Frances Towers is not new to me. I have wanted to buy Tea with Mr. Rochester (Persephone Book #44), her only book (Frances Towers had died suddenly of pneumonia) for a while now. Spade Man from Over the Water is a short story which appears in Tea with Mr. Rochester as well, so this was a small teaser for me.
In Spade Man from Over the Water, Mrs. Asher and Mrs. Laura Penny are neighbors. While they are having tea together, a telegram comes for Laura announcing the arrival of her husband by the end of the week. Now Mrs. Asher has never met Laura’s husband. So she assumes the photograph on the mantelpiece must be of Laura’s husband and tells Laura the kind, fastidious, sensitive, and proud looking man in the picture looks like everything her husband should be!
Alas, it turns out the man in the picture is actually a cousin of Laura’s. Laura is dismayed her friend did not have the instincts to realize that it is not her husband. But Mrs. Asher is a dear, so she can’t possibly hold this mistake against her. After all, Mrs. Asher had made the “queenly gesture” of letting Laura run in and out of Miss. Lemon’s Cottage as she pleases after Laura had told Mrs. Asher that she had her heart set on the cottage before Mrs. Asher moved in there. Since then, for Laura, Mrs. Asher is a precious friend, and she is convinced their friendship would last long. So why does it all change when Laura shows a photo of her husband to Mrs. Asher?
I read the short story twice to see if I can figure out what exactly happened in the end, however, I’m clueless yet! The story’s ending is open to interpretation. For me, it had a supernatural feeling. A very strange story and I’m still curious to read Tea with Mr. Rochester!