Open main menu

Page:Carroll - Notes by an Oxford Chiel.djvu/150

This page has been validated.
8
THE BLANK CHEQUE.

need change sadly. Housekeeping worries me more every year, particularly with boarders—and John will have a couple of gentleman-boarders always on hand: he says it looks respectable, and that they talk so well they make the House quite lively. As if I couldn't talk enough for him!'

'It isn't that!' muttered John. 'It's——'

'They're well enough sometimes,' the lady went on (she never seemed to hear her husband's remarks), 'but I'm sure, when Mr. Prior Burgess was here, it was enough to turn one's hair grey! He was an open-handed gentleman enough—as liberal as could be—but far too particular about his meals. Why, if you'll believe me, he wouldn't sit down to dinner without there were three courses! We couldn't go on in that style, you know. I had to tell the next boarder he must be more hardy in his notions, or I could warrant him we shouldn't suit each other.'

'Quite right,' I said. 'Might I trouble you for another half cup?'

'Sea-side air we must have, you see,' Mrs. Nivers went on, mechanically taking up the tea-pot, but too much engrossed in the subject