At the same moment, and just as his eyes fell on the parrot-cage on the table, the lady—But was it a lady? Heavens! what did it resemble—this figure in female attire?
“Drat your bird! He won’t say no worse! And this is the third mornin’ I’ve sat temptin’ him!”
Mr Philp—yes, it was Mr Philp—in black merino frock, Paisley shawl and ribboned cap on which a few puce-coloured poppies nodded—Mr Philp, with a handful of knitting, and a ball of worsted trailing at his feet— But it is impossible to construct a sentence which would do justice to Mr Philp as he loomed up and swam into ken through ’Bias’s awed surmise; and the effort shall be abandoned.
Mr Philp slowly unwound the woollen wrap that had swathed his beard out of sight.
“Clever things, birds,” said Mr Philp, and his voice seemed to regain its identity as the folds of the bandage dropped from him. “I wonder whether shavin’ would help! . . . I don’t like to be beat.”
’Bias, who had come with that very intent, lifted a hand—but let it fall again. No, he could not!
“Good Lord!” he ejaculated, and fled from the house.
Outside, Fancy—who had seen all—was executing a fandango on the step.
“Help!” she called, taunting him. “Who talked o’ liftin’ a hand against a woman?”
One result of the paragraph in ‘The Troy Herald’ was to harden the two friends’ estrangement just at the moment when it promised to melt. Troy with its many amenities has a deplorable appetite for gossip; and to this appetite the contention of Captain Hocken and Captain Hunken for Mrs Bosenna’s hand gave meat and drink. (There was, of course, no difficulty in guessing what Mr Shake Benny would have called “the inamorata’s identity.”) Malicious folk, after their nature, assumed the pair to be in quest of her money. The sporting ones laid bets. Every one discussed the item with that frankness which is so characteristic of the little town, and so engaging when you arrive at knowing us, though it not infrequently disconcerts the newcomer. Barber Toy—having Cai at his mercy next morning, with a razor close to his throat—heartily wished him success.
“Not,” added Mr Toy, “that I bear any ill-will to Cap’n Hunken. But I back a shaved chin on principle, for the credit of the trade.”
A sardonic and travelled seaman, waiting his turn in the corner, hereupon asked how he managed when it came to the Oxford and Cambridge boat-race.
“I’ll tell you,” answered Mr Toy. “I wasn’t at Oxford myself—nor at Cambridge; and for years I’d back one or ’nother, ‘cordin’ to the newspapers. But that isn’t a satisfactory way. When you’re dealin’ with an honest event—honest, mind you—as goes on year after year between two parties both ekally set on winnin’, the only