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- Once Aboard The Lugger - 75/75 -


Upon immediate payment Mr. Bitt at first stuck. "He might turn back on us, or start blackmailing us. He may have stolen the cat himself for all we know."

"All the more likely, in that case, to keep his mouth shut," commented Mr. Vivian Howard. Despite he stood for literature, this man had strong business instincts.

Bill urged compliance. He knew this finder of the cat; would speak for him as for himself.

Mr. Bitt put a quill into his inkstand; took George's name; wrote a slip; handed it to Bill. "Take that to the cashier, Wyvern. He'll give you the cheque. Clear your friend out. Eh? No--no need for me to see him again. Of course you must get his story of how he found the cat, to use when the 'What my Loss means to Me' articles run out. Then come back and we'll fix up to-morrow's account."

A cabman drove to St. Peter's Hospital a seemingly insane young man, who bounded into the cab with a piece of paper in his hand; who sang and rattled his heels upon the foot-board, shouted to passers-by; who paid with two half-crowns; who bounded, paper still fluttering in hand, up the steps of the Dean's entrance with a wild and tremendous whoop.

George had scarcely explained to the Dean an incoherent story of L500 won through a newspaper competition, when the Mr. Lawrence, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., whose practice was at Runnygate, arrived.

Informally the purchase was at once arranged; a further meeting settled. George bolted to another cab; drove to Meath Street by way of the florist near Victoria Station; took aboard an immense basket of flowers.

At the house he gathered the flowers beneath his arm; on the way upstairs shifted them to his hands; flung wide the door.

His Mary, white, a tooth on a trembling lip, her pretty hands clasped, was before him. In a great whirling shower he flung the blossoms about her; then took her in his arms.

"Runnygate, Mary! Darling old girl, Runnygate!"

He kissed his Mary.

Last Shots from the Bridge.

If you had patience for another peep from the bridge that I can build, you might catch a glimpse or so.

Bending over you might see Bill seated at the editor's table of the editor's room of a monstrously successful monthly magazine of most monstrous fiction that Mr. Bitt's directors have started; Margaret, that sentimental young woman, by her husband's side is correcting the proofs of a poem signed "Margaret Wyvern." It is of the most exquisite melancholy.

Bending over you might see George upon one of the summer evenings when, his duties through, he is taking his Mary for a drive in the country behind that rising seaside resort Runnygate. They are plunging along in a tremendous dogcart drawn by an immense horse. George is fully occupied with his steed; Mary, peeping at constant intervals through the veil that hides the clear blue eyes and the ridiculous little turned-up nose of her baby, at every corner says: "Oh, George! Georgie, do be careful! We were on _one_ wheel then, I _know_ we were!" But along the level the wind riots at her pretty curls as she sits up very straight and very proud, smiling at this splendid fellow beside her.

Bending over you might see the garden of Herons' Holt, Mr. Fletcher leading from the house the fat white pony and tubby wide car which Mrs. Marrapit, formerly Mrs. Major, has prevailed upon her husband to buy. The pony has all the docile qualities of a blind sheep, but Mr. Fletcher is in great terror of it. When, while being groomed, it suddenly lifts its head, Mr. Fletcher drops his curry-comb and retires from the stall at great speed. "It's 'ard," says Mr. Fletcher--"damn 'ard. I'm a gardener, I am; not a 'orse-breaker."

THE END.


Once Aboard The Lugger - 75/75

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