Page:Court Royal.djvu/60

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‘Very well,’ said the Duke; ‘let the Liberals go to the country with the offer of disestablishment and disendowment, the tithe to go to cover the rates and relieve the farmers, and you will see the farmers to a man will turn Radical.’

‘If the Church were disestablished we should have to become definite,’ said the Vicar, a white-haired, round, red-faced, good-natured man. ‘I cannot imagine anything more disastrous to the Church than to become definite.’

‘The House of Lords will never pass disestablishment,’ said the Archdeacon.

‘The House may go too,’ said the Duke.

‘The country is gone crazed,’ said the General, ‘or it would not have endured the short-service system. What should you say to those who trained men to be carpenters, or engineers, or lawyers, and, as soon as they had mastered their professions, told them to get about their business and take to something else?’

The Duke sighed: ‘I may not live to see it, but the House of Lords will go.’

‘And with it the Church will fall,’ said the Archdeacon.

‘The army is gone to the dogs already,’ said the General.

Mr. Crudge leaned across the table, and said to Beavis Worthivale: ‘I see by the direction of your eyes you are trying to decipher an inscription over the chimney-piece that has been puzzling me. I am too shortsighted to read it from where I sit.’

‘It is the motto of the family,’ said the young man, ‘written all over the house—“Quod antiquatur et senescit, prope interitum est.”’

‘Scripture, eh?’

‘Yes, Scripture, “That which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”’

‘Very good—very appropriate. “Prope interitum est.”’



CHAPTER VII.
BEAVIS.

‘I really think,’ said Mr. Crudge, as he stood in the hall, being helped into his overcoat, and while the fly was at the