The evening tide had cast the body of one of the men upon the shore, where it had been found among the sea-wrack; and, though the fate of the others remained a mystery, the messenger who had sped after Og with the counter-order told the story as he knew it. The means by which the two prisoners, in face of odds so great, had destroyed their captors, were still a secret; but the worst was feared.
As for Ansell, the first thing he said was, "Why didn't you counter-order the lemon-sole?" In such a situation Mrs. Lewin was of priceless value. She led the way to the table, observing, "I quite agree with Miss Pembroke. I loathe surprises. Never shall I forget my horror when the knife-boy painted the dove's cage with the dove inside. He did it as a surprise. Poor Parsival nearly died.
Thus conscience spoke softly but clearly, as with the vibrations of a silver bell; but lust, with its hot hand, stilled those vibrations with a touch. Frank would not counter-order the drink, for he loved it; he persuaded himself that he should be strictly moderate, while he was secretly determined to keep within his reach the means of excess.
The rector, suddenly enlightened after his consultation with his stomach, strutted to the door, flung it wide open, and called down the kitchen stairs with a voice of thunder, "Poach me an egg!" He came back into the room held another consultation, keeping his eyes severely fixed on me strutted back in a furious hurry to the door and bellowed a counter-order down the kitchen-stairs, "No egg!
He was caricatured by the journals of the day, and laughed at by the wits, including Heine, and pictured as a king with "Order" on one hand, "Counter-order" on the other, and "Disorder" on his forehead. Though Frederick William II marched into France in 1792, to support the French monarchy, neither his army nor his people were prepared or fit for this enterprise, and he soon retired.
I tell you, little escapes them on Olympus. So does much, but that is another story. Last of all comes the Practical Joke Department. It covers practically all of one side of Olympus the shady side. The jokes usually take the form of an order, followed by a counter-order. For example
Chia Ch'in came, in due course, to pay a visit to Chia Lien and his wife, and was incessant in his expressions of gratitude; and lady Feng bestowed upon him a further favour by giving him, as a first instalment, an advance of the funds necessary for three months' outlay, for which she bade him write a receipt; while Chia Lien filled up a cheque and signed it; and a counter-order was simultaneously issued, and he came out into the treasury where the sum specified for three months' supplies, amounting to three hundred taels, was paid out in pure ingots.
Coming in for supper to the "Grill-room" after his performance, he would order and counter-order for ten minutes, absolutely unable to come to a decision. He invariably ended by seizing a pencil, closing his eyes tightly, and whirling his pencil round and round over the supper-list until he brought it down at haphazard somewhere.
Robarts did not return, but went up among the children to counter-order such directions as she had given for the preparation of the nursery for the Philistines. "Mark," he said, "do not trouble yourself about this more than you can help. The men have ceased doing anything, and they shall leave the place to-morrow morning." "And how will the money be paid?" said the poor clergyman.
"There will consequently be time for a courier yet to reach them with your counter-order." "And he must be dispatched immediately!" said Alexis, pressing the hand of the empress to his lips. "In this hour will my kind and gracious empress sign the command for the arrest of Anna Leopoldowna, her husband, and her son!" "Already another signature!" sighed Elizabeth.