development of my story. For the last few years there had been difficulties in the way of our meeting, and I had not seen her, though, as I have said, keeping up a close correspondence with her. Naturally I was overjoyed to meet her again; she was now just thirty years old, but I thought she looked handsomer than ever.

Her father, of course, was the lion of the party, but seeing that we were all meek and quite willing to be eaten, he roared to us rather than at us. It was a fine sight to see him tucking his napkin under his rosy old gills, and letting it fall over his capacious waistcoat while the high light from the chandelier danced about the bump of benevolence on his bald old head like a star of Bethlehem.

The soup was real turtle; the old gentleman was evidently well pleased and he was beginning to come out. Gelstrap stood behind his master's chair. I sat next Mrs Theobald on her left hand, and was thus just opposite her father-in-law, whom I had every opportunity of observing.

During the first ten minutes or so, which were taken up with the soup and the bringing in of the fish, I should probably have thought, if I had not long since made up my mind about him, what a fine old man he was and how proud his children should be of him; but suddenly as he was helping himself to lobster sauce, he flushed crimson, a look of extreme vexation suffused his face, and he darted two furtive but fiery glances to the two ends of the table, one for Theobald and one for Christina. They, poor simple souls, of course saw that something was exceedingly wrong, and so did I, but I couldn't guess what it was till I heard the old man hiss in Christina's ear: `It was not made with a hen lobster. What's the use,' he continued, `Of my calling the boy Ernest, and getting him christened in water from the Jordan, if his own father does not know a cock from a hen lobster?'

This cut me too, for I felt that till that moment I had not so much as known that there were cocks and hens among lobsters, but had vaguely thought that in the matter of matrimony they were even as the angels in heaven, and grew up almost spontaneously from rocks and sea-weed.

Before the next course was over Mr Pontifex had recovered his temper, and from that time to the end of the evening he was at his best. He told us all about the water from the Jordan; how it had been brought by Dr Jones along with some stone jars of water from the Rhine, the Rhone, the Elbe and the Danube, and what trouble he had had with them at the Custom Houses, and how the intention had been to make punch with waters from all the greatest rivers in Europe; and how he, Mr Pontifex, had saved the Jordan water from going into the bowl, etc., etc. `No, no, no,' he continued, `it wouldn't have done at all, you know; very profane idea; so we each took a pint bottle of it home with us, and the punch was much better without it. I had a narrow escape with mine, though, the other day; I fell over a hamper in the cellar, when I was getting it up to bring to Battersby, and if I had not taken the greatest care the bottle would certainly have been broken, but I saved it.' And Gelstrap was standing behind his chair all the time!

Nothing more happened to ruffle Mr Pontifex, so we had a delightful evening, which has often recurred to me while watching the after career of my godson.

I called a day or two afterwards and found Mr Pontifex still at Battersby, laid up with one of those attacks of liver and depression to which he was becoming more and more subject. I stayed to luncheon. The old gentleman was cross and very difficult; he could eat nothing - had no appetite at all. Christina tried to coax him with a little bit of the fleshy part of a mutton chop. `How in the name of reason can I be asked to eat a mutton chop?' he exclaimed angrily; `you forget, my dear Christina, that you have to deal with a stomach that is totally disorganized,' and he pushed the plate from him, pouting and frowning like a naughty old child. Writing as I do by the light of a later knowledge, I suppose I should have seen nothing in this but the world's growing pains, the disturbance inseparable from transition in human beings. I suppose in reality not a leaf goes yellow in autumn without ceasing to care about its sap and making the parent tree very uncomfortable by long growling and grumbling - but surely nature might find some less irritating way of carrying on business if she would give her mind to it. Why should the generations overlap one another at all? Why cannot we be buried as eggs in neat little cells with ten or twenty thousand

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