“Will you kindly inform me what the devil’s wrong with this bed? Who made it?”
“Then will you kindly give Selina a month’s notice on the spot? Do you hear? On the spot—What’s that?”
The Admiral rushed to the window and pulled up the blind. He was just in time to see a close carriage and pair dash past and pull up at “The Bower.”
A moment afterwards, Miss Limpenny, from the first-storey window of No. 1, saw the carriage door open, and a tall gentleman emerge. The tall gentleman was followed by a lady, whom even at that distance Miss Limpenny could see to possess a remarkably graceful figure. A small youth in livery sprang down from beside the coachman and helped to lower the boxes, whilst the new arrivals passed into the house where the charwoman, Mrs. Snell, stood smearing her face with her apron, and ducking in frenzied welcome.
The Honourable Frederic Augustus Hythe Goodwyn-Sandys and his wife, instead of arriving by train, had posted from Five-Lanes Junction.
There was no public demonstration. They might as well have come in the dead of night. Miss Limpenny was almost the sole witness of their arrival, and Miss Limpenny’s observations were cut short by a terrible occurrence.
She had taken stock of the Honourable Frederic, and pronounced him “aristocratic-looking”; of the Honourable Mrs. Frederic’s travelling-dress, and decided it to be Cumeelfo; she had counted the boxes twice, and made them seven each time; she was about to count the buttons on the liveried youth, when—
To this day she sinks her voice as she narrates it. She saw—the unseemliness, the monstrous indelicacy of it!—she saw—the nightcap and shoulders of Admiral Buzza craning out of the next-door window!
What happened next? Whether she actually fainted, or merely kept her eyes shut, she cannot clearly remember. But for weeks afterwards, as she declares, the sight of a man caused her to “turn all colours.”
It was significant, this nightcap of Admiral Buzza—as the ram’s horn to Jericho, the Mother Carey’s chicken to the doomed ship. It announced, even as it struck, the first blow at the old morality of Troy.
OF CERTAIN LEPERS; AND TWO BROTHERS, WHO, BEING MUCH ALIKE, LOVED THEIR SISTER, AND RECOMMENDED THE USE OF GLOBES.
I must here clear myself on a point which has no doubt caused the reader some indignation. “We remarked,” he or she will say, “that, some chapters back, the Admiral described Troy as a ’beautiful little town.’ Why, then, have we had no description of it, no digressions on scenery, no word-painting?”
To this I answer—Dear sir, or madam, no one who has known Troy was ever yet capable of describing it. If you doubt me, visit the town and see for yourself. I will for the moment suppose you to do so. What happens?