his long lean hands. “Go away, dears!” he said. “There’s business to
talk over. ”
Sylvie and Bruno went away hand in hand: but, on reaching the door,
Sylvie came back again and went up to Uggug timidly. “I don’t mind
about the butter,” she said, “and I–I’m sorry he hurt you!” And she
tried to shake hands with the little ruffian: but Uggug only blubbered
louder, and wouldn’t make friends. Sylvie left the room with a sigh.
The Sub-Warden glared angrily at his weeping son. “Leave the room,
Sirrah!” he said, as loud as he dared. His wife was still leaning out
of the window, and kept repeating “I ca’n’t see that pig! Where is it?”
“It’s moved to the right now it’s gone a little to the left,” said the
Sub-Warden: but he had his back to the window, and was making signals
to the Lord Chancellor, pointing to Uggug and the door, with many a
cunning nod and wink.
[Image…Removal of Uggug]
The Chancellor caught his meaning at last, and, crossing the
room, took that interesting child by the ear the next moment he and
Uggug were out of the room, and the door shut behind them: but not
before one piercing yell had rung through the room, and reached the
ears of the fond mother.
“What is that hideous noise?” she fiercely asked, turning upon her
“It’s some hyaena–or other,” replied the Sub-Warden, looking vaguely
up to the ceiling, as if that was where they usually were to be found.
“Let us to business, my dear. Here comes the Warden.” And he picked up
from the floor a wandering scrap of manuscript, on which I just caught
the words ‘after which Election duly holden the said Sibimet and
Tabikat his wife may at their pleasure assume Imperial–‘ before,
with a guilty look, he crumpled it up in his hand.
A CUNNING CONSPIRACY.
The Warden entered at this moment: and close behind him came the Lord
Chancellor, a little flushed and out of breath, and adjusting his wig,
which appeared to have been dragged partly off his head.
“But where is my precious child?” my Lady enquired, as the four took
their seats at the small side-table devoted to ledgers and bundles and
“He left the room a few minutes ago with the Lord Chancellor,”
the Sub-Warden briefly explained.
“Ah!” said my Lady, graciously smiling on that high official.
“Your Lordship has a very taking way with children! I doubt if any
one could gain the ear of my darling Uggug so quickly as you can!”
For an entirely stupid woman, my Lady’s remarks were curiously full of
meaning, of which she herself was wholly unconscious.
The Chancellor bowed, but with a very uneasy air. “I think the Warden
was about to speak,” he remarked, evidently anxious to change the
But my Lady would not be checked. “He is a clever boy,” she continued
with enthusiasm, “but he needs a man like your Lordship to draw him
The Chancellor bit his lip, and was silent. He evidently feared that,
stupid as she looked, she understood what she said this time, and was
having a joke at his expense. He might have spared himself all anxiety:
whatever accidental meaning her words might have, she herself never
meant anything at all.
“It is all settled!” the Warden announced, wasting no time over
preliminaries. “The Sub-Wardenship is abolished, and my brother is
appointed to act as Vice-Warden whenever I am absent. So, as I am going
abroad for a while, he will enter on his new duties at once.”
“And there will really be a Vice after all?” my Lady enquired.
“I hope so!” the Warden smilingly replied.
My Lady looked much pleased, and tried to clap her hands: but you might
as well have knocked two feather-beds together, for any noise it made.
“When my husband is Vice,” she said, “it will be the same as if we had
a hundred Vices!”
“Hear, hear!” cried the Sub-Warden.
“You seem to think it very remarkable,” my Lady remarked with some
severity, “that your wife should speak the truth!”
“No, not remarkable at all!” her husband anxiously explained.