Page:Court Royal.djvu/49

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green veranda, and roses and westeria trained over it. Here lived Mr. Christopher Worthivale, steward of the Duke of Kingsbridge.

A maid answered the bell, and informed Mr. Crudge that the steward was at home and disengaged. She showed him into a drawing-room which, though well furnished, looked as if it were never used. The walls were white, with gold sprigs, the carpet very green, the table cover and the covering of the chairs greener still. The window curtains lace, stiff with starch, and smelling of it. On the wall, over the fireplace, was a proof engraving of His Grace, Beavis, seventh Duke of Kingsbridge; against the fireplace—there was no fire, and no appearance of there ever having been one—a banner screen of needlework, glazed, representing the ducal arms, with supporters and coronet. On the table was an album, containing photographs, at which Mr. Crudge looked whilst waiting. First came His Grace, in cabinet size; then one of Lord Edward, Rector of Sleepy Hollow, Canon of Glastonbury, and Archdeacon of Wellington; one of General Lord Ronald Eveleigh, K.C.B.; one of Lady Grace Eveleigh, and one of the Marquess of Saltcombe. Then two blank pages, with places never occupied, and after that, at a respectful distance, photographs taken from faded daguerreotypes of the late Mr. and Mrs. Worthivale, parents of the present steward. The late Mr. Worthivale had been steward to the last, and penultimate, and the present duke; a stout, grey-haired old gentleman, in a white beaver, with high collars, and a plaid waistcoat. The old gentleman had probably possessed blue eyes. They had not taken in the daguerreotype, and consequently had not reappeared in the carte, but both insisted emphatically on the plaid of the waistcoat, as if this was, taken all in all, the thing about Mr. Worthivale, senior, which demanded perpetuation. Judging from her photograph, Mrs. Worthivale must have been a cast-iron woman, in black silk that also looked like iron, with twisted iron wire for curls. After these portraits followed those of Mr. Christopher Worthivale; of his deceased wife, a sweet, patient-looking woman; of his son Beavis, called after the duke, who had graciously condescended to stand godfather; and of his daughter Lucy. On a cabinet stood a beautiful carved alabaster vase, with swans, forming the handles, drinking out of it, under a glass bell. Into the pedestal of ebony was let a silver plate, on which was engraved a notice that this vase was presented