Jenkins, Stringham, and Members leave Sillery’s together:
“Rain had been falling while we were at tea, but the pavements were now drying under wooly sky.
‘What very Monet weather it has been lately,’ said Members, almost to himself. ” [QU 184/190]
With Powell’s prompting, we easily saw the resemblance of the confluent fluffy stratocumulus clouds to a large unshorn lamb.
Members’ mumbling about Monet is another matter. So far in Dance the Narrator has alluded to works of art to explicate what he sees or feels or has used visual examples to help describe a place. Here, instead, the allusion comes from a character and presumably reveals something about the speaker. What do we learn about Member’s from what he says? Monet is much more modern that the artists the Narrator has chosen for his allusions, but by the early 1920s, Monet was well known and hardly avant garde. So Members may have artsy pretensions, but he is prosaic, neither a classicist nor on the cutting edge.
Monet is now among the best known Impressionists. He was a master of, among many things, cloudy sky. We already know from Sillery’s party that Members is clever, but what is he saying about the weather? Is he comparing the weather to a beautiful sunny day along the Seine at Argenteuil or to threatening clouds above the Thames in London?
Monet is renowned for painting a scene, haystacks, or Rouen cathedral, or the Houses of Parliament, repetitively examining the visual effects of changing light. (A number of websites including Wikimedia Commons show other examples from the Houses of Parliament series).
Perhaps Monet weather is changing weather. Members runs off without explaining himself, “‘I think I must hurry ahead now as I am meeting a friend.” For some tastes, Members is too clever by a half. Stringham is certainly not impressed: “That must be a lie….He couldn’t possibly have a friend.”