"Let Lady Glyde's maid come in, Louis. Stop! Do her shoes creak?"
I was obliged to ask the question. Creaking shoes invariably upset me for the day. I was resigned to see the Young Person, but I was not resigned to let the Young Person's shoes upset me. There is a limit even to my endurance.
Louis affirmed distinctly that her shoes were to be depended upon. I waved my hand. He introduced her. Is it necessary to say that she expressed her sense of embarrassment by shutting up her mouth and breathing through her nose? To the student of female human nature in the lower orders, surely not.
Let me do the girl justice. Her shoes did not creak. But why do Young Persons in service all perspire at the hands? Why have they all got fat noses and hard cheeks? And why are their faces so sadly unfinished, especially about the corners of the eyelids? I am not strong enough to think deeply myself, on any subject; but I appeal to professional men, who are. Why have we no variety in our breed of Young Persons?
"You have a letter for me, from Miss Halcombe? Put it down on the table, please; and don't upset anything. How is Miss Halcombe?"
"Very well, thank you, sir."
"And Lady Glyde?"
I received no answer. The Young Person's face became more unfinished than ever; and I think she began to cry. I certainly saw something moist about her eyes. Tears or perspiration? Louis (whom I have just consulted) is inclined to think, tears. He is in her class of life; and he ought to know best. Let us say, tears.
Except when the refining process of Art judiciously removes from them all resemblance to Nature, I distinctly object to tears. Tears are scientifically described as a Secretion. I can understand that a secretion may be healthy or unhealthy, but I cannot see the interest of a secretion from a sentimental point of view. Perhaps my own secretions being all wrong together, I am a little prejudiced on the subject. No matter. I behaved, on this occasion, with all possible propriety and feeling. I closed my eyes, and said to Louis,
"Endeavour to ascertain what she means."
Louis endeavoured, and the Young Person endeavoured. They succeeded in confusing each other to such an extent that I am bound in common gratitude to say, they really amused me. I think I shall send for them again when I am in