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where it began. Of the merits or demerits of
the boot we do not presume to judge; we only
point to the fact, that certain officers of
Government take fourteen years to decide
how they like a pair of boots.

THE DELUGE AT BLISSFORD.

This is the way Jack Plover lives when he
is at home; but first of all I must tell you
that Jack's home is the wide wide world, and
that when he stays in London or in Brighton,
or goes shooting or yachting, he considers
himself merely on a visit. He has now been
what any one else would have called settled in
town, for the last ten years, but still he looks
upon it merely as a tent pitched for the
night, and conveying no idea to his mind of
stability or even repose. However, all the
rest of us think London his headquarters for
life, and therefore I will tell you how he lives
in that gay metropolis. He has beautiful
lodgings over an artificial flower-maker's in
Jermyn Street, belongs to the Acropolis Club,
and sports a swish-tailed poney, with very
high action and immensely long teeth, in a
livery stable in the St. James's mews. He
pursues his literary studies in bed, and generally
reads a novel before breakfast; but this
is not so great a feat as it appears, for he
does not breakfast till one or two o'clock.
He then sallies into the street, skims through
a page or two of the Times at the Acropolis,
takes three or four turns up and down from
the Duke of York's pillar to the Regent Street
Circus, dives for half an hour into the back
parlour of a cigar-shop, mounts his charger
and goes on duty in Hyde Park, sits down to
dinner at a little past seven, sips a pint of
port, climbs up into the billiard room at ten,
plays till twelve, sups till one, and commences
the round of life by retiring to his couch at
two o'clock in the morning. Mr. Plover is
(theoretically) of a very active, enterprising
disposition, and considers idleness a crime; he
would send all vagrants to the treadmill, and
pities poor devils of country clergymen because
they have so little to do. His easy life has
handled his outward man so tenderly, that if
it weren't for the gradually increasing darkness
of the hair-dye, you wouldn't think he
had grown a day older for the last ten years.
His hair was at one time a glossy brown; it
has past through the intermediate shades of
dark auburn, coal-black, ink-black, and is now
finally settled into the darkest, deepest,
beautifullest blue. His whiskers, however, don't
share in the increasing nigritude of his hair,
so he cuts them rigorously off; having been
occasionally laughed at for the mixed colours
which adorned his cheeksthe roots being
very white and the tips very darklike
pine-trees on the snowy Appenine. This care of his
personal appearance arises from a desire to
please the world in general, and has no
reference to any one in particular. He hasn't
had a flirtation for twenty years, and has now
forgotten all about it; which is odd,
considering that it cost him several thousand
pounds for breach of promise. The lady was
inconsolable and married an Irish major
three months after the trial. The name of
the Irish major he industriously forgot; the
name of the lady even was beginning to
glimmer in a feeble indistinctness of something
between Juliet and Maria; her surname he
had either altogether banished with other
"trivial, fond records," or at least had locked
it away in some secret drawer of his mind
into which he very seldom looked. Jack,
like some philanthropists of my acquaintance
who express unbounded interest in the
happiness of the human family at large,
and do no good to any member of it in
particularhad a profound veneration for
the fair sex in the abstract, but hated all
women in their individual capacity with a
vehemence which was only equalled by his
indignation at a tough beefsteak or a bottle of
corked wine. Yet he was polite. No Frenchman
of Louis Quatorze's reign ever so thrilled
at a female presence. His cheeks flushed
when a lady spoke to him, even when she
only asked him if he would have a helping of
fish. His voice faltered as he answered. In
fact, he, was incorrigibly shy, and was nowhere
happy or at his ease except in the Acropolis
or in his apartments at Jermyn Street.

Has anybody forgotten the raininess of last
winter? How the clouds were in a perpetual
state of distillation, and the streets in a
perpetual stream ? Walking was impossible,
riding in the Park was a service of great
danger to man and horse. London, in fact,
became intolerable, and Jack determined to
go into the country for change of scene.

There is the prettiest little place that ever
was seen on the coast of Dorset, and out of
compliment to its character we will call it
Blissford. It can scarcely be called a village,
for the houses are all villas, each with a nice
little coach-house, as if for the express purpose
of shewing how excellently Humility contents
itself with a low-hung phaeton, undersize, and
therefore duty-free. These villas are ranged
in a long straight line under a protecting
height, and have a fine and extensive view of
the great ocean in front. Between them,
however, and the shore is a rich low level of
grassy field, and in the middle of the space
shaded by trees and enriched all round with
shrubs of every hue and perfumelies a small
lake, famous for the deep blue of its water, and
the romantic seclusion of its winding banks.
No wonder Blissford became popular,
especially with mammas who are rich in grown-up
daughters.

Never a year passed without a marriage or
two in the little old church, about a mile
from the shore. And how was it possible to
be otherwise? The visitorsfor several of
the villas did not disdain to hang a hospitable
board over their garden walls, announcing
their willingness to accommodate families, or

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