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

SOPHY.

You, see, my lord, when a man’s courting he is free to look his young lady in the face for as long as he chooses; it’s considered proper and attentive.  But the girl is expected to drop her eyes, and then—­what has she to look at?  Why, a well-trimmed hand or an ugly one. [Taking off her rings.] Now then, I’ll do wonders for you in ten minutes.

QUEX.

Thank you; I am not going indoors just yet.

SOPHY.

No need to go indoors. [Depositing her rings upon the table and opening her bag.] I’ve got my bag here, with all my tools—­see!

QUEX.

Ah, but I won’t trouble you this evening.  Another occasion—­

SOPHY.

[Arranging her manicure instruments, &c., upon the table.] No trouble at all, my lord—­quite an honour. [Indicating the stone bench.] Please sit down there. [Producing a little brass bowl.] Water—?

[She runs to the fountain and fills her bowl from its basin.

QUEX.

[Crossing, hesitatingly, to the right—­looking at his nails and speaking in a formal manner.] You have been bidden to Fauncey Court for rest and relaxation, Miss Fullgarney; it is most obliging of you to allow your pleasure to be disturbed in this way.

SOPHY.

[Returning to him.] Oh, don’t say that, my lord. [Putting the bowl on the table and dragging the garden-chair forward to face him.] Business is a pleasure, sometimes.

[Her close proximity to him forces him back upon the bench.

QUEX.

[Seated—­stiffly.] You must, at least, let me open an account at your excellent establishment.

SOPHY.

Not I. [Seated—­taking his right hand.] One may work occasionally for love, I should hope? [archly] ha, ha! just for love, eh?

QUEX

[Uncomfortably.] No, no, I couldn’t permit it—­I couldn’t permit it.

SOPHY.

[Holding his hand almost caressingly.] Well, well! we’ll see—­we’ll see. [She clips his nails briskly and methodically.  While she does so she again hums a song, looking up at him at intervals enticingly, under her lashes.  Breaking off in her song.] My goodness! what a smooth, young hand you have!

QUEX.

[His discomfort increasing.] Er—­indeed?

SOPHY.

Many a man of six-and-twenty would be glad to own such hands, I can tell you. [Patting his hand reprovingly.] Keep still! [It is now his turn to hum a song, which he does, under his breath, to disguise his embarrassment.  She looks up at him.] But then, you’re an awfully young man for your age, in every way, aren’t you?

QUEX.

[Gazing at the sky.] Oh, I don’t know about that.

SOPHY.

[Slyly.] You do know. [Wagging her head at him.] You do know.

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