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RUTH 

CANDLER 

LOVETT 

ENDOWMENT 

FUND 




JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



WARD & DOWNEY'S 

TWO-SHILLING NOVELS. 



LOUISA. By K. S. Macquoid. 
THE LADYE NANCYE. By " Rita." 

THE DEAN AND HIS DAUGHTER. By F. C. 

Philips. 
MERE SHAKINGS. By J. P. Keane. 

JACK AND THREE JILLS. By P. C. Philips. 

SOCIAL VICISSITUDES. By F. C. Philips. 

PROPER PRIDE. By B. M. Croker. 

PRETTY MISS NEVILLE. By B. M. Croker " 

MISS GASCOIGNE. By Mrs. Riddell. 

THE PRETTIEST WOMAN IN WARSAW By 

Mabel Collins. 
HER WEEK'S AMUSEMENT. By the Author of 

" Molly Bawn." 

A COQUETTE'S CONQUEST. By " Basil." 

IN A SILVER SEA. By B. L« Farjeon. 

GREAT PORTER SQUARE. By B. L. Farjeon. 

THE HOUSE OF WHITE SHADOWS. By B. L. 

Farjeon. 
GRIF. By B. L. Farjeon. 

THE LAST STAKE. By Madame Foli. 
SNOWBOUND AT EAGLE'S. By Bret Harte. 
THE FLOWER OF DOOM. By M. Betham- 

Edwards. 
VIVA. By Mrs. Forrester. 
A MAIDEN ALL FORLORN. By the Author of 

"Molly Bawn." 

FOLLY MORRISON. By Frank Barrett. 
HONEST DAVIE. By Frank Barrett. 
UNDER ST. PAUL'S. By Richard Dowling 

THE DUKE'S SWEETHEART. By Richard 
Dowling. 

THE OUTLAW OF ICELAND. By Victor Hugo. 

THAT VILLAIN ROMEO. By Fitzgerald Molloy. 

WHAT HAST THOU DONE? By Fitzgerald 
Molloy. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



B moveU 



BY 



F. C PHILIPS. 



AUTHOR OP 

AS IK A LOOKING-GLASS," " SOCIAL VICISSITUDES," "A LUCKY YOUNG 
WOMAN," ' THE DEAN AND HIS DAUGHTER," "THE STRANGE 
ADVENTURES OF LUCY SMITH," ETC 



NEW EDITION. 



WARD & DOWNEY, 
12, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON. 

[All rights reserved."] 



WARD & DOWNEY'S 

SIX-SHILLING NOVELS. 



JOHN 0' LONDON. By Somervillb Gibney. 

STAINED PAGES : the Story of Anthony Grace. By 
G. Manvillb Fenn. 

THROUGH GREEN GLASSES. By F. M. Allen. 

AT THE RED GLOVE. By K. S. Macquoid. 

A BIRD OF PASSAGE. By B. M. Croker. 

HIS HELPMATE. By Frank Barrett. 

A TERRIBLE LEGACY By G. W Appleton. 

THE MASTER OF THE CEREMONIES. Bj G. 

Manville Fenn. 

IN JEOPARDY By G. Manvillb Fenn. 

DOUBLE CUNNING. By G. Manville Fenn. 

THE ALIENS. By Henry F. Keenan. 

AS IN A LOOKING GLASS. By F. C. Philips. 

A LUCKY YOUNG WOMAN. By F. C. Philips. 

TEMPEST DRIVEN. By Richard Dowling. 

A MENTAL STRUGGLE. By the Author of " Molly 
Bawn." 

LIL LORIMER. By Theo. Gift. 

THE SACRED NUGGET. By B. L. Farjeon. 

THE CHILCOTES. By Leslie Keith. 



TO 
A. G. 

Mitb Bffectlonate IRegarD. 



WARD & DOWNEY'S 

THREE-AND-SIXPENNY NOVELS. 

IN LUCK'S WAY By Byron Webber. 

THE DIAMOND LENS. By Fitzjames O'Brien. 

THE FOX AND THE GOOSE. 

JACK ALLYN'S FRIENDS. By G. W Appleton. 

LIEUTENANT BARNABAS. By Frank Barrett. 

TWO PINCHES OF SNUFF. By William 
Westall. 

THE CONFESSIONS OF A COWARD AND 
COQUETTE. By the Author of « The Parish of 

HlLBY." 

A LIFE'S MISTAKE. By Mrs. Lovett Cameron. 

IN ONE TOWN. By E. Downey. 

ANCHOR WATCH YARNS. By E. Downey. 

ATLA. By Mrs. J. Gregory Smith. 

LESS THAN KIN. By J. E. Panton. 

A REIGNING FAVOURITE. By Annie Thomas. 

THE SEW RIVER. By Somerville Gibney. 

UNDER TWO FIG TREES. By H. Francis 
Lester. 

COMEDIES FROM A COUNTRY SIDE. By W. 

Outram Tristram. 



F.C. PHILIPS' WORKS of FICTION 



'Mr. Philips' racy humour just suits the jaded 
palate of the day.'— The Times. 



AS IN A LOOKING-GLASS. 



SEVENTH EDITION, TWO SHILLINGS. 

1 Le roman est bien conduit, exact et vivant, amusant d'un 
bout a l'autre. C'est. en somm'e, un des meilleurs que la literature 
anglaise ait produit depuis longtemps.' — Le Temps. 

' Mr. Philips' story is a work of art, and being much superior 
to the rough sketches of an average novelist, it discharges the 
true function of every work of art by representing things as they 
actually are, and teaching the observer to discriminate between 
appearances and realities.' — Saturday Review. 

' Headers of Mr. F. 0. Philips' brilliant novel, " As in a Look- 
ing-Glass," will not be surprised that it should thus early have 
found its way to the stage. The essence of a drama is that its story 
should be living, real, poignant ; and no work of recent years 
answers that description more closely than "As in a Looking-Glass," 
which now enjoys the distinction, rare among English novels, of 
running as &fem//eton in French, German, and Italian newspapers 
simultaneously.' — The Times. 



A LUCKY YOUNG WOMAN. 

One Vol. 6s. 



' We can bestow unstinted praise on the unflagging spirit 
aud genuine humour with which Mr. Philips tells his story. Sir 
Hugo Conyers, a sort of aristocratic Pecksniff, is an exceedingly 
clever sketch ; while Marcia, the " lucky young woman," is an 
excellent specimen of a high-spirited and straightforward girl.' 
— Athenceum. 



WARD & DOWNEY, PUBLISHERS, LONDON. 



Mr. Philips' Works of Fiction. 



SOCIAL VICISSITUDES. 

One Vol. 2s. 



' A smarter or more amusing set of sketches has not appeared 
since Mrs. Linton lashed the " Young Women of the Period." ' — 
St. Stephen's Review. 

' It requires to go back to Balzac in order to match the 
pitiless analyses and incisive descriptions which characterise this 
portfolio of letters exchanged between persons of both sexes, of 
diverse ages, and of all ranks in the world of fashion 
Incontestably places Mr. Philips in the first rank of our most 
artistic and brilliant writers.' — Morning Post. 

' In this collection of society sketches Mr. Philips is quite at 
his best. Bach of them contains as much plot as would amply 
furnish forth an ordinary novel, yet each is short, pointed, and 
racy.' — The Times. 

JACKlND THREE JILLS. 

One Vol. 2s. 



' In every part this novel bears the mark of being written by 
a man of the world, of cynical humour, and a remarkable 
knowledge of how to enjoy himself.' — The Times. 

' Deliriously original and amusing.' — Northern Echo. 



THE DEAN AMD HIS DAUGHTER. 

One Vol. 2s. 



' The cruelty with which the world treats a divorced woman 
was, perhaps, never illustrated so powerfully or with such sarcasm 
as in this straightforward narrative, told by the victim herself 
without a complaint or a single cry of indignation.' — The Times. 

' It displays much knowledge of the world, is brimful of 
brightness, and has, moreover, an agreeable individuality of tone 
and manner.' — The Globe. 



2Lon&on : 

WARD & DOWNEY, 12, York Street, Covent Garden, W.O 

ALSO BY THE SAME AUTHOR, 

The Strange Adventures of Lucy Smith. 

2 Vols. 21s. 

SWAN, SONNENSCHBIN, LOWREY & CO., 

Paternoster Square, E.C. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

CHAPTER I. 

My earliest recollections are of a sirange little 
country house down in Essex. It was a snug 
house of red briek, tiled with blue slate, which 
looked as if it might have come out of a box of 
Dutch toys, or have been swept and transplanted 
bodily by a whirlwind from some brick-field suburb 
of London — Langley, let us say — and allowed to 
drop itself into the centre of fat grazing meadows 
and deep stagnant dykes and big elms, where rooks 
held their conclave, and shrieked defiance at the 
sparrow-hawk and owl, having themselves a keen 
eye to the adjacent domicile of the wood-pigeon, 
and the unprotected excavation of the plover. 
Nature is still luxuriant in Essex, and the Essex 
Uiind is not so much intolerant of new ideas as 
incapable of ideas of any kind. No Essex labourer 

I 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



has ever heard of anything, or ever talks of any- 
thing, or, if he reads, has ever read of anything 
beyond a radius of fourteen miles — which makes 
twenty-eight for going and returning — from his own 
home. Suffolk is sometimes called " Silly Suffolk " ; 
the agricultural population of Essex has not even 
the wit to be silly. It is the connecting link 
between man and the gorilla, if you commence by 
denuding the gorilla of his brutal and aggressive 
attributes. For the Essex louts are peaceable, and 
in their way kindly, and even courteous. This is 
the most that Christianity has done for them, 
although Essex livings are as well endowed as any 
in England. 

My father was an Essex squire, and as like 
other Essex squires as are peas and mould-made 
bricks and empty oyster-shells to one another. 
Study, aided by the microscope, may perhaps reveal 
minute differences between individual specimens. 
But such differences are like Gratiano's three grains 
of wheat hid in three bushels of chaff. You may 
look all day ere you find them, and when you find 
them they are not worth the search 

Thus I vegetated on in Essex, thoughtless and 
unthonght for, growing as any ugly duckling may 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



grow, if chance has warmed its egg to maturity and 
hatched out the product. And a very ugly duck- 
ling indeed I must have been, and I know that I 
was dissatisfied with myself, although I had no 
standard of measurement ready by me, and conse- 
quently used none. Self-dissatisfaction is the 
beginning and essential condition of all growth. 
The snail is the only living thing in favour of 
which nature has made an unfair exception. As 
the snail increases in statue, and (presumably) in 
favour with his brother snails, his tenement grows 
along him. The architect of the universe has 
been kinder to snails than to men. 

But I had some sort of education for which I still 
remain devoutly grateful. Let me describe its 
manner and method. I was turned over to the 
curate of the parish. He wanted to make me learn 
by heart " Propria quae maribus." I absolutely 
rebelled. Ultimately we hit on a via media. It 
was supplied by Martyn's Greorgics, a copy of which 
I had routed out among his books. Then between 
us we got hold of a natural history. The curate 
was astonished to discover that its author was not a 
naturalist, so much as a Fellow of an Oxford 
college, and a learned classicist. Pupil and teacher 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



were thus on their level, and settled down to an 
understanding. He was to teach me the dead 
languages — Greek and Latin, — and I, on the other 
hand, was to teach him what I knew of woodcraft. 
Each was to be docile as pupil, and stern as master. 
We stuck to this compact, and as we worked it 
honestly it worked well. Before he and I parted 
company I could read Latin, if not Greek, and could 
even speak it. In fact, we adopted the rule of the 
Jesuists, and talked Latin that we might improv.e 
ourselves. He might have asked, — " What's 
o'clock ? " Instead, he asked, — " Quota hora ?" I 
might have wished to say, — " Time for a swim." 
I used to say, — " Natandum est." Thus we got 
on 

All that I knew of my father at this time was 
that he was always in money difficulties. Nor do I 
say this by way of blame to him. Financially, lie 
was neither better off nor worse than other Essex 
squires and landlords, who were, for the most part, 
alike, hopelessly insolvent and impecunious. You 
cannot get out of your land more than it will 
carry. When a camel is over-loaded, it remains 
squatting on its legs and refuses to move. Stir it 
will not, although you may beat it to death. The 



JACK AXD THREE JILLS. 



camel served under Abraham, the father of the 
elect, and is consequently the one animal that has 
taken the measure of man. 

My eldest brother was hardly even a memory in 
the household. He had done something too dread- 
ful to be even remembered. His name, so far as 
domestic; formalities can go, had been blotted out 
from the family record. As I shall not have to deal 
with him again, I may as well say what was his ulti- 
mate career in life. He entered the service of the 
Peruvian Government, and became their chief 
Minister of Marine. His juvenile indiscretion, 
which, according to my father, unfitted him for any 
further useful or honourable work on the face of 
this earth, was not that he had made love to a dairy- 
maid, but that a dairy-maid had made love to 
him, and had carried him off as Omphale did 
Hercules. 

My second brother had been destined for a civil 
engineer, and with a view to that result had been, 
so to say, potted out in Victoria Street, Westminster, 
which, I am told, is a place where, in the course of 
the day, more guineas, or their equivalents, pass 
hands than honest words are spoken. He soon be- 
came thoroughly qualified, and was then sent to 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



New Zealand, where, I believe, he is doing credit to 
his training. 

I was the third son. My youngest brother w% 
barely out of the nursery, and unequal to the per- 
formance of his matutinal bath. 

My sisters in no way concerned me. There were 
two of them. They were gluttonous devourers of 
novels in three volumes. They adopted the latest 
fashion in dress, whatever it might be. They knew 
everything about everything, and they rested con- 
tent in that sublime omniscience. Being, moreover, 
the vicegerents of the household, they enjoyed au- 
thority and exercised it. 

I have not yet spoken of my mother. I shall 
always remember her with love. She had been the 
daughter of an eminent Queen's Counsel, who had 
made a great deal of money and was expected to 
die rich, as indeed he did. When my mother 
married he behaved liberally. He was always avail- 
able for a cheque in any emergency, and when he 
died he left her a good round sum to be hers for 
life, with remainder to her ehildren, in equal pro- 
portions. 

My father did not find it an easy thing to be a 
landlord. The best of his tenants paid unpunctu- 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



ally, others got into heavy arrears, others did not 
pay at all. " "What are you to do ? " my father used 
to say. " If you cannot get another tenant, you 
had better allow the present one to remain. He 
will, at all events, scratch the face of the ground, 
keep down the weeds and repair the hedges. He 
is an unsalaried bailiff, and you have your shooting 
over his farm for whatever it may be worth." 

At times would come a pinch more than usually 
severe. For our meat and vegetables we relied on 
our own resources. But coals and groceries and 
clothing had to be paid for, and as you cannot pay 
a bill of twenty pounds with a five pound note, my 
mother's income had to be anticipated. As her 
trustees never consented to this operation, the 
process was an expensive one. Thus we rubbed on 
in a miserable kind of way, living from hand to 
mouth, and without much hope for the future. No 
man is more wretched than a needy country squire ; 
no man so poor as a poor gentleman with appear- 
ances to keep up. 

By the time I was twenty I had had my full 
share of such adventures as Essex can yield. I had 
attended fairs, ridden steeple-chases, engaged my- 
self in personal conflict with poachers and gipsies, 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



and, as a matter of course, fallen desperately in love 
with the only heiress in the neighbourhood, not 
because she was an heiress, but because she 
happened to be good-looking — which last opinion, 
like the affection itself, was distinctly reciprocal. 

This love affair was the first turning point in my 
life. Of course we wrote letters to each other — 
about two a day — or, if we did not meet, four or 
thereabouts. In the nature of things, these letters 
were intercepted. They were very silly and very 
earnest. The result of their discovery was that 
Isabella Vivian was packed off to a boarding-school 
in the Isle of Wight, and I was despatched to 
London to read for the Bar. 

Heading for the Bar meant this : — I had the run 
of a pleader's chambers, to which I never went ; 1 
lodged at a boarding-house in Bayswater ; I made 
my billiards furnish me with pocket money ; I was 
on familiar terms with every omnibus driver on my 
route, and I think i can honestly state that I never 
missed a suburban race meeting. In this way I 
qualified myself to defend my fellow-creatures put 
upon trial for their lives, and to argue appeals in- 
volving hereditary titles and vast estates before the 
House of Lore 1 .'? 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



Let me, on the other hand, do myself justice, 
Honestly, I do not believe that I had any vices. 
I never drank more than I could carry. I never 
borrowed money which I did not promptly repay. 
I never made a bet on a certainty, or insulted a 
man smaller than myself; and I treated all women 
with reverence. With these exceptions I was no 
doubt as idle and worthless a young vagabond as 
any in town. 



CHAPTER II. 

The boarding-house, for sharing in all the pri- 
vileges of which, including the entree to the billiard 
room and the use of the piano, I paid the modest 
sum of thirty shillings a week, was in the semi- 
aristocratic district of Bayswater, which looks down 
upon Paddington, and is itself looked down upon by 
South Kensington. It was kept by a widow, who 
must once have been good-looking, but who now 
was worried and overworked, and never weary of 
discoursing about her troubles, past and present. 

The company was distinctly mixed. There were 
two gentlemen, who were each something in the 
city — what it might be I never inquired. There 



10 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

was another whom I knew to be a bookmaker, but 
not a member of Tattersall's. There was a half-pay 
officer, a brevet-lieutenant-colonel, a clerk from 
Somerset House, and a gentleman of the press. 
As for the ladies, they too were a little mixed. 
There was a general's widow, who spoke with a rich 
Irish accent, and always referred to her husband on 
every possible opportunity as " The Djineral." 
There were two grass widows, whose husbands were 
said to be serving in India ; but there was some 
sort of difficulty in ascertaining the regiments to 
which these gallant officers belonged, a fact of 
which Mrs. General very spitefully made the most. 
There was a Miss M'Lachlan, who boasted much 
of her nephew " The M'Lachlan." She dressed 
severely, had an obtrusive nose, and was an extreme 
Calvinist, regarding all forms of episcopacy as being 
little better than the Scarlet Woman herself. 
Lastly, there was a Mrs. Brabazon, who might have 
been an age between twenty-five and thirty-five, 
and whom all the other women hated, partly 
because she dressed better than they did, having all 
her frocks from Paris, partly because she was very 
good-looking, and all the men were in love with 
her, and partly because she allowed herself luxuries, 



x JACK AND THREE JILLS. 11 

such as a pint of champagne with her dinner, and 
occasionally hothouse fruit, while in the matter of 
flowers she was positively reckless, managing to 
procure them from Nice when they were not to be 
had in London at any price. 

At the end of a week Mrs. Brabazon and I were 
very good friends. At the end of a fortnight I was 
allowed to escort her in her morning walk. After 
a dozen or so of these expeditions, which were 
usually in Kensington Gardens, I told her more or 
less loutishly, being in earnest, that I loved her, 
and she replied that I was a very naughty and 
impudent boy to tell her so to her face. 

" But I do love you," I said. " On my soul I do." 

" You silly little cock - sparrow ! I am old 
enough to be your mother." And she rubbed her 
cheek vigorously with her pocket handkerchief to 
show, I suppose, that its roses were genuine. " If 
you dare to talk any more such nonsense to me I 
shall order you away and go home alone. You 
ought to be whipped for your impertinence." 

I looked rapidly round and could see no one 
watching us, so I boldly threw my arm round her 
waist and kissed her. In return, of course, I got a 
box on the ears, but I do not believe it could 



12 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

possibly have been intended to hurt me. If it was, 
it certainly failed. 

" You are very rude. You ought to be ashamed 
of yourself. You are hardly out of jackets, and you 
smell of bread and butter. I hate you overgrown 
boys ; dont on coupe le pain en tartines." 

" If you are not civil to me," I replied, somewhat 
colloquially, " I shall do it again." 

"No, pray don't," said the lady. "At least not 
here. For heaven's sake respect the proprieties. 
We shall have all the nursemaids laughing at us, 
and the park-keeper ordering us out." 

" I shall only kiss you all the more when I get 
you back." 

" That's your business, my young man. But 
perhaps if you are good you may." 

So we walked home the best of friends, and I 
may mention, as a mere matter of detail, that as 
soon as we were in the passage and the street door 
was shut, I kissed her then and there on the door 
mat a good dozen of times at least. Such were my 
playful ways. 

A month passed rapidly, uneventfully and 
pleasantly. My remittances from home were ex- 
tremely irregular, but I kept straight with that 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 13 



poor hard-worked Martha, Mrs. Jessett, and paid 
her as regularly as I could. Sometimes if I had 
had a good run at billiards I would even pay her a 
little in advance, telling her that otherwise I should 
be losing it again, and that she had better make 
sure of it while she had the opportunity. She used 
to shake her head a little over my billiards, but 
evidently considered me, upon the whole, a 
respectable young man, well behaved, and a credit, 
if not an ornament, to what she called her " select 
circle." 

I was in vigorous health, and used to take 
enormous walks. There were a certain number of 
dinners to be eaten at the Temple, and these 
formed the staple of my legal education. I rather 
liked them. The wine was far from bad, and the 
little messes of four were most friendly parties 
carrees. I only remember one disagreeable inci- 
dent occurring at any of them. A prig of a cousin 
of mine being afraid lest I should recognise him 
and probably corrupt his precious morals, folded 
down the paper on which you write your name to 
prove your attendance, and then handed it on to 
the next man. He being a good-natured fellow and 
a sturdy, deliberately unfolded it, flattened it out, 



14 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

wrote his own name upon it in the largest possible 
fist, and handed it on to me ; after which silence 
fell on the mess until we ordered a bottle of port, 
at which my worthy cousin precipitately left. 

I occasionally come across this young gentleman, 
and were it not that I am certain he has never yet 
read Tom Jones, I should slap him on the back and 
address him as Blifil But the shot would fall dead. 
What was it that the late Lord Westbury said of a 
corporation ? " It had neither a soul to be saved 
nor a body to be kicked." My cousin's carcase was 
too worthless for kicking. His soul is his own 
affair, Of all hateful products of the present 
day, your sucking young Pharisee is about the 
worst. <v' 

Thus my life — except, of course, for my love 
affair — ran in an even and monotonous path. 1 
could easily make enough money for all my simple 
amusements. Now and again I would indulge my- 
self in the luxury of a good long ride with a quiet 
dinner at some old-fashioned hotel. Then I am 
afraid my tastes, or at all events some of them, 
must have been barbaric, for I discovered an old- 
fashioned riverside house at Chelsea where the 
bargemen used to play quoits and skittles for pots 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 15 

of beer. I am particularly fond of skittles. It is a 
vulgar game, no doubt, but it is admirable exercise on 
a wet day, and I remember reading somewhere that 
when Peter the Great worked as a shipwright at 
Deptford, he could not only fight any man in the 
whole place, but was also much addicted to skittles, 
the simplicity of the game and its roughness 
pleasing his barbaric fancy. As a matter of fact, I 
know a learned judge now on the bench who is 
very partial to skittles, and makes no secret of the 
fact, and a skittle alley is one of the many resources 
of Marlborough House. 

To conclude, I found that the bulk of my fellow 
students and of the junior Bar were most excellent 
and estimable fellows, and I made a. number of 
friendships, which aided materially to make my 
life pleasant. Need any man have been happier ? 

Nor must I forget Mrs. Brabazon. Sometimes 
I would catch a favourable tide and row her up to 
Richmond, when we would dine at the dear old 
Castle, and return by train. We made all kinds of 
happy little excursions together — to Ham House, 
to Hampton Court, with its galleries and gardens, 
to the Lion at Farningham, where we would 
probably fish all day with indifferent luck or none, 



16 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



and dine pleasantly by an open window, richly 
festooned with roses and honeysuckle. Nothing 
pleased her so much as to go to a new place ; and 
nothing pleased me so much as discovering a new 
place to which to take her. We were as happy as 
children and — so far as I can see — about as innocent. 
It pleased us to lead our own lives in our own way, 
and if that is sin, as Miss M'Lachlan expressed her 
strong conviction it was (" thoroughly carnal " is 
what she called it), I can only say that it is ex- 
tremely pleasant, and that I am very sorry for 
those who have never tried it. There are some 
people who, I really believe, would, if they could, 
stop the birds from singing on Sunday, and confine 
the bright-eyed rabbits strictly to their burrows 
during the hours of Divine worship ; and Miss 
M'Lachlan was of this type, taking things austerely, 
and paying strict tithe of her mint and anise and 
cummin, while serenely indifferent to the weightier 
matters of the iavc 

There were occasional skirmishes at the dinner- 
table between the Scotch spinster and Mrs. 
Brabazon, in which the latter had so much the 
best of it that, on one occasion, Miss M'Lachlan, to 
the relief of everybody, and the unconcealed 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 17 



merriment of Mr. Brattle, the jolly old bookmaker, 
burst into tears and left the room. Mr. Brattle 
summed up the merits of the dispute judicially, 
tersely, and vigorously, and confirmed his opinion 
by offering to lay ten to one against the old cat with 
maiden allowance and weight for age. He found 
no takers ; but he was sufficiently tickled with his 
own joke to console him for the loss of what he 
called giving a little lively interest to the thing. 

Bookmakers, like Jews, are of many types, but a 
good-hearted bookmaker, like a good-hearted Jew, 
is one of the very best of fellows. 



CHAPTER III. 

Fortune was not always favourable to me. Billiards 
has less chance in it than any game in the 
world ; but even at billiards there is such a thing 
as a persistent run of luck against you, and I 
remember one day reaching what Mr. Micawber 
would have called a " climax in my misfortunes." 
I had no money. My father was in arrears with my 
allowance, and I knew literally no one to whom to 
apply, so I dressed myself with more than usual 



18 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

care, paying particular attention to my boots, and 
marched round to the establishment of Mr. Eaphael 
in Half-moon Street, Piccadilly. 

Now, Mr. Eaphael was a money-lender, and made 
no secret of the fact. There was a neat brass plate 
on the front door, and an office bell with a small 
plate underneath it. I was shown into a waiting- 
room, magnificently furnished with exquisite paint- 
ings and statuettes and valuable china. Mr. 
Eaphael's taste was apparently as sound as his 
judgment. Admitted to his sanctum, I was not 
long in coming to business. I wanted a hundred 
pounds, and I told Mr. Eaphael so. He scrutinised 
me very carefully, and I returned the compliment. 
He was most unmistakably a Hebrew, but one of a 
high type. He was plainly dressed, and had not 
even a diamond ring, and his hands, physically at 
any rate, were small, white, and clean. 

He soon ascertained that I had a small reversion, 
on the death of my mother. 

" Very well, Mr. Severn," he said, " you must 
give me a charge on that, which my solicitor, Mr. 
Jacobs, will prepare. I suppose it's not charged 
already ? " 

"Certainly not," I answered. "I have never 



JACK A:ND THEEE JILLS. 19 

thought of it. How soon can I have the 
money ? " 

"Well, Mr. Jacobs must make inquiries. I 
suppose you are in a hurry." 

I replied most emphatically that I was. 

" Well, if things turn out right, as I daresay they 
will, you can have it at one o'clock the day after 
to-morrow." 

" And meantime you can let me have a ten-pound 
note ? " 

" I think you're honest, Mr. Severn. Yes, I 
think you may be trusted with a ten-pound note." 

So he produced two five-pound notes, for which I 
gave him an I U, and he also produced a pint 
of very excellent dry champagne and a box of 
cigars. 

"You have never asked me, by the way," he 
observed, "what I am going to charge you fo 
this hundred, nor told me how long you want it." 

I blushed scarlet. He was taking my measure 
provokingly. 

" Beggar's mustn't be choosers," I said. *' Yo 
will make your own terms, I suppose." 

" Well, I shall charge you twenty pounds, and 

take your bill at three months. At the end of that 

2* 



20 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



time I shall probably renew if you are going on 
steadily, which I shall make it my business to find 
out. By the way, are you in any profession ? " 

" I am about to be called to the Bar," I re- 
plied. 

" Ah, well ! I wish you luck. But it's horribly 
overstocked, and the barristers, as far as I can see, 
are all cutting one another's throats. I'd sooner, 
for your own sake? you were anything else. If, at 
the end of your first five years, you have paid your 
expenses, you will be doing uncommonly well. And, 
let me tell you that, as a rule, I don't touch a 
barrister with a pair of tongs. You must marry a 
solicitor's daughter. Jacobs has one who would 
iust do for you. She's not exactly a beauty, and 
she's got a devil of a temper. But there's plenty 
of her for the money, for she can't ride an ounce 
under sixteen stone. You might do worse ; you 
might indeed. Think it over." 

I laughed, and told him I would., and the next 
moment his clerk entered. 

" Well, Mason, what is it ? " 

" Colonel Pierce, sir." 

" Very well, then. I sha'n't see him, Tell him 
so." 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 21 

" He says he has two other names, sir, and 
he's brought the paper with him. They're good 
names, sir." 

" That's another matter. Let him wait half- 
an-hour and then show him in. Good morning, 
Mr. Severn. Mason, show Mr. Severn out." 

So I shook hands with Mr. Eaphael, and de- 
parted not altogether unfavourably impressed by 
him. 

Gret out of your head the idea that a money- 
lender is of necessity an unclean beast, and if he is 
a Jew you will probably find him a decent fellow, 
with a far higher sense of honour than the great 
bulk of his customers. I prefer him to a solicitor, 
any day ; and I believe in the long run he is 
cheaper. Solicitors have swallowed up more estates 
and ruined more families than have any number of 
money-lenders. 

Here the attorney dwells in county state, 
With his twelve acres and his park-like gate ; 
But wait awhil---, if times become more dark, 
His neighbour's woes will buy his gate a park. 

It is very seldom that a money-lender makes a 
large fortune. It is very seldom, overstocked as 
the trade is, that a solicitor dies poor. 

Armed with my ten pounds I hurried home, anp 



22 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

as some instinct had forwarned me would be the 
case, found Mrs. Brabazon in. 

" What is the matter with you, Jack ? You 
seem flushed with delight. Don't tell me of any 
bonnes fortunes, for I won't listen to them. You've 
been winning again at billiards, I'm sure." 

" No, I haven't ; but I have had a stroke of luck 
all the same. Let us dine and go to the theatre." 

" Yes, I will, if you will dine reasonably, like a 
good boy, and sit quietly in the stalls afterwards. I 
must have no wasting of money." 

The bargain was struck and ratified. "We dined 
— never mind where, I will name no particular 
place — for the usual half-guinea, with one bottle of 
well-iced champagne between us. Then we sat 
most decorously in the T stalls, taking, I suppose, about 
as much interest in the performance as did anyone 
else. We left before the farce, and I purchased a 
veil in Coventry Street, under cover of which Mrs. 
Brabazon came with me to the Cafe de l'Europe, 
where we took a modest supper. 

There was really, as I almost believe I have re- 
marked before, something childlike, and to that 
extent innocent, in our simple methods of making 
ourselves happy. And then we drove back to the 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 23 

boarding-house, my companion insisting that I 
should get out at the corner of the street, and allow 
the ,cab to deposit her at the door alone. It would 
not have done to have followed too soon, so I ad- 
journed to a neighbouring hostel, where I sat for a 
while with the landlord in his own bar parlour, 
ultimately obtaining my admission to the select 
boarding-house with my own latch-key. 

I am not going to multiply details of these 
folles journlies. It is certain that I was madly in 
love. It is equally certain that my devotion pleased 
Mrs. Brabazon. I often wonder how it was I did 
not marry her, but I think I see an answer to the 
question in her own sound common sense, and 
better even than that, in her honesty and loyalty. 
Her common sense told her that she was older than 
myself, and that our relations had better remain 
such as they were for so long as they might ; that 
we might thus, if the summer blossom of love fell 
off the tree, at all events secure the autumn fruit of 
friendship. And, honestly, I think that Susan 
Brabazon valued my friendship more than my 
love, and that when she first commenced to en- 
courage me it was rather pour se desennuyer than 
for any other reason. And also, without being a 



24 JACK AND THREE .TILLS. 

puppy or vain, I think I may say that she was proud 
of me, and wanted to see me do something in life, 
and then turn round upon those who had ill- 
treated me and cold-shorddered me. 

We men are never astonished because a man of 
fifty-five falls in love with a big school-girl of 
seventeen. We do not think of the life to which 
the poor child is to be condemned for what ought to 
be the best and brightest years of her own. No ! 
the old grey-beards solemnly wag their heads, and 
say that it has been a very suitable and fortunate 
match. Why should it not be an equally suitable 
and fortunate combination of circumstances for a 
woman of middle age to take under her wing a 
stripling young enough by all laws of nature to be 
her son ? You will answer, " Oh yes, we have 
heard all this before. You are making out your 
own case." Well ! and is it not the duty of every 
man to make out his own case ? And is there 
anything new under the sun ? 

Looking back at all these things now, I marvel 
at my own luck in a very different spirit from that 
in which Clive, after looting lakh upon lakh of 
rupees, marvelled at his own moderation, and drew 
comparisons between himself on the one hand, and 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



Cortes and Pizzarro on the other, not at all favour- 
able to those two eminent buccaneer adventurers. 

In her infinite moderation and genuine tender- 
ness of womanly sympathy, Mrs. Brabazon watched 
over me, but would do nothing more. I firmly 
believe that, at any moment of our friendship, or 
more than friendship, she would have been better 
pleased than any one else to have seen me marry 
happily and well, and would have done everything 
in her power to bring about such a match if she 
had espied time, place and opportunity. 

Prudes, and moralists, who are often worse than 
prudes, may think what they please of her conduct. 
To me it seems " pure womanly.' 



CHAPTER IV. 

At the appointed date I made my second visit to 
Mr. Raphael, who received me in a manner at once 
friendly and benignant. He was satisfied, he said, 
with the security, and would let me have the 
money I required. Mr. Jacobs had prepared the 
necessary documents, and they were waiting for me, 
but perhaps I would like to read them through 
before I signed them. 



JACK AND TKREE JILLS. 



I had a very fair general ignorance of law, and of 
conveyancing law the most profound ignorance in 
the world. Besides, I wanted to have my money 
and to get away with it. So I signed a promissory 
note for one hundred and twenty pounds, receiving 
back my I U for ten pounds and a cheque for 
ninety. 

" I have not deducted the professional charges of 
Mr. Jacobs," observed my guide, philosopher, and 
friend. " I will satisfy those myself. You will 
perhaps be coming to me again. I should be glad 
to see you at any time within reasonable limits — 
both as to time, that is to say, and as to amounts." 

Why ! Here seemed an indefinite vista of golden 
caverns open before me. I felt myself as by some 
touching of the lamp a second Aladdin, and the 
blood rushed to my face. 

" You will come and lunch with me, I hope," I 
asked my new Maecsenas. 

"You are very kind. I dare not lunch. My 
digestion is entirely ruined. I live by doctors' 
rule, and principally on rice puddings and Stein- 
wein. Good-bye. Let me give you a word of 
advice before you go. If you want any more ready 
come back to me. Don't go to anybody else. I 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 27 

should hear of it if you did. I should then have to 
secure myself, by telling your trustees all about our 
relations, which would not, I should imagine, be at 
all pleasant for you. Besides, I could put a dis- 
tringas on you. You know what that means ? " 

I blushed, and replied that I did not. 

" Go back to your Inn of Court and ask some of 
your friends. But there, you're a gentleman, Mr. 
Severn, and will do nothing underhand with me, I 
am sure. I am busy now. Gro to the mint." 

I went away to " the mint," or, in other words, to 
the West End branch of the Bank of England, and 
there converted my cheque into solid cash. The 
West End branch being at a corner of Burlington 
Gardens, I made my way to the arcade of the same 
name, where I plunged a bit in trifles for Mrs. 
Brabazon, making also a few additions to my own 
toilette. I was "combed and curled" until I 
looked, as Tennyson has it, like any 

" Oiled and curled Assyrian bull." 

There is, a little below the Burlington (which I 
did not leave without a fan, and gloves, and a sun- 
shade), a famous fruiterer's shop looking south. 
Here I procured nectarines. The nectarine is the 



28 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

very finest fruit in the world, but it comes late in 
the season. 

Then my driver carted me back to Bayswater, 
taking Tattersall's as he went, that, under the 
pretence of watering his horse, he might glean, or 
attempt to glean, the latest odds. The good nature 
of youth is always exuberant. When I got out I 
gave him a shilling cigar and two shillings more 
than his fare. I believe he fancied that I was under 
misapprehension as to the exact sum chargeable, 
and wanted to escape dispute by the offer of the 
regalia, for he received both the gratuity in cash 
and the gratuity in kind without the least attempt 
to wear out the brim of his hat, and whipped away 
his horse as if he were glad to be rid of me. 

Dinner was in full preparation when I entered 
the passage, and Mrs. Brabazon was in what we 
called the reception-room up to five and the 
dining-room after that hour. It was just five, and 
a dirty and towsled maid-servant was beginning to 
spread upon the table a dinner cloth three days 
old. 

" You're incorrigible. You're going into training 
for running a race and carrying weight. You are 
loaded up like an argosy. Are your father and 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



brothers dead, and have you come into the family 
estates ? " 

".Not a bit of it. I had just the tail end of my 
patrimony, and I have sold it all for a mess of 
pottage. Not a bad mess either, as things go." 

" You have been doing something foolish ? " 

"And what if I have ? " 

" Why, that you had better not stop in this inner 
circle of sweltering mud and pitch, and drink bad 
beer, and worse Marsala, and begin to talk about it. 
You must take me out to-night. Come along with 
me. I order you. You do not want any brandy 
or soda, nor even sal volatile, although I have 
some." 

1 followed her some way up the stairs, and then, 
like a great schoolboy, as I still was, hesitated again 
She stamped her little foot on the floor. 

" Come up ! " she said. So I went up with her 
to her own room. 

I followed her in submissively. The room was 
a small sitting-room, and my first proceeding was 
to deposit all my packages and parcels on the 
table. Then, without invitation, I sat down in a 
large wicker-work chair. She, without a word, 
drew another chair out at a right angle, so that 



30 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

she could catch, as I know now, the exact profile 
of my features and detect their expression. Then 
she began. 

" I repeat what I told you downstairs. I told 
you there that you were a silly boy. Now, I tell 
you, having got you all alone to myself, that 
you're much worse. You're as bad as a fourth- 
form boy at a public school. You are perfectly 
incapable of taking care of yourself. What on 
earth have you been doing ? " 

"I want a brandy and soda," I pleaded, "and 
then I can tell you." 

" You want nothing of the sort, any more than 
I want rubies in this ham and beef shop, where, if 
I wore them, the other women would con- 
gratulate me on the magnificent size of my garnets. 
Now, be a good boy ; pour yourself out a glass of 
water, and light yourself a cigarette. I know you 
have got cigarettes about you, as certain as if I had 
been with you when you were buying them. I am 
ashamed of myself for taking you out the other 
night, and getting you into mischief. When you 
have lit your cigarette you may tell me every- 
thing." 

Then she left her chair and drew a hassock up 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 31 

close by me. Then she held my hand in hers, 
turned her face full towards mine, and waited for 
me to begin. 

"Well," I said, with considerable disquietude. 
" I have been out getting money. That is all. And 
I have only spent a little of it ; and I have all the 
rest with me." 

" Good boy, so far. I know what getting money 
means. I know you have had to pay for it. It is 
the dearest thing in this world. Well, I will 
forgive you that. What else have you been 
doing ? " 

" Shopping. I have been to the Burlington, and 
one or two other places, and have come straight 
back." 

There was a silence for a moment, during which 
we looked steadily at each other. 

"You have only been shopping?" she asked. 

" I assure you, Susan, only shopping. I have 
some debts still left to pay. And besides, I wanted 
some more, to go on with. Why ! I know I play 
billiards, but I have not a bet standing over in the 
world, although I have not paid a single one to-day. 
You don't understand my billiards, Susan. It's as 
harm/less with me as lawn-tennis. I can't help 



32 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



winning at it, although. I go out of my way to 
handicap myself." 

She sprang to her feet, and began to pace up and 
down the room. I was astonished for the first 
time to see her excited. I, for my own part, 
conscious of no more wrong than is a schoolboy 
who has plucked an overhanging apple, and jerked 
out a trout with a foul cast of his minnow, was 
perfectly unabashed. It seemed to me that she 
was making an unnecessary fuss about matters 
which, after all, were entirely my own, so I waited 
with such philosophy as belongs to a man of my 
age. 

" We'll talk no more business at present," she 
suddenly said. " You shall take me out again to- 
night to some nice quiet place, somewhere where 
there will be nothing to jar upon us or annoy us, 
or make us feel at all like our real selves. You stop 
here. I'll just run upstairs and put on my things. 
Never mind the people. We'll go out together. 
What need we care, after all, for such canaille, 
either you or I? Poor creatures! They have 
nothing to do but to talk scandal. The cackling 
idiots ! Now wait. I will take the greatest care 
to look a credit to you." 



JACK AND TIIKEE JILLS. 33 



She ran upstairs, and in a very short time came 
down again, looking certainly marvellous. I do not 
think that it was in the least my own intemperate 
tone that fanned my admiration. I firmly believe 
that nine men out of ten would have agreed with 
me. She had put on a little walking-dress of dark 
grey silk, cut in the plainest possible fashion. Her 
cuffs and collar were plain white linen ; her gloves 
dark lavender. Her bonnet was small, close fitting, 
and fastened without strings. Its only ornament 
was a Marshal Niel rosebud. She had a dark jacket 
of fleecy wool, evidently made by a good tailor, and 
a little sunshade too large for a parasol and too 
small for a genuine umbrella. 

" It's too early for some things, Jack, at present, 
and it's too late for others — too late in the day, and 
too late in the year. Let us go and dine somewhere 
quietly first — at some decent place, and yet not too 
dull." 

To suggest a place that was decent and respect- 
able, and yet not too dull, was beyond the range of 
my experience, and I frankly told her as much. 

"Then leave it to me." 

She took me to a hotel which is in the district 

of St. James's. It is an hotel which has an open 

3 



34 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



coffee-room, with dinner set and a la carte. It 
was a handsome room, with nothing about it of the 
restaurant, or in any way garish. On the contrary, 
it was painted in sober colours, and lit for the most 
part by wax candles. It was distinctly English. 

"I shall order the dinner and the wine and 
everything," she said. "You shall see what infinite 
capabilities there are in me of great things as soon 
as the wind begins to blow from the gates of the 
West." 

I am not writing the menu of that little dinner 
from memory. It was written on a dainty card, 
which I carried away, and which I still treasure. 
If my reader thinks me a Brillat Savarin, he is 
mistaken; but I recall this dinner because it was 
the occasion, or rather the pretence, of its sur- 
roundings, circumstances, and conditions. We had 
oysters, spring soup, sole au vin blanc, cutlets a la 
Soubise, a partridge, salad, an omelette, rice 
pudding, grapes, and Parmesan biscuits. The only 
wine was still hock, which made its appearance with 
the oysters, and after it thoroughly-iced champagne 
of '68 Perrier Jouet. I am content to leave this 
menu to the judgment of those who understand 
those things better than myself. 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 35 

It is but a short drive from where we dined i o 
that London attempt at a Trocadero, the Alhambra. 
There we went and took a small private box, where 
I could smoke and Susan could enjoy a cup of black 
coffee and a glass of chartreuse. 

The Alhambra that night gave us its usual 
choice, or, to be more exact, variety. There were 
star singers — not perhaps with all that talent which- 
is only to be found in Paris, but certainly better 
than anything of their kind to be met with in 
London. The irrepressible Jones may not be the 
equal of Paulus or Libert, but he is very good in 
his way when he does his best. Then there were 
the acrobats, and English acrobats are admittedly 
the best in the world, as are English boxers, having 
more muscle and more stolid indifference to danger 
than have their Continental confreres. Then, too, 
there was the ballet. The Alhambra ballets fall 
short of the Parisian in gorgeousness of costume 
and scenery, and although we import our premieres 
danseuses, our corps de ballet is never so well 
trained as it would be in France or Italy. It is the 
great fault of England to recklessly waste good raw 
material instead of training it to the utmost. But 
then no one in England — not even the Bishop of 



36 JACK AND THF.EK JILLS. 

London — seriously regards the ballet as a pro- 
fession. 

When we emerged I called a cab, giving the man 
instructions as before to put me down in advance, 
and then to deposit Mrs. Brabazon at the door. As 
it was probably his last chance of another fare that 
night, he drove slowly, economising his horse for 
the morrow. 

" You have been to the Jews, you bad boy," Susan 
said, as soon as the horse had settled down to his 
steady jolt, and we were clear of the noisiest of the 
traffic. 

"Well, and what if I have? It's my ov;n 
business." 

" Not entirely your own business, for I, at any 
rate, care for you sufficiently to tell you that any- 
thing that stood in the way of the future before you 
would make the remainder of my own life dark with 
its shadow. Come ! There is nothing incurable 
except dishonour, of which you are incapable. Tell 
me all about it." 



CHAPTER V. 

I obeyed her commands, and told her " all about 
it " as well as I could. The narrative was imperfect, 
with the exception of the figures, which, of course, 
I remembered accurately. When I had finished 
she took my right hand into her left and patted it 
gently with her other hand. 

" Have you really told me the whole truth ? Have 
you kept back nothing whatever ? Please don't 
mislead me or I will never ask you to trust me 
again." 

" On my honour, Susan, I have told you every- 
thing, down to the last farthing." 

" Very well then. Do not take a single other 
step in this wretched matter without asking me first. 
Of course you are tied up for a while and, so, safe. 
I fancy you will find it is easier to get into the net 
than to cut your way out, but we will see what we 
can do. And now let us talk of something 
else." 

So we talked of something else, un il it became 
time, as before, to arrange with the cabman and to 



38 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

manoeuvre our separate entry. When I returned, 
after some fifteen minutes of solitude and reflection, 
I found the house in darkness. That I slept soundly 
goes without saying. 

Mrs. Brabazon did not appear at breakfast next 
morning, and so, when the meal was concluded, I 
took my way towards the river, which I managed to 
strike, and availed myself of the steamboat for the 
best approach to a blow of air which London can 
give you, unless you resort to such out-of-the-way 
places as Primrose Hill. 

The boat landed me at Temple Pier. My pleader 
was apparently indifferent to my absence. At all 
events he made no comment upon it, but after 
remarking that it was a fine day for the time of 
year, handed me a set of interrogatories to draw and 
to leave for his approval, on the back of which he 
had pencilled certain weird and illegible references 
to " Adolphus and Ellis." '• Petheram on Interro- 
gatories," and " Meeson and Welby." Into these I 
plunged, if not quite con amore, at any rate with 
the distinct feeling that they were a change. When 
I had finished them, and had been graciously assured 
that they were extremely creditable, I sallied out 
into the garden. 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 39 

The day was still young, and it was my first 
impulse to go back, on the strength of having done 
a virtuous day's work, and to try and tempt Mrs. 
Bra^azon out again ; but she had managed to make 
me, in a certain sense, afraid of her, and my love 
for her was not altogether of the kind that casteth 
out fear, however perfect it may otherwise have 
been. So I found my way to some billiard rooms 
in Holborn, where I set to work at pool, backing 
myself wherever I could get the chance. The 
stakes were not high ; but if you win, or even take 
stroke and divide a pool of twenty four, now and 
then judiciously betting upon your stroke, it is not 
difficult to collect a couple of sovereigns. And with 
about this sum I left the rooms at an early hour 
and walked home, feeling myself a pattern of all 
the virtues, and full of the most vague and tem- 
pestuous hopes. 

I would get called to the Bar, and would burst 
upon it like a meteor. I would keep a yacht and 
cruise in it during the long vacation with Mrs. 
Brabazon. I would go into Parliament (actually at 
this moment I did not know whether I was a Tory, 
Whig, Liberal, Kadical, or Home Euler) ; and then 
came hazy ideas, as if through some dim arch, of 



40 JACK AND THREE JILLf- 



the woolsack and of a peerage. SI ice jeionesse 
savait! SI la veillesse pouvait ! **■ 

Next day I was in no humour for work in any 
form, and least of all for work at my pleader's 
chambers. I had passed through a cyclone, and 
was in what sailors call " the doldrums." In a 
cyclone the wind catches you from every quarter at 
once. In the doldrums there is no wind to catch 
you from any quarter at all, and you consequently 
lie " as idle as a painted ship upon a painted 
ocean." I was, I say at this moment in the 
doldrums. 

In this frame of mind I wrote a little note asking 
Susan to come for a walk, sent it up and received a 
verbal reply that she would be ready immediately. 
We strolled together into the Grove, and so made 
our way into Kensington Gardens, full, as usual, of 
soldiers, nursemaids, children, babies, and loafers. 

We sat down close by the water under an 
immense elm. The leaves were falling already, 
and the trees were turning russet. Kensino-ton 
Gardens are still a paridise of birds. Swallows 
were even yet flitting overhead. One could hear 
the plaintive note of the wood-pigeon, and now and 



jack and three jills. 41 



again a sliy, shy little nut hatch would dart about 
over the bark, hanging, in its parrot-fashion, head 
downwards, darting its neck to this side and that, 
and peering with its tiny inquisitive eyes for 
vagrant insects. In Kensington Gardens nobody is 
suspicious or captious. Nobody cares who is walk- 
ing with whom. We were as entirely alone as if we 
had been in the very heart of a tropical forest. 

I began to talk with but indifferent success, and 
had an uneasy suspicion that she was enjoying my 
perplexity. This made me more or less desparate, 
and at last I came to the conclusion that I was 
driven into a corner and had better at once open 
fire. There is a grimly humorous proverb which 
recommends you, as " the eleventh commandment 
with promise," to tell a lie and stick to it. It 
seemed to me that telling the truth was not only 
the right thing for me to do, but, under all the 
circumstances, the best. I do not of course mean 
the best from any low or unworthy point of view- - 
my past history will, I hope, acquit me of any such 
suggestion. I merely mean that I wanted to bring 
matters to a head, and consequently set to work in 
my own blundering fashion to do so. 

" Look here, Susan," I suddenly broke out. 



42 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

" Look at what, my dear boy ? " 

" Oh, don't turn all my earnest into fun. Take 
me seriously." 

" I always do take you seriously. I have never 
deceived or even misled you for a moment." 

" Well, then, I want you to marry me. I want 
you to do so out of kindness to me and pity for me. 
I will get called, and we will go away somewhere to 
the Colonies, and I will practise at the Colonial bar, 
where they like young men, and where I really 
think I shall be sure to get on. We shall meet 
nobody whom we know — nobody to worry us or give 
us any trouble or make things in any way unplea- 
sant. It is difficult to imagine a simpler and a 
more complete change of life. It will be a trans- 
formation effected in about six weeks with no more 
trouble than that involved in a very pleasant run in 
a magnificent steamer ; and we will be married 
before we start." 

" The world moves, Jack. I remember when 
young men used to build castles in the air. You 
are not content unless you map out empires and 
dynasties in it." 

" Be I 'auclace ! Be I 'auclace ! Toujours de 
I 'audace ! " I answered. 



JACK ASJJ THREE JILLS. 43 

"Everything," she answered, "even a correct 
French accent, will come to a young man in time, 
if he will only have sufficient self-control to wait." 

"Wait!" I echoed, angrity. "Wait! It is 
always the same answer. Wait! Wait till the 
spring ; wait till the full summer ; wait till the 
autumn. I am tired of waiting, and I will wait no 
longer. One may wait till one's hair is grey, and 
at the waiting game death, who waits the longest 
and is its croupier, sweeps the board. I, for my 
part, shall wait no longer. I have, so far perhaps, 
made a mistake of life ; but the mistake is not at 
all irretrievable. Anything but it ; and it is just 
my quiet but fixed determination to commence life 
over again. I have opened out badly, made the 
wrong gambit ; but I have still some confidence in 
myself, and I mean to begin all over again. My 
old age, if I ever reach it, shall not be a regret." 

" I am not talking of myself, Jack. On the con- 
trary, I am talking in earnest. It is idle for you 
to think of marrying me, and it would be worse 
than idle in me to encourage you in any such 
notion. You do not know all about me." 

"I do." 

" Oh, dear me ; no, you do not — not in the very 



ii JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

least. I have a very bad record ; and, apart alto- 
gether from that, I am idle, selfish, and incurably 
extravagant. I should hold you in a fool's paradise 
for a month or two, and then some morning you 
would find yourself left alone, with the additional 
mortification of knowing upon the very best 
authority that I had gone away with someone else. 
I am far too fond of you to see you subjected to this 
kind of thing, and I will be no party to anything 
whatever that leads up to it, however remotely or 
indirectly — of that you may rest most absolutely 
assured. You are a most dear, good, lovable boy. 
I will say, if you wish it, dear, good, lovable man. 
And it is for that very reason that I mean to protect 
you against yourself. And now, Jack, I am tho- 
roughly tired. I always did hate arguments. Take 
me back to the Grove, and give me some ices. And 
for another week, at all events, during which time 
you will perhaps come to your senses, there must 
not be another word of all this nonsense." 

Of course I could only obey, although I felt quite 
aware that I did so with a very sulky grace ; and 
in this frame of mind I escorted Mrs. Brabazon to 
Westbourne Grove. There we had our ices and a 
little fruit, and a harmless pint of claret with a 



JACK AND TITKEE JILLS. 45 



syphon of soda water. The entertainment was given 
in its simplicity, and at its conclusion she insisted 
on walking home alone. 

" You may go and play billiards," she said ; that 
is a game at which you will not singe your poor 
little wings." 

I do not know whether this was meant as a sneer 
or not ; but it was too dangerously like one to at all 
improve my temper. 

" Sou vent femrae v.irie 
Bienfolle qui s'y fie." 

So I muttered to m}self as I strode away in 
quest of Calverley's virides sed non e gramine 
mcnsas. 

CHAPTER VI. 

I did not have my usual fortune, thereby directly 
contradicting the old saying " Unlucky in love, 
lucky at play." I missed easy strokes, which for me 
ought to have been a certainty. I left myself 
perversely in the very centre of the table. Ultimately 
I got disgusted, and walked away the winner by 
only some two or three shillings. The marker added 
fuel to the fire by suggesting, in a friendly under- 



46 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

tone, that my nerves were a little shaky, and 
advising what he called a peg of brown brandy and 
green curacoa. I was then, and always have been, 
a temperate man ; but I am assured by veterans in 
the other camp, that brown brandy and curacoa in 
even moderate doses would kill a rhinoceros in a 
week. 

The next morning I rose early, wrote a note to 
Mis. Brabazon, telling her I should return at 
twelve, and, without waiting for breakfast, walked 
into the park. I struck due south until I reached 
the river. There were some barges lying on the 
shore, with the bargemen round about them. In 
an indolent mood I invited these worthies to 
partake of beer at my expense. Between them 
they consumed about a gallon, and I remember 
playing one aged mariner a rubber of skittles, in 
which he came off decidedly the conqueror. The 
stakes were unimportant, and at the conclusion of 
the game I took my departure. 

" If you want a run, sir, at any time," said one 
Polyphemus in a catskin cap, a blue guernsey, 
corduroys, and ankle jacks, " come to this house 
and ask for the Matilda and Clara. I'm always to 
be heard of here, and there's always a bunk in my 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 47 

cabin. The accomodation's limited, but it's clean, 
and I'll put you ashore wherever you like." 

I thanked my new friend, entered his name in 
my pocket-book, and so departed. From Battersea 
to Hyde Park and across the park to Bayswater 
is an easy walk. I marched along at a good 
swinging pace, and reached home half-an-hour 
after my appointed time. The servant must have 
been looking out for me; for, as I turned my 
latch-key in the door, she quickly opened it and 
handed me a letter, retreating at once herself to 
the lower regions. 

The envelope itself was formidable, being of the 
largest size known in attorney's offices, but my 
name upon it was in Susan's handwriting, and the 
seal was also her own. 

I hurried up to my own room and tore the 
packet open. First of all fell out the charge on 
my reversion, that I had given to Mr. Eaphael. I 
looked at it in blank bewilderment, intensified 
when I noticed that it bore engrossed upon its 
back a full and absolute discharge and release. 
Pinned to it was my promissory note, vigorously 
cancelled and with the stamp cut out. So far I 
saw daylight. But there was a third enclosure — 



49 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

a letter from Susan herself. I locked the door, 
and then tore the letter open. I had to read it 
two of three times before I could believe it. 
It ran upon this wise : — ■ 

September 28th, 18 — 
" My oo dear Boy,— I send you the papers 
which you were foolish enough to give Eaphael, 
that you might waste the money upon myself. 
Does not one silly turn deserve another ? By the 
time you have got this letter I shall be many miles 
away — in fact, altogether out of your reach, 
although I hope and trust we shall meet again and 
he as gord friends as ever. You have been some- 
thing very much more than a mere glimpse of 
sunshine in my chequered and tempestuous 
life. 

" Vt'Iiatever you do, mind and get called to the 
Bar as soon as possible. You will, I feel certain, 
find yourself thrust into an appointment almost at 
once, without knowing how, or why, or by whom, 
and you will then have the world before you, with 
a fair chance of enjoying it. 

« Do not go falling in love with anybody— no t 
even with Miss M'Lachlan. You may continue to 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 49 

love me if you like. I shall be in Paris, to-morrow, 
and will send you thence my photograph. 

" I shall not answer any of your letters, but you 
ma-y write to me if you care to do so. My solicitor, 
Mr. Amos Clarke, of the Old Jewry, will forward 
your letters ; but he will not give you my address, 
and his clerks do not know it. Be good and take 
care of yourself, and some day you shall hear from 
me again. — Ever yours, 

" Susan Brabazox." 

I thrust the letter into my pocket, and hurried 
rapidly into the streets. Striking to the northward 
across the park, I reached the canal, the towing 
path of which in the daytime is practically deserted. 
Here I paced up and down to consider this 
letter. 

Evidently Susan was determined, for the present 

at any rate, to hide herself from me, and it would 

be idle, unless I had large funds at my disposal, to 

attempt to track her out. A mere journey to Paris, 

for instance, on the chance of finding her there, 

would have been worse than useless. She might 

be at Vienna, Venice, Biarritz, Eome, anywhere. 

And even if she were in Pails, how was I to find 

4 



50 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

her out ? Advertising in the papers was useless. 
It would annoy her, and besides, her solicitor had 
her address. There was nothing to be done, except 
to bow to fate with a bad grace. This I did, 
cursing my luck, and then, more anglico, pro- 
ceeded to stupefy myself at a hostel, known as the 
York and Albany, with London stout and a clay pipe. 

In the tavern in question is, or was at that time, 
a taproom, frequented by cabmen and the drivers 
and conductors of omnibuses. Here I sought a 
refuge, and before long found myself with no 
underhand intention listening to the general con- 
versation. 

" Well," continued an omnibus driver, dividing 
his attention impartially between his bread and 
cheese, his beer and certain complicated structural 
alterations in the lash of his whip, " what does Bill 
do? Did 'e drown hisself? Not likely. 'E 
thought better of it. ' She never told lies before,' 
says Bill to himself. « As likely as not she's telling 
the truth this 'ere show. So I shall 'old on,' he 
says, ' I shall 'old on.' And so he did 'old on for 
two mortal years." 

And here the narrator buried his features in his 
pewter pot. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 51 

" And I suppose the young woman married some 
other bloke ? " inquired a young conductor of 
dandified dress, with a white hat and a penny 
flower in his button-hole. 

" You're always sharp, you are, Joe, and I dessay 
you're sharp enough, if you're up to only half yer 
own estimate o' yourself. But for onst yer 'appen 
to be wrong. Three months after that very identical 
young man was riding home beside me on my near 
side when a young woman on the roof leans over 
and touches 'im on the shoulder. 'E gives a sort o' 
yell, and scrambles on to the roof. It were more 
flyin' than scramblin'. And then 'e were by her in 
broad daylight, with 'is arm round 'er waist a 
huggin' 'er like mad, till I 'ad to ask 'im to stow it> 
as it was becomin' jest a trifle too 'ot and public 
like." 

" And what then ? " inquired the sceptic. 

" What" then ? " was the contemptuous reply. 
" What then ? Why, what on earth do you think ? 
Why, they was married that day week ! 'Ed 'ad the 
banns out all the time, only she never knew it, 
through not goin' to church o' Sundays, whereby 
she lost the information. And I don't believe 'e'd 

ever 'is eye off of 'er. But look 'ere ; time's up." 

4* 



52 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



And he finished his beer and hurried out. 

I strolled out again over the bridge into the 
Eegent's Park, and sauntered down to Portland 
Eoad Station. Hard by the station the road strikes 
due south for Oxford Street. I followed it, and then 
made my way through Soho Square and Soho to 
Piccadilly Circus. I could not bear the idea of 
dining at Bayswater, so I contented myself with a 
steak and a pint of stout at Stone's, after which I 
went to the pit of the Adelphi, where was being 
enacted a melodrama of the genuine old Adelphi 
type, followed, of course, by a screaming farce. 
Then, the performance concluded, I sallied out and 
loitered home. 

The next morning I called on Mr. Rapheal, who 
this time received me with promptitude, but with 
some signs of astonishment. When I told him 
that I had not come this time to borrow money, he 
was more astonished still, and asked me, not rudely 
but still brusquely, what I had come for. 

This I explained to him as well as I could. I told 
that I wished to know under what circumstances his 
claim upon me had been settled. 

"Easily enough," he said. "A lady came here; 
I daresay you know who she is She said she was 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 53 



a member of your family, and I only hope, for your 
sake, you've more of them. She paid me up, took 
the bit of stiff and the parchment skins, and then 
gave me a regular good jacketing, — let me have it 
hot, I can tell you ; called me all the names she 
could lay her tongue to. When I suggested a 
biscuit and a pint of dry, I really believe I was as 
near having my eyes clawed out as I ever wish to 
be again. However, the notes were all right, and 
I did the proper thing and handed her back the 
papers. But I tell you one thing, Mr. Severn, I 
mean to keep my word to her. There's no more 
truck between you and me. That's straight." 

" I'm sorry the lady was so hard on you, Mr. 
Raphael," I replied, hardly able to control my 
amusement. " I myself shall always consider that 
you have behaved most fairly and kindly to me." 

" Well, Mr. Severn, business is business. People 
chuck stones at my line of business, but they can't 
chuck stones at the way in which I carry it on. I'm 
not afraid of any Equity Judge on the bench 
though they've all got their knives into me. Lots 
of my transactions have been ripped up, but they've 
always stood the light, and Jacobs has pocketed his 
little bill of costs every time. It isn't every banker 



51 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

in the City of London who can say as much as that. 
Will you have a pint of champagne ? No ? Well, 
if you won't, have a cigar at all events. Good 
morning, and good luck to you Mr. Severn. 
Mason, show Mr. Severn out." 

So I made my way down into Piccadilly, and 
walked back to Bayswater more at sea than ever. 
But on two things I had made up my mind. 
Nothing should induce me to get into debt again. 
And, in the second place, I would get " called " as 
soon as possible. That would be the best return for 
her kindness that I could make at present. She 
would almost certainly write to congratulate me on 
my call, and I could then go to her at once, or at 
all events set to work with a light heart to find her 
out. 

These good resolutions did not go the way of 
most of their kind, and find their way into a pave- 
ment which only Dante could describe. I did not 
content myself with making them, but I also stuck 
to them. My course of life now became tedious 
and uneventful. I ate my dinners and attended my 
pleader's chambers with commendable regularity. 
I passed my examinations, and was duly called. 
And thereat my father so far departed from his 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 55 

usual rule of strict economy as to send me a cheque 
for a hundred pounds, and to inform me that my 
allowance would now be raised to a hundred and 
fifty a year, which would be paid me as before, 
quarterly. He also suggested that I should come 
down for Christmas. There were still some 
pheasants left, and there would probably be good 
skating on the lake, which had already caught over 
once or twice. 

I replied to this epistle in a proper spirit of filial 
gratitude ; settled my account at the boarding- 
house ; took leave of Mrs. Jessett, of Miss 
M'Lachlan, and of the other boarders ; and then, 
before going home, ran down to Brighton, that I 
might divide a week between the harriers and the 
racket court. 

The air of Brighton seems to act upon Londoners 
in a really marvellous fashion, and before a couple 
of days were over, I felt myself once again a boy of 
eighteen. 



CHAPTEE VII. 

In this frame of mind I made my way home. A 
country has delights and pleasures of its own, even 
if you do not, as did I in this case, know every 
inch of its grounds. Three years' absence may alter 
yourself, but they do not alter the face of nature. 
There were the same trees in the long avenue. The 
very hole from which I had taken the nest of the 
great red woodpecker had not been covered over 
with sheet lead, and, as my fly drove past, an old 
woodpecker darted out with a noisy shriek and 
chuckle, and scudded away across the park. The 
lake was unaltered, except by its margin one or two 
immemorial willtws must either have tumbled 
down from extreme old age or else have been 
mercifully relieved the trouble of further existence. 
In the immense elms by its side the herons were 
still clustered, and I could recognise some of the 
old nests, which I had often attempted to reach at 
imminent risk of my neck. The rabbits were 
darting about in and under the bracken, and as we 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 57 



neared the house I heard again the solemn chatter 
of the rooks upon the terrace elms. 

My arrival had been expected, and I found the 
family drawn up to receive me. My father, en 
grand seigneur, shook hands, complimented me on 
my growth, and expressed his satisfaction that I had at 
last embarked upon a career which could, of course, 
only end in the woolsack. 

My mother kissed me, and told me that I was 
growing, and that I reminded her very much of 
her own eldest brother Horace, especially about the 
hair and the bridge of the nose, with regard to 
which last feature she could have taken me for 
Horace himself. Then my sisters in succession, by 
seniority, administered flabby, pecky kisses, popping 
their great red lips down on to my cheek, and 
snapping them away again as suddenly as if I were 
a dish of snap-dragon, or were suffering from some 
unpleasant contagious malady. My youngest 
brother, who had by this time attained the dignity 
of jackets, sidled up and took my hand, rubbed it 
all over his face and head, and then continued to 
hold it firmly. 

I was asked, of course, if I would not like some 
refreshment. We had a room, presided over by the 



58 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

cook, and called in solemn make-believe the butler's 
pantry. I replied that I would make my way 
thither, and that then I should like to take a turn 
round the grounds, if Dick, my youngest brother, 
could accompany me. To this suggestion no oppo- 
sition whatever was offered. In fact, my proposal to 
take myself off at once and to give no further 
trouble, seemed to be hailed as a symptom that I 
had at last learned how to behave myself, and was 
reduced to a proper state of humility and Christian 
discipline. 

The butler, as it pleased us to call him, was de- 
lighted. He first, without comment, drew me an 
immense glass of old ale. When I had finished it, 
he favoured me with a solemn wink while cutting a 
bountiful sandwich from a cold haunch of veni- 
son. 

" Eare goings on you've had, Master Jack. Eare 
capers, I'll be bound. Well, well, let a boy begin 
to be a man early. That's what I say. And don't 
let a man begin to get an old man too soon. You're 
coming on, Master Jack. I'm getting old, myself. 
I'm bigger round the stomach than I care to be, and 
smaller round the thigh. 'Tisn't much I could do 
now, over a hurdle or across a ditch, and I ain't up 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. r,o 

to following the hounds a-foot, as I did twenty years 
ago, when I could tire out the best horse in the 
field. Never mind. It does an old man good to see 
the young folk coming on. You won't find much 
change in the place. There's William down at the 
stables, still, and Mat too. Mat's married and got 
a family, and his wife, she combs his hair a bit. 
But she's a managing woman, and she looks after 
his clothes. He was a bit untidy when he was 
single, so it's as broad as it's long. Too much beer 
ain't good for a young gentleman. Try this." And 
he produced a quaint Dutch flagon of blue glass, 
with a neck like that of a stork. It was a genuine 
Amsterdam curacoa, and I freely confess that it 
warmed my blood. 

Next I hunted up Dick, whom I found in all the 
dignity of a pea-jacket, and who at once took me 
under his charge. His ambition seemed to be to 
take me to every place at once ; but I cooled down 
his youthful impetuosity, and told him that I wanted 
to go for just a stroll. 

So we roamed through the grounds, which seemed 
to me much dilapidated, and sadly in need of re- 
planting. And then from the stables to the kitchen 
garden, and from the hitchen garden to the home 



CO JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



farm, where we kept our one cow ; Dick and I wended 
our way to what was called the hanger — a piece of 
hillside thickly wooded, and noted for its badgers, 
squirrels and jays. I had more than won Dick's 
heart by the present of a big, three-bladed knife 
with a swivel and chain, by which it might be con- 
veniently attached to his belt or braces. 

" I say, Jack," he said, " they've ail been talking 
about you." 

" Have they, indeed ? And pray, what did they 
say?" 

" Oh, Pa said that you were exactly like himself ; 
that you were dreadfully lazy, but very clever ; and 
that, if you chose to try, you could do whatever you 
pleased. Georgie took your part, and said you 
weren't lazy at all, and Eachel didn't say anything. 
She never does say anything, but she always 
manages to have her own way. She's very clever, 
Eachel is." 

Now this intelligence, satisfactory in so far as it 
went, was yet not exactly reassuring. Evidently I 
had returned as a suspect and upon my good be- 
haviour. No man likes to play the part of the 
prodigal son ; but to enact this role when there 
is no fatted calf killed for you, none of the old wine 



JACK AND THREE JILL?. fil 

brought forth, and no lifting up of the sackbut, 
harp, psaltery, dulcimer, and all manner of music, 
is but poor work indeed. So I continued my way 
moodily, while Dick, picking up a huge fa' leu fir 
cone, made satisfactory trial of his new knife. 

We arrived at the lake to find it was caught over, 
scantily, but with promise of skating to come. 
Dick rushed from place to place on the bank, to 
take up and reset his night lines, on which, in spite 
of the weather, were two or three big eels. These 
he strung in solemn triumph on a long withe, and 
so we turned back to the house. In the house I 
found them all re-assembled. It still wanted a 
couple of hours till dinner time, so I invited Dick 
up to my bedroom. Fresh country air invariably 
makes you sleepy, and I felt coming upon me what 
Shakespeare terms an " Exposition of Sleep." I 
took off my boots, threw myself down on my bed, 
and giving Dick strict orders to wake me in time 
for the hot water before dinner, was soon fast asleep. 
Dreamless sleep is of all blessings in this world, and 
of all anodynes incomparably the first and 
greatest. 

Two or three days afterwards the ice on the lake 



62 JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 



was pronounced to be competent, and the surface 
was swept with due and proper care, until it 
glistened like a great sheet of looking glass. The 
intelligence spread through the village and its out- 
lying parts, and by noon the frozen surface was 
fairly well covered, and the clear shrill ring of steel 
echoed through the surrounding shrubberies, and 
died away in the palm branches overhead. Although 
Essex is a great skating country, we yet had no 
scientific skaters amongst us to make an exclusive 
circle to themselves, and so spoil the harmony of 
the meeting. Very few of us were masters of the 
outside edge. None could venture beyond a figure 
of eight. All that we attempted to do was to enjoy 
ourselves in our own way ; and this we achieved 
very satisfactorily. 

I was roaming about alone, rolling in that delight- 
fully easy method, the perfection of laziness, when 
you never lift either foot from the ice for a stroke, 
but fling your body from side to side, swing along 
by dead weight in a perpetual zigzag. I bad lit a 
wooden pipe, buttoned up the collar of my pea- 
jacket, and looked in all respects as much like all 
other young men as any modest young man need 
desire to look. Suddenly I became aware that there 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 63 



was someone on the ice whom I knew, and ought 
to remember only too well. It was my old sweet- 
heart, Izzie Vivian, in the company of my sisters. 
I at once struck out my most superb outside edge, 
and joined them with a flourish as complicated, if 
not perhaps as expressive, as the derniere pirouette 
of a premiere danseuse. 

I bowed and shook hands, and I can solemnly 
declare that there was not even a twinkle, or the 
suspicion of it, in the eye of either of us. 

" Has he not grown, my dear ? " remarked my 
sister Greorgie. 

" Immensely," was Miss Vivian's somewhat prosaic 
answer. 

This nonchalent acquiescence a little irritated me. 
As a matter of fact, I was neither taller nor shorter 
by the sixteenth of an inch than when I left Essex 
more than three years ago. 

Then came the usual feeble gossip, for which my 
sisters were entirely responsible. Yesterday's mail 
had brought down the last number of the Queen 
and a batch of new novels from the London librarian. 
I was asked what the park looked like, and who 
were playing at the different theatres, and we got 
into a general atmosphere of the Court and Shakes- 



C4 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

peare and musical glasses. Tt was easy talking 
enough for one, but it was none the less terribly 
dull. I could not help noticing, however, that my 
old flame had, in the language of novelists of the 
Eichardson epoch, vastly improved. She had grown; 
she was more self-conscious ; even her hair was 
more deftly and coquettishly arranged than of yore, 
while her feet no longer seemed too large for her 
body or troubled her as to their disposition. She 
was in every way more filled out and rounded off, 
if, in my capacity of son of an Essex squire, I may 
borrow a phrase from the vocabulary of the racing 
stable. We know how immense is the difference 
between the very youngest " man " and the biggest 
and burliest of all possible school-boys, even if the 
latter rejoice in the bushiest of whiskers and be 
captain of the eleven or the football team. There 
is the same difference between your young lady who 
has been to her first four or five balls, and her 
younger sisters who are still redolent of bread and 
butter and the nursery. 

Pondering on these things in a listless manner, 
and thinking of nothing else in particular, I be- 
came suddenly aware that my sisters had veered off 
and had left myself and Miss Vivian alone. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. fi.i 

" I sea you are back from the Isle of Wight," I 
said. 

It was awkward and foolish of me, but I 
really could think of nothing else whatever to 
say. 

" Oh yes," she laughed. " You know I had done 
nothing so very desperately wicked after all. Perhaps, 
too, the good old ladies at the school did not find 
me particularly tractable. At all events, they re- 
ported that, in their opinion, my education might 
be considered as ' finished ' down to the very last- 
extra, and on the strength of that certificate I am 
now at home again, and am told that I am to con- 
sider myself, in the accepted phraseology, as out ; 
which means that I have been presented, that I dine 
in the evening when we give a dinner party, and 
am allowed to wear a necklace and a couple of 
bangles, and to indulge in a dress of something a 
little less simple than muslin." 

In default of anything else, I asked her how she 
liked the change. 

" I can hardly tell you," she replied. " Some- 
times the new life pleases me well enough. At 
others I wish the old days were back again. There 
was crrtainly more freedom in them. But the 

5 



C6 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

change must come, of course, sooner or later. It is 
a great trouble." 

Then we began to talk of other things, until it 
neared half-past three, and the day began to close. 
It was time to leave the ice, and we soon found 
ourselves at the summer house, where in summer 
we kept our bait and fishing tackle, and where now 
there was a general clatter as of the removal of 
many skates. 

Of course I managed, under cover of my sisters, 
to escort Izzie to our lodge gates. 

" You will come to-morrow ? " cried the girls in 
chorus. " William says the thermometer is falling, 
and that the ice to-morrow will be splendid, if it 
is well swept in the evening." 

" Oh, of course I shall come. I love skating, of 
all things." And so our little company broke 
up. 

As we returned to the house, my sisters wanted 
to know if I thought Izzie had improved. I replied 
evasively that 1 supposed all girls improved about 
her age. I was told in return that I had come 
back with no more manners than a bear, to which 
I retorted that I had been diligently practising the 
art of cross-examination, and had not returned with 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 67 

any intention of being vivisected. " Besides,"' I 
remarked mockingly, " I have passed through an 
entire season at a select Bayswater boarding-house, 
and my heart is now as tough as the leg of a five- 
year-old rooster, or, for the matter of that, its 
gizzard." 

" What a wonderful man of the world you have 
become ! " cried my sisters in chorus, " and how 
immensely London has improved your manners. 
Pray, when are you going to be presented at 
Court ? " 

" When I take silk," I retorted, " I shall have to 
submit to that troublesome ceremony. It is one of 
the nuisances involved in taking silk." 

" And, pray, what may taking silk mean ? " 

"It means, my dear sisters, 'coming out' and 
learning to mind your own business and not to talk 
about the business of other people, unless you are 
well paid for doing so, and do it in your professional 
capacity. In which case loquacity assumes the 
rank of a virtue." 

" Dear me," remarked (xeorgie, addressing her 
younger sister, with a little sigh. " Quite a 
philosopher for his age, my dear." 

To this sneer I did not condescend to reply, and 

5* 



68 JACK AND THREK JILLS. 

the girk feeling, I suppose, that they had the best 
of the skirmi>h, assumed a corresponding air of 
aggressive importance. I did not long for Susan 
to bring them to their senses. Miss M'Lachlan 
would have been quite enough. But the presence 
of that most worthy spinster I should have hailed 
with clean delight. Her antipathy to young men 
was as nothing as compared to her aversion to 
" minxes." 



CHAPTER Vlir. 

I went to bed early that night. Skating makes 
one very indolent. I know of no exercise, except 
swimming, and perhaps tennis, out of which you 
can get a larger amount of fatigue in a given 
amount of time. I carefully opened my window, 
made up the fire so as to have a good draught up 
the chimney, and got into bed. Then, with my 
pipe alight, I began to turn matters over. 

Susan Brabazon was out of my reach. With 
money and time I could no doubt have traced her. 
I had written to her through her solicitor, thanking 
her for what she had done in extricating me from 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 69 



the clutches of Mr. Raphael, and begging her to 
give me her address ; but I had received no answer 
whatever, and was not likely to receive one now 
after the lapse of so many weeks, especially as 
Mr. Amos Clarke's managing clerk assured me, 
with every appearance of truth, that my letter had 
reached her, and that she had acknowledged its 
receipt in a business communication addressed to 
his master. 

Clearly, then, I could only wait until it might 
please her to write to me herself. Meantime what 
could I do better than stay where I was ? It was 
to this conclusion, several considerations combined. 
I was unquestionably comfortable. It would have 
been idle to pretend I was not. I was living 
economically, and indeed saving money, which I 
should otherwise have wasted in London. And 
then, too, there was my rencontre with Izzie Vivian, 
for whom I felt all my old attachment reviving. I 
think it is as well to be thus entirely frank. I had 
been, no doubt, madly in love with Susan. But it 
had been the wild stormy love of passion. It 
might of course leap up at any moment if I saw her 
again ; of this the chances seemed at present 
altogether hopeless. 



70 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Izzie Vivian, on the other hand, had been my 
firtt love. 

On revient toujours k ses premiers amours. 

Besides, she had developed more in proportion 
to the few years that had gone over our heads than 
had I myself. I, although nominally a man, was 
still in reality only a youth. She had become a 
grown woman, tall, comely and winning. The odds 
in every way were against me — that is, if I was to 
attempt to resist the situation. 

It was what bookmakers call a moral, that I should 
fall in love with her again, and, of course, I at once 
proceeded to do so in the most orthodox and 
approved fashion. 

There are, as I had by this time discovered, and 
as probably very few of my readers will need to be 
told, more ways than one of making love, according 
to the age, disposition, and rank of life of the lady. 
Among the list of books studied by the great 
Pantagruel, Master Franpois Eabelais enumerates 
De Calcaribus retinendis decades undecim. Decades 
centum might certainly be written on the various 
methods of making love, a matter on which, it may 
be remembered, even Mr. Pickwick himself did not 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 71 

scorn to take the friendly advice of Mr. Peter 
Magnus. 

Izzie had grown into a woman, and must be made 
love to accordingly ; and in this scientific frame of 
mind it was that I resolved to set to work. The 
resolution taken, I lit a final pipe, and mixed my- 
self some more whisky and water. Then I con- 
sidered details, and having disposed of them to my 
complete satisfaction, I knocked the ashes out of my 
pipe, blew out my candle, and almost immediately 
was fast asleep. 

The gift of instantaneous sleep is one of the 
happy privileges of those who, like young men and 
condemned criminals on the eve of execution, 
have the worst of their trouble yet before them. 



The Vivians were one of the *oldest families in 
the county. There are other Vivians in England 
who cannot prove common ancestry, although they 
are presumably connected, as they all have the same 
coat-of-arms and the same motto. 

Izzie's father was an Essex Vivian, and chief of 
that ilk, but there were also the Northumberland 
Vivians and the Cornish Vivians — all with pedigrees 



72 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



going back to William tlie Conqueror, at least, 
and sufficient to mystify even a Gfarter King- 
at-Arms. Somehow or other, too, money went 
with the name. Either there were coal mines or 
slate quarries, or else there would be broad acres and 
large rent-rolls, with perhaps salmon fishing rights. 
The Vivians, in a word, ranked among those old 
county families which, as an acute French critic of 
our social life has observed, are prouder of their 
descent, and have better reason to be proud of it 
than have the bulk of our nobility. 

Izzie was an only child, and, as the estates were 
unentailed, would ultimately enjoy in her own 
absolute right some twelve thousand a year. Thirty- 
five pounds a day, or thereabouts in round figures, 
is a very comfortable income, on which life can be 
most pleasantly spent. No wonder that when, three 
years ago, our youthful attachment was discovered 
she should have been hurried out of my way. And 
yet here we were together again ; and she now her 
own mistress, and very possibly as ready to renew 
our old attachment as ever. 

What chances some men have ! And yet I can 
honestly declare that I did not then, nor have 
evercared for money. It seems to me that if a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 73 



man can hunt four days a week in the season, keep 
a sailing yacht of about eighty tons in the summer, 
and never know what it is to be troubled for a five- 
pound note, he ought to be not only happy, but 
extremely grateful. Beyond some such limits as 
these wealth becomes like that of the Vanderbilts, 
the Astors, the Stewarts, and the Mackays — a 
burden. 

Next day we were all on the ice again. I am free 
to confess that I had dressed myself with more 
than my usual care, and had critically superin- 
tended the grinding of my skates, without 
which precaution the outside edge is apt to 
prove a snare and a delusion even to the most 
experienced. 

It was a glorious day. The sun shone in a 
cloudless sky. The snow hung crisply on the fir 
trees, and in the frosty air every sound rang clearly 
and distinctly. All this I noticed as I left the 
house. As I was finally adjusting the screws of my 
skates, my sister Georgie touched me on the 
shoulder, and I looked sharply up. 

" Jack," she whispered, " it's a lovely day. For 
once in your life make good use of your time, and 
don't be a fool. It's a beautiful day," she added, in 



74 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

a lighter tone, for the benefit of all whom it might 
concern. 

" Never knew a jollier day in my life," I replied, 
at once proceeding to convert my legs into com- 
passes, and to describe with them geometrical 
diagrams — things in spirals, catenaries, and other 
transcendental curves, only to be approached by the 
aid of the differential calculus, and even then to be 
treated with respect as liable to involve you at any 
moment in a multiple point or a cusp, or, in the 
homely language of the ice, a " purl." 

Very soon I found the object of my quest. Miss 
Vivian was on the ice bestowing her smiles im- 
partially between the curate of the parish — not my 
dear old friend and tutor, but a raw-boned successor 
from St. John's, Cambridge — and a lad of about 
sixteen or seventeen, the son of a neighbouring 
gentleman not among the county families, fresh 
from Harrow, and far more conversant with bat 
fives and tuck shops than with anything at all 
approaching to a flirtation. 

From our companions when I joined the group 
we soon managed to disengage ourselves. Both 
the curate and the schoolboy made some welcome 
excuse, and started off in different directions, so 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 75 

that Izzie and I found ourselves circling round the 
lake, she making the best of her pace, and I easily 
holding at her side with little more than the sway 
of my body to propel me. 

" And, pray, what have you been doing in town ? " 
she asked, after we had exchanged a few stray shots. 
" Flirting, I suppose ? In fact, I have heard as 
much from my cousin "Walter, who has several 
friends in the Temple." 

This was a bold stroke for " chase number one ; " 
but I answered it by a cut for the '' grille," 

" Then your cousin Walter troubles himself more 
about my affairs than I do about his, and apparently 
knows rather less of them. Shall I tell you a Little 
story about your dear cousin "Walter ? "We had all 
been dining the other night at a place called the 
Blue Posts, in Burlington Street, you know where, 
at the top of the Burlington Arcade; and after 
dinner we had a crown bowl of rack punch, which, I 
am afraid, made some of us a little valiant; and 
your worthy cousin told the waiter he was no 
gentleman, and wanted to fight him, and the waiter, 
being, as he volubly assured us, 'the son of a 
jintleman as well known in county Corrck as any 
other,' declared his perfect readiness to make the 



76 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

matter ' an affair of honour.' So we interfered, and 
vowed that enough had been said on each side, and. 
insisted that the two should express their mutual 
regret and shake hands; and your cousin had 
swallowed so much punch, and the waiter was so 
carried away by his vanity, that they actually did 
shake hands most solemnly. If you doubt me ask 
your cousin himself. He mayn't like it, but he'll 
tell you, no doubt." 

" It's too bad of you," she replied, bursting into a 
fit of laughter;, "and as for the poor waiter, I 
think he came more creditably out of the matter 
than any of you." 

" Don't you know what the Marquis of Waterford 
did after he had thrown the waiter out of the 
window ? Sent for the landlord, and told him to 
stick down the broken waiter in the bill, and to send 
up another at once." 

" Young gentleman who talk like you were hung 
at the lamp-posts in the French Revolution." 

" Yes ; and their descendants have ruled with a 
rod of iron, and have tamed with a hand of steel 
the descendants of the very men who hung them. 
It's all ' the whirligig of time.' I don't believe you 
care a bit for me now," I continued, boldly changing 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 77 



the subject to th.Q one which I was determined 
to approach. 

" If you don't know," she answered maliciously, 
"I am sure I don't see how I can. You are 
tremendously clever, and ought to know everything, 
even if you do not." 

This was altogether too exasperating, and I began 
to feel myself almost losing my temper. 

"You know what I mean," I said, "perfectly 
well. You know, at any rate, that I care for you, 
or ought to know it." 

" Oh, indeed. You have not done much to 
remind me of the fact during the last three years. 
I felt quite proud yesterday, to find that you still 
remembered me. I had heard that you had con- 
descended to transfer your affections to a lady 
named Brabazon, whom you were going to lead to 
the altar after first, of course, shooting her hus- 
band, or in some other way distinguishing your- 
self." 

Now this was distinctly awkward, so I fenced with 
the thrust, — 

" People seem to have been very busy with my- 
self and my name and my affairs. I had no idea 
whatever that I was of so much importance." 



78 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

She was roused now. 

" You may possibly have been of more importance 
than your own modesty allowed you to imagine, but 
that was some time ago." 

" Then I am in disgrace. It seems very hard, 
when even my father has taken the prodigal son to 
his bosom, and — veal not being in season at this 
time of year — has killed the fattest and most well- 
beloved of all his turkeys." 

" If you are profane I shall refuse to forgive you 
at all, and shall at once whistle for my little 
curate." 

" Then I will be as pious as you please." 

" No, nor pious either. Do, pray, let us enjoy 
our skating. Your examination and cross-exami- 
nation, which, I suppose, you have been practising 
up in town with a view to the confusion of thieves, 
quite worries me." 

" I can take a hint," I replied gallantly. 

" You can certainly take liberties. You are, for 
your age, a most impertinent young man. Now, 
how is it you do the ' Dutch Koll ? ' I have quite 
forgotten." 

And we went on circling about the ice, talking of 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 79 

every subject under heaven but the one upon which 
I had wished to force her attention. 

I could see as I passed my sisters that they were 
fairly delighted, and for myself I felt flushed and 
insolent with victory ; for I knew enough of Izzie 
Vivian, down even to the very tones of her voice, to 
be perfectly satisfied that she was in reality as fond 
of me as ever, and perhaps even more so. Some 
fires burn all the better if they have been for a while 
judiciously banked. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Next day the ice was in better condition than 
ever. An enthusiast from Scotland, a Mr. Campbell, 
had telegraphed up to Perthshire for curling stones, 
and there was great excitement over the curling, 
which seemed to me to be a somewhat stupid imita- 
tion of bowls, inferior upon the whole to croquet, 
and intensely monotonous to lookers on. As, how- 
ever, the thing was a novelty, it, of course, as they 
say in the theatre, drew. 

I joined the select company on the ice, the vil- 
lagers being permitted to gape in bewildered as- 



80 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

tonishment from the banks, and to wonder at a sport 
rather less intelligible to them than a spot-barred 
match would have been. Bat as we were all clus- 
tered together, and as almost everybody was pre- 
tending to know all about the game, and explaining 
it to everybody else, I found my opportunity to 
get near Izzie, and under cover of pointing out to 
her and emphasising with my stick the merits and 
beauties of the game, of which I was in reality pro- 
foundly ignorant, commenced a brief and earnest 
conversation. 

" You cannot possibly have meant what you said 
yesterday ? " I observed tentatively. 

" But indeed I did mean it and I mean it now. I 
do not want you, out of your great goodness, to 
throw your glove to me, Mr. Severn. The world is 
large enough for you and for me ; and it is not at 
all for a mere country girl such as I am to presume 
to match myself against Mrs. Brabazon, of whose 
beauty and accomplishments I have heard so 
much." 

" I do not see what Mrs. Brabazon has to do with 
the matter," I replied with considerable warmth. "I 
love you very dearly, and I want you to marry me. 
It seems to me that the matter is one in which 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 81 

Mrs. Brabazon's name need not be in any way in- 
volved. I do not know what you may have been 
told about that lady, but if you have been told the 
truth, you must know as well as I do that the facts 
are almost childishly simple." 
" You think so," said Izzie. 

" Yes, I do. Mrs. Brabazon and I boarded in the 
same house, and met every day. She is considerably 

older than I am " 

" So I have been informed," Izzie interrupted. 
" She is considerably older than I am," I repeated, 
with angry emphasis. " We were surrounded by 
a set of vulgar, stupid people, and she kindly took 
an interest in me, and on one occasion rendered me 
a very great service. That is the whole of the story, 
without the least reservation. I did, no doubt, tell 
her that I admired her, and she in almost so many 
words told me in return that I was a silly schoolboy, 
and, metaphorically speaking, boxed my ears. If 

you have ever read the Secretaire Intime " 

" I do not read French novels, Mr. Severn." 

" Well, if you ever should read that book, you will 

know what I mean. She may not have intended my 

conge to have been humiliating, for she is naturally 

kindhearted, but it most decidedly had that effect 

6 



82 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

upon me. I have neither seen nor beard from her 
since ; and I have not the least idea where she is." 

" Oh, you will no doubt see her or hear from her 
in sufficiently good time, Mr. Severn. Yours, I am 
sure, is not a faint heart. And in the little interval 
you must bear up, possess your soul in patience and 
wait." 

" You are mocking me," I said. 

" I am not mocking you at all. It is not kind 
of you or fair of you to say so. I am only doing 
what is right.'' 

I hardly knew what I said. I went at my task 
with the pertinacity of a Caleb Cushing. I said 
the same thing over and over again, using vain 
repetitions as the heathen do, in the hope that I 
should be heard for my much speaking. And to 
my astonishment I actually produced my effect. 
Before we had left the ice Izzie had told me that 
she believed every word I had said, and was as fond 
of me as ever. 

Thus, then, I went home in a happy frame of 
mind, and made myself more than usually agreeable 
to the other members of the household. 

Next morning the weather had changed. It was 
not exactly raining, but a sort of Scotch mist was 



JACK AXD THREE JILLS. 83 

falling, and the mercury was slightly above freezing 
point, varying uneasily as the wind shifted. The 
surface of the snow, instead of being clear and 
crisp, was pitted and scarred ; and with each 
movement of the boughs, the trees shook off their 
burdens, while the eaves and thatch dripped 
monotonously. 

I was watching all this in a dissatisfied and 
querulous frame of mind, from one of the windows 
in the hall, when I saw Mr. Vivian's dog-cart driving 
hurriedly up the avenue. Mr. Vivian himself held 
the reins, and his groom occupied the back seat. I 
guessed there was mischief, and I certainly had no 
intention of shirking the fray, but I judged it more 
prudent, for the present at any rate, to keep out of 
the way and to see how events might shape them- 
selves, instead of doing anything rash on my own 
account. Accordingly I retreated from the hall, 
instead of advancing, as I ordinarily should have 
done, to greet the newcomer. 

I heard, from an upper room which commanded 
the hall, Mr. Vivian enter, and saw him ushered 
into the library, where, as I knew, my father was 
at that time, busy with his new -papers, letters and 
accounts. Then I withdrew to the shrubberies 

6* 



84 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

and indulged in a pipe, leaving word with the 
servants where I could be found in case I was 
wanted. 

I had no occasion to think out my plans, as I had 
nothing of which to be ashamed and nothing to 
conceal. If I had not exactly covered myself with 
glory up in London, I had, at all events, been called 
within the usual time, and was now a Barrister-at- 
law, ranking heraldically as Esquire with Justices 
of the Peace, and immediately after the Sheriff and 
the County Coroner. My love episode with Mrs. Bra- 
bazon, and my transactions with Mr. Kaphael, were 
certainly unknown to either Mr. Vivian or my 
father ; else the latter would have alluded to them 
at once, and in no very pleasant manner, on the 
moment of my return, while I should have been 
told by Izzie, that her father knew all about 
them. 

Something else must have happened ; and what 
it was I very soon discovered, as a footman, specially 
sent on the service, hunted me out, and summoned 
me to my father's presence. When I entered the 
library, a dull, ponderous room, with ponderous and 
dilapidated furniture, my father was standing upon 
the rug in his most approved attitude of command 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



while Mr. Vivian was seated in a stiff horsehair 
chair, looking anything but comfortable. 

I entered the room defiantly, and with a look that 
most distinctly said, " Gentlemen of the guard, 
fire first." My father commenced in his most 
pompous manner. 

" Mr. Vivian informs me, Jack, that you have so 
far violated all those rules of hospitality by which 
the conduct of a gentleman ought always to be 
controlled and, I may say, guided, as to again 
address yourself to his daughter in a most un- 
becoming and, indeed, ur> gentlemanly fashion. 
You have, he tells me, assuring me that he has the 
word of the young lady herself for the fact, again 
spoken to her of your affection, in spite of all that 
has taken place, and of all the unhappiness, that 
your conduct has caused. You have, in fact, he 
tells me, made love to her. If, sir, this be so, your 
conduct calls for, and in my judgment demands, 
something much more than an explanation." 

Mr. Vivian expressed his entire concurrence in 
these choicely worded and evenly-balanced senti- 
ments, emphasising his opinion with an oath which, 
if neither novel nor appropriate, was at all events 
vigorous and cheerful, and for which either of the 



86 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

two gentlemen would any day in his capacity of 
magistrate have fined an agricultural labourer five 
shillings, with five-and-twenty shillings costs, or in 
default have committed him for the largest possible 
period of hard labour allowed by the statutes in that 
case made and provided. 

A confused metaphor will best express my state 
of mind. The murder was out, so I stood to my 
guns. 

" What you have heard, sir, is perfectly correct." 

" Then, by the Lord, you ought to be horse- 
whipped ! " roared Mr. Vivian. 

" You are under a father's roof, sir," I replied, 
turning on him so sharply that he started in his 
chair. " If that is really your opinion you may 
give it me again in the market-place on Tuesday 
next, and I will bring my own whip with me for 
your convenience." 

Now this was really dreadful. It was altogether 
too much. Here was I, a mere boy, defying a 
couple of gentlemen, of whom one had actually 
been High Sheriff, while the other was every year 
expecting to be pricked. The speech fell upon the 
two magnates like a bomb-shell. They could 
hardly believe their ears. Not Captain Van sly- 



JACK AND -THREE JILLS. 87 

perk en in Marryat's inimitable Dog-Fiend could 
have been more outraged on hearing that the 
audacious Jemmy had d — d the eyes of the Port- 
Admiral. 

" You ought to be ashamed of yourself, sir ! " 
cried my father, throwing into his voice as much of 
a roar as its natural compass would permit. 

" You are only after my daughter's money ! " 
bellowed Mr. Vivian, with select words of emphasis 
of his own. 

Now, Mr. Vivian's estates were within a month 
of passing from his hands when he had rescued 
them from the hammer by marrying Izzie's mother 
— one of the two daughters of a wealthy oil crusher 
and linseed cake manufacturer at Wapping. And 
of this fact I thought the opportunity offered 
itself to cheerfully remind him. 

He rapped out another oath worthy of a 
regimental sergeant-major, and struggled to his 
feet with every symptom of imminent apoplexy. 
. " Leave the room, sir ! " yelled my father. 

" Certainly, sir," I replied ; and swinging round 
on my heel I slammed the door after me briskly 
and defiantly as a sort of farewell slap in the 
face. 



88 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Then I deliberately lit a cigar in the hall, and so 
strolled out on to the terrace, where I knew they 
could see me, and sauntered indolently up and 
down, puffing at my cigar with sufficient pantomime 
to indicate thorough enjoyment of it. 

They must have talked for about twenty minutes, 
and then I heard Mr. Vivian's dog-cart roll away 
over the gravel. I returned to the house, marched 
into the butler's pantry and drew myself a tankard 
of ale. This I consumed slowly and deliberately ; 
but my father either did not want me, or certainly 
did not send for me, and as there was nothing 
better to be done, I selected myself a stout walking- 
stick, whistled a favourite terrier from the stable- 
yard, and once in the high road set off at a brisk 
pace for the nearest village, where I intended to see 
the landlord of the "Severn Arms," and gather 
from him, so far as I could, what amount of gossip 
as to my affairs might be afloat. 



CHAPTER X. 

Early the next morning, one of the grooms found 
me out, and handed me a letter. It had been 
given him by a gardener of Mr. Vivian's, to whom 
it had been given by one of the maid-servants, and 
having passed through so many hands, it was pro- 
portionately dirty and crumpled. I tore open the 
envelope, and found inside a letter which, of 
course, I had expected, and which, with all its 
girlish iteration, and doubts and hopes and fears, it 
would be unkind to set out here in totidem 
verba. 

Izzie was heart-broken. Her father had threat- 
ened all kinds of dreadful things ; but she did not 
believe that the law would allow him to do any of 
them, and so she didn't much care. Besides, she 
was weary of life. As for giving me up, nothing 
should ever make her do anything of the sort ; and 
as for believing all the horrid, odious, dreadful 
things that they all kept on saying about me, she 
did not believe a word of them, and wished to tell 



90 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

me that no power on earth would ever make her do 
so. She would give anything to see me, if it was 
only for a minute, and she should always think of 
me the last thing at night and the first thing in 
the morning. 

Of course, she would never for a moment do 
anything so horrible as to marry any one except 
myself. At the same time, she felt she could not 
marry without her father's consent, but he was very 
fond of her, and no doubt in a year or two I 
should be defending all the murderers at the 
assizes, and so be made a judge or even Lord 
Chancellor, and between now and then she would 
do all she could to coax him round. And then 
came her signature in a bold, firm hand. 

I put her letter into my inner breast coat-pocket, 
and, to prevent the possibility of accident, care- 
fully pinned the pocket up. I devoted the best 
part of the day to a brisk stroll through the fields 
of neighbouring and friendly farmers, taking with 
me a light single-barrelled gun, and a favourite old 
clumber spaniel. 

I knocked over a hare, which I left at the house 
of the tenant on whose land it had been killed, and 
in some marshy land flushed and bowled over a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 91 

brace of jack snipe, which I reserved for our 
rector. Then I strode manfully home to dinner, 
resolving to get to my room as soon as possible 
after the meal, to light a roaring fire, and to sit 
before it and think things over. This virtuous, or, 
at all events, modest programme I fully carried 
out. Only, before I had been thinking things over 
five minutes, the warmth and the noisy crackle of 
the blazing logs made me drowsy, and ultimately 
I fell asleep, until I was roused by the crash and 
rattle of my pipe, which had fallen from between 
my teeth into the fender. Then I pulled myself 
together, undressed leisurely, and, under the im- 
mense quilt of strange old fancy patch-work, 
dreamed placidly and persistently, not of Izzie 
Vivian, but of Mrs. Brabazon. 

Philosophers and psychologists tell us that we 
are not responsible for our dreams, and I suppose 
this must be the case, for, as the great philosopher 
Plato has pointed out, even the most respectable 
and sober-minded of people are apt at times to 
dream of the most extraordinary and awful things, 
and very often to be the chief actors in and about 
them. From which he argues that, in sleep, we 
can pretty well estimate the worst side of our 



fi:3 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

nature, guage for ourselves its intensity, and so the 
better put ourselves on our guard against it in our 
waking moments. 

All this is very philosophical, and may or may 
not be true. But it is undeniably certain that, as 
a matter of fact, I dreamed of Mrs. Brabazon, of 
whom, for some days past, I had not even been 
thinking. I was yachting with her, and then 
hunting with her, and then skating with her. But 
whatever I was doing, she was with me, and I am 
bound to confess that I felt the better and brighter 
and happier for her company. 

Next morning came a long interview with my 
father, which gave me a deeper insight than ever 
into the extent of his worldly wisdom. In reality, 
it seemed the old gentleman would be immensely 
pleased to see me married to Miss Vivian. There 
was nothing he would like better, only he did not 
care to say so, or, to be more exact, had not the 
necessary moral courage to say so. He was dread- 
fully afraid of offending Mr. Vivian, who was 
richer by far and more powerful than himself, and 
with whom all the squires round about would be 
sure to side. He owned this to me with a frank- 
ness worthy of Panurge himself, and after using 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 93 

some very strong language with regard to Mr. 
Vivian, and more especially with regard to his 
eyes, liver, and soul, assured me that, as far as he 
had any feeling in the matter, he sympathised 
heartily with myself; that I had done nothing to 
be ashamed of; and that, when he was my age, he 
would have acted exactly as I had. The oration 
was prosy and self-conscious, but it was reassuring, 
and we shook hands heartily at its conclusion. 

My sisters were equally sympathetic, but vague, 
of course, as is the school-girl habit, hoping that all 
would come well, but not being exactly sure about 
it, and emphasising their remarks with sage shak- 
ings of the head. But they meant well ; and upon 
the whole I felt that the tide of public opinion was 
distinctly in my favour. And it is always best to 
have public opinion with you, whether you be a 
cabinet minister or only a young and briefless 
barrister. 

Two days later the frost had entirely disappeared, 
and as the hounds met within two miles of our 
place, I modestly apparelled myself in buckskins, 
butcher boots, and a black coat, and trotted over to 
the meet. 

Izzie was there with her father, and with the old 



94 jack and three jills. 



coachman to do special duty as her groom ; and in 
the bustle of trying to persuade an obstinate old 
fox to break cover, I found myself near her. We 
bad opportunity for a few hurried words. 

" I thought it best," said I, " not to answer your 
letter. The answer might not have reached you." 

" You were quite right," she said ; " I doubt if it 
would have reached me. Now, all that you have 
got to do is to go back to town and set to work as 
hard as you can. I shall be sure to hear of you, 
and I daresay you will hear from me. But don't 
write until I write to you. And be very good and 
very industrious for my sake." 

This, of course, I vowed to be, and at that 
moment we heard from the other corner of the 
wood the cry of " Gone away ! gone away ! gone 
away ! " I had no resource but to leave Izzie under 
her escort and to settle clown to my work. 

I rode hard that day, and straight, and fairly 
covered myself with glory, being in the first flight 
and at the very tail of ths hounds from start to 
finish. The fox was rolled over in the open, and 
there was but little left of him by the time the 
hounds were beaten off. A hard riding farmer got 
the brush, which was presented with due solemnity 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 95 

to the eldest daughter of the lord lieutenant, who 
happened to be in the field ; and as it was too late 
for the chance of a second kill, I let out my stirrups 
and jogged leisurely home. 

My father, who was in good temper, congratulated 
me on my riding, of which he told me he had 
heard considerable praise Id competent quarters, 
and we then had dinner together, and after dinner, 
a bottle of port. The port warmed the old gentle- 
man's veins, and we sat smoking our cigars over 
the logs until the orthodox hour of ten, when I bid 
my father good-night. 



On my return to town, which took place in a day 
or two, I stuck to chambers with laudable assiduity, 
and actually got a few briefs. I did not burst upon 
the world after the fashion of Erskine, but I tried to 
do my work efficiently and thoroughly. There is, 
as any barrister will tell you, hardly any step at the 
Bar between fifty pounds a year and five hundred. 
And I before long found that, one way and another, 
I was making as nearly five hundred as might be, 
and, in fact, was being looked upon as a rising 
young man. 



96 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

It has been said that a leading firm of London 
solicitors can take a young man fresh from the 
University, pilot him through his career at the 
Bar, and eventually land him on the Woolsack. 
This may be a slightly exaggerated statement, but, 
as far as my experience goes, it is substantially true. 
At all events, success at the Bar depends almost 
entirely upon the patronage of solicitors ; and I 
should have had but a poor chance, if Mr. Honeybone, 
senior partner in the firm of Honeybone, Salter, 
Mould and Honeybone, of Lincoln's Inn Fields, who, 
five-and-twenty years before, had been in the habit 
of instructing my grandfather, had not taken me 
up. 

"I have heard, Mr. Severn," said Mr. Honeybone, 
who presented himself in person one day at my 
chambers, " that you have been lately called to the 
Bar, and, for the sake of your grandfather — a most 
remarkably talented gentleman, sir, who, if he had 
met with his deserts would have been Lord Chan- 
cellor — I am anxious to do what I can for you. I 
hope to send you a few briefs , and if you will kindly 
give them your attention, I am sure that our rela- 
tions will not be unsatisfactory, so far as you are 
concerned." 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 97 



I thanked Mr.*Honeybone very cordially, and 
promised to do my best; and I am bound to say 
that he was as good as his word, and, in the lan- 
guage of the judge in Mr. Gilbert's witty skit, 
Trial by Jury, " briefs came trooping gaily." 
Through Mr. Honeybone's intervention I became 
known, and I got on. I shall never forget his dis- 
interested kindness. 

I lived with the strictest economy, allowing 
myself no amusement except my favourite pool ; 
and thus it came about that, one happy morning, I 
found, on consulting my banker's book, that I was 
able to draw a cheque for something more than the 
one hundred and twenty pounds I owed Susan 
Brabazon, and to purchase into the bargain, at 
London and Ryder's, a very handsome little bracelet 
of emeralds and black pearls. 

Armed with the cheque and with the bracelet 
neatly packed, I made my way to Mrs. Brabazon's 
solicitor in the Old Jewry, who again refused to 
give me the address of his client, but informed me 
that he would at once forward any letter to her that 
I might give to him. So I left my letter and its 
enclosure together with the little parcel in his 
hands, and went my way. 

7 



98 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

Four days later I found a letter from her at my 
chambers, so characteristic that I cannot refrain 
from giving its words, — 

" Grand Hotel, 
"Nice, November 19, 18 — . 

" My dear Jack, — I have heard of you oftener 
than you have thought. I have made it my 
business to be posted up in your movements, and I 
can see, from the law reports in the newspapers, 
that you are doing very well indeed. I always 
thought this would be so, and if good wishes help 
anyone, you have most certainly had mine. 

" I do not mind telling you that I should like to 
see you again, and hardly think there would be any 
impropriety in doing so. What say you ? Suppose 
when the courts rise for the Christmas vacation, you 
run over here for a week or a fortnight, and enjoy 
yourself quietly, or, as I have to go to Ireland, shall 
I take London in my way ? I think I should like 
to see dull old London again, and if you behave 
yourself you may take me about a little. That 
will, I think, be the best. However, I leave it 
to you. 

" If you insist on treating my little present as a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 99 

debt, I cannot quarrel with you, and do not think 
the worse of you for your independence. The 

bracelet is a very beautiful one, and you shall see it 

on my wrist when we meet. 

" If you wire to me, I will start for Paris at once, 

and if you like to see me across the Channel, I will 

meet you at the Westminster, where I generally 

stay, and we will have a night at the play, or, if you 

prefer it. at the Eden, — I would as soon the one as 

the other. Kind love. — Ever yours, 

" Susan." 

I wired as I was requested, and left London for 
Paris the next night. Is there any pride of a better 
kind than that of a young man in spending, as a 
gentleman ought, the money which he has made by 
his own honest work. 



CHAPTER XL 

We had at Paris what I may distinctly term a good 
time of it. Susan's tastes were still as simple as 
ever. "We went to the theatre ; we dined modestly 
at Bignon's, and the only approach to anything like 
frivolity was an evening at the Folies Bergeres, 
with a supper afterwards at the Cafe de la Paix. 

Susan was the same as ever — warm-hearted, full 
of life, and evidently thoroughly happy to be with 
me again. The day in Paris became four or five 
days of the most intense enjoyment. Recollect, I 
had never before been to Paris in my life. And 
then, at last, we found ourselves in the Calais train 
hurrying over the snow-clad country, with all the 
paraphernalia of railway travel complete. Oddly 
enough, we encountered no one whom we knew on 
the journey, and I deposited Susan at the Charing 
Cross Hotel, taking up my own abode at my 
chambers. 

Next evening we dined esriy at Francatelli's, and 
went, after dinner, to the Lyceum, where I had se- 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 101 

cured a couple of stalls. Irving was more than 
usually characteristic. His sect would, no doubt, 
have considered him at his best, although I doubt if 
Macbeth is altogether a part that suits him. I was, 
however, thoroughly enjoying the performance, 
when, between the acts, I stood up to take a look 
round the house, and, to my astonishment and dis- 
comfiture, saw Izzie with some friends in a private 
box. 

I bowed to her at once, but she returned my 
salute with a quiet, steady stare, and then began 
to busy herself in conversation with a young man of 
the most approved Foreign Office type, who was 
leaning over the back of her chair. 

There was nothing to be done for it but to see the 
piece out, which I did, paying my companion the 
most marked attention, and otherwise assuming an 
air of thorough defiance. 

When the curtain finally fell, I looked after her 
wraps and opera-glas.s, and took her boldly through 
the foyer to our brougham, into which I had the 
pleasure of handing her and following her under 
Izzie's very eyes. We went to a restaurant famous 
for its suppers ; and that most enjoyable meal of 
the day over, I saw her to her hotel. Then I lit 



102 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

my cigar, and strolled back to the Temple in a 
meditative frame of mind. 

" There will be," said I to myself, as I finally blew 
out my candle, " the very devil himself to pay, and 
short allowance of pitch," and like a bad young man 
I went to sleep. 

During the afternoon of the next day I got a 
letter which, for better security had been registered. 
I knew the handwriting, I need hardly say, and 
tore it open. 

"Dear Mr. Severn," it began, — "After what 1 
saw last night, you can hardly be surprised at my 
writing to you to tell you that you must nevei 
speak to me again, and that if you do I must ask 
my father to protect me from you. 

"You have behaved very cruelly and very 
wickedly. I would not have believed it of you if 
your worst enemies had told me as much. I will 
not say a word about sorrow, for I doubt if I feel 
any. If you have any letters of mine, I trust to 
such good feeling as there may still be in you to let 
me have them back at once, and never to mention 
my name to any of your acquaintances or friends. 
— Yours truly, " Isabella Vivian." 



JACK AND 1UREE JILLS. 103 

The epistle acted upon me like a cold douche. I 
read it three or four times before locking it up in 
my secretary. Then I put on my hat and sallied 
out in a purposeless manner towards Spring Gar- 
dens and St. James's Park. 

" After all," said I to myself, " if this is really a 
specimen of her temper, perhaps things are better 
as they are. I, at all events, will not allow myself 
to be worried by so preposterous a quarrel." This 
frame of mind ultimately brought me to the Wind 
ham, where I looked in for my letters, and finding 
none to trouble me, had a philosophical lunch. 
There is some marvellous burgundy at the Windham 
which is much to be recommended as steadying the 
nerves, nor does it go at all amiss with game pie. 

I could now afford myself these small creature 
comforts, and I was not above doing so. Then I 
turned over the evening papers, and so lit my cigar 
and strolled round to Charing Cross. Mrs. Bra- 
bazon had afternoon tea to offer me, and was plea- 
santer than ever. If I had nothing better to do 
that evening, would I give her the rest of the day ? 
She would play the piano if I liked, or we could 
talk, or I might make myself comfortable on the 
sofa, and if I chose, go to sleep. 



104 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

I elected to stop with her, and she came and sat 
by my side. Once again I was thoroughly happy. I 
have no idea what we talked about, or whether we 
talked at all, but I remember the hours slipping by 
until dinner-time ; and I remember that after 
dinner we drew up our chairs in front of the fire, 
and made ourselves very happy and comfortable. It 
was two o'clock before I left her. On the table in 
my chambers was my clerk's usual memorandum. 
The day was a blank one. I had no case in the 
paper, and no clients wanted an appointment. The 
prospect of a holiday suited me exactly, for I had of 
late had quite as much work as I wanted. So I 
drew the bearskin coverlet over myself in a happy 
frame of mind, and slept far too soundly for any 
dreams. 

When my laundress roused me in the morning to 
inquire whether I would have tea or brandy-and- 
soda, I virtuously chose the tea, and I then saun- 
tered down to the Windham to draft an answer to 
Izzie's letter. " I am not a boy to have my face 
slapped in this way," I muttered to myself as I 
turned into St. James's Square. And the unde- 
niable truth of this reflection put me in the best 
possible terms with myself, so that I glanced over 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 105 

my Times with all the importance of a county 
member, or a city merchant, and threatened to 
back my bill with a complaint as to the inferior 
quality of my fillet of sole. The grey-headed coffee- 
room clerk was startled, and evidently wondered 
what the world was coming to when young men, 
little more than schoolboys, ordered the waiters 
about as if the club were an ordinary hotel, and 
wound up their breakfast with liqueur. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Then I concocted a letter to Izzie. It was very 
long, and no doubt very stupid. But it practically 
told her as much of the truth as it was at all conve- 
nient for me that she should know. I began by 
accusing her of a jealousy which, I boldly declared, 
amounted almost to insanity, and warned her that 
to give way to idle suspicion without reason or 
inquiry would make her life a burden to herself, 
and lose her the friendship of all. those whose 
opinion she might value. 

I told her that Mrs. Brabazon was, as she must 



106 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

now have seen for herself, sufficiently old to make 
the idea of our being in love with each other 
ludicrous. I had met her at the boarding-house in 
Bayswater, of which she had heard me speak, and 
which was a cheap, humdrum, respectable place, 
with a curate and a Scotch spinster among its 
leading pensionaires. Our acquaintance thus com- 
menced, had improved. More than that I had 
nothing to tell. If any man said a word against 
Mrs. Brabazon, I should know how to act. As for 
what women might say or think I cared very little. 

I was sorry she wanted her letters back, but I 
supposed I must send them, else she might perhaps 
accuse me of showing them about. She should 
receive them by hand that evening. 

Then I stopped to consider whether there was 
anything else disagreeable that I could conve- 
niently add, and coming to the conclusion that 
there was not, went round to the address in Princes 
Gate from which she had written, and left the letter 
with my card in person. 

Then I made my way back to my chambers, 
hunted up all her letters to me, arranged them 
neatly in chronological order, docketed them 
savagely with their dates, tied them up with most 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 107 

uncompromising red tape, sealed them up in a linen 
envelope, and sent them down to Princes Grate by a 
trustworthy commissionaire. 

After all this I turned into the Strand, and down 
a little court on the south side, where there is a 
Eoman well of icy-cold water perpetually spurting 
up from the ground into a small stone bath. Into 
this I plunged, and came out feeling considerably 
fresher and better. After a bath a small cup of 
black coffee is, as we all know, recommended by 
the faculty. The bath and the coffee over I walked 
briskly down to Charing Cross. 

Susan was in and radiant. She was going to 
start for Ireland the next day. Meantime, she 
wanted another quiet evening. She had had quite 
enough of theatres, but I might, if I liked, take her 
out to dinner. 

So we dined at a hotel in Jermyn Street, which 
used to be then, and I believe still is, notorious for 
the skill of its chef, and then made our way back to 
Charing Cross, where we sat talking over one thing 
and another until one in the morning. 

The next day, or, to be more exact, that day, I 
saw her off from Euston, and then with a light 
heart found myself in London my own master, free 



103 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

from trouble, but suffering from loneliness. There 
are times when, as compared with London, most of 
us must have felt that the Sahara, or Tadmor, or a 
Yucatan forest seem cheerful, lively, bustling 
places. 

Then I betook myself to my club, where, after a 
cutlet and a pint of claret, I withdrew to the 
smoking-room with a view of thinking things 
over. 

Thinking things over, even in the most comfort- 
able of chairs, usually leaves things pretty much 
where they were when you began. Your life is 
before you like a great diorama, or a view from a 
mountain top, but you gain very little additional 
knowledge. All I arrived at in the way of a con- 
clusion was that, for the present, I might just as 
well let things take their course. This sage resolve 
made, and the night being still young, I walked off 
to Eegent Street, where I had the satisfaction of 
convincing a young and promising marker that he 
still had a good deal to learn. And I then made 
my way back to my chambers, and read myself to 
sleep with a novel. There is all the difference in 
the world between an idle day and a vicious day, 
although it suits a certain class of parsons, and a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 109 

certain stamp of steady men of business to affect to 
confound the two. There are worse pleasures in the 
world than sitting on a five-barred gate, listening to 
the lark and thinking of nothing. Of course 
bishops and Lord Chancellors and city men never 
sit on a gate and listen to the lark. So much the 
worse for them ; that it all. 



A few days later Susan took town on her way back 
to Nice. She gave up to me the best part of a day, 
and we enjoyed ourselves quietly and pleasantly 
after our usual manner. 

Her own portion of the amusement consisted to a 
great extent in giving me good advice. I was 
to keep out of debt ; I was to stick to the Bar, and 
avoid wasting the day of little beginnings. I had 
better have my name up at good chambers in the 
Temple, and have a room in some riverside street 
off the Thames, or, better still, in Mayfair. I was 
to avoid gambling, and as soon as I could afford it, 
to keep a horse — a horse of his own being, in her 
opinion, as necessary to a young man in town, if he 
can afford it, as is even his club. 

I listened very patiently to all this, interspersing 



110 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

it with comments of my own, and we parted the 
best of friends. 

" You shall hear from me," she said, " regularly 
once a week, and you must write back once a week. 
You were always a dear good boy, and you amuse 
me immensely. In the good old days of the good 
old East India Company you would have carved 
your way out pretty well with your sword. But 
there's right stuff in you, Jack, if you don't let it 
rust. And now you must go for the night. I 
have things to do and people to see. I leave by 
the tidal to-morrow, and you may come to the 
hotel, if you like, three-quarters of an hour before it 
starts." 

I went to the hotel at the time appointed, saw 
her get into the train, and then quietly followed 
her in, insisting that I had nothing else to do for 
the day ; that I pass the afternoon at Folkestone, 
and that the smell of sea air would do me good. 

Susan demurred a little at my disobedience, but I 
think that, upon the whole, she took the compli- 
ment as a practical one and was pleased by it. 
What we had to say to one another my readers 
can pretty well guess. We were neither of us in 
the love-making stage or the love-making mood, 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. . Ill 

and if our compartment had contained four other 
passengers, their presence would in no way have 
disconcerted or annoyed us. 

I saw her safely on board, waited till the very last 
stroke of the bell, and then stood on the quay and 
watched until the vessel faded away into a streak of 
smoke, and the streak of smoke itself into the haze 
of the horizon. 

I returned to London by the afternoon train and 
got to my chambers. Next day I did a good day's 
work. Business was beginning to grow upon me, 
and it was business, too, of a good kind — mercantile 
work from large city firms, where there are thou- 
sands of pounds involved on each side, and a few 
hundreds of guineas, more or less, for counsel is 
but a mere trifle in the bill of costs. 

I had a naturally clear head, and I took a keen 
interest in the topography and natural history of 
that debatable belt of ground which lies between 
the custom of merchants and the law of the land. 
And now there began to appear upon my shelves 
the United States law reports as well as those of my 
own country, and if my friends had wanted to see 
my name in the papers, they would have had to 
look to the reports of what were then called the 



112 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

sittings at Guildhall, and to those of the Admiralty 
and the Wreck Commissioners' Court. Work of 
this kind is very lucrative. I had, before long, to 
consult my bankers as to how I should invest my 
savings. I took lodgings in Mayfair as Susan had 
suggested, and at six o'clock in the evening, during 
each day in term, a groom used to make his 
appearance with my horse under the windows of my 
chambers. 

I could have dined out if I had so pleased every 
evening, but I used to plead business as an excuse 
as often as I could, and got the reputation of being 
a more or less obstinate bachelor. 

Of any vice, unless playing billiards for the love 
of the thing be a vice, I was utterly ignorant. I 
was never seen in questionable company, or at 
questionable places of resort. Fast clubs — the 
Monaco, Ihe Ecarte Club, and the Peacock were 
unknown to me ; and if a private detective had 
been told off by any anxious mother to watch my 
movements, he would, I am sure, have reported 
that I was a most quiet and well-conducted young 
man. 

I had all this time received no answer to my letter 
from Izzie, although I heard of her from my sisters 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 113 

and occasionally from people in the neighbourhood. 
Sometimes her silence distressed me ; at others it 
simply made me angry. But, exactly as muscles 
will wither from disuse, I began to find myself 
growing indifferent towards her, if not indeed 
positively a little resentful. In a very few years, 
if things went on as they were g&mg, I should be 
a Queen's Counsel. I had already made up my 
mind to endeavour to secure a seat in Parliament at 
the next general election. 

Meantime I regarded home and everything con- 
nected with it, with a daily increasing apathy. If 
I had met my father in Pall Mall I should most 
probably have nodded to him. If I had met him 
out at dinner I should have shaken hands and asked 
him how he was. But there is no greater mistake 
in the world than to fancy yourself master of 
destiny because you happen for the moment to be 
master of the situation. Were I given to sticking 
up texts over my portals, the one I should select 
would be, I think, " Time and I against any two." 
Only, take the old father respectfully but firmly by 
his forelock, else he will shamble by you and you 
will find yourself idle in the market-place. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Long Vacation came at last, after six months of 
more than usually hard work, compensated for by 
more than unusually heavy fees. 

My lodging in Chapel Street, Park Lane, had 
their shutters put up, and the upholsterer's man 
solemnly wrapped my books and pictures in brown 
holland. My horses had their shoes taken off, and 
were turned out to grass, and my groom con- 
descended to transmute himself for the nonce into 
a travelling factotum. 

I began with some idea of visiting either Venice 
or the ruined cities of Zuyder Zee ; but I abandoned 
each idea. Barristers in practice take their pleasure 
very mechanically. They object to long journeys 
and hotels, crowded with a surging ebb and How of 
tourists of all kinds from the roturier of St. 
Swithin's Lane, down to the suburban grocer, intent 
upon his honeymoon. 

So I ran down to one of the quaintest little 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 115 

places that I know in England — Dawlish, which is 
too near Torquay to become a suburb of that 
immense city of villas, as Paignton has, and which 
still remains little more than an overgrown village, 
with its trout stream babbling down its centre to 
the sea, and its lodging-houses on either bank, and 
behind it running away up the chine into the hills, 
the hanging woods of Luscombe. Dawlish had 
begun to boast of a hotel, and after ingratiating 
myself with the landlord, I took his best sitting- 
room and a couple of bedrooms, telling him that I 
might want the second for a friend. And the day 
being now drawing towards its close, I took a brisk 
stroll along the sea-wall to what is called the 
Warren. 

Dawlish is as dull and primitive a place as you 
need come across in a fortnight's tour. Luckily I 
had brought down some novels and a box of my 
own cigars. Besides, if I did not like the place, I 
had only to leave it. " It is a funny thing," I said 
to myself, as I turned into bed that night, " you 
declare very valiantly that, if you do not like a 
place, you have only to leave it. You go down to 
it. You find it a more beastly place than even the 
worst reports of its enemies had led you to expect. 



116 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



There is nothing to be done. There is not even 
shooting or fishing; and yet you find yourself 
stopping on and loafing about with your hands in 
your pockets, and chatting to the boatmen, and 
vowing every day that you will go to-morrow. 
Now, I shouldn't be at all surprised if you were to 
find yourself doing nothing here for a fortnight at 
least. Well, perhaps a fortnight on the mud will 
do you no harm. And if you want excitement, 
Torquay and Paignton are handy." 

Next morning I wrote to Mrs. Brabazon, whose 
address I happened to know, telling her where I 
was, and asking her to come down and prevent 
suicide from melancholia, which would certainly be 
my fate if she did not intervene, as now that I had 
got to the place, I felt far too lazy, apathetic and 
nerveless to leave it. 

The letter was hardly any exaggeration. South 
Devon is the most enervating climate in England, 
or, for the matter of that, in the whole of her 
Majesty's dominions. Nor do things mend until 
you approach the limits of Cornwall. The women 
are old and haggard at thirty, and grey and 
wrinkled at thirty-five, while the men by forty 
are eaten up with rheumatic gout, and its kindred 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 117 

ailments. A week of it is, or thought to be, 
enough for any man. So I was thinking to myself, 
when the chambermaid brought me my early cup 
of coffee and my letters. 

I despatched all of them before I came to Mrs. 
Brabazon's. Hers was short, womanly and friendly. 
She had heard of Dawlish, she told me, and had 
known people who had been there once. She 
had never even heard of anyone who had had the 
hardihood to venture there a second time. No 
doubt I found it dull, but she would come down 
with pleasure. I might expect her at any hour, 
and had better make preparations for her speedy 
advent. 

She dated from London, and only two trains from 
London reached Dawlish in the course of the day, 
so I killed time by wandering towards the Warren 
in quest of sandpiper until the indicated hour for 
the arrival of the first train, and met it in looking, as 
I flattered myself, fresh and bronzed and wholesome 
as a young Englishman should. 

Mrs. Brabazon arrived by it, and after giving 
orders about her luggage, I took her up to the 
hotel and installed her in her quarters. Then we 
taxed the resources of the towu, and discovered a 



118 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

pony-basket, with a decent Exmoor pony, and so 
made our way up to Luscombe. 

Luscombe was in all its beauty, and I know few 
country seats more lovely. I certainly would sooner 
own it than either Powderham or Chudleigh. It is 
a place that would gladden the heart of a Stanfield 
or a Grainsborough — distinctly English scenery ; as 
English as Normandy itself, which is saying a good 
deal. 

Then we returned to the inn, and had one of our 
old happy tete-a-tete dinners, after which she, as 
usual, took the sofa, while I wheeled an arm-chair 
up by her feet, and stretched myself out in placid 
enjoyment of a cigar, with some black coffee. 

" And how are you getting on at the Bar ? " she 
asked. " Are you paying the rent of your chambers 
and your evening steak and mashed potatoes at the 
< Cock ' ? " 

" I have nothing to grumble at," I laughed. " I 
have chambers in the Temple on the first floor, 
with imposing Turkey carpet, oak furniture, and 
properly bound law reports, from the earliest days 
down to the latest monthly number. My clerk is 
prosperous, and has a villa of his own somewhere 
up at Stoke Newington. My own chambers are in 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 119 

Chapel Street, and I ride up to the Temple every 
morning. That will let you know how the Bar has 
used me. It is a most gambling profession. You 
may stick at it for years and never pay your 
laundress, or you may get into the right groove m 
a manner simply miraculous. As often as not the 
cleverest men are left in the ditch, while men with 
not a tithe of their wits or of their solid knowledge, 
sail away over the country with both hands down. 
You never can tell ; I will defy anybody to do so." 

She laughed at this, but I could see that her 
mind was a little uneasy, and she arranged her pose 
very skilfully. 

" And how about your love affairs ? I suppose you 
have had any number." 

" A barrister in full work has no time for love- 
making. It is as much as he can do to dine out 
once or twice a week. If he is to do any justice to 
his work, he must keep his head clear by going to 
bed at twelve, or even eleven if he can manage it. 
That is why barristers so often marry their cooks or 
their laundresses. They say, as they look in the 
glass and see the crow's feet and the bald temples, 
'By Jove! It's getting time I married. Whom 
shall I marry ? Why not Mrs. Jackson ? She 



120 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



knows my ways, and she won't give herself airs.' 
It's certainly not romantic — quite the reverse ; but 
then you know it has been profoundly observed 
that the perfection of sound English common law is 
nothing more nor less than the perfection of sound 
English common sense." 

" And have you informed your laundress of your 
intention ? " 

" No, I have not. She is a married woman with 
one eye, sis children — whom she supports — and a 
drunken husband, whom she occasionally thrashes. 
You might, as Sydney Smith said, read the Riot 
Act to her and disperse her, or call out the military 
to ride her down, or send her out to people a colony, 
but the idea of any one man marrying her as she 
now stands is simply ridiculous. It is out of the 
question." 

" Then your heart is whole " 

" Absolutely whole," I replied, " and as hard as a 
bullock's hide, or the nether millstone itself. My 
love days are over. I look back on them with much 
the same curiosity as I do on the old days of marbles, 
jam tarts, and green apples." 

" Then, I suppose, you will marry for money? " 

" I make more money than I can spend. I have 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 121 

to ask my bankers what to do with it every now and 
again." 

" Then you will marry a judge's daughter, 
or the daughter of some peer with a large 
family." 

si Why on earth can you not believe me ? I 
have told you that I prefer my freedom, and that I 
mean to keep it. Why, if I were to marry I should 
have to be solemnly reconciled to my family. And 
what a fearful purgatory in life that would involve. 
My father has tried drawing bills on me as it is, 
but I have refused to pay them, and have left him 
to take the consequences, which, I fancy, were un- 
pleasant." 

" You might surely make a marriage that would 
involve none of these terrible consequences. You 
could find a woman who would sympathise with 
you, look up to you, obey you, and be an ornament 
to your house." 

" I do not know where such a woman is to be 
found. And I have no house, and so do uot want 
my house adorned. I prefer my liberty to every- 
thing else in the world, and it is my inflexible de- 
termination to keep it." 

" That sounds worse than hard-hearted. It sounds 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



positively selfish ; and selfishness is hateful in the 
young." 

" Perhaps it is. My youth, as you call it, -will 
care itself. My selfishness, I am afraid, will grow 
worse. It is, you know, the besetting sin that grows 
upon one with old age." 

" I shall argue with you no longer," she pouted 
petulantly. 

" It would really be waste of time," I replied, 
"and now that we are together again, we can put 
our time to much better and brighter purpose." 

" Very well, Jack," she said, " I suppose you must 
have your own way," and in a minute or two we 
were chatting about all manner of things as if no- 
thing whatever had passed. 

It was a glorious moonlight, and we took a turn 
on the Parade by the side of the railway, before 
bringing the day to a close. 

" Grood-night," I said, as I shook hands with her 
in the little hall. " We will breakfast at nine to- 
morrow, if it suits you, and I will come back to you 
fresh from the sea and fragrant of ozone." 

" Grood-night," she said, " and pleasant dreams." 
And so, under the very eyes of the gaunt and bitter 
chambermaid, we parted with an affectionate kiss. 



JACK AND THfiEE JILLS. 123 

" Thank heaven ! " said I, as I blew out my 
candle and dived into bed. " Thank heaven that 
that business is over for good and all ! But it was 
a fair crunch while it lasted." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Three days later we left Dawlish. I took Mrs. 
Brabazon up to London, and deposited her in safety 
at the Charing Cross Hotel, en route for the Con- 
tinent. And we dined together again — this time 
at a noted Italian restaurant, where they keep 
Chianti, and as near an approach to Lacrymse 
Christi, as a man who dines in a public room has 
any right to expect for his money. 

Then we spent the evening together by a large 
open window, looking down in all the roar and 
turmoil of London. We had nothing much about 
which to talk, being perfectly en accord, so that we 
were most delightfully lazy. I remember, amongst 
other things, that we played first at Bob-Cherry, 
and then at Fly-Loo. The former pastime has the 



124 JACK AND THR^E JILLS. 



merit of contorting your features and making you 
ridiculous. You must take a fine cherry by the 
stalk between your teeth, bend your head down 
fairly over your plate, and try to pull up the cherry 
into your mouth by the aid of your teeth and your 
tongue. The feat is far more difficult than might 
be supposed. 

Fly-Loo is much simpler, requiring nothing on 
your own part but entire immobility. You select a 
lump of sugar, and place it in the centre of your 
plate. Your friend at the other side of the table 
does the same ; or you may make a round game of 
it with as many players as you like. The pool is 
formed, and is swept by the man upon whose sugar 
the first fly settles. As there is no banker the 
stakes are limited, and you need not ruin yourself 
at Fly-Loo unless you try very hard indeed to 
do so. 

When we had finished our Bob-Cherry and our 
Loo, I bid her a most genuinely affectionate good- 
night. Then I went round to my club and hurried 
off some necessary business letters. After that, I 
slept the sleep of the just, and next morning was 
rattling along the road to Scotland as fast as a 
eouple of enormous engines, yoked tandem-fashion, 



JACK AN# THREE JILLS. 125 



could drag the long train of heavily-loaded car- 
riages. 

I had secured a window seat in a smoking com- 
partment. I had every travelling luxury from- the 
morning papers to a luncheon case. This being so 
I could afford to disregard my companions. 

It is a bad habit to make acquaintances in a 
railway train. Nine travellers out of every ten are 
distinct bores, and the tenth is as often as not 
something very much worse than a bore, no matter 
in what style he may be making his journey. 

Georges Lachaud, son of that veteran advocate, 
Maitre Lachaud, is a most amusing writer, and 
when I was not looking out of the window I was 
laughing at his pages. So the time slipped away, 
until with infinite click and rattle of points and 
leyers and grinding of wheels, and blowing of the 
whistle, we rolled into Edinburgh, a city the 
hotels of which are as good as those of any 
other in the United Kingdom — if not indeed 
better. 

Next morning I continued my journey in the 
direction of Killiecrankie, until I reached the 
shooting-box which my friends had taken. We 
were as compact a bachelor party as need be — about 



123 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

eight of us, all told, with any amount of stores and 
any number of gillies, and the water, as I was told, 
and soon found to be the fact, was positively alive 
with fish. Next morning we sallied out early, and 
by the time we were disposed to return to the 
bothie I had landed four very creditable fish to my 
own rod, the largest, which was twenty-five pounds 
in weight, giving me very fair exercise for more 
than half-an-hour. 

What an appetite- the tramp over the boulders by 
the riverside gives you ! How your legs ache after 
it when you return for your scrub and evening 
toilette. How your arms ache after wielding the 
immense double-handed rod. Was it not Sir Hum- 
phry Davy who said that there is no medium in 
anything, and that for his part gudgeon fishing 
from a punt on the Thames, and casting for salmon 
in a Scotch river, were the only two forms of sport 
for which he cared ? If so, he was more frank over 
his discovery than he was over one which he 
undoubtedly made, and which has undoubtedly 
perished with him — I mean, of course, the artificial 
manufacture of the diamond. 

At that time the scientific world had not taught 
us that ozone is one thing and oxygen another ; 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 127 



and that ozone is to existence what champagne is 
to society — the one and only source of brilliancy 
and sparkle. But I had all the benefit of the 
ozone without knowing it, and soon began to feel a 
different man. 

" The first requisite for success at the Bar," said 
a very eminent judge, " is high animal spirits ; and 
the second is high animal spirits ; and the third is 
high animal spirits ; and if to these a young man 
adds a little knowledge of law, it will not materially 
hamper him in his career." 

What is true of the Bar is true of the business of 
life, and I left the land of scones and salmon, cut- 
lets and haggis, and Athole brose, feeling five 
hundred per cent, better, as a city man would say, 
than when I started for it. But there must be an end 
of all things, and it became time for me, with the 
end of August, to move south, as I had an invita- 
tion which it was for many reasons for my interest 
to accept, to spend the first of September, and as 
many days after as I might please, at the house of 
Lord Wessex, in Norfolk. 

Thither I went, armed with the latest novelty in 
choke bores, with my muscles almost in the condition 
of those of a professional pedestrian, and with tbat 



123 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

happily balanced mind which comes of well-grounded 
self-content, 

Wessex Hall was full, but a room had been re- 
served for me, which, I noticed with a smile, 
marked me out as a commoner of distinct eminence, 
in his own walk of life. You can pretty well tell 
the estimate people form of you by the kind of 
room in which they put you to sleep. I was on the 
first floor, and not among the gables. I looked out 
upon the lawn, and had the house with all its 
contents been my own, I could not have desired 
better quarters. 

Ask any American what it is that his nation 
envies us most, and he will tell you at once that it 
is our country seats. Every New Yorker and 
Bostonian has his villeggiatura, but it is only in 
Virginia, as it was before the war, that you can find 
anything at all approaching to our English country 
house. 



CIIArTER XV. 

The guests of Lord Wessex were much what might 
have been expected. There were from twenty to 
thirty men, and about as many ladies. There were 
neighbouring peers and squires. There was the 
latest literary lion, and the latest explorer, who this 
time came from Paraguay. There was an amateur 
yachtsman and circumnavigator, a Eoyal Academi- 
cian, and a secretary from the American Legation, 
who, in addition to mixing cocktails and playing 
poker, was also a man of the stamp of Oliver 
Wendell Holmes — widely read, and himself an 
author of daily growing reputation. 

Bat among the company there happened also to 
be Mr. Vivian, and with him Izzie. Mr. Vivian 
positively made for me, and wearied me with his 
grotesque effusion. He supposed I should be Lord 
Chancellor in the very next change of ministry, in 
fact, he had offered the Lord Lieutenant fifty to ten 
upon it, but his lordship had sagaciously shaken 
his head and said nothing, which looked as if the 

9 



130 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

matter were a certainty. He was glad to see the 
law had not made me musty, nor turned my hair 
grey. He hated mustiness as he did dissent and 
the devil. In short, the old gentleman played the 
part of Squire Western to perfection. 

With her father was Izzie, who had certainly de- 
veloped, and in many respects improved, since I saw 
her last. She had now ripened into a woman, 
with that indescribable bloom upon her, like the 
bloom on a bunch of grapes, which American ladies 
so envy their English sisters, and which no cosmetics 
can simulate. 

"When we joined the ladies after dinner it was 
clearly my duty to single her out, and, if I may 
indulge in a confusion of metaphors worthy of the 
Irishman, who said of his own speech, that it 
kindled a flame which completely drowned the 
eloquence of his antagonist, I resolved to be bold, 
and to take the bull by the horns. 

"The last time I saw you, Miss Vivian, was, I 
think, at the Lyceum." 

She blushed as red as any peony, and answered, 
" Yes." 

" And I heard from you the next day." 

This time she bowed her head. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. l.'i 

" I hope,'' I said, with that vague assumption of 
interest usually employed for stopping gaps in 
conversation with trifles, " that you received the 
things I sent you safely ? " 

" Quite safely, thank you — all of them." 

"The lady you saw me with was Mrs. Brabazon, 
of whom, I think, I have told you before. She was 
very kind to me, as kind as a mother could be, and 
when I was in immense difficulty — money difficulty 
—found it out and literally rescued me from ruin. 
I owe her everything in life — much more than my 
gratitude will ever be able to repay. But for her, 
my career would have been an utter failure. 

" She was very beautiful, certainly," Izzie 
answered firmly ; " but, Mr. Severn, I did not like 
what I saw, and I think I told you so in my 
letter." 

'•You did, with the most effective simplicity. 
It is some sort of pleasure to me now to be able 
to assure you that you were under a mis- 
apprehension.*' 

" There was only one conclusion to come to that 
I could see," she answered defiantly, ;i and you 
ought not to blame me for having arrived at it. 
And where is Mrs. Brabazon now ? " 

9* 



132 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

" That is more than I can tell you. Her solicitors 
always know her address, and if I wanted to write 
to her, I should do so through them. She hovers 
about from place to place. I know that she is now 
abroad; but whether it is at St. Petersburg or 
Saratoga, at Vienna or Honolulu, I cannot tell you. 
I have heard nothing of her for some little time." 

" I suppose you are great friends." 

"That is hardly the word. She is one of the 
best of women in the world, and the simplest ; and 
it is a privilege for a man to be allowed to know 
her." 

" When," said an old sergeant-instructor to his 
recruits at bayonet drill, "you have driven your 
weapon well in, give it a twist and a wriggle, and 
pull it out with a wrench to make the wound in- 
curable." 

These were exactly the tactics that I was pursu- 
ing, and it was pretty clear that they were producing 
the calculated effect. 

After faltering for a few minutes, she said, very 
softly and quietly, — 

" I think, Mr. Severn, you might have told me all 
this at the time." 

" I should certainly have done so, if you had 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 133 

given me the chance, but you see you executed me 
first, passed sentence afterwards, and then, I sup- 
pose, proceeded to try the case in your own way. 
I know that is the method usually adopted with 
poachers by county squires, but I did not expect 
that their daughters adopted it in the most im- 
portant matters of life." 

" You are mocking me, Mr. Severn." 

"I assure you most frankly that I am doing 
nothing of the kind. I am simply giving my own 
version of what has taken place. I have a clear 
ight to do so, and it is a right I shall always 
exercise, both in this matter and in others, when I 
feel that there is any occasion for it." 

" Then," she said, " Mr. Severn, I think we had 
better say no more about the matter." 

" That is as you please," I retorted. 

She made the slightest possible inclination of her 
head and joined a group of ladies at the other end 
of the room. I, looking round, perceived a knot of 
men, principally of a sporting turn, engaged in 
active conversation. I strolled up to them and 
found, of course, that they were discussing par- 
tridges, poachers, battue shooting, Irish setters, and 
the advantages and disadvantages of driving. 



\M JAOK AND THREE JILLS. 

I did not care much about any of these things, 
being, although the son of a county squire, more or 
less a Gallio as to sporting discussions, in which no 
man ever convinces another, and hot argument often 
ljads to hot temper. Being, however, appealed to 
;.s to the heinousness of poaching, I replied that, 
under the present system of preserving and turning 
down, I could see practically no difference whatever 
between a pheasant and a barn-door fowl, and that I 
would punish the man who stole the one in precisely 
the same manner, and upon precisely the same 
principle, as I would punish the man who stole the 
other. 

This expression of opinion was not at all 
graciously received by one or two of the company, 
and the war of words broke out again with a vigour 
worthy of political controversy itself. 

It is a characteristic of lawyers that they hate 
to argue a point unless they are paid to do so, and 
that their dislike to argument increases in exact 
proportion to the depth of their convictions upon 
the matter, if they happen to have any. So I 
evaded discussion, and contented myself instead 
with a study of human nature. 

Later on the men adjourned to the smoking- 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 135 



room. The smoking-room at Wessex Hall was 
remarkably comfortable, and apt to tempt its 
occupants to late or rather to early hours. It was 
fitted very much like the smoking-room of a club, 
with leather arm-chairs, American rocking-chairs, 
marble-topped tables, and a sideboard, containing 
every requisite in the way of ice, claret, lemons, 
waters, both mineral and strong, a snuff box, and 
for those who might prefer such atrocities, a tobacco 
jar and clay pipes. Between a really good cigar, 
and a cool (< churchwarden," there is, in my humble 
opinion, no via media, and this evening, iu true 
Bohemian spirit, I selected a long clay, and mixed 
myself some whisky and water. 

Lord Wessex, our host, was at his best in the 
smoking-room, where his natural geniality overcame 
every ct'ier element in him, whether inherited or 
acquired. He crossed the room and sat down by 
me. 

" You must have thought me uncommonly rude, 
Mr Severn, or uncommonly neglectful, but the 
house is so full that I hardly know where I am. 
I'm delighted to have so good and keen a sportsman 
as yourself amongst us. The country is dull, no 
doubt, but I daresay you'll find it a change from 



136 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

London. Change of air does us all good. I know 
for myself, who am always stuck in the country, 
that a week in London seems to make a new man 
of me — shakes out the dust, I suppose, just as 
Londoners coming down here to us shakes out the 
soot and smoke." 

To this cheery broadside I made the most 
friendly responses, and I think fairly won my host's 
heart by complimenting him upon a short-horned 
bull I had noticed, which, as it turned out, was a 
very celebrated prize winner, and had lately obtained 
a gold medal at the county show. 

He then kindly referred to a private bill, in 
which he had been personally interested to a very 
considerable extent, and in the navigation of which 
through committee I had rendered its promoters no 
little assistance — assistance handsomely recognised 
but not the less valuable. 

It was through this bill, in fact, that I first made 
Lord Wessex's acquaintance. He was a genial old 
gentleman, who looked sixty, but may have been 
older, with a ruddy, clean-shaved face, crisp curling 
locks, almost white ; cheerful, hazel eye, and a clear, 
ringing voice, — a typical English landed proprietor, 
wi-h all the good qualities of his class, and, 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 137 



for all I know or care, all their prejudices as 
well. 

" But I must introduce you to Lord Ashford," he 
said. " I don't think he's much of a lawyar, but 
he's a brother barrister all the same. He got called 
to the Bar because he said a county magistrate 
ought at least to know as much law as the clerk of 
the peace. He has travelled up the Nile and shot 
giraffe and hippopotamus, and is as modest about it 
all as possible. He brought back several waggon- 
loads of horns and hides ; but when they told him 
he ought to write a book about his travels he 
laughed, and said that, if he told the truth, nobody 
would believe him, and that he really could not 
take the trouble to tell anything else." 

Lord Ashford impressed me very favourably. He 
was a typical Kentish giant, with an indolent 
manner, which I do not think was assumed, and 
beneath which evidently lay a considerable amount 
of determination and courage. I asked him, of 
course, how he liked partridges and pheasant after 
big game. 

" Very much indeed," he replied. " Who was it 
— somebody that ought to know — who said that 
partridge shooting will remain our national sport 



138 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

long after every other form of sport, except perhaps 
angling, has died out. I've shot peacock and 
ostrich — both good birds in their way — but I still 
think that a chance kill right and left in a heavy 
turnip field is as good sport as any going." 

Although no traveller, I still am, and then was, 
an enthusiastic reader of books of travel, which, in 
my opinion, are worth all the novels in the world, 
so that I was fairly able to keep up the conversa- 
tion with him. But before long it veered round to 
other subjects, and ultimately we all began to 
gather into knots, previous to the final adjournment 
for the night. 

'■' I can offer you no sport myself," I said, with 
a laugh. " There are sparrows near my chambers 
in the Temple, and I believe my office-boy practises 
at them with a blow-pipe, for I have detected him 
cooking them in a Dutch oven before the fire. We 
unhappy lawyers have little time for sport of any 
kind ; and it is many years since you could catch 
roach and dace among the reeds at the bottom of the 
Temple Gardens. But I look forward to big game 
as just the possibility of the future, should I be 
able to give up work before my eyes dim, or 
my natural force abates." And with this Lord 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 139 



Ashford and I shook hands and parted for the 
night. 

I threw my bedroom window wide open, and sat 
at it for some time, looking out on the moonlit 
lawn with its trim beds and its lawn-tennis ground 
and the tall elms at its foot. After all, what was 
my life to be like? It had been a success, no 
doubt ; but what was it to be for me ? For success 
in life by no means always secures happiness for 
the man who achieves it, any more than does 
wealth, which can purchase everything that is ex- 
changeable, enable you to purchase health, or to do 
many things you wish to do, and which are hope- 
lessly beyond your reach. Would it not be better, 
after all, to work for just a few years longer until I 
had " rounded off my little pile," and then retire 
with no definite object beyond that of enjoying my- 
self in my own way ? There would be the whole 
world before me, and I could roam in it like 
Browning's Waring — coming and going as I pleased; 
or should I hold on for the moral certainty and dull 
semi-drudgery of a judgeship, and apparel myself 
in imposing robes to decide knotty points of " stop- 
page in transitu," " bottomry bonds," " general 
average," and " contributory negligence " ? 



140 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

And as I pondered drowsily over these things a 
little bat flitted in at the open window, and hovered 
noiselessly about the room till it settled on the 
window curtains, where it hung itself up by its legs 
with its head downwards. " I wonder," said I to 
myself, " if the tiny creature is a familiar spirit 
bringing me good luck. Anyhow, it shall not be 
left to the tender mercies of the housemaid." So I 
captured it gently in the bottom of my hand, and 
turned it out again into the night. And then, my- 
self, turned in with a dreamy kind of notion that I 
was not, after all, fairly justified in grumbling at 
the manner in which fortune up to now had treated 
me. 

The man who expects nothing in this world is 
the happiest of all, for the very sufficient reason 
that he is never disappointed. I had never expected 
much myself. My good fortune, such as it was, had, 
as it were, grown. It would have been an affecta- 
tion to pretend that it was entirely undeserved ; 
but it would be untrue to say that I had won it by 
any extraordinary course of merit or self-denial. 

There is far more luck in this world than people 
imagine, and I had certainly had even more than 
my fair share of it. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. Ml 

Then I found myself falling asleep. The hoot of 
an owl — a bird with regard to which I entertain no 
superstitions or prejudices — roused me again for a 
moment, and I began to lay a plan for my next 
Long Vacation. I would secure Mrs. Brabazon, and 
charter a small steam yacht, and we would go 
cruising about the north-west coast of Scotland, 
shooting and fishing, and generally doing nothing, 
and with no definite plan. 

The dolce far niente, when it has in it no taint- 
ing element of physical idleness, is distinctly the 
most delightful of all forms of human enjoyment. 
I have no patience with the men who go to Monte 
Carlo that they may sit all day under the palm trees 
in the marble terraces, and play all the evening at 
the tables. But healthy wholesome idleness, such 
as that of the yachtsman or the explorer, is the 
nearest approach to that ideal of happiness which 
the Greek philosophers were always trying to ac- 
curately define, but could never present to us in an 
intelligible form. 

The sun woke me in the morning streaming in at 
the window. I dressed myself, was out of the house 
before the shutters were open, and had a magnificent 
plunge in the neighbouring mill-pool. After which 



142 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

I repaired to the village hostel, the " Wessex Arms," 
where I chatted awhile with the daughter of the 
house, and solaced myself with a tankard of ale 
before rejoining the family circle at the formal 
breakfast. 

Looking back now, I am perfectly conscious how 
much I owed at that time to my naturally fine 
physique, which I had never in any way abused, or 
even unduly strained. The man who can drink a 
pint of sound beer, and eat a good breakfast after 
it, can easily afford to give weight, and good weight 
too, in the race of life to his less fortunate com- 
petitors. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Breakfast over, the company dispersed in genuine 
country-house fashion. The men, of course, weie 
off to the turnips and the stubble, the women 
scattered anyhow. I, pleading my letters, was 
allowed to withdraw to the solitude of the billiard- 
room. I had sufficiently distinguished myself as a 
sportsman, and ingratiated myself by fair shooting 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 1-13 

and want of jealousy, to be able to believe that the 
regrets expressed at my absence from the party were 
actually sincere. 

In the solitude of the billiard- room I began to 
take stock of the situation. It was very foolish of 
me ; I admitted as much to myself, but I was un- 
doubtedly in love with Izzie again. I knew this 
time, or at all events I believed, that I could 
reckon upon at least the benevolent neutrality of 
her father; and as regarded that best and truest 
of friends, Mrs. Brabazon, I had long since agreed 
with her original view of our relations, and was 
satisfied that our position had better remain that of 
sworn allies, offensive and defensive. 

Izzie was undoubtedly now at her best ; not at 
the prime of her beauty but in the full, rich spring 
of it. The pear was ready to drop into my hand 
if I only tapped the bough. Besides there was a 
distinct impulse of chivalry in the matter which I 
should have been a cur indeed if I had not felt, for 
Izzie herself had been willing to take me as I stood 
when I had neither position, money, nor friends, 
and it was almost a point of honour to appeal to 
her again now that everything was secured. And 
my future, full of hope as it was, I could 



144 JACK AND TIIKEE JILLS. 

practically afford to regard with philosophical 
indifference. 

The Lyceum difficulty was by no means insuper- 
able. Evidently with a little tact it could be 
engineered, and, as I turned all these considerations 
over, I came to the conclusion that I would again 
apply for Izzie's hand, but, in proper strategical 
fashion and orthodox, have an interview with her 
father first. 

So I decided to catch the old squire before break- 
fast the next morning, and with this virtuous 
resolution full upon me I got through some work, 
despatched my batch of letters, and then placidly 
waited for the dinner-bell. 

I really forget whom it fell to my lot to take 
down to dinner, but I know it was not Izzie, who 
descended under the escort of Lord Ashford. She 
was evidently on the best of terms with him, and 
they were conversing through the whole of dinner, 
much after the fashion of a couple of love-birds. 
It was very wrong of me, of course, to feel malice 
towards Ashforcl, who had done me no harm and 
was quite innocent of any intention of doing so. 
But I could hardly resist an uncharitable and 
malicious desire to pick a quarrel with him and a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 145 

vague yearning, worthy only of a school-boy, to 
invite him to take off his coat and have it 
out. 

I am perfectly aware that all these confessions 
tell very seriously against myself, but as I have 
before now observed, it is the very first duty of a 
historian, and much more of an autobiographer, to 
be strictly truthful. 

Next morning I managed to secure my chance, 
and instead of seeing Mr. Vivian, found Izzie prac- 
tically alone. I say alone, for she had only one 
companion, a lady of years of discretion, who had 
the good sense to invent some hopelessly unanswer- 
able excuse and to retire. The coast thus clear, for 
a while at any rate, I opened fire at once : — 

" Lord Ashford, Miss Vivian, seems at present the 
favoured recipient of those smiles and confidences 
which I once used to consider my own, and that too 
upon your own authority, which I presume is the 
very best." 

She flushed red with anger. 

" Lord Ashford," she retorted bitterly, " is more 
than a nobleman, Mr. Severn, he is a gentleman, 
and has never done anything to disgrace himself, or 
to forfeit the good opinion of any body." 

10 



H6 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

" Very possibly. I do not dispute it for a moment. 
I am not aware that I have ever done so myself." 

" And I am not aware, Mr. Severn, how you can 
be sufficiently mean to pursue this cowardly system 
of persecution. I wish I had a brother, or any 
friend" — she laid an emphasis on this word, — 
" whom I could trust to take my part, or to call you 
to account, as you most richly deserve." 

"I am wholly unaware that I have done or said 
anything unworthy of a gentleman." 

" Then your success, as I suppose I must call it, 
at the Bar must have turned your head, or you 
must have altered strangely under the influences of 
new friends and companions." 

" I think if you would only listen to me patiently 
for a few minutes — " 

" I could not listen patiently to you for a minute," 
she interrupted, with a gleam of angry light in her 
eyes, and a fierce stamp of her little foot upon the 
gravel. " I know all about you that you can tell 
me, and more than you would tell me. I have been 
careful to believe nothing that has not been suffi- 
ciently proved. Ask your own conscience, if you 
have any shreds of it left, and, if you have any 
sense of decency remaining, leave off persecuting 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 147 

me in this wicked way. You make my life un- 
bearable." 

The monstrous injustice of all this fairly amazed 
me. I was, as I know, perfectly innocent of any 
persecution such as that laid to my charge, either 
in word, act, or even thought, but what on earth 
was I to say ? or, if I said anything, of what possible 
avail would it be ? I could only repeat very quietly, 
" I think at least you might listen to me for a 
minute or two." 

" And I have told you once for all, that I decline 
to listen to you at all. Can you not take an 
answer ? What a coward you are ! " 

" Miss Vivian, no man has ever yet dared to call 
me a coward." 

" Possibly no man ever thought it worth his 
while. You are too utterly contemptible. Can you 
not believe me, when I tell you again that I despise 
you altogether — that the very sight of you is hateful 
to me ? I am going. If you attempt to follow me, 
I shall appeal to the first man I see for help." And 
with these words she almost sprang to her feet, and 
walked rapidly away, availing herself of the very 
first turning in her path that hid her from my sight. 

To have followed her would have been worse than 

10* 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



foolish, so I thrust my hands deeply into my pocket, 
and walked slowly back towards the house, not so 
much thinking over the position which I could 
scarcely grasp, as marvelling at it, and at the 
extraordinary, and if the phrase be permissible, 
dogged, perversity of the female mind. I remember 
it occurring to me that an American would almost 
certainly have described Miss Vivian's conduct as 
amounting to " downright cussedness," and laugh- 
ing at the idea. But the laugh was more or less 
a forced one, and I was not sorry to find myself in 
the solitude of my own room, where the open 
window admitted the fresh, cool breeze, and the 
murmur, as Tennyson has it, of tremulous aspen 
trees, and poplars, with their noise of falling 
showers. 

" I will think of nothing," I said to myself, " or 
I shall go wild." So I took down a stray volume 
from the shelves — I think it was Nicholas Nickleby — 
and made a gallant effort at reading. The attempt 
proved fairly successful. It was early in the morn- 
ing, but I felt strangely tired and wearied. After a 
little bit the lines of print began to get confused, 
and I gave up the effort to follow them. Then I 
took to studying the pattern of the wall paper, and 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 149 



converting it into geometrical figures and combina- 
tions. This was a pleasant and dreamy work. After 
a little while, one particular piece of the pattern 
seemed to mesmerise me. I found myself staring 
at it vaguely, much like a mesmeric patient, staring 
at the zinc disc in the palm of his hand, and then 
I became happily conscious that I was falling asleep. 

The room was so delightfully cool, and the whole 
atmosphere and surroundings were so somnolent, 
that I slept dreamlessly on, until a servant came 
with my hot water in one hand, and on his other 
arm my neatly brushed and folded evening clothes. 
I woke with a start.. It was half-past six, and time 
to dress for dinner. I felt little inclination to join 
the party. But I could not see my way to even a 
colourable excuse, so I languidly arrayed myself, 
and after a final and most refreshing ablution with 
eau de Cologne and water, made my way to the 
drawing-room. 

The lady allotted to me was a sufficiently unin- 
teresting person, the wife of a neighbouring squire, 
with voluminous views of her own as to rosemary 
tea and its virtues, the wickedness and danger of 
Dissent, the froTard behaviour of the lower orders, 
and the vast amount of evil that had been done by 



150 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

educating the masses above their position. It was a 
trying ordeal, but I had to go through with it. I 
was never more thankful than when our hostess 
left, and the wine began to circulate, while the con- 
versation turned on politics and local matters. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

I woke next morning none the worse for Lord 
Wessex's claret, and tumbling out of bed made my 
way towards the window, which I threw wide open. 

I wonder why absurd people use the phrase 
" springing out of bed " ? In the first place no man 
can spring out of bed were he to try ever so. If 
you doubt my assertion, make the experiment. 
You will find it as effectual as an attempt to sit 
down in a basket, and then to lift yourself up, 
basket and all, by the two handles. 

It was a glorious September morning. The 
yellow and russet tints in the trees were only just 
beginning to show themselves. Nature was wide 
awake. The small birds were noisy in the trees. 
From a distant meadow I caught the strange 
grating note of the corncrake. On the lawn black- 
birds and thrushes were hopping about in busy 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 151 

quest of lazy worms that had been lying out on the 
grass all night, and had loitered too long before 
withdrawing to the security of their burrows. 

I still hold, and always shall, that the perfestion 
of rural life is to be found in an English country 
house, and for choice in the " sexes " and " folks " 
rather than in the shires, although Hampshire and 
Kent have no doubt claims of their own. 

After drinking in the glorious morning air I 
rang my bell, retreating again between the sheets, 
and in due course the appointed servant made his 
appearance with my boots, clothes, water for my 
bath, and letters, and a large tumbler of hot milk. 
The house prided itself upon its dairy, and it was 
one of the institutions of the establishment, that a 
pint or so of fresh milk should be brought first 
thing each morning to the chamber of each guest. 

I drank the milk and then I turned to the 
letters. With one exception, they were wholly 
unimportant. But the one letter in question so 
distinctly interested me, that, before I even com- 
menced my toilette, I read it through three or -four 
times as carefully as if it had been a case to 
advise, marked with a heavy fee, and an extra fee 
for expedition. 



152 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

The envelope contained two letters. The first 
and the shorter was from Izzie herself. 

" Mr Severn, — On consideration, I think it only 
right that I should send you this letter, which, as 
you see, is not anonymous. When you have read 
it, you may, if you choose, return it to me under 
cover to my father ; but please do not attempt to 
write to me, as I shall send back any letter of yours 
unread. 

" Isabella Vivian." 

I did not know the handwriting of the second 
letter, which was voluminous, so I looked at the 
signature, and thus gathered that it came from that 
most venomous of spinsters, Miss M'Lachlan. 

It was a long rigmarole about myself and Mrs. 
Brabazon, in which truth and falsehood were blended 
with such diabolical cunning, that even I, accus- 
tomed to the shiftiest of witnesses and the shadiest 
of tales, marvelled at the old hag's ingenuity. 

Her story was, that while I had been an inmate 
of the select establishment of Mrs Jessett, my con- 
duct, and that of Mrs Brabazon, had been so 
outrageous, flagrant, and shameless, that the worthy 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 



old dame had been compelled one evening to turn 
us both at a minute's notice out of the doors. 
Everybody in the house had known that I was in 
debt, and everybody knew also that Mrs. Brabazon 
had paid my debts and made me an allowance, and 
that, in fact, I had occupied the position of her 
amant de cceur. 

How the miserable liaison had ended, Miss 
M'Lachlan had not taken the trouble to inquire. 
She had no doubt it was still going on, as we had 
always seemed to glory in our infamy, and to be 
disposed to defy the opinion, not of decent people 
merely, but of the world at large. For her own 
part, she had been strictly brought up, and when 
she saw sin — she might say flagrant sin — she felt it 
a sacred duty not to spare the sinner. Her only 
prayer was, that these words of warning might not 
arrive too late, and that my soul through tribulation 
and penitence might yet perhaps be plucked as a 
brand from the burning. 

How the information had reached the vicious old 
woman, that Izzie and I might possibly renew our 
early vows, the letter discreetly omitted to state ; 
but there was, as usual in the letters of women, a 
peculiarly venomous postscript, assuring Izzie that 



154 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

while at Bayswater, I had, to the disgust of the 
other inmates of Mrs Jessett's establishment, com- 
mitted the unpardonable sin of Monaldeschi against 
Christina of Sweden, and had ridiculed, and worse 
than ridiculed her (Izzie) to Mrs Brabazon publicly, 
and in the hearing of everybody. 

As Miss Vivian had not insisted that the letter 
was to be returned, I sealed it carefully up and 
deposited it securely in my despatch box. " Susan 
shall see it before I return it, at any rate," I said to 
myself. And with this determination in my mind, 
I dismissed the whole matter from my thoughts, 
and sallied serenely down to breakfast. Before 
going down, however, I carefully packed up my 
things, and made every preparation for my de- 
parture. 



I was early in the dining-room, but I found my 
hostess there, and it was easy enough to plead a 
sudden recall to the Temple on my old standing 
excuse — the great Scotch Salmon Fisheries Case. 
Then I took a seat near the door, and waited till 
Izzie came in. She seated herself as far as possible 
from roe, hurried through her meal, and then, 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 155 

trusting, I suppose, that I should not speak to her, 
rose and made a move towards the door. 

There may have been about half-a-dozen persons 
in the room, without reckoning the servants. I 
did not trouble to count the heads. When she saw 
that I was in her path, she stopped and drew 
herself up to her full height, looking defiantly at 
me. I, for my part, said the few words I had to say 
in a clear, dull monotone, as distinct as that of a 
young High Church curate telling us how " the 
Scripture moveth us in sundry places." 

" Miss Vivian," I said, " the letter which you 
have enclosed to me is from beginning to end a 
tissue of lies. The woman who wrote it is as vulgar 
and illiterate as she is malicious. You must surely 
have noticed that she cannot even spell correctly. 
I shall keep the letter a little longer, as, unless I 
change my present intention, I shall prosecute her, 
and have her punished for writing and sending it. 
That, I think, is a duty I owe to the lady whom 
this Miss M'Lachlan has so foully traduced. 
Otherwise, I should take no notice of the 
matter." 

Then I stepped on one side, and Izzie hurried by 
me with her face scarlet. I waited a couple of 



156 JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 

minutes to give her fair and reasonable law, and 
then made my way off myself. 

In less than an hour I was on my road to London, 
unable to shut my eyes to the comic side of what 
had happened, but distinctly determined to punish 
Miss M'Lachlan if I possibly could, and to punish 
her effectually. For, as Macchiavelli sa} T s in his 
Principe, it is worse than idle to scotch a snake. 
If the business has to be done, put your heel upon 
the venomous creature's head, and grind it into 
slime. These are not his exact words, but they 
sufficiently convey my meaning. 

Arrived in London, I inspected the letters and 
circulars which had accumulated during my absence. 
As I had become a methodical man, there was 
nothing of any importance, or in any way calculated 
to startle me or even quicken my pulse. But there 
was a short letter from Susan Brabazon, as indeed 
the handwriting told me at once. It was charac- 
teristically like her, and so brief, that I can afford 
to reproduce it. 

" Write me as fully as time permits with news of 
yourself. It makes me feel younger to hear that 
you are flourishing. I have nothing to trouble or 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 157 

annoy me, and often wish I could have you with 
me again for an hour or so. To have you with me 
always would be pleasant enough for me, but utter 
ruin for you. A letter will find me at the Poste 
Restante, Venice, for which quaint city I am just 
starting. I have bad such a thing in my life as a 
donkey ride at Scarborough, and I am curious to try 
one on the Lido. Besides, I may perhaps meet the 
Wandering Jew, who, as you know, makes Venice 
his head-quarters. Adio, my dear boy. "When the 
Courts are sitting, I always study the Law Reports 
in the Times ; and only the other day I sat next a 
large Leghorn shipowner at table cVhote, who knew 
you perfectly well, although he had never seen you. 
He had been interested in some case of running- 
down at sea, which he said you had managed 
admirably, and he compared you to Grotius, and a 
great number of other gentlemen of whom I have 
never heard. I consequently begin to see that you 
must be making your way, although England is, of 
all countries, the one that is ' he most difficult for a 
young man. — Yours ever, 

" Susan Brabazon." 

This dear letter, like the writer in every line of it 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 



I answered at considerable length — writing fully, 
freely, carelessly and truthfully. And in the course 
of my epistle, I mentioned the M'Lachlan episode, 
and enclosed Miss M'Lachlan's own letter. 

I do not know precisely in what the charm con- 
sisted, but Susan Brabazon was a woman to whom it 
was a positive pleasure even to write, just as it is plea- 
sant to wake up at night and listen to the murmur of 
the sea, although you cannot see it, and it may 
be miles away. I did up my letter with special care 
in a stout linen envelope, sealed it with ostentatious 
profusion of wax, registered it and posted it, and 
then turned my mind once again to business matters, 
and more especially to the deeply-interesting case 
of Wilkins, Stubbles, and Others against the London 
and North-Western Kailway Company — a case of 
which it was very difficult to get at the rights, as 
both parties were obstinately in the wrong, and had 
already wasted in litigation about twenty times the 
value of the wretched quarter of an acre of land 
that was the causa teterrima belli. 

There was still a good month left of the Long 
Vacation, so I thrust the voluminous documents in 
re Wilkins, Stubbles, and Others into my port- 
manteau, and ran down to Essex. 



r JACK AND THREE JILLS. 159 

I found my father, as I might have expected, 
older than I had last seen him, and with marked 
symptoms of shakiness ; but he was pleased to see 
me, and it was some sort of a pleasure to talk over 
his affairs with him, and to put him straight — for, 
of course, he was overdrawn again at the County 
Bank. 

Then, too, there were my sisters, who were un- 
feignedly glad to see me, and not at all averse to 
a few stray bank-notes secretly and judiciously 
planted. For my mother I had brought down some 
special presents — a Cashmere shawl, some tea, 
given me by an attache at the Eussian Embassy, 
and one or two other such trifles. Trifles they 
seemed to me, but marvels to the dear old lady. 

I was thus a welcome guest, and as I gave no 
trouble, and was content to roam about with my 
walking-stick, or my gun, and do nothing, I have 
no doubt that they were all fully as glad to have 
me with them as they professed themselves to be. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

I might have stopped longer in Essex had I not 
received a letter from an eminent firm of solicitors 
and parliamentary agents in Victoria Street, West- 
minster, informing me that Sir Joseph Chivery, 
forty years member for the ancient loyal and 
thoroughly whatever-way-you-may-please-in-politics 
constituency of Pullborough, had fallen dead on his 
hearthrug in an apoplectic fit, after a more than 
usually hearty breakfast of Scotch haddock and 
devilled kidneys. Pullborough wanted a member 
whose political views, whatever they might be, 
were identical in every respect with its own, and 
it was perfectly ready to be convinced at a day's 
notice, and subject to satisfactory references that I 
was the very man of whom it had always been in 
quest as its ideal representative. 

When matters are put plainly and straightfor- 
wardly like this, business is amazingly simplified. I 
ran down to Pullborough; saw the local magnates, 
who did me the honour of dining with me at the 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 161 

principal hotel — the " Groat and Bagpipes " — and 
so conciliated their good graces, that a few weeks 
later I found myself returned member for Pull- 
borough without opposition, and charged with the 
responsible duty of representing and protecting in 
Parliament the interests of that upright and 
patriotic constituency. 

The whole thing did not cost four hundred 
pounds, and I have always thought that it was 
cheap at the money. 

Then I had to hurry back to town, where there 
was plenty for me to do, as term had begun, and 
my table in the inner room was covered with 
papers. My hack had been out at grass, and was 
back freshly clipped and shod and the picture of 
health ; and it was a pleasure to dine once again at 
my club off the joint and a pint of claret, and to 
smoke a quiet cigar afterwards over the usual 
shilling pool with sixpenny lines. What a singular 
delusion it is that clubs are nests of extravagance 
and self-indulgence. 

My terminal work was of the usual kind — pon- 
derous, dull, and lucrative. There were the Con- 
servators of the Slush Estuary against the Slush and 

Puddlecombe Local Board, with the free fishermen 01 

11 



162 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Puddlecombe and its Liberties intervening. There 
were oyster beds concerned in this case, and the fees 
were proportionately luscious. There was the Slop- 
shire Main Drainage Board against the Mayor and 
Corporation of Slopperton and Sludgeborough ; and 
there was the Queen of the West against the Bessie 
Belford, with the Polly Jane intervening for salvage, 
which had fought its way right up from the local 
Admiralty Court at Liverpool. 

It is difficult to give any idea how interesting 
a heavy case is, and how delightful it is to find 
yourself rising above the level of Bardell and 
Pickwick, and freed from interpleader for the highei 
mysteries of Stoppage in Transitu. 

Most of my work was now A B C to me, as I 
knew my law reports up to date, and kept myself 
as current with them as does a surgeon in any 
practice with his hospital reports, and his weekly 
Lancet. So I consequently welcomed the work 
with pleasure, and set myself down to the mass of 
papers with a voracity that gladdened the soul of 
my senior clerk, a stout gentleman, with a clean- 
shaved face, a heavy gold watch chain, a repeater, 
and an elaborately chased snuff-box. 

I thus had my day fully taken up, but I made it 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 163 

a sacred rule from which nothing short of a con- 
sultation with the Treasury solicitors would make 
me deviate, that I did no work after seven, or at 
any rate only such work as I could do in my easy- 
chair, and as involved no tedious and troublesome 
interviews. I was consequently enabled to dine 
out as often as I pleased, and I must confess that I 
had now developed a weakness for dining out. A 
dinner in a really well-appointed house is almost 
always better than the very best that can be set 
before you at the most expensive hotel ; and how- 
ever brilliant the display of plate, and however 
gorgeous the liveries of the lacqueys, there is yet a 
distinct air of home about the whole thing, bringing 
it pleasantly near to reality. 

Among my earliest invitations after my return to 
toTna, was one from the American Legation, to 
which, of course, I returned an acquiescent answer ; 
and it was thus that I met and had to take down 
to dinner Miss Elizabeth Maria Jemima Bock, 
daughter of Cyrus Napoleon Washington Q. Kock 
of Eockburg, U.S. 

Mr Cyrus Napoleon Washington Q. Kock had 

" struck oil," and his operations were now pumping 

it up at the rate of heaven knows how miuy 

11 



164 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

hundred of hogshead9 a day. He did a 
ready-money business in the precious pro- 
duct of the earth, complacently realising his 
little pile every week, and banking with the 
Lafittes in Paris and the Bank of England in 
London. 

What he was worth no one exactly knew. It was 
doubtful whether he knew himself ; for the oil kept 
squirting up like a geyser, and his only outlay was 
for cooperage and transport, or rather for cooperage 
only, leaving transport and freight to be paid by 
his assignees. 

He was not at all a vulgar man, or of a shoddy 
type, or possessed of the idea that the world revolves 
on its axis subject always to the constitution of the 
United States. He was a shrewd, hard-headed man, 
of much the same type as Brassey and Stephenson, 
and he had taught himself many things. He was a 
very good judge of pictures and of china, and bought 
both largely. 

He did not race or hnct, but no Yorkshireman 
could have got the better of him in a bargain over 
a pair of carriage horses or a high-stepping cob. 
He lived at hotels because, as he frankly said, he 
hated the worry of an establishment of his own ; 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 1^5 

and he drove four-in-hand with all the skill of a 
past-master in the art. 

" I drove the mail in Kentucky when I was a 
lad," he used to remark. Bad roads, one bolter, 
two jibbers, and a kicker. That was my average 
team. I guess that gives you practice. In those days 
I always had to carry a small store of traces and 
lashes and running gear in my boot, and so many 
bars slung up behind that the back of the coach 
looked like a butcher's shop on strike. Yes, sir, 
you bet I've learnt to drive. Go your bottom 
dollar on that speculation. And now let's have a 
cool cocktail and a little shilling poker." 

Miss Eock, as I could soon find out, was one 
of the best types of American girls. She had read 
everything, — Shakspeare, Herbert Spencer, Zola, 
Goethe, Prescoit, and De Tocqueville, of course, 
and was era courant with all the light surge of 
modern literature. She had views of her own about 
the Italian opera ; the higher education of women ; 
the Canadian fisheries question ; the descent of 
man from the gorilla ; the claims of the Vaticaa, 
and the latest novelty in double stars. 

And yet she was not garrulous nor even tiresome 
in the least degree, for, under all her chatter, — if ib 



166 JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 

deserved the name — ran a rich vein of shrewd 
human and genial common sense, combined with 
what you very seldom find in a girl of her age, 
tolerably accurate information as to facts. 

I can hardly describe her to do her justice. She 
was dressed expensively, and not at all extravagantly, 
her only ornament being of plain gold. I think 
she wore what ladies call white tulle, picked out 
with branches of natural gloire de Dijon and ste- 
phanotis, but I will not pledge my memory to such 
particulars. 

Her figure and features had not that excessive 
delicacy, amounting almost to fragility, so common 
among her country-women. On the contrary, she 
was bright and healthy, without being in any way 
aggressively robust. Nor was there the least tinge 
of even Bostonese in her accent — that tinge which 
made Holmes remark in despair that everybody in 
Paris speaks English, except, of course, the wealthier 
Americans. 

We talked at first upon every conceivable subject. 
Then she settled down upon England, and I had to 
run a gauntlet of questions. 

" I have read my Murray, of course, Mr. Severn, 
and my Baedecker, and papa has ordered in piles of 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 167 

photographs and guide books, but I'll tell you what 
I want to see." 

" What is that ? " I asked in curiosity. 

"Well, I've seen the Tower, of course, and 
Windsor Castle, and Westminster Abbey, and St. 
Paul's, and the Docks, and the British Museum. 
But I want someone to find me a guide who will 
take me over London, and show me the old places 
in Dickens — the old curiosity shop, and Mr. Pick- 
wick's lodgings in Gos.well Street, and Newgate 
Prison, and the opium den in Batcliffe Highway, 
and Saffron Hill, where Fagin had his thieves' 
lodging-house and academy. I suppose you have 
guides to do all that kind of thing ? " 

I had to explain to her astonishment that London 
is absolutely destitute of professional guides. 

" Oh, never mind. We must advertise for one 
in the Times. I daresay he'll turn up. And then 
papa always lets me have my own way, and so we're 
going to Warwick, and Kenilworth, and Tintern, 
and Harlech, and Furness, and Abbotsford, and, 
of course, to Killiecrankie. I guess Killiecrankie 
isn't up to Niagara any more than Windermere to 
Erie, or Snowdon to the Eockies, but I mean 
to do my England off the reel, and make a 



IG8 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



square job of it before I recross the old herring 
pond." 

It was impossible to resist her intense flood of 
high spirits. I agreed with her that she had got a 
large business on hand, but opined that with resolu- 
tion that it could be put through, and the contract 
completed in a shorter time than might have been 
expected. 

"Well, now, you're comforting. I met a young 
man last evening who parted his hair down the 
middle, and talked about culture and all that kind 
of show. What do you think he said ? Guess now ? 
' Miss Eock,' said he — and pulled a face as long as 
a stump orator orating to three niggers, a washer- 
woman on strike, and a bubbly-jock — ' Miss Eock, 
you must lrve in England for years. Its beauties 
and its treasures must grow into your existence and 
become a part of you. They are to be approached 
reverently and tenderly, not to be rushed past by 
almost sacrilegious feet. They are hallowed with 
traditions that come down to us through the mist of 
ages, like the voice of the Pythia chanting from her 
tripod through the fumes *of the Delphic cavern.' " 

" And what did you say ? " I inquired. 

" Well, I felt sort of irritated at being preached 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 109 

to, so I just said, ' O Jerusalem ! Snakes and 
snapping turtles ! ' " 

Our eyes met with a full flood of mischievous 
merriment, and we burst out laughing heartily. 

" But look here now. It's time for us ladies to 
be getting. I suppose I shall see you after your 
wine. In the States the ladies stop. We exercise 
a sort of holy influence, and keep the men's minds 
away from trotting matches, and time bargains, and 
Ward politics. That's our mission, that is, and we 
put it through as straight as need be." 

Over the few glasses of claret and the coffee that 
followed I found myself very little occupied with 
the general conversation, and more interested in 
listening to Mr Eock, who, after the fashion of his 
nation, launched out at some length upon things in 
general. 

He was a Federalist, with no personal bitterness 
against the South, and spoke with reverence of Lee 
and Jackson, more especially of " old 'Stonewall," 
whose dogged courage had evidently won his heart. 
With him, somehow, I made favourable progress, 
and so won his heart, that'fce asked me to dine with 
him the day after next at the Hotel Continental, 
where he was at present located, and to meet one 



170 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

or two American friends, principally city men in 
large American houses, but, as he emphatically 
remarked, " Sterling." 

Then we went upstairs, and I very shortly took 
my departure ; but before I went I ascertained from 
Miss Eock that she was willing to wait for three 
weeks until the Courts rose, and to then allow me 
to act as a cicerone to herself and her father 
through those parts of London, at any rate, which 
she was anxious to see. And next afternoon I 
procured editions of Dickens and Thackeray, which 
I marked and dog's-eared at the appropriate places, 
and so sent them round to her with another trea- 
sure which I had long seen at Quaritch's — a large 
folio full of old plates and engravings, collected 
from every quarter and pasted down scrap-book 
fashion, with the text of Peter Cunningham dexter- 
ously fitted in as a running commentary. 

And then came the Conservators of the Dee, and 
the Plumstead Local Board, and the Mersey Dock 
Extension, and the humble appeal of Eumtijee 
Cursitjee Chunderlal against the judgment of the 
Supreme Court of Calcutta, in favour of his Highness 
the Rajah of Eunderpore and others — a tough case, 
of which even the litigants themselves did not 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 171 

profess to understand the rights, but over which 
they had sworn by all the shrines of Benares to 
fight the matter out before the great Empress of 
the East herself, down to the last rupee in their 
respective cumberbunds. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

My consignment of books having been duly de- 
spatched to the Continental, I made my appearance 
then at the appointed time. The company was 
mixed, but good. There was a racing peer with a 
name absolutely above suspicion on the turf, and 
with a penchant for trotting horses, and a Scotch 
peer who was shortly on his way to see what could 
be done in the shape of sport on the slopes of 
the Alleghanies and the Rockies. There was a 
yachtsman, owner of a schooner well known in the 
Mediterranean, and enthusiastic on the vexed ques- 
tions of centre-boards and measurement-tonnage. 
There was one of our best known journalists and 
best of all raconteurs, who is perhaps even more 
popular in the States than in London itself. There 
were some city men — shrewd, intelligent speculators 



172 JACK AJx'D THEEE JILLS. 

in stocks, timber, cotton, tinned provisions, and 
steel rails. 

Some of these brought their wives, some their 
daughters. We made about forty, all told, but 
although the party was large it was most harmo- 
nious, and, as far as possible, united. 

The lady allotted to my share was the wife of a 
gentleman who had done a good stroke of business, 
by making '* a corner " in pickled pork, at Chicago, 
and had now retired upon his " pile." Three years 
before be had ruined himself, and the bulk of his 
friends, by an attempt to engineer a corner in 
molasses ; but when the pork turned up a " straight 
hand," he had paid all his old creditors a hundred 
red cents in each dollar, which, as his wife told me, 
was more than any of them ever expected, or, for 
the matter of that, deserved. 

"But Hiram's got his pile now, I calculate," 
continued the worthy lady, with pardonable pride, 
" and I reckon he's learnt enough by this time to 
sit as steady on it as an old rooster. Money's a 
good egg, Mr. Severn, sir, and it's my fixed idea that 
it ought to be laid in a warm nest." 

I expressed my entire concurrence in these most 
practical sentiments, and she then insisted on my 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 173 

telling her all I knew about tlie private habits and 
mode of life of the Koyal family, and of one or two 
of our principal dukes and marquises. 

It was impossible to classify her as a bore, — she 
was so entirely natural and vivacious, with not a 
taint in her endless chatter of her own personality. 

Before leaving I managed to hunt out Miss Eock 
again, and under the excuse of piloting her through 
the difficulties of procuring a final Neapolitan ice, 
with its essential adjuncts of wafer and still cham- 
pagne, had another opportunity, of which I carefully 
availed myself to, at all events, form the materials, 
for thoroughly making up my mind about her. 

Then I returned to Chapel Street, and before 
turning in, considered matters on my sofa, with the 
aid of seven feet of cherry stem, withont a flaw, and 
a huge lump of anatolia clay of the purest quality, 
the gift of some Greek merchants in the city, in 
whose matters I was standing counsel. 

Tobacco, when it is good, mild and cool, aids 
reflection most essentially. The normal pulse of a 
man in the prime of life should beat from seventy 
to seventy-five times in the minute. So at least 
physicians tell us. Many great men have had 
pulses abnormally slow. Napoleon's heart hardly 



174 [JACK AND THBEE JILLS. 

beat faster than, that of a reptile. Shelley's pulse, 
if he were only betrayed into conversation, would at 
once mount to ninety. His blood was always 
dashing itself in angry surges against the walls of 
his heart. Those whom the gods love die young. 
He would have died of heart disease if the sea, 
which he so loved, had not claimed him for her 
own. 

I, not being a Shelley, was able to enjoy my pipe 
complacently, and to watch with interest the ring 
of smoke edging up from the bowl to the ceiling, 
and I was also able to think things over. Should I 
cffer my hand to Miss Eock ? I need have no false 
shame in doing so. I could stipulate that every 
dollar of her fortune should be unconditionally 
settled on herself, with full power to her to deal 
with it as she might please, and without even a 
nominal sum to be settled on me. 

I should insist on these terms in any case, as 
they would put my motives absolutely above sus- 
picion. And then, too, I could very well afford 
to make them. I had quite enough money of my 
own securely invested, upon which to retire to my 
Tusculan villa, or my Sabine farm, at any moment 
that I might please. Four hundred a year — to take 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 175 

a low estimate of my financial position, were I to 
leave off practice at once, and to live on the interest 
of my capital saved — is not a fortune, of course. 
But what is more than a pound a day, is a sufficient 
competence for any man, unless he wish to live at 
Vienna, or to have an entresol in the Avenue de 
l'Opera. Besides, I had no intention of retiring, 
being hardly yet in the summer of life, and as fond 
of my work for its own sake, as if it were salmon 
fishing or deer stalking. 

So I decided to begin by tackling old Eock in 
person, without any waste of time. For Americans 
have a fancy for titles, as they have for bric-a-brac, 
and London has only too many impecunious peers 
only too anxious to pick up what it pleases them, 
in their impertinence, to call a shoddy nugget. 

So I invited Mr. Eock to dine with me at White's, 
to which club I now belonged, and when, as it 
happened, a certain very distinguished royal Per- 
sonage was dining that evening with one or two 
other distinguished royal Personages, and a sprink- 
ling of Serenes, at a table next but one to our own. 

This pleased Mr. Eock immensely. " It is incor- 
rect, sir," he said, " to say that you English are 
exclusive, sir, — it is not so. Sir, here am I, Cyrus 



5 76 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Napoleon Washington Q. Eock, of Eockburg, U.S., 

dining in his own club, with the Heir-Apparent to 

the Throne of the Plantagenets, and the Tudors 

and the Stuarts at the next table but one. Sir, it 

does me proud, and I thank you for myself and my 

country, for your hospitality and for this occasion. 

I shall wire it, sir, to Eockburg, and they will 

make an editorial of it there in the Daily Bulletin." 

I expressed my satisfaction at Mr. Eock's delight, 

and then began cautiously to feel my way towards 

the business of the evening. This we did not 

reach until we were almost the only occupants of 

the smoking-room, when the waiter had fixed a mint 

julep completely to Mr. Eock's approval, and vastly 

to his own. Then with what diplomacy I could, and 

with commendable brevity, I opened my case to 

him, carefully dwelling on the point that money 

was no object whatever to me, and that if it were 

made a condition, I should not object to giving up 

my profession, and becoming a naturalised citizen 

of the United States, although it had always been 

my ambition to wear the English ermine, if only for 

a term, and that prize was now practically within 

my reach. 

Mr. Eock closed his eyes for a miuute or two 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 177 

and, I presume, meditated. Then he opened them 
and took a square look at me. Then he opened 
his mouth and began what he had to say in the 
most unembarrassed manner possible, but with the 
broad accent peculiar to him, when he meant what 
he was saying. 

" Well, Mr. Severn, you are a smart young man, 
and as handy, and you come of a family as good as 
most peerages, and you've chumped your sawdust 
without butter or molasses, and you've made your- 
self what you are. I can respect you for that. 
I'm a self-made man myself. My neighbours tell 
me it relieves the Almighty of a very great respon- 
sibility. Perhaps it may, although it isn't for me 
to perch on the top of my own pile, and crow to the 
parish. But I like you, Mr. Severn. There must 
have been grit in you all along, and there's plenty 
of it now. I don't want a good marriage for my 
gell, though no doubt you are well enough off. 
What I want to find for her is a man who'll behave 
fair and square and honourable to her, and I'm in- 
clined to think that those are your views and your 
sentiments. And, so far, the coast is clear. Now, 
hev you, or hev you not been making signals to her 

in the offing?" 

12 



173 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

I was enabled to assure Mr. Eock, with a most 
perfect sincerity, that, intentionally at any rate, 
I stood entirely guiltless of any such, piratical 
practices. 

"Wal, squire," rejoined Mr. Eock, "then I'll 
speak to rny gell about this biz to-morrow morning 
and if she says ' Yes,' Cyrus Napoleon Washington 
Q. Eock will be the last man under the star and 
stripes to shove in his oar and say < No.' On that 
deal you hev my fist. I guess from what I've seen 
with my eyes half open, that my gell will say 
' Yes.' She alius did like you Britishers. But go 
bail for her, I can't. And it's too much to expect 
of any parent in these onnatral days. I'll let you 
be posted up, squire, in due course ; and now, if I 
may trespass on your hospitality, I should like 
that smart young waiter to fix me just another 
julep." 

So the julep was " fixed " and solemnly consumed, 
and Mr. Cyrus Napoleon Washington Q. Eock and 
I took leave of each other in the portals of White's 
on the most friendly terms. 



CHAPTER XX. 

Next afternoon I received a brief communication 
from Mr. Eock. 

" Dear Sir, — I enclose a letter from my daughter. 
— Yours truly, 

" Cyrus Napoleon Washington Q. Eock." 

The letter from Miss Eock wihs equally 
characteristic. 

" Dear Mr. Severn, — I shall be in to-day after 
five, as papa is going to dine with one or two city 
men, with whom he is running a little plant, which 
he says will turn out a straight flush. Chip in if 
you will at the Continental any time after five, and 
I should very much enjoy it, if you would take me 
to some show. —Yours sincerely, 

"Elizabeth M. J. Eock." 

To this I sent a trusty messenger with an answer, 



180 JACK AND THREE JTLLS. 

and made my appearance at Mr, Bock's hotel at 
the time appointed. Miss Bock received me with, 
a most cordial shake of the hand, not at all 
masculine, but as simple and unaffected as the ring 
of her voice — the slight American intonation in 
which was just sufficienly perceptible to be 
piquant. 

" Well, Mr. Severn," she said, " my father's given 
me carte blanche in this deal, and I think I know 
how I'm going to play it. But it's going for the 
bank, you know, and it wants con-sideration. I 
haven't quite clearly fixed my mind up, and it's no 
good pretending I have ; but I sha'n't keep you 
waiting off and on longer than is really fair and 
reasonable. A fortnight deferred isn't much of a 
couple of valuable lives, and I'm not the girl to 
make up my mind on such a matter in less than a 
fortnight." 

" A most reasonable time allowance," I answered, 
with my best smile, and a bow which would have 
been wasted on a Lord Chancellor on the 
Woolsack. 

" Well, I don't say it is, and I don't say it isn't, 
but it's what I want, and, now as you are here tc- 
night, and I mean if you can spare the time 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 181 



to skip around a bit, suppose you take me some- 
where." 

" What will Mr. Eock say ? " I gently urged. 
"Of course I shall be perfectly delighted." 

" Say ? What should he say ? Why ! very much 
obliged to you for your attention and kindness to 
an ignorant young Yank like me." 

" Would Mr. Eock mind my taking you out to 
dinner ? " 

" Not a cent ; and I wouldn't mind coming. But, 
suppose you dine here, and let's skip round to the 
play afterwards. You can send a messenger for 
your clothes, and we'll do the thing like citizens 
with a stake in our respective countries." 

I, of course, said I was only too charmed, and 
sent a messenger at once for my evening apparel. 
Being Miss Eock's guest, I had naturally to accept 
her place of entertainment and her bill of fare. 
Both were excellent. With genuine American tact, 
she chose the public coffee-room. The bill of fare 
displayed, as I knew, a full acquaintance with 
Saratoga ; for it included hot boiled lobster — a dish 
practically unknown in England — and also baked 
oysters. I concluded that the superintendence of 
Mr. Eock's banquets at Delmonico's and elsewhere 



182 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

had been one of the pleasant and daughterly 
methods by which Miss Eock had lightened his 
labours. Apart altogether from the fact that I 
already entertained towards her feelings wholly dis- 
tinct from those of friendship, her versatility and 
general savoir faire impressed me wonderfully. 

To the Criterion we ultimately repaired. The 
piece was of the ordinary Criterion, or, to be 
perhaps more exact, Palais Eoyal type. It was, if 
I remember rightly, The Wife with Tivo Mother s- 
in-Law, or something of the sort. Of course, all 
the peculiarly Parisian humour of the French 
original had of necessity been strictly excised, but 
there was sufficient movement to atone for want of 
genuine incident, and sufficient sprightliness of 
dialogue to enable the actors to dispense with 

g»g- 

Honestly, I can declare that I enjoyed mvself, 
and I am sure that my companion was equally 
pleased, for she was entirely silent and attentive 
beyond laughter during the progress of the piece 
itself, and vigorously earnest about its merits during 
the intervals between the acts. 

When we returned to the hotel, we found that 
Mr, Eock had not yet arrived, having, as the hall 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 183 

porter informed us, gone out to see the conclusion 
of a big billiard match, in which he was much 
interested ; so, at her request, I went upstairs with 
his daughter to await his arrival. 

" Papa wont't be long," said Miss Eock. " Wait 
and see him ; it will please the old man. He's as 
regular as a rooster, and won't keep us beyond the 
proprieties." 

" Kegular as a rooster " Mr. Eock arrived within 
rather less than five minutes. He nodded to his 
daughter and shook hands with me. 

" Wal, squire, I suppose you've been taking my 
gell round. Grells give a power .of trouble; I know 
her dear mother did, and I know she takes after her 
mother. It's kind of you to interest yourself in 
this way, and I take it as a compliment — not to my 
dollars, sir, but to an American citizen." 

" Always talking about your dollars, papa," inter- 
rupted Miss Eock. 

" Wal ! " retorted her parent, jerking the bell 
vigorously, " what else have I got to talk about ? 
Not you anyhow, though you're as dootiful a gell as 
need be. I'm not an educated man. I'm not a 
gentleman. I don't reckon any friends in Borston. 
I haven't been there yet to see the hub of the 



184 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

universe sticking out like the bottom of a teacup in 
a pumpkin pie. That's a flush. But I like this old 
country, and I like you, sir, if it isn't a liberty to say 
so a second time on so short an aquaintance. When 
a Britisher runs square, he's squarer than any man 
on the track. There's no psalm-smiting and foot- 
shuffling about him. I won't go so far as to say 
Bunker's Hill wasn't a blunder. But the checks 
have been handed in over that little show, and the 
job's over. Hammer down to the highest bidder. 

Here Mr. Eock, who had imbedded his hand in 
his shirt front, and was planted on the hearth-rug 
with his other hand under his coat tails, stood like 
Brutus, and paused for a reply. The reply was a 
ripple of laughter, which his minor raised to a 
perfect peal. Then I said that I thought I must be 
going. 

" We'll have a sling before we go, squire, to show 
there's good feeling, and you just consider yourself 
free of my location to come in and out as you please. 
The details of this little biz will, I suppose, have to 
be fixed up ; but if all goes well, you and my gell 
will be equal to that emergency. And I cannot help 
a remark. New York is a fine city, so is New 
Orleans. So for the matter of that is 'Frisco, bar 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 185 

those misbegotten sons of Chinese. So Eockburg 
will be when it's located out. But give Cyrus 
Napoleon Washington Q. Eock, London, before all 
the cities in the universe, — now that Niniveh and 
Babylon are disestablished and disendowed." 

Soon after I took a most friendly leave, and so 
ended my first evening in the domestic circle — if 
two points can fix the locus of a circle, which geome- 
tricians deny — of Mr. Eock. 



Fortunately the London Christmas that year was 
fine. There was no fog, no rain, and no mud, and 
hardly any frost of which to speak. I was conse- 
quently able to fulfil my promise to the letter, and 
I took Miss Eock to really everything in London and 
every place in London that an American of an in- 
quiring turn of mind and anxious to " put his 
London through," would wish to see. 

Let me give a short list by way of sample. Of 
course there were the Docks and the British Museum, 
Westminster Abbey, and the Tower, and similar 
places, most of which she had visited, but very 
imperfectly. Then there was the Mint and the 
Monument, and Billingsgate Market ; and there 



1*6 JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 

were a number of quaint little places — the Halls of 
the City Companies, to one of which. I was standing 
counsel; and Newgate, and St. John's Grate at 
Clerkenwell, and the old red tower at Canonbury. 

Mr. Eock, too, was interested in places even where 
their authenticity was doubtful, such as the old 
Jamaica Coffee-house and Great St. Helen's and the 
Barbican. We actually included Primrose Hill in 
the round of our investigations, not forgetting 
Hampstead Heath and the Spaniards. We spent 
the best part of an afternoon in St. Martin's Lane, 
Leicester Square, Soho, and the " Convent Garden." 
We dived into Southwark, and visited the Tabard, 
which had not then been demolished. We explored 
Chelsea, and endeavoured to identify Don Saltero's 
and the Old Bun House. I think I left no nook 
untried, and I know that my services were fully 
appreciated. 

Amongst other things — for Americans take a 
great interest in criminal cases — we visited the 
locality of several famous murders, such as • Great 
Coram Street, Saffron Hill, the Hen and Chickens in 
the Borough, and others. We dived into crypts, 
wasted many precious minutes over monuments and 
inscriptions, spent a whole afternoon in what was 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 187 

once Grub Street and its neighbourhood, and other- 
wise, as Mr. Eock expressed it, so " petered our 
London out that a gross of Chinamen couldn't 
extract a dollar piece from the refuse." 

" I shall go back to Eockburg, sir," said Mr. Eock 
" a prouder man and a taller by a considerable 
number of inches. I will not, sir, compare myself 
to the travelled monkey in the fable of your fellow- 
countryman, Goldsmith, with whose Yicar of Wake- 
field I am well acquainted as with Knickerbocker's 
History of New York ; but you have travelled me a 
bit, Mr. Severn. You have expanded the map, and 
I am much obliged to you, sir." 

All's well that ends well. 

Meantime, the allotted period of probation drew 
to its conclusion, and I was not astonished to receive 
one morning a brief and characteristic letter from 
Miss Eock. 

" Dear Mr. Severn, — I think we have seen 
enough of each other to come to an opinion, unless 
either of us is keeping back a secret. I know it is 
not so with me, and I would believe no one who 
said it was so with you. I think you may come 
round to the Continental as soon as you like 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



without troubling ydur mind. We shall both be 
glad to see you. 

" I like England so well that I am more than 
content to take it up for a permanency. It's the 
difference between a prairie and a flower garden, 
but I have my fancies for the flower garden. — Yours 
always sincerely, 

" Elizabeth M. T. Rock." 

I read the letter through, pocketed it, told my 
clerk that I should not return till the next morning, 
and in really less than ten minutes was at the Hotel 
Continental. 

We dined en famillef that night, and an ex- 
tremely happy party we made. I was triumphant, 
Mr Eock serene and satisfied, and Elizabeth tranquil 
and radient. 

We talked about everything except ourselves, 
and before I left, by way of making the thing a 
solemn family party, we actually indulged in a 
little three-handed euchre, much to the amazemant 
of the waiter, who apparently " did uot under- 
stand " the game. Then I took my departure, Mr. 
Eock evincing his sense of impending relationship 
by very nearly crushing my hand and dislocating 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 189 

my arm, and I found myself on the flags in front of 
the Boyal Academy, not a rich man only, but 
practically a millionaire. 

Yes, my whole life was now closed, except so far 
as ambition might guide or^caprice be able to tempt 
me. I should have at my command money more 
than sufficient to carry out any deliberate plan of 
action or any sudden impulse. I knew that so it 
was, and yet I think I hardly realised the fact until 
I found myself in my bedroom trying to get to 
sleep upon the events of the day, and for some time 
failing signally in the effort. 

But I slept soundly, nevertheless, and arose next 
morning ready for my bef ore-break fast ride, from 
which I returned with my muscles braced, my blood 
bounding through my veins, and an indefinite 
horizon open to my vision. 

Had I, after all, been more industrious, or more 
deserving than other young men, or was it simply 
that fortune had favoured me ? 

I philosophically decided that my gratitude was 
entirely due to fortune, and I astonished the groom 
who was waiting for my horse by giving him a 
sovereign along with the usual nod in recognition 
of his solute. 



KO JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

" May your honour have all the luck your honour 
deserves," said the man in question, whose name 
happened to be Flanagan, " and may the Blessed 
Virgin and all the holy Saints look after your 
honour and keep your honour from the cess and the 
trouble." 

And I believe that Mr Flanagan's sincerity was 
independent of the piece of gold, if, perhaps, stimu- 
lated into outbreak by it. Anyhow I felt disposed 
to accept his complex benediction as an augury 
of luck. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

As it happened, the next morning was Saturday, 
and for once in a way I had only one case to which 
to attend. It was in the Court of Appeal, and was 
not likely to be reached. 

So, as had been arranged the night before, I met 
Elizabeth and her father in the great hall of the 
Courts of Justice, and conducted them by the 
counsels' corridors and entrances from court t« 
court. 

Elizabeth was interested, but nob altogether 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 191 

amused. Mr Eock was profoundly impressed. The 
building, he remarked, was fine, and had very many 
points about it considered as a structure, although, 
in his view, it did not compare to advantage with 
the Capitol at Washington. Washington, however, 
was a hole of a location, only fit for Indians and 
mean whites. You were up to knees there in 
summer in the dust, to say nothing of cyclones 
of dust in the air, and you were up to your middle 
in winter in the slush, which was as bad as an 
up-river lot on the foreshore, or back away in the 
swamps. 

If he were President of the United States he 
would engineer a bill to locate the Capital at Sara- 
toga, and he guessed it would be a popular measure, 
and would go far towards securing him a second 
term. But we didn't understand these things in 
England. Here was our Court fixed at Buckingham 
Palace, which wasn't a patch, nor a quarter of a 
patch, on Hampton Court. Greenwich Hospital we 
turned into a sort of naval West Point. Now Peter 
the Great, who had his eyes just as open as had old 
Cardinal Wolsey, had pitched on Greenwich Hospital 
for his palace, and Peter wasn't far out. 

He didn't deny that there were points about 



192 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Windsor Castle, and also about the Tower. But as 
for Buckingham Palace, he considered it altogether 
shoddy and much the same style of architecture as 
Eegent Street. St. James's Palace was a curious 
old relic. 

" Now, if we had any old buildings in our country, 
sir," he continued, warming up, " we should take a 
pride in them, and treat them with respect ; not 
let them out for paupers and pensioners off the 
Government and the Court. Why, if we had in all 
New York such a place as your Chelsea Hospital, 
with its glorious old red brick, and its quadrangles, 
and its gardens running down to the river, our 
people would come all the way from Florida to see 
it, and would think themselves well paid for their 
journey. I wish we could buy one of those places 
off you, squire, and transport it wholesale and entire 
on a big pontoon. We are buying up all your old 
plate and pictures and books as it is. We don't 
want to buy your horses. I reckon we can show as 
good of our own. However, if we can't transplant 
these treasures of yours, we can always cross the 
pond to see them for ourselves, and it makes us 
kinder recollect that we are English after all and 
straddle round accordingly." 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 193 

So Mr. Eock, with more of the same sort. He 
was a perpetual vein of rich native ore, largely mixed 
with grit, but cropping up from an apparently in- 
exhaustible lode. 

It has been wisely said that your first rough 
impressions of a place are not only the most valuable 
but generally the most accurate. To lose yourself 
in detail is a misfortune both for yourself, and — if 
you have any — for your listeners ; or, as the case 
may be, your readers. 

A few days later the Eocks departed for Paris, 
where it was settled I was to join them as soon as 
the Courts rose. They went by the shortest route ; 
and I was consequently able to so time my engage- 
ments as to bid them farewell on the deck of the 
steamer at Folkestone, and return to town myself 
by the next train. 

Meantime, Mr. Eock and I had had a very definite 

conversation, and it had been arranged that the 

marriage should take place in June. Mr. Eock was 

disappointed to find that it would be difficult to 

obtain permission from the Dean and Chapter to 

have the thing " fixed up and put through " at 

Westminster Abbey, and that there were even 

greater obstacles in the way of St. George's Chapel, 

13 



194 JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 

Windsor, with which, and with its oak stalls and 
its organ and its garter banners, he had been much 
impressed 

" If," he profoundly remarked, " these places 
belonged to the nation, they ought to be available 
to the nation for all reasonable purposes, at a tariff 
sufficient to prevent a block of business, but no more. 

Ultimately, we agreed that, if the marriage was to 
take place in London, it should be at St. George's, 
Hanover Square ; and this matter settled, Mr. Rock 
and his daughter took their departure. 

As to settlements, Mr. Eock took a liberal but 
an American view of them. 

" I shall settle a few dollars on my gell, squire — 
absolutely. The bulk of my pile she will, of course, 
have sooner or later. But how I shall tie ^it up, 
or whether I shall tie it up at all, are matters that 
I have not yet settled in my own mind ; and I have 
taken the liberty of settling a few dollars a year 
on you, with remainder to her and her heirs, because 
in this ill-regulated world things do not always go 
on or turn out as you might expect, and so I want 
to make you, without taking any liberty, a present 
of a small insurance against accidents or other con- 
tin gences. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 195 



I could only assure Mr. Eock that I appreciated 
his munificence, and fully sympathised with his 
motives, 

"Wal!" he said; "it's best to let business be 
business, and pleasure pleasure. Keep 'em apart. 
You may shake 'em up together, but they won't 
amalgamate any more'n ile and vinegar. Them's 
my intentions, squire, and I have telegraphed full 
instructions to my attorneys in New York to put 
the matter straight through ; and now let's have a 
small something short and hot, onless you prefer 
champagne." 

As I preferred the " something short and hot," 
we ratified the contract with it, and, as I remember, 
we exchanged cigar cases, he having a fancy for 
mine, which was set with plaques of pink Du Barry 
porcelain, and I, for his, which was of bark from 
the Yosemite, bound in oxydised silver. 

It is the philosopher of Stagira who somewhere 
remarks that the exchange of gifts, when it does 
not amount to a colourable form of bribery, is one 
of the surest symptoms of friendship, and one of 
its most pleasant cements. 

And now my reader will most naturally ask — ■ 

what I have not perhaps as yet sufficiently 

13* 



196 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

explained — what were really my feelings towards 
Miss Eock herself, and how far was I acting 
honestly, or, — to use the more current phrase, — 
honourably in marrying her. 

It is a difficult question to answer. The motives 
of all of us are apt to be mixed. There probably 
never yet was a soldier of the Cross, however pious, 
from the Crusaders down to Gordon, who did not 
enjoy fighting for its own sake. 

The strict honesty I should say, that I was very 
much in the state of mind described in Tennyson's 
Northern Farmer, of the new style. I was not 
" marrying for money," but I was distinctly 
"marrying where money was." My inclinations 
and my interests happened to coincide. Had I 
been in the Church, I should probably have said 
that Providence, in its inscrutable wisdom, was 
summoning me, for purposes of its own, to a wider 
sphere of usefulness. Not being in the Church, I 
said nothing of the kind, but was nevertheless very 
well satisfied with the turn which Providence had 
given to matters, or at any rate allowed them to 
take. 

My cards had somehow all turned trumps in 
my hand, as if I had been playiDg whist. I could 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 197 

have laid them on the table and called the game. 
Fortune always comes with a rush to the aid of 
those who aid themselves, exactly as when you are 
on the decline, the fickle jade is ever ready to lend 
you an accelerating push. 

Of course I wrote to my people down in Essex, 
and received back letters from them, brimming with 
excitement. My father was delighted beyond 
measure, at what he was pleased to term my most 
prudent choice, and after a page or two of wisdom 
in the style of Polonius, began as usual to 
refer dismally to the condition of his banking 
account. 

My sisters were more straightforward. They 
were both very pleased. They expressed a strong 
desire to be bridesmaids, and they both, poor 
things, reminded me that the only really expensive 
item in a bridesmaid's accoutrements was the 
locket, which it was the fashion now to decorate 
with the monograms of the bride on one side 
and bridegroom on the other, set in various 
stones, the initials of which spelt out the two 
names. 

They sent also for me to forward on profuse 
letters of congratulation to my fiancee, which 



198 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

I have no doubt were laboured master-pieces of 
composition. 

So much for home. " So long as thou doest good 
unto thyself men shall speak well of thee." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

It is difficult to keep many threads in your hand at 
once. I ought, however, just to glance at my Par- 
liamentary duties. Practically they gave me no 
trouble whatever. I had gone into Parliament 
when I could afford to do so, exactly as I had set up 
a horse and a groom of my own as soon as I could 
afford to do so, but I had spoken very seldom, and only 
on subjects in which I personally took an interest ; 
and on these rare occasions I had addressed Mr. 
Speaker with most commendable brevity. 

Divisions I did not attend, unless they were of 
real importance to my party, when I made it a 
point to be present, whatever else might require me 
elsewhere. In fads, such as bills to regulate the 
hours for the sale of ginger beer and other non- 
intoxicant liquids on Sundays and red letter days, 
or to forbid the crying of muffins and crumpets by 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 199 

bell during the hours of divine worship, I took no 
manner of interest. 

I had consequently proved myself not a fussy 
member but a useful one. And above all, I had 
avoided the blunder of asking for papers bearing 
on the designs of Eussia in the Equatorial African 
Belt, or the exact condition, according to latest 
devices, of our relations with the Border tribes of 
Patagonia, and the validity of guarantees given by 
the chiefs of that country for the safety of Noncon- 
formist and other missionaries. 

So I began to be looked upon before very long as 
a member who prefers to work for the country 
rather than to make speeches for buncombe. This 
was what I wanted, but I ought to add that I never 
forgot to open my mouth on any question of inter- 
national law ; for international law is sound com- 
mon sense, and it is easy to make it intelligible to 
a common sense audience as eminently practical 
as is the House of Commons. And, besides, to be 
credited with a knowledge of international law 
gives you something more than a European repu- 
tation. 

Men whom I could mention, and who are still 
alive, have made not only reputations but fortunes, 



200 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



and won their way to places of emolument and 
dignity by a very superficial acquaintance indeed 
with Grotius, Puffendorff, and Vattel, gleaned at 
secondhand from Wheaton and Travers Twiss. 

The House likes a man with a speciality in him, 
and to a certain extent I may fairly claim that it 
found that man in myself. 

Thus, then, to sum up I was moving every way, 
in Parliament and in my profersion ; but less in 
society, for which I obviously had not the time 
even if I had had the inclination. I know -I was 
looked upon as a man, who, if not quite un- 
sympathetic, was yet, at all events, shy and re- 
served, which fact they kindly ascribed to pressure 
of work, and the malicious to arrogance. Both 
were wide of the mark. The sole causes of my 
hermit-crab existence were self-containment and a 
something which was not exactly indolence nor yet 
indifference, but a neutral tint between the two. 

Nor do I believe this frame of mind to be at all 
unwholesome. It certainly in no way impairs yeur 
position, usefulness either to the world at large, or 
to those that have direct claims upon you; and 
these are, after all, the best test of a man's mental 
habits that I can suggest. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 201 

About this time a criminal case occurred which 
excited the wildest interest, not in England only, 
but over the whole Continent. 

A young girl of about two-and-twenty, singularly 
beautiful, but with a very doubtful character and a 
notoriously resolute and vindictive temper, was 
charged with poisoning a very worthless kind of 
fellow, a French drawing-master, with a remarkably 
bad dossier in Paris, and nothing to recommend 
him in England except his good looks, his smooth 
tongue, his savoir faire, and a certain facility with 
his pencil. 

The girl's name was Margaret Wilson, and she 
was the daughter of a Liverpool merchant. Having 
some talent, or at any rate liking for art, she had 
attended the art classes at the Ladies' College, with 
the full knowledge of her parents, and here she 
had made the acquaintance of Monsieur Achille 
Daubray, who was one of the masters at the college 
in question, but of whose antecedents bterally 
nothing seemed to be known. 

He had dropped into the town nobody knew how 
or from where, and had commenced by allowing the 
fancy shopkeepers to sell pretty little water-colour 
sketches for him upon a liberal commission. His 



202 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

sketches were dexterous enough in the smartest 
manner of the Boulevards, but so carefully toned 
down as to avoid even the possibility of a shock to 

English prejudices. 

He then, as I have said, secured himself a footing 
in the Ladies' College, and now dropped his trifles, 
and refused to paint anything but portraits at a rate 
by no means deterrent, but more than sufficient to 
enable him, either openly or secretly, to gratify all 
his tastes, which were those of the very worst, 
most selfish and most unscrupulous Parisian 
maquereau. Inter alia, as it turned out when his 
dossier was sent over by the Parisian police, he was 
acquainted with Toulon, and had been more than 
once suspected of crimes which, if proved, would 
have resigned him to travaux forces a perpetuite. 

This man had, according to all popular belief, 
carried on an intrigue for some months with 
Margaret Wilson, doing the best he could to ascer- 
tain her pecuniary position, and evidently intend- 
ing to go through the form of marriage with her if 
her fortune, when he could form an estimate of it, 
should justify him in the step. 

When he found that his prize was not as large as 
he had imagined, and that he could play his cards 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 203 

with better advantage elsewhere, he most brutally 
told the girl as much, and insisted that all relations 
between them should be broken off.] 

She wrote him a very artful letter, submitting 
fully to his prudence and better judgment, and, 
without any idle or irritating reproaches or com- 
plaints, but she sent him some keys by which he 
could gain admission to the house after dusk, and 
begged him, as a last favour, to visit her for the 
last time, in the dead of the night, and in her own 
room. 

There he sat, according to his own account, for 
about an hour, during which she pressed upon him 
a couple of glasses of wine. The night was chilly, 
and he hardly needed the pressing, but at last the 
sky began to lighten, and it was time for him to 
sneak away. He had hardly reached his own 
lodgings when he was seized with the most violent 
symptoms, and at once sent for medical aid, com- 
municating his suspicions to the doctors. The 
medical aid was too late. He had taken a dose of 
tartar emetic, enough to kill not one man, but half- 
a-dozen, and he died in agonies, which he fully 
deserved. 

The tartar emetic was found in him in quantities 



204 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

practically enormous, and, as he was about the last 
man to have committed suicide, and, in fact, died 
in the most abject terror, there was but one con- 
clusion at which prima facie to arrive. So, at all 
events, the magistrates thought, for they committed 
Miss Wilson to take her trial at the next 
Assizes. 

I had just mastered the case from the detailed 
reports in the Liverpool papers, and had, of course, 
formed my own conclusion on it, when my clerk 
informed me that a gentleman of the name of Jack- 
son had paid me a special retainer, and a very con- 
siderable fee, and wished to see me at once. 

I heard incidentally afterwards that the funds for 
the defence, which was extremely costly, involving 
the calling of many eminent experts, had been very 
liberally contributed to by the French Embassy, 
which happened to know all about Monsieur 
Daubray, and to be rather glad than otherwise that 
he was out of the way. 

Mr. Jackson was accordingly admitted. He was 
a portly man, respectably dressed, with an immensely 
fat face — apparently devoid of any expression — a 
solemn but extremely deferential manner and 
apparel, which, together with a heavy watch chain 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 205 

and a gold signet — he was entirely innocent of 
other jewellery — denoted extreme solvency. 

" This is a most sad case, sir," he commenced, 
clearing his throat, and with something like moisture 
in his eyes. " I never knew so sad a case in the 
whole of my long professional experience. But I 
have the assurance of the young lady herself — a 
most charming, accomplished, and, indeed, lovely 
girl, that she is entirely innocent, her own belief 
being that the miscreant committed suicide out of 
revenge, which seems possible enough to those who, 
like members of your learned profession, have to 
necessarily be familiar with every side of human 
nature. I have left the papers, sir, with your clerk, 
and with your permission will have a consultation, 
when you have mastered them ; and I have taken 
the liberty of asking yonr clerk to suggest two 
juniors to hold under you, which he has very kindly 
done, although," — and here he smiled discreetly — 
" it was certainly not professional conduct on my 
part to do as much. Meantime we wish for a writ 
under Palmer's Act, in order that the case may be 
tried in London. I hardly fancy the application 
will be opposed, as my affidavits are extremely 
strong. The local press has taken the matter up 



206 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

with the most extreme ignorance and virulence, and 
local opinion is so excited that meetings have 
actually been held, and speeches made, to say 
nothing of sermons in the local pulpits. All this, 
of course, makes our application little more than 
formal, but I have given due notice to the Crown, 
and will arrange with the Treasury solicitor to have 
the matter brought on at your convenience. I am 
afraid I shall have to trouble you with several 
farther consultations, but all that I will arrange 
with your clerk." 

And here Mr. Jackson rose to his feet and made 
me a most profound bow. 

" I will give the case all my attention, Mr. Jack- 
son," said I, " and as it is a matter of life aritl death, 
will let nothing interfere with my personal attend- 
ance at it." 

" You are too kind, sir. It's more than my client 
could have expected, but I will at once inform her, 
and relieve her mind, and she will, I am sure, be 
correspondingly grateful, as indeed she ought." 

And with this expression of opinion, Mr. Jack- 
son profoundly bowed himself out. 

As soon as Mr. Jackson had left, my clerk, Mr. 
Grutteridge, entered. Barristers' clerks are like 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 207 

Pharaoh's cattle, of two kinds, the lean kind and 
the fat kind, and Grutteridge certainly belonged to 
the sleeker variety. His appearance was that of a 
prosperous stockbroker, or of a wealthy merchant, 
and it was easy to see that the stagnation and de- 
pression of which the majority of his brother clerks 
were complaining had, at any rate, exercised no 
baleful influence upon him. 

The Bar at present is as severely depressed as are 
all other professions and occupations, and one sign 
of this depression is very noticeable. If you saunter 
leisurely through the Temple, you are almost cer- 
tain to come across a man past the prime of life, of 
unmistakably respectable demeanour, and whose 
apparel has obviously seen its best days. He is 
doing nothing. It is clear, indeed, that he is on 
the look out for a job, or is, to borrow the expressive 
phrase of Mr. Montagu Tigg, " round the corner." 
You meet him, let us say, in Essex Court. In 
Pump Court you will come across a second speci- 
men. There is a third waiting in a hopeless kind 
of way under Goldsmith Buildings. And there are 
almost sure to be a couple in King's Bench Walk, 
listlessly interested in the trees and the sparrows, 
but with the weather-eye wide open for anything 



208 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



that might turn up. These more or less dilapidated' 
individuals are barristers' clerks out of employment, 
and in quest of a new situation. Their last em- 
ployer has died, or has retired from practice, or has 
accepted a Colonial judgeship, and the unhappy 
clerk has found himself t out of employment, and 
with literally nothing to which he can turn his 
hand. 

The career of a barrister's clerk is extremely pre- 
carious. There are great prizes in it, no doubt. 
The clerk of a great leader will make fifteen hundred 
a year very easy by legitimate fees, and half as much 
again indirectly. Then, of course, if his master 
becomes a judge, he is permanently provided for. 
But the majority of barristers' clerks have a very 
hard time of it. They have usually commenced life 
as office boys at a few shillings a week. The office 
boy of the Temple is a gamin sui generis. His 
impishness is something absolutely incredible, his 
precocity miraculous, and his knowledge of the 
world worthy of a Queen's counsel and circuit 
leader. For most boys — stable boys, errand boys, 
shop boys, and other such varities of the genus — 
the law has its terrors. The office boy in the Tem- 
ple knows better. Familiarity has bred contempt 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 209 

in him, and he will even go so far as to contest the 
right of way upon the pavement with a city 
policeman. Of these promising young gentle- 
men a certain number are dismissed for petty 
offences. A few are convicted of theft and em- 
bezzlement, and disappear from the society they 
have enlivened. A still larger number abandon 
the law in disgust and take to more adventurous 
callings, — becoming sailors, or railway porters, 
or potmen, or enlisting, or otherwise adopting a 
buccaneer life. A select few take kindly to the 
law, and ultimately develope into barristers' clerks. 
The nominal duties of a barrister's clerk are very 
light. He has to wait upon his master, to aid him 
in robing and unrobing, to introduce clients to his 
notice, to receive the fees, and to account for them. 
His actual duties go very far beyond this. He is 
expected to act as a sort of factotum to his employer, 
to go messages for him, to make inconvenient ex- 
cuses for him, and generally to tell, or, indeed, to 
invent, any lie that may be necessary upon the 
spur of the moment. He must also make him 
acquainted with solicitors, and must ascertain which 
among that fraternity are respectable and likely to 

pay their fees, and which are of shady reputation 

14 



210 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

and not to be trusted at all, or at any rate beyond* 
a given limit. Barristers' clerks confer together 
upon these subjects, and have private black books of 
their own, far more terrible than any memoranda 
ever issued from the bureaux of Stubbs or Perry. 
But this is the mere fringe of the clerk's work. 
His real duty is to act as " bonnet " to the barrister, 
whom he serves. I use the term " bonnet " in no 
invidious sense. A chaperon is to a certain extent 
a " bonnet " to the young lady whom she escorts. 
It is a recognised part of her duty to represent the 
fair debutante as accomplished, amiable, affectionate, 
and generally possessed of all the cardinal virtues. 
She has, in short, to beat a big drum, and to dis- 
course music upon the pipes. The duties of the 
barrister's clerk are analogous. Whatever may be 
his own private opinion, he has to endeavour to 
make everybody believe in the immense capabilities 
profound learning, and consummate experience of 
his " governor." He has, in other words, to tout 
There are more ways than one of touting, and the 
best clerk is the one who displays the greatest 
amount of finesse in this difficult art. Much might 
be written on touting as one of the fine arts, 
dividing it into its kinds, and distinguishing 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 211 

between the clerk who hangs about bars in Fleet 
Street, chronicling his master's achievements, and 
the clerk who takes a promising solicitor to a Sunday 
dinner at Eichmond, captures a big brief with a 
cheque inside the red tape, and receives the ex- 
penses of the day as secret service money. These 
peculiar functions tend to create a special kind of 
intimacy between the clerk and his master. Many 
barristers on retiring from practice deal most 
handsomely by their clerks, starting them in a 
business, or otherwise providing for them. Others 
can no more dispense with their clerk than could 
Mr. Pickwick have dispensed with Mr. Samuel 
Weller. He has become a necessary part of their 
existence, or, to put it mildly, a necessary evil; 
and so, under one excuse or another, they continue 
to retain his services. And this affection is often 
reciprocal. I know of one instance, so recent, that 
I forbear to give the names, of a clerk who died 
without wife or family, and left all his savings — 
several thousand pounds — to his master. Indeed, 
the clerk is an informal partner with the barrister, 
and is often treated as such. 

The usual method of payment is for the barrister 

to guarantee his clerk a small sum. The clerk's 

14* 



212 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

fees beyond this amount are his own. Everything 
for him depends, of course, upon the success of his 
employer. The two are in the same boat. 

"I hope, sir," said Mr. Gutteridge, "that you 
will excuse my congratulating you upon getting 
this case. Ferret" (Ferret was clerk to Mr. 
Searcher, the famous criminal advocate) " told me 
this morning that his governor was instructed. I 
know Ferret's not too truthful, but I did believe 
him this time, and you could have knocked me over 
with a feather when Mr. Jackson called and told 
me what he had come about. I do indeed congratu- 
late you, sir." 

I thanked Mr. Gutteridge very cordially, for I 
knew that he was perfectly sincere, and that his 
joy at my good fortune was quite unalloyed with 
any selfish motive. 

" I am afraid it is too great a responsibility, 
G utteridge." 

" Not a bit of it, sir, not a bit of it ! If there's 
a solicitor in London who knows his business it's 
Mr. Jackson ; and when he picked you out, sir, he 
knew what he was about. Can you excuse me, sir, 
far a quarter of an hour ? " 

"Certainly, Gutteridge." So Mr. Gutteridge 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 213 

went out, and I have little doubt that his object 
was to fall across the mendacious Ferret, and to 
pulverise that gentleman with the weighty news 
of this eventful afternoon. 



Here, at any rate, was a case which, instead of 
putting judges together by the ears and adding 
to the already enormous bulk of Law Eeports, 
would probably involve no point of law whatever, 
which would be for awhile the cause celebre of 
Europe, and which was in itself extremely curious 
and interesting. 

So I took the papers, and as far as I could read 
through them for the first time, making brief notes 
in the margin with blue and red pencil. The de- 
positions came out only too clearly. The magis- 
trates would have grossly neglected their duty if 
they had dismissed the charge. But I could see my 
way to a defence sufficiently plausible in the lines 
so astutely suggested by Mr. Jackson; and it 
was a defence not at all unlikely to succeed, if made 
with boldness. 

Then I found myself dwelling on technical parts 
of the evidence, into which space forbids me now 



214 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

to enLer, although. I recollect them distinctly. And 
so I sat for several hours until I felt I knew enough 
of the matter to abandon it for the day. 

After dinner at the Windham, 1 visited ,the 
smoking-room, where conversation ran upon 
nothing but the case. Precluded from joining in 
the talk that was going on, I was yet a most at- 
tentive listener to it, and went away with a very 
good idea of the lines upon which I should have to 
deal with the jury. 

There is nothing so invaluable in practical life as 
the opinion of the man in the street; and the 
opinion of the man in the smoking-room of your 
club is. the next best to that of the man in the 
street which you can possibly get or even want. 

Fortified with much of this collective sagacity, I 
went home, seeing two things very clearly — that 
the guilt of Margaret Wilson was believed in with- 
out a doubt ; that her acquittal was universally 
desired, and that as for the no doubt inconveniently 
painful death of Daubray, there was a strong 
current of opinion to the effect that it only served 
him right. 

So far then my work with the jury would be com- 
paratively easy. My task would be to break down 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 215 

the facts as much as possible ; to badger the scien- 
tific witnesses for the Crown, and, on my own side, to 
get out as much as I could of the character of Dau- 
bray himself ; to put him at his worst before the jury, 
and to further bewilder, the average minds of the 
twelve good men and true, by calling as many 
scientific witnesses on my own side as I possibly 
could. 

I communicated these conclusions to Mr. Jackson 
the next morning, and he set to work with the 
greatest zeal, at once 'securing by telegraph the 
attendance of the Government expert in medical 
jurisprudence at Berlin, of two most eminent physi- 
cians from Paris, and of all the best talent in 
London, that was not already arrayed on the 
orher side. 

This would %f course cost money. " But money, 
sir," said Mr. Jackson, with a profundity worthy 
of Lord Burleigh himself, " is no object, abso- 
lutely no object whatever." And it certainly 
seemed as if this astute gentleman was thoroughly 
justified in his assertions, for I never knew a case in 
which money was spent more lavishly. When, for 
instance, the treasury, which is always late, set 
about finding medical experts to back its opinion, 



216 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

it found to its dismay that all the medical experts 
were on the other side. I fear, moreover, that one 
or two witnesses for the Crown, not of essential im- 
portance, but still valuable, found it necessary to 
disregard their recognizances and to pay a flying 
visit to France. It is scarcely necessary to add that 
this was a matter in reference to which I did 
not receive Mr. Jackson's confidences. 

Mr. Jackson let me know of the facts from day to 
day. " We have innocence on our side, no doubt," 
he observed, with a face that might have been 
carved out of solid granite. " We have innocence 
on our side, but I must admit that fortune also 
seems to favour us. And I am devoutly thankful 
to Providence that such should be the case." 

And then he shook his head and took snuff. 

Our application to have the case tried in London 
was of course successful. The possibility of preju- 
dice at Liverpool was too obvious for any number 
of affidavits to swear it away; and our own affidavits, 
as Jackson had told me, were practically unanswer- 
able. So I had now only to wait till the day 
came, and then go up to the Old Bailey and do 
battle. 

"Nor was it a case that required immense study. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 217 

It was not a campaign. It would rather be a sharp 
cavalry skirmish, needing nerve and dash, a steadily- 
balanced seat, a firm light left hand, and a heavy, 
swinging right. So that, as Mr. Jackson hinted with 
the greatest tact, it was far more important that I 
should come up to the scratch in good physical trim 
than that I should be worried with details. 

" I will leave the details, sir," he said, " to your 
learned juniors, and I will stick right below you 
myself in the well of the court, and never leave 
you for a minute. Take care of yourself, sir, and 
trust your humble servant." And with a bow com- 
bining at once humility, independence, and omnis- 
cience, Mr. Jackson backed himself out. 

The man had impressed me immensely. It could 
hardly be that he had missed his chances in life, 
or wasted them. He could never have had them. 
I could not help feeling that in many ways he was 
most distinctly my superior, and yet our system of 
society, which is as ridiculous as that of the Hindoos, 
had made me a Brahmin and him a criminal 
lawyer — a thing in English eyes little better than a 
Sudra. 

But the man somehow fascinated me. The case 
interested me ; and I saw the wisdom of his advice 



218 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

that I should look to my nerves rather than to my 
brief, and I acted upon it. 

A few days before the trial, I received a very 
long and sisterly letter from Susan. She was at 
Nice, but had read all about the case in the 
English papers ; and the Parisian papers, especially 
the Figaro and the Gazette des Tribunaux, which 
latter she was specially taking in, were full of it, 
and she saw that I had been retained. I 
had now, she said, the chance not of success, 
which I had already won, but of something like a 
brilliant trumph, something to show for once and 
for all what I was worth, and I must use it most 
carefully. 

" Curiously enough, I know something of Mr. 
Jackson," the letter went on. " He is immensely 
capable, entirely to be relied upon, and not in the 
least likely to mislead you by any over confidence of 
his own." Then she rattled on about other things. 

" I sometimes think," she concluded, " of retiring 
to a convent, not as a sister, but as a penitent. 
The idea, however, is only transitory. I am not 
conscious of any very great sins, and I am still very 
fond of life, in which, while I am free, I find the 
opportunities and have the power of doing good. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 219 

This would be a miserable world indeed if we could 
not do a little good in it without organised effort — 
I in my way, you in yours, and M. le Cure and M. 
le Prefet each in theirs. That you are doing good I 
am certain. All honest work is noble, if it be only 
sweeping out a stable or blacking boots. The sur- 
geon with his diplomas and his case of instruments 
is not higher in my mind than the dresser with his 
lint and sponges. But yours is work of the highest 
caste, and I think you have succeeded in it, because 
you were born to it. Gro on and succeed. I am too 
old and too fond of you to flatter you. — Yours 
always, 

" Susa> t Brabazon." 

If anything could have pulled me together for the 
trial, this letter would have done it. I may just 
add that after reading it over and over again I had 
put it into my watch-pocket, and went into Court 
with it (by a coincidence, for I am by no means 
superstitious) exactly over my heart. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

The day for the trial came, and I felt with mis- 
giving that the forces arrayed against me were 
distinctly formidable. The Attorney-Greneral, who 
led for the Crown, was a cold, clear-headed, calcu- 
lating man, with considerable presence, some pre- 
tensions to eloquence, and great readiness. Beyond 
these he had no virtues, not being a genius, as was 
Cockburn, or a born aristocrat, and consequently a 
bom gentleman, as was John Burgess Karslake. 

I speak of these two great men with a reverence 
which perhaps may not be apparent. They were 
the giants of my day, and I doubt if at the Common 
Law Bar, at any rate, they have ever had their 
equals. The Attorney-G-eneral's junior, or, as he is 
now commonly termed, " devil," Mr. E. L. Jones, 
was also a dangerous man, clear-headed, vigorous, 
and resolute, with inexhaustible power of work. 
Then there was Mr. Berners, an experienced stuff 
gown of any age, of exasperating accuracy in detail, 
and with a mind like a machine. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 221 

" When the jury," said Mr. Berners to me, " are 
told to consider their verdict, my work is over, and 
I really do not care twopence what that verdict may 
be. If there is a point of law to be reserved, that 
is quite another matter. The points of law are 
always interesting. They have nothing to do 
whatever with the merits of the case, and they con- 
sequently have for an impartial mind a charm of 
their own. Now I know, my dear fellow, as well 
as you ought to know, that your interesting client 
poisoned this scoundrel, and you and I are probably 
agreed that he richly deserved it. I suppose that 
line will be your red herring with the jury, although, 
of course, I am not asking. But I am concerned 
with the fact of the poisoning, and I want to see 
the jury convinced of it. I should lunch with the 
judge and sheriffs, if I were you. It's best to do 
so. And it prevents the piece being talked about 
between the acts, which is always undesirable." 

And Mr. Berners sorted his papers, and, for all 
men at the Bar develop funny little habits of their 
own, hoisted up the slack of his breeches as if he 
were a sailor. 

The judge, Sir John Manley, had an evil reputa- 
tion as a hanging judge. It was thoroughly un- 



222 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

deserved. He merely did his duty with an entire 
absence of mawkish sentiment. He was a strange 
mixture of contrarieties. He lived practically as 
alone as Mr. Tulkinghorn of Bleak House, in an 
immense mansion in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. He 
was supposed to be superior to every human in- 
firmity, and in many respects he resembled Igna- 
tius Loyola, just as intense frost resembles intense 
heat. His mind was as precise as a chronometer, 
and almost as insensible to external influences. In 
private life he was, if not austere, at all events, 
simple, almost to the point of ostentation. His 
only two weaknesses were horse-racing and fox 
terriers. Of the latter he had a strain of his own, 
and was seldom seen abroad in mufti without two or 
three of them at his heels. He also never missed 
a horse-race, and was understood to be confidential 
adviser to the Jockey Club, of which ornament to 
our civilisation he had been for many years an 
honorary member. 

He was a most unpleasant judge with whom to 
have to deal in such a case, but his clear-headed- 
ness was at any rate a gain. I believe that for 
the wretched prisoner he felt as little sympathy 
one way or the other as do the cocottes of Monaco 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 223 

for the miserable crippled pigeons that tumble 
into the sea beyond the limits of the shooting- 
ground. And yet there were strange streaks of 
humanity in him, of which perhaps the most re- 
markable was a detestation, amounting almost to 
hatred, of anything like cruelty, meanness, or 
oppression. This humanitarianism, if I may so 
term it, he carried into the minutest details of 
life, and he would devote a whole morning of his 
life to attending a police court, that he might give 
evidence against a costermonger for torturing a 
donkey. 

Thus everything would depend partly upon the 
humour he was in, and partly upon the particular 
view he might take of the case. 

Tartar emetic is a cruel poison. It tortures as 
well as kills, and this fact, was, of course, against 
us. On the other hand, mental torture, which the 
prisoner had undoubtedly suffered in its wickedest 
form, was a something that would make his blood 
boil and predispose him to almost take upon himself 
some of the functions of her advocate. I doubt 
upon the whole if we could have had a better 
judge. 

I may add, that I was personally acquainted with 



224 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Sir John Manley, who, when at the Bar, had been 
an intimate friend of my grandfather's, and I had 
received much kindness from him. 

The prisoner appeared in the dock in the plainest 
possible dress, and with a heavy veil, which she 
lifted to plead, and then let fall again. She was 
allowed a seat, and she never once changed or 
moved her attitude. The jury, for all that they 
could tell, might have been trying a veiled statue. 

The Attorney-General's opening was logical, 
dispassionate, and extremely dangerous. He began 
by telling the jury that they must dismiss from 
their minds, as he did from his, all sentiments 
except that of simple justice. He was there un- 
sworn to do his duty. They were there sworn upon 
their oaths to give a true verdict according to the 
evidence, and the evidence alone. And he then 
proceeded to weave his rope. 

Daubray was a man beneath human contempt, 
but not the less under the protection of the law. 
With his character they were not concerned. They 
had to try the simple issue of how he came by his 
death. He believed he should satisfy them beyond 
all possibility of doubt that the prisoner had the 
strongest reasons in the world for wishing to remove 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 225 

him out of her path. He should show them that 
she purchased clandestinely a poison well known as 
producing effects strikingly similar to those of 
ordinary disease, and one perpetually recurring in 
the dreary annals of criminal trials. He would 
prove that after she had possessed herself of this 
poison Daubray visited her at her own instigation. 
He returned home, and was almost immediately 
seized with the most violent and agonizing symptoms. 
He at once expressed his conviction that he had 
been poisoned, and that conviction was amply justi- 
fied by his almost immediate death and by the dis- 
covery of the poison in his body, in quantities that 
could leave no doubt it had been feloniously ad- 
ministered. What possible explanation of these 
facts, which could be proved down to their minutest 
detail, would be offered by his learned friends for the 
defence, it was not his part to anticipate. It would 
be for the jury to consider these facts in all their 
bearings, and to give their evidence in accordance 
with them. And these facts he would now establish 
to such demonstration as is possible in all human 
matters short of scientific problems. All he begged 
was for the jury to discharge their duty as impartially 

and with as little feeling as it was his hope, and he 

15 



226 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

might say his prayer, that he should discharge his 
own. 

I must confess that I had never before heard a 
more telling, powerful, and utterly unimpassioned 
address. 

Then came the evidence with which my reader is 
already acquainted, and which I will not again inflict 
upon him in detail. The judge, exasperated me, 
and at the same time I think did me good with the 
jury, by putting questions of his own intended to 
bring out little points which it seemed to him the 
prosecution had missed. But the evidence continued 
its course irresistibly, and I could not help wonder- 
ing whether the jury, being simple men on their 
oat lis, would be capable of resisting it. 

The one point to which I directed myself was the 
amount of tartar emetic taken, and in this I confess 
my object was rather to mystify the jury than to 
set up any theory of my own. The twelve good 
men and true got fairly bewildered by the amount 
of the drug that had been used. It had been enough 
to kill half-a-dozen men. How could one man have 
taken it without being aware of the fact, and how 
could he have got home without being overtaken by 
ts effects upon the road ? Might it not have been 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 227 

possible that he had taken the poison himself out of 
bravado, and knowing that in an overdose it was its 
own antidote, by the intense vomiting it produces ? 
I could see that they were ready, as Daubray's 
character came out, more and more to catch at an^ 
suggestion which would enable them to give the 
wretched girl the benefit of a doubt. 

I must here say that I am condensing a trial 
which began on a Monday and ended late on a 
Friday night, and that I do not wish to spin it out 
into many chapters, much less into a volume. 

By the time the evidence for the Crown was con- 
cluded, I had brought out more than enough in 
cross-examination to make the jury look upon Dau- 
bray as a noxious vermin whose death on any except 
legal grounds was a consummation to be devoutly 
sympatised with. If there is one offence more 
heinous in the eyes of an average Englishman than 
another, it is the crime of chantage, and of this they 
had clearly made up their minds that Daubray had 
been guilty. They must have jumped at this con- 
clusion, as there was no direct evidence of it, but 
they had evidently got it fixed in their heads, and I 
could see that it was working with them strongly in 

the prisoner's favour. 

15* 



228 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

We have all kinds of more or less absurd rules as 
to what may or may not be brought out in evidence 
upon a criminal trial. In theory, these rules are 
more or less admirable. In law treatises they are 
stated with the utmost perspicuity. But, as a 
matter of fact, in any trial of importance everything 
that the jury ought to know to aid them in their 
judgment, somehow comes out as clearly as if we had 
no rules of evidence whatever. The jury, in a 
dogged way, are determined to get at the whole 
truth, including anything collateral that may aid 
them, and it has been my experience that they 
invariably succeed. 

On the fourth day of the trial, a Thursday, I had 
to open my case for the defence, and I cannot even 
now refrain from briefly indicating the line I took. 

Beginning with the customary common-places, I 
told the jury I should invite them to believe that 
this miserable adventurer, seducer, and blackmailer 
had, as a last attempt, made a pretence of poisoning 
himself, and had carried his wicked attempt at 
intimidation and extortion too far. Upon this view 
I dwelt in all its probabilities, until I could see 
that the twelve good men and true had thoroughly 
got hold of it, and were prepared to clutch at it if 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 229 



they could possibly see their way to do so. And I 
then ventured upon what, looking back even at this 
time, I cannot but consider a coup. 

Daubray, I invited the jury to believe, had 
persuaded his victim to buy the poison herself, at 
different places, and in her own name ; telling her 
that he wanted it, and adding that as an alien, and 
not favourably known in the town, he would have 
difficulties himself in its purchase. He had then, 
meeting her by his own appointment, and having 
received the drug from her, threatened, with that 
love of theatrical effect which is so innate in 
Frenchmen of the worst type, to take the whole 
dose upon the spot, unless she consented to all his 
demands. I reminded them that the threat of 
suicide is the dernier ressort of a French adven- 
turer, and is one to which they almost invariably 
have recourse. Supposing he had carried out this 
vile design, was it not possible that he might have 
drunk the dose in her presence, perhaps miscalcu- 
lating its full strength, perhaps intending that the 
very amount of the poison might prove its own 
antidote ? I then sketched the state of mind of his 
victim, more horror-struck than ever, with not only 
shame upon her head, but with the scaffold clearly 



230 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

in her path, powerless, bewildered, and incapable of 
action — paralysed in mind, and probably even in 
limb, by the horror of the situation and its terrible 
dangers. 

Daubray, I suggested, finding that to reason with 
her was hopeless, and fearing that to stay with her 
would be dangerous, had, hurried home. The 
agonies of death had come upon him even in that 
brief journey. He had hurriedly sent for medical 
aid, and had died with a lie upon his perjured lips, 
endeavouring to take away the life itself of the girl 
whom he had blackmailed, ruined, and betrayed. 
The whole facts of the case, and the whole ante- 
cedents of the man, harmonised with this theory. 
It left no fact unexplained, or unaccounted for. It 
contradicted no single fact that had been deposed 
to in evidence. It was complete in itself, and if 
they found it so, it was their duty to give credence 
to it, and to acquit the young girl in the dock of 
the terrible crime of which she stood charged. Her 
young life and her fair fame were in their hands, 
and were infinitely more valuable than the life of 
the miscreant who, as I begged them to believe, 
had terminated his wretched career with malice and 
murder in his heart, and with a lie trembling on his 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 231 

lips as he had passed to a tribunal higher and more 
infallible than any on earth. 

The most tragic of criminals have a cruelly 
matter-of-fact side. I sat down, so the papers said, 
amidst applause, which was immediately suppressed 
by the officers of the court. But I could see that I 
had not mistaken my effect upon the jury. Then I 
turned my glance to the left, where the prisoner 
was seated, veiled and motionless, in the dock. 
Then I looked up at the bench, and in spite of the 
strain of mind that was upon me, could not refrain 
from a start. 

Seated by one of the Sheriffs, with the customary 
large bouquet of flowers which is a relic of the old 
days when the court was strewed with herbs as an 
antidote to the gaol fever, was a lady with her veil 
down, but whom I none the less recognised at once. 
It was Suzan Brabazon. 

I hurried out of court, which was adjourned at 
the end of my speech, and I hunted up and down 
through the corridors and lobbies, and made every 
inquiry, but without result. All I could gather was 
that the lady had come in with a sheriff's order — 
which it is not at all a difficult thing to procure — 
that her brougham had been waiting in the yard all 



232 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

the morning, and that she had driven away the 
moment the court had risen. 

There was nothing to be done for it but to go 
through the solemn mid-day luncheon with the 
judge, sheriffs, and aldermen in the aldermen's 
private room. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

When this repast was concluded, the court re- 
assembled, and I began to call my few scientific 
witnesses — few but admirably selected by Mr. Jack- 
son. That gentleman sat below me with solemn, 
stolid confidence on his vast expanse of features, 
and my witnesses certainly did their work uncom- 
monly well. 

They all declared that the facts were perfectly 
consistent with my theory ; that tartar emetic is a 
poison most uncertain and capricious in its action; 
that most minute doses of it have proved fatal, 
and that large doses of it have been taken with 
impunity, and of both these propositions, they 
cited any number of instances in proof. It was a 
poison which when used by murderers had always 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 233 

been given in very minute doses, and at intervals, 
being what is known to toxicologists as a slow 
poison. In this way it often escapes detection, 
eliminating itself from the system while its mur- 
derous effects are still going en. And there is 
little doubt that it was antimony in the form of 
tartar emetic which was the Aqua Tofana of the 
Middle Ages. 

They were very profound in their manner and 
demeanour, were these gentlemen. Some of them 
gave their evidence through an interpreter, but the 
majority spoke very slowly but most intelligibly in 
strongly-accentuated English. They puzzled the 
jury, but they did no more. 

I briefly summed up their evidence, and the 
Attorney-General, either from courtesy, or because 
he had exhausted all that he could urge, did little 
more than remind the jury of their terrible re- 
sponsibility, disclaim any attempt on his own part 
to give colour to the case, and generally remind 
them of the gravity of the issue and the sacred 
nature of the oath. 

And now came the turn of Mr. Justice Manley. 
His lordship was almost ostentatiously impartial, 
and yet it was only too clear that his own mind 



234 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

was made up. I could find no fault with what he 
said ; I could take no exception to it, but I in- 
wardly feared that it was telling against the 
motionless statue in the dock, and I knew his 
lordship well enough to know that it was intended 
to do so. 

The jury listened with profound attention, and 
retired without asking any irrelevant or foolish 
questions. 

It was seven o'clock when they left. Mr. Justice 
Manley retired to his private room, and the jury 
to consider their verdict. The crowd in court 
produced flasks, oranges, and other comestibles, and 
began to discuss the case in all its bearings, and 
the probability of the verdict, as is their invariable 
habit. 

" Let us come out into the corridor, sir," said 
Mr. Jackson. " These lunatics have come for a 
hanging match. But I think you have won on the 
post." 

For an hour I paced with Mr. Jackson up and 
down the cool matted corridors. Mr. Jackson was 
confident that we should win. I was more than 
doubtful. 

" I know the average British dunderhead better 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 235 

perhaps than you do," said he. " Our doctors have 
fogged them a little. The fellow was a thorough- 
paced blackguard, which is a thing they naturally 
dislike, and he was a foreigner, which in these days 
of foreign competition, is a thing your British 
tradesman hates, as he hates co-operative stores, 
or anything that touches his pocket. The be- 
haviour of our client was perfect : it could not 
have been better, and told vastly in her favour. If 
the jury can let her off, they will, but it will be 
a bad sign if they're over an hour. They are 
bound to wait a considerable time for decency's 
sake." 

For an hour almost to the minute we had to pace 
up and down. Then it was announced that the 
jury had arrived at their verdict, and were coming 
back, so we too quickly returned to court. 

The prisoner stood at the bar of the dock, 
immovable, and with her eyes looking out before 
her into space. Even now I can recollect the 
extreme beauty of her face. Her hair was brushed 
plainly back, as you can see the hair in the Greek 
statues of Artemis. Against her closely-fitting 
black dress and small black bonnet, her clearly-cut 
features showed out with a terrible paleness. Mr. 



236 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Justice Manley was evidently as anxious as anyone 
else, and to those who know that learned ornament 
to the bench, I need hardly say more. 

" Gentlemen of the jury," asked the clerk of 
arraigns, after the names had been called over, "are 
you all agreed upon your verdict ? " 

" We are," answered the foreman resolutely. 

"Do you say that the prisoner at the bar is 
guilty of the wilful murder of Achille Daubray, or 
not guilty ? " 

" Not guilty," replied the foreman firmly. 

Then several things happened at once. The 
clerk of arraigns uttered the formula, "You say 
that she is not guilty, and that is the verdict of 
you all ; " Mr. Justice Manley held up his hand 
imperatively ; and the ushers shouted silence, which 
was preserved in court, although the roar of the 
crowd outside rendered his lordship's metallic notes 
barely audible. 

" You have had a long and responsible duty," he 
said ; " and I will give orders that you are exempted 
from further service at this court for a very con- 
siderable period." 

The jury bowed their acknowledgments and 
scrambled out of the box. The judge hurried away 



JACK AND TflUEE JILLS. ,237 

through his private door. I turned my eyes to the 
dock, but the acquitted woman had disappeared. I 
looked into the well. Mr. Jackson had vanished 
also. Then, to avoid the crowd, I clambered up on 
the judge's bench, and retired to the robing-room. 
There was Mr. Jackson at the door. I shook hands 
with him cordially. 

" Our client wishes me to thank you, sir," he said. 
" I wish to congratulate you on the most brilliant 
and powerful speech I have ever heard. I will do 
myself the honour of seeing your clerk to-morrow 
morning." And Mr. Jackson bowed his departure. 

I unrobed hurriedly, and was driven off not to 
the Windham, where I should have been pestered 
with questions, but to a restaurant, where nobody 
could come and interrupt me or bother me with his 
own criticisms and opinions. Then I solemnly and 
in silence enjoyed an excellent dinner and a bottle of 
burgundy. An immense weight was off my mind, 
and I was proportionately relieved. And then — so 
wayward are the caprices of re-action — I went round 
to a friend's club, where I was little known, and 
played a game or two at pool, with varying luck. 
For, now that the thing was over, my hand was not 
as steady as it might have been. 



238 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

* 

The pool finished, I lit a cigar, bade my friend 
good-night, sauntered back to Chapel Street, and 
went to bed most prosaically. My only interruption 
was on the doorstep, where my landlord was waiting 
to catch me. 

" All London's talking of it, sir," said that gentle- 
man. " They're crazy about it. I humbly offer 
you my congratulations. What time in the morning 
would you like to be called ? " 

My landlord was, as a rule, a most undemon- 
strative man and his kindly thoughtfulness so 
affected me that I could scarcely answer him, but I 
managed to name my usual hour, and went upstairs. 
And so ended what had certainly been, one way or 
another, the most eventful day in a not altogether 
uneventful life. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

When I woke in the morning, which was at about 
a quarter to nine — for I had slept rather later than 
usual — I still felt a little played-out, more with 
triumph, I believe, and the reaction of it, than with 
exertion. 

I rang the bell, and my landlord made his ap- 
pearance with a number of letters, and the an- 
nouncement that my clerk was waiting. My clerk 
brought good news. There were only two matters 
that day which had required my personal attention, 
and he had already adjourned one of them by 
consent, and handed over the other to a brother 
barrister, with whom T frequently exchanged work. 
Thus, then, my day was clear, and I resolved that I 
would make an absolute holiday of it. 

With this virtuous resolve upon me, I ensconced 
myself comfortably in the pillows, and began to 
open my letters. First I took those which were 
obviously circulars or on business, looked at them 
and tossed them aside. This left a remainder of 



210 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

only three. One was from Mr. Justice Manley, 
marked " Strictly Private," congratulating me on 
my success, but concluding with the emphatic 
words, "All the same, young gentleman, you 
cheated justice." Another, long and passionate, 
but very sensible, was from my client herself. It was 
the sort of letter a young woman might be expected 
to write under such circumstances, and concluded 
by begging that I would not trouble myself to 
answer it. The third was, as I had seen from the 
address, from Susan Brabazon, and I turned myself 
round in bed to read it leisurely, for she must have 
sat up till late to write it, as there were many pages 
of it. 

It began by telling me what I had not known — 
that she had been unable to resist coming over 
from Nice on purpose to hear the case, and through 
the city influence of her bankers, had managed to 
secure a seat on the bench throughout its whole 
course, although, perhaps, I had not noticed her. 
Then she expressed her opinion on the case itself, 
which was very shrewd and clever, but which I need 
not give in detail. Evidently she was of opinion 
that strictly legal justice had been baffled. Then 
followed some pleasant reminiscences of our old 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 241 



days in Bayswater and elsewhere, and then came 
the postscript, in which is always to be found the 
object of a woman's letter. 

" I am in town for a few days, and as I have paid 
you the compliment of giving several of these to 
yourself, I wish you would manage to give one of 
those that are left to me. Let us spend a day after 
the old fashion. You shall drive me out somewhere 
into the country, and we will dine at a roadside inn 
off roast fowl and potatoes and apple tart, and other 
such rural fare. I am hungry for an inn with a 
signboard flapping over the doorway, and a touch 
of rustic simplicity about it." 

The letter was dated from Claridge's, a very few 
minutes' walk from my lodgings, and I at once sent 
round a messenger with a note to say that I would 
come as soon as I was dressed, and would drive her 
out when she pleased. 

" We will have," said I, as I picked out a com- 
fortable tweed suit, with appropriately countrified 
additions, " a rustic day of it ;" and having finished 
my toilette, I at once hurried round to some stables 
in Piccadilly where I was well known, and selected 
as neat a tandem and as comfortable a dog-cart as 
could be put together. With this equipage, and 



242 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

my groom with Napoleonically-folded arms on the 
back seat, looking as if the whole turn-out, including 
myself, belonged to him, and he had yesterday 
snatched the verdict in person, I trotted round and 
drew up at the door of Claridge's in the very best 
Essex style — and most Essex men know how to 
drive. 

Mrs. Brabazon did not keep me waiting in the 
coffee-room three minutes. She hurried down, 
charmingly dressed in dark-grey silk, a long otter- 
skin jacket, gauntlet gloves, and a compact little 
black bonnet of the style which will hand down to 
immortality the name of Maria Hamm. 

At her entry, the waiter conveniently and dis- 
creetly withdrew. There happened to be no one 
else in the room, and she seized me by both hands 
and gave me a most hearty kiss. 

" You did it splendidly, Jack," she said ; " splen- 
didly ! She was guilty, of course, though I mustn't 
ask you, but I declare you almost made me believe 
her innocent. At all events, you proved that there 
wasn't evidence on which to hang a — well, let us 
say a torn cat, and you look as fresh after it all as if 
nothing had happened. It's wonderful ! I suppose 
it's practice." 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 243 

These were genuine compliments, and I liked 
them. They made me feel as I told her, several 
inches taller, and proportionately important. Then 
we went through our paraphernalia, as all travellers 
should, and we sallied into the street. My groom 
was standing at the leader's head, an assistant ostler 
from the hotel yard was by the wheeler. 

Mrs. Brabazon was in her seat in a moment. I 
followed her, gathered up the reins, gave my whip 
a fresh double thong worthy of the Yorkshire road, 
and away we went, my groom clambering up behind, 
and then assuming an air which seemed to say 
" find a better turn-out than this, if you can." 

We rattled pleasantly through the streets, until 

we came into the open country, and we shaped our 

course for a pleasant little village which I know in 

Hertfordshire, not many miles beyond Hendon, 

with its so-called lake. The place I selected was 

not altogether inappropriate, as it was many years 

ago the scene of a murder which set not London 

only, but England, and not England only, but 

Europe, talking and wondering. I mean the murder 

of Weare, the gambler, by his companions, Hunt, 

Thurtell, and Probert. The place is called Ellstree, 

and near it is a little wood, exquisite in the 

16* 



244 .TACK AND THREE JILLS. 

summer time, but bearing the un-idyllic name of 
Boreham. 

Although only the beginning of February, the 
sun was shining brightly, the roads were dry and 
hard, and the horses' feet rattled on them. In the 
leafless trees and along the leafless hedges the birds 
were noisy, and now and again we could hear the 
querulous cackle of a blackbird scuttling along the 
hedge, disturbed by our clatter, or in the fallows, 
the cheep of the partridge and the shrill note of 
the corncrake. 

We passed neither magpie, crow, nor any other 
bird of evil omen, and I never even now can 
remember in my life a brighter, happier drive. 
Everything was perfect in its way — the weather, 
the scenery, and, although I say it, the Napoleonic 
groom, and the horses, who had evidently worked 
together before and were thoroughly accustomed to 
each other. 

We pulled up at the door of the Eed Lion, and 
the landlord hurried out, as befitted the importance 
of a visit from persons of superior quality. He 
could give us, he explained, a dinner which he 
thought we should really like. We must not think 
that the resources of his house were limited. He 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 215 

could produce spring soup, eels, a mutton cutlet, 
which we should find it hard to beat, a couple of 
his own spring chickens, with mushrooms and 
pastry. And he had some wine which he could 
recommend. He knew what was proper, for he had 
been a gentleman's servant himself, and his house 
was much frequented in the summer. Might I 
Leave things to him, and at what hour would we 
like dinner? 

I named the time when twilight would be closing, 
and then Susan and I started for a stroll along the 
Hertfordshire roads, which were dry and hard under 
foot, and as yet innocent of dust. 

For a while we talked about everything — about 
the great case, and the judge (with whom Susan 
had fallen in love), and the counsel engaged in it ; 
about the latest burlesque, and the latest novel ; 
about Nice, where Susan had been stopping, and 
Monte Carlo, where she had been playing carefully 
and losing steadily. Then we talked about the old 
boarding-house days at Bays water, and she broke 
out into a laugh so loud and merry that it almost 
made the few echoes in the neighbourhood ring. 

" I have something to tell you about that," she 
said. 



246 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

" What is it ?" I asked. 

" I will tell you after dinner. It is too good to 
be told now." 

Then, as the time was drawing in, we sauntered 
back to the inn. The rustics in that neighbourhood 
are doltish, and we were unknown ; and I have some 
sort of a dim recollection that we walked hand in 
hand like children going to church. I know that 
we made a short cut through some fields, which 
involved one stile and two swing gates, and that 
I sternly exacted toll at each. There was something 
Theocritean about the whole day and its surround- 
ings, and so at last we found ourselves at the inn. 

How we loitered over our dinner ; how thoroughly 
we enjoyed it; how we chattered; how we had the 
landlord in, and complimented him, and made him 
drink an immense tumbler of his wine and light 
one of my cigars, and give us his views on the 
ministry and the agricultural crisis ; how we had the 
tandem brought round ; how, when we were seated, 
the landlord's wife made her appearance with a 
bunch of early violets and small glasses of hot milk 
punch, brewed from a special recipe of her grand- 
mother's, and warranted to keep out the evening 
damp j how we rattled off, and how merrily we 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 247 

bowled along the road, downhill for almost its 
entire extent, till we drew up at the portals of 
Claridge's, are things I cannot tell in detail ; but 
it was a happy day, and will remain written 
as such for ever on the "remembering tablets of 
my mind." 

" Come in for a minute," said Susan, and in I 
went. 

" To-morrow is Sunday,"' she continued. " You 
cannot be wanted in court to-morrow ; come and 
dine with me. Come early, and take me for a walk 
in the Park first. I want to keep you out of the 
company of flatterers and time-servers, or else this 
success of yours will be turning your young head." 

" Well," I laughed, " I will be here at three, and 
we will go for a walk if it's fine, or,J will sit indoors 
with you if it is wet. By the way, you have not 
told me about your joke in reference to the Bays- 
water establishment." 

She burst out laughing again. 

" A demain. It is a full-flavoured tale. I will 
tell it you in the Park if it is fine, and here if it is 
wet. Now, go away with you, and be punctual to- 
morrow." 

" And I too," I added, " have something to 



24.8 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



tell you about myself — something really most 
important." 

" What is it, Jack ? " she asked, with an imme- 
diate change in her voice. 

"I will keep it till to-morrow, after you have told 
me your own story. If it does not astonish you, 
why, as the elder Mr. Weller observed, < I am one 
Dutchman and you are another,' and that's just all 
about it." 

" I am no Dutchman, Mr. Severn," she retorted, 
drawing herself up to her full height, with a mock 
air of injured dignity that was very comical. 

" I never said you were," I answered. " On the 
contrary, I know better." 

" You ought to have your face slapped for your 
impertinence. Be punctual to-morrow by way of 
penance." 

And so I strolled round to Chapel Street, and 
found, amongst other things, a telegram from 
Paris. It was from Mr. Cyrus Napoleon Washington 
Q. Kock, who was so fond of his names that they ap- 
peared in the missive in full. The body of the 
communication was as follows : — 

"Magnificently done, my son. Everybody here 
wild about it. If you were a born citizen we should 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 249 

run you for President. Elizabeth agrees. We are 
both chirpy. Write to us, and expect letter. Paris 
good enough, but not a patch on Saratoga. 
Everybody rather English here, except us Yanks. 
Kindest regards and congratulations from both 
of us." 

" He is an old trump," I said, as I clambered into 
my bed, and what was more, I meant it. 



CHAPTER XXYI. 

" The next day being Sunday," as Eobinson Crusoe 
would have it in his diary, I made my appearance 
at Claridge's at the appointed hour. It happened 
to be a very beautiful day indeed, and Susan and I 
proceeded at once to those glorious gardens of the 
Botanical Society in the Eegent's Park, where we 
wandered about on the thick velvety grass, which 
by this time had lost its morning dampness, for the 
sun was shining brightly. And we strayed through 
the tropical house, where the immense bananas and 
other palms tower up over your head, and we visited 
the water-lily house and inspected the gigantic 
leaves of the Victoria lily. 



250 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

The great charm of the Eegent's Park, and of 
the Botanical Gardens in particular, has always 
been to my mind the enormous number of birds to 
be found there unsuspected in the centre of 
London's wilderness of houses. I believe there is 
hardly a British bird wanting, except perhaps such 
rare things as the golden eagle or the night herorj, 
or local varieties, such as the Cornish chough and 
the Eoyston crow. 

As we walked up and down, the little nut-hatch, 
with its bright eye and lissom neck, darted about 
the bark ; great thrushes hopped about almost 
under our very feet ; the wood-pigeons answered 
one another in the elms ; and upon the ornamental 
water, utterly regardless of the native and accli- 
matised swans, geese, and ducks, a pair of saucy 
dab-chicks were bobbing up and down, and scutter- 
ing to and fro like schoolboys just turned out of 
school. 

It was like a glorious patch from the heart of a 
forest transplanted by magic to the centre of 
London, and dressed with the gardener's most con- 
summate skill. If you want to see the place at its 
worst, go when marquees have been erected and 
bunting is flying, and the so-called beau monde of 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 251 

London is en fSte, and three or four bands of the 
household troops are making evening hideous with 
valses and operatic selections. To-day we had the 
place practically to ourselves. 

" Jack," she said, " business before pleasure, as 
the schoolmaster said who always did his flogging 
in the quarter of an hour before dinner. Let me 
hear what you have to say." 

I felt a little awkward, but the thing had to be 
done, so I told her as briefly and yet as fully as I 
could about my engagement to Miss Eock. 

" Do you care for her, Jack ? " 

" Yes, I honestly think I do, as much as I am 
ever likely or should have been ever likely to care 
for any woman in the world except yourself. She 
is good-looking, naturally clever, without being 
brilliant, has an admirable temper, so far as I can 
judge, is fond of animals and treats them kindly, 
which is always a good sign in a woman, and, as I 
need not tell you, has any amount of money. Eock, 
her father, is shrewd but genuine, and his good 
qualities are very sterling." 

"I believe you are right," she answered. "I 
happen to know some people who have met them 
both in the States and here, and who have all given 



252 JACK AND THKEEI JILLS. 

me pretty much the same account. For Mr. Eock 
having made his pile, and having realised it and 
stuck to it, is more or less a marked man wherever 
he goes." 

" He is not at all ostentatious about his pile," I 
answered, rather deprecatingly. " He is as simple 
as a schoolboy." 

" All Americans of the true grit are. It is your 
shoddy man, only fat for 'down-city,' who gives 
himself airs and puts on side. Whatever the Eocks 
may be, they are not shoddy." This opinion I 
most cordially endorsed. "And Miss Eock, too," 
she continued, " is good-looking I know, for I have 
seen her photographs in any number. They were 
conspicuous at Walery's and Disderi's ; and I hear 
she is accomplished." 

" Eather say naturally clever," I replied. 

" She is that too, but she is accomplished as well. 
Americans are immensely particular over the educa- 
tion of their children, far more than we in England 
are. Well, Jack, you have done wisely in every 
way, and I congratulate you with all my heart. 
Yours were capital pigs, no doubt, if one may be 
vulgar in this lovely place, but you have managed 
to bring them to a very excellent market." 



JACK AND THREE; JILLS. 253 

I don't ask my reader to believe it, but I am 
satisfied in my own mind that Susan Brabazon was 
perfectly sincere in her congratulations. 

" And what was it you had to tell me about 
Bayswater ? " I asked, feeling it time to turn the 
conversation. 

" Ah, I must tell you ; and it's a story only to be 
told in the open. I shall laugh over it till the day 
of my death. Well, I went round to the old 
boarding-house to ask after a stray volume or two : 
I had left them by accident. I had Bruno with 
me, an immense St. Bernard that I have lately 
bought, the size of a calf, but as gentle as a kitten 
I purchased him in the Lower Alps; and I had 
with me a rather formidable dog-whip, which I 
carry for show rather than use, and it has a 
swivel in the butt which makes it handy as a 
leash." 

" I know the kind of instrument," I replied ; " it 
is made of any number of strings, and knotted like 
a Eussian knout." 

" You are quite right," she answered, half choking 
with suppressed laughter. " Well I went round, 
and old Bruno lay down on the steps outside, and 
in I went, and while I was waiting in the frowsy old 



234 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

dining-room who should come in but the M'Lachlan 
in all her war-paint." 

" And what did you say to her ? " 

(< Why, I took with me her precious epistle to 
Miss Vivian, so I pulled it out and asked her as 
gravely as a judge whether that was her name and 
her handwriting. She turned as red as a peony and 
then as white as a sheet. Then she pulled herself 
together and said : ' Yes, madam, it is ; and in doing 
my duty, I hope 1 have been a humble instrument 
in the hands of Providence for doing good.' Well, 
Jack, her impudence put me in such a rage that I 
felt the strength of a giant on me. I hauled her 
over my knees like a naughty child, held her firm 
in spite of all her wrigglings and squirmings, and 
gave her a good half-dozen with Bruno's whip. Her 
language, when she had shaken down her skirts, 
was such as I cannot repeat. ' Swear away, madam,' 
said I, as coolly as nesd be ; 'it will take more than 
all your swearing to rub out those marks ; and re- 
collect that if you go to a police magistrate for 
redress, you will have to show them to him in 
open court, which I should think your old- 
established maiden modesty would revolt from. 
If you write any more letters about me, aud I 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 255 

hear of it, I will come round and repeat the 
dose ! " 

I laughed till the tears rolled down my cheeks. 

" And what did she do ? " 

" Well, you see, Jack, my child, she couldn't 
exactly sit down — I doubt if she'll achieve that 
operation for seme few days to come, for I must 
almost have flayed her. But she waddled out of the 
room with as much clannjsh dignity as was possible 
under the circumstances, stumbling over the maid- 
of-all-work, whose eye, I suppose, had been glued 
to the key-hole the whole time. The two sprawled 
together on the mat. Besides, just as I was going 
out of the door, that good-natured bookmaker came 
in and asked me how I was and what I was laughing 
at, and admired my " dawg." So I told him I was 
well, thanked him for his compliment to Bruno, 
and advised him to ask Sarah, or else Miss M'Lach- 
lan herself, what bad happened, for I could not 
exactly tell him myself. He went in with a broad 
grin on his features, and of course the story will be 
all over the neighbourhood. I fancy the M'Lachlan 
will have to seek fresh fields and pastures new, as 
soon as she is able to dispense with the diachylon 
and to get about again." 



256 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

The broad humour of the scene was so ir- 
resistibly comic that we both burst out into 
peals of laughter, which fairly scared the water 
fowl. 

" Well Jack, that was business, and as we've no 
more business to talk over, I vote for pleasure. I 
can't ask to be one of your wife's bridesmaids, . I'm 
afraid, but there's no reason why we shouldn't have 
a good evening of it to-night. I leave for Eome to- 
morrow. Let us kill time before dinner, for the 
grass is getting damp." 

So we killed time for the rest of that day very 
innocently. First we drove straight to the Langham, 
where we had the orthodox tea. Then we made our 
way to Claridge's, where I sat with her until dinner 
time. We were waited upon at dinner by a gentle- 
man, with assistants under him, of course, who 
must have somehow missed his mark in life. Nature 
clearly intended him, from his solemn features, 
down to his portly chest and statuesque calves, for a 
shovel hat. And his demeanour was archiepiscopally 
grave and impressive. 

Dinner over, this functionary — for waiter I cannot 
bring myself to call him in cold blood — reverentially, 
and almost sacrificially, placed the claret jug on a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 257 

small table before the fire, arranged the dessert, and 
retired. 

It is Dickens who says that a waiter never either 
runs or walks, but that he possesses a mysterious 
power of skimming in and out of the room which 
is altogether unknown to other mortals. This 
power our waiter possessed in an almost supernatural 

degree. 

Then Susan betook herself to the piano, and half 

played, half improvised to me while I smoked. She 
bad an exquisite touch, and a natural genius for 
music. And then we sat talking on, not about any- 
thing in particular, until the clocks struck twelve, 
when we parted, after the fashion of sworn brothers 
and sisters, but as natural brothers and sisters very 
seldom do part in this world, so far as my experience 
goes. 

" It has been such a happy day," said Susan, 
" that I shall go to sleep at once instead of ruining 
my eyes by reading in bed." 

"And I," I replied, "will be a good boy, and 
follow your example." 

I was as good as my word; but I rose next 

morning early, and after my canter in the Eow, 

stopped at Solomon's, and then left my card at 

17 



258 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

Claridge's with, a pretty bouquet of exotics, orchids, 
and early blossoms from the Riviera, with a short 
note to say that I had kept my word and slept 
soundly, not even dreaming of the M'Lachlan. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

I saw Susan off by the evening mail from Victoria, 
and being now entirely alone in London, reverted 
to my regular work. The latter, familiar as I now 
was with all routine and with any point of law 
likely to arise, was yet hard enough, by reason of 
its very bulk. Besides, I had to attend in Parlia- 
ment for the divisions, and occasionally to speak 
upon any legal matter that might crop up. Thus I 
came to make the House my club, and a very 
pleasant club it is — the most comfortable and 
luxurious certainly, if not the most select, in 
London. 

The Eocks had gone to the Eiviera, where they 
were to stay till Easter, that we might then meet 
in Paris. Elizabeth wrote to me, I think more or 
less every day. I, with a touch of business in my 
habits, wrote every day at greater or less length 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 259 



usually less — and took care to keep her posted up 
in my doings. 

But my life was matter of sufficiently eventful 
routine until Easter set me free, and then I hurried 
off to Paris to meet my fiancee and her father, 
taking up my quarters at Hotel Meurice. The 
Kocks had not as yet arrived, but were expected 
at the Grand. 

I idled away my time until they came. To idle 
in Paris is a science yielding extremely pleasant, if 
not exactly profitable, results. My tastes were 
simple and sedate. I made a few purchases, 
mostly cheap ones, out of curiosity and idleness 
more than because I wanted the things. I went 
one evening to the Hippodrome ; saw Bidel banging 
his lions about, and actually persuaded him to do 
me the honour of having supper with me. 

He was much, poor fellow, after the best type of 
our English prize-fighters ; very modest and reticent 
about his prowess, but evidently proud of it, and as 
simple as a schoolboy. He left a singular, but very 
lasting, impression on me. 

Then, too, I a bit astonished the Parisians by 
driving about tandem in my best Essex style. The 

French are now admirable four-in-hand whips — as 

\7* 



260 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

good, indeed, as ourselves ; but for tandem, with a 
lightly-running dogcart, they seem somehow not to 
have the nerve. 

I had not been thus killing time for three days 
before the Rocks arrived, having duly notified me 
of their coming by any number of telegrams. And 
then we had what Mr. Rock called " a time of it," 
and " went through over Paris fair and straight and 
square." 

As everybody must know what this means, I 
need hardly dwell upon the details. There is 
always a youthful element in Americans, especially 
among those who have made their fortune early in 
life, which asserted itself very strongly in Mr. Rock, 
cropping up to the surface like rich metal through 
quartz, and bursting out in an irrepressible jet at a 
moment's notice, like the petroleum with which he 
filled his tubs. 

He was decorous, of course, as became the father 
of a marrigeable, and, in fact, an engaged daughter, 
but he was brimming over with wild fun and animal 
spirits, which with his native shrewdness made him 
intensely amusing. 

We had, as he himself emphatically said, all the 
fun of the fair — the World's Fair, Paris, which so 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. £61 

strangely resembles in many respects the Vanity 
Fair of John Bunyan. 

But the days although busy were very pleasant; 
and what I may honestly and straightforwardly call 
my attachment for Elizabeth Rock grew in strength 
continually. She was then a charming girl, as she 
is now a charming woman, and it was a pleasure 
to be with her, which is more than you can say of 
many of her sex, as those who are the best able to 
judge are usually the first to admit. 

Mr. Rock's experiences of Monte Carlo were 
peculiarly amusing and edifying, and I can hardly 
help giving them, with some condensation, in more 
or less his own words. 

"Wal, squire," said he, " I've played poker and 
euchre, likewise monte. I've played them in 
Bowery, and on Mississippi steamers. Likewise 
I've shot the tiger at 'Frisco, where every man 
went to the saloon with his shooting-irons handy. 
At your Monte Carlo its all straight and respect- 
able. No shooting-irons there; but, phew! they 
play high, they do, in spite of the limit. There 
was an Austrian prince there who planked down his 
dollars like a prince. The run favoured him, 
squire. He realised considerably, and he went 



262 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

away with joy and peace in his countenance. Then 
besides the regular lot you always see round any 
green cloth wherever the location is sufficiently 
aristocratic, there was a Jew with a face like a 
vulture, who always went the maximum. They 
told me he was a cent, per center over in your 
gay metropolis. Well, sir, he did not realise, but 
he did not much seem to mind, and for all I know 
to the contrary, he's punting there still. The 
occupation seemed to soothe him. Then theie was 
your humble servant. Well, sir, I punted a bit for 
the honour of my country, and so did Elizabeth, 
and how do you suppose we stood at the finish ? " 

" Lost ? " I inquired. 

" No, Mister Attorney ; no, sir. Between us we 
realised the stakes. We paid our bill at the Hotel 
de Paris, and all our incidentals, and we came 
away with a trifle over five thousand dollars, play- 
ing moderately. So I reckon we weren't exactly 
skinned. There's pickings on our carcases yet. 
No, squire, if you don't care to win one way or 
the other, not even for the fun of the thing, you 
generally do win. At least that's my experience. 
The luck leaves you when you have to plank your 
dollars in airnest." 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 263 

I expressed my concurrence in these maxims as 
being thoroughly philosophical, and Mr. Eock re- 
ceived my congratulations with solemn com- 
placency. 

" And now, squire," he said, " we'll have a quiet 
night of it, unless you are of the contrary disposi- 
tion. I've had enough of racket for a week or two. 
It's only five o'clock. We'll dine first, go to opera 
afterwards, and wind up at the Cafe de la Paix. 
It's near our hotel, and the victuals are good." 

There was no gainsaying these hospitable pro- 
posals, and we carried them out to the letter. 
Elizabeth, I remember, wore a white dress, with a 
brooch, necklace, and a bracelet of magnificent 
black pearls. Mr. Eock was the American citizen, 
with what he called a " hammer-claw " and a huge 
lay-down collar, and a cataract of black satin falling 
down his chest, and fastened by a diamond brooch 
over which his clean-shaved, clear-cut, pallid 
features, set, as it were, in his long black hair, 
were almost ghastly in their total absence of any- 
thing like colour. 

It was a pleasant enough night — I ought indeed 
to say more than pleasant, and after we had de- 
posited Elizabeth at the Grand, Mr. Eock and I 



284 JACK AND TI1KEE JILLS. 

smoked some of his cigars, which were genuine 
Cubas of the Eothschild brand, and drank juleps of 
his own mixing, and listened to the plashing of the 
fountain until an early hour. 

" I expect big news to-morrow, senator," said my 
future father-in-law, as I left ; " they've cabled me 
to expect important advices ; and my gell '11 be 
tired. Gruess I'll look you up, with or without her 
as the case may be, about two o'clock. There's one 
blessing about oil; it runs of itself. You can 
reckon on it for a moral, else these cussed cables 
would have made me a bit on easy." 

At the idea of anything occurring that could 
possibly afford Mr. Eock grounds for " oneasiness," 
we both laughed, but yet Mr. Rock was evidently 
grave and thoughtful, and shook hands with me as 
if he were glad upon the whole that the day was 
over. 

I turned out on to the Boulevards, walked to 
Meurice's and was soon fast asleep, without the least 
anxiety on my part as to what the to-morrow might 
or might not bring forth. 

Next morning I refreshed myself with a brisk 
stroll in the Champs Elysees, breakfasted at Bignon's, 
read the latest procurable copy of the Times, and 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 265 

then walked back to my hotel to write some letters. 

It was a lovely morning. Rain had fallen before 
sunrise and was still glistening on the trees. The 
Paris sparrows were chirping as noisily as if they 
were awaiting their old friend of the Tuileries, and 
eager to dive into his pockets, perch on his shoulders, 
and peck crumbs out of his hand. 

I purchased Zola's latest — not that I care for that 
talented author, but out of curiosity to see to what 
farther lengths he had permitted himself to venture, 
and then loitered back to Meurice's. 

I was lazily interested in a more than usually fetid 
chapter when Mr. Rock was announced. I could see 
at once that something had happened to strangely 
disturb him. His long and pale face was longer and 
paler than ever, and his solemn expression more 
solemn. 

He shook hands gravely, but without any cordiality 
that I could detect, and then plunged himself into an 
arm-chair and threw up his feet on the table. I 
waited, wondering what all this might mean. 

" I guess, squire," said he, in a somewhat parched 
tone of voice, " I'll put myself outside a flash of 
lightning. My throat's as dry as a copper-smelting 
stack." 



266 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

" The flash of lightning " having been produced, 
in the shape of a caraffe of cognac, Mr. Eock, to my 
surprise, put himself rapidly outside several " flashes" 
in rapid succession. 

" Cognac," said he, " as you get it in Paris, is like 
Rcederer as you get it in St. Petersburg. It's almost 
too good a drink for sinful mortals. But I want it 
this morning, as sartain as my name is Cyrus 
Napoleon Washington Q. Rock. 

And he took another flash. Then he expanded 
his chest, and took up his parable. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

" Squire," Mr. Rock said, " I'm no good on the 
stump. I am no orator as Brutus is, but as you 
know me, squire, a plain blunt man that love my 
friend. And so, squire, I am not going to see you 
let into the hole. Not for Cyrus Napoleon. Squire, 
no man was ever so eternally and all-firedly busted 
up as is your humble servanb at this juncture of 
events. Squire, my wells are petered out. They 
air run dry. Look at this here cable from my 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 2C7 

agents." And he handed me a long cablegram 
which sufficiently bore out his assertion. 

The wells had ceased to yield. The supply of oil 
had stopped altogether. Nothing came up but sand 
and slime, which choked the pipes. The men had 
all " vamoosed." Everything at the wells was 
deserted, and Eockburg had become in a week a 
Tadmor in the Wilderness. 

I expressed my sorrow and surprise as well as I 
could, but suggested that it was fortunate that Mr. 
Eock had still his little pile. 

" Yes, squire," said he, " that would be fortunate, 
if I still possessed it. It would, as you say, be a 
consolation in the midst of this eternal smash. But, 
squire, things never come single. You remember 
your great London crash, — the memorable Black 
Monday — when, to the astonishment of the city, the 
house of Overend and Gurney did not draw up its 
shutters and open its doors as per usual. Or, if you 
do not remember it, you have heard of it. Wal, 
squire, if you look at your Times to-day you will see, 
when it comes in, that the house of Day, Bold & Co 
has collapsed, and that its creditors are expected to 
realise something like a red cent, in the spread 
eagle. I could have stood either of these two facers 



268 JACK AND THUEE JILLS. 

singly. But the two of them, one fair and square in 
each eye, has poleaxed yours obediently. I have, 
squire, just a few dollars left here to my credit at 
Lafitte's, and I must pay up my hotel bill and make 
tracks." 

And he took some more brandy, gulping it down 
without any water. I had never seen a man drink 
brandy so recklessly before without the least effect 
being produced upon him by it. He took it as if it 
were lemonode, and it certainly seemed to steady 
him. 

" It is bad news, indeed, Mr. Eock," I said, " and 
from all I know of oil, I am afraid it's hopeless, and 
the oil is more likely to run again than the Day, 
Bold & Co. to liquidate favourably. Business first, 
Mr. Eock. Consider me your banker for the present. 
I can't draw to an unlimited amount, but I can 
draw for a couple of thousand any day without 
troubling my head to consult my banker's." 

" You are very good, squire. We shall be leaving 
Paris immediately. Of course, I shall realise my 
effects here — the tomfooleries I and my gell have 
been amusing ourselves with — but a few dollars 
from you to help us back across the pond may prove 
acceptable. And they shall be repaid, squire. But 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 269 

now, squire," he continued, very seriously, " there's 
another matter. This marriage between you and 
my gell must be broken off. It was another thing 
when she had a pile. Now there isn't a thin plaster 
knocking round to buy hairpins ; and we Eocks air 
too proud to let our gells marry above their pecu- 
niary station. Elizabeth concurs with me in them 
sentiments, and we shall have to wish you an adoo." 
And he gulped down some more brandy and rose to 
his feet. 

" We are shifting from the Grand, and Elizabeth 
is at this moment looking out for diggings some- 
where down by the Jardin des Plantes. It's handy 
to Notre Dame, and she likes the music there. 
They'll take in my letters at the Grand." 

I had always considered myself a man of re- 
sources, but I did not see my way to expostulate 
with simple Spartan resolution of this kind. I felt 
that it would have been hopeless, so I said : 

" Well, Mr. Rock, as you will not be leaving Paris 
for a day or two yet, we needn't talk business any 
more at present. If I can be" of any use to you in 
the States I'll come over, but I fancy there's no 
flesh on the bones to be quarrelled over." 

" Not a scrap, squire," assented Mr. Rock- 



270 JACK AND THREE JILLS, 

" However, I'll come over if you like. It rests 
with you. And now would you like some more 
cognac ? " 

" No, thank you, squire. I've drank more cognac 
this morning than they'll pump ile at Eockburg 
for centuries to come. But I'll pull myself to- 
gether with a cigar, if you'll let me. I have a 
few of my own left," he added. And he produced 
a case of colossal regalias. " My gell, squire, took 
a fancy to this case. I didn't like it so well as 
the one you gave me, but I carried it to-day to 
please her." 

It was a curious piece of filagree work in oxy- 
dised silver, with a design chased upon it which for 
a moment puzzled me. 

"That design, Mr. Severn, is an allegory. It 
represents Moses striking the rock and making the 
water gush out. I thought it was appropriate when 
I ordered it to be executed. It is symbolical of 
Providence guiding me, Cyrus Eock, to strike ile. 
But somehow the parallel don't seem to hold." 

I could have burst out laughing were it not that 
Mr. Eock spoke with such deep feeling and evident 
sincerity. 

" And now, Mr. Eock," I said, " you had better 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 271 

stop in England. Surely you will do so as soon as 
your affairs in the United States are wound up. 
There will be plenty of room for you in our house 
— I mean, of course, Elizabeth's house and mine ; 
and on the whole we shall be happier than if we 
had to cross the Atlantic every time we wanted to 
see each other. Besides, it will be pleasant for 
us to be all together when I fix upon a little box in 
the country, which I have not yet done." 

" Ah ! There we come to it, Mr. Severn. There 
must be no mistake here. This match is off. My 
gell is too proud, and so am I, to have it said that 
we allowed you to marry a pauper. I quite under- 
stand, as a gentleman, your sense of honour stands 
you to the contract, and no doubt people will think 
the better of you for it, as they ought to do. But 
that kind of feeling must not be mixed up in busi- 
ness. I have my sense of honour, squire, and so has 
my gall, quite as strong as any Britisher, without 
intending anything personal to yourself. And it 
isn't what people would think of you, but it's what 
people would think of us, and say of us too. No, 
Mr. Severn, our two minds are fixed square. And 
the marriage is as dead as my wells. I'm sorry for 
it. But it's a plain, simple duty, and there's no 



272 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

going back from it ; and between Cyrus Eock and 
his duty not even the President of the United 
States shall put his veto." 

Mr. Eock seemed thoroughly in earnest, and I 
felt that it would have been idle for the present 
to contradict him. 

" Well, anyhow, you will dine with me quietly 
to-night at Bignon's. We can have a private room." 

" I will come myself, squire, and Elizabeth shall 
come if she is equal to it ; but I guess she will be 
pretty considerably fatigued, as she has been round 
to all the shops this morning trying to get them 
to take back the tomfooleries we've purchased of 
them, at their own valuation, and her legs '11 be 
weary with the tramp, strong as she is, for it's a 
stiffish round." 

" Well," said I, " I shall wait here till you come 
anyway. I must insist on your bringing Elizabeth, 
Mr. Eock, if you have to carry her yourself. You 
must argue it with her." 

" Wal, squire, you shall have your way ; and naow 
I'll bid you good morning." And after another im- 
mense dose of brandy, and a grip of the hand that 
would have done credit to a blacksmith, Mr. Eock 
stalked down the staircase. 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 273 

I put on my hat and walked slowly out into the 
gardens of the Tuileries. After all, what did it 
matter to me, sorry as I was for Mr. Kock, if I could 
only persuade Elizabeth to change her mind. I 
had never cared for her so much as now that I saw 
the chance of losing her. I had been ready to 
give up anything for her, even my profession ; and 
it would be Quixotism on her part not to give np a 
really foolish question of pride for me. I could not 
see it in any other point of view. The more I 
looked at matters, the more I became convinced 
that I was in the right, and that Mr. Cyrus Kock 
was in the wrong. 

This is a way with young men, from which I was 
by no means exempt. But I resolved that I would 
let matters rest for some hours at any rate, if nc>t 
for some days. 

So we dined that evening at Bignon's, and the 
catastrophe of the " petered out wells " was not so 
much as alluded to. Mr. Rock was apparelled as 
usual, with the exception of the diamond in his 
cravat and his repeater and chain, all of which 
articles were conspicuously absent. 

Elizabeth wore a plain and simple dress, with jet 
brooch and solitaires, and was sheltered from the 



274 JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 

evening air by a dark cloth, jacket. There was the 
usual chatter about things in general, and I could 
not but admire the fortitude with which both 
the father and the daughter bore so crushing a 
reverse. 

I walked part of the way home with them, and 
bade them good-night at an omnibus station, from 
which they took their departure in the direction of 
the Quartier Latin. 

Then I strolled for awhile on the Quays " and so," 
as Pepys has it, to Meurice's and to bed, where I 
fell asleep, determined to have my own way, but 
feeling very distinctly that the Eocks were 
awkward customers, and that all my work was cut 
out for me. 

As I have said, I had never cared so much for my 
fiancee as I did now, and the thought of her troubles 
and anxieties distressed me beyond measure. " I 
will conquer that Quixotic determination on Mr. 
Eock's part," I said to myself. " Nothing shall stop 
my marriage with Elizabeth. The old gentleman 
was ready to heap money upon me when he had 
got it, and now that he is ruined, he shall share 
my lot." 

Throughout this narrative I have never attempted 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 275 

to gloss over my faults and failings, my errors and 
imperfections, or to conceal the selfishness of my 
nature — a quality by no means singular in my sex. 
It is therefore only fair to myself to state that upon 
this occasion I was guided by no unworthy motives, 
and that in all I said and did, my first thought was 
for the woman I truly and honestly loved, and my 
second for the man whom I sincerely respected, and 
with whose misfortunes I deeply sympathised. 



CIIAPTEE XXIX. 

Next morning Mr. Rock came round. He was as 
cheerful as if nothing had happened : in the frame 
of mind of a man who knew the worst. 

"Squire," said he, "among my many varied 
experiences I was once a mason. They were reno- 
vating some blocks in Broadway. Mine was a humble 
position. I was down on the pavement stirring up 
the concrete. Suddenly, like a flash of lightning, 
a man comes down from the top of the very highest 
combination of ladders lashed together, and is 
deposited on the pavement. We were going to- 
wards him to pick up the pieces, but he pulled 

18* 



276 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

himself together on his hind legs, as a citizen of 
the United States ought to do. ' Thank Providence, 
my friends,' says he, 'that little job's over for the 
present.' Them's my sentiments at this minute, Mr. 
Sevens " 

I complimented him on his perfect appreciation of 
the principles of the Stoic philosophy, and then 
asked after Elizabeth. 

"She's a good gell, Mr. Severn. She's a gell 
with grit and pluck. She'll pull bow oar in the 
same boat with her old dad yet. I don't mean to 
deny that she's a bit annoyed. It's hard to lose 
your dollars and come down to dimes. But she 
holds on wonderful." And after this Mr. Eock 
left. 

For some time I meditated. Then I went out 
into the open air. Then I came back and medi- 
tated again. Then I was driven direct to the 
American Legation. My name and position at the 
English Bar were sufficient introduction, and I was 
at once in presence of the senior attache. He was 
a typical American, hailing from Boston. I soon 
satisfied him as to who I was. Then I told him 
that I required his services in a delicate matter, 
which was purely personal. He was very busy at 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 277 



the time of my call, but he was courtesy itself, and 
he made an early appointment with me. 

American gentlemen are said to be rare. But 
when you do meet one, he is the finest gentleman 
in the world. 

The next day I called upon him at four o'clock. 
After the customary cordial shake of the hand, he 
went into business. 

" Well, Mr. Severn," he said, " your business is 
not exactly of a diplomatic character, and it does 
not come within the range of my functions to aid 
you in any way except as a personal friend, which I 
hope from this time I may consider myself. But 
we have a young fellow here in the Legation, and 
I have sent him round, quite unofficially, to see Mr. 
Eock. Oddly enough, he comes from the neighbour- 
hood of Eockburg, and his mother is eighth cousin 
nine times removed, or something of that sort, 
from Mr. Eock himself. You must distinctly 
understand, Mr. Severn, that these negotiations are 
absolutely private. I am acting entirely as your 
personal friend. If you come here to the Legation 
as an American subject and tell me you want five 
dollars, I refer you to the Cousulate. If you want 
something entirely different, I consider it, and I 



278 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

either drop the matter like a hot potato, or I carry 
it through. I cannot promise you success, but 
time shows everything. Sometimes you measure 
it by seconds, and sometimes by hours. But we all 
of us have a limited pull at it." 

I then had some business negotiations with the 
attache, which were not at all difficult, as I had 
taken the precaution of providing myself with notes 
of the Bank of France. The amount I need not 
trouble myself to state, but the notes themselves 
were indisputable, and the attache promised me 
that the source from which they came should not 
be known. Then I loafed about the Boulevards 
until night had run more than a quarter of her 
time. And so ended not an eventful day so much 
as a day of heavy business. 

In the morning I waited events, and at about ten 
I received a letter — rather a stiff one — from my 
friend of yesterday, the attach^. He told me 
almost in so many words that he had gone out of 
his way to help me, and that if I had not made a 
fool of him, Mr. Eock at all events must have made 
a fool of me. That Mr. Eock was in no need of 
money at all, and had offered to cash the cheque 
of the Legation in Napoleons, allowing for the rate 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 279 



of the day's discount on the Bourse, for any amount 
they pleased. 

" There must be some extraordinary blunder 
somewhere, Mr. Severn," the letter concluded. " I 
acquit you of any ill intention. But the blunder 
has certainly not been on my part. The money 
you placed in my hands I now return to you ; and I 
have the honour to be," etc., etc. 

This communication puzzled me more than ever. 
I had intended to do good by stealth, without the 
least desire that I should blush to find it fame, and 
here I was written down an ass. I have not hitherto 
touched on my own self-respect, but it must be 
admitted that the situation was exasperating. Ex- 
plain matters away how I might, everybody would 
believe I had made a fool of myself. And I had 
done worse. I had done so in the most public 
manner. Next day, in all human probability, the 
whole story would be in the Figaro and in the 
'petite presse. I felt beside myself with rage. 

I left Meurice's and strolled into the gardens of 
the Palais Koyal. I stuffed my pockets on the way 
with bon-bons, with which I tempted the children, 
to the consternation and indignation of their bonnes. 
I turned into a billiard salon, and had an hour 



280 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

-,f 

during which my troubles never crossed my brain. 
I threw the marker some money, and told him he 
could keep the change if he could beat me. All 
the skill of my old days broke out again. The 
marker was nowhere. At the end of the hour he 
tendered me my change with profuse compliments, 
and seemed very much astonished that I did not 
take it. 

Billiard markers are accustomed to the seamy 
side of society. My own private impression is that 
this particular marker considered me a flat, and he 
at once pracured a substitute, lest I should come 
back repenting of my generosity, and insisting that 
I had made a mistake. 

Then I returned to Meurice's, threw myself on 
the sofa, and speculated in a listless and dreamy 
way on everything. 

Have you ever looked through a kaleidoscope? 
You see a most gorgeous arrangement in every 
colour of the rainbow. You rotate the tube by an 
inch or a fraction of it ; the phantasmagoria tumbles 
to pieces, and another vision of beauty arises in its 
place. I seemed to feel the spirit of a true philo- 
sopher creeping over me. 

" I will realise my mo^ey," I said to myself, 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 2S1 

" and invest it carefully. I will have a little pied a 
terre in Hampshire within sound of the sea. In 
London I can quarter myself where I please. I 
will get a schooner yacht, not ostentatious but 
seaworthy, and I will roam the rest of my life 
without any definite purpose. When the place 
suits me, I will stop for just as long as I please. 
When it does not suit me, I will go elsewhere. 
Nothing can add to my present success in my pro- 
fession. All else that will come to me will come as 
a matter of course, and not in consequence of any 
labour or exertion on my own part. I have done 
the work of my life, and, thanks to my great luck, 
have got it over early. Now I will take the quiet, 
tranquil enjoyment." 

I had almost forgotten Mr. Eock ; and feeling as 
comfortable as a sailor in his hammock, I let my 
thoughts drift towards him. It would be best after 
all to make one more attempt. No doubt the man 
considered me an adventurer. That was his ignor- 
ance. But I wished to end with him in a friendly 
understanding at any rate. And I had also some- 
thing very much stronger than a sneaking desire to 
see Elizabeth once more. 

So I lay on my sofa turning things over, and 



282 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

relieving my meditations by constructing geome- 
trical patterns out of the paper on the walls, and 
listening to the twitter of the sparrows on my 
balcony, and to the chimes of the clocks, when 
suddenly the waiter made his appearance, with a 
double allowance of obsequiousness in his usual 
Parisian manner, and murmured, — 

" Monsieur, Monsieur Rock est en bas." 



"CHAPTER XXX. 

Me. Rock stalked into the room with a cigar in 
his mouth. I noticed also that his watch and 
chain and rings and diamond studs were, as he 
himself would have phrased it, in their appropriate 
locality. Here clearly was a new move in the 
game. But as it was Mr. Rock who came to me, it 
could only mean a point in my favour. 

He shook me by the hand, grasping it as if he 
were attempting to squeeze water out of a piece of 
quartz. Then he ensconced himself in the corner of 
a lounge. 

" Squire," said he, " I owe you a very long and a 
very big apology. Don't interrupt me, squire, be- 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 283 

cause my buzzum is full, and I must speak my piece 
before I get off the stump." 

I gravely inclined my head in assent. 

" Squire, my gell is my only child. I love her 
for herself, and I love her for the sake of her 
mother, who, although-she was an Irishwoman from 
Tipperary, with a tongue from Cape Horn to Baffin's 
Bay, and the temper of a smelting furnace, is now 
a saint in heaven, or ought to be. Squire, I've 
taken liberties with you. That demands an apology. 
I tender that apology now. You didn't misunder- 
stand me, squire. But I misunderstood you. When 
there are dollars about, you will alius find ring- 
tailed squealers, and likewise copperheads. Squire, 
I'm a bit fixed. I've got to beg your pardon. Since 
I struck ile, every man has begged my pardon, so 
I've had no trouble that way. Before I struck ile, 
if a man didn't beg my pardon when it was on the 
cards that he ought to do so, I went for him. I 
usually pulled off the deposits. Here I am, squire, 
to beg your pardon, and actually to dip the 
stars and stripes for playing it down low on 
you." 

It seemed like a dream. To assure myself that I 
was in the land of the living, I shook hands with 



284 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Mr. Rock once again, to the imminent danger of 
my palm and knuckles. 

" I've played it down on you, squire," repeated 
Mr. Eock. " I felt it was my plain and straight- 
forward duty so to do. Do you forgive me for so 
doing ? " 

" Mr. Eock," I replied, " you're a trump ; what I 
believe you would call the ' right bower.' Now, 
where is Elizabeth, and how is she ? It seems to 
me, unless there is any difficulty with her, that our 
business is over." 

" Quite right, squire," said Mr. Eock; "right you 
are. No occasion for playing out any more chin 
music. We understand one another, and we don't 
want any Alabama Treaty, unless it can put work in 
your way as a rising British lawyer, in which event 
1 should welcome the negotiations." 

" But where is Elizabeth ? " I again inquired, 
not unnaturally. 

" She is round at the Grand, squire, where dinner 
is waiting for us at seven. Squire, I have taken a 
liberty, and risked myself on a chance. I did not 
know how events might turn out. Nor, for the 
matter of that, did my gell. ' Dad,' she said, 
' you've riled him past everything.' Thank the 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 285 

powers ! squire, I haven't. But I've a few friends 
round to-night at the Grand, who know nothing of 
matters. I should like you to meet them. I've 
got most of our Embassy and some friends of my 
own; and, please the poker, we'll play the game 
through. I shall expect you, squire, at seven." 

And with no more ado, Mr. Rock took his de- 
parture. From my balcony I saw him walking 
along the Rue de la Paix, with his hands in his 
pockets, his hat on the back of his head, and his 
chest inflated, as becomes a citizen of the United 
States who has struck oil. 



The dinner wa? solemn and pompous. The re- 
sources of the hotel must have been taxed to the 
utmost. The table in its centre was a mass of rare 
exotics and orchids. There were about two waiters 
to each chair. The menu was a work of art, and 
on its back were the Union Jack and the Stars and 
Stripes amicably intercrossed. There were great 
pyramids of ice dispersed on small tables to cool 
the room ; and when the dinner was over there 
were professional singers — I need not give their 
names, but they were the best known in Paiis — 



286 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

who, to judge by their exertions to do full justice to 
their powers, must have been royally paid. 

In some fear and trembling, I anticipated an 
oration from Mr. Eock, announcing the turn events 
had taken. He had more tact than I had credited 
him with. He had whispered the secret to each 
guest at the door, and had intimated his express 
desire that there should be no " orating." 

The one exception to this golden rule was found 
in the French Under-Secretary of Marine, with any 
number of decorations, from the Legion of Honour 
downwards, who rose to his feet and said, — 

" Mademoiselle and gentlemen, let us drink all to 
the United States, the most free and most Eepubli- 
can country upon which the sun rises and sets." 

Then the senior attache of the American Legation, 
wholly devoid of even a scrap of ribbon, pulled him- 
self up to his full height of about six feet and as 
many inches, — for he hailed from Kentucky, — and 
responded, — 

" Sir, I thank you in the revered name of the 
Stars and Stripes." And that was literally all. For 
which fact I was grateful. 

We broke up as all parties must, but next morn- 
ing I was round at the Grand, punctual to the 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 287 

appointment I had made with Elizabeth, having 
first fortified myself with a brisk gallop in the Bois, 
and a cold plunge after it in the Seine. 

The details of lovers' conversation are tedious, 
monotonous, and prosaic, at least to every one except 
themselves. No man even at this time knew this 
fact better than myself. I must candidly own that 
I was unequal to the situation. Elizabeth helped 
me over the stile like a lame dog, as I was busy 
suggesting to her father that we should spend the 
day at Vincennes. 

We had the day, and, for all reasonable purposes, 
the place entirely to ourselves. Nor was there any 
dialogue here worthy of record. No one of us was 
disposed to open the topic of Mr. Eock's ruse. We 
simply chatted as a family party might between 
the members of which there were no family differ- 
ences. It was only when I was leaving Mr. Eock 
at the door of the] Grand that he came back to 
business. 

" I should have liked this ceremony to have 
taken place in Eockburg, or, at all events, in New 
York or Washington itself. But I think, under all 
the circumstances, it must be in England. There's 
St. Paul's, squire, and the Westminster Abbey, and 



288 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

there's; St. George's, Hanover Square, and there's 
that old fabric, with its darned witch's hat for a 
belfry, closely adjacent to the Langham, and there's 
St. James's. But I think, squire, we'll be married, 
if it is all the same to you, in your own parish, and 
we'll give every soul in the parish a blow out, and a 
something by which to remember the auspicious 
day. We'll do the thing, squire, as it ought to be 
done — as befits the daughter of a simple citizen of 
the United States, equal and no more to all other 

citizens under her blessed and glorious constitu- 
tion." 

I told him that I left the matter entirely in his 
hands ; but before we parted we agreed that what 
Mr. Rock profanely denominated the fixture, should 
have its venue in my own parish church at Essex, at 
the earliest possible date, subject to the demands of 
milliners and other such necessary but tiresome 
supernumeraries. 

When T got back to my hotel I found a letter 
from my sister Eachel, full of the usual idle gossip. 
The only piece of news in it that in any way 
concerned myself, was that Izzie Vivian had been 
married three days ago to Lord Ashford ; that the 
tenants had had dinner in a marquee, and that the 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 2S9 

school-children had been regaled with buns and 
ginger-beer, and gratified by a conjuror, and a 
Punch and Judy specially brought down from Lon- 
don for the purpose. 

She could have wished the wedding had been my 
own, but she supposed I was old enough, or at any 
rate sufficiently wilful, to manage my own affairs in 
my own way. Izzie had always been the dearest 
and sweetest of girls. Lord Ashford was not at all 
proud, although it was expected that he would 
shortly be made Under Secretary of Slate for the 
Colonies, a post for which his conscientiousness and 
immense abilities amply qualified him. 

" He rides better to hounds," ended the letter 
spitefully, " than any man in the county, not excep- 
ting your precious self, and he is deservedly popular 
with everybody. He has become a sincere Chistian, 
and taken a class in the Sunday-school, and he is 
writing a book called A Fortnight among the Red 
Deer of the Scottish Highlands" 

If women only knew how men laugh at this kind 

of spitting venom without biting, I think they 

would give the habit up. But they imagine it to be 

as infallible as their crushing remark to their dearest 

friend, — " It is a very beautiful dress, my dear, but 

19 



290 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

I wonder you should have let your dressmaker 
persuade you into a colour so entirely unsuited to 
vour complexion." 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

It had been arranged that we should leave Paris by 
the night train, and cross by the day boat from 
Calais, Elizabeth being, like most Americans, an 
admirable sailor, and loving the deck. This gave 
us a day to ourselves. Americans are much freer in 
their notions, customs, and habits than ourselves. 
In the East you never see your bride until it has 
been settled that you are to marry her, and all the 
preliminaries have been arranged. You have then 
to take her literally for better or for worse. You 
may find her forty instead of twenty ; fat and 
'frowsy instead of fragile and fair. You have 
bought your pig in a poke, and you must stand by 
your bargain. 

France — about Germany I cannot speak — comes 
very close to tne land of the Prophet. The 
marriage is an arranged matter. You see the 
young lady once or twice, and remark that it is a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 291 



beautiful day, and she replies that you are right. 
That is about the extent of your courtship. 

My English readers will probably agree with me 
that our own customs are more sensible, and more 
adapted to that freedom which is the natural 
heritage of man. In America, when an engage- 
ment is " fixed up," the two young people have the 
most absolute liberty, and use it. The swain goes 
about with his fiancee as if she were his wife. A 
chaperon is a thing unknown. He takes her to the 
opera ; he drives her out ; he takes her to dinner at 
Delmonico's; he goes round with her on visits to 
her friends and his ; and, if he be living en g argon, 
she comes and visits him at his chambers or other 
quarters. 

This apparent licence is hardly ever abused. 
Any attempt to trespass upon it would be resented 
by the six-shooter and by public opinion. 

I consequently had a most cheerful time of it up 

to the very day of our wedding, which, as Mr Eock 

wished, took place in our parish church. Let me 

give a brief idea of the day's proceedings, which 

Mr Eock took into his own hands, remarking that 

he wished to see the thing put through according 

to his own notion. 

19* 



292 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

We all stayed for a week at my father's house, 
and I could not help noticing, although, it was no 
part of my duty to show my consciousness of the 
fact, that a sun such as that which fell on Danae 
seemed suddenly to gild the place. The neglected 
gardens became trim. The paths were radiant with 
new gravel. The interior of the house seemed 
to be renovated, without any change wrought or 
violence done to its old, quiet, sombre aspect. The 
lawns were mowed — a process of which they stood 
in sad need — and the borders of the shrubberies 
became gay with flowers. 

My father told me one morning that I had always 
been the best of sons, and that he had always 
confidently predicted my success to everybody. 
After which he went down himself into the cellar, 
and returned with a pint bottle of madeira, bottled 
by rny great-grandfather, and conscious of three 
voyages round the Cape. 

We discussed this in what he called his study, 
where he kept his few volumes of law, as befits a 
'j ustice of the peace, and his boot-trees and his guns 
and his fishing-rods and his account-books. Library 
in the room there was none, but on the lower shelf 
of the vacant bookcase was a leaden jar of tobacco, 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 292 

and round about it were clay pipes from the village 
inn. The floor was of old oak, and as there was no 
carpet, a spittoon was an unnecessary luxury. 

" Jack," said my father, " I am proud of you. 
You always were, and you have always remained, my 
favourite child. Little as you may guess it, I have 
with a father's eye, carefully superintended every 
step and stage in your education ; and my grey 
hair will go down with pride to the grave to see 
that my efforts have been crowned with success, 
and that I have a son who is worthy of the family 
Dame and of myself. You are a man now, Jack, 
I am speaking to you as an equal. My few years 
are numbered, and I have nothing for which to 
wish. But I should like to see the dear old place 
come down unencumbered, without any cutting of 
timber, or any such painful extremity. I think, 
Jack, that my credit at the bank is still sufficiently 
good for you and me to manage this between us. 
without your entailing upon yourself more than a 
nominal responsibility. Grod bless you, my boy, 
and God bless the lovely and most charming young 
lady who is to become your wife."' 

Before the interview was over my father was the 
happier by a few bank-notes with which I had pro- 



294 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 



vided myself in lieu of a cheque, guessing that his 
account would be overdrawn, and fearing a stoppage 
in transitu. 

That evening I had a walk with Elizabeth round 
what was still called the home farm. It had ceased 
to be the home farm for many years, having been 
let to a west end milkman. It was a pretty little 
place, with paddocks and cowhouses, and old plane 
trees and low hawthorn hedges, red and white, 
which in the twilight threw out a marvellous fra- 
grance, making the air heavy and happy. 

" Jack," she said, " we are going to entirely 
change all our relations in life." 

To this undeniable and most business-like state- 
ment I gave my concurrence. 

" Well, Jack, it's due to yourself to tell you why 
father acted as he did. And it's still more due to 
father, who is the best old man on two legs in this 
universe. Father thought you were after our 
dollars. Everybody told him so. And it's no good 
pretending we haven't dollars, Jack, because we 
have, as everybody knows from San Francisco 
harbour light round to the Grolden Horn. So father 
said he'd play a bit of euchre, and he ordered me 
to hold my tongue. Of course I had to obey him. 



JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 



I knew your cards would turn up trumps, but I 
won't go so far as to say that it wasn't an un- 
pleasant time. The worst of it was that father, 
being uncertain in his own mind, kept on looking 
round at me the whole time, and wanted to know 
why I'd given him all this trouble. He was at me 
from morning to night, saying that a daughter next 
to dollars was the biggest plague a man could 
have. Well, Jack, father, as you know, has friends 
at the Legation, and he was able to read between 
the lines of your little bit of business there. 

" That staggered him a litttle. If I had been 
an English girl I should have been at him night 
and day, crying and going into hysterics, and lying 
in bed. Instead of that, I went on just as usual. 
One morning — I can't tell you which, for the whole 
thing seems like an ugly dream — father had 
finished his breakfast, and finished his papers, and 
his cigar. Then he got on the stump, or rather on 
the hearthrug, a stump not being handy and con- 
venient. And I knew tolerably well what was 
coming, 'Elizabeth,' he said, 'this Mr. Severn 
has cut a full hand. Air your affections still sot 
on him?' Well, Jack, of course I answered that 
they were ; and I also told father what I felt it 



2!)6 JACK AND TH.REE JILLS. 

my duty as a daughter to do, that he'd been 
fooling around and making himself ridiculous 
about nothing at all. ' That pint,' father answered, 
' I won't contradict. It ain't for me to argue with 
you, gell. If I were to try and clear out that 
location, my hands would be considerable full. 
And then he and I made it up. And that's 
really all about it, Jack. 

" But, Jack, I don't think father in his own 
heart ever believed you mean. He only felt it 
was a kind of sort his duty to poke you up a 
bit, and try. Father has his own ways. They 
mayn't be my ways, though it isn't for me to 
gainsay them, or go contrary to them. But it 
will be a cold day in August before I again take 
any such job in hand." 

" ' All's well that ends well,' Elizabeth," I an- 
swered. I am not at all sure your father wasn't 
perfectly right. He knows his way about as well 

as most men, and is fully entitled to his own 

* 

opinion and his own course of conduct. Besides, 
he was most careful not to put the least affront 
upon me. If I had wanted a handle against him, 
I couldn't have found it. It has been a funny 
little chapter of stories, but it's all over now." 



JACK AND THKEE JILLS. 297 

If she had been an English, girl, I should, like 
Tennyson's Lord Ronald, have " turned and kissed 
her where she stood." As she was American, we 
solemnly shook hands. I am not at all sure that I 
do not prefer American manners to our own. 

When we arrived at the house, I found my father 
and Mr. Eock solemnly pacing up and down the 
elm avenue under the rookery. My father was 
radiant. He saw boundless wealth before him, to 
be gained by his own exertion and his own local 
knowledge. Mr. Eock had agreed with him that 
the only idea he had ever had in his own life was 
the very best one he could possibly have enter- 
tained. It was wonderful, Mr. Eock had observed, 
how my father could have hammered out an idea so 
uncommonly original and brilliant. What remained 
of the estate had obviously been intended by Provi- 
dence from the very first for a large dairy farm, to 
be carried on in so gentlemanly a manner that a 
justice of the peace, with subordinates under, him, 
could boss the concern himself, without treading on 
the time required by his public duties. The only 
thing needed was capital, which Mr. Eock was 
anxious to invest, being sure that the speculation 
was essentially sound. 



298 JACK AND THREE JILLS. 

Part of the estate would have to be put into 
swedes and mangolds, part in pasturage, to be 
utilised in the fall of the year as hay. .Eanches 
must be built, and chere must be a little home 
farm, of course, with stone floors and tiled walls, 
and all the rest of it, for the cream and the 
butter. 

" Your father, Mr. Severn," said Mr. Rock, with- 
out a change in his features or a modulation in his 
voice, " is a very long-headed man of business. He 
mentioned the plan to me, and told me he had been 
considering it all his life, but that capital had stood 
in his way. Naturally I replied that I had a little 
capital knocking 'about in hard want of a sound 
investment, and that this seemed the soundest in- 
vestment of which I had heard for many a long 
day." 

Mr. Eock was so portentously business-like that I 
dared not even smile. 

" But your father, Mr. Severn," he continued, 
" is getting too old to be worried and mussed about 
with figures and ledgers, and that kind of routine. 
Besides, they do not suit the dignity of an English 
deputy-lieutenant and justice of the peace, so I have 
arranged that there is to be a working-partner, a 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 299 



young man I know in Jersey City, about as sharp as 
they make them, who will take the details out of 
your father's hands, leaving him unfettered in the 
control and administration. That young man I 
shall cable for, and he will come over at once. And 
I think, Mr. Severn, your father sees at last how to 
develope his estate. I won't say there is ile in it, 
sir. Providence, for its own reasons, has confined 
ile to the United States. But there are dollars in 
it when it is developed. And developed it shall be 
subject always to the constitution of the United 
States." 

And here Mr. Eock lit a cigar, and remarked 
that it was a hot day, and that he was tired of 
talking, and that he should like to stroll with me, 
and have a long drink under the elms. So we went 
and sat under the immense trees, talking very little 
but thoroughly contented, as ought to be the con- 
dition of men who have no enemies, and have 
satisfactorily disposed of the most troublesome 
among their friends. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

Before I turned in that night my mother sent for 
me to her dressing-room, when she cried a great 
deal, as is the habit of mothers, and also told me 
that I had always been her favourite child, coupling 
the information with some details on the circum- 
stances of my first appearance in this world. This 
also is a habit mothers have, and I am not sure that 
their honest pride in what are, possibly, indisputable 
facts is not a credit to them. 

She said that Elizabeth had struck her immensely, 
and that I had made a match which the lord-lieu- 
tenant might envy me ; and she added, with feminine 
power of perception, that, so far as she could see, 
Izzie's hair was getting thin at the parting, and that 
she had to lace until her nose was red. No mother 
ever forgives a woman whom she thinks has in- 
sulted her own son. 

As for our wedding, it is chronicled in the 
Morning Post, and several columns of it were 
cabled over by my father-in-law to the Rockburg 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 301 

Gazette and Sentinel and Bulletin. The village was 
en fete all day. Mr. Eock, who had taken matters 
entirely into his own hands, brought down a circus, 
which completely eclipsed the conjuror from London 
at the Ashford- Vivian marriage. There was open 
house all over the place, and if there were no 
charges during the nest few days, Mr. Eock must 
have taken the precaution of squaring the local 
constable, for the amount of liquor in which my 
health and that of Mrs. John Severn was drunk, 
would have floated a three-decker with all her guns 
in her. 

We left — that is to say Elizabeth and I— very 
soon after the cutting of the cake. Here again old 
Eock had made all arrangements. Money was 
nothing to him, and he liked people to understand 
as much. So we had a special train to Liverpool 
Street. Never before had a special train been 
known to start from our own little roadside station ; 
and at Dover we found the last triumph of Mr. 
Eock's sumptuousness, like the bang at the end of 
a squib, in a special boat to take us over by 
ourselves. 

We walked on the deck of that boat under the 
stars, with the phosphorescent sea below us. It 



302 JACK AND THEEE JILLS. 

would be idle to pretend that I was not entirely 
and completely happy. I was also contented. And 
content is an adjunct to happiness, and improves 
it, as vinegar, chopped mint, and lump sugar 
improve spring lamb, although spring lamb in 
itself is a very admirable thing, and one mentioned 
with tenderness by every Brillat Savarin. 

" Elizabeth," I said, as we walked up and down 
the deck, " I do not really think I have any secrets 
that I need tell you." 

" Most men have their secrets, dear," she replied ; 
" and if a man is a gentleman, you will always find 
that his secrets do him credit; so that the fools 
who poke their noses into them get very few cents 
in change for their dollar. My only secret I told 
out in church to-day, and to it I mean to stick. 
Look at that star, Jack. I think it's Jupiter. If 
so, it's luck for you. Besides, I want to see his 
belts. Send word to the skipper to lumber round 
with his telescope." 

This the skipper did, and the planet turned out 
to be Jupiter, and nothing less. After this what 
followed would have been more or less foolishness, 
had not Mrs. Severn been an American, of that 
marvellous race in which sentiment, however 



JACK AND THREE JILLS. 303 

powerful, is always controlled and corrected by- 
dry, bracing, native humour. 

We paced the deck heedless of the dew, and 
watched the lights of other vessels crossing and 
passing our own, until at last through the morning 
mist the harbour lights of Calais showed them- 
selves, and our vessel was warped up alongside the 
pier. 

A man has no business to be always talking 
about himself and his own feelings. But if ever 
I was supremely happy it was as I went up that 
almost Alpine slope of gangway, with my wife's 
right hand on my arm, and my own right hand 
held over it. 



THE ESQ. 



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