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She smiles at your confident bliss,
Smiles at your hopes and your fears ; She smiles with a stab or a kiss,
And smiles as she dulcetly sneers.
In youth, Lady Fay, with its charm,
Your tyrannous smiles we'll adore, In youth, Lady Fay, they may warm,
In age they'll be simply a bore.
And so, Lady Fay, envelop Sir Fred
In your sunshiny net while you can,
Might bewray much a better man.
See, he's coming to ask you to valse
(Stupid Will will keep hovering round; But don't to your own self be false,
Nor let it be said that you frowned.)
Though Will is all glowering the while,
And your partner's deficient in nous, Your lips will part with a roseate smile
As you glide to the strains of old Strauss.
Yes, you all must know the Lady Fay,
For she's found in all degrees, And all that she doth do or say
Shows so well her wish to please.
Phil had a final smoke in Sid's den before turning in. This den has not been described, and needs but little description. Low, full of strange angles and shadows, with small windows ; it was not at once that a stranger could catalogue its contents. Over the capacious grate and an improvised mantelpiece, well stored with pipes, hung the arms of Kaiser, surmounted by a pair of foils and single-sticks, and a last century cavalry sword which had belonged to a St. John who held a commission in Butcher Cumberland's army. A small piano in one corner was smothered by a pyramid of books, crowned by a hunting cap, the fragments of a flute, and a violin with one string. Under the larger window stood a desk covered with books and papers, among which space had, evidently with violence, been found for a reading-lamp, for the manuscripts had been carelessly swept off one side, and had half filled a brazen repoussé asperges vessel which answered the purpose of a coalscuttle. In various corners were heaped walking-sticks, bats, fishing-rods, and guns in various stages of repair or decadence; riding-whips, and, in fact, anything which would stand on end ; three water-colours, the same number of oils—some which had been banished from the dining-room ; two bookcases, one supporting the bust of the ugliest and wisest of the ancients, wearing a cricket cap, completed the list of appointments taken at a hasty glance.
Sid was very moody, and at first scarcely noticed the raillery of Phil. The world to Sid had altered, not only within the last few months, but within almost as few hours. The events of the day had not been without their influence on him. Whether natura non facit saltum be a sound maxim or not, it will be perhaps allowed that there are times at which the whole tenor of a life may be changed almost in a moment. One rough twist of the many-coloured kaleidoscope we call life with its many-coloured elements, and the pattern is totally changed; hopes, sorrows, joys, delusions, alter their relative proportions ; increase, diminish, or disappear altogether. Such a rough twist is felt when we discover that those whom we loved are not loveable, or, what is as bad, when we discover that we ourselves have overrated our own strength of purpose or purity of motive. This last discovery is bitter to make, but the world would be the sweeter if it were less seldom made or less seldom acknowledged. Sid, however, was not much troubled with retrospective qualms. A man may discover that the world, big as it is, has no room for him and his aspirations, and that it has darker shades than he supposed, with sadness, perhaps, but without bitterness. The revelations made by Mr. St. John were not calculated to please Sid. Believing the statements of his father, he could not but conclude that tiey were living somewhat in a false position, and the many satirical things he had himself said of pretentious humbugs, of dishonourable bankrupts, and even of foolish and conceited, but honest and hard-working tradesmen, came vividly to his mind. Not that he had much to reproach himself in that direction, but the whole of his training and associations had tended to make him more than simply intolerant of pretence in any shape, whether it were the case of that creature known to novelists as a belted earl who splashed the mud of his carriage on his unpaid baker, or of a baker who himself set up a carriage with bedizened coach panels. To think that he, with all his family pride (which was much stronger than in many who talk much about it, or wear it in their faces), was one of the universal tribe who parade themselves before the world in borrowed plumes, was a reflection which gave him a sense of positive, though at present but half-realised pain. Then thoughts of his extravagances passed before him, not in themselves individually large, but other than he would have indulged in had he dreamed of the condition of affairs at home.
The thoughts of economy and things to be achieved, which chased each other in wild and formless disorder before him, were again disturbed by another set of reflections. He knew enough of the relations between his brother and Bessie Saunders to be deeply concerned therewith. Bessie when at Peeley's had been sufficiently well-known to both of them when they were children, and used to ride over on their Shetlands to the farm, and he had known enough of her and those belonging to her, to feel more than interested in her welfare. It was evident that Heb wished to conceal all knowledge of the affair from the Priors. Possibly there might be little harm in it, but Sid knew too much of Heb's Oxford and London life to place much reliance on his sense, honour, or unselfishness. The danger certainly was imminent to the girl's happiness and peace of mind, if no more. What, however, could he do? To tell his father was an idea which had, in fact, never crossed his mind, and if it had occurred to him, would probably have been dismissed as entailing a piece of tale-bearing inconsistent with his own honour ?
Sid thought himself of speaking to Heb, but the notion of assuming the mentor was utterly distasteful to him ; in fact, he had a horror of becoming a moral censor.
There was little guile in Sid, but it was doubtful if he would not rather be accused of vice himself, than lay himself open to a charge of priggishness. There is some reason to fear that vice is not always a monster of such fearful mien, as to at once compel us to put lance in rest against it. Moreover, if Sid were to so far conquer his feelings as to lecture his brother, it was more than likely that it would have just the opposite effect to that which Sid desired.
“Egregii mortalem altique silenti ! When you've done staring into those fast dying embers,” said Phil, from a huge chair in which he was sitting, “perhaps you'll condescend to answer my last question. To wit—why you disappeared in the crystal temple of ferns for so long a time with Miss Blanchard, when your father, wanted to find a fourth for whist?
You apparently found the legendary seed which made you invisible.”
“Eh? Oh, I don't know. One must, you know talk sometimes to the
creatures.' “Ah,” responded Phil, “they're a great nuisance, aren't they?"
“Yes,” said Sid, meditatively, “in the abstract."
"Oh, of course, in the abstract. Sisters, I suppose, although I never had one, are useful exceptions, and mothers a sort of special providence."
“Some mothers, perhaps,” interjected Sid, moodily. “ That Miss Blanchard hasn't got bad eyes.”
"Bad eyes !” ejaculated Sid, nearly choking himself with the smoke in his haste. “I should think not.”
Very nice girl, I dare say,” said Phil, playing a dental tattoo with the mouth-piece of his pipe, and looking narrowly at Sid, “but not quite my style."
"Indeed? I suppose you want some great caffle of a girl, all eyebrows and tongue, a loud, grinning, killing, aggressive, demonstrative piece of femininity."
"It never struck me," said Phil, smiling, “that I did want want such a creature. But Miss Blanchard is a bit-a bit namby-pamby, isn't she?”
“Good gracious, Phil,” said Sid, with tropical heat, "a truer, sweeter, gentler girl you couldn't imagine. You ought not to criticise women you can't understand.”
"I prithee, Pylades, let us not quarrel over a woman, whom mine eyes have seen but once, and may never see again.”
· No, old fellow,” said Sid, repenting of his asperity. “Not for forty thousand women ; but you really don't understand Helen. I've known her since a child, and I don't think I understand her yet myself. We used to play together as brats. Many are the sand castles I've dug at Hastings with her, and as crab-fishers we were unique. I used to look down on Nellie then, thinking myself an awfully superior individual in every way. She was away two years with Miss Hyndslip in Germany, and when I met her on coming home last long, 1-well, I didn't think myself the superior individual. Love? Of course, I can't think about love for the next fifty years."
“I'll believe everything you tell me implicitly. Fact is, old man, I was selling you. I'm half in love with her myself."
Indeed ?” said Sid, knocking the dust from his pipe vigorously-young men are so difficult to please. Sid did not like to hear Miss Blanchard depreciated, nor to find that she had made a conquest of any one else. “Well, I don't wonder at it, Phil, at all.”
Oh, only half. Only in a distant, unapproachable, platonic sort of way. Ne cui me vinculo vellem sociare jugali. Her eyes are nice, though.”
Aren't they,” said Sid, rising, so deep and tender and trustful ; looking out all the good in a fellow, and making him bring it to the top. What would'nt a man do to live in their light?”
“I say! I'd no idea you were hit like this. What about our misogynal plans and theories ?"
“Oh, Phil, old man, if all the women were like her there would be no misogynists in the world. You don't feel tired, or mind listening to a fellow's woes? I have been wanting to have a long jaw on divers subjects. Pass the rosy."
“Wait a bit. Let me put a bit of coal on from the piously founded receptacle. It's all very well for you fervent lovers, but I feel chilly. Now, then, another chair and that cushion, and the tobacco-jar. Now, then, fire away." Oh, I've no love story to tell
. Mr. Blanchard, you know, has been the governor's lawyer for years
“Stop a bit. Mrs. Blanchard-what's she been? She's a queer old woman to have such a daughter."
“I declare, Phil, you're enough to tax the patience of St.