The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 809 pages of information about The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete.


My father stood in the lobby of the Opera, holding a sort of open court, it appeared to me, for a cluster of gentlemen hung round him; and I had presently to bow to greetings which were rather of a kind to flatter me, leading me to presume that he was respected as well as marvelled at.  The names of Mr. Serjeant Wedderburn, Mr. Jennings, Lord Alton, Sir Weeton Slater, Mr. Monterez Williams, Admiral Loftus, the Earl of Witlington, were among those which struck my ear, and struck me as good ones.  I could not perceive anything of the air of cynical satellites in these gentlemen—­on the contrary, they were cordially deferential.  I felt that he was encompassed by undoubted gentlemen, and my warmer feelings to my father returned when I became sensible of the pleasant sway he held over the circle, both in speaking and listening.  His sympathetic smile and semi-droop of attention; his readiness, when occasion demanded it, to hit the key of the subject and help it on with the right word; his air of unobtrusive appreciation; his sensibility to the moment when the run of conversation depended upon him—­showed inimitable art coming of natural genius; and he did not lose a shade of his superior manner the while.  Mr. Serjeant Wedderburn, professionally voluble, a lively talker, brimming with anecdote, but too sparkling, too prompt, too full of personal relish of his point, threw my father’s urbane supremacy into marked relief; and so in another fashion did the Earl of Witlington, ’a youth in the season of guffaws,’ as Jorian DeWitt described him, whom a jest would seize by the throat, shaking his sapling frame.  Jorian strolled up to us goutily.  No efforts of my father’s would induce him to illustrate his fame for repartee, so it remained established.  ‘Very pretty waxwork,’ he said to me of our English beauties swimming by.  ’Now, those women, young Richmond, if they were inflammable to the fiftieth degree, that is, if they had the fiftieth part of a Frenchwoman in them, would have canvassed society on the great man’s account long before this, and sent him to the top like a bubble.  He wastes his time on them.  That fat woman he’s bowing to is Viscountess Sedley, a porcine empress, widow of three, with a soupcon of bigamy to flavour them.  She mounted from a grocer’s shop, I am told.  Constitution has done everything for that woman.  So it will everywhere—­it beats the world!  Now he’s on all-fours to Lady Rachel Stokes, our pure aristocracy; she walks as if she were going through a doorway, and couldn’t risk an eyelid.  I ’d like to see her tempting St. Anthony.  That’s little Wreckham’s wife:  she’s had as many adventures as Gil Blas before he entered the Duke of Lerma’s service.’  He reviewed several ladies, certainly not very witty when malignant, as I remembered my father to have said of him.  ’The style of your Englishwoman is to keep the nose exactly at one elevation, to show you’re

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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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