*AIRY FAIRY LILLiN.* 13
Perhaps Lady Chetwoode's self-admiration would
have grown beyond bounds, but that just at this instant
voices in the hall distract her thoughts. The sounds
make her face brighten and bring a smile to her lips.
' The boys' are coming. She draws the teacups a little
nearer to her and makes a gentle fuss over the spoons.
A light laugh echoes through the hall; it is answered,
and then the door once more opens, and her two sons
enter, Cyril, being the youngest, naturally coming
On seeing his mother he is pleased to make a gesture
indicative of the most exaggerated surprise.
' Now, who could have anticipated it ?' he says.
'Her gracious majesty already assembled, while her
faithful subjects------- Well,' with a sudden change of
tone, ' for my part I call it downright shabby of people
to scramble downstairs before other people merely for
the sake of putting them to the blush.'
' Lazy boy!' no wonder you are ashamed ot your¬
self when you look at the clock,' says Lady Chetwoode,
smiling fondly as she returns his greeting.
' " Ashamed! " Pray do not misunderstand me. I
have arrived at my twenty-sixth year without ever
having mastered the meaning of that word. I flatter
myself I am a degree beyond that.'
' Last night's headache quite gone, mother ? ' asks
Sir Guy, bending over her chair to kiss her: an act he
performs tenderly, and as though the doing of it is
sweet to him.
' Quite, my dear,' replies she ; and there is perhaps
the faintest, the very faintest, accession of warmth in
her tone, an almost imperceptible increase of kindliness
in her smile as she speaks to her eldest son.
' That's right,' says he, patting her gently on the
shoulder; after which he goes over to his own seat and
takes up the letters lying before him.
' Positively I never thought of the post,' says Lady
Chetwoode. ' And here I have been for quite five