The Ri—te O voice of the Hopscotch. “Come on, Sabre, my boy! Come on! Come on!”
He got into the cab. Major Millet had taken the seat next Mabel. “Ri—te O, Cabby!” the Hopscotch hailed.
As the horse turned with the staggering motions proper to its burden of years and infirmity, Mabel inquired, “What was Lady Tybar talking to you about all that time?”
He said, “Oh, just saying good-by.”
But he was thinking, “That’s a fourth question: Why did you say, ’Oh, Marko, do write to me’? Or was that the answer to the other questions, although I never asked them?”
He did not write to her. But in October a ridiculous incident impelled afresh the urgent desire to ask her the questions: an incident no less absurd than the fact that in October Low Jinks knocked her knee.
Mabel spent two months of the summer on visits to friends. In August she was with her own people on their annual holiday at Buxton. There Sabre, who had a fortnight, joined her. It happened to be the fortnight of the croquet tournament, and it happened that Major Millet was also in Buxton. Curiously enough he had also been at Bournemouth, whence Mabel had just come from cousins, and they had played much croquet there together. It was projected as great fun to enter the Buxton tournament in partnership, and Sabre did not see a great deal of Mabel.
It was late September when they resumed life together at Penny Green. In their absence the light railway linking up the Garden Home with Tidborough and Chovensbury had been opened with enormous excitement and celebration; and Mabel became at once immersed in paying calls and joining the activities of the new and intensely active community.
Then Low Jinks knocked her knee.
The knee swelled and for two days Low Jinks had to keep her leg on a chair. It greatly annoyed Mabel to see Low Jinks sitting in the kitchen with her leg “stuck out on a chair.” She told Sabre it was extraordinary how “that class of person” always got in such a horrible state from the most ridiculous trifles. “I suppose I knock my knee a dozen times a week, but my knee doesn’t swell up and get disgusting. You’re always reading in the paper about common people getting stung by wasps, or getting a scratch from a nail, and dying the next day. They must be in a horrible state. It always makes me feel quite sick.”
Sabre laughed. “Well, I expect poor old Low Jinks feels pretty sick too.”
“She enjoys it.”
“What, sitting there with a knee like a muffin? I had a look at her just now. Don’t you think she might have one of those magazines to read? She looks pretty sorry for herself.”
Signs of “flying up.” “You haven’t given her a magazine, have you?”
“No—I haven’t. But I told her I would after dinner.”
“If you don’t mind you won’t. Rebecca has plenty to occupy her time. She can perfectly well clean the silver and things like that, and she has her sewing. She has upset the house quite enough with her leg stuck out on a chair all day without reading magazines.”