Kabul is astir. Roberts, with bare feet and a rope round his neck, comes forward, performs Kadambosi and presents the keys of Sherpur to the Gryphon, who hands them graciously to his Extra Assistant Deputy Khidmatgar General. The wires are red hot with messages: “The Gryphon is taking a pill; the Gryphon is bathing; the Gryphon is breakfasting; the Gryphon is making a joke; the Gryphon has been bitten by a flea; the wound is not pronounced dangerous, he is recovering slowly:—Glory, glory to the Gryphon—Amen, amen!”— YOUR POLITICAL ORPHAN.
THE ORPHAN’S GOOD RESOLUTIONS
[June 8, 1880.]
I will try to avoid.
" II.—Things I will try to avoid.
" III.—Habits I will try to avoid.
" IV.—Opinions I will try to avoid.
" V.—Circumstances I will try to avoid.
* * * * *
PART I.—BAD COMPANY.
PERSONS I WILL TRY TO AVOID.
He has a villa in the country; but his place of business is in town; somewhere near Sackville Street. Vulgarity had marked him for her own at an early age. She had set her mark indelibly on his speech, his manners, and his habits. When ten years old he had learned to aspirate his initial vowels; when twelve he had mastered the whole theory and practice of eating cheese with his knife; at seventeen his mind was saturated with ribald music of the Vaudeville type.
Reader, you anticipate me? You suppose I refer to one of Mr. Gladstone’s new Ministers, or to one of Lord Beaconsfield’s new Baronets?
You are, of course, mistaken. My man is a tailor; one of the best tailors in the world. He has made hundreds of coats for me; and he has sent me hundreds of circulars and bills.
Now, however, he has lost my address, and there seems a coolness between us. We stand aloof; the scars remaining.
His name is Sartor, and I owe him a good deal of money.
He is always up to the Hills when the weather is unpleasant on the plains. Butterfly-collecting, singing to a guitar passionate songs of love and hate, and lying the live-long day on a long chair with a long tumbler in his hand, and a volume of Longfellow on the floor, are his characteristic pursuits. It is needless to say that he is the Accountant-General, and the last man in the world to suppose that I have given myself ten days’ privilege leave to the Hills on urgent private affairs,—affairs de coeur, and affairs de rien, of sorts.
His head is shaved to the bone; his face, of the Semitic type, is most sinister, truculent, and ferocious; his filthy Afghan rags bristle with knives and tulwars. He carries five or six matchlocks under one arm, and a hymn book, or Koran, under the other. He is in holy orders—a Ghazi! A pint, or a pint and a half, of my blood, would earn for him Paradise, with sharab, houris, and all the rest of it.