WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT? 369
Colonel Morley. " I comprehend ; the experiment suc- ceeded? "
Darrell. " I don't know — not yet — but it may ; I am here, and I intend to stay. I would not go to a hotel for a single day, lest my resolution should fail me. I have thrown myself into this castle of care without even a garrison. I hope to hold it. Help me to man it. In a word, and without metaphor, I am here with the design of re-entering London life."
Colonel Morley. " I am so glad. Hearty congratulations ! How rejoiced all the Viponts will be ! Another ' crisis ' is at hand. You have seen the newspapers regularly, of course — the state of the country interests you. You say that you come from Ouzelford, the town you once represented. I guess you will re- enter Parliament : you have but to say the word."
Darrell. " Parliament ! No. I received, while abroad, so earnest a request from my old constituents to lay the founda- tion-stone of a new Town-hall, in which they are much interested, and my obligations to them have been so great, that I could nol refuse. I wrote to fix the day as soon as I had resolved to return to England, making a condition that I should be spared the infliction of a public dinner, and landed just in time to keep my appointment — reached Ouzelford early this morning, went through the ceremony ; made a short speech, came on at once to London, not venturing to diverge to Fawley (which is not very far from Ouzelford), lest, once there again, I should not have strength to leave it — and here I am." Darrell paused, then repeated, in brisk, emphatic tone : " Parliament ? No. Labor? No. Fellow-man, I am about to confess to j'ou; I would snatch back some days of youth — a wintry likeness of youth — better than none. Old friend, let us arnuse ourselves ! When I was working hard — hard — hard — it was you who would say : ' Come forth, be amused ' — you happy butterfly that you were ! Now, I say to you : ' Show me this flaunting town that you know so well ; initiate me into the joy of polite pleasures, social commune —
' Dulce milii furere est amico.'
You have amusements — let me share them."
"Faith," quoth the Colonel, crossing his legs, you come late in the day! Amusements cease to amuse at last. \ have tried all, and begin to be tired. I have liad my holiday, ex- hausted its sports ; and you, coming from books and desk fresh into the playground, say, ' Football and leapfrog.' Aias 1 my poor friend, why did you not come sooner ? "