On the roof sat the returned pigeon, cooing, and pluming his wings among his fellows.
VERTY MAKES THE ACQUAINTANCE OF MR. JINKS.
Just as Verty was making this latter observation, his smiling eyes fixed on the mansion before him, he heard a voice at his feet, so to speak, which had the effect of bringing him to earth once more, and this voice said, loftily—
“You seem to be interested, sir—handsome house, sir—very handsome house, sir—also the occupants thereof.”
Verty looked, and descried a gentleman of very odd appearance, who was looking at him intently. This gentleman was slender of limb, and tall; his lower extremities were clad in a tight pair of short breeches, beneath which, scarlet stockings plunged themselves into enormous shoes, decorated with huge rosettes; his coat was half-military, half-fop; and a long sword buckled round his waist, knocked against his fantastic grasshopper legs. His hair was frizzled; his countenance, a most extraordinary one; his manner, a mixture of the hero and the bully, of noble dignity and truculent swagger, as if Ancient Pistol had taken the part of Coriolanus, and had not become proficient wholly in his lofty personation.
When this gentleman walked, his long sword bobbed, as we have said, against his legs; when he bowed, his attitude was full of dignity; when he grimaced, he presented an appearance which would have made Punchinello serious, and induced a circus clown to fall into convulsions of despair.
This was the figure which now stood before Verty, and caused that young man to lower his eyes from the roof and the pigeons. Verty looked at the gentleman for a moment, and smiled.
“It is a handsome house,” he said.
“Handsome?” said the tall gentleman, with dignity. “I believe you. That house, sir, is the finest I ever saw.”
“Is it?” said Verty.
“I am a traveller, sir.”
“I am,” said the military gentleman, solemnly. “I have been everywhere, sir; and even in Philadelphia and Paris there is nothing like that house.”
“Indeed?” Verty said, surveying the remarkable edifice.
“Do you see the portico?” said the gentleman, frowning.
“Yes,” said Verty.
“That, sir, is exactly similar to the Acropolis—Pantheon at Rome.”
“Eh?” said Verty.
“Yes, sir; and then the wings—do you see the wings?”
“Plainly,” said Verty.
“Those, sir, are modeled on the State-House in Paris, and are intended to shelter the youthful damsels, here assembled, as the wings of a hen do the chickens of her bosom—hem! Cause and effect, sir—philosophy and poetry unite to render this edifice the paragon and brag of architectural magnificence.”
“Anan?” said Verty.