BOOK IV. THREE LOVE PROBLEMS.
41. CHAPTER XLI.
But Mr. Rigg Featherstone's low characteristics were all of the sober,
water-drinking kind. From the earliest to the latest hour of the day
he was always as sleek, neat, and cool as the frog he resembled,
and old Peter had secretly chuckled over an offshoot almost more
calculating, and far more imperturbable, than himself. I will add
that his finger-nails were scrupulously attended to, and that he
meant to marry a well-educated young lady (as yet unspecified)
whose person was good, and whose connections, in a solid middle-class
way, were undeniable. Thus his nails and modesty were comparable
to those of most gentlemen; though his ambition had been educated
only by the opportunities of a clerk and accountant in the smaller
commercial houses of a seaport. He thought the rural Featherstones
very simple absurd people, and they in their turn regarded his
"bringing up" in a seaport town as an exaggeration of the monstrosity
that their brother Peter, and still more Peter's property, should
have had such belongings.
The garden and gravel approach, as seen from the two windows of the
wainscoted parlor at Stone Court, were never in better trim than now,
when Mr. Rigg Featherstone stood, with his hands behind him,
looking out on these grounds as their master. But it seemed doubtful
whether he looked out for the sake of contemplation or of turning his
back to a person who stood in the middle of the room, with his legs
considerably apart and his hands in his trouser-pockets: a person
in all respects a contrast to the sleek and cool Rigg. He was a man
obviously on the way towards sixty, very florid and hairy, with much
gray in his bushy whiskers and thick curly hair, a stoutish body
which showed to disadvantage the somewhat worn joinings of his clothes,
and the air of a swaggerer, who would aim at being noticeable even at
a show of fireworks, regarding his own remarks on any other person's
performance as likely to be more interesting than the performance itself.
His name was John Raffles, and he sometimes wrote jocosely W.A.G.
after his signature, observing when he did so, that he was once
taught by Leonard Lamb of Finsbury who wrote B.A. after his name,
and that he, Raffles, originated the witticism of calling that
celebrated principal Ba-Lamb. Such were the appearance and mental
flavor of Mr. Raffles, both of which seemed to have a stale odor
of travellers' rooms in the commercial hotels of that period.