As considered from other points of view, such cases will always involve more or less unpleasantness. Very strange things comes to our knowledge in families, miss; bless your heart, what you would think to be phenomenons, quite."
Volumnia, with her innocent little scream, supposes so.
"Aye, and even in gen-teel families, in high families, in great families," says Mr. Bucket, again gravely eyeing Sir Leicester aside. "I have had the honour of being employed in high families before, and you have no idea--come, I'll go so far as to say not even YOU have any idea, sir," this to the debilitated cousin, "what games goes on!"
The cousin, who has been casting sofa-pillows on his head, in a prostration of boredom yawns, "Vayli," being the used-up for "very likely."
Sir Leicester, deeming it time to dismiss the officer, here majestically interposes with the words, "Very good. Thank you!" and also with a wave of his hand, implying not only that there is an end of the discourse, but that if high families fall into low habits they must take the consequences. "You will not forget, officer," he adds with condescension, "that I am at your disposal when you please."
Mr. Bucket (still grave) inquires if to-morrow morning, now, would suit, in case he should be as for'ard as he expects to be. Sir Leicester replies, "All times are alike to me." Mr. Bucket makes his three bows and is withdrawing when a forgotten point occurs to him.
"Might I ask, by the by," he says in a low voice, cautiously returning, "who posted the reward-bill on the staircase."
"I ordered it to be put up there," replies Sir Leicester.
"Would it be considered a liberty, Sir Leicester Dedlock, Baronet, if I was to ask you why?"
"Not at all. I chose it as a conspicuous part of the house. I think it cannot be too prominently kept before the whole establishment. I wish my people to be impressed with the enormity of the crime, the determination to punish it, and the hopelessness of escape. At the same time, officer, if you in your better knowledge of the subject see any objection--"
Mr. Bucket sees none now; the bill having been put up, had better not be taken down. Repeating his three bows he withdraws, closing the door on Volumnia's little scream, which is a preliminary to her remarking that that charmingly horrible person is a perfect Blue Chamber.
In his fondness for society and his adaptability to all grades, Mr. Bucket is presently standing before the hall-fire--bright and warm on the early winter night--admiring Mercury.
"Why, you're six foot two, I suppose?" says Mr. Bucket.
"Three," says Mercury.
"Are you so much? But then, you see, you're broad in proportion and don't look it. You're not one of the weak-legged ones, you ain't. Was you ever modelled now?" Mr. Bucket asks, conveying the expression of an artist into the turn of his eye and head.
Mercury never was modelled.
"Then you ought to be, you know," says Mr. Bucket; "and a friend of mine that you'll hear of one day as a Royal Academy sculptor would stand something handsome to make a drawing of your proportions for the marble. My Lady's out, ain't she?"
"Out to dinner."
"Goes out pretty well every day, don't she?"
"Not to be wondered at!" says Mr. Bucket. "Such a fine woman as her, so handsome and so graceful and so elegant, is like a fresh lemon on a dinner-table, ornamental wherever she goes. Was your father in the same way of life as yourself?"
Answer in the negative.
"Mine was," says Mr. Bucket. "My father was first a page, then a footman, then a butler, then a steward, then an inn-keeper. Lived universally respected, and died lamented. Said with his last breath that he considered service the most honourable part of his career, and so it was. I've a brother in service, AND a brother- in-law. My Lady a good temper?"
Mercury replies, "As good as you can expect."
"Ah!" says Mr. Bucket. "A little spoilt? A little capricious? Lord! What can you anticipate when they're so handsome as that? And we like 'em all the better for it, don't we?"
Mercury, with his hands in the pockets of his bright peach-blossom small-clothes, stretches his symmetrical silk legs with the air of a man of gallantry and can't deny it.