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There was a pause, the very slightest, quite imperceptible to Keeling, though John would probably have noticed it. But instantly Lord Inverbroom made up his mind that it was quite impossible to refuse this thing which he wished had not been asked. He had not the smallest personal objection to having Keeling as a member, but in that infinitesimal pause he divined, he was afraid unerringly, the feeling of the club generally. Ridiculous it might be, as many class-distinctions are, but he knew that it existed, and in general

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he shared it. He succeeded, however, in keeping cordiality in his voice, in consenting 长沙桑拿洗浴论坛交流 to do what he felt unable to refuse.

‘I shall be delighted to,’ he said. ‘Have you{171} got a seconder? Ah, I think that is not necessary when the President proposes a candidate. I will certainly put down your name when I go into Bracebridge next.’

Again there was a slight pause, and he rose, trying to avoid the appearance of breaking off a distasteful subject.

‘Well, Mr Keeling,’ he said. ‘I mean to keep you up a long time in my library to-night, so shall we go into the drawing-room at once, till the ladies go up to bed? Dear me, that awful chimney! It would be very good of you if you would let me have the cowl you told me of.’

Late as it was when Keeling went upstairs, he found a jubilant and wakeful wife waiting for him, with a positive cargo of questions and impressions which she had to unload at once. Her elation 长沙桑拿中心 took a condescending and critical form, and she neither wanted nor paused for answers.

‘Well, I’m sure it’s been a very pleasant if a very quiet evening,’ she said. ‘There’s nothing nicer than to dine, as you may say, tête-à-tête like that and have a little agreeable conversation afterwards, not but what I should have been sorry to have as tough a pheasant as that served at my table, for I declare I could hardly get my teeth into it though it did come on a silver plate, and nothing but a nut and an apple for dessert, though you can get choice grapes so cheap now. But there! what does that matter when you dine with{172} friends? Such a pleasant talk as I had too with Lady Inverbroom, who, I’m sure, is a very sensible and agreeable sort of woman. Nothing very gifted, I dare say, but a great deal of common sense. Common sense now! 长沙桑拿哪里好玩 I often wish it was commoner. But the time passed so quickly while you and Lord Inverbroom were talking together in the dining-room that I was quite surprised when you came in. The soup, too, did you not find it insipid? But I expect Lady Inverbroom does not have the sort of cook that I have always been accustomed to. No jewels either, just that little diamond brooch, which made me feel that I was too fine with the beautiful pearl pendant you gave me for my birthday. Don’t you agree with me, Thomas?’

‘You have talked about fifty things, my dear. I don’t know which you want me to agree with you about,’ said he.

‘Well, we will let it pass. Was it not odd that Lord Inverbroom had a book-plate by your Miss Propert? Quite a coincidence! But you made me feel quite hot when you talked about supplying him with a chimney-cowl, just 长沙桑拿会所推荐 as if he was a customer. Not that it really matters, and I thought you got on wonderfully well, though no doubt you felt a little strange at first. And what did you and Lord Inverbroom talk about when we left you? Books, I suppose.’

Keeling sat down by the fire.{173}

‘If you want to know I will tell you,’ he said.

‘Of course I want to know. What should I ask for unless I wanted to know? Parkinson tells me they had quite a common supper in the room, nothing out of the way, just some of the fish that was left over and cold beef. I must ask Lady Inverbroom to drop in to lunch some day when she is in Bracebridge, and let her see how a pheasant should be served.’

‘I am going to tell you what we talked about, if you will be quiet for a moment. You do not yet know that I have given them the new wing to the hospital——’

‘What? You gave the new wing. Well, to think of your having kept me in the dark all this time! I do call that very generous, but generous you always are, as I’ve often told Mamma, about your money. I suppose that will cost a great deal of money.’

‘Yes, a great deal. Kindly allow me to get on. You are not to tell anybody about it till the day it is opened, when it will be announced. Lord Inverbroom thinks I shall be given a baronetcy. He suggested that I should tell you and see what you thought about it.’

Mrs Keeling sat straight up in bed.

‘Well, I never!’ she said. ‘Indeed Mamma was right when she said some people got on in the world. Sir Thomas Keeling, Bart., and Lady Keeling. It sounds very well, does it not? I do call{174} that money well laid out, however much it was—Sir Thomas and Lady Keeling! I hope Parkinson will pick it up quickly, and not stumble over it. “My lady” instead of “Ma’am.” She will have to practise.’

It was easy to see out of the depths of futilities that Mrs Keeling was pleased, and her husband retired to his dressing-room and shut the door on her raptures.

It was largely the remembrance of this visit, and the future accession of dignity which it had foreshadowed that inspired Mrs Keeling, as she drove home in her victoria after morning-service at St Thomas’s, a few Sundays later, with so comfortable a sense of her general felicity. The thought of being addressed on her envelopes as Lady Keeling, and by Parkinson as ‘My lady,’ caused her to take a livelier interest in the future than she usually did, for the comfortable present was generally enough for her. And with regard to the present her horizon was singularly unclouded, apart from the fact that Alice was suffering from influenza, an infliction which her mother bore very calmly. Her mind was not nimble, and it took her all the time that the slowly-lolloping horse occupied in traversing the road from the church to The Cedars in surveying those horizons, and running over, as she had just been bidden to do by Mr Silverdale in his sermon, her numerous{175} causes for thankfulness. She hardly knew where to begin, but the pearl-pendant, which her husband had given her on her birthday, and now oscillated with the movement of the carriage on the platinum chain round her ample neck, formed a satisfactory starting-point. It really was very handsome, and since she did not hold with the mean-spirited notion that presents were only tokens of affection, and that the kind thought that prompted a gift was of greater value than its cash-equivalent, she found great pleasure in the size and lustre of the pearl. Indeed she rather considered the value of the gift to be the criterion of the kindness of thought that had prompted it, and by that standard her husband’s thought had been very kind indeed. She had never known a kinder since, now many years ago, he had given her the half-hoop of diamonds that sparkled on her finger. And this gift had been all ‘of a piece’ with his general conduct. She knew for a fact that he was going to behave with his usual generosity at Christmas to her mother, and he had promised herself and Alice a fortnight’s holiday at Brighton in February. Perhaps he would come with them, but it was more likely that business would detain him. She found she did not care whether he came or not. It was her duty to be contented, whatever happened, when everything was so pleasant.

This imaginative flight into the future fatigued{176} her, or at any rate demanded an effort on the part of her brain, and very naturally she went back to the blessings that she found 长沙桑拿论坛社区 it easier to call to mind since they already existed. Quite high among these, a little lower perhaps than the pleasure of being Lady Mayoress, but higher than the fact that Alice was distinctly better this morning, was the sensible way in which her husband had behaved about those odd evening visits of Miss Propert when she worked at his library catalogue. Faint was the remembrance of that unpleasant moment when she had suddenly appeared among all the guests at the close of dinner, and was subsequently introduced into the drawing-room. But after that those visits had ceased altogether, and instead Miss Propert came in the middle of the morning when her husband was at his office. That was perfectly in accordance with the rules of correct behaviour, and when she chanced to meet Norah going into the library or leaving it at the 长沙桑拿微信 conclusion of her work, she always had a civil and condescending word for her. She had no doubt whatever that the girl was a very decent young woman in her station of life, which was as much as could be said about anybody.