“I ’spect she’s going away in a kerridge to marry the rich lord,” hazarded Bert.
“She’s up to no good,” said Emmeline vaguely.
Inside the shop the purchase of the doll had been decided on.
“It’s a beautiful doll, and Bertha will be delighted with it,” asserted the mother of Victor loudly.
“Oh, very well,” said Victor sulkily; “you needn’t have it stuck into a box and wait an hour while it’s being done up into a parcel. I’ll take it as it is, and we can go round to Manchester Square and give it to Bertha, and get the thing done with. That will save me the trouble of writing: ‘For dear Bertha, with Victor’s love,’ on a bit of paper.”
“Very well,” said his mother, “we can go to Manchester Square on our way home. You must wish her many happy returns of to-morrow, and give her the doll.”
“I won’t let the little beast kiss me,” stipulated Victor.
His mother said nothing; Victor had not been half as troublesome as she had anticipated. When he chose he could really be dreadfully naughty.
Emmeline and Bert were just moving away from the window when Morlvera made her exit from the shop, very carefully in Victor’s arms. A look of sinister triumph seemed to glow in her hard, inquisitorial face. As for Victor, a certain scornful serenity had replaced the earlier scowls; he had evidently accepted defeat with a contemptuous good grace.
The tall lady gave a direction to the footman and settled herself in the carriage. The little figure in the white sailor suit clambered in beside her, still carefully holding the elegantly garbed doll.
The car had to be backed a few yards in the process of turning. Very stealthily, very gently, very mercilessly Victor sent Morlvera flying over his shoulder, so that she fell into the road just behind the retrogressing wheel. With a soft, pleasant-sounding scrunch the car went over the prostrate form, then it moved forward again with another scrunch. The carriage moved off and left Bert and Emmeline gazing in scared delight at a sorry mess of petrol-smeared velvet, sawdust, and leopard skin, which was all that remained of the hateful Morlvera. They gave a shrill cheer, and then raced away shuddering from the scene of so much rapidly enacted tragedy.
Later that afternoon, when they were engaged in the pursuit of minnows by the waterside in St. James’s Park, Emmeline said in a solemn undertone to Bert—
“I’ve bin finking. Do you know oo ’e was? ’E was ’er little boy wot she’d sent away to live wiv poor folks. ’E come back and done that.”
On a late spring afternoon Ella McCarthy sat on a green-painted chair in Kensington Gardens, staring listlessly at an uninteresting stretch of park landscape, that blossomed suddenly into tropical radiance as an expected figure appeared in the middle distance.