Miss Silverton shook her head.
“I can’t do that!”
“Oh, right-o! But it isn’t much to ask, what!”
“Not much to ask! I’ll never forgive that man for kicking Percy!”
“Now listen, dear old soul. You’ve got the story all wrong. As a matter of fact, jolly old Benham told me himself that he has the greatest esteem and respect for Percy, and wouldn’t have kicked him for the world. And, you know it was more a sort of push than a kick. You might almost call it a light shove. The fact is, it was beastly dark in the theatre, and he was legging it sideways for some reason or other, no doubt with the best motives, and unfortunately he happened to stub his toe on the poor old bean.”
“Then why didn’t he say so?”
“As far as I could make out, you didn’t give him a chance.”
Miss Silverton wavered.
“I always hate going back after I’ve walked out on a show,” she said. “It seems so weak!”
“Not a bit of it! They’ll give three hearty cheers and think you a topper. Besides, you’ve got to go to New York in any case. To take Percy to a vet., you know, what!”
“Of course. How right you always are!” Miss Silverton hesitated again. “Would you really be glad if I went back to the show?”
“I’d go singing about the hotel! Great pal of mine, Benham. A thoroughly cheery old bean, and very cut up about the whole affair. Besides, think of all the coves thrown out of work—the thingummabobs and the poor what-d’you-call-’ems!”
“You’ll do it?”
“I say, you really are one of the best! Absolutely like mother made! That’s fine! Well, I think I’ll be saying good night.”
“Good night. And thank you so much!”
“Oh, no, rather not!”
Archie moved to the door.
“Oh, by the way.”
“If I were you, I think I should catch the very first train you can get to New York. You see—er—you ought to take Percy to the vet. as soon as ever you can.”
“You really do think of everything,” said Miss Silverton.
“Yes,” said Archie, meditatively.
THE SAD CASE OF LOONEY BIDDLE
Archie was a simple soul, and, as is the case with most simple souls, gratitude came easily to him. He appreciated kind treatment. And when, on the following day, Lucille returned to the Hermitage, all smiles and affection, and made no further reference to Beauty’s Eyes and the flies that got into them, he was conscious of a keen desire to show some solid recognition of this magnanimity. Few wives, he was aware, could have had the nobility and what not to refrain from occasionally turning the conversation in the direction of the above-mentioned topics. It had not needed this behaviour on her part to convince him that Lucille was a topper and a corker and one