Page:Queen Lucia.djvu/34

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30
"QUEEN LUCIA

self unless you do it properly. That was the general gist of it."

"And shall we come to the Indian soon?" said Lucia.

"Carissima, you have come to him already. I suggest that Mrs Quantock has applied for a teacher and got him. Ecco!"

Mrs Lucas wore a heavily corrugated forehead at this news. Peppino had a wonderful flair in explaining unusual circumstances in the life of Riseholme and his conjectures were generally correct. But if he was right in this instance, it struck Lucia as being a very irregular thing that anyone should have imported a mystical Indian into Riseholme without consulting her. It is true that she had been away, but still there was the medium of the post.

"Ecco indeed!" she said. "It puts me in rather a difficult position, for I must send out my invitations to my garden-party today, and I really don't know whether I ought to be officially aware of this man's existence or not. I can't write to Daisy Quantock and say "Pray bring your black friend Om," or whatever his name proves to be, and on the other hand, if he is the sort of person whom one would be sorry to miss, I should not like to have passed over him."

"After all, my dear, you have only been back in Riseholme half an hour," said her husband. "It would have been difficult for Mrs Quantock to have told you yet."

Her face cleared.

"Perhaps Daisy has written to me about him,"