Page:Queen Lucia.djvu/42

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38
"QUEEN LUCIA"

gards evening parties: a dinner party "Hightum" would indicate a white tie and a tail coat; a dinner party "Tightum" a black tie and a short coat, and a dinner "Scrub" would mean morning clothes.

With tea was announced also the advent of Georgie Pillson who was her gentleman-in-waiting when she was at home, and her watch-dog when she was not. In order to save subsequent disappointment, it may be at once stated that there never has been, was, or ever would be the smallest approach to a flirtation between them. Neither of them, she with her forty respectable years and he with his blameless forty-five years, had ever flirted, with anybody at all. But it was one of the polite and pleasant fictions of Riseholme that Georgie was passionately attached to her and that it was for her sake that he had settled in Riseholme now some seven years ago, and that for her sake he remained still unmarried. She never, to do her justice, had affirmed anything of the sort, but it is a fact that sometimes when Georgie's name came up in conversation, her eyes wore that "far-away" look that only the masterpieces of art could otherwise call up, and she would sigh and murmur "Dear Georgie"! and change the subject, with the tact that characterized her. In fact their mutual relations were among the most Beautiful Things of Riseholme, and hardly less beautiful was Peppino's attitude towards it all. That large hearted man trusted them both, and his trust was perfectly justified. George was in and out of the house all day, chiefly in; and not only did scandal never rear its hissing head, but it positively had not a head to hiss with, or a foot to stand on. On