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They bow with immense deference when the door opens, but the bow conceals a smirk because of those Venetian days. That confounded Versoy shoved his nose into that business; he says accidentally. There was in it a Prince and a lady and a big dog.

One day,” he went on again in that curiously flavoured voice of his, “my mother took a heroic decision and made up her mind to get up in the middle of the night. You must understand my mother’s phraseology. It meant that she would be up and dressed by nine o’clock. This time it was not Versoy that was commanded for attendance, but I. You may imagine how delighted I was. . . .”

She might be a little surprised at first to be called down like this, but with a few words of preparation and purely as a matter of art . . .’ “There were never two people more taken aback. Versoy himself confesses that he dropped his tall hat with a crash. I am a dutiful son, I hope, but I must say I should have liked to have seen the retreat down the great staircase. Ha! Ha! Ha!”

So she requested one of her poet friendsno less than Versoy himselfto arrange for a visit to Henry Allègre’s house. At first he thought he hadn’t heard aright. You must know that for my mother a man that doesn’t jump out of his skin for any woman’s caprice is not chivalrous. But perhaps you do know? . . .” Mills shook his head with an amused air.