"Not at all, sir. Cook's done a little spinach in cream with the soubees."
"Ah! Tell her from me it's a capital dinner, so far."
Alone again, old Heythorp sat unmoving, his brain just narcotically touched. "The flag flyin'--the flag flyin'!" He raised his glass and sucked. He had an appetite now, and finished the three cutlets, and all the sauce and spinach. Pity! he could have managed a snipe fresh shot! A desire to delay, to lengthen dinner, was strong upon him; there were but the souffle' and the savoury to come. He would have enjoyed, too, someone to talk to. He had always been fond of good company--been good company himself, or so they said--not that he had had a chance of late. Even at the Boards they avoided talking to him, he had noticed for a long time. Well! that wouldn't trouble him again--he had sat through his last Board, no doubt. They shouldn't kick him off, though; he wouldn't give them that pleasure-- had seen the beggars hankering after his chairman's shoes too long. The souffle was before him now, and lifting his glass, he said:
"These are the special glasses, sir; only four to the bottle."
The servant filled, screwing up his mouth.
Old Heythorp drank, and put the glass down empty with a sigh. He had been ,faithful to his principles, finished the bottle before touching the sweet--a good bottle--of a good brand! And now for the souffle! Delicious, flipped down with the old sherry! So that holy woman was going to a ball, was she! How deuced funny! Who would dance with a dry stick like that, all eaten up with a piety which was just sexual disappointment? Ah! yes, lots of women like that--had often noticed 'em--pitied 'em too, until you had to do with them and they made you as unhappy as themselves, and were tyrants into the bargain. And he asked:
"I'll have my port with it--the 'sixty-eight." The man stood gazing with evident stupefaction. He had not expected this. The old man's face was very flushed, but that might be the bath. He said feebly:
"Would you mind if I spoke to Miss Heythorp, Sir?"