Halfway House: A Comedy of Degrees

By Maurice Hewlett | Go to book overview

IV
"LONDON NIGHTS AND DAYS

WE are to see her now spread her wings for London, and butterfly flights about the flowers and sweets there. Hill-street affords a standard by which to measure her growth. That decorous house in Hill-street which had cowed her when she went to it on trousseau-business, and had driven her once, fairly crying, upon the mercies of Mrs. James, she could now find small and dark. She thought it a stuffy little house, and wondered how many the table would dine, how many must be shut out of the drawingrooms. There's a famous anecdote of Mrs. James's, often and impressively told by her, which comes to mind here.

It concerns Gerald Gunner, "Laura Gunner's second boy," a famous gentleman-jockey, and, though his years were few, remarkably a rip. "Charming manners, like all that family, but most high-spirited, wild, they say. Bad influences were at work, no doubt. His friends were loyalty itself; everything was hushed up, and more than once. But --" and Mrs. James used to lower her voice - "there was a fracas at Sandown. Lord Windle

-253-

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