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poor man, and will end in the workhouseof
course. Were you ever down at Bulmer? It’s
uncommonly like a workhouse.”

Now, Nelgrove,” said Mr. Bunnett, “you
stop. I’ll not ask you down to Bulmer again if
you don’t keep quiet. Bulmer’s looking very well
just now,” he went on to Mrs. Tillotson. “I
assure you I laid out seven hundred pounds on the
gardens; and I am at this moment in treaty with
Lord Drobham’s gardener. Not that I think
he’s a bit better gardener because he comes from
a lord. That’s rather against him.”

The jackal again struck in. “Mrs. Tillotson,
I should be very glad to see Bulmer once more,
if I was let. I was only there once or twice; but
now that we are getting my Lord Drobham’s
gardeners, I suppose I shall have no chance.
It’s a very poor placewretched. No peaches,
ma’am, no nectarinesO nono flowers, no
grapes, no rhododendronsquite a wilderness,
ma’am. O yes.”

Mr. Bunnett laughed heartily at this clever
irony, and Mrs. Bunnett bade Mrs. Tillotson
not to mindthat Nelgrove,” who was
always at his joke. Then the subject glided
on to something else, and Mr. Nelgrove, turning
to the captain, asked him if he had ever been
down to Bulmer. “About the finest show-place
in England.”

The captain, who had been silent, only heard
imperfectly. “Eh?” he said, full of smiles.

Bulmer, Bulmer,” said the other, in a loud
tone; “every one in the kingdom knows it.”

O, to be sure,” said the captain, seeing that
his assent was required to something, “to be
sure! Fine, indeed. What you may call the
right sight.”

The peaches, sir,” the other went on, in the
same loud tone, “are not matched by the royal
fruit. Bullock, the head gardener, won ever so
many prizes.”

O yes,” said the captain, with eager
admiration and assent. “See that, now.
Wonderful!”

What became of Bullock?” said the jackal,
across to his patron. “He went away, I know.
Of course he wasn’t good enough. I’d have
thought a hothouse gardener at a hundred a
year was pretty well; but that won’t do, it
seems, for millionnaires. No, no. My Lord
Drobham, it seems, now.”

Mr. Bunnett deprecated this attack softly.
No, no; really no. The man took airs upon
himself, and I had to part with him. I would
have gone on with him, I assure you, if it hadn’t
been for that.”

Have you seen his picture?” Nelgrove went
on, half to the table, half to the captain, “full
length, in his liveryman’s uniform? Nothing
short of Sir Wilkins, R.A., believe me. Five
hundred and fifty without the frame. You and
I, poor devils, must put up with our cartes at
seven and sixpence. I must say, though, a fine
likeness.”

Yes,” said Mr. Bunnett, modestly. “Sir
Wilkins dined with me at one of our Hall dinners,
and he said there publicly, after the dinner, that
he was putting out all his strength into it, and
going to make it a fine body of colour.”

Ross, who heard this speech, gave a laugh,
and turned to Miss Bunnett. “That was after
dinner, wasn't it?”

Yes,” she said, with pride. “He sat next
papa.”

To be sure,” said Ross. “Which of the
two was most honoured? Art and wealth side
by side. That’s the style; that’s the true alliance.
Here, champagne here. Your father’s a
really great man, and a perfect Mæcenas.”

Mr. Tilney heard this remark, and addressed
Mrs. Bunnett. “I like to see that mixing, ma’am.
It’s good for us all. I have heard, in my old
court-days, ma’am, long ago, when I used to eat,
drink, and, I may say, sleep with the royal family,
and had the run of the houseI was, as of course
you know,” added Mr. Tilney, confidentially,
in the householdnothing could be nicer or
more homely than the behaviour of the family;
just like you or me, or that butler taking round
the sherry now. That’s what I like our
aristocracy for.”

Such of us as know a little of Mr. Tilney can
conceive how he spoke to this good lady, and
with what unction he enlarged on those old
aristocratic days. Here Mr. Nelgrove, the
jackal, began to allude as reluctantly tothe
galleryat Bulmer, with aDo you know what
he gives for a pair of statues? I tell him we’ll
see him in the poorhouse, and Bulmer will be
put up to sale, and you or I will get them cheap.
That’s the way I arrange it, eh? Ha! ha! The
worst is, I believe, he’ll not be able to ruin
himself soon enough. He tries hard, I know;
but he’ll break down in the attempt.”

And Mr. Nelgrove laughed so uproariously
at this ludicrously far-fetched idea, that his
patron could not but smile. Ross was looking
on with bitter contempt, and there was mischief
in his eye. As usual, he poured out a stream
of irony and banter on Miss Bunnett, who
looked at him helplessly. “Do you hear that
man?” he said. “Of course the person he is
flapping accepts it all. You observe how refined
and delicate his flappery is?”

Flappery!" repeated the young lady,
mystified, and all but frightened. “O, you mean
flattery.”

Flappery or flattery,” he said. “We
ought to have one apiece. But I admire the
gifts of Mr. Nelgrove. He is a regular artist,
you seehas a fine eye for colour and effect.”
He went on, turning to Nelgrove: “Now,
what’s your view about our host Tillotson?
Will he last long? Will you get anything at
his auction?”

Mr. Nelgrove laughed. “Very good, sir;
very good.”

I say, Tillotson,” Ross called to him, “this
gentleman is talking jocosely of your coming to
the hammer. I dare say we shall see the
testimonial put up, and knocked down to a
friend of the family. These things are on
the cards. Banks, you know, are uncommonly
ticklish!”

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