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Title: Splashing into Society
Author: Barry, Iris
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Splashing into Society" ***

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SPLASHING INTO SOCIETY



  SPLASHING INTO SOCIETY

            BY
        IRIS BARRY

      [Illustration]

         NEW YORK
  E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY
     681 Fifth Avenue



       Copyright, 1923
  By E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

    _All Rights Reserved_


_Printed in the United States of America_



CHAPTER ONE

[Illustration: Music]


Such were the stranes that smote the air as Mr. Harold Withersquash
drew near to the humbel home of his Selia. She was just a low born
girl but none could beat her at playing the piano.

Mr. Withersquash mutered: “She will do,” and wrapt the door with a
clatter.

Now Selia’s ma had shortly done her days wash, being Tuesday, and she
came and opened the door in a forbidable stile, not being in the best
of moods.

“What is it now?” snapt she at our hero, and sniffled in her nose, for
she was a rum lady and corshus as well as cross.

“Ah, good-morning, good-morning,” lisped Mr. Withersquash in rather a
sloppy mode for to make no mystery she had cut the land from his feet
by her plane ways.

“Selia!” the good woman borled, “Come on out and never mind your
hair-curlers, it’s only young Withersquash again.” She knew no better
than to be so plane, not having edducation.

“Dezist moddam,” cried Mr. Withersquash, “and list. My unckle Burt is
dead!”

“Him dead, well I never!” the chaste ample matron replied with a
kindly twist at her handsom broch of platted hares, “What ever next!”

But now the delicious Selia pushed past her ma’s elbow, she was a fair
rose of Briton, rather false hair like we see advertised, her
somewhat perfect nose would scarse be noticed to have been turned up,
owing to sleeping on her stomache, and she wore a nice dress of white
embrery, a good few broches and some yellow stockings.

“Your unckle dead?” she asked.

Mr. Withersquash grappling her hand in fierce welcome of joy, replied:
“Yes, and he has left me a good bit.”

“Ah, Harold!” cried our young heroine pushing more forward, “are you
in truth rich?”

“Well, not so bad,” our little gentleman replied. “I am quite well to
do.”

Selia’s ma now stept off to think this news over.

“Go on!” uttered Selia in amaze.

“True as I stand here,” ansered Mr. Withersquash making himself very
important.

“Well, what of it?” said she, for if Selia had a motto it was no
nonsense.

“Well,” he said, “I thought as you and me are a bit third class why
not lets go to some places and get into socierty and have a run for
our money,” and he slapt his manly bosom, although that was only his
way, for he was but a paltry figure as see in the illustrations, and
emploid at the 6½d. bazaar, nuff said.

“When shall we start?” said Selia, after she had pondered speedily,
for she was one to loose no time.

“Ah, you will dane to come, will you?” cried the joyous
Mr. Withersquash, and he added: “We might perhaps get wed later on,
eh?” with a meaning wink.

“Ma, ma!” cried Selia tripping within. “Mr. Withersquash and me are
going off to get into socierty, pray pack my attire,” for Selia was
always nice in her speech when folks were about.

While her Ma packed a bag, the young pair chatered together while
Selia wrote a few notes to the boys by way of regret, for she was a
popular girl, and Mr. Withersq stuck the stamps on.

It was a largish bag in which her Ma packed her garments, which had
been good in its time, and she put in a nightdress very litel soiled
as the washing was not yet aired not to say ironed, still it had some
ribbons in. Also she slipped in a nice toothbrush with green jelly
handle, some smelling sope with flannel for the neck, and an amusing
book to read in bed, entittled Peep of Day as even she knew that it is
very smart to read a bit in bed.

“Fare well, my child,” she uttered with a tear or two yet smiling at
the offspring of her lions. “And maybe you’ll have changed your name
when we meet again. There’s as good fish in the sea, you know what I
mean,” adding a sidefaced skowl at Mr. Withersq who truth to say she
didnt set much store by, nor Selia neither at that time. But the ma
thought if her girl could only get out into socierty all would be
well.

Off they went with a wave of the hand to the adventers in our next.



CHAPTER TWO


“Where in deauce shall we start?” said Mr. Withersq when they got
round the corner. “We might suitably have a taxi to start off with.”

“Indeed yes,” simpered Selia as to the manner born, with a good pull
at her garters, at which the perfunctery Mr. Withersq ran into the
road and he soon found a fresh-looking taxi. The driver was rather a
kindly man with frizzled beard.

“Now my man, drive us about through some smart places,” said our hero,
blowing in his cheeks and breathing, but he really felt rather little
because of not yet knowing his way about the town.

“How would you care for an airing around Kensington, for that is a
good part my lord,” said the taxi man.

Mr. Withersq replied “Certenly, certenly, my good man,” and with a
wink of glee at each other he and his dear wench Selia popped into the
motor.

“What a whiz,” yelled Mr. Withersq as they poured through the streets.

When they arrived in Kensington, Mr. Withersq tossed the man some
money in silver very lordly, so he drove off highly gratifyed.

They had a look round.

“This is a bit slow,” said Selia, “I dont think this is hardly
society. Where we live is very like, only less dogs and the prams not
so sparkly.” For on every side beneath the trees spanking nurses
trundled smart prams tidily followed by neatly brushed dogs. It was
indeed smart, but of rather a nursery sort, and not what our pair were
out after.

“Indeed things are a bit slow in Kensington,” replyed Mr. Withersq. “I
tell you what,” he went on, “we might go to a party.”

“We do not know any,” said Selia, she was a bit waxy with the vexation
and her shoes had a stone in.

“You know my brother?” asked Mr. Withersq in a honey tone.

“Such folly” snapt Selia, “he isnt the class to know any partys!”

“Ah,” blushed our hero with a smile, “that’s were your wrong, for he
cleans for the best, so there.”

“What of it” she snapt, “once a window-cleaner always a
window-cleaner, and you know well enough that such as him dont go to
partys.”

“This is what of it,” snortled he, for truth to tell he little liked
her scorn. “This is what of it. My brother tells me there’s a
monstrous party tonight at where he cleaned yesterday, with tittled
ladys in galore and knites and what not for the asking, not forgetting
writers and painters and such like.”

“We might try our luck,” said Selia feeling a bit put down, so on they
stept to Soho and egerly ran into H—— Street. When they got there, it
was the house where Mr. Withersquashes brother had cleaned, and there
was a piece of spotted carpet out on the footwark, and you ran up it
to the door. The door was opened and they went in. Selia settled her
hat on the stares, it was one of those kind that slip and sniggle your
hair which is so vexing as it was rather too large, being a real Paris
shapoh left behind by one of her ma’s lodgers.

O what a bozz of merry crowds from above. O what a time for our little
heros, but Selia muttered in her throte: “Such is not for any likes of
us.” Even the galant Mr. Withersquash was half making off, until
slapping the cash in his trouzers pockets with a fine rattel, he
tucked Selia’s elboe in his, and burst into the room. The babbel
ceased, all eyes glowed upon them.

“My name is Withersquash and this young lady is Selia,” he cried very
loud. “My unckel Burt is dead, he has left me a good bit. Is it all
right?”

“Oh how charming,” cried the assembly in shrilly tones and all pressed
forward to stare closer.

They were indeed fine. The ladys in all manners of colours chiefly
oringe and green idly sipped up rich wine from some mugs, many smoked
without a stop, there were arms and backs and fronts all bare, some
frocks with tails to them, and some dames wore trouzer things, very
bright and sloppy, much to Mr. Withersquashes surprise. Several kinds
of men were dotted about, some in evening close, some like soldiers
and many with long locks or pale fat face as though in grief which
were the artists. The walls however were done up very high class in
coloured paints and not at all how you would expect in gentlepeoples
places. Such were the scene and the lights were low.

“And how much did your dead unckle leave?” kindly asked a magnificent
man of foreign stile.

“Oh a few millions,” replied Mr. Withersquash.

At that the assembly seemed quite cordiel and all pressed forward to
shake hands. A gent in kaki drew Selia to a well-stuffed couch altho
eyeing her white embrey dress in amaze and embracing her politely
began to have a nice chat. Mr. Withersq on the other hand when he saw
it was the thing, after a litel also embrased a few of the lushous
women one by one, but now and then he gave a good wink of glee over
their shoulders to Selia.

“Ha, ha,” he thought to himself. “Money always talks.”

Now the gent who had asked Mr. Withersq how much his unckle left came
up to the sofa on which Selia sat, and leaning on its stuffed arm,
bent and smiled in her eye.

For this the gent in kaki frowned aside, gnawing his lip for he had
little or no moustache to do it with.

“You have the advantage of me!” cried Selia coyly to this new face, to
which the foreign newcomer replied in a damp voice: “I am Tzpcham, the
times plastick avetar.”

“How nice!” replied Selia, brightly, at which he smiled faintly, so
she felt they were getting on. She was always one to want to quickly
pick up the tricks was Selia.

“My name is Selia,” she added, with a soft giggle for his sake.

But now a dazzling noble with diamond studs and slippery shoes in a
hard-boiled front like you see in laundrys came up murmuring
“Pleasure!” and then gripping Selia round the back, stood her on her
feet. Once more the gramyphone struck up, and they began to jig about
to its notes, as happily Selia guest when stood on her feet that this
was the thing to do. She could not dance very well, but it did not
matter as there was little room to do more than shuffel.

“Isnt she charming,” cried the ladys which made Mr. Withersq burn with
pride. Not to be outdone he seezed the largest lady round the centre.
She had a silk stocking tied round her head, which is very smart for
evening wear, and they began to have a bit of a caper also, and cries
of approval arose in a polite way from all assembeled.

“What a pant!” yelled Mr. Withersq, but he kept at it, knowing that to
dance was the craze of the hour. Round and round they went, and more
and more couples joined in until all jammed together they trudged and
shuffled to the music in the hot room.

When they at last stopt all out of breath and gasping, the lights got
a bit lower and the largest lady what he had since popt on a chair got
up and stood in the centre of the room but all the others sat down on
the floor or the sofars and lapped up some more wine to take the dust
out of their throats.

The fat lady now undid her flowing cape and dropped it down, very
lighthearted, draped as she was in a quantity of muslin, rather limp
perhaps, but striking, and then she took off her slippers, and already
having no stockings on was now barefoot and began to dance and show
off in the middel of the room, tied round the haunch with gold stuff,
and waggeled and bobbed herself about to the notes of the gramafone.

“Ecquisist,” howled the crowd of lovely folk, “What form divine!”

“What is she at?” growled Mr. Withersq for to tell the truth he felt a
bit queer, this being in the nature of a surprise, and hoping that
this was not a thing to copy, not feeling too sure of the last time he
washed his feet.

“Hussssh!” hissed a shriveled dowager beside him, “it is her art.”

Now the fat lady at last ceased dancing and sank down, and a
beaky-nosed sort of gentleman cried out: “Our newly-come friend
Withersq does not seem to understand.”

“Dont be a soft!” cried Selia, for she had guest he had put his foot
in it by his remark, remembering what her ma had taught her that no
true ladys and gentlemen ever took notice or seemed amazed but took
things as in a dream without saying much.

Now while all this turmoil went on, the ladys cried several times “How
two to!” and “Arent they two sweet?” and “Oh, _no_!” like a perfect
choir, which Selia and Mr. Withersq hardly knew how to take.

The sharpnosed gent before long rose to his feet with a bored sniff.

“Art, my dear friend, is but a long sigh for the beautiful and great,”
he drorled, and bursting into tears he left the room and was seen no
more, and the ladys said he was charming too.

Selia now ventured to wisper to the young person beside her on the
floor: “Why did he cry? What has he done wrong?”

“Oh, dont ask me, I am only a meer countess and no nothing of artists
and their ways,” this beauty replied with an haughty smirk.

“I see,” politely said Selia, although she did not really, but feeling
very improved to be on speaking terms with a countess so soon.

And now came another nice little event. The man Tzpcham having quaft
several bouts of the costly wines sudenly stept forward tossing back
his hairs and then like a conjurer he pulled from his coat a thing
like a football stuck on one side of a plate, only all made in one out
of stone, and it was really a statue. It was a surprise for Selia and
Mr. Withersq, as they had only seen statues before that were like
people.

“It is my latest,” cried Tzpcham, and the brite ladys and the men bent
and cooed round it making noises of pleasure.

“All art is the round getting the best of the plain,” said he then in
a gloomy way shaking his head.

“How too true!” cried Selia gushingly, for she was a quick girl and
had picked up this smart saying by now, and drew murmurs of admiration
from all beholders.

By this time of night, all the assembly had drunk many drinks and so
very soon they lay down in ordely heaps and pairs on the floor or the
sofars to sleep it off, and when Selia and Mr. Withersquash had said
their prayers they lay down too, Selia with her head softly rested on
her bag, and dropped quickly off to sleep very well pleased with the
way they had got on, and that was the end of the party.



CHAPTER THREE


In the morning it was Selia that woke Mr. Withersq.

“Come on Harold,” she said rising from her makeshift couch, “we know
some art now, lets make a move.”

“My pet,” cried the delited Mr. Withersq, “You have called me Harold.
Ah me ah me how fondly I love your charms,” and so he picked up
Selia’s bag, and they went out stepping over the countess and ran
into the street. Selia still a little red from her blush at
Mr. Withersquashes warm words of passion.

“What about a bit of food?” she said to change the subject.

“Ah, now I will give you a fair treet,” cried Mr. Withersq brindling
with glee, “for indeed I love you at last Selia and you shall ate of
the best now Unckle Burt is dead.”

“Pray how shall such as us know where to eat of the best?” scoffed
Selia lightly for she had yet to learn how to treet a good noble man
with properness.

“Now dont be snappy,” said Mr. Withersq who was not to be put down so
easily. “It was a baroness herself last night who asked me if I offen
went to the Mauve Loft, and she said it was ripping, so not so much of
your scorn if you please.” So you see even our devoted Mr. Withersq
could turn, which is not to be surprised at seeing he had unbroken his
fast.

“What is the Mauve Loft?” snapped Selia, “what kind of a place I ask.
Fletchers I know, and the Dad goes to Pim’s when he back’s a good ’un,
but what is a Loft? Tell me that!”

“It is where you eat if you are smart” responded her Harold. “You
should know by now that the upper ten call their eating places by
names, like dogs or pubs. Have you not yet heard of the ‘Spotted Eel?’
at Chelsy? Nor the ‘Monkey Puzzel’ at the Scrubs? Tush, Selia, pull
your socks up my good girl.”

They strode forward in glassy silence.

When they got there it was over some stable-places in Piccadilly and
they went up the ladder and tapt. A totally black nigger let them in
and bowed, and they entered and Mr. Withersq giggled the cash in his
trowsers for all he was worth as was by now his lucky custom.

It was a terrific abode painted a purpel colour which looked very
nice. And across the mantelpece was printed very big

  LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS

which I think is from Shakespeare.

There was hundreds and dozens of waiters all totally black teeming
about the room, and all along the floor stood a great tabel like in
pictures of the last supper. Many smart people sat rather sprawly at
it and listened to the words of a man very similar looking to those
Mr. Withersq and Selia had beholded the night before at the party. And
meanwhile they chewed their food. Also several young ladys some
soberly in round black specs but some also a bit dashing with scarlet
lips and several oldish ones too, all lolled on the table on elbows
and smoking like chimneys.

As our coupel entered they turned of course and had a good stare but
said nothing, not knowing them. Nothing abashed Mr. Withersq beckoned
a couple of black waiters to bring the food list which they did.

He chose a good few of the dearest things, trusting to be correct, and
they sat down at the foot of the table, hoping to chum up quickly.

The waiters brought first some halfs of fruits like lemons only
bigger on plates but Selia hated hers and popt it under the tabel.

“Bring me some grilled kidneys and look sharp,” she commanded very
grandly.

Now all this time she and Mr. Withersq had been shuffling on their
seats and making a few friendly grimaces toward the large party lower
down the tabel, and doing such tricks as half smiles and looking as if
they were going to nod in a tick. Yet the cold hump was all they got
from that crowd gathered around the faint-looking man in the centre.

“You cant hardly say we’re making much of a hit here,” said Selia
crossly: “You should have said your unckle Burt was dead. Try and get
the nasty stuck up lot to talk, wont you?”

So at this Mr. Withersq mustered his heart up a bit and rapt on the
tabel with a spoon until all looked towards him. “Hallo” he said to
them all. “My unckle Burt being dead has left me a few millions so
why not be sports and chum up, eh?”

Oh what an icy bath our little friends then got from the stares of
those ladys and men.

“I am Boom,” said the faint-looking man stroking his long hair with
unction. “I do not think you are one of us. You do not understand.”

“O come!” cried our hero, getting his back up a bit although Selia was
tramping on his feet under the festive board’s legs. “We are quite new
to the game, I know, but for all that we know a countess or two. Be a
sport old chappy. Let me tell the blackie to get you a coffee if you
dont care for anything stronger.”

He thought those were two safe things to say, but he was also puzzeled
by their looks towards him and more towards Selia whose rayment was so
utterly not like theirs, and more so that her white robe was a bit
dashed-looking with the rough night she had had.

“Ah,” cried the young ladies in a voice like pidgeons, and the old
ladies and the man. “How balderdash!” And they turned their faces
away.

Selia let fall a scalding tear and ordered some pooched eggs to keep
up her strength. At which Mr. Boom and his attending ladies got up
hortily and stamped out very conseated which upset our couple largely.

“Bear up sir,” cried a black waiter kindly. “It is only their way
being a school of poetry.”

“Oh,” cried Selia blowing her nose, “I would like to go to such a
school, wouldnt you, Harold, though not to their nasty stuck up one,
eh?”

“In sooth, yes,” he answered with effervessence. “It would be very
useful to us I am sure, to deal with such strumpets and aristocracy.”

“Ah, sir, if you will excuse me,” put in the waiter now beaming like a
holy angel with his sooty features. “You will soon be all right.
There are just the little matters like eating and that which are very
catchy and the right words to say.”

“You see this lot thats just gone out are all very artful people, who
speak to no one but print little books of their poems all the while,
and wont sell them to anybody at all, and that makes them very
slippery customers to deal with, as no one knows what they are really
at, and mean too,” he added, looking beneath their plates where a
solitary sixpence graced the deserted board.

“Take that my good negro” cried Mr. Withersq slipping a green paper
money in his quaintly coloured palm.

So when they had looked up an address in the book, they set out for a
nice school where to learn poetry and so climb.



CHAPTER FOUR


There was the bust of a dog in the front yard of the school of poetry
and the door was pink.

“You ask,” said Harold Withersq to Selia his love. “For this is a bit
of a treat for you,” so she rang the brass bell and got her mouth
ready to pop the question to the serving maids. A grand old woman in a
white pinny came and opened.

“Pray conduct us to your owner,” said Selia in a wonderful chic voice.
“We have come to join the school.”

The woman showed them into a white hall with two rows of littel
coloured pictures painted on glass of chinamen and tigers very bright
and instructing hung all down the sides. Mr. Withersq now puffed
himself out ready for the encounter. The old lady bobbed on before
them down the white hall to a large chamber like a chapel with
gold-edged pictures, some of Nude in galore, and twenty grown up young
people sat in desks in this hall, scribbling on slates under the
watching eye of a bald man mounted up on a littel platform at the top.
All the bottom on his face was beard and his mouth made you laugh when
he talked like looking at a person’s mouth talking upside down. And he
had glasses with brown rims and ear-bits very costly and wise looking.

The twenty pupils raised their heads and stared.

Mr. Withersq stept boldly up to the teacher and laid a pound note on
his desk.

“I have been insulted,” he cried waving his arms a little though not
much out of respect, “my unckle Burt is dead and has left me a good
bit. This is my girl Selia.”

Selia gave a bow and muttered pleased to meet you.

“We are seeing life,” Mr. Withersq went on after this little
interruption. “We have been to a party and danced and slept with the
very creme of London, baronnesses and what not, and yet not an hour
ago I was insulted. The creture that is called Boon gave me the bird
and my Selia too, because he is so proud to be a poet. Make me a poet,
make my lady a poet too if you can, and I will pay you well and pay
them out.”

“That will do,” said the teacher. “You arent allowed to have quarrels
before you’ve been printed so you both sit down and see what you can
do.”

So they sat down both and had a stare at the others. They were again
mostly like the beings at the party, but more younger men very
drooping in figgur and unshorn heads, some of whom munched drugs out
of boxes while they worked, to keep their spirits up.

“They look a bit half-baked,” Selia remarked to Mr. Withersq and drew
a frown from the teacher.

“Write me now a good poem to the bakers horse” shouted he from his
littel platform tossing slates to Selia and Mr. Withersq and all
present began to scribble and squeek on the slates at which the good
teacher pluckt hairs from his beard and smiled in a nodding sort of
way like a grandma. Selia and Harold gave a sorry look at each other
not knowing how to put bakers horses into poetry and thinking up till
then that poetry was all rich like creamy cakes with love and nobel
roman deaths for the schools they had went to taught nothing else. So
they dotted down a few words hoping to pass in the crush.

Selia wrote:—

  Oh horse of the daily baker
  What brings bread,
  I prefer your litel rolls
  With hot butter.
  Have you your blinkers
  Because of a secret
  Or to keep the oats ears from your wet eyes
  When you munch in your nosebag?
  Why is that
  Oh horse?

and left it at that.

The other pupils were scratching away on every side and she began to
have douts and very likely as not she ought to have gone to a lower
class but the teacher had guest by the air of her hat that she knew
more than she did.

“Isn’t this a go?” whispered Mr. Withersq to her. “I cant half write
poems, Selia, you just wait,” for he guest he had put his foot on the
road to success.

“How perfect dear Harold” she whispred a bit madly for she had made a
mess of it herself. “You can indeed shine before the duchesses and
perhaps that will do the trick. You wont forget me then will you, dear
Harold?” For she was if anything even keener than him to get on, and
did not want to be left behind, for though she knew how the millions
helpt she guest there was more to it than that.

“Bring up your slates my poor clods of pupils,” cried the teacher
looking vext.

Two girls in gowns of patterns like chair covers swooned off, which
was very successful and nicely done.

“That’s the emoshun,” a snaky-faced chap whispered behind his hand to
Selia.

Another chap who might have been own brother to the nawseous Mr. Boon
crackt his slate on his desk and scrumbled the bits on the floor.

“Sir,” he cried, “my poem is too fair for the eyes of the herd.”

The teacher pluckt his beard harder greatly taken by this swanky
touch, and was going to give the prize to that chap until of a sudden
Mr. Withersq sprang airily forward crying in a pulpit voice: “Read
mine!”

He had wrote:—

  Horse that never gallops,
  Mere bakers horse, half horse
  And half mare,
  You belong to a baker,
  You draw a cart with bread
  Down the blank streets.

  Growing pale with sorrow
  Why not kick up your heels?
  Springing on your back
  I will tame you,
  We will scamper to the prairies
  And skin some bears.

That was the poem Mr. Withersq had wrote, he thought of it because of
some cinemas he used to see.

The teacher seazed his head between his hands and beat it madly on his
desk and shreiked very loud.

“Ah,” he gasped as though washing in cold water, “this is immense,
this is a charming poem, ah me, ah me, it is truly wonderful!”

And he wept tears.

The other pupils oped wide their eyes, and heard him, and lept up
crying “Ah yes, charming, wonderful, what forse what words what
pictures what simpelness,” or something like that. Many came and
kissed Mr. Withersq and burst on all sides into sobs. There never was
such a scene. Selia meanwhile sat chewing her handky not knowing what
to make of it though Mr. Withersq sent her a sly wink from time to
time as though to say that her time was yet to come.

The teacher still beating his head on the desk now became devilishly
excited and furiously rang a large hand bell which he drew from
within.

“What is it, what is it?” cried Selia to the glory-smothered
Mr. Withersq.

“God knows,” replyed our hero, “but I think I have done the trick.”

On the wringing of the bell feet were heard to be approaching and many
doors opened in the near distance. The door burst and many clever
poetry teachers of the school followed by their pupils came hurrying
in and rushed at Mr. Withersq where he stood beside the teacher
modestly spottled with sweat and pawing at Selia’s unwilling hand.

“A new poet, a new poet!” they all yelled, dancing with glee around
the desk.

First came a man with scarlet face and flannel suit and spotted tie,
rather after the fashion of those you give slips of paper to at
street corners about the races. He was followed by a class of sturdy
men some like sailors and some very artful looking prinking on their
legs as they came, and all of these spoke bad words.

“That is the limerick class,” wispered the head teacher to Selia.

An absent faced teacher with a lock over his eyes now rushed in
crying: “Where is the lad, where is he that I may press him to me?”
and when with a fine gestur the head teacher pointed to Mr. Withersq
this man rushed to him and hugged him up and so did the limerick chaps
too after that, because the absent teacher was a very great Irish
poet.

Then followed the rhyming class, very young poets these were, and
after them trooped in a class mostly of bitter old fashioned ladys and
a few clericels who wrote poetry deadling with the soul and Sunday.
Then came an image class of more foreign appearance, who were
learning how to say odd things, and their teacher was a Dane from
Denmark. Then came the lot that wrote sonnets which is very tricky
work, who all wore blazers and white trowsers because they had been to
Oxford and their hair though curly was pleasantly soaked in smelly
oils, not like the uncurbed heads of the former poets who had entered.

All these folks came busling in and many were the pleasant and curious
garbs they sported, pleeted trousers, full puffy trousers, thin
trousers tied under the boot, not to mention vegetated wastcoats or no
wastcoats at all with very fancy shirts like ladys blouses, and all
wore or carried hats such as were never I’m sure seen in Dunns, which
is a hat shop.

“This is Mr. Harold Withersq,” now cried the head teacher when they
had all entered, “whom our enemys Emilian Boom and company have chosed
to heap insults on seeing he was a stranger. His unckle Burt is dead
and has left him a good bit of money. And now he has gone and written
a most wonderful poem. Our good sonnet teacher is at this moment
speaking on the phone to the Minister of Education at Buckingham
Palace to ask him if he will have him made our new head poet.”

“Here here,” muttered the gathering, at which the eyes of Mr. Withersq
lighted up and he gave a fresh grip on Selia’s hand.

The sonnet teacher now came from the telephone.

“Well?” asked the head teacher. “What does the minister say?”

“Oh, he’s popped up stairs to ask His Majesty the King please to make
Mr. Withersq head poet. I told him that Mr. Withersquashes unckle Burt
is dead, so I expect it will be all right.” By this he meant that
money talks.

Tinkle, tink, the telephone called out. The sonnet teacher went back
to it.

All the assembly had their ears out for what he said on it.

“Hello? Oh yes, its the school of poetry. Yes. Oh, you say the King
will be very glad to have a fresh poet? That’s good. I see. Goodbye!”

As he put down the hear-piece, a gruff cheer burst from the poets
filling the room. The head teacher held up his hand. Silence followed.

“His Majesty the King says he could well do with a fresh poet,” he
announced, “and I am sure you will all agree that our new friend
Mr. Withersquash is a very suitable one for the job. I therefore here
and now award him the head poet of England. Three cheers for him. Go
it, boys!”

“Ah ah” they screemed. “Hurrah-hurrah-hurrah! That is charming!” All
the young lady poets and all the young gentlemen poets jumped for joy
because the new poet had sprung from their school.

The teachers and classes now drew in a ring round our hero clasping
his Selia. The old lady servant who had opened the door to our heros
now entered bearing a golden hat-box which she presented with a
touching curtsy to the head teacher. He soon whipped off the lid, and
drew forth an object mufled in crinkeld paper.

“Ooh!” breathed all present, sucking in their breaths.

Off came the crinkeld paper, and the bald bearded teacher drew forth a
sweet little crown, all made of leaves, and bending over, slipped it
on top of Mr. Withersquashes head.

“That is until his dear Majesty the King has time to ask him to the
Palace,” said he and kissed him a lot very sloppy and would have kist
Selia but Mr. Withersq said not.

All the crowd had a good clap and were very excited, for you see
Mr. Withersq had wrote the best poem of the top class of the swankiest
school of poetry in Briton and had been made head poet for his trouble
which is how those things are done and they choose a new one every few
years or so when the old ones get stale.

But Mr. Withersq took the bun by laying his littel crown of leaves at
Selia’s feet with a low bow (not wishing to go out in the street with
it on) after which he hung it on one arm, and taking Selia on the
other they walked forth amid the admiring throng waving them a harty
goodbye.



CHAPTER FIVE


“Now,” said Selia, “what about a bit of food?”

These words although not intended to be were overheard by two of the
pupils from the school who had also come out.

“Oh pray have a snack with us” said the plumper one, “I am Gerald
Majpottel and this is my brother Rupert. Our father is a lord. We are
in the satire class, we write a good few poems and move among the very
best.”

“In that case,” replied the hungry Selia, “we shall be delited to come
thanks.”

So they slipped all four into a taxi and very soon arrived at the
Majpottels house in Park Lane, a tall place with green blinds, behind
whose covert pink housemaids flitted and peeped in galore, beneath the
swey of a handsom butler who was proudly figetting with the blind
tassel in the diningroom window.

Chucking one of the pretty housemaids under the chin Gerald Majpottel
and his young brother led Mr. Withersq within and politely told them
where to wash their hands.

The bathroom was on top of the stares and very smart being all lined
through with pink and blue tiles. The rich looking bath was pink
china, almost enough to have a swim in with a few neat texts stampt on
it to wile away the time while soaking, and a pretty mat saying “BATH”
to step out on to after.

“Oh, behold” cried Selia to Mr. Withersq who was doing his nails with
a pin while she wiped up above the wrists. For they had the makings of
good stuff although of humbel extract.

“Look dearest Harold how very chaste, in this little cupboard are the
under attires of our hosts, arent they indeed smart?”

Mr. Withersq fainting with jealousy replied: “Oh Selia, they are
indeed modish, how lucky we struck with them, perhaps they will teach
us a few wrinkles to success.”

For in the airing cupboard by the bath reposed elegant heaps of under
attire. On the right hand side beneath a little card printed “Gerald”
was a great pile of blue ones made some of finest fleece and some of
silk both vests and other things while behind these lurked shirts in
hues of pale and bright tones very tricky indeed. On the left was a
similar heep only with a card saying “Rupert” and all these were pink
the same.

“See,” cried Selia, “they are all marked in sewn letters with their
own names, and a little crown above. Isn’t it pretty? That is because
their father is a lord you know.”

“Ah yes,” sighed he, “how too-too!” for he had caught that saying up
by now. “Selia!” he went on madly, “I too must go as soon as we’ve got
through the food and buy some things like theirs in dozens, and I
shall have Withersquash wrote on in sewn letters being smarter than
Harold. Never never before did I know the shame of only having two of
everything one to wear and one to wash until I peeped into this
splendid wardrobe!”

“Yes, you must indeed,” Selia agreed, “and why not have a neat little
“£sd” done underneath like they have their little crowns done, that
would surely be a pretty touch seeing you are a millionaire!”

“Selia, my own!” cried he, “you have said it! And it shall be done and
you shall have some attire too for your pretty thought!”

She was so glad at these words that she poked about a bit more in the
cupboard and what did she espy but two littler piles of close all as
white as snow with a little card over them saying “Sunday.” That
finished Mr. Withersq and he slid down the bannisters after her, they
were so pleased with things, to the room where the Majpottels were
waiting.

Five of the pink housemaids were dojjing round the table which was
nice and large and full of good food in plenty.

“Pray be seated,” cried Gerald, “and fall too.” He was a nice sleek
young man with black slick hair and talked as though with sweets
tucked in the mouth.

So they all sat and ate beef and batter and peas for a start.

“How nice your room is,” said Selia through the food she had stuffed
in her mouth.

“Is it not?” modestly replied Rupert, then he went on: “Our colours
are good are not they?” at which Selia and Mr. Withersquash both
nodded a good many times over and ate some more.

The room was a grand site indeed, crimson and scarlet and red and
vermilion, very odd, with purpley curtains like pretty ink.

“And what do you think of our fireplace?” went on Rupert, blinking his
green eyes.

It was all made of white stone carved out into dogs and monkeys and
things like that with a great face in the middel, twinkley drop things
of sparkling glass stood at each end of it and a gold clock in the
middel under a shade.

“That is very nice,” politely replied Selia.

“Yes, it cost a good bit,” Rupert said.

He then past them some salmon done up with bits of egg and greenery
and they ate that, and then some ham with hot pickels, and then some
nice boiled pudding with jam on it and some frute tart with blobs of
stiff cream and a few ices after (wrapped up in lace paper they were
too), and some very costly kinds of fruits like aprycots and grapes
which they washed down with every kind of wines and beer for as soon
as Selia and Mr. Withersquash had emtied a glass of wines or beer a
pink housemaid came and filled it up again, because the butler who was
leaning against the wall at the back told them to. But the brothers
Majpottel ate almost nothing which is a very polite thing to do, and
in that case you have it in the pantry or up in your bedroom later on.

When they had eaten all they could they pushed back from the tabel and
had a bit of talk.

“And are you glad now, dear Withersq that you got made head poet?”
asked Rupert in a polite tired voice.

“Oh yes, that I am” said Mr. Withersq, “for I dearly want to get on.”

“And so do I,” lisped Selia “although it is not all plane sailing,
alas.”

“Come, brother,” cried Rupert Majpottel to Gerald with kind
condescencion. “Why not lets help this young pair.”

“Why yes,” replied Gerald, “they must fix up some more brite idears
like the poetry and become famous for that is the way to shine, and
get on, if you are not born to the manner.”

Mr. Withersquash was feeling a bit sick but he cheered up now and
enquired the way to make the smartest baronesses and such to take
notice. “You see, dear sir,” he said, “I would very much like to ask
Miss Selia to become Mrs. W. but I cant very well until I know where I
am, can I? Eh?”

Selia was overcome with blushes, for she had learnt to love her Harold
by now, and very much fancied herself as his wife, though this was the
first he had said of it.

“It is all right for you,” replied Rupert, “seeing you have come in to
a good bit of money and are now the head poet, although not quite the
thing in some ways if I may say so without offence.”

“Not at all,” said Mr. Withersq. “What you mean is that Selia must
have her bit of success too, do you?”

“Well, yes,” said the brothers, “it is a hard world for the ladys if
they are not quite the thing, and you see when a lady is a wife, she
must be up to all the ways of the world else she looks a bit silly
doesn’t she, and people dont come to see her you know, which is rather
a bore.”

“Give us a few handy tips,” said Selia for she was not so stuck up but
what she was willing to try and go one better.

“Well to begin with you must get a few clothes, such as fur coats and
some nice evening togs and some long narrow shoes,” said Rupert rather
thoughtfully. “If you go to a good shop the ladys there will tell you
what you ought to have.”

“Why yes” said she gleefully, “Harold you shall buy me all those and
some good hats and a gold-stalked umberella.”

“Certenly, certenly” replied the good Mr. Withersq.

“Then you might try talking in that boomy voice we use” Gerald took up
the tale, “and try and look a bit fed up with things, you know, but
that isnt really all, for you simply must be a bit of a toff at
something or other and then the baronesses will notice and remember
who you are which is the great idear.”

“With pleasure” replied Selia with a hiccup from the stout she had
had, “but what had I better do? I am only a simple girl, and know very
little.”

“What do you say to that?” Mr. Withersq asked the brothers with a
scratch at his nose, “I hardly know what to suggest myself.”

“Do you sing?” Gerald asked.

“No” said Selia dully.

“Cant you do anything besides play the piano?” asked Mr. Withersq.

“Oh! The piano! Dont ever let anyone know you can play that!” warned
Gerald. “That is a very low thing to do. The banjo or the cello if you
like but not the rotten piano!”

“Let us think,” said Mr. Withersq. “What would be the best thing for
her to do?”

“Well now, let us think then” agreed the brothers Majpottel tipping
back their chairs. “There is politics but it would be too long before
she got in the cabinet and perhaps also she would never get in at all.
She cant very well go in for science, seeing she doesn’t know any, she
cant very well become a painter nor even a dressmaker because she dont
know how to dress herself. I dont really know what she _can_ do.”

“Oh dear, oh dear!” wailed the poor girl and dropped into
Mr. Withersquashes bosom for comfort, all the pride had gone out of
her now.

“It’s a pity she isnt a sporty girl,” muttered Rupert half to himself
for he had taken a liking to his humbel friends and could not bear to
see her weep.

“What did you say?” shreiked Selia darting like an asp from
Mr. Withersquashes embrace. “A sporty girl? Me? Who says I’m not? Aint
I got the challenge cup for the Hoxton tennis club three years
running? Aint I the best roller skatist they ever seen at Holland
Park? Say I’m not sporty?”

“Tennis?” yelled Gerald and Rupert together, till one of the vanished
housemaids put her head round the door thinking she was wanted.

“Yes” yelled back Selia, “and why not?”

“Hurrah! Hurrah!” the two lordly brothers cried. “That’s a good girl!
You’ll be the success of the season if your pashent” and then chatter
chatter they went making plans for Selia’s springing her talents on
the smart world, which would make it possible for Mr. Withersq to wed
her without her getting the cold shoulder as a matron.

It was settled at last that the brothers should arrange for her first
appearance.

“Very well” said Selia, “thank you. You may rely on me to do my best.
Come on Harold we must go to the shops.”

“Goodbye dear friends” said Gerald rising very elegantly to lead them
to the door “and thank you for coming. Mind and brush up your sports
now Miss Selia and get some suitable raiment for the great day and we
will shew them the stuff you are made of.”

“Very good” said Selia at the door, “and you see if we dont make a
splash in socierty with a vengeance.” With these words she and
Mr. Withersq went off and that is all that happened there.



CHAPTER SIX


They popped quickly together into Bond Street. A tall man like a
sarjent stood graveley at the door of the shop Mr. Withersq led his
love to, and this tall man pretended to be undoing the door of a motor
car when he saw them stopping at the door, and offered Selia his arm
as if she was stepping out of her car and then led her up to the door
as though she were someone although she had simply come on foot.

Once inside a lordly person in evening dress came swimming up with
joined hands and said “What, please?” with a low bow.

Mr. Withersq said very loud: “Underthings” so this gentleman led them
through beautiful saloons of costly goods until they got to that
part.

A damzel with reddish hair gowned in trailing black satin and beads
rose from a couch with a nice smile saying “What, please?” as
Mr. Withersq told her. She then ran lightly up a few ladders and threw
boxes down until he had chosen the kind of under things he craved from
amongst these. There were garments of satin and silk and fleece all
very refined and nice but Mr. Withersq chose his to be of peech pink
as he thought that was rather fashenable and odd.

He then gave orders for his name and £sd in a little ring to be
embroidered on all these and paying her some good few pounds proceeded
to another apartment.

“Come Selia,” he cried, “we must quickly make ourselves chick.”

And so with a harty slap on the back he led her on towards the boot
part of the shop.

“Show me some shoes and boots of the best” cried he smiling fondly to
the lady at the boots, “this is me and my young lady Selia, we are to
go in socierty and must dress the part as you doubtless no.”

So he bought a yellow pair with butons and a couple of black pairs of
shoes and some white hairy ones and some red house shoes, and Selia
had some shiny black shoes with dimond buckles and some pale boots and
some openwork boots up the sides and some high shiny boots and some
fur boots for the bedroom and satin slippers of every hugh besides
stockings to match and silk all the way up at that every time and very
nice to feel.

Then Mr. Withersq bought black coats both day and night with plad
trouwsers for day and smooth black ones for nite and a sport suit with
whiskers on it that smelt, with top hats fawn and black and a night
hat that popped up and down with a snap.

Selia then got

  Velvet hats
  Lace hats
  Silk hats with stremers
  Lether hats
  Straw hats some with flowrs and fethers
  Bed hats of frills and bows

and all of these had its own privet box to be in and a lid that fitted
it. While as to the robes that her loving Harold streud on her no
tongue could tell for there was a high stepped lady all to themselves
that taurght them what to by and for when which is the worst to know
and the things piled up like greased litning till all the persons in
the shop left their jobs and all the people too and the boys that wizz
the lifts up and down too and all followed and stared to see so rich a
man prepar his fate. He topped it all by ordering gloves by boxfuls, a
fan as curly as a ostrich and under attire by wisper for his sweet,
which she went into a littel privet part to chose herself.

And they went out of that shop most exceeding grand dressed all in
new things scruffing their shoes on the floor to take the shiny off,
carrying parcels all eyes glaring upon them and left boxes and boxes
full to come on by Carter Pattisen.

“Taxi, sir?” asked the sarjent-looking man at the door bowing more low
than at first.

“Yes” gruntled Mr. Withersq as the strings of his parcels cut his
fingers a bit and he was sore tired.

A taxi swam up to the edge of the path and the man opened the door of
it and Selia nipped in and sank down in its interiaw.

“Where to?” said the driver, which made Mr. Withersq think twice
before he spoke that time.

Seeing his destress the sarjent-looking man wispered in his ear as a
sugestion: “why not the Grand Palace my good sir, it is very sentral.”

So Mr. Withersq got to the point at last and ordered the taxi to go
to the Grand Palace, which he did.

When they got there Mr. Withersq stumped into the hall as he had had
an idear.

“Trot me out the boss!” he cried to the trembling girl in the glass
desk there and she ran for him.

When he came he was fat and red.

“I am the manager” he utered.

“So?” said Mr. Withersq knowing well that would make him feel small.
“Well I am Mr. Withersq, my unckle Burt has left me many millions, I
have my lady Selia with me, I am the Head Poet of the Land and I wish
to rent your second and third floors all to myself one for me and one
for her, as only the best will do for us.”

“You want two whole floors?” spat the red manager.

“I do” said Mr. Withersq.

“But what of those who are within the floors?” said the manager who
was very afraid by now.

“Tell them I will foot their bills” replyed Mr. Withersq “and ask no
questions if they will get out.”

The red man turned pale now and ran away to do Mr. Withersquashes
bequest, and Mr. Withersq went to fech Selia and the band struck up in
the hall amongst the parms and sweet flowers, and the girl in the
glass desk bowed and so the pair proudly entered and went up the
stares to their apartments, and those who had been in the rooms before
went hurried down the back stairs, but it was no trouble to them as
they knew that they had made on the bargen.

After they had gone to their two floors and settled down and sent for
all their close, Selia called down the stairs to her Harold: “I say,
Squashy dear, lets go for a ride on a horse.”

“Why yes” said Mr. Withersq, “that is a very smart thing to do
indeed, I wonder we did not think of it before.”

So he rang the bell that was standing on a little tabel very handy in
the passage, and a dear little boy with three rows of beady butons all
up his coat came tripping to reply to it.

“Go out and buy me some breeches” ordered Mr. Withersq “my dear little
lad. And please get me two whips and a riding skirt for the lady. Be
quick back and you can keep the change.”

And he handed him a bag full of money.

Off tripped the little lad and shortly returned with boxes from a
nabouring shop. He had thoughtfully brought all that was the thing,
riding boots and hats and whips and gloves for two, and a pair of
breeches each, shaggy ones for Mr. Withersq and black for Selia with a
coat and skirt in one also to cover her up. They slipped into these
things and tossing the remains of the money to the boy they went out
and hired two horses and went for a ride in the park to get up an
appetite for tea after all they had eaten at the Majpottels. It
joggled them up a bit on the horses as all they had ever rode before
was at the fairs, still they stuck it and were stout of heart.

Just as they were coming out of the Park to go home a poleeceman stopt
them.

“Are you by way of being Mr. Withersquash?” he asked.

“Yes,” said our hero without quaking for he knew he had done no rong,
“what of it, eh?”

“A messej has just come from the Palace that his dear Magesty the King
would like you to slip in to tea and see him, as he wants to see what
sort of a new poet he has got.”

“Oh, all right,” said Mr. Withersq, “will it do if we go as we are,
and do you think I can take Selia too?”

“I expect it will be all right” said the poleeceman. “His Magesty is
very kind and nice, I dont think he would mind much.”

So they rode on their horses down to the Palace, and tied the reins on
to those twisty rails in front of it, and the guards in the hairy hats
nodded to them, and they went into the front yard and up to the door
and then in, as they knew they were expected.

Oh what an hour for Mr. Withersq and his Selia to step at last on that
envied spot.

“Littel did I think when we set out that we should go so far nor do so
well” uttered Mr. Withersq in a low tone from respect as they went
inside. Just then a junior admiral came stepping smartly to meet them.

“Ha good day dear Mr. Withersq” said he with a grin.

“Goodday indeed,” responded he. “Let me interduce Selia. Shake hands
Selia!” which she did.

“Pleased to meet you” said the admiral who was garbed in serge and
brade of purest gold. He then went on “Perhaps you’d like to tidy up a
bit before you go in to tea?”

“If its not troubling you” said Selia, who was a bit shattered in
looks after the horse.

“Certainly not” said the admiral kindly “we have a special place for
that sort of thing. When visiters come in on the hop as you have they
generally want a brush and washup by the time they arrive.”

“Yes traveling does make one so fussely, does not it” cried Selia in a
boomy tone which caused the admiral to open wide his admiring eyes as
he had no doubt thought she would be quite common and was glad to find
it was not so after all.

“Quite, quite” agreed he, adding “and I have sent to tell the guards
at the gate to be sure and give your horses some water and straw for
their tea so do not worry about them.”

“Oh they are not ours thanks all the same” said Mr. Withersq. “Still
you might as well have a drink sent out to them if you dont mind,
thanks.”

The admiral now led them to the place for the toilett and passed them
on to the persons there. It was a very vast hall complete with shaving
chairs with shavers in silk jackets who soon took Mr. Withersq and
wrapped him up in cloths and gave him a good scrape and Selia in turn
went to a marbel tabel where one damsel tidyed her hair kindly and
another gave her pouder and all those kinds of things and another
polished her nails nicely with pinka and wiped her boots over with a
velvet and when both were neat they returned to the admiral who was
waiting because that is what he was for. So he looked them over and
saw there was no hares on Mr. Withersquashes coat and everything as it
should be.

On he led them down passage after passage and through room after
room, and he let them have a peep in to where the best of the m.p.’s
were thinking out some new laws which interested them both very much.
And in the next room they had a squint at a lot of generals very
fierce of mustashe who were practising with swords and guns and
keeping their peckers up until the next war in that way because if
they dont they get livers and have to retire.

And next to them in another room were the sea lords, some of whom
waved very friendly to the conductor of our little party, but they
were not very busy at work as their time for swimming practise was
over for that day, and they were having the half day off, so ideled
the time with marveleous jig-saws and draufts and chesses and what
not, very cosy in their nice room.

At last they came to a very grand high passage all lined with flags of
conquered countries and a stuffed lion in a glass case on the left
just before a door, which was the door of the room where the King and
Queen were, at which both Selia and Harold began to tremble not a
little, for of all things they wanted to make a good impression.

“Have a heart” cried the admiral kindly, “they will not eat you, and
there is no fuss on purpose not to make you feel small as the King
well nose that it is a bit queer for a poet like you coming to see him
in his Palace for the first time.”

At that he gave a respecful tap on the door and departed.

They entered meekly into a great room with slippery floor, and in the
centre there was a tabel all heaped with flowers and set for about ten
and smothered in sweet foods, and at this tabel sat the King and her
dear Magesty the Queen was just pouring out tea. They had pushed back
their thrones to seem more at home and sat on simpel chairs, and the
Princess and the Princes were alas not there, so no doubt they were
elsewhere on business.

“I am Mr. Withersq” said our hero as he went in, holding Selia by the
hand and making a courtly bow, “and this is my lady Selia. We were out
riding and only just knew you wanted us so we came strait on.”

“That’s all right” said the King, getting up to push two more chairs
to the tabel for them. “We’re very glad to see you. Excuse us having
started but we didn’t know if you’d get here in time and we were dying
for a cup of tea.”

“Sit down, do,” said the Queen nicely, because she guest they would
not dare to sit unless told.

Now Selia found her tongue and said “It is so very good of you to let
me come in too, it will be a great help to me, and I have always so
wanted to see you, little dreaming I ever should when Ma and I used to
go to the pictures together and see you on the Pathe.”

“Really now?” said the Queen passing down two more cups of tea for
them, “very pleased to see you I’m sure at last. What is this they
tell me about your young man’s having done so well at poetry?”

So Selia told her all about how he came in for a good bit of money and
how they set out to get on in the world, and how Emilyon Boom had
turned up his nose, and how Mr. Withersq had got the prize as best
poet, and how now if only she could make a hit too they hoped shortly
to wed. And the Queen listened very nicely and promised that Emilyon
Boom should be punished and not allowed to write poems any more. All
this time Selia was getting plenty to eat too.

Meantime the King and Mr. Withersq were having a nice chat.

“Listen my dear” said the King to the Queen, “my Head Poet is telling
me that his young lady wants to make a hit and she is going to shew
the world what she can do in the way of sport. Now dont you think we
might go and see her, because that will be a help if the people know
we are going to be there, wont it? And I have taken a great liking to
these young people, and should like to see them happily married.”

“Certenly, certenly,” utered the Queen most kindly patting Selia’s
hand for a moment so that was setled and after a bit they got up to go
and happily remembered to go out through the door backwards and the
King waved his hand kindly as they did so to say goodbye, but the
Queen was busy ringing the bell for a maid to clear.

“I hope he thought I was all right as a poet” Mr. Withersq said
outside, “I suppose I shall often have to pop in and see him if he
keeps me on.”

Just then the King called “Hi!” from inside the room so they peeked in
again to see what it was.

“Oh I say! I quite forgot your medel” he said, laufing a good bit,
“here you are then and blessings on you.” It was a nice little medal
like tiny leaves in gold which is what the Head Poet wears so as
people know what he is altho’ you dont often see him. So they again
bowed and waved goodbye and came out and went back along all the
passages and so out into the yard and there the horses still were,
looking a bit fed up with waiting so long. And as they strode up to
them a very good thing happened, because a photo man from the
newspapers came up and took their photos which is fame indeed.

“What luck” cried Selia gayly as they rode away, “it was indeed a
good idear to go to the poetry school was it not! see how you have got
on!”

“Yes, I think we are getting on all right” he replyed for of a truth
he had learnt by now that it is only the first step that hurts.



CHAPTER SEVEN


When they got back to the hotel, a goodly knot of persons were about
the entrance and dotted in the nobel hall, and at our little heroes
arrival their chatter died to a respectful hiss, and bowing nicely to
right and left Harold Withersq and his Selia stamped within, but Selia
wished all the to do was for her.

“Toodleoo” she told her Harold “I am to get my nails done at a place.”

“Done?” snarled her sweet. “How done?”

“At much cost” said Selia simply so with a delited smile he drew forth
the copious money and stuffed the notes in her bag which was like a
crocodil with head tail and paws but it was only a little one and
lined with stuff. Then Mr. Withersq waved her away so she departed
getting a bit mixed up in the roundabout at the door which is only
meant for fun but she got jamd.

“Now gentlemen” said he stripping off his new butter coloured gloves
like banana skins as he had seen heros do on the pictures, “and what
may I do for you.” This he had learnt in shops in the old days so it
was not very smart.

Now these new folk, most men in servicable suits and white collars
wearing nose-glasses before their keen eyes but a few ladys in prim
attire, stepped up and they were all from newspapers, for the fame of
Harold Withersq had spread and he was the talk of the hour. So that
the newspapers had snapt at the chance of a bit from him.

As the babbel ceased Mr. Withersq made a motion of modesty and sought
to retire, but was cort short by a ruddy one in checks who asked him
would he write a little for his paper, and another thin one who asked
him when he was born, and a lady who commanded him to tell her about
love for the ladys page.

All agog Mr. Withersq who was never one to lose a chance, made to tell
them, knowing no guile, when a sudden thought smote him, he clasped
his brow rather earnest for a moment, then brushing them from him, he
darted into the glassy telephone box near by.

“Hello” cried he to the invisible voice of the girl of the wires, “get
me the editer of the _Daily Pull_” and so stood waiting for it.

The assembled crowd breathed in distress for this was a bold move. The
girl got Mr. Withersq on after he had stamped a little because of
being hot in the glassy box and he sweated so much.

“This is Mr. Withersq” he was heard to utter. All were aghast to think
he dared to summons that great editor to the phone. The voice of our
hero continued very proud for who was he to bend before editors now:

“You have heard of me. My unckle Burt having died leaving the goods,
you know how I stept into glory, and how I am in society and I have
become the Head Poet. Some folks have come to tap my brains for their
papers, so I thought I would ring you up instead and proffer to make
you a chatty little bit for the front page about how I got on in the
world.”

“Very good then” he chortled in response to the editors unheard words,
“yes indeed it is too true that all are willing to be told how to get
there but few arrive. I will do my best by the public.” Cramming down
the hear-piece he burst from the box and ambled up to his apartment
humming a little air and leaving the crushed crowd below.

Did he falter? That no one shall know but he soon picked up, and
tucked up his new mauve cuffs, and sat down, and began.

And when Selia returned, she tripped into his room where he sat now in
a bandana dressing-gown at a desk with a pen in hand and some ink on
his nose.

“Behold” cried she stripping her gloves and twinkling like jewls her
new-polished nails at him, “lo Harold what they have done for me!”

“Tush” cried he blotting his last page, yet looked towards her for he
dearly loved her did Mr. Withersq and had all of a great man’s easy
ways. “Quite a little picture” he went on giving her a good look over.
She was indeed improved in a gown with red bits on and slippery shoes
very long and nasty-looking but the thing and silk stocking of the
best with ventilations on the sides and the crocodil bag and one of
those little hats like a hen, which when she took off laid bare a
delicous mass of curly hares and her face was made up suitable to a
lady. Selia was indeed grand.

“Kiss me then” said Harold to be done with it, during which she
wetted a new handky and rubbed the ink off his nose.

“If I may say so you are rather smart to look at now” he said, “I
think that you will be a credit to me and no doubt your time will
come.”

“Ah that it might” lisped she sorely with a tear, “for of a truth the
ladys are none to nice to me when you are absent and I have many a
bitter stair with that sideways turn of the head which is so proud
from some no better than me but safely married. Or so I take it.”

“Shush shush” cried the kind Mr. Withersq. “All will be well, and I
will marry you so soon as I can afford to do so without putting my
foot in the social hole. And in the meantime I am writing newspapers.”

Selia now clapped her hands none knowing better than she to what heits
the newspapers can carry some who know how to take bulls by the horns,
and then feeling a bit out of it as she noticed him casting an eye on
the inkpot once more, crept from the room and went up to her bedroom
to have a nap under the quilt, and dream of the rosy days yet to come.

When she woke again it was morning for she had been sore tired by all
the events and had slept round the clock twice. Beneath her
lace-veiled window the voice of many newsboys cried a name she seemed
to know, so slipping from her bed she flew to have a peep into the
street, and hanging well out she saw oh with what glee and pride writ
large on every plachard held before the stomaches of the newsboys
these words:

     HOW I DID IT:
  By H. Withersquash
      (Head Poet)

Now was Selia indeed moved to pride, and wept a tear into the
window-sill to think how dearly she loved him and how high she had to
rise yet before worthy to sit beside him as wife and matron. So she
crossed her little fingers and wished hard that she might soon get a
good leg up through her good friends the Majpottels, after which she
slided out of her clothes and things and had a nice wash in the basin
all over altho not knowing that such is corect nature taught her it
was best so every day. And while doing up her hair she practiced
talking in the new voice and warking with ease in the new thin shoes,
and so with a last dab of powder from a pretty little glass pot on her
dress-table, she popped downt to breakfast very spry and determined to
win.

And throughout London newsboys shouted the fame of Mr. Withersquash.



CHAPTER EIGHT


Mr. Withersq was already digging at the last of his second egg with
rather a cross face, as he really preferred duck’s eggs as being more
sustaining, when she entered their private eating apartment at whose
door stood a chef sent to watch over their food by the hotel manager.

“Hello dearie” cried he rising and casting the gloom off his face, as
he had learnt to rise for ladys by now. “We have a treat in store for
to-day.” And he nodded to the chef to bring Selia her breakfast, which
the good man with his white hat did and then retired out of the room.

“Oh Harold what is it?” she cried settling her new brown gown, “is it
a better kind of party?”

“Well hardly” said Mr. Withersq resuming his egg, “it is to go to a
trial.”

“Oh! How delishus” said Selia in glee, “is it a murder?”

“No” said Mr. Withersq, “it is much better, it is a divorce, murders
being a little vulgar. But the very cream go to divorces, and were it
not for my having this morning before you rose purchaced a good half
of the _Daily Pull_ and put the editor in my pocket I do not think
even we should have got in.”

“Oh so now you have a newspaper” chirped his love.

“Yes” said Mr. Withersq hortily “and as it is we have seats in the
front.”

Truly pleased by this thoughtful and lucky idea Selia fell to and
despatched her food after which they stepped into a taxi and rode to
the law court.

It was a dark forboding place somewhat square. A crowd of poor jostled
without. The photos of Selia and her Harold were taken as they left
the taxi to enter, at which Selia bridled a little but not her Harold.
For a flash he feared they were mistaken for the guilty partys but it
was not so only his fame.

Inside was a great dark hall like church and the ten comandments in
frames at the top, between which sat a juge in scarlet and ermin with
a white wig, who was on a carved chair, with lawyers on one side in a
row and jurys on the other in a pew and the lawyers were all lean and
busy with papers, but the jurys were all plump and did nothing but
sit.

A stir occurred as our heroes entered and were led by a beadel to the
front row at which the judge beat his little hammer on the desk of his
throne and cried “Ordre” very stern for all present were twisting and
craning to get a better view of our pair, more so the ladys of whom
there were many with lunsheon baskets seated around.

“This is not a school of poetry,” said the judge aside and drew a
laugh, so Mr. Withersq knew at once this must be the famous Judge Crop
the well-known wit. So they both sat down and settled.

The buss died down and silence came as a door at the side opened and
amid a murmur of pity the partys to the divorce were led in,
pale-faced and dismally clanking the handcuffs on their wrists, and
the injured husband led the way. There were three in all, the lady and
the villian with meek look following after, and the lady was very
soberly dressed in black coat and skirt as befitted her position.

A policeman led them to stand in a row before the Judge, and they all
three stood mum while the lawyers began to rise one by one and muter
and muter and rasple their papers, and bow now and then to the Judge
who seemed to sleep nevertheless he opened an eye from time to time.

Selia was a bit vexed for she found it dull and it was very hot, and
they were so squashed, so she laid back a good bit against her Harold,
and attemted to list.

“Ha” cried the Judge suddenly waking, “and what have you to say for
yourself” as he glared at the villian, so the Wife fell to sobbing,
and all the audience were greatly moved. But poor Selia was so sleepy
with stuffiness that she dropped off without hearing more and only
woke in time to hear the worst. The Villian and Wife had exprest their
regrets, the jurys had talked the matter over, and the Judge was
sitting on them, with a black cap on his head.

In slow and solemn words he drorled forth his mind and the end of it
all was that he condemned the Wife and the Villian both to prison for
six months to learn to mend their ways, at which the Husband rubbed
hands of glee and the wicked Wife and the terrible Villian trailed
out to their sad fate, at which the meeting broke up, and some were
heard to say it had not been much fun. But Harold said it was a good
show, as the Judge had made four jokes. So they pushed out through the
throng to the taxi still waiting and poured quietly back home as
Harold was to write some more that day about how to make a splash in
socierty for the front page of his newspaper.



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 with 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 now 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 car 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 have 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.

“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 that
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 was 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
apartment, 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 strength 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.



CHAPTER TEN


It was quite late in fact it was almost eight when Selia came back and
tho she knew she had done no wrong she felt a little sly as she
quickly slipped up the hotel stares, gazed on by the usual knot of
folk who hung around to get a peep of her and Harold in the hotel
lounge. She panted into the eating apartment. No one. So she popped up
into her room where Scrogg sat eating a sandwich, and got off her
white which was now dashed, and Scrogg fluffed her hair out archly,
and put her into a evening gown, making her tuck her vest straps under
her arms and expose a great deal too much or so she felt but Scrogg
said no it had to be so. Scrogg then told her one or two things which
opened her eyes. But she affected to hear nothing altho really it
soaked in.

After a gaze in the mirror which pleased her as she looked quite like
a lady by now with waved hair and a sleek traily gown of black with
lace streamers hanging, and all her neck and front and half her back
bare, she sailed from the room as Scrogg told her a rather diffrent
walk is needed in the evening much more snake-like. Entering once more
the eating-apartment, she found the white-hatted chef alone, altho’
the table was set.

“Where is Mr. Withersq” said she.

“I am afraid he is not well” the chief replied “he entered a little
while ago, with pale look, and went away again.”

Like a hen robbed of her young Selia darted to the room of her Harold.
There spread on the imense wooden bed with four posts, lay her
devestated Harold, and the blinds were down.

Tiptoeing in “What is it, what is it” she cried, “Have you written too
much?”

“It is not that,” came the mournful voice of our hero from the bed,
“it is worse. I am a ruined man.”

“Oh, Harold!” gasped the distracted Selia in dismay.

A great groan burst from his brest. Together they sobbed a while.

“Come” said Selia at last “I command you tell me what it is. Are you
married in secret?”

“No, not so bad as that perhaps, because it can be cured.”

“Are you going to prison? Are you mad?”

“No, no” sniveled the wretched man. “I cant tell you.”

“Dont say the money has gone!”

“Ah no” cried he of a sudden sitting up at the mere idear, “ah no! I
think we shall yet win, but it is a bad mess I am in.”

And so he sobbed out his sad story.

During the while she had been away that day who should Harold meet but
the head poet of the limerick class from the school of poetry and they
had been to have a quick one together. Falling into talk as men will
they had begun to exchange the latest tales, some not too nice, and
indeed most of what Harold had brought with him from the lower world
but he thought that the limerick poet would not mind as poets always
like low life. He had told him a couple of good ones, and as it
happened they were both about sport.

“I thought something was up” moaned the unhappy man, “for he gave me a
very funny look. And as we were to come out, as we stood with our
toothpicks on the step, he made a fishy excuse to pop off for a
minute. When he came back he said there was a man he would like me to
meet, so we went in the new car. It was a house out of Oxford St.,
which I thought strange, still as I was having a sigar I thought
perhaps it was that made me a bit nervy. Imagine my woe when we
entered and I then found myself alone and defenseless with ... what do
you think?”

“Lie down dear Harold and dont get excited” Selia said altho she was
all agogg herself. “What was it? Cardsharpers?”

“Oh, no” sighed he, “it was the smell that told me almost before I was
within, like floor-polish and cough-drops mixed and a bit of gin
thrown in for sport. No, it was a doctors, one of the costly kind with
carpets on the floor and carving instruments in glass cases.”

“A doctor!” screamed Selia. “Have you then an ilness?” And she rapidly
mopped odor cologne on to his brow cuasing him to sneze which eased
him.

“Well it is a kind of ilness but very odd and you will not catch it”
he said. “And I think it was a trick tho’ meant well by the
limerick-poet as you will see.”

“How so?” said Selia very bold for she would have tore his enemys in
half.

“Well to cut a long story short, I have got a kind of hidden passion
which is nawing at my heart, and that is why I cannot write any more
poems.”

“What did the Doctor do to you” urged she eager to get to the point
and hear the worst, “did he operate?”

“No he was very kind” said Harold propping himself up a bit against
his pillows “and it took me a long while to get the hang of it all. He
told me I have been under a strane and feared I was ill and wished to
ask me a few questions. Said he leaning back and making cats cradles
on his pink fingers, “have you anything on your mind?”

So of course says I, “No.”

At that he shot me a serpentine glance.

“Now my good man” said he “just let your mind ease out and answer me
at random.”

“As I was feeling a bit mad I thought it best to humor him as I feared
otherwise I might give him a smartish tap for you know what I am when
roused.”

“Bat” said he to me, simple like.

“Ball” said I to humour him.

“Out” says he cunning.

“Over” says I to catch him, and this got him for a moment. Then he
dartled to a little exercise book and made a mark in it on some
squares, and rang his bell at which a seceretary came in, and mutered
with her, till she went out. A nice girl in a white blouse too.”

“Ha” said Selia as tho’ stung. “But what were they at.”

“Well dearest you see it is a new disease. The doctors being hard up
between you and me and the gatepost because the herd are not dying off
so much as they did.”

“No I’ve noticed that, there’s hardly ever a nice funeral nowadays,”
said Selia.

“Well and what with that and having no more apendicles to cut out they
had to be at something fresh,” he continued.

“I see” said Selia who as will have been noticed had growed almost
meek in these latter days and sat merely stroking her Harolds hand in
pity.

“So now they declare in their bold way that all clever folk have a
brane sickness on the lines of a drain stoppage (if you will excuse
me) and he was artful-like pumping me to try and find out what had
stopped the drain.”

“Oh!” With a yell Selia lept from the bed.

“Calm yourself Selia” said her Harold, preparing to rise from his
couch, “for you know what bad form it is to show emoshun. And all
these adventers of mine are very smart indeed.”

“Smart? How smart?” snapt she quivering with distres partly from the
snub she had had.

“Sit down dear Selia” he said with a cool drorl, “and I will tell you
how for you know we must let nothing get past us even if it is only a
sickness.”

“Too true” she said subsidising somewhat and becoming seated though at
a distance.

“Well I think this must be very like the latest craze of all” he said
passing his hand over his brow and settling again on the bed, “though
come too soon in my career as it is more fitted to those who are
played out whereas I am only at the post as you might say and in my
first flush. Still there is no saying but it _is_ smart.”

So Selia came and sat again on the bed’s side while her love got it
off his chest which is always a good thing even in high life.

“Well this old meddiko kept on at me and on and on and I began to get
sleepy because it was hot and there was a blue-bottel buzzing. I do
not know what I said but he was very interested. Suddenly he sprang
up. ‘Eureka’ he cried, and began pacing up and down and down and up
till I went quite swimmy. So then it all came out.”

“And what was it” inquired Selia all agag.

“It was cricket.”

“What was?”

“My sickness.”

“How so? You were sick with cricket. What cricket? Come do not play
any tosh with me.”

“It is no tosh” said Harold simpering a little with pride. “I am the
first case. Of course between you and me it is somewhat tosh. Still
they are writing a article on me called ‘Sport and Poetry: a
Sycoanalsis of Genius’ to prove that I am suffering from a sort of
squashed wish to play cricket just as Shakespere suffered because his
wish to play tennis was squashed as he had not got the price.”

“Oh I see” said Selia which she now knew whas a useful thing to say.

“Dont interrupt” said he giving himself one or two airs “it is all due
to the squashed wish. It is quite true I have said to myself lately
that now the summer is come it is a pity I am a rich man because I
cannot now very well play with the boys as I did, and I dreamt a bit
about the good old times, and thought of the ball I left in a box
under my bed. Still, that was all it was and we ought to be glad it
was no worse for it seems some men suffer from squashed wishes of a
kind it would little befit me to tell you of.”

“Go on” said she “I’ve got you now. I read of it in the Sunday
papers.”

“Indeed” quoth he “I did not know you were so advansed. It all goes to
show how truly I chose you for mine own dearest Selia.”

“Hity tity” quoth she somewhat nettled, “not so much stiffness even if
you have a squashed wish. You need not be so uppish towards me.”

“Indeed must I” corrected he “for if we are not stiff in private we
may make a slip before the world, and that will do no one any good,
will it?”

Springing from the bed now, he went to the mirror and administered a
little patting to his attire to settle himself after being couched,
then pressing a kiss on the nape of his dear, he prepared to lead her
from the room.

“Come, fair” said he, this he had overheard at the first party and
kept for use “we have lobster for dinner, so let’s make a hop.”

They entered the dining-apartment where the chef had patiently waited
keeping the lobster on ice till needed, and they sat down and tucked
in, pondering within a while the new sickness of Harold.

“And is your squashed wish cured now?” said she at last, wondering
what form it might take.

“Yes thank you it is greatly better, for it is only a matter of
letting the back come to the front as in telling the doctor of it, and
then all is eased.”

“I see” said she “and I am glad you will not play cricket for of a
truth I think it is a little common.”

And as they had now finished they wiped their mouths, and he helped
her rise, and they went by their blue car to the opera where
Mr. Withersq had retained a box.

The opera of course was already on, and as they were both more than a
little tired and could not chatter as much as the fashion required
Mr. Withersq hired a small gramafone from the box office which they
plaiced on the ground between their two gold chairs in their regal box
which was trimmed with red plush, and this they put on from time to
time in the dull parts, which drew much attention as it could be quite
clearly heard all over the theater, during the softer parts of the
music, which is the idea and much simpler than having to keep on
jawing. Because it is not smart to sit silent at the opera.

And when the hero had killed the heroine and sang a long song over her
corpse, they got up and went out and the crowd clapped a good bit to
see them go. And so they went home to bed.



CHAPTER ELEVEN


The next morning Scrogg brought Selia her morning tea and told her it
would be best to have a bath.

“They are made very pleasant now Madam” she explained, as she threw
all Selias close into the tall basket behind the washstand, “what with
bath salts and animal sponges.” Selia in surprise propped herself on
elbow in the couchy bed saying “Do they then have a bath every day
with clean underwear,” for even she knew it was no good to put dirty
close on a clean body.

“Indeed yes” said Scrogg with a kind smile. “My last lady was very
particular, she would never dream to have her bath without her special
frog sponge, so I made bold to buy you one yesterday in the form of a
pijeon which you will find in its place in the bath racket.”

“Ho” said Selia “I thought such things were only for the young.”

“Dear no” said Scrogg departing with the towels, “all things are
animal now including electric lights.”

And so Selia had a bath first however recalling Scrogg.

“Go and tell Mr. Withersq to have a bath every day too” she
thoughtfully said “for I fear he is not quite up to that yet.”

“Very good Madam” said Scrogg and went, and so Selia tripped into the
bathroom and soaped well all over with the sponge which was like a
pijeon with a beak and wool eyes and when she had had a good swill and
a brisk dry she felt so strong she ran out and banged all the doors
all down one side of the corridor for as will be remembered she
occupied a whole floor to herself.

And after a good breakfast with her Harold both of them reading
Harold’s own newspaper propped up on the toast-machine, she departed
on a mysterous errand to the Majpottels whereat Mr. Withersq made a
sorry face, still as he was really very busy in the mornings he didnt
mind as much as he looked, and set himself to writing his newspaper,
which he now did every day as he thought it a good sport to tell
others how to get on, and smiled up his sleeve to think how few would
have Unckle Burts at the send-off, still it was a good wheeze as long
as the craze for him lasted and made more money than ever. He was a
little bored with it already however, for all though of low birth
Mr. Withersq like all the truly great bored easily. And from time to
time he caught himself thinking of cricket but not so much as he had
done as the doctor had already given him some unthinking medesine, and
each time he did think he wrote a poem and they were soon to be
printed in a book.

At about three Selia came tripping back a bit red in the face and
rather secret, and burst into Mr. Withersq room where he was eating a
orange, with a noisy kiss.

“Huzzah” cried she “I think I shall yet beat the band. But what are
those smutty objects near your ears?”

“Those are my new side-whiskers” replied her Harold unctuously “for
all poets have them.”

“You dog” she said “you are cutting a figure these days arent you?”
And with these words she rushed away to Scrogg to be attired.

At four she was ready in a slippery creation of black with no arms to
it but it was not an evening dress, and a nose veil bedangling from a
ravished shapoo woven of the hares of horses.

“Let us sally” said she, gazing at him and he gazed at her with pride
for she looked very much better.

“You are a treat” he said gallantly so they went down thro’ the hall
which was worse than ever with a dense crowd more staring than ever to
behold them, and out into their blue car en route for the Countess
tea.

When they got there it was a little house but smart done up in black
and white paint with orange stuff for curtains, and lobellia in boxes
round the windows and two marbel statues of little boys before the
door, and they both had curly hair.

The chauffeur rang the bell. How different it was to when both had
been poor. They felt it. They strode within into a hall with bead
curtains and thro’ to a room at whose door stood the Countess herself
with welcoming hand.

Mr. Withersq had a bit of trouble to get his hat off in time.

“Ah good afternoon, how sweet of you to come” cried their hostess.

“Not at all” Selia said “we were only too pleased to visit you.” And
they went into the room. There was a lot of folks there eating off
plates in their laps and all murmured and gazed to see the heroes of
the hour enter, so Selia and Mr. Withersq sat down and had some plates
passed to them and stretched out for what food they could find lying
about.

Near by Mr. Withersq sat a youngish lady with plentiful ginger hair
and robed in violet with out-shooting lips and an ernest apperence.

“Do tell me” she burbled in a rich voice “how you write such beautiful
poems?”

But Mr. Withersq who had just tucked a cress sandwich in his mouth
could not say much only growling in reply at which no one seemed cross
but all present cooed and moaned, saying “Ah how simple he is” and
“How true” for it was very much like the first party and “How true”
was still the fashion, like red hats sometimes appear and are worn
awhile and then drop out.

“He had poetry in him all the while” said Selia “but it did not come
out.”

So now the Countess came to sit beside her, and pawed at her hand in
love.

“Do you think the great man would come to my little riverside home one
day” uttered she, “do please dear lady beg darling Mr. Withersq to
come down to my little party at Maidenhead next week. There will not
be much to entertain in fact we have only got two funny people coming
at present but we have an excellent gramafone and perhaps the boats
would give him some new idears.”

All listened. Many of the ladys were chewing on strings of coloured
beads hung about their necks and their ears waved for the answer.

“Have you got any Harry Lauders” said Selia for fun “for he is very
partial to them.” Her Harold was making warning faces to her but she
would not heed. Oh what an error. You could hear the brick drop. But
the Countess had tact to give a little snickering laugh.

“Oh I dont think he needs such low things” said she, “you do not
understand. No we have only classical music. Nevertheless we should be
very glad to see him as I have rather a reputation for my parties in
fact I never have any but the pick of socierty in my presence and I
should like to add dear Mr. Withersq to my list.”

“Thank you” said Mr. Withersq not quite seeing why she so had her
knife in his love “we will come.”

Selia sat biting a cake to show she did not care.

Most of the guests who were numerous but all ladys had put their cups
down and now were figetting about talking and poking into all the
Countesses things fingering the curtains and picking up the ornaments
to see if the price was still on the bottom, tapping her bits of
furniture which were all a bit old-looking but curious and not so bad
for those who are too proud to have new objects. Selia thought this
very rude and sat stiff in despare finding the way to success very
thorny for women as not much notice came her way, as when they were
not poking about at the things in the room they were fusseling round
Mr. Withersq who sat with a silly smile on his face to be the center
of attraction.

But as good luck would have it Selia got her own back for as she was a
good bit bored she got up and said Gooby. Now it is very smart to be
the first to go as it shows you do not think much of where you are, so
this was a snub and had its effect for the ladys left Mr. Withersq
who had mislaid his hat under a chair, and came to her to bid adieu.

“Thanks for coming and now you know the way you must come again” said
the Countess hurrying up and tripping over some lace hanging from her
arms for she was in a sort of dressing gown of pink silk “and wont you
come to my river party too?”

“Thanks yes I daresay I shall” said Selia as a parting arrow stiffly
and stalked out, Mr. Withersquash hurrying behind, but kissing his
hand to the company who smiled sweetly upon him.

When they got in the car Selia sniffed a good bit and tried to cry
because she was sorry for herself but she only managed a very little
tear, which Mr. Withersq wiped up for her.

“Do not cry” said he “for those silly cats. They have nothing better
to do but to try and steal a little greatness from such as us. The
time will come for them to sue for your favors as they do mine and
then we shall see.” So she cheered up and made him go and buy her a
string of coloured beads too in a shop on the way home, and when they
got back she departed to the Turkish baths to have a massage for she
would need all her strength in the trial to come.



CHAPTER TWELVE


The blue-coat chauffeur tucked Mr. Withersq and his Selia within the
car which spead on greased wheels of lightning through the western of
London and out into the more rustical parts where there were trees.
Quick oh quick they moved and Selia’s heart came in her mouth several
times with people and no small quantity of dogs they shaved past.

Twilight had settled when they drew up with a good toot on their
grunty hooter at the white wicker gate of the country home of the
Countess on the evening of the proper day as they had somewhat
artfully arranged only to arrive in time for dinner.

As well as they could see squinting through the darkness it was a very
low house and very broad like a tennis club but of course more grand
looking very nice with nice smelling flowers about and two white
peacocks strolling on the lawn. But alas to their dismay no one was at
home. Only a little page-boy and he was a stuttering one, and had some
trouble to get out that the family was on the river in their boat, so
that Mr. Withersq gave him a sixpence and let him go.

“Dear me” said he waving away the chauffeur who took off the car, “we
are nicely sold and shall get no grub.”

“Yes indeed” said Selia very crossly “I think we had better go home
again” for she had a vacancy.

“Not so” cried he “we have not come so far for nothing. Come with me.”

Now Selia was more than a bit tired and only followed him because she
hoped to be fed rebuffing his kindly arm, she tottered on her high
heels beside him in smothering rage. But past experiences had taught
our hero. “Fear not” he said “you will be well filled yet, for Unckle
Burt has not died for nothing.”

And he led her through the dark lanes under the creepy trees towards
the spottling lights of a near village. Selia was a good bit afraid as
she feared to step on a frog or some other vermin and went picking her
way. Still she had a pluck and kept moving only wishing herself
elsewhere.

Soon they struck a cosy little pub where a man was hissing outside
over the feet of a horse which he was washing. Selia looked at the
horse which exchanged her glance but Mr. Withersq looked in the pub.
He came out in a short moment to find his sweet leaning against the
animal.

“All is well,” said he, “our party is close at hand.”

“Nasty lot they might have waited for us,” said she. “For I am
footsore and have empty rumblings also.”

“Excuse me, sir,” said the horse’s man, coming up under its stomach,
“but there is a nice little ham and beef shop a few doors away.”

Casting a cold look on this fellow, Selia took the talk up. “Show the
gentleman the way,” said she, “and pop me on the horse, for I must
have a sit down and do not care to demean myself by entering a public
house.”

The horse, hearing his name mentioned, turned to have a stare, but she
cared little for that, knowing to be firm with the dumb creatures is
best, so she made a severe face at it.

“Show a leg,” cried Harold gallantly, and with a good grasp on her,
and the man pushing too, they got her up on the horse.

“That’s better,” she said, getting comfortable, and finding it a nice
broad beast as she had hoped. So Mr. Withersq and the man disapeared,
leaving Selia bravely seated on the steed, which champed its bit
somewhat, but every time it moved she cried “Whoo!” and it obeyed her,
to the surprise of some yokels who peeked forth from the pub. Before
long Mr. Withersq and the man came back, the latter bearing some paper
bags.

“Hurrah, I have food!” cried Harold, “and I am feeling most poetical.
This good man will give you a lift on this horse to the Countess’s
boat, so off we go.”

At this the little procession set off, but first Selia cried “Oh pray
give me a bite for I am perishing.” At this Mr. Withersq rustled in a
bag and drew forth a sandwich and passed it up to her. So off they
went in the darkness of the night, Selia on the horse, and
Mr. Withersq holding one of her feet to steady her, while she chewed a
rather mysterious sandwich, not being able to see what it was, and
bumping a good bit on the heaving animal. The horse’s man led the way
down another lane, followed by some rude cheers from the pub. Before
long they saw water, and in a few moments drew a halt.

“Coo-ee!” howled the man.

From out a large, white place looming with myriad twinkling lights an
answering voice cried “Coo-ee!”

“Is it another house?” said Selia. “I dont see no boat.”

“It is the boat,” cried the horse’s man.

Lo! on the river’s edge was a great boat like a steamer, bedecked with
fairy lamps, and at the sound of our hero’s arrival many voices noised
out and forms were seen on the deck. Never had Selia beheld such a
vision as this grand boat.

“Well, it is just like a house,” cried she.

“It is a houseboat,” said Harold, “for I read it up in an etiquette
book.”

Oh how Selia laughed to hear this! “So that is where all your stiff
new ways come from, is it!” jested she, though not so coyly as she
would, as her horse was sipping a little of the river, and it was hard
to sit on it so sloping.

“Ha, welcome!” the voice of the Countess was then heard. “Come aboard,
pray! We were expecting you to supper, but still, better late than
never.”

So Selia dropped from the horse, jolting herself a good bit, and
together with Mr. Withersq mounted a small ladder from the river’s
edge up the side of this magnificent boat, and so arrived safe on the
deck, at which a throng, bobbing up from all directions, seized on
them with merry hand shakings, and cooings of delight, for they had
been given up, and their arrival proved a welcome diversion, and
Lipstick barked madly his eyes more polished than ever. The Countess
who was in a tight dress of black beads sewn on stuff like a serpent
grasped warmly their hands and seemed more glad than before for no
doubt their fame had spread more and so she thought them worth her
while.

“Let me introduce you to the folk” she said kindly, motioning to the
group of about six behind her.

“This is the well-known Mr. Bross” she continued picking on a
pear-shaped gent with plump legs in white trousers and a short evening
jacket, so he came up smiling with blandness.

“Pleased to meet you Mr. Poet” said he and the Countess wispered to
Selia “He is rather an amusing man we have asked him ten times before
it is a pity he is nearly finished.”

“How is that” said Selia bowing to him.

“Oh he is no good at much but foreign langwages” said the Countess
merrily, “and he only knows fifteen. You see as he is not very high
born we expect him to amuse us, and he sings very well so he has to
burst into song after breakfast on Sundays to take away the rather
chilly feeling on Sunday mornings. As he has already sung in ten
different langwages and of course we wouldn’t like the same one twice,
he only has five more weekends to come.”

The langwage-singer sighed at this no doubt overhearing, and gave way
to a greyish-coloured fellow reeking a little of wine. “This is
Mr. Panter, you must have heard of him” said the Countess. “He makes
reputations.”

“Is that so” said Selia who was keeping her end up very well, “what
does he make them of?”

“Ah dear girl you do not understand” simpered the other lady, “we
always ask him down for when one gets a bit stale of people and they
have not done anything in the way of a stunt lately, he makes up such
sweet little stories about everyone that they become quite nice again,
and for some he makes up entire reputations for a consideration, and
they live on them.”

“Oh I see” said Selia “it is a business.”

“Naturally” said the Countess kindly “for they all want to live you
know and as cats have the artfulness to live by being cats and so
getting milk and meat, so many are compelled to live by having
reputations which causes them to be asked about and fed. Mr. Panter
has the most magnificent set of offices near the British Museum.”

“I must remember him” said Selia “he might come in useful some day
when we want to be noticed.”

“Tush” twittered her friend “Mr. Panter leaves ladys to look after
their own reputations, dont you sir?” and this remark drew a laugh
from a priestly looking damsel with many ropes of pearls about her
elegant long neck, lolling in a deckchair near their feet, so Selia
was now introduced to her and as well as she could grasp this lady did
nothing but be an earl’s sister because of course if you are nobel
that is enough and saves many pains.

“I hear” said the earls sister who was most languid and archy in her
way of speaking and holding herself, “that Mr. Bross is learning
Welsh.”

“Dear me” said Selia “now he will be able to come again for another
week-end more.”

“Certenly not” said the Countess proudly, “this is not a political
house-boat, we are artists and I do not think we could bear Welsh
after breakfast even on Sundays. I must speak to him and try to urge
him to learn something else.”

So she got up and went off to do so.

Meanwhile Mr. Withersq had rather sidled away towards a nice little
girl in a cream frock very low and fluffy, and had talked to her and
she had opened wide great eyes of amaze to him to hear so great a poet
speak ordinary. He was now muttering something with many muffled
laughs to a very tall oldish man in a suit of pearl grey silk, and
munching a fish sandwich which from time to time he dipped in a glass
of champagne he had had brought him by a menial attired as a sailor.

From the chair in which she had sunk Selia pawed at her Harold’s near
trouser. So he passed her down some food which she wolfed up. Then as
she was tired and could not make out much of the various persons
around who were all smoking long cigarettes and by their talk seemed
to have endless little private jokes of their own, she went off to
bed, which was down some steep brass-tipped stairs with a rope
bannister, into the bowels of the boat. Imagine her surprise when she
opened her room door to find Scrogg knitting a sock within.

“Goodday” cried Scrogg springing up and ready to unfasten her, and
“Goodevening” said Selia stifling her yawn with a smile “how did ever
you come here Scrogg?”

“I thought you would like me” said Scrogg humbly, “so I came up the
river in a little row-boat I keep for emergencies.”

“I see” said Selia “that was very nice of you I’m sure. I am very
tired though.”

“No wonder madame” said the maid throwing her pink Greecian nightdress
over her head nimbly, “with so many clever people about, for the
Countess only has the first class cream at her boat parties.”

“Hurrah” cried Selia “what a funny pillow!” and lo the bed she jumped
in was built to the wall like a real boat’s bed and her pillow was
like a life-buoy but made in feathers with a white linen cover and
frilled with real lace. Scrogg then quickly fixed up a hammock across
the little room, under the round window, and went to bed in it, and
thus to the sound of the slapping waves mistress and maid snoozed
while Mr. Withersq talked of his poetry to the company on deck, still
all swigging champagne till the early hours.

Selia slept late next day for the fresh air made her drowsy and only
peeped out of her bed in time to hear in the distance the loud end of
Mr. Bross’s Sunday morning song and the applause after it. Scrogg then
entered with a tray of rolls and coffee.

“The Countess asked me to tell you the song was a great success” she
said with her usual curtsey, “it was in Yiddish this week.”

“Oh” said Selia rubbing her eyes up for the day, “how clever!” for she
unluckily did not know where this was spoken. When she had just
finished up her breakfast a thunderous knock sounded on her door and
Scrogg opened.

“Dear me” said this good servant, for who should stand there but
Mr. Withersq in a grand navy bathing costume embroidered with anchors
and wearing canvas boots. Selia modestly hid in her bed.

“None of that now” said he “all is al fresco here, so nip up. You will
find a bathing costume under the pillow, and I give you five minutes.”

So with a good grin he withdrew leaving Selia to spring up and quickly
dress in the dinky suit which as he had said she would find under the
lifebuoy pillow. She shrank a little from the eyes of the men and also
swanked a bit too because of the Countess who was in a pea-green suit,
and the Earls sister in mauve and the nice little girl in orange, but
Selia was all in black like Annette Kellermann.

“Hurrah” quoth she as she appeared and they all cheered also for
Selia was indeed a fine girl and Mr. Withersq patted his own back and
jumped for joy to see her, knocking over a pot of flowers ornamenting
the boat. The water below sparkled and looked a bit cold, the birds
sang and the trees were nice and green.

“One two three” said the Countess and at three such a splash occurred
as all the party threw themselves recklessly into the water, followed
by Lipstick the dog. Selia felt happy to find them flesh and blood
after all and Harold trod the water in glee. They all had a merry
sport, and Selia raced the gentleman who had been in grey silk but now
in striped drawers, ending by ducking him.

When the swim was over they all climbed very dripping on the deck to
be received by menials with hot towels and so away to their rooms to
dress, after which lunch arrived. It was a splendid repast with salmon
and not tinned either, and after lunch Mr. Withersq recited a new
poem he had made that very day, which pleased them all very much and
he got a stamp from the Earls sister to post it to the King, and
Panter slapped him on the shoulder and swore never to forget him.

True to their rule Mr. Withersq and Selia prepared to depart early and
amid much goodbyes climbed over the side and down the ladder to terra
firma where their car awaited them, and waved themselves off, while
Scrogg meanwhile was seen to get into her little boat and soon
vanished round the corner of the water rowing hard.

As Selia sank back into the car with a parting wave to the boat,
Mr. Withersq caught her in a firm kiss.

“Tush” she said “have done.” But she was not so vexed as she seemed
for she loved him but of course she still had to be a bit coy.

“I think we are doing very well” said he smacking his lips, and
emerging a great cigar from his pocket. “Bross gave me this and I
think he will consent to come to our parties when we have a house.”

Selia blushed at his meaning glance at this word, and then said “No
doubt he will be glad to dear Harold. And it will not be so long now
for next week I hope to show them the stuff I am made of and have my
photo in the weekly papers, which is fame.”

So hand in hand with Mr. Withersq puffing the big cigar they glided
back to London and their hotel.



LAST CHAPTER


It is now the folowing Saterday.

Meanwhile the brothers Majpottel had not been idel for they had
wangeled it as well as they could, dropped a hint here and a word
there in the usuel way and kept expectations up to scratch for the
great day of Selia’s tussel with fate, and this was to come off that
very after noon.

Selia was lying on her second floor at the Grand Palace and being
swilled down by a lot of ladys and girls that had come round to look
after her like boxers are done to, and they rubbed and slapped and
jumped her about and flipped her with towels and squooshed water on
her till her arms were as hard as nails and so were her legs too which
was lucky as in tennis you want both.

When they had done with her they helped her to dress and pouder and
then attended her like handmaids to the taxi that was waiting, as
Mr. Withersquash had bought one for her to use. Mr. Withersq who was
now wearing the special poets badge in his coat was waiting for her.

“My hour has come” she wispered to him, she felt a bit bad inside at
the idear. “Have pluck” he wispered back “and then we can get
married!”

So off she drove to Lords which is a large park so called because all
the nuts go there to see the games going on. When they got there there
was a dense throttling crowd and they went in and had a look round to
get their breath before starting. Where they had got to was the wrong
part among the crowd so they pushed on through to the socierty part.
Selia was arrayed in a cordion pleeted white robe with shoes and
stockings to match and Mr. Withersq wore his best day suit and shiny
topper in fine stile and all made way for them with murmurs of praise
so on they stept very saucy.

When they came to the socierty part which had a rope round and went to
go in an haughty dame sniffled over them and would have stopped them
specially Selia.

“And pray what are you up to my good girl?” said she very nasty, but
just then their old friend the admiral came leaping up now in a white
garb, and said:

“Way for the Head Poet and Lady!”

So the haughty dame had to make way and felt very sore put down no
doubt.

After shaking hands with the admiral they stept on to where the King
and Queen had just arrived and said goodday to them which drew a cry
of surprise from all present to see them so well known by the Highest
in the Land.

His Magesty called out,

“The Lady Selia wants to beat the world with her skill at tennis. Who
will take her on?”

And Rupert and Gerald Majpottel now came tripping up and cried “Hi!
This way for the lady tennis champions! Anyone want to try their
strength? Walk up and try to beat the Lady Selia!” This made the
company laugh very harty to hear the brothers go on in this way, which
was their little joke and did a lot of good. For the head lady tennis
players who had been lounging idly in chairs behind the King and Queen
now sprang fiercely forward on hearing this cry of the Majpottels and
said “Here we are!” and there were three of them.

Meantime the crowd was crowding something awful all round the socierty
part and staring and the newspaper men were taking photos and
scribbling in books about it. Oh what a moment! Almost for a tick
Selia wished Mr. Withersquashes Unckle Burt had never passed away,
but then girding herself up, and blushing a little at the roar of
cheers that rose when the crowd saw that she was a sport, she tossed
off her hat with a proud toss, and summoned for a bat.

“Come on then!” she yelled to the head lady tennis players.

“Not so fast!” cried the Queen kindly “for there are three to one
against which we all know is wrong.”

So one of the three head tennis ladys who all had medals on their
chests because of all the games they had won, said she would take
sides with Selia. And some of the socierty folks snigered and said
“tosh” for they did not know Selia and bemeaned her being as they well
knew only humbel of birth for she had got her name up owing to having
got on so lately.

Out on the grassy sward she stept swashing her tennis bat while
Mr. Withersquash fondly gazed on her from beside royalty.

“Pom!” the game began and a ball came over. And “pom!” Selia hit it
back and so she went on. Nothing could get past her. Oh she was very
clever at tennis was Selia though her light had hitherto been under a
bushel.

Love thirty, love forty, game, so it went on and on for ages, and then
when at the last the lady partner playing with Selia got a bit waxy
because she never had a chance to touch a ball and began grumbling,
Selia took her on too and smashed her although she was on the same
side of the net, and smashed the two ladys on the other side and
smashed them all and they could hardly stand they were so tired and
cross.

“Hurrah, hurrah” cried Mr. Withersquash from the socierty part, and
the King and Queen stood up to have a better look and the crowd roared
and the brothers Majpottel fell on each others necks and cried very
loud and wet for joy they were so glad and in fact it was a proper
sight you never saw the like of until at last Selia threw up her
tennis bat in the air and cried very loud:

“Have you had enough?”

And the two lady players on the other side of the net and the one lady
partner who had also been beaten although a partner said all together:
“Yes!” and casting down the medals from off their dishonorable bosoms
they slunk away and were seen no more and Selia was left triumphant on
the field which was a neat little plot of green amidst all the
cheering multitude, and the Queen bekoned and she went back up into
the socierty part, hanging her head with modesty.

“Cheers” said the King kindly as she strode up, and the Queen took her
hand and patted it and said “You are made of good stuff my dear and
will make a good man happy” at which she made a meaning sign to
Mr. Withersq.

With a deep blush Selia slopped into his arms and he placed a kiss on
her lip at which all present cried aloud and smiled and were delited
to see a romance of the kind.

“I hereby announce that my Head Poet and his young lady Selia are
engaged” then said the King stroking his beard and he was the first to
shake hands with the honorable and lucky Harold.

Just then a page boy stepped up with a great bouquet in his hands
which he laid at Selia’s feet. So Mr. Withersq gave him a bob and on
the bouquet was a little label saying “With all good wishes from the
boys” so Selia knew she had not been forgot by her old friends.

And now let us take leave of Mr. Withersq with his Selia in his arms
surrounded by royalty and the flower of England’s socierty, he the
Head Poet and she the Queen of Sport. For what more could their hearts
desire?



Transcriber’s Note


Spelling has been left as printed, except that the sole instance of
“Mr. Withers” has been amended to read “Mr. Withersq”; a handful of
opening quotation marks have been adjusted for clarity.

Inconsistent hyphenation (dressing-gown/dressing gown,
eating-apartment/eating apartment, house-boat/houseboat,
life-buoy/lifebuoy, limerick-poet/limerick poet, page-boy/page boy,
well-known/well known) has been retained.

The character Emilyon Boom is also sometimes “Emilian Boom” and
sometimes “Boon”; this variation has been retained.





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