The Toys of Peace and Other Stories HTML version
"The tea will be quite cold, you'd better ring for some more," said the Dowager Lady
Susan Lady Beanford was a vigorous old woman who had coquetted with imaginary ill-
health for the greater part of a lifetime; Clovis Sangrail irreverently declared that she had
caught a chill at the Coronation of Queen Victoria and had never let it go again. Her
sister, Jane Thropplestance, who was some years her junior, was chiefly remarkable for
being the most absent-minded woman in Middlesex.
"I've really been unusually clever this afternoon," she remarked gaily, as she rang for the
tea. "I've called on all the people I meant to call on; and I've done all the shopping that I
set out to do. I even remembered to try and match that silk for you at Harrod's, but I'd
forgotten to bring the pattern with me, so it was no use. I really think that was the only
important thing I forgot during the whole afternoon. Quite wonderful for me, isn't it?"
"What have you done with Louise?" asked her sister. "Didn't you take her out with you?
You said you were going to."
"Good gracious," exclaimed Jane, "what have I done with Louise? I must have left her
"That's just it. Where have I left her? I can't remember if the Carrywoods were at home or
if I just left cards. If there were at home I may have left Louise there to play bridge. I'll go
and telephone to Lord Carrywood and find out."
"Is that you, Lord Carrywood?" she queried over the telephone; "it's me, Jane
Thropplestance. I want to know, have you seen Louise?"
"'Louise,'" came the answer, "it's been my fate to see it three times. At first, I must admit,
I wasn't impressed by it, but the music grows on one after a bit. Still, I don't think I want
to see it again just at present. Were you going to offer me a seat in your box?"
"Not the opera 'Louise'--my niece, Louise Thropplestance. I thought I might have left her
at your house."
"You left cards on us this afternoon, I understand, but I don't think you left a niece. The
footman would have been sure to have mentioned it if you had. Is it going to be a fashion
to leave nieces on people as well as cards? I hope not; some of these houses in Berkeley-
square have practically no accommodation for that sort of thing."