COMING down the steps of 'Snooks' Club, so nicknamed by George Forsyte in the late 'eighties,' on that momentous mid-October afternoon of 1922, Sir Lawrence Mont, ninth Baronet, set his fine nose towards the east wind, and moved his thin legs with speed. Political by birth rather than by nature, he reviewed the revolution which had restored his Party to power with a detachment not devoid of humour. Passing the Remove Club, he thought: 'Some sweating into shoes, there! No more confectioned dishes. A woodcock--without trimmings, for a change!'
The captains and the kings had departed from 'Snooks' before he entered it, for he was not of "that catchpenny crew, now paid off, no, sir; fellows who turned their tails on the Land the moment the war was over. Pah!" but for an hour he had listened to echoes, and his lively twisting mind, embedded in deposits of the past, sceptical of the present, and of all political protestations and pronouncements, had recorded with amusement the confusion of patriotism and personalities left behind by the fateful gathering. Like most landowners, he distrusted doctrine. If he had a political belief, it was a tax on wheat; and so far as he could see, he was now alone in it--but then he was not seeking election; in other words, his principle was not in danger of extinction from the votes of those who had to pay for bread. Principles--he mused--au fond were pocket; and he wished the deuce people wouldn't pretend they weren't! Pocket, in the deep sense of that word, of course, self-interest as member of a definite community. And how the devil was this definite community, the English nation, to exist, when all its land was going out of cultivation, and all its ships and docks in danger of destruction by aeroplanes? He had listened that hour past for a single mention of the Land. Not one! It was not practical politics! Confound the fellows! They had to wear their breeches out--keeping seats or getting them. No connection between posteriors and posterity! No, by