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13. CHAPTER XIII (continued)
"Not anything to do with Bracknell?" cried Margaret, who had lately taken on an unemployed of that name to clean the knives and boots.
"I offered Bracknell, and he was rejected. So was Tibby. (Cheer up, Tibby!) It's no one we know. I said, 'Hunt, my good woman; have a good look round, hunt under the tables, poke up the chimney, shake out the antimacassars. Husband? husband?' Oh, and she so magnificently dressed and tinkling like a chandelier."
"Now, Helen, what did really happen?"
"What I say. I was, as it were, orating my speech. Annie opens the door like a fool, and shows a female straight in on me, with my mouth open. Then we began--very civilly. 'I want my husband, what I have reason to believe is here.' No--how unjust one is. She said 'whom,' not 'what.' She got it perfectly. So I said, 'Name, please?' and she said, 'Lan, Miss,' and there we were.
"Lan or Len. We were not nice about our vowels. Lanoline. "
"But what an extraordinary--"
"I said, 'My good Mrs. Lanoline, we have some grave misunderstanding here. Beautiful as I am, my modesty is even more remarkable than my beauty, and never, never has Mr. Lanoline rested his eyes on mine.'"
"I hope you were pleased," said Tibby.
"Of course," Helen squeaked. "A perfectly delightful experience. Oh, Mrs. Lanoline's a dear--she asked for a husband as if he were an umbrella. She mislaid him Saturday afternoon--and for a long time suffered no inconvenience. But all night, and all this morning her apprehensions grew. Breakfast didn't seem the same--no, no more did lunch, and so she strolled up to 2 Wickham Place as being the most likely place for the missing article."
"But how on earth--"
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