“I think, begging your lordship’s pardon for making the remark, that you are acting injudicious. I ’ave been in service a great number of years, startin’ as steward’s room boy and rising to my present position, and I may say I ’ave ’ad experience during those years of several cases where the daughter or son of the ’ouse contemplated a misalliance, and all but one of the cases ended disastrously, your lordship, on account of the family trying opposition. It is my experience that opposition in matters of the ‘eart is useless, feedin’, as it, so to speak, does the flame. Young people, your lordship, if I may be pardoned for employing the expression in the present case, are naturally romantic and if you keep ’em away from a thing they sit and pity themselves and want it all the more. And in the end you may be sure they get it. There’s no way of stoppin’ them. I was not on sufficiently easy terms with the late Lord Worlingham to give ’im the benefit of my experience on the occasion when the Honourable Aubrey Pershore fell in love with the young person at the Gaiety Theatre. Otherwise I could ’ave told ’im he was not acting judicious. His lordship opposed the match in every way, and the young couple ran off and got married at a registrar’s. It was the same when a young man who was tutor to ’er ladyship’s brother attracted Lady Evelyn Walls, the only daughter of the Earl of Ackleton. In fact, your lordship, the only entanglement of the kind that came to a satisfactory conclusion in the whole of my personal experience was the affair of Lady Catherine Duseby, Lord Bridgefield’s daughter, who injudiciously became infatuated with a roller-skating instructor.”
Lord Belpher had ceased to feel distantly superior to his companion. The butler’s powerful personality hypnotized him. Long ere the harangue was ended, he was as a little child drinking in the utterances of a master. He bent forward eagerly. Keggs had broken off his remarks at the most interesting point.
“What happened?” inquired Percy.
“The young man,” proceeded Keggs, “was a young man of considerable personal attractions, ’aving large brown eyes and a athletic lissome figure, brought about by roller-skating. It was no wonder, in the opinion of the Servants’ ’All, that ’er ladyship should have found ’erself fascinated by him, particularly as I myself ’ad ’eard her observe at a full luncheon-table that roller-skating was in her opinion the only thing except her toy Pomeranian that made life worth living. But when she announced that she had become engaged to this young man, there was the greatest consternation. I was not, of course, privileged to be a participant at the many councils and discussions that ensued and took place, but I was aware that such transpired with great frequency. Eventually ’is lordship took the shrewd step of assuming acquiescence and inviting the young man to visit us in Scotland. And within ten days of his arrival, your lordship, the match was broken off. He went back to ’is roller-skating, and ’er ladyship took up visiting the poor and eventually contracted an altogether suitable alliance by marrying Lord Ronald Spofforth, the second son of his Grace the Duke of Gorbals and Strathbungo.”