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Lady Maude's Mania   By: (1831-1909)

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Lady Maude's Mania, by George Manville Fenn.




"Con found those organs!" said the Earl of Barmouth.

"And frustrate their grinders," cried Viscount Diphoos.

"They are such a nuisance, my boy."

"True, oh sire," replied the viscount, who had the heels of his patent leather shoes on the library chimney piece of the town mansion in Portland Place. He had reached that spot with difficulty, and was smoking a cigar, to calm his nerves for what he called the operation.

"Tom, my boy."

"Yes, gov'nor."

"If her ladyship faints "

"If what?" cried the viscount, bringing his heels into the fender with a crash.

"If if don't speak so sharply, my dear Tom; it jars my back, and sets that confounded gout jigging and tearing at me all up my leg. I say, if her ladyship faints when we come back from the church, will you be ready to catch her. I'm afraid if I tried I should let her down, and it would look so bad before the servants."

"Be too heavy for you, eh, gov'nor?" said Tom, grinning, as he mentally conjured up the scene.

"Yes, my boy, yes. She has grown so much stouter and heavier, and I have grown thinner and lighter since since the happy day twenty six years ago when I married her, Tom when I married her. Yes, much stouter since I married her. How well I remember it all. Yes: it was an easterly wind, I recollect, and your poor dear mamma her ladyship, Tom had the toothache very badly. It made her face swell out on one side as we went across to Paris, and I had a deal of bother to get the waiter and chamber maid to understand what a linseed meal poultice was. Very objectionable thing a linseed meal poultice; I never did like the smell."

"I should think not," said the son, watching his father seriously, the old man having a worn look, as if he had been engaged in a severe struggle with time.

"Peculiarly faint odour about them. Seems only last night, and now one girl going to be married her ladyship looking out for a rich husband for the other. Er er does my wig look all right, Tom?" he continued, patting his head as he turned towards a mirror.

The speaker, who was a very thin, highly dilapidated old gentleman of sixty five, heaved a deep sigh, and then bent down to softly rub his right leg.

"Spiff," replied Viscount Diphoos, a dapper little boyish fellow of four and twenty, most carefully dressed, and looking as if, as really was the case, he had just been shampooned, scented, and washed by Monsieur Launay, the French barber. "I say, gov'nor, that tremendous sigh don't sound complimentary to your son and heir."

"My dear boy my dear Tom," said the old man affectionately, as he toddled up to the back of his son's chair, and stood there patting his shoulders. "It isn't that it isn't that. I'm very, very proud of my children. Bless you, my dear Tom; bless you, my dear boy! You're a very good son to me, but I'm I'm a bit weak this morning about Diana; and that confounded fellow with his organ playing those melancholy tunes quite upset me."

"But he has gone now, governor," said Tom.

"Yes, my boy, but but he'll come back again, he always does. Grind, grind, grind, till he seems to me to be grinding me; and I do not like to swear, Tom, it's setting you such a bad example; but at times I feel as if I must say damn, or something inside me would go wrong."

"Say it then, gov'nor, I'll forgive you. There, I have granted you my indulgence."

"Thank you, Tom; thank you, Diphoos."

"No, no, gov'nor. Tom! don't Diphoos me. I wish that confounded old wet sponge of a Welsh mountain had been `diffoosed' before it gave me my name."

"Ye es, it is ugly, Tom. But they are family names, you see, Barmouth Diphoos. Very old family the Diphooses. And now this wedding but there, I'm all right now... Continue reading book >>

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