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THE Doctor proceeded on his road, his
hands under his coat-tails, and smiling at
his own boots. He was going up to the
"bar'ks." At the door the rusty leathern
"conveniency" was waiting, "Hungry
Shipton" trying to raise his lunch gratuitously,
no doubt!  He entered, found them all
there in the mess-room, with Lord Shipton
holding out a glass of wine, as he stood
up and talked unctuously.

"Now, I can take no excuse:  you must
all come. We shall have a little quiet,
rational amusement, without pretence or
ostentation, good fresh country air, and
pleasant company."

"An 'appy day at Rosherville,'  eh?"
said the Doctor, slyly. "But you mustn't
take his lordship literally, colonel. He'll
give you something more than the country
air to feast on. I know him."

"Oh, it seems to be a sort of a picnic,
Fin," said the colonel.

"Hardly, hardly, colonel," said Lord
Shipton, deprecatingly. "Don't call my
little hospitality by that name. I shall
ask the slight contribution of a bottle of
wine from every gentleman who honours
me, but nothing from the ladies. I shall
provide the lunch: salads, and a fowl or so,
and that sort of thing. And I'll ask you,
colonel, to send us out the band."

This was all arranged, and his lordship
went down and got into his strange vehicle.

As he drove away, the Doctor, who was
leaning out of the mess-room window,
resting on the shoulders of two of his friends,
was very merry, calling the vehicle "th'
old bath-chair," and saying, if he had it,
he'd put the old servant in front, to draw
him, and thus save a horse. "Oh, boys,
but we'll go out and see him;  you'll have
fun that day, never fear."

"How, Peter?"

"Th' attempt to combine economy and
gastronomy. I'd put a reserve of the wing
and leg of a chicken, wrapped up in paper,
in my breastpocket, if I was you. No
matter, we'll have fun, never fear."

When the Doctor got home, he
summoned his family about him. "Shipton's
going to die, I think, my pets. They have
worked him up to giving a party. So now,
girls, polish up, and look your best, for
there's an amazing providence in these

"How, how! Peter, dear?"

"Every how, sweets. The hum-drum
laws of nature seem to be suspended, and
the social problem inverted. After lunch,
I tell ye, there's no knowing what may
happen. I've known all the bar'cades of
reserve and self-defence swept away by the
emotions burstin' from a reservoir. But
never mind the mattiephysics.  More to
the point is, that I've chartered a neat open
carriage, my dears, with the pair of greys
in front. Nothing like being a little behind
the scenes. Now, we'll go in style, and I
suppose there'll be three or four after them
when the thing gets wind."

The girls were in a state of frantic
delight:  Polly clapping her hands, and
dancing round the room;  Katey was smiling
with delight.

"You see, dears," said Peter, "those
lean and skinny daughters of his have
grown desperate. Every day the old
bathchair has been trundling in with old
Death-upon-wires inside, on his knees to get the
soldiers out to Shipton. No, no, dears."

"Why not?" said Katey, innocently.