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George Robert Aberigh-Mackay
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 123 pages of information about Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series.

So when in after days we boast
Of many wild boars slain,
We’ll not forget our runs to toast
Or run them o’er again;

And when our memory’s mirror true
Reflects the scenes of yore,
We’ll think of him it brings to view,
Who loved to hunt the boar.

ALI BABA, K.C.B.

No.  XVIII

THE GRASS-WIDOW IN NEPHELOCOCCYGIA

[Illustration:  THE GRASS WIDOW—­“Sweet little Mrs. Lollipop.”]

Her bosom’s lord sits lightly on his throne?

[December 6, 1879]

Little Mrs. Lollipop has certainly proved a source of disappointment to her lady friends.  They have watched her for three seasons going lightly and merrily through all the gaieties of Cloudland; they have listened to the scandal of the cuckoos among the pine-trees and rhododendrons, but they have not caught her tripping.  Oh, no, they will never catch her tripping.  She does not trip for their amusement:  perhaps she trips it when they go on the light fantastic toe, but there is no evidence; there is only a zephyr of conjecture, only the world’s low whisper not yet broken into storm—­not yet.

Yes, she is a source of disappointment to them.  They have noted her points; her beauty has burned itself into their jealousy; her merry laugh has fanned their scorn; her bountiful presence is an affront to them, as is her ripe and lissom figure.  They pronounce her morally unsound; they say her nature has a taint; they chill her popularity with silent smiles of slow disparagement.  But they have no particulars; their slander is not concrete.  It is an amorphous accusation, sweeping and vague, spleen-born and proofless.

She certainly knows how to dress.  Her weeds sit easily and smoothly on their delightful mould.  You might think of her as a sweet, warm statue painted in water-colours. (Who wouldn’t be her Pygmalion?) If she adds a garment it is an improvement; if she removes a garment it is an improvement; if she dresses her hair it is better; if she lets it fall in a brown cascade over her white shoulders it is still better; when it is yet in curl-papers it is charming.  If you smudge the tip of her nose with a burnt cork the effect is irresistible; if you stick a flower in her hair it is a fancy dress, a complete costume—­she becomes Flora, Aurora, anything you like to name.  Yet I have never clothed her in a flower, I have never smudged her nose with a burnt cork, I have never uncurled her hair.  Ali Baba’s character must not go drifting down the stream of gossip with the Hill Captains and the Under-Secretaries.  But I hope that this does not destroy the argument.  The argument is that she is quite too delightful, and therefore blown upon by poisonous whispers.

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