'Whatever is the--?' she began; and then things began to impress themselves on her senses.

The bottle which Nutty had thrown at Eustace had missed the latter, but it had hit the wall, and was now lying in many pieces on the floor, and the air was heavy with the scent of it. The remains seemed to leer at her with a kind of furtive swagger, after the manner of broken bottles. A quick thrill of anger ran through Elizabeth. She had always felt more like a mother to Nutty than a sister, and now she would have liked to exercise the maternal privilege of slapping him.

'I saw a monkey!' said her brother, hollowly. 'I was standing over there and I saw a monkey! Of course, it wasn't there really. I flung the bottle at it, and it seemed to climb on to that wardrobe.'

'This wardrobe?'

Elizabeth struck it a resounding blow with the palm of her hand, and Eustace's face popped over the edge, peering down anxiously. 'I can see it now,' said Nutty. A sudden, faint hope came to him. 'Can you see it?' he asked.

Elizabeth did not speak for a moment. This was an unusual situation, and she was wondering how to treat it. She was sorry for Nutty, but Providence had sent this thing and it would be foolish to reject it. She must look on herself in the light of a doctor. It would be kinder to Nutty in the end. She had the feminine aversion from the lie deliberate. Her ethics on the _suggestio falsi_ were weak. She looked at Nutty questioningly.

'See it?' she said.

'Don't you see a monkey on the top of the wardrobe?' said Nutty, becoming more definite.

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'There's a sort of bit of wood sticking out--'

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Nutty sighed.

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'No, not that. You didn't see it. I don't think you would.'

He spoke so dejectedly that for a moment Elizabeth weakened, but only for an instant.

'Tell me all about this, Nutty,' she said.

Nutty was beyond the desire for evasion and concealment. His one wish was to tell. He told all.

'But, Nutty, how silly of you!'

'After what the doctor said.'

'You remember his telling you--'