'I AM afraid you are not interested, Captain Simpkinson,' remarked the vicar's wife, with a certain asperity.
'I beg your pardon,' said the captain hastily; 'I--I was thinking of something else for the moment.'
The 2nd Battalion of the Royalshire Regiment was At Home to its friends at its depot in the highly respectable British garrison town of Cokechester. The 'County' was there, and the fringe of the county-- florid local magnates, sporting solicitors, and land agents, anxious matrons keeping a careful eye on marriageable daughters, stout rectors, slim curates. The regimental band was beating out the famous regimental tune of the Royalshires on one square of enamelled sward; flannelled youths and short-skirted maidens were playing tennis on another; the servants were preparing tea and ices in the buffet under the long marquee. The vicar's wife had chosen this occasion to impart to the young officer--he was still young, though there were lines and wrinkles on his lean, brown cheeks --her ideas on the proper management of soup kitchens. But the captain's thoughts were far away.
As the good lady prosed on, under the mild sunshine of an English June, his mind wandered drowsily to a