Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/221

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203
A LESSON IN PICQUET

"Oh, stop it!" said his lordship.

Hargate nodded, and obediently put down the deck.

"Look here," said Lord Dreever, "this is boring me stiff. Let's have a game of something. Anything to pass away the time. Curse this rain! We shall be cooped up here till dinner at this rate. Ever played picquet? I could teach it you in five minutes."

A look almost of awe came into Hargate's face, the look of one who sees a miracle performed before his eyes. For years, he had been using all the large stock of diplomacy at his command to induce callow youths to play picquet with him, and here was this admirable young man, this pearl among young men, positively offering to teach him the game. It was too much happiness. What had he done to deserve this? He felt as a toil-worn lion might feel if some antelope, instead of making its customary bee-line for the horizon, were to trot up and insert its head between his jaws.

"I—I shouldn't mind being shown the idea," he said.

He listened attentively while Lord Dreever explained at some length the principles that govern the game of picquet. Every now and then, he asked a question. It was evident that he was beginning to grasp the idea of the game.

"What exactly is re-piquing?" he asked, as his lordship paused.