Archie sat down again.
“Samuel!” cried Myra. “How she must love you!”
“I should never lend Simpson a villa of mine,” I said. “He’d only lose it.”
“They’re some very old friends who live there, and they’re going away for a month, and the servants are staying on, and they suggested that if I was going abroad again this year—”
“How did the servants know you’d been abroad last year?” asked Archie.
“Don’t interrupt, dear,” said Dahlia. “I see what he means. How very jolly for you, Samuel.”
“For all of us, Dahlia!”
“You aren’t suggesting we shall all crowd in?” growled Thomas.
“Of course, my dear old chap! I told them, and they’re delighted. We can share housekeeping expenses, and it will be as cheap as anything.”
“But to go into a stranger’s house,” said Dahlia anxiously.
“It’s my house, Dahlia, for the time. I invite you!” He threw out his hands in a large gesture of welcome and knocked his coffee-cup on to the carpet; begged Myra’s pardon several times; and then sat down again and wiped his spectacles vigorously.
Archie looked doubtfully at Thomas.
“Duty, Thomas, duty,” he said, thumping his chest. “You can’t desert the Navy at this moment of crisis.”
“Might,” said Thomas, puffing at his pipe.
Archie looked at me. I looked hopefully at Myra.
“Oh-h-h!” said Myra, entranced.
Archie looked at Dahlia. Dahlia frowned.
“It isn’t till February,” said Simpson eagerly.
“It’s very kind of you, Samuel,” said Dahlia, “but I don’t think—”
Archie nodded to Simpson.
“You leave this to me,” he said confidentially. “We’re going.”
ON THE WAY
“Toulon,” announced Archie, as the train came to a stop and gave out its plaintive, dying whistle. “Naval port of our dear allies, the French. This would interest Thomas.”
“If he weren’t asleep,” I said.
“He’ll be here directly,” said Simpson from the little table for two on the other side of the gangway. “I’m afraid he had a bad night. Here, garcon—er—donnez-moi du cafe et—er-” But the waiter had slipped past him again—the fifth time.
“Have some of ours,” said Myra kindly, holding out the pot.
“Thanks very much, Myra, but I may as well wait for Thomas, and—garcon, du cafe pour—I don’t think he’ll be—deux cafes, garcon, s’il vous—it’s going to be a lovely day.”
Thomas came in quietly, sat down opposite Simpson, and ordered breakfast.
“Samuel wants some too,” said Myra.
Thomas looked surprised, grunted and ordered another breakfast.
“You see how easy it is,” said Archie. “Thomas, we’re at Toulon, where the ententes cordiales come from. You ought to have been up long ago taking notes for the Admiralty.”