“Going extremely short upon the near fore, he rocketed down the hill, with Nobby in the immediate future, barking like a fiend and striving, so to speak, to take Time by the forelock. From the fragment of cashmere with which he presently returned, I fear that he was successful.
“And there you are. All things considered, if he’s still alive, I should think he’d make Brooch about half-past eight.”
“He may get a lift,” said Jonah.
“Not he. Once bitten, twice shy. After all, he asked for it, didn’t he? And now shall I have some tea? Or would that be greedy?”
Sir Anthony wiped his eyes.
“If he’d known you,” he crowed, “as well as I do, he’d ’ve been more careful. Who sups with the devil should hold a long spoon.”
“I don’t know what you mean, sir,” said Berry. “I’m a respectable——”
“Exactly,” said I. “And meek. Thanks to Uranus.”
HOW ADELE BROKE HER DREAM, AND VANDY PLEYDELL TOOK EXERCISE.
“What, again?” said I, staring at the breakfast-cup which Jill was offering me, that I might pass it to Daphne. “How many more cups is he going to drink? He’s had three to my knowledge.”
“That vessel,” said Berry, “was passed to you for information and immediate action. So, as they say in the Army, close your perishin’ head and get down to it.”
“What you want,” said I, “is a bucket. Or a private urn.”
“What’s the matter with a trough?” said Jonah. “That’d be more in keeping.”
Berry turned to Adele.
“You see?” he said. “Two putrid minds with but a single snort. But there you are. Don’t dwell on it. Pass the marmalade instead.” He turned to his wife. “And what’s the programme for to-day? The glass has gone up, it’s already raining, ‘all’s right with the world.’ Anybody like to play ping-pong?”
“Fool,” said his wife. “As a matter of fact, I don’t think it would be a bad idea if we went over to Broken Ash for tea.” Berry made a grimace, and Jill and I groaned. Even Jonah looked down his nose at the suggestion. “Yes,” my sister continued, “I didn’t think it’d be a popular move, but I’d like Adele to see the pictures, and we haven’t shown a sign of life since we left Town.”
At Broken Ash lived the other branch of the Pleydell family, consisting of our Cousin Vandy and his two sisters. Between them and us there was little love lost. Of their jealousy of Berry, but for whose birth White Ladies would have passed into their hands, they made but an open secret; and, when he married my sister, who was his second cousin, and the Mansels—Cousins Jonah and Jill—had thrown in their lot with us, relations had become more strained than before. The conventions were, however, observed. Calendars were exchanged at Christmas, birthdays were recognized with a cold epistolary nod, and occasional calls were paid and invitations