Elizabeth did not however long continue working, for as soon as tea was over she proposed to play at the game of Conglomeration, as she had talked of doing in the course of the walk. ’I give notice, however,’ said she, ’that we are likely to laugh more than will suit the gravity of the elders, therefore I recommend adjourning to the inner drawing-room.—Mamma, may we have candles there?’
Consent was given, and while the candles were being brought, and Elizabeth was looking out some paper, Anne whispered to her brother, ‘Rupert, pray say nothing about Fido, or the Mechanics’ Institute, or something unpleasant will surely come of it.’
‘Oh! Anne,’ was the answer, ’you have robbed me of my best couplet—
like forsaken Dido,
When she found the slaughtered Fido.
Where is the use of playing if there is to be no fun?’
‘’Where is the use of fun?’ said the cockchafer to the boy who was spinning it,’ said Anne.
‘Impertinence, impertinence, impertinence,’ said Rupert, shaking his head at her.
By this time all was ready, and Elizabeth called the brother and sister to take their places at the table in the inner drawing-room. She then wrote a substantive at the upper end of a long strip of paper, and folding it down, handed it on to Lucy, who also wrote a noun, turned it down, and gave the paper to Helen, who, after writing hers and hiding it, passed it on to Rupert. Thus the paper was handed round till it was filled. It was then unrolled, and each player was required to write a copy of verses in which these words were to be introduced as rhymes in the order in which they stood in the list. Rupert was rather put out by his sister’s not allowing him to turn the poem in the way he wished, and he thought proper to find fault with half the words in the list.
‘Harrogate,’ said he, ‘what is to be done with such a word ?’
‘You can manage it very well if you choose,’ said Elizabeth.
‘But who could have thought of such a word?’ said he, holding up the list to the candle, and scrutinizing the writing. ’Some one with a watery taste, doubtless.’
‘You know those things are never divulged,’ said Anne.
‘Frances, too,’ continued Rupert, ’there is another impossible case; I will answer for it, Helen wrote that, a reminiscence of dear Dykelands.’
‘No, indeed I did not,’ said Helen; ‘it is Francis, too, I believe.’
‘Oh yes,’ said Harriet, ’it is Francis, I wrote it, because—do not you remember, Lucy?—Frank Hollis—’
‘Well, never mind,’ said Elizabeth, who wished to hear no more of that gentleman; ’you may make it whichever you please. And Rupert, pray do not be so idle; put down the list, no one can see it; write your own verses, and tell me the next word to witch’
‘Eyes,’ said Rupert, ’and then Bounce. I do not believe that word is English.’