He saw at once that this shot, which indeed was from his heart, had gone right home to Hilary's. He sought within him how to deepen the impression.
"You mean a lot to us," he said. "Cis and Thyme would feel it awfully if you and B.---" He stopped.
Hilary was looking at him; that faintly smiling glance, searching him through and through, suddenly made Stephen feel inferior. He had been detected trying to extract capital from the effect of his little piece of brotherly love. He was irritated at his brother's insight.
"I have no right to give advice, I suppose," he said; "but in my opinion you should drop it--drop it dead. The girl is not worth your looking after. Turn her over to that Society--Mrs. Tallents Smallpeace's thing whatever it's called."
At a sound as of mirth Stephen, who was not accustomed to hear his brother laugh, looked round.
"Martin," said Hilary, "also wants the case to be treated on strictly hygienic grounds."
Nettled by this, Stephen answered:
"Don't confound me with our young Sanitist, please; I simply think there are probably a hundred things you don't know about the girl which ought to be cleared up."