Chronicles of Clovis HTML version
The Talking-Out Of Tarrington
"Heavens!" exclaimed the aunt of Clovis, "here's some one I know bearing down on us. I
can't remember his name, but he lunched with us once in Town. Tarrington--yes, that's it.
He's heard of the picnic I'm giving for the Princess, and he'll cling to me like a lifebelt till
I give him an invitation; then he'll ask if he may bring all his wives and mothers and
sisters with him. That's the worst of these small watering-places; one can't escape from
"I'll fight a rearguard action for you if you like to do a bolt now," volunteered Clovis;
"you've a clear ten yards start if you don't lose time."
The aunt of Clovis responded gamely to the suggestion, and churned away like a Nile
steamer, with a long brown ripple of Pekingese spaniel trailing in her wake.
"Pretend you don't know him," was her parting advice, tinged with the reckless courage
of the non-combatant.
The next moment the overtures of an affably disposed gentleman were being received by
Clovis with a "silent-upon-a-peak-in- Darien" stare which denoted an absence of all
previous acquaintance with the object scrutinized.
"I expect you don't know me with my moustache," said the new- comer; "I've only grown
it during the last two months."
"On the contrary," said Clovis, "the moustache is the only thing about you that seemed
familiar to me. I felt certain that I had met it somewhere before."
"My name is Tarrington," resumed the candidate for recognition.
"A very useful kind of name," said Clovis; "with a name of that sort no one would blame
you if you did nothing in particular heroic or remarkable, would they? And yet if you
were to raise a troop of light horse in a moment of national emergency, 'Tarrington's
Light Horse' would sound quite appropriate and pulse-quickening; whereas if you were
called Spoopin, for instance, the thing would be out of the question. No one, even in a
moment of national emergency, could possibly belong to Spoopin's Horse."
The new-comer smiled weakly, as one who is not to be put off by mere flippancy, and
began again with patient persistence:
"I think you ought to remember my name--"
"I shall," said Clovis, with an air of immense sincerity. "My aunt was asking me only this
morning to suggest names for four young owls she's just had sent her as pets. I shall call
them all Tarrington; then if one or two of them die or fly away, or leave us in any of the