Imatges de pÓgina

but waves them off to their destinations, exact and unerring as omniscience. His whole air seems to say-"A good man struggling with difficulties may be a sight for the gods; but how much grander this, the spectacle of a great man overcoming every difficulty without a struggle, with a bosom as unruffled as the buff garment which envelops it!" The diapason of discord has achieved itself in the sudden collapse of that mottle-faced waiter, involving in his ruin thirteen plates, a dish of potatoes, and a bottle of Medoc; and now that the yells of yonder German have caused the last window in the room to be closed, things begin to settle down into a little more quiescence. Come, then, and thread with me the hall. Don't look at that indigestive spinster unless you wish to be petrified. Don't waste a thought upon that glorious-looking old man with the dome-like head and long white moustache. He is not a very distinguished general of division. He is a City man-probably a stockbroker and his name is, conceivably, Crump. Never mind the brunette -beautiful as a star, but nothing to us. Come on. Eat with their knives? Of course they do. The only Russian princess whose confidence I have enjoyed, ate with her knife-quite a trifle when you're accustomed to it. You see that old lady dwelling in the fool's paradise of an auburn "front " and immense gutta-percha teeth? Well, next her are two men. Voilà notre affaire. These are my hero Cosmo Glencairn, and his friend Tom Wyedale. Yes, the fair one is Cosmo. Why not? Heroes ought to be dark? I deny it not English heroes. They ought to be buff men, with blue eyes, like the Vikings. Well, there they are. Draw near to them, and listen to them, and look out for new arrivals. And

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"And all that being interpreted means that we have a considerable increase in the number of our codiners, and that the new-comers are rather a shady lot to look at."

"Not very distinguished-looking, certainly. What is the meaning of it, I wonder? It isn't near the tourists' season, and yet many of the new arrivals look like the ideal tourist-not the least like returning swallows from the Riviera or Rome."

"Not a bit of it; but, perhaps, something has been taking place in England-the Whitsuntide holidays or something."

"You pagan! we are still a fortnight from Whitsunday."

"Are we? I apologise. One forgets everything in this Sleepy Hollow. But, Whitsunday or not, if Mr Cook had shot a whole caravan into the district, we couldn't be richer in his typical followers."

"Yes, I've seen the kind of people before, in connection with a conductor.' It's the old problem of the flies in amber."

"Seen them before! By George, they're all here! There's the 'expansive' Briton-that underdonelooking man. See how he talks at, through, up against, down upon, everybody and everything! has a joke for every one. He chaffs them all round, waiters included. He is button-holing the whole table with his eye. Listen


to the monster! How he laughs! You can hear nothing else. What a fearful thing is vulgar geniality! That fellow would chaff the Pope if he could get at him.

"Then there are two or three specimens of the 'reticent' Briton. That pock-marked fellow, staring so fiercely at four inches of the table in front of him, is one of them. Doesn't he look as if his pockets were full of Orsini bombs? as if he were making up his mind to let them off at once, and blow us all to smithereens? And there's another that hectic man in the white tie, looking as if he had just picked a pocket. They are both in a white terror of being addressed in a foreign tongue; for, behold, beside one sits a restlesslooking Frenchman, and by the other an affable Muscovite. Hinc ille lacrymæ ! And there is the archæological female Briton—she may be in some other 'ology' perhaps, but she certainly goes in for 'mind' and science of some sort. They're all the same. You can't mistake them. Limp, and with that mysterious top-knot of scraggy hair gathered together from the uttermost parts of the head. She looks as if a savage had tomahawked her, and, finding the scalp unsatisfactory, had hurriedly replaced it. Doesn't she, Cosmo? Oh, how I suffered from one of the tribe at Eleusis last year! The sun was raging, but she seated herself on a fallen capital and held me, like the Ancient Mariner, while she lectured for half an hour on the spirit of Greek Art. She had come from Athens without an escort, braving the brigands with no protection save her awful virginity; and I fear there is no doubt it got her safe back. And ah! I thought we should find him here; and there he is, sure enough, up at the end of the opposite table-and a fine speci

men he is, too, of the 'domestic' Briton. You can see through all that fellow's dodges, and read him like a book. These two girls are his daughters, and he trembles for them. Every well-looking individual of the opposite sex is a hawk ready to swoop upon his dove cot. You, Cosmo, are a hawk."

"Thanks; I fear your definition won't permit a tu quoque.”

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"You are, as I say, in this man's perverted vision, a hawk. His mind is full of hawks and foreign counts. The foreign count is his Antichrist, and every well-dressed foreigner is a count within the meaning of the Act.' Observe how he has strategised against hawks and counts. He has thrown out a flanking party on either side of the dove - cot, that tough-looking spinster on the left, obviously an aunt the hobbledehoy on the right, clearly a brother; and he himself is a big gun of position in the centre, ready to go off with fearful detonations."

"The doves are rather pretty, Tom; the blue one is really a charming little ingenue.'

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"Passable passable; and indeed I find the pink sister not without attraction. Impossible head-gear, though."

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'Oh, cela va sans dire; at present all head-gears are impossible. Now, if you were to tilt back that terrible erection on the girl's head till it sloped from the sky-line of the head, over the neck, you would

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"Steady, Cosmo! outlying picket alarmed and signalling to the main body. Look at the weather. Opposite window; charming evening, isn't it? What a bloom there is on that hill opposite! How the last rays of the sun are bringing out the tints of everything!"

"Including that bottle of Gat

tinara,' which has been with you ever since we sat down. Pass it, before it is quite empty. I'll tell you what it is, Tom, it is not a remunerative system going shares in wine with a talkative fellow like you. You don't give yourself time to eat much, but you do contrive to drink like a whale."

"Do I? The action is quite mechanical, I assure you."

"Very likely, but it empties the bottle quite as effectually as if it were deliberate."

"After all, what is there in one bottle of Gattinara"?"

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They are splendid men, I can tell you," said the neighbour; "they're descended from the ancient Britons, you know."

"Are they, now? Well, I niver met an ancient Briton. But if any of them were to give a look down Texas way. They'd keep quiet about their descendants when they went back, I guess. They've got a kind of a man down there, surr, that mostly runs seventy-three to seventy-seven inches. That's good enough, ain't it? You've heard of William G. Howkins?"

"I think not."

"Ah! that was a kind of a man that stood ninety-two inches. And a fraction. And when he killed the grizzly that ran to 900 pounds in its skin and claws. You've heard of that bear?"

"No, I can't say I have." "Wall, he took and carried that thar grizzly, and went browsin' all around the town with that thar car

cass on his back. To show him. That's the kind of man William G. Howkins was. And that's the kind of man they raise, down Texas way. I guess an ancient Briton would feel rather mean and skinny down there. I guess he'd feel downright d-d ashamed of his descendants. When he saw them again."

"Howkins must have been a Goliath."

"Wall, he was above the middle height. But he ain't the size now. Not since the war."

"How do you mean?"

"Wall, there was a cannon-ball that was a trifle quick for him at Gettysburg. He got his legs chipped. And shortened up, at that time, seven or eight inches. But, I guess, they'd still show the balance of him in Cornwall. For money. W. G. H. wasn't descended from nobody. You bet."

"A've harrd ov a Glasca man -" began another gentleman, in the solemn doric of North Britain. "Be japers!" interrupted sprightly-looking neighbour-" be japers! Mr Howkins must be own brother to Larry O'Toole's aunt,

That had niver a father,
And sorra a mother,


But jist poured herself out from a jug of potheen.'

"A racklack a Glasca man-u'm thinkin' his name was Fechnie

"Interruption, however, again befell the Scot, for an excitablelooking Frenchman, who had been intently listening to the dialogue suddenly gave tongue.

"Messieurs," he exclaimed "comment cela s'explique-t-il Moi, je comprends parfaitemen l'Anglais, mais il n'y a pas moye de vous comprendre, vous autres Vous parlez trois-mais, oui !quatre langues, entre vous tout la fois. Que veut dire ce Larre O'Toal'? Qu'est ce que c'est qu

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The meal went bustling on. The blended tumult of a hundred voices rose and fell, as interval and onset relieved each other; but at every revival the pitch of voices seemed higher, and the laughter more strenuous than before, save where, like veritable "Towers of Silence," the types of reticence sat wrapt in a taciturnity that seemed to become palpable to make itself felteven amid that human Babel, with its crashing symphonies from delf and metal. All round the table quaint idiosyncrasies progressively evolved themselves before the laughing eyes of Cosmo Glencairn and his loquacious friend. About a third of the dinner had been achieved. The American Eagle was soaring sublime, on reckless wings of hyperbole and myth. The Scotchman, who had failed to find a single taker for some creaking observations on the bothy system, as pursued in Ross-shire, was watching the Eagle, with the intention of a trapper in his eye. His French neighbour continued to mutter, "Il n'y a pas moyen de comprendre ces gueux d'Anglais." One female representative of British mind, thinking entomology to be a good light dinner subject-safe to draw-had plunged into the habits of the "Death's-head moth," and secured, for a time, the sympathy of several people in her vicinity, including a curate, a governess, with two female charges, a brokenEnglish German, and a highly-intelligent - looking old gentleman, whose eye seemed to blaze with unqualified appreciation, but who, as it afterwards transpired, was deaf and blind. But suddenly another

of the sisterhood, who sat opposite, unsuspected up to this time and incog., unmasked herself and came into action, opening fire with an "ichthyosaurus," and following it up with "flint-headed weapons," which staggered the curate, demoralised the pupils, and elicited a long-drawn "So!" from the German. Number One, finding the Death's-head moth altogether unequal to the position, withdrew it in favour of "grey wacke," which, to a certain extent, rallied confidence, until "Primeval Man," "the Moabite Stone," and "the Panathenaic Frieze," fired off by Number Two in rapid succession, left Number One without any fol lowing, save the appreciative old man. But Number Two did not long continue the heroine of the occasion; for the expansive Briton, expanding theologically, laid an irreverent paw upon the Pentateuch, which roused the meek but truehearted curate, and, in a pause of silence and expectation, all the table awaited the encounter between Christian and Apollyon. During this pause, when dinner was half achieved, a new arrival again diverted public attention, and concentrated it on very different objects.

The new party was preceded by a gaudy and corpulent courier, who, after questioning the buff-cinctured Jove with an air of impious equality, marshalled his protégés to their seats, with looks of scorn and menaces cast on either side, as who should say, "Tremble, oh ye base groundlings! the social Juggernaut is upon you." The public, however, paid small attention to this tremendous personage, for all eyes were more pleasantly attracted to the lady and gentleman who followed him. The lady was beautiful. It is a bold assertion, an apple of discord, which we should hesitate

to hurl into any assembly on the entrance of any living woman. Did its sculptor succeed in expressing a true ideal of Beauty, or did he only immortalise the Insipid, in the Venus dei Medici ? Are Rubens's often-painted wives glorious types of vigorous and beautiful womanhood? or are they only two naked Flemish fishwomen, wallowing in a superabundance of garish flesh Specimens these, selected at random, of the diversities of opinion upon all questions as to beauty depicted by human hands; and how much greater are the diversities when the claims of this, or that, living woman are sub lite! I make, then, a bold assertion; but as the lady is invisible to the reader, I make it boldly, not fearing contradiction, unless, indeed, some may take exception to certain features which I may state to have been distinctive of the fair entrant, sea-grey eyes, to wit,-grey or blue, I know not which, but the colour of the Mediterranean when the sun has just gone down, and left upon calm waters a look, between the blue of noontide and the steely sheen that comes on them with the gloaming,-sea-grey eyes and bronze - brown hair, a pure complexion, a nose delicately retroussé, a mouth like the bow of Cupid, and a figure slight, but genuine and complete-not that composition of door, hay-truss, and pillow, with which art, supplementing natural deficiencies, contrives nowadays to make a travesty of the "human form divine." All these were attributes of the young lady in question; and I trust that, on these simple data, no reader will be captious enough to found a theory that she was not (what I distinctly assert she was and is) beautiful. It is a goodly thing to be beautiful; it is a glorious thing to be young (dwell upon this, rejoice in it, revel in it,

oh ye young, in the days of your youth!),—but to be both young and beautiful is to be twice blest; and this fortunate lady enjoyed that double beatitude. And besides all this an attribute more exquisite still she possessed that subtle, magical charm which words cannot define nor art imitate, but which nature, culture, and association, all three, combine to produce, weaving it out of movement, manner, expression, carriage, and I know not what besides, and which can only, but most feebly, be expressed in words by the commonplace phrase, "a thorough-bred air." Many of the guests at the table d'hôte might have been indifferent to her beauty, or denied its existence altogether; but the air noble reached them all: so that every eye was turned admiringly in her direction, and the duty of eating strenuously up to a rather high contract price was pretty generally suspended for at least five-and-twenty seconds. Certain eclipses took place. The charms of half-a-dozen pink-and-white damsels, who looked but now so fresh and bright and pretty, vanished abruptly, just as one has seen a bunch of comely village garden. flowers grow coarse and gaudy when placed near some exotic, exquisite in its simple purity of form and hue. As she passed up the hall, the sun offered an inspiration which Raphael might have prized; for the last rays, streaming through the windows, smote upon the deep masses of her burnished hair, and seemed to set a glory round about her small and shapely head.

"A burning beauty!" whispered Tom Wyedale.

Cosmo said nothing, but the thought written in his face was "Oh dea certe !"

"And," said the American, following up a commendatory remark of his own-"and, I guess,

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