“Absolutely. So, Marko, don’t be a completer noodle than you already are.”
“Ah, you’re getting it now.” Lord Tybar murmured. “I’m a noodle, too, the Searchlight says.”
He somehow gave Sabre the impression of taking an even deeper enjoyment in the incident between his wife and Sabre than the enjoyment he clearly had in his own facetiousness. He was slightly turned in his saddle so as to look directly at Nona, and he listened and interposed, and turned his eyes from her face to Sabre’s, and from Sabre’s back to hers, with his handsome head slightly cocked to one side and with much gleaming in his eyes; rather as if he had on some private mock.
Fantastical notion! What mock could he have?
“Well, about my word ’elegant’,” Nona was going on, “and why it is mine—weren’t you asking?”
Sabre said he had. “Yes, why yours?”
“Why, you see, Derry and Toms is a case of it.” She tickled her horse’s ears with her riding switch, and he stamped a hoof on the ground and arched his neck as though he knew he was a case of it and was proud of being a case of it. “I wanted an elegant name for him and I always think two names are so elegant for a firm—”
“Bloodsucker and Noodle are mine,” said Lord Tybar in a very gloomy voice; and they laughed.
“—So I called him Derry and Toms.”
Sabre pointed out that this still left her own possession of the word unexplained.
“Oh, Marko, you’re dreadfully matter-of-fact. You always were. Why, Tony and I get fond of a word and then we have it for our own, whichever of us it is, and use it for everything. And elegant’s mine just now. I’m dreadfully fond of it. It’s so—well, elegant: there you are, you see!”
Lord Tybar announced that he had just become attached to a new word and desired to possess it. He was going to have blood. “You see, if I live by sucking blood—”
“Tony, you’re disgusting!”
“I know. I’m the most frightful things. I’m just beginning to realise it. Yes, blood’s mine, Nona. Copyright. All rights reserved. Blood.”
“Well, so long as you stick to the noun and don’t use the adjective,” she said; and they all laughed again.
Lord Tybar gathered up his reins and stroked his left hand along them. “Well, kindness to animals!” he said. “That’s another of my beautiful qualities. The perfect understanding between me and my horses tells me the mare has seen enough of you, Sabre. She tells me all her thoughts in her flanks and they Marconi up my nervous and receptive legs. I must write and tell the Searchlight that. Perhaps they’ll think better of me.”—The mare, feeling his hand, began to dance coquettishly. “You’ll come up and see us often, now you know we’re back, won’t you? Nona likes seeing you, don’t you, Nona?” And again he looked from Nona to Sabre and back at Nona again with that look of mocking drollery.