+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

for them to do, and without asking the reason
why. The present age is always asking the
reason why, and may be much the better for it;
which I hope it is.

It was about five o'clock in the evening when
the gardens at Chiswick were most thronged,
when a Babel of silvery tongues echoed
on malachite lawn and gravel walk, that a
gentleman's cabriolet of the perioda "cab," as
it was very modestly named (at the risk of being
confounded with the plebeian high-hung saffron-
hued vehicles with a seat for the driver at one
side), passed swiftly by Turnham-green, and so
to the gardens of the Horticultural Society. It
was a faultless cab; exquisitely appointed,
shining in its every part like a pair of
Wellingtons fresh home from the tip-top maker's.
The tiger was a Lilliputian phenomenon, with
apparently three tightly-fitting natural skins: one
of leather, bifurcated for his nethers: another
of pepper and salt cloth for his coat: a third of
jetty-black surmounted with brown streaks for his
top boots. Portions of his epidermis they must
have been; for although, if artificial, he might
have got them on, it was beyond the range of
human possibility that he could ever get them
off. Stay, an additional article must be mentioned
in regard to his buckskin gloves. With shining
livery buttons, with a tight little belt round his
tight little waist, and a hat bound with silver
cord, this domestic was surely the tightest tiger
that ever was seen.

He leaped down, like an elfin groom as he was,
when the cab stopped, and in three bounds was
at the head of the great brown champing horse.
Then the apron was flung open, and a gentleman
descended, and said, "Drive back to
town!" Whereupon the nimble tiger skimmed,
so to speak, in the airiest manner to the vacant
place, gathered up the reins in his tiny
buckskinned hand, gave the whip a gentle flourish
about the plated harness of the brown horse, and
departed at an agile trot.

The late occupant, and, it is to be presumed,
owner, of this vehicle, having been duly brushed
down by one of the red jackets who had come
specially from Pall-Mall for the occasion,
presented his ticket and entered the gardens. He
was a tremendous dandy, in an age of dandies.
The Brummel type was not yet extinct. The
heavy languid dragoon-like dandy, with his loose
clothes, looser slouch, and pendent moustaches,
had not yet made his appearance. The only
things loose about the dandy, then, were his
morals. The owner of the cabriolet was the
brisk, alert, self-satisfied dandy of the time. The
tailor, the shirtmaker, the bootmaker, the
staymaker, the hairdresser, could do no more for him
than they had done. They had exhausted their
faculties in adorning him. Another lappel to the
coat, another curl to the coiffure, another whif
of perfume about him, and the dandy would have
been spoiled. As it was, he was as perfect as
man could be with three under waistcoats, a very
high shouldered higher collared coat with velvet
collar and cuffs, lavender pantaloons very tightly
strapped over his boots, a hat with a turned up
brim, a voluminous shirt frill with diamond studs
down the breast, white kid gloves, and a gold-
headed cane with a long silk tassel.

Dress makes up so much of the dandiacal entity
that the description of this ineffable person's
countenance has been temporarily overlooked. It
was worth looking at. A dandy face, but not
a monkeyfied, not a simpering one. His age
seemed to be between thirty and forty; but
it was evident that at no very remote period he
had been an eminently handsome man. His
teeth were beautiful. His hands and feet wore
in a concatenation accordingly. He had a
charming red and white complexion. His
hair was black and glossy, and admirably
adjusted. So, too, with his mathematically cut
whiskers and chin tuft. Moustaches he had
none. When he smiled, he showed the beautiful
teeth a good deal; when his glove was off, he
made a liberal display of the emerald and diamond
rings on his dainty white hand. There was no
finding any fault with the man's outward appearance,
for albeit expensively dressed, and with a
great gold chain meandering over his cut velvet
waistcoat, and a double diamond pin in his
cravat, he looked from head to foot a gentleman.
It should finally be mentioned that there were
two trifling drawbacks to his good looks. Across
his left cheek, almost from the comer of the
mouth to the eye, there ran a very deep scar,
which when he talked turned livid. His eyes,
too, were very colourless and sunken, and there
were brownish rings beneath them. But for
these the dandy would have been an Adonis.

He was evidently very well known. He
stopped to speak to ladies belonging to the élite.
He was asked whether he had been to the
duchess's ball; whether he was going to the
marchioness's rout. His replies were affirmative.
He was tapped on the arm with pretty
parasols and scent bottles, and scolded prettily
for not having executed some commission,
accepted some invitation, joined some junketing
recently afoot. Clearly our dandy was very
popular among the sex. Nor did the men treat
him with less favour.

There came up my Lord Carlton, a wild rake
of the time, and deep player, with little Harry
Jermyn, his admirer, crony, toady, on his arm.

"How do, Griffin?" was his lordship's salutation.
"Monsous baw stopping here. Confounded
military band blows roof of one's head off. Come
away, Griffin, and have a hand at piquet at my
rooms in town."

"I would with pleasure," Griffin answered,
"but I've a little business to transact in this
neighbourhood before I return."

"Business?" echoed his lordship. "Business at
a flower-show? Dooced queer place for bussiness,
Griffin. You haven't turned market gardener?''

"Il y a des fleurs animées," quoth little Mr.
Jermyn. "All the Chiswick roses don't grow on