Peter Ruff and the Double Four HTML version

II.7. Major Kosuth '5 Mission
His host, very fussy as he always was on the morning of his big shoot, came
bustling towards Peter, Baron de Grost, with a piece of paper in his hand. The
party of men had just descended from a large brake and were standing about on
the edge of the common, examining cartridges, smoking a last cigarette before
the business of the morning, and chatting together over the prospects of the
day's sport. In the distance, a cloud of dust indicated the approach of a fast
traveling motor-car.
"My dear Baron," Sir William Bounderby said, "I want you to change your stand
to-day. I must have a good man at the far corner as the birds go off my hand
from there, and Addington was missing them shockingly yesterday. Besides,
there is a new man coming on your left and I know nothing of his shooting -
nothing at all!"
Peter smiled.
"Anywhere you choose to put me, Sir William," he assented. "They came badly
for Addington yesterday, and well for me. However, I'll do my best."
"I wish people wouldn't bring strangers, especially to the one shoot where I'm
keen about the bag. I told Portal he could bring his brother-in-law, and he 's
bringing this foreign fellow instead. Don't suppose he can shoot for nuts! Did you
ever hear of him, I wonder? The Count von Hern, he calls himself."
The motor-car had come to a standstill by this time. From it descended Mr. Portal
himself, a large neighboring land owner, a man of culture and travel. With him
was Bernadine, in a very correct shooting suit and Tyrolese hat. On the other
side of Mr. Portal was a short, thick set man, with olive complexion, keen black
eyes, black mustache and imperial, who was dressed in city clothes. Sir William's
eyebrows were slightly raised as he advanced to greet the party. Peter was at
once profoundly interested.