Page:The Better Sort (New York, Charles Scribners Sons, 1903).djvu/270

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mouredly, "Of course; it's all right." He was in fact content enough with the last touches their friend had given the picture. "There are many who know all about it when they come, and the Americans often are tremendously up. Mother and me really enjoyed"—it was her only slip—"the interest of the Americans. We've sometimes had ninety a day, and all wanting to see and hear everything. But you'll work them off; you'll see the way—it's all experience." She came back, for his comfort, to that. She came back also to other things: she did justice to the considerable class who arrived positive and primed. "There are those who know more about it than you do. But that only comes from their interest."

"Who know more about what?" Gedge inquired.

"Why, about the place. I mean they have their ideas—of what everything is, and where it is, and what it isn't, and where it should be. They do ask questions," she said, yet not so much in warning as in the complacency of being seasoned and sound; "and they're down on you when they think you go wrong. As if you ever could! You know too much," she sagaciously smiled; "or you will."

"Oh, you mustn't know too much, must you?" And Gedge now smiled as well. He knew, he thought, what he meant.

"Well, you must know as much as anybody else. I claim, at any rate, that I do," Miss Putchin declared. "They never really caught me."

"I'm very sure of that," Mrs. Gedge said with an elation almost personal.

"Certainly," he added, "I don't want to be caught." She rejoined that, in such a case, he would have Them down on him, and he saw that this time she meant the powers above. It quickened his sense of all the elements that were to reckon with, yet he felt at the same time that the powers above were not what he should