Chronicles of Clovis HTML version

The Quest
An unwonted peace hung over the Villa Elsinore, broken, however, at frequent intervals,
by clamorous lamentations suggestive of bewildered bereavement. The Momebys had
lost their infant child; hence the peace which its absence entailed; they were looking for it
in wild, undisciplined fashion, giving tongue the whole time, which accounted for the
outcry which swept through house and garden whenever they returned to try the home
coverts anew. Clovis, who was temporarily and unwillingly a paying guest at the villa,
had been dozing in a hammock at the far end of the garden when Mrs. Momeby had
broken the news to him.
"We've lost Baby," she screamed.
"Do you mean that it's dead, or stampeded, or that you staked it at cards and lost it that
way?" asked Clovis lazily.
"He was toddling about quite happily on the lawn," said Mrs. Momeby tearfully, "and
Arnold had just come in, and I was asking him what sort of sauce he would like with the
"I hope he said hollandaise," interrupted Clovis, with a show of quickened interest,
"because if there's anything I hate--"
"And all of a sudden I missed Baby," continued Mrs. Momeby in a shriller tone. "We've
hunted high and low, in house and garden and outside the gates, and he's nowhere to be
"Is he anywhere to he heard?" asked Clovis; "if not, he must be at least two miles away."
"But where? And how?" asked the distracted mother.
"Perhaps an eagle or a wild beast has carried him off," suggested Clovis.
"There aren't eagles and wild beasts in Surrey," said Mrs. Momeby, but a note of horror
had crept into her voice.
"They escape now and then from travelling shows. Sometimes I think they let them get
loose for the sake of the advertisement. Think what a sensational headline it would make
in the local papers: ' Infant son of prominent Nonconformist devoured by spotted hyaena.'
Your husband isn't a prominent Nonconformist, but his mother came of Wesleyan stock,
and you must allow the newspapers some latitude."
"But we should have found his remains," sobbed Mrs. Momeby.