She looked at him curiously. ‘Who was this she-expert who told you about African wasps?’
‘Brenda. Bright girl, about twenty-eight. Very passionate she turned out to be. Liked a romp in the open air. Smell of new-mown grass, the whisper of the breeze, and all that nymph and satyr stuff. She ’ad a little cottage in Devon I went to.’
‘About the wasps, Willie.’
‘Ah well, she was a hymenopterist.’
‘That sounds indecent.’
‘I ’ad the same thought, but it’s not about hymens. She was a wasp-lady. Studied them. Had a degree and all that. Anyway, we were in a nice warm tangle in the garden one summer afternoon when she told me. First I got stung, and then she told me. She’d got bees and wasps and ’ornets there, so she could study them live.’
‘That’s a nasty moment to get stung.’ Modesty pressed knuckles to her lips to suppress a bubble of laughter. ‘Was it very bad?’
‘Bloody wicked,’ he said feelingly. ‘Got me on the rump, and put me right off. After she’d doctored me I ’ad to go and look at all ’er colour-slides. Went on for hours it did, and I was sitting sideways all the time. That’s when I saw pictures of these wasps we’ve got down ’ere. Went rabbiting on about them quite a bit, she did. Seemed to think I’d be fascinated by wasps and their ’abits. I never went back. Told ’er I’d found out one of their ’abits and that was enough for me. Might’ve given me a complex that ruined my love-life. I think you’re laughing, Princess.’
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 13.)