THE NEW MINISTER
'POOR old Paragon!' exclaimed Archibald Currie, as he stood with his back to the fire among his colleagues at the Foreign Office on the day after John Morton's death.
'Poor young Paragon! that's the pity of it,' said Mounser Green. 'I don't suppose he was turned thirty, and he was a useful man,--a very useful man. That's the worst of it. He was just one of those men that the country can't afford to lose, and whom it is so very hard to replace.' Mounser Green was always eloquent as to the needs of the public service, and did really in his heart of hearts care about his office. 'Who is to go to Patagonia, I'm sure I don't know. Platitude was asking me about it, and I told him that I couldn't name a man.'
'Old Platitude always thinks that the world is coming to an end,' said Currie. 'There are as good fish in the sea as ever were caught.'
'Who is there? Monsoon won't go, even if they ask him. The Paragon was just the fellow for it. He had his heart in the work. An immense deal depends on what sort of a man we have in Patagonia at the present moment. If Paraguay gets the better of the Patagonese all Brazil will be in a ferment, and you know how that kind of thing spreads among half-caste Spaniards and Portuguese. Nobody can interfere but the British Minister. When I suggested Morton I knew I had the right man if held only take it.'
'And now he has gone and died!' said Hoffman.
'And now he has gone and died,' continued Mounser Green. '"I never nursed a dear gazelle,"*and all the rest of it. Poor Paragon! I fear he was a little cut about Miss Trefoil.'
'She was down with him the day before he died,' said young Glossop. 'I happen to know that.'
'It was before he thought of going to Patagonia that she was at Bragton,' said Currie.
'That's all you know about it, old fellow,' said the