“It’s a fact; I heard it down at the Man-o’-War Club meeting, you know,” he explained. “Goodwyn-Sandys is his name, the Honourable Goodwyn-Sandys, brother to Lord Sinkport—and what’s more, he is coming by the mid-day train to-morrow.”
The poet’s arm dropped like a railway signal. There was a long pause, and then the voices broke out all together—
“‘The Bower’ let at last!”
“An Honourable, too!”
“What is he like?”
“Are you sure?”
“Well, I never did!”
“Miss Limpenny,” gasped the Admiral, at length, “where is your Burke?”
It lay between the “Cathedrals of England” and “Gems of Modern Art”; under the stereoscope. Miss Lavinia produced it.
“Let me see,” said the Admiral, turning the pages. “Sinkport— Sinkport—here we are—George St. Leonards Goodwyn-Sandys, fourth baron—H’m, h’m, here it is—only brother, Frederic Augustus Hythe Goodwyn-Sandys, b. 1842—married—”
“1876—Geraldine, eighth daughter of Sheil O’Halloran of Kilmacuddy Court, County Kerry—blank space for issue—arms: gules, a bar sinist—Ahem! Well, upon my word!”
“I’m sure,” sighed Mrs. Buzza, after the excitement had cooled a little—“I’m sure I only hope they will settle down to our humble ways.”
“Emily,” snapped her husband, “you speak like a fool. Pooh! Let me tell you, ma’am, that our ways in Troy are not humble!”
Outside, in Miss Limpenny’s back garden, the laurestinus bushes sighed as they caught those ominous words. So might Eden have sighed, aware of its serpent.
HOW AN ADMIRAL TOOK ONE GENTLEMAN FOR ANOTHER, AND WAS TOLD THE DAY OF THE MONTH.
Next morning, almost before the sun was up, all Troy was in possession of the news; and in Troy all that is personal has a public interest. It is this local spirit that marks off the Trojan from all other minds.
In consequence long before ten o’clock struck, it was clear that some popular movement was afoot; and by half-past eleven the road to the railway station was crowded with Trojans of all sorts and conditions—boatmen, pilots, fishermen, sailors out of employ, the local photographer, men from the ship-building yards, makers of ship’s biscuit, of ropes, of sails, chandlers, block and pump manufacturers, loafers—representatives, in short, of all the staple industries: women with baskets—women with babies, women with both, even a few farmers in light gigs with their wives, or in carts with their families, a sprinkling from Penpoodle, across the harbour—high and low, Church and Dissent, with children by the hundred. Some even proposed to ring the church bells and fire the cannon at the harbour’s mouth; but the ringers and artillerymen preferred to come and see the sight. As it was, the “George” floated proudly from the church tower, and the Fife and Drum Temperance Band stood ready at the corner of East Street. All Troy, in fact, was on tip-toe.