Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 33


page break


After breakfast, I waited for the Demon. It did not come; so, when an hour had elapsed, I went out for a walk.

A gentleman nudged my elbow as I descended the step. I looked at him enquiringly as to the rudeness, He smiled, and his smile conveyed more meaning than an hour's explanation.

He was in height five feet four inches, of spare build, and uncomely to look upon, appearing more a satyr than a man. His legs were like half-strung bows, but this conventional deformity was concealed by exquisitely moulded trousers,—nevertheless, he walked ungainly. The other parts of his body were proportioned to his legs. Still, his face was striking. He had a lofty brow, from which his straight hair was carefully brushed. His cheeks were hollow, and shot down sharp to his chin. His eyes were small, brown, and sunken. His nose was sharp, and pointed. He wore a little beard, and a moustache which was combed straight down, as if to hide an irregular set of teeth.

It was Archimago; and without any parley of "Fine day,"—"How d'ye do?"—"How are you?"—"Where do you come from?"—"Where are you going?"— page 23 which formed the great apologies of intercourse in this great nation,—we walked together, conversing on the topics of the day, like acquaintances of eighteen months.

On a subsequent occasion, I asked my Familiar why he took this uncouth form, when he was able to adorn himself with all the qualities of human beauty. "Because it suits many particular purposes best," confided he. "I am not envied in such guise, and thus save myself the trouble of frustrating passions. I shock every one at first sight: then, my figure is looked at,—the clothes, you see, neat and fashionably made, divert and please the taste—pity follows: then, my features are observed, and my brow bespeaks great intelligence—it ensures respect. You will notice, however, that I never presume to be learned; so that my language never raises the fears which a display of intellect always creates, in circles of business, piety, and pleasure. I never rise above common-place. But I never fail to deliver my words slow and circumstantially, and the effort causes people to listen attentively. They hear their own fungi ideas repeated. This does not disappoint them. They look on my brow; believe the divinity of intelligence has delivered an oracle; admire it in the limping, emphatic delivery; admire themselves who have conceived the same meagre thoughts, and admire me for teaching them to admire. This present form of mine suits one class of classes, and I need only assume another—for those intent on pleasure—to include the whole range of humanity, on these morsels of earth called countries.