Page:Miss Mapp.djvu/109

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105
MISS MAPP

“Au reservoir then, dear,” she said tenderly. “See you at about four? And will you wear your pretty rosebud frock?”

This was agreed to, and Diva went home to take it away from Janet.


The reconciliation of course was strictly confined to matters relating to chintz and did not include such extraneous subjects as coal-strike or food-hoarding, and even in the first glowing moments of restored friendliness, Diva began wondering whether she would have the opportunity that afternoon of testing the truth of her conjecture about the cupboard in the garden-room. Cudgel her brains as she might she could think of no other cache that could contain the immense amount of provisions that Elizabeth had probably accumulated, and she was all on fire to get to practical grips with the problem. As far as tins of corned beef and tongues went, Elizabeth might possibly have buried them in her garden in the manner of a dog, but it was not likely that a hoarder would limit herself to things in tins. No: there was a cupboard somewhere ready to burst with strong supporting foods.…

Diva intentionally arrived a full quarter of an hour on the hither side of punctuality, and was taken by Withers out into the garden-room, where tea was laid, and two card-tables were in readiness. She was, of course, the first of the guests, and the moment Withers withdrew to tell her mistress that she had come, Diva stealthily glided to the cupboard, from in front of which the bridge-table had been removed, feeling the shrill joy of some romantic treasure hunter. She found the catch, she pressed it, she pulled open the door and the whole of the damning profusion of provisions burst upon her