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romance and sentiment. He condenses their volume of steam into a drop of cold
water in a moment. He has satisfied me that I am a commodity in the market, and
that I ought to set myself at a high price. So you see, he who would have me
must bid for me.
CAPTAIN FITZCHROME. I shall discuss that point with Mr. Mac Quedy.
LADY CLARINDA. Not a word for your life. Our flirtation is our own secret. Let it
remain so.
CAPTAIN FITZCHROME. Flirtation, Clarinda! Is that all that the most ardent
LADY CLARINDA. Now, don't be rhapsodical here. Next to Mr. Mac Quedy is Mr.
Skionar, a sort of poetical philosopher, a curious compound of the intense and
the mystical. He abominates all the ideas of Mr. Mac Quedy, and settles
everything by sentiment and intuition.
CAPTAIN FITZCHROME. Then, I say, he is the wiser man.
LADY CLARINDA. They are two oddities, but a little of them is amusing, and I
like to hear them dispute. So you see I am in training for a philosopher myself.
CAPTAIN FITZCHROME. Any philosophy, for Heaven's sake, but the pound-
shilling-and-pence philosophy of Mr. Mac Quedy.
LADY CLARINDA. Why, they say that even Mr. Skionar, though he is a great
dreamer, always dreams with his eyes open, or with one eye at any rate, which is
an eye to his gain: but I believe that in this respect the poor man has got an ill
name by keeping bad company. He has two dear friends, Mr. Wilful Wontsee,
and Mr. Rumblesack Shantsee, poets of some note, who used to see visions of
Utopia, and pure republics beyond the Western deep: but, finding that these El
Dorados brought them no revenue, they turned their vision-seeing faculty into the
more profitable channel of espying all sorts of virtues in the high and the mighty,
who were able and willing to pay for the discovery.
CAPTAIN FITZCHROME. I do not fancy these virtue-spyers.
LADY CLARINDA. Next to Mr. Skionar sits Mr. Chainmail, a good-looking young
gentleman, as you see, with very antiquated tastes. He is fond of old poetry, and
is something of a poet himself. He is deep in monkish literature, and holds that
the best state of society was that of the twelfth century, when nothing was going
forward but fighting, feasting, and praying, which he says are the three great
purposes for which man was made. He laments bitterly over the inventions of
gunpowder, steam, and gas, which he says have ruined the world. He lives within
two or three miles, and has a large hall, adorned with rusty pikes, shields,
helmets, swords, and tattered banners, and furnished with yew-tree chairs, and
two long old worm-eaten oak tables, where he dines with all his household, after
the fashion of his favourite age. He wants us all to dine with him, and I believe we
shall go.
CAPTAIN FITZCHROME. That will be something new, at any rate.
LADY CLARINDA. Next to him is Mr. Toogood, the co-operationist, who will have
neither fighting nor praying; but wants to parcel out the world into squares like a
chess-board, with a community on each, raising everything for one another, with
a great steam-engine to serve them in common for tailor and hosier, kitchen and
CAPTAIN FITZCHROME. He is the strangest of the set, so far.