‘Are you the Marquis of Edbury, or a drunken groom, sir?’
‘Gad, old gentleman, I’ve half a mind to ride you down,’ said Edbury, and, espying me, challenged me to a race to run down the fogies.
A cavalcade of six abreast came cantering along. I saw my father listen to a word from Lady Edbury, and push his horse to intercept the marquis. They spoke. ‘Presently, presently,’ my father said; ’ride to the rear, and keep at half a stone’s throw-say, a groom’s distance.’
‘Groom be hanged!’ Edbury retorted. ’I made a bet I’d drive you out of the Park, old Roy!’
‘Ride behind, then,’ said my father, and to my astonishment Edbury obeyed him, with laughter. Lady Edbury smiled to herself; and I experienced the esteem I perceived in her for a masterful manner. A few minutes later my father beckoned me to pay my respects to Graf Kesensky, an ambassador with strong English predilections and some influence among us. He asked me if he was right in supposing I wished to enter Parliament. I said he was, wondering at the interest a foreigner could find in it. The count stopped a quiet-pacing gentleman. Bramhaxri DeWitt joined them, and a group of friends. I was introduced to Mr. Beauchamp Hill, the Government whip, who begged me to call on him with reference to the candidature of a Sussex borough: ‘that is,’ said he, turning to Graf Kesensky, ’if you’re sure the place is open? I’ve heard nothing of Falmouth’s accident.’ The count replied that Falmouth was his intimate friend; he had received a special report that Falmouth was dying, just as he was on the point of mounting his horse. ‘We shan’t have lost time,’ said Mr. Hill. The Government wanted votes. I went down to the House of Commons at midnight to see him. He had then heard of Falmouth’s hopeless condition, and after extracting my political views, which were for the nonce those of a happy subserviency, he expressed his belief that the new writ for the borough of Chippenden might be out, and myself seated on the Government benches, within a very short period. Nor would it be necessary, he thought, for the Government nominee to spend money: ’though that does not affect you, Mr. Richmond!’ My supposed wealth gave me currency even in political circles.
I BECOME ONE OF THE CHOSEN OF THE NATION
An entire revulsion in my feelings and my way of thinking was caused by this sudden change of prospect. A member of our Parliament, I could then write to Ottilia, and tell her that I had not wasted time. And it was due to my father, I confessed, when he returned from his ball at dawn, that I should thank him for speaking to Graf Kesensky. ‘Oh!’ said he, ’that was our luck, Richie. I have been speaking about you to hundreds for the last six months, and now we owe it to a foreigner!’ I thanked him again. He looked eminently handsome in his Henry III. costume, and was disposed to be