“That’s not very much to go on,” said Elizabeth.
“Don’t discourage me,” I said. “When I find her, d’you think she’ll give me the seven dances she said she would?”
“O-o-oh, I never....” She choked and began to cough violently, so that I drew her out of the press and into a vacant corner. “I never heard of such a thing,” she continued ingeniously.
“You wicked girl,” said I. “Why was Clapham Common?”
For a moment she looked at me speechless. Then she began to laugh tremulously....
With a crash the jazz came to an end. Almost immediately another orchestra took up the running, and the strains of a valse rose up, plaintive and tempting.
I looked at my lady.
“Have I earned my dances, Dot?”
She hesitated. Then—
“Carry on, Carry One,” she said.
HOW NOBBY CAME TO SLEEP UPON MY BED, AND BERRY FELL AMONG THIEVES.
Thoughtfully I read the letter again.
_... It nearly breaks my heart to say so, but I’ve got to part with Nobby. I’m going to India to join Richard, you know, and I’m sailing next week. I think you’d get on together. He’s a one-man dog and a bit queer-tempered with strangers—all Sealyhams are. But he’s a good little chap—very sporting, very healthy, and a real beauty. Let me know one way or the other, and, if you’d like to have him, I’ll send him round with his licence and pedigree._
Yours very sincerely,
P.S.—He’s always slept on my bed.
The letter had been forwarded to me from London, for I was spending the week-end in Leicestershire with the Scarlets.
I looked across the flagged hall to my host, who was leaning against a table with a hunting horn in each hand, listening critically to the noise he was making, and endeavouring to decide upon which of the two instruments he could wind the most inspiring call.
“Live and let live,” said I. With a grin Bertram suspended his operations. “Listen. I’ve been offered a Sealyham.”
“Take him,” was the reply. “Your guests will regret it, but you won’t. They’re high-spirited and they’re always full of beans. Hard as nails, too,” he added. “You’ll never kill him. Tell me.” He brandished the horn which he held in his right hand. “Don’t you think this sounds the best?” With an effort he produced a most distressing sound. “Or this?” Putting the other to his lips, he emitted a precisely similar note.
“There’s no difference at all,” said I, crossing to a bureau. “They’re equally painful. They do it rather better at level-crossings on the Continent.”
“It is patent,” said Bertram, “that you have no ear for music.”
“All right,” said I, making ready to write. “You try it. The hounds’ll all sit up and beg or something. I suppose it’s too much to expect to find a pen that’ll write here,” I added, regarding uneasily the enormous quill with which the bureau was decorated.