He addresses her as his neighbour, and tells her of his triumphs over the sex.
He requests her to inform him whether she is a ‘female,’ that she may be triumphed over.
He hastens past her window on foot, with his head bent, just as the General had been in the habit of walking.
He drives a mouse-pony furiously by.
He cuts down a tree, that she may peep through.
Then, from the Moon’s point of view, Wilsonople, a Silenus, is discerned in an arm-chair winking at a couple too plainly pouting their lips for a doubt of their intentions to be entertained.
A fourth letter arrived, bearing date of Paris. This one illustrated Wilsonople’s courtship of the Moon, and ended with his ‘saying,’ in his peculiar manner, ’In spite of her paint I could not have conceived her age to be so enormous.’
How break off his engagement with the Lady Moon? Consent to none of her terms!
Little used as he was to read behind a veil, acuteness of suffering sharpened the General’s intelligence to a degree that sustained him in animated dialogue with each succeeding sketch, or poisoned arrow whirring at him from the moment his eyes rested on it; and here are a few samples:
’Wilsonople informs the Moon that she is “sweetly pretty.”
’He thanks her with “thanks” for a handsome piece of lunar green cheese.
’He points to her, apparently telling some one, “my lady-friend.”
‘He sneezes “Bijou! bijou! bijou!"’
They were trifles, but they attacked his habits of speech; and he began to grow more and more alarmingly absurd in each fresh caricature of his person.
He looked at himself as the malicious woman’s hand had shaped him. It was unjust; it was no resemblance—and yet it was! There was a corner of likeness left that leavened the lump; henceforth he must walk abroad with this distressing image of himself before his eyes, instead of the satisfactory reflex of the man who had, and was happy in thinking that he had, done mischief in his time. Such an end for a conquering man was too pathetic.
The General surprised himself talking to himself in something louder than a hum at neighbours’ dinner-tables. He looked about and noticed that people were silently watching him.
Lady Camper’s return was the subject of speculation in the neighbourhood, for most people thought she would cease to persecute the General with her preposterous and unwarrantable pen-and-ink sketches when living so closely proximate; and how he would behave was the question. Those who made a hero of him were sure he would treat her with disdain. Others were uncertain. He had been so severely hit that it seemed possible he would not show much spirit.