“Go on,” smiled Myra. “You have still to explain how we invite ourselves to lunch.”
“We don’t; we leave that to her. All we do is to give a list of the meals in which, in the ordinary course, we are wont to indulge, together with a few notes on our relative capacities at each. ‘Perhaps,’ you wind up, ’it is at luncheon time that as a party we show to the best advantage. Some day, my dear Mrs. Cardew, we must all meet at lunch. You will then see that I have exaggerated neither my husband’s appetite, nor the light conversation of my brother, nor the power of apology, should any little contretemps occur, of Mr. Samuel Simpson. Let us, I say, meet at lunch. Let us—’” I took out my watch suddenly.
“Come on,” I said, getting up and giving a hand to Myra; “we shall only just be in time for it.”
“It’s about time,” said Simpson one evening, “that we went to the tables and—er—” (he adjusted his spectacles)—“had a little flutter.”
We all looked at him in silent admiration.
“Oh, Samuel,” sighed Myra, “and I promised your aunt that you shouldn’t gamble while you were away.”
“But, my dear Myra, it’s the first thing the fellows at the club ask you when you’ve been to the Riviera—if you’ve had any luck.”
“Well, you’ve had a lot of luck,” said Archie. “Several times when you’ve been standing on the heights and calling attention to the beautiful view below, I’ve said to myself, ‘One push, and he’s a deader,’ but something, some mysterious agency within, has kept me back.”
“All the fellows at the club—”
Simpson is popularly supposed to belong to a Fleet Street Toilet and Hairdressing Club, where for three guineas a year he gets shaved every day, and has his hair cut whenever Myra insists. On the many occasions when he authorizes a startling story of some well-known statesman with the words: “My dear old chap, I know it for a fact. I heard it at the club to-day from a friend of his,” then we know that once again the barber’s assistant has been gossiping over the lather.
“Do think, Samuel,” I interrupted, “how much more splendid if you could be the only man who had seen Monte Carlo without going inside the rooms. And then when the hairdresser—when your friends at the club ask if you’ve had any luck at the tables, you just say coldly, ‘What tables?’”