Here Blink, who had been regarding him with lustrous eyes, leaped on to his knees and licked his mouth. Again Mr. Lavender was compelled to stop.
“Down, Blink, down! I am not speaking to you. ’The future of our country depends on the little citizens born now. I especially appeal to women. It is to them we must look——’”
“Will you ’ave a glass, sir?”
Mr. Lavender saw before him a tumbler containing a yellow fluid.
“Joe,” he said sadly, “you know my rule——”
“’Ere’s the exception, sir.”
Mr. Lavender sighed. “No, no; I must practise what I preach. I shall soon be rousing the people on the liquor question, too.”
“Well, ’ere’s luck,” said Joe, draining the glass. “Will you ’ave a slice of ’am?”
“That would not be amiss,” said Mr. Lavender, taking Joe’s knife with the slice of ham upon its point. “‘It is to them that we must look,’” he resumed, “’to rejuvenate the Empire and make good the losses in the firing-line.’” And he raised the knife to his mouth. No result followed, while Blink wriggled on her base and licked her lips.
“Blink!” said Mr. Lavender reproachfully. “Joe!”
“When you’ve finished your lunch and repaired the car you will find me in the Town Hall or market-place. Take care of Blink. I’ll tie her up. Have you some string?”
Having secured his dog to the handle of the door and disregarded the intensity of her gaze, Mr. Lavender walked back towards the Garden City with a pamphlet in one hand and a crutch-handled stick in the other. Restoring the ham to its nest behind his feet, Joe finished the bottle of Bass. “This is a bit of all right!” he thought dreamily. “Lie down, you bitch! Quiet! How can I get my nap while you make that row? Lie down! That’s better.”
Blink was silent, gnawing at her string. The smile deepened on Joe’s face, his head fell a little one side his mouth fell open a fly flew into it.
“Ah!” he thought, spitting it out; “dog’s quiet now.” He slept.
MR. LAVENDER ADDRESSES A CROWD OF HUNS
“‘Give them ginger!’” thought
Mr. Lavender, approaching the first houses.
“My first task, however, will be to collect them.”
“Can you tell me,” he said to a dustman, “where the market-place is?”
“The Town Hall, then?”
“What place is there, then,” said Mr. Lavender, “where people congregate?”
“Do they never hold public meetings here?”
“Ah!” said the dustman mysteriously.
“I wish to address them on the subject of babies.”
“Bill! Gent abaht babies. Where’d he better go?”
The man addressed, however, who carried a bag of tools, did not stop.
“You,’ear?” said the dustman, and urging his horse, passed on.