"There came another and more diffident rap at the door. 'Come in ' he called wearily. It opened and a dispirited-looking sausage-dog waddled into the room followed by Angela Errol who said, in a tone of strident heartiness not untouched by a sort of aggressive archness, 'Forgive the intrusion, but I came on behalf of the Chancery wives. We thought you seemed rather lonely so we decided to put our heads together. Fluke is the result.' Dog and man looked at each other in a dazed ans distrustful silence for a moment. Mountolive struggled for words. He had always loathed sausage-dogs with legs so short that they appeared to flop along like toads rather than walk. Fluke was such an animal, already panting and slavering from its exertions. It sat down at last and, as if to express once and for all its disenchantement with the whole sum of canine existence, delivered itself of a retromingent puddle on the beautiful Shiraz. 'Isn't he jolly?' cried the wife of the Head of Chancery. It cost Mountolive something of an effort to smile, to appear to be overcome with pleasure, to express the appropriate thanks due to a gesture so thoughtful. He was wild with vexation. "