’And—let me reflect. For the next apartment, it strikes me—as your la’ship don’t value expense—the Alhambra hangings—my own thought entirely. Now, before I unroll them, Lady Clonbrony, I must beg you’ll not mention I’ve shown them. I give you my sacred honour, not a soul has set eye upon the Alhambra hangings, except Mrs. Dareville, who stole a peep; I refused, absolutely refused, the Duchess of Torcaster—but I can’t refuse your la’ship. So see, ma’am—(unrolling them)—scagliola porphyry columns supporting the grand dome—entablature, silvered and decorated with imitative bronze ornaments; under the entablature, A valance in PELMETS, of puffed scarlet silk, would have an unparalleled grand effect, seen through the arches—with the Trebisond trellice paper, would make a Tout ensemble, novel beyond example. On that Trebisond trellice paper, I confess, ladies, I do pique myself.
’Then, for the little room, I recommend turning it temporarily into a Chinese pagoda, with this Chinese pagoda paper, with the porcelain border, and josses, and jars, and beakers to match; and I can venture to promise one vase of pre-eminent size and beauty. Oh, indubitably! if your la’ship prefers it, you can have the Egyptian hieroglyphic paper, with the Ibis border to match! The only objection is, one sees it everywhere—quite antediluvian—gone to the hotels even; but, to be sure, if your la’ship has a fancy—At all events, I humbly recommend, what her Grace of Torcaster longs to patronise, my moon curtains, with candlelight draperies. A demisaison elegance this—I hit off yesterday—and—true, your la’ship’s quite correct—out of the common, completely. And, of course, you’d have the sphynx candelabras, and the Phoenix argands. Oh! nothing else lights now, ma’am! Expense! Expense of the whole! Impossible to calculate here on the spot!—but nothing at all worth your ladyship’s consideration!’
At another moment, Lord Colambre might have been amused with all this rhodomontade, and with the airs and voluble conceit of the orator; but, after what he had heard at Mr. Mordicai’s, this whole scene struck him more with melancholy than with mirth. He was alarmed by the prospect of new and unbounded expense; provoked, almost past enduring, by the jargon and impertinence of this upholsterer; mortified and vexed to the heart to see his mother the dupe, the sport of such a coxcomb.
‘Prince of puppies!—insufferable!—My own mother!’ Lord Colambre repeated to himself, as he walked hastily up and down the room.
‘Colambre, won’t you let us have your judgment—your TEESTE’ said his mother.
‘Excuse me, ma’am. I have no taste, no judgment, in these things.’