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CHAPTER IV HORN—continued
Simon had been that day all alone to see Mrs. Fisher-Fisher's roses; he said so at dinner that night. He had remembered the general invitation and had taken it, evidently, as a personal one. Bobby did not enquire details; besides, his mind was occupied at that dinner-table, where Cerise was constantly seeking his glance and where Julia sat watching. Brooding and watching and talking chiefly to Simon.

She and Simon seemed to get on well together, and a close observer might have fancied that Simon was attracted, perhaps less by her charms than by the fact that he considered her Bobby's girl and was making to cut Bobby out, in a mild way, by his own superior attractions.

After dinner Simon forgot her. He had other business on hand. He had not dressed for dinner, he was simply and elegantly attired in the blue serge suit he had worn in London. Taking his straw hat and lighting a cigar, he left[Pg 217] the others and, having strolled round the garden for a few minutes, left the hotel premises and strolled down the street.

The street was deserted. He reached the Bricklayer's Arms, and, having admired the view for a while from the porch of that hostelry, strolled into the bar.

The love of low company, which is sometimes a distinguishing feature of the youthful, comes from several causes: a taste for dubious sport, a kicking against restraint, simply the love of low company, or a kind of megalomania—a wish to be first person in the company present, a wish easily satisfied at the cost of a few pounds.

In Simon's case it was probably a compound of the lot.

In the bar of the Bricklayer's Arms he was first person by a mile; and this evening, owing to hay-harvest work, he was first by twenty miles, for the only occupant of the bar was Dick Horn.

Horn, as before hinted by Mudd, was a very dubious character. In old days he would have been a poacher pure and simple, to-day he was that and other things as well. Socialism had touched him. He desired, not only other men's game and fish, but their houses and furniture.

He was six feet two, very thin, with lantern[Pg 218] jaws, and a dark look suggestive of Romany antecedents—a most fascinating individual to the philosopher, the police, and those members of the public of artistic leanings. He was seated smoking and in company of a brown mug of beer when Simon came in.

They gave each other good evening, Simon rapped with a half-crown on the counter, ordered some beer for himself, had Horn's mug replenished, and then sat dow............
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