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bud. Safe and sound, eh ! But Val never turned a hair. Missed the supper train.' He admired the hedgehog, and
We met them on the steps, pricked another finger, like a Irene still pick-a-back. Uncle young Spartan. Communism Bliss strode beaming into the was restored. hall.
Irene began to retail her I think Angela and I con- adventures, rapidly, breathcealed our relief, and appeared lessly. They chiefly concerned to be expecting her. Of course Staff—Staff and the owl, Staff neither of us demanded a word and the doe, Staff and his flute, of explanation. The situation Staff and his "ventiloquising." explained itself, as the French Too much Staff, I thought, for say. The stage clue to it was Uncle Bliss. I detected a queer that Aunt Hudson, realising look on his face. Could he be that the suspended pulse of “J”, life was throbbing normally He turned to Val. And again in the house, slipped where has Val been ! Why away, fearing ursine encounters. didn't you come with Irene ?”
Irene threw one arm round “We lost each other," Val Angela's neck and hugged her; replied truthfully, upholding, the other still embraced the with pink standards, the Clayhedgehog, which had become tonian honour. a useful stage property. When “Well, well!” said Uncle she unclasped and slid down, Bliss. “You must both come she went straight up to Val to-morrow. You and Irene. and held it out to him.
Why not the whole family, "Look what Mr Staff has eh ? given us for our museum," she He looked at Angela, and said. Nothing could have been Angela looked at me and the more Sheba-like.
children. To-morrow was the Val bled his finger on the picnic, but there was no queshedgehog manfully.
tion which would be the bigger I admired her economy of treat. Besides, restitution was phrase. Our museum. The due to Val. plural possessive pronoun con- ' Come to lunch," Uncle tained the whole alphabet of Bliss suggested.
Sample reconciliation. And it was done Staff's spatchcock.” 80 gracefully-like Uncle Bliss' 'Do, Mummy. Please do. Mongolian princess.
Uncle Bliss will give us MacPoor old Val ! Irene, the onochie and pineapple. Won't peace-breaker, had had all the you, Uncle Bliss ? fun and all the adventure, while Irene gave us to understand he had been mooning in the that Uncle Bliss' repasts were garden, and now, it seemed, something quite super-terresshe was going to have the glory. trial. The dinner had been So illogical are the awards of “heavenly." destiny.
Uncle Bliss was visibly elated
and flattered. “Trifle shall be of the Clapperhouse. And that prepared for the Queen of would be only the beginning. Sheba,” he urged gallantly. When Angela had shepherded
It was an urbane and con- the children to bed Uncle Bliss ciliatory Uncle Bliss. What joined me in the library for a spell had the child cast over whisky-and-soda. I noticed an him Angela was reminded of arrested movement of his hand Calidore bringing home the to his breast-pocket. For once Blatant Beast. That was our in his life he had forgotten his new name for Ursa Major after flask. The enchantress again ! the harrying of the Brebis, However, he emitted no sound strictly between ourselves, of of disgust and gulped down my course. But Irene had tamed whisky with admirable selfhim. Butter would not melt restraint, as if it had been his in his mouth.
Own, “Something like a peg, “It is very kind of you,” Clayton," he said. And he Angela said, “but I am afraid commended my long tumblers, we should be too many. We the Sudan tumblers, as Angela are having a picnic by the river called them, designed for an to-morrow. Couldn't we come African thirst. “If there is one and see the museum after thing that annoys me it is the wards ?
way they have in these hotels Uncle Bliss accepted this and restaurants of giving you a change of plan with becoming whisky - and - soda in a wineprotests. The children were glass as if it were a short crestfallen, but only for a drink." Uncle Bliss entermoment. Irene's bright inven- tained a profound contempt for tion flashed across the impasse Britons who drank like forlike a kingfisher over a muddy eigners. Vermouth and liqueurs ditch. The burrow !” she he associated with light women, cried. “Let's all go by the As for cocktails they were a burrow.”
symbol of national degeneracy. The adventure would balance The mention of cocktails rethe loss of Uncle Bliss' lunch, called New York and the dinoeven the Maconochie and pine- saur's egg, which Irene's exploit apple. Again she saw herself in had driven out of my head. the rôle of pioneer, this time a “We thought you would be leader with a retinue, bursting on the way to New York,” I through the burdock cover into reminded him. Staff's garden, beckoning us to “New York's off," he anfollow, introducing us to Staff's nounced triumphantly. “I mother, emerging from the bought the egg this afternoon. cottage with the old lady's Had a cable." benediction and more stuffed Uncle Bliss refilled his vermin under her arm, and tumbler. • Bit of an escape Staff playing us across the park too,” he added. “I had forlike a drum-major to the steps gotten America was dry."
I congratulated him on all still keep on Homersfield ; counts. “Where are you bound otherwise I should have to sell for next ?" I asked him. “The it. But business relations with Jiundu swamp !"
Uncle Bliss were, of course, No. He thought, the Pyre- impossible. nees. The pterodactyl hunt “I am sorry," I said, “but would mean a lot of "bundo- for many reasons I am afraid I bast” and delay. The beast cannot take it on." was not likely to become extinct “Well, if you won't, you after having survived since won't, I suppose, and that's an glacial times, whereas the first end of it." severe frost might nip off his Uncle Bliss emptied his precious fungus, Cæsarea, or tumbler and emitted an ursine whatever it was called. In the grunt, which, so far as I could meanwhile he wanted to find interpret it, was contradictory some one to leave in charge to the mood, or shape, in which while he was away.
he had arrived charioted by "It ought to be easy enough,” Irene. However, he did not I said. “Have you tried an ad
to “do the other vertisement in 'The Times'?” thing."
"I was thinking of you, Clayton. Why don't you give The Brebis did not feel at all
the Sudan ? Supposing equal to the burrow; nor to you fail at the next Board. It any road for that matter, or is a toss-up, it seems. What method of progress, or avenue are you going to do then?' of approach, that had at the
"I don't know," I said, end of it the Abode of Bliss. “but I'm not going to give Neither was Angela a burrowing up the Sudan until the Sudan person ;
brambles and burs, gives up me."
and gaps in hedges, and muddy Uncle Bliss stared at the ditches she abhorred. So it was bottom of his glass. Then after decided at breakfast that they a pause he observed, “It should spend the day at Homerwould be pleasant finding young ton shopping, and have lunch people about when one came at the dear little restaurant in home.”
the square opposite the catheI was sorry for him. He had dral where Aunt Hudson could not a grown-up friend.
see the Chapter and the minor "I was going to suggest five canons coming in and out, and hundred,” he said, “but I tea at the confectioners' in the could raise it."
market-place where they made The offer would have been the most lovely little tapering tempting if it had come from coco-nut cakes, white at the any one else. Supposing the top and brown at the base, like Medical Board did spin me Fujiyama. It would be quite again, if I were agent for the an adventure for them, and in Clapperhouse estate I could the evening they would have a VOL. CCXVIII.—NO. MCCCXVIII.
carriage to take them and their defensive 1-of this bird of prey. parcels from the station to the We could see Miss Seamore quite house. Angela would buy the plainly, but she could not see Brebis a sachet, and the Brebis us, though she was staring would buy Angela a bag. She straight into our bush.
I was always buying new ones or clasped Val's bare knee. It was having them presented to her, all-of-a-tremble with exciteand they seemed to give her ment. He was feeling that pleasure, though what she did sense of power—vestigial inwith the old ones I was never stinct of the hunter—that comes able to discover, for a dead of watching without being seen. donkey is not so rare a thing in It is strong in Claytons, I my experience as a discarded think. I have even felt it in bag.
towns when looking out of the So we all had adventures window at a person in the street after our kind. Our first one who is unconscious of being was an unexpected and entirely observed. unforgetable glimpse of Miss For the moment Miss SeaSeamore. We had forgotten her more was our victim.
The existence, and were sauntering children had cut a notch in along the bank of the river in their tally of the head-hunter. the second meadow from the To the cave man within them station when the train clanked her unconscious passage at a and rattled over the Homer by mere bow-shot from where they the iron bridge. It was the lay hidden meant an arrow in train that crossed the one we the heart or flank of the got out of at Renton Parva. image. Thus we started on As usual it was almost empty, our expedition propitiously. but not quite. I felt a tug at In the account I have given my coat and heard a h-sh in of Irene's first penetration of Val's scouting whisper. The the Renton Parva beck territory children had taken cover. In a the details are borrowed from second I was flat on the grass the second day's reconnaissance beside them behind an alder in which Val and I followed her. bush. The parrot-like head As to the moods and humours and beak of the governess inspired by the adventure I protruded from a window on received no direct confidences ; our side, crowned with a little they came to me by suggestion. round, hard, incongruous hat. We halted where she had halted, I could distinguish-character- and explored the alleys she had istic insignia—the hat pins, like marked by arrows scratched on enormous knitting needles with the ground or by the white inflated amber-coloured bulbs notches she had cut on the at the end, which fastened the blackthorn stems with her superstructure inflexibly to the pocket-knife; only here and severely plaited top-knot, part there where the tangle was of the armour-offensive thickest I was allowed by virtue
of my infirmities and less accom- time had they awakened Ujiji modating bulk to steer a paral- to the news that a caravan lel course coastwise in open was coming, and peered into country, but always within the palms to try and make halloa. Not that I was in- out in which hut lived the sensitive to the attractions of white man with the grey beard the burrow. Following up the whom they had heard about windings of the beck was a on the Macararzi. delightful bit of pioneer work. “Unfurl the flags and load In the sloo thicket where Irene your guns !” cried Irene. had sat with the rabbit I felt “Ay, Wallah ; ay, Wallah, exactly like an explorer in bana !” echoed Val. darkest Africa, and when we We drew Staff's cottage came to the patch of reeking blank. Irene burst through watermint by the faggot stack the burdock clump like a little and measured twenty paces- naiad, Val and I at her heels, Irene's paces—to the hidden just in time to see Sancho terminal post, I felt like Balboa, Panza slip out at the gate at or Pliny the Younger writing the other end of the garden. his report for Trajan, a humble He had seen us. We saw him scribe adding his footnote to the look over his shoulder furtively, extension of the Claytonian and take a sharp turn behind empire.
the privet hedge on the park Val carried on the terminal side as if he were taking post, as was fitting. But here cover. “Daddy, he saw us.” we entered blackthorn cover Irene was incredulous. Her again, and finding the jungle Staff. She would not believe too thick for me I left the that he did not want to see children to cut their way her. It was our first check. through like Stanley on the The door was open and the road to Ujiji, and discovered a fire burning in the kitchen, more middle-aged path by a and the smoke from the chimhazel avenue on high ground ney floated away between the above the stream. I lay in wait trees, but the cottage was for them where the tunnel empty. No Mrs Staff. emerged at a spot where I stuffed vermin to carry away remember being posted with a under one's arm. gun in my teens when old Slings- He will ask us to come in by owned the estate. Irene afterwards," Irene explained pretended that they were not apologetically; and she did ambushed. Val swore he spied not qualify her faith with a me first. My “Doctor Living- "perhaps.” stone, I presume," was an old So, unheralded by Sancho chestnut in the family. The Panza and his pipe, we crossed children knew all about that the park to the lake, where we descent to the port on the lake found that no preparations had embowered in palms. Many a been made to receive the beaver