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CHAPTER VI THE BACHELORS' BALL
"Night and the horses and the desert know me," he said in resonant tones. "Also the sword and the guest and paper and pen—" He paused, wrinkled his nose and sneezed again. "Turn off that damned air-conditioner," he snapped.
This young girl, about whom I have talked so unintelligibly, is the unconscious centre of attraction to the whole solar system of our breakfast-table. The Little Gentleman leans towards her, and she again seems to be swayed as by some invisible gentle force towards him. That slight inclination of two persons with a strong affinity towards each other, throwing them a little out of plumb when they sit side by side, is a physical fact I have often noticed. Then there is a tendency in all the men’s eyes to converge on her; and I do firmly believe, that, if all their chairs were examined, they would be found a little obliquely placed, so as to favor the direction in which their occupants love to look.
The drone from Jodrell Bank began again: "Herrell McCray, Herrell McCray, Herrell McCray, this is Jodrell Bank responding—"
There came no answer, for at that moment Rafella's husband drove in at the gate.
"Not to-night, thanks." Then the boyish voice was raised in respectful apology: "So sorry, sir, but we couldn't help it. Mrs. Coventry will explain."
1.She stopped again and paused. The shadows were very long by this. It was nearly night.
2.Georges rolled over, sat up. "Let me at the son of a—" he muttered.>
"It is disillusioning, I know," Retief said. "Still, of such little surprises is history made. Sign here." He held the parchment out and offered a pen. "A nice clear signature, please. We wouldn't want any quibbling about the legality of the treaty, after conducting the negotiation with such scrupulous regard for the niceties."
One of them led Mr. Kirwan to his room to dress for dinner, and there he found a costly suit of violet velvet ready, in which the valet arrayed him. Then he entered the dining-hall. It was all lit up splendidly, and there were garlands of flowers twining262 round crystal columns, and golden cups set with jewels for the wine, and golden dishes.
Our brigade in its encampment lay a little in rear of our left wing and faced the town. It was then the 10th of August, and I was to go on guard before daybreak on the outposts. The night was a sweltering one, rendering sleep wellnigh impossible; so, in company with a young fellow, come piping hot from Ireland to enter himself as a cadet in our regiment, I threw myself down fully dressed under an awning prepared for Divine Service on the morrow. For some cause unknown to me I was not called for guard at the proper time, but was awakened before daybreak by a couple of shots; then came half a dozen, next a couple of volleys, when, on starting up, I told my guest we certainly were attacked.
Now perhaps there breathes some collie man who can resist one of those three questions about his favourite dog. Assuredly none lives who can resist all three. Mackellar, in a brace of seconds, found himself prattling eagerly to this sympathetic giant; telling of his dog’s points and wisdom 152and lovableness, and of the prizes he had won; and, last of all, the tale of his ending.