the reflection that the United Services slept late after their protracted industry last night over diaries and Roman roads. By a natural revulsion, violent in proportion to the depth of her previous regard for Major Benjy, she hugged herself more closely on the prospect of exposing him than on that of exposing the other. She had had daydreams about Major Benjy and the conversion of these into nightmares annealed her softness into the semblance of some red-hot stone, giving vengeance a concentrated sweetness as of saccharine contrasted with ordinary lump sugar. This sweetness was of so powerful a quality that she momentarily forgot all about the contents of Withers’s letter on the kitchen table, and tripped across to Mr. Hopkins’s with an oblivious smile for him.
“Good morning, Mr. Hopkins,” she said. “I wonder if you’ve got a nice little dab for my dinner to-day? Yes? Will you send it up then, please? What a mild morning, like May!”
The opening move, of course, was to tell Diva about the revelation that had burst on her the night before. Diva was incomparably the best disseminator of news she walked so fast, and her telegraphic style was so brisk and lucid. Her terse tongue, her revolving feet! Such a gossip!
“Diva darling, I had to look in a moment,” said Elizabeth, pecking her affectionately on both cheeks. “Such a bit of news!”
“Oh, Contessa di Faradidleony,” said Diva sarcastically. “I heard yesterday. Journey put off.”
Miss Mapp just managed to stifle the excitement which would have betrayed that this was news to her.
“No, dear, not that,” she said. “I didn’t suspect you of not knowing that. Unfortunate though, isn’t it, just