“Is that a compliment to us Britons?”
“No, certainly not. If a man is a servant, he should be clever enough to be a good one.” Phineas had now given the order for the carriage, and, having returned, was standing with Madame Max Goesler in the cloak-room. “After all, we are surely the most awkward people in the world,” she said. “You know Lord Fawn, who was talking to Miss Effingham just now. You should have heard him trying to pay me a compliment before dinner. It was like a donkey walking a minuet, and yet they say he is a clever man and can make speeches.” Could it be possible that Madame Max Goesler’s ears were so sharp that she had heard the things which Lord Fawn had said of her?
“He is a well-informed man,” said Phineas.
“For a lord, you mean,” said Madame Max Goesler. “But he is an oaf, is he not? And yet they say he is to marry that girl.”
“I do not think he will,” said Phineas, stoutly.
“I hope not, with all my heart; and I hope that somebody else may,—unless somebody else should change his mind. Thank you; I am so much obliged to you. Mind you come and call on me,—193, Park Lane. I dare say you know the little cottage.” Then he put Madame Max Goesler into her carriage, and walked away to his club.
Lady Baldock Does Not Send a Card to Phineas Finn
Lady Baldock’s house in Berkeley Square was very stately,—a large house with five front windows in a row, and a big door, and a huge square hall, and a fat porter in a round-topped chair;—but it was dingy and dull, and could not have been painted for the last ten years, or furnished for the last twenty. Nevertheless, Lady Baldock had “evenings,” and people went to them,—though not such a crowd of people as would go to the evenings of Lady Glencora. Now Mr. Phineas Finn had not been asked to the evenings of Lady Baldock for the present season, and the reason was after this wise.
“Yes, Mr. Finn,” Lady Baldock had said to her daughter, who, early in the spring, was preparing the cards. “You may send one to Mr. Finn, certainly.”
“I don’t know that he is very nice,” said Augusta Boreham, whose eyes at Saulsby had been sharper perhaps than her mother’s, and who had her suspicions.
But Lady Baldock did not like interference from her daughter. “Mr. Finn, certainly,” she continued. “They tell me that he is a very rising young man, and he sits for Lord Brentford’s borough. Of course he is a Radical, but we cannot help that. All the rising young men are Radicals now. I thought him very civil at Saulsby.”
“Don’t you think that he is a little free with Violet?”
“What on earth do you mean, Augusta?”
“Have you not fancied that he is—fond of her?”
“Good gracious, no!”
“I think he is. And I have sometimes fancied that she is fond of him, too.”