HAVE you dined at Ranelagh lately?” asked Norma Hardacre.
“I have never been there in my life,” replied Jimmie Padgate. “In fact,” he added simply, “I am not quite sure whether I know where it is.”
“Yours is the happier state. It is one of the dullest spots in a dull world.”
“Then why on earth do people go there?”
The enquiry was so genuine that Miss Hardacre relaxed her expression of handsome boredom and laughed.
“Because we are all like the muttons of Panurge,” she said. “Where one goes, all go. Why are we here to-night?”
“To enjoy ourselves. How could one do otherwise in Mrs. Deering’s house?”
“You have known her a long time, I believe,” remarked Norma, taking the opportunity of directing the conversation to a non-contentious topic.
“Since she was in short frocks. She is a cousin of King’s—that’s the man who took you down to dinner—” She nodded. “I have known Mr. King many weary ages.”
“And he has never told me about you!”
“Why should he?”