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35. CHAPTER XXXV: MISS THORNE'S FETE CHAMPETRE (continued)
Miss Thorne was in great perturbation, yet in great glory, on the morning of this day. Mr Thorne also, though the party was none of his giving, had much heavy work on his hands. But perhaps the most overtasked, the most anxious and the most effective of all the Ullathorne household was Mr Plomacy the steward. This last personage had, in the time of Mr Thorne's father, when the Directory held dominion in France, gone over to Paris with letters in his boot heel for some of the royal party; and such had been his good luck that he had returned safe. He had then been very young and was now very old, but the exploit gave him a character for political enterprise and secret discretion which still availed him as thoroughly as it had done in its freshest gloss. Mr Plomacy had been steward of Ullathorne for more than fifty years, and a very easy life he had had of it. Who could require much absolute work from a man who had carried safely at his heel that which if discovered would have cost him his head? Consequently Mr Plomacy had never worked hard, and of latter years had never worked at all. He had a taste for timber, and therefore he marked the trees that were to be cut down; he had a taste for gardening, and would therefore allow no shrub to be planted or bed to be made without his express sanction.
In these matters he was sometimes driven to run counter to his mistress, but he rarely allowed his mistress to carry the point against him.
But on occasions such as the present, Mr Pomney came out strong. He had the honour of the family at heart; he thoroughly appreciated the duties of hospitality; and therefore, when gala doings were going on, always took the management into his own hands and reigned supreme over master and mistress.
To give Mr Pomney his due, old as he was, he thoroughly understood such work as he had in hand, and did it well.
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