[The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, is attending a party at the private house of one of her MPs]
Gerald steered her jealously on, murmuring names. Nick watched with primitive interest as she approached; again she was beyond manners, however courtly and jewelled. Her hair was so perfect that he started to picture it wet and hanging over her face. She was wearing a long black skirt and a wide-shouldered white-and-gold jacket, amazingly embroidered, like a Ruritanian uniform, and cut low at the front to display a magnificent pearl necklace. Nick peered at the necklace, and the large square bosom, and the motherly fatness of the neck…
[later] It was the simplest thing to do – Nick came forward and sat, half-kneeling, on the sofa’s edge, like someone proposing in a play… He grinned and said ‘Prime Minister, would you like to dance?’
‘You know, I’d like that very much’ said the PM, in her chest tones, the contralto of perfection. Around her the men sniggered and recoiled at an audacity that had been beyond them.
It’s a very good book: sharp, sad and memorable. It’s never clear how unlikeable AH means his protagonists to be.
For this and the previous Thatcher entry, it was surprising how hard it was to find any pictures of her in evening or formal wear, or in fact anything but block-colour work suits.
Links on the blog: Mrs Thatcher and the Thatcher-Mitterand years this week. More toffs and their sisters in the 1980s in this Rachel Cusk book.