“‘Let’s go up then,’ I said.
“‘I can’t get up.’
“‘Well, man alive, I can get you up. Come on. Let’s go.’
“He seemed to hesitate for some reason I couldn’t understand. ’It’s got to be in a chair,’ he said. ‘It’s a business. I wonder—’ That kind of thing, as though it was something he oughtn’t to do. ’But it would be fine,’ he said. ’I’ve not been up for days. I could show you some of my history I’m going to take up again one of these days—one of these days,’ said he, with his nut rather wrinkled up. And then suddenly, ‘Come on, let’s go!’
“At the door he called out, ‘I say, you Jinkses!’ and two servant girls came tumbling out rather as if they were falling out of a trap and each trying to fall out first. ‘I say,’ old Sabre says, ’Mistress not back yet, is she?’ and when they told him No, ‘Well’, d’you think you’d like to get me upstairs on that infernal chair?’ he says.
“‘Oh, we will, sir,’ and they got out one of those invalid chairs and started to lift him up. Course I wanted to take one end, but they wouldn’t hear of it. ‘If you please, we like carrying the master, sir,’ and all that kind of thing; and they fussed him in and fiddled with his legs, snapping at one another for being rough as if they were the two women taking their disputed baby up to old Solomon.
“They’d scarcely got on to the stairs when the front door opened and in walks his wife. My word, I thought they were going to drop him. She says in a voice as though she was biting a chip off an ice block, ’Mark, is it really necessary—’ Then she saw me and took her teeth out of the ice. ’Oh, it’s Mr. Hapgood, isn’t it? How very nice! Staying to lunch, of course? Do let’s come into the drawing-room.’ Very nice and affable. I always rather liked her. And we went along, I being rather captured and doing the polite in my well-known matinee idol manner, you understand; and I heard old Sabre saying, ’Well, let me out of the damned thing, can’t you? Help me out of the damn thing’; and presently hobbled in and joined us, and soon after that lunch, exquisitely cooked and served and all very nice, too.
“Well, as I say, old man, I always rather liked his wife. I—always—rather—liked—her. But somehow, as we went on through lunch, and then on after that, I didn’t like her quite so much. Not—quite—so—much. I don’t know. Have you ever seen a woman unpicking a bit of sewing? Always looks rather angry with it, I suppose because it’s got to be unpicked. They sort of flip the threads out, as much as to say, ‘Come out of it, drat you. That’s you, drat you.’ Well, that was the way she spoke to old Sabre. Sort of snipped off the end of what he was saying and left it hanging, if you follow me. That was the way she spoke to him when she did speak to him. But for the most part they hardly spoke to one another at all. I talked to her, or I talked to him, but the conversation never got triangular. Whenever