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Title: English Society
Author: Du Maurier, George, 1834-1896
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "English Society" ***

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[Illustration: George Du Maurier]



  ENGLISH SOCIETY


  SKETCHED BY

  GEORGE DU MAURIER


  [Illustration: Logo]


  NEW YORK

  HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS

  1897


  Copyright, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894,
  1895, and 1896, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

  _All rights reserved._



GEORGE DU MAURIER


I was thinking, with a pang, just before I put my pen to the paper, that
the death of George du Maurier must be a fact of stale interest to the
reader already, and that it would be staler yet by the time my words
reached him. So swiftly does the revolving world carry our sorrow into
the sun, our mirth into the shade, that it is as if the speed of the
planet had caught something of the impatience of age, and it were
hurried round upon its axis with the quickened pulses of senility. But
perhaps this is a delusion of ours who dwell in the vicissitude of
events, and there are still spots on the earth's whirling surface,
lurking-places of quiet, where it seems not to move, and there is time
to remember and to regret; where it is no astonishing thing that a king
should be a whole month dead, and yet not forgotten. At any rate, it is
in the hope, if not quite the faith, of this that I venture some belated
lines concerning a man whom we have lost just when he seemed beginning
to reveal himself.


I.

It was my good fortune to have the courage to write to Du Maurier when
_Trilby_ was only half printed, and to tell him how much I liked the
gay, sad story. In every way it was well that I did not wait for the
end, for the last third of it seemed to me so altogether forced in its
conclusions that I could not have offered my praises with a whole heart,
nor he accepted them with any, if the disgust with its preposterous
popularity, which he so frankly, so humorously expressed, had then begun
in him. But the liking which its readers felt had not yet become
loathsome to the author, and he wrote me back a charming note, promising
me the mystery, and enough of it, which I had hoped for, because of my
pleasure in the true-dreaming in _Peter Ibbetson_; and speaking briefly,
most modestly and fitly, of his commencing novelist at sixty, and his
relative misgivings and surprises.

It was indeed one of the most extraordinary things in the history of
literature, and without a parallel, at least to my ignorance. He might
have commenced and failed; that would have been infinitely less amazing
than his most amazing success; but it was very amazing that he should
have commenced at all. It is useless to say that he had commenced long
before, and in the literary property of his work he had always been an
author. This theory will not justify itself to any critical judgment;
one might as well say, if some great novelist distinguished for his
sense of color took to painting, that he had always been an artist. The
wonder of Du Maurier's essay, the astounding spectacle of his success,
cannot be diminished by any such explanation of it. He commenced
novelist in _Peter Ibbetson_, and so far as literature was concerned he
succeeded in even greater fulness than he has succeeded since. He had
perfect reason to be surprised; he had attempted an experiment, and he
had performed a miracle.

As for the nature, or the quality, of his miracle, that is another
question. I myself think that in all essentials it was fine. The result
was not less gold because there was some dross of the transmuted metals
hanging about the precious ingot, and the evidences of the process were
present, though the secret was as occult as ever. He won the heart, he
kindled the fancy, he bewitched the reason; and no one can say just how
he did it. His literary attitude was not altogether new; he perfected an
attitude recognizable first in Fielding, next in Sterne, then in Heine,
afterwards in Thackeray: the attitude which I once called confidential,
and shook three realms beyond seas, and their colonial dependencies
here, with the word. It is an attitude which I find swaggering in
Fielding, insincere in Sterne, mocking in Heine, and inartistic in
Thackeray; but Du Maurier made it lovable. His whole story was a
confidence; whatever illusion there was resided in that fact; you had to
grant it in the beginning, and he made you grant it gladly. A trick?
Yes; but none of your vulgar ones; a species of legerdemain, exquisite
as that of the Eastern juggler who plants his ladder on the ground,
climbs it, and pulls it up after him into the empty air. It wants
seriousness, it wants the last respect for the reader's intelligence, it
wants critical justification; it wants whatever is the very greatest
thing in the very greatest novelists; the thing that convinces in
Hawthorne, George Eliot, Tourguénief, Tolstoy. But short of this supreme
truth, it has every grace, every beauty, every charm. It touches, it
appeals, it consoles; and it flatters, too; if it turns the head, if it
intoxicates, well, it is better to own the fact that it leaves one in
not quite the condition for judging it. I made my tacit protest against
it after following Trilby, poor soul, to her apotheosis at the hands of
the world and the church; but I fell a prey to it again in the first
chapters of _The Martian_, and I expect to continue in that sweet
bondage to the end.


II.

If I venture to say that sentimentality is the dominant of the Du
Maurier music, it is because his art has made sentimentality beautiful;
I had almost said real, and I am ready to say different from what it was
before. It is a very manly sentimentality; we need not be ashamed of
sharing it; one should rather be ashamed of disowning its emotions. It
is in its sweetness, as well as its manliness, that I find the chief
analogy between Du Maurier's literature and his art. In all the long
course of his dealing with the life of English society, I can think of
but two or three instances of ungentleness. The humor which shone upon
every rank, and every variety of character, never abashed the lowly,
never insulted women, never betrayed the trust which reposed in its
traditions of decency and generosity. If we think of any other
caricaturist's art, how bitter it is apt to be, how brutal, how base!
The cruelties that often pass for wit, even in the best of our own
society satires, never tempted him to their ignoble exploitation; and
as for the filthy drolleries of French wit, forever amusing itself with
one commandment, how far they all are from him! His pictures are full of
the dearest children, lovely young girls, honest young fellows; snobs
who are as compassionable as they are despicable, bores who have their
reason for being, hypocrites who are not beyond redemption. It is in his
tolerance, his final pity of all life, that Du Maurier takes his place
with the great talents; and it is in his sympathy for weakness, for the
abased and outcast, that he classes himself with the foremost novelists
of the age, not one of whom is recreant to the high office of teaching
by parable that we may not profitably despise one another. Not even
Svengali was beyond the pale of his mercy, and how well within it some
other sorts of sinners were, the grief of very respectable people
testified.

I will own myself that I like heroes and heroines to be born in wedlock
when they conveniently can, and to keep true to it; but if an author
wishes to suppose them otherwise I cannot proscribe them except for
subsequent misbehavior in his hands. The trouble with Trilby was not
that she was what she was imagined, but that finally the world could not
imaginably act with regard to her as the author feigned. Such as she
are to be forgiven, when they sin no more; not exalted and bowed down
to by all manner of elect personages. But I fancy Du Maurier did not
mean her to be an example. She had to be done something with, and after
all she had suffered, it was not in the heart of poetic justice to deny
her a little moriturary triumph.

Du Maurier was not a censor of morals, but of manners, which indeed are
or ought to be the flower of morals, but not their root, and his
deflections from the straight line in the destiny of his creations must
not be too seriously regarded. I take it that the very highest fiction
is that which treats itself as fact, and never once allows itself to be
otherwise. This is the kind that the reader may well hold to the
strictest accountability in all respects. But there is another kind
capable of expressing an engaging beauty, and bewitchingly portraying
many phases of life, which comes smiling to you or (in vulgar keeping)
nudging you, and asking you to a game of make-believe. I do not object
to that kind either, but I should not judge it on such high grounds as
the other. I think it reached its perfect effect in Du Maurier's hands,
and that this novelist, who wrote no fiction till nigh sixty, is the
greatest master in that sort who ever lived, and I do not forget either
Sterne or Thackeray when I say so.


III.

When I first spoke, long ago, of the confidential attitude of Thackeray,
I said that now we would not endure it. But I was wrong, if I meant that
more than the very small number who judge novels critically would be
impatient of it. No sooner were those fearful words printed than I began
to find, to my vast surprise, that the confidential attitude in
Thackeray was what most pleased the greatest number of his readers. This
gave me an ill opinion of their taste, but I could not deny the fact;
and the obstreperous triumph of _Trilby_, which was one long confidence,
has since contributed to render my defeat overwhelming. Du Maurier's use
of the method, as he perfected it, was so charming that I am not sure
but I began to be a little in love with it myself, though ordinarily
superior to its blandishments. It was all very well to have Thackeray
weep upon your neck over the fortunes of his characters, but if he had
just been telling you they were puppets, it was not so gratifying; and
as for poor Sterne, his sighs were so frankly insincere you could not
believe anything he said. But Du Maurier came with another eye for life,
with a faith of his own which you could share, and with a spirit which
endeared him from the first. He had prodigious novelties in store:
true-dreaming, hypnotism, and now (one does not know quite what yet)
intelligence from the neighborly little planet Mars. He had the gift of
persuading you that all his wonders were true, and his flattering
familiarity of manner heightened the effect of his wonders, like that of
the prestidigitator, who passes round in his audience, chatting
pleasantly, while he pours twenty different liquors out of one magical
bottle.

I would not count his beautiful talent at less than its rare worth, and
if this figure belittles that, it does him wrong. Not before in our
literature has anything more distinct, more individual, made itself
felt. I have assumed to trace its descent, from this writer to that; but
it was only partly so descended; in what made it surprising and
captivating, it was heaven-descended. We shall be the lonelier and the
poorer hereafter for the silence which is to be where George du Maurier
might have been.

                                                        W. D. HOWELLS.



ENGLISH SOCIETY


[Illustration: POST-PRANDIAL STUDIES

FAIR HOSTESS (_passing the wine_).--"I hope you admire this decanter,
Admiral?"

GALLANT ADMIRAL.--"Ah! it's not the vessel I am admiring...."

FAIR HOSTESS.--"I suppose it's the _port_?"

GALLANT ADMIRAL.--"Oh, no; it's the pilot."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HAMPERED WITH A CONSCIENCE

TOMMY (_home from an afternoon party_).--"Mamma, darling, I've got a
great favor to ask of you.... _Please_ don't ask me _how I behaved_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FELINE AMENITIES

OLD LADY (_to fashionable beauty, who has recently married the
General_).--"And so that white-haired old darling is your husband! What
a good-looking couple you must once have been!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TAKING THE CHANCES

THE GENERAL.--"I've brought you a new book, Aunt Emily, by the new
French Academician. I'm told it's very good; but I've not read it
myself, so I'm not sure it's quite--a--quite correct, you know."

AUNT EMILY.--"My dear boy, I'm ninety-six, and I'll _risk_ it!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRIALS OF A PAINTER'S WIFE

SIR BINKS (_who always piques himself on saying just the right
thing_).--"A--what I like so much about the milkmaid, dontcherknow, is
that your husband hasn't fallen into the usual mistake of painting a
lady dressed up in milkmaid's clothes! She's so unmistakably a milkmaid
and nothing else, dontcherknow!"

THE PAINTER'S WIFE.--"I'm _so_ glad you think so.... He painted her from
_me_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LADIES OF FASHION AND THEIR DOCTORS

(SCENE: The Waiting-Room of a Fashionable Physician.)

FAIR PATIENT (_just ushered in_).--"What--_you_ here, Lizzie? Why, ain't
you _well_?"

SECOND DITTO.--"Perfectly, thanks! But what's the matter with _you_,
dear?"

FIRST DITTO.--"Oh, nothing whatever! I'm as right as possible,
dearest...!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "BONJOUR, SUZON!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: RIVAL SMALL AND EARLIES]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MOTHER'S DARLINGS]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DAYLIGHT WISDOM

ELDER SISTER.--"Oh! he proposed after supper, did he--after dancing with
you all night--and you refused him? Quite right! My dear child, never
believe in _any_ proposal until the young man calls at eleven in the
morning and asks you to be his wife!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN UNAPPRECIATED COMPLIMENT

"Good-night, Miss Maud!"

"I'm _not_ Miss Maud."

"Miss _Ethel_, I mean. Won't you shake hands with me? How ungrateful of
you! and just after I've been taking you for your lovely sister,
too."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LE MONDE OÙ L'ON S'ENNUIE

"I see a tent. I wonder what's going on inside? Let's go and see...."

"What's the good of our going in there?"

"What's the good of our stopping out here?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE TABLES TURNED

TIRED DAUGHTERS.--"Don't you think we might _go_ now, mamma? It's three
o'clock."

FESTIVE MAMMA.--"Oh, that's not so _very_ late, darlings.... Mayn't I
have _one_ more dance?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A SLEEPY HOLLOW IN THE OLD COUNTRY

(The Common Room at St. Morpheus, Oxbridge.)

FIRST TUTOR (_waking up, and languidly helping himself to his modest
glass of claret_).--"Ah! I like a little sleep after dinner.... It makes
one ready for one's wine!"

SECOND TUTOR.--"Well, _I_ like a little sleep _before_ dinner best!"

THE MASTER.--"Pooh! Talk to me of the after-breakfast sleep in
term-time! That's what _I_ enjoy!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TAKING ONE TOO MUCH AT ONE'S WORD

HOSTESS.--"Won't you play us something, Mr. Spinks?"

MUSICAL AMATEUR (_who thinks a good deal of himself, in spite of his
modesty_).--"Oh, don't ask me--you are all such first-rate performers
here--and you play such good music, too."

HOSTESS.--"Well, but we like a little _variety_, you know."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE ENGLISH TAKE THEIR PLEASURES SADLY]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A DAUGHTER OF HETH

LIONEL.--"Oh, I _say_, Benjamin! how splendid your wife is looking!
_She_ pays for dressing, if you _like_!"

BENJAMIN.--"_Does_ she, my boy? I only wish she _did_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A QUESTION OF AGE

TEDDY.--"How old are you, Aunt Milly?"

AUNT MILLY (_who owns to 35_).--"Oh, Teddy, almost a hundred!"

TEDDY.--"Auntie, I can't believe you! I'd believe you if you'd said
fifty!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BREAKFAST AT BONNEBOUCHE HALL

"A southerly wind and a cloudy sky proclaim a hunting morning."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BUSINESS

SIR BEDIVERE DE VERE.--"Oh, I say. How you do chaff! You never take me
seriously!"

AMERICAN BELLE.--"You never asked me!" (_No cards._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DOMESTIC ECONOMY

MATER.--"Papa, dear, do you know a halfpenny weekly paper called
_Flipbutts_?"

PATER.--"Never heard of it in my life!"

MATER.--"Well, it offers ninepence a column for answering questions, and
they _are_ so difficult, and we _do_ so want to make a little money! Do
leave off your novel and help us a little." (_Pater can only write two
novels a year, but gets £10,000 for each of them._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WHAT INDUCED HIM TO MARRY HER?

HE.--"Look! Here comes young Brummell Washington, with his bride. I
wonder what on earth induced him to marry her?"

SHE.--"Oh, probably somebody bet him he wouldn't!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A CLAIM TO SOCIAL PRECEDENCE

HOSTESS.--"You must give your arm to Miss Malecho, William, and put her
on your right, and make yourself as agreeable as you possibly can!"

HOST.--"Why, she's a person of no consequence whatever!"

HOSTESS.--"Oh, yes, she is! She's very ill-natured, and tells the most
horrid lies about people if they don't pay her the very greatest
attention!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN INTRODUCTION

"Auntie, darling, this is my new friend, Georgie Jones. He _is_ nice.
And isn't it funny, my birthday is the ninth of January, and his is the
tenth, so you see we only just escaped being twins!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BANJONALITIES

(The Freemasonry of Art.)

HE.--"I beg your pardon--but--er would you be so kind as to give me the
'G'?"

SHE.--"Oh, certainly." (_Gives it._)

HE.--"Thanks, awfully!" (_Bows and proceeds on his way._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TEUTONIC SATIRE

HOSTESS.--"Oh, _pray_ don't leave off, Herr Rosencranz. That was a
lovely song you just began!"

EMINENT BARYTONE.--"Yes, matame, bot it tit not harmonise viz de
cheneral gonferzation. It is in _B vlat_, and you and all your vrents
are talking in _G_. I haf a zong in _F_ and a zong in _A sharp_, bot I
haf no zong in _G_!"

ACCOMPANIST.--"Ach! Berhaps, to opliche matame, I could dransbose de
aggombaniments--ja?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: REASONING FROM INDUCTION

"Look, Geoffrey! That's Lady Emily Tomlinson. Isn't she pretty?"

"Yes. And I s'pose that's _Lord_ Emily walking with her!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THOSE INFELICITOUS SPEECHES

PROFESSOR BOREHAM.--"What! alone, Mrs. Highflyer? Your husband is not
ill, I trust!"

MRS. HIGHFLYER (_innocently_).--"Oh no; but he was afraid he might be,
if he came here!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SOCIAL PERSEVERANCE

MRS. ONSLOW-PUSHINGTON.--"What a very singular woman Lady Masham _is_,
Professor! I have called on her every Wednesday this month, and the
footman (who knows me perfectly) always said she was out, though
Wednesday's her day at home, and there were lots of carriages at the
door! She never calls on me--never! And when I bow to her, as I always
do, she always looks another way, as she did just now. I must really
call again next Wednesday."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE LAST STRAW!

"What's the matter, dearest? You look sad...."

"Oh, everything's going wrong. The children are ill in bed, and nurse
has got the influenza, and my husband declares that ruin is staring us
in the face, and I've got an unbecoming frock, and altogether I'm
thoroughly depressed...."

                                                    (_Breaks down._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: JUST IN TIME FOR A CUP OF TEA]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FELINE AMENITIES

THE MISSES TIPTYLTE.--"Such fun! We're going to Mrs. Masham's fancy ball
as Cinderella's ugly sisters--with false noses, you know!"

MISS AQUILA SHARPE.--"What a capital idea! But why false noses?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: NEIGHBORLY COMPLIMENTS

"Tell me, Mrs. Jones, who's that young Adonis your married daughter is
looking up to so eagerly?"

"Her _husband_, Mrs. Snarley!"

"Dear me, you don't say so! I congratulate you.... Now I understand how
you come to have such good-looking grandchildren."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: GENTLE TERRORISM

THE PROFESSOR.--"Will you give me a kiss, my dear?"

EFFIE (_an habitually naughty girl_).--"Oh, mammie.... I'll be _good_,
I'll be _good_.... I promise!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN UNPLEASANT SOCIAL DUTY

HOSTESS.--"Geoffrey, I want you to dance with that little girl!"

GEOFFREY.--"Oh, well, if I must, I _must_...!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: STREET DIALECTICS

BROWN (_who was all but run over_).--"Why didn't you call out _sooner_,
you stupid ass?"

CABBY.--"I _did_, sir!"

BROWN.--"Why didn't you call out _louder_, then?"

CABBY.--"I _did_, sir!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: EQUAL TO THE OCCASION

MRS. GUSHINGTON.--"Oh! oh! what a lovely, _lovely_ picture! So true,
so...."

OUR ARTIST.--"Wait a bit, Mrs. Gushington--it's wrong side up.... Let me
put it right first...!" (_Does so._)

MRS. GUSHINGTON (_unabashed_).--"Oh! oh! oh! Why, _that_ way it's even
more lovely still!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PRECEDENCE AT BONNEBOUCHE HALL DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Grandpapa takes the bride in to dinner, and the rest follow anyhow.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HISTRIONIC EGOTISM

OUR PET ACTOR (_just arrived_).--"By Jove--these good people all seem to
know me very well--nodding and smiling"--(_nods and smiles himself,
right and left_)--"uncommonly flattering, I'm sure--considering I've
never set foot in the town before!"

OUR PET ARTIST (_his chum_).--"I'm afraid it's _me_ they're nodding and
smiling at, old man! I come every year, you know--and know every soul in
the place!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A STATELY STAIRCASE WINDS AROUND A LARGE HALL]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HOW REPUTATIONS OF DISTINGUISHED AMATEURS ARE SOMETIMES
MADE

HERR SILBERMUND (the Great Pianist) TO MRS. TATTLER.--"Ach, Lady
Creichton has for _bainting_ der most remârrgaple chênius. Look at
_dis_! It is eqval to Felasquez!"

M. LANGUEDOR (the Famous Painter) TO MISS GUSHINGTON.--"Ah! For ze
music, Miladi Crétonne has a talent kvite exceptionnel. Listen to _zat_!
It surpass Madame Schumann!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: EOTHEN

COOK'S TOURIST (_female_).--"What's that jagged white line on the
horizon, I wonder?"

COOK'S TOURIST (_male_).--"_Snow_, probably!"

COOK'S TOURIST (_female_).--"Ah! that's much more likely! I heard the
captain saying it was _Greece_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE DANCING MAN OF THE PERIOD

"Been dancin' at all?"

"Dancin'? Not I! Catch me dancin' in a house where there ain't a
smokin'-room! I'm off, directly!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: UNCONSCIOUS CYNICISM

SHE.--"It's such years since we met that perhaps you never heard of my
marriage?"

HE.--"No, indeed! Is it--er--recent enough for congratulations?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: UNLUCKY SPEECHES

SHE.--"What a disagreeable thing that insomnia must be! Very trying, I
think! Do _you_ ever suffer from it, Captain Spinks?"

HE.--"Oh, dear, no. I can sleep anywhere, at any time! Could go off
_this moment_, I assure you...!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FIN DE SIÈCLE

"That's where poor Mrs. Wilkins used to live!"

"Why '_poor_' Mrs. Wilkins?"

"Well, her husband was killed in that horrid railway accident, don't you
remember?"

"Oh, but that was _months_ ago!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A CUP OF TEA AND A QUIET CIGARETTE AFTER LUNCH]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PRECEDENCE IN VANITY FAIR

The lady guests go in to dinner with the host and young Sir John and
young Sir James and the Hon. Dick Swiveller, while the hostess naturally
takes the arm of her nephew, Lord Goslin (_just from Eton_), so that, as
the party is just two ladies short, Dr. Jones, the great historian, and
Professor Brown, the famous philologist (_whose wives have not been
asked_), bring up the rear together.

THE DOCTOR.--"Well, Professor, we may be of less _consequence_ than the
rest, but at all events we're the _oldest_ and the most renowned!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THINGS ONE COULD WISH TO HAVE EXPRESSED OTHERWISE

PUZZLED HOSTESS.--"I beg your pardon, Lord Bovril, but _will_ you tell
me whether I ought to take _your_ arm, or Prince Sulkytoff's, or the
Duke's?"

LORD BOVRIL (Lord-Lieutenant of the County).--"Well--a--since you ask
me, I must tell you that--a--as her Majesty's representative, _I_ am
bound to claim the honor! But I hope you won't for a moment suppose that
I'm fool enough--a--to care _personally_ one rap about that sort of
thing!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DANCING MEN]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ILL-CONSIDERED UTTERANCES

WELL-PRESERVED ELDERLY COQUETTE.--"Ah! Admiral, _what_ a good time we
had there, junketing and dancing and flirting! It all seems like
yesterday! Do you remember the Carew girls, and your old flame Lucy
Masters, and that poor boy Jack Lushington, who was so desperately in
love with _me_?"

THE ADMIRAL.--"Indeed I do, dear Lady Maria! And to think of their all
dying ... years ago!... _And of old age, too!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN EQUIVOCAL COMPLIMENT

LADY PRATTLER (_a confirmed first-nighter, to actor-manager_).--"I
congratulate you on your success last night, Mr. McStamp!... How good
you were! It was all charmin'--so light, so bright, so well put on the
stage!... And oh! _such nice long entr'actes_, you know!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PROFESSIONAL BEAUTIES OF THE PAST

HOUSEKEEPER (_showing visitors over historic mansion_).--"This is the
portrait of Queen Catherine of Medici--sister to the _Venus_ of that
name...."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE GONDOLETTE]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A FESTIVE PROCESSION

Meet of the Four-in-Hand Club, Hyde Park, London.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE JOYS OF HOSPITALITY

JENKINS.--"Good heavens! Why, there's that brute Tomkins! The skunk! I
wonder you can ask such a man to your house! I hope you haven't put him
near me at dinner, because I shall cut him dead."

HOSTESS.--"Oh, it's all right. He told me all about you before you came
in."

JENKINS.--"Did he? What did he say about _me_, the ruffian?"

HOSTESS.--"Oh, nothing much--merely what you've just been saying about
_him_."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TOO KIND BY HALF

HE.--"Oh, I've long given up dancing for my _own_ sake. I only dance now
with those unlucky girls that don't get partners. Who's that young lady
behind you?"

SHE.--"My daughter."

HE.--"Pray, introduce me!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN INFELICITOUS SPEECH

"Why, you're looking better already, Sir Ronald!"

"Yes, thanks to your delightful hospitality, I've had everything my
doctor ordered me: 'Fresh air, good food, agreeable society, and
cheerful conversation that involves no strain on the intellect!'"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DISAPPOINTMENTS OF LION-HUNTING

GUARDSMAN (_gazing at the motley throng_).--"Any great literary or
scientific celebrities here to-night, Lady Circe?"

LADY CIRCE (_who has taken to hunting Lions_).--"No, Sir Charles. The
worst of celebrities in these democratic days is that they won't come
unless you ask their wives and families, too! So I ask the wives and
families, and the wives and families come in their thousands, if you
please, and the celebrities stay at home and go to bed."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TWO ON A TOWER

JONES (_a rising young British architect_).--"Yes; it's a charming old
castle you've bought, Mrs. Prynne, and I heartily congratulate you on
being its possessor!"

FAIR CALIFORNIA WIDOW (_just settled in the old country_).--"Thanks. And
now you must find me a _legend_ for it, Mr. Jones!"

JONES.--"I'm afraid I can't manage _that_; but I could add a _story_, if
that will do as well!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AT THE ZOO

TOMMY.--"Why don't they have little shut-up houses? Why do they have
open bars?"

DOROTHY (_who knows everything_).--"Oh! that's for them to see the
people, of course!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: NATURE _VERSUS_ ART

Just as Stodge is about to explain the recondite subtleties of his
picture to a select circle of deeply interested and delightfully
sympathetic women, his wife comes in with the _baby_, confound it!]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A NEW READING OF A FAMOUS PICTURE

"Oh, look, grandpapa! Poor things ... they're burying the baby!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ANTE-POSTHUMOUS JEALOUSY

"_Isn't_ Emily Firkinson a darling, Reginald?"

"A--ahem--no doubt. I can't say much for her _singing_, you know!"

"Ah! but she's so good and true--a perfect angel! I've known her all my
life. I want you to _promise_ me something, Reginald."

"Certainly, my love!"

"If I should die young, and you should ever marry again, promise, oh!
promise me that it shall be Emily Firkinson!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DISTINGUISHED PROFESSIONALS

HOSTESS (_to host, after dinner_).--"George, dear, how about asking
Signor Robsonio and Signora Smithorelli to sing? They'll be mortally
_offended_ if we _do_, and they'll be mortally _offended_ if we
_don't_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SOCIAL AGONIES

MRS. BLOKER.--"Oh, I'm sorry to disturb you at breakfast, but I wanted
to make _sure_ of you. Mr. and Mrs. Dedleigh Boreham are stopping with
me for a few days, and I want you to come and dine to-morrow, or, if you
are engaged, Wednesday; or Thursday will do, or Friday or Saturday; or
_any_ day next week!"

(_Mrs. Brown feebly tries to invent that they have some thoughts of
sailing to Honolulu this afternoon, and that they have just lost a
relative, but breaks down ignominiously._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRUE BLUE

"But doesn't hearing those brilliant speeches sometimes make you change
your mind?"

"My _mind_? Oh, often! But my _vote_, _NEVER_!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: NOUS AVONS CHANGÉ TOUT CELA

THE OLD MARQUIS OF CARABAS.--"What, madam! There's your lovely but
penniless daughter positively dying to marry me; and here I am, willing
to settle £20,000 a year on her, and give her one of the oldest titles
in England, _and you refuse your consent_!!!! By George, madam, in _my_
young days it wasn't the mothers who objected to men of my sort. It was
the _daughters themselves_!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SPEECHES ONE HAS TO LIVE DOWN

HOSTESS.--"So sorry to have kept you waiting, Mr. Green."

VISITOR.--"Oh, don't mention it. The anticipation, you know, is always
so much brighter than the reality."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TOO CONSIDERATE

MRS. BROWN.--"Oh, Mrs. Smith, _do_ have that sweet baby of yours brought
down to show my husband. He's never seen it."

MR. BROWN.--"Oh, pray, don't trouble on _my_ account."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THINGS ONE WOULD HAVE EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY

GENIAL HOSTESS.--"What, going already, Professor?... And _must_ you take
your wife away with you?"

THE PROFESSOR (_with grave politeness_).--"Indeed, madam, _I am sorry to
say I MUST_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HAPPY THOUGHT]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FLUNKYANA

(A Visit to the Portrait-Gallery of Brabazon Towers.)

"Pardon me! But you have passed over that picture in the corner. An old
Dutch master, I think."

"Oh, _that_! 'The Burgermaster' it's called By Rembrank, I b'lieve. It
ain't nothing much. Only a work of hart. _Not one of the family, you
know!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "OH, DON'T YOU REMEMBER SWEET ALICE, BEN BOLT?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A WINDOW STUDY

THE MAIDEN.--"Good-morning, Mr. Jones! How do you like my hyacinths?"

THE CURATE.--"Well, they prevent me from seeing _you_! I should prefer
_Lower_ cinths!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SO _ENGLISH_, YOU KNOW!

The Miss Browns (_of "a good" Bayswater family_) playing "Buffalo Gals,"
with variations, on two American banjoes and an American
parlor-grand.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SOCIAL TARRADIDDLES

MRS. GUSHINGTON (_aside to her husband_).--"What a long, tiresome piece
of music that was! Who's it by, I wonder?"

MR. GUSHINGTON.--"Beethoven, my love."

MRS. GUSHINGTON (_to hostess_).--"My _dear_ Mrs. Brown, what _heavenly_
music! How in every _bar_ one feels the stamp of the greatest genius the
world has ever known!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LOVE'S LABOR LOST

"Oh, papa, we've all quite made up our minds _never to marry_, now we've
got this beautiful house and garden!" (_Papa has taken this beautiful
house and garden solely with the view of tempting eligible young men to
come and play lawn-tennis, etc., etc._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE MARCH OF PROGRESS

SHE.--"After all, there's nothing better than the wing of a chicken!
_Is_ there, General?"

HE.--"I never tasted the wing of a chicken. I only know the _legs_! When
I was _young_, you know, my _parents_ always ate the wings, and _now_,
my _children_ always do!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN INFELICITOUS QUESTION

ÆSTHETIC YOUTH.--"I hope by degrees to have this room filled with
nothing but the most perfectly beautiful things...."

SIMPLE-MINDED GUARDSMAN.--"And what are you going to do with _these_,
then?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: I MUST HAVE THIS TOOTH OUT!

"I must have this tooth out, it hurts so!"

"Oh, _please_ don't, or _I_ shall have to wear it, as I do _all_ of your
left-off things!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: NEMESIS

MRS. CONSTANTIA (_to old adorer, who has married for money_).--"And
these are your children, Ronald? Oh!... how like their mother!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TOO LATE

HE.--"What! You haven't got a dance left?"

SHE.--"No. It's past two o'clock! Why didn't you come earlier?"

HE.--"Well, a feller must _dine_, you know!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FEMININE PERVERSITY

SHE-GOSSIP (_alluding to newly-wedded pair_).--"There go 'Beauty and the
Beast,' as they are called! She _would_ marry him. Her parents strongly
opposed the match, as you may imagine."

HE-GOSSIP (_who flatters himself that he understands the sex_).--"By
George! The parental opposition must have been strong to make her marry
such a ruffian as that!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CONSOLATION

DE SNOOKKE.--"There goes Mrs. _Gatherum_! She never asks _me_ to her
parties! I suppose I am not _swell_ enough!"

SYMPATHETIC LADY-FRIEND.--"Oh, it can't be _that_! One meets the most
rowdy people in London there."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CAPTAIN LELONGBOW

CAPTAIN LELONGBOW (_a fascinating but most inveterate romancer about his
own exploits_).--"Who's your favorite hero in _fiction_, Miss Vera?"

MISS VERA.--"_You_ are!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ÆSTHETICS

MRS. VAN TROMP.--"Oh, Sir Charles! Modern English male attire is _too_
hideous. Just look round ... there are only two decently dressed men in
the room!"

SIR CHARLES.--"Indeed! And which are _they_, may I ask?"

MRS. VAN TROMP.--"Well, I don't know _who_ they are, exactly; but just
now one seems to be offering the other a cup of tea."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN ACCOMMODATION

VOCALIST (_to fair Stranger_).--"A--I'm going to sing '_Fain would I
clasp thee closer, love_!' May I look at you while I am singing?"

FAIR STRANGER.-"Oh, certainly! Or at my grandmother."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "SVENGALI!... SVENGALI!... SVENGALI!"]

       *       *       *       *       *



BOOKS WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED

BY

GEORGE DU MAURIER


                       { Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental             $1 50
PETER IBBETSON         { Three-Quarter Calf                       3 25
                       { Three-Quarter Levant                     4 25

                       { Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental              1 75
TRILBY                 { Three-Quarter Calf                       3 50
                       { Three-Quarter Levant                     4 50

THE MARTIAN (_Mr. Du Maurier's last work, now running as a serial in
"Harper's Magazine," began in the number for October, 1896_).

TRILBY SOUVENIR. Photogravures in Portfolio          8vo            50

IN BOHEMIA WITH DU MAURIER. By Moscheles             8vo          2 50


Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York

_For sale by all booksellers, or will be mailed by the publishers on
receipt of price._



Transcriber's Notes:

Words surrounded by _ are italicized.

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Pg 2, word "indefinitely" changed to "infinitely" (infinitely less
amazing).

Caption for illustration A DAUGHTER OF HETH, name "BENJAMIM" changed to
"BENJAMIN."





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