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   Chapter 4 FOUR

Queen Lucia By E. F. Benson Characters: 30937

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:03


Pink irascible Robert, prone to throw his food about his plate, if it did not commend itself to him, felt in an extremely good natured mood that same night after dinner, for the Guru had again made a visit to the kitchen with the result that instead of a slab of pale dead codfish being put before him after he had eaten some tepid soup, there appeared a delicious little fish-curry. The Guru had behaved with great tact; he had seen the storm gathering on poor Robert's face, as he sipped the cool effete concoction and put down his spoon again with a splash in his soup plate, and thereupon had bowed and smiled and scurried away to the kitchen to intercept the next abomination. Then returning with the little curry he explained that it was entirely for Robert, since those who sought the Way did not indulge in hot sharp foods, and so he had gobbled it up to the very last morsel.

In consequence when the Guru salaamed very humbly, and said that with gracious permission of beloved lady and kind master he would go and meditate in his room, and had shambled away in his red slippers, the discussion which Robert had felt himself obliged to open with his wife, on the subject of having an unknown Indian staying with them for an indefinite period, was opened in a much more amicable key than it would have been on a slice of codfish.

"Well, now, about this Golliwog-haha-I should say Guru, my dear," he began, "what's going to happen?"

Daisy Quantock drew in her breath sharply and winced at this irreverence, but quickly remembered that she must always be sending out messages of love, north, east, south, and west. So she sent a rather spiky one in the direction of her husband who was sitting due east, so that it probably got to him at once, and smiled the particular hard firm smile which was an heirloom inherited from her last rule of life.

"No one knows," she said brightly. "Even the Guides can't tell where and when a Guru may be called."

"Then do you propose he should stop here till he's called somewhere else?"

She continued smiling.

"I don't propose anything," she said. "It's not in my hands."

Under the calming influence of the fish curry, Robert remained still placid.

"He's a first-rate cook anyhow," he said. "Can't you engage him as that? Call to the kitchen, you know."

"Darling!" said Mrs Quantock, sending out more love. But she had a quick temper, and indeed the two were outpoured together, like hot and cold taps turned on in a bath. The pellucid stream of love served to keep her temper moderately cool.

"Well, ask him," suggested Mr Quantock, "as you say, you never can tell where a Guru may be called. Give him forty pounds a year and beer money."

"Beer!" began Mrs Quantock, when she suddenly remembered Georgie's story about Rush and the Guru and the brandy-bottle, and stopped.

"Yes, dear, I said 'beer,'" remarked Robert a little irritably, "and in any case I insist that you dismiss your present cook. You only took her because she was a Christian Scientist, and you've left that little sheep-fold now. You used to talk about false claims I remember. Well her claim to be a cook is the falsest I ever heard of. I'd sooner take my chance with an itinerant organ grinder. But that fish-curry tonight and that other thing last night, that's what I mean by good eating."

The thought even of good food always calmed Robert's savage breast; it blew upon him as the wind on an AEolian harp hung in the trees, evoking faint sweet sounds.

"I'm sure, my dear," he said, "that I shall be willing to fall in with any pleasant arrangement about your Guru, but it really isn't unreasonable in me to ask what sort of arrangement you propose. I haven't a word to say against him, especially when he goes to the kitchen; I only want to know if he is going to stop here a night or two or a year or two. Talk to him about it tomorrow with my love. I wonder if he can make bisque soup."

Daisy Quantock carried quite a quantity of material for reflection upstairs with her, then she went to bed, pausing a moment opposite the Guru's door, from inside of which came sounds of breathing so deep that it sounded almost like snoring. But she seemed to detect a timbre of spirituality about it which convinced her that he was holding high communion with the Guides. It was round him that her thoughts centred, he was the tree through the branches of which they scampered chattering.

Her first and main interest in him was sheer Guruism, for she was one of those intensely happy people who pass through life in ecstatic pursuit of some idea which those who do not share it call a fad. Well might poor Robert remember the devastation of his home when Daisy, after the perusal of a little pamphlet which she picked up on a book-stall called "The Uric Acid Monthly," came to the shattering conclusion that her buxom frame consisted almost entirely of waste-products which must be eliminated. For a greedy man the situation was frankly intolerable, for when he continued his ordinary diet (this was before the cursed advent of the Christian Science cook) she kept pointing to his well-furnished plate, and told him that every atom of that beef or mutton and potatoes, turned from the moment he swallowed it into chromogens and toxins, and that his apparent appetite was merely the result of fermentation. For herself her platter was an abominable mess of cheese and protein-powder and apples and salad-oil, while round her, like saucers of specimen seeds were ranged little piles of nuts and pine-branches, which supplied body-building material, and which she weighed out with scrupulous accuracy, in accordance with the directions of the "Uric Acid Monthly." Tea and coffee were taboo, since they flooded the blood with purins, and the kitchen boiler rumbled day and night to supply the rivers of boiling water with which (taken in sips) she inundated her system. Strange gaunt females used to come down from London, with small parcels full of tough food that tasted of travelling-bags and contained so much nutrition that a port-manteau full of it would furnish the daily rations of any army. Luckily even her iron constitution could not stand the strain of such ideal living for long, and her growing anaemia threatened to undermine a constitution seriously impaired by the precepts of perfect health. A course of beef-steaks and other substantial viands loaded with uric acid restored her to her former vigour.

Thus reinforced, she plunged with the same energy as she had devoted to repelling uric acid into the embrace of Christian Science. The inhumanity of that sect towards both herself and others took complete possession of her, and when her husband complained on a bitter January morning that his smoking-room was like an icehouse, because the housemaid had forgotten to light the fire, she had no touch of pity for him, since she knew that there was no such thing as cold or heat or pain, and therefore you could not feel cold. But now, since, according to the new creed, such things as uric acid, chromogens and purins had no existence, she could safely indulge in decent viands again. But her unhappy husband was not a real gainer in this respect, for while he ate, she tirelessly discoursed to him on the new creed, and asked him to recite with her the True Statement of Being. And on the top of that she dismissed the admirable cook, and engaged the miscreant from whom he suffered still, though Christian Science, which had allowed her cold to make so long a false claim on her, had followed the uric-acid fad into the limbo of her discarded beliefs.

But now once more she had temporarily discovered the secret of life in the teachings of the Guru, and it was, as has been mentioned, sheer Guruism that constituted the main attraction of the new creed. That then being taken for granted, she turned her mind to certain side-issues, which to a true Riseholmite were of entrancing interest. She felt a strong suspicion that Lucia contemplated annexing her Guru altogether, for otherwise she would not have returned so enthusiastic a response to her note, nor have sent Georgie to deliver it, nor have professed so violent an interest in the Guru. What then was the correctly diabolical policy to pursue? Should Daisy Quantock refuse to take him to Mrs Lucas altogether, with a message of regret that he did not feel himself sent? Even if she did this, did she feel herself strong enough to throw down the gauntlet (in the shape of the Guru) and, using him as the attraction, challenge darling Lucia to mutual combat, in order to decide who should be the leader of all that was advanced and cultured in Riseholme society? Still following that ramification of this policy, should she bribe Georgie over to her own revolutionary camp, by promising him instruction from the Guru? Or following a less dashing line, should she take darling Lucia and Georgie into the charmed circle, and while retaining her own right of treasure trove, yet share it with them in some inner ring, dispensing the Guru to them, if they were good, in small doses?

Mrs Quantock's mind resembled in its workings the manoeuvres of a moth distracted by the glory of several bright lights. It dashed at one, got slightly singed, and forgetting all about that turned its attention to the second, and the third, taking headers into each in turn, without deciding which, on the whole, was the most enchanting of those luminaries. So, in order to curb the exuberance of these frenzied excursions she got a half sheet of paper, and noted down the alternatives that she must choose from.

"(I) Shall I keep him entirely to myself?

"(II) Shall I run him for all he is worth, and leave out L?

"(III) Shall I get G on my side?

"(IV) Shall I give L and G bits?"

She paused a moment: then remembering that he had voluntarily helped her very pretty housemaid to make the beds that morning, saying that his business (like the Prince of Wales's) was to serve, she added:

"(V) Shall I ask him to be my cook?"

For a few seconds the brightness of her eager interest was dimmed as the unworthy suspicion occurred to her that perhaps the prettiness of her housemaid had something to do with his usefulness in the bedrooms, but she instantly dismissed it. There was the bottle of brandy, too, which he had ordered from Rush's. When she had begged him to order anything he wanted and cause it to be put down to her account, she had not actually contemplated brandy. Then remembering that one of the most necessary conditions for progress in Yoga, was that the disciple should have complete confidence in the Guru, she chased that also out of her mind. But still, even when the lines of all possible policies were written down, she could come to no decision, and putting her paper by her bed, decided to sleep over it. The rhythmical sounds of hallowed breathing came steadily from next door, and she murmured "Om, Om," in time with them.

The hours of the morning between breakfast and lunch were the time which the inhabitants of Riseholme chiefly devoted to spying on each other. They went about from shop to shop on household businesses, occasionally making purchases which they carried away with them in little paper parcels with convenient loops of string, but the real object of these excursions was to see what everybody else was doing, and learn what fresh interests had sprung up like mushrooms during the night. Georgie would be matching silks at the draper's, and very naturally he would carry them from the obscurity of the interior to the door in order to be certain about the shades, and keep his eye on the comings and goings in the street, and very naturally Mr Lucas on his way to the market gardener's to enquire whether he had yet received the bulbs from Holland, would tell him that Lucia had received the piano-arrangement of the Mozart trio. Georgie for his part would mention that Hermy and Ursy were expected that evening, and Peppino enriched by this item would "toddle on," as his phrase went, to meet and exchange confidences with the next spy. He had noticed incidentally that Georgie carried a small oblong box with hard corners, which, perfectly correctly, he conjectured to be cigarettes for Hermy and Ursy, since Georgie never smoked.

"Well, I must be toddling on," he said, after identifying Georgie's box of cigarettes, and being rather puzzled by a bulge in Georgie's pocket. "You'll be looking in some time this morning, perhaps."

Georgie had not been quite sure that he would (for he was very busy owing to the arrival of his sisters, and the necessity of going to Mr Holroyd's, in order that that artist might accurately match the shade of his hair with a view to the expensive toupet), but the mention of the arrival of the Mozart now decided him. He intended anyhow before he went home for lunch to stroll past The Hurst, and see if he did not hear-to adopt a mixed metaphor-the sound of the diligent practice of that classical morsel going on inside. Probably the soft pedal would be down, but he had marvellously acute hearing, and he would be very much surprised if he did not hear the recognisable chords, and even more surprised if, when they came to practise the piece together, Lucia did not give him to understand that she was reading it for the first time. He had already got a copy, and had practised his part last night, but then he was in the superior position of not having a husband who would inadvertently tell on him! Meantime it was of the first importance to get that particular shade of purple silk that had none of that "tarsome" magenta-tint in it. Meantime also, it was of even greater importance to observe the movements of Riseholme.

Just opposite was the village green, and as nobody was quite close to him Georgie put on his spectacles, which he could whisk off in a moment. It was these which formed that bulge in his pocket which Peppino had noticed, but the fact of his using spectacles at all was a secret that would have to be profoundly kept for several years yet. But as there was no one at all near him, he stealthily adjusted them on his small straight nose. The morning train from town had evidently come in, for there was a bustle of cabs about the door of the Ambermere Arms, and a thing that thrilled him to the marrow was the fact that Lady Ambermere's motor was undoubtedly among them. That must surely mean that Lady Ambermere herself was here, for when poor thin Miss Lyall, her companion, came in to Riseholme to do shopping, or transact such business as the majestic life at The Hall required, she always came on foot, or in very inclement weather in a small two-wheeled cart like a hip-bath. At this moment, steeped in conjecture, who should appear, walking stiffly, with her nose in the air, as if suspecting, and not choosing to verify, some faint unpleasant odour, but Lady Ambermere herself, coming from the direction of The Hurst…. Clearly she must have got there after Peppino had left, or he would surely have mentioned the fact that Lady Ambermere had been at The Hurst, if she had been at The Hurst. It is true that she was only coming from the direction of The Hurst, but Georgie put into practice, in his mental processes Darwin's principle, that in order to observe usefully, you must have a theory. Georgie's theory was that Lady Ambermere had been at The Hurst just for a minute or two, and hastily put his sp

ectacles in his pocket. With the precision of a trained mind he also formed the theory that some business had brought Lady Ambermere into Riseholme, and that taking advantage of her presence there, she had probably returned a verbal answer to Lucia's invitation to her garden-party, which she would have received by the first post this morning. He was quite ready to put his theory to the test when Lady Ambermere had arrived at the suitable distance for his conveniently observing her, and for taking off his hat. She always treated him like a boy, which he liked. The usual salutation passed.

"I don't know where my people are," said Lady Ambermere majestically.

"Have you seen my motor?"

"Yes, dear lady, it's in at your own arms," said Georgie brightly.

"Happy motor!"

If Lady Ambermere unbent to anybody, she unbent to Georgie. He was of quite good family, because his mother had been a Bartlett and a second cousin of her deceased husband. Sometimes when she talked to Georgie she said "we," implying thereby his connection with the aristocracy, and this gratified Georgie nearly as much as did her treatment of him as being quite a boy still. It was to him, as a boy still, that she answered.

"Well, the happy motor, you little rascal, must come to my arms instead of being at them," she said with the quick wit for which Riseholme pronounced her famous. "Fancy being able to see my motor at that distance. Young eyes!"

It was really young spectacles, but Georgie did not mind that. In fact, he would not have corrected the mistake for the world.

"Shall I run across and fetch it for you?" he asked.

"In a minute. Or whistle on your fingers like a vulgar street boy," said Lady Ambermere. "I'm sure you know how to."

Georgie had not the slightest idea, but with the courage of youth, presuming, with the prudence of middle-age, that he would not really be called upon to perform so unimaginable a feat, he put two fingers up to his mouth.

"Here goes then!" he said, greatly daring. (He knew perfectly well that the dignity of Lady Ambermere would not permit rude vulgar whistling, of which he was hopelessly incapable, to summon her motor. She made a feint of stopping her ears with her hands.)

"Don't do anything of the kind," she said. "In a minute you shall walk with me across to the Arms, but tell me this first. I have just been to say to our good Mrs Lucas that very likely I will look in at her garden-party on Friday, if I have nothing else to do. But who is this wonderful creature she is expecting? Is it an Indian conjurer? If so, I should like to see him, because when Ambermere was in Madras I remember one coming to the Residency who had cobras and that sort of thing. I told her I didn't like snakes, and she said there shouldn't be any. In fact, it was all rather mysterious, and she didn't at present know if he was coming or not. I only said, 'No snakes: I insist on no snakes.'"

Georgie relieved her mind about the chance of there being snakes, and gave a short precis of the ascertained habits of the Guru, laying special stress on his high-caste.

"Yes, some of these Brahmins are of very decent family," admitted Lady Ambermere. "I was always against lumping all dark-skinned people together and calling them niggers. When we were at Madras I was famed for my discrimination."

They were walking across the green as Lady Ambermere gave vent to these liberal sentiments, and Georgie even without the need of his spectacles could see Peppino, who had spied Lady Ambermere from the door of the market-gardener's, hurrying down the street, in order to get a word with her before "her people" drove her back to The Hall.

"I came into Riseholme today to get rooms at the Arms for Olga

Bracely," she observed.

"The prima-donna?" asked Georgie breathless with excitement.

"Yes; she is coming to stay at the Arms for two nights with Mr

Shuttleworth."

"Surely-" began Georgie.

"No, it is all right, he is her husband, they were married last week," said Lady Ambermere. "I should have thought that Shuttleworth was a good enough name, as the Shuttleworths are cousins of the late lord, but she prefers to call herself Miss Bracely. I don't dispute her right to call herself what she pleases: far from it, though who the Bracelys were, I have never been able to discover. But when George Shuttleworth wrote to me saying that he and his wife were intending to stay here for a couple of days, and proposing to come over to The Hall to see me, I thought I would just look in at the Arms myself, and see that they were promised proper accommodation. They will dine with me tomorrow. I have a few people staying, and no doubt Miss Bracely will sing afterwards. My Broadwood was always considered a remarkably fine instrument. It was very proper of George Shuttleworth to say that he would be in the neighbourhood, and I daresay she is a very decent sort of woman."

They had come to the motor by this time-the rich, the noble motor, as Mr Pepys would have described it-and there was poor Miss Lyall hung with parcels, and wearing a faint sycophantic smile. This miserable spinster, of age so obvious as to be called not the least uncertain, was Lady Ambermere's companion, and shared with her the glories of The Hall, which had been left to Lady Ambermere for life. She was provided with food and lodging and the use of the cart like a hip-bath when Lady Ambermere had errands for her to do in Riseholme, so what could a woman want more? In return for these bounties, her only duty was to devote herself body and mind to her patroness, to read the paper aloud, to set Lady Ambermere's patterns for needlework, to carry the little Chinese dog under her arm, and wash him once a week, to accompany Lady Ambermere to church, and never to have a fire in her bedroom. She had a melancholy wistful little face: her head was inclined with a backward slope on her neck, and her mouth was invariably a little open shewing long front teeth, so that she looked rather like a roast hare sent up to table with its head on. Georgie always had a joke ready for Miss Lyall, of the sort that made her say, "Oh, Mr Pillson!" and caused her to blush. She thought him remarkably pleasant.

Georgie had his joke ready on this occasion.

"Why, here's Miss Lyall!" he said. "And what has Miss Lyall been doing while her ladyship and I have been talking? Better not ask, perhaps."

"Oh, Mr Pillson!" said Miss Lyall, as punctually as a cuckoo clock when the hands point to the hour.

Lady Ambermere put half her weight onto the step of the motor, causing it to creak and sway.

"Call on the Shuttleworths, Georgie," she said. "Say I told you to.

Home!"

Miss Lyall effaced herself on the front seat of the motor, like a mouse hiding in a corner, after Lady Ambermere had got in, and the footman mounted onto the box. At that moment Peppino with his bag of bulbs, a little out of breath, squeezed his way between two cabs by the side of the motor. He was just too late, and the motor moved off. It was very improbable that Lady Ambermere saw him at all.

Georgie felt very much like a dog with a bone in his mouth, who only wants to get away from all the other dogs and discuss it quietly. It is safe to say that never in twenty-four hours had so many exciting things happened to him. He had ordered a toupet, he had been looked on with favour by a Guru, all Riseholme knew that he had had quite a long conversation with Lady Ambermere and nobody in Riseholme, except himself, knew that Olga Bracely was going to spend two nights here. Well he remembered her marvellous appearance last year at Covent Garden in the part of Brunnhilde. He had gone to town for a rejuvenating visit to his dentist, and the tarsomeness of being betwixt and between had been quite forgotten by him when he saw her awake to Siegfried's line on the mountain-top. "Das ist keine mann," Siegfried had said, and, to be sure, that was very clever of him, for she looked like some slim beardless boy, and not in the least like those great fat Fraus at Baireuth, whom nobody could have mistaken for a man as they bulged and heaved even before the strings of the breastplate were uncut by his sword. And then she sat up and hailed the sun, and Georgie felt for a moment that he had quite taken the wrong turn in life, when he settled to spend his years in this boyish, maidenly manner with his embroidery and his china-dusting at Riseholme. He ought to have been Siegfried…. He had brought a photograph of her in her cuirass and helmet, and often looked at it when he was not too busy with something else. He had even championed his goddess against Lucia, when she pronounced that Wagner was totally lacking in knowledge of dramatic effects. To be sure she had never seen any Wagner opera, but she had heard the overture to Tristram performed at the Queen's Hall, and if that was Wagner, well--

Already, though Lady Ambermere's motor had not yet completely vanished up the street, Riseholme was gently closing in round him, in order to discover by discreet questions (as in the game of Clumps) what he and she had been talking about. There was Colonel Boucher with his two snorting bull-dogs closing in from one side, and Mrs Weston in her bath-chair being wheeled relentlessly towards him from another, and the two Miss Antrobuses sitting playfully in the stocks, on the third, and Peppino at close range on the fourth. Everyone knew, too, that he did not lunch till half past one, and there was really no reason why he should not stop and chat as usual. But with the eye of the true general, he saw that he could most easily break the surrounding cordon by going off in the direction of Colonel Boucher, because Colonel Boucher always said "Haw, hum, by Jove," before he descended into coherent speech, and thus Georgie could forestall him with "Good morning, Colonel," and pass on before he got to business. He did not like passing close to those slobbering bull-dogs, but something had to be done … Next moment he was clear and saw that the other spies by their original impetus were still converging on each other and walked briskly down towards Lucia's house, to listen for any familiar noises out of the Mozart trio. The noises were there, and the soft pedal was down just as he expected, so, that business being off his mind, he continued his walk for a few hundred yards more, meaning to make a short circuit through fields, cross the bridge, over the happy stream that flowed into the Avon, and regain his house by the door at the bottom of the garden. Then he would sit and think … the Guru, Olga Bracely … What if he asked Olga Bracely and her husband to dine, and persuaded Mrs Quantock to let the Guru come? That would be three men and one woman, and Hermy and Ursy would make all square. Six for dinner was the utmost that Foljambe permitted.

He had come to the stile that led into the fields, and sat there for a moment. Lucia's tentative melodies were still faintly audible, but soon they stopped, and he guessed that she was looking out of the window. She was too great to take part in the morning spying that went on round about the Green, but she often saw a good deal from her window. He wondered what Mrs Quantock was meaning to do. Apparently she had not promised the Guru for the garden-party, or else Lady Ambermere would not have said that Lucia did not know whether he was coming or not. Perhaps Mrs Quantock was going to run him herself, and grant him neither to Lucia nor Georgie. In that case he would certainly ask Olga Bracely and her husband to dine, and should he or should he not ask Lucia?

The red star had risen in Riseholme: Bolshevism was treading in its peaceful air, and if Mrs Quantock was going to secrete her Guru, and set up her own standard on the strength of him, Georgie felt much inclined to ask Olga Bracely to dinner, without saying anything whatever to Lucia about it, and just see what would happen next. Georgie was a Bartlett on his mother's side, and he played the piano better than Lucia, and he had twenty-four hours' leisure every day, which he could devote to being king of Riseholme…. His nature flared up, burning with a red revolutionary flame, that was fed by his secret knowledge about Olga Bracely. Why should Lucia rule everyone with her rod of iron? Why, and again why?

Suddenly he heard his name called in the familiar alto, and there was

Lucia in her Shakespeare's garden.

"Georgino! Georgino mio!" she cried. "Gino!"

Out of mere habit Georgie got down from his stile, and tripped up the road towards her. The manly seething of his soul's insurrection rebuked him, but unfortunately his legs and his voice surrendered. Habit was strong….

"Amica!" he answered. "Buon Giorno." ("And why do I say it in Italian?" he vainly asked himself.)

"Geordie, come and have ickle talk," she said. "Me want 'oo wise man to advise ickle Lucia."

"What 'oo want?" asked Georgie, now quite quelled for the moment.

"Lots-things. Here's pwetty flower for button-holie. Now tell me about black man. Him no snakes have? Why Mrs Quantock say she thinks he no come to poo' Lucia's party-garden?"

"Oh, did she?" asked Georgie relapsing into the vernacular.

"Yes, oh, and by the way there's a parcel come which I think must be the Mozart trio. Will you come over tomorrow morning and read it with me? Yes? About half-past eleven, then. But never mind that."

She fixed him with her ready, birdy eye.

"Daisy asked me to ask him," she said, "and so to oblige poor Daisy I did. And now she says she doesn't know if he'll come. What does that mean? Is it possible that she wants to keep him to herself? She has done that sort of thing before, you know."

This probably represented Lucia's statement of the said case about the Welsh attorney, and Georgie taking it as such felt rather embarrassed. Also that bird-like eye seemed to gimlet its way into his very soul, and divine the secret disloyalty that he had been contemplating. If she had continued to look into him, he might not only have confessed to the gloomiest suspicions about Mrs Quantock, but have let go of his secret about Olga Bracely also, and suggested the possibility of her and her husband being brought to the garden-party. But the eye at this moment unscrewed itself from him again and travelled up the road.

"There's the Guru," she said. "Now we will see!"

Georgie, faint with emotion, peered out between the form of the peacock and the pine-apple on the yew-hedge, and saw what followed. Lucia went straight up to the Guru, bowed and smiled and clearly introduced herself. In another moment he was showing his white teeth and salaaming, and together they walked back to The Hurst, where Georgie palpitated behind the yew-hedge. Together they entered and Lucia's eye wore its most benignant aspect.

"I want to introduce to you, Guru," she said without a stumble, "a great friend of mine. This is Mr Pillson, Guru; Guru, Mr Pillson. The Guru is coming to tiffin with me, Georgie. Cannot I persuade you to stop?"

"Delighted!" said Georgie. "We met before in a sort of way, didn't we?"

"Yes, indeed. So pleased," said the Guru.

"Let us go in," said Lucia, "It is close on lunch-time."

Georgie followed, after a great many bowings and politenesses from the Guru. He was not sure if he had the makings of a Bolshevist. Lucia was so marvellously efficient.

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