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Chronicles of Clovis

The Secret Sin Of Septimus Brope
"Who and what is Mr. Brope?" demanded the aunt of Clovis suddenly.
Mrs. Riversedge, who had been snipping off the heads of defunct roses, and thinking of
nothing in particular, sprang hurriedly to mental attention. She was one of those old-
fashioned hostesses who consider that one ought to know something about one's guests,
and that the something ought to be to their credit.
"I believe he comes from Leighton Buzzard," she observed by way of preliminary
"In these days of rapid and convenient travel," said Clovis, who was dispersing a colony
of green-fly with visitations of cigarette smoke, "to come from Leighton Buzzard does
not necessarily denote any great strength of character. It might only mean mere
restlessness. Now if he had left it under a cloud, or as a protest against the incurable and
heartless frivolity of its inhabitants, that would tell us something about the man and his
mission in life."
"What does he do?" pursued Mrs. Troyle magisterially.
"He edits the CATHEDRAL MONTHLY," said her hostess, "and he's enormously
learned about memorial brasses and transepts and the influence of Byzantine worship on
modern liturgy, and all those sort of things. Perhaps he is just a little bit heavy and
immersed in one range of subjects, but it takes all sorts to make a good house-party, you
know. You don't find him TOO dull, do you?"
"Dullness I could overlook," said the aunt of Clovis; "what I cannot forgive is his making
love to my maid."
"My dear Mrs. Troyle," gasped the hostess, "what an extraordinary idea! I assure you Mr.
Brope would not dream of doing such a thing."
"His dreams are a matter of indifference to me; for all I care his slumbers may be one
long indiscretion of unsuitable erotic advances, in which the entire servants' hall may be
involved. But in his waking hours he shall not make love to my maid. It's no use arguing
about it, I'm firm on the point."
"But you must be mistaken," persisted Mrs. Riversedge; "Mr. Brope would be the last
person to do such a thing."
"He is the first person to do such a thing, as far as my information goes, and if I have any
voice in the matter he certainly shall be the last. Of course, I am not referring to
respectably-intentioned lovers."