Page:Miss Mapp.djvu/244

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view of the door, for the next thing was to see how “the young couple” (as she had already labelled them in her sarcastic mind) “looked” when they returned from their amorous excursion to the orchid that grew on the lawn. They entered, most unfortunately, while she was in the middle of playing a complicated hand, and her brain was so switched off from the play by their entrance that she completely lost the thread of what she was doing, and threw away two tricks that simply required to be gathered up by her, but now lurked below Diva’s elbow. What made it worse was that no trace of emotion, no heightened colour, no coy and downcast eye betrayed a hint of what had happened on the lawn. With brazen effrontery Susan informed her daughter that Mr. Wyse thought a little leaf-mould...

“What a liar!” thought Miss Mapp, and triumphantly put her remaining trump on to her dummy’s best card. Then she prepared to make the best of it.

“We’ve lost three, I’m afraid, Major Benjy,” she said. “Don’t you think you overbid your hand just a little wee bit?”

“I don’t know about that, Miss Elizabeth,” said the Major. “If you hadn’t let those two spades go, and hadn’t trumped my best heart—”

Miss Mapp interrupted with her famous patter.

“Oh, but if I had taken the spades,” she said quickly, “I should have had to lead up to Diva’s clubs, and then they would have got the rough in diamonds, and I should have never been able to get back into your hand again. Then at the end if I hadn’t trumped your heart, I should have had to lead the losing spade and Diva would have over-trumped, and brought in her club, and we should have gone down two more. If you follow me, I think