HOW CERTAIN TROJANS CLIMBED A WALL OUT OF CURIOSITY; AND OF A CHARWOMAN THAT COULD GIVE NO INFORMATION.
Meanwhile, curiosity in Troy was beating its wings against the closed doors of “The Bower.” The early morning train next day brought three domestics to supplement the youth in buttons, and supplant the charwoman. Miss Limpenny, in deshabille (but at a decent distance from the window), saw them arrive, and called Lavinia to look, with the result that within two minutes the sisters had satisfied themselves as to which was the cook, which the parlour-maid, and which the kitchen-maid.
Later in the day, a van-load of furniture arrived, though “The Bower” was already furnished; but, as Miss Limpenny said, in all these matters of comfort and refinement, “there are degrees.” On this occasion the Admiral, who had been prevailed upon to leave his bed, executed a manoeuvre the audacity of which should have commanded success.
He crossed the road, and opened a conversation with the driver.
But success does not always wait on the brave. The van-driver happened to have a temper as short as the Admiral’s, and far less reverence.
“Good-morning,” said the Admiral, cheerily.
“What’s a-foot to-day?”
“Same as yesterday—twelve inches.”
The Admiral was rather taken aback, but smiled, nevertheless, and persevered.
“Ha, ha! very good. You are a wit, I perceive.”
But the driver’s conversation teemed with the unexpected.
“Look ‘ere, Ruby-face! give me any more of your sass an’ I’ll punch yer ’ed for tuppence.”
This was conclusive. The Admiral struck his flag, re-crossed the street, went indoors, and had it out with Mrs. Buzza. Indeed, at the end of half-an-hour that poor lady’s feelings were so overwrought, and, in consequence, her sobs so loud, that the Admiral had perforce to get out his double-bass and play a selection of martial music to prevent Miss Limpenny’s hearing them on the other side of the partition.
All this happened early in the afternoon. Towards five o’clock Miss Limpenny, who had only left her post twice, and on each occasion to snatch a hurried meal, was rewarded for her patience. The front door of “The Bower” opened, and Mr. and Mrs. Goodwyn-Sandys appeared, dressed, as Miss Limpenny could see, for a walk.
“Now, I wonder,” reflected that kind soul, “which direction they will take. Personally, of course, I should prefer them to pass this window; but I hope I can subdue private inclination to public spirit, and for Troy’s sake I hope they will visit the Castle first. The salubrity of the air, as well as the expansiveness of the view, would be certain to impress them favourably. Dear, dear! I wish I could advise them. Should they take the direction of the town, I know by experience they will be apt to meet with an effluvium of decaying fish, and I should so like their stay among us to be begun under pleasant auspices.”