o us all.”
“I don’t want to grow old,” said his companion, “because then I would not care for sweets any more. Father says the older he
grows the less he cares for sweets, and that every one loses their sweet tooth at fifty. I hope I’ll never lose mine; if I do I’ll鈥攇et a false one.”
Mr Hancock leisurely helped himself to one of the largest and sweetest-looking of the specimens of “Italian confectionery” before[Pg 169] him; Fanny helped herself to its twin, and there was silence for a moment.
It is strange that whilst a man may admit his age to a woman he cares for, by word of mouth, he will do much before he admits it by 鏉窞spa鐖借 his actions.
CHAPTER IV A MEETING
Of all places in the world the Zoo is, perhaps, the most uninspiring to your diffident lover, but Mr Hancock was fond of zoology. It was a mild sort of hobby which he cultivated in his few leisure moments, and he was not displeased to air his knowledge before his pretty friend, and to show her that he had a taste for things other than forensic. Accordingly in the Bird House he began to show off. This was a mistake. If you have a hobby, conceal it till after marriage. The man with a hobby, once he lets 鏉窞妗戞嬁娲嬪 himself loose upon his pet subject or occupation, always bores. He is like a man in drink, he does not know the extent of his own stupidity;[Pg 170] lost in his own paradise he is unconscious of the trouble and weariness he is inflicting on the unfortunates who happen to be his companions鈥攗nlike a man in 鏉窞姘寸枟鍝噷濂界帺 drink, he is rarely amusing.
There were birds with legs without end, and birds apparently with no legs at all, nutcracker-billed birds, birds without tails, and things that seemed simply tails without birds.
Before a long-tailed bird that bore a dim resemblance to himself, Mr Hancock paused and began to instruct his companion. When he had bored her sufficiently they passed to the great Ape House, and from there to the Monkey House.
They had paused to consider the Dog-faced Ape, when Fanny, whose eyes were wandering about the place, 鏉窞瓒虫荡tyfjkj gave a little start and plucked her companion by the sleeve. “Look,” she said, “there’s old Mr Bridgewater!”
“Why! God bless my soul, so it is!” cried Hancock. “What the鈥攚hat the鈥攚hat the鈥斺€?
CHAPTER V THE ADVENTURES OF BRIDGEWATER
The appearance of shame and conscious guilt that suffused the face and person of Bridgewater caused the wild idea to rush through his employer’s mind that the old man had, vulgarly speaking, “scooped the till” and was attempting evasion.
Defaulters bound for America or France do not, however, as a rule, take the Monkey House at the Zoo en route, and the practical mind of James Hancock rejected the idea at once, and gripped the truth of the matter. Bridgewater had been following him for the purpose of spying upon him.
The unhappy Bridgewater had indeed been following him.
When, emerging from the bar, he 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇鍏ㄥ had perceived his quarry he had followed them at a safe distance. When they went into the Vienna Caf茅 he waited; it seemed to him that he waited three hours: it was, in fact, an hour and a quarter. For, having fin