laughed. "If I didn't know you for a cunning old weasel, I should put you down as jolly green, Hal. Suppose she should meanwhile intimate, in the most unimaginably proper and delicate way, a preference for either of us?"
"For the present one or the absent one?" asked Gerrard drily. "Well, in either case, I think the present one ought to let the absent one know, before taking any action. But don't look so blue. You forget that we shall both be in our districts, at a safe distance from Ranjitgarh, for six months at least."
"And in the meantime she may marry some one else."
"Then we shan't have lost our friendship as well as her."
Charteris clapped him on the shoulder with a laugh. "I believe you, my boy! You don't know what a bore it has been this last fortnight, remembering what was between us whenever I wanted to tell you anything. Done with you, then, subject to necessary modifications to be agreed upon from time to time by mutual consent, and to the approval of the lady."
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