Before he could answer, Mr. Crewe's explanation of his theories had come lamely to a halt. Austen was aware of the renewed scrutiny of Mrs. Pomfret, and then Mr. Crewe, whom no social manacles could shackle, had broken past her and made his way to them. He continued to treat the ground on which Austen was standing as unoccupied.
"Hello, Victoria," he said, "you don't know anything about gardens, do you?"
"I don't believe you do either," was Victoria's surprising reply.
Mr. Crewe laughed at this pleasantry.
"How are you going to prove it?" he demanded.
"By comparing what you've done with Freddie Ridley's original plan," said Victoria.
"Ridley has a lot to learn," he retorted. "He had no conception of what was appropriate here."
"Freddie was weak," said Victoria, but he needed the money. Don't you know Mr. Vane?"