Page:Miss Mapp.djvu/32

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“Toothache, darling?” she said. “So sorry.”

“Wisdom,” said Godiva. “Out at one o’clock. Gas. Ready for bridge this afternoon. Playing? Poppits.”

“If I can squeeze it in, dear,” said Miss Mapp. “Such a hustle to-day.”

Diva put her hand to her face as “wisdom” gave her an awful twinge. Of course she did not believe in the “hustle,” but her pangs prevented her from caring much.

“Meet you then,” she said. “Shall be all comfortable then. Au—”

This was more than could be borne, and Miss Mapp hastily interrupted.

“Au reservoir, Diva dear,” she said with extreme acerbity, and Diva’s feet began swiftly revolving again.

The problem about the bridge-party thus seemed to be solved. The two Poppits, the two Bartletts, the Major and the Captain with Diva darling and herself made eight, and Miss Mapp with a sudden recrudescence of indignation against Isabel with regard to the red-currant fool and the belated invitation, made up her mind that she would not be able to squeeze it in, thus leaving the party one short. Even apart from the red-currant fool it served the Poppits right for not asking her originally, but only when, as seemed now perfectly clear, somebody else had disappointed them. But just as she emerged from the butcher’s shop, having gained a complete victory in the matter of that suet, without expending the last breath in her body or anything like it, the whole of the seemingly solid structure came toppling to the ground. For on emerging, flushed with triumph, leaving the baffled butcher to try his tricks on somebody else if he chose but not on Miss Mapp, she ran straight into the Disgrace of Tilling and her sex: the suffragette, post-impressionist artist (who painted