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Rupert's want of principle was a negative, rather than an active quality, and was only rendered of account by his vanity and selfishness. Self-indulgence was all he aimed at, and he was much too self-indulgent and shrewd to become an active rogue.

The party was given by the wife of one of the staff of the French Embassy a young Frenchwoman, as gay and frank as her babies, and possessed, none the less, of all the social arts of her nation. She had taken a shrewd interest in the matter of Daphne Floyd and the Englishman.

The stock of the present company would be worth double, perhaps three times as much as at present. He confided the fact that he had put all his savings into the stock of the present company at its greatly depressed present value. The company was not paying dividends; he had bought at forty. His air of financial success, of shrewd speculative insight impressed them all.

He walked slowly, leaning upon a silver-headed stick, and his sober suit of black, with silk stockings of the same hue, looked strangely staid among the brilliant uniforms which surrounded him. But in spite of his plain dress there was an expression of great authority upon his shrewd face, and every one drew back with bows and salutes as he moved across the tent.

Yes that had been a shock, right enough, he muttered to himself, and not all the whisky in the world would drive it out of him. But a drink neat and stiff would pull his nerves up to pitch, and so he drank, once, twice, and sat down with the glass in his hand to think still more. That old Kitely was shrewd shrewd!

'We'll leave that to St. Joseph. 'Do so! do so! cried he eagerly, for he had a shrewd suspicion he would have better chances of mercy at any hands than her own.

Her blue eyes were shrewd, and though she stood so near the end of the way she had lost none of her interest in the comings and goings of Vanity Fair. "Is Priorsford amusing?" she said. As Jane Austen wrote of the Misses Bingley, 'Our powers of conversation are considerable we can describe an entertainment with accuracy, relate an anecdote with humour, and laugh at our acquaintances with spirit."

She commanded the respect and confidence of all parties, and for years I would have personally trusted to her judgment on native matters in preference to all others. Shrewd, quick-witted, sympathetic, yet down on any one who presumed, she would with wonderful patience hear all sides equally. Her judgment was prompt, sometimes severe, but always just.

Now they were fairly shrewd men, even if they were damned rascals, and one would have thought they possessed sufficient insight to at least be suspicious of the skipper's sudden 'bout-face. But they were not. They were just as convinced as the rest of the stiffs that the afterguard had suddenly become afraid of the foc'sle.

The notion of the white-haired, bullet-headed, shrewd, and masterful man who at that moment held the Premiership of England managed by Kitty, or any other daughter of Eve always excepting his wife must needs strike those who had the slightest acquaintance with Lord Parham as a delicious absurdity. Suddenly Darrell checked himself, and bent forward. "Where if I may ask is the poet?" "Geoffrey?