Pritchett has many admirers if it is only for the perfectly calculated composure of his short stories, sometimes concluded on a note of surprise, but always exemplary in their craftsmanship whatever the tenor -- a little farce, a little horror, a little tragedy. The title story will perhaps be the best remembered (staying power is not a Pritchett virtue) dealing with the flickering, furtive lust in the covert world of the antique dealer and a man who immured a young woman along with his best Meissen. There's one pleasantly sentimental romance in which the survivor of a scratchy marriage finally catches up with ""The Marvelous Girl"" with the face of a white rose; ""The Lady from Guatemala,"" just a stump, sallow and sexless, is something else again as she haunts a prominent editor-lecturer in life and thereafter; ""Our Wife"" is cheerfully partitioned between a man with an almost equal love of boats; the emptiness of an old man living beyond his time is posed and left unanswered in ""The Spree."" And of course others. Pritchett is, as always, a great curiosity-catcher and if the stories are essentially a little snug, a little temporal, they do divert.