The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. 15
not to be eating pillau or kibobs with one's fingers. The clerical
cousin was a very agreeable personage—plump and rosy, strongly
addicted to good living, and looking upon the beautiful Mrs.
Champion as a being whose normal state was to be adored 'oy
well-bred young men, and to dispense hospitality to poor
Not a word was said about Justin Jermyn throughout the dinner,
but while Gerard was helping Mrs, Champion to put on her cloak,
she asked suddenly—
" How did you get on with the Fate-reader? "
" Very badly. He struck me as an insolent fa^xeur. I wonder
society can encourage such a person."
" Yes, he is decidedly insolent, I was rather scared by the things
he said to me, but a few minutes' thought showed me that his talk
was mere guess work. I shall never ask him to any party of
"You must have rushed away in a great hurry. I was only five
minutes closeted with the oracle, but when I went to the h.all you
and your carriage had vanished,"
" I had an irresistible desire to get out of the house. I felt as if
I were escaping from Tophet; and then I had to call for Mrs.
Gresham "—the cousin—" at the Knightsbridge Riding School,
where the poor thing had been slaving at Lady Penniddock's
" It was abject slavery," protested Mrs, Gresham, " I'm afraid
I shall detest tea and coffee all the days of my life, and I was so
fond of them "—with profound regret, " The very look of a bath
bun will make me iU,"
" Depechons," said Mrs, Champion, " We shall hear very little
of the new Zerlina if we go on dawdling here."
And so in a feverish hurry she led the way to her carriage, where
there was just room enough for Gerard on the front seat.