The Napoleon of Notting Hill
disrespect of yours, however fantastic. But do you really mean that you will trust to the ordinary man, the man who may happen to come next, as a good despot?"
"I do," said Barker, simply. "He may not be a good man. But he will be a good despot. For when he comes to a mere business routine of government he will endeavour to do ordinary justice. Do we not assume the same thing in a jury?"
The old President smiled.
"I don't know," he said, "that I have any particular objection in detail to your excellent scheme of Government. My only objection is a quite personal one. It is, that if I were asked whether I would belong to it, I should ask first of all, if I was not permitted, as an alternative, to be a toad in a ditch. That is all. You cannot argue with the choice of the soul."
"Of the soul," said Barker, knitting his brows, "I cannot pretend to say anything, but speaking in the interests of the public—"
Mr. Auberon Quin rose suddenly to his feet.
"If you'll excuse me, gentlemen," he said, "I will step out for a moment into the air."
"I'm so sorry, Auberon," said Lambert, goodnaturedly; "do you feel bad?"