“Is that you?” cry I, holding on by the balcony, and leaning back to peep over my own shoulder into the interior. “Come out here, if it is.”
“Sir Roger is out,” I say, a second later, putting my hand into that of Mr. Musgrave (for it is he), as he comes stepping, in his usual unsmiling, discontented beauty, to meet me.
“I know he is! I met him!”
“I am seeing the people start for Blasewitz for the last time! it makes me quite low!” I say, replacing my arms on the balcony, and speaking with an irrepressibly jovial broad smile on my face that rather contradicts my words.
“You look low,” he answers, ironically, standing beside me, and looking rather provoked at my urbanity.
“This time to-morrow we shall be off,” say I, beginning to laugh out of pure light-heartedness, though there is no joke within a mile of me, and to count on my fingers; “this time the day after to-morrow we shall be at Cologne—this time the day after that we shall be getting toward Brussels—this time the day after that we shall be getting toward Dover—this time the day after that—”
“You will all be rushing higgledy-piggledy, helter-skelter, into each other’s arms,” interrupts my companion, looking at me with a lowering eye.
“Yes,” say I, my eyes dancing. “You are quite right.”
“Algy, and the Brat, and—what is the other fellow’s name?—Dicky?— Jacky?—Jemmy?—”
“Bobby,” say I, correcting him. “But you are not quite right; the Brat will not be there!—worse luck—he is in Paris!”
“Well, Barbara will not be in Paris,” says the young man, still in the same discontented, pettish voice. “She will be there, no doubt—well to the front—in the thickest of the osculations.”
“That she will!” cry I, heartily. “But you must give up calling her Barbara; that is not at all pretty manners.”
“We will make a bargain,” he says, beginning to smile a little, but rather as if it were against his will and intention. “I will allow her to call me ‘Frank,’ if she will allow me to call her ‘Barbara.’”
“I dare say you will” (laughing).
A little pause. Another person has got into the omnibus; it is growing extremely full.
“I hate last days,” says my companion, hitting viciously at the iron balcony rails with his stick, and scowling.