Indeed, I had grown so used to the story of my lamentable pursuit of the eumoirous that I rattled it off mechanically after the manner of the sturdy beggar telling his mendacious tale of undeserved misfortune. To Dale, however, it was fresh. He listened to it open-eyed. When I had concluded, he brought his hand down on the arm of the chair. "By Jove, you're splendid! I always said you were.
But if a man is going to die, he can do good with impunity. He can simply wallow in practical virtue. When the boomerang of his beneficence comes back to hit him on the head he won't be there to feel it. He can thus hoist Destiny with its own petard, and, besides, being eumoirous, can spend a month or two in a peculiarly diverting manner. The more I think of the idea the more am I in love with it.
I am praying heaven to grant his adoption by the Wymington committee, not because it will be the first step of the ladder of his career, but because the work and excitement of a Parliamentary election will prohibit overmuch lounging in my chair in Lola Brandt's drawing-room. Is there any drug I wonder which can restore a eumoirous tone to the system?
The word eumoiros according to the above definition, tickles my fancy. I would give a great deal to be eumoirous. What a thing to say: "I have achieved eumoiriety," namely the quintessence of happy-fatedness dealt unto oneself by a perfect altruism! I don't think that hitherto my soul has been very evilly inclined, my desires base, or my actions those of a scoundrel.
It sounded glorious and eumoirous and quixotic and deucedly funny, during the noble moment of inspiration, when Lola's golden eyes were upon me; but now well, I shall have to persuade myself that it is funny, if I am to carry it out. It is very much like wagering that one will tweak by the nose the first gentleman in gaiters and shovel-hat one meets in Piccadilly.
I had imagined it quite different. I had beheld myself turning with a smile and a jest for one last view of the faces over which I, in my eumoirous career, had cast the largesse of happiness, and the vanishing with a gallant carelessness through the dusky portals. Instead of that, here am I sneaking out of life by the back door, covering my eyes for very shame. And glad?
"To further my pursuit of the eumoirous," said I, whereat he gaped stolidly; "but, be that as it may, I have given it her as a free gift, and she is afraid to present it anywhere lest she should be charged with theft. Will you kindly accompany her to a shop, where she can change it, and vouch for her honesty?"
But for me, in my present eumoirous disposition of mind; for me, a half-disembodied spirit who had cast all vain and disturbing human emotions into the mud of Murglebed-on-Sea; for me who had a spirit's calm disregard for the petty passions and interests of mankind and walked through the world with no other object than healing a few human woes; for me who already saw death on the other side of the river and found serious occupation in exchanging airy badinage with him; for me with an abominable little pain inside inexorably eating my life out and wasting me away literally and perceptibly like a shadow and twisting me up half a dozen times a day in excruciating agony; for me, in this delectable condition of soul and this deplorable condition of body, to think of running hundreds of miles from home with to say the least of it so inconvenient a creature as a big, bronze-haired woman, the idea was inexpressibly and weirdly comic.
Being thus free to pursue my eumoirous schemes without his intervention, for you cannot talk to a lady for her soul's good when her adorer is gaping at you, I have taken the opportunity to see something of Lola Brandt. I find I have seen a good deal of her; and it seems not improbable that I shall see considerably more. Deuce take the woman!
Dale has just been elected for the Fensham Division of Westmoreland, and he has already begun the line of sturdy young Kynnersleys, of which I had eumoirous dreams long ago. Quast and the cats have passed into alien hands. Anastasius Papadopoulos is dead. He died three months ago of angina pectoris, and Lola was with him at the end. Eleanor Faversham has married a Colonial bishop.