to rebuff. He was tired of lending, and in a mood to resent unauthorized demands. Harold Flower’s struck him as particularly unauthorised. He said so.

It took some little time to convince Mr. Flower that he really meant it, but, realizing at last the grim truth, he drew a long breath and spoke.

“Ho!” he said. “Afraid you can’t spare it, can’t you? A gentleman comes and asks you with tack and civility for a temp’y loan of about ’arf nothing, and all you do is to curse and swear at him. Do you know what I call you—you and your thousand quid? A tuppenny millionaire, that’s what I call you. Keep your blooming money. That’s all I ask. Keep it. Much good you’ll get out of it. I know your sort. You’ll never have any pleasure of it. Not you. You’re the careful sort. You’ll put it into Consols, you will, and draw your three-ha’pence a year. Money wasn’t meant for your kind. It don’t mean nothing to you. You ain’t got the go in you to appreciate it. A vegetable—that’s all you are. A blanky little vegetable. A blanky little gor-blimey vegetable. I seen turnips with more spirit in ’em than what you’ve got. And Brussels sprouts. Yes, and parsnips.”

It is difficult to walk away with dignity when a man with a hoarse voice and a watery eye is comparing you to your disadvantage with a parsnip, and George did not come anywhere near achieving the feat. But he extricated himself somehow, and went home brooding.

Mr. Flower’s remarks rankled particularly because it so happened that Consols were the identical investment on which he had decided. His Uncle Robert, with whom he lived as a paying guest, had strongly advocated them. Also they had suggested themselves to him independently.

But Harold Flower’s words gave him pause. They made him think. For two weeks and some days he thought, flushing uncomfortably whenever he met that watery but contemptuous eye. And then came the day of his annual vacation, and with it inspiration. He sought out the messenger, whom till now he had carefully avoided.

“Er—Flower,” he said.

“Me lord?”

“I am taking my holiday to-morrow. Will you forward my letters? I will wire you the address. I have not settled on my hotel yet. I am popping over”—he paused—“I am popping over,” he resumed, carelessly, “to Monte.”

“To who?” inquired Mr. Flower.

“To Monte. Monte Carlo, you know.”

Mr. Flower blinked twice rapidly, then pulled himself together.

“Yus, I don’t think!” he said.

And that settled it.

The George who strolled that pleasant morning on the Promenade des Etrangers differed both externally and internally from the George who had fallen out with Harold Flower in the offices of the Planet Insurance Company. For a day after his arrival he had clung to the garb of middleclass England. On the second he had discovered that this was unpleasantly warm and, worse, conspicuous. At the Casino Municipale that evening he had observed a man wearing an arrangement in bright yellow velvet without attracting attention. The sight had impressed him. Next morning he had emerged from his hotel in a flannel suit so light that it had been unanimously condemned as impossible by his Uncle Robert, his Aunt Louisa, his Cousins Percy, Eva, and Geraldine, and his Aunt Louisa’s mother, and at a shop in the Rue Lasalle had spent twenty francs on a Homburg hat. And Roville had taken it without blinking.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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