Have you ever thought about – and, when I say thought about, I mean really carefully considered the question of – the coolness, the cheek, or, if you prefer it, the gall with which Woman, as a sex, fairly bursts? I have, by Jove! But then I’ve had it thrust on my notice, by George,...
<p>Have you ever thought about – and, when I say thought about, I mean really carefully considered the question of – the coolness, the cheek, or, if you prefer it, the gall with which Woman, as a sex, fairly bursts? <em>I</em> have, by Jove! But then I’ve had it thrust on my notice, by George, in a way I should imagine has happened to pretty few fellows. And the limit was reached by that business of the Yeardsley “Venus”.</p>
<p>To make you understand the full what-d’you-call-it of the situation, I shall have to explain just how matters stood between Mrs. Yeardsley and myself.</p>
<p>When I first knew her she was Elizabeth Shoolbred. Old Worcestershire family; pots of money; pretty as a picture. Her brother Bill was at Oxford with me.</p>
<p>I loved Elizabeth Shoolbred. I loved her, don’t you know. And there was a time, for about a week, when we were engaged to be married. But just as I was beginning to take a serious view of life and study furniture catalogues and feel pretty solemn when the restaurant orchestra played “The Wedding Glide,” I’m hanged if she didn’t break it off, and a month later she was married to a fellow of the name of Yeardsley – Clarence Yeardsley, an artist.</p>
<p>What with golf, and billiards, and a bit of racing, and fellows at the club rallying round and kind of taking me out of myself, as it were, I got over it, and came to look on the affair as a closed page in the book of my life, if you know what I mean. It didn’t seem likely to me that we should meet again, as she and Clarence had settled down in the country somewhere and never came to London, and I’m bound to own that, by the time I got her letter, the wound had pretty well healed, and I was to a certain extent sitting up and taking nourishment. In fact, to be absolutely honest, I was jolly thankful the thing had ended as it had done.</p>
<p>This letter I’m telling you about arrived one morning out of a blue sky, as it were. It ran like this:</p>
<p><em>MY DEAR OLD REGGIE, – What ages it seems since I saw anything of you. How are you? We have settled down here in the most perfect old house, with a lovely garden, in the middle of delightful country. Couldn’t you run down here for a few days? Clarence and I would be so glad to see you. Bill is here, and is most anxious to meet you again. He was speaking of you only this morning. Do come. Wire your train, and...