“Serene. Shall we try to raise a bottle of cherries now,” said Grim, lazily, lounging from net to net. “It’s heaps too soon to think of housers yet.”
“You conceited ass, Grimmy! Not for you. Your batting is too awful.”
“Don’t worry now. Oceans of time, I tell you. We’ll try some cherries, eh?”
The pair strolled lazily off the field, and made several purchases in the preserved fruit line, and then adjourned to their common room for refreshment.
But, as time went on, Grim did not fall in with Wilson’s arrangements quite as enthusiastically as that single-hearted Biffenite would have liked him to. A fortnight passed, and Grim had only put in the regulation practice at the nets to Wilson’s intense disgust, and the time that should have been devoted to extra cricket was “wasted,” according to that ardent Biffenite, in doing, of all things, needlessly elaborate translations for Merishall.
“Whatever is the good of getting the very word the beak wants, Grimmy. I always translate Carmen—a song. Does it matter a cherry-stone that it sometimes means a charm? What good does it do you, you idiot? It only means that Merishall is harder on us. Think of your friends, Grimmy, do. If I didn’t know you were a bit cracked, I’d say your performance was undiluted ‘smugging.’”
“Cork that frivol, do,” said Grim, who was stretched full length on the grass and gazing skywards with a rapt expression in his eyes, “and look over there. How beautiful it is!”
“How beautiful what is?” asked Wilson, astonished.
“The sunset, you ass!”
“I don’t see anything special about it,” said Wilson. “An ordinary affair!”
“Ordinary affair! Ugh, you idiot. Look at those lovely colours mingling one with another, those light fleecy clouds floating in a purple sea, that beautiful tint in the woods yonder, that—that—”
“Steady, Grim. Take time,” said Wilson, squirming away from his chum.
“Wilson, you haven’t any soul for beauty. A sunset is the loveliest sight on earth, you duffer.”
“Didn’t know a sunset ever was on earth,” said Wilson, sarcastically.
“Is that funny?”
“All serene, Grimmy,” said Wilson, elaborately agreeing with his friend as a mother might with a sick child. “Matter of fact, it is rather fine. Not unlike a Zingari blazer, eh?”
“Exactly like. And that pink on the trees would do for the Westminster shirts.”
“Blazers and shirts,” cried Grim, in disgust. “Oh! get out.”
“Let’s get in, Grimmy, instead. You’d better see the doctor. ’Pon honour, you aren’t well.”
“I can’t help it,” said W.E. Grim, resignedly, “if you haven’t any soul. Yes, I’ll come. I’ve got Merishall’s work.”
There was a coolness that night between the two friends as they sat at the opposite sides of their common table doing their work for Merishall, and Wilson was determined to find out what was disturbing their accustomed peace. He had soon done his modicum of prose and forthwith broached matters.