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The Way To The Dairy
by [?]

The Baroness and Clovis sat in a much-frequented corner of the Park exchanging biographical confidences about the long succession of passers-by.

“Who are those depressed-looking young women who have just gone by?” asked the Baroness; “they have the air of people who have bowed to destiny and are not quite sure whether the salute will be returned.”

“Those,” said Clovis, “are the Brimley Bomefields. I dare say you would look depressed if you had been through their experiences.”

“I’m always having depressing experiences;” said the Baroness, ” but I never give them outward expression. It’s as bad as looking one’s age. Tell me about the Brimley Bomefields.”

“Well,” said Clovis, “the beginning of their tragedy was that they found an aunt. The aunt had been there all the time, but they had very nearly forgotten her existence until a distant relative refreshed their memory by remembering her very distinctly in his will; it is wonderful what the force of example will accomplish. The aunt, who had been unobtrusively poor, became quite pleasantly rich, and the Brimley Bomefields grew suddenly concerned at the loneliness of her life and took her under their collective wings. She had as many wings around her at this time as one of those beast-things in Revelation.”

“So far I don’t see any tragedy from the Brimley Bomefields’ point of view,” said the Baroness.

“We haven’t got to it yet,” said Clovis. “The aunt had been used to living very simply, and had seen next to nothing of what we should consider life, and her nieces didn’t encourage her to do much in the way of making a splash with her money. Quite a good deal of it would come to them at her death, and she was a fairly old woman, but there was one circumstance which cast a shadow of gloom over the satisfaction they felt in the discovery and acquisition of this desirable aunt: she openly acknowledged that a comfortable slice of her little fortune would go to a nephew on the other side of her family. He was rather a deplorable thing in rotters, and quite hopelessly top-hole in the way of getting through money, but he had been more or less decent to the old lady in her unremembered days, and she wouldn’t hear anything against him. At least, she wouldn’t pay any attention to what she did hear, but her nieces took care that she should have to listen to a good deal in that line. It seemed such a pity, they said among themselves, that good money should fall into such worthless hands. They habitually spoke of their aunt’s money as ‘good money,’ as though other people’s aunts dabbled for the most part in spurious currency.

“Regularly after the Derby, St. Leger, and other notable racing events they indulged in audible speculations as to how much money Roger had squandered in unfortunate betting transactions.

“‘His travelling expenses must come to a big sum,’ said the eldest Brimley Bomefield one day; ‘they say he attends every race-meeting in England, besides others abroad. I shouldn’t wonder if he went all the way to India to see the race for the Calcutta Sweepstake that one hears so much about.’

“‘Travel enlarges the mind, my dear Christine,’ said her aunt.

“‘Yes, dear aunt, travel undertaken in the right spirit,’ agreed Christine; ‘but travel pursued merely as a means towards gambling and extravagant living is more likely to contract the purse than to enlarge the mind. However, as long as Roger enjoys himself, I suppose he doesn’t care how fast or unprofitably the money goes, or where he is to find more. It seems a pity, that’s all.’

“The aunt by that time had begun to talk of something else, and it was doubtful if Christine’s moralizing had been even accorded a hearing. It was her remark, however–the aunt’s remark, I mean– about travel enlarging the mind, that gave the youngest Brimley Bomefield her great idea for the showing-up of Roger.