"I don't know," said I, "but we could beat it on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED."
Billy realized he had identified me with the wrong magazine, but he covered his tracks quickly.
"Oh," he said, "I was assuming that, I was assuming that!"
Over the tea and coffee, Mr. Dowling arose and presented the scroll to Ronnie, who responded briefly with just the barest hint that this was the grandest occasion of all. As final cigarets were lighted, Captain Theo Ryan leaned over Billy Morton's shoulder and confided that, as director of the motorcade, he was planning to arrive at the Mansion of the Lord Mayor of Dublin at 3:30.
"I think that's a mistake, Theo," said Billy Morton. "Four p.m. would be more like it as far as getting the crowds goes."
"The Lord Mayor is expecting us at half 3," said Captain Ryan. "I talked to his secretary."
"Well, now," said Billy Morton, who had no official status in the motorcade, "I'm not thinking of the Lord Mayor or the Lord Mayor's secretary. My concern is for the man in the street. If I had the say, Theo, when we reach the outskirts of Dublin, I'd give the order, 'Proceed at a snail's pace!' "
Captain Ryan rubbed his chin and then said, "We'll make it half 3, Billy."
"Will you compromise, Theo," demanded Billy desperately, "will you compromise on quarter to 4?"
Captain Ryan shook his head and moved away. Just as everyone was rising from the chairs, an elderly man wearing a mustache and an overcoat, and having no connection with the official party, arose from one of the side tables and began to speak in loud and ringing tones. Everybody sat down again.