“Is it really true?
“Of course it is.”
Claudia kissed him, and suddenly ran out of the room.
The brothers looked at one another.
“I hope that’s all right?” said the elder questioningly.
“I expect so,” answered the younger. “But, you see, you don’t quite know where to have Eugene.”
“I shall know where to have him, if necessary.”
“You’d better keep your hoof out of it, old man,” said Bob candidly.
Pursuing his train of thought, Rickmansworth went on:
“Must have been rather a queer game at Millstead?”
“Yes. There was Eugene and Kate, and Claudia and the parson, and old Ayre sticking his long nose into it.”
“Trust old Ayre for that; and is it a case?”
“Well, now Kate’s out of it, I expect it is, only you don’t know where to have Eugene. And there’s the parson.”
“Yes; Ayre told us a bit about him. But she doesn’t care for him?”
“She didn’t tell him so—not by any means,” said Bob; “and I bet he’s far gone on her.”
“She can’t take him.”
“Good Lord! no.”
Though how they proposed to prevent it did not appear.
“Think Lane’ll write to her?”
“He ought to, right off.”
“Queer girl, ain’t she?”
“Old Ayre! I say, Bob, you should have seen the old sinner at Baden.”
“What? with Kate?”
“No; the other business.”
And they plunged into matters with which we need not concern ourselves, and proceeded to rend and destroy the character of that most respectable, middle-aged gentleman, Sir Roderick Ayre. The historian hastens to add that their remarks were, as a rule, entirely devoid of truth, with which general comment we may leave them.
Mr. Morewood is Moved to Indignation.
When Morewood was at work he painted portraits, and painted them uncommonly well. Of course he made his moan at being compelled to spend all his time on this work. He was not, equally of course, in any way compelled, except in the sense that if you want to make a large income you must earn it. This is the sense in which many people are compelled to do work, which they give you to understand is not the most suited to their genius, and it must be admitted that, although their words are foolish, not to say insincere, yet their deeds are sensible. There can be no mistake about the income, and there often is about the genius. Morewood, whose eccentricity stopped short of his banking account, painted his portraits like other people, and only deviated into landscape for a month in the summer, with the unfailing result of furnishing a crop of Morewoodesque parodies on Mother Nature that conclusively proved the fates were wiser than the painter.