I think I can see him doing it, said Mrs. Mallowe pensively, scratching her fox-terriers ears.
I was properly impressed. Most properly. I yawned openly. Strict supervision, and play them off one against the other, said The Mussuck, shovelling down his ice by tureenfuls, I assure you. That, Mrs. Hauksbee, is the secret of our Government.
Mrs. Mallowe laughed long and merrily. And what did you say?
Did you ever know me at loss for an answer yet? I said: So I have observed in my dealings with you. The Mussuck swelled with pride. He is coming to call on me to-morrow. The Hawley Boy is coming too.
Strict supervision and play them off one against the other. That, Mrs. Hauksbee, is the secret of our Government. And I daresay if we could get to The Mussucks heart, we should find that he considers himself a man of the world.
As he is of the other two things. I like The
Mussuck, and I wont have you call him names. He amuses me.
He has reformed you, too, by what appears. Explain the interval of sanity, and hit Tim on the nose with the paper-cutter, please. That dog is too fond of sugar. Do you take milk in yours?
No, thanks. Polly, Im wearied of this life. Its hollow.
Turn religious, then. I always said that Rome would be your fate.
Only exchanging half-a-dozen attachés in red for one in black, and if I fasted, the wrinkles would come, and never, never go. Has it ever struck you, dear, that Im getting old?
Thanks for your courtesy. Ill return it. Ye-es, we are both not exactlyhow shall I put it?
What we have been. I feel it in my bones, as Mrs. Crossley says. Polly, Ive wasted my life.
Never mind how. I feel it. I want to be a Power before I die.
Be a Power then. Youve wits enough for anythingand beauty!
Mrs. Hauksbee pointed a teaspoon straight at her hostess. Polly, if you heap compliments on me like this, I shall cease to believe that youre a woman. Tell me how I am to be a Power.
Inform The Mussuck that he is the most fascinating and slimmest man in Asia, and hell tell you anything and everything you please.
Bother The Mussuck! I mean an intellectual Powernot a gas-power. Polly, Im going to start a salon.
Mrs. Mallowe turned lazily on the sofa and rested her head on her hand. Hear the words of the Preacher, the son of Baruch, she said.
Will you talk sensibly?
I will, dear, for I see that you are going to make a mistake.
I never made a mistake in my lifeat least, never one that I couldnt explain away afterwards.
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