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Tom's Great Aunt Louise looked around her in mild irritation. She had invited a nice young man involved in missionary work with the express purpose of introducing him to Tom, and now the blessed girl had disappeared.

Finally she saw her, but the company she was keeping made her purse her lips and head purposely over to the two young women. Well, she thought, as she weaved through the various guests, not so young women really. Tom at least was past thirty, and the woman with her must be of a similar generation from the look of her.

Great Aunt Louise had not been impressed to see Tom's companion. The woman was a member of one of Aunt Louise's commitees, but it had become apparent recently that she was a divorcee. Great Aunt Louise did not feel that she could invite all other members of the committe and omit her, but she wasn't happy about her presence there.

Tom wasn't sure whether to be irritated or relieved at her Aunt's arrival and the requirement to excuse herself, in order to go and meet yet another suitable young man.

She had been barely able to concentrate on the conversation, so distracted was she by her companion being present at all. However it had been interesting to hear about the activities of the Maynard-Russell-Bettany clan again, and they had been talking about events they both remembered involving various family members. This avoided the need for asking questions about each other's personal lives.

As Tom was led away by her Aunt, the young woman she had been talking to sighed slightly. She was too aware of people not to be aware of Great Aunt Louise's disapproval.

She was realising more and now, the stigma of divorce was one that was very hard to avoid. Many people were treating her with this type of disapproval. Even though people her own age were changing their attitudes, after all this was the "Swinging Sixties", there were still a lot of people who saw her in a negative light.

It frustrated her that people judged so quickly. They assumed an affair, or that she must have problems with "keeping her man". The fact that two people can love each other, but not be right for each other to live with day to day just never occurred to any of them. She felt like pointing out to some of these smug women holding on to their husband's arms and judging, that her way was the more honest one. It was an open secret how many of these men had mistresses in flats in London, how many of these "respectable" women were having affairs with the gardener, or their husband's friends. Those could not be happy marriages, for that to happen. Yet they considered themselves morally correct for staying married.

She sighed. The world was a topsy turvy one. It was clear that Tom would now be directed away from associating with her, by this forceful Aunt.

From memory, Tom had been quietly religious, from a church family, so it seemed likely that she would judge as well. A pity, it had been such a great suprise to see that familiar face here. She had hoped that they might get back into more regular contact, maybe get back to being good friends.

She would wait around for a short while, in case Tom was able, or wanted, to return to talk a bit more. If not, then she would leave soon, it wasn't nice to be at a party where the hostess was unable to properly hide her disapproval of your character.

She would wait and see whether Tom returned.



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