Page:What will he do with it.djvu/419

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WHA T WILL HE DO WITH IT? 409

Darrell's grand face lighted up — his mellow laugh, unrestrained, though low, echoed her sportive tones ; her youth, her joyous- ness were irresistibly contagious. Alban Morley watched ob- servant, while interchanging talk with her attendant comrades, young men of high ton, but who belonged to \\\'x\.jcuncssc dorce, with which the surface of life patrician is frittered over — young men with few ideas, fewer duties — but with plenty of leisure — plenty of health — plenty of money in their pockets — plenty of debts to their tradesmen — daring at Melton — scheming at Tat- tersall's — pride to maiden aunts — plague to thrifty fathers — fickle lovers, but solid matches — in brief, fast livers, who get through their youth betimes, and wlio, for the most part, middle- aged before they are thirty — tamed by wedlock — sobered by the responsibilities that come with the cares of property and the dignities of rank — undergo abrupt metamorphosis into chairmen of quarter sessions — county members, or decorous peers — their ideas enriched as their duties grow — their opinions, once loose as willows to the wind, stiffening into the palisades of fenced pro- priety — valuable, busy men, changed as Henry V., when, coming into the cares of state, he said to the Chief Justice, " There is my hand ; " and to Sir John Falstaff,

"I know thee not, old man; Fall to thy prayers ! "

But, meanwhile, the elite of this jeunesse doree glittered round Flora Vyvyan : not a regular beauty like Lady Adela — not a fine girl like Miss Vipont, but such a light, faultless figure — such a pretty, radiant face — more womanly for affecting to be manlike — Hebe aping Thalestris. Flora, too, was an heiress — an only child — spoiled, wilful — not at all accomplished (my belief is that accomplishments are thought great bores by the jeunesse done) — no accomplishment except horsemanship, with a slight knack at billiards, and the capacity to take three whiffs from a Spanish cigarette. That last was adorable — four offers had been advanced to her hand on that merit alone. (N.B. Young ladies do themselves no good with the Jeunesse dore'e, which, in our time, is a lover that rather smokes than "sighs like furnace," by advertising their horror of cigars.) You would suppose that Flora Vyvyan must be coarse — vulgar perhaps ; not at all ; she was piquante — original ; and did the oddest things with the air and look of the highest breeding. Fairies can not be vulgar, no matter what they do ; they may take the strangest liberties — pinch the maids, turn the house topsy-turvy ; but they are ever the darlings of grace and poetry. Flora Vy-

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