THAT evening there was a vacant place at the Rectory dinner-table. Tristram Duplessis was to have filled it, but did not appear until dessert. He entered then with smiles and light-hearted apologies.
"It isn't often that I work, you'll say, but when I do, I believe I'm not to be restrained. Thanks, Molesworth, anything will do for me." This was how he put it, first to his hostess, next to the anxious butler, each of whom knew better. He chose to add, for the general benefit, "As a matter of fact, I got interested, and entirely forgot that a man must eat."
"Or behave himself," said the Rector, with lifted brows.
Duplessis paused, soup-spoon in air. "He should, no doubt. That's why I'm so late. I had to dress, you see. Anon Soames must needs come in and talk his cricket. They play Cromberton to-morrow, and are two short. Will I be one, and bring another' man? says Soames." The spoon was emptied and put down. "I half promised to bring you, you know, Germain." This was suavely addressed to Mr. John Germain, who unblinkingly received it.