Page:BulldogDrummondSapper.djvu/101

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A QUIET NIGHT AT THE ELMS

the grey-blue eyes, that the ex-soldier who had viewed going over the top with comparative equanimity, as being part of his job, quailed and looked apprehensively at Drummond.

"Do what the kind gentleman tells you, Mullings," said Hugh, "and go to bed." He smiled at the man reassuringly. "And if you're very, very good, perhaps, as a great treat, he'll come and kiss you good night."

"Now that," he remarked as the door closed behind them, "is what I call tact."

He lit a cigarette, and thoughtfully blew out a cloud of smoke.

"Stop this fooling," snarled Peterson. "Where have you hidden Potts?"

"Tush, tush," murmured Hugh. "You surprise me. I had formed such a charming mental picture of you, Mr. Peterson, as the strong, silent man who never lost his temper, and here you are disappointing me at the beginning of our acquaintance."

For a moment he thought that Peterson was going to strike him, and his own fist clenched under the table.

"I wouldn't, my friend," he said quietly; "indeed I wouldn't. Because if you hit me, I shall most certainly hit you. And it will not improve your beauty."

Slowly Peterson sank back in his chair, and the veins which had been standing out on his forehead became normal again. He even smiled; only the ceaseless tapping of his hand on his left knee betrayed his momentary loss of composure. Drummond's

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