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Tel est la loi du monde: il en faut être esclave.
A. DE MUSSET.
Such was the greeting exchanged between the two young men, who met one hot June day in the most crowded part of New Bond-street. Both the speakers, however differing in other respects, were alike distinguished by the air and carriage, more easily recognised than described, peculiar to Englishmen of good birth.
"I thought it was you," resumed the first speaker, "and still more, I thought it was your dog. Nettle follows at your heels as faithfully, and with as little encouragement as ever. I declare, you deserve to lose
"You reverse the order of the proverb," said Lord De Cressy, drily; "with you it runs, 'Love my dog, love me."" "By no means; but the canine race is more easily recognised than the human in this whirl of life. Besides, I thought that you were half round the world by this time in India, or some other region remote from Bond-street. Have you dropped from the clouds; or rather, are you in the clouds still?"
"I crossed by the Dover packet last night." "Very matter of fact yet you have only answered the first part of my question, and not that fully. However, I am not surprised that you are bewildered by the noise; come with me to the Club, that we may have a little rational conversation."
But Lord De Cressy shook off his friend rather unceremoniously, saying that he had an appointment to keep, and he continued to thread his way through the throng, with Nettle at his heels. After crossing Grosvenor-square, he paused before the narrow entrance to the mews which run out of Audley-street, behind the south side of the square. He seemed perplexed, and did not turn down without consulting a direction, written in a lady's hand, which he then carefully replaced in his pocket-book. The corner house is, or was, a small grocer's shop, numbered in Audley-street, although the door opens into Adam's Mews.
Lord De Cressy entered the shop, and asked, in the tone of one who expects a negative reply, "Is this Mr. Lisle's?"
"Yes, sir; step up stairs, if you please," said the mistress of the shop. And she followed up the invitation by summoning an untidy maid-of-all-work "to show the gentleman up to the first-floor lodger's."