The American Senator
1. Mounser Green
"So Peter Boyd is to go to Washington in the Paragon's place, and Jack Slade
goes to Vienna, and young Palliser is to get Slade's berth at Lisbon." This
information was given by a handsome man, known as Mounser Green, about six
feet high, wearing a velvet shooting coat,--more properly called an office coat
from its present uses, who had just entered a spacious well-carpeted comfortable
room in which three other gentlemen were sitting at their different tables. This
was one of the rooms in the Foreign Office and looked out into St. James's Park.
Mounser Green was a distinguished clerk in that department,--and distinguished
also in various ways, being one of the fashionable men about town, a great adept
at private theatricals, remarkable as a billiard player at his club, and a contributor
to various magazines. At this moment he had a cigar in his mouth, and when he
entered the room he stood with his back to the fire ready for conversation and
looking very unlike a clerk who intended to do any work. But there was a general
idea that Mounser Green was invaluable to the Foreign Office. He could speak
and write two or three foreign languages; he could do a spurt of work,--ten hours
at a sitting when required; he was ready to go through fire and water for his chief;
and was a gentleman all round. Though still nominally a young man, being
perhaps thirty-five years of age--he had entered the service before competitive
examination had assumed its present shape and had therefore the gifts which
were required for his special position. Some critics on the Civil Service were no
doubt apt to find fault with Mounser Green. When called upon at his office he was
never seen to be doing anything, and he always had a cigar in his mouth. These
gentlemen found out too that he never entered his office till half-past twelve,
perhaps not having also learned that he was generally there till nearly seven. No
doubt during the time that he remained there he read a great many newspapers,
and wrote a great many private notes,--on official paper! But there may be a
question whether even these employments did not help to make Mounser Green
the valuable man he was.
"What a lounge for Jack Slade," said young Hoffmann.
"I'll tell you who it won't be a lounge for, Green," said Archibald Currie, the clerk
who held the second authority among them. "What will Bell Trefoil think of going
"That's all off," said Mounser Green.
"I don't think so," said Charley Glossop, one of the numerous younger sons of
Lord Glossop. "She was staying only the other day down at the Paragon's place
in Rufford, and they went together to my cousin Rufford's house. His sister, that's
Lady Penwether, told me they were certainly engaged then."
"That was before the Paragon had been named for Patagonia. To tell you a little
bit of my own private mind,--which isn't scandal," said Mounser Green, "because