After Stephen has gallantly broken up a dog fight
(forever the rescuer), Angela indicates that she has prior knowledge
of Stephen's reputation. She is as coy as Stephen is strained and
serious: "...she stared rather disconcertingly at Stephen, then smiled as
though something she saw had amused her" (Well of Lonliness,132).
Angela reveals her source of information about Stephen,
"...--yes, it was Mrs. Antrim. She said you were such a wonderful rider
but that now, for some reason, you'd given up hunting. Oh, yes, and she
said you fenced like a man. Do you fence like a man?'" (132).
Both Stephen and the reader know that Mrs. Antrim
finds Stephen and her riding abnormal and distasteful, and that Angela is
embellishing on an unlikely conversation. When Angela asks her, "'Do you
fence like a man?'", the reader wonders if by implication
Angela means, "Do you have sex like a man?" "'I
don't know,' muttered Stephen'." To which Angela replies, "'Well,
I'll tell you whether you do when I've seen you...perhaps some day, Miss
Gordon, you'll let me see you?'" (fencing that is) (132).