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PAGE 2

Bachelor Relics
by [?]

“You want me to make you an offer? Otherwise I should sell them by auction for you, deducting ten per cent commission.”

“Not by auction,” I said impulsively. “I couldn’t bear to know how much, or rather how little, my Georgian bureau fetched. It was there, as I think I told you, that I wrote my Guide to the Round Pond. Give me an inclusive price for the lot, and never, never let me know the details.”

He named an inclusive price. It was something under a hundred and fifty pounds. I shouldn’t have minded that if it had only been a little over ten pounds. But it wasn’t.

“Right,” I agreed. “And, oh, I was nearly forgetting. There’s an old opera hat of exquisite workmanship, which—-“

“Ah, now, clothes had much better be sold by auction. Make a pile of all you don’t want and I’ll send round a sack for them. I have an auction sale every Wednesday.”

“Very well. Send round to-morrow. And you might–er–also send round a–er–cheque for–quite so. Well, then, good morning.”

When he had gone I went into my bedroom and made a pile of my opera hat. It didn’t look very impressive–hardly worth having a sack specially sent round for it. To keep it company I collected an assortment of clothes. It pained me to break up my wardrobe in this way, but I wanted the bidding for my opera hat to be brisk, and a few preliminary suits would warm the public up. Altogether it was a goodly pile when it was done. The opera hat perched on the top, half of it only at work.

. . . . .

To-day I received from Mr. Bennett a cheque, a catalogue, and an account. The catalogue was marked “Lots 172-179.” Somehow I felt that my opera hat would be Lot 176. I turned to it in the account.

“Lot 176–Six shillings.”

“It did well,” I said. “Perhaps in my heart of hearts I hoped for seven and sixpence, but six shillings–yes, it was a good hat.”

And then I turned to the catalogue.

Lot 176–Frock-coat and vest, dress-coat and vest, ditto, pair of trousers and opera hat.”

And opera hat.” Well, well. At least it had the position of honour at the end. My opera hat was starred.