more and more invade the drives of the Park. They had a literary quality, and were out of Thackeray and Trollope, in the dearth of any modern society novelists great enough for them to be out of.

If such novelists had not been wanting I am sure I should not be left with the problem of an extremely pretty and charming woman whose scarf one morning so much engaged the eye of the gentleman sitting beside another extremely pretty and charming woman, that he left her and came and sat down by the new-comer, who let him play with the fringe of her scarf. Was she in a manner playing him with it? A thoroughly equipped society fiction, such as the English now lack, would have instructed me, and taught me the mystic meaning of the young girls who fluttered up and down the paths by twos and threes, exquisite complexions, exquisite shapes, exquisite profiles, exquisite costumes, in a glad momentary freedom from chaperonage. It would fix even the exact social value of that companion of a lady, stopped in chat by that other lady who was always hopping up and stopping people of her acquaintance. The companion was not of her acquaintance, nor was she now made of it; she stood statue-still and sphinxpatient in the walk, and only an eye ever avid of story could be aware of the impassioned tapping of the little foot whose mute drama faintly agitated the hem of her drapery. Was she poor and proud, or was she rich and scornful in her relation to the encounter from which she remained excluded? The lady who had left her standing rejoined her and they drifted off together into the vast of the unfathomed, but not, I like to believe, the unfathomable.

When the heat broke at last, after a fortnight, of course it did not break. That would have been a violence of

which English weather would not have been capable. There was no abrupt drop of the mercury, as if a trap were sprung under it, after the fashion with us. It softly gave way in a gradual, delicious coolness, which again mellowed at the edges, as it were, and dissolved in a gentle, tentative rain. But how far the rain might finally go, we did not stay to see: we had fled from the "anguish of the solstice," as we had felt it in London, and by the time the first shower insinuated itself we were in the heart of the Malvern Hills.

Of course, this heated term was not as the heated terms of New York are; but it excelled them in length, if not in breadth and thickness. The nights were always cool, and that was a saving grace which our nights do not know; with nights like ours so long a heat would have been unendurable, but in London one woke each morning with renewed hope and renewed strength. Very likely there were parts of London where people despaired and weakened through the night, but in these polite perspectives I am trying to exclude such places; and whenever I say "one" in this relation, I am imagining one of the many Americans who witness the London season perhaps oftener from the outside than the inside, but who still can appreciate and revere its facts.

The season was said to begin very late, and it was said to be a very "bad" season, throughout May, when the charges of those who live by it ordinarily feel an expansive rise; when rooms at hotels become difficult, become impossible; when the rents of apartments double themselves, and apartments are often not to be had at any price; when the face of the cabman clouds if you say you want him by the hour, and clears if you add that you will make it all right with him; when every form of service begins to have the courage of its

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dependence; and the manifold fees which ease the social machine seem to lubricate it so much less than the same fees in April; when the whole vast body of London groans with a sense of repletion such as no American city knows except in the rare congestion produced by a universal exposition or a national convention. Such a congestion is of annual occurrence in London, and is the symptomatic expression of the season; but the symptoms ordinarily recognizable in May were absent until June in the actual year. They were said to have been suppressed by the reluctance of the tardy spring, and again by the king's visit to Ireland. As the king is the fountain of social prosperity it is probable that he had more to do with delaying the season than the weather had; but by what one hears said of him he would not have willingly delayed it. He is not only a well-meaning and well-doing prince, one hears from people of every opinion, but a promoter of peace and international concord (especially with France, where his good offices are believed to have been peculiarly effective), and he is, rather more expectedly, a cheerful sovereign, loving the gayety as well as the splendor of state, and fond of seeing the world enjoy itself.

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It is no betrayal of the national confidence to repeat what every one says concerning the present outburst of fashion, that it is a glad compliance with the king's liking; the more eager because of its long suppression during the late queen's reign and the more anxious because of a pathetic apprehension inspired by the wellknown serious temperament of the heir-apparent to the throne. No doubt the joyful rebound from the depression of the Boer war is also still felt; but for whatever reason London life is gay and glad, it is cer


tainly making its hay while the sun shines, and it mixes as many poppies and daisies with the crop as possible against the time when only grass may be acceptable. In other terms the prevailing passion for pretty clothes in the masses as well as the classes is the inspiration of the court, while the free personal preferences expressed are probably the effect of that strong, that headstrong, instinct of being like one's self, whether one is like others or not, which has always moulded precedence and tradition to individual convenience with the English. One would not have said that a frock-coat of lustrous black alpaca was just the wear for a tall middle-aged gentleman in a silk hat and other scrupulous appointments; but when he appeared in it one hottest Sunday afternoon in that consecrated close of Hyde Park, and was welcomed by the inmost flower-group of the gorgeous parterre, one had to own a force of logic in it. If a frock-coat was the proper thing for the occasion in general, then the lightest and coolest fabric was the thing for that occasion in particular. So the wearer had reasoned in sublime self-reliance, and so, probably, the others reasoned in intelligent acqui


Just what quality he had the courage of one could not have guessed at a distance, and he must remain part of the immense question which London continues for the inquirer to the last; but it is safe to say that he looked distinguished. Out of season, the London type of man looked undistinguished, but when the season began to make London over, the pavement of Piccadilly sprouted in a race of giants who were as trees walking. They were mostly young giants, who had great beauty of complexion, of course, and as great beauty of feature. They were doubtless the result of a natural selection, to

which money for buying perfect conditions had contributed as much as the time necessary for growing a type. Mostly their faces were gentle and kind, and only now and then hard or cruel; but one need not be especially averse to the English classification of our species to feel that they had cost more than they were worth. The very handsomest man I saw, with the most perfectly patrician profile (if we imagine something delicately aquiline to be particularly patrician), was a groom who sat his horse beside Rotten Row, waiting till his master should come to command the services of both. He too had the look of long descent, but if it could not be said that he had cost the nation too much time and money, it might still be conjectured that he had cost some one too much of something better.

Next after these beautiful people I think that in the multitudinously varied crowd of London I saw no men so splendidly, so brilliantly, so lustrously handsome as three of those imperial British whose lives are safer, but whose social status is scarcely better than that of our negroes. They were three tall young Hindoos, in native dress, and white-turbaned to their swarthy foreheads, who suddenly filed out of the crowd, looking more mystery from their liquid eyes than they could well have corroborated in word or thought, and bringing to the metropolis of the West the gorgeous and foolish magnificence of the sensuous East. What did they make of the metropolis? Were they conscious, with or without rebellion, of their subjection, their absolute inferiority in the imperial scheme? If looks went for what looks rarely do, except in women, they should have been the lords of those they met; but as it was they were simply the representatives of one of the suppressed races which, if they joined hands, could girdle the globe under

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