“It’s gone beyond mere hope,” said his wife triumphantly. “Listen to this;” and she read out the sentence from the second advertisement, “’No reward required.’ There,” she added, “isn’t that proof? I’ll go round to Cheviot Road directly after breakfast and say how grateful we are, and bring the darling back.”
Meanwhile at “The Limes” Mr. Hartley Friend was pacing the room with impatient steps.
“I do wish you would try to be less impulsive,” he was saying to his wife. “Anything in the nature of business you would be so much wiser to leave to me.”
“What is it now?” Mrs. Friend asked with perfect placidity.
“This dog,” said her husband, “that fastened itself on you in this deplorable way—whatever possessed you to rush into print about it?”
“Of course I rushed, as you say. Think of the feelings of the poor woman who has lost her pet. It was the only kind thing to do.”
“‘Poor woman’ indeed! I assure you she’s nothing of the sort. One would think you were a millionaire to be ladling out benefactions like this. ‘No reward required.’ Fancy not even asking for the price of the advertisement to be refunded!”
“But that would have been so squalid.”
“‘Squalid!’ I’ve no patience with you. Justice isn’t squalor. It’s—it’s justice. As for your ‘poor woman,’ listen to this.” And he read out the Bathurst advertisement with terrible emphasis on the words “Handsome reward offered.” “Do you hear that—’handsome’?”
“Yes, I hear,” said his wife amiably; “but that isn’t my idea of making money.”
“I hope you don’t suppose it’s mine,” said her husband. “But there is such a thing as common sense. Why on earth the accident of this little brute following us home should run us into the expense of an advertisement and a certain amount of food and drink I’m hanged if I can see.”
“Well, dear,” said his wife with the same amiability, “if you can’t see it I can’t make you.”
A few minutes later the arrival of “a lady who’s come for the Peek” was announced.
“No,” said Mr. Friend as his wife rose, “leave it to me. I’ll deal with it. The situation is very delicate.”
“How can I thank you enough,” began Mrs. Bathurst, “for being so kind and generous about our little angel? My husband and I agreed that nothing more charmingly considerate can ever have been done.”
At this point Mrs. Friend followed her husband into the room, and Mrs. Bathurst renewed her expressions of gratitude.
“But at any rate,” she added to her, “you will permit me to defray the cost of the advertisement? I could not allow you to be at that expense.”
Before Mrs. Friend could speak her husband intervened. “No, madam,” he said, “I couldn’t think of it. Please don’t let the mention of money vulgarize a little friendly act like this. We are only too glad to have been the means of reuniting you and your pet.”