He is a huge gob of flesh, which is perhaps animated dimly by some spark of humanity smouldering filthily in a heart cancerous with money-grubbing. His whole character and mode of life stink with poisonous exhalations in my moral nostrils. Nature denounces, in her loud commination service, his clammy hand, his restless eye, his sinister and bestial mouth. Why should he waken me from the dreams of literature and the low music of my own reflections to disgorge from the cesspool of his mind the impertinent questions and the loathsome compliments which form his notion of conversation? He has come to “pay his respects.” I abhor “his respects.” He is rich:—What is that to me? He is powerful with all the power of corruption: I scorn his power, I figuratively spit upon it. He is perhaps the man whom the Government delights to honour. More shame to the Government! A bully at home, and a tyrant among his own people, on all sides dastardly and mean, he is a bad representative of a gentle and intellectual race, that for its heroic traditions, its high thoughts, its noble language and its exquisite urbanity has been the wonder of the whole world since the dawn of history.
A cocked hat, a tailcoat with gold buttons and a rapier:—“See’st thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings? Hath not his gait in it the measure of the court? Receives not thy nose court-odour from him? Reflects he not on thy baseness court-contempt?” Observe how mysterious he is: consider the secrets burning on his tongue. He is all asides and whispers and winks and nods to other young popinjays of the same feather. He could tell you the very brand of the pills the Raja is taking: he receives the paltriest gossip of the Nawab’s court filtered through a lying vakeel. Ten to one he carries in his pocket a cipher telegram from Simla empowering him to confer the title of Jee[CC] on some neighbouring Thakor. Surely it is no wonder that he believes himself to be the hub of creation. Within a radius of twenty miles there is no one even fit to come between the wind and his nobility. If he should ever catch hold of you by the arm and take you aside for a moment from the madding crowd of a lawn-tennis party to whisper in your ear the arrival of a complimentary Kharita and a pound of sweetmeats from the Foreign Office for the Jam of Bredanbatta you should let off smiles and blushes in token of the honour and glory thus placed at your credit.
All Assistant-Magistrates on their first arrival in this country, stuffed like Christmas turkeys with abstracts and notes, the pemmican of school-boy learnings, are more or less a weariness and a bore; but the youth who comes out from the admiring circle of sisters and aunts with the airs of a man of the world and the blight of a premature ennui is peculiarly insufferable. Of course he has never known at home any grown-up people beyond the chrysalis stage of undergraduatism,