The Definite Object eBook

Jeffery Farnol
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about The Definite Object.

“Stay a minute, Joe, the Old Un generally keeps time for us when we spar rounds.”

“That I do, Guv,” cried the old man, “an’ give ye advice worth its weight in solid gold; you owe me a lot, s’ ’elp me.”

“About how much?”

“Well, Guv, I ain’t got me ledger-book ‘andy, but roughly speakin’ I should say about five or six ‘undred dollars.  But seein’ you ‘s you an’ I’m me—­a old man true-’earted as never crossed nobody—­let’s say—­fifteen dollars.”

“Why, you old—­thievin’—­vagabone!” gasped Joe, as Ravenslee gravely handed over the money.

“Vagabone yourself!” said the Old Un, counting the bills over in trembling fingers.  “The Guv wants a bath—­take ’im away—­’ook it, d’j ’ear?”

“Has Patterson got everything ready, Joe?” enquired Ravenslee, taking up his clothes.

“No, sir,” mumbled Joe, “but I’ll have ye bath ready in a jiffy, sir.”

“But where’s Patterson?”

“Well, ’e—­’e ’s out, sir.”

“And the footmen?”

“They’re out, sir.”

“Oh!  And the housekeeper—­er—­what’s her name—­Mrs. Smythe?”

“Gone to call on her relations, sir.”

“Ah!  And the maids?”

“Mrs. Smythe give ’em leave of habsence, sir.  Y’ see, sir,” said Joe apologetically, “you’re ’ere so seldom, sir.”

“My servants are not exactly—­er—­worked to death, Joe?”

“No, sir.”

“Manage to look after themselves quite well?”

“Yes, sir.”

“It seems I need some one to look after them—­and me.”

“Yes, sir.”

“A woman, Joe—­one I can trust and honour and—­what d’ ye think?”

“I think—­er—­yes, sir.”

“Well—­what do you suggest?”

“Marry her, sir.”

“Joe, that’s a great idea!  Shake hands!  I surely will marry her—­at once—­if she’ll have me.”

“She’ll have you, sir.”

“Do you really think she will, Joe?”

“I’m dead certain, sir.”

“Joe, shake again.  I’ll speak to her when she comes home.  To-morrow’s Saturday, isn’t it?”

“As ever was, sir.”

“Then, Joe—­wish me luck; I’ll ask her—­to-morrow!”

CHAPTER XVI

OF THE FIRST AND SECOND PERSONS, SINGULAR NUMBER

It was Saturday morning, and Hermione was making a pie and looking uncommonly handsome about it and altogether feminine and adorable; at least, so Ravenslee thought, as he watched her bending above the pastry board, her round, white arms bared to each dimpled elbow, and the rebellious curl wantoning at her temple as usual.

“But why kidneys, my dear?” demanded Mrs. Trapes, glancing up from the potatoes she was peeling.  “Kidneys is rose again; kidneys is always risin’, it seems to me.  If you must have pie, why not good, plain beefsteak?  It’s jest as fillin’ an’ cheaper, my dear—­so why an’ wherefore kidneys?”

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The Definite Object from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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