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“ Yes, dear,” she said softly. “ I'll ask Miss Corder to stay here, if you like. Certainly I will paint her-paint her as long as she will sit and in as many aspects as you like. And now I really must work.”
“That means I must go."
“ It means,” said Lady Mary, " that I'm much nicer than you think. I'm giving you the chance to do it gracefully, dear."
So Anthony went once more into Bayswater, trying to discover the secret of his own sensations.
THE OTHER ANTHONY ANTHONY JAMES FROZIER, Earl of Ingestow and A Viscount Wrotham, was an ordinary young man of his day and his class. If he fell a little behind the average in his vices, he rose somewhat above it in certain old-fashioned prejudices, and so kept things even.
On the Friday following his meeting with his nephew, he happened to breakfast with his mother. Towards the end of the meal he spoke.
“My sister Mary,” he said, “ doesn't care a dump whether she ever sees me again or not. Sister Mary probably knows not my name nor my age nor my face. If I tell her who I am, she'll just tick me off as the son of Lady Blanche's enemy. But when you're a solitary uncle, you've got to live up to the position.”
“What is a solitary uncle?” asked the dowager Lady Ingestow.
“A man with one nephew and no nieces,” said her son. “Who's your nephew?" “ Young Le Dane."
“You seem to think he's Mary's offspring—from the way you talk," said Lady Ingestow with a sneer.
“You know well enough I know he's Blanche's,” replied Ingestow. He postponed anger, hoping to find out what his mother was driving at.
“Do I? Well, if you ask me, I don't know anything. He's just as likely to be Mary's, as far as that goes,” said his mother.
“ What the devil d’you mean?”
“She was-was too old,” said the woman. “I've never believed it.”
“Rot, my dear, scandalous mater-sheer rot,” said her son. “You can't make a woman barren just by hating her.”
“ Don't be coarse, Ingestow. You disgust me.”
“I know the boy,” he said.
“You'd better not say such things to anyone else,” said the son.
"I don't," said the mother. “It's your fault that I said them even to you. Why did you suddenly spring the subject on me? It always makes me ill.”
"Because I'm going to call at No. 73 Cheyne Walk this afternoon,” he replied.
“I wonder where Cheyne Walk is,” murmured Lady Ingestow.
“ You've plenty of smart friends living there or in worse places near it,” he retorted.
“Who lives at No. 7B?”
“ Lady Mary Frozier. It's a bit odd, you know," said Ingestow, “ if I have to find her on the map for you.”
“My dear child,” she replied, “ I know where she is and what she is—I know, indeed, a great deal more about her and her set than you would know if you called upon her for a twelvemonth.”
“ Then I must say you ask a lot of unnecessary questions,” growled her son. “But what you know of her can't be anything bad.”
" Umph!” said the woman. “And why not?”.
“Because you'd have told it me, with embellishments, long ago," he replied. “You and Blanche hated each other, and said it was about surplices and hell and incense—but it wasn't. It was the old, fairy-tale step business. And poor Mary-who's a beautiful and distinguished woman, and all off her own bat, too-doesn't even, I suppose, know high from low, nor a cope from a chasuble. But she loved Blanche, and so you hate her-hate her even to the point of petting any fool that says she can't paint."
“What?” cried Lady Ingestow.
“I heard a man do it to please you. You liked it, and showed it. And I think that's silly,” said Ingestow.
“Why are you going there to-day?" asked his mother, glad to get back to the main subject.
“ Because I've two empty hours this afternoon."
must control your—your emotions,” said Ingestow, smiling kindly at the fat, handsome woman across the table. “ It's a funny thing that you always get 'em worse over something that's done and can't be helped, than over something that's going to be done if you can't prevent it."
“Oh, go to Chelsea,” said Lady Ingestow.
Now Ingestow found that his two hours were not quite in the right place. He consoled himself with the reflection that he was more likely to find his sister at home and alone at three o'clock than at five.
The maid would have left him in the library while she went to see if Lady Mary were disengaged. But Ingestow had an odd feeling of familiarity with the sister he remembered only from his schoolboy visit to her house, and felt inclined to take liberties in it now that he had come to it once more. So he stealthily followed the servant, and as she opened the door at the head of the five steps into the paintingroom, he walked deliberately past her. Lady Mary, out of what the Scotch call the tail of her eye, perceived a man's figure above her, and still painting, cried out:
“Is that you, Anthony?"
She looked up sharply at the sound of his voice. And he saw a face that made him glad he had come.
“ All male Froziers like to be called Anthony,” he said. And that told her enough to make her lay down palette and brushes where she would rather have seen the other Anthony sitting. She went to meet him, and his hand closed upon hers.
“Are you really my sister Mary?” he asked, holding it, and regarding her with admiration undisguised.
“ If you are Ingestow-yes,” she answered.
“I don't know you well enough,” said Lady Mary, “ to reassure you.”
“If you did," said her brother, “ you'd be glad to see me."
“ I am, anyhow-really,” she answered. “I won't even ask you why you never came before. But I will ask you to sit down—and why you have come now—and to smoke one of Tony's cigars."
And she pushed him into a low chair, brought him the carved-oak box, and stood in front of him while, with eyes fixed on her face, he mechanically helped himself to tobacco.
" You are very beautiful, Mary,” he said, when she had given him a light.
“I am glad you find me so," she answered, sitting opposite to him. “Tell me all about it.”
"I should have come long ago,” he began; “ but you went and made yourself famous at just the wrong time."
“Oh!” cried his sister. “So you punished me for my threepennyworth of success, Ingestow?"
"My name's Anthony," he said, “and I'm your nearest living relative.”
"You're not too late to be my brother," Lady Mary answered, smiling. “But you are too late to be Anthony. You chose your time, you see; and I have an Anthony that I call my own. And he chose his.”
“ You mean Blanche's boy?”
“Oh, well, it's my fault. Call me what you like—if you'll be nice to me.”
“As nice as I can,” said Lady Mary.
"That other Anthony of yours, you know, is a very decent sort of chap,” said Ingestow.
“Very decent-for an old woman's pet nephew, more than decent,” replied his sister. “But I know all about him and his decency. Now, as you have come, I'm going to put you through a catechism about a lot of things and people I haven't seen or heard of since I was a little girl. And if you take trouble to answer me, I shall know you mean to be good to me.”
And so, of the old houses in town and country, of old servants whom she had known in their prime but he in the yellow leaf; of that Anthony who was father to both of them, and whom she had last seen speechless upon his death-bed, they talked; and he told her kindly and simply the little he could of the much she wanted to know.
Suddenly he looked at his watch.
"Don't,” said Lady Mary. “I want you to stay. The other Anthony's coming. And a patient.”
“Good Lord!” cried Ingestow. “What's that? You aren't a Christian Scientist, are you?”
"No. But I make them suffer,” she replied. “And I have no chloroform, ether, hypnotism, egoism nor laughing-gas to make them natural and comfortable. So they are patients.'