페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

“Can you tell me which side Angela is lunching with the of the railway it is, east or Sellingers ?” west?"

The Brebis hesitated. She "I am sorry, I don't under- was very nervous about drivstand.”

ing, so nervous that she had “Humph !” growled Ursa not trusted herself in a high Major, "you wouldn't. Per- two-wheeled vehicle for over haps you can tell me how it twenty-five years; but as I stands to Eaux Chaudes?was such a very safe driver,

“Oh, that's quite simple. and Joan so very quiet and The same charabanc takes you sure-footed between the shafts, to both."

she was going to take her courThe Brebis was becoming age in both hands, just for ruffled and confused. She was once, and drive with me in sitting bolt upright still in her the dog-cart to the Sellingers'. deck-chair with her book in her The Brebis laid down her lap, a finger marking the place, conditions. “If you promise to looking up apprehensively into be very careful, and not to use Unele Bliss' biscuit - coloured the whip, and to walk downbeard and purple face, as a hill. Joan doesn't stumble, sheep sometimes surveys a dog does she? through a hole in a fence. I couldn't promise about the seemed a long while, but I do whip, as Joan might go to not think Ursa Major had been sleep, and then she would baiting her more than forty stumble. As to the other conseconds when I took him by the ditions, I could be consciensleeve, and, exercising my coun- tiously reassuring. ter-boom, bawled into his ear, “I am going to be very " Come to the library. We'll brave," the Brebis said, “and look it up in the map.

it will be tremendously excitBut how to get the Brebis ing.” safely back into the home pas- She was quite the bell-wether tures ? One could not leave now, no longer a baited brebis, her in that perplexed ovine entangled in brambles. attitude, suspended between re- I ought to have left it at treat and defiance, peeping that, but I was fool enough to through the hedge, tapping the ask her what she was reading. ground with her foot, so to Aunt Hudson picked up her speak. I tried to think of some book, which she had snatched conclusion to Uncle Bliss' cate- from the shelf when she heard chism which would leave her Uncle Bliss in the hall, and more appropriately in posses- looked at the title. She had sion, less like a brebis who had not the vaguest idea what she been dragged through a bash. was reading. It was a novel

"You're going to let me by Martha Caraway. drive you to the bazaar? I "I was just choosing one, reminded her.

“You know she explained.

رو

[ocr errors]

You like novels ? Eh ? I bawled at him. He was No,” said Aunt Hudson, going to say “when you are “I can't say I do, not enough feeling intellectual,” but I was to read them seriously. just in time. He turned to me read one sometimes for an and shouted, “I am not deaf.” hour after dinner to pass the For once his dynamic resources time when I am not feeling yielded to mine. I morally intellectual.”

propelled him through the door. And what do you read But it was difficult to dovetail when

Ursa Major into an apologetic “The map's in the library,” exit.

VII. THE ANTELOPE'S HORN.

a

In the library I conveyed to room and the pterodactyl, the Uncle Bliss that he would be tranquillity of Homersfield for more welcome if he did not the next few months at least bully my guests.

seemed to be assured. “Bully your guests! Who?" While he was determining

“You were not very polite Pyrenean altitudes and directo Miss Hudson."

tions, I took the opportunity “Not polite. That's a pity. to find out what a saprophyte Stupid woman. She knows meant, and was relieved when nothing. I was telling her; the dictionary told me that it that's all.”

was nothing more opprobrious I was surprised that he was than vegetable organism

more resentful, but he which lived on decaying organic answered me absent-mindedly, matter. Not a bad term of without giving the matter a abuse ! I wondered if the thought, as he turned over the Brebis would have the curiosity pages of the gazetteer. “She to look it up too. reminds me of a pigeon," he It had been a tempestuous continued. Then added un- morning for her and all of us, gallantly, “ with the brains and I don't wonder she was not taken out.” Trifles like the herself at lunch. The Brebis susceptibilities of Miss Hud- was accustomed to respect and son, or my opinion of his be- a number of small attentions haviour to my guests, did not from the family, and she had come into the focus of his pre- been spoken to scoldingly as occupation.

if she were a little girl who had I rather hoped that he would forgotten her catechism. She go off in a huff. It would have admitted that she was “feelmeant that we should have ing at a very low par.” She seen less of him, perhaps noth- attempted to evade going to ing at all. Anyhow, what with the Sellingers', but I thought the dinosaur and the mush- it would be good for her, and

[ocr errors]

coaxed her to come with me. good, stocking the Homer with The bazaar was for a pious trout, making ugly things object; Renton Magna Church pretty, poor people comfortwas to have a new organ; all able, and workhouses unnecesthe clergymen in the neigh- sary. If you have five figures bourhood would be there. She and miss a train, you can order hesitated. Was I quite sure another one all to yourself, or that dreadful man would not an aeroplane if you want to be there? I told her that it get anywhere in a hurry ; you was very unlikely, and if he can fly to Paris after lunch did happen to be there, I would and come back with marrons smuggle her off at once. In glacés for tea ; or you can keep at one gate and out at the other. a yacht and go anywhere you “In fact,” I said, “I do not like—up the Amazon where think we are likely to see much there are butterflies as big as of Uncle Bliss for a very long birds, and birds as bright as time.”

butterflies, and no people at “He is going to New York, all; or to Monte Carlo, if you Aunt Huddy,” Irene volun- prefer society; and if you have teered.

rheumatism, you needn't go “And to Africa," added Val. to those horrid French baths, "And to the Pyrenees." you can have the water brought

“Oh, my dear,” said the to you. Five figures means Brebis, “how mercifully dis- leading a quiet life or tant."

eventful one, just as you choose; The children had been talk. telling other people to mind ing to Uncle Bliss. They met their own business and not to him outside the gate, and he poke their noses into yours ; got off his bicycle to say good- marrying a princess as beautiful bye, and he gave Irene a as Mummy, if you could find shilling.

one, which, of course, you "He was not half so cross,” couldn't, and buying her a new Irene said.

pair of seed - pearl earrings “He was in a much better every day; and generally beshape,” said Val. “I think it having like a fairy godfather is because of the dinosaur's or godmother, and giving egg. Daddy, what does five everybody you are fond of, figures mean?

whether they deserve it or “Five figures means having not, a perfectly scrumptious everything you want, every time" thing that money can buy, What bee-ut-iful picponies, dogs, fishing - rods, ture," said the Brebis. cricket-bats, lovely presents for 'Or if you prefer it, instead Mummy, Persian carpets so of enjoying all these good soft that you can't hear when things, you can become the anybody comes into the room. sole possessor of the only dinoIt means turning bad land into saur's egg in the world.”

an

[ocr errors]

a

“Has Uncle Bliss got five pocket, and kept it there quite figures ?” Irene asked.

a long time, as if he was think“He has got six. Very ing of something else. But nearly seven, I believe.”

when he pulled it out there was Val, after a process of mental nothing in it, and he told Irene subtraction, arrived at the con- to give me half hers.”. clusion that if Uncle Bliss He must have hated partbought the dinosaur's egg he ing with that shilling," I said. would still have two figures "Then you really think he left, and that would be enough is a miser,” the Brebis said. to buy nearly half the other “No, he is a collector," I things as well.

explained, “and that means he I admitted the substantial is not a distributor. The differaccuracy of this calculation. ence between a miser and Val had, if anything, under. Uncle Bliss is that one collects estimated Uncle Bliss'resources. money and the other dino

“He could buy a motor- saurs' eggs and pterodactyls. car, Irene suggested, “and When you get into the habit of sell his bicycle.

collecting banknotes or extinct Then Val had a brilliant animals, it hurts frightfully idea. Supposing the egg having to spend a shilling on hatched. The new dinosaur anything else." might have half a dozen more Irene was so sorry for Uncle eggs. Then Uncle Bliss would Bliss that she wished she had be the richest man in the world. not taken the shilling, but she Six eggs at five figures. That quite saw the point when I would be thirty figures.

explained that that would have The Brebis' arithmetic was hurt him more. What was to a little better than this. Six be done ? She couldn't give figures is a hundred thousand the shilling back. pounds, isn't it? My dear, “I know,” she said ; “I what wealth ! And isn't it will offer it as a subscription rather miserly of him not to for the dinosaur's egg.

Of keep a motor-car?"

course, he can keep the whole The children's loyalty was egg, but that little part of it up in arms. Misers were asso- will be mine." ciated in their adventure books “Half of it," said Val. “The with hangmen, spies, informers, other half will be mine.

We and such mean fry, not with each have a sixpenny share." explorers and big-game hunters. Irene had not thought of Irene defended her hero.

that. She looked at Val with ' He gave me a shilling,” the contempt of the gallery she announced, blushing gener- for Shylock after the fifth act. ously.

What a grasping spirit! The Val thought that he was going division of these very probto get one too.

lematical shares might have “He put his hand in his ended in a serious misunderstanding if I had not inter- Bliss' promises had evaporated vened.

in smoke, those visions of the "No," I said, "you can't enchanted land in which you do that. Giving you the shil- met stuffed hippopotamuses and ling made Uncle Bliss feel com- lionesses with cubs, and the fortable inside. Don't you re- incredible lake with its crocomember what a bad shape he diles, and turtles, and beavers, was in when he came and and seals, and the king penguin found you gloating over the who would only bow when it things Marjorie sent you!"

was cold. “He didn't seem to like “He is waiting until he has them much," Irene conceded. unpacked all his cases,” I told

“And do you know why?" them, “and got things ship“ Because he was J ?” shape. When he comes back “Yes, but J of what?" from New York he will ask you

“Of the papilio and the to go and see them; and if he Goliath beetle, I suppose.' doesn't, I will take you over

“No, you little goose, J of myself without being asked. Marjorie, of course."

And now if you want to know It occurred to me that Uncle what the pterodactyl is like, Bliss would be happier if he Uncle Bliss has drawn a picture gave some one who did not of it in the garden. Look for expect it a shilling every day. it on the gravel. A penny for “ When

is he

he going to whoever finds it first." America ?” Aunt Hudson asked. “I hope very soon." The children walked to the

"Perhaps to-morrow.” bazaar. Irene was in charge of

“And we haven't seen the a bran-pie, and Val commismuseum,” Val wailed, “or the sioned to help in restoring the menagerie. He might have balls that were thrown at the shown us the cages even if the coco-nuts. We passed them animals weren't there."

in the dogcart, and they caught " And on Monday Miss Sea- us up when we had to walk more is coming, and we will up- or down-hill.

Joan was have to go out for walks and sleepy, and I wished I had not begin lessons again."

yielded to the Brebis' entreaties “Whimp, whimp, whimp !” to leave the whip behind. HowI bleated, which was the family ever, we arrived safely, Val and word for “wail."

Irene hanging on at the back. But I was sorry for the To the Brebis' great relief, children. Miss Seamore was a Uncle Bliss was not at the good soul, but she quickened bazaar. But everybody was the fugitive instinct in the talking about him. The dinoyoung and the old. It was the saur's egg was coming to Renend of the holidays, and I ton Parva. There was a cable remembered how I used to from New York about it in hate ends. And all Uncle "The Times.' There was a

« 이전계속 »