Dora and Claude were intending to occupy the flat in Mount Street till the 고소득알바 end of the summer. After that they would come down to Grote, and soon, please God! the flat in Mount Street would be too small for them “and what would be theirs”—this elegant circum{185}locution was exactly the phrase that passed through Mrs. Osborne’s mind—and when they returned to London again in the autumn, it would be to a house of their own in Green Street with place for a nursery. This, however, they were only going to take at Michaelmas; but Dora had written to her mother-in-law this very morning (and her innocent letter suggested possibilities to Mrs. Osborne), saying that Mount Street really seemed to be hotter than Venice, and dreadfully stuffy, which Venice was not. What if Dora and Claude would come and live with them in Park Lane till the end of July? She remembered how Dora had acted hostess down at Grote in the winter, and they might play the game again. But this time there would be a real object to be served by it; Dora would help her in the entertaining, which prospectively, as she planned it, had seemed so delightful, but now appeared so difficult. It was an excellent idea, if only she could compass it.

The large Indian gong had already boomed through the house, announcing that lunch was ready, and next moment Mr. Osborne came into her “boudoir,” announcing that he was ready too. Venetian habit still lingered with him.

“Well, lunch is pronto, my lady,” he said, “but you’re busy yet, and still at the plan of campaign for the summer. But in your plan of campaign don’t forget the commissariat; and here’s your lieutenant Marie come to tell you that my lady is served. Balls, concerts, dinners; dinners, balls, concerts; my lady is a regular Whiteley to the élite: she gives them all there’s to be had. You’ll be pauperizing the dukes and duchesses, my dear; they’ll{186} be thinking of nothing but the amusements you provide for them.”

Mrs. Osborne was not without the rudiments of diplomacy, though, it may be remarked, nothing in the least advanced in that line was necessary with her husband. Still it was better that, if possible, he should suggest Dora and Claude coming to them than that she should. She laughed dutifully at Mr. O.’s joke about the dukes and duchesses, and proceeded.

“I had a note from Dora this morning,” she said, as they sat down.

“Bless her heart,” said Mr. Osborne parenthetically. “For what we are going to receive, my lady.”

“Amen, my dear. There’s some of that rice with bits of chicken in it as I got the recipe of from Pietro, and I could fancy a bit myself. Well, she wrote and said she was very well, and she’d seen—she’d been to call in Harley Street.”

Mr. Osborne again interrupted.

“And was anything said about September?” he asked.

“There was some mention of September. And there was something else, too. Oh yes, she finds that pokey little flat in Mount Street hotter than Venice, she says.”

“Well, then, why don’t she and Claude take a cab round to No. 92, and let the luggage follow?” said Mr. Osborne rather hotly. “Claude’s not got a grain of sense: he should have thought of it long ago, if Dora feels it stuffy and hot there, and suggested their installing themselves there, cool and comfortable. Bless the boy, all the same. But after I’ve had my lunch I’ll get one end{187} of the telephone and him the other, and see if you don’t hear the front door slam and them drive away to Park Lane before I’ve lit my cigar. That’ll suit you, my lady, will it? You’ll like to have them dear children in the house, I know.”

“Bless them, let them come,” said Mrs. Osborne, “and the longer they stop the better I shall be pleased. Dora will be a help too: she will help me with the dinners and what not.”

The two were alone on this their last day at Grote, but all six wasp-coloured footmen marshalled by Thoresby formed a sort of frieze round the table, occasionally changing a plate or handling a dish. Generous though he was with money, Mr. Osborne had very distinct notions about getting his money’s worth when he had paid it, and since the house required six footmen he saw no reason why they should not all wait at table, even when only he and Mrs. O. were having their lunch. Nor was the number of dishes curtailed because they were alone; Mr. Osborne always ate of them all, and because there was “no company” that was no reason why he should go starved. It was not, therefore, for nearly an hour after the time they sat down that he went to the telephone—so accurately depicted by Sabincourt—and rang up Claude.

He joined Mrs. Osborne on the terrace a minute or two afterwards.

“Claude’s willing enough, and thank you,” he said, “but he says he must speak to Dora first. So you’d better telephone to 92, my lady, and tell them to make ready whatever rooms you think right. Give them a{188} nice sitting-room, my dear, so that they can feel independent.”

“Better hear from Dora first,” said Mrs. Osborne.

“Just as you please; but when the girl says as the flat in Mount Street is hot and stuffy, and there’s the coolest house in London waiting for her just round the corner, I don’t see there’s much call to wait. Well, my lady, I must be off. There’s a committee been sitting in the Lords on the Bill about the Employers’ Liability Act, and I must get all they’ve talked about at my fingers’ ends. Who knows, but Mrs. O., but that I’ll be able to tell them a thing or two in that chamber before the summer’s out? It’s a strange thing to me how clever men, such as have taken degrees and fellowships at Oxford, should have so little common sense on other matters. As if there wasn’t a difference between one sort of risk and another, and they want to lump them all on to the employer. I doubt most of them Liberals are either Socialists or afraid of the Socialists. But there! the noble lords have had a committee and I must see what’s been said and done.”

“Just to think of it! And have you got any idea about your new name yet?”

“No, I daresay something will suggest itself. After all, I shall smell as sweet by any other name, hey?”

“Lor’, my dear,” said Mrs. Osborne with a slight accent of reproof; for Thoresby had come to see if there were any orders, and must have heard.


The question, however, about this move of Dora and Claude to Park Lane was not so foregone a conclusion as{189} Mr. Osborne had anticipated. Claude had gone to the telephone when he was rung up, and came back beaming to tell Dora of this delightful offer.

“Dad and the mater invite us to go to Park Lane till the end of July,” he said. “I’m blowed if there are many fathers who would want a son and daughter-in-law in the house all the time. Of course I said that I must consult you first; that was only proper.”

“Oh, Claude,” said she, “of course it’s awfully kind. But, but do you think so?”