A triumph, according to the usages of the ancient Romans, was a grand celebration decreed by the Senate to great military commanders of the highest rank, when they returned from distant campaigns in which they had made great conquests or gained extraordinary victories. Caesar concentrated all his triumphs into one. They were celebrated on his return to Rome for the last time, after having completed the conquest of the world. The processions of this triumph occupied four days. In fact, there were four triumphs, one on each day for the four days. The wars and conquests which these ovations were intended to celebrate were those of Gaul, of Egypt, of Asia, and of Africa; and the processions on the several days consisted of endless trains of prisoners, trophies, arms, banners, pictures, images, convoys of wagons loaded with plunder, captive princes and princesses, animals wild and tame, and every thing else which the conqueror had been able to bring home with him from his campaigns, to excite the curiosity or the admiration of the people of the city and illustrate the magnitude of his exploits. Of course, the Roman generals, when engaged in distant foreign wars, were ambitious of bringing back as many distinguished captives and as much public plunder as they were able to obtain, in order to add to the variety and splendor of the triumphal procession by which their victories were to be honored on their return. It was with this view that Caesar brought Arsinoe from Egypt; and he had retained her as his captive at Rome until his conquests were completed and the time for his triumph arrived. She, of course, formed a part of the triumphal train on the _Egyptian_ day. She walked immediately before the chariot in which Caesar rode. She was in chains, like any other captive, though her chains in honor of her lofty rank, were made of gold.
The effect, however, upon the Roman population of seeing the unhappy princess, overwhelmed as she was with sorrow and chagrin, as she moved slowly along in the train, among the other emblems and trophies of violence and plunder, proved to be by no means favorable to Caesar. The population were inclined to pity her, and to sympathize with her in her sufferings. The sight of her distress recalled too, to their minds, the dereliction from duty which Caesar had been guilty of in his yielding to the enticements of Cleopatra, and remaining so long in Egypt to the neglect of his proper duties as a Roman minister of state. In a word, the tide of admiration for Caesar’s military exploits which had been setting so strongly in his favor, seemed inclined to turn, and the city was filled with murmurs against him even in the midst of his triumphs.
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Now, no woman had ever patted Priam Farll’s necktie before, much less buttoned his collar, and still much less referred to the two little moles, one hirsute, the other hairless, which the collar hid–when it was properly buttoned! The experience was startling for him in the extreme. It might have made him very angry, had the hands of Mrs. Challice not been–well, nurse’s hands, soft hands, persuasive hands, hands that could practise impossible audacities with impunity. Imagine a woman, uninvited and unpermitted, arranging his collar and necktie for him in the largest public room of the Grand Babylon, and then talking about his little moles! It would have been unimaginable! Yet it happened. And moreover, he had not disliked it. She sat back in her chair as though she had done nothing in the least degree unusual.
“Come along!” he said, with fine casualness, and conducted her to the eight swinging glass doors that led to the _salle a manger_ of the Grand Babylon. At each pair of doors was a living statue of dignity in cloth of gold. She passed these statues without a sign of fear, but when she saw the room itself, steeped in a supra-genteel calm, full of gowns and hats and everything that you read about in the _Lady’s Pictorial,_ and the pennoned mast of a barge crossing the windows at the other end, she stopped suddenly. And one of the lord mayors of the Grand Babylon, wearing a mayoral chain, who had started out to meet them, stopped also.
She thanked him with another of her comfortable, sensible smiles–a smile that took all embarrassment out of the dilemma, as balm will take irritation from a wound. And gently she removed her hat and gown, and her gestures and speech, and her comfortableness, from those august precincts. And they descended to the grill-room, which was relatively noisy, and where her roses were less conspicuous than the helmet of Navarre, and her frock anabolic steroids uk found its sisters and cousins from far lands.
“No,” she said, “and I felt as if I should like to try one. And the young lady at the post office had told me that _that_ one was a splendid one. So it is. It’s beautiful. But of course they ought to be ashamed to offer you such food. Now do you remember that sole? Sole! It was no more sole than this glove’s sole. And if it had been cooked a minute, it had been cooked an hour, and waiting. And then look at the prices. Oh yes, I couldn’t help seeing the bill.”
He had been pushed to an extremity, forced to act with swiftness, upon losing her. And he had done the thing that comes most naturally to a life-long traveller. He had driven to the best hotel in the town. (He had seen in a flash that the idea of inhabiting any private hotel whatever was a silly idea.) And now he was in a large bedroom over-looking the Thames–a chamber with a writing-desk, a sofa, five electric lights, two easy-chairs, a telephone, electric bells, and a massive oak door with a lock and a key in the lock; in short, his castle! An enterprise of some daring to storm the castle: but he had stormed it. He had registered under the name of Leek, a name sufficiently common not to excite remark, and the floor-valet had proved to be an admirable young man. He trusted to the floor-valet and to the telephone for avoiding any rough contact with the world. He felt comparatively safe now; the entire enormous hotel was a nest for his shyness, a conspiracy to keep him in cotton-wool. He was an autocratic number, absolute ruler over Room 331, and with the right to command the almost limitless resources of the Grand Babylon for his own private ends.
He lay on the sofa at the foot of the bed, with all illumination extinguished save one crimson-shaded light immediately above him. The evening papers–white, green, rose, cream, and yellow–shared his couch. He was about to glance at the obituaries; to glance at them in a careless, condescending way, just to see the _sort_ of thing that journalists had written of him. He knew the value of obituaries; he had often smiled at them. He knew also the exceeding fatuity of art criticism, which did not cause him even to smile, being simply a bore. He recollected, further, that he was not the first man to read his own obituary; the adventure had happened to others; and he could recall how, on his having heard that owing to an error it had happened to the great so-and-so, deca supplement he, in his quality of philosopher, had instantly decided what frame of mind the great so-and-so ought to have assumed for the perusal of his biography. He carefully and deliberately adopted that frame of mind now. He thought of Marcus Aurelius on the futility of fame; he remembered his life-long attitude of gentle, tired scorn for the press; he reflected with wise modesty that in art nothing counts but the work itself, and that no quantity of inept chatter could possibly affect, for good or evil, his value, such as it might be, to the world.
The first glimpse of their contents made him jump. In fact, the physical result of it was quite extraordinary. His temperature increased. His heart became audible. His pulse quickened. And there was a tingling as far off as his toes. He had felt, in a dim, unacknowledged way, that he must be a pretty great painter. Of course his prices were notorious. And he had guessed, though vaguely, that he was the object of widespread curiosity. But he had never compared himself with Titanic figures on the planet. It had always seemed to him that _his_ renown was different from other renowns, less–somehow unreal and make-believe. He had never imaginatively grasped, despite prices and public inquisitiveness, that he too was one of the Titanic figures. He grasped it now. The aspect of the papers brought it home to him with tremendous force.
And she pulled out of her handbag a photograph, not of Leek, but of Priam Farll. It was an unmounted print of a negative which he and Leek had taken together for the purposes of a pose in a picture, and it had decidedly a distinguished appearance. But why should Leek dispatch photographs of his master to strange ladies introduced through a matrimonial agency? Priam Farll could not imagine–unless it was from sheer unscrupulous, careless bounce.
I suppose it is,” he agreed. He would probably have given two hundred pounds for the courage to explain to her in a few well-chosen words that there had been a vast mistake, a huge impulsive indiscretion. But two hundred thousand pounds would not have bought that courage.
And her eyes were moist, and her tone was so sincere that Priam Farll found it quite remarkably vip anabolics affecting. Of course she was talking about Henry Leek, the humble valet, and not about Leek’s illustrious master. But Priam saw no difference between his lot and that of Leek. He felt that there was no essential difference, and that, despite Leek’s multiple perfections as a valet, he never had been looked after–properly. Her voice made him feel just as sorry for himself as she was sorry for him; it made him feel that she had a kind heart, and that a kind heart was the only thing on earth that really mattered. Ah! If Lady Sophia Entwistle had spoken to him in such accents…!
The bill came. It was so small that he was ashamed to pay it. The suppression of gratuities enabled the monarch of this bevelled palace to offer a complete dinner for about the same price as a thimbleful of tea and ten drachms of cake a few yards away. Happily the monarch, foreseeing his shame, had arranged a peculiar method of payment through a little hole, where the receiver could see nothing but his blushing hands. As for the conjurers in evening dress, they apparently never soiled themselves by contact with specie.
It’s very good of you,” said she. “But I’m sure you only say it out of kindness–because you’re a gentleman. It wouldn’t be quite nice for you to go to a music-hall to-night. I know I said I was free for the evening, but I wasn’t thinking.
He is so intent on getting along unseen that even the apparition of a stranger in whole garments does not tempt him to look back. He shades his face with his ragged elbow as he passes on the other side of the way, and goes shrinking and creeping on with his anxious hand before him and his shapeless clothes hanging in shreds. Clothes made for what purpose, or of what material, it would be impossible to say. They look, in colour and in substance, like a bundle of rank leaves of swampy growth that rotted long ago.
Allan Woodcourt pauses to look after him and note all this, with a shadowy belief that he has seen the boy before. He cannot recall how or where, but there is some association in his mind with such a form. He imagines that he must have seen it in some hospital or refuge, still, cannot make out why it comes with any special force on his remembrance.
He is gradually emerging from Tom-all-Alone’s in the morning light, thinking about it, when he hears running feet behind him, and looking round, sees the boy scouring towards him at great speed, followed by the woman.
He darts across the road into the boy’s path, but the boy is quicker than he, makes a curve, ducks, dives under his hands, comes up half-a-dozen yards beyond him, and scours away again. Still the woman follows, crying, “Stop him, sir, pray stop him!” Allan, not knowing but that he has just robbed her of her money, follows in chase and runs so hard that he runs the boy down a dozen times, but each time he repeats the curve, the duck, the dive, and scours away again. To strike at him on any of these occasions would be to fell and disable him, but the pursuer cannot resolve to do that, and so the grimly ridiculous pursuit continues. At last the fugitive, hard-pressed, takes to a narrow passage and a court which has no thoroughfare. Here, against a hoarding of decaying timber, he is brought to bay and tumbles down, lying gasping at his pursuer, who stands and gasps at him until the woman comes up.
Yes, I see you once afore at the inkwhich,” whimpers Jo. “What of that? Can’t you never let such an unfortnet as me alone? An’t I unfortnet enough for you yet? How unfortnet buy viagra online in canada do you want me fur to be? I’ve been a-chivied and a-chivied, fust by one on you and nixt by another on you, till I’m worritted to skins and bones. The inkwhich warn’t MY fault. I done nothink. He wos wery good to me, he wos; he wos the only one I knowed to speak to, as ever come across my crossing. It ain’t wery likely I should want him to be inkwhiched. I only wish I wos, myself. I don’t know why I don’t go and make a hole in the water, I’m sure I don’t.
I made Caddy Jellyby–her maiden name was so natural to me that I always called her by it–the pretext for this visit and wrote her a note previously asking the favour of her company on a little business expedition. Leaving home very early in the morning, I got to London by stage-coach in such good time that I got to Newman Street with the day before me.
Caddy, who had not seen me since her wedding-day, was so glad and so affectionate that I was half inclined to fear I should make her husband jealous. But he was, in his way, just as bad–I mean as good; and in short it was the old story, and nobody would leave me any possibility of doing anything meritorious.
The elder Mr. Turveydrop was in bed, I found, and Caddy was milling his chocolate, which a melancholy little boy who was an apprentice –it seemed such a curious thing to be apprenticed to the trade of dancing–was waiting to carry upstairs. Her father-in-law was extremely kind and considerate, Caddy told me, and they lived most happily together. (When she spoke of their living together, she meant that the old gentleman had all the good things and all the good lodging, while she and her husband had what they could get, and were poked into two corner rooms over the Mews.)
“And how is your mama, Caddy?” said I.
“Why, I hear of her, Esther,” replied Caddy, “through Pa, but I see very little of her. We are good friends, I am glad to say, but Ma thinks there is something absurd in my having married a dancing- master, and she is rather afraid of its extending to her.”
It struck me that if Mrs. Jellyby had discharged her own natural duties and obligations before she swept the horizon with a telescope in search of others, she would have taken the best precautions against becoming absurd, but I need scarcely observe that I kept this to myself.
Why, it was very distressing, you know, to see poor Pa so low and hear him say such terrible things, and I couldn’t help crying myself. But I told him that I DID mean it with all my heart and that I hoped our house would be a place for him to come and find some comfort in of an evening and that I hoped and thought I could be a better daughter to him there than at home. Then I mentioned Peepy’s coming to stay with me, and then Pa began to cry again and said the children were Indians.
Caddy was not at all deficient in natural affection for her mother, but mentioned this with tears as an undeniable fact, which I am afraid it was. We were sorry for the poor dear girl and found so much to admire in the good disposition which had survived under such discouragement that we both at once (I mean Ada and I) proposed a little scheme that made her perfectly joyful. This was her staying with us for three weeks, my staying with her for one, and our all three contriving and cutting out, and repairing, and sewing, and saving, and doing the very best we could think of to make the most of her stock. My guardian being as pleased with the idea as Caddy was, we took her home next day to arrange the matter and brought her out again in triumph with her boxes and all the purchases that could be squeezed out of a ten-pound note, which Mr. Jellyby had found in the docks I suppose, but which he at all events gave her. What my guardian would not have given her if we had encouraged him, it would be difficult to say, but we thought it right to compound for no more than her wedding-dress and bonnet. He agreed to this compromise, and if Caddy had ever been happy in her life, she was happy when we sat down to work.
She was clumsy enough with her needle, poor girl, and pricked her fingers as much as she had been used to ink them. She could not help reddening a little now and then, partly with the smart and partly with vexation at being able to do no better, but she soon got over that and began to improve rapidly. So day after day she, and my darling, and my little maid Charley, and a milliner out of the town, and I, sat hard at work, as pleasantly as possible.
Over and above this, Caddy was very anxious “to learn housekeeping,” as she said. Now, mercy upon us! The idea of her learning housekeeping of a person of my vast experience was such a joke that I laughed, and coloured up, and fell into a comical confusion when she proposed it. However, I said, “Caddy, I am sure you are very welcome to learn anything that you can learn of ME, my dear,” and I showed her all my books and methods and all my fidgety ways. You would have supposed that I was showing her some wonderful inventions, by her study of them; and if you had seen her, whenever I jingled my housekeeping keys, get up and attend me, certainly you might have thought that there never was a greater imposter than I with a blinder follower than Caddy Jellyby.
However, the compact being virtually made, Mr. Guppy proposes to dispatch the trusty Smallweed to ascertain if Mr. Krook is at home, as in that case they may complete the negotiation without delay. Mr. Jobling approving, Smallweed puts himself under the tall hat and conveys it out of the dining-rooms in the Guppy manner. He soon returns with the intelligence that Mr. Krook is at home and that he has seen him through the shop-door, sitting in the back premises, sleeping “like one o’clock.”
Mr. Smallweed, compelling the attendance of the waitress with one hitch of his eyelash, instantly replies as follows: “Four veals and hams is three, and four potatoes is three and four, and one summer cabbage is three and six, and three marrows is four and six, and six breads is five, and three Cheshires is five and three, and four half-pints of half-and-half is six and three, and four small rums is eight and three, and three Pollys is eight and six. Eight and six in half a sovereign, Polly, and eighteenpence out!”
Not at all excited by these stupendous calculations, Smallweed dismisses his friends with a cool nod and remains behind to take a little admiring notice of Polly, as opportunity may serve, and to read the daily papers, which are so very large in proportion to himself, shorn of his hat, that when he holds up the Times to run his eye over the columns, he seems to have retired for the night and to have disappeared under the bedclothes.
Mr. Guppy and Mr. Jobling repair to the rag and bottle shop, where they find Krook still sleeping like one o’clock, that is to say, breathing stertorously with his chin upon his breast and quite insensible to any external sounds or even to gentle shaking. On the table beside him, among the usual lumber, stand an empty gin- bottle and a glass. The unwholesome air is so stained with this liquor that even the green eyes of the cat upon her shelf, as they open and shut and glimmer on the visitors, look drunk.