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    “Really, my dear, if it weren’t that the fellow kept his hat in his hand and scattered his ‘sirs’ broadcast, it might just have been old Billy de la Poer himself I was talking to. DO you remember Billy? And how, in his palmy days, one had to wheedle a mount out of him, if he wasn’t in the vein to hire? The very same uppish independence! I don’t know, I’m sure, what this country’s coming to. Though I will say, with all his shortcomings Billy never had the impudence to tell me I couldn’t drive.”


    1.Say? Well, first, it was plain to Mary, he had not known from Adam who Richard was. Without getting up from his chair, not troubling to take his head out of a newspaper, he had asked the intruder’s pleasure in the free-and-easy colonial fashion which, long as he had lived there, Richard had never learned to swallow. Besides, not to be recognised in a place he honoured with his patronage was in itself a source of offence. Haughtily presenting his card (which, she could see, had lamentably failed to produce an effect), he demanded to speak to Simmonds, with whom he had important business.
    2.Towards ten o’clock, Lizzie could no longer conceal her yawns. Mary and she had talked themselves out: and where she had first surreptitiously peeped, she now openly drew her watch from her belt. This, John’s latest present to her, was a magnificent affair, crusted back and front with diamonds, while tiny brilliants sprinkled the long gold chain on which it hung. Unlike most women, Lizzie could wear any quantity of jewellery without looking overloaded. At the present moment a little heap of rings and bracelets lay on the lid of the piano; for, in despair, she had re-seated herself at the keys and begun anew to sing.
    3.None the less the decision cost him his sleep of a night. Mary was all in favour of the one to be rented: his inclinations leaned to the other. He walked past this a dozen times a day, and went over it so often that the agent suggested him keeping the keys until he had made up his mind. It was ridiculous, he told himself, to think of buying a house before he had sampled the practice; yet seldom had he been so torn. And once again Mary, pitying his distraction, came to the rescue and said, well, after all, perhaps he should just buy and be done with it. For she saw what would happen if he didn’t: he would never cease to bemoan his loss, and to find fault with the house he was in. Better for his peace of mind that he should take the monetary risk — and though this meant using up the last remainder of their available ready money. But there was also another unspoken thought at the back of Mary’s mind. The knowledge that he had thus involved himself might help him to sit firm, if — and with a person like Richard the contingency HAD to be allowed for — if he afterwards tired of the place.
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