“Extraordinary, Browne,” said Deppingham, half an hour later. “What wonders you chaps can perform.”
“Ho, ho!” laughed Browne. “We only strive to land on our feet, that’s all. Another cigarette, Lady Deppingham?”
“Thank you. They are delicious. Where do you get them, Mr. Browne?”
“From the housekeeper. Your grandfather brought them over from London. My grandfather stored them away.”
THE MAN FROM BRODNEY’S
It was quite forty-eight hours before the Deppinghams surrendered to the Brownes. They were obliged to humbly admit, in the seclusion of their own councils, that it was to the obnoxious but energetic Britt that they owed their present and ever-growing comfort.
It is said that Mr. Saunders learned more law of a useful and purposeful character during his first week of consultation with Britt than he could have dreamed that the statutes of England contained. Britt’s brain was a whirlpool of suggestions, tricks, subterfuges and—yes, witticisms—that Saunders never even pretended to appreciate, although he was obliging enough to laugh at the right time quite as often as at the wrong. “He talks about what Dan Webster said, how Dan Voorhees could handle a jury, why Abe Lincoln and Andy Jackson were so—” Saunders would begin in a dazzled sort of way.
“Mr. Saunders, will you be good enough to ask Bromley to take Pong out for a walk?” her ladyship would interrupt languidly, and Saunders would descend to the requirements of his position.
Late in the afternoon of the day following the advent of the Brownes, Lord and Lady Deppingham were laboriously fanning themselves in the midst of their stifling Marie Antoinette elegance.
“By Jove, Aggie, it’s too beastly hot here for words,” growled he for the hundredth time. “I think we’d better move into your grandfather’s rooms.”
“Now, Deppy, don’t let the Brownes talk you into everything they suggest,” she complained, determined to be stubborn to the end. “They know entirely too much about the place already; please don’t let them know you as intimately.”
“That’s all very good, my dear, but you know quite as well as I that we made a frightful mistake in choosing these rooms. It is cooler on that side of the house. I’m not too proud to be comfortable, don’t you know. Have you had a look at your grandfather’s rooms?”
She was silent for a long time, pondering. “No, I haven’t, Deppy, but I don’t mind going over there now with you—just for a look. We can do it without letting them see us, you know.”
Just as they were ready to depart stealthily for the distant wing, a servant came up to their rooms with a note from Mrs. Browne. It was an invitation to join the Americans at dinner that evening in the grand banquet hall. Across the bottom of Mrs. Browne’s formal little note, her husband had jauntily scrawled: “Just to see how small we’ll feel in a ninety by seventy dining-room” Lady Deppingham flushed and her eyes glittered as she handed the note to her husband.