A jacquerie, even if carried out with the most respectful of intentions, cannot fail to leave some traces of embarrassment behind it

From Saki’s The Stampeding of Lady Bastable.  My wife reminded me of this quote on the walk home from a cocktail dinner but I was too many drinks in to now remember the connected context.

On this particular morning the sight of Lady Bastable enthroned among her papers gave Clovis the hint towards which his mind had been groping all breakfast time. His mother had gone upstairs to supervise packing operations, and he was alone on the ground-floor with his hostess – and the servants. The latter were the key to the situation. Bursting wildly into the kitchen quarters, Clovis screamed a frantic though strictly non-committal summons: “Poor Lady Bastable! In the morning-room! Oh, quick!” The next moment the butler, cook, page-boy, two or three maids, and a gardener who had happened to be in one of the outer kitchens were following in a hot scurry after Clovis as he headed back for the morning-room. Lady Bastable was roused from the world of newspaper lore by hearing a Japanese screen in the hall go down with a crash. Then the door leading from the ball flew open and her young guest tore madly through the room, shrieked at her in passing, “The jacquerie! They’re on us!” and dashed like an escaping hawk out through the French window. The scared mob of servants burst in on his heels, the gardener still clutching the sickle with which he had been trimming hedges, and the impetus of their headlong haste carried them, slipping and sliding, over the smooth parquet flooring towards the chair where their mistress sat in panic-stricken amazement. If she had had a moment granted her for reflection she would have behaved, as she afterwards explained, with considerable dignity. It was probably the sickle which decided her, but anyway she followed the lead that Clovis had given her through the French window, and ran well and far across the lawn before the eyes of her astonished retainers.

Lost dignity is not a possession which can be restored at a moment’s notice, and both Lady Bastable and the butler found the process of returning to normal conditions almost as painful as a slow recovery from drowning. A jacquerie, even if carried out with the most respectful of intentions, cannot fail to leave some traces of embarrassment behind it.

Have the Tarringtons had their mice?

From Saki’s The Talking-Out of Tarrington:

“Heavens!” exclaimed the aunt of Clovis, “here’s some one I know bearing down on us. I can’t remember his name, but he lunched with us once in Town. Tarrington—yes, that’s it. He’s heard of the picnic I’m giving for the Princess, and he’ll cling to me like a lifebelt till I give him an invitation …

“I’ll fight a rearguard action for you if you like to do a bolt now,” volunteered Clovis; “you’ve a clear ten yards start if you don’t lose time.”

…..

The new-comer smiled weakly, as one who is not to be put off by mere flippancy, and began again with patient persistence:

“I think you ought to remember my name—”

“I shall,” said Clovis, with an air of immense sincerity. “My aunt was asking me only this morning to suggest names for four young owls she’s just had sent her as pets. I shall call them all Tarrington; then if one or two of them die or fly away, or leave us in any of the ways that pet owls are prone to, there will be always one or two left to carry on your name. And my aunt won’t LET me forget it; she will always be asking ‘Have the Tarringtons had their mice?’ and questions of that sort. She says if you keep wild creatures in captivity you ought to see after their wants, and of course she’s quite right there.”

The religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die.

From Saki’s short story Reginald On Christmas Presents:

Personally, I can’t see where the difficulty in choosing suitable presents lies. No boy who had brought himself up properly could fail to appreciate one of those decorative bottles of liqueurs that are so reverently staged in Morel’s window–and it wouldn’t in the least matter if one did get duplicates. And there would always be the supreme moment of dreadful uncertainty whether it was creme de menthe or Chartreuse–like the expectant thrill on seeing your partner’s hand turned up at bridge. People may say what they like about the decay of Christianity; the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die.