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25. Consultation
No second letter arrived. But a telegram was received from the lawyer toward the end of
the week.
"Expect me to-morrow on business which requires personal consultation."
That was the message. In taking the long journey to Cumberland, Mrs. Linley's legal
adviser sacrificed two days of his precious time in London. Something serious must
assuredly have happened.
In the meantime, who was the lawyer?
He was Mr. Sarrazin, of Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Was he an Englishman or a Frenchman?
He was a curious mixture of both. His ancestors had been among the persecuted French
people who found a refuge in England, when the priest-ridden tyrant, Louis the
Fourteenth, revoked the Edict of Nantes. A British subje ct by birth, and a thoroughly
competent and trustworthy man, Mr. Sarrazin labored under one inveterate delusion; he
firmly believed that his original French nature had been completely eradicated, under the
influence of our insular climate and our insular customs. No matter how often the strain
of the lively French blood might assert itself, at inconvenient times and under regrettable
circumstances, he never recognized this foreign side of his character. His excellent
spirits, his quick sympathies, his bright mutability of mind--all those qualities, in short,
which were most mischievously ready to raise distrust in the mind of English clients,
before their sentiment changed for the better under the light of later experience--were
attributed by Mr. Sarrazin to the exhilarating influence of his happy domestic
circumstances and his successful professional career. His essentially English wife; his
essentially English children; his whiskers, his politics, his umbrella, his pew at church,
his plum pudding, his Times newspaper, all answered for him (he was accustomed to say)
as an inbred member of the glorious nation that rejoices in hunting the fox, and believes
in innumerable pills.
This excellent man arrived at the cottage, desperately fatigued after his long journey, but
in perfect possession of his incomparable temper, nevertheless.
He afforded a proof of this happy state of mind, on sitting down to his supper. An
epicure, if ever there was one yet, he found the solid part of the refreshments offered to
him to consist of a chop. The old French blood curdled at the sight of it--but the true-born
Englishman heroically devoted himself to the national meal. At the same time the French
vivacity discovered a kindred soul in Kitty; Mr. Sarrazin became her intimate friend in
five minutes. He listened to her and talked to her, as if the child had been his client, and
fishing from the pier the business which had brought him from London. To Mrs. Presty's