... Twas only one of O'Byrne s wild Irish tricks, society said,
complacently with that singular indulgence it always extends to its special
favourites, and which is, in fact, the correlative of that unsparing cruelty it
shows in turn to those who happen to offend against its unwritten precepts. If
Sir Justin had blown up a Czar or two in a fit of political exuberance, society
would only have regarded the escapade as "one of O'Byrne's eccentricities." He
had also held a commission for a while in a calvary regiment, which he left, it
was understood, owing to a difference of opinion about a lady with the colonel;
and he was now a gentleman of at-large on London society, supposed by those who
know more about everyone than one knows about oneself, to be on the look-out for
a nice girl with a little money.
Sir Justin had paid Persis a great deal of attention that particular evening; in
point of fact, he had paid her a great deal of attention from the very first
whenever he met her; and on the way home from the dance he had kept his eyes
fixed on Persis's face to an extent that was almost embarrassing. The pretty
Californian leaned back in her place in the carriage and surveyed him languidly.
She was looking her level best that night in her pale pink dress, with the
famous Remanet rubies in a cascade of red light setting off that snowy neck of
hers. 'Twas a neck for a neck for a painter. Sir Justin let his eyes fall
regretfully more than once on the glittering rubies. He liked and admired Persis,
oh! quite immensely...