The Prisoner of Zenda
0 B1. The Rassendylls--With a Word on the Elphbergs
"I wonder when in the world you're going to do anything, Rudolf?" said my brother's
"My dear Rose," I answered, laying down my egg-spoon, "why in the world should I do
anything? My position is a comfortable one. I have an income nearly sufficient for my
wants (no one's income is ever quite sufficient, you know), I enjoy an enviable social
position: I am brother to Lord Burlesdon, and brother-in-law to that charming lady, his
countess. Behold, it is enough!"
"You are nine-and-twenty," she observed, "and you've done nothing but--"
"Knock about? It is true. Our family doesn't need to do things."
This remark of mine rather annoyed Rose, for everybody knows (and therefore there can
be no harm in referring to the fact) that, pretty and accomplished as she herself is, her
family is hardly of the same standing as the Rassendylls. Besides her attractions, she
possessed a large fortune, and my brother Robert was wise enough not to mind about her
ancestry. Ancestry is, in fact, a matter concerning which the next observation of Rose's
has some truth.
"Good families are generally worse than any others," she said.
Upon this I stroked my hair: I knew quite well what she meant.
"I'm so glad Robert's is black!" she cried.
At this moment Robert (who rises at seven and works before breakfast) came in. He
glanced at his wife: her cheek was slightly flushed; he patted it caressingly.
"What's the matter, my dear?" he asked.
"She objects to my doing nothing and having red hair," said I, in an injured tone.
"Oh! of course he can't help his hair," admitted Rose.
"It generally crops out once in a generation," said my brother. "So does the nose. Rudolf
has got them both."
"I wish they didn't crop out," said Rose, still flushed.