Page:Queen Lucia.djvu/48

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44
"QUEEN LUCIA"

moment, and the Indian with quantities more bows came up to the counter and said, 'If you will have the great goodness to give me a little brandy bottle.' So Rush gave it him, and instead of paying for it, what do you think he said? Guess."

Mrs Lucas rose with the air of Lady Macbeth and pointed her finger at Georgie.

"He said 'Put it down to Mrs Quantock's account,'" she hissed.

Of course the explanation came now, and Lucia told the two men the contents of Mrs Quantock's letter. With that her cards were on the table, and though the fact of the Brahmin from Benares was news to Georgie, he had got many interesting things to tell her, for his house adjoined Mrs Quantock's, and there were plenty of things which Mrs Quantock had not mentioned in her letter, so that Georgie was soon in the position of informant again. His windows overlooked Mrs Quantock's garden, and since he could not keep his eyes shut all day, it followed that the happenings there were quite common property. Indeed that was a general rule in Riseholme: anyone in an adjoining property could say, "What an exciting game of lawn-tennis you had this afternoon!" having followed it from his bedroom. That was part of the charm of Riseholme; it was as if it contained just one happy family with common interests and pursuits. What happened in the house was a more private matter, and Mrs Quantock, for instance, would never look from the rising ground at the end of her garden into Georgie's dining-room or, if she did she would never tell anyone how many places were laid at table on that particular day