“Let’s join the ladies,” said Thaddeus, abruptly. “There’s no use of our wasting our sweetness upon each other.”
If the head of the house had expected to be relieved from his unfortunate embarrassments by joining the ladies, he was doomed to bitter disappointment, for the conversation abandoned at the table was resumed in the drawing-room. The dinner had been too much of a success to be forgotten readily.
Thaddeus’s troubles were set going again when he overheard Phillips saying to Bessie, “Thaddeus has been telling us the remarkable story of Grimmins.”
Nor were his woes lightened any when he caught Bessie’s reply: “Indeed? What story is that?”
“Why, the story of the butler—Grimmins, you know. How you came to get him, and all that,” said Phillips. “Really, you are to be congratulated.”
“I am glad to know you feel that way,” said Bessie, simply, with a glance at Thaddeus which was full of wonderment.
“He is a treasure,” said Bradley; “but your cook is a whole chestful of treasures. And how fortunate you and Thaddeus are! The idea of there being anywhere in the world a person of such ability in her vocation, and so poor a notion of her worth!”
Thaddeus breathed again, now that the cook was under discussion. He knew all about her.
“Yes, indeed,” said Bessie. “He did well.”
“I mean the cook,” returned Bradley. “You mean she did well, don’t you?”
What Bessie would have answered, or what Thaddeus would have done next if the conversation had been continued, can be a matter of unprofitable speculation only, for at this point a wail from above-stairs showed that Master Perkins had awakened, and the ladies, considerate of Bessie’s maternal feelings, promptly rose to take their leave, and in ten minutes she and Thaddeus were alone.
“What on earth is the story of Grimmins, Thaddeus?” she asked, as the door closed upon the departing guests.
Thaddeus threw himself wearily down upon the sofa and explained. He told her all he had said about the butler and the cook.
“That’s the story of Grimmins,” he said, when he had finished.
“Oh, dear me, dear me!” cried Bessie, “you told the men that, and I—I, Thaddeus, told the women the truth. Why, it’s—it’s awful. You’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Well, now that they know the truth, Bess,” Thaddeus said, “suppose you let me into the secret. What on earth is the meaning of all this—two butlers, silver platters, dinner fit for the gods, and all?”
“It’s all because of the tipsy-cake,” said Bessie.
“The what?” asked Thaddeus, sitting up and gazing at his wife as if he questioned her sanity.
“The tipsy-cake,” she repeated. “I gave Ellen the bottle of brandy you gave me for the tipsy-cake, and—and she drank half of it.”
“And the other half?”