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      Mrs Keeling was quite horrified; she longed{168} for her husband to tell him that Miss Propert was quite a humble sort of person. Then luckily it occurred to her that no doubt the idea was that she should have her lunch in the housekeepers room. This relieved her mind, and she continued to tell Lady Inverbroom the last news from Windsor. Shortly afterwards, with a little pressing on the part of her hostess, she was induced to precede her out of the dining-room, leaving the men alone.Well, Im sure its been a very pleasant if a very quiet evening, she said. Theres nothing nicer than to dine, as you may say, tte--tte like that and have a little agreeable conversation afterwards, not but what I should have been sorry to have as tough a pheasant as that served at my table, for I declare I could hardly get my teeth into it though it did come on a silver plate, and nothing but a nut and an apple for dessert, though you can get choice grapes so cheap now. But there! what does that matter when you dine with{172} friends? Such a pleasant talk as I had too with Lady Inverbroom, who, Im sure, is a very sensible and agreeable sort of woman. Nothing very gifted, I dare say, but a great deal of common sense. Common sense now! I often wish it was commoner. But the time passed so quickly while you and Lord Inverbroom were talking together in the dining-room that I was quite surprised when you came in. The soup, too, did you not find it insipid? But I expect Lady Inverbroom does not have the sort of cook that I have always been accustomed to. No jewels either, just that little diamond brooch, which made me feel that I was too fine with the beautiful pearl pendant you gave me for my birthday. Dont you agree with me, Thomas?


      [Pg 105]"The fact is that we can't forgive each otherfor being happy in different ways."

      As they rested that evening, Frank thought of some lines that he had seen somewhere, which were appropriate to the journey they had made, and he wound up the day's experiences by repeating them. They were as follows:"But you don't get all the whales you see, by a long shot. Many a whale gets away before you can fasten to him, and many another whale, after you have laid on and fastened, will escape you. He sinks, and tears the iron loose; he runs away to windward ten or twenty miles an hour, and you must cut the line to save your lives; he smashes the boat, and perhaps kills some of his assailants; he dies below the surface, and when he dies there he stays below, and you lose him; and sometimes he shows[Pg 66] such an amount of toughness that he seems to bear a charmed life. We fight him with harpoon and lance, and in these later days they have an invention called the bomb-lance or whaling-gun. A bomb-shell is thrown into him with a gun like a large musket, and it explodes down among his vitals. There's another gun that is fastened to the shaft of a harpoon, and goes off when the whale tightens the line; and there's another that throws a lance half-way through him. Well, there are whales that can stand all these things and live.

      Nothing of moment occurred at Sudley Castle for many months, if we except the birth of an heir; the appointment of Mary Byles, through Calverley's influence, to be the nurse; and the accession of Calverley himself to the coveted stewardship. The baroness's infant grew a fine, healthy child; but, as is sometimes the case with stout children, it had occasionally convulsive fits in teething. This, however, was carefully concealed from the mother, and Mary continued to receive great praise for her nursing. But it unfortunately happened, that one morning, when the boy had been laughing and playing in the highest spirits, Mary saw its countenance suddenly change. This was the more unfortunate, as De Boteler and his lady were momentarily expected to return, after a fortnight's absence, and Mary had dressed the infant in its gayest apparel to meet its parents, and had been congratulating herself upon the sprightliness and health of the boy. No excuses of sleep would satisfy the mother now: if the child was not taken to her, the nurse was assured she would come to look at him, and kiss him as he slept.


      Though it looks very odd, she said, beginning to give utterance to her reflections in the middle of a sentence, that your father and Hugh should go to Cathedral, while you and I go to St Thomass. But the Cathedral is very draughty, thats what I always say, and with my autumn cold due, if not overdue, it would be flying in the face of Providence to encourage it by sitting in draughts. As for incense and confession and"I brought a winding-sheet," replied the stranger; "and when the grave is dug, and the coast clear, I'll wrap it round poor Edith, and lay her in my cloakand ye will hold the corners."


      "See, see!" said Byles, pointing to the north-west.Then they called upon the Doctor for a contribution, original or selected, with this result:


      The Doctor told the boys that the Mitsu Bishi Company, as this Japanese organization was called, was increasing every year the number of its ships. It received assistance from the government in the form of a mail contract, and was evidently doing very well. The steamers ran once a week each way between Yokohama and Shanghai, touching at Kobe and Nagasaki, and there were lines to other ports of Japan. The Japanese were studying naval architecture and making good progress, and they hoped before many years to construct their own ships. Every year they reduced the number of foreigners in their service, and some of their establishments were entirely under native management.