[Consimili ratione ab eodem saepe timore Macerat invidia, ante oculos ilium esse polentem, Illum aspectari, claro qui incedit honore, Ipsi se in tenebris volvi caenoque queruntur Insereunt partim statuarum et nominis ergo.]
Thus the desire to go hustling up the hill to the Temple of Fame with the other starry hosts impels him forward. If you mix yourself up with K.C.B.’s and raise your platform of ambition, you are just where you were at the A B C of your career. Living on a table-land, you experience no sensation of height. For the intoxicating delights of elevation you require a solitary pinnacle, some lonely eminence. Aut Caesar, aut nullus; whether in the zenith or the Nadir of the world’s favour.
But how much more comfortable in the cold season than the chill splendours of the pinnacles of fame, where “pale suns unfelt at distance roll away,” is a comfortable bungalow on the plains, with a little mulled claret after dinner. Here I think Ali Baba will be found, hidden from his creditors, the reading world, in the warm light of thought, singing songs unbidden till a few select cronies are wrought to sympathy with hopes and fears they heeded not—before the mulled claret.
To this symposium the A.-D.-C.-in-Waiting has invited himself on behalf of the Empire. He will sing the Imperial Anthem composed by Mr. Eastwick, and it will be translated into archaic Persian by an imperial Munshi for the benefit of the Man in Buckram, who will be present. The Man in Buckram, who is suffering from a cold in his heart, will be wrapped up in himself and a cocked hat. The Press Commissioner has also asked for an invitation. He will deliver a sentiment:—“Quid sit futurum eras fuge quaerere.” A Commander-in-Chief will tell the old story about the Service going to the dogs; after which there will be an interval of ten minutes allowed for swearing and hiccuping. The Travelling M.P. will take the opportunity to jot down a few hasty notes on Aryan characteristics for the Twentieth Century before being placed under the table. The Baboo will subsequently be told off to sit on the Member’s head. During this function the Baboo will deliver some sesquipedalian reflections in the rodomontade mood. The Shikarry will then tell the twelve-foot-tiger story. Mrs. Lollipop will tell a fib and make tea; and Ali Baba (unless his heart is too full of mulled claret) will make a joke. The company will break up at this point, after receiving a plenary dispensation from the Archdeacon.
Under such influences Ali Baba may become serious; he may learn from the wisdom of age and be cheered by the sallies of youth. But little Mrs. Lollipop can hardly be called one of the Sallies of his youth. Sally Lollipop rose upon the horizon of his middle age. She boiled up, pure blanc-mange and roses, over the dark brim of life’s afternoon, a blushing sunrise, though late to rise, and most cheerful. Sometimes after spending an afternoon with her, Ali