at Birkin. She startled him. He was