Just – William Page 9

“It does make the roads so bad round here when it rains.”

“Yes.” Mr. Morgan put up a hand as though to loosen his collar. “Er—very bad.”

“Almost impassable.”

“Er—quite.”

Silence again.

Inside the drawing-room, Mr. Brown was growing restive.

“Is dinner to be kept waiting for that youth all night? Quarter past seven! You know it’s just what I can’t stand—having my meals interfered with. Is my digestion to be ruined simply because this young nincompoop chooses to pay his social calls at seven o’clock at night?”

“Then we must ask him to dinner,” said Mrs. Brown, desperately. “We really must.”

“We must not,” said Mr. Brown. “Can’t I stay away from the office for one day with a headache, without having to entertain all the young jackasses for miles around.” The telephone bell rang. He raised his hands above his head.

“Oh——”

“I’ll go, dear,” said Mrs. Brown hastily.

She returned with a worried frown on her brow.

“It’s Mrs. Clive,” she said. “She says Joan has been very sick because of some horrible sweets William gave her, and she said she was so sorry to hear about William and hoped he’d be better soon. I couldn’t quite make it out, but it seems that William has been telling them that he had to go and see a doctor about his lungs and the doctor said they were very weak and he’d have to be careful.”

Mr. Brown sat up and looked at her. “But—why—on—earth?” he said slowly.

“I don’t know, dear,” said Mrs. Brown, helplessly. “I don’t know anything about it.”

“He’s mad,” said Mr. Brown with conviction. “Mad. It’s the only explanation.”

Then came the opening and shutting of the front door and Ethel entered. She was very flushed.

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