they stayed to dinner with the couple that afternoon, and for half an hour afterward k. d. b. told them of the wonders of the caves of elephantis. one would have believed that she had actually been at the place. but when she changed the subject to the science of fortification, blix could no longer restrain herself.
"but it is really wonderful that you should know all these things! where did you find time to study so much?"
"one must have an education," returned k. d. b. primly.
but condy had caught sight of a half-filled book-shelf against the opposite wall, and had been suddenly smitten with an inspiration. on a leaf of his notebook he wrote: "try her on the g's and h's," and found means to show it furtively to blix. but blix was puzzled, and at the earliest opportunity condy himself said to the retired costume reader:
"speaking of fortifications, mrs. hoskins, gibraltar now--that's a wonderful rock, isn't it?"
"rock!" she queried. "i thought it was an island."
"oh, no; it's a fortress. they have a castle there--a castle, something like--well, like the old schloss at heidelberg. did you ever hear about or read about heidelberg university?"
but k. d. b. was all abroad now. gibraltar and heidelberg were unknown subjects to her, as were also inoculation, japan, and kosciusko. above the g's she was sound; below that point her ignorance was benighted.
"but what is it, condy?" demanded blix, as soon as they were alone.
"i've the idea," he answered, chuckling. "wait till after sunday to see if i'm right; then i'll tell you. it's a dollar to a paper dime, k. d. b. will have something for us by sunday, beginning with an i."
and she had. it was internal revenue.
"right! right!" condy shouted gleefully, as he and blix were on their way home. "i knew it. she's done with ash--bol, bol--car, and all those, and has worked through cod--dem, and dem--eve. she's down to hor--kin now, and she'll go through the whole lot before she's done--kin--mag, mag--mot, mot--pal, and all the rest."
"don't you see it? no wonder she didn't know beans about gibraltar! she hadn't come to the g's by then."
"she's reading the encyclopaedia."
"and she gets the volumes on the instahnent plan, don't you see? reads the leading articles, and then springs 'em on us. to know things and talk about em, that's her idea of being cultured. 'one must have an education.' do you remember her saying that' oh, our matrimonial objects are panning out beyond all expectation!"