THE SUNNY SIDE
I. ORANGES AND LEMONS
“Dear Myra,” wrote Simpson at the beginning of the year—“I have an important suggestion to make to you both, and I am coming round to-morrow night after dinner about nine o’clock. As time is so short I have asked Dahlia and Archie to meet me there, and if by any chance you have gone out we shall wait till you come back.
“P.S.—I have asked Thomas too.”
* * * * *
“Well?” said Myra eagerly, as I gave her back the letter.
In deep thought I buttered a piece of toast.
“We could stop Thomas,” I said. “We might ring up the Admiralty and ask them to give him something to do this evening. I don’t know about Archie. Is he—”
“Oh, what do you think it is? Aren’t you excited?” She sighed and added, “Of course I know what Samuel is.”
“Yes. Probably he wants us all to go to the Zoo together ... or he’s discovered a new way of putting, or—I say, I didn’t know Archie and Dahlia were in town.”
“They aren’t. But I expect Samuel telegraphed to them to meet him under the clock at Charing Cross disguised, when they would hear of something to their advantage. Oh, I wonder what it is. It must be something real this time.”
Since the day when Simpson woke me up at six o’clock in the morning to show me his stance-for-a-full-wooden-club shot I have distrusted his enthusiasms; but Myra loves him as a mother; and I—I couldn’t do without him; and when a man like that invites a whole crowd of people to come to your flat just about the time when you are wondering what has happened to the sardines on toast—well, it isn’t polite to put the chain on the door and explain through the letter-box that you have gone away for a week.
“We’d better have dinner a bit earlier to be on the safe side,” I said, as Myra gave me a parting brush down in the hall. “If any further developments occur in the course of the day, ring me up at the office. By the way, Simpson doesn’t seem to have invited Peter. I wonder why not. He’s nearly two, and he ought to be in it. Myra, I’m sure I’m tidy now.”
“Pipe, tobacco, matches, keys, money?”
“Everything,” I said. “Bless you. Goodbye.”
“Good-bye,” said Myra lingeringly. “What do you think he meant by ’as time is so short’?”
“I don’t know. At least,” I added, looking at my watch, “I do know. I shall be horribly late. Good-bye.”
I fled down the stairs into the street, waved to Myra at the window ... and then came cautiously up again for my pipe. Life is very difficult on the mornings when you are in a hurry.
At dinner that night Myra could hardly eat for excitement.