"Ah!" said Mr. Rabbits; "dew they?"
"Isn't he," said my mother, "the Earl of Slumgold's cousin?" She knew he was; it was an entirely irrelevant and unnecessary remark, but still, something to say.
"The same, ma'am," said Mrs. Mackridge. "They say he was extremelay popular in New South Wales. They looked up to him greatlay. I knew him, ma'am, as a young man. A very nice pleasant young fella."
Interlude of respect.
"'Is predecessor," said Rabbits, who had acquired from some clerical model a precise emphatic articulation without acquiring at the same time the aspirates that would have graced it, "got into trouble at Sydney."
"Haw!" said Mrs. Mackridge, scornfully, "so I am tawled."
"'E came to Templemorton after 'e came back, and I remember them talking 'im over after 'e'd gone again."
"Haw?" said Mrs. Mackridge, interrogatively.
"'Is fuss was quotin' poetry, ma'am. 'E said—what was it 'e said?—'They lef' their country for their country's good,' which in some way was took to remind them of their being originally convic's, though now reformed. Every one I 'eard speak, agreed it was takless of 'im."
"Sir Roderick used to say," said Mrs. Mackridge, "that the First Thing"—here Mrs. Mackridge paused and looked dreadfully at me—"and the Second Thing"—here she fixed me again—"and the Third Thing"—now I was released—"needed in a colonial governor is Tact." She became aware of my doubts again, and added predominantly, "It has always struck me that that was a Singularly True Remark."
I resolved that if ever I found this polypus of Tact