The Devil's Paw
Julian, absorbed for the first few minutes of dinner by the crystallisation of this new idea
which had now taken a definite place in his brain, found his conversational powers
somewhat at a discount. Catherine very soon, however, asserted her claim upon his
"Please do your duty and tell me about things," she begged. "Remember that I am
Cinderella from Bohemia, and I scarcely know a soul here."
"Well, there aren't many to find out about, are there?" he replied. "Of course you know
"I have been gazing at him with dilated eyes," she confided. "Is that not the proper thing
to do? He seems to me very ordinary and very hungry."
"Well, then, there is the Bishop."
"I knew him at once from his photographs. He must spend the whole of the time when he
isn't in church visiting the photographer. However, I like him. He is talking to my aunt
quite amiably. Nothing does aunt so much good as to sit next a bishop."
"The Shervintons you know all about, don't you?" he went on. "The soldiers are just
young men from the Norwich barracks, Doctor Lennard was my father's tutor at Oxford,
and Mr. Hannaway Wells is our latest Cabinet Minister."
"He still has the novice's smirk," she remarked. "A moment ago I heard him tell his
neighbour that he preferred not to discuss the war. He probably thinks that there is a spy
under the table."
"Well, there we are - such as we are," Julian concluded. "There is no one left except me."
"Then tell me all about yourself," she suggested. "Really, when I come to think of it,
considering the length of our conversations, you have been remarkably reticent. You are
the youngest of the family, are you not? How many brothers are there?"
"There were four," he told her. "Henry was killed at Ypres last year. Guy is out there still.
Richard is a Brigadier."
"I am ~ a barrister by profession, but I went out with the first Inns of Court lot for a little
amateur soldiering and lost part of my foot at Mons. Since then I have been indulging in
the unremunerative and highly monotonous occupation of censoring."