He could not surely imagine that Lady Mealhead the beautiful spouse of the seventh Earl Mealhead was anything but what she seemed: namely, a great lady.
It is discreet not to enquire where Lord Mealhead is, especially of Lady Mealhead, who has severed more completely her connection with the past. His lordship is, perchance, of a sentimental humor, and loves to wander in those pasteboard groves where first he met his Tiny and very natural, too. There was music and the refreshments. It was, in fact, a reception.
All those who have had greatness thrust upon them, and the others, those who thrust themselves upon the great those, in a word, who reach such as are above them by doing that which should be beneath them. Lord Mealhead, by the way, was not there. He never is anywhere where the respectable writer and his high-born reader are to be found.
But then M. de Chauxville knew as well as you and I Lady Mealhead no doubt had told him that she was the daughter of a clergyman, and had chosen the stage in preference to the school-room as a means of supporting her aged mother. Whether M. de Chauxville believed this or not, it is not for us to enquire.
There was never any doubt about Mrs. Sydney Bamborough. She was aristocratic to the tips of her dainty white fingers composed, gentle, and quite sure of herself. Quite the grand lady, as Lady Mealhead said. But Mrs. Sydney Bamborough did not know Lady Mealhead, which may have accounted for the titled woman's little sniff of interrogation.
Of course, M. de Chauxville knew that Lady Mealhead had once been the darling of the music-halls, and that a thousand hearts had vociferously gone out to her from sixpenny and even threepenny galleries when she answered to the name of Tiny Smalltoes.
Miss Kate Whyte, of course, who had made a place in society and held it by the indecency of her language. Lady Mealhead said she couldn't stand Kitty Whyte at any price. We are sorry to use such a word as indecency in connection with a young person of the gentler sex, but facts must sometimes be recognized.
He certainly looked as if he believed it when Lady Mealhead told him and his expressive Gallic eyes waxed tender at the mention of her mother, the relict of the late clergyman, whose name had somehow been overlooked by Crockford. A Frenchman loves his mother in the abstract. Nor could M. de Chauxville take exception at young Cyril Squyrt, the poet. Cyril looked like a poet.