12 *AIRY FAIRY LILIAN.'
ing his mistress to use him, as he is not one to be trifled
with ; while at the lower end of the table, exactly oppo¬
site Sir Guy's plate, lies the post upon a high salver,
ready to the master's hand, as has been the custom at
Chetwoode for generations.
An elderly butler, who has evidently seen ser-vice
(in every sense of the word), and who is actually steeped
in respectability up to his port-wine nose, hovers around
the breakfast, adjusting this dish affectionately, and
straightening that, until all is carefully awry, when he
leaves the room with a sigh of satisfaction.
Evidently the family is late for breakfast. As a rule
the Chetwoode family always is late for breakfast—
just sufficiently so to make them certain everything
will be quite ready by the time they get down.
Ten o'clock rings out mysteriously from the hand¬
some marble clock upon the chimneypiece, and precisely
three minutes afterwards the door is thrown open to
admit an elderly lady, tall and fair, and still beauti¬
She walks with a slow, rather stately step, and in
spite of her years carries her head high. Upon this
head rests the daintiest of morning caps, all white lace
and delicate ribbon-bows, that match in colour her
trailing gown. Her hands, small and tapering, are
covered with rings; otherwise she wears no adornment
of any kind. There is a benignity about her that goes
straight to all hearts. Children adore her, dogs fawn
upon her, young men bring to her all their troubles—
the evil behaviour of their tailors and their mistresses
are alike laid before her.
Now, finding the room empty, and knowing it to be
four minutes after ten, she says to herself, ' The first!'
with a little surprise and much pardonable pride, and
seats herself with something of an air before the mili¬
tant urn. When we are old it is so sweet to us to be
younger than the young, when we are young it is so
sweet to us to be just vice versa. Oh, foolish youth I