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TONO-BUNGAY

in a distinctly bright and encouraging way that she feared I was a very "frivolous" person.

I wonder now what it was I said that was "frivolous."

I don't know what happened to end that conversation, or if it had an end. I remember talking to one of the clergy for a time rather awkwardly, and being given a sort of topographical history of Beckenham, which he assured me time after time, was "Quite an old place. Quite an old place." As though I had treated it as new and he meant to be very patient but very convincing. Then we hung up in a distinct pause, and my aunt rescued me. "George," she said in a confidential undertone, "keep the pot-a-boiling." And then audibly, "I say, will you both old trot about with tea a bit?"

"Only too delighted to trot for you, Mrs. Ponderevo," said the clergyman, becoming fearfully expert and in his element; "only too delighted."

I found we were near a rustic table, and that the housemaid was behind us in a suitable position to catch us on the rebound with the tea things.

"Trot!" repeated the clergyman to me, much amused; "excellent expression!" and I just saved him from the tray as he turned about.

We handed tea for a while. . . .

"Give 'em cakes," said my aunt, flushed but well in hand, "Helps 'em to talk, George. Always talk best after a little nushment. Like throwing a bit of turf down an old geyser."

She surveyed the gathering with a predominant blue eye and helped herself to tea.

"They keep on going stiff," she said in an undertone. . . . "I've done my best."