Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/33

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chambers and all sorts of dreadful places. I telephoned to Mr. Jawkins to inquire, but he answered, 'Not as I know of, miss.' I suppose he is so fearfully practical he wouldn't care if a real ghost met him in a remote wing."

"What a pity we didn't live in the last century when people still gave ghosts the benefit of the doubt," said Lord Brompton, sadly. "Now we are certain that there never were any."

"But we may still run across a skeleton in a closet," said the girl.

"Oh, yes. But who, by the way, is Mr. Jawkins?"

"Have you never heard of Mr. Jarley Jawkins, the famous country-house agent and individual caterer?"

Lord Brompton shook his head.

"He is indeed a remarkable man," she continued. "When we decided to come to England my father telephoned to Jawkins, who immediately sent out a list of country-seats. We chose this and made arrangements with him to supply us with guests at so much a head. A regular country-house party—a duke and duchess, one or two financially embarrassed noblemen, a disestablished bishop, a professional beauty, a poet-peer, and several other attractions. Oh, Jawkins is wonderful. They are all coming to-day. Won't it be fun? But it may seem rude to ask you to meet such people? I am sorry. You will be almost the only guest not hired for the occasion. It was very inconsiderate of me."

"That's all right," said the young lord. "Perhaps I may find an opening here. I'm looking out for a job. Possibly you may not be aware, Miss Windsor, that the porter's lodge, which I occupy at present, is my sole piece