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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 81 pages of information about The Gay Lord Quex.

MURIEL.

Yes?

SOPHY.

A Lady Pumphrey came to stay there with a goodish-looking maid—­Edith
Smith her name was—­

MURIEL.

Never mind her name!

SOPHY.

And they’d lately met Lord Quex in a country house in Worcestershire. 
Well, he had kissed her—­Smith admitted it.

MURIEL.

Kissed whom—­Lady Pumphrey?

SOPHY.

Oh, of course he’d kissed Lady Pumphrey; but he kissed Smith afterwards, when he tipped her.  She told me what he said.

MURIEL.

What did he say?

SOPHY.

He said, “There’s a little something for yourself, my girl.”

MURIEL.

[Starting to her feet and walking away.] My heavens! a Maid! what next am I to hear—­his blanchisseuse? [Sinking into a chair.] Oh! oh, dear!

SOPHY.

[Turning in her chair to face MURIEL.] It’s one thing I always meant to keep to myself.

MURIEL.

[Bitterly.] Still, I have promised to forgive him for so much already!  And, after all, this occurred a long while ago.

SOPHY.

[Thoughtfully.] Ye—­e—­es.  I suppose if you did find him up to anything of that sort now, you’d—­what would you do?

MURIEL.

Do! [With all her heart.] Marry Napier Bastling.

SOPHY.

[Rising—­a mischievous light in her eyes.] Ah—!  I almost wish it would happen!

MURIEL.

Sophy!

SOPHY.

[Leaning against the edge of the circular table, gripping MURIEL’S hand.] Just for your sake, darling. [In a low voice.] I almost wish I could come across him in some quiet little shady spot—­

MURIEL.

[Looking up at SOPHY, horrified.] What!

SOPHY.

In one of those greeny nooks you’ve told me of, at Fauncey Court. [Between her teeth.] If he ever tried to kiss me, and I told you of it, you’d take my word for it, wouldn’t you?

MURIEL.

[Starting to her feet.] For shame! how dare you let such an idea enter your head? you, a respectable girl, just engaged yourself—!

SOPHY.

[With a quick look towards the window.] Oh, yes! hush! [Clapping her hand to her mouth.] Oh, what would Valma say if he knew I’d talked in this style!

[The door-gong sounds.

MURIEL

Here they are.

SOPHY.

[As they hastily return to their chairs.] Darling, I was only thinking of you and the poor Captain. [With another glance towards the window.] Phew! if my Valma knew!

[They resume their seats, and the manicuring is continued.

MISS LIMBIRD enters, preceding LORD QUEX and the COUNTESS OF OWBRIDGE, MRS. JACK EDEN and FRAYNE.  MISS MOON follows. LADY OWBRIDGE is a very old lady in a mouse-coloured wig, with a pale, anxious face, watery eyes, and no eyebrows. MRS. EDEN is an ultra-fashionably-dressed woman of about thirty, shrill and maniere.

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