Open main menu

Page:Tono-Bungay.djvu/309

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
301
OUR PROGRESS

—and when she tasted it first——. You pulled a face, Susan, you did. I saw you. It surprised you. You bunched your nose. We got to get used to wine and not do that. We got to get used to wearing evening dress—you, Susan, too."

"Always have had a tendency to stick out of my clothes," said my aunt. "However——. Who cares?" She shrugged her shoulders.

I had never seen my uncle so immensely serious.

"Got to get the hang of etiquette," he went on to the fire. "Horses even. Practise everything. Dine every night in evening dress. . . . Get a brougham or something. Learn up golf and tennis and things. Country gentleman. Oh Fay. It isn't only freedom from Goochery."

"Eh?" I said.

"Oh!—Gawshery, if you like!"

"French, George," said my aunt. "But I'm not old Gooch. I made that face for fun."

"It isn't only freedom from Gawshery. We got to have Style. See! Style! Just all right and one better. That's what I call Style. We can do it, and we will."

He mumbled his cigar and smoked for a space, leaning forward and looking into the fire.

"What is it," he asked, "after all? What is it? Tips about eating; tips about drinking. Clothes. How to hold yourself, and not say jes' the few little things they know for certain are wrong—jes' the shibboleth things." . . .

He was silent again, and the cigar crept up from the horizontal towards the zenith as the confidence of his mouth increased.

"Learn the whole bag of tricks in six months," he said, becoming more cheerful. "Eh, Susan? Beat 'em