A Raja whom I am now prospecting for the Foreign Office asked me the other day where Commanders-in-Chief were ripened, seeing that they were always so mellow and blooming. I mentioned a few nursery gardens I knew of in and about Whitehall and Pall Mall. H.H. at once said that he would like to plant his son there, if I would water him with introductions. This is young ’Arry Bobbery, already favourably known on the Indian Turf as an enterprising and successful defaulter.
You will know ’Arry Bobbery, if you meet him, dear Vanity, by the peculiarly gracious way in which he forgives and forgets should you commit the indiscretion of lending him money. You may be sure that he will never allude to the matter again, but will rather wear a piquant do-it-again manner, like our irresistible little friend, Conny B——. I don’t believe, however, that Bobbery will ever become a Commander-in-Chief, though his distant cousin, Scindia, is a General, and though they talk of pawning the ’long-shore Governorship of Bombay to Sir Cursinjee Damtheboy.—Ali Baba.
WITH THE ARCHDEACON
[Illustration: The archdeacon—“A man of both worlds.”]
[August 23, 1879.]
The Press Commissioner has been trying by a strained exercise of his prerogative to make me spend this day with the Bishop, and not with the Archdeacon; but I disregard the Press Commissioner; I make light of him; I treat his authority as a joke. What authority has a pump? Is a pump an analyst and a coroner?
Why should I spend a day with the Bishop? What claim has the Bishop on my improving conversation? I am not his sponsor. Besides, he might do me harm—I am not quite sure of his claret. I admit his superior ecclesiastical birth; I recollect his connection with St. Peter; and I am conscious of the more potent spells and effluences of his shovel-hat and apron; but I find the atmosphere of his heights cold, and the rarefied air he breathes does not feed my lungs. Up yonder, above the clouds of human weakness, my vertebrae become unhinged, my bones inarticulate, and I collapse. I meet missionaries, and I hear the music of the spheres; and I long to descend again to the circles of the everyday inferno where my friends are.
stars I can forego;
This kind, warm earth, is all I know.”
I am sorry for it. I really have upward tendencies; but I have never been able to fix upon a balloon. The High Church balloon always seems to me too light; and the Low Church balloon too heavy; while no experienced aeronaut can tell me where the Broad Church balloon is bound for; thus, though a feather-weight sinner, here I am upon the firm earth. So come along, my dear Archdeacon, let us have a stroll down the Mall, and a chat about Temporalities, Fabrics, “Mean Whites,” and little Mrs. Lollipop, “the joy of wild asses.”