THE Hotch-potch Club went back to the eighteensixties. Founded by a posse of young sparks, social and political, as a convenient place in which to smoulder, while qualifying for the hearths of Snooks', the Remove, the Wayfarers, Burton's, Ostrich Feather, and other more permanent resorts, the Club had, chiefly owing to a remarkable chef in its early days, acquired a stability and distinction of its own. It still, however, retained a certain resemblance to its name, and this was its attraction to Michael--all sorts of people belonged. From Walter Nazing, and young semiwriters and patrons of the stage, who went to Venice, and talked of being amorous in gondolas, or of how So-and-so ought to be made love to; from such to bottle-brushed demi-Generals, who had sat on Court Martials and shot men out of hand for the momentary weaknesses of human nature; from Wilfrid Desert (who never came there now) to Maurice Elderson, in the card-room, he could meet them all, and take the temperature of modernity. He was doing this in the Hotch-potch smoking-room, the late afternoon but one after Fleur had come into his bed, when he was informed:
"A Mr. Forsyte, sir, in the hall for you. Not the member we had here many years before he died; his cousin, I think."
Conscious that his associates at the moment would not be his father-in-law's 'dream,' nor he theirs, Michael went out, and found Soames on the weighing-machine.
"I don't vary," he said, looking up. "How's Fleur?"
"Very well, thank you, sir."
"I'm at Green Street. I stayed up about a young man.