Did ever young man sit through such a detestable and abominable repast?
If Denis Wilde had been rash enough to nourish insane hopes with regard to moonlight wanderings in the pleasant garden after dinner, these hopes were destined to be blighted.
They were a party of twelve; the waiting was bad, and the courses numerous; the dinner was a lengthy affair altogether. By the time it was over, and coffee had been discussed on the terrace outside the house, the carriages came round to the door, and the ladies of the party voted that it was time to go home.
Soon everybody stood clothed in summer ulsters or white dust-cloaks, waiting in the hall. The coach started from the door with much noise and confusion, with a good deal of plunging from the leaders, and some jibbing from the wheelers, accompanied by a very feeble performance on that much-abused instrument, the horn, by an amateur who occupied a back seat; and after it had departed, a humble train of neat broughams and victorias came trooping up in its wake.
“You will see,” said nonentity number one, in her friend’s ear; “you will see that Nevill girl will go back in some man’s brougham—that is what she has been waiting for; otherwise, she would have perched herself up on the box-seat of the coach, in the most conspicuous place she could find.”
“What a disgraceful creature she must be!” is the indignantly virtuous reply.
The “Nevill girl,” however, disappointed the expectations of both these charitable ladies by quietly taking her place in Mrs. Hazeldine’s brougham, by her friend’s side, amid a shower of “Good-nights” from the remainder of the party.
“Ah!” said the nonentity, with a vicious gasp, “you may be sure she has some disreputable supper of men, and cigars, and brandies and sodas waiting for her up in town, or she would never go off so meekly as that in Mrs. Hazeldine’s brougham. Still waters run deep, my dear!”
“She is a horrid, disreputable girl, I am quite sure of that,” is the answer. “I am very thankful, indeed, that I haven’t the misfortune of knowing her.”
MRS. HAZELDINE’S “LONG ELIZA.”
Now will I show myself to have more
of the serpent than the
dove; that is, more knave than fool.
For every inch that is not fool is rogue.
The scene is Mrs. Hazeldine’s drawing-room, in Park Lane, the hour is four o’clock in the afternoon, and the dramatis personae are Miss Nevill, very red in the face, standing in a corner, behind an oblong velvet table covered with china ornaments, and Monsieur Le Vicomte D’Arblet, also red in the face, gesticulating violently on the further side of it.
Miss Nevill, having retired behind the oblong table, purely from prudential motives of personal safety, is devoured with anxiety concerning the too imminent fate of her hostess’ china. There is a little Lowestoft tea-service that was picked up only last week at Christie and Manson’s, a turquoise blue crackle jar that is supposed to be priceless, and a pair of “Long Eliza” vases, which her hostess loves as much as she does her toy terrier, and far better than she loves her husband.