* * * * *
It was during the interval between the third and fourth dances, both of which had been given me by Miss Doiran, that the latter consulted her programme.
“I’m dancing the fifth,” she announced, “with the Duke of Blackpool.” I started violently, but she took no notice. “I think you know him. He was released from prison this afternoon. As my aunt’s secretary, I’ve had some correspondence with him under the name of Boleton.”
My brain began to work furiously.
“I scent collusion,” I said. “Diana is in this.”
Miss Doiran laughed.
“She rang me up directly she got your note about the lecture. The rest sort of came natural. I believe you were responsible for the telegrams. I congratulate you. The elephants were a brain-wave. My aunt was tickled to death by them.”
“How dreadful! I mean—it’s very nice of her. I’m afraid it was all rather impertinent.”
“If so, we were the first to offend, and, after all, Major Pleydell has expiated his crime.”
“And he’s fixed my murder for the first week In January. There’s really only you left.”
“Oh, I’m punished already,” said Miss Doiran. “I’ve lost my heart. And he doesn’t love me.”
“Would it be indiscreet to ask his name?”
Miss Doiran looked round the room.
“When I last saw him,” she said, “he was talking to an Irish terrier.”
HOW JILL’S EDUCATION WAS IMPROVED, AND DAPHNE GAVE HER HUSBAND THE SLIP.
“As I have frequently observed,” said Berry, “your education has been neglected. I’m not blaming those responsible. Your instruction must have been a thankless task.”
“I should think the masters who taught you enjoyed their holidays.”
Such a reply from Jill was like a sudden snowstorm in June, and Berry, who was in the act of drinking, choked with surprise. When he had recovered his breath—
“You rude child,” he said. “My prizes are among my most cherished possessions.”
“Where d’you keep them?”—suspiciously.
“Chancery Lane Safe Deposit,” was the reply. “When I die I shall leave them to the Wallace Collection. The shoes I wore at the first night of Buzz-Buzz are already promised to the Imperial Institute.”
“When you’ve quite finished,” said Daphne, “I’ll suggest that we go up for the day on Friday. I don’t mean to-morrow, but the one after.”
“It’s a little early in the year,” said I. “All the same, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t go up again later on. It’s always open.”
“If the weather holds,” said Jonah, “it will be looking wonderful.”
Oxford. Some reference had been made to the city while we sat at dessert, and in the midst of a banana Jill had confessed that she had never been there. The rest of us knew the place well. Berry had been at Magdalen, Jonah at New College, and I had fleeted four fat years carelessly as a member of “The House.” But, while my sister had spent many hours there during my residence, Jill had not once visited her brother—largely, no doubt, because there was a disparity of six years, in her favour, between their ages.