Page:Miss Mapp.djvu/259

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She took up the ear-piece and said, “Hullo!”

It was certainly Mr. Wyse’s voice that spoke to her, and it seemed to tremble with anxiety.

“Dear lady,” he began, “a most terrible thing has happened—”

(Wonder if Elizabeth’s very ill, thought Diva.)

“Quite terrible,” said Mr. Wyse. “Can you hear?”

“Yes,” said Diva, hardening her heart.

“By the most calamitous mistake the note which I wrote you yesterday was never delivered. Figgis has just found it in the pocket of his overcoat. I shall certainly dismiss him unless you plead for him. Can you hear?”

“Yes,” said Diva excitedly.

“In it I told you that I had been encouraged to hope that you would dine with me to-night. There was such a gratifying response to my other invitations that I most culpably and carelessly, dear lady, thought that everybody had accepted. Can you hear?”

“Of course I can!” shouted Diva.

“Well, I come on my knees to you. Can you possibly forgive the joint stupidity of Figgis and me, and honour me after all? We will put dinner off, of course. At what time, in case you are ever so kind and indulgent as to come, shall we have it? Do not break my heart by refusing. Su​—​Mrs. Poppit will send her car for you.”

“I have already dressed for dinner,” said Diva proudly. “Very pleased to come at once.”

“You are too kind; you are angelic,” said Mr. Wyse. “The car shall start at once; it is at my door now.”

“Right,” said Diva.

“Too good​—​too kind,” murmured Mr. Wyse. “Figgis, what do I do next?”