“Ha?” said Mr. Cassilis, dubiously.
“Now, in goose-berries, as in everything else, sir, there is to be found the superlative, the quintessence,—the ideal. Consequently I have roamed East and West, and North and South, in quest of it.”
“Really?” said Mr. Cassilis, stifling a yawn, and turning towards Miss Anthea with the very slightest shrug of his shoulders.
“And, in Dapplemere,” concluded Bellew, solemnly, “I have, at last, found my ideal—”
“Goose-berry!” added Anthea with a laugh in her eyes.
“Arcadia being a land of ideals!” nodded Bellew.
“Ideals,” said Mr. Cassilis, caressing his moustache, “ideals and—ah—goose-berries,—though probably excellent things in themselves, are apt to pall upon one, in time; personally, I find them equally insipid,—”
“Of course it is all a matter of taste!” sighed Bellew.
“But,” Mr. Cassilis went on, fairly turning his back upon him, “the subject I wished to discuss with you, Miss Anthea, was the—er —approaching sale.”
“The sale!” she repeated, all the brightness dying out of her face.
“I wished,” said Cassilis, leaning nearer to her, and lowering his voice confidentially, “to try to convince you how—unnecessary it would be—if—” and he paused, significantly.
Anthea turned quickly aside, as though to hide her mortification from Bellew’s keen eyes; whereupon he, seeing it all, became, straightway, more dreamy than ever, and, laying a hand upon Small Porges’ shoulder, pointed with his pitch-fork to where at the other end of the “Five-acre” the hay-makers worked away as merrily as ever:
“Come, my Porges,” said he, “let us away and join yon happy throng, and—er—
’With Daphnis, and Clo, and Blowsabel
We’ll list to the—er—cuckoo in the dell.’”
So, hand in hand, the two Porges set off together. But when they had gone some distance, Bellew looked back, and then he saw that Anthea walked with her head averted, yet Cassilis walked close beside her, and stooped, now and then, until the black moustache came very near the curl—that curl of wanton witchery that peeped above her ear.
“Uncle Porges—why do you frown so?”
“Frown, my Porges,—did I? Well, I was thinking.”
“Well, I’m thinking too, only I don’t frown, you know, but I’m thinking just the same.”
“And what might you be thinking, nephew?”
“Why I was thinking that although you’re so awful fond of goose-berries, an’ though there’s lots of ripe ones on the bushes I’ve never seen you eat a single one.”
How Bellew and Adam entered into a solemn league and covenant
“Look at the moon to-night, Uncle Porges!”
“I see it.”
“It’s awfull’ big, an’ round, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s very big, and very round.”