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Oddsfish! by Robert Hugh Benson

We have no such rooms as this at Hare Street


was a fine piece of news indeed; for these lodgings were among the best. I was indeed become a person of importance.

There were two entrances to these lodgings--one from the Stone Gallery, and the other from the garden; but that into the garden was only a little door, whose use was not greatly encouraged, because of the personages that walked there; so I went up the Stone Gallery, between all the books and the cabinets, and so to my own door; with my James behind me. My other men I bade follow when they had bestowed the horses and found their own quarters.

It was a fine entrance, with a new shield over the door; lately scraped white, for the reception of my own arms. I knocked upon it, and a fellow opened; and when I had told him my name, he let me through; and I went upstairs to the parlour that looked over the garden; and there, to my happiness were my visitors. For they were none other than my dear love herself and her maid.

I cannot tell what that was to me, to find her there.... The maid was sent into the little writing-room, next door, into which my visitors would usually be shewn; and we two sat down on the window-seat. Dolly looked not a day older: she was in a fine dress.

"See," she said, "you have caught me again at Court? Will you send me away again this time?"

She told me presently that she and

her father were come up to town for a few days; but must be gone again directly. They had written to Mr. Chiffinch demanding news of me, and when should I be at liberty to come to Hare Street; and he had told them that at anyrate not yet for a while, and that they had best come and see me in my new lodgings. I was sorry that he had said I could not go to Hare Street for the present--though I had expected no less; but I soon forgot it again in her dear presence.

"You are a great man, now, I suppose," she said presently, "too great to see to the pigs any longer. We have no such rooms as this at Hare Street."

They were indeed fine; and we went through them together. They were all furnished from roof to floor; there were some good tapestries and pictures; and the windows, as the officer had said, looked out for the most part upon the trees beneath which so long ago I had watched ladies walking. But I told her that I loved my panelled chamber at Hare Street, and the little parlour, with the poor Knights of the Grail, who rode there for ever and never attained their quest, more than all Whitehall. Then I kissed her again, for perhaps the thirtieth time; and, as I was doing so Cousin Tom came in.

"Ah!" said he, "I have caught you then!" But he said it without much merriment.

If Dolly was no older, her father was. There were grey hairs in his eyebrows, for that was all that I could see of his hair, since he wore a periwig; and his face appeared a little blotchy.

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