morrison happened to be at the f—— — — club when the unfortunate dustup occurred between caldwell and burnaby, and after a few meaningful glances from the other members who were present, he attempted to negotiate a truce between them.
caldwell assumed his usual air of slightly self-satisfied indifference, as if to say, “come now, is this really worth arguing about?” - his habitual pose after deliberately provoking someone in his sly way.
but what, really, could good old morrison do? after listening to both sides, he cleared his throat snd addressed burnaby -
“well, old fellow, i agree that caldwell here could have been a little more tactful - i might even venture to say, a bit more gentlemanly in the way he expressed himself - but after all, we are not children here, to cry about hurt feelings, eh? i suppose one member of the f———— club can express himself in a forthright fashion to another member, can he not? and on any subject he pleases, eh?”
“but not about that!” burnaby cried wrathfully. “not that!”
and despite’s morrison’s effort to restrain him, he rushed out the door, down the stairs and into the street, where a steady rain was falling.
poor jeffsworth had to be despatched after him, to give him his hat and umbrella.
although the incident was never spoken of, the feeling of good fellowship at the f—— — — club had been irretrievably punctured, and the club began its slow decline.
sometimes, on rainy afternoons, i can still hear burnaby crying - “not that! not that!”