“Find it—wot, me, sir? Hexcuse me, sir, but did you say—” Mr. Brimberly actually gaped!
“You, Brimberly, of course!”
“But—but wot kind of a hobject—and where, sir?”
“Really,” sighed Young R., “these are quite fool questions for one of your hard-headed common sense! If I knew exactly ‘what’ and ‘where’, I’d go and find it myself—at least, I might!”
“But—’ow in the world, sir—begging your parding I’m sure, but ’ow am I to go a-finding hobjex as I’ve never seen nor ’eard of?”
“Brimberly, I pass! But if you manage it in—say a week, I’ll double your wages and give you a—er—a bonus into the bargain; think it over.”
“I—I will, sir—indeed, sir!”
“Very well; you may go.”
“Certingly, sir.” Mr. Brimberly bowed and crossed to the door but, being there, paused. “Double me wages I think it were, sir, and a bonus? Very ’andsome, very ’andsome indeed, sir—thank you, sir.” Saying which, Mr. Brimberly bowed himself out, but immediately bowed himself in again.
“Sir,” said he, “if you could give me some hidea, sir—”
“A few ’ints, sir, as to the nature of said hobject—whether animal, mineral, or nooter, sir?”
“Well—perhaps ‘animal’ might be the more interesting.”
“Now—as to gender, sir—masculine shall we say, or shall we make it feminine?”
“Oh—either will do! And yet, since you offer so wide a selection, perhaps—er—feminine—?”
“Very good, sir!”
“And you’d better make it singular number, Brimberly.”
“Certingly, sir, much obliged, sir! Will you be wanting me again, sir?”
“Not again, Brimberly.”
“Then good night, sir—thank you, sir!” And Mr. Brimberly went softly forth and closed the door noiselessly behind him.
Being alone, Mr. Ravenslee switched off the lights and sat in the fire-glow.
“Feminine gender, singular number, objective case, governed by the verb—to love—I wonder!”
And he laughed a little bitterly (and very youthfully) as he stared down into the dying fire.
HOW GEOFFREY RAVENSLEE WENT SEEKING AN OBJECT
A clock in the hall without struck midnight, but Mr. Ravenslee sat there long after the silvery chime had died away, his chin sunk upon his broad chest, his sombre eyes staring blindly at the fading embers, lost in profound and gloomy meditation. But, all at once, he started and glanced swiftly around toward a certain window, the curtains of which were only partly drawn, and his lounging attitude changed instantly to one of watchful alertness.
As he sat thus, broad shoulders stooped, feet drawn up—poised for swift action, he beheld a light that flashed here and there, that vanished and came again, hovering up and down and to and fro outside the window; wherefore he reached out a long arm in the gloom and silently opened a certain drawer in the escritoire.