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By skilful expenditure of tact and money Peregrine shortly manoeuvred his way into the Provincial Council on a by-election, and won a parliamentary seat without opposition. Parliament, it appeared, was not such a plum as one had hoped; for, though representative, it was not to be responsible, since ministers were appointed by the Crown and therefore not responsible to anybody in New Zealand. So we'll do what we can with the Councils, said councillors, tucking in their shirts and preparing to annex all the local power possible.

Linda was to come out at the ball which, it was expected, would set the first Parliament steadily on its feet; and Tiffany, spending the afternoon at Caroline's, felt desolately how this collection of females oppressed her … all binding purple sarsenet on five mustard-colour silk rep flounces, each ten yards long, for Aunt Caroline to page 192 present Linda in. “I hope five will be enough,” said Caroline thoughtfully. For such an occasion six might have been more respectful, but there were eleven frills to be done for Linda yet.

The growing rebel in Tiffany rebelled. Was there nothing for women but sewing and marrying and going on sewing? Even mamma was always at it. Tiffany, trying to hold infinity in the palm of her hand, was finding all the religions of little assistance now. It was not on record that Buddha ever had to sew. Linda (whose waist was still eighteen inches, though one had hopes of these new jean stays which were very strong) twittered excitedly through the days, consulted Tiffany later in the bedroom. Should she burst on her public dashing and offhand like Diana Vernon, or tender and drooping like Clarissa … whose woes she wept oceans over?

Tiffany didn't know. Either would be so funny in round pink Linda with her china-blue eyes and fluffy flaxen ringlets like a doll.

“Oh,” said Linda who was always saying “Oh” to keep her mouth small. “I wonder what you do know, miss.”

“Nothing,” said Tiffany, enjoying foolish Linda.

Tiffany went home in the condition in which Caroline's family usually left her, and sought consolation from Roddy. But he had none to give since (having lately shot up like a may-pole) Peregrine had considered him capable of taking Linda in to next week's dinner. Never too young to learn how to conduct yourself in public, said papa, who had been so much more genial lately that Tiffany declared he was going to be ill. “So unnatural. I do wish I could just once see papa's mind with its clothes off,” said Tiffany.

Roddy thought that once would be enough. Tiffy with her dancing eyes and unruly hair and damask cheeks was always indulging in mental saturnalias, and later he wished he had her beside him at the dinner, instead of page 193 picking up Linda's gloves and handkerchief every few minutes while so busy learning how gentlemen conducted themselves. “Couldn't you pin them on or something, Linda?” he asked.

“Oh,” cried Linda, rounding her mouth. “You shocking quiz!”

In this May of 1854, with the first Parliament opening on the twenty-seventh, gentlemen were conducting themselves so gaily that even Peregrine's austere table became near a riot, with Dr Logan Campbell (who had discovered Auckland before it was Auckland) asserting that with thirty-one thousand people in the country we could do anything … and would; and Jermyn wanting to toast England for cutting New Zealand's throat by allowing her to manage herself at the age of fourteen.

“Huzzah for impending rumpusses,” cried Jermyn, tossing back the thick hair that Tiffany called his lion's mane, tossing off his wine.

“With no roads and over two thousand miles of coastline in the North Island alone we shall never manage without steamers,” declared Peregrine (although conscious of a present disability to design steamers). “The Blackball Line … the White Star Line bringing cargo from England in the incredibly short space of two months … who are we to withstand Providence, although I am convinced that for many years there will be demand for the very excellent sailing-ships from the yards of the Antipodes.”

Peregrine's periods usually sounded as though they should close with an Amen. So Jermyn said it, looking at Sally. To him, as to other storm-tossed souls, had come a pause, a temporary acceptance of this sweet dark waiting-time bridged so secretly by looks alone. Already he had the essential Sally. Fate, slow-moving, eternal, would soon complete the gift, thought Jermyn with a young man's inability to conceive denials.

Caroline, who could never let well enough alone, re- page 194 gretted that Governor Grey had gone on holiday at the end of last year, since Lieutenant-Governor Wynyard, Superintendent of Auckland and senior military officer of the colony, seemed to be governing even worse … if possible.

“Holiday, madam? He ran away, the dog!” cried Major Henry, turning as scarlet as his waistcoat. “He dassent face the Councils and the Parliament … nor the Taranaki Maoris, neither.”

The Taranaki Maoris were likely to require some facing presently, having established their own Land League and built themselves a lordly pleasure house reinforced with dozens of huge wooden statues with tongues out and echoing to the Lord only knew what seditious talk.

“Our Titans will soon tread them down,” said Jermyn, blandly watching the Titans staying themselves on roast chicken and sausage-rolls in preparation for the effort.

“It is to be hoped Governor Wynyard will do something,” said Caroline, quite haggard with the struggle to stop Linda from eating. Those jean stays—

“Governor Wynyard, madam,” retorted Major Henry, “having absorbed all the principal posts in the colony, is so continuously employed in writing to himself in his various capacities that he has no time for anything else.”

“Here wells of oily eloquence in soft meanders lubricate the course they take'—Cowper,” said. Sir Winston.

“Wynyard's course will soon bring us all to the gallows,” remarked Corny. “As for that shockin' wharf in Queen Street, Lovel, it will drown us. I ask you, as President of the Harbour Board, what the engineers meant by puttin' up a thing like a broken redoubt designed by maniacs.”

“Probably they didn't mean anything. Most people don't,” said Jermyn and turned the talk to the Taranaki Maoris, saying:

“I don't blame them. They are losing both land and page 195 race. One has seen the exact parallel in the United States among the Indians. But the Maoris stand together like Highland clans….”

“Look like it too. Magnificent fellows,” said Colonel Carey. “If we only understood 'em a bit better. But we never will.”

There's one of your interpreters, thought Jermyn, glancing at flushed wide-eyed Roddy. But it seemed that only the old who have lost their imagination—or never had it—can manage a country. So he let the ladies go, and sang to Sally later in the drawing-room, with Linda (all pink puffs and maiden protests at being pushed to the piano by Caroline) scrambling after the right notes and sometimes catching them.

I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night….

sang Jermyn, getting so much into the arising that young ladies (whose mammas had almost given him up, but the young are ever more hopeful) produced filmy handkerchiefs, feeling how ready they were to be in the dreams of this shocking rake, Jermyn Lovel. Sally, thought Jermyn, looked like a rather sad little nymph caught by a mortal—if one could think of Peregrine as anything so normal. Do you guess how often I dream of you, Sally?

“Naughty man,” cried Caroline, tapping him with a fan sprouting with puce feathers. “You have moved us all with that mellow voice of yours. I always think it is as mellow as … as anything. That will do, Linda. Captain O'Reilly and I are going to sing a duet.”

Caroline's loud crashes with the pedal down were even more discomposing to the company than Linda's frantic chases. Gentlemen looked restive, longing for their pipes. Ladies smiled politely. Young ladies giggled discreetly together in corners. If this is Society, thought Roddy, page 196 sitting miserably on the edge of his chair, I don't wonder Tiffy doesn't want to grow up.

“O come, my love. Come. Come. Come,”

shouted O'Reilly, trying to overtake Caroline who had come much too fast.