Edmund Grosse was at this time just over forty. He was a tall, loosely built man, with rather a colourless face, with an expression negative in repose, and faintly humorous when speaking. He was rich and supposed to be lazy; he knew his world and had lived it in and for it systematically.
I gave him some lavender-water from a scent-bottle on the table. He gravely drenched the handkerchief with it, and popped it suddenly on Lucilla's nose. "Hold him there, Miss. You cannot for the life of you smell Grosse now. Goot! We may go on again." He took a magnifying glass out of his waistcoat pocket, and waited till Lucilla had fairly exhausted herself with laughing.
Years afterwards, when Grosse had in the second half of his life done as much work as many men would think a good record for their whole lives, people were surprised to read his age in the obituary notices.
"Get the lady over the kitchen-garden wall!" shouted one who held a gun, and as they came to the end of the hedge on their left they saw a wall at right angles to it about five feet high. Molly looked for any sort of footing in the bricks for one second, and then she felt Grosse lift her in his arms, and deposit her on the top of the wall.
I gave him a reassuring squeeze of the hand, and, putting Jicks down on the floor, rose to welcome our good Grosse. The child, as it happened, was beforehand with me. She and the illustrious oculist had met in the garden at one of the German's professional visits to Lucilla, and had taken an amazing fancy to each other.
"Keep your veil out of the way," her mother warned her. "I've had two dreadful pulls already; I'm sure my feathers are quite crooked. Oh! mother, there's Sir Edmund Grosse; he will tell me whether they are crooked. You never know." "I could see if you would let me get in front of you," murmured her mother. "But you can't possibly in this crowd.
She pleaded hard to be allowed to stay at the window a little longer. He refused to allow it. Upon that she flew instantly into the opposite extreme. "I am in my own room, and I am my own mistress," she said angrily. "I insist on having my own way." Grosse was ready with his answer.
In this interesting portion of the city you come across the marvellously rich Grosse Horloge already mentioned. A casual glance would give one the impression that the structure was no older than the seventeenth century, but the actual date of its building is 1529, and the clock itself dates from about 1389, and is as old as any in France.
"Oh, I'll find him for you," said Edmund, and he was just going to ask what regiment Thomas was in when they were disturbed by the appearance of Billy emerging from the hunters' stable, and Edmund Grosse felt an unwarrantable contempt for a young man who dawdles away half the morning in the stable.
I was too mortified and too miserable to answer him. Through all our later troubles, I had looked forward so confidently to Oscar's re-appearance as the one sufficient condition on which Lucilla's happiness would be certainly restored! What had become of my anticipations now? I sat silent; staring in stupid depression at the pattern of the carpet. Grosse took out his watch.