Page:What will he do with it.djvu/163

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


the landlady paused. The dog might be accustomed to drawing-rooms, but her drawing-room was not accustomed to dogs. She had just laid down a new carpet. And such are the strange and erratic affinities in nature, such are the incongruous concatenations in the cross-stitch of ideas, that there are associations between dogs and carpets, which, if wrongful to the owners of dogs, beget no unreasonable apprehensions in the proprietors of carpets. So there stood the landlady, and there stood the dog! and there they might be standing to this day had not the Comedian dissolved the spell. "Take up my effects again," said he, turning to the porter; "doubtless they are more habituated to distinguish between dog and dog at the Royal Hotel."

The landlady was mollified in a moment. Nor was it only the rivalries that necessarily existed between the Saracen's Head and the Royal Hotel that had due weight with her. A gentleman who could not himself deign to carry even that small bundle must be indeed a gentleman! Had he come with a portmanteau—even with a carpet-bag—the porter's service would have been no evidence of rank; but accustomed as she was chiefly to gentlemen engaged in commercial pursuits, it was new to her experience,—a gentleman with effects so light, and hands so aristocratically helpless. Herein were equally betokened the two attributes of birth and wealth; namely, the habit of command and the disdain of shillings. A vague remembrance of the well-known story how a man and his dog had arrived at the Granby Hotel, at Harrowgate, and been sent away roomless to the other and less patrician establishment, because, while he had a dog, he had not a servant; when, five minutes after such dismissal, came carriages and lackeys and an imperious valet, asking for his grace the Duke of A————, who had walked on before with his dog, and who, oh, everlasting thought of remorse! had been sent away to bring the other establishment into fashion,—a vague reminiscence of that story, I say, flashed upon the landlady's mind, and she exclaimed, "I only thought, sir, you might prefer the stables; of course, it is as you please. This way, sir. He is a fine animal, indeed, and seems mild."

"You may bring up the bundle, porter," quoth the Pere Noble. "Take my arm, my dear; these steps are very steep."

The landlady threw open the door of a handsome sitting-room,—her best: she pulled down the blinds to shut out the glare of the sun; then retreating to the threshold awaited further orders.

"Rest yourself, my dear," said the Actor, placing Sophy on a