‘Good morning, Maturin,’ said Diana, coming down the steps. ‘I hope I have not kept you waiting. What a neat cob you have there, upon my word! You never found him in this part of the world.’
‘Good morning, Villiers. You are late. You are very late.’
‘It is the one advantage there is in being a woman. You do know I am a woman, Maturin?’
‘I am obliged to suppose it, since you affect to have no notion of time — cannot tell what o’clock it is. Though why the trifling accident of sex should induce a sentient being, let alone such an intelligent being as you, to waste half this beautiful clear morning, I cannot conceive. Come, let me help you to mount. Sex — sex . . . ‘
‘Hush, Maturin. You must not use words like that here. It was bad enough yesterday.’
‘Yesterday? Oh, yes. But I am not the first man to say that wit is the unexpected copulation of ideas. Far from it. It is commonplace.’
‘As far as my aunt is concerned you are certainly the first man who ever used such an expression in public.
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian