Page:What will he do with it.djvu/410

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400 WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?

Lionel, wishing to hear no more, glided by, and penetrated farther into the throng. And then, as he proceeded, with those last words on his ear, the consciousness came ujDon him that his position had undergone a change. Difficult to define it ; to an ordinary b3--stander, people would have seemed to welcome him cordially as ever. The gradations of respect in polite so- ciety are so exquisitely delicate, that it seems only by a sort of magnetism that one knows from day to day whether one has risen or declined. A man has lost high office, patronage, power, never, perhaps, to regain them. People don't turn their backs on him ; their smiles are as gracious, their hands as flatteringly extended. But that man would be dull as a rhinoceros if he did not feel as every one who accosts him feels — that he has de- scended in the ladder. So with all else. Lose even your fortune, it is not the next day in a London drawing-room that your friends look as if you were going to ask them for five pounds. Wait a year or so for that. But if they have just heard you are ruined, you will feci that they have heard it, let them bow ever so courteousl}', smile ever so kindly. Lionel at Paris, in the last year or so, had been more than fashionable : he had been the fashion — courted, run after, petted, quoted, imitated. That evening he felt as an author may feel who has been the rage, and without fault of his own, is so no more. The rays that had gilt him had gone back to the orb that lent. And they who were most genial still to Lionel Haughton, were those who still most respected thirty-five thousand pounds a-year — in Guy Darrell !

Lionel was angry with himself that he felt galled. But in his wounded pride there was no mercenary regret — only that sort of sickness which comes to youth when the hollowness of worldly life is first made clear to it. From the faces round him there fell that glamour by which the amour prop rex's, held captive in large assemblies, where the atnour propre is flattered. " Mag- nificent, intelligent audience," thinks the applauded actor. " Delightful party,'"' murmurs the worshipped beauty. Glamour ! glamour ! Let the audience yawn while the actor mouths ; let the party neglect the beauty to adore another, and straightway the " magnificent audience " is an "ignorant public," and "the delightful party " a " heartless world."

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