The Toys of Peace and Other Stories
"It would be jolly to spend Easter in Vienna this year," said Strudwarden, "and look up
some of my old friends there. It's about the jolliest place I know of to be at for Easter--"
"I thought we had made up our minds to spend Easter at Brighton," interrupted Lena
Strudwarden, with an air of aggrieved surprise.
"You mean that you had made up your mind that we should spend Easter there," said her
husband; "we spent last Easter there, and Whitsuntide as well, and the year before that we
were at Worthing, and Brighton again before that. I think it would be just as well to have
a real change of scene while we are about it."
"The journey to Vienna would be very expensive," said Lena.
"You are not often concerned about economy," said Strudwarden, "and in any case the
trip of Vienna won't cost a bit more than the rather meaningless luncheon parties we
usually give to quite meaningless acquaintances at Brighton. To escape from all that set
would be a holiday in itself."
Strudwarden spoke feelingly; Lena Strudwarden maintained an equally feeling silence on
that particular subject. The set that she gathered round her at Brighton and other South
Coast resorts was composed of individuals who might be dull and meaningless in
themselves, but who understood the art of flattering Mrs. Strudwarden. She had no
intention of foregoing their society and their homage and flinging herself among
unappreciative strangers in a foreign capital.
"You must go to Vienna alone if you are bent on going," she said; "I couldn't leave Louis
behind, and a dog is always a fearful nuisance in a foreign hotel, besides all the fuss and
separation of the quarantine restrictions when one comes back. Louis would die if he was
parted from me for even a week. You don't know what that would mean to me."
Lena stooped down and kissed the nose of the diminutive brown Pomeranian that lay,
snug and irresponsive, beneath a shawl on her lap.
"Look here," said Strudwarden, "this eternal Louis business is getting to be a ridiculous
nuisance. Nothing can be done, no plans can be made, without some veto connected with
that animal's whims or convenience being imposed. If you were a priest in attendance on
some African fetish you couldn't set up a more elaborate code of restrictions. I believe
you'd ask the Government to put off a General Election if you thought it would interfere
with Louis's comfort in any way."
By way of answer to this tirade Mrs. Strudwarden stooped down again and kissed the
irresponsive brown nose. It was the action of a woman with a beautifully meek nature,