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have served in its stead. He is simply 'right'
from top to toe. His valet regards him with the
pride of the stableman who has just drawn the
cloth from the loins of a flawless horse.

• Cigarettes, Atkinson, I think. Put the cigars
in the bag.'

The cigarettes are in a tiny case of enamelled
gold, which bears an ' S ' in inlaid diamond points on
the lid. It suggests a despairing effort to redeem
precious stone and precious metal from the con-
tempt cast upon them in the extremely apocryphal

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No. 5 John Street

narrative of Master Hythloday. Here, at any
rate, are uses of a kind.

The young fellow holds out his arms like an
infant waiting to be dressed, while his male nurse
unbuttons his coat, and stows away the case in a
breast-pocket. This done, baby is buttoned taut
again into the statuesque lines of the ' cut.' Can
anything be wanting now ?

' Which cane, sir ? '

' Let me see ! ' and he turns to a suspended
rack at the door. There are as many canes as
scarf-pins. He hesitates between a trifle in snake-
wood, with a handle of tortoise-shell, and a slender
growth of some other exotic timber, capped with
clouded amber almost as pale as the pearl.

This carries it at last, and not a moment
too soon. Now we are out of doors,
and skimming, in Seton's private hansom,
over the well-watered roads. On and for ever
onward, until we reach the flower-shop in Picca-
dilly for the morning button-hole. Shade of
Tilda ! not a bud but would outvalue your entire
stock. There is the same niceness of selection
here, with the same certainty of operation. Our
dandy looks at a whole parterre, and points to
one bloom, like the chess-player who knows that
he is pledged to the choice by touching the piece.

It is pinned in its place by a being with a
waist as fragile as its stem. The being makes
an entry in a book, and the office is at an end.

' What does that stand you in, Seton ? '

• Well, I don't know, you know. They put it

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No. 5 John Street

down in the bill. They 're extremely nice people,
and give one no end of tick. They 're supposed to
let me know every time it gets up to fifty pound.'

'Settles',' is his brief order to the driver as we
return to the cab.

It is a name of power, and there is no need
to ask for explanations. He gives them, never-
theless. * I must see my snip for just half a
moment. If I don't look in there three times
a week, he 's sure to send me something I don't
like. It's only just round the corner.'

And so it is. The great man, with whom I have
had dealings myself in my golden prime, is, if pos-
sible, more serious, more urbane, than ever. Seton
has so much the use and habit of the place that he
passes at once to his favourite private room. A lay
hgure, moulded exactly to his shape ('Mr. Seton's
model' is the official description), stands in a
corner, clad in his latest suit. The lugubrious
effigy is a model for clothing only, so its repre-
sentative functions stop short of the head, which
is but a block, and of the feet, which are but
pedestals of iron. The rest is Seton to a hair, in
shoulders, waist, and hip.

' I want you to see that trouser again, sir, as a
match for the frock-coat. In my idea, you'll
never like it ; it 's a couple of shades too light'

' Split the difference to one shade, Settles, and
I 'm of your opinion. If I don't call to-morrow,
send the patterns round. Atkinson will let you
know my hours. But what's wrong with the



scye?



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No. 5 John Street

The melancholy shape has developed a crease
in its dorsal region, and Seton points to it with
accusing finger.

Settles touches a bell.

' Who dressed this model ? '

'Blundell, sir.'

' Send him to me presently. — A clumsy valet,
Mr. Ridler, that 's all ; ' and with two deftly
nervous pulls from the master builder, the crease
disappears.

* It isn't merely knowing how to make clothes,
sir, it's knowing how to put 'em on. You've
a treasure in Atkinson. Then there 's the wearin'
'em ; and, of course, this poor dumb thing is no
use there. You and Captain Bransome are the
only two gentlemen that can take a coat through
a drawing-room crush as if it was on the model's
back.'

' Not always. Settles, not always. I wasn't
very well pleased with the behaviour of that grey
cashmere at the garden-party.'

' Perhaps you stretched yourself in it first go
off, sir. It's as well to break 'em in a bit gently
to the harder work.'

' Perhaps so, perhaps so,' says the youth
absently, as his effigy is spun round once more,
till it stops with its breast to the light. ' I don't
like the fall of that black angola. Settles. We 're
still at sea.'

* You 're sure it isn't your fancy, sir ? '

* Nothing of that kind certainly. We 're wrong
in the facts.'

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No. 5 John Street

Then there ensues a most amazing discussion
of experts, in which the dandy holds his own in
fair give-and-take of technicalities with the snip.
It is as a dispute of the more abstrusely learned
on any other topic ; the vulgar can but stand by
and wait in patience for the end. Such Meso-
potamian terms as 'forepart,' 'sidebody,' 'middle
shoulder,' and, again, the triply mysterious 'scye,'
are freely bandied about ; and the tailor mani-
festly bends to his task, as one in competition
with a master. From time to time, Seton seizes
the chalk, and makes drawings on the garment,
or makes the figure spin like a praying-wheel.
In vain is the cutter summoned to reinforce the
head of the firm. On the question whether a
back seam should be convex or straight, our young
blood takes the pair of them without yielding an
inch, while the staff gather about the door as
though to catch glimpses of a well-stricken
field. There is peace at last after victory ; and
victory, I take it, is with the challenger, since the
other cries, ' Sir, what a tailor you 'd have made ! '

' Self-preservation, Settles ; I 've got to wear
the clothes. Besides, I haven't passed half my
life in your shop for nothing.'

' Yes, and the half lifetime is better than the
full one, sir, if you want to keep your eye true.
You come fresh to it every time. We 're worry-
ing over it day and night.'

' Till you can't see the wood for the trees.
Just the same with the painters, I 've been told.
Besides, two heads are better than one.'

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No. 5 John Street

* When one of 'em's yours, sir ! '

' Thank you for the compliment.'

' I hope we shall see you to-morrow, sir ; we
want all the help you can give us.'

' I '11 try to look in. We 've a good deal to do
between us in the next few days, if I 'm to be fit
to be seen by the First.'

'Chancery Lane, and look alive,' is his order
to the driver, as we sink back into the cab.

' A little out of our way, but it won't take us
long. I want to see Myams about a small
advance. Fact is, I overshot the mark a bit in
buying that last pony ; but I couldn't let her go.
You'll see her presently, I hope. Best bit of
pony flesh in all England, I flatter myself — bar
none. Hullo, there he is — just my luck on the
right side. Save me going upstairs.'

An exquisite person, in dress and mien, is
picking his way towards a doorway ; and, with a
word to the driver, Seton contrives to intercept
him on his threshold. Their greeting is friendly,
yet distinctly respectful on the side of the money-
lender, whence I conclude that they are yet at
the beginning of their idyll. Their business
is settled in one short turn in front of the
house.

The usurer is young, but he hobbles, perhaps
congenitally, in his patent leather, like a knight
in his mail. He nods and smiles, and makes an
entry in his tablets, as his customer drives away.
Seton bears himself with the passionless calm of
the man who is a law unto his tailor. In that

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No. 5 John Street

sort of governance, I suspect, Mr. Myams is
merely a law unto himself.

' What 's wrong with him, Seton ^ ' I ask, as
we drive away, in response to a new order —
' " The Snack," sharp ! '

' Nothing that I know of.'

' I mean in his get-up. He 's well dressed,
but somehow '

' Oh, that. Too glossy, I fancy ; that "s all.
Takes the shine out of himself with his own boots.
Silly things to wear, this hour o' the day. He
means well enough, though ; and he '11 find no-
body to put him out of countenance down here.'

• • • • •

'The Snack' is the young fellow's lunching club.
The glory of its members is that it is known to
but few, even in select circles. Its name never
gets into the papers. There is no chatter of
irresponsible frivolity about it, as there is about
White's or Brooks's. It is an eating and drink-
ing club — that, and that alone. You have to
look for it in a bye-street off Piccadilly. You
may pass, and repass, without being aware that
you have it under your eye. It will never be
under your nose. You knock as at a private
house, and are ushered into a cafd under the
leads. It is Paris in every transplantable condi-
tion — waiters, maitre d'hotel, dame de comptoir,
and plainness in non-essential things, including
the lady herselt. The napery is nothing but
clean ; the plate is not for pomp, but for use.

But the viands ! Some of them, as the maitre

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No. 5 John Street

is so good as to tell me, for I am here as the
country mouse at meat with the mouse of town,
come straight from Paris by special hamper, every
morning. But few are of English production.
The true master of the establishment, who is
below, will not work with any but his own
materials. There is a small bakery, which lives
on his custom, hard by. The butter comes
straight from France: no English butter, it seems,
will serve. Where France is not far-fetched
enough, other lands are laid under contribution.
The theory of the Committee is that every land
and every civilisation has produced one good
thing in eating and drinking, if no more. This
good thing has been perfected by the labours and
the sufferings of generations. The earlier have
felt their way to it through successive longings,
successive surfeits, successive indigestions, until
it has been fashioned by the wisdom of sages, and
the experience of men of affairs, into the accepted
national dish. This dish must be accessible to
* The Snack.' Vigilant travelling members scour
the whole surface of the globe, and bring back
word of new discoveries in this line. Committees
sit on their reports, and test them in secret and
self-denying experiments, in the hope of being
one day able to offer them as glad tidings to the
Club. Select trading houses import the ingre-
dients for them, and are able to give you, in tin
or in bottle, the lampreys that once cost a king's
life, the goose breasts for whose sake the
mightiest of man-eaters, in his retirement of old

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No. 5 John Street

age, is ready to count the world well lost. In
this way, and by slow and patient labours, the
Club has attained to a foretaste of that earthly
Paradise of the senses which the good Irenaeus,
in prophetic vision, promised to the early Chris-
tian Church.

The young fellow has the perfect note, in an
extreme urbanity to all who are of the household
of his pleasures. He can be as distant as a
grandee, I imagine, to those who venture to enter
into competition of style with him. But he treats
his dependants as reigning beauties of the stage
treat their dressers, or the fellow that opens the
door. He chats with the substantial person at
the counter, and calls the mattre d'hdtel 'mon
vieux.' He has none of that fear of familiarity
with the servants which is the guiding principle
of young men from the country, who have found
their way into West End Clubs.

We lunch lightly, for Seton has work to do ;
and the bill is but a fraction over forty shillings.
According to my investigation of the priced
menu, it is distinctly below the average. In
fact, we have saved a pound.



190



XIX

It is hey for Ranelagh now, for I can deny him
nothing after this repast, and we bowl over the
road to Hammersmith. There are many signs
of tournament day — coaches with company,
grooms leading the ponies to the lists. Over
twenty teams have come from the Meet in the
Park. It is a pretty sight. We exchange greet-
ings with friends ; and few but friends intrude.
The road is oilrs, save for an occasional 'bus or
tradesman's cart. At Barn Elms we have but to
turn off by the Red Lion, and we are in our own
ground.

It is holy ground of historic memories, if you
choose to take it so. Ever delightful to me is
this place. What I especially like about it is the
ease with which one may people its lawns and
glades with distinguished ghosts. They drop in
upon one unannounced, and with no other intro-
duction than the sight of a trinket or of a picture,
or the mention of a name. Here is poor, proud
Walsingham, hoping to get a word in edgewise,
in furtherance of his suit for faithful service to
her who could starve a fleet, but never stint
herself in new frocks, ' While she is ther nothing-
may be moved but matter of delyghte.' Cowley

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No. 5 John Street

comes hither for desert solitude, with his head
turned to make sure that the world is looking on.
Mr. Pepys is now and then at Barn Elms, as
Noor-ed-deen was at the swept and garnished
garden of the Mastabahs, for moonshine, and for
junketings — sometimes, while Mrs. Manuel sings.
And, mingled with their echoed lute-playings,
comes the clash of steel, as Buckingham debates
with Shrewsbury under the trees in the logic of
sword-play, while the Middle Term holds the
horse. Old Jacob Tonson may now appear, with
the Kit Kats in his train — Somerset and Dor-
set, Walpole, Congreve and Vanbrugh, Dryden,
Addison, and Steele.

I must confess that, until I settle down to it, I
could prefer these shadows of the past to the too
abundant substance of to-day. Everybody is
here, with the exception of the working popula-
tion. But one must take it as it is. The high-bred
throng is entirely sufficient to itself, and has no
thought of vacating the premises. It is, after all,
in a certain continuity of purpose with its fore-
runners. The place has ever been sacred to the
pride of life, according to the fashion of its age.
The Kit Kats, the swordsmen, the gossips, the
poets, and the courtiers were one with us, as we
stand, in their quest of the courtly fun of the fair.
It was ever a far cry from John Street to Barn
Elms. Wondrous sometimes is the permanence
of institutions in this world of change. Here,
still for us and for ours, are summer's golden
pomp, zephyr, and the plash of Thames.

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No. 5 John Street

Wondrous too is the transformation of Seton
as soon as he reaches the ground. All the dandy
is thrown off, and only the athlete remains. Till
now I had half feared it was a case of — ' So
myche hardy dardy, and so iytell manlyness.'
He is the leading man of his team of Civilians,
who, to-day, engage the Military. He gives
sharp orders to his stable folk, himself sees to his
saddle girths before mounting, and, when all is
ready, enters the field, in blue and silver, at the
head of his contingent. It is a pretty sight, say
what you will — the great stretch of green sward,
and these curvetting figures (the others in pink
and white), the sunshine, the coaches, the carriages,
the pretty women, the well-groomed men, the
knots of trim servants, and the sweet sylvan
peace brooding over all, for the talk is only a
murmur in the vast expanse. The ' immemorial
elms ' are as fully intent as ever on their business
of distributing luminous shade, and they bestow
it by preference on nooks and corners of the
ground where a Gray might still find all the quiet
for a second Elegy while our sport goes on.
These oases of primeval peace are known only
to the water-colour painter, or to the golfer, from
whom no secrets of Nature are hid. Oh the
beauty, the beauty of the world !

* Saucy Sally,' my friend's mount, is a verit-
able Arab Queen. There is something to show
for her cost. The shoulders are piled thick with
muscle ; so are the thighs. Loins, and back, and
ribs have all the essential points ; while, for bone,
N 193



No. 5 John Street

she is a tower of strength, as carefully constructed
for strain-bearing as an Arctic ship. Her crown-
ing distinction is in the head, with its taper muzzle
and the abundance of beautiful drawino- in the
jowl.

She vindicates her owner's judgment in the
purchase, without loss of time. He has the ball
in play, with a hostile throng between him and
his goal, and nothing but the pony's legs, his own
arm, and the wit of both to take him through it.
The legs and the arm are in noble rivalry. When
it is Sally's business to adapt her pace to the
dribble, she does it with the certainty of her re-
serve of strength. She turns and winds, to save
her rider from rushes, as if she scorned guidance,
though, for certain, she receives it by word and
touch. She spurts for taps, and anon, with three
men in full strain for the ball — two of them in
pink and white — she wins it by the sheer speed
of a sudden dash, and enables her grateful master
to score a goal. Up goes the applause to heaven.
O but we are a happy field ! And happiest of all
of us must be the man in blue and silver on the
Arab's back.

Seton's chief antagonist is a Lancer lad, who
rides a stone heavier than my man, to judge by
his performances, and has wellnigh as good a
mount. They are pictures, both, in their field
finery, and the reins are as sensitive as hair
triofSfers under their touch. A back shot from
this champion, in the late encounter, was going
straight to its mark when it glanced from a

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No. 5 John Street

pony's leg. The two men now ride in together,
and by their gestures evidently talk horse.

They have fresh mounts for the next bout, for
the last one winded the whole field. Seton is on
' Tickletoby,' a sturdy little beggar, who, as I
learn afterwards, has a will of his own.

The principal incident in the early part of this
struggle is the discomfiture of a dragoon, and a
heavy one, who comes a crumpler at full speed.
The iron-grey of the beast's coat, and the white
and pink of the player's, alternate in a hideous
false heraldry of sport as they roll over, until the
pony helps himself to rise by planting a foot on
the man. The whole expanse suddenly becomes
still as death ; the game stops ; the grooms run
towards the prostrate champion. But a miracle !
He rises to his feet unaided, and unhurt. Then,
with a shake, he makes straight for the captured
grey, and swings himself into the saddle, for the
renewal of the fight, the while we thunder our
admiration and our gratitude to him and to the
sky. The bonnie, bonnie game of heroes — and
of millionaires ! Taking advantage of this pause,
which has happily coincided with the bail's getting
out of play, Seton orders another mount, and
* Fanny Fiddlestick,' a second pride of his stud,
enters the field. The discarded ' Tickletoby ' is
led off in a kind of disgrace, which, for the present,
is a secret between him and his lord.

The luck is against the dragoon. During a
fierce meUe that ensues, he gets an ugly cut across
the face, and in an instant he rides in streaming

195



No. 5 John Street

crimson instead of the uniform of his side. But
he rides on for all that ; and soon the luck turns,
as though for sheer love of his mettle ; and, amid
renewed thunders of the field, he scores the goal.
A pause, for a change and sticking-plaster, and
we are all like happy schoolboys once more.

I miss the rest of it in its detail. I have been
captured by Lady Deever for small talk, and
henceforth the game is registered in conscious-
ness only by meaningless applause. The last and
loudest shout warrants a question ; and the answer
to it is that the Civilians have won by three goals
to two, and that Seton's final covers him with
glory for its courage and address. I join the
hero in a peg after his cold tub, and soon we are
bowling back to town. He declines a plain
dinner with me, on the score of a prior engage-
ment as host of a party for the play.

• • • • •

He is in capital spirits. It is the animation of
perfect ' fitness.' The blood circulates at the right
pace, and all the rest moves to its measure. He
prattles about the game like a healthy-minded
child. Did I see how he met the Lancer's rush,
till the two nearly fell out of their saddles into each
other's arms ? It was Sally saved him then. He
wouldn't take six hundred for her, money down.
There is a flush on the deep bronze of his face,
and both tints are as rich and solid as an old
master's masterpiece.

It is universally conceded that no nation excels
our own in the power of limiting conversation to

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No. 5 John Street

the something not ourselves, and keeping the mind
for long stretches of time in the outer courts of
circumstance. As a rule, we have nothing intro-
spective in our talk, and but little that is theo-
retical or speculative. It is a token of our passion
for privacy Millions of us go, or seem to go,
from cradle to grave on a mental nourishment of
cricket, football, party politics, dress, diseases, or
domestics, with never a thought of cosmic rela-
tions. Seton, as I have hitherto known him, is
one of these. He has no impertinent curiosity as
to the means or ends of his being, or as to the
mysteries of his lot in life. To-day, however, or
rather at this moment, there is a change in him.
He is discursive, and he shows a disposition to
quit his few settled topics for the dangerous
ground of things in general. This happens — by
a coincidence only, I have no doubt — just as we
come in view of the river at Hammersmith
Bridge, with its loungers hanging over the para-
pet, its landscape of old and new, harmonised by
the dateless stream, its detail of boats at their
moorings, of flying skiffs and fours, and of the
tramp bathing his bleared vision in the light of
the evening sun.

' It 's a rum world,' says my companion, as
though making a cautious advance where there is
no sure foothold.

' Ay, ay, sir,' is my equally cautious reply.
' A rum world it is.'

' A funny sort of a place,' adds the young man,
as I think superfluously ; ' blessed if it ain't.*

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No. 5 John Street

' Just what I 've often thought,' I return, will-
ing- to encouraore him in the belief that he has
priority in the expression, if not in the idea. No
other priority is to be hoped for nowadays.
Notoriously, there is nothing new, not even the
proposition to that effect. Dr. Sangrado's patients
swilled hot water as a panacea, just as we do to-
day. And it was his pride to stand upon the
ancient ways.

' Well, I 'm glad I spoke first,' he laughs. He
obviously needs most delicate handling at this
point, or, in the twinkling of an eye, he may relapse
into the things he understands.

* But I don't see how you make it out after all.
What 's the matter with the world ? '

' Who says there is anything the matter with
it.f*' is his very natural rejoinder.

' He says so,' and I point to the beggar at his
bath of light. * He '11 say it again if he catches
sight of us two swells,'

' Lord ! He don't mind ; used to it. Been in
training for it all his life.'

I am far too shrewd to provoke him into
silence by argumentative contradiction. His
mood is everything ; and, for one rare and pre-
cious moment, it inclines him to speculative con-
fidences. I play him, therefore — with what skill,
though I am proud of it, I have no time to show
in detail — and gradually arrive at the following as
his working theory of life and the picture of his
inner mind.

The theory is so general in these latitudes that

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No. 5 John Street

I have thought proper to throw this brief account
of it into the form of a paragraph for the Report.
And I put it under a heading which, I flatter my-
self, may give it something of its proper dignity
as a philosophic speculation : —

'THE ORB AS CASH.

• The world does not rest on the back of a tortoise,
nor does it now rest on the shoulders of one man.
The office of Atlas has long been in commission. The
world rests on the shoulders of a syndicate, vulgarly
known as "people with money." These support the
entire framework of things, and from them all blessings
flow.

' Above these, in beautiful gradations of diminishing
strength, you have the inferior rich, the well-to-do, the
shopkeepers ; and, finally, all who can afford to employ
a single drudge.

'The grand rich are not only a foundation of things ;
they are as the sun in Nature, and they give light and
heat to the whole frame.


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