‘He does good, though, doesn’t he?’ asked Madame.
‘See advertisement,’ scoffed Calton. ’Oh, yes! he will give thousands of pounds for any public object, but private charity is a waste of money in his eyes.’
‘You are very hard on him,’ said Madame Midas, with a laugh.
‘Ah! Mr Calton believes as I do,’ cried Vandeloup, ’that it’s no good having friends unless you’re privileged to abuse them.’
‘It’s one you take full advantage of, then,’ observed Kitty, saucily.
‘I always take what I can get,’ he returned, mockingly; whereon she shivered, and Calton saw it.
‘Ah!’ said that astute reader of character to himself, ’there’s something between those two. ’Gad! I’ll cross-examine my French friend.’
They said good-night to the ladies, and walked to the St Kilda station, from thence took the train to town, and Calton put into force his cross-examination. He might as well have tried his artful questions on a rock as on Vandeloup, for that clever young gentleman saw through the barrister at once, and baffled him at every turn with his epigrammatic answers and consummate coolness.
‘I confess,’ said Calton, when they said good-night to one another, ‘I confess you puzzle me.’
‘Language,’ observed M. Vandeloup, with a smile, ’was given to us to conceal our thoughts. Good night!’
And they parted.
‘The comedy is over for the night,’ thought Gaston as he walked along, ’and it was so true to nature that the spectators never thought it was art.’
He was wrong, for Calton did.
A PROFESSIONAL PHILANTHROPIST
We have professional diners-out, professional beauties, professional Christians, then why not professional philanthropists? This brilliant century of ours has nothing to do with the word charity, as it savours too much of stealthy benevolence, so it has substituted in its place the long word philanthropy, which is much more genteel and comprehensive. Charity, the meekest of the Christian graces, has been long since dethroned, and her place is taken by the blatant braggard Philanthropy, who does his good deeds in a most ostentatious manner, and loudly invites the world to see his generosity, and praise him for it. Charity, modestly hooded, went into the houses of the poor, and tendered her gifts with smiles. Philanthropy now builds almshouses and hospitals, and rails at poverty if it has too much pride to occupy them. And what indeed, has poverty to do with pride?—it’s far too sumptuous and expensive an article, and can only be possessed by the rich, who can afford to wear it because it is paid for. Mr Meddlechip was rich, so he bought a large stock of pride, and wore it everywhere. It was not personal pride—he was not good-looking; it was not family pride—he never had a grandfather; nor was it pecuniary pride—he