before she sought it Mrs. Chailey put on her spectacles and read what was written on a slip of paper at the back:
"This picture of her mistress is given to Emma Chailey by Willoughby Vinrace in gratitude for thirty years of devoted service."
Tears obliterated the words and the head of the nail.
"So long as I can do something for your family," she was saying, as she hammered at it, when a voice called melodiously in the passage.
"Mrs Chailey! Mrs. Chailey!"
Chailey instantly tided her dress, composed her face, and opened the door.
"I'm in a fix," said Mrs. Ambrose, who was flushed and out of breath. "You know what gentlemen are. The chairs too high—the tables too low—there's six inches between the floor and the door. What I want's a hammer, an old quilt, and have you such a thing as a kitchen table? Anyhow, between us"——she now flung open the door of her husband's sitting-room, and revealed Ridley pacing up and down, his forehead all wrinkled, and the collar of his coat turned up.
"It's as though they'd taken pains to torment me!" he cried, stopping dead. "Did I come on this voyage in order to catch rheumatism and pneumonia? Really one might have credited Vinrace with more sense. My dear," Helen was on her knees under a table, "you are only making yourself untidy, and we had much better recognise the fact that we are condemned to six weeks of unspeakable misery. To come at all was the height of folly, but now that we are here I suppose that I can face it like a man. My diseases of course will be increased—I feel already worse than I did yesterday, but we've only ourselves to thank, and the children happily——"
"Move! Move! Move!" cried Helen, chasing him from corner to corner with a chair as though he were an errant hen. "Out of the way, Ridley, and in half an hour you'll find it ready."
She turned him out of the room, and they could hear him groaning and swearing as he went along the passage.
"I daresay he isn't very strong," said Mrs. Chailey, looking