huge as others I had seen that afternoon; even so, it was no mere
splinter. As we approached him Mr. Bentinck said in hearty tones, "What
will you bet me he's going to say he doesn't like it?"
The young fellow stirred and turned on us the now familiar blank gaze of a just awakened somnambulist.
"How do you like it?" asked Mr. Bentinck, indicating the stone.
The young fellow didn't look elated. "I'm not sure," he said.
you know?" Mr. Bentinck addressed me with mock exasperation. "First
thing he learns to do is grouse. Why, boy, that's not a bad little
stone. I suppose you'll be telling me next it's got a spot on it."
"Two spots," said the young fellow.
Bentinck said sadly, "Some people grouse all day long." We moved away,
leaving the young fellow to wrestle with his soul in solitude.
sun glared through the high windows. Every room had its group huddled
close to the glass panes, studying; we peered in at all of them. Even a
tiny cubicle, just big enough for a table and chair, held three
American buyers concentrating fiercely on one small crystal.
there it is," said Mr. Bentinck as we finished the rounds and walked
out past the man at the desk, the man who takes coats, the man at the
door. "That's about the extent of it," he said, opening the door for
me. "I still don't know who's buying it all."
The corners of his mouth drooped dolefully; he looked like a man earnestly searching for something to worry about.