Come in, young un, returned Coppy, who was at early breakfast in the midst of his dogs. What mischief have you been getting into now?
Wee Willie Winkie had done nothing notoriously bad for three days, and so stood on a pinnacle of virtue.
Ive been doing nothing bad, said he, curling himself into a long chair with a studious affectation of the Colonels languor after a hot parade. He buried his freckled nose in a tea-cup and, with eyes staring roundly over the rim, asked: I say, Coppy, is it pwoper to kiss big girls?
By Jove! Youre beginning early. Who do you want to kiss?
No one. My muvvers always kissing me if I dont stop her. If it isnt pwoper, how was you kissing Major Allardyces big girl last morning, by ve canal?
Coppys brow wrinkled. He and Miss Allardyce had with great craft managed to keep their engagement secret for a fortnight. There were urgent and imperative reasons why Major Allardyce should not know how matters stood for at least another month, and this small marplot had discovered a great deal too much.
I saw you, said Wee Willie Winkie calmly. But ve sais didnt see. I said, Hut jao!
Oh, you had that much sense, you young Rip, groaned poor Coppy, half amused and half angry. And how many people may you have told about it?
Only me myself. You didnt tell when I twied to wide ve buffalo ven my pony was lame; and I fought you wouldnt like.
Winkie, said Coppy enthusiastically, shaking the small hand, youre the best of good fellows. Look here, you cant understand all these things. One of these dayshang it, how can I make you see it!Im going to marry Miss Allardyce, and then shell be Mrs. Coppy, as you say. If your young mind is so scandalised at the idea of kissing big girls, go and tell your father.
What will happen? said Wee Willie Winkie, who firmly believed that his father was omnipotent.
I shall get into trouble, said Coppy, playing his trump card with an appealing look at the holder of the ace.
Ven I wont, said Wee Willie Winkie briefly. But my faver says its un-man-ly to be always kissing, and I didnt fink youd do vat, Coppy.
Im not always kissing, old chap. Its only now and then, and when youre bigger youll do it too. Your father meant its not good for little boys.
Ah! said Wee Willie Winkie, now fully enlightened. Its like ve sputter-brush?
Exactly, said Coppy gravely.
But I dont fink Ill ever want to kiss big girls, nor no one, cept my muvver. And I must vat, you know.
There was a long pause, broken by Wee Willie Winkie.
Are you fond of vis big girl, Coppy?
Awfully! said Coppy.
Fonder van you are of Bell or ve Butchaor me?
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