from “Mildred Pierce” by James M. Cain

“She had little to say about love, fidelity or morals. She talked about money, and his failure to find work; and when she mentioned the lady of his choice, it was not as a siren who had stolen his love, but as the cause of the shiftlessness that lately had come over him. He broke in frequently, making excuses for himself, and repeating that there was no work, and insisting bitterly that if Mrs Biederhof had come into his life, a guy was entitled to some peace, instead of a constant nagging over things that lay beyond his control. They spoke quickly, as though they were saying things that scalded their mouths, and had to be cooled with spit. Indeed, the whole scene had an ancient, almost classical ugliness to it, for they uttered the same recriminations that have been uttered since the beginning of marriage, and added little of originality to them, and nothing of beauty.”

“She was a thin, dark woman of forty or so, with lines on her face that might have come from care, and might have come from liquor.”