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In the hall I met together two men whom I knew well. The first was Adams of the American Embassy in London; the second Cathcart of the British Embassy at Washington, now on leave. I had not seen either for two years, and it was with mutual pleasure that we met. After our preliminary handshaking, and the inevitable drink at the American's request, Adams slapped me on the shoulder and said heartily:

"Well, old fellow, I congratulate you; or rather am I to congratulate you?"

"What do you mean?" I asked in feeble embarrassment.

"All right, old chap!" he said heartily. "Your blush is enough. I see it hasn't come off yet at all events!" A man never lets well alone when he is in an awkward position. If I had only held my tongue I might not have made a guy of myself; but as I was in doubt as to what might be the issue of my suit to Marjory, I felt additionally constrained to affect ignorance of his meaning. So I floundered on:

"'Come off yet'? What on earth do you mean?" Again he slapped me on the back as he said in his chaffing way:

"My dear boy I saw you come in over the bridge. You had had a long ride I could see by your wheels; and I am bound to say that you did seem on excellent terms