The Duchess of Denver's chauffeur, having delivered his mistress to her mother-in-law's house, drew the car round to the mews and went in search of refreshment. Her grace the Dowager Duchess had recently purchased a large and luxurious saloon car, no doubt on the recommendation of her younger son, and he was eager to hear about it and should opportunity arise, drive it. Unfortunately his counterpart in the Dowager's house, while forthcoming with the tea and cake, appeared to have other things than motor vehicles occupying his mind.
'You'll never guess who's 'ere,' said Collins, resisting all suggestions that a trip to the garage was in order.
'You tell me. The Queen of Egypt?'
'Rarer. 'arriet Vane. You know, 'is lordship's bit of stuff.'
'She never is! And her grace calling. There'll be fireworks at home tonight, just you wait. The air'll be blue over Mayfair.'
Collins nodded sagely.
'She is. Wednesday, too. Came to call, stayed for tea and dinner and I drove her home after ten with a portrait of his lordship in a silver frame.'
'That mean it's official, then? Notice in the Times and all?'
'Tomorrow, according to Franklin. She had to place it for her grace, on account of his lordship being in Rome.'
'Poor bugger, you'd think they'd let him enjoy it. What's she like? Her picture's nothing to write home about.'
'She's not bad looking. Dresses decently, and a good arse. No tits, though.'
'Ah,' said Smith, 'his brother's like that, too. Leastways,' he conceded, 'when it comes to marriage.'
'Funny to think of it going by families.'
'I don't know. The old Duke wasn't like that. Her grace were a looker in her day.'
'Maybe it's Freudian,' said Smith, who read a good deal. 'A reaction against the mother. Still, I daresay his lordship knows what he's getting.'
'That's likely enough. I wonder what his nibs thinks of it? His nose'll be well out of joint if his lordship gives up the flat and he has a butler over him.'
'I wouldn't take that job for a thousand a year. Not that Bunter isn't a decent sort off-duty, and he always stands his round, but he's a devil on it.'
Collins nodded vehemently. 'I heard him once when the garage scratched his lordship's car. You'd get more sympathy and understanding out of Genghis Khan. You've got to hope for the girl's sake that he approves of her.'
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