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in for deep play, and bets, and so forth; but I
don't know whether he's worth twopence in the
world or not."

"Is he married?"

"Married! By Jove! one would think you
wanted me to say my catechism. What do I
know? Griffin Blunt never said anything about
his being married, and there's nobody in Mayfair
who owns to the name of Mrs. Blunt. Come

Mr. Blunt was a squire of dames. Group
after group of ladies took him up, and did not
drop him after brief parley, as I am told it is
the elegant but rather embarrassing custom of
the ladies of the great world to do. They
were sorry to part with him, for it was agreed
on all sides that Mr. Blunt was most amusing
and agreeable. There were some prudent
mammas who looked upon him as a dangerous
man, and warned their daughters to beware of
him; but then it was impossible to be very
severe with a gentleman who went into the very
best houses, who was undeniably accomplished,
faultlessly dressed, exquisitely well bred, and
who could always procure a voucher for Almacks'.
Besides, Blunt had the rare art, or rather the
rare tact, of paying court before the world to
old and middle-aged ladies. He cast himself,
morally, at their feet, and overwhelmed them
with attentions, as though they were in all
the bloom and freshness of youth. It was
only when the world was not looking that Mr.
Blunt occupied himself with young people;
and it was on the staircase and in the conservatory
that the sleek Griffin put forth his claws.
"There are always young people growing up for
one," he would say, in his airy manner; "but the
dowagers who have places to give and money to
leave, pass away. Let us cultivate the dowager.
If a man wants to get on in life, he can't do
better than study the History of the Middle
Ages." To which Moyen Age culture Mr. Blunt
owed much of his success.

Thus, floating through the sunny crowd, went
on Griffin Blunt, admired, caressed, envied by
struggling tuft-hunters, who would have given
their ears (long ones, and good measure) for a
nod or a half-civil word from half the people he
was with. When a man comes to propounding
conundrums to duchesses, and promising to
draw caricatures in the albums of ambassadresses,
it is palpable that he must be well placed in
society. "My humble proficiency in the fine
arts," Blunt would occasionally say, "is worth
fifty dinners, a hundred balls, and a week in each
of the best country-houses, a year, to me. Of
what use should I be in Dorset or Russell square?
What do they know about the fine arts there,
beyond the "Beauties of England and Wales,"
the portrait of the late Princess Charlotte, and
the view of the Temple of Concord in Hyde Park?
At her grace's it is quite another thing, and I go
to her water-parties at Kew. My little musical
accomplishments would be worth an heiress or
an Indian widow to me if I were a marrying
man. If I could play the violoncello, I should
be invited to his Royal Highness's Wednesdays.
I must learn the violoncello. Tell me where
Dragonetti lives, and I will give him a guinea a

"You're an ambitious fellow, Griffin," would
that shrewd novelist and newspaper writer,
Whipstaff, to whom Blunt sometimes imparted
these demi-confidences, remark. "You sail well
before the wind, and in a short heat I'll back
you to distance the best; but you've no ballast,
my boy, and you'll founder. Take my advice,
and if you haven't laid by for a rainy day, borrow
somebody else's umbrella, and don't give it back

"You are an excellent moralist," thus Mr.
Blunt, with a pleasant sneer. "Are you, too,
ready for the wrath of Jupiter Pluvius?"

"Never mind," retorted Whipstaff, who was
notoriously not worth a penny, and in dire
difficulties. "Let me alone, and I shall turn up
trumps yet. Every bird feathers his nest in a
different manner. The wisest one after all is,
perhaps, he who never troubles himself with
making a nest of his own, but pops into somebody
else's. There are still a few sinecures left,
that confounded Reform Bill"—Whipstaff was a
staunch Conservative—"notwithstanding. The
wind is tempered to the shorn lamb, and the old
ravens of the Treasury Bench will provide for
the barrister of seven years' standing." Such
was the worldly wisdom of Mr. Whipstaff, who
had eaten his terms some years before at his own
expense, with the firm and fixed resolve of eating
a great many more terms, one day or another,
at the expense of the country.

Whipstaff was at the flower-show, and
remarked to several acquaintances that he never
saw Griffin Blunt looking better. "How he
manages it," he continued, "I can't imagine.
I wish he'd give me his recipe for living at the
rate of two or three thousand a year upon

"Shakes his elbow," suggested purple-faced
Captain Hanger, who hated Blunt.

"Perhaps," acquiesced Whipstaff, with a sigh,
"and is lucky. With me that species of
paralysis has always proved the costliest of

And so the Whirligig went on in the Chiswick
Gardens. Now Scandal's sirocco seized a spiteful
anecdote, and twirled and twisted and sent it
spinning from one end of the gardens to the other.
Now it caught up a woman's reputation, and
eddied it in wild hide-and-seek through the
summer leaves. It was the merriest kind of
word-waltzing imaginable; and never a sneer,
an innuendo, a wicked bon mot, but found a
partner. And in the midst of it all, the band of
the Royal Horse Guards Blue brayed forth Suoni
la Tromba with tremendous and sonorous
emphasis. What did it all matter to them?
It was their business to blow, and they blew as
though they would have blown for ever. So the
huntsman winds a find a check, a mort. So the