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The Lord Mayor
by [?]

It is because he has had to spend so many years out of the world that a City Remembrancer is provided for him. The City Remembrancer stands at his elbow when he receives his guests and tells him who they are. Without this aid, how should he know? Perhaps it is Mr. Thomas Hardy who is arriving. “Mr. Thomas Hardy,” says the gentleman with the voice, and the Lord Mayor holds out his hand.

“I am very glad,” he says, “to welcome such a very well-known–h’m–such a distinguished–er—-“

“Writer,” says the City Remembrancer behind the hack of his hand.

“Such a distinguished writer. The author of so many famous biog—-“

“Novels,” breathes the City Remembrancer, gazing up at the ceiling.

“So many famous novels,” continues the Lord Mayor quite undisturbed, for he is used to it by this time. “The author of East Lynne—-“

The City Remembrancer coughs and walks across to the other side of the Lord Mayor, murmuring Tess of the D’Urbervilles to the back of the Mayoral head as he goes. The Lord Mayor then repeats that he is delighted to welcome the author of Death and the Door-bells to the City, and holds out his hand to Mr. John Sargent.

“The painter,” says the City Remembrancer, his lips, from long practice, hardly moving.

In the sanctity of the home that evening, while removing his chains of office, the Lord Mayor (we may suppose) tells his sleepy wife what an interesting day he has had, and how Mr. Thomas Sargent, the famous statesman, and Mr. John Hardy, the sculptor, both came to lunch.

And all the time the year is creeping on. Another day gone. Another day nearer to that fatal November 8…. And here, inevitably, is November 8, and by to-morrow he will be that most pathetic of all living creatures, an ex-Lord Mayor of London. Where do they live, the ex-Lord Mayors? They must have a colony of their own somewhere, a Garden City in which they can live together as equals. Probably they have some arrangement by which they take it in turns to be reminiscent; Sir Tuttlebury Tupkins has “and Wednesdays” on his card, and Sir Joshua Potts receives on “3rd Mondays”; and the other Lord Mayors gather round and listen, nodding their heads. On their birthdays they give each other gold caskets, and every November 10 they march in a body to the station to welcome the new arrival. Poor fellow, the tears are streaming down his cheeks, and his paunch is shaken with sobs, but there is a hot bowl of turtle soup waiting for him at Lady Tupkins’ house, The Mansion Cottage, and he will soon feel more comfortable. He has been allotted the “4th Fridays,” and it is hoped that by Christmas he will have settled down quite happily at Ichabod Lodge.