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chapter nine
 He departed to his room as soon as they entered and left Selia to herself so she sat on her bed and was bored. Sweet was the sound of the lunch-bell, but she did not speak to Mr. Withersq during the meal as she was cross, and he did not either because he was thinking.
Lunch over he called her again to his side.
“Alas, alas how fondly I love your charms” he said in his usual softly mode.
“Perhaps you do and perhaps you dont” snarled she making herself very stiff as he tried to press her to him. “All the same it would look better if you paid more notice to me instead of to making yourself so grand 90with writing newspapers, knowing very well you ought to be writing poems, and vexing the King no doubt, as he must have made you Head Poet for something. Unless you find me no more than a drag on you as a humbel girl and wish me to go back to ma.”
At this he first brushed cobwebs from his brow in amaze for he had not looked at it from this side, and then laughing much for he was no ill-temperd boor was Withersq, he drew her very loving to his knee and soothed her with strokes, and once more promised all should be well and that the Majpottels had her case in hand and would know when to strike.
“Oh dont tell me” she said but nestling a little so as not to be-anger him, “the Majpottels are coming for me at three.”
“Coming?” snapped he. “And why may I ask?”
“Ah that is a secret” she said archly, feeling 91now she had got her own back and she coyly rubbed his ears over till they were redder than ever.
“Remember. You are mine” he urged rather stern for his was a true love. “I trust you.”
“Not half” responded she, and changed the subject.
Mr. Withersq now popped her on the floor and got up, feeling for his gloves and hat, as he had got quite used to nice ways now.
“Come sweet” he cried, having found them on a green silk sofa under the window. “I have something to show you.”
So he led her down the red-carpet stairs towards the hotel door, and the uniform man worked the whirling doors for them very humbly.
“Lo” he cried.
Oh what a treat for Selia! Drawn up to the footwark what should be there but a motor 92car painted blue with a blue-coat man to drive it and on the door was painted £sd just as Mr. Withersq had had put on all his underlinen.
“It is for us” said he proudly, so they stepped in, the man snapt the door to, and drove to the park.
Hardly had they arrived there when a very nice thing occurred for as they glided along the smooth path between the trees, looking very chic and bored, who should they meet but the Countess who had been at the party the first night they burst upon a startled world. So they drew up. The countess who was in a thin white car and working it herself stopped too seeming to know them, and so they had a little chat.
“Goodmorning I am the Countess, perhaps you dont recollect me” said she, without smiling or letting the stiff look off her face. Selia who had been about to give a grin stopped herself just in time and continued to 93have the bored look, which she now knew was the thing when meeting a pal.
“Indeed yes” she said very slow as tho’ too tired, yet in her heart determined to push forward now or never, “you were so kind to us.”
“Oh dont pray mention it” the smart lady replyed with a well-trained smile, “only too pleased and if you would care to come and have tea with me to-morrow I shall be very delited. I dont think my husband will mind.”
“Certainly we will and thank you” said Mr. Withersq, as though he had not heard that last bit.
“Is that your dog?” inquired Selia, wishing to chat on for she liked to be beheld chatting in the Park, more so with a Countess.
“Yes, that is Lipstick my poodle” the beauty said yawning, but it wasn’t realy a poodle, rather more like a white dashund with rough hare and very polished eyes.
“How sweet he is” lisped Selia.
94 “Is not he?” replyed their new friend “and how charming your new car is!”
“Yes” said Selia “it is not so bad,” and her heart gave a secret bound with pride, “well we must toddle now. Gooby.”
“Gooby” replyed the Countess and pulled a thing and so moved away, leaving them very pleased with how they were getting on.
When they had gone all along the gravel path, and across the bridge by the Serpentine and up to Bayswater, and then back, having successfully caused a few horses with riders on them to dance on their back legs, which is why many folks go in motors in the Park, as this is a sort of sport, Selia spoke again.
“It is a very nice car indeed” she said a little in confusion, “and runs smooth as butter. But now I must be getting back dear Harold.”
Scowling on her, Mr. Withersq poked his head out of the side door and told the man to go back to the hotel, which he did, making 95that popping noise all down Piccadilly, and when they got to the door Mr. Withersq got out, helped Selia down, raised his hat and waited for her to depart within the hotel.
Dearly wishing to teaze his male curiossity she lingered a little until stung into madness by her mystery he said very stern.
“Do not trifle with a good man’s affections.”
“Ho!” quoth she, “trifle? Indeed I do not trifle but do my bit as well as may be so that all should end well. And if you had asked me why I retire I would have told you but now wild horses should not make me speak because of your bad heart.”
With a careless laugh she plunged in through the doors and was immediately fallen upon by the Majpottels who had on their pink and blue shirts, with pale grey suits and straw hats in hand, beaming with long sad smiles into her face, and so between them they walked the length of the hall and back, chatting (this 96was to exercise Selia in the art of social ease) and then sat awhile in green-painted basket chairs near the parms. Now it was a very hot day and both of the brothers were reddish and rather damp, but noblesse obliged them not to mop their heads and necks as this is low.
“What will you drink” uttered Gerald politely to Selia.
“What is smart?” asked she very low.
“Oh you had better have a coktale” replyed he “as that is all ladys drink just at present,” and so he ordered one, but Selia made a mistake and let the cherry at the bottom of the little tubby glass into her mouth and so had to put the stone out. Rupert frowned on her a little for this, and she saw that the elegant brothers had left their cherry alone uneaten. She made note of this for the future.
“You’ll be wanting to change wont you” now wispered Gerald, who was looking rather lively. Selia took the hint and went up to her 97apartment, not knowing in deuce what she should wear out of the many attires concealed within the drawers there.
To her surprise, as she entered the room, a small squabby woman in black with black velvet and some white frills in her hair rose from a seat by the window.
“I am Madames new maid” this person said with a nice bow of respect, “my name is Scrogg. What would Madame like to wear.”
This vision so took away our herione’s breath that she hardly new what to say for a moment, then laughing to herself as she guest what it was, and thought of all that it meant to be a rich man’s pet, she turned coldly aside and wispered something to the new maid who went at once to the proper draw and drew forth what was needful.
Selia was a modest girl and had not been used to undressing before folks, but knew that it had to be done and summoning her 98strength she gave herself up to be divested of her attire, and arrayed anew in purest white suitable for her secret errand.
“A more simpel mode for the hair?” suggested Scrogg who was very nifty. Selia nodded as she guest this was better.
Fresh as paint and smelling a little of something Scrogg had sprinkled at her on leaving, Selia descended once more to the waiting Majpottels who sat each with chin on stick, leaving Scrogg to tidy away which is what a maid largely is for and saves a heap of time.
In her heart Selia was not quite sure whether Scrogg was an offspring of the Majpottels minds or whether a pretty attention of her dear Harolds so she said nothing. And as a matter of fact it was Gerald who had done it, knowing she needed a woman’s care, and he had got Scrogg at great cost from a Lord, for he too in his way was one to stick at nothing.


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