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Full text of "Parson Kelly"

KELLg 



Andrew Lang 



Qlatnell Htttuetaitg ffithrarg 



FROM THE 



BENNO LOEWY LIBRARY 

COLLECTED BY 

BENNO LOEWY 

1854-1919 

BEQUEATHED TO CORNELL UNIVERSITY 



Cornell University Library 
PR 602S.A828P2 1899 

Parson Kelly, 



3 1924 013 652 619 




Cornell University 
Jbrary 



The original of tliis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924013652619 



PARSON KELLY 




"BUT I'm grieved I HAVE NO VIRGIL." 



See page i6o. 



PARSON KELLY 



A. E. W. MASON 

AND 

ANDREW LANG 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 
39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON 
NEW YORK AND BOMBAY 
1900 



Copyright, i8gg 
By Longmans, Green, and Co. 

All rights reserved 



TO THE 

BARON TANNEGUY DE WOGAN 

The Representative of a House illustrious for its Antiquity: 

In Prosperity splendid: in Exile and Poverty gay 

and constant: of Loyalty unshaken; 

STb DeHitateU 

This Narrative, founded on the deeds of his Ancestor, 
The Chevalier Nicholas de Wogan. 

A. E. W. M. 
A. L. 



PREFACE 

The authors wish to say that the proceedings of 
Lady Oxford are unhistorical. Swift mentions a 
rumour that there was such a lady, but leaves her 
anonymous. 



CONTENTS 



Chapter Page 
I. The Parson expresses Irreproachable Senti- 
ments AT THE MAZARIN PALACE I 

II. Mr. Wogan refuses to Acknowledge an Unde- 
sirable Acquaintance in St. James's Street 17 

III. Mr. Wogan instructs the Ignorant Parson in 

the Ways of Women 28 

IV. Shows the Extreme Danger of knowing Latin 43 
V. A Literary Discussion in which a Critic, not 

for the first time, turns the tables upon 

AN Author 62 

VI. Mr. Nicholas Wogan reminds the Parson of a 

Night at the Mazarin Palace .... -78 
VII. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu has a word to 

SAY about Smilinda 88 

VIII. Mr. Kelly has an Adventure at a Masquer- 
ade Ball 96 

IX. Wherein the Chivalrous Mr. Kelly behaves 

WITH Deplorable Folly no 

X. What came of Mr. Kelly's Winnings from 

THE South Sea 123 

XI. The Parson departs from Smilinda and 

learns a number of Unpalatable Truths . 139 
XII. The Parson meets Scrope for the Third Time, 

AND what came OF THE MEETING 15O 

XIII. Of the Rose and the Rose-Garden in Avignon 162 

XIV. Of the Great Confusion produced by a Bal- 

lad and a Drunken Crow 185 

XV. At the Deanery of Westminster 206 

XVI. Mr. Wogan acts as Lightning Conductor at 

Lady Oxford's Rout 225 

XVII. Lady Oxford's ' Coup de Th^Atre ' 24S 

XVIII. Wherein a New Fly discourses on the inno- 
cence OF the Spider's Web 257 



X CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

XIX. Stroke and Counter-stroke 264 

XX. Mr. Scrope bathes by Moonlight and in 

HIS Peruke 283 

XXI. In which Mr. Kelly surprises Smilinda . . 301 
XXII. An Eclogue which demonstrates the Pas- 
toral Simplicity of Corydon and Strephon 317 

XXIII. How the Messengers captured the wrong 

Gentleman; and of what Letters the 
Colonel burned 328 

XXIV. Mr. Wogan wears Lady Oxford's Livery, but 

DOES not remain IN HER SERVICE 353 

XXV. How the Miniature of Lady Oxford came by 

A Mischance 371 

XXVI. Mr. Wogan Traduces his Friend, with the 

Happiest Consequences . . . ... . .' . 387 

XXVII. How, BY keeping Parole, Mr. Kelly broke 

Prison 398 

XXVIII. Mr. Wogan again invades England, meets the 
elect Lady, and bears witness to her 
Perfections 404 



PARSON KELLY 
9- 

CHAPTER I 

THE PARSON EXPRESSES IRREPROACHABLE SENTI- 
MENTS AT THE MAZARIN PALACE 

" What mighty quarrels rise from trivial things ! " 

SO wrote Mr. Alexander Pope, whom Nicholas 
Wogan remembers as a bookish boy in the 
little Catholic colony of Windsor Forest. The 
line might serve as a motto for the story which 
Mr. Wogan (now a one-armed retired colonel of 
Dillon's Irish Brigade in French Service) is about to 
tell. The beginnings of our whole mischancy busi- 
ness were trivial in themselves, and in all appearance 
unrelated to the future. They were nothing more 
important than the purchase of a couple of small 
strong-boxes and the placing of Parson Kelly's patri- 
mony in Mr. Law's company of the West. Both of 
these events happened upon the same day. 

It was early in February of the year 1719, and 
the streets of Paris were deep in snow. Wogan, 
then plotting for King James's cause, rode into Paris 
from St. Omer at ten o'clock of the forenoon, and 
just about the same hour Parson Kelly, plotting too 
in his way, drove through the Orleans gate. 



2 PARSON KELLY 

A few hours later the two men met in the Marais, 
or rather Nicholas Wogan saw the skirts of Kelly's 
coat vanishing into an ironmonger's shop, and ran 
in after him. Kelly was standing by the counter 
with a lady on either side of him, as was the dear 
man's wont; though their neighbourhood on this 
occasion was the merest accident, for the Parson 
knew neither of them. 

'Sure it's my little friend the lace merchant,' 
said Wogan, and clapped his hand pretty hard on 
the small of his friend's back, whom he had not seen 
for a twelvemonth and more. Kelly stumbled a 
trifle, maybe, and no doubt he coughed and splut- 
tered. One of the ladies dropped her purse and 
shuddered into a corner. 

' Quelle bite sauvage ! ' murmured the second with 
one indignant eye upon Nicholas Wogan, and the 
other swimming with pity for Mr. Kelly. 

' Madame,' said Wogan, picking up the purse and 
restoring it with his most elegant bow, 'it was pure 
affection.' 

' No doubt,' said Kelly, as he rubbed his shoul- 
der ; ' but, Nick, did you never hear of the bear that 
smashed his master's skull in the endeavour to stroke 
off a fly that had settled on his nose ? That was pure 
affection too.' 

He turned back to the counter, on which the shop- 
man was setting out a number of small strong-boxes, 
and began to examine them. 

' Well, you must e'en blame yourself, George,' 
said Nick, ' for the mere sight of you brings the 
smell of the peat to my nostrils and lends vigour to 
my hand.' 



PARSON KELLY 3 

This he said with all sincerity, for the pair had been 
friends in county Kildare long before Kelly went to 
Dublin University, and took deacon's orders, and was 
kicked out of the pulpit for preaching Jacobitism in 
his homilies. As boys they had raced bare-legged 
over the heather, and spent many an afternoon in fight- 
ing over again that siege of Rathcofifey Castle which 
an earlier Nicholas Wogan had held so stoutly for 
King Charles. The recollection of those days always 
played upon Wogan's foolish heartstrings with a 
touch soft as a woman's fingers, and very likely it 
now set George Kelly's twanging to the same tune ; 
for at Wogan's words he turned himself about with a 
face suddenly illumined. 

' Here, Nick, lay your hand there,' said he and 
stretched out his hand. ' You will be long in Paris ? ' 

' No more than a night And you ? ' 

' Just the same time.' 

He turned again to the counter, and busied him- 
self with his boxes in something of a hurry, as though 
he would avoid further questioning. Wogan blew 
a low whistle. 

Maybe we are on the same business, eh ? ' he 
asked. 'The King's business?' 

'Whisht, man,' whispered Kelly quickly, and he 
glanced about the shop. ' Have you no sense at all ? ' 

The shop was empty at the moment, and there was 
no reason that Wogan could see for his immoderate 
secrecy. But the Parson was much like the rest of 
the happy-go-lucky conspirators who were intrigu- 
ing to dislodge the Elector from the English throne 
— cautious by fits and moods, and the more often 
when there was the less need. But let a scheme get 



4 PARSON KELLY 

ripe for completion, and sure they imagined it com- 
pleted already, and at once there would be letters left 
about here, for all the world to read, and a wink and 
a sly word there, so that it was little short of a miracle 
when a plot was launched before it had been dis- 
covered by those it was launched against. Not that 
you are to attribute to Mr. Wogan any superior 
measure of reticence. On the contrary, it is very 
probable that it was precisely Mr. Wogan's tongue 
which George Kelly distrusted, and if so, small blame 
to him. At any rate, he pursed up his lips and stiff- 
ened his back. Consequence turned him into a ram- 
rod, and with a voice pitched towards the shopman : 

' I am still in the muslin trade,' said he, meaning 
that he collected money for the Cause. 'I shall 
cross to England to-morrow.' 

' Indeed and will you now ? ' said Wogan, who was 
perhaps a little contraried by his friend's reserve. 
' Then I '11 ask you to explain what these pretty 
boxes have to do with the muslin trade ? ' 

' They are to carry my samples in,' replied Kelly 
readily enough ; and then, as if to put Wogan's ques- 
tions aside, ' Are you for England, too ? ' 

' No,' said Wogan, imitating Mr. Kelly's import- 
ance ; ' I am going to visit my Aunt Anne at Cadiz ; 
so make the most of that, my little friend.' 

Wogan was no great dab at the cyphers and the 
jargon of the plots, but he knew that the Duke of 
Ormond, being then in Spain, figured in the corre- 
spondence as my Aunt Anne. It was now Kelly's 
turn to whistle, and that he did, and then laughed 
besides. 

' I might have guessed,' said he, ' for there 's a 



PARSON KELLY 5 

likely prospect of broken heads at all events, and to 
that magnet you were never better than a steel filing.' 

' Whisht, man,' exclaimed Wogan, frowning and 
wagging his head preposterously. 'Is it yourself 
that 's the one person in the world to practise 
mysteries ? Broken heads, indeed ! ' and he shrugged 
his shoulder as though he had a far greater business 
on hand. Kelly's curiosity rose to the bait, and he 
put a question or two which Wogan waived aside. 
The Parson indeed had hit the truth. Wogan had 
no business whatsoever except the mere fighting, but 
since the Parson was for practising so much dignified 
secrecy, Wogan would do no less. 

To carry the joke a step further, he turned to the 
counter, even as Kelly had done, and examined the 
despatch-boxes. He would buy one, to convince 
Kelly that he, too, was trusted with secret papers. 
The boxes were as like to one another as peas, but 
Wogan discovered a great dissimilitude of defects. 

' There 's not one of them fit to keep a mouldy 
cheese in,' said he, tapping and sounding them with 
his knuckles, ' let alone — ' and then he caught him- 
self up with a glance at Kelly. ' However, this 
perhaps may serve — but wait a little.' He felt in 
his pockets and by chance discovered a piece of 
string. This string he drew out and carefully meas- 
ured the despatch-box, depth and width and length. 
Then he put the tip of his thumb between his teeth 
and bit it in deep thought. ' Well, and it must serve, 
since there's no better; but for heaven's sake, my 
man, clap a stouter lock on it ! I could smash this 
with my fist. A good stout lock; and send it — wait 
a moment ! ' He glanced towards Kelly and turned 



6 PARSON KELLY 

back to the shopman. 'I'll just write down where 
you are to send it to.' 

To Kelly's more complete mystification he scrib- 
bled a name and an address on a sheet of paper, and 
folded it up with an infinity of precautions. 

'Send it there, key and all, by nine o'clock to- 
morrow morning.' 

The name was Mr. Kelly's, the address the inn at 
which Mr. Kelly was in the habit of putting up. 
Wogan bought the box merely to gull Kelly into the 
belief that he, also, was a Royal messenger. Then 
he paid for the box, and forthwith forgot all about 
it over a bottle of wine. Kelly, for his part, held 
his despatch-box in his hand. 

' Nick, I have business,' said he as soon as the 
bottle was empty, ' and it appears you have too. 
Shall we meet to-night? Mr. Law expects me at the 
Mazarin Palace.' 

' Faith, then I '11 make bold to intrude upon him,' 
said Nicholas, who, though Mr. Law kept open house 
for those who favoured the White Rose, was but a 
rare visitor to the Mazarin Palace, holding the finan- 
cier in so much awe that no amount of affability could 
extinguish it. 

However, that night he went, and so learned in 
greater particular the secret of the Parson's journey. 
It was nine o'clock at night when Wogan turned the 
corner of the Rue Vivienne and saw the windows of 
the Mazarin Palace blazing out upon the snow. A 
little crowd shivered and gaped beneath them, mak- 
ing, poor devils ! a vicarious supper off the noise of 
Mr. Law's entertainment. And it was a noisy party 
that Mr. Law entertained. Before he was half-way 



PARSON KELLY 7 

down the street Wogan could hear the peal of 
women's laughter and a snatch of a song, and after 
that maybe a sound of breaking glass, as though a 
tumbler had been edged off the table by an elbow. 
He was shown up the great staircase to a room on 
the first floor. 

' Monsieur Nicholas de Wogan,' said the footman, 
throwing open the door. Wogan stepped into the 
company of the pretty arch conspirators who were 
then mismanaging the Chevalier's affairs.' However, 
with their mismanagement Wogan is not here con- 
cerned, for this is not a story of Kings and Queens and 
high politics but of the private fortunes of Parson 
Kelly. Olive Trant was playing backgammon in a 
corner with Mr. Law. Madame de Mezieres, who 
was seldom absent when politics were towards, graced 
the table and conversed with Lady Cecilia Law. 
And right in front of Mr. Wogan stood that mad- 
cap her sister, Fanny Oglethorpe, with her sleeves 
tucked back to her elbows, looking gloriously jolly and 
handsome. She was engaged in mincing chickens 
in a china bowl which was stewing over a little lamp 
on the table, for, said she, Mr. Law had aspersed the 
English cooks, and she was minded to make him eat 
his word and her chicken that very night for supper. 
She had Parson Kelly helping her upon the one 
side, and a young French gentleman whom Wogan 
did not know upon the other ; and the three of them 
were stirring in the bowl with a clatter of their 
wooden spoons. 

' Here 's Mr. Wogan,' cried Fanny Oglethorpe, and 
as Wogan held out his hand she clapped her hot 
spoon into it. ' M. de Bellegarde, you must know 



8 PARSON KELLY 

Mr. Wogan. He has the broadest back of any man 
that ever I was acquainted with. You must do more 
than know him. You must love him, as I do, for the 
broadness of his back.' 

M. de Bellegarde looked not over-pleased with the 
civility of her greeting, and bowed to Wogan with an 
affectation of ceremony. Mr. Law came forward 
with an affable word. Olive Trant added another, 
and Madame de Mezieres asked eagerly what brought 
him to Paris. 

' He is on his way to join the Duke of Ormond at 
Cadiz,' cried Kelly; ' and,' said this man deceived, ' he 
carries the most important messages. Bow to him, 
ladies ! Gentlemen, your hands to your hearts, and 
your knees to the ground ! It 's no longer a soldier 
of fortune that you see before you, but a diplomatist, 
an ambassador: His Excellency, the Chevalier 
Wogan ; ' and with that he ducked and bowed, shak- 
ing his head and gesticulating with his hands, as 
though he were some dandified court chamberlain. 
All the Parson's diplomacy had been plainly warmed 
out of him in his present company. Mr. Law began 
to laugh, but Fanny Oglethorpe dropped her spoon 
and looked at Wogan. 

' The Duke of Ormond ? ' said she, lowering her 
voice. 

'Indeed? and you carry messages?' said Miss 
Olive Trant, upsetting the backgammon board. 

' Of what kind? ' exclaimed Madame de Mezieres; 
and then, in an instant, their pretty heads were clus- 
tered about the table, and their mouths whispering 
questions, advice, and precautions, all in a breath. 
' It 's at Bristol you are to land ? ' ' The Earl Maris- 



PARSON KELLY 9 

chal is for Scotland? ' ' You carry 5,000 barrels, Mr. 
Wogan?' meaning thereby stands of arms. And, 
' You may speak with all confidence,' Miss Oglethorpe 
urged, with a glance this way and that over her 
shoulders. 'There are none but honest people 
here. M. de Bellegarde,' and she looked towards the 
French spark, blushing very prettily, ' is my good 
friend.' 

Mr. Wogan bowed. 

' It was not that I doubted M. de Bellegarde,' he 
replied. ' But 'faith, la'dies, I have learnt more of the 
prospects of the expedition from your questions than 
ever I knew before. I was told for a certain thing 
that heads would be broken, and, to be sure, I was 
content with the information.' 

At that Mr. Law laughed. Kelly asked, ' What of 
the despatch-box, then?' The ladies pouted their 
resentment; and Mr. Wogan, for the first and last 
time in his life, wore the reputation of a diplomatist. 
' A close man,' said M. de Bellegarde, pursing his 
lips in approval. , 

' But sped on an unlikely venture,' added Mr. Law, 
getting back to his backgammon. ' Oh, I know,' he 
continued, as the voices rose against him, ' you have 
grumblings enough in England to fill a folio, and so 
you think the whole country will hurry to the water- 
side to welcome you, before you have set half your 
foot on shore. But, when all is said, the country's 
prosperous. Your opportunity will come with its 
misfortunes.' 

But Madame de Mezieres would hear nothing of 
such forebodings; and Olive Trant, catching up a 
glass, swung it above her head. 



lo PARSON KELLY 

' May the Oak flourish ! ' she cried. 

Fanny Oglethorpe sprang from her seat. 'May 
the White Rose bloom ! ' she answered, giving the 
counter-word. The pair clinked their glasses. 

' Aye, that 's the spirit ! ' cried the Parson. ' Drink, 
Nick ! God save the King ! Here 's a bumper to 
him!' 

He stood with his face turned upwards, his blue 
eyes afire. ' Here 's to the King ! ' he repeated. 
' Here 's to the Cause ! God send that nothing ever 
come between the Cause and me.' He drained his 
glass as he spoke, and tossed it over his shoulder. 
There was a tinkling sound, and a flash of sparks, as it 
were, when the glass splintered against the wall. 
George Kelly stood for a moment, arrested in his 
attitude, his eyes staring into vacancy, as though 
some strange news had come of a sudden knocking at 
his heart. Then he hitched his shoulders. ' Bah ! ' 
he cried, and began to sing in a boisterous voice 
some such ditty as 

Of all the days that 's in the year. 
The tenth of June 's to me most dear. 
When our White Roses do appear 
To welcome Jamie the Rover. 

Or it may have been 

Let our great James come over, 
And baffle Prince Hanover, 
With hearts and hands in loyal bands, 
We '11 welcome him at Dover. 

It was not the general practice to allow the Parson 
to sing without protest; for he squeezed less music 
out of him than any other Irishman could evoke 



PARSON KELLY ii 

from a deal board with his bare knuckles. When 
he sang, and may Heaven forgive the application of 
the word in this conjunction, there was ever a sort 
of mortal duello between his voice and the tune — 
very distressing to an audience. But now he sang 
his song from beginning to end, and no one inter- 
rupted him, or so much as clapped a hand over an 
ear ; and this not out of politeness. But his words 
so rang with a startling fervour ; and he stood, with 
his head thrown back, rigid in the stress of passion. 
His voice quavered down to silence, but his eyes 
still kept their fires, his attitude its fixity. Once or 
twice he muttered a word beneath his breath, and 
then a hoarse cry came leaping from his mouth. 

' May nothing ever come between the Cause and 
me, except it be death — except it be death ! ' 

A momentary silence waited upon the abrupt 
cessation of his voice : Wogan even held his breath ; 
Miss Oglethorpe did not stir ; and during that silence, 
there came a gentle rapping on the door. Kelly 
looked towards it with a start, as though there was 
his answer ; but the knocking was repeated before 
anyone moved ; it seemed as if suspense had hung its 
chains upon every limb. It was Mr. Wogan who 
opened the door, and in stalked Destiny in the shape 
of a lackey. He carried a note, and handed it to 
George Kelly. 

' The messenger has but this instant brought it,' 
he said. 

Kelly broke the seal, and unfolded the paper. 

' From General Dillon,' he said ; and, reading the 
note through, 'Ladies, will you pardon me? Mr. 
Law, I have your permission? I have but this one 



14 PARSON KELLY 

night in Paris, and General Dillon has news of 
importance which bears upon my journey.' 

With that he took his hat, and got him from the 
room. Fanny Oglethorpe sprang up from her 
chair. 

'Sure, my chicken will be ruined,' she cried. 
' Come, M. de Bellegarde,' and the pair fell again to 
stirring in the bowl, and with such indiscriminate 
vigour that more than once their fingers got entangled. 
This Mr. Wogan observed, and was sufficiently indis- 
creet to utter a sly proposal that he should make a 
third at the stirring. 

' There is no need for a third,' said Miss Oglethorpe, 
with severity. 'But, on the other hand, I want a 
couple of pats of butter, and a flagon of water ; and 
I shall be greatly obliged if Mr. Wogan will procure 
me them.' And what with that and other requests 
which chanced to come into her head, she kept him 
busy until the famous supper was prepared. 

In the midst of that supper back came Mr. Kelly, 
and plumped himself down in his chair, very full of his 
intelligence. A glass or two of Mr. Law's burgundy 
served to warm out of his blood all the reserve that 
was left over from the morning. 

' We are all friends here,' said he, turning to Miss 
Oglethorpe. 'Moreover, I need the advantage of 
your advice and knowledge. General Dillon believes 
that my Lord Oxford maybe persuaded to undertake 
the muslin trade in Britain.' 

' Lord Oxford,' exclaimed Miss Oglethorpe, with 
a start, for Oxford had lain quiet since he nearly lost 
his head five years agone. ' He is to collect the 
money from our supporters? ' 



PARSON KELLY 13 

' It is the opinion that he will, if properly 
approached.' 

Mr. Law, at the top of the table, shook his head. 

'It is a very forward and definite step for so pru- 
dential a politician,' said he. 

' But a politician laid on a shelf, and pining there,' 
replied George. ' There 's the reason for it. He has 
a hope of power, — Qui a bu, boira! The hope grows 
real if we succeed.' 

' I would trust him no further than a Norfolk 
attorney,' returned Mr. Law ; ' and that 's not an 
inch from the end of my nose. He will swear 
through a two-inch board to help you, and then turn 
cat in pan if a Whig but smile at him.' 

' Besides,' added Miss Oglethorpe, and she rested 
her chin thoughtfully upon her hands. As she 
spoke, all the eyes in that company were turned on 
her. ' Besides,' and then she came to a stop, and 
flushed a little. ' Lord Oxford,' she continued, ' was 
my good friend when I was in England.' Then she 
stopped again. Finally she looked straight into 
M. de Bellegarde's eyes, and with an admirable 
bravery : ' Some, without reason, have indeed slan- 
dered me with stories that he was more than my 
friend.' 

' None, Madame, who know you, I '11 warrant,' said 
M. de Bellegarde, and gravely lifting her hand to his 
lips, he kissed it. 

' Well, that 's a very pretty answer,' said she in 
some confusion. ' So Mr. Kelly may know,' she 
went on, ' that I speak with some authority concern- 
ing my Lord Oxford. It is not he whom I distrust. 
But he has lately^arried a young wife.' 



14 PARSON KELLY 

' Ah,' said Mr. Law, and ' Oh ! ' cried Mr. Wogan, 
with a shrug of his shoulders. ' If a lady is to 
dabble her tender fingers in the pie — ' 

'And what of it, Mr. Wogan?' Madame de 
Mezieres took him up coldly. 

'Yes, Mr. Wogan, what of it?' repeated Olive 
Trant hotly, ' provided the lady be loyal.' In an 
instant Mr. Wogan had the whole nest swarming 
about his ears, with the exception of Fanny Ogle- 
thorpe. It was intimated to him that he had a fine 
preposterous conceit of his sex, and would he be 
pleased to justify it? 

Madame de Mezieres hinted that the ability to 
swing a shillelagh and bring it down deftly on an 
offending sconce did not comprise the whole virtues 
of mankind. And if it came to the test of dealing 
blows, why there was Joan of Arc, and what had Mr. 
Wogan to say to her? Mr. Wogan turned tail, as he 
always did when women were in the van of the 
attack. 

' Ladies,' he said, ' I do not think Joan of Arc so 
singular after all, since I see four here who I believe 
from my soul could emulate her noblest achieve- 
ments.' 

But Mr. Wogan's gallantry went for very little. 
The cowardice of it was apparent for all that he 
bowed and laid his hand on his heart, and performed 
such antics as he thought likely to tickle women into 
good humour. 

' Besides,' put in Lady Cecilia, with a soothing 
gentleness, ' Mr. Wogan should know that the cause 
he serves owes, as it is, much to the good offices of 
women.' 



PARSON KELLY 15 

Mr. Wogan had his own opinions upon that point, 
but he wiped his forehead and had the discretion to 
hold his tongue. Meanwhile Fanny Oglethorpe, 
who had sat with frowning brows in silence, diverted 
the onslaught. 

' But it is just the loyalty of Lady Oxford which is 
in question. Lady Oxford is a Whig, of a Whig family. 
She is even related to Mr. Walpole, the Minister. I 
think Mr. Kelly will have to tread very warily at 
Lord Oxford's house of Brampton Bryan.' 

' For my part,' rejoined Mr. Law, ' I think the 
Chevalier de St. George would do better to follow 
the example of Mr. Kelly and my friends here.' 

' And what is that ? ' asked Wogan. 

' Why, scrape up all the money he can lay hands 
on and place it in my company of the West.' 

Mr. Wogan was not well pleased to hear of his 
friend's speculation, and, when they left the house 
together, took occasion to remonstrate with him. 

' How much have you placed?' he asked. 

'All that I could,' replied George. 'It is little 
enough — the remnant of my patrimony. Mr. Law 
lent me a trifle in addition to make up a round sum. 
It is a very kindly man, and well disposed to me. I 
have no fears, for all the money in France dances to 
the tune he fiddles.' 

' To his tune, to be sure,' grumbled Wogan ; ' but 
are you equally certain his tune is yours? Oh, I 
know. He is a monstrous clever man, not a doubt 
of it. The computation of figures — it is the devil's 
own gift, and to my nose it smells damnably of 
sulphur.' 

Mr, Wogan has good occasion to reflect how 



i6 PARSON KELLY 

Providence fleers at one's apprehensions when he 
remembers the sleepless hours during which he 
tossed upon his bed that night, seeing all the Parson's 
scanty savings drowned beyond redemption in the 
China seas. For no better chance could have be- 
fallen Kelly than that Wogan's forebodings should 
have come true. But the venture succeeded. Fanny 
Oglethorpe made a fortune and married M. de Belle- 
garde. Olive Trant, the richer by 100,000 pistoles, 
became Princess of Auvergne. Do they ever remem- 
ber that night at the Hotel de Mazarin, and how Parson 
Kelly cried out almost in an agony as though, in the 
heat of passion, he surmised the future, ' May 
nothing come between the Cause and me ' ? Well, 
for one thing the money came. It placed in his 
hands a golden key wherewith to unlock the gates of 
disaster. 



CHAPTER II 

MR. WOGAN REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE AN 

UNDESIRABLE ACQUAINTANCE IN 

ST. JAMES'S STREET 

MR. WOGAN left Paris early the next morning 
without a thought for the despatch-box that 
he had sent to Kelly, and, coming to Cadiz, sailed 
with the Spaniards out of that harbour on the tenth 
of March, and into the great storm which dispersed 
the fleet off Cape Finisterre. In company with the 
Earl Marischal and the Marquis of TuUibardine, 
he was aboard one of those two ships which alone 
touched the coast of Scotland. ' Consequently, he 
figured with better men, as Field-Marshal Keith, and 
his brother the Ambassador, and my Lord George 
Murray, in that little skirmish at Glenshiel, and very 
thankful he was when the night shut black upon the 
valleys and put its limit to the attack of General 
Wightman's soldiers from Inverness. A council of 
war was held in the dark upon a hill-side, whence the 
fires of General Wightman's camp could be seen 
twinkling ruddily below, but Wogan heard little of 
what was disputed, for he went to sleep with his back 
against a boulder and dreamed of his ancestors. He 
was waked up about the middle of the night by the 
Earl Marischal, who informed him that the Spaniards 



1 8 PARSON KELLY 

had determined to surrender at discretion, and that 
the handful of Highlanders were already dispersing 
to their homes. 

' As for ourselves, we shall make for the Western 
Islands and wait there for a ship to take us off.' 

' Then I '11 wish you luck and a ship,' said Wogan. 
He stood up and shook the dew off his cloak. ' I 
have friends in London, and I '11 trust my lucky star 
to get me there.' 

' Your star 's in eclipse,' said the Earl. ' You will 
never reach London except it be with your legs tied 
under a horse's belly.' 

' Well, I 'm thinking you have not such a clear 
path after all to the \A/^estern Islands! Did you 
never hear of my forefather, Thomas Wogan, that 
rode with twenty-eight Cavaliers through the heart 
of Cromwell's England, and came safe into the High- 
lands? Sure what that great man could do with 
twenty-eight companions to make him conspicuous, 
his degenerate son can do alone.' 

Mr. Wogan began his journey by walking over the 
hill, near to the top of which his friends had been 
driven off the road to Inverness by the English fire, 
which was very well nourished. He made his way 
to Loch Duich, as they call it, and so by boat round 
Ardnamurchan, to a hamlet they call Oban. There 
he changed his dress for the Campbell black and 
green, and, joining company with a drove of Rob 
Roy's cattle from the Lennox, travelled to Glasgow. 
His Irish brogue no doubt sounded a trifle strange 
in a Highland drover, but he was in a country where 
the people were friendly. At Glasgow he changed 
his dress again for a snuff-coloured bourgeois suit. 



PARSON KELLY 19 

and so rode into England by the old Carlisle and 
Preston route, which he had known very well in the 
year 1715. 

Wogan was at this time little more than a lad, 
though full-grown enough to make a man and a 
good-sized boy into the bargain, and the exploit of 
the Cavalier Thomas Wogan, as it had prompted his 
design, so it exhilarated him in the execution. He 
went lightly on his way, weaving all manner of 
chivalric tales about his ancestor, to the great in- 
crease of his own vanity, bethinking him when he 
stopped for an hour at a wayside inn that here, too, 
perhaps Thomas Wogan had reined in his horse, and 
maybe had taken a draught from that very pint-pot 
which Nicholas now held to his lips. Thus the late 
burst up the hill-side above the Shiel was quickly 
robbed of its sting, and by the time that he had 
reached London he was so come to a pitch of con- 
fidence in the high destinies of the Wogan family 
that, after leaving his horse in the charge of Mr. 
Gunning, of Mussell Hill, whom he knew of old as a 
staunch friend of George Kelly's, and borrowing 
from him a more suitable raiment than his stained 
travelling dress, he must needs walk down St. James's 
Street with no more disguise than the tilting of his 
hat over his nose, and the burying of his chin in his 
cravat. 

Soon Mr. Wogan's confidence and, with his con- 
fidence, his legs were brought to a sudden check. 
For when he was come half-way down the hill he saw 
the figure of one Captain Montague in the uniform of 
the Guards turn the corner out ofRyder Street and walk 
towards him. Wogan had met the officer before on 



20 PARSON KELLY 

an occasion of which he did not wish at this particular 
moment to be reminded. He wheeled about, took a 
step or two, and so came again to a halt. Was it 
known, he asked himself, that he had sailed from Cadiz 
and landed in Scotland? If so, and it was a most 
likely conjecture, then for Wogan to be straggling 
about St. James's Street was egregious impertinence, 
and the sooner he got under shelter the better for his 
neck. Now Wogan's destination was the lodging of 
George Kelly, not five hundred yards away, in Bury 
Street. But to reach that lodging it would be neces- 
sary for him to turn about again and face the Cap- 
tain. Would the Captain know him again? Wogan 
debated the question, and finding no answer, asked 
himself another. What would Thomas Wogan have 
done under the like contingency? The answer to 
that was evident enough. Wogan turned about on 
the instant, cocked his hat on the back of his head, 
took his chin out of his cravat, twirled his cane, whis- 
tled a tune and sauntered past the Captain, looking 
him over as if he were so much dirt. The Captain 
stopped : Wogan felt his heart jump into his throat, 
whistled a bit louder, and twirled his cane a trifle 
ferociously. Over his shoulder he saw the Captain 
draw his brows together and rub a cheek with the 
palm of his hand like a man perplexed. The Captain 
took a step towards Wogan, and stopped again. 
Wogan sauntered on, expecting every moment to 
hear his name called, and a clattering run, and then 
to feel a heavy hand close upon his shoulder. But 
no voice spoke, no steps clattered on the pavement. 
Wogan reached the corner and spied up St. James's 
Street as he turned. The Captain was still standing 



PARSON KELLY 21 

in the attitude of perplexity; only, instead of 
smoothing his cheek, he had tilted his peruke aside 
and was scratching his head to ease the labour of his 
recollections. At the sight of him the ancestor and 
his twenty-eight Cavaliers rode clean out of Mr. 
Wogan's mind. ' Sure, Thomas would n't have done 
it, but Nicholas will,' said he, and kicking up his 
heels he ran. He ran along Ryder Street, turned 
into Bury Street, raced a hundred yards or so up the 
cobbles, and thundered on the door of Kelly's lodg- 
ing. Here and there a head was poked from a win- 
dow, and Mr. Wogan cursed his own noisiness. It 
seemed an age before the door was opened. Fortu- 
nately it was Mrs. Barnes, Kelly's landlady, in per- 
son, and not her serving-woman, who stood in the 
entrance. 

' Is the Parson in London ? ' says Wogan. ' Say 
that he is, Mrs. Barnes, and say it quick.' 

' Why, it 's Mr. Wogan ! ' cries she. 

' Whisht, my dear woman ! ' answered Wogan, push- 
ing through the doorway. ' It 's Mr. Hilton. There 's 
no Wogan anywhere in England. Remember that, 
if you please.' 

Mrs. Barnes slammed the door in a hurry. 

' Then you are in trouble again,' said she, throwing 
up her hands. 

' Well, there 's nothing unusual in that,' said he. 
' Sure man is born to it, and who am I that I should 
escape the inheritance?' and he opened the door of 
Mr. Kelly's sitting-room. He saw the figure of a 
man bending over the table. As the door was 
thrown open, the figure straightened itself hurriedly. 
There was a sound of an iron lid clanging down upon 



2 2 PARSON KELLY 

a box, and the sharp snap of a lock. George Kelly 
turned and stood between the table and the door, in 
a posture of defence. Then — 

' Nick ! ' he cried, and grasped his friend's hand. 
The next moment he let it go. ' What brings you 
here?' he exclaimed. 

' My ancestor,' said Wogan, dropping into a chair. 
' 'T was his spirit guided me.' 

' Then take my word for it,' cried George, ' if 
there 's a Bedlam beyond the grave your ancestor 
inhabits it.' 

Wogan made no reply in words at first. But he 
rose stiffly from his chair, bowed to Kelly with pro- 
fuse ceremony, took his hat, and with his hat a step 
towards the door. Kelly, on the other hand, shut 
the door, locked it, put the key in his pocket and 
leaned his back against the panels. Wogan affected 
to see nothing of these actions, but spoke in a tone 
of dignity like a man taking his leave. 

' Such insults as you are pleased to confer on me,' 
said he, ' no doubt I deserve, and I take them in all 
Christian meekness. But when my ancestor Thomas 
Wogan, God rest his soul for ever and ever, rode 
with twenty-eight Cavaliers from Dover to Scotland 
through the thick of his bloodthirsty foes to carry 
the succour of his presence to the friends of his 
blessed Majesty of sacred memory King Charles the 
Second, it was not, I 'd have you know, Mr. Kelly, in 
order that his name should be bespattered after he 
was dead by a snuffling long-legged surreptitious 
gawk of a parson who was kicked out of his Dublin 
pulpit with every circumstance of ignominy because 
bis intellect did n't enable him to compose a homily.' 



PARSON KELLY 23 

At this point Wogan drew a long breath, which he 
sorely needed. It was not at all truth that he had 
spoken, as he knew — none better. The Parson was 
indeed stripped of his gown because he preached a 
very fine homily on the text of ' Render unto Cffisar 
the things that are Caesar's,' wherein he mingled 
many timely and ingenious allusions to the Chevalier. 
Nor was there any particular force in that epithet 
* surreptitious,' beyond that it had an abusive twang. 
Yet it was just that word at which Mr. Kelly took 
offence. 

' Surreptitious,' said he, ' and if you please what is 
the meaning of that? ' 

And then surveying Wogan, he began of a sudden 
to smile. 

'Ta-ta-ta,' he said with a grimace. 

' It is a pretty though an interjectional wit,' replied 
Wogan in a high disdain, falling upon long words, as 
was his fashion on the rare occasions when he cloaked 
himself with dignity. 

' Faith,' continued George, with the smile broaden- 
ing over his face, ' but it is indeed the very picture of 
Christian meekness,' and then, breaking into a laugh, 
' Will you sit down, you noisy firebrand. As for 
Thomas Wogan — ^be damned to him and to all his 
twenty-eight Cavaliers into the bargain ! ' 

Mr. Wogan will never deny but what the man's 
laugh was irresistible, for the Parson's features wore 
in repose something of clerkly look. They were 
cast in a mould of Episcopal gravity; but when he 
laughed his blue eyes would lighten at you like the 
sun from a bank of clouds, and the whole face of 
him wrinkled and creased into smiles, and his mouth 



24 PARSON KELLY 

shook a great rumbling laugh out of his throat, and 
then of a sudden you had come into the company of 
a jolly man. Wogan put his hat on the table and 
struggled to preserve his countenance from any ex- 
pression of friendliness. 

' It is the common talk at the Cocoa Tree that you 
sailed from Cadiz. It is thought that you were one 
of the remnant at Glenshiel. Oh, the rumour of your 
whereabouts has marched before you, and that you 
might have guessed. But see what it is to know no 
Virgil, and,' shaking a minatory finger, 

' Fama, malum quo non aliud velocius uUum.' 

Mr. Wogan bowed before Latin like a sapling 
before the wind. He seated himself as he was bid. 

' And you must needs come parading your mon- 
strous person through the thick of London, like any 
fashionable gentleman,' continued George. 'What 
am I to do with you ? Why could n't you lie quiet 
in a village and send me news of you? Did you 
meet any of your acquaintance by chance when 
you came visiting your friend Mr. Kelly ? Perhaps 
you passed the time of day with Mr. Walpole — ' 
and as he spoke the name he stopped abruptly. He 
walked once or twice across the room, shifting his 
peruke from one side of his head to the other in the 
fluster of his thoughts. Then he paused before 
Wogan. 

' Oh, what am I to do with you ? ' he cried. ' Tell 
me that, if you please.' But the moment Wogan 
began, 

' Sure, George, it 's not you that I will be troubling 
for my security ' — Kelly cut in again ; 



PARSON KELLY 25 

' Oh, if you have nothing better to say than that, 
you say nothing at all. It is dribbling baby's talk,' 
and then he repeated a question earnestly. ' Did you 
see anyone you knew, or rather did anyone that 
knows you see you?' 

' Why,' replied Wogan meekly, ' I cannot quite tell 
whether he knows me or not, but to be sure I ran 
into the arms of Captain Montague not half a dozen 
yards from the corner of Ryder Street. ' 

' Montague ! ' exclaimed Kelly. Wogan nodded. 

' The man who fought against you at Preston siege ? ' 

' The same.' 

' 'T is a pity you were at so much pains to save his 
life in that scuffle.' 

' Have n't I been thinking that myself? ' asked 
Wogan. ' If only I had left him lying outside the 
barricades, where he would have been surely killed 
by the cross-fire, instead of running out and dragging 
him in ! But it is ever the way. Once do a thor- 
oughly good-natured action and you will find it 's the 
thorn in your side that will turn and sting you. But 
I am not sure that he knew me,' and he related how 
the Captain had stopped with an air of perplexed 
recollection, and had then gone on his way. Kelly 
listened to the account with a certain relief. 

' It is likely that he would not remember you. 
For one thing, he was wounded when you carried 
him in, and perhaps gave little heed to the features 
of his preserver. Moreover, you have changed, 
Nick, in these years. You were a stripling then, a 
boy of fifteen, and,' here he smiled and laid a hand 
on Wogan's shoulder, ' you have grown into a baby 
in four years,' 



26 PARSON KELLY 

Then he took another turn across the room. 
' Well, and why not? ' he said to himself, and finally 
brought his fist with a bang upon the table. ' I '11 
hazard it,' said he. ' I am not sure but what it is the 
safest way,' and, drawing a chair close to Wogan, he 
sat himself down. 

' It was the mention of Mr. Walpole set me on the 
plan,' he said. ' You heard in Paris that Lady Oxford 
is a kinsman of his. Well, I go down to Lord Ox- 
ford's in two days. It is a remote village in the 
north of Herefordshire. You shall come with me as 
my secretary. 'Faith, but I shall figure in my lord's 
eyes as a person of the greatest importance.' 

Mr. Wogan resisted the proposal as being of some 
risk to his friend, but Kelly would hear of no argu- 
ment. The plan grew on him, the more he thought 
of it. ' You can lie snug here for the two days. 
Mrs. Barnes is to be trusted, devil a doubt. You 
can travel down with me in safety. I am plain Mr. 
Johnson here, engaged in smuggling laces from the 
Continent into England. And once out of London 
there will be little difficulty in shipping you out of 
the country until the affair 's blown over.' 

So it was arranged, and Kelly, looking at his 
watch, says — 

' By my soul, I am late. I should have been with 
my Lord of Rochester half-an-hour since. The 
good Bishop will be swearing like a dragoon.' 

He clapped his hat on his head, took up his cane, 
and marched to the door. His hand was on the 
knob, when he turned. 

' By the way, Nick, I have something which be- 
longs to you. 'T was sent to my lodging in Paris by 



PARSON KELLY 27 

mistake. I brought it over, since I was sure to set 
eyes on you shortly.' 

' Ah,' said Nick. ' Then you expected me, for all 
your scolding and bullying.' 

' To speak the honest truth, Nick,' said Kelly, with 
a laugh, ' I have been expecting you all the last 
week.' 

He went into his bedroom, and brought out the 
strong-box which Wogan had purchased in Paris. 

' Sure there was no mistake,' said Wogan. ' I sent 
it to you as a reward for your discretion.' 

' Oh, you did. Well, you wasted your money, for 
I have no need for it.' 

' Nor I,' replied Wogan. ' But it has a very good 
lock, and will serve to hold your love-letters.' 

Kelly laughed carelessly at the careless words, and 
laid the box aside upon his scrutore. Many a time 
in the months that followed Wogan saw it there, and 
the sight of it would waken him to a laugh, for he 
did not know that a man's liberty, his honour, his 
love, came shortly to be locked within its narrow 
space. 



CHAPTER III 

MR. WOGAN INSTRUCTS THE IGNORANT PARSON IN 
THE WAYS OF WOMEN 

MR. WOGAN then remained for two days 
closeted in his friend's lodgings, and was 
hard put to it to pass the time, since the Parson, who 
acted as secretary and right-hand man to Bishop 
Atterbury, was ever dancing attendance upon his 
lordship at Bromley or the Deanery of Westminster. 
Wogan smoked a deal of tobacco, and, knitting his 
brows, made a strenuous endeavour to peruse one of 
George Kelly's books — a translation of Tully's 
Letters. He did, indeed, read a complete page, and 
then being seized with a sudden vertigo, such as 
from his extreme youth had prevented him from a 
course of study, was forced to discontinue his labours. 
At this juncture Mrs. Barnes comforted him with a 
greasy pack of cards, and for the rest of that day he 
played games of chance for extraordinary stakes, 
one hand against t' other, winning and losing millions 
of pounds sterling in the space of a single hour. By 
bedtime he was sunk in a plethora of wealth and an 
extremity of destitution at one and the same time ; 
and so, since he saw no way of setting the balance 
right, he bethought him of another plan. On the 
morrow he would write out a fyll history of his 



PARSON KELLY 29 

ancestors, as a memorial of their valour and a shame 
to the men of this age. 

The Parson, when he was informed of the notable 
design, quoted a scrap of Latin to the effect that it 
would be something more than a brazen proceeding. 
Wogan, however, was not to be dissuaded by any tag 
of rhyme, and getting up before daylight, since he 
had but this one day for the enterprise, was at once 
very busy with all of Kelly's spluttering pens. He 
began with the founder of the family, the great 
Chevalier Ugus, who lived in the time of my little 
Octavius Cffisar, and was commissioned by that un- 
paralleled monarch to build the town of Florence. 
' Ugus,' wrote Mr. Wogan in big round painful letters 
with a flourish to each, and, coming to a stop, woke 
up George Kelly to ask him in what year of Our 
Lord Octavius Caesar was born into this weary world. 
' In no year of Our Lord,' grumbled George, a little 
churlishly to Wogan's thinking, who went back to 
his desk, and taking up a new pen again wrote 
'Ugus.' Thereupon he fell into a great profundity 
of thought ; so many philosophic reflections crowded 
into his head while he nibbled his pen, as he felt sure 
must visibly raise him in the estimation of his friends. 
So, taking his candle in one hand and his pen in the 
other, he came a second time to Kelly's bedside and 
sat him down heavily upon his legs, the better to 
ensure his awakening. It is to be admitted that this 
time the Parson sat up in his bed, and swore with all 
the volubility of a dragoon or even of my Lord 
Bishop of Rochester. But Wogan smiled amiably, 
knowing when he communicated his thoughts how 
soon those oaths would turn to cries of admiration. 



30 PARSON KELLY 

'It is a very curious thing,' said Wogan, shifting 
himself a little so that Kelly's shins should not press 
so sharply, ' how the mere inking of one's fingers 
produces speculation. Just as great valorous deeds 
are the consequence of swords,' here he paused to 
snuff the candle with his fingers, ' so great philosophic 
thoughts are the consequence of pens. Put a sword 
in a man's hand ! What does he want to do but cut 
his neighbour right open from the chine to the ribs? 
Put a pen between his fingers, on the other hand, and 
what does he want to do but go away by himself and 
write down great thoughts ? ' 

'Then, in Heaven's name, why don't you do it?' 
cried George. 

' Because, my friend,' replied Wogan, ' out of the 
great love I bear for you, I shall always, always com- 
municate my thoughts first of all to you.' Here the 
Parson groaned like a man giving up the ghost, and 
Wogan continued : 

' For instance, you have doubtless heard of my 
illustrious forbear the Chevalier Ugus.' At this 
Kelly tried to turn on his side ; but he could not do 
so, since his legs were pinned beneath Wogan's 
weight. 'The Chevalier Ugus,' repeated Wogan, 
' who built and beautified the city of Florence to the 
glory of God in the reign of the Emperor Octavius. 
How many of the English have loitered in the colon- 
nades, and feasted their eyes upon the cathedral, and 
sauntered on the bridges of the Arno? How many 
of them, I say, have drawn profitable thoughts and 
pleasurable sensations from the edifices of my great 
ancestor? And yet not one of them — if poor 
Nicholas Wogan, his degenerate son, were to poke 



PARSON KELLY 31 

his nose outside of Mrs. Barnes's front door — not one 
of them but would truss him hands and heels and 
hang him up to derision upon a nasty gibbet.' 

So far Wogan had flowed on when a sigh from 
Kelly's lips brought him to a pause. He leaned for- 
ward and held the candle so that the light fell upon 
Kelly's face. Kelly was sound asleep. 

' To be sure,' said Wogan in a soft voice of pity, on 
the chance that Kelly might be counterfeiting slumber, 
' my little friend 's jealous of my reflective powers,' and 
going back to his chair wrote ' Ugus ' a third time with 
a third pen ; and then, in order to think the more clearly, 
laid his hand upon the table and closed his eyes. 

It was Mrs. Barnes's hand upon his shoulder, some 
three hours afterwards, which roused him from his so 
deep reflections, and to a man in Wogan's course of 
life the shoulder is a most sensitive member. She 
took the paper, whereon the great name was thrice 
inscribed, very daintily between her forefinger and 
thumb, as though she touched pitch ; folded it once, 
twice, thrice, and set it on the mantelshelf. There 
Mr. Kelly, coming into the room for breakfast, dis- 
covered it, hummed a little to himself like a man well 
pleased, and turned over the leaf to see what was 
written t' other side. 

' That is all,' said Wogan, indifferently. 

' And it is a very good night's work,' replied Kelly, 
with the politest gravity, ' not a letter — and there are 
precisely twelve of them in all — but is writ with 
scrupulous correctness. Such flourishes, too, are 
seldom seen. I cannot call to mind that ever I saw a 
g so pictorially displayed. Ugus — Ugus — Ugus — ' 
and he held the paper out at arm's length. 



32 PARSON KELLY 

' I went no further with my work,' explained Wogan, 
* because I reflected — ' 

' What, again ? ' asked the Parson in a voice of con- 
dolence. 

' That the mere enunciation of the name Ugus gives 
an epitome of the Wogan family.' 

' Indeed, it gives a history in full,' said the Parson. 

' It comprises — ' 

' Nay, it conveys — ' 

' All that need be known of the Wogan family.' 

'AH that need be known, indeed, and perhaps 
more,' added George with the air of a man turning a 
compliment. Mr. Wogan was sensibly flattered, and 
took his friend's words as an apology for that disre- 
spect which he had shown towards Thomas Wogan 
two days before, and the pair seated themselves to 
breakfast in the best of good humour. 

' We start at nine of the evening,' said George. ' I 
have commanded a sober suit of grey cloth for you, 
Nick, since you cannot squeeze into my coats, and it 
should be here by now. Meanwhile, I leave you to 
Mrs. Barnes's attentions.' 

Of these attentions Mrs. Barnes was by no means 
sparing. For the buxom widow of the bookseller, 
who, to her credit be it said, had her full share of 
good looks, joined to an admirable warmth of heart a 
less adorable curiosity. With the best intentions in 
the world for her lodgers' security, she was always 
prying into their secrets. Nor did she always hold 
her tongue outside her own doors, as Mr. Kelly had . 
bitter reason afterwards to know. In a word, she had 
all the inquisitiveness of her class, and sufficient wiles 
to make that inquisitiveness difficult to parry. Not 



PARSON KELLY 33 

that Nicholas Wogan was at all troubled upon this 
score, for if there was one quality upon which the 
good man prided himself, it was his comprehension 
of the sex. ' Woman,' he would say with a senten- 
tious pursing of the lips and a nod of the head ; and 
again ' woman,' and so drop into silence ; as who 
should say, ' Here 's a nut I could show you the ker- 
nel of were I so disposed.' 

This morning, however, Mrs. Barnes made no de- 
mand upon Wogan's cunning. For she took the 
paper with the thrice iterated Ugus which the Parson 
had replaced upon the mantelshelf, and, with the same 
gingerly precautions as she had used in touching it 
before, dropped it into the fire. 

' And why that? ' asked Wogan. 

Mrs. Barnes flung out at him in reply. 

' I have no patience with you,' she cried. ' What' s 
Ugus, Mr. Wogan? Answer me that,' and she struck 
her arms akimbo. ' What' s Ugus but one of your 
cypher words, and you must needs stick it up on your 
mantelshelf for all the world to see ? ' 

' It 's no cypher word at all," replied Wogan with 
a laugh. 

' What is it then ? ' said she. 

' My dear woman, the merest mare's nest,' said 
he. 

' Oh, you may " dear woman " me,' cried she, and 
sat herself down in a chair, 'and you may laugh at a 
woman's fears; but, good lack, it was a bad day 
when Mr. Kelly first found a lodging here. What 
with his plottings here and his plottings there, it will 
be a fortunate thing if he does n't plot us all into our 
graves.' 

3 



34 PARSON KELLY 

' Whisht,' interrupted Wogan. ' There are no plots 
at all, any more than there' s sense in your talk.' 

But the woman's eloquence was not so easily 
stemmed. 

' Then if there are no plots, why is Mr. Kelly " Mr. 
Johnson," why is Mr. Wogan "Mr. Hilton"; and 
why, oh why, am I in danger of my life and liberty, 
and in peril of my immortal soul?' 

' Sure you are bubbled with your fears,' answered 
Wogan. ' It is sufficiently well known that since Mr. 
George Kelly ceased to minister to souls he has 
adopted the more lucrative profession of a lace mer- 
chant. There 's some secrecy no doubt in his comings 
and goings, but that is because he is most honourably 
engaged in defrauding the revenue.' 

' A pretty lace merchant, upon my soul,' said she, 
and she began to rock her body to and fro. The 
sight alarmed Nicholas Wogan, since he knew the 
movement to be a premonition of tears. ' A lace 
merchant who writes letters in Latin, and rides in the 
Bishop of Rochester's coach, and goes a-visiting my 
Lord Oxford in the country. Thirteen shillings have 
I paid for letters in one day. Laces, forsooth ! It is 
hempen ropes the poor gentleman travels in, and 
never was a man so eager to fit them to his own 
neck.' And, at the affecting prospect which her 
words called up, the good woman lifted her apron to 
her eyes and forthwith dissolved into tears. Sobs 
tore her ample bosom, her soft frame quivered like a 
jelly. Never did Mr. Wogan find his intimate knowl- 
edge of the sex of more inestimable value. He 
crossed the room ; he took one plump hand into his 
left palm and gently cherished it with his right. The 



PARSON KELLY 35 

tears diminished to a whimpering. He cooed a com- 
pliment into Mrs. Barnes's ear, ' A little white dove 
of a hand in a brown nest, my dear woman,' said he, 
and affectionately tweaked her ear. Even the whim- 
pering ceased, but ceased under protest ! For Mrs. 
Barnes began to speak again. Wogan, however, 
kissed the tearful eyes and sealed them in content. 

' Hoity-toity, here' s a set out,' he said, ' because 
my Lord Oxford wants a pair of Venice ruffles to hide 
his gouty fingers, or a new mantilla for his new 
spouse,' and so, softly chiding her, he pushed her out 
of the room. 

At nine o'clock to the minute the chaise drove up 
to the door. Mr. Kelly took a stroll along the street 
to see the coast was clear ; Mrs. Barnes was in two 
minds whether to weep at losing her lodgers, or to 
smile at their prospects of security, and compromised 
between her emotions by indulging them alternately ; 
and finally the two friends in burgess dress entered 
the chaise and drove off. Mr. Wogan thrust his head 
half out of the window, the better to take his fill of 
the cool night air, but drew it back something of the 
suddenest at the corner where Ryder Street debouches 
into St. James's. 

' Sure the man 's a spy,' said he, flinging himself 
back. Parson Kelly leaned cautiously forward, and 
under an oil-lamp above the porch of a door he saw 
Captain Montague. The Captain was standing in an 
indecisive attitude, tapping with his stick upon the 
pavement and looking up and down the street. 

' I doubt it,' returned Kelly. ' I have ever heard 
he was the most scrupulous gentleman.' 

' But he 's a Whig. A Whig and a gentleman !. 



36 PARSON KELLY 

But it's a contradiction in terms. Whigging is a 
nasty insupportable trade, and infects a man like a 
poison. A Whig is a sort of third sex by itself that 
combines all the failings of the other two.' 

However, this time it was evident that Captain 
Montague had taken no note of Nicholas Wogan. 
He could not but reflect how it was at this very spot 
that he had come upon the captain before, and 
mighty glad he was when the lights of Knightsbridge 
had sunk behind them, and they were driving betwixt 
the hedgerows. Then at one spring he jumped to 
the top of his spirits. 

' George, what a night ! ' cries he. ' Sure I was 
never designed to live in a house at all, but to be 
entirely happy under the blue roof-tree of the sky. 
Put me out on a good road at night and the whole 
universe converses with me on the most familiar 
terms. Perhaps it 's a bush that throws out a tendril 
and says, ' Smell that, you devil, and good luck to 
you.' Or, maybe it 's the stars that wink at me and 
say, ' Here 's a world for you, Nick, my little friend. 
Only wait a moment, and we '11 show you a bit of a 
moon that'll make a poet of you.' Then up comes 
the moon, perhaps, in a crescent like a wisp of fire, 
and, says she, ' It 's all very well here, Nicholas, but 
take my word for it, I can show you as good on the 
sea and better. For you '11 have all this, and the hiss 
of the water under your lee besides, and the little 
bubbles dancing on the top. But what troubles you, 
George ? ' 

But Kelly made little or no reply, being sunk in 
the consideration of some difficulty. For two days 
he remained closeted with his trouble, and it was not 



PARSON KELLY 37 

until they had got to Worcester that he discovered 
it. They changed horses at the ' Dog and Turk ' and 
drove through the town under the Abbey clock. 

' It is five minutes to twelve,' said Wogan, looking 
at the clock. 

' Yes,' said Kelly with a sigh, ' the face is very plain 
to read.' Then he sighed again. 

' Now, if the clock were a woman,' said he, ' it 
might be half-past four and we still thinking it five 
minutes to twelve.' 

' Oh, is it there you are? ' said Wogan. 

' Why, yes,' replied Kelly. ' Lord Oxford, do you 
see, Nick, is a half-hearted sort of trembler — that 
we know and are ready for him. But what of my 
lady?' 

Wogan crossed his legs and laughed comfortably. 
Here was matter with whicli he could confidently 
deal. 

' Well, what of her? ' he asked. 

'You heard what Fanny Oglethorpe said. She is 
a kinswoman of Mr. Walpole's. How shall we be 
sure of her at all? A woman, Nick, is a creature 
who walks in the byways of thought. How shall an 
obtuse man follow her?' 

Wogan took a pinch of snuff. 

' It is very well, George,' said he, ' that I took this 
journey with you. I '11 make your conduct plain to 
you as the palm of my hand. In the first place, 
there was never a woman yet from Cleopatra down- 
wards that cared the scrape of a fiddle for politics. 
'Twas never more than a path that led to something 
else, and is held of just as small account as the road 
a girl dances down when she goes to meet her lover. 



38 PARSON KELLY 

Look at Fanny Oglethorpe, Olive Trant, and the rest 
of them in Paris ! D' you think it 's the Cause they 
ever give a thought to ? If you do you 're sadly out, 
my friend. No ; what troubles their heads is simply 
that the Chevalier is a romantical figure of a man, 
and would look extraordinarily well with a gold 
crown on the top of his periwig. Now I 'm wagering 
it will be just the same with my Lady Oxford. You 
have all the qualifications down to your legs, and let 
my lady once take a liking to your person she will 
gulp your politics without a grimace.' 

Mr. Kelly turned a startled face towards his in- 
structor. 

' You would have me pay court to her? ' says he. 

' Just that,' says Wogan, imperturbably. ' Keep 
your politics for my lord and have a soft word ready 
for my lady. Pen her a delicate ode in Latin. To 
be sure the addresses of an erudite man have some- 
thing particularly flattering to the sex. Or drop out 
a pretty compliment on her ear.' 

'Oh, on her ear?' said Kelly, beginning to smile. 
' Of what sort? ' 

' Faith, George, but you exasperate me,' said Nick. 
'Isn't there an infinity of images you could use? 
For instance — ,' said he, and hummed a little. 

' Well, for instance ! ' said Kelly, urging him on. 

' For instance,' returned Wogan, ' you can speak of 
its functions — ' 

' I understand. I am to tell her that it is a very 
proper thing for a woman to sit and listen to other 
people.' • 

' Tell her that,' cries Wogan, lifting up his hands, 
' and you will be drubbed down the staircase pretty 



PARSON KELLY 39 

quick ! No. Tell her there is never a poet laureate 
in the world would print a single one of his poems if 
he could treasure his music within her ear.' 

' Ah,' says Kelly. ' That is a compliment of quite 
a different kind,' and he repeated it three times to 
commit it to memory. ' But one, Nick, will not 
suffice. I must have more sayings about her ear.' 

' And you shall,' says Wogan. ' You can speak 
of its appearance.' 

' Of its aopearance ? ' 

'And fit a simile to it.' 

' Give me one,' said Kelly. 

' You can say her ear is like a rosy shell on the 
sea-banks.' 

Mr. Kelly began to laugh outright 

' Sure,' said he, ' I might as well tell her at once 
her hair is sandy.' 

' Oh, she will not examine your words so nicely. 
She will just perceive that you intend a compliment' 

' And take me for a very impertinent fellow.' 

'George' said Wogan, 'for a parson you are a 
man of a most unnatural modesty.' In which remark 
Wogan did his friend no more than the merest 
justice. For he had nothing in common with that 
usual foible of the young chaplains and tutors who 
frequent the houses of the great. 

To listen to them over a bottle you would think 
them conquerors of all hearts, from the still-room 
maid to my lady and her daughters. But Mr. Kelly 
was in a different case. The Bishop of Rochester 
himself gave him the character of being prudent and 
reserved beyond his years. And perhaps it was by 
reason of that very modesty that he slid insensibly 



40 PARSON KELLY 

into the thoughts of more women than he knew of. 
Of these, however, Lady Oxford was not one. 

It was about three in the afternoon of the next day 
when the chaise drove up to the door of the great 
house at Brampton Bryan. The Parson and Nicholas 
Wogan had barely stepped into the hall before an 
inner door opened and my lady came forward to 
greet them. She was for her sex uncommonly tall, 
and altogether of a conquering beauty, which a 
simple country dress did but the more plainly set 
forth. For, seeing her, one thought what a royal 
woman she would look if royally attired, and so came 
to a due appreciation of her consummate appearance. 
Whereas, had she been royally attired, her dress 
might have taken some of the credit of her beauty. 
She stood for a second between the two men, looking 
from one to the other as though in doubt. 

' And which is Mr. James Johnson ? ' said she, with 
a sly emphasis upon the name. 

' I am,' said George, stepping forward, ' and your 
Ladyship's humble servant' 

She gave him a smile and her hand. Mr. Kelly 
clicked his heels together, bent over the hand and 
kissed it reverentially. 

The lady sighed a quick little sigh (of pleasure) 
as she drew her hand away. 

' I have taken the liberty, your Ladyship,' said 
Kelly, ' to bring my secretary, Mr. Hilton, with me,' 
and he waved a hand towards Wogan. 

' Mr. Hilton,' she returned, ' is very welcome. For, 
indeed, we hear too few voices in the house.' She 
bowed very graciously, but she did not give her hand 
to Mr. Wogan. ' Gentlemen,' she continued, ' my 



Parson kelly 41 

lord bids me make you his apologies, but he lies 
abed. Else would he have welcomed you in person.' 

' Your Ladyship,' said Kelley, ' if we come at an 
inopportune time — ' 

' By no means,' interrupted Lady Oxford. ' My 
lord is troubled with the gout, but the fit is passing. 
And if for a couple of days my poor hospitality will 
content you — ' 

' Your Ladyship,' protested Kelly, but that was all 
he said. Now, to Mr. Wogan's thinking, here was as 
timely an occasion for a compliment as a man could 
wish. And since Mr. Kelly had not the tact to seize 
it, why, his friend must come to his help. Accord- 
ingly, 

' So might the holy angels apologise when they 
open the gates of Paradise,' said Wogan with his 
hand on his heart, and bowed. As he bowed he 
heard some stifled sounds, and he looked up quickly. 
My lady was crimson in the face with the effort to 
check her laughter. 

' Mr. Hilton is too polite,' said she instantly, with 
an elaborate courtesy, and turned again to Kelly 
with some inquiries about his journey. Wogan was 
shown up the stairs before the inquiries were answered. 
The staircase ran round the three sides of the hall 
up to a landing on the fourth, and as Wogan came 
to the first turn he saw Lady Oxford cross to the 
great wood fire which was burning on the hearth ; 
when he came to the second he saw that the Parson 
had crossed too and stood over against her; when 
he reached the third turn, my lady was seated toasting 
a foot at the blaze; when he reached the landing, 
Mr. Kelly had drawn up a chair. 



42 PARSON KELLY 

Wogan leaned for a moment over the balustrade. 
It was a very small foot with an admirably arched 
instep; Mr. Wogan had seen the like in Spain. 
Well, very likely she only thrust it out to warm it. 
The firelight coloured her face to a pretty rose hue, 
sparkled in her dark eyes, and searched out the gold 
threads in her brown hair. Mr. Wogan was much 
tempted to whisper a reminder to his friend concern- 
ing her ear. But he resisted the temptation, for 
after all it seemed there would be little to do about 
my lady's politics. 



CHAPTER IV 

SHOWS THE EXTREME DANGER OF KNOWING LATIN 

AN hour later the three sat down to dinner, 
though, for all the talking that one of them 
did, there might have been present only the two 
whom Wogan had left chatting in the hall. It was 
not that Lady Oxford omitted any proper courtesy 
towards Mr. Johnson's secretary, but the secretary 
himself, sensible that he was something too apt to 
say in all companies just what came into his head, 
was careful to keep his tongue in a strict leash, lest an 
inconvenient word should slip from him. His defi- 
ciency, however, was not remarked. Lady Oxford 
was young, and for all that my lord lay upstairs in a 
paroxysm of the gout, she was in the highest feather ; 
she rattled from course to course, plying Mr. Kelly 
with innumerable questions as to the latest tittle- 
tattle of the tea-parties, and whether Lady Mary 
Wortley and Mr. Pope were still the best of friends. 
'Then your Ladyship is acquainted with Lady 
Mary?' says Kelly, looking up with some eagerness. 
For Lady Mary, then a toast among the wits and a 
wit among the toasts, was glanced at by some 
tongues as if, being sister to the Duchess of Mar, she 
was not of the most loyal to the Elector. The Duke 



44 PARSON KELLY 

of Mar was still Secretary to King James over the 
water. 

' Without doubt,' returned Lady Oxford. ' Lady 
Mary is my bosom friend. The dear malicious 
creature! What is her latest quip? Tell me, Mr. 
Johnson, I die to hear it. Or rather whisper it. It 
will be too deUciously cruel for loud speaking. Lady 
Mary's witticisms, I think, should always be spoken 
in a low voice, with a suggestive nod and a tap of 
the forefinger on the table, so that one may not mis- 
take where the sting lies. Not that the sayings are 
in themselves at all clumsy — how could they be, 
when she has such clever friends? But they gain 
much from a mysterious telling of them. You agree 
with me? ' 

It was evident that Lady Oxford wasted no love 
on Lady Mary, and Kelly's face fell. 

' Your ladyship,' he replied, ' though I have no 
claims to be considered clever, I have the honour to 
be ranked amongst her friends.' 

' Indeed ! ' said she with a light laugh at the 
rebuff. 'No doubt you have brought her some of 
your laces and brocades from France, Mr. — John- 
son.' She paused slyly upon the name. 

Kelly glanced quickly at her, their eyes met, and 
the lady laughed. There could be no doubt that she 
knew something of Kelly's business. Indeed, she 
would hardly have asked him for the fashionable 
gossip at all had she taken him for just what he 
represented himself to be. Wogan put his foot on his 
friend's pretty heavily, and, he knows not how, en- 
countered her ladyship's. To his horror, Lady Oxford 
made a moan of pain. Kelly starts up in a hurry. 



PARSON KELLY 45 

' Your ladyship is unwell,' says he, and bids the 
servant bring a bottle of salts. 

' No,' she replied with a smile on her lips and her 
eyes full of tears, ' but your secretary has dropped a 
blot on the wrong paper.' 

' Your ladyship,' cried Wogan in an extremity of 
confusion, 'it was the most miserable accident, 
believe me. A spasm in the leg, madam, the con- 
sequence of a sabre cut across the calf,' he explained, 
making the matter worse. 

' Oh, and in what battle was Mr. Johnson's secretary 
wounded? ' she said, taking him up on the instant. 

' In a struggle with the Preventive men,' replied 
Wogan hurriedly, and he too broke off with a wry 
face, for Mr. Johnson was warning him and with no 
less vigour. Before he knew what he was doing 
Wogan had stooped down and begun to rub his leg. 
Lady Oxford's smile became a laugh. 

' To be sure,' said she, ' and I think Mr. Johnson 
must have been wounded too, in just that same way, 
and in just that same encounter.' 

' Faith, madam,' said Kelly, ' the smuggling trade 
is a hard one. No man engages in it but sooner or 
later he gets a knock that leaves its mark.' 

Lady Oxford expressed the profoundest sympathy 
with a great deal of disbelief; and when her ladyship 
left her guests to their wine, they looked at one 
another across the table. 

' Well,' said Wogan cheerfully, ' if my Lady Ox- 
ford is in Mr. Walpole's interest we have not made 
the best beginning in the world,' and in a little he 
went off to smoke a pipe in the stables. 

Kelly withdrew to the great library, and had not 



46 PARSON KELLY 

been there many minutes before Lady Oxford came 
in. It seemed she did not see him at the first, 
although he sat bent up over the fire and his shadow 
huge upon the walls. Mr. Kelly certainly did not 
remark her entrance. For one thing, he was ab- 
sorbed in his book ; for another, the carpet was thick 
and the lady's step of the lightest. She went first 
to the bookcase, then she crossed the room and 
shuffled some papers on a table, then she knocked 
against a chair, the chair knocked against the table, 
and at the noise Kelly looked up. He rose to his 
feet. Lady Oxford turned round, started, and 
uttered a sharp little cry. 

' My lady,' began Mr. Kelly. 

' Oh, it is you, Mr. Johnson,' she broke in with 
a hand to her heart, and dropped into the chair. ' I 
believe,' she said with a broken laugh, ' I was foolish 
enough to be frightened. I fancied you had gone 
with your friend to the stables,' which was as much 
as to say that she knew he had not. Kelly com- 
menced an apology for so disordering her, but she 
would not listen to it. 

" No,' she said, ' it is I that am to be blamed. 
Indeed, such stupid fears need chiding. But in a 
house so lonely and silent they grow on one insen- 
sibly. Indeed, I have known the mere creak of the 
stairs keep me awake in terror half the night.' 

She spoke with the air of one gently railing at her 
own distress, but shivered a little to prove the dis- 
tress genuine, and Kelly, as he looked at her, felt a 
sudden pang of pity. 

' Your place, my lady, is not here,' he cried, ' but 
in the Mall, at the Spring Gardens, in the lighted 



PARSON KELLY 47 

theatres, when even your ladyship's own sex would 
pay you homage for outrivalling them.' 

' Nay,' she replied, with the sweetest smile of 
reproof, ' you go too fast, Mr. Johnson. My place 
is here, for here my duty lies.' She looked up to 
the ceiling with a meek acceptance of the burden 
laid upon her fair shoulders. ' But I am not come 
to disturb you,' she continued briskly; ' I came to 
fetch a book to read aloud to my lord.' At that a 
sigh half broke from her and was caught back as it 
were upon her lips. ' Perhaps, Mr. Johnson,' she 
said in a well-acted flurry, ' you will help me in the 
selection?' 

' With all the heart in the world,' said he, laying 
down his volume. The choice took perhaps longer 
than need have been, for over each book there was 
some discussion. This one was too trivial to satisfy 
my Lord Oxford's weighty mind ; that other was 
too profound to suit his health. ' And nothing too 
contentious, I implore you, lest it throw him into a 
heat,' she prayed, ' for my lord has a great gift of 
logic, and will argue with you by the hour over the 
merest trifle.' This with another half-uttered sigh, 
and so the martyr sought her lord's bedside. It 
appeared, however, that Lord Oxford was sleepy 
that night, or had no mind for the music of his 
lady's voice, for in a very little while she returned to 
the library and Mr. Kelly, where Wogan presently 
found them discussing in a great animation the 
prospects of Mr. Law's ventures. 

' You are in for a great stake ? ' she asked. 

' For all I have,' replied Kelly, ' and a little more. 
It is not a great sum,' 



48 PARSON KELLY 

' But may become one,' said she, ' and will if a 
friend's good wishes can at all avail.' And so she 
wished her guests good night. 

The next morning Lord Oxford seat a message 
that he was so far recovered as would enable him to 
receive his visitors that afternoon. Meanwhile Lady 
Oxford, after breakfast carried off the two gentlemen 
to visit a new orchard she was having planted. The 
orchard was open to the south-west, and Kelly took 
objection to its site, quoting Virgil in favour of a 
westerly outlook. 

' Ah, but the west wind,' she said, ' comes to us 
across the Welsh mountains, which even in the late 
spring are at times covered deep in snow. However, 
I should be pleased to hear the advice of Virgil,' and 
the Parson goes off to the library and fetches out a 
copy. 

It was a warm day in April, with the sky blue 
overhead and the buds putting out on the trees, and 
for the most part of that morning Mr. Kelly trans- 
lated the Georgics to her ladyship, on a seat under a 
great yew-tree, in a little square of grass fenced off 
with a hedge. She listened with an extraordinary 
complaisance, and now and then a compliment upon 
the Parson's fluency ; so that Mr. Wogan lost all his 
apprehensions as to her meddling in the King's 
affairs. For, to his thinking, than listening to Virgil, 
there was no greater proof of friendship. 

Nor was it only upon this occasion that she gave 
the proof. Lord Oxford was a difficult man from his 
very timidity, and the Parson's visit was consequently 
protracted. His lordship needed endless assurances 
as to the prospects of a rising on behalf of King 



PARSON KELLY 49 

James, before he would hazard a joint of his little 
finger to support it. Who would take the place of 
the Royal Swede? Could the French Regent be 
persuaded to lend any troops or arms or money, or 
even to wink? Had the Czar been approached? 
Indeed he had, by Wogan's brother Charles. And 
what office would my Lord Oxford hold when James 
III. was crowned? Each day saw these questions 
reiterated and no conclusion come to. Lady Oxford 
was never present at these discussions ; the face of 
her conduct was a sedulous discretion. It is true 
that after a little she dropped the pretence of laces, 
and, when the servants were not present, styled the 
Parson 'Mr. Kelly.' But that was all. 'These are 
not women's matters,' she would say with a pretty 
humility, and then rise like a queen and sail out of 
the room. Mr. Wogan might have noticed upon 
such occasions that the Parson hestitated for a little 
after she had gone, and spoke at random, as though 
she had carried off some part of his mind from affairs 
with the waft of her hoop. But he waited on the 
lady's dispositions and set down what he saw of his 
friend's conduct at the time as merely the conse- 
quence of an endeavour to enlist her secrecy and 
good-will. 

These councils with Lord Oxford took place, as a 
rule, in the afternoon, his lordship being a late riser, 
and even when risen capable only of sitting in a 
chair, with a leg swathed in a mountain of flannel. 
So that, altogether, Mr. Kelly had a deal of time 
upon his hands, and doubtless would have found it 
hang as heavy as Nick Wogan did, but for the sud- 
den interest he took in Lady Oxford's new orchard. 

4 



so PARSON KELLY 

He would spend hours over the ' Observations on 
Modern Gardening,' and then, 

' Nick,' he would cry, ' there 's no life but a country 
life. One wakes in the morning, and the eye travels 
with delight over the green expanse of fields. One 
makes friends with the inanimate things of nature. 
Nick, here one might re-create the Golden Age.' 

' To my mind,' says Nick, ' but for the dogs and 
horses it would be purely insupportable. With all 
the goodwill in the world I cannot make friends with 
a gatepost, and I 'm not denying I shall be mightily 
glad when the wambling old sufferer upstairs brings 
his mind at last to an anchor.' 

But the Parson was already lost in speculation, and 
would presently wake to ask Wogan's opinion as to 
whether a Huff-cap pear was preferable to a Bar-land. 
To which he got no answer, and so, snatching up his 
Virgil, would go in search of Lady Oxford. He 
acquired, indeed, a most intimate knowledge of apples 
and pears, and would discourse with her ladyship 
upon the methods of planting and grafting as though 
he had been Adam, and she Flora, or, rather, our 
mother Eve, before the apple was shared between 
them. For apples the store, the hayloe-crab, the 
brandy-apple, the red-streak, the moyle, the fox- 
whelp, the dymock-red; for pears the squash pear, 
the Oldfield, the sack-pear, never a meal passed but 
one of these names cropped up at the table and was 
bandied about between Kelly and her ladyship like a 
•tennis-ball. Now all this, though dull, was none the 
less reassuring to Wogan, who saw very clearly that 
Lady Oxford was altogether devoted to country pur- 
suits, and wisely inferred that while there might 



PARSON KELLY 51 

result confusion in the quality of the pears, there 
would be the less disorder in the affairs of the 
Chevalier. 

Moreover, her ladyship's inclination towards Mr. 
Kelly plainly increased. He translated the whole of 
the second book of the Georgics to her, five hundred 
and forty-two mortal lines of immortal poetry, and. 
she never winced. Nor did she cry halt at the end 
of them, but, thereafter, listened to the Eclogues ; 
and, all at once, their conversation was sprinkled with 
MelibcEus and Mceris, and Lycidas and Mopsus, and 
Heaven knows what other names. Mr. Wogan re- 
members very well coming upon them one wet after- 
noon in the hall when it was growing dark. The lamps 
had not been lit, and Kelly had just finished reading 
one of the pastorals by the firelight. Lady Oxford 
sat with her hands clasped upon her knees, and, as 
he closed the book, 

' Oh for those days,' she cried, ' when a youth and 
a maid could roam barefoot over the grass in simple 
woollen garments ! But now we must go furbelowed 
and bedecked till there 's no more comfort than simpli- 
city,' and she smoothed her hand over her petticoat 
with a great contempt for its finery. Lady Mary Wort- 
ley, to whom Wogan related this saying afterwards, 
explained that doubtless her ladyship had laced her 
stays too tight that morning; but the two men put 
no such construction on her words, nor, indeed, did 
they notice a certain contradiction between them 
and Lady Oxford's anxiety for London gossip — the 
Parson, because he had ceased to do anything but 
admire ; Wogan, because a little design had sud- 
denly occurred to him. 



52 PARSON KELLY 

It was Lady Oxford's patience under the verses 
which put it into Wogan's head. For since she en- 
dured to listen to poetry about trees and shepherds, 
poetry about herself must be a sheer delight to her. 
So, at all events, he reasoned, not knowing that Lady 
Oxford had already enjoyed occasion to listen to 
poetry about herself from Lady Mary's pen, which 
was anything but a delight. Accordingly he hinted 
to his friend that a little ode might set a firm seal 
upon her friendliness. 

' Make her a Dryad in one of the trees of her own 
orchard, d' ye see ? ' he suggested ; ' something pretty 
and artful, with sufficient allusions to her beauty. 
Who knows but what she may be so flattered as to 
carry the verses against her heart; and so, when 
some fine day she brings her husband's secrets to Mr. 
Walpole, she may hear the paper crackling against 
her bodice, and turn back on the very doorstep.' 

' She will carry no secrets,' replied Kelly with a 
huff. ' She is too conscious of her duties. Besides, 
she knows none. Have you not seen her leave the 
room the moment politics are so much as hinted 
of?' 

' True,' said Wogan. ' But what 's her husband for 
except to provide her with secrets when they are 
alone to which she cannot listen without impertinence 
in company?' 

Kelly moved impatiently away. He stood with a 
foot upon the fender, turning over the pages of his 
Virgil. 

' You allow her no merit whatsoever,' he said 
slowly with a great gentleness. 

' Indeed, but I do,' replied Wogan. ' I allow that 



PARSON KELLY 53 

she will be charmed by your poetry, and that's a 
rare merit. She will find it as soothing as a soldier 
does a pipe of tobacco after a hard day's fighting.' 

' I would not practise on her for the world,' says 
Kelly with just the same gentleness, and goes softly 
out by the door. 

Wogan, however, was troubled by no such delicate 
scruples. An ode must be written, even if he had 
to write it himself. He slapped his forehead as the 
notion occurred to him. The ode might be dropped 
as though by accident at some spot where her lady- 
ship's eyes could not fail to light on it. Wogan 
heaved a deep breath, took a turn across the room, 
and resolved on the heroical feat. He would turn 
poet to help his friend. For two nights he fortified 
himself with the perusal of Sir John Suckling's poems, 
and the next morning took pencil and paper into the 
garden. He walked along the terrace, and seated 
himself on the bench beneath the yew-tree. Wogan 
sucked strenuously at his pencil. 

' Strephon to his Smilinda, running barefoot over 
the grass in a gale of wind,' he wrote at the top, and 
was very well pleased with the title. By noonday he 
had produced a verse, and was very well pleased with 
that, except, perhaps, that the last line halted. The 
verse ran as follows : — 

Nay, sweet Smilinda, do not chide 
The wind that wantons with thy hair ; 
The grass will aU his prickles hide 
Nor harm thy snowy feet and bare. 
And, listen, the enamoured air 
Makes lutestrings of thy locks so fair. 
At night the stars are mirrors which reflect 
Thine eyes : at least that is what I expect, 



54 PARSON KELLY 

Mr. Wogan spent an hour and three pipes of 
tobacco over his unwonted exercise, which brought 
him into a great heat. 

Having finished the verse he blew out his cheeks 
and took a rest from his labours. It was a fine spring 
morning, and the sun bright as a midsummer day. 
To his right the creepers were beginning to stretch 
their green tendrils over the red bricks of the garden 
wall. To his left half-a-dozen steps led up to a raised 
avenue of trees. Wogan looked down the avenue, 
noted the border of spring flowers, and a flash of a 
big window at the extreme end; and in all the 
branches the birds sang. The world seemed all 
together very good, and his poem quite apiece with 
the world. Wogan stretched his arms and kicked 
out his feet. His feet struck against something hard 
in a tuft of grass. He stooped down and picked it 
up. It was Kelly's Virgil. The book was open, and 
the pages all blotted and smeared with the dew. It 
had evidently lain open on the grass by the bench 
all night. Wogan wiped the covers dry, and, using 
it as a desk, settled himself to the composition of his 
second verse. He had not, however, thought of an 
opening for it before a voice hailed him from behind. 

He turned round and saw Kelly coming towards 
him from the direction of the orchard, and at that 
moment the opening of his verse occurred to him ; 
Strephon offered to Smilinda his heart's allegiance. 
Wogan set his pencil to the paper, fearful lest he 
should forget the line. 

' Nick,' cries Kelly, waving a bundle of letters, and 
starts to run. Wogan slipped his paper between the 
leaves of the bpok; just as he did so, Strephon, in 



PARSON KELLY 55 

return for his heart's ' allegiance,' asked for Smilinda's 
soft ' obedience.' 

' Nick,' cries Kelly again, coming up to the bench, 
' what d' you think ? ' 

' I think,' says Wogan, ' that interruption is the 
true source of inspiration.' 

'What do you mean?' asked Kelly, looking at 
Wogan's pencil. 

' I mean,' says Wogan, looking at the cover of the 
book, ' that if I lived by my poetry, I would hire a 
man to rap at my door all day long.' 

Kelly, however, had no ears for philosophy. 

' Nick,' says he, ' will you listen to me, if you 
please? I have a letter from Miss Oglethorpe. It 
explains — ' 

' Yes,' interposed Wogan thoughtfully. ' It ex- 
plains why the best poets are ever those who are 
most dunned by their creditors.' 

Kelly snatched the Virgil out of Wogan's hand, 
and threw it on to the grass. The book opened as it 
fell. It opened at the soiled pages, and it was behind 
those pages that Wogan had slipped his poem. 

' You are as contrarious as a woman. Here am I, 
swollen with the grandest news, and you must babble 
about poets and creditors. Nick, there '11 be few 
creditors to dun you and me for a bit. Just listen, 
will you ? ' 

He leaned his elbows on the back of the bench, 
and read from his letter. It was to the effect that, 
during April, an edict had been published in France, 
transferring to Mr. Law's company of the West the 
exclusive rights of trading to the East Indies and the 
South Se^s, 



S6 PARSON KELLY 

' Think of it, Nick ! ' he cried. ' The actions have 
risen from 550 livres to 1,000, and we are as yet at 
the budding of May. Why, man, as it is we are well 
to do. Just imagine that, if you can, you threadbare 
devil ! We shall be rich before August.' 

' We shall dine off silver plates in September ! ' 
cries Nick, leaping up in the contagion of his friend's 
good spirits. 

'And drink out of diamond cups in November,' 
adds Kelly, dropping at once into the Irish accent. 

' Bedad ! ' shouts Wogan, ' I '11 write my poetry on 
beaten gold,' and he sprang on to the seat. 

' You shall,' replies Kelly ; ' and your ink shall be 
distilled out 6f black pearls.' 

' Sure, George, one does not write on gold with 
ink, but with a graving tool.' 

' This nonsense, and poetry, are what the lucky 
heart sings,' said Kelly. 

'To a tune of clinking coins,' said Wogan. He 
stooped down to his friend. ' Have it all in solid gold, 
and tied up in sacks,' said he earnestly. 'None of 
their bills of exchange, but crowns, and pieces of 
eight, and doubloons, and guinea-pieces; and all tied 
up in sacks.' 

' What will we do with it ? ' asked Kelly. 

'Why, sit on the sacks,' replied Nick, and then 
grew silent. He looked at Kelly. Kelly looked 
away to the garden-wall. 

'Ah!' said the Parson, with a great start of sur- 
prise. ' There 's a lizard coming out of the bricks to 
warm himself,' and he made a step away from the 
bench. Wogan's hand came quickly down upon his 
shoulder, 



PARSON KELLY 57 

' George,' said he, ' I think we are forgetting some- 
thing. Not a farthing of it is mine at all.' 

' Now, that 's a damned scurvy ungenerous remark,' 
replied George. ' Have n't I borrowed half of your 
last sixpence before now ? ' 

Wogan got down from the seat. 

' Poverty may take a favour from poverty, George, 
and 't is all very well.' 

Kelly sat himself down on the bench, crossed his 
knees, and swung a leg to and fro. 

' I don't want the money,' said he, with a snort. 

' My philosophy calls it altogether an encumbrance,' 
said Wogan, sitting down by his side. 

Kelly turned his back on Wogan, and stared at the 
garden-wall. Then he turned back. 

' I know,' said he of a sudden, and smacks his hand 
down on Wogan's thigh. ' We '11 give it to the King. 
He can do no more than spend it.' 

' He will certainly do no less.' But they did not 
give it to the King. 

Wogan was sitting turned rather towards the house, 
and as he looked down the avenue, he saw the great 
windows at the end open, and Lady Oxford come out. 

' Here 's her ladyship come for her Latin lesson,' 
said Wogan, and he rose from his seat. 

' I '11 tell her of our good fortune,' said Kelly, and 
he walked quickly to the steps at the end of the 
avenue. Lady Oxford stopped on the first step, with 
a hand resting on the stone balustrade. George 
Kelly stood on the grass at the foot of the steps, and 
told her of his news. 

' The shares,' he ended, ' have risen to double 
value already.' 



S8 PARSON KELLY 

It seemed to Wogan that her eyes flashed suddenly 
with a queer, unpleasant light, and the hand which 
was resting idly on the balustrade crooked like the 
claws of a bird. He had seen such eyes, and such a 
hand, at the pharo tables in Paris. 

' It is the best news I have heard for many a day,' 
she said the next instant, with a gracious smile, and 
coming down the steps, walked by Mr. Kelly's side 
towards the bench. 

' And what will you do with it? ' she asked. It 
was her first question, for she was a practical woman. 

' In the first flush,' replied Kelly, hesitating as to 
how he should put the answer, ' we had a thought of 
disposing of it where it is sorely needed.' 

She looked quickly at Kelly; as quickly looked 
away. She took a step to the seat with her eyes on 
the ground. 

'Oh,' she observed slowly; 'you would give it 
away.' There was, perhaps, a trifle of a pucker upon 
her forehead, perhaps a shade of disappointment in 
her eyes. But it was all gone in a moment. She 
clasped her hands fervently together, raised her face 
to the heavens, her cheeks afire, her eyes most tender. 
' Indeed,' she exclaimed, ' the noblest, properest dis- 
position of it ! Heaven dispense me more such 
friends who, in a world so niggardly, retain so ancient 
a spirit of generosity,' and she stood for a little, with 
her lips moving, as if in prayer. It was plain to 
Mr. Wogan that her ladyship had guessed the des- 
tination of the money. No such thought, however, 
troubled George Kelly, who was wholly engaged in 
savouring the flattery, and, from his appearance, 
found it very much tO his t^te. 



PARSON KELLY 59 

' I would not, however, if a woman might presume 
to advise,' she continued, ' be in any great hurry to 
sell the shares. Though they have risen high, they 
will doubtless rise higher. And your gift, if you will 
but wait, in a little will grow worthier of the spirit 
which prompts it.' 

' Madam,' returned Kelly, ' it is very prudent advice. 
I will be careful to follow it.' 

Was it relief which showed for an instant in Lady 
Oxford's face ? Kelly did not notice ; Wogan could 
not tell ; and a second afterwards an event occurred 
which wholly diverted his thoughts. 

All three had been standing with their faces towards 
the garden-seat, the yew-tree and the orchard beyond, 
Lady Oxford between, and a little in advance of Kelly 
and Wogan, so that each saw her face obliquely over 
her shoulders. Now, however, she turned and sat 
down, giving thus her whole face to the two men; 
and both saw it suddenly blanch, suddenly flush as 
though all the blood had leaped from her heart into 
her cheeks, and then fade again to pallor. Terror 
widened and fixed her eyes, her lips parted, she 
quivered as though she had been struck a buffet 
across the face. 

'Your ladyship — ' began Kelly, and, noticing the 
direction of her gaze, he broke off his sentence, and 
turned him about. As he moved. Lady Oxford, even 
in the midst of her terror, stole a quick, conscious 
glance at his face. 

' Sure, 't is a predecessor to George,' thought 
Wogan ; and he too turned about. 

Some twenty paces away a man was waiting in an 
easy attitude, He was pf the middle height, and. 



6o PARSON KELLY 

judged by his travelling dress and bearing, a gentle- 
man. His face was thin, hard, and sallow of com- 
plexion, the features rather peaked, the eyes dark, 
and deepset beneath the brows. Without any pre- 
tension to good looks, the stranger had a certain 
sinister distinction — stranger, for that he was to the 
two men at this time, whatever he may have been to 
Lady Oxford. Yet George thought he had seen the 
man's eyes before, at Avignon, when the King was 
there ; and Wogan later remembered his voice, per- 
haps at Genoa, which he had used much at one time. 
He stood just within the opening in the hedge, and 
must needs have come through the trees beyond, 
while Lady Oxford and her guests were discussing 
the Parson's good fortune. 

As soon as he saw the faces turned towards him, 
he took off his hat, made a step forwards, and flour- 
ished a bow. 

' Your ladyship's most humble and obedient servant.' 

He laid a stress upon the word ' obedient,' and 
uttered it with a meaning smile. Lady Oxford 
returned his bow, but instinctively shifted her posi- 
tion on the bench towards Kelly, and timidly put out 
a hand as though she would draw him nearer. 

The stranger took another step forwards. There 
was no change in his expression, but the step was 
perhaps more swiftly taken. 

'Mr. George Kelly,' he said quietly, and bowed 
again. ' The Reverend Mr. George Kelly, I think,' 
and he bowed a third time, but lower, and with 
extreme gravity. 

Wogan started as the stranger pronounced the 
;iame. Instantly the stranger turned to Iiim. 



PARSON KELLY 6i 

' Ah,' said he, ' Captain Nicholas Wogan, I think,' 
and he took a third step. His foot struck in a tuft 
of grass, and he stumbled forward; he fell plump 
upon his knees. For a gentleman of so much dig- 
nity the attitude was sufficiently ridiculous. Wogan 
grinned in no small satisfaction. 

' Sure, my unknown friend,' said he, ' I think some- 
thing has tripped you up.' 

' Yes,' said the stranger, and, as he stood up, he 
picked up a book from the grass. 

' It is,' said he, • a copy of Virgil.' 



CHAPTER V 

A LITERARY DISCUSSION IN WHICH A CRITIC, NOT 
FOR THE FIRST TIME, TURNS THE TABLES 
UPON AN AUTHOR 

KELLY frowned at Wogan, enjoining silence by 
a shake of the head. Her ladyship was still 
too discomposed to speak; she drew her breath in 
quick gasps ; her colour still came fitfully and went. 
The only person entirely at ease in that company was 
the disconcerting stranger, and even behind his smil- 
ing mask of a face one was somehow aware of sleep- 
ing fires; and underneath the suave tones of his 
voice one somehow felt that there ran an implacable 
passion. 

' Upon my word,' said he, ' I find myself for a 
wonder in the most desirable company. A revered 
clergyman, a fighting captain, a lady worthy of her 
quality, and a poet.' He tapped the Virgil as he 
spoke, and it fell open between his hands. His 
speech had been uttered with a provocative polite- 
ness, and since no one responded to the provocation, 
he continued in the same strain. ' The story of Dido ' 
— the book was open at the soiled pages — ' and all 
spluttered with tears.' 

' It has lain open in the dew since yesterday,' 
interrupted Wogan. 



PARSON KELLY 63 

' Tears no less because the night has shed them/ 
he replied ; ' and indeed it is a sad story, though not 
all true as the poet relates it. For Dido had a gout- 
ridden, husband hidden discreetly away in a dark 
corner of the Palace, and ^neas was no more than 
an army chaplain, though he gave himself out for a 
general.' 

Kelly flushed at the words, and took half a step 
towards the speaker of them. 

' It is very true, Mr. Kelly. A chaplain, my soul 
upon it, a chaplain. Did n't he invoke his religion 
when he was tired of the lady, and so sail away with 
a clear conscience? A very parsonical fellow, Mr. 
Kelly. infelix Dido,' he burst out, ' that met with 
an army chaplain, and so became food for worms 
before her time ! ' 

He shut up the book with a bang, and, as ill-luck 
would have it, Mr. Wogan's poem peeped out from 
the covers as if in answer to his knock. 

' Oho,' says he, ' another poet,' and he read out the 
dedication. 

' Strephon to his Smilinda running barefoot in a 
gale of wind.' 

Kelly laughed aloud, and a faint smile flickered for 
the space of a second about Lady Oxford's lips. 
Wogan felt his cheeks grow red, but constrained 
himself to a like silence with his companions. His 
opportunity would come later; meanwhile some 
knowledge was needed of who the stranger was. 

' A pretty conceit,' resumed the latter, ' though con- 
sumption in its effects. Will the author pardon me?' 

He took the sheet of paper in his hand, dropped 
the Virgil carelessly on the grass, and read out the 



64 PARSON KELLY 

verses with an absolute gravity which mocked at 
them more completely than any ridicule would have 
done. ' It breaks off/ he added, ' most appropriately 
just when the gentleman claims the lady's obedience. 
There is generally a break at that point. " At least, 
that is what I expect," ' he quoted. Then he looked 
at each of his two adversaries. For adversaries his 
language and their faces alike proved them to be. 
'Now which is Strephon?' he asked, with an insinuat- 
ing smile, as he calmly put the verses in his pocket. 
' Is it the revered clergyman or the fighting captain ? ' 

Kelly's face flushed darkly. 

' The revered clergyman,' he broke in, and his 
voice shook a little, ' would be happy to be reminded 
of the occasion which brought him the honour of 
your acquaintance.' 

'A sermon,' replied the stranger. 'I was much 
moved by a sermon which you preached in Dublin 
upon the text of " Render unto Caesar the things that 
are Caesar's."' 

Mr. Kelly could not deny that he had preached 
that sermon; and for all he knew the stranger 
might well have been among his audience. He con- 
tented himself accordingly with a bow. So Wogan 
stepped in. 

' And the fighting captain,' he said, with a courtesy 
of manner no whit inferior to his questioner's, ' would 
be glad to know when he ever clapped eyes upon 
your honour's face, if you please.' 

' Never,' answered the other with a bow. ' Captain 
Nicholas Wogan never in his life saw the faces of those 
who fought behind him. He had eyes only for the 
enemy.' 



PARSON KELLY 65 

Now, Mr. Wogan had fought upon more than one 
field of which he thought it imprudent to speak. So 
he copied the Parson's example and bowed. 

' Does her ladyship also wish to be reminded of 
the particulars of our acquaintance ? ' said the 
stranger, turning now to Lady Oxford. There was 
just a tremor, a hint of passion discernible in his 
voice as he put the question. Both Wogan and 
Kelly had been waiting for it, had restrained them- 
selves to silence in the expectation of it. For only 
let the outburst come, and the man's design would of 
a surety tumble out on the top. Lady Oxford, how- 
ever, suddenly interposed and prevented it. It may 
be that she, too, had caught the threatening tremble 
of his words, and dreaded the outburst as heartily as 
the others desired it. At all events, she rose from 
the bench as though some necessity had spurred her 
to self-possession. 

' No, Mr. Scrope,' she said calmly, ' I do not wish 
to be reminded of our acquaintance either in particu- 
lar or in general. It was a slight thing at its warmest, 
and I thank God none of my seeking. Mr. Kelly, 
will you give me your arm to the house?' 

The stranger for a second was plainly staggered by 
her words. Kelly cast a glance at Wogan which the 
' fighting captain ' very well understood, offered his 
arm to Lady Oxford, and before the stranger re- 
covered himself, the pair were up the steps and pro- 
ceeding down the avenue. 

' A slight thing ! ' muttered Mr. Scrope in a sort of 
stupor. ' God, what's a strong thing, then?' and at 
that the passion broke out of him. ' It 's the Parson 
now, is it? ' he cried. ' Indeed, Mr. Wogan, a parson 

5 



66 PARSON KELLY 

is very much like a cat. Whether he throws his 
cassock over the wall, or no, it is still the same sly, 
soft-footed, velvety creature, with a keen eye for a 
soft lap to make his bed in,' and with an oath he 
started at a run after Kelly. Wogan, however, ran 
too, and he ran the faster. He got first to the steps, 
sprang to the top of them, and turned about, just as 
Mr. Scrope reached the bottom. 

' Wait a bit, my friend ! ' said Wogan. 

' Let me go. if you please,' said Mr. Scrope, mount- 
ing the lowest step. 

' You and I must have a little talk first.' 

' It will be talk of a kind uncommon disagreeable 
to you,' said Mr. Scrope hotly, and he mounted the 
second step. 

Wogan laughed gleefully. 

' Why, that 's just the way I would have you speak,' 
said he. Mr. Scrope stopped, looked over Wogan 
from head to foot, and then glanced past him up the 
avenue. 

' I have no quarrel with you, Mr. Wogan,' he said 
politely, and took the third step. 

' And have you not? ' asked Wogan. ' I 'm think- 
ing, on the contrary, that you took exception to my 
poetry.' 

' Was the poetry yours ? Indeed, I did not guess 
that,' he replied. ' But the greatest of men may yet 
be poor poets.' 

' In this case you 're mightily mistaken,' cried Wo- 
gan, and he stamped his foot and threw out his chest. 
' I am my poetry.' 

Mr. Scrope squinted up the avenue under Wogan's 
arm. 



PARSON KELLY 67 

' Damn ! ' said he. 

Wogan turned round ; Parson Kelly and her lady- 
ship were just passing through the window into the 
house. Wogan laughed, but a trifle too soon. For 
as he still stood turned away and looking down the 
avenue, Mr. Scrope took the last three steps at a 
bound, and sprang past him. Luckily as he sprang 
he hit against Wogan's shoulder, and so swung him 
round the quicker. Wogan just caught the man's 
elbow, jerked him back, got both his arms coiled 
about his body, lifted him off his feet, and flattened 
him up against his chest. Mr. Scrope struggled 
against the pressure ; he was hthe and slippery like 
a fish, and his muscles gave and tightened like a steel 
spring. Wogan gripped him the closer, pinioning 
his arms to his side. In a little Scrope began to 
pant, and a little after to perspire ; then the veins 
ridged upon his face, and his eyes opened and shut 
convulsively. 

' Have you had enough, do you think .' ' asked 
Wogan ; ' or shall I fall on you? But you may take 
my word for it, whatever you think of my love-poems, 
that I never yet fell on any man but something broke 
inside of him.' 

Mr. Scrope was not in that condition which would 
enable him to articulate, but he seemed to gasp an 
assent, and Wogan put him down. He staggered 
backwards towards the house for a yard or two, 
leaned against one of the trees, and then, taking out 
his handkerchief, wiped his forehead; at the same 
time he walked towards the house, but with the 
manner of a man who is dizzy, and knows nothing of 
his direction. 



68 PARSON KELLY 

' Stop ! ' cried Wogan. 

Scrope stooped, and turned back carelessly, as 
though he had not heard the command. Indeed, he 
seemed even to have forgotten why he was out of 
breath. 

' Mr. Wogan,' he said, ' I do not quite understand. 
It seems you write love-poems to her ladyship, and 
yet encourage the Parson to court her.' 

Wogan was not to be drawn into any explanation. 

' Let us leave her ladyship entirely out of the 
question. There 's the value of my poetry to be 
argued out.' 

Mr. Scrope bowed, and they walked down the 
steps side by side, and through the opening in the 
hedge. A path led through the trees, and they fol- 
lowed it until they came to an open space of sward. 
Wogan measured it across with his stride. 

' A very fitting place for the argument, I think,' he 
said, and took off his coat. 

'What? In Smilinda's garden?' asked Scrope 
easily. ' Within view of Smilinda's windows? Surely 
the common road would be the more convenient place.' 

' Why, and that 's true,' answered Wogan. ' It 
would have been an outrage.' 

' No,' said Scrope, ' merely a flaw in the argument. 
This is the nearest way. At least, I think so,' and 
he turned off at an angle, passed through a shrub- 
bery, and came out opposite a little postern-gate in 
the garden-wall. 

' You know the grounds well,' said Wogan. 

' It is my first visit,' replied Scrope, with a trace of 
bitterness, ' but I have been told enough of them to 
know my way.' 



PARSON KELLY 69 

He stepped forward and opened the gate. Out- 
side in the road stood a travelling chaise with a pair 
of horses harnessed to it. 

' There is no one within view,' said Wogan. The 
road ran to right and left empty as far as the eye 
could reach ; in front stretched the empty fields. 

' No one,' said Mr. Scrope, and he looked up to 
the sky. 

' Well, I would as lief take my last look at the sun- 
light as at anything else, and I doubt not it is the 
same with you.' 

Wogan, in spite of himself, began to entertain a 
certain liking for the man. He had accepted each 
stroke of ill-fortune — his discomfiture at Lady 
Oxford's hands, the grapple on the steps, and now 
this duel — without disputation. Moreover Wogan 
was wondering whether or no the man had some real 
grievance against her ladyship and what motive 
brought him, in what expectation, in his chaise to 
Brampton Bryan. He felt indeed a certain compunc- 
tion for his behaviour, and he said doubtfully, 

' Mr. Scrope, you and I might have been very good 
friends in other circumstances.' 

' I doubt it very much, Mr. Wogan.' Scrope 
shook his head and smiled. 'Your poetry would 
always have come between us. I would really sooner 
die than praise it' 

He looked up and down the road as he spoke, 
and then made an almost imperceptible nod at his 
coachman. 

' That field opposite will do, I think,' Scrope said, 
and advanced from the doorway to the side of his 
chaise as though he was looking for something. It 



70 PARSON KELLY 

was certainly not his sword ; Wogan now thinks it 
was his pistols. Wogan felt his liking increase and 
was inclined to put the encounter off for a little. It 
was for this reason that he stepped forward and 
passed an arm through Scrope's just as the latter 
had set a foot on the step of the chaise, no doubt 
to search the better for what he needed. 

' Now what 's amiss with the poem ? ' asked Wogan 
in a friendly way. 

' It is altogether too inconsequent,' replied Scrope 
with a sudden irritation for which Wogan was at a 
loss to account. 

* But my dear man,' said he, ' it was not intended 
for a syllogism.' 

Scrope took his foot off the step and turned to 
Wogan as though a new thought had sprung into his 
brain. 

' Mr. Wogan,' he said, ' I shall have all the pleasure 
imaginable in pointing out the faults to you if you 
care to listen and have the leisure. Then if you kill 
me afterwards, why I shall have done you some slight 
service and perhaps the world a greater. If I kill 
you, on the other hand, why there 's so much time 
wasted, it is true, but I am in no hurry.' 

There was no escape from the duel ; that Wogan 
knew. Mr. Scrope had insulted the Parson, Lady 
Oxford, and himself; he was aware besides that the 
Parson and Wogan, both of them at the best sus- 
pected characters, were visiting the Earl of Oxford ; 
and he had, whether it was justified or no, a hot re- 
sentment against the Parson. He might, since he 
knew so much, know also more, as, for instance, the 
names under which the Parson and Wogan were hid- 



PARSON KELLY 71 

ing themselves. It would not in any case need a 
very shrewd guess to hit upon their business, and if 
Mr. Scrope got back safe to London, why he might 
make himself confoundedly unpleasant. Wogan ran 
through these arguments in his mind, and was 
brought to the conclusion that he must most infal- 
libly kill Mr. Scrope ; but at the same time a little of 
his company meanwhile could do no harm. 

' Nor I,' replied Wogan accordingly. ' I shall be 
delighted to confute your opinions.' 

Mr. Scrope bowed ; it seemed as though his face 
lighted up for a moment. 

' There is no reason why we should stand in the 
road,' he said, ' when we can sit in the chaise.' 

' Very true,' answered Wogan. 

Scrope mounted into the chaise. Wogan followed 
upon his heels. They sat down side by side, and 
Scrope pulled out the verses from his pocket. He 
read the dedication once more : 

'Strephon to Smilinda running barefoot over the 
grass in a gale of wind.' 

' Let me point out,' said he, ' that you have made 
the lady run barefoot at the very time when she 
would be most certain to put on her shoes and stock- 
ings. And that error vitiates the whole poem. For 
the wind is severe, you will notice. So when she 
reprimands the storm, she should really reprimand 
herself for her inconceivable folly.' 

' But Smilinda has no shoes and stockings at all in 
the poem,' replied Wogan triumphantly. 

' That hardly betters the matter,' returned Scrope. 
' For in that case her feet might be bare but they 
would certainly not be snowy.' 



?2 PARSON KELLY 

He stooped down as he spoke and drew from 
under the seat a bottle of wine, which he opened. 

' This,' he said, ' may help us to consider the poem 
in a more charitable light.' 

He gave Wogan the bottle to hold, and stooping 
once more fetched out a couple of glasses. Then he 
held one in each hand. 

' Now will you fill them ? ' he said. Wogan poured 
out the wine and while pouring it : 

' Two glasses? ' he remarked. ' It seems you came 
prepared for the conversation.' 

Scrope raised his eyes quickly to Wogan's face, 
and dropped them again to the glasses. 

' One might easily have been broken,' he explained. 

They leaned back in the chaise, each with a glass 
in his hand. 

' It is to your taste, I hope,' said Scrope courteously. 

Wogan smacked his lips in contentment. 

' Lord Oxford has no better in his cellars.' 

' I may agree without boastfulness. It is indeed 
Florence of a rare vintage, which I was at some pains 
to procure.' He laughed with a spice of savagery 
and resumed the consideration of Wogan's verses. 

' You seem to me to have missed the opportunity 
afforded by your gale of wind. A true poet would 
surely have made great play with the lady's petticoats.' 

' Smilinda had none,' again replied Wogan in 
triumph, and he emptied his glass. 

'No shoes and stockings and no petticoats,* said 
he in a shocked voice. ' It is well you wrote a poem 
about her instead of painting her portrait,' and he 
filled Wogan's glass again, and added a little to his 
own, which was no more than half empty. 



PARSON KELLY 73 

' Don't you comprehend, my friend,' exclaimed 
Wogan, ' that Smilinda 's a nymph, an ancient Roman 
nymph? ' 

' Oh, she 's a nymph ! ' 

' Yes, and so wears no clothes but a sort of linsey- 
wolsey garment kirtled up to her knees.' 

' Well, let that pass. But here 's a line I view with 
profound discontent. " The grass will all its prickles 
hide." Thistles have prickles, Mr. Wogan, but the 
grass has blades like you and me ; only, unlike you 
and me, it has no scabbards to sheathe them in.' 

' Well,' said Wogan, ' but that 's very wittily said,' 
and he laughed and chuckled. 

' It is not bad, upon my faith,' replied Scrope. 
' Let us drink to it in full glasses.' 

He emptied the bottle into Wogan's glass and 
tossed it into the road. 

' Now here 's something more. The wind, you 
observe, makes lutestrings of Smilinda's hair.' 

' There is little fault to be discovered in that image, 
I fancy,' said Wogan, lifting his glass to his lips 
with a smile. 

'It is a whimsical image,' replied Scrope. ' It is 
as much as to call her hair catgut.' 

Wogan was startled by the criticism. He sat up 
and scratched his nose. 

' Well, I had not thought of that,' he said. He was 
somewhat crestfallen, and he looked to his glass for 
consolation. The glass was empty; he looked on 
to the road where the empty bottle rolled in the 
dust. 

' I have its fellow,' said Scrope, interpreting 
Wogan's glance. He produced a second bottle from 



74 PARSON KELLY 

the same place. The second bottle brought them to 
the end of the verse. There was, however, a little 
discussion over the last line, and a third bottle was 
broached to assist. 

' " At least that is what I expect." It is a very- 
vile line, Mr. Wogan.' 

' It is, perhaps, not so good as the others,' Wogan 
admitted. ' But you must blame the necessities of 
rhyming.' 

' But the art of the poet is to conceal such neces- 
sities,' answered Scrope. ' And observe, Mr. Wogan, 
you sacrifice a great deal here to get an accurate 
rhyme, but in the remaining two lines of the next 
verse you do not trouble your head about a rhyme 
at all.' 

' Oh, let me see that ! ' said Wogan, holding out a 
hand for the paper. He had clean forgotten by this 
time what those two lines described. 

'Allegiance, Mr. Wogan,' said Scrope, politely 
handing him the verses, ' is no rhyme to obedience.' 

' Allegiance — obedience — obedience — allegiance,' 
repeated Wogan as clearly as he could. ' Nay, I 
think it's a very good rhyme.' 

' Oh ! ' exclaimed Scrope in a sudden comprehen- 
sion. ' If you tell me the verses are conceived in 
the Irish dialect, I have not another word to say.' 

Now Mr. Wogan, as a rule, was a little touchy on 
the subject of his accent. But at this moment he 
had the better part of three bottles of admirable 
Florence wine under his belt and was so disposed to 
see great humour in any remark. He grew uproari- 
ous over Mr. Scrope's witticism. 

'Sure, but that's the most delicate jest I have 



PARSON KELLY 75 

heard for months,' he cried. ' Conceived in the 
Irish dialect! Ho! Ho! I must tell it at the 
Cocoa Tree — though it hits at me,' and he stood 
up in the chaise. 'Obedience — allegiance.' Mr. 
Scrope steadied him by the elbow. ' Faith, Mr. 
Scrope, but you and I must have another crack one 
of these days.' He put a foot out on the step of 
the chaise. ' I love a man that has some warmth in 
his merriment — and some warmth in his bottle too.' 
He stepped out of the chaise on to the ground. 
' The best Florence I have tasted — the best joke I 
have heard — the Irish dialect. Ha, ha ! ' and he 
waved a hand at Scrope. Scrope called quickly to 
the coachman; the next instant the chaise started 
off at a gallop. 

Wogan was left standing in the road, shouting his 
laughter. When the coach chaise was some thirty 
yards away, however, his laughter stopped com- 
pletely. He rubbed his hand once or twice over his 
bemused forehead. 

' Stop ! ' he yelled suddenly, and began to run after 
the chaise. Scrope stood up and spoke to the driver. 
The horses slackened their pace until Wogan got 
within twenty yards of it. Then Scrope spoke again, 
and the coachman drove the horses just as fast as 
Wogan was running. 

'You have forgotten something, my friend,' cries 
Wogan. 

'And what 's that? ' asked Scrope pleasantly, lean- 
ing over the back of the chaise. 

' You have forgotten the duel.' 

' No,' shouted Scrope with a grimace. ' It is you 
that forgot that.' 



76 PARSON KELLY 

' Ah, you cheese-curd ! — you white-livered cow- 
ard ! ' cried Wogan, ' and I taking you for a fine man 
— equal to myself — you chalky cheese-curd ! ' He 
quickened his pace; Scrope called to the coachman; 
the coachman whipped up his horses. ' Oh wait a 
bit till I come up with you. I '11 eat you in your 
clothes.' 

Wo^an bounded along the road, screaming out 
every vile epithet he could lay his tongue to in the 
heat of the moment. His hat and wig fell off on the 
road ; he did not stop, but ran on bareheaded. 

' But Ksten, the enamoured air 
Makes lutestrings of thy locks so fair,' 

quoted Scrope, rubbing his hands with delight. 
Wogan's fury redoubled, he stripped off his coat and 
ran till the road grew dizzy and the air flashed sparks 
at him. But the chaise kept ever at the same dis- 
tance. With this interval of twenty yards between 
them, chaise and Wogan dashed through the tiny 
street of Brampton Bryan. A horde of little boys 
tumbled out of the doors and ran at Wogan's heels. 
The more he cursed and raved, the more the little 
boys shouted and yelled. Scrope in the chaise shook 
with laughter, clapped his hands as if in commenda- 
tion of Wogan's powers, and encouraged him to 
greater efforts. They passed out of the village; the 
children gave up the pursuit, and sent a few parting 
stones after Wogan's back; in front stretched the 
open road. Wogan ran half a mile further, but he 
was too heavily handicapped with his three bottles 
of wine, and Scrope's horses were fresh. He shouted 
out one last oath, and then in a final spasm of fury 



PARSON KELLY 77 

sat down by the roadside, stripped off his shoe, and 
springing into the middle of the road, hurled it with 
all his might at the retreating chaise. The shoe 
struck the top of the hood, balanced there for a mo- 
ment, and bounced over on to the seat. Scrope took 
it up and waved it above his head. 

' The grass will all its prickles hide, 
Nor harm thy snowy feet and bare.' 

The driver plied his whip ; the chaise whirled out of 
sight in a cloud of dust; and the disconsolate Wogan 
hobbled back to Brampton Bryan with what secrecy 
he could. 

Mr. Scrope was on his way with the road to 
London open, were he disposed to follow it. Mr. 
Wogan seemed to see his chaise flashing through the 
turnpikes, and his sallow cheeks taking on an eager 
colour as the miles were heaped behind him. 

He knew that Mr. Kelly and Nicholas Wogan 
were at Lord Oxford's house at Brampton Bryan. 
He knew enough, therefore, to throw some disorder on 
the Chevalier's affairs were he disposed to publish his 
news. But not in that way did he take, at this time, 
his revenge upon the Parson. 



CHAPTER VI 

MR. NICHOLAS WOGAN REMINDS THE PARSON OF A 
NIGHT AT THE MAZARIN PALACE 

WHILE Wogan pursued in vain a flying foe, 
Lady Oxford and Parson Kelly waited in the 
house for his return, her ladyship in a great discom- 
posure and impatience, and the Parson more silent 
than ordinary. Whatever he may have thought of 
Scrope's unexpected visit, his pride forbade him 
questions. 

' The most unfortunate affair,' exclaimed her lady- 
ship distractedly. ' Sure never was a woman so 
cursed. But indeed I was born under a frowning 
star, Mr. Kelly, and so my lord's friends cannot visit 
him, but some untoward accident puts them into 
peril.' 

' You need be troubled by no fears on our account,' 
replied Kelly, ' for Nick will ensure the fellow's 
silence before ever he lets him out of his sight' 

'True,' said she, with a fresh pang of anxiety, 
' Mr. Wogan is with him and will doubtless seek an 
explanation.' 

l^elly smiled, but without any overwhelming 
amusement. 

' Neither,' said he, ' need your ladyship fear that 
he will listen to any indiscreet explanation. Words 



PARSON KELLY 79 

have very little to do with the explanations which 
Nicholas favours.' 

Lady Oxford remarked the distant stateliness in 
Kelly's tone and was in a hurry to retrieve the slip 
she had made. 

' It is just that I mean,' she cried, coming over to 
Kelly. ' If Mr. Wogan — kills this man,' and her 
eyes flashed as though she did in her heart desire 
that consummation, 'here at the Park Gates — ' 

' Believe me,' replied Kelly reassuringly, ' he will 
omit no proper ceremony if he does.' 

' No, nor will the county justices either,' retorted 
Lady Oxford, ' and there are Mr. George Kelly and 
Mr. Nicholas Wogan to explain their presence at 
Brampton Bryan Manor, as best they can, to a bench 
of bumpkins.' 

'Again your ladyship is unnecessarily alarmed. 
For if Mr. Scrope is now no more, Mr. George Kelly 
and Mr. Nicholas Wogan are still Mr. James John- 
son and his secretary Mr. Hilton. No harm threatens 
Brampton Bryan Manor from their visit.' 

This he said no less coldly, and to cut the conver- 
sation short, stalked with excessive dignity to the 
door. Lady Oxford was gazing ruefully down the 
avenue from the window, when she heard the knob 
of the door move under his hand. She turned quickly 
about. 

' It was not of Brampton Bryan Manor I was think- 
ing,' she said hurriedly, ' nor of our safety. Why, in 
what poor esteem do you hold me ! Am I .then so 
contemptible a thing?' There was no anger in her 
reproach. Rather it melted in a most touching sad- 
ness. ' Have I no friends whose safety troubles 



8o PARSON KELLY 

me ? ' she added. At that out came her handkerchief 
and fluttered at her eyes. ' Nay, but I thought I had 
— two of the noblest.' It was a mere scrap of a 
handkerchief, and the greater part of that a lace 
edging. It would not have sopped up many tears, 
but it served her ladyship's turn. For indeed the 
mere sight of it convinced Kelly of his monstrous 
cruelty. 

' Your ladyship ! ' he cried, turning back. ' Tears ! 
And I have caused them. Faith, I should be hanged 
for that. Yet they flow for my friend and me, and I 
am blessed instead.' 

But she would have none of his apologies. She 
stepped back as he approached. 

' No,' said she, and wiped an imaginary tear-drop 
from the dryest of eyes ; ' you have asked me for an 
explanation of Mr. Scrope's coming and you have a 
right to ask it.' 

' Madam,' expostulated Kelly, ' I was careful, on 
the contrary, to ask for no explanation whatever. 
For I have no right to it.' 

' Oh, but you have,' returned her ladyship with 
asperity ; and then up went her handkerchief again. 

'All men,' she said, in a voice most pathetical, 
' have a right to ask any explanation of any woman, 
at any time. Women, poor sad creatures, are suspect 
from their cradles, and to distrust them is the pre- 
rogative of manhood.' Here she tore away her hand- 
kerchief and lifted her hands in an ardent prayer. 
' Oh that some day I might meet with one single man 
who would believe us worthy of respect ! ' She 
walked away to the window and said in a low voice, 
' With what friendship would I requite him.' 



PARSON KELLY 8t 

Thus the unfortunate Mr. Kelly was not merely- 
plunged in remorse, but brought to see that he had 
missed the one solitary path which would have led 
him into this great lady's friendship. 

' Your ladyship,' he implored, ' mistakes my senti- 
ments altogether.' 

' Mr. Kelly,' she replied, proudly, ' we will not, if 
you please, pursue the matter. You have your expla- 
nation and I trust you will allow it to content you,' 
and so she sailed majestically out of the room, leaving 
Mr. Kelly in that perturbation that he quite failed to 
notice he had received no explanation whatever. She 
dropped her stateliness, however, when the door was 
closed behind her, and, hurrying across the hall, lay 
in wait behind a shrubbery for Wogan's return. 
Wogan, on the other hand, had admirable reasons for 
avoiding all paths, and so slipped into the back of 
the house unseen. Consequently it was not until 
half-an-hour later, when Lady Oxford was fairly dis- 
tracted, that she discovered him, decently clothed, 
and urging upon Kelly the necessity of an immediate 
retreat. He broke off from his advice as Lady Ox- 
ford entered. 

' You have done him no hurt? ' she asked, looking 
Wogan over from head to foot in search of a speck of 
blood, and ready to swoon if she saw one. 

'Not the least in the world,' replied Wogan. 

' Nor he you ? ' 

' There was never any likelihood of that.' Wogan 
had to put the best face on the matter possible, and 
since he could not own to the humiliating truth, why, 
the necessary lie might just as well redound to his 
credit. ' I swore him to secrecy upon his bended 

6 



82 PARSON KELLY 

knees. He took the oath on the hilt of this very 
sword,' and Wogan hitched forward his hanger. 

A footman at this moment announced that dinner 
was served. 

'Will you give me your hand, Mr. Wogan? ' asked 
Lady Oxford, and detaining him until Kelly had 
passed out of the room : 

'He gave you doubtless a reason for his coming?' 
she asked. 

' Surely he did,' said Wogan, who was not for ad- 
mitting any omission on his own part. 

' And what reason ? ' asked her ladyship. 

Mr. Wogan looked at the ground and got a flash 
of inspiration. 

'Why,' said he as bold as brass, ' precisely the same 
reason which you gave to my friend George Kelly,' 
in which answer Wogan hit the literal truth, although 
her ladyship looked puzzled, as well she might, and 
then flushed a fine crimson. 

However, she made up an ingenious story, and that 
same day hinted rather than told it with a pretty sug- 
gestion of sympathy which quite melted Mr. Kelly's 
heart, and threw Wogan into some doubt whether to 
believe her or no. Scrope, it appeared, had been at 
some indefinite time a secretary to Mr. Walpole, and 
was entrusted with the keeping of the good man's 
accounts. Lady Oxford was then simply Mistress 
Margaret Middleton and intimate with her cousin, 
Mr. Walpole, although since her marriage, as Mr. 
Kelly and his friend were requested to note, that 
intimacy had entirely ceased. Hence it came about 
that the rash Scrope cast longing eyes upon the 
humble relation of his patron, and was indeed so 



PARSON KELLY 83 

carried away by passion that Margaret was forced now 
and again to chide him for the forwardness of his 
demeanour. Also, alas ! he transgressed in a more 
serious way. For Mr. Walpole's accounts fell into 
the saddest disorder ; there were sums of money of 
which no trace could be found until — well, the de- 
plorable affair was hushed up. Mr. Scrope was turned 
off and set down his dismissal to Margaret, who, 
gentle soul, would not have hurt a fly. From that 
time he had not spared her his resentment, and would 
go miles out of his way if by any chance he might 
fix a slight upon her. Which conduct she most Chris- 
tianly forgave, since indeed the poor man's head must 
needs be turned. 

'Yet he had all the appearances of prosperity,' 
objected Wogan. 

' I fancied that I said that there were large sums 
missing,' replied her ladyship. 

' Yes, you did indeed say so,' said Mr. Kelly, ' but 
you avoided the implication out of your generous pity.' 

It is not in truth very difficult to befool a man who 
does half the fooling himself. Mr. Kelly was alto- 
gether appeased by Lady Oxford's explanation, 
which to his friend seemed to explain nothing, but 
none the less he readily acknowledged to Wogan the 
propriety of hurrying his business to a close. 

' To tell the truth,' said Wogan, as soon as her 
ladyship had withdrawn, ' I feel my cravat stiffening 
prophetically about my neck. My presence does 
not help you ; indeed, it is another danger ; and 
since we are but a few miles from Aberystwith, I am 
thinking that I could do nothing wiser than start 
for that port to-night.' 



84 PARSON KELLY 

The Parson drew figures with his forefinger on 
the table for a while ; then : 

' I would not have you go,' he said slowly. ' I will 
use what despatch I may; but I would not have 
you go, and leave me here.' 

Kelly was true to his word, and used so much 
despatch that within two days he extorted a promise 
from Lord Oxford to undertake the muslin trade 
in England, as the cant phrase went. Possibly he 
might have won that same promise before had he 
used the same despatch. But Lord Oxford's foible 
was to hold long discourses, and Mr. Pope truly 
said that he had an epical habit of beginning every- 
thing at the middle. However it may be, the two 
men left the Manor on the morning of the third 
day. Wogan drove back with the Parson as far 
as Worcester, who for the first few miles remained 
in a melancholy silence, and then burst out of a 
sudden. 

' To think that she should be mewed up in a 
corner of Herefordshire, with no companions but 
drunken rustics ! Mated to an old pantaloon, too ! ' 

' Sure it was her ladyship's own doing,' murmured 
Wogan. 

' No woman in all London could hold a candle 
to her. And we distrusted her — we distrusted her, 
Nick.' He beat a clenched fist into the palm of 
his other hand to emphasise the enormity of the 
crime. ' Why, what impertinent fools men are ! ' 

Then he again relapsed into silence and again 
broke out. 

' Damme ! but Fortune plays bitter tricks upon 
the world. 'T is all very well to strike at a pair of 



PARSON KELLY 85 

rascals like you and me, Nick, but she strikes at those 
who offend her least. Faith, but I am bewildered. 
Here is a woman indisputably born to be a queen 
and she is a nurse. And no better prospect when 
my lord dies than a poor jointure and a dull Dower 
House.' 

' Oh, she told you that, did she ? ' said Wogan. 
' Sure it was a queenly complaint.' 

' She made no complaint,' said Kelly fiercely. 
' She would not — she could not. It is a woman 
of unexampled patience.' 

He grumbled into silence, and his thoughts 
changed and turned moodily about himself. 

' Why did I ever preach that sermon ? ' he 
exclaimed. ' But for that I might now have the 
care of half-a-dozen rambling parishes. Instead of 
hurrying and scurrying from one end of Europe 
to the other, at the risk of my neck, I might sit 
of an evening by the peat fire of an inn kitchen 
and give the law to my neighbour. I might have 
a little country parsonage all trailed over with roses, 
and leisure to ensure preferment by my studies 
and enjoy the wisdom of my Latin friend Tully. 
I might have a wife, too,' he added, ' and maybe 
half a score of children to plague me out of my 
five wits with their rogueries.' 

He fetched up a sigh as he ended which would 
have done credit to ray Lady Oxford ; and Wogan, 
seeing his friend in this unwonted pother, was 
minded to laugh him out of it. 

'And a credit to your cloth you would have 
been,' says he. ' Why, it 's a bottle you would 
h^ve taken into the pulpit with you, and a mighty 



86 PARSON KELLY 

big tumbler to measure your discourse by. Indeed 
there would have been but one point of resemblance 
between yourself and your worthier brethren, and 
that's the number of times you turned your glass 
upside down before you came to an end.' 

Kelly, however, was not to be diverted from his 
melancholy. The picture of the parsonage was 
too vivid on the canvas of his desires. And since 
he dreamed of one impossibility, no doubt he went 
a step further and dreamed of another besides. 
No doubt his picture of the parsonage showed the 
figure of the parson's wife, and no doubt the 
parson's wife was very like to my Lady Oxford. 

Wogan, though he had laughed, was, to tell the 
truth, somewhat disturbed, and began to reckon 
up how much he was himself to blame for setting 
Kelly's thoughts towards her ladyship. He had 
not thought that his friend had taken the woman 
so much to heart. But whenever the Parson fell a 
dreaming of a quiet life and the cure of souls, it 
was a sure sign the world was going very ill with him. 

' I would have you remember, George,' said 
Wogan, 'that not so long ago I saw you stand 
up before a certain company in Paris and cry out 
with an honest — ay, an honest passion, "May 
nothing come between the Cause and me ! " ' 

Kelly flushed as his words were recalled to him 
and turned his head away. Wogan held out his 
hand. 

' George, am I then to understand that something 
has come between the Cause and you?' And he 
had to repeat the question before he got an answer. 
Then Kelly turned back- 



PARSON KELLY 87 

' Understand nothing, Nick, but that I am a fool,' 
he cried heartily, and slapped his hand into Wogan's. 
' True, the Cause, the Cause,' he muttered to himself 
once or twice. After all, Nick,' he said, ' we have got 
the old man's assurance. My Lord Oxford will lend 
a hand. We have not failed the Cause.' And they 
did not speak again until they drove into Worcester. 
Then Kelly turned to Nick with a sad sort of smile. 

' Well, have you nothing to say to me ? ' said he. 

Mr. Wogan could discover nothing to say until he 
had stepped out of the chaise at the post-house and 
was shaking his friend's hand. Then he delivered 
himself of the soundest piece of philosophy imagin- 
able. 

'Woman,' he said, 'is very much like a jelly-fish 
— very pretty and pink and transparent to look at, 
but with a devil of a sting if you touch it.' 



CHAPTER VII 

LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU HAS A WORD 
TO SAY ABOUT SMILINDA 

FROM Worcester Nicholas Wogan made his way 
to Bristol, and, taking passage there on a 
brigantine bound for Havre-de-Grace with a cargo of 
linen, got safely over into France. He travelled 
forthwith to Paris that he might put himself at the 
disposition of General Dillon, and, being commanded 
to supper some few days after his arrival by the 
Duke of Mar, saw a familiar swarthy face nodding 
cheerily at him across the table. The lady was 
embrowned with the Eastern sun, and, having lost 
her eye-lashes by that disease which she fought so 
manfully to conquer, her eyes were fierce and mar- 
tial. It was indeed the face of the redoubtable Lady 
Mary Wortley Montagu, sister to the Duchess of 
Mar, who chanced to be passing through Paris on 
her travels from Constantinople. Wogan remem- 
bered that Mr. Kelly's rustic friend at Brampton 
Bryan had spoken of Lady Mary with considerable 
spleen. And since he began to harbour doubts of 
her rusticity, he determined to seek some certain 
information from Lady Mary. 

Lady Mary was for a wonder in a most amiable 
mood, and had more than one question to put con- 



PARSON KELLY 89 

cerning ' Kelly as the Bishop that was to be when 
your King came to his own.' 

' Why, madam, he has a new friend,' said Wogan. 

Lady Mary maybe caught a suspicion of uneasiness 
in Wogan's tone. She cocked her head whimsically. 

' A woman ? ' 

' Yes.' 

'Who?' 

' My Lady Oxford.' 

Lady Mary made a round O of her lips, drew in a 
breath, and blew it out again. 

' There go the lawn-sleeves.' 

Wogan took a seat by her side. 

•Why?' 

Lady Mary shrugged her shoulders. 

' In what esteem is she held ? ' continued Wogan, 
' of what character is she ? ' 

'I could never hear,' returned Lady Mary carelessly. 
' For her friends always stopped abruptly when they 
chanced upon her character, and the rest was merely 
pursed lips and screwed-up eyes, which it would be 
the unfairest thing in the world to translate in her 
disfavour. Her character, Mr. Wogan, is a tender 
and delicate plant. It will not grow under glass, but 
in a dark room, where I believe it flourishes most 
invisibly.' ~ ^ 

Lady Mary seemed ill-disposed to pursue the 
topic, and began to talk of her journey and the great 
things she had seen at Constantinople. Wogan 
waited until she came to a pause, and then stepped 
in with another question. 

' Is Lady Oxford political ? ' 

' Lady Oxford ! Lady Oxford ! ' she repeated 



90 PARSON KELLY 

almost pettishly. ' Upon my word, the woman has 
infected you. You can speak of nothing else. 
Political?' and she laughed maliciously. 'That she 
is, and on both sides. She changes her party more 
often than an ambitious statesman. For politics to 
my Lady Oxford are just pawns in the great game 
of Love.' 

' Oh, Love,' exclaimed Wogan, with a recollection 
of Mr. Scrope. ' Is Love her quarry? ' 

' She will play cat to any man's mouse,' returned 
Lady Mary indifferently. 

' And there are many mice? ' 

Lady Mary shrugged her shoulders and made no 
reply. However, Wogan's appetite for information 
was only whetted, and to provoke Lady Mary to 
speak more freely he made an inventory of Lady 
Oxford's charms. He dwelt on her attractions. 
Lady Mary played with her fan, pulled savagely at 
the feathers, opened it, shut it up, while Wogan dis- 
coursed serenely on item — a dark eye, big, with a 
glint of light in it like sunshine through a thunder- 
cloud. Lady Mary laughed scornfully. Wogan 
went on to item — a profusion of blackish-brown hair, 
very silky, with a gloss, and here and there a gold 
thread in the brown ; item — a Barbary shape ; item 
— an admirable instep and a most engaging ankle. 

' It would look very pretty in the stocks,' Lady 
Mary snapped out. 

Wogan shook his head with a knowing air. 

' 'T would slip out' 

' Not if I had the locking of it in,' she exclaimed 
with a vicious stamp of the foot, and rose, as though 
to cross the room. 



PARSON KELLY 91 

' I have omitted the lady's most adorable merit,' 
said Wogan thoughtfully. Lady Mary was alto- 
gether human, and did not cross the room. 

' She has the greatest affection for your ladyship. 
She spoke of your ladyship indeed in quite unmeas- 
ured terms, and while praising your ladyship's wit 
would not have it that one single spark was due to 
the cleverness of your ladyship's friends. Upon that 
point she was most strenuous.' 

Lady Mary sat down again. The stroke had evi- 
dently told. 

' I am most grateful to her,' she said, ' and when 
did Lady Oxford show such a sweet condescension 
towards me ? ' 

' But a few weeks ago at Brampton Bryan, where she 
was nursing her husband with an assiduous devotion.' 

' I have known her show the like devotion before, 
when her losses at cards have driven her from 
London.' 

' So she gambles? ' inquired Wogan. ' Altogether, 
then, a dangerous friend for George.' 

Lady Mary nodded. 

' Particularly for George,' said she with a smile. 
' For observe, she is compact of wiles, and so is most 
dangerous to an honest man. She is at once insatia- 
ble in her desires, and implacable if they are not 
fulfilled. She is always in love, and knows nothing 
of what the word means. She is tender at times, but 
only through caprice; she is never faithful except 
for profit or lack of occasion to be anything else. 
Coquetry is the abiding principle of her nature, and 
her virtue merely a habit of hiding her coquetry. 
Her mind is larded with affectations as is her face 



92 PARSON KELLY 

with paint, and once or twice she has been known to 
weep — when tears were likely to deceive a man. 
There, Mr. Wogan, you have her likeness, and I 
trust you are satisfied.' 

It was not a character very much to Wogan's 
liking (Lady Mary, he learned later, was quoting 
from a manuscript 'portrait' of her own designing), 
though he drew a spice of comfort from the thought 
that Lady Mary might have coloured the effigy with 
her unmistakable enmity. But events proved that she 
had not over-coloured it, and even at that time Lady 
Oxford had no better reputation than Lady Mary 
Wortley attributed to her. The ballad-makers called 
her gallant, and they did her no wrong — the ballad- 
makers of the ruelles, be it understood, not they of 
the streets, but such poets as Lady Mary Wortley 
Montagu herself and his Grace Sophia of Wharton.* 
The street-singers knew not Lady Oxford, who, 
indeed, was on the top of the fashion, and could hold 
her own in the war of written verses. It was in truth 
to her ability to give as good as she took in the 
matter of ballads that she owed Lady Mary's hostility, 
who had no taste for the counter-stroke. There were 
many such daring Penthesileas of the pen who never 
gave each other quarter ; but neither Wogan nor the 
Parson were at this time in their secrets, although 
subsequently a ballad, not from Lady Mary's pen, 
was to have an astonishing effect upon their fortunes. 

' Your ladyship can help me to make the best of 
it, at all events,' said Wogan. ' Since you have told 
me so much, will you tell me this one thing more? 
Have you ever heard of Mr. Scrope? ' 

1 Sophia, a nickname of the Z)uk( of Wharto?i. 



PARSON KELLY 93 

'Scrope? Scrope?' said she casting about in her 
recollections. Wogan told her the story of Mr. 
Scrope's appearance at Brampton Bryan, and the 
explanation which Lady Oxford had given to account 
for it. Lady Mary laughed heartily. 

' Secretary to Mr. Walpole ? ' she said. ' And how, 
then, did he come to hear that mad sermon of Mr. 
Kelly's at Dublin?' 

' Sure I have been puzzled to account for that my- 
self,' says Wogan. 'But who is he? Where does he 
come from? What brought him to Brampton Bryan? 
What took him away in such a mighty hurry? For 
upon my word I find it difficult to believe the man 's 
a coward.' 

'And you are in the right,' replied her ladyship. 
' I know something of Mr. Scrope, and I will wager 
it was no cowardice made him run. I doubt you 
have not seen the last of Mr. Scrope. It is a passion- 
ate, determined sort of creature. He came to Lon- 
don a year or so agone. It was understood that he 
was a country gentleman with a comfortable estate 
in Leicestershire. He had laid his estate at Lady 
Oxford's feet, before she was as yet her ladyship. 
Lady Oxford would have it, and then would have 
none of it, and married the Earl. Well, he had been 
her valet for a season, and, I have no doubt, thought 
the service worth any price. She gave him her fan 
to hold, her gloves to caress, and what more can a 
man want? He spent much of his money, and some 
whisper that he turned informer afterwards.' 

' Oh, did he ? ' asked Wogan, who was now yet 
more concerned that he had let the informer slip 
through his fingers. 



94 PARSON KELLY 

' Yes. An informer for conscience' sake — a gen- 
tleman spy. His father died for Monmouth's affair. 
He has ever hated the Pretender and his cause. He 
is a Protestant and a fanatic' 

Then she looked at Wogan and began to laugh. 

' I would have given much to have seen you bounc- 
ing down the road after Mr. Scrope's chaise,' and she 
added seriously, ' But I doubt you have not heard the 
last of Mr. Scrope.' 

That also was Wogan's thought. For Lady Mary's 
story, though vague enough, was sufficiently clear to 
deepen his disquietude. Well, Mr. Wogan would get 
no comfort by the mere addling his brains with think- 
ing of the matter, and he thrust it forth of his mind 
and went upon his way, that led him clean out of the 
path of this story for a while. He was despatched to 
Cadiz to take charge of a ship, and, in company with 
Captain Galloway of the Resolution, who was after- 
wards seized at Genoa, and Morgan, of the Lady 
Mary, he spent much fruitless time in cruising on 
and off the coasts of France, Spain, and Sweden. It 
was given out that they carried snuff, or were en- 
gaged in the Madagascar trade. But they took no 
cargoes aboard but barrels of powder and stands of 
arms, and waited on the Rising, which never came. 
There were weeks idled away at Morlaix, at Roscoff 
in Brittany, at Lisbon in Portugal, at Alicant Bay in 
Spain, until Wogan's heart grew sick with impatience. 
At rare times, when the venture wore a face of prom- 
ise, the little fleet would run the hazard of the 
Channel and creep along the English coast, from 
Dartmouth, across the West Bay to Portland, from 
Portland on to the Isle of Wight. Mr. Wogan would 



PARSON KELLY 95 

pace the deck of his Httle ketch, Fortune, of a night, 
and as he looked at the quiet fields lying dark be- 
neath the sky, would wonder how the world wagged 
for his friend the Parson, and whether my Lady 
Oxford was shaping it or no, until a longing would 
seize on him to drop a boat into the water and him- 
self into the boat, and row ashore and see. But it 
was not for more than a full twelve months that his 
longing was fulfilled, and during those twelve months 
the harm was done. 



CHAPTER VIII 

MR. KELLY HAS AN ADVENTURE AT A MASQUERADE 
BALL 

FOR the greater part of that year Mr. Kelly 
simply went about his business. He travelled 
backwards and forwards from General Dillon, Lord 
Lansdowne, the Duke of Mar, in Paris, to the Bishop 
of Rochester, in London, and from the Bishop to the 
others of the five who mismanaged the Chevalier's 
affairs in England, Lord Arran, Lord Strafford, Lord 
North and Grey, Lord Orrery, and last, though not 
least, the Earl of Oxford. Thus business brought 
him more than once knocking again at the doors of 
Brampton Bryan Manor, though he did not always 
find her ladyship at home to welcome him. On such 
occasions he found the great house very desolate for 
the want of her footstep and her voice, and so would 
pull out his watch and fall to wondering what at that 
precise moment she was engaged upon in town. 

Thus things dallied, then, until a warm wet night 
of summer in the year 1720. Mr. Kelly was in Lon- 
don and betook himself to His Majesty's Theatre in 
Drury Lane, where he witnessed a farce which was 
very much to his taste. It was entitled ' South-Sea ; 
or the Biter Bit,' and was happy not merely in its 
quips, but in the moment of its performance. For 



PARSON KELLY 97 

the King, or, as the honest party called him, the 
Elector, and his lords had sold out, and were off to 
Germany with their plunder, and the stocks were 
falling by hundreds every week. Mr. Kelly might 
well laugh at the sallies on the stage and the wry 
faces with which the pit and boxes received them. 
For he had recently sold out his actions in the Mis- 
sissippi scheme at a profit of 1,200 per cent, and had 
his money safe locked up at Mr. Child's, the gold- 
smith. Kelly's, however, was not a mere wanton 
pleasure. For the floating of the bubble out of reach 
meant a very solid change in the Jacobite prospects. 
So long as the South'-Sea scheme prospered and all 
the town grew wealthy, there would be no talk of 
changing kings and no chance for Mr. Kelly's friends. 
That great and patriotic bishop whom he served, my 
Lord of Rochester, had said to him this many a 
month past, ' Let 'em forget their politics, let 'em all 
run mad in Change Alley, and the madder the better. 
For the funds will fall and be the ruin of thousands, 
and when England is sunk into a salutary wretched- 
ness and discontent, then our opportunity will come.' 

It was altogether, then, in a very good humour 
that Mr. Kelly left the theatre. The night was 
young, and he disinclined for his lodgings. He 
strolled across to the Groom Porters, in White Hall, 
where his spirits were mightily increased. For tak- 
ing a hand there at Bassette, in three deals he won 
nine rich septlevas, and, for once, did not need the 
money, and when he left the Groom Porters his 
pockets were heavy with gold, and his head swim- 
ming with the fumes of punch. 

It is not to be wondered at that those same fumes 
7 



98 PARSON KELLY 

of punch floated Lady Oxford into Mr. Kelly's 
mind. He swaggered up St. James's Street with her 
ladyship consequently riding atop of his bemused 
fancies. It was a gay hour in St. James's, being then 
about half past one of the morning. Music rippled 
out of windows open on the night. Kelly heard the 
dice rattle within and the gold clink on the green 
cloth ; lovers were whispering on the balconies ; the 
world seemed to be going very well for those who 
had not their money in the Bubble, and for no one 
better than for Mr. Kelly. He looked about him, if 
by chance he might catch a glimpse of his divinity 
among the ladies of fashion as he wato^ied them 
getting into their chairs, pushing their hoops sidelong 
before them, and the flambeaux flaring on their per- 
fections. He imagined himself a Paladin rescuing 
her from innumerable foes. She was an angel, a 
sprite, a Hamadryad, in fact everything tender and 
immaterial. 

He was roused from these dreams by an illumina- 
tion of more than ordinary brillancy, and looking up 
saw that he had wandered to the theatre in the Hay- 
market. A ragged crowd of pickpockets and the 
like was gathered about the portico. Carriages and 
chairs set down in quick succession, ladies in domi- 
noes, gentlemen in masks. Mr. Kelly remembered 
that it was a night of the masquerades ; all the world 
would be gathered in the theatre, and why not Lady 
Oxford, who was herself the better half of it ? Kelly 
had a ticket in his pocket, pushed through the loiter- 
ers, and stood on the inner rim of the crowd watching 
the masqueraders arrive. Every carriage that drew 
up surely concealed her ladyship, every domino that 



PARSON KELLY 99 

passed up the steps hid her incomparable figure. 
Mr. Kelly had staked his soul with unruffled confi- 
dence upon her identity with each of the first twelve 
women who thus descended before he realised that 
he was not the only one who waited. From the spot 
where he stood he could see into the lobby of the 
theatre. Heidegger, M. le surintendant des plaisirs 
du Roi de I'Angleterre, 

'With a hundred deep wrinkles impressed on his front, 
Like a map with a great many rivers upon 't,' 

was receiving the more important of his guests. The 
guests filed past him into the parterre, Heidegger 
remained. But another man loitered ever in the 
lobby too. He was evidently expecting someone, 
and that with impatience. For as each coach or 
chaise drew up he peered eagerly forward ; as it 
delivered its occupants he turned discontentedly 
away. It is perhaps doubtful whether Mr. Kelly 
would have paid him any great attention but for his 
dress, which arrested all eyes and caused the more 
tender of the ladies who passed him to draw their 
cloaks closer about them with a gesture of disgust. 
For he was attired to represent a headsman, being 
from head to foot in black, with a crape mask upon 
his face and a headsman's axe in his hand. He had 
carried his intention out with such thoroughness, 
moreover, that he had daubed his doublet and hose 
with red. 

Mr. Kelly was in a mood to be charmed by every- 
thing strange and eccentric, and the presence of this 
bloodsmeared executioner at a masquerade seemed 
to him a piece of the most delicate drollery. More- 



loo PARSON KELLY 

over, the executioner w'as waiting like Mr. Kelly, and 
with a like anxiety. Mr. Kelly had a fellow-feeling 
for him in his impatience which prompted him sud- 
denly to run up the steps and accost him. 

' Like me, you are doubtless waiting for your aunt,' 
said the Parson courteously. 

The impulse, the movement, the words had all been 
the matter of a second; but the executioner was 
more than naturally startled, as Mr. Kelly might have 
perceived had he possessed his five wits. For the 
man leaped rather than stepped back; he gave a 
gasp ; his hand gripped tight about the handle of 
his axe. Then he stepped close to Kelly. 

'You know me? ' he said. The voice was muffled, 
the accent one of menace. Kelly noticed neither 
the voice nor the menace. He bowed with cere- 
mony. 

' Without a doubt. You are M. de Strasbourg.' 

The headsman laughed abruptly like a man relieved. 

' You and I,' he returned, mimicking Kelly's 
politeness of manner, " will be better acquainted in 
the future.' 

Kelly was overjoyed with the rejoinder. ' Here 's a 
devil of a fellow for you,' he cried, and with his elbow 
nudged Heidegger in the ribs. Heidegger was at 
that moment bent to the ground before the Duchess 
of Wharton, and nearly stumbled over her Grace's 
train. He turned in a passion as soon as the Duchess 
had passed. 

' Vas you do dat for dam? ' he said all in a breath. 
Kelly however was engaged in contemplating the 
executioner. He ran his thumb along the edge of 
the axe. 



PARSON KELLY loi 

' It is cruelly blunt,' said he. 

'You need not fear,' returned the other. For 
your worship is only entitled to a cord.' 

' Oh, so you know me,' says Kelly, stepping close 
to the executioner. 

' Without a doubt,' replied the latter, stepping 
back, ' Monsieur le Marchand de dentelles.' 

It was Kelly's turn to be startled, and that he was 
efifectually ; he was shocked into a complete recovery 
of his senses and an accurate estimation of his folly. 
He walked to the entrance and stood upon the steps. 
The executioner knew him, knew something of his 
trade. Who, then, was M. de Strasbourg? Kelly 
recalled the tones of his voice, conned them over in 
his mind, and was not a penny the wiser. He 
glanced backwards furtively across his shoulder and 
looked the man over from head to foot. 

At that moment a carriage drove up to the 
entrance. Mr. Kelly was standing on the top of the 
steps and the face of the coachman on the box was 
just on a level with his own. He stared, in a word, 
right at it, and so took unconsciously an impression 
of it upon his mind, while pondering how he should act 
with regard to M. de Strasbourg. Consequently he 
did not notice that a woman stepped out of the car- 
riage and, without looking to the right or left, quickly 
mounted the steps. His eyes, in fact, were still fixed 
upon the coachman's face ; and it needed the brush- 
ing of her cloak against his legs to rouse him from 
his reflections. 

He turned about just as she disappeared at the far 
end of the lobby. He caught a glimpse of a white 
velvet cloak and an inch of blue satin petticoat under 



102 PARSON KELLY 

a muffling domino. He also saw that M. de Stras- 
bourg was drawn close behind a pillar, as though he 
wished to avoid the lady. As soon, however, as she 
had vanished he came boldly out of his concealment 
and followed her into the theatre. Mr. Kelly began 
instantly to wonder whether a closer view of the 
domino would help him discover who M. de Stras- 
bourg really was, and entering the theatre he went 
up into the boxes. 

At first his eyes were bedazzled by the glitter of 
lights and jewels and the motley throng which paraded 
the floor. There was the usual medley of Chinese, 
Turks, and friars ; here was a gentleman above six 
feet high dressed like a child in a white frock and 
leading strings and attended by another of very low 
stature, who fed him from time to time with a pap- 
spoon ; there was a soldier prancing a minuet upon a 
hobby horse to the infinite discomfort of his neigh- 
bours; and as for the women — it seemed to Mr. 
Kelly that all the goddesses of the heathen my- 
thology had come down from Olympia in their 
customary ndglig6. 

Among them moved M. de Strasbourg like a black 
shadow, very distinguishable. Kelly kept his eyes 
in the man's neighbourhood, and in a little perceived 
a masked lady with her hair dressed in the Greek 
fashion. What character she was intended to repre- 
sent he could not for the life of him determine. He 
learnt subsequently that she went as Iphigeneia — 
Iphigeneia, if you please, in a blue satin petticoat. To 
be sure her bosom was bared for the sacrifice, but 
then all the ladies in that assembly were in the like 
case. She had joined a party of friends, of whom 



PARSON KELLY 103 

M. de Strasbourg was not one. For though he kept 
her ever within his sight, following her hither and 
thither, it was always at a distance ; and, so far as 
Kelly could see, and he did not take his eyes from 
the pair, he never spoke to her so much as a single 
word. On the contrary he seemed rather to lurk 
behind and avoid her notice. Kelly's curiosity was 
the more provoked by this stealthy pursuit. He 
lost his sense of uneasiness in a wonder what the man 
designed against the woman. He determined to 
wait the upshot of the affair. 

The night wore away, the masqueraders thinned. 
The inch of blue satin petticoat took her departure 
from 'the parterre. M. de Strasbourg followed her ; 
Mr. Kelly followed M. de Strasbourg. 

The lobby was crowded. Kelly threaded his way 
through the crowd and came out upon the steps. 
He saw the lady, close wrapped again in her velvet 
cloak, descend to her carriage. The coachman 
gathered up his reins' and took his whip from its rest. 
The movement chanced to attract Kelly's eyes. He 
looked at the coachman, at the first glance indiffer- 
ently, at the second with all his attention. For this 
was not the same man who had driven the carriage 
to the masquerade. And then the coachman turned 
his full face towards Kelly and nodded. He nodded 
straight towards him. But was the nod meant for him ? 
No ! Well, then, for someone just behind his shoulder. 

Kelly did not turn, but stepped quietly aside and 
saw M. de Strasbourg slip past him down the steps. 
So the nod was meant for him. M. de Strasbourg 
was still masked, but he had thrown a cloak about 
his shoulders which in some measure disguised his 



104 PARSON KELLY 

dress. The mystery seemed clear to Kelly ; the lady 
was to be forcibly abducted unless someone, say Mr. 
James Johnson, had a word to say upon the matter. 
The carriage turned and drove slowly through the 
press of chairs and shouting link-boys ; M. de Stras- 
bourg on the side-walk kept pace with the carriage. 
Kelly immediately crossed the road, and, concealed 
by the carriage, kept pace with M. de Strasbourg. 
Thus they went as far as the corner of the Haymarket, 
and then turned into Pall Mall. 

At this point Kelly, to be the more ready should 
the lady need his assistance, stepped off the pave- 
ment and walked in the mud hard by the hind whetls 
of the carriage. It was now close upon four of the 
morning, but, fortunately, very dark, and only a 
sullen sort of twilight about the south-eastern fringes 
of the sky. 

In Pall Mall the carriages were fewer, but the 
coachman did not quicken his pace, doubtless out of 
regard for M. de Strasbourg, and at the corner of 
Fall Mall, where the road was quite empty, he jerked 
the horses to a standstill. Instantly M. de Stras- 
bourg ran across the road to the carriage, the coach- 
man bent over on that side to watch, and Mr. Kelly, 
on the other side, ran forward to the box. M. de 
Strasbourg wrenched open the door and jum^jed into 
the carriage. Mr. Kelly heard a woman's scream 
and sprang on to the box. The coachman turned 
with a start. Before he could shout, before he could 
speak, Kelly showed him a pistol (for he went armed) 
under the man's nose. 

' One word,' said Kelly, ' and I will break your 
ugly face in with the stock of that, my friend.' 



PARSON KELLY 105 

The woman screamed again; M. de Strasbourg 
thrust his head out of the window. 

' Go on,' he shouted with an oath, ' you know 
where. At a gallop ! Kill the horses, they are not 
mine ! Flog 'em to death so you go but fast 
enough.' 

' To the right,' said Kelly, quietly. 

The man whipped up the horses. They started at 
a gallop up St. James's Street. 

' To the right,' again whispered Kelly. 

The carriage turned into Ryder Street, rocking on 
its wheels. M. de Strasbourg's head was again thrust 
from the window. 

' That 's not the way. Are you drunk, man ? — are 
you drunk ? ' he cried. 

' To the left,' says Kelly, imperturbably, and fin- 
gered the lock of the pistol a little. 

The carriage swung into Bury Street. 

' Stop,' said Kelly. 

The coachman reined in his horses; the carriage 
stopped with a jerk. 

' Where in the devil's name have you taken us ? ' 
cried M. de Strasbourg, opening the door. 

Kelly sprang to the ground, ran round the carriage 
to the open door. 

' To the Marchand de dentelles, M. de Strasbourg,' 
said he with a bow. ' I have some most elegant 
pieces of point d'Alengon for the lady's inspection.' 

M. de Strasbourg was utterly dumbfounded. He 
staggered back against the panels of the carriage; 
his mouth opened and shut; it seemed there was no 
language sufficiently chaotic to express his discom- 
posure. At last: 



io6 PARSON KELLY 

' You are a damned impudent fellow,' he gasped 
out in a weak sort of quaver. 

' Am I? ' asked Kelly. ' Shall we ask the lady? ' 

He peeped through the door. The lady was hud- 
dled up in a corner — an odd heap of laces, silks, and 
furbelows, but with never a voice in all the confusion. 
It seemed she had fainted. 

Meanwhile M. de Strasbourg turned on the unfor- 
tunate coachman. 

' Get down, you rascal,' he cried ; ' you have been 
bribed, you 're in the fellow's pay. Get down ! Not 
a farthing will you get from me, but only a thrashing 
that will make your bones ache this month to 
come.' 

' Your honour,' replied the coachman piteously, 
' it was not my fault. He offered to kill me unless 
I drove you here.' 

M. de Strasbourg in a rage flung back to Kelly. 
He clapped a hand on his shoulder and plucked him 
from the carriage door. 

'So you offered to kill him, did you?' he said. 
' Perhaps you will make a like offer to me. But I '11 
not wait for the offer.' 

He unclasped his cloak, drew his sword (happily 
not his axe) and delivered his thrust with that rapid- 
ity it seemed all one motion. Mr. Kelly jumped on 
one side, and the sword just gleamed against his 
sleeve. M. de Strasbourg overbalanced himself and 
stumbled a foot or two forwards. Kelly had whipped 
out his sword by the time that M. de Strasbourg had 
recovered, and a battle began which was whimsical 
enough. A quiet narrow street, misty with the grey 
morning, the carriage lamps throwing here a doubt- 



PARSON KELLY 107 

ful shadow, a masked headsman leaping, swearing, 
thrusting in an extreme passion, and, to crown the 
business, the coachman lamenting on the box that 
whichever honourable gentleman was killed he would 
most surely go wanting his hire, he that had a woeful 
starving family ! Mr. Kelly, indeed, felt the strongest 
inclination to laugh, but dared not, so hotly was he 
pressed. The attack, however, he did not return, but 
contented himself with parrying the thrusts. His 
design, indeed, reached at no more than the mere 
disarming of M. 66 Strasbourg. M. de Strasbourg, 
however, lost even his last remnants of patience. < 
^'Rascal ! ' he cried. ' Scullion ! Grasshopper ! ' 

Then he threw his hat at Kelly and missed, and at 
last flung his periwig full in Kelly's face, accompany- 
ing the present with a thrust home which his oppo- 
nent barely parried. 

It was this particular action which brought the 
contest to a grotesque conclusion quite in keeping 
with its beginnings. For the periwig tumbled in the 
mud, and the coachman, assured that he would get 
no stiver of his hire, scrambled down from his box, 
rushed at a prize of so many pounds in value, picked 
it up and took to his heels. 

M. de Strasbourg uttered a cry and leaped back- 
wards out of reach. 

' Stop ! ' he bawled to the coachman. The coach- 
man only ran the quicker. M. de Strasbourg passed 
his hand over his shaven crown and looked at the 
carriage. It was quite impossible to abduct a lady 
without a periwig to his head. He swore, he stamped, 
he shouted ' Stop ! ' once more, and then dashed at 
full speed past Kelly in pursuit. 



io8 PARSON KELLY 

Kelly made no effort to prevent him, but gave way 
to his inclination and laughed. The coachman threw 
a startled glance over his shoulder and, seeing that 
M. de Strasbourg pressed after him, quickened his 
pace ; behind him rushed a baldheaded executioner 
hurhng imprecations. The pair fled, one after the 
other, to the top of Bury Street, turned the corner 
and disappeared. Kelly laughed till the tears ran 
down his cheeks, and leaned against the carriage. 

The touch of the panels recalled him to the lady's 
presence. The street was now fairly roused by the 
clamour. Night-capped heads peeped from the win- 
dows ; an indignant burgher in a dressing-gown even 
threatened Mr. Kelly with a blunderbuss ; and, as he 
turned to the door of the carriage, he saw Mrs. 
Barnes at a window on the second floor looking at 
him with an air of the gravest discontent. 

' Take me into shelter, good sir, at once, at once,' 
cried the lady from out the confusion of her laces, in 
a feigned tone of the masquerade. 

' With all my heart, madam,' said Kelly. ' This is 
my door, and my lodging is at your disposal. Only 
the street is fairly awake, and should you prefer, I 
will most readily drive you to your own house.' 

The lady looked out of the window. She was still 
masked so that Kelly could see nothing of her face, 
and she hesitated for a little, as if in doubt what 
answer she should make. 

'You may make yourself at ease, madam,' said 
Kelly, believing that she was not yet relieved of fear ; 
' you are in perfect safety. Our worthy friend had 
to choose between your ladyship and his periwig, of 
which he has gone in chase. And, indeed, while 



PARSON KELLY 109 

I deplore his taste, I cannot but commend his 
discretion.' 

' Very well/ she replied faintly. ' I owe you great 
thanks already, Mr. — ' she paused. 

' Johnson,' said Kelly. 

' Mr. Johnson,' she replied ; ' and I shall owe you 
yet more if you will drive me to my home.' 

She gave him the address of a house in Queen's 
Square, Westminster. Kelly mounted on the box, 
took up the reins, and drove off. He looked up, as 
he turned the carriage in the narrow street, towards 
the second floor of his lodging. Mrs. Barnes shook 
her head at him in a terrible concern. 

' I shall write and tell Mr. Wogan,' she bawled out. 

'Hush, Mrs. Barnes, have you no sense?' cried 
Kelly, and he thought that from within the carriage 
he heard a stifled peal of laughter. ' Poor woman,' 
thought he, ' 't is the hysterics,' and he drove to 
Queen's Square, Westminster, at a gallop. 



CHAPTER IX 

WHEREIN THE CHIVALROUS MR. KELLY BEHAVES 
WITH DEPLORABLE FOLLY 

MR. KELLY did not drive very straight perhaps, 
but to be sure he had the streets entirely to 
himself, and he certainly hit upon Queen's Square. 
The house was unknown tohim, and he drove through 
the square before he found it. 

It made an angle at the south corner, and was con- 
spicuous for a solid family air, and a fine new statue 
of Queen Anne. Level windows of a distinguished 
respectability looked you over with indifference and 
said, ' Here 's a house you '11 take off your hat to, if 
you please.' 'Faith, but those windows must have 
shuddered in their sashes when they saw the Parson 
driving Madam home at five o'clock of the morning 
from a masquerade ball. A sleepy footman opened 
the door ; a no less sleepy maid yawned in the hall. 
However, they both waked up to some purpose when 
Mr. Kelly jumped down from the box, bade the foot- 
man take the carriage round to the stables, called the 
maid to attend upon Madam, and himself opened the 
carriage door. He opened it quickly with a thought 
that Madam might very likely have removed her 
mask, for he was not so tipsy but that he was curious 



PARSON KELLY iii 

to know who it was that he had befriended. Madam, 
however, had done nothing of the kind. 

' Is my lady ill ? ' asked the maid, hurrying forward. 
So Madam was a woman of title. 

' A trifle discomposed, no doubt,' answered Kelly. 

My lady said nothing whatever. It seemed she 
was unwilling to speak in the feigned voice before 
her maid, and in the natural voice before Mr. Kelly. 
She took his arm, and, leaning on it somewhat 
heavily, yet walked with a firm enough step into the 
hall, as Mr. Kelly could not but remark. 

The maid threw open a door on the right. It gave 
into a little cheery room with a wainscot of polished 
oak, and a fire blazing on the hearth. My lady did 
not release Mr. Kelly's arm, and they both stood in 
front of the fire, and no doubt found the warmth 
comfortable enough after the chill of the morning. 
Her ladyship, indeed, went so far as to untie the 
strings of her domino, and make as though she would 
turn it back upon her shoulders. But with a glance 
at Mr. Kelly, she changed her mind, and hugged it 
somewhat closer over her dress than before. 

'Were you at the masquerade, Mr. Johnson?' she 
asked in a low voice. 

Mr. Kelly took the movement and the words 
together, and set them down as mere coquetry. 
Now, coquetry to Kelly at that time was a challenge, 
and it was contrary to his principles of honour to 
remain under such a provocation from man or 
woman. So he answered: 

' Indeed, your ladyship, I was, to my eternal hap- 
piness. I shall drearn qf blue satin for a month to 
come,' 



112 PARSON KELLY 

Her ladyship hitched her domino a little tighter 
still about her neck, and quickly tied the strings 
again, but made no other reply to his sally. The 
action, while it inflamed his curiosity, put him into 
something of a quandary. Was it but another piece 
of coquetry, he asked himself, or did she mdeed wish 
to hinder him from discovering who she was? He 
could answer neither question, but he felt constrained, 
at all events, to offer to take her concealment as a 
hint that he should depart. It seemed a pity, for the 
adventure promised well. 

'Your ladyship,' he said, and at that she gave a 
start and glanced at him, ' for so I understand from 
your maid I may address you,' he added, ' it grows 
late, the world is getting on to its legs, and your lady- 
ship has had an eventful night.' 

He took a step backwards and bowed. 

' No,' said she, in a sharp quick voice, and put out 
a hand to detain him. Then she stopped as quickly, 
and drew in her hand again. 

Mr. Kelly had borne himself very prettily in the 
little affair with M. de Strasbourg. Madam, in fact, 
was in the typical attitude of woman. She knew it 
was inconvenient to keep him, but for the life of her 
she could not let him go, wherefore she found a 
woman's way out of the trouble. For she staggered 
on her legs, and fainted to all appearance clean away, 
leaving matters to take their own course and shift for 
themselves. She fainted, of course, towards Mr. 
Kelly, who caught her in his arms and set her in 
an arm-chair. The maid, who all this while had been 
standing in the doorway, smiled. ' I will run to her 
ladyship's dressing-room for the salts,' she said, and 



PARSON KELLY 113 

so went out of the room, carefully closing the door 
behind her. Kelly kneeled by the lady's side, and 
taking up her fan, sought to waft her that way back 
into the world. She did not stir so much as a 
muscle, but lay all huddled up in her domino and 
mask. Mr. Kelly leaned over her, and so became 
aware of a penetrating perfume which breathed out 
from her dress. The perfume was bergamot. 

Kelly dropped the fan and sat back on his heel. 
The maid had called her ' my lady,' and bergamot 
was Lady Oxford's favourite perfume. What if it 
was Lady Oxford he had unwittingly rescued ! The 
possibility caught his breath away. If that were only 
true, he thought, why, he had done her some slight 
service, and straightway a great rush of tenderness 
came upon him, which went some way to sober him. 
In a minute, however, he dropped into despondency; 
for Lord Oxford's house was in the northern part of 
the town, as he knew, though he had never as yet 
been there, and neither the footman nor the maid 
were of her ladyship's household. Yet, if by some 
miracle the lady might be Smilinda ! She was of the 
right height. Mr. Kelly looked at her, seeking vainly to 
trace out the form hidden under the folds of the domino. 
But if it were Smilinda, then Smilinda had swooned. 

Mr. Kelly woke to this conclusion with a start of 
alarm. He clapped his hand into his pocket, pulled 
out his snuff-box, opened it quickly, and held it close 
beneath her ladyship's nose. The effect of the snuff 
was purely magical, for before she could have inhaled 
one grain of it — before, indeed, Mr. Kelly's box was 
within a foot of her face, up went her hands to the 
tie-strings of her mask. 



114 PARSON KELLY 

So the swoon was counterfeit. 

' Madam,' said Kelly, ' you interpret my desires to 
a nicety. It is your face I would see, but I did not 
dream of removing your mask. I did but ofifer to 
revive you with a pinch of snuff." 

She took the box from his hand, but not to inhale 
the macawba. 

' It is for your own sake, Mr. Johnson, that I do not 
unmask. 'T is like that I am a fright, and did you see 
my face you would take me for a pale ghost.' 

' Madam,' said Kelly, ' I am not afraid of ghosts, 
nor apt to take your ladyship for one of those same 
airy appearances. A ghost ! No,' he cried, survey- 
ing her. ' An angel ! It is only the angels in Heaven 
that wear blue satin petticoats.' 

The lady laughed, and checked the laugh, aware 
that a laugh betrays where a voice does not. 

' Ghost or angel,' she said, ' a being of my sex would 
fain see herself before she is seen. 'T is a mirror I 
seek.' She was still holding Mr. Kelly's snuff-box. 
It was open and within the lid a little looking-glass was 
set; and as she spoke she turned away and bent over 
it with a motion as if she was about to lift her mask. 

' Nay,' said Kelly abruptly ; he stretched out his 
hand towards the snuff-box. ' The glass will be un- 
faithful, for the snuff has tarnished it. Madam, I 
beseech you, unloose that mask and turn your face to 
me and consult a truer mirror, your servant's eyes.' 
He spoke, perhaps, with a trifle more of agitation 
than the occasion seemed to warrant. Madam did 
indeed turn her face to Mr. Kelly, but it was in sur- 
prise at his agitation, and the mask still hid her 
face. Mr. Kelly could see no more than a pair of 



PARSON KELLY 115 

eyes blazing bright and black through the eyelet 
holes. 

' You are gallant, I find, as well as brave,' she said, 
' unless some other cause prompted the words.' 

' What cause, madam? You wrong me.' 

' Why,' said she, ' you still hold out your hand.' 
Mr. Kelly drew it away quickly. ' Ah,' she continued, 
' I am right. There was a reason. You would not 
have me examine your snuff-box too closely.' 

In that she was right, for the snuff-box was at once 
the dearest and the most dangerous of Mr. Kelly's 
possessions. It was a pretty toy in gold and tortoise- 
shell, with brilliants on the hinges, and had been given 
to Mr. Kelly on a certain occasion when he had been 
presented to his king at Avignon. For that reason, 
and for another, he was mightily loth to let it out of 
his possession. What that other reason was Madam 
very soon discovered. 

' It is a dangerous toy,' she said. ' It has perhaps 
a secret to tell?' 

' Madam, has not your mask? ' returned Kelly. 

' There is a mystery behind the mirror.' 

' Well, then, it 's mystery for mystery.' 

For all that he spoke lightly he was in some un- 
easiness. For the lady might not be Smilinda, and 
her fingers played deftly about the setting of the 
mirror, touching a stone here and there. To be sure 
she wore gloves, and was the less likely therefore to 
touch the spring. But give her time enough — however, 
at that moment Kelly heard the maid's footsteps in the 
hall. He stepped to the door at once and opened it. 

' You have the salts ? ' he asked. ' You have been 
the deuce of a time finding them.' 



ii6 PARSON KELLY 

The maid stared at him. 

' But her ladyship fainted,' she argued. 

' Well,' said he, ' was n't that why you went for the 
salts ? ' 

' To be sure,' says she. ' 'Twas an order to go for 
the salts.' 

She pushed open the door. My lady was still 
fingering the box. The maid paid no attention to 
the box, but she looked at my lady's mask; from the 
mask she looked towards Kelly with a shrug of the 
shoulders, which said ' Zany ' as plain as writing. 

Kelly had no thoughts to spare for the maid. 

' Madam,' he said, ' here is your maid, to whose at- 
tentions I may leave you.' 

He advanced, made a bow, took up his hat, held 
out his hand for his snuff-box. 

' But I cannot let you go,' she answered, ' without 
I thank you ' — all the time she was running her 
fingers here and there for the spring. Kelly noticed, 
too, with some anxiety, that while he had gone to 
the door she had made use of the occasion to strip 
off her glove — ' and thank you fitly, as I should 
have done ere this. But the trouble I was in has 
made me backward.' 

' Nay, madam,' said Kelly impatiently, and taking 
a step nearer, ' there is no need for thanks. No man 
could have done less.' 

Her ladyship's fingers travelled faster in their vain 
attempt. 

' But you risked your life ! ' said 3he in admiration. 

' It is worth very little,' said he with a touch of 
disdain ; ' and, madam, I keep you from your bed.' 

The maid turned her eyes up to the ceiling, and 



PARSON KELLY 117 

then Madam by chance pressed on a diamond which 
loosed a hidden spring ; the glass in the snuff-box 
flew down and showed a painting of the Chevalier in 
miniature. 

' Oh ! ' cried my lady with a start in which, per- 
haps, there was a trace of affectation. Then she 
turned to the maid and bade her bring some wine 
and glasses. She spoke quickly, now forgetting for 
the moment to disguise her voice. Mr. Kelly recog- 
nized it with absolute certainty. The voice was 
Smilinda's. 

The maid went out of the door. Kelly looked at 
the lady, and seeing that she was seemingly engrossed 
in the contemplation of the little picture, stole after 
the maid. 

' Betty ! ' he called in a whisper. 

' Sir? ' she asked, coming to a stop. 

He took a crown from his pocket, spun it in the 
air, and caught it. 

' The Margout,' said he, ' will doubtless be more 
difiScult to discover than the salts,' he suggested. 

' It might indeed be necessary to go down to the 
cellar,' she replied readily. 

'And that would take time,' said Kelly, handing 
her the crown. 

' It would take an entire crown's worth,' said the 
maid, pocketing the coin. 

Kelly slipped back into the room. 

The lady seemed not to have noticed Mr. Kelly's 
absence, so fondly did she study the portrait; but 
none the less, no sooner had he closed the door than 
she cried out, not by any means to him but in a sort 
of ecstasy, 'Z^ RqH ' Then she hid the snuff-box 



ii8 PARSON KELLY 

suddenly and glanced with a shudder round the 
room. The panic was altogether misplaced, since 
there could be no other person in the room except 
the owner of the box, who, if her ladyship was guilty 
for admiring, was ten thousand times more so for 
possessing it. 

She caught with her hand at her heart when she 
perceived Mr. Kelly, then her eyes smiled from out 
of her mask, as though in the extremity of her alarm 
she had forgotten who he was, and so fell back in her 
chair with an air of languor, breathing deep and 
quick. 

' Upon my word, I fear, Mr. Johnson,' she said, 
' that if I have escaped one danger by your help I 
have fallen into another. You seem to me to be a 
man of dangerous company.' 

' Indeed I find it so when I am with you, madam, 
since you discover my secrets and show me nothing 
of your own,' replied Kelly. 

The maid it appears, had no less perversity than 
her mistress, for precisely at this moment she rapped 
on the door, and without waiting for any answer 
sharply entered the room, bearing the wine and 
glasses on a salver. There was a distance of three 
yards between Kelly and her ladyship. The maid 
measured the distance with her eyes, and her face 
showed some disappointment. Her ladyship dis- 
missed her, filled both the glasses and took one in her 
hand. Mr. Kelly drained the other, and the bumper 
carried off the remnant of his brains. 

' You run no danger from my knowing your secret, 
Mr. Johnson,' said she, "for — ' 

Breaking off her sentence, she turned her head 



PARSON KELLY 119 

aside, swiftly pushed up her mask and kissed the 
portrait in the box, stooping her fragrant hair over 
it. Mr. Kelly, speeded by the wine, was this time 
too quick for her ladyship. Before she could raise 
her face he had paid the same compliment to her lips 
as she to his Majesty. She lifted her head with a 
bewitching air of anger. 

' Lady Oxford ! ' he cried out as if in amazement, 
since he had bottomed the mystery for now some 
time. ' Forgive me^ madam, if my hasty loyalty to 
my Sovereign prevented me from recognising his 
latest adherent. The Cause must now infallibly 
triumph.' 

' Sir,' she began, looking up at him with her eyes 
melting from anger to reproach, ' your apology is 
soniething graceless. For though my colour be 
gone ' — it was only the worse or artificial part of her 
matchless complexion which the mask had rubbed 
off — ' you yet had time to know and respect a face 
you — ' and then she came suddenly to a stop, as she 
untied the strings of her domino and threw it back 
from her shoulders. ' You blame me,' she said piti- 
fully. Her ladyship was a ready woman, and even 
went more than half-way to meet an attack. At 
Brampton Bryan the talk had been of duty and the 
charms of a rustic life ; but here the dutiful country 
wife, violently disarrayed in the extreme of fashion, 
had been alone to a masquerade ball and Mr. Kelly 
might conceive himself tricked. And so ' You blame 
me,' she said, ' you blame me even as you blamed 
me at Brampton Bryan, and with no more justice.' 

' At Brampton Bryan ! ' exclaimed Kelly suddenly. 
' M. de Strasbourg ! M. de Strasbourg was Scrope.' 



I20 PARSON KELLY 

Her ladyship nodded. 

' And 't was he attacked you — would have carried 
you off.' 

Her ladyship shivered. 

' And I let him go. Curse me ! I let him go even 
as Nick did. But the third time ! Oh, only let the 
third time come.' 

Her ladyship shook her head with the most weari- 
ful resignation. 

' It will come too late, that third time,' she said ; 
'too late for me. I have no husband who can protect 
me, and no friend so kind as to serve me in his place.' 

' Nay, madam,' cried Kelly, instantly softened by 
the lonely picture which her words called up in his 
mind. She was transfigured all at once into Una, 
Andromeda, Ariadne, or any other young woman of 
great beauty and virtue who has ever been left deso- 
late to face a wintry world. ' Believe me, you have 
one friend whose only aspiration is to serve you with 
his life-blood. 'Faith, madam, had you but shown 
me your face when first I came to the door of your 
carriage, I would never have let M. de Strasbourg 
run away until I had offered you his smoking heart 
on the point of my sword.' 

Her ladyship gave the Parson to understand that 
she had gone to the ball on the King's service. Had 
his brain been of its customary sobriety the adventure 
would doubtless have surprised him more than it did. 
He might have questioned the nature of the service 
which took her ladyship to the masquerade. But 
she had sufficient art to tell him nothing and per- 
suade him that she told all. Moreover, he had other 
matters to engage him. 



PARSON KELLY 121 

There is no need to extend more particularly the 
old story of a young man's folly with a woman of 
Lady Oxford's kind. She had sought to hide who 
she was, she said, because she dared not trust herself; 
and the fact that she was not living in her own house, 
which was being repaired, but in one that she had 
borrowed, with the servants, from a friend who had 
gone to the Bath, seemed to make her intention pos- 
sible. But Heaven had been against her. Mr. Kelly 
was readily beguiled into the sincere opinion that she 
had fought against her passion, but that her weakness 
and his transcendent bravery, of which she would by 
no means allow him to make light, had proved her 
ruin. It was all in a word set down to gratitude, 
which was a great virtue, she suggested. Love, 
indeed, was just the charge of powder which would 
have never flashed — no never — had not gratitude 
served as a flint and thrown off" the spark. 

Well, Mr. Kelly walked home in the dawning of a 
new day and painted his thoughts with the colours of 
the sky. For weeks thereafter he seemed in his folly 
to tread on air; and no doubt he had more than 
ordinary warrant for his folly. He had a fortune 
safely lodged with Mr. Child, the goldsmith ; his mis- 
tress was no less fair than she showed fond ; and so 
fond she was that she could not bring herself to chide 
the coachman who was discovered the next morning 
drunk with drugged wine at a tavern near the Hay- 
market, whither one of Scrope's hirelings had lured 
him. Mr. Kelly was prosperous in the three great 
games of life, love, and politics. For he was wholly 
trusted by the Bishop, by Lord Oxford and the rest ; 
he took his place in the world and went and came from 



122 PARSON KELLY 

France with hanging matter in his valise. The valise 
weighed all the lighter for the thought that he was 
now serving Lady Oxford as well as the King. She 
was at this time always in his dreams. His pas- 
sion indeed was in these days extreme, a devouring 
fire in brain and marrow. He believed her a most 
loyal conspirator, and, of course, all that he knew 
came to her ladyship's ears. But his bliss in the 
affection of Lady Oxford quite blinded him to 
danger, and he seemed to himself to walk invisible, 
as though he had the secret of fernseed. 

For a season, then, Mr. Kelly was the happy fool, 
and if the season was short — why, is it ever long? 
Mr. Wogan is not indeed sure that the Parson has 
got altogether out of her ladyship's debt, in spite 
of what happened afterwards. For when the real 
morning broke and the true love came to him, 
troubles followed apace upon its coming. It is 
something to have been a happy fool, if only for « 
season and though the happiness ended with the 
folly. 



CHAPTER X 

WHAT CAME OF MR. KELLY'S WINNINGS FROM THE 
SOUTH SEA 

LUCK is a chameleon, and in November of that 
same year 1720, thought fit to change its com- 
plexion. The date, to be precise, was the 17th of 
the month. Mr. Wogan can determine on the par- 
ticular day, for the reason that Mrs. Barnes carried 
out her threat, and sent him a laborious long letter 
concerning the Parson's moral iniquities. The letter 
reached Mr. Wogan in, October, who was then 
cleaning his ship at Morlaix in Brittany, and what 
with his fifteen months of purposeless cruises, felt 
himself as encrusted with idleness as his ship's 
bottom with barnacles. It was just this eternal in- 
activity which no doubt induced him to take the 
serious view of Mrs. Barnes's epistle. ' It is a most 
cruel affair,' said he to Mr. Talbot, who was with 
him, ■ and of the last importance that I should hurry 
to London and set it straight.' 

'But you are fixed here,' said the Crow, for so 
Talbot was commonly called from the blackness of 
his complexion. ' Can I undertake the business for 
you?' 

' No,' says Nick, shaking his head very solemn ; 
though maybe his eye twinkled, Mr, Wogan forgets 



124 PARSON KELLY 

what point the plot was at then, for since the black 
year, 1688, there had been but one plot, though it 
had changed and shifted shape like the faces you see 
in the dark before you sleep. But he could not hear 
that anything immediate was intended ; and it would 
be, therefore, the most convenient occasion to refit 
his ketch Fortune. He gave orders to that effect, 
travelled to Paris, obtained from General Dillon a 
month's leave to dispose of his own affairs, and went 
whistling to London like a schoolboy off on his 
holidays. For, to tell the truth, he was not greatly 
concerned at George Kelly's backslidings, but on the 
contrary was inclined to chuckle over them, and 
trusted completely to his friend's discretion. 

He arrived in London on November 20, and drove 
boldly to Kelly's lodging in Bury Street. For the 
Glenshiel affair had completely blown over — there 
had never been more than a rumour that he was 
there — and as for the Fifteen, why Mr. Wogan had 
his pardon like the rest. That he got for his beha- 
viour to Captain Montagu at Preston ; moreover, who 
could know the boy Wogan that ran away from West- 
minster School, and his task of copying Lord Claren- 
don's history, in Mr. Hilton, the man of six feet four 
in his stockings. He found Kelly's lodgings empty. 

' A letter came for him three days ago,' explained 
Mrs. Barnes, ' and he set off almost on the instant in 
an agitation so great that he did not wait to pack his 
valise, but had it sent after him.' 

'Where to?' 

' I do not know,' replied Mrs. Barnes with a sniff 
of the nose and a toss of the head, ' and no doubt I 
am a better woman for not knowing.' 



PARSON KELLY 125 

' No doubt,' replied Wogan gravely. ' But, Mrs. 
Barnes, who signed the letter? Where did it come 
from?' 

' And how should I know that?' she cried. 
' Would I demean myself by reading the letters 
of a nasty trull? For she's no better for all her 
birth, and that 's not so high neither.' 

' Ah,' says Wogan, ' I see you don't know who 
signed the letter.' 

' And that 's truth,' said she, ' but I saw the 
superscription. As for the letter, he hid it in his 
bosom.' 

' Well, that 's as good as showing the signature. 
Who carried his valise after him? ' 

' Francis Vanlear,' she said, ' the porter who plyed 
in St. James's Street and Piccadilly and lodged at 
the Crown ale-house in Germain Street.' 

Thither Wogan sent for him, and when he was 
come asked him whither he had carried the valise. 

' To Mr. Gunning's at Mussell Hill,' Vanlear an- 
swered, where he had found a horse ready saddled 
at the door and ' Mr. Johnson' in a great fume to 
be off. 

Wogan gave the porter a crown for his trouble 
and went forthwith to Mr. Gunning's, whom he had 
not seen since the occasion of his coming down 
from Glenshiel. From Mr. Gunning he learned 
that Kelly had undoubtedly taken the Aberystwith 
road, since he had left the horse he borrowed 
at Beaconsfield, and thither had Mr. Gunning sent 
to fetch it. Kelly's destination was consequently 
as clear to Wogan as the urgency of his haste, 
and coming back into London he dropped in at the 



126 PARSON KELLY 

Cocoa Tree, where he found the story of Lady 
Oxford and Mr. Kelly a familiar pleasantry. 

He heard of it again that night at Will's coffee- 
house in Covent Garden, and at Burton's in King 
Street, where Mr. Kelly was very well known. 
For, besides being close to Kelly's lodging, it was 
one of the houses to which his letters were directed 
under cover. From Burton's Wogan came back to 
Bury Street, and, while smoking a pipe in the parlour 
before going to bed, he chanced to notice his strong- 
box. It stood on the scrutoire by the side of Mr. 
Kelly's big Bible, where Wogan had left it eighteen 
months before. It was the brother to Mr. Kelly's 
strong-box, in every particular but one, and that one a 
stouter lock. Wogan remembered that when he had 
placed the box on the scrutoire the key was 
attached to it by a string. Now, however, he 
noticed that the key was gone. He was sufificiently 
curious to cross the room and try the lock. But the 
box would not open ; it was securely locked. There 
were papers too within it, as he found out by 
shaking it. Kelly, then, was using the box — but 
for what purpose? His own box served for his few 
political papers. Any other papers that needed the 
shelter of a strong box must be love-letters. Here, 
then, were amorous, not political epistles. Besides, 
he was in the habit of burning all those which had 
done their work, and the rest which he needed he 
carried about in his own dispatch-box. 

' Now, I wonder,' said Wogan, tapping the lid, ' I 
wonder whether a certain letter, signed — shall we say 
Smilinda .'' — and summoning my friend to Brampton 
Bryan, is locked up inside you.' Wogan's guess hit 



PARSON KELLY 127 

the truth even to the signature, though he was 
destined to get little satisfaction from this proof 
of his sagacity. The letter, he later learned, lay in 
box with not a few others in the same handwriting, 
and they all ended in the same manner with a request: 
' Burn this.' Mr. Kelly would have been honester 
had he obeyed it, but, like many a man when passion 
gets hold of him, he could not part with them. Faint 
whispers breathed, as it seemed, from Heaven, and 
caught and written loud in my lady's hand, pure 
diamonds fetched up from the obscure mines of a 
woman's heart, sure he treasured them up beyond all 
jewels, and locked them up in Mr. Wogan's despatch- 
box to his own undoing. 

This letter was, (Wogan learned afterwards) the 
most laconic of them all, and it was the most moment- 
ous. It began, ' My own Strephon,' and then Strephon 
was crossed out and again written on the top, and 
it was signed ' Smilinda ' in a doubtful hand ; as 
though, at first, Brampton Bryan had recalled to 
her ladyship the beginning of their affections with 
so overpowering a compulsion that she must needs 
use the names which were associated with it, and 
then the dear woman's modesty timidly crossed them 
out, and in the end love got the upper hand and wrote 
them in again. At least that was a small portion 
of all the great meanings which Kelly read in the 
hesitation of her ladyship's address. Between the 
Strephon and the Smilinda there was but one line — 
'Come; there is a secret. I have great need of you.' 
But this had been quite enough to send Mr. Kelly 
spurring put into the November night with such 
speed that he came to Oxford the next day, where 



128 PARSON KELLY 

he found the snow lying very deep. The snow 
troubled him, no doubt, because it delayed him, but 
he took little account of the cold beyond a sharp pang 
or two lest Smilinda might have caught a chilblain. 
For himself — well, Smilinda had need of him — 
the great lady turned for help to the Irish outlaw. 
Wasn't it always so? Her Majesty throws her 
glove to the page, my lord the King Cophetua goes 
clean daft for a beggar wench, and the obliging Cupid 
builds a rickety bridge whereby the despairing lovers 
leap into each other's arms. 

Smilinda needed him ! There was a tune ravished 
from Heaven ! His whole frame moved to it as the 
waves to the direction of the moon. It sang in his 
blood, his heart beat to it, the hooves of his horse 
drummed it out on the road. Even the boughs of 
the trees whispered the words with a tender secrecy 
to the wind, much as the reeds whispered that other 
saying, ages ago, which the Queen in the fable had 
entrusted to them. And, 'faith, when you come to 
think of it, there was little difference in meaning 
between the two remarks. Smilinda needed Mr. 
Kelly ! It was, after all, as much as to say ' Mr. 
Kelly has ass's ears.' He made such haste that on 
the evening of the second day after his departure 
from London he cantered up the drive of the Manor 
House. 

Lady Oxford met him in the hall, and Mr. Kelly's 
heart gave a great jump of pride when he saw her 
stately figure all softened to an attitude of expecta- 
tion. 

' I knew you would come,' she said ; and, as Mr. 
Kelly bent over her hand, she whispered, ' My 



PARSON KELLY 129 

Strephon,' for all the world as if her emotion choked 
her. Then she raised her voice for the servants to 
hear : ' My lord is from home, Mr. Johnson, but he 
has commissioned me at once to pay you his regrets 
and to act as his deputy in your business.' 

Mr. Kelly was all impatience to broach his business, 
but her ladyship's solicitude would not allow him to 
speak until he had supped. She came near to wait- 
ing upon him herself, and certainly plied him with 
her best wine, vowing that it was ill weather for trav- 
ellers, and that if he kept his glass full beside his 
elbow it was a sure sign he hated her. This, of 
course, after the servants had been dismissed. Mr. 
Kelly chided her for the thought, and, with a shake 
of the finger, quoted her a text : ' We are bidden not 
to look upon the wine when it is red,' said he. 

' And a very good text, too,' says she ; ' so, if you 
please, shut your eyes and drink it,' and, coming 
behind him, she laid her cool hand upon his eyes and 
forehead. So Mr. Kelly drank, and the bumper 
floated his wits into my lady's haven. 

' Now,' says my lady ; and, leading the way into 
her boudoir, she sat herself down before the fire, and, 
clasping her hands at the back of her head, smiled at 
Mr. Kelly. 

' Strephon,' she murmured on a lilt of her voice, 

and with all the provocation that witchery could 

devise. Mr. Kelly was on his knees at her side in a 

moment. She laid a white hand upon his breast, and, 

■ gently holding him off: 

' Tell me,' says she, ' why I sent for you." 

' Because my Smilinda needed me,' he answered 
with a laugh of pride. Her hand caressed his 

9 



I30 PARSON KELLY 

shoulder. She nodded, bit her under lip and smiled 
very wisely. 

'What is the service Strephon can do?' cried 
Kelly. ' Is it to lift the world ? Give me but your 
love and I '11 accomplish that.' 

Smilinda clapped her hands with delight, like a 
child. 

' It is nothing so important,' said she. ' It is not 
in truth any service you can do for me, but rather 
one that I can do for you.' 

Kelly's face lost all its light, and dropped to the 
glummest disappointment. He had so nursed that 
aspiration of doing her some great service. Through 
the night, through the day, it had borne him com- 
pany. Some great service — that was to be the 
bridge of Cupid's building whereby they were to 
stand firm-footed on equal ground. And now it was 
some service Lady Oxford was to do for him. Lady 
Oxford noticed the change; it may have been to 
read the thought which it expressed, and that the 
thought touched her to unwonted depths. For the 
smile faded from her lips, her eyes became grave, 
thoughtful, there was a certain suspense in her attitude. 

' Must the woman always owe, the man always 
pay?' she asked, but in a broken way, and with 
almost a repugnance for herself. Indeed, she barely 
finished the question, and then, with an abrupt laugh, 
crossed to the window, drew aside the curtains, and 
gazed out upon the darkness and the glimmering 
snow. 

' A strange, cold world,' she said in an absent voice, 
•with a strange white carpet.' Mr. Kelly in truth 
had given her a glimpse into a world yet stranger to 



PARSON KELLY 131 

her ladyship than that which her eyes beheld — a 
world that had an odd white carpet too, though the 
feet of those who paced it as often as not were stained 
— a world of generous impulses and unselfish de- 
votions. Into this world Lady Oxford was peering 
with an uneasy curiosity. Perhaps for a moment 
she compared it with her own ; perhaps she was 
caught by it and admired it; but, if so, it was with a 
great deal of discomfort. For she dropped the cur- 
tain petulantly across the window, and, coming back 
to the fire — well, what she would have said it is im- 
possible to guess, for a gentle tap on the door was 
followed by a servant's entrance into the room. He 
carried a letter on a salver, and, advancing to Lady 
Oxford, offered it to her. 

Now, Mr. Kelly was standing almost at the centre 
of the mantelpiece. Lady Oxford at one end; and 
they faced one another. So the man inevitably 
stopped between them, and, when he lifted up the 
salver, it was impossible but that the Parson should 
observe the superscription. He recognised the hand- 
writing of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Lady Ox- 
ford recognised it too, for she flushed as she picked 
the letter up. But she flushed deeper as she read it 
through, and then crumpled it up and flung it into 
the fire with an anger which showed very clearly she 
would have done the like for Lady Mary were the 
writer instead of her letter within reach of her vin- 
dictive fingers. 

'A strange, incomprehensible creature is Lady 
Mary Wortley Montagu,' said Lady Oxford with a 
laugh and a glance at Mr. Kelly. ' The 'most whim- 
sical contradiction. She offers you a kindness with 



132 PARSON KELLY 

one hand and slaps you in the face with the other. 
For instance, this letter here. 'T was written out of 
pure kindness. It completes the friendliest service, 
yet it ends with so rough a jest that but for Strephon's 
sake I should be much drawn to reject the service.' 

' For my sake ? ' asked Kelly. 

' Why, to be sure. Lady Mary gave me a piece of 
news a week ago in town. It was that news which 
made me send for you, and she writes now expressly 
to confirm it. But, let my Strephon answer me,' and 
she asked whether he had yet sent his winnings from 
the Mississippi to be used for the King's service. 

Now, Mr. Kelly was, after all, a human being. It 
was all very well in the first flush of prosperity to 
propose to scatter his few thousands, but afterwards 
he had come to see that they would not go so very 
far. Besides, he had now obvious reasons for desir- 
ing to cut as agreeable a figure as he could. At all 
events the money still remained with Mr. Child, the 
goldsmith, and so he told her ladyship, with a little 
remorse. 

' Then,' she cried in joy, ' that chance has come for 
which Smilinda has been longing. My presents, 
Strephon, you have always refused,' which was true 
enough; indeed, on the other hand, she had Mr. 
Kelly's royal snuff-box and a few of his jewels. ' But 
now I can make your fortune, and with yours my 
own. There 's the sweetness of it,' she said, and 
clasped her hands on her heart. ' Your fortune, too ! ' 

' My fortune you have made already,' said he, with 
other compliments proper to the occasion. But her 
ladyship was in a practical mood. 

' Listen,' says she. ' I am made acquainted that the 



PARSON KELLY 133 

tide has turned. I mean, you know, in the Straits of 
Magellan. The South-Sea stock that has been fall- 
ing so long will certainly rise in a week ; the Elector 
is buying secretly. Lady Mary has it from Mr. Pope, 
and he at the first and best hands from Mr. Craggs, 
the secretary. Mr. Craggs will insert my name in 
the next list and your money I shall send to the 
directors with my own. You shall be rich, Strephon, 
on the level of your merits.' 

Mr. Kelly was very well content with his one specu- 
lation, but the evident joy with which Lady Oxford 
anticipated serving him was worth more than his 
thousands. 

' My gold shall be in Smilinda's coffers the morn- 
ing that I get back to town,' he said. 

' You must go at once,' she exclaimed, ' we must 
lose no time. Stay. I will travel with you to-mor- 
row morning if you will favour me with your com- 
pany ' ; and so a new flow of compliments carried 
the South Sea out of sight. But a minute or two 
later Mr. Kelly, chancing to look down at the hearth, 
said, quite inconsequently : 

' We must not forget to thank Lady Mary.' 

Smilinda followed the direction of his eyes, and 
saw that Lady Mary's letter had tumbled out of the 
fire and now lay, half burnt, but the other half only 
curled up and scorched. She shivered as though she 
was cold, and the better to warm herself knelt down 
on the hearth-rug. Then she took up the letter 
(which Kelly must not see) and carelessly tossed it 
into the fire. 

' You know Lady Mary,' she said. ' Yes, you told 
me.' 



134 PARSON KELLY 

' I do, indeed,' said Kelly, with a smile. 

' I could wish you did not,' said her ladyship with 
a frown. Smilinda made it plain that she was jealous. 
Kelly laughed heartily at the assumption, which was 
in truth ridiculous enough. 

' Who am I,' said he, ' that I should attract Lady 
Mar3/s fancy.' 

'You are — my Strephon,' replied Smilinda, with 
a sigh of exquisite tenderness. 

Kelly argued the matter on other grounds. Smi- 
linda listened to them all. 

' I have no doubt you are right,' she said, with a 
meek resignation. ' But I remember you spoke very 
warmly of the friendship you had for her, and ever 
since — ' here she broke off shyly. ' A weak woman's 
empty fears,' she continued, ' but they keep her awake 
at nights. Well, she must even make the best of them.' 

Smilinda lying awake at nights out of jealousy! 
There was a notion to convict Mr. Kelly of slow 
murder. He was on his knees in a moment, and 
swore that for the future on earth and in Heaven he 
would avoid Lady Mary's company as though she 
was the devil in person. It was a confused sort of 
oath and deprived Mr. Kelly for a time of a very 
good friend ; but on the other hand it undoubtedly 
raised a load from Lady Oxford's anxieties. 

She left Brampton Bryan the next morning and 
travelled with Mr. Kelly up to London, where the 
coach set them down at the King's Head in the 
Strand. Kelly went straight from the King's Head to 
the goldsmith and his money was carried to Queen's 
Square that same afternoon. It would seem, however, 
that Mr. Pope had been choused, for the market fell 



PARSON KELLY 135 

from little to nothing. But when the Bubble pres- 
ently burst into air, Smilinda burst into tears, and 
Mr. Kelly was smitten to the heart for her distress. 

' I have ruined thee, my Strephon," she sobbed. 
She had covered her face with her hands and the 
tears trickled through her fingers. 

' Love arms me against such ill-fortunes,' replied 
Kelly. ' It is only Smilinda's tears that hurt. Each 
one of them falls upon Strephon's heart like a drop 
of molten lead.' 

' Ah, Strephon,' she cried. ' Thou art ruined and 
Smilinda's hapless hand hath dealt the blow. The 
arrow came from her quiver,' she being one of Dian's 
nymphs, you are to suppose. 

Then Mr. Kelly fell to comparing himself to 
Procris in the fable, who was shot by her lover, and 
said that it was sweet to perish by her inadvertent 
shaft. It seems that kind of love-making has now 
gone out of date. But that was the humour of it when 
Kelly and Wogan were young. Men and women, let 
them but fall in love, and they were all swains and 
nymphs, though they dabbled in the stocks and were 
as hard-headed as before and afterwards. 

' That odious Lady Mary,' exclaimed Smilinda. 
' She was born to be my bane and curse. 'T was her 
counsel that ruined my Strephon. My Strephon has 
kept his oath ? ' 

Her Strephon had, but on the other hand, Mr. 
Wogan had sworn no oath, and would not have kept 
it if he had done so. He paid a visit to Lady Mary 
soon after Kelly's return from Brampton Bryan. She 
asked him his news and gave him a budget of gossip 
in return. 



136 PARSON KELLY 

' And Lady Oxford has sold her diamonds ! ' she 
ended. 

Wogan asked how that came about, and she 
answered : 

' Lady Oxford was here at the bassette table three 
weeks since. Her stakes were ever inordinately high, 
and she lost to me all night. She drew a queen when 
she should have chose the knave, the knave was 
Sonica. " There go my diamonds," she said, and 
vowing she would punt no more, went home in her 
chair. I could not see her or hear of her for a little. 
I guessed that she had run away into the country until 
she could wheedle enough money to pay me out of 
the dotard husband. So at a venture I wrote apohte 
letter to her, hoping that the country air would restore 
her credit. Well, here she is back in London and 
her losses paid.. That means selling her diamonds.' 

Wogan laughed over Lady Oxford's straits and 
came home to the lodging in Bury Street. Wogan's 
time was getting short and he must return to Mor- 
laix. But, as has been said, he left Brittany in a 
hurry with very little money in his pocket, and what 
was left at his journey's end he had since spent in 
London. So he said to the Parson : 

' George, my friend, I must dip into your winnings 
after all. For here am I with a couple of crowns,' he 
took them out and laid them on the table. George 
flushed crimson. 

' Nick,' said he, ' you have two crowns more than 
I have.' 

Wogan turned away to the window and looked out 
into the street, bethinking him of what Lady Mary 
had told him. 



tARSON KELLY is'j 

' Sure, Nick, it 's the truth,' Kelly pleaded, entirely- 
miscomprehending Wogan's action. ' I drew the 
money out of the Mississippi and sunk it in the 
South Sea. It 's all gone. I have not two penny 
pieces to rub together until this day week, when my 
pension is paid. Nick, you '11 believe that. Why, 
Nick, you would ha' been welcome to all that I had. 
But you know that. Sure you know it.' 

Wogan had no such mean thought as Kelly in his 
fluster attributed to him. He turned back to the table. 

' So you are as poor as an Irish church mouse 
again, are you?' he said with a smile. 'Well, here's 
two crowns — one for me, one for you.' 

He pocketed one coin and pushed the other over 
to the Parson. The Parson took it up and turned it 
over blinking his eyes. For a moment there was an 
awkward sort of silence. Wogan laughed; the Par- 
son blew his nose. 

' I hear,' said Wogan, ' that Lady Oxford has lost 
her diamonds.' 

Kelly looked up in perplexity. 

' Lost her diamonds ! ' said he. ' Why, she wore 
them last night ! ' 

' I thought the rumour was untrue,'- said Wogan. 

Mr. Kelly slipped his crown into his pocket. 
There was no more said about the matter between 
them, though perhaps they clasped hands at parting 
with a trifle more than their ordinary heartiness. 

Mr. Wogan, however, told Lady Mary of the Par- 
son's loss, and she was at no pains to discover the 
explanation. Lady Oxford had paid Lady Mary 
with the Parson's guineas. They had never been in 
the South Sea Bubble. 



138 PARSON KELLY 

' I should like to send the money I won back to 
Mr. Kelly,' said Lady Mary. 

' That 's plainly impossible,' returned Wogan, and 
to this Lady Mary perforce agreed. ' Olet^ the Latin- 
learned lady said, and Wogan remarked, ' Certainly,' 
so she put the money aside, thinking that some day 
she might employ it on Mr. Kelly's behalf. That 
night Wogan borrowed his travelling money from 
Mr. Carte, the historian, whom he met at the Cocoa 
Tree, and so set out the next morning for Brittany. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE PARSON DEPARTS FROM SMILINDA AND LEARNS 
A NUMBER OF UNPALATABLE TRUTHS 

MR. WOGAN then returned to Morlaix, and, 
finding his ketch by this time cleaned and 
refitted, and two others (the Revolution, a big ship 
of 40 guns, under Morgan, which was afterwards 
seized by Commodore Scot at Genoa, and the Lady 
Mary, a smaller vessel of 14 guns, commanded by 
Captain Patrick Campbell) at anchor in the harbour, 
he set sail for the Downs. There they picked up 
four thousand small arms and a couple of hundred 
kintals of cannon-powder, for traffic, it was alleged, 
on the coasts of Brazil and Madagascar. But the 
arms and ammunition travelled no further than Bilboa, 
where they were stored in the country house of 
Mr. Brown, an Irish merchant of that part, against 
the next expedition to England. At Bilboa the 
three ships parted, and Mr. Wogan, taking in upon 
freight such goods as he could get, sailed to Genoa, 
and lay there behind the Mole. 

Nor was the Parson to tarry long behind him in 
London ; for less than a fortnight after Wogan's de- 
parture, he was sent to carry to Rome, for the Che- 
valier's approval, a scheme of a lottery for raising 



140 PARSON KELLY 

a quarter of a million pounds, which Mr. Christopher 
Layer (later hanged) most ingeniously imagined. 
With the scheme he carried some silk stockings 
as a present for the Chevalier and his spouse. This 
was none of the Bishop of Rochester's work, who 
knew nothing of Mr. Layer, and of what was later 
plotted by bold and impatient spirits. The Parson 
had sad work parting with Smilinda, but made light 
of the separation to save the lady from distress, and 
she had happily broken a bank at pharo that same 
night, which withheld her from entirely breaking 
her heart. Still, it was as affecting an affair as one 
could wish for. 

The Parson received certain orders of Atterbury's 
as to business with General Dillon, the Chevalier's 
manager in Paris, just before he was to start; and, 
coming from the Deanery at Westminster where the 
Bishop resided, he walked at once through Petty 
France to Queen's Square. Lady Oxford's house 
was all in a blaze of light with figures moving to and 
fro upon the blinds of the windows. ' Mr. Johnson ' 
was announced, but for some little while could not 
get a private word with her ladyship, and so stood 
of one side, taking his fill of that perfumed world 
of fans and hoops, of sparkling eyes and patches and 
false hearts wherein Lady Oxford so fitly moved. 
Many of the faces which flitted before his eyes 
were strange to him, but one he remarked in particular 
— a strong, square sort of face set on the top of an 
elegant figure that wore the uniform of the King's 
Guards. Mr. Kelly had seen that face under the 
oil-lamp of a portico in Ryder Street on the occasion 
when he and Nicholas Wogan set out on their 



PARSON KELLY 141 

first journey to Brampton Bryan, and the officer 
who owned the face was now a certain Colonel 
Montague. 

Kelly remarked him because he was playing at 
the same table with her ladyship, and losing his 
money to her with all the grace in the world. At 
last Lady Oxford rose, and, coming towards him : 

' Well? ' she murmured, ' my Strephon is pale.' 

' I leave for Rome to-morrow morning,' he re- 
turned in a whisper. At that her hand went up to 
her heart, and she caught her breath. 

' Wait,' said she, and went back to her cards. As 
the guests were departing some two hours later, she 
called to Kelly openly. 

' Mr. Johnson leaves for Paris to-morrow morning, 
and has the great kindness to carry over some of 
my brocades, which indeed need much better re- 
pairing than they can get in London.' 

It made an excuse for Mr. Johnson to stay, but 
none the less provoked a smile here and there ; and 
Colonel Montague, deliberately coming to a stop 
a few paces from Kelly, took careful stock of him. 
The Colonel did not say a word, but just looked him 
over. Mr. Kelly was tickled by the man's impudence, 
and turned slowly round on his heels to give him an 
opportunity of admiring his back. Then he faced 
him again. The Colonel gravely bowed his thanks 
for Mr. Kelly's politeness, Mr. Kelly as gravely 
returned the bow, and the Colonel stalked out of the 
door. It was in this way that Mr. Kelly and the 
Colonel first met. 

But the moment Smilinda and Strephon were left 
alone ! 



142 PARSON KELLY 

' Oh/ wailed Smilinda, and her arms went round 
Strephon's neck. ' Heureuse en jeu, malheureuse en 
amour. O fatal cards, would that I had lost this 
dross ! ' cries she, with her eyes on the glittering 
heap of guineas and doubloons strewed about the 
table. ' Oh, Strephon, thou wilt forget me in an- 
other's arms. I dread the French syrens.' 

And then Mr. Kelly to the same tune : 

' Never will I forget Smilinda. If I come back 
with the King, and he makes me a Bishop, with a 
pastoral crook, thy Strephon will still be true.' 

Whereat the lady laughed, though Kelly was jest- 
ing with a heavy heart, and vowed that Lady Mary 
would write a ballad on ' Strephon, or the Faithful 
Bishop.' Then she fell into a story of lovely Mrs. 
Tusher, the Bishop of Ealing's wife, who was certainly 
more fair than faithful. Next she wept again, and so 
yawned, and gave him her portrait in miniature. 

' You will not part with it — never — never,' she 
implored. 

The portrait was beautifully set with diamonds. 

' It shall be buried with me,' said Kelly, and so 
Lady Oxford let him go, but called him back again 
when he was through the door to make him promise 
again that he would not part with her portrait. Mr. 
Kelly wondered a little at her insistence, but set it 
down to the strength of her affection. So he de- 
parted from the cave of the enchantress with many 
vows of mutual constancy and went to Rome, and 
from Rome he came back to Genoa, where he fell in 
with Nicholas Wogan. 

Mr. Wogan remembers very well one night on 
which the pair of them^ after cracking a bottle in 



PARSON KELLY 143 

Grimble's tavern, came down to the water-gate and 
were rowed on board of Wogan's ketch. This was in 
the spring of the year 1721, some four or five months 
since the Parson had left England, and Wogan 
thought it altogether a very suitable occasion for 
what he had to say. He took the Parson down into 
his cabin, and there, while the lamp flecked the ma- 
hogany panels with light and shade, and the water 
tinkled against the ship's planks as it swung with the 
tide, he told him all that he had surmised of Lady 
Oxford's character, and how Lady Mary had corrob- 
orated his surmises. At the first Mr. Kelly would 
hear nothing of his arguments. 

' It is pure treason,' said he. ' From any other 
man but you, Nick, I would not have listened to 
more than a word, and that word I would have made 
him eat. But I take it ill even from you. Why do 
you tell me this now? Why did you not tell it me 
in London, when I could have given her ladyship a 
chance of answering the slander?' 

' Why,' replied Wogan, ' because I know very well 
the answer she would have made to you — a few 
words of no account whatever, and her soft arms 
about your neck, and you 'd have been convinced. 
But now, when you have not seen her for so long, 
there 's a chance you may come to your senses. Did 
you never wonder what brought Scrope to Brampton 
Bryan?' 

' No need for wonder since she told me.' 

'She told you, did she? Well, I'm telhng you 
now, and do you sit there until I have told you, for 
Mr. Scrope's history you are going to hear. Bah, 
leave that bodkin of a .sword alone. If you draw it. 



144 PARSON KELLY 

upon my soul I'll knock you down and kneel on 
your chest. Mr. Scrope went before you in her 
ladyship's affections.' 

Here Mr. Kelly flinched as though he had been 
struck, and thereafter sat with a white stern face as 
though he would not condescend to answer the insin- 
uation. ' Sure he was a gentleman — out of Leices- 
tershire, and of some fortune, which fortune Lady 
Oxford spent for him. He was besides a sad, perti- 
nacious fellow, and nothing would content him but 
she must elope with him from her old husband, and 
make for themselves a Paradise on the Rhine. It 
appears that he talked all the old nonsense — they 
were man and wife in the sight of God, and the rest 
of it. Her ladyship was put to it for shifts and 
excuses, and at the last, what with his money being 
almost spent, and his suit more 'pressing, she fled into 
the country where we met her. Scrope was no better 
than a kitten before its eyes are opened, and, getting 
together what was left of his fortune, followed her 
with a chaise, meaning to carry her off there and 
then. However, he found us there, and I take it that 
opened his eyes. And I would have you beware of 
Mr. Scrope, George. A kitten becomes a cat, and a 
cat has claws. It is Lady Mary's thought that you 
have not heard the last of him, for his conscience 
hath made him a kind of gentleman spy on the 
honest party.' 

George, who in spite of himself could not but see 
how exactly Wogan's account fitted in with and 
explained Scrope's attempt after the masquerade, 
caught at Lady Mary's name with an eager relief 

'Ah, it was she gave you this flimsy story,' he 



PARSON KELLY 145 

cried, leaning forward over the table. 'There's 
more malice in it than truth, Nick. The pair of them 
have been at loggerheads this long while. Lady 
Mary never could suffer a woman who can hold her 
own against her. Why, Nick, you have been gulled,' 
and he lit his pipe, which he had let go out. 

' Oh, and have I ? Well, at all events, I have not 
stripped myself of every penny in order to pay Lady 
Oxford's losses at cards. Scrope is not the only 
man whom her ladyship has sucked dry.' 

' What do you mean ? ' cried Kelly, letting his pipe 
slip out of his fingers and break on the floor. Wogan 
told him of his visit to Lady Mary, and the story 
was so circumstantial, the dates of the loss at cards 
and the payment so fitted with Lady Oxford's mes- 
sage to Kelly and her proposal as to the placing 
of his fortune, that ' it could not but give him 
pause. 

' It is not true,' was all he could find to say, and 
' I '11 not believe it,' and so fell to silence. 

' You '11 be wanting another pipe,' said Wogan. 
He fetched one from a cupboard and filled it. The 
two men smoked for a while in silence. Then Kelly 
burst out of a sudden : 

' Nick, the fool that I was ever to preach that ser- 
mon in Dublin,' and stopped. Wogan knew well 
enough what the Parson meant. His thoughts had 
gone back to the little parsonage, and the rambling 
cure of half a dozen parishes, and the quiet library, 
and evenings by the inn-fire, where he would tell his 
little trivial stories of the day's doings. It was always 
that dream he would play with and fondle when the 
world went wrong with him, though to be sure, could 



146 PARSON KELLY 

the dream have come true, he would have been the 
unhappiest man that ever breathed Irish air. 

' Shall we go on deck? ' Wogan proposed. 

It was a fine clear night, but there was no moon. 
The riding-lights of ships at anchor were dotted about 
the harbour, the stars blazed in a rich sky; the 
water rippled black and seemed to flash sparks where 
the lights struck it; outside the harbour the Medi- 
terranean stretched away smooth as a slab of marble. 
Kelly stood in the chains while Wogan paced up and 
down the deck. The Parson was in for his black 
hour, and silent companionship is the only alleviation 
for the trouble. After a time he came towards 
Wogan and caught him by the arm, but so tight that 
Wogan could feel his friend's finger-nails through the 
thick sleeves of his coat. 

' I '11 not believe it,' Kelly argued ; but it was 
against himself he was arguing now, as Wogan per- 
ceived, and had the discretion to hold his tongue. 
' 'Faith,' he continued, ' she came into my life like a 
glint of the sun into a musty dark room,' and then 
he suddenly put his hand into his bosom and drew 
out something at which he looked for a moment. 
He laughed bitterly and swung his arm back. Before, 
however, he could throw that something into the sea 
Wogan caught his hand. 

' Sure,' said he, ' I saw a sparkle of diamonds.' 

Kelly opened his hand and showed a miniature. 

'Lady Oxford's diamonds,' he answered bitterly, 
' which she did not sell, but gave out of a loving, 
generous heart' 

' George, you 're moon-struck,' said Wogan. 
' Diamonds, after all, are always diamonds.' 



PARSON KELLY 147 

'True,' said Kelly, 'and I promised never to part 
with them,' he sneered. He put the miniature back in 
his pocket, and then dropping his arm to his side said, 

' Put me ashore, Nick. I will see you to-morrow. 
I am very tired.' 

But in the rhorning he was gone, and a few days 
later Nick, who was not spared certain prickings of 
conscience for the hand he had taken in bringing 
about the Parson's misfortunes (he had just now, by 
hindering him from throwing away the miniature, 
taken more of a hand than he guessed), sailed out 
from Genoa. 

The rest of that year '21 was a busy time for all 
engaged in forwarding the Great Affair. England 
itself seemed ripe for the attempt, and it was finally 
determined to hazard it in the spring of the next 
year, when the Elector would be in Hanover. The 
new plan was that the exiled Duke of Ormond, 
whom the soldiers were thought to love, should sail 
from Spain with the Earl Marischal, Morgan, and 
Halstead, commanding some ragged regiments of 
Mr. Wogan's countrymen. The Duke was to land 
in the west, the King was to be at Antwerp ready to 
come over, and the young Prince Charles of Wales, 
who would then be not quite two years old, was 
to be carried to the Highlands. A mob was to be 
in readiness in town, with arms secretly buried ; the 
soldiers were expected to declare for High Church 
and Ormond ; and in a word the ' honest party ' was 
to secure its interest on its own bottom, without 
foreign help, which the English people has never 
loved. The rich lords, but not Bishop Atterburj', 
knew of the beginning of this scheme, but abandoned 



t48 PARSON KELLY 

it. They did not know, or only Lords North and 
Grey knew, that the scheme lived on without them. 

Mr. Kelly therefore had his hands full, and it was 
very well for him that it was so. There were things 
at stake of more moment than his love-affairs, as he 
was the first to recognise. Yet, even so, he had time 
enough, in the saddle and on the sea, to plumb the 
black depths of his chagrin and to toss to and fro 
that shuttlecock of a question, whether he should 
accuse her ladyship for her trickeries or himself for 
misdoubting her. However, he got a complete an- 
swer to that question before the year was out. It 
was his habit now, whenever he was in London, to 
skulk out of sight and knowledge of Lady Oxford, to 
avoid theatres, routs, drums, and all places where she 
might be met, and Mr. Carte the historian took his 
place when it was necessary to visit Lord Oxford in 
the country. Mr. Carte had a ready pretence, for 
Lord Oxford kept a great store of old manuscripts 
concerning the history of the country, and these beau- 
ties, it is to be feared, came somewhat between Mr. 
Carte and his business, just as her ladyship's eyes had 
come between Mr. Kelly's and his. Accordingly the 
Parson saw little of her ladyship and heard less, since 
his friends avoided all mention of her and he himself 
asked no questions. 

' Saw little,' and the phrase is intended. For often 
enough of an evening his misery would fetch him out 
of the coffee houses and lead him like a man blind- 
fold to where her ladyship was accustomed to visit. 
There he would stand in the darkness of the street 
until the door opened and Lady Oxford, all smiles 
and hooped petticoats, would trip gaily out to her 



PARSON KELLY 149 

chair. But very likely habit — the habit of her con- 
versation and appearance — had as much to do with 
this particular folly as any despairing passion. How 
many lovers the wide world over fancy they are be- 
moaning their broken hearts, when they are only 
deploring their broken habits ! Well, Mr. Kelly, at 
all events, took the matter au grand s^rieux, and so 
one night saw her ladyship come out from the porch 
of Drury Lane theatre in company with Colonel 
Montague. 

There is one unprofitable piece of knowledge which 
a man acquires who has ever had a woman make love 
to him ; he knows when that woman is making love 
to someone else. Lady Oxford's modest droop of 
the head when the Colonel spoke, her shy sidelong 
smile at him, her red lips a trifle parted as though 
his mere presence held her in a pleased suspense — 
all these tokens were familiar to Mr. Kelly as his 
daily bread, and he went home eating his own heart, 
and nursing a quite unjustifiable resentment against 
Nicholas Wogan for that he ever saved the Colonel's 
life. It did not take Kelly long to discover that his 
suspicions were correct. A few questions to his 
friends, who for his sake had kept silence, and the 
truth was out. Lady Oxford's constancy had lasted 
precisely seven weeks before the Whig colonel had 
stepped into the Jacobite parson's shoes. Mr. Kelly 
put his heart beneath his heel and now stamped her 
image out of it. Then he went upon his way, and 
the King's business took him to Avignon. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE PARSON MEETS SCROPE FOR THE THIRD TIME, 
AND WHAT CAME OF THE MEETING 

IT was early in the year 1722 when Mr. Kelly 
came to la ville sonnante, and took a lodging at 
L'Auberge des Papes in the Rue des Trois Faucons. 
He brought with him a sum of 5,000/. collected in 
England, and this sum he was to hand over to a mes- 
senger from the Duke of Ormond, who was then at 
Corunna in Spain, and, what with his disbursements 
in the purchase of arms, and the support of Irish 
troops, was hard put to it for money. 

It was therefore of the last importance that this 
sum should come safe to Corunna, and so extraordi- 
nary precautions were taken to ensure that result. 
The Parson, since he did not know who the messen- 
ger might be, was to wait every morning between the 
hours of nine and ten on the first bench to the left of 
the Porte du Rhone in the boulevard outside the city 
walls, until a man should ask him if he had any com- 
fortable greeting for Aunt Anne, that being the cant 
name for the Duke. This man was thereafter to 
prove to Mr. Kelly's satisfaction that he was indeed 
the messenger expected. 

Now, the messenger was delayed in his journey, 
and so for a week George Kelly, having deposited 



PARSON KELLY 151 

his money with Mr. Philabe, the banker, sat every 
morning on his bench with what patience he might. 
He came in consequence to take particular notice of 
an oldish man and a rosebud of a girl who walked 
along the boulevard every morning at the time that 
he was waiting. They were accompanied by a 
French poodle dog, and indeed it was the poodle 
dog which first attracted Mr. Kelly's attention to the 
couple. It has already been said that Mr. Kelly had 
a trick of catching a woman's eyes, though this 
quality implies no great merit. On the other hand 
he drew dogs and children to him, and that implies a 
very great merit, as you may observe from this, that 
there is never a human being betwixt here and Cathay 
will admit that dogs and children have a dislike for 
him. 

The poodle dog, then, comes to a halt opposite 
Mr. Kelly's bench on the very first morning that he 
sat there, cocks his ears, lifts a forefoot from the 
ground, and, looking after the old man and the young 
girl, says plain as print, ' Here, wait a bit ! There 's 
something on this bench very well worth looking 
into.' However, his master and mistress were in a 
close conversation and so the poodle puts his foot on 
the ground and trots after them. But the next 
morning he came up to the bench, puts his head of 
one side to display the fine blue riband round his 
neck, squats on his haunches, and flops a paw on to 
the Parson's knee. 

' How d' ye do ? ' says the Parson politely. 

' I think I '11 stretch myself, thank you,' says the 
poodle, and promptly proceeds to do so, using Mr. 
Kelly's knee as a purchase for his paws. He was 



152 PARSON KELLY 

still engaged upon this exercise when his young 
mistress missed him. She whistled; the poodle 
looked at the Parson with the clearest invitation. 

'Won't you come too? ' 

' I have not been presented,' replied the Parson. 

Thereupon the girl turned round. 

' Harlequin,' she called to the dog, and showed Mr. 
Kelly as sweet a face as a young man ever deserved 
to see. It was fresh and clear as the morning dew, 
with frank eyes and a scarlet bow of a mouth ready 
for a laugh. ' Harlequin ! ' said Mr. Kelly to himself 
with a start, as he looked towards the girl. Harlequin 
trotted off to his mistress, and got prettily chided for 
his forwardness, of which chiding he made little or no 
account, and very properly. It is not every dog that 
achieves immortality by stretching itself against a 
stranger's knee. But Harlequin did. For had Har- 
lequin not made Mr. Kelly's acquaintance, he would 
never have found a niche in Mr. Swift's verses. 

Now let me tell you plainly, Sir, 

Our witness is a real cur, 

A dog of spirit for his years, 

Has twice two legs, two hanging ears, 

His name is Harlequin, I wot. 

And that 's a name in every plot : 

His answers were extremely witty 
Before the secret wise Committee ; 
Confest as plain as he could bark. 
Then with his fore-foot left his mark : 

wrote the Dean of St. Patrick's concerning this very 
poodle dog of Miss Rose Townley. 

For Rose Townley was the girl's name, as the Par- 



PARSON KELLY 153 

son now knew, and the old gentleman was her father, 
who had tended Mr. Nicholas Wogan after his wounds 
in the year '15 at Preston. Mr. Wogan had more 
than once spoken to Kelly of Dr. Townley and his 
daughter Rose, who had retired to Avignon, after the 
Rising, and he had made mention of their poodle 
Harlequin, of which poodle the present or reigning 
dog, Harlequin II., was the son and heir. So that, 
hearing the name called out by Rose, Kelly was 
aware who the two people were. Dr. Townley had 
been suspected in the Rising, and therefore had settled 
at Avignon as physician to the Duke of Ormond, and 
when the nobleman left the town, remained because 
he was grown old, and had lost his taste for politics 
and warrings. He had, moreover, received his pardon 
for his share in the struggle, and was indeed at this 
very time preparing to return into England. But of 
this Kelly was not aware. 

The next morning Kelly was again on his bench, 
and again Dr. Townley and his daughter passed him. 
Harlequin came forward at once to wish the Parson 
good-morning. Rose spoke to her father, plainly 
telling him of Harlequin's new friendship, for the 
Doctor looked up towards Mr. Kelly and the girl 
looked away. In consequence there sprang up a 
queer sort of acquaintance between the Doctor and 
his daughter on the one hand, and Parson Kelly on 
the other. Every morning they looked for him on 
his bench ; every morning he had a few words with 
Harlequin. 

Doubtless he would have pursued the acquaintance 
further, but for Rose. She it was who kept the 
Parson from approaching Dr. Townley. For he ws^s 



154 PARSON KELLY 

still sore with Lady Oxford's treacheries, and feminine 
beauty was vanitas vanitatum to him. Moreover, 
though he had snatched her ladyship's image out of his 
heart, some of her sayings had stuck in his mind, and 
amongst her sayings not a few were aimed at girls. 
Smilinda was a woman, and saw a rival in each youth- 
ful beauty. ' Girls of our time,' she would say with a 
sneer, ' were very kind, at all events, whatever one 
might think of their looks. And to hear them speak 
of marriage, why one would fancy oneself in the com- 
pany of rakes dressed up like the other sex for a 
masquerade.' She would gloat over the misadven- 
tures of poor Mistress Dolly Walpole, the Minister's 
sister, by the hour, she had even written a ballad 
thereon, 'The Dolliad,' and since Mr. Kelly had 
never had been much in the society of young un- 
married women, he had insensibly imbibed a deal of 
Smilinda's philosophy upon this head. And so he 
waited for the messenger in silence. 

Now, upon the fourth day Mr. Philabe the banker 
sent round for the Parson to L'Auberge des Papes, 
and, when he was come, told him that on that morn- 
ing a man called at the bank with a letter which he 
gave to a clerk. The clerk carried the letter to Mr. 
Philabe, who opened it. It enclosed a second letter 
superscribed to Mr. George Kelly, and prayed the 
banker to add to the superscription Mr. Kelly's 
address. This Mr. Philabe would not do, but sent 
out word that he would take care the letter came 
into Kelly's hands. The man, however, who had 
brought it immediately replied that it was of the last 
importance the letter should be delivered at once : 
otherwise there was no use in delivering it at all. If 



PARSON KELLY 155 

Mr. Philabe would send a messenger at once, well and 
good ; if not, would he kindly return the letter 
forthwith. 

This request roused Mr. Philabe's suspicions. For 
if he sent a messenger, as he was prayed to do, the 
man could follow him, and as easily discover the 
address as if Philabe had written it on the note. He 
replied consequently that neither could he accede to 
this request, but that Mr. Kelly should most certainly 
have the letter that day. 

Upon this the man insisted that the letter should 
be returned to him, but the more strenuously he in- 
sisted, the stronger became Mr. Philabe's suspicions, 
until he determined not to part with the letter at all, 
and the man finally went away very ill-pleased. 

Mr. Philabe, as he told this story, handed the 
letter to Mr. Kelly, who broke open the seal, and 
found nothing but a clean sheet of paper. 

' Little doubt,' said he, ' why the fellow wanted his 
letter back. It is a pure trick to know where I 
lodge. What was he like?' 

' He wore a travelling-dress,' said Mr. Philabe, 
' and a cocked hat.' 

' And very likely a pair of boots,' added Kelly. 
' But this tells me very little of his looks.' 

Mr. Philabe was a poor hand at a description, and 
beyond that the man had a nose, two eyes, a mouth, 
two legs, and a pair of arms, Kelly learned nothing 
whatever of his appearance. 

That very day, however, the mystery was to be 
made clear. Between daylight and dark Mr. Kelly 
chanced to walk up the narrow Rue St. Agricole, 
and had just come abreast of the broad flight of 



156 PARSON KELLY 

steps which leads upwards to the church, when a 
man leaped down in front of him. 

'I beg your pardon,' said the Parson politely- 
stepping aside. 

' That is not enough,' said the other, and, turning 
on his heel, he faced Kelly and barred the way. 

Kelly recognised the voice, recognised the face. 

' Ah,' cried he, ' Mr. Scrope.' His first feeling was 
one almost of exultation. In the face of his enemy 
he forgot altogether that there was no longer any 
amorous reason for his enmity. He almost forgot, 
too, what he had heard from Wogan about Mr. 
Scrope's supposed quality as a gentleman spy. 
' The third time,' he said with a laugh. ' I promised 
myself the third time.' 

Scrope nodded his head. 

' We are of one mind, then.' He looked up and 
down the street. It was empty from end to end. 
' There is a little square terrace at the top of these 
steps, with blank walls upon the two sides, and the 
church door upon the third. The terrace will be 
very suitable and quiet.' 

He turned as he spoke and set a foot upon the 
lowest step. 

' One moment,' said Kelly. During Scrope's words 
he had reflected. Scrope and himself, politics apart, 
were really in the like case. For if he had followed 
Scrope in her ladyship's caprices, Montague had 
followed him, ' as Amurath to Amurath succeeds.' 
His enmity quite died away, and gave place to some- 
thing very like a fellow-feeling. Moreover, he had 
to consider the messenger from the Duke of Ormond 
find the 5,000/. in Mr. Philabe's keeping. 



PARSON KELLY 157 

' One moment,' he said. Scrope stopped with a 
sneer. 

' If you can remain a few days at Avignon,' he 
continued, ' I shall be happy to oblige you in what- 
ever you will. For the moment I have duties.' 

' Of course,' interrupted Scrope. ' Duties are 
wonderful convenient things when one's bones are in 
danger. The pious ^neas knew that very well, Mr. 
Kelly; but then the worthy army-chaplain had not 
a Scrope upon his heels for the best part of a 
twelvemonth.' 

' Oh,' cried Kelly, ' then it is you who have fol- 
lowed me.' More than once he had heard that his 
steps were dogged. 

' Over a wearisome stretch of Europe,' agreed 
Scrope. 

' It was you who came to Philabe this morning? ' 

'Who else? So, you see, I have been at some 
pains to come up with you, and those duties must 
wait.' 

' Those duties,' replied Kelly, ' are so urgent that 
I am in two minds whether to take to my heels.' 

To any man who was acquainted with the Parson 
this statement would have been proof enough that 
there was all the necessity in the world for delay. 
But then Scrope knew very little of his opponent, 
and : 

' I am not at all surprised to hear that,' he replied 
contemptuously. 

Mr. Kelly reddened at the sneer, but kept a tight 
hold upon his patience. 

' Understand me,' said he quietly. ' If I ran away 
now, I should most certainly follow you afterwards, 



iS8 PARSON KELLY 

as you have followed me, and when I came up with 
you I should kill you.' 

'And understand me/ broke in Scrope. His cold, 
sneering face suddenly lighted up with a fierce pas- 
sion. ' Neither you will follow me, nor I you. We 
stand face to face, as I have hoped we should until 
I have dreamed the hope true. You have robbed me 
of what I held most precious. You have done worse. 
You have proved to me that what I held most pre- 
cious was never worth so much as a cracked farthing. 
That morning I came to Brampton Bryan, I came at 
Lady Oxford's bidding. We were to have done with 
pretences for good and all. Oh, she had forgotten, if 
you will, but if she had forgotten, who made her for- 
get? You, Mr. Kelly, the sneaking cuckoo ! I 
would have worn her proudly, for all the world to 
see — the star upon my coat, the scarf across my 
breast. I would have faced my fellows with one arm 
for her waist, and the other for a naked sword to 
silence their slanders with. Well, there 's no waist, 
but there 's still the naked sword.' As he spoke, with 
his left hand he jerked his sword out of the scabbard, 
and caught it by the hilt with his right. ' There 's 
still the naked sword,' he laughed, with a sort of 
thrill in the laugh, and made the blade whistle 
through the air. There 's still the sword and a vile 
cuckoo of a parson — ' 

' That 's enough,' cried Kelly, marching to the steps 
in an anger now not a whit less than Scrope's, for 
there was a certain sting of truth in Scrope's abuse 
which put him to shame ; ' more than enough.' 

'No, not more than enough,' said Scrope quietly, 
and he followed. 



PARSON KELLY 159 

' You want a little more ? ' said Kelly, who had 
reflected. ' Very well ; your heroics may be candid 
enough, but it is less Mr. Scrope the lover and rival 
than Mr. Scrope, the spy, that I regard with a cer- 
tain misliking.' 

' Assez, you die ! ' said Scrope, with a hiss in his 
voice. 

The space at the top of the steps was a pretty 
enough spot for their purpose. It was open only on 
the side towards the street, which was quite deserted, 
and raised so high above the pathway that a passer-by 
would see nothing of what was doing. On the other 
hand, however, the light was failing. Scrope was for 
bringing the encounter to a speedy end, and drove at 
the Parson in an impetuous fury. His sword glittered 
and darted very chill and cold in that grey twilight. 
He thrust swift as a serpent. 

The blood of the Parson was also up. He had at 
first regarded Scrope's challenge as a pure piece of 
irony. Why should two men fight for a hilding who 
had equally jilted and cheated the pair? That had 
been George's first thought; but now his rapier was 
drawn for the Cause, and to rid it of a dangerous 
enemy. Scrope was probably on the track of Ormond 
and the gold, as well as on that of his rival. 

The Parson was as brave as steel, but (though he 
never knew it) was no true master of the play. The 
men rushed at each other ; their swords were locked, 
they were breast to breast; George wrenched his 
blade free, leaped back to get his distance, struck 
his heel against a cobble, and the next moment 
he felt Scrope's blade burn into his side. Kelly 
clasped his hand over the wound, and sank on to 



i6o PARSON KELLY 

the ground. The blood came through between his 
fingers; he snatched the cravat from his neck, and 
made a poor shift to bandage it about his body. 
The one thought in his mind was of the Duke of 
Ormond's messenger. Perhaps the very next morn- 
ing he might come to Avignon and find no one on 
the bench. 

' A surgeon,' he whispered to Scrope, saving his 
breath. Scrope was quietly wiping his sword, and 
made no reply. 

' A surgeon,' repeated Kelly. ' I must live.' 

' Or die,' said Scrope carelessly. He pulled on his 
coat, and came close to Kelly. Then he suddenly 
felt in his pockets. 

' No,' he said, with an air of disappointment. ' I 
was hoping that I had a copy of Virgil wherewith to 
soothe your last moments. Shall I take a message 
to her ladyship ? ' He picked up his hat. ' Or shall 
I ask Mr. Nicholas Wogan to write a ballad — 
" Strephon's Farewell to his Smilinda "? Mr. Wogan 
would, I think, be extremely amusing with so pathet- 
ical a subject for his Muse. Well, it grows late. You 
will, no doubt, excuse me.' 

He made a bow to the Parson, clapped his hat on 
his head, and walked, whistling to the steps. He 
stopped when he had descended a couple of them, 
and, turning, shook his head thoughtfully at Kelly. 

' But I am grieved I have no Virgil,' he said, and 
so disappeared below the level of the terrace. 

Kelly listened till the sound of his feet died slowly 
down the street. Then he began to drag himself 
painfully upon his knees towards the steps. He did 
not dare to get to his feet, lest his blood should flow 



PARSON KELLY i6i 

faster from his wound. He did not dare to shout. 
He crawled forward over the flags for miles, it 
seemed; then the knot of the bandage got loose, 
' and a great faintness came over him. With fumbling 
fingers he re-tied the knot ; the flags began to heave 
before his eyes like waves of the sea, the silence 
roared in his ears. He looked upwards, and a spin- 
ning procession of houses and churches turned him 
giddy. He sank down on his side, and then he was 
aware of something wet that rasped along his hand. 
He looked down. There was a joyous little bark, 
and the something wet rasped along his cheek. 

' Harlequin ! ' he thought, with a pang of hope. 
He summoned all his strength, all his will; the 
houses ceased to spin. He let himself down to his 
full length, with great care drew a scrap from one 
pocket, a pencil from the other, and laboriously 
wrote. Then he poked the paper underneath the 
ribbon round the poodle's neck. ' Home ! ' he cried, 
clapping his hands ; and fainted. 

But ten minutes afterwards Miss Rose Townley 
unfolded a slip of paper, with here and there the 
mark of a bloody thumb, and written on it these 
words, ' Help Harlequin's friend ' ; and at her feet a 
bright-eyed poodle dog stood, wagging his tail, ready 
to conduct her to the spot where Harlequin's friend 
lay in sore need. 



CHAPTER XIII 

OF THE ROSE AND THE ROSE-GARDEN IN AVIGNON. 

LIFE is not wholly the lopsided business that 
some would have you esteem it. Here was 
the Parson paying, with a sword-thrust of the first 
quality, for a love-affair that was dead already ; over 
and ended. That was bad, but, to balance his ac- 
counts, the Parson waked up from his swoon in Dr. 
Townley's house, with the Doctor's beautiful daugh- 
ter, Rose, to be his nurse-tender. Lady Oxford had 
caused his duel with Scrope, to be sure, but she had 
thereby, as it were, cast him straight into the girl's 
arms, and in that very condition which was likely 
to make her most tender to him. Carry the conceit 
a little farther, and you '11 see that here was Mr. 
Kelly, through her ladyship's behaviours, imprisoned 
in the hands of one of those very creatures which she 
was ever persuading him to avoid : namely, that ter- 
rible monster a girl, and she very young, frank, and 
beautiful. When the Parson came to his senses, he 
called Dr. Townley to his side, and telling him who 
he was, and how that, being a friend of Mr. Wogan's, 
he knew the doctor from hearing his daughter call 
the dog Harlequin, he continued: 

' You were at Preston with my friend, and I there- 
fore have the less reluctance in asking a service of 



PARSON KELLY 163 

you beyond those you have ah'eady done me ; ' and 
he began to tell the Doctor of the expected mes- 
senger from Spain whom he was to meet on the 
boulevard. 

But the Doctor interrupted him. 

' Mr. Wogan is indeed my friend, though I have 
seen nothing of him these past six years; and his 
name is a passport into our friendship, as my daughter 
will assure you. So, Mr. Kelly, such kindness and 
hospitality as we can show you you may count upon ; 
but — well, I had my surfeit of politics at Preston. I 
have no longer any faith in your cause, in your King. 
I do not think that he will come before the coming 
of the Coquecigrues. I am, indeed, leaving Avignon in 
a few months, and hope for nothing better than a 
peaceful life in some village of my own country 
under the King who now sits on the throne. 

This he said very kindly, but with a certain sol- 
emnity which quite closed Mr. Kelly's lips ; and so, 
giving him a sleeping potion, the Doctor left the 
room. In spite of the potion, however, the Parson 
made but a restless night of it, and more than once 
from under his half-closed lids he saw the doctor 
come to his bedside; but towards morning he fell 
into something of a sleep and woke up in the broad 
daylight with a start, as a man will who has some- 
thing on his mind. In a minute or two Mr. Kelly 
remembered what that something was. He got out 
of his bed, and, holding the door open, listened. 
There was no sound audible at all except the ticking 
of a clock in the parlour below. Mr. Kelly drew on 
his clothes carefully, so as not to disarrange the 
bandages of his wound, and, taking his shoes in hig 



1 64 PARSON KELLY 

hand, crept down the stairs. It was a slow, painful 
business, and more than once he had to sit down on 
the steps and rest. He glanced into the parlour as 
he passed, and saw, to his great relief, that it was only 
half past eight in the morning. What with fomenta- 
tions and bandages Mr. Kelly had kept the tiny 
household out of bed to a late hour, and so no one 
was" astir. He drew back the bolt and slipped out of 
the house. 

Half an hour later, Dr. Townley came into the 
bedroom and found it empty. He scratched his 
head to ease his perplexity, and then wisely took 
counsel wjth his daughter. 

' There was a man he expected to come for him,' 
he said. ' He was very urgent last night that I should 
see to it. But I cut him short, and so do not know 
where they were to meet with each other.' 

At that moment the clock in the parlour struck 
nine. 

' I know ! ' cried Rose on a sudden, and dragged 
her father ofif to the boulevard outside the Porte du 
Rhone, where they discovered Mr. Kelly sitting bolt 
upright on his bench, with a flushed red face and 
extraordinarily bright eyes, chattering to himself like 
a monkey. 

The Parson lay for a week after that at death's 
door, and it needed all Dr. Townley's skill and Rose's 
nursing to keep him out of the grave. Meanwhile 
the Duke of Ormond's messenger arrived from Cor- 
unna, and kicked his heels on the boulevard until 
Mr. Kelly recovered his senses and summoned Mr. 
Philabe to his aid. Mr. Philabe the next morning 
took Kelly's place on the bench, and that day the 



.PARSON KELLY 165 

money changed hands and the messenger started 
back post-haste to Corunna. At Corunna he told the 
story of the Parson's misfortune in more than one 
caf6, and so it came shortly to Wogan's ears, who put 
in with his ship at that port in order to give up his 
command. 

The reason for this change in Wogan's condition 
was simple enough. Sufficient arms and ammunition 
had now been collected at Bilboa, and it was become 
urgent that the plans for the rising of the soldiers in 
England, and the capture of the Tower of London, 
should be taken earnestly in hand. The Duke of 
Ormond, who was to land in the West, was supposed 
a great favourite with the English troops, but it was 
none the less necessary that their favour should be 
properly directed. To that end Mr. Talbot, Tyrell, 
and Nicholas Wogan, amongst others, were deputed 
to travel into England, ready for the moment of 
striking. Nick was to have the rank of a colonel, and 
was bidden to repair to Paris by a certain date, where 
he was to take his instructions from General Dillon 
and the Earl of Mar. Now that date gave him half a 
week or so of leisure, and he knew of no better use 
to which he could put it than in stopping at Avignon, 
which lay directly in his path to Paris. 

But before he reached the olives of Provence Mr. 
Kelly was convalescent and much had happened. 
How it had happened Mr. Wogan only discovered by 
hints which the Parson let slip unconsciously. For 
George had a complete distaste for the sensibilities, 
and, after all, a true man, even in the company of his 
closest friend, never does more than touch lightly 
upon the fringe of what he holds most sacred. He 



i66 PARSON KELLY, 

said that he was recovered of two fevers at one and 
the same time, and by the same ministering hands, 
and so was come forth into a sweet, cool life and a 
quiet air. His affairs, whether of stocks in the Mis- 
sissippi scheme or of the Great Business, went clean 
out of his mind. His heart was swept and garnished 
like the man's in the Parable, and almost unawares a 
woman opened the door and stepped in, bringing with 
her train seven virtues, as of modesty, innocence, 
faith, cheerfulness, youth, courage, and love — qual- 
ities no better nor no fairer than herself. 

How did it begin? Why, at the first there would 
be a smiling face at the doorway to wish him a good 
morning, or if he had slept ill a sweet look of anxious 
fear which would make up for a dozen sleepless 
nights. When he could get up from his bed and 
come into the parlour, the dog Harlequin, and Rose, 
and he became children and playfellows together, for 
the brute had been taught a hundred pretty tricks 
that would make a dying man laugh ; until at length 
the girl grew familiar, and was seated at the very 
hearth and centre of his affections, where her memory 
remains enshrined. 

Mr. Kelly spoke frankly of the matter only once in 
Mr. Wogan's hearing, and that was many years after- 
wards, and then he was not speaking of the matter at 
all. It was Lady Mary Wortley who set him on to 
it one night. 

For she quoted a saying of some sage or another. 
' In a man,' said she, ' desire begets love, and in a 
woman love begets desire.' 

'And that is true,' said Kelly. 'I do think the 
steadfast and honourable passions between our sex 



PARSON KELLY 167 

and women are apt to have their beginnings on the 
woman's side, and then, being perceived and most 
gratefully welcomed, light up as pure a flame in the 
heart of a man. For otherwise, if a man sees a 
woman that she is fair, as King David saw Bathsheba, 
and so covets her, his appetite may in the end turn 
to love or may not. But if his eyes are first opened 
to an innocent woman's love, he being at best a sin- 
ful creature, he is then stirred with a wonderful 
amazement of grateful tenderness which never can 
pass away, but must endure, as I hold, even after 
death.' Which was all very modish and philosophi- 
cal, and meant — well, just what anyone who had 
visited Avignon in February of the year '22 might 
have seen with half an eye. Rose was in love with 
the Parson and the Parson knew it, and so fell in love 
with Rose. 

Mr. Wogan reached Avignon in the afternoon. 
The Doctor's house stood a stone's throw from the 
Palace of the Emperor Constantine, with a little 
garden at the back which ran down to the city wall. 
The top of the wall was laid out as a walk with a 
chair or two, and there Wogan found .the Parson and 
Rose Townley. It was five years and more since 
Wogan had seen Rose Townley, and she was grown 
from a child to a woman. He paid her a foolish 
compliment, and then the three of them fell into an 
awkward silence. Mr. Wogan asked Kelly for a 
history of his wound, and then : 

' So 't was Scrope. Lady Mary was right when she 
warned me we had not seen the last of him. 'Faith, 
George, it was my fault. For, d' ye see, if I had not 
been so fond of my poetry I should have made my 



1 68 PARSON KELLY 

account with the gentleman at the gates of Brampton 
Bryan Manor, and you would never have been 
troubled with him at all.' 

"Brampton Bryan?" asked Rose. "Where is 
that?" 

Mr. Kelly made no answer, and perhaps Wogan's 
remark was not the discreetest in the world. Miss 
Rose would not forget that name, Brampton Bryan. 
At all events, the three of them fell to silence 
once more, and Mr. Wogan knew that he was tres- 
passing and that he would have done better to 
have journeyed straight to Paris. Rose, however, 
came to the rescue and made him tell over again, as 
he had told her often before, his stories of the march 
to Preston. But, whereas before she had listened to 
them with a great enthusiasm and an eagerness for 
more, now her colour came and went as though they 
frightened her, and she would glance with a quick 
apprehension towards the Parson. 

' And the battles are to be fought all over again,' 
she said, clasping her hands on her knees, and then 
plied Wogan for more details. She shivered at the 
thought of wounds and cannon-balls and swords, yet 
she must know to the very last word all that was to 
be described of them. So, until the sun sank behind 
the low green hills of the Cevennes, and the Rhone 
at their feet, in that land of olives, took on a pure 
olive tint. Then she rose and went into the house to 
prepare the supper, leaving the two friends together ; 
and it presently appeared that Rose Townley was not 
the only one who was frightened. 

The Parson watched her as she went down the 
garden, brushing the pink blossoms from the boughs 



PARSON KELLY 169 

of a peach tree or two that grew on the lawn. There 
was an old moss-grown stone sundial close to the 
house ; she paused for a moment beside it to pick up 
a scarf which was laid on the top and so passed 
through the window, whence in a moment or two a 
lamp-light shone. The Parson seemed sunk in a 
reverie. 

' I am afraid, Nick,' he said slowly. ' I am afraid.' 

'What! You too?' exclaimed Wogan. ' Afraid of 
the wars ? ' 

' The wars — no, no,' replied Kelly scornfully dis- 
missing the interpretation of his fears, and then fol- 
lowing out his own train of thoughts, 'you have 
known her a long time, Nick?' 

' Six years.' 

' I would that I too had known her six years ago,' 
said the Parson with a remorseful sigh. 

' She has changed in those six years.' 

'How?' 

' Why, she has grown a foot, and grown a trifle shy.' 

' Ah, but that 's only since — ' began the Parson 
with a nod, and came to a sudden stop. Rose's shy- 
ness was the outcome of her pride. She was shy just 
because she knew that she loved a man who Had 
breathed no word of love to her. Mr. Kelly sat for 
a little longer in silence. Then, 

' But I am afraid, Nick,' he repeated, and so went 
down into the house leaving Nick in some doubt as 
to what he was afraid of. 

The Parson repeated his remark the next morning 
after breakfast. Mr. Wogan was smoking a pipe 
upon the wall; the Parson was walking restlessly 
about as he spoke. 



170 PARSON KELLY 

' I am afraid,' said he, and looks towards the house. 
As soon as he looked, he started. So Wogan looked 
too. Rose Townley had just come from the window 
and was walking across the lawn more or less towards 
them with an infinite interest and attention for every- 
thing except the two figures on the city wall. 

' She comes slowly,' said Kelly in a great trepida- 
tion, as though he had screwed up his courage till it 
snapped like a fiddle-string. ' She is lost in thought. 
No doubt she would not be disturbed,' and he glanced 
around him for means of escape. There was, how- 
ever, only one flight of narrow steps from the wall 
down to the garden; and if he descended that he 
would be going to meet her. 

Wogan laughed. ' She comes very slowly,' said 
he. ' No doubt she saw you from the window.' 

' It is plain she did not,' replied the Parson, ' for, 
as you say, she comes very slowly.' 

' The vanity of the creature ! ' cried Wogan. ' D' ye 
think if she saw you she would run at you and butt 
you in the chest with her head ? ' 

' No,' says Kelly quickly. ' I do not. But — well, 
if she saw us here she would at the least look this 
way.' 

'Would she?' asked Wogan. "Faith, my friend, 
you '11 have to go to school again. Your ignorance 
of the ways of women is purely miraculous. She 
does not look this way, therefore she does not know 
you are here ! She looks to every other quarter ; 
observe, she stops and gazes at nothing with the 
keenest absorption, but she will not look this way. 
Oh, indeed, indeed, my simple logician, she does not 
know you are here. Again she comes on — in this 



PARSON KELLY 171 

direction, you'll observe, but how carelessly, as 
though her pretty feet knew nothing of the path they 
take. See, she stops at the dial. Mark how earnestly 
she bends over it. There 's a great deal to observe 
in a dial. One might think it was a clock and, like 
herself, had stopped. There 's a peach tree she 's 
coming to. A peach tree in blossom. I '11 wager 
you she '11 find something very strange in those blos- 
soms to delay her. There, she lifts them, smells 
them — there 's a fine perfume in peach blossoms — 
she peers into them, holds them away, holds them 
near. One might fancy they are the first peach 
blossoms that ever blossomed in the world. Now 
she comes on again just as carelessly, but perhaps 
the carelessness is a thought too careful, eh? How- 
ever, she does not look this way. Watch for her 
surprise, my friend, when she can't but see you. She 
will be startled, positively startled. Oh, she does not 
know you are here.' 

The girl walked to the steps, mounted them, her 
face rose above the level of the wall. 

' Oh,' she cried, ' Mr. Kelly ! ' in an extremity of 
astonishment. Wogan burst out into a laugh. 

' What is it? ' asked Rose. 

'Sure, Mr. Kelly will tell you,' said Wogan, and he 
strolled to the end of the walk, turned, walked down 
the steps and so left them together. 

' What was it amused Mr. Wogan ? ' asked Rose of 
Kelly as soon as Wogan had vanished. The Parson 
left the question unanswered. He balanced himself 
on one foot for a bit then on the other, and he began 
at the end, as many a man has done before. 

' I can bring you nothing but myself,' said he, ' and 



172 PARSON KELLY 

to be sure myself has battered about the world until 
it's not worth sweeping out of your window.' 

' Then I won't,' said she with a laugh. The laugh 
trembled a little, and she looked out over the river 
and the fields of Provence with eyes which matched 
the morning. 

' You won't ! ' he repeated, and then blundered on 
in a voice of intense commiseration. ' My dear, I 
know you love me.' 

It was not precisely what Rose expected to hear, 
and she turned towards the Parson with a look of 
pride. 'And of course I love you too,' he said 
lamely. 

' You might almost have begun with that,' said she 
with a smile. 

' Was there need ? ' he asked. ' Since I thought 
every blade of grass in your garden was aware of it.' 
Then he stood for a second silent. ' Rose,' said he, 
savouring the name, and again ' Rose,' with a happy 
sort of laugh. But he moved no nearer to her. 

Rose began to smile. 

' I am glad,' said she demurely, ' that you find the 
name to your liking.' 

' It is the prettiest name in the world,' cried he with 
enthusiasm. 

' I am much beholden to my parents,' said she. 

' But, my dear,' he continued, ' you put it to 
shame.' 

The girl uttered a sigh which meant ' At last ! ' 
but Mr. Kelly was in that perturbation that he al- 
together misunderstood it. 

' But you must n't believe, my dear, it 's for your 
looks I love you,' he said earnestly. ' No, it 's for 



PARSON KELLY 173 

your self; it 's for the shining perfections of your 
nature. Sure I have seen good-looking women 
before to-day.' 

' I have no doubt of that,' she said, tapping with 
her foot on the pavement. 

' Yes, I have,' said he. ' But when I looked at 
them 't was to note the colour of their eyes or some 
such triviality, whereas when I look at your eyes, it's 
as though a smiling heart leaned out of them as from 
a window and said, "How d'ye do?" Sure, my 
dear, I should love you no less if you had another 
guess nose, and green eyes.' (He reflectively de- 
formed her features.) ' It 's your shining perfec- 
tions that I am on my knees to.' 

' Are you ? ' she interrupted with a touch of plaint- 
iveness. He was standing like a wooden post and 
there was at the least a couple of yards between 
them. 

'Just your shining perfections. 'Faith, you have 
the most extraordinary charm without any perversity 
whatever, which is a pure miracle. I am not deny- 
ing,' he continued thoughtfully, ' that there 's some- 
thing taking in perversity when it is altogether 
natural, but, to be sure, most women practise it as 
though it were one of the fine arts, and then it 's 
nothing short of damnable — I beg your pardon,' he 
exclaimed waking up of a sudden. ' Indeed, but I 
don't know what I am saying at all. Rose,' and he 
stepped over to her, ' I have no prospects whatever 
in the world, but will you take them ? ' 

Well, she did. Mr. Kelly had come to his mean- 
ing in a roundabout fashion enough, as he acknowl- 
edged' that same day to Nicholas Wogan. 



174 PARSON KELLY 

' Upon my conscience, but I made a blundering 
ass of myself,' said he. 

' You would,' said Wogan. ' My dear man, why 
did n't you tell me of your intention and I would have 
written you out a fine sort of speech that you could 
have got by heart? ' 

' Sure I should have stammered over the first sen- 
tence and forgot the rest,' said Kelly with a shake of 
the head. ' To tell the truth, the little girl has sunk 
me to such a depth of humility and diffidence that I 
find it wonderful I said anything at all.' Then he 
grew silent for a minute or so. ' Nick,' said he 
secretly, drawing his chair a trifle closer. ' There 's 
a question troubles me. D' ye think I should tell her 
of My Lady Oxford?' 

' It would be entirely superfluous,' replied Wogan 
with decision, ' since the thing 's done with.' 

' But is it? ' asked Kelly. 'Is it, Nick? Look you 
here. We thought it was done with a year ago, and 
up springs Mr. Scrope at Avignon. Mr. Scrope 
does his work and there 's not the end of it. For I 
am carried here and so my very betrothal is another 
consequence. It is as though her ladyship had pre- 
sented me to Rose. Well, how are we to know it 's 
done with now ? If it ends here it is very well. But, 
d' ye see, Nick, it was after all not the most honour- 
able business in the world, and am I to make this 
great profit out of it? Well, perhaps my fears con- 
fuse my judgment. I am all fears to-day, Nick,' and 
he stopped for a moment and clapped his hand into 
his pocket. 

' I '11 confess to you a very childish thing,' said he. 
' Look ! ' and out of his pocket he drew a pistol. 



PARSON KELLY 175 

' What 's that for? ' asked Nick. 

' It 's loaded,' replied Kelly. ' I went up to my 
room, after the little girl had taken me, and loaded it 
and slipped it into my pocket,' and he began to laugh, 
perhaps something awkwardly. ' For, you see, since 
she prizes me, why I am grown altogether valuable.' 
He put back the pistol in his pocket. ' But don't 
misunderstand me, Nick. The new fears are quite 
overbalanced by a new confidence. Sure, it's not 
the future I am afraid of.' 

' I understand,' said Wogan gravely. ' It 's what 's 
to come.' 

' Yes, that 's it,' said Kelly. 

Being afraid, and being a man of honour, Kelly 
did nothing, said nothing on the head of his old love 
affair, and trembled with apprehension of he knew 
not very well what. A path of flowers stretched 
before him, but a shadow walked on it, a tall, hand- 
some shadow, yet unfriendly. It is Mr. Wogan's 
firm belief, based on experience, that a woman always 
finds everything out. The only questions are, when, 
and how will she take it? Sometimes it is a letter in 
the pocket of an old coat which the dear charitable 
creature is giving to a poor devil of a chairman. 
Sometimes it is a glance at a rout, which she 
shoots flying. Now it is a trinket, or a dead 
flower in a book, or a line marked in a poem, but 
there is always a trail of the past, and woman never 
misses it. 

George's wooing seemed as flowery as the mead- 
ows about Avignon, white with fragrant narcissus, 
or as the gardens purple with Judas trees in spring. 
Rose was all parfait amour, and, in her eyes, Mr. 



176 PARSON KELLY 

Kelly was a hero, a clerical Montrose, or a Dundee 
of singular piety. Wogan has known women more 
zealous for the Cause, such as her Grace of Buck- 
ingham, or Madame de M^zieres, who had ever a 
private plot of her own running through the legs of 
our schemes, like a little dog at a rout, and tripping us 
up. To Miss Townley George was the Cause, and 
the Cause was George, so that, in truth, she was 
less of a Jacobite than a Georgite. 

There never had been such a George as hers for 
dragons. Why did he fight Mr. Scrope? She was 
certain it was all for the Cause ! Indeed, that casus 
belli, as the lawyers say, proved a puzzle. Why, 
in fact, did the Parson come to be lying on the flags, 
in receipt of a sword-thrust of the first quality .' 
George was the last man to brag of his services, but 
he was merely obliged to put the sword-thrust down 
to his credit with the Cause. His enemy had been 
a Whig, a dangerous spy, which was true, but not 
exactly all the truth, about as much of it as a man 
finds good for a woman. 

Rose clasped her hands, raised her eyes to Heaven, 
and wondered that it did not better protect the 
Right. What other deeds of arms had her warrior 
done? She hung on George imploring him to speak 
of deadly 'scapes, and of everything that it terrified 
her to hear. Mr. Kelly, in fact, had never drawn 
sword in anger before ; he was, by profession, a man 
of peace and of the pen. If ever he indulged a 
personal ambition, it would have been for a snug 
Irish deanery, and he communicated to Miss Town- 
ley a part of his favourite scheme, for leisure, a rose- 
hung parsonage, and TuUy, his Roman friend. 



PARSON KELLY 177 

But the girl put this down to his inveterate modesty, 
remarked by all Europe in his countrymen. 

' Nay, I know you have done more,' she said one 
day alone with him in a bower of the garden. ' You 
have done something very brave and very great, 
beyond others. You helped to free the Queen from 
the Emperor's prison at Innspruck ! ' 

' I ! ' exclaimed Mr. Kelly in amazement. ' What 
put that notion into the prettiest head in the world ? 
Why, it was Nicholas's brother Charles, with other 
Irish gentlemen, Gaydon, Misset, and O'Toole, who 
did that feat ; the world rings of it. I was in Paris 
at that time.' 

' Then you did something greater and braver yet, 
that is a secret for State reasons, or else, why does 
the King give you such rich presents ? ' 

Mr. Kelly blushed as red as the flower after which 
his lady was named. 

' Now,' he thought, ' how, in the name of the devil, 
did she hear of the box the King gave me, and I gave 
to Lady Oxford?' 

That trinket was lying on Lady Oxford's table, but 
the face behind the mirror was now that of a hand- 
somer man than either his Majesty, or Mr. Kelly, 
or Colonel Montague. Kelly knew nothing about 
that, but he blushed beautifully when Miss Townley 
spoke of a rich royal present. 

' You blush,' cried the girl, before he could find an 

answer. ' I know you are hiding something, now.' 

(And here she added to his pleasure without taking 

anything from his confusion), ' Tell me why you 

blush to find it fame?' 

'Troth, isn't my face a mirror, and reflects your 
12 



178 PARSON KELLY 

rosy one, my Rose?' answered Mr. Kelly, putting on 
a great deal of the brogue, to make her laugh. For, 
if a woman laughs, she is apt to lose sight of her 
idea. 

' I must be told ; I cannot trust you to show me 
how brave you are. ' 

Mr. Kelly was upon dangerous ground. If he 
was expected to talk about the box given by the 
King, and if Rose wished to see, or to know what 
had become of it, Kelly had not a fable ready, and 
the truth he could not tell. He made a lame 
explanation : 

' Well, then, I blushed, if I did, for shame that the 
King has to borrow money to help better men than 
me.' 

' I don't care if he borrowed the money or not, for 
he could not have borrowed for a better purpose 
than to give you — what I have seen.' 

Mr. Kelly was pale enough now. What in the 
wide world had she seen? Certainly not the snuff- 
box. 

'Seen in a dream, my dear; sure the King never 
gave me anything but my little pension.' 

'Then you know other kings, for who else give 
diamonds? Ah, you are caught! You have the 
Queen's portrait set with diamonds.' 

'The Queen's portrait?' cried Kelly in perplexity. 
He was comforted as well as perplexed. 'Twas 
plain that Rose knew nothing of the royal snuff- 
box, now the spoil of Lady Oxford's spear and bow. 

' Yes,' cried Rose. ' Whose portrait but the Queen's 
should it be that lies on your table? So beautiful 
a lady and such diamonds ! ' 



PARSON KELLY 179 

Mr. Kelly groaned iiv spirit. The snuff-box was 
not near so dangerous as this new trail that Rose 
had hit. She had seen, in his possession, the minia- 
ture of Smilinda, and had guessed that it was a 
royal gift; the likeness of the Princess Clementina 
Sobieska, who had but lately married the King. 

' I saw it lying on your table the day we brought 
you home from the seat on the boulevard, when we 
thought ' (here Miss Rose hid her face on her lover's 
shoulder, and her voice broke) ' that — you — would 
— die.' 

Now was this rose wet with a shower, and when 
Kelly, like the glorious sun in heaven, had dried 
these pretty petals, what (Mr. Wogan puts it to the 
casuists) was the dear man to say? What he thought 
was to curse Nick for holding his hand when he was 
about throwing Smilinda's picture into the sea. 

What he said was that, under Heaven, but without 
great personal danger, he had been the blessed 
means of detecting and defeating a wicked Hanover- 
ian plot to kidnap and carry off from Rome the dear 
little Prince of Wales, and Mrs. Hughes, his Welsh 
nurse. This prodigious fable George based on one 
of the many flying stories of the time. It satisfied 
Miss Townley's curiosity (as, indeed, it was very apt 
to do) and George gave her the strictest orders never 
to breathe a word of the circumstance, which must 
be reckoned a sacred mystery of the royal family. 
He also remarked that the portrait flattered her 
Majesty (as painters will do), and that, though ex- 
tremely pretty and gay, she had not that air of dig- 
nity and command, nor was so dark a beauty. ' In 
fact, my dear,' said George, ' you might wear that 



i8o PARSON KELLY 

portrait at the Elector's Birth Night rout (if you 
could fall so low) and few people would be much 
the wiser. These Roman painters are satisfied with 
making a sitter pretty enough to please her, or him.' 

George was driven to this flagrant incorrectness 
because, though Miss Townley had not yet seen the 
Queen's portrait (her father having changed sides) 
she might see one any day, and find Mr. Kelly out 

The girl was satisfied, and the thing went by, for 
the time. But, on later occasions, his conscience 
gnawing him, the good George very unwisely dropped 
out general hints of the unworthiness of his sex, and 
of himself in particular, as many an honest fellow has 
done. In Mr. Wogan's opinion, bygones ought 
to be bygones, but it takes two to that bargain. 
Meanwhile Miss Rose might make as much or as 
little of her lover's penitences as she chose, and, 
indeed, being a lass of gold, with a sense of honour 
not universal in her sex, and perfectly sure of him, 
she made nothing whatever, nor thought at all of the 
matter. 

But there was another dragon in the course that 
never yet ran smooth. The excellent surgeon, who 
had not recovered the fright of Preston, was obdurate. 
He had no dislike for Mr. Kelly, but a very great 
distaste for Mr. Kelly's Cause. Rose might coax, 
the Parson might argue, Wogan might use all his 
blandishments — the good man was iron. In brief, 
Kelly must cease to serve the King, or cease to hope 
for Rose. This was a hard choice, for indeed Mr. 
Kelly could not in honour leave hold of the threads 
of the plot which were then in his hands. 

So much Dr. Townley was at last brought to ac- 



PARSON KELLY i8i 

knowledge, and thereupon a compromise was come 
to. Mr. Kelly was to go over to England once again, 
on the last chance. The blow was to be struck in 
this spring of the year 1722. If it failed, or could 
not be struck, Mr. Kelly was to withdraw from the 
King's affairs and earn his living by writing for the 
booksellers, and instructing youth. 

The Parson was the more ready to agree to this 
delay, because of a circumstance with which he was 
now acquainted. The Doctor and his daughter were 
themselves on the point of returning to England. 
Mr. Kelly and Rose had no great difficulty in per- 
suading the surgeon that he would find it more con- 
venient to live in London than in the country, of the 
miseries of which they drew a very pathetic and con- 
vincing picture ; and so, being assured that the delay 
would not mean a complete separation, they accepted 
the plan and fell to mapping out their lives. 

They chose the sort of house they would live in 
and where, whether in Paris or in England: they 
furnished it from roof to cellar. 

' There must be a room for Nick,' said the Parson, 
• so that he can come in and out as if to his own 
house.' 

Mr. Wogan had borne his part in persuading Dr. 
Townley, without a thought of the great change 
which the Parson's marriage meant for him. But 
these words, and the girl's assent, and above all a 
certain unconscious patronage in their voices, struck 
the truth into him with something of a shock. 

Mr. Wogan escaped from the room, and walked 
about in the garden. These two men, you are to 
understand, had been boys together, George being by 



i82 PARSON KELLY 

some years the older, and had quarrelled and fought 
and made friends again twenty times in a day. Mr. 
Kelly bore, and would bear till his dying day, a little 
scar on his cheek close to his ear, where he was hit 
by a mallet which Wogan heaved at him one day 
that he was vexed. Wogan never noticed that scar 
but a certain pleasurable tenderness came over him. 
His friendship with the Parson had been, as it were, 
the heart of his boyhood. And in after years it had 
waxed rather than diminished. The pair of them 
could sit one on each side of a fire in perfect silence 
for an hour together, and yet converse intelligibly to 
each other all the while. Well, here was Mr. Wogan 
alone in the darkness of the little garden at Avignon 
now. The Rhone looked very cold beneath the stars, 
and the fields entirely desolate and cheerless. Yet 
he gazed that way persistently, for if he turned his 
head toward the house he saw a bright window 
across which the curtains were not drawn, and a 
girl's fair hair shining gold against a man's black peri- 
wig. Mr. Wogan had enough sense to strangle his 
jealousy that night, and was heartily ashamed of it 
the next morning when he bade the couple good-bye 
and set out for Paris. 

Mr. Kelly took his leave a few days later, being 
now sufficiently recovered to travel. The precise 
date was the eighth of April. To part from Rose 
you may well believe was a totally different matter 
from his adieus to Smilinda. Nothing would serve 
the poor girl, who had no miniature and diamonds to 
give, but to sacrifice what she prized most in the 
world after her father and her lover. 

' You cannot take me,' she said with a tearful little 



PARSON KELLY 183 

laugh, ' but you shall take Harlequin, who made us 
acquainted. That way you will not be altogether 
alone.' 

Harlequin wagged his tail, and sat up on his hind 
legs as though he thoroughly approved of the pro- 
posal, and Mr. Kelly, to whom the poodle could not 
but be an inconvenience, had not the heart to refuse 
the gift. 

George had to give as well as to take, and felt even 
less blessed in giving than in receiving. For Miss 
Rose must have a souvenir of him, too, and what 
should it be but that inestimable testimony to her 
lover's loyalty and courage, the Portrait of the Queen ! 
There was no way of escape, and thus, as a memorial 
of Mr. Kelly's- singular attachment to the best of 
Causes and of Queens, Miss Townley was treasuring 
the likeness of the incomparable Smilinda. The 
ladies, in the nature of things, could never meet, 
George reckoned, for the daughter of the exiled 
country physician would not appear among the 
London fashionables. 

In Paris, on his road to London, Mr. Kelly visited 
the Duke of Mar, who most unfortunately took notice 
of the dog, and asked him what he purposed to do 
with it. 

' My Lord,' replied Kelly, ' when I am on my 
jaunts Harlequin will find a home with the Bishop of 
Rochester, whose wife has a great liking for dogs. 
The poor lady is ill, and, alas, near to her death; 
the Bishop is fretting under the gout, and his wife's 
sickness, and the jealousies among the King's friends. 
Moreover, he is much occupied with building his 
tomb in the Abbey, so that, altogether, their house is 



1 84 PARSON KELLY 

of the gloomiest, and Harlequin may do something 
to lighten it.' 

For the poodle had more accomplishments than 
any dog that ever the Parson had met with, and this 
he demonstrated to the Duke of Mar by putting him 
through his tricks. The Duke laughed heartily, and 
commended the Parson's kindliness towards his 
patron. But in truth the Parson never did a worse 
day's work in the whole of his life. 



CHAPTER XIV 

OF THE GREAT CONFUSION PRODUCED BY A BALLAD 
AND A DRUNKEN CROW 

FROM this time until Saturday, May 19, the 
world seemed to go very well for those con- 
cerned in the Bishop of Rochester's plot, which was 
a waiting plot ; and in the other scheme, the scheme 
for an immediate rising, which was a hurrying scheme, 
and not at all known to the good Bishop. There was 
a comforting air of discontent abroad ; the losses 
from the South Sea made minds heavy and purses 
light. Mr. Walpole had smoked nothing of what 
was forward, so far as a man could see ; and within 
a month the country was to rise. Mr. Wogan from 
Paris travelled to Havre-de-Grace, whence James 
Roche, an Irishman, settled in that port, and a noted 
smuggler upon the English coast, set him across the 
Channel, and put him ashore at the Three Sheds and 
Torbay near Elephant Stairs in Rotherhithe. Mr. 
Wogan took his old name of Hilton, and went about 
his business, paying a visit now and again to the 
Cocoa Tree, where amongst other gossip he heard that 
Lady Oxford was still on the worst of friendly terms 
with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and the best of 
loving terms with Colonel Montague. There was more 
than one jest aimed at Mr. Kelly on this last account, 



i86 PARSON KELLY 

since a man who has been fooled by a woman is ever 
a fair mark for ridicule; and when James Talbot 
began to talk of the Parson with a mock pity, Wogan 
could no longer endure it. 

' Sure your compassion is all pure waste, Crow,' 
said he. ' I could tell you a very pretty tale about 
the Parson were I so minded.' 

Of course he was minded, and he told the story of 
the Parson's betrothal with a good many embellish- 
ments. He drew so tender a picture of Rose, that 
he became near to weeping over it himself; he 
clothed her in high qualities as in a shining garment, 
and you may be sure he did not spare Lady Oxford in 
the comparison. On the contrary, he came very near 
to hinting that it was the Parson jilted Lady Oxford, 
who therefore fell back upon Colonel Montague to 
cover her discomfiture. At all events that was the 
story which soon got about, and Mr. Wogan never 
said a word to correct it, and in due time, of course, 
and in a way not very agreeable, it came to her Lady- 
ship's ears. 

The Parson arrived in London on a Wednesday, 
the 13th of April. The weather had been terrible 
on the sea, and the unhappy dog Harlequin had con- 
trived to slip his leg by a fall on deck. However, he 
soon recovered of his injury, thanks to the care of 
Mrs. Barnes, and Mr. Kelly carried him to the 
Bishop's house at Bromley, where his lady lay 
a-dyihg. There, too, as he had good cause after- 
wards to remember, he wrote certain letters for the 
Bishop, to the King, the Duke of Mar, and General 
Dillon, and put them in the common post. They 
did but carry common news, and excuses for delay. 



PARSON KELLY 187 

The Bishop's lady died on the 26th of April, and on 
that very day Harlequin's hurt broke out again, and 
the poor creature went whining lugubriously about 
the gloomy house, as though it was mourning for its 
mistress. This fact should be mentioned, because 
the Duke of Mar had made an inquiry in a letter as 
to how Harlequin fared, and whether Mr. Illington, 
as the Bishop was called, had as yet received the 
dog. Kelly replied that 'Illington is in great tribu- 
lation for poor Harlequin, who is in a bad way, hav- 
ing slipped his leg again,' which was true, for since 
the dog by his tricks greatly lightened his lady's 
sickness, the Bishop grew very fond of him, though 
at the Bishop's trial, when these things were brought 
up to prove that Illington and he were the same man, 
it was said 'he never loved a dog.' So much for Mr. 
Kelly. 

Rose and her father reached London a fortnight or 
more after the Parson. Wogan had no knowledge of 
her arrival, for since he left Avignon he had not 
so much as clapped his eyes upon the Parson, who, 
what with the Bishop's grief for his wife, and what 
with the Bishop's gout, was much occupied at Brom- 
ley. It was not until that calamitous day, the 19th 
of May, that the two friends met again. Events 
moved very quickly upon that same day. It seemed 
they had been hatching this long while out of sight, 
like thunderclouds gathering on a clear day under 
the rim of the sea. Seven breathless hours saw the 
beginning and the end. For it was not until six 
o'clock of the afternoon that Mr. Wogan chanced 
upon the ballad, that was our ruin, and by three of 
the morning all was over. 



1 88 PARSON KELLY 

Now, on the 19th of May, in the morning, Mr. 
Wogan found himself far enough from 'London, at 
the seat of Sir Harry Goring, a gentleman of Sussex, 
and a very loud friend of the Cause. 

This noisy Sir Harry drove Mr. Wogan back to 
town, in very great state and splendour, and drew 
up before Burton's coffee-house, at an hour when 
the streets had lost the high sun of the day. Mr. 
Wogan alighted, thinking to seek his letters at 
Burton's, and the baronet's carriage rolled off to his 
town house. Wogan entered the coffee-house; the 
great room was extraordinary full, and there was an 
eager buzz of talkers, who dropped their voices, and 
looked oddly at Mr. Wogan as he passed through, 
and so upstairs to a little chamber kept private for 
himself and his friends. 

As he went he heard roars of laughter, and a voice 
chanting in the deplorable, lamenting tone of the 
street ballad-singer. Mr. Wogan caught a name he 
knew in this ditty, and knocking hastily in the 
manner usual and arranged, was admitted. The 
room was thick with tobacco smoke, and half-a 
dozen empty bottles made mantraps on the floor. 
Through the Virginia haze Wogan saw two men; 
one was Tyrell, a friend of the Cause, the other 
was a tall man, very black, in whom he recognised 
his friend Talbot, of his own country and politics, 
nicknamed the Crow from his appearance. The 
Crow was swaying on his legs as he steadied him- 
self by the table, and he sang : — 

Let Weapons yield them to the Gown, 

The Latin Singers say : 
Ye Squires and Ladies of renown, 



PARSON KELLY 189 

The tune is changed to-day ! 
A Lady loved a Parson good, 

And vowed she 'd still be true, 
Alas, the Sword goes o'er the Hood, 

The Sword of Montague ! 

'What ribaldry have you got now? 'said Wogan, 
but the Crow hastily embraced him in the French 
manner, holding the paper of the ballad over his 
shoulder, and still chanting. 

' The little Parson is made immortal,' quoth he. 
' Here is the newest ballad, all the story of his late 
amorous misfortune. Why do you look so glum?' 

For Wogan had gently disengaged himself from 
Mr. Talbot's embrace, who exhaled a perfume of wine 
and strong waters. 

' Crow, you fool, be quiet,' said Wogan ; ' this is 
miching mallecho ! Who wrote that rant? ' 

' We think it is Lady Mary Montagu, from the 
Latin tags; it is headed Cedat Armis Toga! 

But Lady Mary was not the writer, though she 
got the credit of the mischievous nonsense, as was 
intended, and ' hence these tears,' as the Parson said. 

Mr. Wogan had snatched the ballad into his hands 
by this time, where he intended to keep it. 

' Gentlemen,' he asked, ' are you entirely sober? ' 

' Does my speech betray me ? ' said Tyrell, who, to 
do him justice, was wholly in his right mind. 

' That is no answer ; but, if it were, and if you 
don't care for a lady's name — ' 

' She jilted the Parson ! ' cried the Crow. 

' Have you no thought of the reputation of — Mr. 
Farmer? ' 

'Mr. Farmer?' exclaimed Tyrell. Mr. Farmer 



I90 PARSON KELLY 

was the cant name for the Chevalier, and Tyrell 
scratched his head, wondering what on earth the 
Chevalier had to do in the same galley with the 
Parson's love affairs. 

' Mr. Farmer ! ' replied the Crow, blinking his eyes 
reproachfully. ' Indeed, it is yourself has been drink- 
ing, Nick. What has the ballad of poor George's 
misfortune to do with Mr. Farmer, a gentleman of 
unbleb — upblem — I repeat, sir,' said the Crow with 
solemnity, ' a gentleman of unblemished reputation ? ' 

' Mark how a long word trips you up, and the 
evening so young ! ' 

' Mr. Farmer's health ! I buzz the bottle ! ' cried 
the Crow, putting out his hand to the bottle, that was 
nearly empty. 

Mr. Wogan stopped his hand. 

' I tell you, Crow, the Affair hangs on your non- 
sense. We may all hang for it,' he said in a certain 
tone of voice, which made Tyrell open his mouth. 

Wogan read through the ballad, which was full of 
insults enough to drive any woman mad, let alone 
Lady Oxford. He knew what a woman wild with 
anger can do, and blessed his stars that for so many 
months her Ladyship had not met Kelly, and could 
know nothing of the inner plot for an immediate 
rising. Still, she knew enough to do a power of 
mischief. The ballad was written in a feigned hand, 
which Wogan did not know. 

' James,' he said to Talbot, ' where did you get this 
thing? You are not haunting the fine ladies who 
pass these wares about? Where did you get it? ' he 
said, shaking the Crow, who had fallen half asleep, as 
he spoke. 



PARSON KELLY 191 

' Got it from my friend Mr. Pope,' answered the 
Crow drowsily. 

' You got it from Mr. Pope ! You / Where did 
you meet Mr. Pope ? ' 

' At the Little Fox under the Hill, down by the 
water.' 

This tavern was precisely the shyest meeting-place 
of the party, where the smugglers came to arrange 
crossings and receive letters. 

' Mr. Alexander Pope at the Fox under the Hill ! 
Crow, you are raving! What kind of man is your 
friend Mr. Pope ? ' 

' Who 's Mr. Pope? Don't know the gentleman. 
Hear he 's poet.' 

' The gentleman who gave you the ballad.' 

' Did n't say Pope, said Scrotton,' answered the 
Crow. ' Very honest man, my friend Mr. Scrotton. 
Met him often. Exshlent judge of wine, Mr. Scrot- 
ton. Exshlent judge of plots. Mr. Scrotton ap- 
plauded our scheme.' 

'You told him about it? What plot did you tell 
him of? Not of the rising? Not of this immediate 
Blow? Crow, you should be shot! ' 

' I told him ! You inshult me, sir. Very good plot, 
very good wine. Mr. Scrotton told me about plot. 
Often talked it over a bottle. I 'm a most cautious 
man. I don't drink except with very honest men. 
Dangerous ! ' murmured the Crow. 

' You are sure his name is Scrotton? ' 

' Quite certain. Said " Pope " because of poetry. 
Soshiation of ideas. Mr. Pope 's poet. You'd know 
that, but you are drunk, Mr. Wogan.' 

There was nothing more to be got out of the Crow. 



192 PARSON KELLY 

Invited to give a personal description of Mr. Scrotton, 
he fell back on his moral character as ' a very honest 
man.' He might be, or, again, he might be a spy. 
In any case, here was the ballad, and there was the 
furious woman ready for any revenge. 

' Go home ; go to bed ! Tyrell and I will walk 
with you to your rooms/ said Mr. Wogan, who, step- 
ping to the letter-rack, picked up an epistle for Mr. 
Hilton. The handwriting of the superscription made 
him look so blank that the others noticed his face 
and were silent. The letter was in Lady Oxford's 
hand. He put it in his pocket. 

They led the Crow to his door in Germain Street. 
He behaved pretty well on the whole, only insisting 
that his fortune would be made if Wogan would but 
give him the ballad and let him sing it at the corner 
of St. James's. 

'Affluence would be mine,' he said, and dropped a 
tear. 'Oh, Wilton — Hogan, I would say — 'tis a 
golden opportunity ! ' 

But if the opportunity was golden, Wogan was of 
iron, and they did not leave the debased Crow till he 
slept in the sheets, which on the night before it was 
probable that his limbs had never pressed. 

When the Crow was slumbering like a babe, Mr. 
Wogan and Tyrell stepped out, turning the key of his 
chamber on the outside and entrusting it to his landlady. 

' Mr. Talbot has a fever,' Wogan told her, ' and will 
see nobody. He must on no account see anyone 
except Mr. Tyrell, nor must he be disturbed before 
his physician calls.' 

Accompanied by the gift of a crown, the key was 
pocketed by the woman of the house, who expressed 



PARSON KELLY 193 

anxiety for the health and repose of so quiet a gen- 
tleman as Mr. Talbot. 

'And now, what is all this pother about?' Tyrell 
asked when they were got into the street. 

' Come towards the Park and I will instruct you. I 
need quiet for thought, and sylvan repose. What 
have you been doing all day? ' 

' Watching the Crow play the fool at Burton's.' 

' You have no news? ' 

' I have seen nobody.' 

They walked for a hundred yards or so in silence, 
Wogan frowning, and Tyrell much perturbed with 
Wogan's perturbation. 

' The new ballad is a true ballad,' said Wogan after 
a pause. 

' Devil a doubt of it ; but what then ? ' 

' The greater the truth, the greater the libel.' 

' Et aprksf 

' And the greater is the rage of the libelled. This 
ballad must have run through all the boudoirs before 
it reached the Crow.' 

' And yet I do not smoke you. Where does this 
touch the affair ? ' 

'The lady that's libelled knew George very well.' 

Tyrell nodded his head. 

' George knew everything,' continued Wogan. 

Tyrell stopped and caught Wogan by the elbow 

'Then, what George knew the lady knows?' 

' No. Thank God, she knows nothing of what is 
immediately intended. It is a year and more since 
George and she have spoken. She knows nothing 
of the Blow. But she knows the men who are direct- 
ing it.' 

13 



194 PARSON KELLY 

' May be she 's staunch,' said Tyrell. 

Wogan quoted Lady Mary : 

' Politics are nothing more to her than pawns in the 
game of love.' 

The two men stood looking at each other for a 
moment. The matter was too serious for them even 
to swear. Then they walked on again. 

' Do you think,' asked Nick, ' she will be in the best 
of tempers when she hears she is sung about in coiifee- 
houses? Do you think she will blame anybody but 
Kelly for blabbing? She will give the ballad to Lady 
Mary Wortley Montagu, and is n't Kelly of Lady 
Mary's friends ? No, he did not blab, but never mind. 
She will think he did. And do you know that she is 
a kinswoman of the minister, Mr. Walpole ? Let her 
say a word, and she will say it, and where is Mr. 
Farmer's affair?' 

'Where the Elector's hat and wig often are — in 
the fire,' answered Tyrell, looking serious enough. 

' That letter which I took up was from her ; I know 
her hand. She is stirring.' 

Wogan opened the scented letter as he walked. It 
was but to say that Lady Oxford had heard that Mr. 
Hilton was in town, and begged the favour of his 
company at her rout that night. 

He told Tyrell what there was to tell, both of them 
looking very unlike a May sunset as they walked 
under the trees. Since he left Brampton Bryan, Mr. 
Wogan had not been favoured with any compliments 
from Lady Oxford. Why did she begin her favours 
to-day? 

' She is stirring,' he said again. 

By this time they were got within the Park. 



PARSON KELLY 195 

There much was stirring. Carts were streaming in 
and out with soldiers driving, soldiers lounging among 
the burdens of planks, tents, picks, and spades. 
Beside the Walnut Walk soldiers in their shirt sleeves 
were digging, trenching, measuring; a child could 
see what was toward — they were meting out a camp. 

Mr. Wogan looked at Mr. Tyrell, Mr. Tyrell looked 
at Mr. Wogan. 

'The lady has stirred,' said Tyrell in dismay. 
'And what is more she knows of the Blow.' 

' Or Mr. Scrotton is not a very honest man,' said 
Wogan, and whistled " Lilliburlero." He was dis- 
posed on the whole to agree with Tyrell. Somehow 
Lady Oxford had got news of the inner plot ; per- 
haps through this mysterious Mr. Scrotton. 

The Walnut Walk was all astir and agape with 
evening loungers ; it hummed with gossip. The two 
gentlemen went to the Cake House, sat down, and 
called for glasses of ratafia. Studying the face of 
Mr. Tyrell, of which his own was no doubt the very 
likeness, Mr. Wogan inferred that they needed this 
refreshment. 

They listened, with conscious grins of innocence, 
to the talk at the tables, being a little comforted to 
hear many questions, but no certain answers. The 
soldiers, it seems, being asked, could or would give 
no answer but that they had orders to make a camp. 
Fair ladies, smiling on private men, could get no 
other reply. It might be only for practice. It 
might be that the French were expected. Mr. 
Wogan heartily wished that they were, but nobody 
was expected, so far as he knew, save these same 
ragged regiments of his countrymen with the Duke, 



196 PARSON KELLY 

And, lo ! a welcome was being got ready for them. 
As for the regiment that had been tampered with in 
the Tower, they were pitching tents in the Park. 
The two gentlemen, who had been conversing on 
faro and Newmarket, and laying each other fan- 
tastic odds, arose and walked eastwards. 

' I think the air of the waterside would be whole- 
some,' remarked Mr. Tyrell. 

' I have to see a friend,' said Mr. Wogan, and 
they shook hands and parted. 

' You will warn the Crow to be on the wing? ' said 
Wogan over his shoulder, and the other nodded. 
Mr. Wogan could not but smile to think of the Crow 
winging an unsteady flight across the Channel. He 
managed to steer across, after all, thanks to Tyrell. 
Then Wogan read Lady Oxford's billet again, and he 
walked to Bury Street. 

He knocked, and the door was opened by Mrs. 
Barnes. 

' Mr. Johnson at home?' 

' It would appear, Mr. Hilton, that I did not give 
satisfaction,' said Mrs. Barnes, whose aspect was of 
a severity. 

' Give satisfaction ? ' 

' Mr. Kelly has thought to better himself, and if 
he prefers bed-fellows such as shall be nameless, and 
the coals disappearing, and his letters pryed into, 
and if he thinks that I ever mention my gentlemen's 
affairs . . . ! ' 

Here Mrs. Barnes threw her apron over her head, 
but gulps of lamentation escaped aloud, though her 
emotion was veiled like that of the Greek gentleman 
in the picture. 



PARSON KELLY 197 

Mr. Wogan was not unpractised in the art of con- 
soling Mrs. Barnes. He led her within, she was 
slowly induced to unshroud her pleasing features, 
and, at last, revealed the strange circumstance that 
Kelly had left her rooms two days before without giv- 
ing in any sound justifying plea for this treason. Mr. 
Wogan, who was well aware of Mrs. Barnes's curiosity 
and the fluency of her tongue, was in no doubt as 
to the cause which had led the Parson to leave 
her, and thought the step in this posture of their 
affairs altogether prudent. 

' But he will return,' he reassured her. ' What ! 
— you know Mr. Johnson, he will never desert you.' 

' So he said. He would come back in a month, 
and paid in advance to reserve the rooms, but it 
would seem that I do not give satisfaction. And 
here 's all his letters to all manner of names. Look 
at them ! Look at them ! And how many of them 
are signed Ugus? Oh, I know what that will end in, 
and I'm just going to send the girl round with 
them — ' 

' I '11 carry them myself, Mrs. Barnes,' said Wogan, 
interrupting her. He picked up the letters from the 
table, and glanced about the room, if by chance Mr. 
Kelly had left anything inconvenient behind him. 
But, except the letters, there was not so much as a 
scrap of paper about to show that ever he had lodged 
there. Wogan looked at the scrutoire on which the 
strong-box he had given to his friend at Paris was 
used to rest. It had held Lady Oxford's letters in 
the old days, but of late it had lain unused, and the 
dust had gathered thick upon the lid, so that in his 
haste the Parson might well have forgotten it. But 



198 PARSON KELLY 

he had carried it away, and with it his big Bible, 
which had stood beside it in such an incongruous 
juxtaposition. 

' I 'II carry them myself,' said Wogan, and putting 
the letters in his pocket he went down the steps. 
He marched some twenty yards down the street and 
then came to a stop. He looked round. Mrs. 
Barnes was watching him from the doorway with as 
grim a smile as her cheery face could compass. 

'But, my dear woman, where will I carry them 
to? ' asks Wogan, coming back. 

' That 's it,' cried she with a triumphant toss of her 
head. ' One minute Mrs. Barnes is a tattling, 
troublesome woman, and, if you please, we '11 not 
take so much trouble as to say good-bye to her, and 
the next it's Mrs. Barnes that must help us, and tell 
us where we are to go. Mr. Johnson lodges at Mrs. 
Kilburne's in Ryder Street.' 

' Mrs. Kilburne's ! Why, she 's your bosom friend, 
Mrs. Barnes.' 

Mr. Wogan was a trifle surprised that the Parson 
should leave Mrs. Barnes because of her curiosity 
and take a lodging with Mrs. Barnes's bosom friend, 
who, to tell the truth, was no less of a gossip. 

' Well,' said Mrs. Barnes, firing up. ' D' ye think 
I would let him go to those I know nothing of, who 
would rob him and starve him of his last crust of bread. 
No, for all that he scorns and despises me ! No, he 
asked me where he should go and I told him to 
Mrs. Kilburne.' 

' Oh, he asked you,' said Wogan. ' Well, it is a 
very Irish proceeding. I '11 go to Mrs. Kilburne's 
and find him.' 



PARSON KELLY 199 

' You may go to Mrs. Kilburne,' said she as Wogan 
turned away, ' but as to finding him/ and she shrugged 
her shoulders. 

'Why, what do you mean? ' 

' A man in that moppet's livery, for moppet she is, 
my Lady or not my Lady, brought a note yesterday 
and he that had been hiding from her, like the 
honest man he used to be before she came trapesing 
after him.' 

' A note ? Was it anything like this ? ' asked 
Wogan, pulling from his pocket his own invitation 
to Lady Oxford's rout. 

' It was very like that,' said Mrs. Barnes. ' I sent 
the fellow on with the scented thing.' 

A note from Lady Oxford to George, an heroic 
epistle from Ariadne to Theseus ! An invitation 
too ! Ariadne invites Theseus to her rout, and for 
something more, conjectured Wogan, than the pleas- 
ure of winning his money at cards. Wogan's anxiety 
concerning Lady Oxford's attitude was much in- 
creased. There was the ballad, the camp in Hyde 
Park, there were the letters of invitation. Mr. Wogan 
thought it high time to see Theseus, and leaving 
Mrs. Barnes with a becoming blush on her features 
that laughed through their tears, he walked to Ryder 
Street. 

Mr. Wogan knocked at the door in the deepening 
dusk. The landlady opened. She knew Wogan, 
who, indeed, had occupied her chambers at one time. 
She smiled all over her jolly face : 

' Mr. Hilton ! Taller than ever, and welcome as 
ever.' 

' Thank you, Mrs. Kilburne, I shall soon rival the 



200 PARSON KELLY 

Monument, but I can still get under your lintel by 
stooping. Where is Mr. Johnson?' 

' Mr. Johnson ? Oh, sir, what a life that poor 
gentleman lives. Out all night, home in the morning 
with mud or dust on him to the shoulder, and so to 
bed all day.' 

' Then Mr. Johnson must be wakened. I can do 
it, were he one of the seven sleepers. George ! ' 
cried Mr. Wogan, lifting up his voice. 

' Oh, sir, be quiet ! A very dainty gentleman has 
my first floor, and he will be complaining of the 
noise. You always were that noisy, Mr. Hilton ! ' 
She walked down the passage as she spoke and threw 
open a door upon the right. ' Mr. Johnson, he has 
my ground floor, but you can't waken him, loud as 
you are, nor any man, so be quiet, Mr. Hilton.' 

' Have I to weep for my poor friend's decease ? ' 
asked Wogan, as he entered the room. 

' No, sir, or I would not be laughing at your non- 
sense.' 

There was no doubt this was the Parson's lodging. 
For as Wogan stood just within the door, he saw by 
the window Mr. Kelly's scrutoire. It was the first 
thing indeed on which his eyes fell. He stepped 
across the room and threw open the lid. He saw 
a dispatch-box, and from the lock he knew it to be 
that in which Kelly kept safe the papers of the 
Bishop's plot. 

' So there 's another lodger in the house,' said Nick 
thoughtfully. He took up the box and tried the lid. 
It was locked. But Mr. Wogan would have preferred 
that the Parson should have kept the papers in the 
box which he had given him at Paris, of which the 



PARSON KELLY 201 

lock was stouter. That box he saw further back in 
the scrutoire, half hidden in news-sheets. But that 
too he found to be locked, and shaking it in his 
hand, was aware that, like the other, it held papers. 
The lid of the box was covered with dust, as though 
it had not been touched for months. Lady Oxford's 
letters had been locked up there. No doubt they 
were there still. Mr. Wogan wondered for a little at 
the strange sentiment which makes a man keep such 
dead tokens of a dead passion. He put the box 
back amongst the news-sheets, and turning to Mrs. 
Kilburne, 

' But where is the man? ' he cried. ' George ! ' and 
he rapped on the table with his cane. 

' You can't waken Mr. Johnson,' said Mrs. Kilburne 
' because he awoke an hour ago, and dressed in a 
hurry, but braver than common, with his silver-hilted 
sword, Alen9on ruffles, black coat and satin lining, 
silver shoulder-knots, and best buckles, and out he 
goes. He was summoned by a man in the livery of 
my Lord, the good Bishop of Rochester.' 

' Will you tell him, when he returns, that Mr. 
Hilton waited on him, and greatly desires to see him 
in his best before he goes to bed ? ' Wogan pulled 
the letters from his pocket and laid them on the table 
which stood in the centre of the room. 

' I will, sir, but, if you call again, pray, sir, be very 
quiet. My first floor gentleman is such a dainty 
gentleman.' 

' A mouse shall be noisy in comparison. I have a 
great tenderness, Mrs. Kilburne, for the nerves of 
fine gentlemen.' 

Mrs. Kilburne grinned in a sceptical sort. 



202 PARSON KELLY 

' But,' Wogan added suddenly, ' it is very like I 
shall fall in with Mr. Johnson before then.' He took 
some half-a-dozen of the letters again into his hand 
and looked them over. They were inscribed to such 
cant names as lUington, Hatfield, Johnson, Andrews, 
and were evidently dangerous merchandise. Mr. 
Wogan thought they would be safer in his pocket 
than on Mr. Kelly's table. He picked up the rest, 
but as he put them back into his pocket, one fell on 
to the floor. Wogan caught sight of the handwriting 
as it fell. Then it stared up at him from the floor. 
The letter was written in a woman's hand, which Mr. 
Wogan was well enough acquainted with, although it 
was neither Lady Oxford's nor the hand of Rose. It 
was in the handwriting of Lady Mary Wortley Mon- 
tagu. Wogan stooped down and picked it up. For a 
letter, it was extraordinary light. Wogan weighed it 
in his hand for a second, wondering what it might be. 
However, there was no answer to be got that way, 
and Mr. Wogan had weightier matter to engage his 
thoughts. He put it into his pocket and marched to 
his own lodgings, which were hard by in the same 
street. 

Several problems, a swarm of skirmishing doubts, 
trooped through his mind. 

' What did my Lady Oxford mean by writing to 
Kelly?' 

To this Wogan answered that she meant the same 
thing by Kelly as by himself, and for some reason 
had bidden him to her rout. As to her motive for 
that act of unexpected hospitality, Wogan had his 
own thoughts, which he afterwards confided to his 
friend. ' But who,' he pondered, ' can answer for a 



PARSON KELLY 203 

woman's motives when the devil of perversity sits at 
her elbow?' 

Next, why had Kelly made himself such a beau ? 
It could not be merely to do honour to a mourning 
prelate who would never glance at his secretary's 
satin and point d'Alengon. 

Mr. Wogan inferred that his first guess was right, 
that Lady Oxford had bidden Kelly to her rout, and 
that, by the token of his raiment, Mr. Kelly meant to 
accept the invitation. 

Kelly knew nothing of the camp, and the discovery 
which it seemed to speak of, when he left the lodg- 
ings where he had slept all day. Of the ballad, too, 
it was like that Kelly knew nothing, and, in Wogan's 
opinion, the ballad was the cause of the military stir. 
Lady Oxford, inflamed with anger, blaming Lady 
Mary for the ballad, and blaming Kelly for blab- 
bing her fault to her enemy,- Lady Mary; had 
doubtless visited Mr. Walpole. The innocent Kelly, 
innocent of all these things, would be going to 
Lady Oxford's to fathom the causes of her renewed 
friendship. 

Mr. Wogan puzzled his brains over these matters 
while he supped in solitude at his lodgings. His 
friends have hinted that his mental furnishing is not 
in a concatenation with his bodily stature. He has 
answered that, if it were so, he would be Shake- 
speare and the Duke of Marlborough rolled into one. 
Though refreshed with Burgundy, his head felt weary 
enough when he turned to the question, ' What was 
he, Wogan, to do next? ' In his opinion, the boldest 
plan is ever the best ; moreover, he had a notion that 
there was no safer place in London for him, that night. 



204 PARSON KELLY 

and perhaps for Mr. Kelly, than Queen's Square in 
Westminster which Lady Oxford had taken for a 
permanence. For if Lady Oxford had blabbed, the 
last place in London where the Messengers would be 
like to look for the Parson was her ladyship's with- 
drawing-room. Unless of course she was laying a 
trap, which did not seem likely. In the face of this 
new ballad. Lady Oxford would not dare to have the 
Parson arrested within, or even near her house. It 
would provoke too great a scandal. He decided, 
therefore, first to go to the Dean's house, at West- 
minster, where the Bishop of Rochester stayed, see 
Mr. Kelly, if he could, and unfold his parcel of black 
news. Next, he would take Kelly to Lady Oxford's, 
if Kelly would come, for Wogan not only deemed 
this step the safest of his dangers, but expected to 
enjoy a certain novelty of the emotions, in which he 
was not disappointed. He therefore, imitating the 
clerical example, began to decorate himself in his 
most seductive shoulder knots to do honour to Lady 
Oxford. 

It may be that Wogan's mind, already crowded by 
a number of occurrences and dubitations, had ex- 
hausted its logical powers, for there was one idea 
which should have occurred to him earliest, and 
which only visited him while he was shaving. Who 
was the first person he was likely to encounter at 
Lady Oxford's? Why, the very last person whom 
at this juncture it was convenient for him to meet — 
namely. Colonel Montague. Wogan heartily wished 
he had left the Colonel between two fires at Preston 
barricade. But now there was no help for it, go he 
must. The Colonel, like other people, might not re- 



PARSON KELLY 205 

member the boy in the man and under a new name, 
or, if he did — and then a fresh idea occurred to 
Wogan which made him smile. 

'I was born,' he said, 'to be a lightning con- 
ductor ! ' 



CHAPTER XV 

AT THE DEANERY OF WESTMINSTER 

WOGAN finished the work of adorning his per- 
son, and stepped into the street. The night 
was serene, with a full moon, the air still, the pave- 
ments were clean as the deck of his ketch. He 
thought that he would walk from his rooms to the 
Dean's by way of St. James's Park, and consequently 
he passed through Ryder St. and in front of Mr. 
Kelly's new lodgings. Just as he came to Mr. 
Kelly's lodgings, the door opened. A gentleman 
came forth ; the moonlight was full on his face. Mr. 
Wogan muffled his face in his cloak, and stepped 
stealthily back. 

The gentleman was Colonel Montague. He bade 
the chairmen carry him to Queen's Square; Mr. 
Wogan heard the word of command with an inex- 
pressible confusion of dismay. He had hardened his 
heart to encounter the enemy whose life, in a youthful 
indiscretion, he had saved at the risk of his own, but 
what was the Colonel doing in Kelly's lodgings? 

By this time the warrior and his chair had turned 
the corner, and Mr. Wogan abandoned himself to 
meditation. Up and down Ryder Street he paced, 
puzzling over the Colonel's visit to Kelly, whom, at 
all events, he could not have found at home. Was he 



PARSON KELLY 207 

carrying a cartel to his predecessor in Lady Oxford's 
heart? In that case it was all the more necessary to 
meet him and play the part of Dr. Franklin's kite, 
which had not at that time been flown, but is now 
making talk enough for the learned. On this point 
Mr. Wogan's mind was constant. Should he question 
Mrs. Kilburne, he asked himself? Mr. Wogan 
crossed the road. But the Colonel was little likely 
to have told her a word of his business. Mr. Wogan 
stopped. 

There was another point : for whatever reason the 
Colonel had called at George's lodgings, George must 
be told of the visit. Here was something which 
pressed, without question. Mr. Wogan marched 
towards the Dean's house in Westminster, where the 
Bishop of Rochester lay. He knew the road very 
well, being himself an old Westminster boy. It was 
but seven years since he had run away to join his 
brother Charles and raise the North for King James. 
He could not tell, at this moment, whether he had 
deserted his studies for King James's sake, or to 
escape his dull task of writing out my Lord Claren- 
don's weary history in a fair hand. 

As he entered the precincts, Wogan felt much like 
a truant boy, and it was as if Time had stood still 
while he ran. Nothing was changed, except that the 
new dormitory, which Bishop Atterbury had just 
built, shone white among the black old stones. 
There were lights in the windows that suddenly went 
out: the lads were abed. Wogan looked up at the 
blank windows, and thought of seven years agone, 
and of his life since then, an unprofitable contem- 
plation, which his mind gladly deserted. He marched 



2o8 PARSON KELLY 

up under the arch, through the darkling cloister, and 
tapped, gently but firmly, at the Dean's door. He 
must see Mr. Kelly. As it chanced, and by the 
merest accident in the world, Wogan timed his taps 
thus: 1 — 2, 3,4, 5, 6—T. 

There were stealthy steps within, with a movement 
of yellow light, and then a voice that Mr. Wogan 
knew very well came through a judas. 

' Is it my father's knock ? ' 

' Is it your granny's knock, Sam? ' asked Wogan 
through the judas. The voice was that of Sam 
Wesley, a young usher in Wogan's time, one whom 
he had always liked and tormented. 

The steps moved away, and the light. 

' Sam ! ' whispered Mr. Wogan, very loud for a 
whisper, through the judas, 'Sam, you remember 
me. Nick Wogan.' 

The steps were silent. 

' Sam, remember Lord Clarendon ! Remember 
Nick, who kicked the bully for beating your little 
brother Jack.' 

The steps shuffled back to the door. 

'You have not the password,' said the voice 
through the judas. 

' Damn the password,' whispered Wogan. ' I 
want George Kelly. I must see him in the name of 
the Blackbird. Hawks are abroad.' 

' It is clean against all rules,' came the voice from 
within. 

' Open, in the name of the cobbler's wax I once 
put on your chair, or I '11 break the windows. You 
know me, Sam ! ' 

Mr. Wesley knew Mr. Wogan. He undid the lock, 



PARSON KELLY 209 

Mr. Wogan smuggled himself within, and nearly 
choked Mr. Wesley in his embrace. 

' It is a giant ! ' said Mr. Wesley, putting up his 
candle to Wogan's face. The wind blew on the light 
that flickered in the absolute darkness, all the house 
being hung with black for Mrs. Atterbury's death. 

'A son of Anak, Sam, who would have battered 
down your old door in a minute.' 

' I verily believe you would, Nick,' said Sam, lead- 
ing the way up the black stairs to a den of his own, 
where he was within call of the Bishop. On tiptoe 
he marched, placing his finger on his lips. 

When they were got among Sam's books and 
papers of the boys' exercises, the usher said, 'It is 
a very extraordinary thing, purely a Providence.' 

' I deserve one ; the purity of my life deserves 
one,' said Mr. Wogan. ' But wherein do you see 
the marvel? ' 

' You did not know it, but you gave my father's 
knock,' said Sam in a voice of awe. ' It is Old 
Jeffrey's doing — directed, of course — directed.' 

'Old Jeffrey? Is it a cant name for an honest 
man?' 

' For a very honest spirit,' said the usher, and ex- 
plained to Mr. Wogan that the particular knock and 
the passwords to follow (which Mr. Wogan did not 
know) were his own invention. His father's house 
at Epworth, in the year 1716, had been troubled, it 
seems, by an honest goblin that always thumped 
and routed with a particular malevolence when the 
Elector was prayed for as ' the King.' Old Mr. 
Wesley's pet knock, though, the sprite could not 
deliver. Mr. Wesley had a conceit that the gobhn 

14 



210 PARSON KELLY 

might be the ghost of some good fellow who died at 
Preston. 

' He keeps his politics in the next world,' said Mr. 
Wogan. 

' Wit might say much on that head, wisdom little,' 
whispered the usher, wagging his kind head. 'You 
have special business with Mr. Johnson?' he asked. 
' He is with my Lord, hard by. The Bishop's voice 
was raised when Mr. Johnson entered. I caught 
angry words, but now for long they have been 
quiet.' 

' Mr. Johnson has a way with him,' said Wogan, 
who had learned from Goring that the reverend 
Father in God was of a hasty temper. ' How doth 
his Lordship ? ' 

'Very badly. I never saw him in a less apostolic 
humour. I know not what ill news he has had from 
France, or elsewhere, but he has been much troubled 
about Mr. Johnson's dog. Harlequin. The poodle 
has been conveyed out of town as craftily as if he 
were the Chevalier, I know not why, and is now 
skulking in the country, I know not where.' 

It was, indeed, Mr. Wesley's part to know nothing. 
He was the Bishop's man, and as honest as the day, 
but had no more enterprise than another usher. 

Wogan, he has said, knew Harlequin, second of 
that name, and had seen him coddled by Mrs. 
Barnes. He was cudgelling his brains for Harle- 
quin's part in the Great Affair, when a silver whistle 
sounded, thin and clear. 

Mr. Wesley beckoned to Wogan to be still, crept 
out of the room, and returned on tiptoe with Kelly. 
The Parson's elegant dress was a trifle disarranged ; 



PARSON KELLY 211 

his face and hands were somewhat stained and black- 
ened as with smoke, but the careful man had tucked 
up his Alencon ruffles beneath his sleeves. On see- 
ing Wogan George opened his eyes and his mouth, 
but spoke never a word. He carried a soft bundle 
wrapped in a tablecloth, and when the door was shut 
he handed this to Mr. Wesley. 

' You have the key of the Dean's garden ? ' he 
whispered. 

' Yes ; but wherefore ? ' answered Sam. 

' His Lordship bids me ask you to have the kind- 
ness to bury the contents of this — ' 

' I know not what is in the bundle,' said Mr. 
Wesley, with an air of alarm. 

' And you need not be told,' said George. ' But 
can you let me and my friend Mr. Hilton — ' 

' Mr. Hilton?' gasped Sam, as Kelly put his hand 
out to Wogan. 

' I must present you to Mr. Hilton,' George said, 
and Wogan bowed and grinned. 

' I was about to entreat you, Mr. Wesley, while 
you are playing the sexton, to permit me and Mr. 
Hilton the convenience of a few moments of privacy 
in your chamber.' 

' With all my heart,' said the puzzled Sam, hospi- 
tably opening a cupboard in his bookcase, whence 
he lugged out glasses and a bottle of Florence. 
Then he put list shoes over his own, and stole forth 
on his errand like a clerical cat. 

All this while Wogan had said not one word to 
Kelly, nor Kelly to Wogan. 

Mr. Wogan had sat down to sample the bottle, and 
Kelly stared at him. 



212 PARSON KELLY 

' How did you make your way in here?' he asked 
at length. 

'Old Jeffrey,' said Wogan airily. 'I drink Old 
Jeffrey's health, wherever he is.' 

' I believe you are the devil himself. That password 
is known to no mortal but Mr. Wesley and me. The 
Bishop does not know it. His servants never see 
me come or go — only Sam. Whence got you the 
word?' 

Mr. Wogan very gently tapped i — 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 — 7 
on the table. 

' I know many things,' he said. ' But, George, 
what do you know ? ' 

' I know you should be aboard, Nick, and down to 
the waterside you step from this house.' 

' I am already promised,' said Mr. Wogan with an 
air of fashion. ' I sup with Lady Oxford.' 

' You are mad.' 

' Nay, you are mad. I know many things. When 
you were carried hither in your chair, you knew 
nothing. George, what did the Bishop tell you? 
Why was he wroth with you ? In brief, George, what 
do you know?' 

' The Bishop angry with me ! Nick, you know too 
much. You are the devil.' 

' I want to know a great deal more. Come, un- 
pack, and then it is my turn. But first step into Mr. 
Wesley's bedchamber and wash these hands, which 
go very ill with silver shoulder-knots ; and pour the 
blackened water out of window. Any man or 
messenger could see that you have been burning a 
mort of papers.' 

Mr. Kelly hastily adopted Mr. Wogan's precautions. 



PARSON KELLY 213 

When he entered the room again the conspirator had 
vanished, the clerical beau remained. 

' Now,' said Wogan, ' you are fit to carry out your 
worldly design of pleasure, and I shall not be ashamed 
to sup in your company at Lady Oxford's.' 

' I have changed my mind ; I shall not go. But, 
Nick, how did you know my mind? 'Twas the last 
of minds you expected to take me in.' 

' I am the devil. Have you not guessed it your- 
self? ' replied Mr. Wogan, who was enjoying himself 
hugely. Perhaps it was the Florence, coming a-top 
of the Burgundy. He was quite easy about the dis- 
covery. ' But unpack,' he said. ' What befell you 
with the Bishop ? ' 

' He received me oddly. The room was as dark as 
a wolf's mouth, being hung with black bombazine. 
There was a low fire in a brazier, that shone red on 
his Lordship's polished poll, for he wore no perruque. 
His eyes blazed, his teeth grinned white. I was put 
in mind of a fierce old black panther in the French 
King's gardens.' 

' Remote from the apostolic,' said Mr. Wogan. 

' So were his first words,' said Kelly : 

' " You Irish dog, come here ! " quoth the Bishop. 

' I offered a conjecture that, in the mournful light, 
his Lordship did not precisely see whom he was ad- 
dressing. On that the little old man sprang out at 
me, seized me by the collar, and then fell back on his 
couch with a groan that was a curse. I put a cordial 
that stood by him to his lips, and was about to call 
Mr. Wesley, when he forbade me with his eyebrows, 
and cried : 

'" Answer me this question before we part for ever. 



214 PARSON KELLY 

Did you despatch my letters of April 20 to the King 
and the others ? " 

' " My Lord," I said, " my duty to you ended with 
that episcopal laying on of hands, and with that 
expression which you were pleased to use when I 
entered." 

' He groaned, and said : 

' " I apologise. I am mad with pain " (which was 
plainly true), " and grief, and treachery. I beg your 
pardon, Mr. Kelly, as a Christian and a sick old 
man." 

' " My Lord, you honour me. I enclosed the 
letters, as you directed, in a packet addressed to Mr. 
Gordon, the banker in Boulogne, and I sent them by 
the common post, your Lordship not having forbidden 
the ordinary course." 

'"Then, damn it, sir, you have ruined us!" said 
the sick old Christian. " Did I not bid you write to 
Dillon that nothing of importance should go by the 
post?" 

' " But your Lordship did not seem to reckon these 
letters of importance, for you did not discharge me 
from sending them in the common course." 

' The Bishop groaned again more than once, and 
there was a whole Commination Service in the 
sounds. You know Harlequin, Wogan? ' 

Mr. Wogan nodded and wondered. 

"Tis Harlequin has ruined us,' said Kelly; 'Harle- 
quin and the Duke of Mar.' 

' I am devilish glad to hear it,' said Mr. Wogan. 

' Glad to hear it ! ' exclaimed Kelly, rising from his 
chair. ' You are told of the discovery of the Great 
Affair, and the probable ruin of the Cause, and the 



PARSON KELLY 215 

danger of your friends and yourself, and you are glad 
to hear it ! ' 

' Faith, I am,' replied Wogan easily, ' for I knew of 
the discovery before you told me, but I put it down 
to a lady of your acquaintance.' 

The Parson very slowly sat himself down again on 
his chair. 

' In Heaven's name, why?' he asked, with a certain 
suspense. 

' Tell your tale first, then I '11 tell mine. This is 
very excellent Florence.' 

' The tale is too long, but the short of it is this : 
The Bishop had by him a letter of Mar's, dated May 
II, in which Mar, addressing the Bishop as Illington, 
denounced him as plainly to anyone who read the 
piece as if he had used the Bishop's own style and 
title. He condoled on Mrs. lUington's recent death, 
he referred to Mr. Illington's high place in the 
Church, and to his gout. The three circumstances 
combined left no doubt as to who Illington is. There 
was no need such a letter of pure compliment should 
be written at all, except for the purpose of being 
opened in the post, and fixing the Bishop as Illington. 
Then,' Kelly went on, ' I remembered a letter of Mar 
to myself, of last week, in which he spoke of the dog 
Harlequin as Mrs. Illington's. If these letters were 
opened in the post, — and the Bishop knows for certain 
that they were opened, — a bhnd man could see that 
Rochester and Illington are the same man, and own 
the same dog. The beast saved my life, but he has 
lost the Cause,' said Kelly with a sigh. ' Mar has sold 
us. It is known he holds a pension from the Elector. 
The Bishop knows it in a roundabout way, through 



2i6 PARSON KELLY 

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and so the Bishop 
and I have burned his papers in the brazier. Sam is 
interring their ashes in the garden.' 

Mr. Wogan poured out another glass of Florence. 

' Was there anything very pressing in these same 
letters of April 20, George ? Was there anything to 
put fear on the Elector's Ministers? Did they say, 
for instance, that the Blow was to be dealt, you and 
I know when? ' 

' Not a word of that,' replied Kelly, and his face 
lightened. On the other hand, Wogan's fell, which 
Kelly no doubt remarked, for he continued eagerly, 
' D' ye see, there is a chance still, for the Cause, for 
us, if the Blow be struck quickly. We must strike 
quickly. So may we retrieve Mar's treachery. The 
Bishop in his letter made excuses to the King for 
the delay of any blow. He is not in favour of 
anything immediate, and in the letters he made his 
disposition plain. The letters only compromised his 
Lordship in general, they did not reveal — the Blow.' 

Mr. Wogan, however, only shook his head. 

' 'Faith, now, I 'm sorry to hear that,' said he. 

' You are glad and sorry on very strange occasions,' 
said Kelly, sourly. ' First you are pleased that Mar 
sold us, and then you are displeased that he did not 
sell the last secret' 

Mr. Wogan leaned his elbows on the table, and 
bent across towards his friend. 

' I am sorry because the last secret has been sold, 
and it was not Mar that sold it. Therefore some- 
body else sold it ; therefore I am at the pain of being 
obliged to suspect a lady who probably knows her 
late lover's cypher.' 



PARSON KELLY 217 

Mr. Kelly blanched. 

' And how do you know that the last secret is 
sold?' 

' As any man would know who had not Iain abed 
all the day. George, the Park is full of soldiers. 
The Tower regiment that we thought Layer had 
bought is there with the rest under canvas. Min- 
isters would not make an encampment in the Park 
because they knew that the Bishop had advised the 
King that nothing was to be done. Therefore Mar is 
not the only traitor.' 

' And why should my Lady Oxford be the 
Judas?' 

' Mainly to punish a certain nonjuring clergyman, 
for whose sake she is the burden of a ballad, and 
sung of in coffee-houses.' 

' A ballad ? Of what sort ? ' 

' Of the sort that makes a good whipping-post for 
a fine lady. Ridicule is the whip, and, by the Lord, 
it is laid on unsparingly. Perhaps you would like to 
hear it,' and Mr. Wogan recited, in a whisper, so 
much of the poem as he judged proper. It closed 
thus: — 

' Oh, happy ending to my rhymes, 
Consoled for all his woes, 
The Parson flies to foreign climes. 
And dwells — beneath the Rose ! ' 

Mr. Kelly swore an oath and took a turn across 
the room. He came to a stop in front of Sam's 
bookcase. ' Rose,' said he, in a voice of tenderness, 
■ sure they might have left the little girl out of it.' 

' The barb was venomed, you see,' said Mr. Wogan. 
' It was not enough to make a scoff of the lady. She 



21 8 PARSON KELLY 

must be stripped of that last consolation, the belief 
that the discarded Parson wastes in despair. Now 
she knows that the Parson is consoled. There was 
spark to powder. The Parson may be putting on 
flesh. There 's an insult to her beauty. Faith, but 
she must feel it in her marrow, since she risks her 
Lord's neck for the pleasure of requiting it.' 

' No,' said Kelly, ' she could do what she would, 
for her Lord's neck is not in this noose. Oxford had 
withdrawn before.' 

This was news to Mr. Wogan, who had been con- 
cerned only with the actual plan of attack, and 
sufficiently concerned to have no mind for other 
matters. 

' Oxford withdrawn,' he cried rising and coming 
across to the Parson. ' Damn him, 't was pure folly 
to trust him. Do you remember what Law said that 
night in Paris? He would trust him no further than 
he would trust a Norfolk attorney.' 

Kelly was silent for a moment, thoughtfully draw- 
ing a finger to and fro across the backs of Sam's 
books. 

' I have good reason to remember that night,' he 
said very sadly. 'Have you forgotten what I said? 
" May nothing come between the Cause and me ! " 
Why, it seems the Cause goes down because of me, 
and with the Cause my friends, and with my friends. 
Rose.' 

Mr. Wogan had no word to say. Whatever 
excuses rose to his tongue seemed too trivial for 
utterance. 

Kelly's finger stopped on one particular book, 
travelled away and came back to it. Wogan saw 



PARSON KELLY 219 

that the book was a Bible. The Parson took it from 
the shelf and turning over the leaves read a line here 
and there. Wogan knew very well what was passing 
through his mind. His thoughts had gone back to 
the little country parsonage and the quiet life with no 
weightier matter to disturb it than the trifling squab- 
bles of his parish. 

' You warned me, Nick,' he said, ' you warned me. 
But I was a fool and would not heed. Read that ! ' 
and with a bitter sort of laugh he handed the open 
Bible to Mr. Wogan, pointing to a verse. ' There 's 
a text for the preacher.' 

The Bible was open at the Book of Proverbs, and 
Mr. Wogan read. ' The lips of a strange woman 
drop as a honey-comb and her mouth is smoother 
than oil. But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp 
as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death. 
Her steps take hold on hell.' 

Mr. Wogan read the text aloud. 

• The strange woman, Nick,' said Kelly, ' the 
strange woman,' and then in a fierce outburst, ' If I 
live the man who wrote that ballad shall rue it' 

' They give it to Lady Mary.' 

' She never wrote it. Nick, who wrote the ballad ? 
How did you get hold of it? ' 

' I found the Crow, quite tipsy, singing it to Tyrell, 
at Burton's, in the little room upstairs.' 

' And where did the Crow get the ballad ? ' 

' That is another uncomfortable circumstance. You 
know Talbot ? ' 

' An honest man, and a good officer, at Preston or 
in Spain, but a sponge for drink. A pity he was 
ever let into the plot ! ' 



2 20 PARSON KELLY 

' Well, he got the ballad from someone with whom 
he had been drinking at the Little Fox under the 
Hill, not a fashionable resort.' 

' Did he name his friend ? ' 

' He was drunk enough to begin by calling him 
Mr. Pope.' 

' Mr. Pope, the poet?' 

' He took that back; and said the poetry put Mr. 
Pope into his head. The man's real name, he re- 
membered, was Scrotton. I can't guess who he was, 
friend or spy, but we may take it that he knows 
what the Crow knows.' 

' Thank God for that ! ' cried Kelly. 

'You rejoice on very singular occasions, and are 
grateful for very small mercies,' said Mr. Wogan, who 
found it his turn to be surprised. ' What are you so 
thankful for? ' 

' Thankful that a woman need not have done this 
thing, and that my folly may not be the cause of this 
disaster. Another knew everything — Pope — Scrot- 
ton — the ballad ! Who wrote the ballad ? Who of 
our enemies knew a word about Rose? Are you 
blind? Who was at Avignon, spying on me, when I 
first met Rose? Who hates Lady Oxford no less 
than he hates me? Whose name was the unhappy 
tippler trying to remember? Scrotton? Pope?' 

' Scrope ! ' cried Wogan, cursing his own stupidity. 
' Scrope it must have been, and the Crow swore 
that the man told him about the plot, and often talked 
it over.' 

'That means, of course, that Scrope made him 
talk. The old curse of the Cause, that lost us Edin- 
burgh Castle in the Fifteen, when the Scots stopped 



PARSON KELLY Z2i 

at the tavern to powder their hair. Our curse, 
Nicholas. Wine ! ' 

'And Woman,' Mr. Wogan thought, but George 
ran on, 

' Scrope it was who wrote the ballad, for no enemy 
but Scrope knew what the writer knew. Lady Mary 
is a friend. Lady Oxford is innocent, thank God — 
I say it with a humble heart — and I am not the cause 
of the ruin.' 

George's eyes shone like those of a man reprieved. 
Wogan shook his friend's hand ; his own eyes were 
opened. 

' 'T is you are the devil,' he said. ' Scrope has hit 
everyone he hates, and blown up the plot.' 

' His time will come,' said Kelly ; ' but I hear Sam 
on the stair.' 

Mr. Wesley, tapping lightly, entered his room. 

' Gentlemen,' he said, ' the outer door is open.' 

Mr. Wesley's anxiety was plainly to be read in 
his face. 

The two gentlemen bade him farewell, with many 
thanks for his hospitality. He accompanied them 
to the door, and they heard the bolt shot behind 
them as they stood in the cloister. 

'Whither should they go?' both men reflected, 
silent. 

Mr. Wogan has remarked on a certain gaiety and 
easiness of mind caused on this occasion, he considers, 
by Mr. Wesley's Florence coming after his own 
Burgundy at supper. He was also elated by George's 
elation, for to find innocence in one whom he had 
suspected elevated Mr. Kelly's disposition. They 
were betrayed, true, but the bitterness of a betrayal 



222 PARSON KELLY 

by the woman he had loved left him the lighter when 
the apprehension of it had passed. 

One little point rankled in Mr. Wogan's mind in 
spite of all. Why had Lady Oxford bidden both 
of them to her rout? 

He came at an answer by a roundabout road. 

' I must hurry home and burn my papers,' said 
Kelly, as soon as they were out in the cloister, with 
the door of the Dean's house shut behind them. 

Mr. Wogan, who had other notions, gripped his 
arm. 

' By the way, did you burn my lady's invitation 
to her rout to-night.' What did she say, George? 
Why did she invite you? And did you burn the 
note?" 

Mr. Kelly smote his hand on his brow. ' My wits 
were wool-gathering.' 

' On Cupid's hedges,' said Wogan. 

' But I locked the note up.' 

' With the rest of the lady's letters in my dispatch 
box?' 

"Faith, Nick, you are the devil. How did you 
know that?' 

' Oh, I have divined your amorous use of my box.' 

' But you are wrong. I had the box with the 
dangerous papers of the plot open on the table when 
I was reading the letter. Mrs. Kilburne knocked 
at the door. I did not know who it might be. I 
slipped the letter in on the top of the papers of the 
Plot, and locked the box before I opened the door.' 

'There it remains then? Well, her Ladyship's 
note is in the better company. But what did she 
say? Did she give a reason for your meeting? ' 



PARSON KELLY 223 

' The chief thing, after the usual compliments, was 
that she had most important news, that might not be 
written, to give me about Mr. Farmer's affairs. Prob- 
ably she may have had an inkling of the discovery 
and wished to warn me.' 

'We must see her,' said Wogan, whose curiosity 
was on edge from the first about this party of 
pleasure. 

' But my papers — I must burn my papers.' 

' George, you are set, or you are not set. If you 
had been set the messengers would have been at 
your lodgings before I went thither ; in fact, before 
you were out of bed. Therefore, either you have 
the whole night safe or, going home now, you go 
into a mousetrap, as the French say, and your 
papers are the cheese to lure you there. Now, they 
cannot know of my lady's invitations, and if they by 
any accident did know, a Minister would hardly take 
a man at a lady's house. That were an ill use for 
the hostess.' 

' That 's true,' said Mr. Kelly, after reflecting. 
' Nicholas, I knew not that you had so much of the 
syllogism in your composition.' 

' Another thing, and an odd thing enough,' added 
Wogan. ' Perhaps nothing is laid against you at all. 
Did Scrope lay information when he found us at 
Brampton Bryan ? ' 

' No ! ' cried Kelly. ' And at Avignon, when a 
proper spy would have stopped the Duke's gold, he 
was content with the sword in his own hand.' 

' Precisely,' said Wogan ; ' Scrope has blown the 
plot, that's business; but he deals with you himself, 
that's pleasure. He tried to meet you at Brampton 



2 24 PARSON KELLY 

Bryan — he did not have us laid by the heels. He 
nearly did for you at Avignon, while he let the 
Duke's business alone, quite content. Now you are 
alive and he wants a meeting, 'tis clear he did not 
inform on you, otherwise the messengers would have 
been with you when the soldiers began the camp in 
the morning. 'Faith, you may meet Mr. Scrope to- 
night in St. James's Park. He is a kind of gentle- 
man, Mr. Scrope ! But we must see her ladyship 
first ; sure, nothing 's safer.' 

' Nicholas, thou reasonest well,' said the Parson, 
Mr. Wogan towed off his prize, and the pair moved 
out of the dark, musty cloister into the moonlight. 



CHAPTER XVI 

MR. WOGAN ACTS AS LIGHTNING-CONDUCTOR 
AT LADY oxford's ROUT 

MR. WOGAN steered his captive through Petty 
France. It was about ten of the clock, a 
night of moonlight and young spring, a night for 
poets to praise and lovers to enjoy. Mr. Wogan was 
not, at the moment, a lover, and poetry was out of 
his mind. 

' One trifle I forgot to mention,' he said. ' I saw 
Montague come out of your new lodgings this even- 
ing. He bade his chairmen go to Queen's Square.' 

'Montague? How could he know where to look 
for me ? What can he want with me ? ' 

' I misdoubt he was not very well pleased with the 
ballad, and would have you explain it.' 

' Montague,' sneered Mr. Kelly, with a touch of 
temper ; ' I am grieved I missed him.' 

' You need not grieve, for you will see him to-night. 
So there 's balm for your grief, and another reason 
why you should sup with Lady Oxford.' 

The Parson stepped out more briskly after that, 
and Wogan could not refrain from remarking upon 
his new alacrity. 

' It is after all a very human sort of a world, as 
worlds go,' said he. ' Here's a man with all his hopes 

IS 



226 PARSON KELLY 

crumbling to grave-dust about him, and the mere 
prospect of a quarrel with another man whom he 
has never spoken to, on account of a woman he has 
a great contempt for, will make all his blood flow 
quicker.' For it was evident that, though the Parson 
no longer cared a straw for Smilinda's favours, he 
had not forgiven the man who had supplanted him 
in them. 

At the further end of the street along which they 
walked, one house threw out into the night a great 
blaze of light, and a noise of many voices. As 
Wogan perceived it, a certain improvement upon his 
plan came into his head. 

' George,' said he, as he directed his captive towards 
the house, ' will you resolve me a theological quan- 
dary? Do the doctors of your sect consider as 
binding a promise given to a person of a different 
faith?' 

' Assuredly they do,' cried Kelly. ' Dr. Hooker 
plainly writes — ' 

' I shall take your word for it, without Hooker's 
bond. Next, does your Reverence reckon it immoral 
to shake an elbow on occasion .'' ' 

' Even the very Puritans, at the height of their 
power, doubted if they could proceed against dicers 
by way of the greater excommunication. We read 
that the Chosen People themselves cast lots — whence 
I argue for a permitted latitude.' 

'Well, then, we are opposite the doors of Le 
Queux's Temple of Hazard ; you may hear through 
the windows how the devout are calling the main. 
Now I must take your promise, as you say it is bind- 
ing, to wait here in obedience to your commanding 



PARSON KELLY 227 

officer. A wise leader will ever send out scouts 
to inspect a dangerous pass. I shall reconnoitre at 
Lady Oxford's : proper precautions should never be 
neglected, even in a friendly country. If I do not 
return, or send, in forty minutes by your watch, you 
must follow. All will seem safe.' 

' But, Nick, what if they take you? Sure we had 
best go together.' 

' They will not arrest me alone. You don't loose 
your gun at a rabbit when you are stalking a deer. I 
am not the keeper of secrets, but the King's mere 
servant, to give knocks and to take them. I write 
no letters, and none write them to me. It is Mr. 
Johnson they will be stalking, if anyone at all, never 
fear, and they will not shoot at the rabbit whilst Mr. 
Johnson is out of gunshot. In the meantime, have 
you any money? ' 

' Just enough to pay my chairmen.' 

Mr. Wogan turned his pockets inside out. 

' Then here are ten guineas. In my belief our 
luck must be somewhere, if a man would look for it, 
and it may very well be lurking in the cavern of a 
dice-box. Lose or win, if you hear nothing of 
me, you march forwards and occupy Queen's Square 
in forty minutes. It is ten o'clock now. And if you 
do not join me in forty minutes I walk straight to 
your lodgings and take my chance.' 

' So be it,' said Kelly, pocketing Mr. Wogan's gold, 
and stepping reluctantly into the house of Le Queux. 
Mr. Wogan waited until the door closed upon him, 
and then went on his way alone to Queen's Square. 

He had not displayed the whole face of his pur- 
pose to the Parson. It was not merely to reconnoitrQ 



2 28 PARSON KELLY 

that he pushed forward. The Parson might desire 
an occasion with the Colonel, but Wogan, for Miss 
Townley's sake, meant to meet the Colonel first. 
Betrothed men should not be brawlers, and George 
was hardly a match for the Colonel. 

The Colonel was not, in the nature of things, likely 
to feel well-disposed towards the Parson. The 
ballad would have turned that ill-disposition into a 
genuine hostility. So here was one of the reasons, 
besides the wish to reconnoitre, why Wogan left his 
friend behind him in Le Queux's gaming-rooms. He 
would be the lightning-conductor; he would pick 
a quarrel with the Colonel before Mr. Kelly arrived, 
if by any means that could be brought about. 

Mr. Wogan stopped in the shadow a few yards 
from Lady Oxford's house, and watched. It was a 
night of triumph for Lady Oxford. A score or so of 
link-boys yelled and flashed their torches about the 
portico ; carriages and chairs pressed towards the 
door. Gentlemen with stars upon their velvet coats, 
and ladies altogether swaddled in lace and hoops 
thronged up the steps. But of the possible messen- 
gers for whom Mr. Wogan looked, not one was to 
be seen in any corner. Timidity itself might have 
slept secure. Only a few ragged loiterers stood about 
in the roadway on the look-out for a lace handkerchief 
or a convenient pocket. Wogan crossed the road 
and joined the throng upon the stairs. 

He had carried it off boldly enough at the Deanery, 
and in the street with Kelly, but, as he walked on 
alone, the fumes of the Florence wine escaped from 
the seat of his reasoning faculties. His logic did 
not seem so conclusive, and he felt an ugly double- 



PARSON KELLY 229 

edge on some of his arguments. Thus, the plot had 
certainly been discovered, yet Kelly had not been 
pounced upon. This might be a generosity of Mr. 
Scrope's (who had behaved as handsomely before), 
but again, what if Mr. Kelly's first suspicions were 
true? What if Lady Oxford had learned something? 
What if this rout were intended to enable her to savour 
her revenge for the ballad? The thing was not 
beyond Wogan's power of belief, and the more he 
gazed on this perspective, the less he enjoyed it. 
Under her roof, however, for the sake of her own 
credit, Kelly and he must be safe from arrest. 
Besides it might be that her Ladyship was ignorant 
of the ballad. Reflecting on these doubts, and thank- 
ful for this tender mercy, Wogan's heart was ill at 
ease, though he put on a face of brass. The chatter 
which buzzed at his inattentive ears seemed the most 
impertinent thing in the world. At each step a flow- 
ered petticoat swung against his legs, or a fan, held 
by a hand in a perfumed glove, knocked against his 
elbow, and somehow the fine gentlemen and ladies 
in their fine clothes seemed to him at that moment 
as incongruous as a nightmare. Scraps of gossip 
of which he took no note at the time, for no reason 
whatever stuck in his mind, and he remembered 
them quite clearly afterwards; how that Lady 
Holderness was sunk in all the joys of love, not- 
withstanding she wanted the use of her two hands 
by a rheumatism ; and Mrs. Hervey, revenue from 
such bagatelles as honour and reputation, had 
taken to herself two most fascinating lovers, and 
all the envy of her sex. A shrill lady behind 
Mr. Wogan's shoulder was proposing a general 



230 PARSON KELLY 

act for divorcing all the people of England, so 
that those who pleased might marry again, whereby 
many reputations which stood in dire peril would 
be saved from exposure. Mr. Wogan had much 
ado not to shout ' Hold your tongues, will you? 
Here, maybe, is life and death in the balance.' 

He had got about half-way up the stairs when 
the shrill voice changed its tune, and now Mr. Wogan 
pricked up his ears. 

' You have heard the new ballad? Oh, the 
sweetest, most malicious thing. You must certainly 
hear it. Smilinda, the Parson, and the Colonel. 
You know who Smilinda is? The Parson and the 
Colonel make a guess easy.' She quoted a line or 
two. ' It appears that the Parson has consoled 
himself with Rose, and snaps his fingers at Smilinda. 
Who wrote it? No one but Smilinda's dear friend, 
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, that I will wager. 
'T is the most ingenious thing ; and most ingeniously 
given to the town just at the time when it will sting 
most. Poor Smilinda.' The voice went off into 
a giggle, in the midst of which Mr. Wogan distin- 
guished a name — Lord Sidney Beauclerk's. Mr. 
Wogan would hardly have heeded the name had he 
not heard it again twice before he reached the 
stairhead, and each time in that same conjunction 
with the Parson and the Colonel, and the malicious 
aptness of the ballad. Even then he gave but scanty 
heed to Lord Sidney Beauclerk, for the knowledge 
that the ballad was indeed become the common talk 
occupied his thoughts, and so thoroughly, that it was 
the nearest thing imaginable but he gave his name 
as Mr. Wogan to the lackey who announced him. 



PARSON KELLY 231 

Mr. Hilton, however, was announced, and Mr. 
Hilton stepped through the great doorway into the 
room, and made his bow. At the first he was 
sensible only of a great blaze of light spotted here and 
there with the flames of candles; of a floor pol- 
ished like a mirror, of a throng of misty faces, a 
hubbub of voices, and a gorgeous motley of colours 
like the Turkish bazaars Lady Mary was used to 
describe. Then the faces grew distinct. Mr. Wogan 
noticed one or two of the honest party, who, 
knowing his incognito, threw a startled glance at 
him, and like the rats from the sinking ship, scuttled 
away as soon as his eyes met theirs. 

He looked around him for Lady Oxford. He 
could not see her in the crowd which ebbed and 
flowed about the floor. There were card tables 
set against the walls ; doubtless she would be seated 
at one of them. He glanced down the line of tables 
to his left. He did not see Lady Oxford, but his 
attention was seized by one particular table. It 
stood empty ; a few packs of cards waited upon it for 
the players to handle, but by some strange chance it 
stood empty. It was the one vacant table in the room. 

Mr. Wogan was an Irishman, and now and again 
had his visionary moments, though he said little 
about them. As he looked at that one empty table 
a queer sort of fancy crept into his head, and, to be 
frank, struck something of a chill into his veins. It 
came upon him slowly that the table was not in 
truth empty at all ; that in the midst of this velvet 
company, all jewels and compliments, there sat at 
this table a grey shrouded figure which silently 
awaited its player. 



232 PARSON KELLY 

Mr. Wogan was roused by a touch on his elbow. 

'Mr. Hilton?' 

Mr. Hilton saw a dapper young gentleman at his 
side who looked like nothing so much as a tangle of 
ribbons swept up from a milliner's shop. 

' To be sure,' said Wogan. 

' Her ladyship sits yonder.' 

Mr. Wogan looked. Her ladyship sat with her back 
towards him at the table nearest to that which stood 
empty. She had been screened from his sight by 
the young gentleman now at his elbow. As Wogan 
looked, Lady Oxford turned with an anxious smile and 
a glance beyond his shoulder. The smile, the glance 
braced Mr. Wogan. For doubtless her ladyship 
looked to discover whether the Parson followed in 
his steps. 

He approached Lady Oxford. By her side sat 
Colonel Montague, black as thunder, and with a 
certain uneasy air of humiliation, like a man that 
finds himself ridiculously placed, and yet has not 
the courage to move. Mr. Wogan was encouraged ; 
he could have wished the Colonel in no other mood. 
Mr. Wogan suddenly understood that it was him- 
self who was cast to play with the shrouded figure, and 
the stake was the privilege of crossing swords with 
Montague. 

From the Colonel his eye strayed to a youth who 
stood by Lady Oxford's chair, and the sight of him 
clean took Wogan's breath away. It was not merely 
his face, though even in that bright company he 
shone a planet among stars. Nature, indeed, thought 
Wogan, must have robbed a good many women of 
their due share of looks before she compounded so 



PARSON KELLY 233 

much beauty in the making of one man. But even 
more remarkable than his beauty was his extraor- 
dinary likeness to Wogan's King. At the first glance 
Wogan would have sworn that this youth was the 
King, grown younger, but that he knew his Majesty 
was at Antwerp waiting for the Blow to fall. At 
the second, however, he remarked a difference. The 
youth had the haunting eyes of the Stuarts, only 
they were lit with gaiety and sparkled with success ; 
he had the clear delicate features of the Stuarts, only 
they were rounded out of their rueful length, and 
in place of a sad gravity, were bright with a sunny 
contentment. Misfortune had cast no shadows upon 
the face, had dug no hollows about the eyes. 

Lady Oxford spoke to this paragon, smiled at him, 
drooped towards him. The Colonel shifted a foot, 
set his lips tight and frowned. 

Wogan placed a hand upon his guide's sleeve. 

' Will you tell me, if you please, the name of 
her ladyship's new friend ? ' 

The young gentleman stared at Wogan. 

'Let me perish, Mr. Hilton, but you are strangely 
out of the fashion. Or is it wit thus to affect an 
ignorance of our new conqueror, for whom women 
pine with love and men grow sour with envy? 
But indeed it is wit — ^the most engaging pleasantry. 
'T will make your reputation, Mr. Hilton.' 

' It is pure ignorance,' interrupted Wogan curtly. 

' Indeed? But I cannot bring myself to believe it.' 
He stared at Wogan as though he was gazing at one 
of Dr. Swift's Yahoos. ' Slit my weazand if I can. 
Sir, he is the gold leaf upon the pill of the world. 
For his sake dowagers mince in white and silver, and 



234 PARSON KELLY 

at times he has to take to his bed to protect himself 
from their assiduities.' 

' He has a dangerous face for these times,' again 
Mr. Wogan broke in. 

'Blame his grandmother for that, Mr. Hilton; he 
is of the royal blood. Nell Gwynn of pious memory 
gave his father birth. Our last Charles was his 
grandsire ; he hath Queen Mary's eyes. It is Lord 
Sidney Beauclerk.' 

' I thought as much. He is a very intimate friend 
of her ladyship's ? ' 

' Mr. Hilton, the world is very grassier,' remarked 
his guide, with a smirk. 

Mr. Wogan could have laughed. He understood 
why the Colonel looked so black, why the ballad was 
so maliciously apt, why my Lord Sidney Beauclerk 
was coupled with the Parson and the Colonel in the 
common talk. Her ladyship was taking a new lover. 
Colonel Montague was the crumpled ribbon that has 
done good service but is tossed into the cupboard to 
make way for fresher colours. The ballad was apt 
indeed. Mr. Wogan's spirits rose with a bound- 
Sure here was an occasion for picking a quarrel 
with the Colonel ready to his hand. He bowed 
very low to her ladyship. Her ladyship went on 
punting. 

Colonel Montague looked at him, and then looked 
at him again with the same perplexity which Mr. 
Wogan had found so distasteful one evening in St. 
James's Street three years before; but he said 
nothing. Her ladyship laid down a card and gave 
Mr. Wogan a hand, which he kissed with proper 
ceremony. 



PARSON KELLY 235 

' You have come late, Mr. Hilton,' she said ; ' and 
you have come, it seems — alone ? ' 

' Madam,' replied Wogan, with a glance of great sym- 
pathy towards the Colonel, and in his softest brogue, 
' men are born to loneliness as the sparks fly upward.' 

The Colonel took his meaning, and his face flushed. 
Wogan's spirits rose higher. If only Montague was 
strung to the same pitch of exasperation and injury 
as the Parson had been in the like circumstances! 
The supposition seemed probable. Mr. Wogan could 
have rubbed his hands in sheer content. The 
Colonel, however, made no rejoinder, and Mr. Wogan 
had to amuse himself by watching the play. 

It was little amusement, however, that Mr. Wogan 
got ; on the contrary, as he watched, his fears returned 
to him. Her ladyship was evidently in something of 
a flutter. She did not show her usual severe attention 
to the game. Now she called her black boy Sambo 
to bring her fan; now she would pat her spaniel; 
now she would gaze through the crowd of perruques 
and laces towards the door. Her smile was fixed 
even when she paid her losses, and that was not her 
way, she being a bad loser. She was watching for 
someone, and that someone without a doubt was Mr. 
Kelly. Wogan could not but ask himself with what 
intention she watched. Her ladyship was taking a 
new lover, and for that reason the ballad struck her 
hard — if she knew of it. Smilinda was not the 
woman to forgive the blow. She would assuredly 
blame Kelly for the ballad — if she knew of it. 
Had she lured him here to strike back? She turned 
once more to Mr. Wogan, as though she would 
put some question to him ; but, before she could 



236 PARSON KELLY 

open her lips, a name was bawled up the stairs and 
a sudden hush fell upon the room. The throng in 
the doorway dissolved as if by magic, and between 
the doorway and Lady Oxford's chair a clear path 
was drawn. The name was Lady Mary Wortley 
Montagu's. Everyone then knew of the ballad and 
laid it at Lady Mary's door. Everyone? Mr. Wogan 
asked himself. Did Lady Oxford know? 

Montague frowned and drummed with his knuckles 
on the table; it was the only sound heard in the 
room. Then Lord Sidney noisily thrust back his 
chair, and, stepping past Lady Oxford, stood in the 
open space between her and the door with a frank 
boyish championship for which Mr. Wogan at once 
pitied and liked him. 

The name was passed up the stairs from lackey to 
lackey, growing louder with each repetition. The 
silence was followed by a quick movement which 
ran through the room hke a ripple across a pool, as 
each head was turned towards Lady Oxford to note 
how she would bear herself. She rose, the radiant 
goddess of hospitality. 

' There is no striving, Colonel Montague, against 
this run of luck,' she said, with the most natural ease ; 
' but my dear Lady Mary is come to save me from 
ruin. Mrs. Hewett,' she turned to her opposite, 
' will you be tallier to our table ? The bank is open 
to a bidder. No ? Ah ! ' and she took a step for- 
wards to where her champion was standing apart, his 
hand on his hip, his face raised, ready to encounter 
even so dangerous an antagonist as Lady Mary, ' my 
Lord Sidney Beau clerk, you are not afraid?' He 
looked at her, from her to the door. ' I am your 



PARSON KELLY 237 

servant,' said she, with her eyelids half-closed over her 
eyes, ' your grateful servant,' and she motioned him to 
the table ; ' for, being a woman, I positively die to hear 
what new scandal dear Lady Mary has set on foot.' 

She spoke with an affectionate compassion for 
Lady Mary's foible and an air of innocence which 
quite took aback the most part of her guests. Mr. 
Wogan, however, was better acquainted with her lady- 
ship's resources, and, wishing to know for certain 
whether Lady Oxford knew of the ballad ; 

' I can satisfy your ladyship's curiosity,' he said 
bluntly ; and with that the noise of the room sank to 
silence again. He was still standing by the card- 
table. Lady Oxford turned about to him something 
quickly. It may be she was disconcerted, or that 
anger got the upper hand with her. At all events, 
for an instant she dropped the mask. She gave 
Wogan one look; he never remembers, in all the . 
strange incidents of his life, to have seen eyes so 
hard, so cold, and so cruel, or a face so venomous. 
In a second the look was gone, and the prettiest smile 
of inquiry was softening about her mouth. ' There 
is a new poem, is there not, from Lady Mary's kind 
muse? ' said Wogan. 

'A new poem ! ' cried she. ' Let us hear it, I pray. 
It would be the worst of ill-breeding had I not 
knowledge enough to congratulate my friend. The 
happy subject of the poem, Mr. Hilton?' 

Lady Oxford took a step towards him. She was 
all courtesy and politene.ss, but Mr. Wogan, while 
he recognised her bravery, had her look of a second 
ago very distinct before his eyes, and was in no mood 
for pity. He bowed with no less courtesy. 



238 PARSON KELLY 

' It is thought to be an allegory,' he said, ' wherein 
the arm of flesh is preferred before a spiritual — 
Blade. 

The rejoinder, as it seemed, was approved, for the 
ladies whispered behind their fans, and here and there 
a man checked a laugh. Lady Oxford met the 
thrust with all the appearances of unconcern. 

'And tagged with Latin, Mr. Hilton?' she asked. 
That was enough for Mr. Wogan. Lady Oxford 
knew the ballad, and gave it to Lady Mary. Without 
a doubt she must believe Mr. Kelly supplied Lady 
Mary with the matter of it. ' Of a truth the ballad 
will be tagged with Latin. Sure Lady Mary has 
scholars enough among her friends who would not 
let her wit go naked when a scrap of Latin could 
cover it decently — indeed, too decently at times, for, 
though we always see the Latin, one is hard put 
to it now and then to discover the wit. Do you not 
think so, Mr. — Hilton?' She paused ever so 
slightly before the name, and ever so slightly drawled 
it, with just a hint of menace in her accent. Mr. 
Hilton, none the less, got a clear enough knowledge 
of the dangerous game he was playing. Lady Oxford 
had but to say ' Mr. Wogan,' and it would not be 
Mr. Wogan who would have the chance of playing 
a hand with the figure at the empty table. 

Lady Mary's name was now called out from the 
doorway, and Mr. Wogan was glad enough to leave 
the encounter to her worthier hands. Lady Mary 
sailed into the room; Lady Oxford swam forwards 
to meet her. The two ladies dissolved almost in 
smiles and courtesies. 

'We were in despair, dearest Lady Mary; we 



PARSON KELLY 239 

feared you would baulk us of your company. 
France, they said, was happy in your sunshine.' 

' France, madam ? ' asked Lady Mary. 

' It was your dear friend, Mr. Pope, who said you 
had withdrawn thither — la, in the strangest hurry ! ' 

' Indeed, very like ! I denied Mr. Pope my door 
two days ago, and his vanity could only conceive 
I was gone abroad.' 

'Your ladyship was wise. A poet's tongue wags 
most indiscreetly. Not that anyone believes those 
fanciful creatures. A romance of a — a M. R^mond 
for whom you should have placed money in the sink- 
ing South Sea; the Frenchman arriving in London 
in a hurry ; Lady Mary in a hurry arriving in France ; 
a kind of country dance figure of partners crossing. 
A story indubitably false, to the knowledge of all 
your ladyship's friends, as I took occasion to say at 
more than one house where the rumour was put 
about.' 

Lady Oxford had scored the first point in the 
game, as Wogan reckoned and marked ' Fifteen — 
love ' with chagrin. However, he took some comfort 
from Lady Mary's face, which was grown dangerously 
sweet and good-natured. Nor was his confidence 
vain, for Lady Mary did more than hold her 
ground. 

' Your ladyship's good will,' said she, ' is my 
sufficient defence. My Lord Oxford is here? It is 
long since I paid him my respects.' 

' Alas, my dear Lord has lain these last six weeks 
at Brampton Bryan,' sighed Lady Oxford, ' with a 
monstrous big toe all swathed in flannel. Your lady- 
ship, I fear, can only greet: my husband by proxy.' 



240 PARSON KELLY 

There was just a sparkle of triumph in Lady Mary's 
eyes. 

' By proxy ! ' she said ; ' with all the willingness in 
the world ; ' and she swept a courtesy to Colonel 
Montague, who was coming forward to join them. 

Lady Oxford flirted her fan before her face. 

A murmur almost of applause ran from group to 
group of the company. 

Mr. Wogan, who loved the game of tennis, marked 
' Fifteen — all.' 

At that moment a clock upon the mantelshelf 
chimed the half-hour. In fifteen minutes the Parson 
would arrive, and Mr. Wogan had not played his 
hand. He moved a few yards from the table at 
which Lord Sidney Beauclerk, with his eyes upon 
Lady Oxford, was dealing the cards, and stood apart 
by the empty table, wondering how he should do. 
He picked up a pack of cards idly, and Lady Mary 
spoke again to Lady Oxford : 

' I interrupted your ladyship's game.' 

' Nay, your coming was the most welcome diversion. 
Colonel Montague,' said Lady Oxford, as she was glid- 
ing back to her table, ' shared my bank, and played 
with the worst of luck. I declare the Colonel has 
ruined me;' and so retired out of range of Lady 
Mary's guns. 

The Colonel followed Lady Oxford. Lady Mary 
turned to Mr. Wogan, and in a voice loud enough 
for others than Mr. Wogan to hear: 

' What ! ' said she, ' was Lady Oxford ruined by 
Colonel Montague ? I did not think their acquaint- 
ance was of so old a standing.' 

' Thirty — fifteen,' said Mr, Wogan in an abstraction. 



PARSON KELLY 241 

Lady Mary stared. 

' I was but marking the game and scoring points 
to your ladyship/ Wogan said. 

Colonel Montague had heard Lady Mary's sally, for 
he stopped. Lord Sidney Beauclerk had heard it, for 
he rose as though to mark his disbelief, and handed 
Lady Oxford to her chair with a sort of air of pro- 
tection very pretty in the boy. It seemed, indeed, 
as though even Lady Oxford was touched, for 
her face was half turned towards Mr. Wogan, and 
he saw it soften with something like pity and her 
eyes swam for an instant in tears. It was new, no 
doubt, for the spider to feel compassion for the fly, 
but Mr. Wogan was not altogether surprised, for he 
began to find the fly very much to his own taste. 
It was a clean-limbed, generous lad, that looked 
mighty handsome in the bravery of his pink satin 
coat, and without one foppish aff'ectation from his 
top-knot to his shoe-buckles. 

Mr. Wogan was still holding the pack of cards in 
his hands. 

' You have a mind to play? ' asked Lady Mary. 
Wogan looked at the clock. He had only fif- 
teen minutes for his business as lightning conductor. 
In fifteen minutes the Parson would be here. 

' If you will present me to the player I have a mind 
to play with,' said he, dropping the pack on the 
table. 

' With all my heart,' said she ; ' name him.' 
' Colonel Montague.' 

Her ladyship looked at Wogan doubtfully, and 
beckoned the Colonel with her fan. The Colonel, 
who had his own feud with Lady Mary over the 

i6 



242 PARSON KELLY 

supposed authorship of the ballad, made as though 
he had not seen her summons. Lady Mary repeated 
it with no better result, and finally took a step or 
two towards him. Montague could no longer affect 
to misunderstand. 

' I wish to present you to a friend,' she said, as 
Colonel Montague joined her. 

'If your ladyship will excuse me,' said the Colonel 
coldly, ■ I have no taste for the acquaintance of 
Irish adventurers.' 

Mr. Wogan was not out of earshot, and laughed 
gleefully as he caught the insult. Here was his 
opportunity, come in the nick of time. 

' Did anyone mention me ? ' he said pleasantly, as 
he came round the card-table. But before the 
Colonel could answer, or Lady Mary interfere, the 
servant at the door announced : 

' Dr. and Miss Townley ! ' 

Wogan's heart gave a leap. He swore beneath his 
breath. 

'Miss Townley?' asked her ladyship, who had 
caught his oath. 

' Is Rose, the Rose,' replied Wogan. 

Lady Mary knew the ballad, knew who Rose was, 
and looked perplexed as to why Lady Oxford had 
asked the girl. Mr. Wogan, on the other hand, was no 
longer perplexed at all. His doubt was now a certainty. 
Lady Oxford had prepared a scenic revenge, a coup 
de theatre. To this end, and to prove her ignorance 
of the ballad, she had invited Kelly, Montague, 
and Rose. 

Of the coup de thMtre her ladyship had got more 
than she bargained for. On her bosom Miss Townley 



PARSON KELLY 243 

wore diamonds that caught the eye even in that 
Aladdin's treasure house of shining stones, and 
among the diamonds the portrait of Lady Oxford. 
Her ladyship saw it, and grew white as marble. 
Miss Townley saw Lady Oxford, knew the face of 
the miniature that she had thought was the Queen's, 
and blushed like the dawn. Her hand flew to her 
neck as she courtesied deep to Lady Oxford's 
courtesy ; when she rose, by some miracle of female 
skill, the miniature and the diamonds had vanished. 
Rising at the same moment. Lady Oxford looked 
herself again. But the women understood each 
other now, and, as they purred forth their politesses, 
Wogan knew that the buttons were off the foils. 

He had his own game to play, that would brook 
no waiting, and he played it without pause. Lady 
Mary had moved towards the door. Colonel Mon- 
tague was gliding back to his old position near 
Lord Sidney. Wogan followed Colonel Montague 
and stopped him. 

' Sir,' said he, in a low brogue, ' I fancied that I 
caught a little word of yours that reflected on me 
counthry and me honour.' 

' For your country, sir,' replied the Colonel 
politely,' 'your speech bewrayeth you, but the 
habitation of your honour is less discernible.' 

"Faith, Colonel,' said Wogan, who found his 
plan answering to his highest expectations, ' you are 
so ready with your tongue that you might be quali- 
fying for an Irishman. Doubtless you are as ready 
to take a quiet little walk, in which case I shall be 
most happy to show you where my honour inhabits. 
But, to speak the plain truth, it is somewhat too near 



244 PARSON KELLY 

the point of my sword to make Lady Oxford's 
drawing-room a convenient place for the exhibition.' 

Colonel Montague smiled at the pleasantry in 
an agreeable way which quite went to Wogan's 
heart. 

' With all the goodwill imaginable,' said he, ' I will 
take that walk with you to-morrow,' and he made 
a bow and turned away. 

' But Colonel,' said Wogan in some disappointment, 
' why not to-night? ' 

'There are certain formalities. For instance, I was 
not fortunate enough to catch your name.' 

' 'T is as ancient as any in Ireland,' cried Wogan, 
in a heat, quite forgetting his incognito. ' My fore- 
fathers — ' 

' Ah, sir, they were kings, no doubt,' interrupted 
Montague with the gravest politeness. 

' No, sir, viceroys only,' answered Wogan with 
indifference, ' up to Edward L' 

' Your Highness,' said the Colonel, and he bowed 
to the ground, ' I reckon to-morrow a more suitable 
time.' 

Mr. Wogan was tickled out of his ill-humour, 
and began to warm to the man. 

' Sure, Colonel, you and I will be the best of good 
friends after I have killed you, and for the love of 
mercy let that be to-night. Look ! ' and stepping 
to the window he drew aside the curtain. ' Look,' 
said he, peering out, ' it is the sweetest moonlight 
that ever kissed a sword-blade ! Oh, to-night, 
Colonel ! ' Then he dropped the curtain some- 
thing suddenly. He had seen a face in the street. 
'You prefer sunlight? Very well, sir. But you will 



PARSON KELLY 245 

acknowledge that to-morrow I have the earliest claims 
on your leisure.' 

Colonel Montague bowed. 

' The word, you will remember, was an Irish 
adventurer.' Wogan impressed it upon him. 

' Sir, I am wedded to the phrase. You will send 
your friend to my lodgings at Mrs. Kilburne's, in 
Ryder Street' 

' Mrs. Kilburne's ! ' exclaimed Wogan. 

Wogan might have guessed as much had he 
used his brains. It was at the corner of Ryder 
Street that he had plumped upon Montague when 
he came down to London from Glenshiel. It was 
under a portico in Ryder Street that the Parson and 
he had seen Montague on the night they had driven 
out on the first journey to Brampton Bryan. It was 
at Mrs. Kilburne's door that Wogan had seen 
Montague that afternoon. The Colonel was her fine 
gentleman upon the first floor. Sure, the Parson had 
the worst luck in the world. At all events, the 
Colonel was a gentleman. Wogan consoled himself 
with that reflection as he thought of Mr. Kelly's 
despatch box in the scrutoire of his parlour below 
the Colonel's rooms. 

That thought led Wogan's eyes again to the clock. 
It was half an hour past ten. The Parson was due 
in ten minutes. 

' Good-bye t' ye, Colonel,' he said hastily to 
Montague, as he turned towards the door. He 
almost knocked against Rose, who was standing 
close by his elbow. She made an effort to detain 
him ; he breathed a word of apology. It did not 
occur to him then that she might have overheard 



246 PARSON KELLY 

his conversation with the Colonel. He hurried past 
Lady Oxford and Dr. Townley, who was talking 
of his schooldays, when he knew Lord Oxford. 

' Mr. Hilton,' cried her ladyship. Mr. Hilton was 
deaf as a bed-post. For when he had looked out 
of the window at the moonlight he had seen a face in 
the roadway of which the Parson should have knowl- 
edge before he reached the house. It was that face 
which had made him drop the curtain so quickly 
and fall in so quickly with the Colonel's objections. 
A link-boy's torch had flashed for a second upon a 
man on the other side of the road, and his face was 
Scrope's. Scrope was watching the house. 

Wogan pressed through the throng towards the 
door, but before he could reach it a firm hand closed 
upon his arm. He looked round. Lord Sidney 
Beauclerk was .standing by his side with a flushed, 
angry face. 

' A word with you, Mr. Hilton ! ' 

' A hundred, my lord, in half an hour,' said Wogan, 
and shook himself free. He must warn the Parson 
and turn him back from the house. But he was too 
late. In the doorway of the house he met Mr. Kelly, 
whose face wore a singular air of content. And on 
the other side of the road stood Scrope with his head 
turned towards the doorway. Scrope knew that the 
Parson had come. 

Mr. Wogan took Kelly's arm, and led him to the 
shady side of the street, out of the noisy crowd of 
lackeys and link-boys. 

' Those divines err,' said Kelly, ' who condemn the 
occasional casting of lots. It is not an ill game.' 

' Then you found our lurking luck? ' 



PARSON KELLY 247 

' Six rouleaux of gold,' said Mr. Kelly, tenderly 
caressing his pocket. 

' The sinews of war, and we are like to need them.' 

' Then the coast is not clear? ' 

' Clear ! ' said Wogan, ' there is every sign of 
thunder, wind, and earthquake. First, Montague is 
here ! ' 

'And here is his Capulet! ' said Kelly smiling. 

Wogan smiled too, having secured his duel with 
the Colonel. 

' Then Miss Townley is here, and, George, she was 
wearing my lady's miniature. The women know each 
other.' 

George's mouth opened, and his utterance was 
stayed. Then, 

' It is a trap. I go home,' he said. Despair spoke 
in his voice. 

' No ! ' Mr. Wogan's plans had changed. 

'Why not? I have no more to lose, and my duty 
to do.' 

' You do not go home, for Scrope is watching the 
house. He has seen you come. He is behind us 
now.' Mr. Kelly's hand went to his sword, but 
Wogan checked him. ' Don't let him think you know. 
We must leave the house together, and your duty is 
to be just now where Miss Townley is. Be quick ! ' 

The argument had weight with Mr. Kelly. Wogan 
had his reasons for advancing it. If they went away 
together, later, Wogan could engage Mr. Scrope's 
attentions while the Parson went safely on to Ryder 
Street. The two passed out of the shade, but not 
before George had placed his hand in Wogan's. His 
hand was cold as ice. 



CHAPTER XVII 

LADY oxford's 'COUP DE THEATRE.' 

The Parson, when the two friends had climbed the 
crowded stairs, began making his way towards his 
fate and Lady Oxford's table, with a smile on his 
face. He did not see Rose, who was a little apart, 
hidden from him by a group of strangers. Wogan 
was about joining her, when a woman's voice whis- 
pered in his ear : 

' You are mad ! ' 

The voice was Lady Mary's. 

' You are mad, both of you ! He should be half- 
way to the coast by now. What brings him here? 
I wrote, or rather I sent to him.' 

' True,' said Wogan, remembering the letter which 
he had picked up in the Parson's lodging, and slipped 
into his pocket. It had been thrust clean out of his 
mind at the Deanery by those more pressing ques- 
tions as to how the Blow had been discovered, and 
how they were to escape from the consequences of 
the discovery. He drew it out, still sealed up. 

' He has not opened it?' she asked. 

' He has not seen it,' replied Wogan, who began to 
fear from her ladyship's discomposure that the letter 
held news of an urgent importance. She took the 
letter from his hands, and broke the seal. 



PARSON KELLY 249 

' This was my message,' she said. There was no 
scrap of writing in the letter, but a feather from a 
bird's wing: it meant " Fly ! " 

' The feather is white,' said Wogan. He could not 
have mounted it.' 

' He loses his life.' 

' Perhaps, but he keeps his honour. There is some- 
thing that he must do in London if by any means he 
can. He must burn the papers at his lodgings and 
the best hope lies in audacity.' 

Mr. Wogan tore up the sheet on which her lady- 
ship had written Mr. Johnson's name into fragments 
too minute for anyone to piece them together again. 

' This proof of your good will,' said he, ' shall not 
rise in judgment against you.' 

' But you ? ' said Lady Mary. ' Why do you stay ? ' 

Wogan laughed. 

' For one thing, I have a little business of my own 
to settle, and — well — ' 

' And,' said she, ' your friend 's in danger.' 

She spoke with so much kindliness that Mr. Wogan 
felt a trifle awkward, and turned his eyes from her 
face. He saw that Rose still stood alone, though 
many of the gallants eyed her through their quizzing- 
glasses. 

' Lady Mary,' he said, ' you have the kindest 
heart ! ' 

' Hush ! Whisper it,' she replied, ' or you will 
destroy my reputation. What service would you 
have me do now?' 

'You see Miss Rose? You have read a certain 
ballad which the ignorant give to your ladyship? 
And you know Lady Oxford. It is Miss Rose 



25° PARSON KELLY 

Townley's first visit to this house, and one cannot 
believe that Lady Oxford asked her with any amiable 
intention.' 

'And I am to be Lady Oxford's spoil-sport?' 

' It has gone beyond sport. At this moment her 
ladyship has murder in her mind. The girl entered 
the room wearing our hostess's portrait in diamonds,' 
and he told her shortly how she came to wear it. 

Lady Mary looked her horror. 

' She has hidden it, but you will not leave the 
girl?' 

Lady Mary nodded, her lips tight closed. 

Wogan presented the girl. Lady Mary made 
room for her at her side, and Wogan only heard her 
say, ' My dear, be brave, you tremble.' 

What else passed, Wogan did not desire to hear. 
Lady Mary had faults, they say, as a woman, but she 
was of a manlike courage, and her's was the friend- 
ship of a man. Never did woman need it more than 
Miss Townley, and never, sure, was counsel and com- 
fort wiser and kinder than that which, Wogan knew 
later. Lady Mary gave to the angry, frightened, and 
bewildered girl. 

Lady Mary's credentials were Wogan's name ; the 
girl could not suspect them. How had she come 
hither? Lady Oxford had invited her father. Rose 
said, as a schoolfellow of my lord's, and had asked, 
too, for the daughter's company. Then the young lady 
was lured, her new friend said, by a wicked woman 
for a cruel purpose. That purpose, whatever it was, 
and neither Wogan nor Kelly nor Lady Mary could 
do more than guess, must be defeated at any cost 
— at all costs. Lady Mary glanced at the guilt 



PARSON KELLY 251 

and guilelessness of our sex. Kelly, too, had been 
entrapped, before he knew Rose, but that was ended. 
Lady Mary certainly knew; it was ended, however 
things appeared. According to men's notions, he 
was compelled to lie to Rose about the miniature. 
Now Miss Townley might, if she chose, give Kelly 
his congS to-morrow. To-night she must know 
nothing, see nothing, bear no grudge, be staunch ; 
she owed it to her honour, to the honour of her 
sex, to Kelly's very life, and to her revenge, if she 
craved for one, on the false enchantress. That was 
Lady Mary's sermon. And the lesson was needed. 
She reported it later to Wogan who, at this moment, 
was following the Parson with all his eyes. 

Lady Oxford at the card-table was greeting Kelly 
with a conspicuous kindness. Her smile was one 
wide welcome. 

' My dear Mr. Johnson,' she said, ' you are grateful 
as flowers worked on the very finest Alen^on. Sure 
you bring me those laces for which I gave you a 
commission in Paris, and the lutestring from my Lady 
Mar.' 

Mr. Kelly murmured a word that the laces were 
below, and he hoped her ladyship would be satisfied. 
But his eyes searched the room all the time for Rose, 
whom he could not see. 

' You shall show me them ! ' cried Lady Oxford ; 
' but first you must bring me luck. Mr. Johnson and 
I were always lucky before he went abroad.' She 
spoke with a provoking smile at Colonel Montague, 
and then shot a quick glance at Lord Sidney Beau- 
clerk, who was now risen from the table, and stood 
in a window watching her, 



252 PARSON KELLY 

The glance said plain as writing, ' You understand. 
I have to face out the ballad. I can trust you.' 
Wogan's blood boiled as he noticed and read the 
look, for it was just that tender appeal to her lover's 
faith which always brought about the lover's undoing. 
Lord Sidney's young face flushed with pride at the 
trust she reposed in him, and she continued to Kelly: 

' Look over my hand, Mr. Johnson ; you must not 
leave me. What card shall I choose? You, Colonel 
Montague, I discard you. I appoint you to the 
Commissariat, run and see that Lady Rich does not 
starve. She is leaving her party with the air of a 
loser, and needs the comforts of chicken and cham- 
pagne. But first let me make you better acquainted 
with the gentleman who supersedes you. Mr. John- 
son, the right-hand man of my dear Bishop of 
Rochester.' There she stopped short in a pretty 
confusion, as though the words had slipped from her 
lips against her will. 

' Who should be thrown to the lions,' growled the 
Colonel to himself, and added gruffly, ' Mr. Johnson 
and I have met before.' 

The Colonel turned his broad scarlet back with the 
ghost of a bow, and went reluctantly to Lady Rich, 
a mature matron, dressed to kill, in virginal white. 
Wogan watched them out of the door, and was again 
turning back to the card-table, when again Lord 
Sidney Beauclerk's hand was laid on his sleeve. 

' A word with you, Mr. Hilton,' said he in a hard 
voice. 

' When the half-hour is past, my lord,' said Wogan, 
looking at his watch. ' There are still eight minutes 
and a few seconds.' 



PARSON KELLY 253 

' I will set my watch by yours,' said the lad with 
great dignity; which he did, and went back to his 
corner. 

Mr. Johnson's welcome, meanwhile, was as that of 
the prodigal swain. He made more than one effort 
to slip from her side and go in search of Rose, but 
Lady Oxford would not let him go. She had eyes 
only for him, eyes to caress. Many curious people 
watched the scene as at a play. All the town knew 
the ballad, and here was Lady Oxford's reply. Mr. 
Johnson and Lady Oxford were to all seeming the 
best of friends, and no more than friends, for was not 
Miss Townley in the room to testify the limits of their 
friendship ? 

A shifting of the groups gave Wogan suddenly a 
view of Rose Townley. She was still talking with 
Lady Mary, or rather she was still listening to her, 
and threw in now and again a short reply. But she 
spoke with an occupied air, and her eyes were drawn 
ever towards the card-table at which Lady Oxford 
was practising her blandishments on the Parson. 
Then to Wogan's relief a few ladies and gentlemen 
stepped between, and the living screen hid him from 
her view. 

At this moment Lady Oxford lost heavily. 

'An ace? Sonica! I am bankrupt!' she cried, 
and rising from the table she addressed the Parson. 
' Mr. Johnson, you bring me no better luck than did 
the Colonel. I must console myself with private talk, 
and news of lace and lutestring. What have you 
brought me? Come, I positively die to see,' and so, 
with her sweetest smile, she carried off the Parson. 

It was thus she had wrought on that first night 



254 PARSON KELLY 

when Kelly met the Colonel, but there was a mighty 
difference in Kelly's demeanour. Then he had given 
her his arm with the proudest gallantry. Now her 
ladyship went out of her way to lead him past Rose, 
where she sat with Lady Mary. He threw an implor- 
ing glance at the girl, and followed in Lady Oxford's 
wake, the very figure of discomfort. 

Fine smiles rippled silently round the company as 
the pair made their way to the door. Rose watched 
them, her face grown very hard and white, but she said 
no word until they had gone. She stood motionless, 
except that her bosom rose and fell quickly. Then 
she turned to Lady Mary. 

' I must bid your ladyship good-night,' she said ; 
' I have stayed too long.' 

Pride kept her voice clear, her words steady, but it 
could not mask the pain of her face. 

' What ails you, child? You must smile. Smile ! ' 
whispered Lady Mary. But Rose was struck too 
hard. She lowered her eyes and fixed them on the 
floor to hide the humiUation they expressed, but she 
could not smile. She tried, but no more came of it 
than a quiver at the corners of her lips, and then she 
set her mouth firmly, as though she could not trust 
herself. 

' I thought I had persuaded you,' whispered Lady 
Mary. ' It is for honour, it is for life, his life. Ap- 
pearances are nothing. You must stay.' 

' I thank your ladyship, who is most kind. I will 
stay,' said the girl. Her face flushed purely with a 
delicate, proud anger. 

Lady Mary presented her to some of her friends, 
with whom Rose bore herself bravely. Wogan 



PARSON KELLY 255 

saw that she had taken her part, and blessed Lady- 
Mary. 

He had followed Lady Oxford and the Parson out 
of the room, and leaned over the balusters while they 
descended the stairs. It was an ominous business, 
this summons of Lady Oxford. Why must she carry 
him off alone with her ? What blow had she to strike ? 
Mr. Wogan was not surprised that Kelly had turned 
pale, and though he held his head erect, had none 
the less the air of one led to the sacrifice. To make 
the matter yet more ominous, Lady Oxford herself 
seemed in a flutter of excitement; her colour was 
heightened ; she sparkled with even more than her 
usual beauty ; her tongue rattled with even more than 
its usual liveliness. 

Half-way down the stairs she met Lady Rich and 
Colonel Montague mounting. Lady Oxford stopped 
and spoke to the Colonel. Mr. Wogan caught a 
word or two, such as ' Miss Townley — the poor girl 
knows no one.' Kelly started a little ; the Colonel 
sullenly bowed. Lady Oxford, leaning upon Mr. 
Kelly's arm in order to provoke the Colonel, must 
needs in pity bid the Colonel wait upon Rose in 
order to provoke Mr. Kelly. There Wogan recog- 
nised her ladyship's refinements. 

The pair passed down to the foot of the stairs. To 
the right of the staircase a door gave on to that little 
room into which Kelly had led Lady Oxford on the 
night of the Masquerade. Lady Oxford left his arm 
and went towards it. 

Kelly remained standing by the stairs, very still. It 
was in this room that Lady Oxford had discovered 
the Chevalier's likeness in the lid of the snuff-box, and 



256 PARSON KELLY 

had deceived George into the belief that she was, heart 
and soul, as deep in the Cause as he. It was that 
room which had witnessed the beginnings of the his- 
tory. Now it seemed it was like to see the end. 

Kelly looked up the stairs and saw Wogan's face. 
He smiled, in a quiet, hopeless way, and then Lady 
Oxford threw open the door. She turned back to 
Kelly, a languorous smile upon her lips, a tender light 
in her eyes. Neither the smile nor the look had 
power to beguile the two men any longer. Kelly 
stepped forwards to her like a man that is tired. 
Wogan had again the queer sense of incongruity. 
Behind him voices laughed and chattered, in some 
room to his left music sounded ; and here at the foot 
of the stairs was a woman all smiles and graces play- 
ing with Life and Death as a child with toys. 

The pair passed into the room. The door shut 
behind them. The click of the latch is one of the 
things Wogan never will forget. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

WHEREIN A NEW FLY DISCOURSES ON THE INNO- 
CENCE OF THE spider's WEB 

WOGAN was still leaning on the rail of the balus- 
trade when a watch was held beneath his nose. 

'The half-hour is gone, Mr. Hilton,' said Lord 
Sidney Beauclerk. 

' True,' said Wogan, ' it is now a quarter past eleven.' 
His eyes moved from the watch to the closed door. 
' Half an hour, my lord,' he mused, ' a small trifle of 
minutes. You may measure it by grains of sand, 
but, if you will, for each grain of sand you may 
count a life.' 

' You hit my sentiments to a nicety.' 

Lord Sidney spoke with a grave significance which 
roused Wogan from his reflections. The lad's face 
was hard; his eyes gloomy and fierce. Wogan re- 
membered that, when Lord Sidney had spoken be- 
fore, he had not seemed in the best of good humour. 

' My lord,' he said, ' we can hardly talk with com- 
fort here in the doorway.' He led the way back into 
the inner withdrawing-room and across the room to 
the recess of a window. 

' Here we shall be private,' he said. 

'Mr. Hilton, you spoke a little while ago of a 
ballad, wherein, to use your words, the arm of flesh 

17 



258 PARSON KELLY 

was preferred to a spiritual Blade. That may have 
been wit, of which I do not profess to be the judge. 
But you aimed an insult at a woman, and any man 
may claim to be the judge of that.' 

' My lord,' answered Wogan gently, ' you do not 
know the woman. I could wish you never will.' 

Lord Sidney laughed with a sharp scorn which 
brought the blood into Wogan's face. It was plain 
the remark was counted an evasion. 

' At all events I know an insult when I hear it. 
Let us keep to the insult, Mr. Hilton. It reaped its 
reward, for here and there a coward smirked his 
applause.' Lord Sidney's voice began to tremble 
with passion. ' But it has yet to be paid for. You 
must pay for it to me,' and, since Wogan kept silence, 
his passion of a sudden got the upper hand, and in a 
low quick voice — there was as much pain as anger 
in it — ' It hurts me,' he said, clenching his hands, ' it 
positively hurts me. Here is a woman ' — he stopped 
in full flight, and blushed with a youthful sort of 
shame at his eloquence — ' a woman, sir, in a word, 
and you must torture her with your brave sneers and 
she must wear a smiling face while her heart bleeds ! 
Mr. Hilton, are you a man? Why, then, so am I, 
and it humiliates me that we should both be men. 
The humiliation will not pass even after,' and he 
drew a breath in through his shut teeth, 'after I have 
killed you.' 

Mr. Wogan had listened to the outburst with all 
the respect he thought due to a boy's frank faith. 
A boy — Wogan's years were not many more than 
his, but he had seen mankind, and marvelled how 
they will trust a woman who, they know, has fooled 



PARSON KELLY 259 

one man, if but a husband. But, at Lord Sidney's 
talk of killing him, Wogan sank the philosopher and 
could not repress a grin. 

' Kill me, my young friend ; ne fait ce tour qui veut,' 
he said ; ' but sure you may try if you will. You 
will not be the first who has tried.' 

' I have no doubt of that,' said Lord Sidney gravely, 
' and you will oblige me by using another word. I 
may be young, Mr. Hilton, but I thank God I am 
not your friend.' 

There was a dignity, a sincerity in his manner 
which to Mr. Wogan's ears robbed the speech of all 
impertinence. Wogan simply bowed and said : 

' If you will send your friend to Burton's Coffee 
House in the morning ' 

' To Burton's Coffee House.' 

Lord Sidney turned away. Mr. Wogan drew aside 
the curtain of the window and stared out into the 
night with an unusual discontent. Across the road 
Mr. Scrope was still lurking in the shadow — a hired 
spy. Very like, he had once been just such another 
honest lad, with just the same chivalry, before my 
lady cast her covetous eyes on him. Downstairs 
in the little room the Parson was fighting, for the 
Cause, for his sweetheart, for his liberty, and maybe 
for his life, with little prospect of a safe issue. It 
seemed a pity that Lord Sidney Beauclerk should be 
wasted too. 

' My lord,' said Wogan, calling after Lord Sidney. 
And Lord Sidney came back. Wogan was still hold- 
ing the curtain aside ; he had some vague thought of 
relating Scrope's history, but his first glance at Lord 
Sidney's face showed to him it would not avail. 



26o PARSON KELLY 

Lord Sidney would disbelieve it utterly. Wogan 
dropped the curtain. 

' How old is your lordship ? ' he asked. 

Lord Sidney looked surprised, as well he might, 
and then blushed for his youth. 

' I am twenty,' he said, ' and some months,' with 
considerable emphasis on the months as though they 
made a world of difference. 

' Ah,' replied Wogan, ' I am of the century's age, 
twenty-two and some more months. You are aston- 
ished, my lord. But when I was fifteen I fought in 
battles.' 

'Was it to tell me this you called me back?' 

' No,' said Wogan solemnly, ' but you meet me to- 
morrow. I am not sure that I could do you better 
service than by taking care that you meet no one 
afterwards. It was that I had to tell you,' and he 
added with a smile, ' but I do not think I shall bring 
myself to do you that service.' 

Lord Sidney's face changed a little from its formal 
politeness. He eyed Mr. Wogan as though for a mo- 
ment he doubted whether he had not mistaken his 
man. Then he said : 

' In a duel, Mr. Hilton, there are two who fight.' 

'Not always, my lord. Sometimes there is one 
who only defends,' and with that they parted. Clam- 
orous dames took Lord Sidney captive. Wogan 
looked at his watch. Five minutes had passed since 
that latch had clicked. He strolled out of the room 
to the stairs. The door was still shut. He came 
back into the room and stood by Lady Mary, who 
was describing to Rose the characters of those who 
passed by. She looked anxiously at Wogan, 



PARSON KELLY 261 

who had no comforting news and shook his head, 
but she did not cease from her rattle. 

' And here comes Colonel Montague with a yellow 
bundle of bones tied up in parchment,' she cried. 
Lady Rich was the bundle of bones in parchment. 
'Colonel Montague — well, my dear, he is a gallant 
officer in the King's guards who fought at Preston, 
and he owes his life to a noisy Irish boy who has 
since grown out of all recognition.' 

Here Rose suddenly looked up at Wogan. 

' It was this Colonel Montague you saved ! ' said 
she. 

' Hush,' whispered Wogan, who had his own 
reasons for wishing the Colonel should discover 
nothing upon that head. ' Remember, if you please, 
that my name is Hilton.' 

Colonel Montague led Lady Rich to the sofa. 

' Colonel, has fortune deserted you that you look 
so glum ? ' asked Lady Mary. 

* I am on the losing hand indeed, your ladyship, 
to-night,' said Montague bitterly. 

' Well, malheureux en jeu! said her ladyship 
maliciously, ' you may take comfort from the rest of 
the proverb.' 

Lady Rich shook her rose-coloured ribbons, a 
girlish simpleton of forty summers. 

'I am vastly ashamed of being so prodigiously 
ignorant,' said she. ' I daresay I ask a mighty silly 
question, but what is the rest? ' 

' French, my dear, and it means that fifteen years 
is the properest age for a woman to continue at, but 
why need one be five ? ' 

Colonel Montague smiled grimly. Mr. Wogan 



262 PARSON KELLV 

stifled a laugh. Lady Rich looked somewhat 
disconcerted. 

' Oh, is that a proverb ? ' said she with a minauderie. 
' I shall dote on proverbs,' and so she simpered out 
of range. 

Lady Mary lifted up her hands. 

' Regardez cet animal ! ' she cried ; ' consid^rez ce 
niant. There 's a pretty soul to be immortal.' 

' Your ladyship is cruel,' said Rose in remonstrance. 

' Nay, my dear, it is the only way to keep her 
quiet. My Lady Rich is like a top that hums sense- 
lessly. You must whip it hard enough and then it 
goes to sleep and makes no noise. Mr. Hilton, are 
you struck dumb?' 

Mr. Hilton's ears were on the stretch to catch the 
sound of a door, and making an excuse he moved 
away. Suspense kept him restless ; it seemed every 
muscle in his body clamoured to be doing. He 
walked again to the window. Scrope was still fixed 
at his post. Wogan sauntered out of the room to 
the stairs, and down the stairs to the hall. The hall 
was empty. The door of the little room where Kelly 
and Lady Oxford were closeted was shut, and no 
sound came through it, either of word or movement. 
Wogan wished he had been born a housemaid, 
that he might lean his ear against the keyhole with- 
out any shame at the eavesdropping. He stood 
at the stair-foot gazing at the door as though his 
eyes would melt the oak by the ardour of their 
look. Above the voices laughed, the smooth music 
murmured of all soft pleasures. Here, in the 
quiet of the hall, Wogan began to think the door 
would never open; he had a foolish fancy that he 



PARSON KELLY 263 

was staring at the lid of a coffin sealed down until the 
Judgment Day, and indeed the room might prove a 
coffin. He looked at his watch; only a poor quarter 
of an hour had passed since the door had closed. 
Wogan could not believe it; he shook his watch in 
the belief that it had stopped, and then a hubbub 
arose in the street. The noise drew nearer and 
nearer, and Wogan could distinguish the shouts of 
newsboys crying their papers. What they cried as 
yet he could not hear. In the great room at the 
head of the stairs the voices of a sudden ceased; 
here and there a window was thrown open. The 
ominous din rang through the open windows and 
floated down the stairs, first the vague cries, then the 
sound of running feet, and last of all the words, clear 
as a knell : 

' Bloody Popish Plot ! A Plot discovered ! ' 
So Lady Oxford had played her cards. The plot 
was out ; Scrope was in the street ; the Parson was 
trapped. Wogan determined to open that door. 
He took his hand from the balustrade, but before he 
had advanced a step, the door was opened from 
within. Her ladyship sailed forth upon Mr. Kelly's 
arm, radiant with smiles ; and, to Wogan's astonish- 
ment, Kelly in the matter of good humour seemed in 
no wise behind her. 



CHAPTER XIX 

STROKE AND COUNTER-STROKE 

THOSE fifteen minutes had none the less proved 
a mauvais quart d'heure for Mr. Kelly. As 
he entered the room, the memories of the grey 
morning when first he stood there were heavy upon 
his thoughts. A cheerful fire burnt upon the hearth 
now as then. There was the settee on which her 
ladyship had lain in her pretended swoon. The text 
which he had read in the Deanery recurred to him : 
' Her ways are the ways of Death ; her feet take 
hold on Hell.' Through the open door came the 
sound of music and the. words jangled through 
Kelly's mind to the tune. 

Lady Oxford closed the door ; as the latch caught, 
Kelly lifted his head and faced her. On that first 
occasion her ladyship had worn a mask, and in truth 
she wore no mask now. A cruel smile played about 
her lips; a cruel light glittered in her eyes. She 
looked him over with triumph, as though he were 
her captive bound hand and foot. The look braced 
Mr. Kelly. He started from his memories as a man 
starts up from sleep ; he lived alert and complete in 
the moments as they passed. Rose, the King's 
papers, his own liberty — this was his new text. 



PARSON KELLY 265 

Her ladyship could be trusted to give a sufHcient 
exposition of the other. 

She seated herself, and with her fan beckoned 
him to a chair. 

' We have much to speak of, sir. I hear that I 
have to make you my congratulations, and to pay 
you my thanks. You may conceive with what 
sincerity. ' 

Mr. Kelly remained standing by the fireside. 

' For what services does your ladyship thank me ? ' 

' You have made me a tavern-jest. I have to 
thank you for a ballad. ' 

Mr. Kelly did not deny or argue the point. His 
pressing business was to know what Lady Oxford 
intended. 

' And on what fortunate event does your ladyship 
congratulate me ? ' 

' Are there so many fortunate events in the life 
of an Irish runagate and traitor.' On your happy 
marriage, sir, with the starving apothecary's 
daughter. ' 

Mr. Kelly laughed pleasantly. 

' Your ladyship is pleased to be facetious. Upon 
my honour, I know no such woman, ' he said, think- 
ing thus to provoke her to disclose her purposes. 

Lady Oxford, to his surprise, rose up with a 
joyful air. * I knew it,' she cried. ' I knew the 
story of the girl was the idle talk of the Cocoa Tree. 
And Lady Mary thought to stab me with the cruel 
news. Ah, if the honour of my Strephon be pledged, 
his Smilinda's anger vanishes.' 

Here she threw her arms about Kelly's neck, in a 
very particular embrace, as if she would kiss him. 



266 PARSON KELLY 

But she refrained from such a caress. Her arms 
were clasped tighter and yet more tight till Kelly 
could scarcely breathe, and her cold whispering 
mouth touched his ear. 

' There was, then, no starving apothecary .' ' 

' None, madam. You have been misinformed. ' 

The embrace grew deadly tight. He could not 
have thought that a woman had such strength in her 
arms. 

' No man named Townley ? No daughter Rose ? 
No wound ? No nursing .' No love-vows ? No dog 
Harlequin ? No betrothal ? Liar ! ' she whispered 
in a strange voice, ' I see your miss's ring upon your 
finger. I saw my portrait upon her breast. Did 
she steal it.' 'Tis like enough. But 'tis likelier 
that you lie ! ' 

' Your ladyship misunderstands, ' said Kelly. ' I 
denied that there was a starving apothecary's 
daughter. I did not deny that there was a man 
named Townley, who, by the way, is your lady- 
ship's guest. I did not deny there was a daughter 
Rose ' 

' Go ! ' she cried suddenly, releasing Kelly, and 
pushing him oflf. ' I know everything, everything. 
Go, traitor to your King and to your word ! And 
when you are hanged, but not till you are dead, 
remember that you have made a toy and jest of me, 
babbling to your Lady Marys and your Wogans. ' 

She flung herself back on a settee panting and 
tearing her laced handkerchief into shreds. Kelly 
waited a little for her to recover her composure. 

* Madam, ' he said, ' in the fatal circumstances 
you mention with such relish, it is certainly not of 



PARSON KELLY 267 

you that I shall think, though in less painful 
moments I shall ever do so with honour and grati- 
tude. As for what you say of my babbling, I pro- 
test my innocence before Heaven. Your ladyship 
forgets that you have an enemy from whom it was 
my good fortune once to defend you. ' 

Lady Oxford dropped her handkerchief and sat 
forward staring doubtfully at Kelly, who at once 
pressed his advantage. 

' It was into this room that I then had the honour 
of escorting your ladyship. Upon that occasion, if 
I may be pardoned for reminding you, what appears 
now to be treachery in me, seemed more akin to 
loyalty. But though the sentiments of your lady- 
ship have suffered a change since then, those of Mr. 
Scrope have not. It was he who had attacked you 
then; it is he who attacks you now, and, believe 
me, it is my regret that I was not again at hand to 
defend you.' 

The Parson should have stopped before those last 
few words were spoken. He spoke them in all 
sincerity, but they lost him the advantage he had 
gained, for it was not in Lady Oxford's nature to 
believe them. She made her profit out of her 
lovers' sincerity, yet could not comprehend it. It 
seemed almost as though some instinct led her to 
choose them for that very quality, with which her 
judgment could not credit them. 

' A fine story, ' she exclaimed with a sneer, ' and 
no doubt the apothecary's daughter would be entirely 
content with it, but I know you lie. ' 

Kelly bowed in silence. 

' Wait,' she said, mistaking the bow, for Mr. Kelly 



268 PARSON KELLY 

had a certain question to ask before he returned to 
the company ; ' we must appear together. ' 

She took in her hand a box of lace which had 
been placed ready in the room. 

' Your hand, if you please, Mr. Johnson, for the 
last time. You are going, sir, to your death by 
rope and knife, or by point of sword.' 

Mr. Kelly gave Lady Oxford his hand, and put 
his question : 

' Your Ladyship has no fear that I shall escape ? ' 

Her ladyship had none whatever, as her smile 
clearly showed. 

' Then perhaps your ladyship will inform me how 
much liberty I have still left to me. ' 

'You have to-night free,' she answered, and as 
he heard the words Kelly's heart gave a great leap 
within him. ' So much reprieve you have. But 
you must not go till I dismiss you. Enjoy your- 
self. ' She took Kelly's hand with a low courtesy. 

He had to-night free! At all events, the King's 
papers would be saved. If all else went down, the 
papers would be saved. So it came about that he 
met Wogan at the stair-foot with a smiling face. 

In the withdrawing-room the clatter of tongues 
had begun again, so that neither Lady Oxford nor 
the Parson distinguished the shouts of the news- 
boys, as they mounted the stairs. To Mr. Wogan, 
indeed, who followed upon their heels, the words no 
longer rose clear and audible. But as they entered 
the room, it was plain something was stirring. 
The windows stood open, gentlemen leaned out, 
ladies asked questions; about each window there 
was a restless, noisy group. The candles guttered 



PARSON KELLY 269 

in the wind; the card-tables were deserted; and 
straight in front of him Mr. Wogan saw Rose, her 
hands clasped in an extremity of apprehension. 
Colonel Montague stood beside her chatting easily 
and making as though he remarked nothing of her 
uneasiness. 

Then the hoarse cries again rang through the 
room. 

' Bloody Popish Plot. ' ' A Plot discovered. ' 

' What, yet another Plot.' ' said Mr. Wogan smil- 
ing to Lady Oxford. 

' Mr. Walpole discovers plots by the dozen; he is 
the most active of our guardians, ' said Kelly easily. 
He dared not look at Rose. 

' We must hear more of it, ' said Lady Oxford 
pleasantly, and calling her black boy: ' Run, Sambo, 
bring this late-flying night-bird of ill omen. ' 

The boy grinned, and ran away upon his errand. 
Lady Oxford came up to my Lady Mary Montagu. 

' See, madam, ' she cried, opening the box of lace 
with the air of a child that has a new toy. 

' See what this kind obliger has brought me from 
the looms of the Fairy Queen. All point d'Alencon 
of the finest. Yes, you may well look envious. 
Here is meat for a Queen. ' 

The other ladies, deserting the windows when 
they heard that magical word ' lace,' crowded 
round, and Kelly was, where many a pretty fellow 
would have loved to be, in the centre of a perfumed 
world of fans and hoops, of sparkling eyes and 
patched faces. Kelly, however, had other business 
on hand, and, slipping through the group while Lady 
Oxford was praising her lace, he drew Wogan aside 



2 70 PARSON KELLY 

to a window now deserted. There he told him of 
his conversation with Lady Oxford. 

' So you see, Nick, I have to-night free. I mean 
to run to my lodging, burn the papers, and then — 
why one has a night free. I may yet outwit my 
lady. Besides, the papers once burned, there 's 
little proof to condemn me. Speak to Rose, Nick ! 
She will believe you; you never lied to her. Tell 
her there 's no need to despair. Then make speed 
to the coast. I must go to Ryder Street. ' 

As he turned, Nick caught him by the arm. 

' You must not go yet. ' 

'Why.?' 

For answer Wogan turned to the window. 

' Stand here in the shadow of the curtain. Across 
the street ; there, in the corner. ' 

Kelly put his hands to his face to shut out the 
light of the room, and peered into the darkness. 

' There is a man. Who is it ? ' 

' I told you ! Scrope. I saw him an hour ago. 
A link-boy's torch showed me his face. You have 
to-night free. An hour or so more will make little 
difference to you, and may tire out our friend there 
— or he may mean another bout with the sharps. ' 

' I hope so, ' said Kelly. 

At this moment Sambo returned with a little 
damp sheet of the Flying Post, and the laces were 
forgotten. Sambo carried the sheet to Lady Oxford. 

' Faugh, ' said she, ' I dare not touch the inky 
thing ! ' 

Wogan came out from his window, where he left 
his friend, and took the sheet from the boy's black 
paw. 



PARSON KELLY 271 

' Does your ladyship wish to alarm us all by 
reading out the news? These Papists are terrible 
fellows. ' 

' Read ! Read ! ' said Lady Oxford, with a con- 
tented laugh. 

Wogan ran his eyes over the print. 

' It is scarce fit for ladies' ears, ' he said mean- 
ingly. ' Some nonsense out of Grub Street. The 
wretch should be whipped from Temple Bar to 
Westminster, ' and Wogan made as if he would tear 
the sheet. 

Her ladyship hesitated. But she could not guess 
what the sheet contained, and she knew Mr. Wogan 
would try to screen his friend. 

' Nay, read sir, ' she said boldly, ' or must I im- 
peril my own fingers with the foul thing.'' ' 

Wogan folded the paper, and with a bow held it 
out to her ladyship; again she hesitated; she did 
not take the sheet; she looked into Wogan 's face as 
though she would read the news-sheet there. Curious 
smiles began to show upon the faces about her, heads 
to nod, lips to whisper. 

' Shall I oblige your ladyship ? ' asked Mr. 
Methuen, who stood by. 

' If you please, ' replied Lady Oxford, but in a 
less certain tone than she had used before. 

Mr. Methuen took the sheet from Wogan' s hand, 
unfolded it, and glanced at it. 

' It is indeed scarce fit for your ladyship's ears,' 
he said ; and in his turn he folded it. 

The smiles broadened, the whispers increased. 
Lady Oxford was altogether disconcerted. 

' I will read it, ' a young voice rang out. Lord 



2 72 PARSON KELLY 

Sidney Beauclerk stepped forward, took the sheet 
from Mr. Methuen, and at once read it aloud. He 
began defiantly, but towards the end his voice 
faltered. Mr. Kelly did not turn round, and seemed 
to pay no heed whatever. 

'They write from Paris that a foul Plot against the 
Throne, and even the sacred Person of His Most Gracious 
Majesty hath been discovered. In Town, it is thought that 
a Lady of great Beauty who has a Tory Lord of advanced 
years and gouty Habit to her Husband, and a young Whig 
Officer of great Promise for her Friend, hath given the In- 
telligence to the Minister. Nobody has yet been taken, 
but the Gentry of the Silver Greyhound are thought to 
have their eyes on a certain Reverend Nonjuror. We say 
no more for the present.' 

Lord Sidney crumpled up the sheet, and retiring 
from the circle, slowly tore it in pieces. 

' To be sure, they say quite enough, ' murmured 
Lady Mary, and no one else spoke, but all looked to 
Lady Oxford. 

Lady Oxford was brave. 

In the silence of the company who were gathered 
round she spoke. 

' Too scurrilous to need a contradiction ! Doubt- 
less it is I and my kind lace-dealer who are aimed 
at. Now Mr. Johnson is here, and is my guest. 
The inference is plain.' 

Mr. Johnson turned from the window and came 
up to the group. 

' My confidence in her ladyship is as great as my 
certainty that there is no Plot in which I am con- 
cerned,' said Kelly, bowing to the lady, and letting 
his jolly laugh out of him to the coipfort of the 



PARSON KELLY 273 

company who did not smoke his jest. Mr. Wogan 
admired his friend. 

It was now become impossible for Kelly to leave 
the house. Should he go now, his going would 
wear all the appearances of a hasty flight, and who 
knew but what some of Mr. Walpole's spies might 
be within the room as well as in the street .' Kelly 
must remain and brave it out, as he clearly recog- 
nised. For, 

* There are ears to be cut for this, ' he went on, 
' but we had better be cutting the cards. ' 

' Mr. Johnson holds the bank with me ! ' cried 
Lady Oxford. ' After this terrible false alarm I am 
ready to risk all, and brave everything. I must win 
enough to pay for my laces; I am much in Mr. 
Johnson's debt. Sambo, my money box.' 

The black boy ran out of the room. Mr. Kelly 
walked towards the card-table, and as he went, a 
light hand was laid upon his arm, and Rose's trem- 
bling voice whispered in his ear : 

' George, you will go. Yes, now, to-night. 
There may yet be time for you to cross to France. ' 

Mr. Kelly was comforted beyond words, beyond 
belief. Rose knew, and she forgave; he had not 
thought it was in woman's nature. But he was also 
tempted to fly ; his papers unburned, the Cause de- 
serted. The hand upon his sleeve had its fingers 
on his heart-strings, and was twanging them to a 
very pretty tune. A few strides would bring him 
to the doorway, a couple of leaps to the foot of the 
stairs, and outside was the night. 

' You will go, ' she repeated, seeing how her voice 
weakened him. ' Now — now. ' 

18 



274 PARSON KELLY 

' Yes ' trembled on his lips. It seemed to Rose 
in her great longing that she heard the word breathed 
upon the air. But he did not speak it ; he spoke no 
word at all. He started, his mouth dropped, his 
blue eyes stared, the blood was drained from his 
cheeks. He stood amazed, like one that sees a 
ghost. Rose followed the direction of his eyes; 
she saw the guests, the tables, the candles, but 
nothing that should so startle her lover. 

' What is it .<' ' she asked, fearing any delay that 
checked the assent she had seen tremble on his lips. 
' You will go ! You will go ! ' But even as she 
spoke she knew that he would not go. His face 
kept its pallor, but grew resolute, ennobled. He 
had ceased to think of his own safety. 

' I cannot go, ' he said. 

'Why.?' 

'Mr. Johnson,' Lady Oxford's voice broke in. 
Sambo had returned with a casket curiously enam- 
elled. ' Mr. Johnson, ' said she, looking into the 
casket : ' Some iive hundred pounds. ' 

' And six rouleaux, ' added Kelly, bringing out 
the spoils of Hazard with an air. 

Rose turned away, her face of a sudden grown 
very white and hard. She had done her best to 
make Kelly seek safety, and he would not: could 
she do more.' 

The Parson crossed suddenly to Wogan, his face 
very pale, but with a wonderful bright light in his 
eyes. 

' Nick, I have seen the King, here, in this room, 
young, happy. The shadow of the hundred years of 
sorrow of his race has lifted from his forehead.' 



PARSON KELLY 275 

' The King is at Antwerp, George. You have 
not seen him. ' 

' Then it is his spirit, which has taken form to 
hearten us,' Kelly whispered in a voice of awe. 

' George, you have seen Lord Sidney Beauclerk. ' 
It needed no more than a word to make him under- 
stand. He had not seen the King nor the King's 
appearance, only the King's cousin, Lord Sidney. 
But now he could not forget any longer that the 
King's papers were in his lodgings; that at all costs 
he must reach his lodgings unfollowed; that at all 
costs those papers must be a little pile of ashes 
before the morning came. 

* The bank is open,^ said Lady Oxford. ' Colonel 
Montague, will you find a lady and be our opposite.? ' 

The glum Colonel bowed in silence, and allied 
himself with silly smiling Lady Rich. The play 
was high. The luck had not deserted Kelly, while 
Lady Oxford paid him a hundred flattering compli- 
ments and bantered her military lover, who was not 
ready at repartee or was not ready then. 

' Malheureux enjeu, ' said Lady Oxford, repeating 
the proverb Lady Mary had already quoted that 
evening. ' How fortunate. Colonel, must be your 
affections ! ' 

' It is only your ladyship who has all the luck 
and wins, or wins back if she loses, ' answered the 
Colonel, looking at Mr. Kelly with an evil favour, 
and her ladyship laughed in pure delight. 

There was another game besides Quadrille played 
at that table. Lady Oxford was setting Colonel 
Montague and the Parson by the ears. Did she 
wish to embroil them in a quarrel to make Kelly's 



276 PARSON KELLY 

ruin doubly sure? Wogan watched the Colonel; 
he had the first claim upon the Colonel's sword. 
Mr. Kelly kept smiling and raking in the rippling 
golden stakes. The company stood round; they 
had left their tables to see this great battle of 
Quadrille. At times Wogan caught a glimpse of 
Rose Townley through a gap in the circle. She 
could not know why her lover had not fled. She 
only knew that, in her despite, he stayed in the 
house of the woman of whom he had told her at 
Avignon, though his life was in peril ; she only saw 
that woman fawning upon him, and him smiling 
back to the woman. Lady Mary had stolen her 
hand into the girl's, that no doubt was cold as 
marble, and in his heart Wogan blessed her kind 
ladyship. At last all the tide of gold had turned to 
Lady Oxford's side of the table. The Colonel rose 
and confessed defeat. 

People began to say their good-byes. Dr. Townley 
crossed the room to his daughter, who rose at once 
with a word of thanks to Lady Mary. Mr. Kelly 
remarked her movement, and with an imploring 
look bade her wait until Lady Oxford released him. 

' Mr. Johnson, ' said her ladyship, dividing the 
winnings, ' short accounts make long friends. I 
think when you reckon up the night you will find 
that all my great debt to you is fully paid.' 

Mr. Kelly bowed, and took the money, his eyes 
on her flushed face and glittering serpent's eyes. 
Lady Oxford turned to Colonel Montague. 

' Your revenge is waiting for you. Colonel, when- 
ever you are pleased to claim it. To-morrow if 
you will.' 



PARSON KELLY 277 

'Madam, I may claim my revenge to-night,' said 
the Colonel, and stepped back with his full weight 
upon Kelly's foot. There was no mistaking the 
deliberate movement. Lady Oxford made as though 
she had not seen it, but as she turned away her face 
had a look of pleasure, which Mr. Kelly remarked. 

' Nay, Colonel, ' said Wogan, ' you and I have a 
game to play, you remember. Le Queux's is still 
open and I claim the first call on your leisure at 
Hazard. ' 

Colonel Montague answered Mr. Wogan with a 
good-nature which the latter did not comprehend. 

' I have indeed some words to say to you, sir. ' 

' But, Colonel, ' said the Parson, ' you trod upon 
my foot. I shall be happy to consult you on the 
bruise to-morrow. ' 

' To-morrow ? ' said Montague, his face hardening 
instantly. ' I may inquire after it before then, ' and 
so making his bow he got him from the room. 

Lady Oxford gave her hand to Wogan and dis- 
missed him with a friendly word. She was so 
occupied with the pleasure of her revenge that she 
had altogether forgotten his jest about the ballad. 
Wogan on his side made his leave-taking as short 
as could be, for out of the corner of his eye he saw 
Kelly offering his arm to Miss Townley, and Kelly 
must not leave the house without Wogan at his 
side. For, in the first place. Colonel Montague 
was for a sure thing standing sentinel within ten 
paces of the door, and after he had run the gauntlet 
of the Colonel, there was Scrope for him to make 
his account with, should Scrope attempt to follow 
in his tracks. Mr. Wogan had a mind to insist 



278 PARSON KELLY 

upon his first claim to Colonel Montague's atten- 
tions, and, once they were rid of him, it would not 
be difficult to come to a suitable understanding with 
Scrope should he attempt to follow them to Ryder 
Street. 

Mr? Wogan was indeed already relishing in antici- 
pation the half-hour that was to come, and hurried 
after the Parson, who was by this time close to the 
door with Rose upon his arm and Dr. Townley at 
his heels. 

' Good night, Mr. Johnson, ' said her ladyship in 
a lazy voice. ' Take care of yourself, for they tell 
me the streets are not too safe.' 

Kelly dropped Rose Townley's arm and turned 
back towards Lady Oxford. 

' But surely, ' said he with some anxiety, ' to- 
night the streets are safe. Your ladyship assured 
me of their safety to-night.' 

Lady Oxford made no reply for a few seconds, she 
stood watching Kelly with an indolent smile. A 
word of Lady Mary's came back to Wogan's mind 
— a word spoken two years since in Paris, ' She will 
play cat to any man's mouse.' 

' To-night .? ' said Lady Oxford, lifting her eye- 
brows, and she glanced towards the clock. It was 
five minutes to one. Kelly stared at the clock, his 
mouth open and his eyes fixed. Then he drew his 
hand across his forehead, and, walking slowly to the 
mantelpiece, leaned his hands on it in a broken 
attitude and so stared at the clock again. Lady 
Oxford had struck her last blow, and the last was 
the heaviest. Kelly had the night free, but the 
night was gone — and the streets were not safe. 



PARSON KELLY 279 

Nothing could be saved now — not even the King's 
papers. Then Wogan saw a change come over his 
face. The despair died out of it and left it blank as 
a shuttered window. But very slowly the shutter 
opened. He was thinking; the thought became a 
hope, the hope a resolve. First his knees straight- 
ened, then the rounded shoulders rose stiff and 
strong. In his turn Kelly struck. 

' Your ladyship, ' he said, ' was kind enough some 
time ago to entrust me with your own brocades. 
Those brocades are in the strong box in my lodgings. ' 

Wogan understood. Brocades was the name for 
letters in the jargon of the Plot. Lady Oxford's 
love-letters were in that box which he had handled 
that very afternoon. If Kelly was seized in the 
street his rooms would be searched, the King's 
papers found, and, with the King's, papers, Lady 
Oxford's love-letters. Lady Oxford understood too. 
Her ingenious stratagems of the evening to dis- 
credit the ballad and save her fair fame would be of 
little avail if the world once got wind of those 
pretty outpourings of Smilinda's heart. Her face 
grew very white. She dropped her fan and stooped 
to recover it. It was noticeable, though unnoticed, 
that no one of those who were still present stepped 
forward to pick up the fan. Curiosity held them in 
chains, not for the first time that evening. It was 
as though they stood in a room and knew that behind 
locked doors two people were engaged in a duel. 
Now and then a clink of steel would assure them 
that a thrust was made ; but how the duel went they 
could not tell. 

When Lady Oxford rose her colour had returned. 



28o PARSON KELLY 

' My brocades ? ' she said. ' Indeed, I had purely 
forgotten them. You have had them repaired in 
Paris ? ' 

' Yes, madam, ' answered Kelly deliberately. ' I 
do not think the streets are so unsafe as your lady- 
ship supposes ; but I should be sorry for them to fall 
into any hands but your own if by any chance foot- 
pads end my days to-night. ' 

He bowed and walked towards Rose Townley and 
her father, who stood in the doorway at a loss what 
to make of the scene. He had crossed half the dis- 
tance before Lady Oxford moved. Then, it seemed 
with one swift step, she stood at Kelly's side. 

' Mr. Johnson, you are my prisoner ! ' she ex- 
claimed. ' My dear brocades ! Mr. Johnson, you 
are surely the most attentive of men. You must 
tell me how they have been repaired; I shall not 
close my eyes unless you take pity on my impa- 
tience. ' 

Had Kelly been the man to care for triumphs 
wrested from a woman, he would have found his 
occasion now. A minute before. Lady Oxford's 
eyes glittered with menaces, her face was masterful ; 
now, her eyes besought pity, her face was humbled. 

' If your ladyship will permit me,' said Kelly, "I 
will return when I have seen Miss Townley to her 
chair. ' 

It was a difficult moment for Miss Townley. For 
to those who looked on it seemed that by some 
means here was Mr. Johnson brought back into 
bondage before the very eyes of his betrothed. But 
Rose was patient of Lady Mary's lesson. ' To- 
morrow give him his cong^ityou will; to-night be 



PARSON KELLY 281 

staunch ! It is for life and honour ! ' She knew no 
more, but she was loyal. Wogan had seen men go, 
for the Cause, to a shameful death by torture. But 
he never saw courage so unfaltering, or loyalty so 
true, as this girl's. She was not herself in that 
hour; she had taken up a part as an actress does, 
and she played it clean, and played it through. 
To-morrow she might be a woman again, a woman 
wronged, deceived, insulted; to-night, with the 
astonishing valour and duplicity of her sex, she was 
all in her part, to see nothing, to know nothing, to 
be staunch. 

To the smiles, the simpered sarcasms, the quiz- 
zing glances, she paid no heed. She said, with a 
simple dignity, to Lady Oxford: 

' I will not keep Mr. Johnson long. It is but a 
few steps to your ladyship's door, where my chair 
waits for me,' and she held out her hand to Kelly. 
She had her reward. Kelly's face put on a look of 
pride which no one in the room could mistake. He 
took her hand with a laugh, and threw back his 
chest. 

' I will return, your ladyship, ' he said gaily, and 
with Rose passed out of the door. The whispers 
were stilled ; the couple went down the stairs in a 
great silence. Rose bore herself bravely until she 
had stepped into her chair; showed a brave face 
f.hen at the window. 

' I shall hear of you from France, ' she whispered. 
' Good-night. ' 

The chair was carried off; Dr. Townley followed. 
The Parson returned slowly up the stairs. His 
heart was full; in Rose's eyes he had seen the tear§ 



282 PARSON KELLY 

gathering; no doubt in the darkness of her chair 
they were flowing now. She would hear of him 
from France ! Well, he had his one weapon — Lady 
Oxford's letters. If he used that weapon aright, 
why should she not hear of him from France ? By 
the time he reached the top of the stairs, he was 
already putting together the words of the letter he 
should write. 

When he re-entered the withdrawing-room, the 
last few guests, of whom Wogan was one, were tak- 
ing their departure. Wogan saw Kelly move 
towards the little card-table which had stood empty. 
Kelly sat down, and with the fingers of one hand he 
played with the cards, cutting them unwittingly as 
though for a deal. It was, ' after all, he and not 
Wogan who had to play the hand with the shrouded 
figure. Wogan had already made his adieux. As 
he passed out of the door Lady Oxford was standing 
in the middle of the room plucking at her fan. As 
he went down the stairs, the door was flung to with 
a bang. Lady Oxford and Kelly were left alone. 



CHAPTER XX 

MR. SCROPE BATHES BY MOONLIGHT AND IN HIS 
PERUKE 

WOGAN had heard two doors shut that evening, 
and with very different feelings. One had 
been latched gently, and the sound had filled him 
with apprehensions ; one had been flung to with an 
angry violence, and the sound soothed him like the 
crooning of music. For Kelly, it seemed, after all 
held the trumps in his hand; he had but to play 
them aright and the game was his. 

'The longer he takes to play them the better,' 
murmured Wogan, as he stood on the steps of Lady 
Oxford's house and looked briskly about him. 
For to his left, standing openly in the moonlight, 
he saw a tall martial figure wrapped in a cloak, and 
the end of a scabbard shining beneath the cloak, 
while across the road his eyes made out a hunched 
form blotted against the wall. The figure in the 
cloak was Colonel Montague; the skulker would no 
less certainly be Mr. Scrope. If the Parson would 
only take time enough to deploy his arguments like 
a careful general ! Mr. Wogan would have liked to 
have run back and assured Kelly that there was no 
need whatever for hurry, since he himself had 
enough amusements on his hands to make the 
time pass pleasantly. 



284 PARSON KELLY 

He advanced to the Colonel first. 

' Sir, it is now to-morrow, the date at which you 
kindly promised me a few moments of vour leisure. 
You may hear the chimes of the Abbey strike the 
half hour after one. ' 

' Mr. Wogan, ' replied the Colonel, ' I reckon this 
yesterday — till after breakfast. At present I have 
an engagement with another person. ' 

' Colonel Montague, your reckoning of time is 
contrary to the almanac, and to a sound metaphysic, 
of which I am the ardent advocate. You will under- 
stand, sir, that such a difference of opinion between 
gentlemen admits of only one conclusion. ' 

Colonel Montague smiled, and to Wogan' s chagrin 
and astonishment replied : 

' You have grown a foot, or thereby, Mr. Wogan, 
since last we met, on an occasion which you will 
permit me to say that I can never forget. All our 
differences are sunk for ever in that one considera- 
tion. I implore you to leave me to the settlement 
of my pressing business. ' 

So the Colonel knew of that unfortunate rescue at 
Preston. Wogan, however, was not so easily put off. 

' Grown a foot, sir ! ' he cried. ' I am not the 
same man ! You speak of a boy, who died long 
ago ; if he made a mistake in saving your life, over- 
look a pure accident, and oblige me. ' 

' The accident does not remove my obligation. ' 

' If you knew the truth, you would be sensible 
that there was no obligation in the matter. Come, 
take a stroll in the Park, and I '11 tell the truth of 
the whole matter to whichever of us is alive to 
h§ar it,' 



PARSON KELLY 285 

' I had the whole truth already, to-night, from 
the young lady.' 

' The young lady ? ' Wogan had told Rose Townley 
of how he saved the life of a Colonel Montague, and 
to-night he had informed her that this Colonel was 
the man. She had been standing by his elbow 
when he had picked his quarrel with Montague. 
Sure she had overheard and had interfered to pre- 
vent it. ' The young lady ! ' he cried. ' All women 
are spoil-sports. But, Colonel, you must not be- 
lieve her. I made a great deal of that story when I 
told it to Miss Townley. But you would find it a 
very simple affair if you had it from an eye-witness. ' 

The Colonel shook his head. 

' Yet the story was very circumstantial, how you 
leaped from the barricades — ' 

' That were but two feet high. ' 

' And, through a cross fire of bullets, crossed the 
square to where I lay — ' 

' The fire was a half charge of duckshot that an 
old fellow let off by mismanagement from a rusty 
pistol. Both sides stopped firing the moment I 
jumped over — the politest thing. I might have 
been tripping down the Mall with a lady on my 
arm, for all the danger I ran.' 

' But your wounds .' ' 

' I slipped and cut my shin on the sharp cobbles, 
that's true.' 

' Mr. Wogan, it will not do ! Had I known your 
name this evening when Lady Mary made us 
acquainted, certain expressions properly distasteful 
to you would not have escaped my lips. But now I 
can make amends for them to the gallant gentleman 



286 PARSON KELLY 

who brought a wounded enemy out of a cross-fire. 
I apologise to you, but I cannot oblige you to the 
extent you wish, however you may attempt to make 
light of your courage, and of the obligation on my 
side. ' 

' Sure, Colonel, to be done with adornment of 
the real truth, I only saved such a fine man to have 
the pleasure of killing him myself. ' 

Here the Colonel broke into a laugh. 

' Mr. Wogan, if I drew my sword and stood up 
before you without making a parry or a lunge, would 
you kill me ? ' 

' No, indeed, there would be little diversion in 
that game,' said Wogan, who was now grown quite 
melancholic. 

' Well, that is the utmost you will get from me. 
I am much pressed for time, and look to find 
another. ' 

' Another ! ' Wogan's failing hopes revived. 
' Praise be to the Saints ! I see your mistake, and 
you shall understand it in a twinkling. The other 
and myself are just one man for these purposes. 
George is my alter ego. We are the greatest 
friends, and have been taken for each other when 
we are talking. I '11 talk all the time we fight, and 
you can fancy it is George whose ribs you are trying 
to tickle. ' 

The Colonel, however, was obdurate, and before 
Wogan could hit upon a likelier argument both 
gentlemen heard a cough. 

Someone was standing on Lady Oxford's doorstep 
looking towards them. 

The Colonel coughed in reply, and the figure — it 



PARSON KELLY 287 

was Mr. Kelly's — waved his hand, and marched, 
like the ghost of Hamlet's father, toward St. James's 
Park. 

The Colonel followed, like Hamlet, and Mr. 
Wogan followed the Colonel. Would there be a 
fourth to follow Wogan .-' The three men marched 
in the moonlight, their footsteps rang boldly on the 
road. Was there a fourth behind them stealthily 
creeping in the shadow of the wall.? As they 
turned a corner out of the square Wogan fell a little 
further to the rear. He kept his head screwed upon 
his shoulders, and he saw a shadow slink round the 
corner. He listened, and heard the stealthy steps. 
He stopped; the steps ceased. Wogan went on 
again. He knew that Scrope was dogging them. 

The figure in front moved silently on till he 
reached a sweet spot for an occasion, a little clairiire 
among the trees, the smoothest sward, moonlight on 
the grass, dark shadow all around. There he stopped, 
turned, and dropped his cloak. The moon shone 
silvery on the silver shoulder-knots of Mr. Kelly. 
The other two gentlemen advanced. 

' Nick,' exclaimed Kelly, ' you should be on your 
road to the coast. ' 

' At last ! ' cried Colonel Montague, dropping his 
cloak. 

' A moment, sir, ' said Kelly ; ' I must dismiss my 
friend. ' 

' And would you be so mad } Are you to have 
nobody to see fair and run for the surgeon while the 
other gentleman makes his escape? George, I 
never knew you were so selfish.' 

Kelly drew his friend a little way aside. 



288 PARSON KELLY 

' Nick, I have that to do which cannot be done 
before a witness. ' 

Mr. Wogan merely gaped at this extraordinary 
speech. He noticed that Kelly looked white and 
haggard even for a man in the full moonlight. 

' When I tell you that my honour hangs on it, that 
a witness is mere ruin, when I pray you by our old 
friendship ? Nick, you must go out of eye-shot and 
ear-shot. ' 

' I think you are crazed,' said Wogan. 

' I have obeyed you all night. Things have taken 
the turn that you must obey me. There is no time 
for an explanation, the hour presses, and, Nick, my 
honour hangs on it. You must retire to where you 
can neither see nor hear us, or I am shamed — lost 
with the Cause. ' 

Mr. Kelly had been whispering, his voice 
trembled as the Cause was named. Wogan had 
only once seen him thus moved. Had he played his 
trumps amiss after all .' It seemed he had not won 
the game. 

'Very well,' said Wogan. 'Good-night. I will 
take care you are not troubled with witnesses. ' 

'No,' said Kelly suddenly, and then 'yes; good- 
night. ' 

He stood looking at Wogan a moment and then 
hurried off to the Colonel, who seemed, to Wogan's 
judgment, a man apt to give the Parson his bellyful. 
Wogan twitched his cloak about him, and took his 
road down a path, bordered by bushes. It was the 
path by which they had come into the Park. Wogan 
was determined that the Parson should not be 
troubled by witnesses. 



PARSON KELLY 289 

From his boyhood Mr. Wogan has had a singular 
passion for bird's-nesting. He idly scanned the 
bushes as he marched, for he had heard a twig snap, 
and in a thick bush he saw what at a first glance cer- 
tainly resembled a very large brown bird's-nest. 
Looking more narrowly at this curiosity there were 
shining eyes under the Jiest, a circumstance rarely 
found in animated nature. 

Mr. Wogan paused and contemplated this novelty. 
The bush was deep; the novelty was of difficult 
access because of the tangled boughs. Wogan reck- 
oned it good to show a puzzled and bemused de- 
meanour, as of one who has moored himself by the 
punch-bowl. 

' It 's a very fine bird,' he said aloud. ' I wonder 
what is the exact species this fine fowl may belong 
to.'' 

Then he wagged his head in a tipsy manner, and 
so lurched down the path singing : 

' I heard a bird 

Sing in a bush, 
And on his head 

Was a bowl of punch, 
La-la-loodie ! ' 

But Wogan's eye was cocked back over his 
shoulder, for he hoped that the fowl, thinking the 
hunter gone, would save him trouble by breaking 
cover. The bush did not stir, however; all was 
deadly still. 

Wogan lurched back to the bush, still singing, 
parted the branches, and peered in. His mind, in 
fact, was quite fixed as to the nature and name of 
this nocturnal fowl. 

19 



290 PARSON KELLY 

He spied into the bush. ' I have heard, in 
France, of a bird called "the cuckoo Kelly,"' he 
said, ' I wonder if this can be le cocu Scrope? ' 

Something glittered in the heart of the bush. 
Mr. Wogan leaped aside, his hat spun round on his 
head, he was near blinded by the flame and smoke 
of a pistol discharged almost a bout portant. A 
figure had scrambled out of the bush on the further 
side, and was running at a great pace towards St. 
James's. 

Mr. Wogan gave a view halloo, and set off at the 
top of his own pace in pursuit. He was swift of 
foot when young, sound of wind, and long of 
stride. 

At every step he gained on the flying figure, 
which, he happily remembered, might be armed 
with another pistol. These commodities usually go 
in pairs. Reflecting on this, and reckoning his 
distance to a mathematical nicety, Mr. Wogan 
applied his toe to that part of the flying gentleman's 
figure which he judged most accessible and most 
appropriate to his purpose. The flying gentleman 
soared softly into a parabola, coming down with a 
crash, while a pistol fell from his hand. As the 
priming was spilled, Mr. Wogan let the weapon lie, 
and courteously assisted the prostrate person to 
rise. 

' I fear I stumbled over you, sir, ' he said. ' I 
hope I was not so unfortunate as to hurt you. Why, 
'tis Mr. Scrope, the celebrated critic and amateur 
of Virgil. Mr. Scrope, the writer of ballads.' 

' You are a brutal Irish bully, ' said Scrope, whose 
hands and face were bleeding, for he had the mis- 



PARSON KELLY 291 

chance to slip on a gravel path covered with sharp 
little flints at the top of the Canal. 

' Nay, when last we met it was my poetry that 
you criticised, and now 't is my manners that do not 
please you! How could I guess that it was Mr. 
Scrope who lay in a bush to watch an explanation 
between gentlemen .? This time, sir, of your flight, 
you have not two horses to carry you off, and I am 
not barefoot. Suppose we take up our conversation 
where we left it when last you ran away? You 
have a sword I see. ' 

Scrope' s sword was already out, and he made a 
desperate pass at Wogan, who broke ground and 
drew his own weapon. Scrope was no match for his 
reach and skill in fence. 

' Why, sir, our positions are altered, ' said Wogan. 
' Now it is you who make errors, and I who play 
critic and instructor.' 

Wogan made a parade in centre de carte. 

' Look, sir, your blade was beaten a good half foot 
out of line. Had I chosen to riposte, my sword- 
hilt would have rung on your breast-bone. Ah, 
that was rather better,' he said, stepping a pace 
back, and offering his breast full like a fencing 
master with his pupil. ' But you did not really 
extend yourself. Now, sir, un, deux, doublez, 
d^gagez, vite ! ' and Mr. Wogan passed his sword 
through the lappet of Scrope's coat, coming back 
on guard. ' That is how you ought to lunge. There 
is another thing that I would have you notice. 
Coming on rashly as you do, I could stop you at any 
moment with a time thrust. I have only to extend 
my long arm, and where are you ? ' 



292 PARSON KELLY 

Scrope broke ground, sweating, and drew breath : 

' You cowardly maltre d'armes! ' he exclaimed 
between two pants. 

'Cowardly, sir? Am I a spy? Or a nameless, 
obscene rhymer? Do I carry pistols and try to use 
them? Fie, Mr. Scrope, you must see that a 
coward who meant to kill you would have done so 
long ago, and left you here — with an insult, and 
without a surgeon. You remember the little square 
at Avignon. You want another lesson. ' 

Wogan parried, riposted, and just grazed his oppo- 
nent on the fore-arm. 

' Touck// ' he said. ' Now you see I do not mean 
to kill you : at least, not with the sword. To do so 
would be to oblige a lady whom I have no desire to 
please. Would you prefer to lay down your weapon 
and come frankly to my embrace ? You remember 
our fond hugs at Brampton Bryan? By the way, 
Mr. Scrope,' asked Wogan, as an idea occurred to 
him, ' the night is warm and you seem heated, do 
you swim? The place is convenient for a bathe, 
and sheltered from coarse observation. ' 

With this remark Wogan switched Scrope's sword 
out of his hand by a turn of the wrist '\Xi flanconade. 
The blade flew up and fell flashing in the water of 
the Canal. 

" Now, sir, your life is at my mercy. You have 
betrayed my Cause ; you have nearly murdered my 
friend ; you have insulted two ladies of my acquaint- 
ance; you have censured my poetry; and you have 
spoiled my hat with your pistol bullet. I repeat, 
do you swim? There are two places here mighty 
convenient for a ducking.' 



PARSON KELLY 293 

Here Mr. Wogan caught his enemy by the collar. 

' The Canal is shallow; Rosamond's Pool is deep. 
You have your choice; safety and prose, or poetry 
and peril ? ' 

Scrope was squirming in Wogan's grip like a ser- 
pent. When Mr. Wogan had calmed him he 
carried Mr. Scrope like a babe to the edge of the 
Canal. 

' One, two, three ! ' he said, heaving Mr. Scrope 
backward and forward, like children setting a swing 
in motion. ' And away ! ' 

A heavy body flew through the air, flashed into 
the Canal, and did not at first arise to the surface. 

' I hope he has not hit his head or broken his 
neck, ' said Wogan with anxiety. ' It would be very 
disagreeable to have to wade for him. ' 

His fears were soon set at rest. Scrope scrambled 
to his feet, the water reaching nearly to his middle. 
In his dripping perruque he cut a figure odd enough, 
and sufficiently pitiable. 

' A water god ! A Triton ! ' cried Wogan. ' Have 
you a Virgil in your pocket ? You might study the 
marine deities whom you resemble. You are sure 
you have again forgotten to bring the Virgil you 
desired for Mr. Kelly's use at Avignon. 

' D n you, I shall see your bowels burned 

before your eyes for this, you Popish traitor," cried 
Scrope, shaking his fist. 

' That is as may be. You have done what you 
can to that end already. You have told all you 
know ; as regards myself it is not very much, and I 
am not in Newgate yet. Moreover, I know a way 
out. But stop, I cannot possibly permit you to 



2 94 PARSON KELLY 

land, for Scrope was wading to the bank. ' Stay 
where you are and admire the moonshine ! If you 
set foot on shore I will merely throw you in again ! 
You might be hurt. 

Scrope turned and was beginning to wade to the 
other side of the Canal. 

' It really is not safe in the middle if you do not 
swim, ' cried Wogan. ' Moreover, I can easily be at 
the further bank before you.' Mr. Wogan suited 
the action to the word. He ran round the bank as 
Scrope waded across. He met his bedraggled vic- 
tim at the water's edge. Mr. Wogan uttered a joy- 
ful whoop; there was a great splash and again 
Scrope sank beneath the surface. He regained his 
feet and rose spluttering. ' I do trust, Mr. Scrope, 
that you are not hectic, or subject to rheumatism,' 
said Wogan with sympathy. 

Wogan walked to the centre of the path across the 
top of the Canal. He spread his cloak upon the 
grass and sat down, contemplating the moonlight on 
Buckingham House. There was a sweet odour of 
the budding may in the air. 

'A more peaceful scene, Mr. Scrope,' he cried, 
' I have rarely witnessed. All the poet whom you 
tried to crush wakes in my bosom. I shall recite 
Mr. Pope's celebrated Night piece for your benefit.' 

Mr. Wogan then arose from his seat on the grass, 
and, raising his hand towards the Moon, delivered 
Mr. Pope's lines in his best manner. 

' As when the Moon, refulgent lamp of Night, 
O'er Heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light. 
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene, 
And not a cloud o'erspreads the solemn scene.' 



PARSON KELLY 295 

' You are not listening, Mr. Scrope! ' 

Scrope was listening, but not to Wogan. Wogan 
ceased from reciting and listened also. He heard 
steps and voices of men approaching. Presently, to 
his great amazement, he recognised the tones of 
Kelly and Montague, whose mere existence had been 
banished from his mind. He was yet more sur- 
prised when they both came in view, walking very 
friendly together. 

Wogan rose as they drew near him. 

' What, both of you ? ' he exclaimed. 

' You do not seem to be glad to see us again, sir.' ' 
said Colonel Montague. 

' And devil a scratch between the pair of you ! ' 
cried Mr. Wogan. ' George, what does this mean } 
Am I to hear,' he asked with honest indignation, 
' that one of you has debased himself to an apology ? ' 

He looked from one to the other much perplexed 
in mind. 

' It is too long a tale for the opportunity, Mr. 
Wogan, ' said the Colonel laughing. ' But w/tai 
does that mean } ' 

He pointed to the Water God in the perruque, 
whose shadow was reflected in the calm bosom of 
the lake. 

' Colonel Montague, ' cried Scrope, ' I appeal to 
you as a Protestant and an officer of his Majesty's 
for your protection against an Irish, Popish, Jacobite 
conspirator. ' 

' That gentleman, ' said Wogan, ' whom I have 
been entertaining with Mr. Pope's poem, is an 
English Protestant, Whig, spy, and murderer, and 
even, I suspect, a writer in the newspapers. He 



296 PARSON KELLY 

persists in staying out in the water there, where I 
cannot get at him. He is one of the Maritime 
Powers. Egad! George, you know Mr. Scrope of 
Northumberland and Grub Street ? ' 

George bowed to Mr. Scrope. 

' The fourth time you see, sir, has been lucky, 
contrary to the proverb, ' he said politely. 

' The poor devil's teeth are chattering audibly,' 
said Colonel Montague. ' May I ask you to explain 
his situation, Mr. Wogan ? ' 

' Faith, sir, the story, as you say, is too long for 
the occasion. And I want an explanation myself. 
After a gentleman has trod on another gentleman's 
foot, here you both are, well and smiling. I am 
betrayed,' cried Mr. Wogan, 'in the character of a 
friend. I could not have thought it of George. ' 

' What was the pistol shot we heard, Nick .' ' asked 
Mr. Kelly. 

' That was Mr. Scrope firing at me. ' 

' And the view halloo that might have wakened 
the dead ? ' 

' That was me remonstrating with Mr. Scrope. 
But I crave your pardon for my thoughtlessness. 
No doubt the noise brought up some ungentlemanly 
person who interrupted you in your explanation. 
You will begin it again ? Mr. Scrope and I will be 
delighted to see fair play, but you will see it from 
the water, Mr. Scrope. You don't come out yet.' 

' Our honours, about which you are so kindly con- 
cerned, Mr. Wogan, are as intact as our persons,' 
said the Colonel. 

' Then you have been finding out that George 
saved your life, or you saved George's, some time 



PARSON KELLY 297 

in the dark agesi..all to prevent you killing each 
other in a friendly way?' 

' You are in an ingenious error, Mr. Wogan ; but 
Mr. Johnson and I have important business together 
in the town, and we must bid you farewell. Pray 
allow that dripping gentleman to land and go to 
bed.' 

' But I cannot take him with me, and it is purely 
inconvenient to let him follow me, for the precise 
reason that he would not follow me at all, but my 
friend Mr. Johnson. I am like my countryman who 
caught a Tartar in the Muscovite wars. To be sure, 
I might tie him to a tree with his garters. Come 
out, Mr. Scrope, and be tied to a tree!' 

' No, no,' said the Colonel; ' your friend will die 
of a cold. ' 

' Then what am I to be doing .-• ' asked Wogan. 
' He is a very curious gentleman. ' 

' I must leave that for you and your friend to 
determine,' said Colonel Montague. He turned to 
Kelly. ' In ten minutes,' said he, moving off. 

' In ten minutes, Corydon, ' said Kelly, and 
Wogan thought he heard the Colonel mutter, ' Oh, 
damnation ! ' 

It was all Greek to Wogan, and Kelly seemed in 
no mind to translate the Greek for his baser com- 
prehension. 

' Be off, Nick, ' said he. ' I have ten minutes to 
wait here, and for ten minutes Mr. Scrope shall 
stand in the pond. You have that much law. It is 
time enough for your long legs. ' 

' And do you think I am leaving Mr. Scrope to 
follow you while I go quietly to bed ? ' asked Wogan, 



298 PARSON KELLY 

who was in truth hurt by the proposal. ' No. I 
shall take him with me. It is the best plan after 
all.' 

' It will not matter, I think, whether he follows 
me or no ; and, Nick, as to going to bed, I hope it 
will not be on this side of the Channel. Truth, I 
should be blaming you as it is for your delay, but I 
have no heart to it. ' He had dropped into the Irish 
accent, a thing very rare with him. ' For the world 
topples about me to-night, and the sight of a friend 
is very pleasant to me. There ! It is all I had to 
say to you. Good-night. Good-bye. ' 

He clapped his hand on Wogan's shoulder and 
then sat himself down on the grass. If Mr. Scrope 
had had his wits about him, he might have chosen 
this occasion to creep out of the water, for Wogan 
was paying little heed to him. 

' George, ' said he, ' it seems the game has gone 
against you. But I have the simplest plan imagi- 
nable to put matters straight. What if you give me 
the key to that pretty despatch-box.' You see if I 
go to your lodging and am taken — ' 

'No!' cried Kelly. 

' But yes, ' said Wogan, seating himself on the 
grass beside Kelly. ' If I am taken, why, it's just 
Nick Wogan that 's taken, and no one but Nick 
Wogan is a penny the worse. But if you go and 
are taken — well, there 's the Doctor's daughter. ' 

Kelly would not listen to reason. It was not, he 
said, a mere matter of slipping into the house and 
burning the cyphers. But a man must pay for his 
own shortcomings, and the whole aspect of affairs 
had changed. And then he fell to thanking Wogan, 



PARSON KELLY 299 

which thanks Wogan cut short ; and so they sat in 
the moonlight like a couple of owls, only they did 
not talk. 

' You are very thoughtful, ' said Kelly, with a 
tired sort of laugh, ' and you have thought most of 
your ten minutes away. ' 

' I was thinking, ' said Wogan, ' of a word you 
used to say about a little parsonage in Ireland and 
your Latin books, and an acre or two of land, and 
how, like a fool, I laughed at you for speaking so.' 

Kelly rose very quickly to his feet. 

' Come, Nick, ' said he almost sharply. ' My ten 
minutes are almost up. I cannot watch Scrope after 
that, and you may just as well save your life as lose 
it.' 

' I mean to take him with me,' said Wogan. 
' Come out, my friend. I '11 give him the slip, 
never fear, when I want to. ' 

' And then you will start for France .' ' 

Mr. Wogan did not mention a couple of obstacles 
which would at all events delay his departure. In 
the first place he had a little matter of business with 
Lord Sidney Beauclerk, and in the second it would 
be no more than politeness to inquire after Kelly's 
health before he went abroad. He kept silent upon 
this subject, and again summoned Scrope, who waded 
with his teeth chattering from the water. He drove 
Scrope before him along a bypath, leaving the 
Parson standing alone in the moonlight. Mr. 
Wogan had no expectation that he would ever see 
his friend's face again, and therefore he swore most 
heartily at Scrope. 

' Come, my man, ' said he, ' I am to see that you 



300 PARSON KELLY 

do not catch cold,' and he marched Scrope at a 
round pace eastwards as far as Temple Bar, and 
thence northwards to Soho, and from Soho west- 
wards. 

Scrope had been enjoined strictly not to open his 
lips; but, on the other hand, he heard a great deal 
about his own character, his merits as a poet, and 
the morals of his family, which was no doubt new 
to him. Some three hours later, when the moon 
had long since set, the pair came to the fields behind 
Holland House, and there Wogan took his leave of 
Scrope. The man could do no more harm for that 
night, and he had for the moment lost his taste for 
spying. 

' You will stay here for five minutes, ' said Wogan, 
who in five seconds was lost in the darkness. He 
knew a shy place in Westminster where he could 
pass the night undisturbed. As he laid his head on 
the pillow it seemed to him to be a good year since 
he had driven off from Sir Harry Goring's house in 
the morning. And what of the Parson, whom he 
had last seen, a sombre figure in the moonlight by 
the water of St. James's Park.' Well, the night had 
only then begun for Kelly, who, to be sure, had lain 
abed all the day before. 



CHAPTER XXI 
IN WHICH MR. KELLY SURPRISES SMILINDA 

THE devil in all this affair, it was that Wogan 
could not be in two, or even three, places at 
once. While Kelly was shut in with Lady Oxford 
earlier, Mr. Wogan, as he has said, was on the 
wrong side of the door. There he was again, after 
the rout, while he conversed with Colonel Mon- 
tague in the street. Again, while Wogan was busy 
with Mr. Scrope in St. James's Park, Kelly and the 
Colonel were exchanging their unknown explana- 
tions, of a kind not admired by Mr. Wogan, which 
ended in their walking, like a pair of brothers, 
towards George's rooms. In all these conjunctures 
Mr. Wogan' s advice, could he have been present, 
might have been serviceable, or at least his curiosity 
must have been assuaged. 

What did pass between Kelly and Lady Oxford 
when the rout was over, and what were the consider- 
ations which induced George and the Colonel to 
resist their natural and mutual desire for an honour- 
able satisfaction .' 

These questions (that perplexed Wogan when he 
awoke, about noon, from the fatigue of the previous 
day) were answered later by Kelly, and the answer 



302 PARSON KELLY 

must be given before the later adventures and sor- 
rows of George can be clearly narrated. Sure, no 
trifle could have turned sword and gown into friends 
that night. 

When Lady Oxford and Kelly were left alone in 
the empty rooms, among the waning candles and 
scattered cards, Lady Oxford marched, like indig- 
nant royalty, to the end of the inner withdrawing- 
room, where they could not be heard or interrupted 
without warning. 

Mr. Kelly followed with a mind made up. It 
was, after all. Lady Oxford that had betrayed him, 
but he had, by an accident of forgetfulness, kept 
her letters, and they now gave him the advantage. 
If those letters could be saved, the Chevalier's 
papers could and should be saved too, and himself 
rescued from peril and Rose from much unhappi- 
ness. Rose was at the bottom of his thoughts that 
night ; her face was mirrored there bright, it seemed, 
with divinity. The Chevalier was there too, no 
doubt, but Rose peeped over his shoulder. Mr. 
Kelly, then, hardened his heart, and, for love and 
loyalty, meant to push his advantage over Lady 
Oxford to its limits. He approached her as she 
stood retired. 

'Wretch,' cried Lady Oxford, 'you promised to 
burn my letters. Of all traitors you are the most 
abandoned and perfidious.' 

The Parson thought that memory supplied him 
with a parallel, but he replied : 

' It is a promise all men make and all men break. ' 

Lady Oxford struck her hand upon a table. 

' You swore you had burned them. ' 



PARSON KELLY 303 

This time George was less ready with his answer, 
but her ladyship stood awaiting it. 

' My passion must be my excuse, madam ; I could 
not bear to part with these elegant testimonies of 
your esteem. It is as I have the honour to tell 
your ladyship ; the brocades are in my strong box in 
my lodgings. To-morrow they shall be restored to 
your hands. ' 

' To-morrow ! ' she said, in a voice of despair. 
' To-morrow ! I am undone ! ' 

' It is not so long to wait for the finery, and I do 
not think the streets are so purely unsafe as you 
suppose. ' 

' I am undone ! ' she repeated. ' The public will 
ring of my name. I shall become a byword, a thing 
of scorn for every scribbler to aim his wit at. ' 

She gnawed her fingers in an agony of fear and 
perplexity. Mr. Kelly had learned enough. There 
was plainly no chance within the lady's knowledge, 
as he had hoped, of saving her letters. Neither, 
then, could the King's papers be saved. He bowed, 
and took a step towards the door. 

' Stop ! ' 

Mr. Kelly turned with alacrity at the eager cry, 
but Lady Oxford had no words of hope for him. 

' You must not leave this house to-night, or must 
leave it secretly by the garden. ' 

Kelly smiled grimly. Her ladyship was suddenly 
grown most tender of her reputation now that it was 
in peril. 

' Your ladyship's care for me, and your hospitality 
overcome me, but I have, as you perhaps remarked, 
an assignation of honour with Colonel Montague 



304 PARSCN KELLY 

which nothing must prevent me from keeping. He 
is longing for an instant revenge — at the Hazard 
Table. A while ago, you may pardon me for observ- 
ing, your ladyship was remote from feeling this 
sudden and violent anxiety on my hand. ' 

Mr. Kelly's irony was poured out to deaf ears. 
Lady Oxford paced to and fro about the room, 
wringing her hands in her extremity. Then she 
stopped suddenly. 

'I might drive to the Minister's.' She reached 
out a hand towards the bell. Kelly shook his head. 

' That visit would be remarked upon unfavourably 
by the friends of my Lord Oxford, who are not in 
the Minister's interest. Mr. Walpole has no party 
to-night, and must have gone to bed — 't is verging 
on two o'clock — or else he is in his cups. Moreover, 
the Dolliad, the ballad on his sister, was credited to 
your pen. You know that Mr. Walpole loves a 
broad jest, and loves revenge. He will not protect 
you nor miss so fair an opportunity. Nay, I think 
I read in to-morrow's Flying Post, "In the papers 
of the prisoner Kelly, among other treasonable 
matter reserved for a later occasion, were found 
the following letters of a high curiosity, which we 
are graciously permitted to publish; one begins — 
Oh, my Delicious Strephon. " ' 

Lady Oxford snapped her fan between her fingers 
and dashed the fragments in Kelly's face. He owns 
that he cannot well complain she served him ill, but 
he wanted to repay her in some sort for her innuendo 
about his fate at the hangman's hands, and similar 
favours. Beholding her passion, which was not 
unjust, he felt bitterly ashamed of hi§ words. 



PARSON KELLY 305 

' You coward ! ' she said. Her dark eyes glared 
at him from a face white as the ivory of her broken 
fan, and then, quite suddenly, she burst into a 
storm of tears. Kelly's shame was increased a 
thousandfold. 

' I humbly crave your ladyship's pardon,' he said. 
' I have spoken in terms unworthy of a chairman. 
But some remarks of your ladyship's on a future 
event, to me of painful interest, had left an unhappy 
impression. ' 

But Lady Oxford paid no heed to the stammered 
apology. As Mr. Kelly moved to her she waived 
him aside with her hands, and, dropping on to a sofa, 
pressed her weeping face into the cushions. Sobs 
shook her; she lay abandoned to distress. 

Mr. Kelly stood apart and listened to the dolorous 
sound of her weeping. That was true which she 
had said; he had promised to burn those letters; he 
had sworn that he had burned them. His fine plan 
of using them as a weapon against her began to take 
quite another complexion. There were, no doubt, 
all manner of pious and respectable arguments to be 
discovered in favour of the plan, if only he pried 
about for them. But a saying of Mr. Scrope's was 
suddenly scrawled out in his recollections: '^neas 
was an army chaplain who invoked his religion 
when he was tired of the lady, and so sailed away 
with a clear conscience. ' Kelly murmured ' Rose ' 
to himself, and, again, ' Rose, ' seeking to fortify 
himself with the mention of her name. But it had 
the contrary effect. Even as he heard his lips mur- 
muring it, the struggle was over. 

George had a number of pretty finical scruples, 



3o6 PARSON KELLY 

of which his conduct at this crisis of his fortunes 
was a particular example. He relates how it seemed 
to him that at the mention of her name Rose threw 
out a hand to him and drew him up out of a slough ; 
how he understood that his fine plan was unworthy 
of any man, and entirely despicable in the man 
whom she, out of her great condescension, had 
stooped to love ; how he became aware that he owed 
it to her, since she was a woman, that no woman's 
fame, whether a Smilinda's or no, should be smirched 
by any omission of his ; how he suddenly felt in his 
very marrow that it would dishonour Rose to save 
her even from great misery by a l&cheti towards 
another of her sex. His duty was revealed to him 
in that moment, as clear as it was unexpected. He 
sets his revulsion of feeling wholly to Rose's 
account, as a man in love should, but very likely 
her ladyship's fan had something to do with it. 

He spoke again to Lady Oxford, and very 
gently. 

' Madam, it is true. I promised to burn your 
letters. I swore that I had burned them. My 
honour, I perceive, can only be saved by saving 
yours. ' 

Lady Oxford raised her head from the cushions 
and stared at him with wondering eyes. 

' Let us play this game cartes sur table,' continued 
Kelly. 

Her ladyship rose from her sofa and sat herself in 
a chair at a table, still wondering, still suspicious. 
George took the chair on the other side of the table, 
and spoke while Lady Oxford dried the tears upon 
her face. To help her at all he must know all that 



PARSON KELLY 307 

she knew. His first business was to remove her 
ladyship's supicions. 

' I understand that your ladyship, by some means 
of which I am as yet ignorant, has become aware of 
a certain Plot, and has carried the knowledge to Mr. 
Walpole. ' 

Lady Oxford neither agreed nor denied. She 
admitted the truth of Mr. Kelly's statement in her 
own way. 

' You bragged and blabbed to my worst enemy, to 
Lady Mary, with her poisonous pen,' and her fine 
features writhed with hatred as she spoke Lady 
Mary's name. 

' There your ladyship was misled, ' returned 
Kelly. ' My lips have been sealed, as I already had 
the honour to inform you. My Lady Mary may not 
love you, but she is innocent of this offence. If she 
wrote those rhymes, she was, indeed, more my 
enemy than yours; and my enemy, as your ladyship 
is aware, she is not. ' 

Lady Oxford understood the strength of the 
argument. 

' Ah, yes, ' she said thoughtfully. ' The apothe- 
cary's daughter! ' 

The contemptuous phrase slipped from Lady 
Oxford by mistake, and was not at all uttered in a 
contemptuous voice. But she had no doubt fallen 
into a habit of so terming the girl in her thoughts. 
None the less, however, it stung Mr. Kelly, who 
was at some trouble to keep his voice gentle. He 
knew how much Smilinda owed at this moment to 
the apothecary's daughter. 

' The young lady to whom I conceive you refer, 



3o8 PARSON KELLY 

Miss Townley, is of a family as ancient, loyal, and 
honourable as your ladyship's own, and you may 
have seen on what terms both ladies were this even- 
ing. Moreover, Lady Mary was purely ignorant of 
Miss Townley' s very existence when that pasquinade 
was written. ' 

' Then who wrote it .' ' 

' Mr. Scrope, as I have the honour to repeat. ' 

' Scrope ? ' she answered in a quick question, as 
though for the first time she understood that George 
might well be right. He gave the reasons for his 
belief as he had given them at the Deanery to 
Nicholas Wogan. They were to the last degree 
convincing. Lady Oxford was persuaded long before 
Mr. Kelly had come to an end. A look came into 
her face which Kelly could not understand, a look 
of bitter humiliation. ' Scrope,' she muttered, as 
her fingers played with the cards upon the table. 
She overturned a card which lay face downwards on 
the table, and it chanced to be the knave of hearts. 

' Your ladyship now sees that you fell into a 
natural error, ' continued Kelly, who was anxious to 
smooth Lady Oxford's path, ' in consequence of 
which you took a natural revenge. May I ask how 
you secured the means of revenge.' How, in a 
word, you came to know of the hidden Plot within 
the Plot ? ' 

Her ladyship's answer fairly startled Mr. Kelly. 
It was not given at once. She still played with the 
cards, and overturned another. It was the knave of 
clubs. 

' The cards tell you,' she said with a bitter smile. 

Mr. Kelly leaned back in his chair open-mouthed. 



PARSON KELLY 309 

' Scrope ? ' he asked. 

' Scrope, ' replied her ladyship. ' I received a 
humble letter from him praying that I would forgive 
his odious ingratitude, and, by way of peace-offer- 
ing, bidding me tell my Lord Oxford — ' 

' Who had already withdrawn, ' said George. ' I 
think I understand,' Lady Oxford's look of humili- 
ation had enlightened him, ' and I think your lady- 
ship understands with me. Mr. Scrope is a sort 
of a gentleman, and would prefer to do his dirty 
work without appearing as a spy. He has made 
use of your ladyship. He sends you the Plot and 
spurs you to disclose it with his ballad. He would 
have disclosed it himself, I doubt not, had not your 
ladyship served his turn. But Mr. Scrope has his 
refinements, and, besides that he spares himself, 
would take a particular pleasure in compassing my 
ruin at the same time that he outwitted you." 

Little wonder that Lady Oxford broke in upon 
Mr. Kelly's reasonings. It must have been suffi- 
ciently galling for her to reflect that in exacting her 
revenge she had been the mere instrument of a man 
she had tossed aside. 

' It is both of us that he has ruined, not you 
alone, ' she cried. 

Certainly, Mr. Scrope was a person to reckon with, 
and had killed quite a covey of birds with one stone. 

' Are you sure.-*' asked Kelly. ' Are you sure of 
that ? ' 

She bent across the table eagerly, but she did not 
reply to the question. 

' Will you kill Scrope, ' she flashed out, ' and you 
and I part friends ? ' 



3IO PARSON KELLY 

Kelly, even in the midst of this tangle of misfor- 
tunes, could not but smile. 

' I fear that I may have been anticipated. Mr. 
Scrope has been watching your ladyship's house 
to-night — and Mr. Wogan observed him, and, I 
conceive, has undertaken for him.' 

Lady Oxford at that smiled too. ' Then he is a 
dead man,' she said, slowly savouring her words like 
wine. 

' But his death, madam, will not save your letters,' 
said Kelly; and the fire died out of her face. 

' He has betrayed us both, ' she moaned. It 
seemed she had already forgotten how she herself 
had seized at the occasion of betraying Mr. Kelly. 
Kelly was in no mood to debate these subtleties. 

' Are you sure ? ' he contented himself with ask- 
ing for a second time. ' There is one thing Mr. 
Scrope has not done. He has taken no measures 
purposely to insure that your letters will be discov- 
ered, since he does not know of them; else, no 
doubt, he would have done his worst. We two are 
still engaged in a common cause — your ladyship's. 
Your intentions in my regard I were much less than 
a man if I did not forgive, granting (what I now 
know) your ladyship's erroneous interpretation of 
my ground of offence, the babbling to Lady Mary. 
Does your ladyship permit me, then, at the eleventh 
hour, to save you, if I can find a way, from the 
odious consequences of Mr. Scrope's unparalleled 
behaviour .' ' 

'You.?' 

Lady Oxford's brows were drawn together in per- 
plexity. The notion that Mr. Kelly was prepared 



PARSON KELLY 311 

to do this thing was still new and strange to 
her. 

'You?' Her eyes searched his for the truth of 
his purpose, and found it. ' You .' ' she said again, 
but in a voice of gratitude and comprehension. And 
then, with a gesture of despair, she thrust her chair 
back and stood up. ' You cannot save yourself. I 
cannot save you. ' 

' No, ' replied George, ' myself I cannot save ; 
but it may not be too late to save my honour, which 
is now wrapped up in that of your ladyship's. My 
case is desperate ; what can be done for yours .' Be 
plain with me. How much does your ladyship 
know? ' 

Lady Oxford turned away from the table. In the 
face of Kelly's generosity no doubt she hesitated to 
disclose the whole truth of her treachery. 

' I know no more than that you are in peril of 
arrest,' she said. 

' Madam, surely you know more than that. You 
spoke earlier this evening of my arrest, and you 
spoke with the assurance of a more particular 
knowledge. ' 

Lady Oxford took a turn across the room. 

' Oh, my God, what can I do ? ' she cried, lifting 
her hands to her head. ' I hear Lady Mary's 
laughter and the horrid things they will say ! ' 

The whimsical inconsequence of Smilinda's appeal 
to her Maker did not fail to strike Kelly as ludi- 
crous, but, as his own case was hopeless and aban- 
doned, any thought of revenge or mockery had 
ceased to agitate him. His honour now stood in 
saving all that was left of hers from open and in- 



312 PARSON KELLY 

tolerable shame, and Rose beckoned him to the 
task. 

' Surely you know more, ' he persisted quietly. 

Lady Oxford gave in and came back to the table. 

' The Messengers should be waiting for you in 
Ryder Street. ' 

At last Kelly knew the worst. He would be 
taken before he reached his doorstep. There would 
be no chance of saving the cyphers in his strong 
box. Could he save Smilinda's letters.' 

He bent his forehead upon his hands, thinking. 
Smilinda watched him ; her lips moved as though 
she was praying. 

' I might be carried to your lodgings and claim 
what is mine,' she suggested. 

' You would be carried to a trap — a souricihe. 
Ten to one you would be arrested by the Messengers. 
At all events your visit would be remarked upon, 
and you would not obtain the letters. ' 

Lady Oxford had no other proposal at hand, and 
there was silence in the room. Mr. Kelly remained 
with his face buried in his hands ; he took the air in 
long deep breaths. No other sound was audible 
except the faint ticking of the clock in the outer 
withdrawing-room. For Smilinda was holding her 
breath lest she should disturb the man whom she 
had betrayed, and who was now wholly occupied 
with the attempt to save her. Then she remarked 
that the sound of his breathing ceased. She bent 
forwards; he raised his face to hers. He did not 
seem to see her; his eyes kindled with hope. 

'You have found a way .' ' she whispered; and he 
whispered back: 



PARSON KELLY 313 

' A desperate chance, but it may serve. ' He 
started to his feet. ' It must serve. ' 

A smile brightened over his face. 

'It will serve.' 

Sure he showed as much pleasure as if he had 
discovered an issue for himself. 

' Quick ! ' said Smilinda, with a smile to answer 
his. 'Tell me!' 

' Colonel Montague — ' 

' What of him ? Why speak to me now of him .'' ' 

Lady Oxford's face had clouded at the name. 

' He is your only salvation.' 

' What can he do .' ' 

' Everything we need. His loyalty to the present 
occupant of the Throne is entirely beyond a sus- 
picion. He can act as he will without peril to his 
reputation. He can even rescue your papers, which 
are not in the same strong box as my own. The 
Colonel, if any man, can assist you if he will. ' 

' But he will not,' said her ladyship sullenly. 

' He will, ' answered Kelly confidently, ' if properly 
approached. He is a man of honour, I take it.? 
You will pardon me for saying that your ladyship's 
flattering behaviour towards me, in his presence (for 
the nature of which you had, doubtless, your own 
particular reasons) can have left him in no doubt on 
certain heads; while it is equally plain that your 
ladyship hath no longer any very tender interest in 
keeping his esteem and regard. Nevertheless, being 
a gentleman, he will not abandon your ladyship's 
cause. ' 

Lady Oxford was in no way comforted. 

' It may well be as you say, ' she returned with a 



314 PARSON KELLY 

look at Mr. Kelly. She had already one example 
of how much a gentleman could forgive a woman 
when she stood in need of his help. ' But, Mr. 
Kelly, you cannot come at Colonel Montague.' 

'Why not?' 

' You know very well that he lodges in the same 
house as yourself. I sent a lackey with a note to 
you, yesterday. And your reply was dated from 13 
Ryder Street. ' 

Mr. Kelly stepped back, he could hardly believe 
his ears. 

' Colonel Montague — lodges — in the same house 
as myself ? ' he asked. 

' Yes, ' Lady Oxford replied in a dispirited fashion. 
She had lost heart altogether. Mr. Kelly, on the other 
hand, was quite lifted up by the unexpected news. 

' This is a mere miracle in nature, ' he cried. ' I 
only went into my present lodgings two days ago. 
I have been abroad for the greater part of the time, 
and asleep the rest, and have had no knowledge of 
the other tenants, even of their names. 'Faith, 
madam, your letters are as safe as though the ashes 
were now cold in your grate. ' 

' But the Colonel will have gone home, and you 
are to be taken in Ryder Street. You will not get 
speech with him. ' 

' Nay, madam, he has not gone home. He is 
waiting for me now. ' Lady Oxford started. ' Ah, 
your ladyship remembers. He is waiting for me. 
Ten yards from your doorstep — ten yards at the 
farthest, ' and Kelly actually chuckled. Carried 
away by his plan, he began to pace the room as he 
unfolded it, ' I shall see the Colonel, and if I can 



PARSON KELLY 315 

by any means do so, I will acquaint him, as far as 
is necessary, with the embarrassing posture of your 
affairs. I shall give him the key of the box con- 
taining the — brocades, and, if the Messengers be 
not already in possession of them, the rest must be 
entrusted to his honour as a gentleman and a soldier. 
The unexpected accident of our being fellow-lodgers 
gives him, to this end, a great advantage, and can 
scarce have occurred without the providence of — 
some invisible power or another which watches over 
your ladyship.' 

Kelly thought that Lady Oxford this night had 
enjoyed what is called the Devil's own luck. 

' Have I your ladyship's leave to try my powers of 
persuasion with Colonel Montague .'' ' 

Very much to Kelly's surprise she moved towards 
him, like one walking in her sleep. 

' You are bleeding, ' she said, and stanched with 
her handkerchief some drops from his brow, where 
it had been cut by the broken edges of the ivory fan. 
Then she went again into a bitter fit of weeping, 
which Kelly could never bear to see in a woman. 
She may have remembered the snow upon the lawn, 
years ago, and a moment's vision of white honour. 
Then she stinted in her crying as suddenly as she 
had begun; in a time incredibly short you could not 
tell that she had wept. 

' You must carry a token. I must write. Oh my 
shame ! ' she said, and sitting down to a scrutoire, 
wrote rapidly and briefly, sanded the paper, and 
offered it open to Kelly. 

*I cannot see it; your ladyship must seal it,' he 
said, which she did with a head of Cicero, 



31 6 PARSON KELLY 

George took the note, and said: ' Now time 
presses, madam. I must be gone. I trust that, if 
not now, at least later, you may forgive me. ' 

Her lips moved, but no words came forth. Kelly 
made his bow, and so took leave of Smilinda, she 
gnawing her lips, as she watched him with her 
inscrutable eyes, moodily pushing to and fro with 
her foot the broken pieces of the fan on the polished 
floor. 

There came into Kelly's fancy his parting view of 
Rose at Avignon, her face framed among the vine 
leaves, in the open window ; she leaning forth, with 
a forced smile on her dear lips and waving her ker- 
chief in farewell. A light wind was stirring her 
soft hair at that time, and she crying ' Au revoirl 
Au revoir ! ' There was a scent of lilacs from the 
garden in the air of April, George remembered, and 
now the candles were dying in the sconces with a 
stench. 

With these contrasted pictures of two women and 
two farewells in his fancy, Kelly was descending 
the wide empty staircase, not knowing too well 
where he went. Something seemed to stir, he lifted 
his eyes and before him he saw again the appearance 
of his King : the King, young and happy, and as 
beautiful as the dawn that was stealing into the 
room and dimming the lustres on the stairs. 

Then the appearance moved aside, and Kelly 
found himself gazing into a great empty mirror that 
hung on the wall, facing the gallery above. 

Lord Sidney Beauclerk, in fact, had not left the 
house with the other guests, and Kelly, remembering, 
laughed aloud as he reached the fresh air without. 



CHAPTER XXII 

AN ECLOGUE WHICH DEMONSTRATES THE PASTORAL 
SIMPLICITY OF CORYDON AND STREPHON 

WOGAN has told already how Kelly came out 
of the house in Queen's Square, how he led 
the way to the glade, so convenient for the occasion, 
and how he dismissed his friend. George has since 
declared that he never was more tossed up and down 
in his mind than during that trifle of a promenade. 
Here was the Colonel that had insulted him, and 
wished nothing, more or less, than to cut his clerical 
throat. And here was Kelly, that must make 
friends with his enemy, if he was to save his honour, 
and the reputation, such as it was, of the woman 
whom he had once loved. It was a quandary. If 
Kelly began by showing a flag of truce, the Colonel, 
as like as not, would fire on it by way of a kick or 
cuff, and then a friendly turn to the conversation 
would be totally out of the possible. Had Kelly 
been six inches taller than he was and a perfect 
master of his weapon, he might have trusted to the 
chance of disarming the Colonel and then proposing 
a cartel, but unhappily it was the Elector's officer 
who possessed these advantages. Thus Kelly could 
think of nothing except to get rid of Mr. Wogan's 
presence as a witness of the explanation. He sue- 



3i8 PARSON KELLY 

ceeded in that, and then marched back to the 
Colonel, who had stood aside while George con- 
versed with his friend. 

Kelly waited, as the wiser part, till the Colonel 
should show his hand. But the Colonel also waited, 
and there the two gentlemen stood speechless, just 
out of thrust of each other, while every convenience 
in nature called on them to begin. 

At last the Colonel cleared his throat and said, 
' Reverend Mr. Lace-Merchant, I am somewhat at a 
loss as to how I should deal with you. ' 

' Faith, it is my own case, ' thought George to 
himself, but all he uttered was, ' Gallant Mr. Drill- 
Sergeant, the case seems clear enough. You trod 
on my foot, and,' said George, as he let his cloak 
slip from his shoulders to the ground, ' you invited 
me to take a walk; what circumstance now befogs 
your intellects .' ' 

Kelly's instincts, naturally good, though dimmed 
a trifle by a learned education and a clerical train- 
ing, showed him but that one way out of the wood. 

' Several circumstances combine, sir. Thus, I 
do not want to save the hangman a job. Again, my 
respect for your cloth forbids me to draw sword on 
you, and rather prompts to a public battooning to- 
morrow in St. James's. I therefore cjo but wait to 
favour you with this warning, which is more than a 
trafficker of your kidney deserves. ' 

' Truth, sir, if you wait to cane me till to-morrow, 
I have every reason to believe that you may wait a 
lifetime. As to cloth, mine is as honourable as ever 
a German usurper's livery.' 

This did not promise a friendly conclusion, but 



PARSON KELLY 319 

George was ever honourably ready to support the 
honour of his gown, and he confesses that, at this 
moment, he somewhat lost sight of his main object. 

The Colonel stepped forward with uplifted cane, 
a trifle of tortoise-shell and amber, in his hand. 

George drew back one pace and folded his arms 
on his breast. His eyes, which are of an uncommon 
bright blue, were fixed on the Colonel's. 

' You will find, sir, if you advance one foot, that 
I do not stand kick or cuff. You are dealing with 
one who knows his weapon ' (no experience could 
cure George of this delusion), ' and who does not 
value his life at a straw. Moreover, you began a 
parley for which I did not ask, though I desired it, 
and I have to tell you that your honour is involved 
in continuing this conversation in quite another 
key.' 

George stepped forward the pace he had with- 
drawn, and clasped his hands behind his back, 
watching the Colonel narrowly. 

There was something in his voice, more in his 
eyes. The Colonel had seen fire, and knew a brave 
man when he met one. He threw down his cane 
and Kelly reckoned that the worst of his task was 
over. 

' You may compel me to fight, ' George went on, 
' and I never went to a feast with a better stomach, 
but first I have certain words that must be spoken 
to you. ' 

' You cannot intend to escape by promising a dis- 
covery ? ' 

' Sir, I do not take you for a Messenger or a Min- 
ister. One or both I can find without much seek- 



320 PARSON KELLY 

ing, and, for that sufficient reason, before they lay 
hands on me I absolutely demand to speak to you on 
a matter closely touching your own honour, which, 
as I have never heard it impeached, I therefore 
sincerely profess my desire to trust.' 

' You are pleased to be complimentary, but I 
know not how my honour can be concerned with a 
Jacobite trafficker and his treasons.' 

' I make you this promise, that, if you do thus 
utterly refuse to listen for five minutes, I will give 
you every satisfaction at the sword's point, or, by 
God ! will compel you to take it, as you have been 
pleased to introduce battoons into a conversation 
between gentlemen. And if, when you have heard 
me, you remain dissatisfied, again I will give you a 
lesson with sharps. You see that we are not likely 
to be interrupted, and that I am perfectly cool. 
This is a matter to each of us of more than life or 
death. ' 

' I do see that you desire to pique my curiosity for 
the sake of some advantage which I am unable to 
perceive. Perhaps you expect your friends on the 
scene ? ' 

' You may observe that I began by dismissing the 
only friend I have in this town. Do you, perhaps, 
suspect that Mr. Nicholas Wogan needs, or has 
gone to procure, assistance .'' ' 

' I confess that I know that gentleman too well 
for any such suspicions. ' 

' Then, sir, remember that the Roman says 
noscitur a sociis, and reflect that I am a friend of 
Mr. Wogan's, who must stand sponsor, as you do 
not know me, for my honesty. Moreover,' said 



PARSON KELLY 321 

George, working round by a risky way to his point, 
' had I wished to escape I could, instead of seeking 
you, have sneaked off t'other way. You observed 
that I remained some minutes with a lady to-night 
after you and the rest of her company had with- 
drawn?' 

' It is very like your impudence to remind me 
of that among other provocations ! I am not con- 
cerned in your merchant's business of brocades.' 

' But, indeed, with your pardon, you are concerned 
in the highest degree, and that is just the point I 
would bring you to consider. ' 

' I tire of your mysteries, sir, ' he said, shrugging 
his shoulders. ' Speak on, and be brief. ' 

' On these brocades turns the question whether the 
honour of a lady, which you are bound to cherish, 
shall be the laughing-stock of the town. Sir, in a 
word, you, and you only, can save that person; 
need I say more ? ' 

' Did she send you with this message to save your 
own skin .' ' 

' That is past saving, except by a miracle, which 
I am in no situation to expect will be wrought for 
me. Understand me, sir, I am out of hope of 
earthly salvation. I have nothing to gain, nothing 
to look for from man. I make you freely acquainted 
with that position of my affairs, which are purely 
desperate. And the person of whom we speak looks 
to you as her sole hope in the world. She sends 
you this, take it, I know not the contents, the seal, 
as you perceive, being unbroken. ' 

' This looks more serious, ' said the Colonel, tak- 
ing the sealed note which Kelly handed to him. 



322 PARSON KELLY 

He pored over the letter, holding it up to the 
moonlight. ' Do as the bearer bids you, if you 
would have me live,' he read; then, with a bitter 
laugh, he tore the note into the smallest shreds, 
and was about to dash them down on the grass. 

'Hold, sir,' Kelly said; 'preserve them till you 
can burn them. Or — I have myself swallowed the 
like before now. ' 

The Colonel stared, and put the fragments into 
his pocket-book. 

' Well, ' he said, ' I am hearing you. ' 

' I thank you, sir; you will grant that I did not 
wrong you in trusting your generosity. If I am a 
free man to-morrow, or even to-night after this 
business is done, I shall have the honour of meeting 
you, wherever you are pleased to appoint. For my 
cloth have no scruple, I never was more than half a 
parson. ' 

' Sir, I shall treat you as you may merit. And 
now for your commands, which, it seems, I am in a 
manner under the necessity to obey. ' 

' You see this key, sir, ' said Kelly, offering that 
of one of his strong boxes, ' take it, go to my lodg- 
ings, which, by a miracle, are in the same house as 
your own. Enter my parlour, 't is on the ground 
floor ; open the small iron strong box which this key 
fits, and burn all the — brocades which you find there. ' 

'This is a most ingenious stroke of the theatre! 
I am to burn, I perceive, all the papers, or brocades 
as you call them, which damn you for a Jacobite 
plotter ! It is not badly contrived, sir, but you have 
come to the wrong agent. I am acquainted with the 
ingenious works of the French playwrights. ' 



PARSON KELLY 323 

' Sir, you compel me, against my will, to be more 
plain with you than I desire. It is your own fault 
if I give you concern. On opening the coffer you 
may satisfy yourself of the hand of the writer, which 
cannot but be familiar to you. Moreover, the letters 
of the person for whom we are concerned are 
addressed (that you may not make the error which 
you apprehend) to one Strephon — not a cant name 
of a political plot. ' 

' She called you — Strephon ? ' 

' She was so kind. ' 

' And I was Corydon, ' groaned the Colonel 
between his teeth. 

^Arcades ambol' said George. 'But now 'tis 
the hour of a third shepherd ! Lycidas, perhaps, le 
plus heureux des trots. Oh, Colonel, be easy, we are 
both yesterday's roses, or, rather, I am the rose of 
the day before yesterday, ' 

' And it is for this woman — ' 

' Ay, it is just for this woman that you are to 
risk your commission, for a risk there may be, and 
I my life, for I could get away from this place. 
You perceive that we have no alternative.'' 

' What must be, must, ' he said, after some 
moments of thought ; ' but what if I find the Mes- 
sengers already in possession of your effects .' ' 

' In that case I must depend solely on your own 
management and invention. But I may say that 
gold will do much, nay, everything with such fel- 
lows, and your position, moreover, as a trusted 
officer of your King's, will enable you to satisfy 
men not very eminent for scruples.' 

' Gold ! I have not a guinea, thanks to the cards, 



324 PARSON KELLY 

not a stiver in my rooms to-night. The cards took 
all.' 

' Here, at least,' cried George, ' I can offer some 
kind of proof of my honesty, and even be of service. 
I am poor. Heaven knows, but there are my win- 
nings, easily enough to corrupt four Messengers. 
Use the money; I have friends who will not let me 
starve in the Tower. Nay, delicacy is purely foolish. 
I insist that you take it. ' 

' Mr. Johnson, ' the Colonel said, ' you are a very 
extraordinary man. ' 

' Sir, I am an Irishman, ' said George. 

' I will not say that I never met one like you, but 
I hope, after all accounts are settled between us, to 
have the advantage of your acquaintance. Sir, au 
revoir. ' 

' I shall be with you, sir, in ten minutes after 
your arrival in your lodgings, whether the coast be 
clear or not. But let me attend you across the Park, 
as far as the corner of Pall Mall Street. ' 

If Kelly was an Irishman, Montague was an 
Englishman, and Kelly was well enough acquainted 
with that nation to know that the last proof given of 
his disinterestedness was by much the most power- 
ful he could have used. He reflected again on the 
Devil's own luck of Smilinda that night, for if the 
cards had gone contrary to her and George he could 
not have produced this demonstration of his loyalty, 
nor could he very well have invited the Colonel to 
pay the piper out of his own pocket. 

The Colonel also walked silently, turning about 
in his mind all the aspects of this affair. 

' I understand, ' he said, ' that you are upon honour 



PARSON KELLY 3^5 

not to involve me in tampering with anything dis- 
affected? You will take no advantage whatever 
that may give me the air of being concerned, to 
shelter yourself or your party ? ' 

' You have my word for it, sir. Your honour, 
next to that in which we are equally concerned, is 
now my foremost consideration.' 

He nodded, then sighed, as one not very well 
satisfied. 

' Things may come to wear a very suspicious com- 
plexion, but I must risk a little; the worse the luck. 
Mr. Johnson, neither of us has been very wise in 
the beginnings of this business.' 

' I came to that conclusion rather earlier than 
you, sir, and on very good evidence.' 

' No doubt, ' growled Montague, and he muttered 
once or twice, ' Strephon, Corydon — Corydon, 
Strephon. ' Then he turned unexpectedly to Kelly. 
' You mentioned these letters as I was leaving the 
room, and I noticed that her ladyship grew white. 
She kept you, she knew then of the danger you were 
in and has just informed you of it. Now, how came 
she to have so particular a knowledge of your 
danger? ' 

Mr. Kelly did not answer a question which boded 
no good for Lady Oxford. ' She had grounds of 
resentment against you in a certain ballad.' 

Kelly seized at the chance of diverting Montague 
from his suspicions, and showed how the ballad was 
aimed at him no less than at her ladyship, and, 
without giving the Colonel time to interrupt, 

' Here I must bid you au revoir, sir, ' he said, ' for 
some ten minutes, time enough for you to do what 



326 PARSON KELLY 

is needed, if, as I hope, you are not disturbed. The 
Messengers, I conceive, will be lurking for me in 
Ryder Street outside our common door ; they will 
not think of preventing you from entering, and be- 
fore I arrive, whatever befalls me, our common in- 
terest will be secured.' 

' You are determined to follow .' ' 

' What else can I do.' I must know the end of 
this affair of the brocades. It is not wholly impos- 
sible that the Messengers have wearied of waiting, 
and think to take me abed to-morrow. When you 
have done what you know, you will leave my room, 
and I, if I am not taken, have some arrangements of. 
my own to make. That, I presume, is not a breach 
of my engagement with you .' ' 

' Certainly not, sir. When I have left your room 
I am in no sense responsible for your actions. I 
wish you good fortune. ' 

While they thus walked and were sad enough, 
they came within ear-shot of Wogan, who, at that 
moment, was declaiming Mr. Pope's Night piece to 
Mr. Scrope, who was in the Canal. 

What conversation passed between the four gentle- 
men Wogan has already told, and he has mentioned 
how the Colonel went away, and how, after using 
pains to prevent Mr. Scrope from catching a cold, 
he himself withdrew to court slumber, and left Mr. 
Kelly alone in the moonlight. 

Mr. Kelly did not remain in the open, but lay 
perdu on the shadowy side of the grove. Conceal- 
ing himself from any chance of a rencounter, he 
allotted a space of twelve minutes by his watch, and 
time never paced more tardy with him in all his 



PARSON KELLY 327 

life. There was in his favour but the one chance 
that the Messengers might choose to take him abed 
in the early morning, when the streets would be 
empty. At this moment St. James's Street was 
full of chairs and noises ; night-rakers were abroad, 
and the Messengers, who are not very popular, 
might fear a rescue by the rabble. On this chance 
Kelly fixed his hopes, for if he could but be alone 
for ten minutes in his lodgings, he and his friends 
would have little to fear from any evidence in his 
possession. 

If the Colonel succeeded. Lady Oxford, and, with 
her ladyship, George's honour, were safe. If, by an 
especial miracle of heaven, George could have a few 
minutes alone in his room, the Cause and the faith- 
ful of the Cause would be safe. The Colonel, 
Kelly hoped, could hardly fail to do his part of the 
work ; he would enter his own rooms unchallenged, 
his uniform and well-known face must secure him 
as much as that, and the Epistles of Smilinda 
would lie in ashes. 

So he hoped, but nothing occurred as he antici- 
pated. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

HOW THE MESSENGERS CAPTURED THE WRONG 
gentleman; and of what letters THE 
COLONEL BURNED. 

FOR Colonel Montague was taken in Mr. Kelly's 
place, as you may see with your own eyes in 
his Grace of Dorset's Report to the Lords' Com- 
mittees, where the informations of John Hutchins 
and Daniel Chandler, described as ' two of his 
Majesty's Messengers in Ordinary,' are printed. 
These did not chance to be men of a very high 
degree of intelligence, as their own confessions bear 
testimony, in itself a fortunate circumstance. 

Colonel Montague, when he parted from the 
Parson at the grove in St. James's Park, walked 
into Pall Mall Street by the path at the corner of 
St. James's House and up to St. James's Street to 
the corner of Ryder Street, where he turned. 
Ryder Street, what with gentlemen walking home 
on the footpaths and chairs carried in the road, was 
a busy thoroughfare at this time of the night, and 
he remarked nothing extraordinary until he was 
close to his own doorstep. Then he distinguished, 
or rather seemed to distinguish — for in the doubtful 
light he could not be certain — at a little distance 



PARSON KELLY 329 

on the opposite side of tlie road a man in the blue 
and silver livery of Lady Oxford. The man was 
loitering at the edge of the path, taking a few steps 
now this way now that. He was tall, and not un- 
like Mr. Wogan in his girth. Now, Colonel 
Montague was aware that her ladyship possessed a 
lackey of just such a conspicuous figure. 

' For once in a while, ' he thought, ' the news- 
sheet spoke truth to-night. It seems it was Lady 
Oxford that set the reverend non-juror, for here is 
her lackey to point him out to the Messengers. ' 

With this thought urging him to get his business 
done quickly, Montague walked up to his door and 
knocked. On the instant, three men ran across the 
road and collared him. The capture was observed 
by one or two gentlemen, who stopped, and imme- 
diately a small. crowd began to gather about them. 

Montague was prudent enough to waste no time 
in a useless struggle with the Messengers, and 
asked them quietly who they were and what they 
intended. At this moment the door was opened by 
Mrs. Kilburne's maid, and the Messengers, lifting 
the Colonel up, carried him into the house. Hutchins, 
a short, stoutish fellow, who was the chief of the 
three men, told the Colonel who they were. 

' And we hold a warrant for your apprehension 
under Lord Townshend's seal,' he said, and showed 
his scutcheon and the warrant. 

' Not for my apprehension, ' replied Montague. 
'There is one without there who can speak for me.' 
For the door was still open to the street, and 
amongst the people who thronged the entrance, he 
now saw very clearly the blue and silver livery of 



330 PARSON KELLY 

her ladyship. The lackey, however, pushed back- 
wards out of range, and since those who were fore- 
most of the crowd turned about to see who it was 
that Montague pointed to, Hutchins took the occa- 
sion to close the door in their faces. 

* You are George Kelly, alias James Johnson, 
alias Joseph Andrews,' said he, turning again to 
Colonel Montague, and reading out from the war- 
rant a number of names by which the Parson was 
known to the honest party. 

' It is the first I have heard of it,' replied Mon- 
tague, and he invited the Messengers up to his 
rooms on the first floor, where he would be happy to 
satisfy them of their mistake. Mrs. Kilburne had 
now joined her maid in the passage, and she fol- 
lowed the Messengers up the stairs, wringing her 
hands over the disgrace which, through no fault of 
hers, had fallen upon her house. When they were 
come within the room, Montague threw open his 
cloak, which he wore wrapped about his shoulders, 
and discovered his scarlet coat beneath it. 

' I am Colonel Montague,' he said, ' and an officer 
under the King as well as you. If there is work to 
be done for the King, I shall be very happy to assist 
you. I fought for the King at Preston,' and he 
made a great flourish of his services and valorous 
acts, not being sure that the Messengers had rein- 
forcements without, and hoping that Mr. Kelly 
might enter meanwhile and do what was needful. 
Mrs. Kilburne' s tongue and care for the Parson 
seemed likely to forward this plan, for, with many 
unnecessary words, she declared how the Colonel had 
lodged with her for years. 



PARSON KELLY 331 

' And as for Mr. Johnson, ' she said, ' there was 
such a man who came and went, but he lodged with 
Mrs. Barnes in Bury Street, and there you should 
go if you seek for news of him. ' 

But the ten minutes were not yet gone. The 
maid remained downstairs in the passage. She was 
a perfectly honest poor wench, who would have 
risked herself for the Parson or for any gentleman 
in distress. But Montague, however closely he 
listened, could not hear that she opened the door, 
or any noise in the room below. 

Hutchins made his apologies with a great many 
'your honours,' and the Colonel was no less polite 
in his compliments upon Hutchins' s zeal, which he 
would be sure to make known in the proper quarters. 
But still the Parson did not come, and Montague 
could hold the Messengers in talk no longer, though 
that would have been of little use, as he now 
discovered. 

For Hutchins turned about to Chandler, — 

' Go down into the street and tell Lyng and Ran- 
dall, ' he said, ' that our man is not come. Bid them 
watch for him at the corner of Ryder Street and St. 
James's.' And as he spoke he gave Chandler the 
warrant. Chandler slipped it into his pocket, and 
ran downstairs to join the others of his worshipful 
calling in the street. Hutchins followed him, but 
remained within, in the passage, to watch the maid 
of the house, and see that she did not go out to warn 
the Parson. 

The Colonel and Mrs. Kilburne were thus left 
alone. 

' Mrs. Kilburne, ' said Montague. ' You must take 



332 PARSON KELLY 

my word for it, I am Mr. Kelly's friend, and with- 
out any argument, if you please. ' For he saw that 
she was on the point of interrupting him. ' There 
is but one thing you can do for him. Send some- 
one you can trust, or go yourself to lure the Mes- 
sengers off to Mrs. Barnes's house. But you must 
be quick, and here 's money to help you. ' 

He filled her hands with the Parson's gold, and 
she, in her turn, went downstairs and out of the 
house by a door at the back. Montague, for his 
part, had it in mind to try whether the like means 
might not over-persuade Hutchins's zeal. With that 
design he descended to Hutchins, whom he found 
lighting a candle in Mr. Kelly's room with the door 
open so that he might command a view of the maid 
who was still waiting in the passage. 

The Colonel stepped into the room, casting his 
eyes about for the strong-box with Smilinda's letters, 
which he could not see. He saw the scrutoire, 
however, which stood in the window with the lid 
closed. Hutchins held the candle above his head 
and remarked it at the same time. 

' I will search the rooms,' he said with an air of 
consequence. Colonel Montague was in a quandary. 
Hutchins had only to throw back the lid and the 
Parson's strong-box would be in his hands. He 
had only then to break open the lock, and all 
Smilinda's dainty sentiments about the union of souls 
would be splotched over by the dirty thumbs of a 
constable. And the Colonel could not prevent the 
sacrilege unless the money did it for him. 

' Mr. Hutchins,' he said, and jingled the gold in 
his pockets. But he got no further in his persua- 



PARSON KELLY 333 

sions. For the name was scarce off his lips when 
a hubbub arose without. It was a confusion of 
noise at the first as though it came from the end of 
the street. 

'They have taken him,' said Hutchins, setting 
down the candle and flinging aside the curtains of 
the window. 

The noise was louder, and Kelly's voice was 
heard, bawling, ' A rescue ! An arrest ! an arrest ! 
A rescue ! ' that the rabble might think he was 
taken for debt. Those who were gathered in front 
of the house did indeed turn themselves about, but 
they were for the most part of the better class, and 
the night-rakers and such-like who might have 
attempted a rescue, only came up behind at Mr. 
Kelly's bawling, from St. James's Street, where 
they were likely to find more profit than in Ryder 
Street. This friendly mob was running together 
indeed, but came too late. 

' Yes, they have taken him, ' said Montague. Mrs. 
Kilburne had not drawn the Messengers off. On the 
other hand, Hutchins had not opened Mr. Kelly's 
scrutoire. ' They have taken him,' and the Parson 
was already under the window. His sword was 
gleaming in his hand but the Messengers dragged 
upon his arms and he could not use it. 

Hutchins threw up the window. 

' Bring him in, ' and he rushed to the street door 
and unlocked it. Kelly was hustled up the steps, 
shouting all the while. He was forced into the 
passage just as the rabble came up at his heels. 

' A rescue ! ' they cried. 

Lyng and Chandler turned about and drove them 



334 PARSON KELLY 

back. Randall sprang in after Kelly and slammed 
the door. 

The posture of affairs then was this : 

Colonel Montague and Hutchins were standing 
in Mr. Kelly's room close to the scrutoire and the 
open window. 

Mr. Kelly, Lyng, who was a big lout, designed 
by Providence for this office and no other, and the 
maid, were in the passage. Randall and Chandler 
were outside in the street and at their wits' ends to 
keep back the mob, which was now grown very 
clamorous. 

Mr. Kelly was the first to make any movement. 
He sheathed his sword, carefully dusted the sleeves 
of his coat where the Messengers had held him and 
arranged his cravat. 

' These are ill times for a peaceful man to live in,' 
he said. ' It seems a gentleman cannot walk home 
of an evening but he must be set upon and cuffed. ' 

With a shrug of the shoulders, as though the 
whole matter was a mystery, he sauntered into his 
parlour. His eyes carelessly took in the room. It 
seemed that nothing had been disturbed. The 
scrutoire was shut, but were Smilinda's letters still 
hidden there or were they safe in Montague's 
pockets ? His eyes rested on the Colonel's face and 
put the question. But the Colonel gave no sign; 
Hutchins stood at his elbow. Kelly's eyes travelled 
from the Colonel's face to his red coat. 

' One of the King's ofificers, ' he said with a smile. 
' In the presence of one of the King's officers, 
gentlemen, ' he said politely with a bow to Hutchins, 
' I take it that you will forgo your ingenious 



PARSON KELLY 335 

attempt to rob me and we may all go quietly to 
bed.' 

He moved as he spoke towards the scrutoire, and 
again looked at the Colonel. The Colonel's face 
was still a blank. 

' We hold a warrant for the arrest of George Kelly, 
alias James Johnson, ' began Hutchins. 

' Indeed ? ' replied George with an effort of atten- 
tion, as though fatigue put a strain upon his good 
manners. ' And why should George Kelly prefer to 
call himself James Johnson? I cannot think it is 
the better name. Mr. George Kelly lacks taste, I 
am afraid, ' and he stifled a yawn with his hand. 

' Colonel Montague,' said Hutchins, who was in 
some perplexity as to what to make of Kelly's 
present indifference, ' your honour promised to assist 
me.' 

Colonel Montague being appealed to, nodded his 
head. 

' Though you will not need my assistance, ' he 
said, ' for here is another of your fellows. ' 

Chandler had come within the house, and pushing 
into the room said that the curtains were drawn 
apart so that the rabble could see clearly all that 
happened in the room and were on that account the 
less inclined to disperse. As he spoke he hitched 
the curtains to and a volley of curses went up from 
the disappointed crowd. 

Hutchins immediately turned to Kelly. 

' Give me your sword. ' 

Kelly, who knew not what to make of the 
Colonel's manner, but thought it likely he had 
taken his measures, took his sword by the hanger 



336 PARSON KELLY 

and handed it sheath and all to Hutchins, who in his 
turn passed it to Montague. Montague stood in the 
corner by the window. 

'There is -some stupid blunder,' said Kelly, 
' which I cannot take it upon me to understand. 
You talk to me a great deal about a warrant, but I 
have not seen it. It is a new thing to come taking 
off gentlemen to the round-house in the middle of 
the night without a warrant, but we live in ill 
times. ' All this he said with an admirable air of 
resignation, though his eyes kept glancing towards 
Montague, who still dared give no sign. The 
Colonel waited upon occasion; his present aim was 
to hinder the Messengers from any suspicion that 
the Parson and he were in one purpose or indeed 
were acquainted. 

In answer to Kelly, Chandler took the warrant 
from his pocket and handed it to Colonel Montague, 
who read it through. 

' It is a very sufficient warrant, ' he said, ' and this 
gentleman may be satisfied if he is rightly named, 
of which of course I have no assurance, ' and folding 
the paper he handed it back to Chandler. Where- 
upon Chandler went out again into the street to 
guard the door from the rabble. 

Hutchins then took Kelly's hat, placed it on the 
table, and searching his pockets, pulled out some 
papers which he had about him, things of no moment; 
and these papers he laid in the hat. But to search 
Kelly's pockets Hutchins must needs stoop. Here 
was the Colonel's chance. Over Hutchins' shoulder, 
Kelly's eyes again put their question. The Colonel 
now answered with a shake of the head, Smilinda's 



PARSON KELLY 337 

letters had not been saved, a great surprise and 
disappointment to the Parson, who of course knew 
nothing of Montague's mistaken arrest. 

Kelly, however, wasted no precious moments in 
regrets. As Hutchins turned to place the papers in 
the hat, Kelly thrust Lyng aside, and, springing to 
the window, tore aside the curtains and again bawled 
at the top of his voice. ' A rescue ! An arrest ! ' 

Shouts of encouragement greeted him ; the hubbub 
filled the street again. Hutchins and Lyng at once 
sprang upon Kelly, tore him back from the window, 
and sent him staggering across the room. 

' Tie his hands ! ' cried Hutchins, as he pulled 
down the sash. ' Knock him down ! Gag him ! ' 
and he turned to help Lyng. 

The maid in the passage began to cry ; the Colonel 
stood irresolute ; the Parson drew himself up against 
the wall as the two men approached him. His Irish 
blood bubbled in his veins at the prospect of so fine 
a tumble. He clenched his hands. He forgot 
Smilinda's letter, the Cause, even Rose. His face 
became one broad grin and in an accent as broad as 
the grin. 

'And what '11 I be doin' while you're tyin' my 
hands.?' he asked. 'Why, just this,' and his fist 
shot out like a battering-ram and took the: worthy 
Lyng on the tip of the chin. Mr. Lyng was clean 
lifted off both his feet and so sat down on the floor 
with some violence, where he felt his neck in a 
dazed sort of way to make sure that it was not 
broken. 

'Oh, why isn't Nick here?' cried Kelly, and 
indeed Nicholas Wogan bewails his absence at that 



338 PARSON KELLY 

festivity to this day. ' Come, Mr. Hutchins, I have 
the other fist for you, ' and he began to dance towards 
Hutchins, who called on the Colonel to mark the 
murderous look in the prisoner's eyes and save him 
from immediate destruction. 

' Is it destruction you want .? ' asked Kelly with a 
chuckle. ' I '11 gratify you with all the destruction 
imaginable. ' And no doubt he would have been as 
good as his word. But Hutchins, while shutting 
the window had not drawn the curtains, and the 
rabble in the street had thus enjoyed a full view of 
the Parson's prowess. They had roared their 
applause when Lyng went down, and as Hutchins 
drew back before the Parson's fisticuffs, they hooted 
the Messenger for a coward and made a rush at the 
door. A stone or two shattered the window and a 
voice was yelling, ' Murder ! murder ! ' in tones of 
unmistakable sincerity. Chandler then rushed in, 
his face bleeding, and said that Randall was being 
mobbed, and, if they did not come to help him, 
would be knocked on the head. At this, Lyng, who 
was now got to his feet, ran out into the street with 
Chandler. Hutchins remained in the room, but 
cried out to Chandler that he should go or send for 
a file of musquets. 

Now Chandler, when he rushed into the room, was 
holding the warrant in his hand, he still held it 
when he ran out again, as the Parson remarked, and 
instantly thought of a plan by which, after all, 
Smilinda's letters might be secured, and her name 
kept wholly out of the business. Accordingly he 
ceased from his warlike posture and sat down in a 
chair. Hutchins took the occasion to draw the 



PARSON KELLY 339 

curtains and shut out the mob from a view of the 
room. Mr. Kelly smiled, for he was just wondering 
what excuse he could discover to do that very thing 
himself. Mr. Hutchins was helping him very well. 

' It is a pity, ' said the Parson in a plaintive voice, 
sucking his knuckles, which were bleeding, ' that a 
peaceful, law-abiding citizen must put himself to 
so much discomfort because a couple of rascally 
Messengers will not show him their warrant. ' 

' It is under Lord Townshend's seal,' began 
Hutchins. 

' It may be, or it may not be. I have not seen it. 
I cannot really surrender unless the proper formali- 
ties are observed.' 

Hutchins, who was no doubt well pleased to see 
the peaceful turn things were taking and had not 
the wits to suspect it, replied with an oafish grin 
that the prisoner was wise to submit himself to his 
lawful captors. 

' And as for the warrant. Chandler has it safe 
enough in the street.' 

' In the street ! ' cried Kelly, suddenly flying into 
a passion. ' And what 's the warrant doing in the 
street.' How dare the warrant be in the street 
when it is intended for a gentleman in the house.' 
Upon my word it would take very little to persuade 
me that there 's no warrant at all,' and he began to 
stamp and fume about the room. 

' Colonel Montague has read it, ' said Hutchins. 

' I certainly read a warrant, ' agreed the Colonel 
with an impartial air. 

' A warrant, yes, ' said Kelly in a testy voice. 
' But how can the Colonel know whether it is in- 



340 PARSON KELLY 

tended for me? How can he know whether it is 
a real warrant at all? You come here with a 
scutcheon, Mr. Hutchins. But you might have 
stolen the scutcheon, as you have certainly forged 
the warrant. ' He stopped in front of Hutchins and 
wagged his head at him. ' Mr. Hutchins, I begin 
to suspect you are one of a gang of cheats come here 
to rob me. But I will not be your gull,' he cried 
out as though his fury overmastered him. ' No, nor 
his worship the Colonel either,' and he called to the 
maid to lock the street door. 

' Lock it, ' said he. ' Lock the door and Mr. 
Hutchins and I will get to the bottom of the matter 
quietly.' 

That very thing now happened which Mr. Kelly 
most desired. The maid ran down the passage to 
the street door : Hutchins ran out of the room after 
her to prevent her locking it. Kelly flung to the 
door of the parlour : Mr. Hutchins was outside, the 
Colonel and Kelly were alone within the room. 

' My sword, ' said the Parson in a quick whisper. 
Montague held it out to him without a word: he 
had no right to refuse it to a free man. Kelly 
snatched the hilt; the blade rattled out of the 
scabbard; he stood on guard with his naked 
blade. 

Meanwhile Hutchins and the maid were quar- 
relling in the passage over the door key, as Kelly 
could distinguish from their voices. 

He made a quick step towards the window, threw 
open the scrutoire, and returned to his station at the 
door. But he had not so much as glanced at the 
scrutoire; he had kept his eyes fixed upon the door. 



PARSON KELLY 341 

Still keeping his eyes so fixed, he pointed towards 
the strong boxes. 

' Be quick, ' he whispered. ' In the strong box ! 
Take the candle and have done. You know the 
hand, and you have the key.' 

Montague pulled the key from his pocket, and 
fumbled at the lock. 

' It will not fit,' he said under his breath and 
swore. 

' Be quick, ' repeated Kelly. 

The key rattled in the lock as the Colonel turned 
it this way and that. Mr. Kelly was about to throw 
a glance over his shoulder when he saw the handle 
of the door turn. It was turned cautiously without 
any noise. The next moment the door flew open. 
Fortunately it opened upwards towards the window 
and the scrutoire. Kelly stopped it with his foot 
when it was but half open, so that Montague was 
entirely hidden behind the panels from the eyes 
of any one on the threshold or in the passage. 
Hutchins was on the threshold peering into the 
room. But he did not peer long, for at the same 
moment that Kelly stopped the door with his foot 
he made at Hutchins, with his sword, a pass so vigor- 
ous that the hulking fellow leaped back a good yard, 
crying out to Montague : 

' Will your honour let a poor man be killed in his 
duty ? ' 

The Colonel made no answer to the pathetic 
question. He was occupied with business of another 
complexion. Mr. Kelly heard a crack. 

' What is the matter.' ' he asked, in a low voice. 

' The key is filled with dust, pr the lock js 



342 PARSON KELLY 

jammed, ' Montague whispered back. ' I have broken 
open the box with the guard of my sword. ' 

' Be quick, ' said Kelly. ' Make sure you have 
Smilinda's letters.' 

All this while he had not looked towards the 
scrutoire. The most that he saw was the shadow 
of the Colonel thrown on the wall of the room by 
the single candle, a shadow monstrous big that held 
the shadow of a paper to its eyes. It is to be said 
in Mr. Kelly's defence that he dared not look about 
him. The door of the room was half open; the 
Messenger who had retreated into the passage was 
plainly hardening his heart for a rush. Mr. 
Kelly's attention was entirely distracted from 
Colonel Montague's proceedings at this important 
moment. 

' Yes, ' whispered Montague. ' This is her hand, 
this is the blue-edged paper she affects of late. 
"My own Strephon," and dated two days back. It 
bids you to her rout. ' 

The words passed in and out of Mr. Kelly's ears. 
His eyes were occupied with Hutchins, and with his 
eyes his mind. He did not remember that he had 
thrust this letter of her ladyship's, as he had told 
to Wogan, into the wrong box, the box holding the 
papers of the Bishop and the King. Then a little 
flame shot up and illumined the room, which was at 
once filled with a smell of burning paper. Montague 
had burned Smilinda's letter, inviting Kelly to her 
rout. 

It seemed that Hutchins had after all no stomach 
for Mr. Kelly's sword, which to be sure must have 
glittered ominously in the dismal light of the soli- 



PARSON KELLY 343 

tary candle. He ran back again down the passage 
and pulled open the street door. 

'Chandler,' he shouted, calling his fellow to 
assist him. A yell of laughter answered him, and a 
voice from the street cried out that Chandler was 
gone for a file of soldiers. Kelly could hear 
Hutchins swearing and cursing, though it was him- 
self that had sent Chandler on the errand. 

A second flame spirted up and died away. Mon- 
tague had burned a second letter. 

'Lyng! Randall!' cried Hutchins at the street- 
door, but again he was answered with jeers, and 
again the voice called to him mockingly that they 
were gone to Bury Street, where they were told they 
would be sure to snare the right man. 

Montague, who heard everything clearly, blessed 
Mrs. Kilburne aloud, and burned a third paper. Kelly 
kicked the door to. 

'We are safe, then,' it seems,' he said. ' Smi- 
linda 's safe.' 

He took out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat 
from his face, leaning his back against the panels of 
the door. He could hear Hutchins bawling up the 
street for his partners, and his voice sounded as 
though he had moved from the door in search of 
them. So for the first time Kelly looked at Mon- 
tague and the scrutoire. 

Colonel Montague had turned the strong-box up- 
side down and emptied the papers on the scrutoire, 
so that they lay face downwards. By a scruple of 
delicacy, having read the topmost letter to make 
sure it was Lady Oxford's hand, he looked at them 
no more. He took them up one by one, face down- 



344 PARSON KELLY 

wards, and so burned them separately, knowing no 
doubt that, lighted in a single heap, only those on 
the outside and the edges of the letters in the 
middle, would catch fire. One by one he burnt 
them face downwards at the candle, the secret letters 
of the Cause. He had burned three, and he now 
held the fourth in his hand. He approached it to 
the candle ; he did not so much as look at it. But 
had he merely glanced once at Mr. Kelly leaning 
there against the panels of the door, that glance 
would have surely told him what papers he was 
burning. 

Kelly did not speak a word, or stir a muscle. 
He had wiped the sweat from his face a second 
ago, but his forehead was wet now : his eyes stared 
greedily at the papers: a slow smile, of a knavish 
kind, that went very ill with his face, curved his 
lips. An extreme temptation chained him; the 
Devil whispered in his ear, 'Be silent,' and the 
Parson held his peace. 

The blue-edged letter bidding him to the rout he 
had slipped on the top of the Chevalier's papers, as 
he had told Mr. Wogan. Colonel Montague was 
merrily burning the papers of the Plot. Kelly had 
but to hold his tongue, and in a few minutes he was 
safe. The Cause was saved so far as the papers 
went, and Lady Oxford, her letters unburned, was 
lost. ■ No wonder the key did not fit ; it was the 
wrong key! Kelly could see the corner of Wogan's 
strong-box peeping out from beneath a thatch of 
papers in the corner of the scrutoire. 

All this the Parson saw and understood in the one 
short moment during which Montague approaghed 



PARSON KELLY 345 

the paper to the candle. His mind was tossed up 
and down in a tempest; the winds of temptation 
blew hard against the tides of his nature. On one 
side was safety and the King's interest, and Rose, 
who to be sure need never know of the treachery by 
which the Parson had won her; on the other, a broken 
pledge that he had given to the Colonel, and the ruin 
of Smilinda, who had betrayed him. 

Montague lit the sheet of paper and held it up. 
Kelly saw the blue flame creep down from the edge, 
the writing turn brown, the paper curl over black 
and tattered, with a multitude of red sparks; and 
still he kept his peace. 

Montague dropped the ashes on the scrutoire, and 
took a fifth paper from the pile. The Parson turned 
away, and laid his ear to the panel, making a pre- 
tence that he heard Hutchins stirring in the passage. 

' Be quick ! ' he said first, and then, moistening 
his dry lips with his tongue : * Make quite sure you 
have Smilinda's letters.' 

' Smilinda.' ' asked Montague. 

Kelly forced a laugh. 

' No doubt she called herself something equally 
pretty to you. ' 

* Phylissa, ' growled Montague. 

' She has a pretty conceit in names. Make sure 
those are her letters,' and again he spoke with an 
effort. 

' Not I. I have had my fill of the lady's hand- 
writing. ' 

Montague was already holding the paper to the 
flame, when Kelly's good angel got the upper hand 
Vvith him. He is happy now to thinly that no chancy 



346 PARSON KELLY 

accident, such as the return of Hutchins or the 
coming of the soldiers, hurried him into the better 
choice with a mind half made up. Here was the 
very occasion of which he had dreamed when he 
stayed behind in Lady Oxford's withdrawing room. 
He could use the weapon which her letters put into 
his hand to save the Chevalier's papers and himself 
and Rose. But he put the weapon aside. He 
turned about from the door: Montague was holding 
the paper to the flame, and a corner of it had taken 
fire. Kelly sprang to the scrutoire, snatched the 
paper out of Montague's hand, and crushed the fire 
out in the palm of his hand. 

' I gave you the right key, ' he whispered. ' You 
chose the wrong box. ' 

Montague snatched up the pile of papers and 
turned them over. 

' Good God ! Cyphers ! ' he exclaimed, and dropped 
them as though they were, in truth, burning. 

' The other box ; the other box, ' said Kelly, point- 
ing to it. He fancied that he heard Hutchins mov- 
ing cautiously just outside the door, and was now in 
a fever lest the delay brought about by his incerti- 
tude might balk his intentions. At any moment the 
Messenger might come back from Bury Street, or the 
file of the musquets march tramping up the stairs. 

All this indeed takes a long time to tell, and 
seemed no less long to Mr. Kelly in the happening; 
but the whole of the occurrences, the movements of 
the Messengers, the tidings cried to him from the 
street, the burning of the papers, with Kelly's own 
thoughts and doubts and unlooked-for temptations, 
passed with momentary speed. 



PARSON KELLY 347 

Montague found Wogan's strong box, the box of 
the love-letters, unlocked it, tore out all the con- 
tents, and glanced at a few at the top, middle and 
bottom. 

' Smilinda — Smilinda — Smilinda, ' he said, read- 
ing the signatures. ' And it's for this woman,' he 
cried, striking the letters with his fist, ' Smilinda, 
Phylissa, and the Lord knows what else to the 
Lord knows what other men, that ' 

But the Parson was in no mood to listen to Mon- 
tague's reflections. 

' Put the other papers back into that box, the box 
with the unbroken lock, lock it and give me the key, ' 
he said. Montague crammed her ladyship's letters 
into the inner pocket of his coat. But before he 
could move the door opened with a crash, and 
Hutchins flew in, Kelly made a furious pass, and 
Hutchins, leaping back, ' parried the thrust with the 
door,' as he truly said in his evidence before the 
Lords' Committee. Had he not used that novel 
parade Kelly would infallibly have run him through, 
and, as it was, George could scarcely drag his point 
out of the wood of the door, which Hutchins in leap- 
ing back had shut. Being now sufficiently terrified, 
for indeed no man ever had a narrower escape of 
his life, Hutchins contented himself with a plaintive 
expostulation from the safety of the passage. 

' Sure, I would serve Lord Townshend himself in 
the same way, ' Kelly shouted back, ' if he tried to 
enter my room against my will without a warrant, ' 
and lowering his voice so that only Montague might 
hear, ' Lock the box, and throw me the key. ' If 
only for Montague's sake the papers of the Plot 



348 PARSON KELLY 

must not be found lying open upon Kelly's scrutoire, 
and the box which held them broken among a litter 
of ashes. Mr. Kelly could not but remember with 
what care, earlier in the evening, he had burned and 
buried the ashes of his Grace of Rochester's letters, 
and reflect with some sadness what little good had 
come of it. Montague locked up the papers of the 
Plot in the box which had held Smilinda's letters, 
and tossed the key to Kelly, who caught it. 

' There is no more to do .■' ' said Montague. 

' Nothing, ' and Kelly handed him back his sword 
and sat him down on a sofa. He seized the occasion 
to make Montague acquainted with the accident 
through which Smilinda's last letter had been laid 
on the top of those in the box that contained very 
different wares, adding apologies for his brief delay 
to inform him. The Colonel then sat down over 
against Kelly and laid the flat of Kelly's sword 
across his knees. He looked at the sword for a 
little. Then, 

' You had a chance to let me destroy your own 
papers, ' he said. 

' Yes, and to be a liar to a loyal gentleman, and 
a traitor to a more sacred cause than even my 
King's.' 

' Smilinda's? ' Montague looked up in perplexity. 

' No,' said Kelly, and he stared for a little at the 
floor, then he said very slowly, ' A long while ago I 
made a prayer that nothing might ever come between 
the Cause and me except it be death. Even while 
I made the prayer I was summoned to visit Lady 
Oxford, who was then unknown to me. Well, 
something has ?ome b^t\ve?n the Cai^se an4 pie -r- 



PARSON KELLY 349 

honour. A more sacred Cause than even my King's. 
Himself would say it.' 

Colonel Montague fancied that he heard a distant 
regular tramp of feet like soldiers. But Mr. Kelly 
was clean lost in his thoughts. 

' I could meet the King with a clear face and this 
story on my lips, ' he continued, ' even though it 
were over there in Rome, and in his old lodging. 
The very approach to him was secret, his ante- 
chamber a cellar underground. You went by night, 
you crossed the cellar in the dark, you climbed a 
little winding stair, and above, in a mean crazy 
chamber which overhangs the Tiber, there was my 
King looking towards England. A man like me, 
with a man's longings and a man's despair, but, 
unlike me, robbed of a nation. Day by day delay 
shadowed his eyes and wrote upon his face until the 
face became an open book of sorrows. Yet himself 
would say, "Perish the Cause, perish all but 
honour," ' and, suddenly throwing up his arms, Mr. 
Kelly cried out in a voice of great passion and long- 
ing, ' The King ! The King ! ' 

Colonel Montague very likely had his own opinions 
as to how the King would take it, but he was care- 
ful to keep them to himself, and in the silence 
which followed upon Kelly's outburst the tread of 
soldiers was heard very distinct, and Hutchins's 
voice at the door bidding them hurry. 

Mr. Kelly raised his head. He too had heard the 
sound, and, drawing a ring from his finger, 

' Take my seal ring, when you are alone seal up 
the brocades in a packet. You know the person 
whom they concern.' 



3SO PARSON KELLY 

Montague took the ring and slipped it on his 
finger. 

' Mr. Johnson, or Kelly, or whoever you are, ' he 
said cordially, ' we must needs be public enemies, 
but I wish my King had many as loving servants as 
your King has in you. ' 

The rattle of the butts of musquets could now be 
heard in the passage. 

' And, damme, ' said Montague, bending forward 
suddenly; he had all this while maintained in word 
and carriage the reserve of the Englishman, but now 
he showed a decent warmth of blood, ' had you been 
in my place and I in yours, Smilinda or no Smilinda, 
I should have let you burn the cyphers. ' 

On those words he was pleased to say, which Mr. 
Kelly merely counted a politeness, the door was 
driven open by the butts of several fusils, a sergeant 
with a file of musqueteers entered; behind them 
came Chandler with the warrant, Lyng with a broken 
head, Hutchins with a white, scared face, and 
Randall whose coat was in tatters. 

They were surprised enough, you may be sure, to 
see the Colonel on one side of the fireplace and 
their redoubtable prisoner as quiet upon the other. 

' Oh,' said Mr. Kelly, with an admirable air of 
astonishment, ' it seems you have a warrant after 
all.' 

Hutchins then read the warrant through, and Mr. 
Kelly surrendered. But the Messenger had not 
done; he picked up presently the impudence to 
question the Colonel. 

' Your worship let the prisoner take his sword ? ' 

The dignified Montague stared at Hutchins with 



PARSON KELLY 351 

a strong amazement until the fellow was quite 
abashed. 

' What 's the world coming to? ' he said. ' Here 
is your prisoner's sword, if he is your prisoner,' 
and, lifting Mr. Kelly's sword from his knees, he 
handed it to Hutchins. Hutchins then made haste 
to secure Mr. Kelly's effects. He went over to the 
scrutoire, and the first things he clapped his eyes 
upon were a pile of black ashes and a great many 
splotches of hot grease from the candle. 

Hutchins looked at the Colonel with a question 
upon his lips; the Colonel looked stonily at 
Hutchins. Hutchins raised his nose and sniffed the 
air. 

' Will your worship tell me whether the prisoner 
meddled with any papers?' he asked, but with less 
impertinence than before. 

' Yes, sir, the gentleman did. ' 

' What was done with them ? ' 

' Sir, they were burned, as you may perceive. ' 

' And how came you, sir, to let them be burned ? ' 

' I am not to answer to you, sir, for my conduct, 
of which I can give a sufficient account to persons 
who have the right to question me. I have, for 
your satisfaction, no knowledge of this gentleman's 
name, nor as to whether he is correctly described 
in a warrant which was not in the house while we 
were together. It appears to me that you are all 
very likely to lose your scutcheons for your doltish 
stupidity, whether you have hold of the right or the 
wrong gentleman. I wish you a good night, sir,' 
he said, bowing to Kelly, ' and speedy deliverance, 
if you deserve it, from your present company. ' 



352 PARSON KELLY 

He put his hat on his head and walked out of the 
room without another word. Hutchins thereupon 
searched Mr. Kelly's scrutoire; he found one box 
broken open and empty, another box, its own fellow, 
locked. Mr. Kelly delivered the key to it, with a 
great show of reluctance. It held the papers of the 
Bishop's Plot and a key to the Bishop's cypher, 
which was used to convict him at his trial. As for 
the burned papers, it came out at George's trial that 
he had destroyed letters in the presence of a King's 
officer. But the Duke of Wharton, in his famous 
speech, argued that a man of Mr. Kelly's figure 
might very well have letters to burn which were not 
political. 

That night the Parson was taken to the house of 
John Gardiner, living in Westminster Market, there 
to be kept in safe custody. He walked between the 
soldiers, and whistled a lively tune as he walked. 

This was related in more than one inn-parlour the 
next day by the sergeant, who was mightily sur- 
prised that a man should bear so heavy a charge so 
easily, and so the story got about. 

But Mr. Kelly was sensibly lightened by having 
saved Smilinda in the end after so many mischances, 
and when he thought of her letters safe in the 
Colonel's inner pocket, felt a private glow of pleasure 
which put all conjectures of his fate and doom clean 
out of his head. Moreover, he says that Rose was 
never nearer to him than on that night and during 
that walk. He speaks as though she walked by his 
side amongst his captors, and walked with a face 
that smiled. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

MR. WOGAN WEARS LADY OXFORD'S LIVERY, BUT 
DOES NOT REMAIN IN HER SERVICE. 

THE question with which Mr. Wogan lay down 
to sleep after Lady Oxford's rout, woke him 
at noon ; he sent a boy whom he could trust to Ryder 
Street to desire Colonel Montague's attendance. 
Montague came back presently with the boy, and 
gave Wogan the news that the Parson was taken. 

'There was no escape possible,' he said. 'I 
cannot tell you the inneirmost truth of the affair, 
because the secret is not mine to tell; but, Mr. 
Wogan, you will take my word for it, your friend 
was in the net.' 

' The room was searched .' ' 

' And his papers seized. One or two, I believe, 
were burned, but the greater part were seized,' and 
then he broke out with an oath. ' Damn these plots ! 
What in the world made you meddle with such 
Tory nonsense .' ' 

' Faith, ' said Wogan, ' I have been wondering 
how ever you demeaned yourself to become a Whig. ' 

Wogan wondered very much more what strange 
mishap had brought Mr. Kelly to this pass at the 
moment when he seemed to have success beneath 
his hand. Something wholly unexpected must have 

23 



354 PARSON KELLY 

happened during those few minutes when he and 
Smilinda were left alone. Something had happened, 
indeed, but it was something very much simpler 
than Mr. Wogan looked for, who had not the key to 
the Parson's thoughts. However, he forebore to 
inquire, and instead: 

'Colonel,' said he, 'you professed last night 
that you were under some trifling obligation to 
me.' 

' I trust to-day to make the profession good. ' 

'Faith, then you can. Colonel. There's a little 
matter of a quarrel.' 

At this the Colonel broke in with a laugh. 

' With whom ? ' 

' With a lad I have taken a great liking for, ' and 
the Colonel laughed again. ' Therefore I would not 
put a slight on him by missing a certain appoint- 
ment. It is Lord Sidney Beauclerk. ' 

Colonel Montague's face clouded as he heard the 
name. 

' And the reason of the quarrel .' ' 

' He took objection to a few words I spoke last 
night. ' 

' About a ballad.' I heard the words.' 

' I told him that he would find a friend of mine 
waiting at Burton's Coffee-house this morning, and 
I doubt if many friends of mine will be seen abroad 
to-day. ' 

Montague rose from the bed. 

' I will not deny, ' he said, ' that there are services 
I should have preferred to render you. But I will 
go to Burton's, on one condition, Mr. Wogan — that 
you do not stir from this house until I come back 



PARSON KELLY 355 

to you. There 's an ill wind blowing which might 
occasion you discomfort if you went abroad. ' 

This he said with some significance. 

' It catches at one's throat, I dare say,' replied 
Wogan, taking his meaning. ' I have a tender sort 
of delicate throat in some weathers. ' 

Colonel Montague walked to Burton's, at the 
corner of King Street in St. James's. The coffee- 
house buzzed with the news of Mr. Kelly's arrest, 
and Colonel Montague saw many curious faces look 
up from their news-sheets and whisper together as 
he entered. In a corner of the room sat Lord 
Sidney Beauclerk, with a man whom Montague had 
remarked at Lady Oxford's rout the night before. 

Lord Sidney arose as Montague approached and 
bowed stiffly. 

' I come on behalf of a gentleman, whom, perhaps, 
we need not name, ' said Montague. 

' Indeed.' ' said Lord Sidney, with a start of 
surprise. 

' I can understand that your lordship did not 
expect me, but I am his friend.' 

' To be frank, I expected no one. ' 

' Your lordship, then, hardly knows the gentle- 
man .' ' 

' On the contrary,' said Lord Sidney, and he took 
up from the table the Flyhtg Post of that morning. 
He handed the paper to Montague, and pointed to a 
sentence which came at the end of a description of 
Mr. Kelly's arrest. 

' It is said that Mr. Nicholas Wogan is also in 
London, hiding under the incognito of Hilton, and 
that he will be taken to-day. ' 



356 PARSON KELLY 

'You see, my lord,' said Montague, 'that there 
are certain difficulties which threaten to interfere 
with our arrangements. ' 

' My friend is aware of them, ' said Lord Sidney, 
and presented his friend. 

' Before making any arrangements I should be 
glad if your lordship would favour me with a hear- 
ing in some private place. It is I who ask, not my 
friend, Mr. Hilton.' 

Lord Sidney reluctantly consented, and the two 
men walked out of the coffee-house. 

' There are to be no apologies, I trust, ' said Lord 
Sidney. 

Montague laughed. 

' Your lordship need have no fears. What I pro- 
pose is entirely unknown to Mr. Wogan. But it 
seems to me that the conditions of the duel have 
changed. If Mr. Wogan shows his face in London 
he will be taken. If he fights you, it matters not 
whether you pink him or no, for if he escapes your 
sword he will be taken by the Messengers. On the 
other hand, he will not go from London until he has 
met you ; unless — ' 

' Unless — ? ' 

'Unless your lordship insists upon deferring the 
meeting until it can take place in France.' 

' Yes, I will consent to that, ' said Lord Sidney, 
after a moment's pause. ' It is common fairness.' 

' Again I take the liberty to observe that your lord- 
ship does not know the gentleman. You must insist. ' 

Lord Sidney was brought without great difficulty 
to understand the justice of Colonel Montague's 
argument. 



PARSON KELLY 357 

' Very well ; I will insist, ' he said ; and, coming 
back to Burton's coffee-house, he wrote a polite 
letter, which the Colonel put in his pocket. 

Montague, however, did not immediately carry it 
to Mr. Wogan. He stood on the pavement of King 
Street for a little, biting his thumb in a profundity 
of thought; then he hurried to the stable where he 
kept his horses, and gave a strict order to his groom. 
From the stable he set out for Queen's Square, but 
on the way he bought a Flying Post, and stopped in 
St. James's Park to see what sort of account it gave 
of Mr. Kelly's arrest. 

' The Plot concerning which they write from 
Paris, ' it began, ' hath brought the Guards into the 
Park, and a reverend and gallant non-juror within 
danger of the Law. The Messengers that were 
essaying to take Mr. Kelly needed reinforcement by 
a file of musquets before his reverence's lodgings 
could be stormed. It is said that a loyal Colonel 
of the Guards who lodges in the same house in 
Ryder Street was discovered with Mr. Kelly when 
the soldiers forced their way in, and that by his 
interference many valuable papers have been saved, 
which would otherwise have been destroyed. It 
appears that Kelly was intent upon burning certain 
cyphers and letters, and had, indeed, burnt two or 
three of them before the loyal Colonel interrupted 
him.' 

The loyal Colonel took off his hat to Grub Street 
for this charitable interpretation of his conduct. 
Lady Oxford, he reflected, must be in a fine flutter, 
for assuredly she would have sent for the news- 
sheet the first thing. 



35 8 PARSON KELLY 

Montague tapped the pocket in which were her 
ladyship's letters, and smiled. Her anxieties would 
be very suitable to a certain plan of his own. 

He walked straight to Queen's Square and knocked 
at the door. It seemed to him purely providential 
that the man who opened the door was the big 
lackey whom he had seen in Ryder Street the night 
before. Montague looked him over again and said, 
' I think that I saw you last night in Ryder Street. ' 

He had some further conversation with the lackey, 
and money passed between them. But the conver- 
sation was of the shortest, for her ladyship, in a 
fever of impatience, and bearing every mark of a 
sleepless night, ran down the stairs almost before 
Colonel Montague had finished. She gave her hand 
to him with a pretty negligence, and the Colonel 
bent a wooden face over it, but did not touch the 
fingers with his lips. Then she led the way into 
the little parlour, and her negligence vanished in a 
second. She was all on fire to know whether her 
letters had been seized or no; yet even at that 
moment it was not in her nature to put a frank ques- 
tion when a devious piece of cajolery might serve. 

' Corydon ! ' she said in a whisper of longing, as 
though Montague was the one man her heart was set 
upon, as though she had never brought Mr. Kelly 
into this very room on a morning of summer two 
years ago. ' My Corydon ! ' she said, and sighed. 

' Madam, ' said Montague, in a most sudden enthu- 
siasm, ' I think there is no poetry in the world like 
a nursery rhyme. ' 

Her ladyship could make nothing of the remark. 

' A nursery rhyme .'' ' she repeated. 



PARSON KELLY 359 

' A nursery rhyme, ' repeated the Colonel. ' " Will 
you walk into my parlour, said the spider to the 
fly."' 

Lady Oxford looked at him quite gravely. 

' I do not in the least understand, ' she said. She 
had a wonderful knack of burying her head in the 
sand and believing that no one spied her, as travel- 
lers tell of the ostrich. ' But you have a message 
for me, have you not .' ' 

She put the question frankly now, since coquetry 
had failed. 

'I have a packet to deliver to your ladyship,' 
replied Montague. 

Lady Oxford drew a breath and dropped into a 
chair. ' Thank you ! How shall I thank you ? ' she 
cried; and seeing that Montague made no answer 
whatever, but stood stiff as a ramrod, she became at 
once all weak woman. ' You are very good to me, ' 
she murmured in a very pathetical voice. 

' Your ladyship owes me no thanks, ' replied 
Montague. ' Your ladyship has need of all your 
gratitude for a gentleman who gave up all that he 
held dear to save your good name. ' 

He had it on the tip of his tongue to add, ' which 
was not worth saving,' and barely refrained from 
the words. 

Lady Oxford was not abashed by the rebuke. She 
turned upon the Colonel eyes that swam with pity 
for Mr. Kelly's misfortunes. 

'I read that he was taken,' she said sadly. 
' Poor gentleman ! But he should have burnt my 
letters long ago. They were letters written, as we 
women write, with a careless pen and ill-considered 



36o PARSON KELLY 

words which malice might misconstrue. He should 
have burnt them, as he swore to do; but he broke 
his word, and so, alas ! pays most dearly for his 
fault. Indeed, it grieves me to the heart, and all 
the more because he brought his own sufferings 
about. So unreasonable we poor women are,' and 
she shook her head, and smiled with a sort of pity 
for women's frail readiness to forgive. 

' Madam, ' said Montague, growing yet colder, ' it 
is not for me either to construe or to misconstrue 
the packet which I am to give you, nor am I at all 
concerned to defend a gentleman whom I am proud 
to name my friend. ' 

The indifference of the speech no doubt stung her 
ladyship. 

' Friend ! ' she said with a sneer. ' This friend- 
ship is surely something of the suddenest. I did 
not even so late as last night notice any great cor- 
diality between you. ' 

' Very likely not, ' said Montague. ' Last night 
there was a trivial cause for disagreement upon 
which to-day we are of one mind.' 

Lady Oxford flushed and took another tone. 

' You are cruel, ' she said. She was not so much 
insulted as hurt. ' You are ungenerous. You are 
cruel. ' 

But Colonel Montague was not in a melting mood, 
and so, ' Give me the packet, ' she said sullenly. 

Montague pressed his hand over his pocket and 
smiled. 

Lady Oxford rose from her chair with a startled 
face. 

' You mean to keep it ? To use it .' ' 



PARSON KELLY 361 

' Not to your ladyship's hurt. ' 

Lady Oxford looked at him with eyes mournful in 
their reproach. 

' Mr. Kelly bade you give these letters back to 
me at once, ' she said ; and then, with a great fervour 
of admiration, ' Mr. Kelly would have given them 
back to me at once.' It seemed as though the 
thought of the noble Mr. Kelly was the one thing 
which now enabled her to keep her faith in 
men. 

' Very likely, ' replied Montague coolly, who was 
not at all moved by the disparaging comparison of 
himself with the Parson. ' Mr. Kelly would have 
given them back to you at once had not your lady- 
ship taken good care that a few locks and bars should 
hinder him. But I am not Mr. Kelly, and indeed 
it is well for your ladyship I am not. Had your 
ladyship betrayed me, why, when that pretty news- 
sheet was read out last night, I would have stood up 
before the whole company, and told boldly out how 
your ladyship came by the knowledge which gave 
you the power to betray me.' 

The words and the stern voice in which they were 
spoken stung Lady Oxford into a passion. She for- 
got to deny that she had betrayed Mr. Kelly. 

' It would have been an infamy ! ' she cried. 

' A harsh critic might say that it would have 
matched an infamy. ' 

Her ladyship saw her mistake. 

' There was nothing which Mr. Kelly could have 
said. Mr. Kelly was my friend, as I have told you 
frankly; but I did not betray him. ' 

' Your ladyship's livery is blue and silver, I think 



362 PARSON KELLY 

— a pretty notable livery even at night, as I had 
occasion to remark in Ryder Street. ' 

Lady Oxford was put out of countenance. 

' What am I to do to earn the packet which is 
mine ? ' she asked bitterly. 

' The simplest thing imaginable. Your ladyship, 
I fear me, has not slept well. What say you to a 
little country air, with your humble servant for a 
companion? If your ladyship would order your 
carriage to be at your door in an hour's time we 
might take the air for a while together. On our 
return your ladyship will be refreshed for this even- 
ing's diversions, and I shall be the lighter by a 
packet of letters. ' 

Lady Oxford did not know what to make of 
the Colonel's proposal, but she perforce consented 
to it. 

' I obey your orders, ' said she bitterly ; and Mon- 
tague went back to Wogan, whom he found sitting 
on the edge of the bed and disconsolately swinging 
his legs. 

' I have a letter for you from Lord Sidney Beau- 
clerk, ' said Montague. 

It was a very polite letter, and assured Mr. Wogan 
that he would on no account fight with him in Eng- 
land ; but would cut his throat somewhere in France 
with the greatest friendliness possible. 

' Very well, ' said Wogan, ' but I have to reach 
France first. ' 

' You will start in an hour's time,' said Montague. 

' In broad daylight? ' asked Wogan. ' And what 
of the ill wind and the sore throat that's like to 
come of it ? ' 



PARSON KELLY 363 

' I have got a fine coat to protect the throat. ' 

Montague went outside and cried down the stairs 
to know whether a parcel had been brought into the 
house. The parcel was carried upstairs into Mr. 
Wogan's room. The Colonel unwrapped it, and 
spread out on the bed a blue and silver livery. 

' A most distasteful garb, ' said Wogan. 

' It is indeed not what we would choose for the 
descendant of kings, ' murmured Montague gently as 
he smoothed out the coat. 

' Viceroys, Colonel, viceroys. ' 

' Viceroys, then, Mr. Wogan ; but no doubt they 
murdered, and robbed, and burned, and ravished, 
just like kings. Besides, you have an example. 
For I seem to have heard of another Wogan, who 
went to Innspruck as a shopkeeper. ' 

' To be sure, ' cried Nick. ' That is the finest 
story in the world. It was my brother Charles — ' 

' You shall tell me that story another time, ' said 
Montague, and Wogan stripped off his clothes. 

' Will you tell me what I am to do when I am 
dressed .' ' 

' You will go to a certain house. ' 

'Yes,' said Wogan, and pulled on the lackey's 
breeches. 

' At the house you will find a carriage. ' 

' I shall find a carriage. ' Wogan drew on a 
stocking. 

' You will mount behind as though you were a 
footman from the house.' 

' A footman from the house, ' repeated Wogan, 
and he pulled on the other stocking. 

' I shall get into the carriage with a companion. 



364 PARSON KELLY 

You won't know me. The carriage will drive off. 
You won't speak a word for fear your brogue should 
betray you.' 

' I will whisper my opinions to you in English, 
Colonel, ' said Wogan as he fastened his garters. 

'I don't think you could,' said Montague, 'and 
certainly you will not try. We shall drive to the 
almshouses at Dulwich. When we get there, I will 
make an excuse to stop the carriage. ' 

' You won't be alone, then ? ' 

' No. Let me see. It is a fine sunny day. I 
will say that my watch is stopped, and I will send 
you to see the time by the sundial in the court. ' 

Wogan buttoned his waistcoat. 

' I will bring you the exact minute. ' 

' No you won't. You will cross the court to the 
chapel, by the chapel you will find a path, and the 
path will lead you out through an arch into another 
road, bordered with chestnut trees. ' 

' And when I am in the road .' ' Wogan tied his 
cravat. 

' You will find my groom with a horse. The 
horse will be saddled. There will be pistols in 
the holsters, and then your patron saint or the devil 
must help you to get out of the country. ' 

' I have a friend or two on the coast of Sussex 
who will do as well, ' said Wogan, and he drew the 
coat over his shoulders, ' and I am very grateful to 
you. But sure, Colonel, what if a constable pulls 
me off the carriage by the leg before we are out of 
London .' You will be dipped yourself. ' 

' There 's no fear of that if you hold your tongue. ' 

Wogan took up his hat. 



PARSON KELLY 365 

' And who is to be your companion ? ' 

Montague hesitated. 

' My companion will be a lady. ' 

'Oh! And Where's the house with the carriage 
waiting at the door ? ' 

' In Queen's Square, Westminster. 

Wogan looked at his clothes. 

' I am wearing her damned livery,' he cried. 
' No, I will stay and be hanged like a gentleman, 
but I take no favours at Lady Oxford's hand,' and 
in a passion he began to tear off the clothes. 

' She offers none, ' said Montague. ' She knows 
nothing of what I intend. I would not trust her. 
If you have to stand behind, I have to drive by her 
side; and upon my word I would sooner be in your 
place. Her ladyship's footman for an hour! Man, 
are you so proud that your life cannot make up for 
the humiliation.'' Why, I have been her lapdog for 
a year. ' 

Wogan stopped, with one arm out of the sleeve of 
his coat. The notion that her ladyship was not 
helping him, but that, on the contrary, he was 
tricking her, gave the business a quite different 
complexion. 

' D 'ye see? The one place in London where the 
King's Messengers will not look to find you is 
the footboard of Lady Oxford's carriage,' urged 
Montague. 

There was reason in the argument: it was the 
same argument which Mr. Wogan had used to per- 
suade Mr. Kelly to go to Queen's Square the even- 
ing before, and now he suffered it to persuade 
himself. 



366 PARSON KELLY 

Wogan drew on the coat again, pulled his peruke 
about his face, and drew his hat forward on his 
forehead. 

' Now follow me. It is a fortunate thing we are 
close to her ladyship's house.' 

Montague walked quickly to Queen's Square. 
Wogan followed ten yards behind. As they turned 
into the square they saw Lady Oxford's carriage 
waiting at the door. 

' Does the coachman know ? ' asked Wogan, 
lounging up to the Colonel and touching his hat 
with his forefinger. 

' The lackey whose place you took has primed him. ' 

At the door Mr. Wogan climbed up to the foot- 
board while Montague entered the house. In a 
minute Lady Oxford came out, and was handed into 
the carriage by the Colonel. She did not look at 
her new lackey, but gave an order to the coachman 
and the carriage drove off. Mr. Wogan began to 
discover a certain humour in the manner of his 
escape which tickled him mightily. He noticed 
more than one of his acquaintances who would have 
been ready to lay him by the heels, and once Lady 
Oxford made a little jump in her seat and would 
have stopped the coachman had not Colonel Mon- 
tague prevented her. For Lord Sidney Beauclerk 
stood on the path gazing at her ladyship and the 
Colonel with a perplexed and glowing countenance. 
Mr. Wogan winked and shook a friendly foot at him 
from the back of the carriage, and his lordship was 
fairly staggered at the impertinence of her lady- 
ship's footman. So they drove out past the houses 
and between the fields. 



PARSON KELLY 367 

Colonel Montague was plainly in a great concern 
lest Lady Oxford should turn round and discover 
who rode behind her. He talked with volubility 
about the beauty of spring and the blue skies and 
the green fields, and uttered a number of irreproach- 
able sentiments about them. Lady Oxford, how- 
ever, it seemed, had lost her devotion to a country 
life, and was wholly occupied with the Colonel's 
indifference to herself. Her vanity put her to a 
great many shifts, which kept her restless and Mr. 
Wogan in a pucker lest she should turn round. 
Now it was her cloak that, with an ingenious jerk, 
she slipped off her shoulders, and the Colonel must 
hoist it on again ; now it was her glove that was too 
small, and the Colonel must deny the imputation 
and admire her Liliputian hand, which he failed to 
do ; now his advice was asked upon the proper shape 
of a patch at the corner of the mouth, and a win- 
some, smiling face was bent to him that he might 
judge without any prejudice. The Colonel, how- 
ever, remained cold, and Wogan was sorely per- 
suaded to lean over and whisper in his ear : 

' Flatter her, soften your face and adore her, and 
she will be quiet as a cat purring in front of a fire. ' 

For it was solely his indifference that pricked 
her. Had he pretended a little affection, she would 
have whistled him off without any regret, but she 
could not endure that he should discard her of his 
own free will. This, however, Colonel Montague 
did not know; he had not Mr. Wogan's experience 
of the sex, and so Lady Oxford restlessly practised 
her charms upon him until they came to the gates 
of the almshouses at Dulwich. 



368 PARSON KELLY 

Then Colonel Montague cried to the coachman to 
halt. 

' Or would your ladyship go further ? ' he asked, 
and pulled his watch out of his fob to see the time. 
But his watch had unaccountably stopped. ' Nay, 
there's a sundial in the court there,' he said, and 
over his shoulder bade the lackey go and look at it. 
The lackey climbed down from the footboard. At 
the same moment Colonel Montague bade the coach- 
man turn, and since the lackey kept at the back of 
the carriage as it turned. Lady Oxford did not catch 
a glimpse of him. The lackey walked through the 
gates, crossed the grass to the chapel without troub- 
ling his head about the sundial, ran down the pas- 
sage and under the archway into a quiet road shaded 
with chestnut trees and laburnums. Colonel Mon- 
tague's groom was walking a horse up and down the 
road. Wogan mounted the horse, thrust his feet 
into the stirrups, and took the air into his chest 
with incomparable contentment. 

The afternoon sunlight shone through the avenue 
and glistened on the laburnum flowers. But there 
is another sort of yellow flower that blooms from 
the mouth of a pistol barrel with which Mr. Wogan 
was at that moment more concerned, and he un- 
strapped the holsters and looked to the priming to 
see whether the buds were ready to burst. Then he 
drove his heels into his horse's flanks and so rode 
down between the chestnut trees. ' Your ladyship, 
we need wait no longer,' said Montague to Lady 
Oxford. ' Your footman will not come back, and I 
have the honour to return you your packet of letters. ' 

With that he drew the letters from bis pocket, 



PARSON KELLY 369 

sealed up in a parcel with Mr. Kelly's ring. Lady 
Oxford clutched them tight to her bosom, and lay 
back in the carriage, her eyes closed. The coach- 
man drove back to London. 

They had gone almost half the way before Lady 
Oxford recovered sufficiently from her joy to have a 
thought for anything but the letters. Then she 
looked at Montague, and her eyes widened. 

' The footman ! ' she said. 'Ah ! I have saved Mr. 
Kelly after all. I have saved him ! ' 

The Colonel might have pointed out that what- 
ever saving had been done. Lady Oxford had taken 
but an involuntary hand in it. But he merely 
shrugged his shoulders ; he imagined her anxiety on 
Mr. Kelly's account to be all counterfeit, although, 
may be, she was sincere. 

' Mr. Kelly, ' he said, ' is most likely in the 
Tower. Your footman was Mr. Nicholas Wogan. ' 

Lady Oxford was silent for some little time. 
Then in a low, broken voice she said: 

' There was no need you should have so distrusted 
me.' 

Montague glanced at her curiously. Her face had 
a new look to him. It was thoughtful, but with a 
certain simplicity in the thoughtfulness ; compunc- 
tion saddened it, and it seemed there was no artifice 
in the compunction. 

' Madam, ' he answered gently, ' if I had told you, 
and the manner of Mr. Wogan's escape became 
known, you might fall under the imputation of 
favouring Mr. Wogan's cause.' 

Lady Oxford thanked him with a shy look, and 
they drove back among the streets. Neither of 

24 



370 



PARSON KELLY 



them spoke until they reached Queen's Square, but 
Colonel Montague was again very gentle as he 
handed her from the carriage and bade her good-bye. 
Lady Oxford's discretion was to seek. The Colonel 
seemed to be in a relenting mood; she could not 
resist the temptation. 

' My Corydon ! ' she whispered under her breath. 

Montague's face hardened in an instant. 

' My Phylinda ! ' he replied. ' No, I should say 
my Smilissa. Madam, there is, in truth, some 
family likeness between the names, and perhaps it 
would be better if I said simply "Lady Oxford." ' 

So the Colonel got his foot out of the net. Her 
ladyship made no answer to his sneer, but bowed 
her head and passed slowly into her house. Mon- 
tague had struck harder than he had intended, and 
would gladly have recalled the words. But the 
door was closed, and the strange woman out of sight 
and hearing. He walked away to his lodging in 
Ryder Street, very well content with his day's 
work, and opening the door of his parlour on the 
first floor was at once incommoded by a thick fog of 
tobacco-smoke. But through the fog he saw, com- 
fortably stretched in his best armchair, with his 
peruke pushed back and his waistcoat unbuttoned, 
a lackey in Lady Oxford's livery. Montague lifted 
up his voice and swore. 



CHAPTER XXV 

HOW THE MINIATURE OF LADY OXFORD CAME BY 
A MISCHANCE. 

' T LENT you the swiftest horse I have,' said 

J. Montague. 

' It is just for that reason I am back before you,' 
replied Wogan. 

Colonel Montague at once became punctilious to 
the last degree. He stood correct in the stiffest 
attitude of military deportment. A formal polite- 
ness froze the humanity out of his face. 

'This makes me very ridiculous, Mr. Wogan,' 
he said in a tone of distaste. ' If you will pardon 
the remark, I was at some pains and perhaps a little 
risk to get you safe out of London. You accepted 
my services, as it seemed, and yet here you are back 
in London ! Indeed this makes me very ridiculous. ' 

Mr. Wogan had quite forgotten that Colonel 
Montague was an Englishman, and so hated ridicule 
worse than the devil. He was briskly reminded of 
the fact, and having ruffled the gentleman's feel- 
ings, must now set to work to soothe them. 

' It is very true. Colonel. My behaviour looks 
uncommonly like a breach of good taste. But it 
was not for the purpose of playing a trick on you 
that I came back into danger, when I was safe upon 



372 PARSON KELLY 

the back of your beautiful horse. Sure, never have 
I ridden a nobler beast. A mouth of velvet, a leg 
tapered like a fine lady's finger, a coat — sir, I have 
seen the wonderful manufactures of Lyons. There 
never was silk so smooth or of so bright a gloss, as 
the noble creature's coat. He spurned the earth, 
at each moment he threatened to float among the 
clouds. Sure, that horse was the original of Pegasus 
in a direct descent. A true horse, and more than a 
horse, a copy of all that is best in England, an 
example of what is most English and therefore most 
admired, the true English military gentleman. ' 

' Mr. Wogan,' interrupted Montague, with a grim 
sort of smile, ' you are likely to learn a little more 
particularly about the velvet mouth of the English 
military gentleman if you continue to praise his 
horse at the expense of his sense. Will you tell 
me why you have come back ? ' 

' You have a right to ask that, Colonel, but I have 
no right to answer you. It is a private affair 
wherein others are concerned. I should have 
remembered it before, but I did not. It only came 
into my mind when I was riding between the chest- 
nut trees, and leaving my friend behind me. ' 

Colonel Montague was silent for a little. 

' In another man, Mr. Wogan, I should suspect 
an intention to meddle with these plots. But I 
have no need to remind you that such a proceeding 
would not be fair to me. And if Mr. Kelly's con- 
cerns have brought you back I cannot complain. 
Meanwhile how are you to lie hidden.' I cannot 
keep you here. ' 

' There arc one or two earths. Colonel, which are 



PARSON KELLY 373 

not yet stopped, I have no doubt. I did but take 
the liberty to use your lodging until it grew dark. ' 

The evening was falling while Wogan and Mon- 
tague thus talked together. Wogan wrote a letter 
which he put into his pocket, and holding the ends 
of his wig in his mouth, without any fear ran the 
hazard of the streets. 

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was that evening 
adorning herself for a masquerade in her house, 
when word was carried to her that Lady Oxford's 
big lackey was below and had brought a letter. 
Lady Mary had no sooner glanced at the superscrip- 
tion than she sent her maid downstairs to bring the 
lackey immediately to her boudoir. Thither he 
came without awaking suspicion in the servants, and 
found Lady Mary sitting in front of her toilette, 
which was all lighted up with candles, and the rest 
of the room dark. 

Mr. Wogan remained in a dark corner by the 
door. 

' You have a message from Lady Oxford, ' said 
she, carelessly holding out a hand as though to take 
a letter. 

' By word of mouth, your ladyship,' replied Wogan 
in a disguised voice. 

Lady Mary dismissed her maid and spoke in 
considerable heat: 

' Colonel Montague told me you had escaped. ' 

' I have come back, ' replied Wogan coolly, who 
had no reason to think he had justly incurred Lady 
Mary's anger, and so made no account of it. 

' It is sheer madness,' she exclaimed, ' and yet no 
more mad than it is for your friends to take pre- 



374 PARSON KELLY 

cautions for your safety, ' and she dabbed a patch on 
her cheek viciously. ' Why have you come back ? ' 

' Your ladyship has not forgotten how some while 
ago Lady Oxford paid her losses at cards. ' 

Lady Mary raised her head from her mirror and 
looked at Wogan. 

' With Mr. Kelly's winnings from the South Sea,' 
said she. 

' Your ladyship was kind enough then to say that 
you would not count the money yours. ' 

' I remember. ' 

' But would keep it, since you could not return it 
to George, until such time as it could be used on 
his behalf. ' 

Lady Mary took a key from a drawer in her toilette 
and, unlocking a cabinet in a corner of the room, 
showed Wogan a parcel of bills of exchange lying 
amongst a heap of guineas. 

' The moment for using it has come, ' said Wogan. 

' Take it, then, ' said Lady Mary, who now asked 
for no explanations. 

' No. It is only of use if your ladyship uses it.' 

'How.?' 

Lady Mary went back to her toilette and busied 
herself with a number of little silver pots and boxes, 
while Wogan disclosed his plan. 

' George was taken last night in his lodging, as 
your ladyship is no doubt aware. It is a large sum 
that Lady Oxford lost at cards, and a large sum 
might perhaps bail George, if a trusted Whig were 
the surety. He would have some few weeks of 
liberty, at all events.' 

' Some f?w weeks that are like to cost you your 



PARSON KELLY 375 

life, ' said Lady Mary, who was now grown friendly. 
' It was to tell me this you came back. I should 
have guessed. ' 

* Madam, I shall never believe my life's in danger 
until I am dead,' replied Wogan, with a laugh. 

' I will see what the money can do to-morrow,' 
said Lady Mary. ' Where shall I have news of you ? 
Or very likely I am to meet you at Ranelagh ? ' 

Wogan disclaimed any such bravado, and told her 
ladyship of a house where she might hear of him if 
she sent by night and if her messenger knocked in a 
particular way. To that house he now bent his 
steps, and stayed there that night and the next day. 
It was already dark when the particular knock 
sounded on the door, and Mr. Wogan lifted a corner 
of the blind and peered down into the street. What 
he saw brought him down the stairs in a single 
bound; he opened the door cautiously, and who 
should slip in but the Parson. 

'Nick!' said he, in a warm voice. His hand 
clasped Wogan 's in the dark. ' Thanks, thanks ! ' 

It appeared that Lady Mary, after seeing that George 
was bailed out, had told him that the notion of bail- 
ing him was none of hers. Moreover, in order to 
make sure Smilinda's letters were safe, Kelly had 
gone as soon as he was released to Colonel Mon- 
tague, who told him of Wogan 's return to London 
and other matters of no importance, so that he now 
wasted a great deal of time in superfluous compli- 
ments. ' But you shall not lose your life on my 
account, Nick. Montague's horse, which it seems 
you have taken a liking to, ' he said, with a smile, 
' will be waiting for you at twelve o'clock to-night 



376 PARSON KELLY 

at Dulwich, and in the same road; but, Nick, this 
time you will have to walk to Dulwich. There is a 
warrant out for you. You can slip away with a 
better chance on foot ; and, Nick, this time you will 
not come back. Promise me that. ' 

Wogan promised readily enough. 

' I brought the Colonel into some danger of sus- 
picion by returning before, ' he said. ' It is a strange 
thing, George, that, while our friends have left us 
in the lurch, we should owe, I my escape, you your 
few weeks of liberty, to perfectly inveterate Whigs, 
though how you came to an understanding with the 
Colonel is quite beyond me to imagine. ' 

' I will tell you that now, Nick, since you have 
an hour to spare; ' and, going up to Wogan' s room, 
Mr. Kelly related to him the story of his meeting 
with the Colonel in the Park, of the disturbance 
with the Messengers in his rooms, and of the saving 
of Smilinda, and how his love for Rose urged him 
to it. It was eight o'clock when he had come to an 
end. Mr. Wogan heard the clocks striking the hour. 

' It will take me an hour to get to Dulwich, ' he 
said, ' so I have three hours to spare. George, have 
you seen Rose ? ' 

' No ; but she knows that I am free, for Lady Mary 
sent the news to her. ' 

' That 's a pity,' said Wogan, pursing his lips. 

.' On the contrary, it was not the least kind of 
Lady Mary's many kindnesses,' said George, who 
was astonished at Mr. Wogan' s cruelty, that would 
have left the girl in her anxieties a moment longer 
than was necessary. ' Had she not heard the news 
till it was stale, she would never have forgiven me 



PARSON KELLY 377 

— she that has forgiven me so much, ' said he, with 
more sentiment than logic. 

' Oh, ' said Wogan, ' she has forgiven you so much ? 
My young friend, you are very certain upon a very 
uncertain point. There 's that little matter of her 
ladyship's miniature.' 

Mr. Kelly looked anxiously at Wogan. 

'True,' said he; ' I told her a lie about it at 
Avignon, and made out it was the likeness of Queen 
Clementina. ' 

' The lie is the smallest part of the difficulty. 
She wore the miniature, and wore it in Lady Oxford's 
withdrawing-room. There 's the trouble, for there's 
the humiliation. ' 

' But, Nick,' said Kelly, ' she forgave it. Did n't 
I escort her to her chair.' Didn't I feel her hand 
upon the sleeve of my coat ? ' 

' Oh ! she carried herself very bravely, never a 
doubt of that. For one thing, you were in peril ; 
and, to be sure, she will have kept a liking for you 
at the worst of it. For another. Lady Oxford was 
there, and Lady Oxford was not to win the day. 
My little friend Rose is a girl of an uncommon 
spirit, and would hold her own against any woman, 
for all her modest ways. But, just because she has 
spirit, she will not meekly forgive you. If you 
expect her to droop humbly on to your bosom, you 
are entirely in the wrong of it. 'Oons ! but it must 
have been a hard blow to her pride when she found 
she was in Lady Oxford's house, and knew who 
Lady Oxford was, and had that miniature about her 
throat. Will she forgive you at all ? The best you 
have to hope is that she will be content with mak- 



378 PARSON KELLY 

ing your head sing. That she will do for a sure 
thing; and I think — ' 

' What ? ' asked the Parson. The danger of life, 
the Messengers, the angry Colonel, had only raised 
his blood; the fear of Rose drove it to his heart. 
He was now plainly scared. 

' I think it was the greatest pity imaginable that 
Lady Mary sent word to her you were free. For, 
d' ye see, if you had dropped upon Rose suddenly, 
and she thinking you locked up in a dark prison 
and your head already loose upon your shoulders, 
why, you might have surprised her into a forgetful- 
ness of her pride; but now she will be prepared for 
your coming. I think, George, I will walk along 
with you as far as Soho, since I have three hours to 
kick my heels in. ' 

'Will you, Nick?' cried George eagerly; and 
then, with his nose in the air, ' But I have no fears 
whatever. She is a woman in a thousand.' He 
was, none the less, evidently relieved when Wogan 
clapped his hat on his head. The night was 
dark, and Wogan in his livery had no fears of 
detection. 

The two men walked through by-streets until they 
came to Piccadilly. The Parson was nerving him- 
self for the meeting, but would not allow that he 
was in the least degree afraid. ' A trivial woman 
would think of nothing but her humiliation and her 
slight, but Rose is, as you say, of an uncommon 
spirit, Nick, ' he argued. 

Nick, however, preserved a majestic silence, 
which daunted the Parson, who desired arguments 
to confute. They were by this time come into Bond 



PARSON KELLY 379 

Street, and Mr. Kelly, who must be talking, declared 
with a great fervour, ' There are no limits to a 
woman's leniencies. Black errors she will pardon; 
charity is her father and her mother; she has an 
infinity of forgiveness, wherefore with truth we 
place her among the angels.' Upon that text he 
preached most eloquently all the way up Bond 
Street, past the New Building, until he came to 
the corner of Frith Street in Soho. In Frith Street, 
all at once the Parson's assurance was shown to be 
counterfeit. He caught at his friend's arm. 

' Nick,' said he, in a quavering, humble voice, ' it 
is in Frith Street she lives. What am I to do at 
all } I am the most ignorant man, and a coward into 
the bargain. Nick, I have done the unpardonable 
thing. What am I to do now .? ' 

Thus the Parson twittered in a most deplorable 
agitation. Mr. Wogan, on the contrary, was very 
calm. It was just in these little difficulties, which 
require an intimate knowledge of the sex, that he 
felt himself most at home. He stroked his chin 
thoughtfully. 

' Nick, ' and George shook the arm he held, ' sure 
you can advise me. You have told me so often of 
your great comprehension of women. Sure, you 
know all there is to be known about them, at 
all.' 

' No, not quite all, ' said Wogan, with a proper 
modesty. ' But here I think I can help you. Which 
is the house ? ' 

Kelly pointed it out. A couple of windows shone 
very bright upon the dark street, a few feet above 
their heads. Looking upwards they could see the 



38o PARSON KELLY 

ceiling of the room and the globe of a lamp reflected 
on the ceiling, but no more. 

' It is in that room she will be sitting, ' whispered 
the Parson. 

' And waiting for you, ' added Mr. Wogan grimly. 

' And waiting for me, ' repeated the Parson with a 
shiver. 

They both stared for a little at the ceiling and 
the shadow of the lamp. 

'Now, if the ceiling would only tell us something 
of her face, ' said Kelly. 

' It would be as well to have a look at her, ' said 
Wogan. The street was quite deserted. ' Will you 
give me a back ' ? 

The house was separated from the path by an iron 
railing a couple of feet from the wall. The Parson 
set his legs apart and steadied himself by the rail- 
ing, while Wogan climbed up and knelt on to his 
shoulders. In that position he was able to lean 
forward and catch hold of the sill. His forehead 
was on a level with the sill. By craning his neck 
he could just look into the room. 

' Is she there ? ' asked the Parson. 

' Yes, and alone. ' 

' How does she look.' Not in tears? Nick, don't 
tell me she 's in tears. ' The Parson's legs became 
unsteady at the mere supposition of such a calamity. 

' Make yourself easy upon that point, ' said 
Wogan, clinging for dear life to the sill, ' there 's 
never a trace of a tear about her at all. For your 
sake, George, I could wish that there was. Her 
eyes are as dry as a campaigner's biscuits. Oh, 
George, I am in despair for you.' 



PARSON KELLY 381 

' Nick, you are the most consoling friend, ' groaned 
the Parson, who now wished for tears more than 
anything else in the world. ' What is she doing ? ' 

' Nothing at all. She is sitting at the table. 
George, have you ever noticed her chin.' It is a 
sort of decisive chin, and upon my word, George, it 
has the ugliest jilting look that ever I saw. She 
has just the same look in her big grey eyes, which 
are staring at nothing at all. Keep still, George, 
or you will throw me. ' 

For the Parson was become as uneasy as a restive 
horse. 

' But, Nick, is she doing nothing at all ? Is she 
reading .? ' 

' No, she is doing nothing but expect you. But 
she is expecting you. Steady, for if I tumble off 
your shoulders the noise will bring her to the 
windows. ' 

The menace had its effect. Mr. Kelly's limbs 
became pillars of marble, and Wogan again looked 
into the room. 

' Wait a moment, ' he said, ' I see what she is 
doing. She is staring at something she holds in 
her hands.' 

' My likeness ? ' cried the Parson hopefully. ' To 
be sure it will be that. ' 

' I will tell you in a moment. Hold on to the 
railings, George. ' 

George did as he was bid, and Wogan, still hold- 
ing to the window-sill very cautiously, stood up on 
his friend's shoulders. George, however, seemed 
quite insensible to Mr. Wogan's weight. 

' It will be my likeness, ' he repeated to himself. 



382 PARSON KELLY 

' I had it done for her by Mr. Zincke. I was right, 
Nick; she has forgiven me altogether.' 

Mr. Wogan's head was now well above the win- 
dow-sill, and he looked downwards upon Rose, who 
sat at the table. 

' Yes, it 's a likeness,' said Nick. 

' I told you. I told you, ' said the Parson. The 
man began to wriggle with satisfaction. ' You are 
wrong, Nick. You know nothing at all about 
women, after all. Come down, you vainglorious 
boaster. ' It seemed he was about to cut capers with 
Mr. Wogan on his shoulders. 

' Wait, ' said Nick suddenly, and hitched himself 
higher. 

' Nick, she will see you. ' 

' No, she 's occupied. George ! ' 

' What is it .' ' 

' It 's Lady Oxford's miniature she is staring at, 
and not yours at all.' 

The Parson grew quite stiff and rigid. 

' Are you sure ? ' he whispered, in an awe-stricken 
voice. 

' I can see the diamonds flashing. 'Faith my 
friend, but I had done better to have let you throw 
them into the sea at Genoa. ' 

A groan broke from the Parson. 

' Why did n't you, Nick ? What am I to do now ? ' 

' I can see the face. 'T is the miniature of her 
ladyship that you gave out to be Queen Clemen- 
tina's. Did you ever meet Gaydon, George.'' he 
asked curiously. 

' Gaydon ? ' asked Kelly. ' What in the world has 
Gaydon to do with Rose .' ' 



PARSON KELLY 383 

' Listen, and I '11 inform you. He told my brother 
Charles a very pretty story of the Princess Clemen- 
tina. It seems that when she escaped out of her 
perils and came to Bologna to marry the Chevalier, 
who had, just at the moment when he expected his 
bride, unaccountably retired into Spain, she stayed 
at Bologna, and so, picking up the gossip of the 
town, expressed a great desire to visit the Caprara 
Palace. 'Twas there the lady lived who had con- 
soled the Chevalier in his anxieties. No doubt he 
never expected the Princess to get out of the 
Emperor's prison. But Charles got her out, and 
here was she at Bologna. To be sure, the Princess 
was a most natural woman, eh.' And when she 
came to the Caprara Palace she asked to be shown 
the portrait of the Princess de la Caprara. That 
was more natural still. Gaydon describes how she 
looked at the portrait, and describes very well. 
For sure Rose is looking at Lady Oxford's in just 
the same way. ' 

'That's good news, Nick,' said Kelly, grasping 
at a straw of comfort. ' For the Princess Clementina 
forgave. ' 

' Ah, but there 's a difference I did not remark at 
the iirst. I remember Gaydon said the Princess 
turned very red, while your little friend Rose, on the 
contrary, is white to the edge of her lips. Sure, 
red forgives, when white will not. George,' and 
Mr. Wogan ducked his head beneath the window- 
ledge, ' she is coming to the window! For the love 
of mercy don't move, or she will hear! ' 

George pressed himself close to the railings. 
Wogan hunched himself against the wall in the 



384 PARSON KELLY 

most precarious attitude. Would she open the 
window ? Would she see them ? Both men quaked 
as they asked themselves the question, though they 
had come thither for no other purpose but to see her 
and be seen of her. Wogan threw a glance over his 
shoulder to where the light of the window fell upon 
the road. But no shadow obscured it. 

'Sure, she's not coming to the window at all,' 
said Nick. 

' Oh, Nick,' whispered the Parson, ' you made my 
heart jump into my throat. ' 

Wogan drew his head up level with the window 
again, and again ducked. 

' She is standing looking towards the window with 
the likeness in her hand, ' and he scrambled to the 
ground, where the pair of them stood looking at one 
another, and then to the house, and from the house 
down the street. Wogan was the first to find his 
tongue. 

' It is a monstrous thing, ' said he, and he thumped 
his chest, ' that a mere slip of a girl should frighten 
two grown men to death. ' 

Mr. Kelly thumped his chest too, but without any 
assurance. 

' Nick, I must look for myself, ' he said. 

Footsteps sounded a little distance down the 
street, and sounded louder the next moment. A 
man was approaching; they waited until he had 
passed, and then Mr. Kelly climbed on to Wo- 
gan' s shoulders, and in his turn looked into the 
room. 

' Nick ! ' he whispered in a voice of awe. 

' What is she doing ? ' 



PARSON KELLY 385 

' She has thrown Smilinda's likeness on the 
ground. She is stamping on it with her heel. 
She is grinding it all in pieces.' 

' And the beautiful diamonds ? Look if she picks 
them up, George ! ' 

' No ; she pays no heed to the stones. It is the 
likeness she thinks of. It was in pieces a moment 
ago ; it is all powder now, ' and he groaned. 

' George, it is an ill business. When a woman 
spurns diamonds you may be sure she is in a mortal 
fluster. It's a Gorgon you have to meet — a veri- 
table Gorgon. ' 

Mr. Kelly slid from Wogan's shoulders to the 
ground. 

'What will I do, Nick?' 

Nick bit his thumb, then threw his shoulders 
back. 

' I am not afraid of her, ' said he. ' No, I am not. 
I have done nothing to anger or humiliate her. I 
am not afraid of her at all — not the least in the 
world. I will go in myself. I will beard her just 
to show you I am not at all afraid of her. ' 

' Will you do that .' Nick, you are a friend, ' cried 
Kelly, who was most reasonably startled by his 
friend's heroism. 

' To be sure I will,' said Nick, looking up at the 
window. ' I am not afraid of her. A little slip of 
a girl! Why should we fear her at all.' Haven't 
we killed men more than once.' Do you wait here, 
George. If I hold my hand up at the'window with 
my fingers open — so, you may come in. But if I 
hold up a clenched fist, you had best go home as fast 
as your legs can carry you. You see, the case is 

25 



386 PARSON KELLY 

different with you. I have no reason whatever to be 
frightened at her. ' 

He knocked at the door, and in a little the door 
was opened. ' Not the least bit in the world ! ' he 
stopped to say to Mr. Kelly in the street. Then he 
stepped into the passage. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

MR. WOGAN TRADUCES HIS FRIEND, WITH THE 
HAPPIEST CONSEQUENCES 

MR. WOGAN'S title of Hilton was now, thanks 
to the Flying Post, as familiar as his name ; 
he refused both the one and the other to the ser- 
vant, and was admitted to Rose Townley without 
any formalities. Her eyes flashed as they remarked 
his livery, but she was not in any concern about Mr. 
Wogan, and asked him no questions. She rose with 
the utmost coldness, did not give him her hand, and 
only the bare mockery of a bow, as though her in- 
dignation against Mr. Kelly was so complete that it 
must needs embrace his friend. 

' I thought that he would have plucked up enough 
courage to come himself,' said she, with a con- 
temptuous shrug of the shoulders. 

' He is a man of the meanest spirit,' replied 
Wogan, in a sullen agreement. 'It is a strange 
thing how easily one may be misled. Here have 
I been going up and down the world with him for 
years, and I never knew him until now, never knew 
the black heart of him, and his abominable per- 
fidies.' 

Rose was taken aback by Wogan's speech. No 
doubt she expected a hotch-potch of excuses and 



388 PARSON KELLY 

arguments on Mr. Kelly's behalf, which would 
but have confirmed her in- her own opinion ; but 
falling in with her views, he took the words out 
of her mouth. 

' So,' she said doubtfully, ' he has lost your friend- 
ship too?' 

' To be sure,' cried Wogan in a heat, ' would you 
have me keep friends with a vile wretch whose 
thoughts writhe at the bottom of his soul like a 
poisonous nest of vipers ? ' 

Rose neither answered the question nor expressed 
any approval of Wogan's elegant figure describing 
Mr. Kelly's mind. 

' Oh,' said she, ' then he did not send you to make 
his peace with me?' 

Wogan answered with all the appearances of 
reluctance. 

' No. In fact the man was coming himself, and 
with a light heart. He made a great to-do about 
the infinite fairness and charity of women, which 
place them equal to the angels, and how you ex- 
celled all women in that and other womanly quali- 
ties. But I told him, on the contrary, that I knew 
your spirit, and that you were of too noble a pride 
to shut your eyes to a slight, and would certainly 
dismiss him. However, he would not be persuaded, 
so I slipped away from him and ran here, so that I 
might warn you against him.' 

Rose forgot to thank Mr. Wogan for his zeal 
on her behalf. Indeed her face, in spite of her- 
.self, had lightened for a second; in spite of her- 
self her eyes had sparkled when Wogan spoke of 
the great faith Mr, Kelly had in her charity. 



PARSON KELLY 389 

' It was more than a slight,' she said, ' I could 
forgive a slight — He would have come himself had 
not you prevented him.' 

'But he is coming. He would have been here 
already, but that he paid a visit on the way to 
Colonel Montague to discover whether Lady Ox- 
ford's letters had been restored to her.' 

' Lady Oxford's letters ! ' exclaimed Rose, her face 
flushing again with anger. 

' To be sure,' said Wogan, ' you would know 
nothing of them. It is a fine story — the story 
of Lady Oxford's love-letters.' 

' I have no wish to hear it,' cried Rose sharply, and 
she turned towards the window. Mr. Wogan took a 
quick step towards her. If she looked out of the 
window she could hardly fail to observe the Parson. 

'Nor is it a story that you should hear,' said 
Wogan in a soothing voice, ' though indeed to hear it 
from Mr. Kelly's lips would surely make you aware 
of his devilish sophistries. For he declares that, 
but for you, Lady Oxford's love-letters would never 
have been restored to her, nor would he have gone 
to prison and put his neck in the noose.' 

Rose shivered at those last words and drew in her 
breath. She turned quickly back to Wogan. 

' But for me ? ' she asked. ' What have I to do with 
Lady Oxford's love-letters, or with his danger?' and 
her voice softened towards the end of the sentence. 

'Why, Lady Oxford, who knew very well Mr. 
Kelly's trade, betrayed him in revenge for a cer- 
tain ballad wherein your name was mentioned.' 

' Yes,' interrupted Rose, ' Lady Mary told me of 
the ballad.' 



390 PARSON KELLY 

' Well, you heard Mr. Kelly perhaps assure Lady 
Oxford that he had her brocades in his lodging, and 
perhaps you remarked her ladyship's confusion.' 

' Yes. I guessed what the brocades were.' 

'Very well. Mr. Kelly remained with her Lady- 
ship, who informed him that he would be taken out- 
side his door, and his rooms searched. There 
were papers in his rooms of a kind to bring him 
into great danger. But there were also Lady Ox- 
ford's letters. The story he will tell you is this, 
that he meant to use Lady Oxford's letters as a 
weapon by which he might save his papers and so 
himself ; but a complete revolution took place in 
his thoughts. He suddenly understood that he 
owed it to you that no woman's name should be 
smirched by his fault, and that thus he was bound, 
at the peril of his life, to rescue Lady Oxford's 
letters, as he did. A strange chance put it into 
his hands to burn his own papers, and leave Lady 
Oxford's to be seized, in which case he would have 
been saved, and she lost. But he saved his honour 
instead, and his love for you helped him to it. He 
rescued her Ladyship's letters, his own are in the 
hands of the Minister.' 

Mr. Wogan, who had now secured a most at- 
tentive listener, disclosed all that Mr. Kelly had 
told him of what took place in Ryder Street. 

'This is the story he will tell you. And to be 
sure, he adds a pretty touch to the pretence. For 
he went whistling to prison and he says that he 
whistled because he felt as if you were walking 
by his side.' 

' But what if it were no pretence at all ? ' 



PARSON KELLY 391 

Mr. Wogan sagely shook his head, though the 
story had the stamp of truth on it to those who 
knew the Parson. 

' If he had held you in such respect would he 
have sent you Lady Oxford's miniature to wear 
at Lady Oxford's rout?' 

' But he did not send it to me for that purpose,' 
she cried, ' he did not even know that I was going 
to the rout. He gave me the miniature a long 
time ago, when it would have been very difficult 
for him to tell me whose it was.' 

'But he told you it was Queen Clementina's.' 

' No. It was I who guessed at that, and he — 
did not deny it' 

Here at all events was sophistry, but Mr. Wogan 
was less indignant at it than his anger with the 
Parson's subtleties would lead one to expect. 

' Well,' said Wogan, ' I have told you what it was 
my plain duty to disclose to you.' 

At this moment Wogan chanced to look towards 
the window. He beheld Mr. Kelly's face pressed 
against the glass. The man had grown impatient 
and so had climbed on to the railings. Mr. Wogan 
broke off with an exclamation he could not repress. 

'What is it?' said Rose, turning about. 

' Some most beautiful diamonds,' said Wogan, 
spreading out his hand to the window. He then 
dropped on to the floor and began picking up the 
diamonds which Rose had scattered when she set 
her foot on the miniature. Rose bit her lips, and 
flushed, as he held them in his palm. Then he 
said carelessly: 

'That fine miniature had diamonds set about it. 



392 PARSON KELLY 

D' ye know, Miss Townley, that miniature would 
have been at the bottom of the sea long before 
Mr. Kelly came to Avignon, but for the diamonds 
about it. 'Twas I held his arm when, having 
done with her Ladyship, he would also have done 
with her Ladyship's present, and I bade him keep 
it for the value of the jewels.' 

There was a loud knocking at the door, which 
came not a moment earlier than was necessary 
to prevent Mr. Wogan revealing himself as still 
the Parson's friend. 

' There 's the fellow come to importune you,' said 
Wogan. 

' Then he would have thrown it away but for you,' 
said Miss Townley thoughtfully. ' He did not keep 
it out of any — ' 

But Wogan heard the servant pass down to the 
door, and thought it would be as well if he had 
a private word with the Parson. 

' You will excuse me,' he said with dignity, ' but I 
have no heart for the man's company. Besides, I 
have stayed too long in London as it is. Delays 
would be dangerous.' 

But Rose had no ears for any dangers of Mr. 
Wogan, as he was indescribably glad to remark. 
For her eyes looked past him to the door; from 
head to foot she seemed to listen for the sound of 
the Parson's voice. Mr. Wogan bowed, and opened 
the door. Though she followed him to the door, 
and held it open as he passed out, she did not 
notice that he was going, she had no word of 
farewell. She did not even notice that Mr. Wogan 
put the diamonds in his pocket. For Mr. Wogan 



PARSON KELLY 393 

had his wits about him. Diamonds were diamonds, 
and the carpet no place for them. Some day they 
might be of use to the Parson. The door of 
the street was opened as Wogan stepped into the 
passage. But Rose did not shut the door of the 
parlour and so Wogan, as he met Kelly, could 
only whisper hurriedly, ' Remember, I am your worst 
enemy,' and so left him to his own resources. 

It appeared, however, that they were sufficient. 
The Parson made no excuses whatever; he carried 
the day by the modesty of his omissions. Both with 
regard to the miniature and to the saving of Smil- 
inda he disclosed to her no more than a bald array 
of facts. He made no parade of the part which the 
thought of Rose had played in the revulsion of his 
feelings, bringing him to see that he was bound in 
honour to save Smilinda's honour ; he did not tell her 
why he went whistling to prison. But Rose knew 
from Wogan of these evidences of his love, and no 
doubt thought of them the more because he would 
not use them to soften her just resentments. 

Mr. Wogan left them together, and, walking out to 
Dulwich, found the Colonel's horse waiting in the road 
between the chestnut trees. He came to the coast of 
Sussex in the morning, where he had friends among 
the smugglers, and lay all that day in a hut within 
sound of the waves. It was a black, melancholy day 
for Nicholas Wogan, who was leaving his friends 
behind him to face their perils alone, and who felt 
very solitary; not even the memory of the noble 
deeds of his illustrious forefathers had any power to 
cheer him, until he heard the grating noise of the 
boat's keel as it was dragged down the beach to the 



394 PARSON KELLY 

sea, and saw the sail like a great wing waft up be- 
tween him and the stars. 

He got safe to Paris, where he heard of the strange 
use to which the Parson put his few weeks of liberty, 
for the Parson married Rose Townley three weeks 
later at St. James's Church in Piccadilly, and wrote 
to Mr. Wogan a very warm, human sort of letter 
which had not one single classical allusion to disfigure 
it. In that letter he gave the reasons which had 
induced him to the marriage. 

' I am told,' he wrote, ' that a man so dangerously 
circumstanced must be selfish in the extreme to marry 
a woman who, in a short while, may, at the worst, be 
widowed; and at the best must be separated from 
her husband in his gaol. I do not fear that you will 
have so mean an opinion of my inclinations, but I 
would not have you think me careless upon this point 
neither. Dr. Townley is old, and his health breaks. 
He will leave his daughter, when he dies, but little 
money, and that moment cannot be very far off. It 
is true that Rose has beauty, and no doubt she might 
make a rich marriage if she had only beauty. But she 
has frankness, truth, and constancy as well, qualities 
which are not marketable wares, since those who 
possess them will not bring them into the market. 
Now, if I suffer death for the Cause, Rose will be no 
poorer than she was before ; if, on the other hand, I 
live, there are the booksellers, and from the silence of 
my prison I can make shift to earn for her a decent 
livelihood.' 

As all the world knows, Mr. Kelly lived, and even 
gained much credit by his speech at his trial. He 
made it plain, to all but prejudiced Whigs, that there 



PARSON KELLY 395 

was no Plot, nor he concerned in any, if there were. 
But what is Whig justice? He was sentenced to 
prison for life. The papers in his strong box were 
enough to help a foolish fellow, Counsellor Layer, 
on his way to Tyburn, enough to send Lord Orrery 
to the Tower, and Lord North and Grey into exile. 
The Plot was ruined for that time; the Bishop of 
Rochester was banished, for Mar's traitorous mention 
of the dog Harlequin fixed the guilt on that holy 
man. Mr. Kelly came off with loss of fourteen years 
of his life, which years he passed in the Tower. 

It was not, after all, so silent a prison as he imagined 
it would be. For though during the first months his 
confinement was severe, and he never drew air except 
from between the bars, afterwards this rigour was re- 
laxed. He was placed in a room of which one window 
took the morning sun, and the other commanded the 
river, and the ships going up and down with the tide ; 
he was allowed the use of his books, and to receive 
what visitors he would. His visitors were not few, 
and amongst them Colonel Montague was the most 
frequent. His gaolers, the officers who were stationed 
in the Tower, and their wives, became his familiar 
friends, and it is said that when, after fourteen years, 
he escaped, not a woman in the precincts could make 
up her mind whether to clap her hands for joy, or 
weep at the loss of his society. Moreover, Rose came 
and went at her pleasure. 

The first years of his imprisonment were thus not 
wholly unhappy years. He sat amongst his books 
translating Cicero, and if at times his limbs ached for 
the stress and activity of his youth, and he began 
to dream of hours in the saddle and starry nights at 



396 PARSON KELLY 

sea, it was not perhaps for very long. He had friends 
enough to divert his leisure moments, and Rose to 
keep him busy at his work. For what he had fore- 
seen came to pass. Two years after Mr. Kelly came 
to the Tower, Dr. Townley died, and left Rose but 
poorly circumstanced. She came to lodge close by 
the Tower Gates, and the Parson set his pen to his 
paper and wrote essays and translations till the whole 
Tower of London buzzed with his learning, and no 
doubt a friendly Jacobite here and there bought one 
of his books. Mr. Wogan, indeed, bought them all. 
He has them ranged upon a bookshelf in his lodging 
at Paris, all bound in leather and most dignified ; the 
very print has a sonorous look. ' Mr. Kelly's Opera ' 
he calls them, and always speaks of the books as 
' tomes ' with prodigious respect and perhaps a sigh. 
For — 

'He lacks one quality,' Mr. Wogan was heard to 
say, ' to set him on the pinnacle of fame. He can- 
not write poetry. It is a trick, no doubt, a poor sort of 
trick ; but George had it not, and so when there was 
poetry to be written, he had to come to his friends.' 

Thus ten years passed, and then came the black 
day, when Rose fell sick of a fever and must keep her 
bed. She sent word to George daily that he should 
expect her on the morrow, until a delirium took her, 
and the doctor, who had been charged by Rose to 
make light of her suffering, was now forced to tell 
Mr. Kelly the truth. She lay at death's door, calling 
on her husband, who could not come to her, and 
talking ever of that little garden at Avignon above 
the Rhone, in which she fancied that he and she 
now walked. 



PARSON KELLY 397 

Mr. Kelly took the news in silence as a dog takes 
pain, and never slept and barely moved while the 
fever ran its course. Rose was at the Tower Gates, 
George was in his prison; a few yards only were 
between them, but those few yards were built upon 
with stones. In the daytime messages were brought 
to him often enough, but at night, when the mists 
rose from the river and the gates were closed, and 
the Parson had the dark loitering hours wherein to 
picture the sick room with its dim light and the tired 
figure tossing from this side to that of the bed, then 
indeed Smilinda had her revenge. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

HOW, BY KEEPING PAROLE, MR. KELLY BROKE 
PRISON 

EVERY morning Mr. Kelly looked for the doctor 
to come to him with word that in the Httle 
house without the Tower Gate the blinds were drawn. 
But that message was not brought to him, and Colonel 
Montague, making a visit to the prison, three weeks 
after Rose fell ill, found the Parson sitting very quiet 
in his chair with a face strangely illumined. 

' Last night she slept,' said George, ' and waked 
only at midday. The fever has left her, and she will 
live. It is wonderful.' 

The Colonel said what was fitting to the occasion, 
and the Parson replied to him absently, with his eyes 
upon the river and the boats swinging on the tide ; 
and after a while Father Myles Macdonnell, whom 
the Colonel had neither seen nor heard of, was 
ushered into the room. 

The Reverend Father was a kinsman of Parson 
Kelly, and though their acquaintance had been of 
the slightest, the Parson now turned to him with a 
great welcome. For his thoughts were now entirely 
bent upon an escape from his captivity. He dared 
not survey the possibility that some time Rose might 
again fall ill, and that again he must sit behind the 
bars and only hear news of how she fared. 



PARSON KELLY 399 

The Reverend Myles, who was of the honest party, 
but not as yet blown upon by suspicion, seemed to 
him his only help and instrument. For a long while, 
when the Colonel had gone, the pair debated the 
means of escape, but found no issue; and Rose 
brought her white face back to the Tower, and the 
Parson's spirits drooped, so that at last his health 
began to fail. He was therefore allowed to drive 
out in a coach to any place within ten miles of Lon- 
don in the custody of a warder, and on his parole to 
return before dark. Of this favour he made frequent 
use, and no doubt the sight of the busy faces in the 
streets urged him yet more to make a bid for his 
freedom. 

Now these journeys of the Parson to take the air 
set Father Myles Macdonnell upon a pretty plan, 
which he imparted to Rose and to George. 

' You drive one afternoon up into Highgate Woods 
— d' ye follow that ? I have half-a-dozen well-disposed 
persons hiding in a clump of trees who will take care 
of your warder — d'ye see? There will be a stout 
horse tethered to a branch close by, and a lugger 
waiting off the coast of Essex — ' but the Parson 
would hear no more of the scheme. 

' I have given my parole to come back to the 
Tower before dark,' said he, and glanced at Rose, 
who was looking away, to strengthen him in his ob- 
jection. ' I cannot break it, can I, Rose .' I have 
given my parole. I am not one of the Butcher Cum- 
berland's officers. We must keep troth.' 

Rose made an effort and agreed. 

' Yes,' said she, ' he has given his parole, and he 
CSJiDPt: break it.' 



400 PARSON KELLY 

' Not so long as he 's a lost Protestant,' said the 
Reverend Father. He tapped George on the knee, 
and continued in a wheedling voice : ' It is a matter 
of religion, d' ye see ? Just let me convert you. I 
can do it in a twinkling, and so I shall save your body 
and your soul in one glorious moment.' 

' How so ? ' asked the Parson with a laugh, for he 
was by this time well used to his kinsman's efforts to 
convert him. ' How shall a Catholic creep out of the 
Tower more easily than a Protestant?' 

' Because a Catholic can break his parole. It 's a 
great sin, to be sure, but I can absolve him for it 
afterwards.' 

To Mr. Kelly's thinking (and, indeed, to Mr. 
Wogan's) this was no sterling theology, and he would 
not be persuaded. Another device had to be in- 
vented, and when at last a satisfactory plan was 
resolved upon, the plotters must wait for the quick 
nightfalls of autumn. 

It was on Guy Fawkes day, the fifth of November, 
1736, that Mr. Kelly made his escape. On the 
morning of that day he drove out to Epsom in the 
custody of his warder and upon his parole to return 
before dark. At four o'clock, when the light was just 
beginning to fall. Father Myles Macdonnell came 
into the Tower by the Sally Port Stairs opposite the 
Mint. He was told that the Parson was taking the 
air, and replied that he would go to the Parson's room 
and wait. Thereupon he crossed the precincts of the 
Tower, and coming over the green and down the 
steps of the main-guard, he inquired of the porter 
at Traitor's Gate whether or np Mr. Kelly had 
returned. 



PARSON KELLY 401 

The porter answered ' Not yet' 

' It is a great pity,' said the Reverend Myles, who 
seemed much flustered. ' I am in a great hurry, and 
would you tell him, if you please, the moment he 
comes, to run with all haste to his room ? ' 

Upon that he turned ofif under the archway of the 
Bloody Tower, and again mounted the steps of the 
main-guard. 

About half-an-hour afterwards, in the deepening 
twilight, Mr. Kelly was set down within the Traitor's 
Gate ; he had kept his parole. The porter gave him 
Father Myles's message; and the warder, since it 
appeared that he could only proceed as usual to his 
lodging, took his leave of him. 

The Parson accordingly ran up the steps of the 
main-guard on to the green, which was by this time 
very obscure. Three minutes afterwards Father 
Myles Macdonnell hurried past the sentry at the 
Sally Port Stairs opposite the Mint, grumbling that 
he would wait no longer, and so came out upon 
Tower Hill. Just at that time to a moment another 
Father Myles Macdonnell accosted the porter at 
Traitor's Gate and requested him to let him out, see- 
ing that he was, as he had already said, in a great 
hurry. The porter let him out with no more ado. 

The second Father Myles was the real Father 
Myles ; the first one who went grumbling out by the 
Sally Port Stairs was Parson Kelly. He had met 
Father Myles in the dark corner by Beauchamp 
Tower, had slipped over his head a cassock which 
the Father had brought with him, and had run across 
to the entrance over against the Mint, and so into 
freedom. 

26 



402 PARSON KELLY 

The carriage which had driven him to Epsom, after 
putting him down again at the Tower, had driven to 
Tower Hill, where it waited for the Parson close by 
the Sally Port Stairs. It did not wait long : and the 
Parson was hurried at a gallop out of London amidst 
the crackling of fireworks and the burning of effigies 
of Guy Fawkes. It seemed the town was illuminated 
to celebrate his escape. 

At the Tower his evasion was not discovered until 
half-past seven of the evening, when the two porters, 
being relieved from their separate stations at the 
Traitor's Gate and the Sally Port Stairs, each vowed 
that he had let out Father Myles Macdonnell. This 
seemed so miraculous an occurrence that the warder 
ran to Mr. Kelly's chamber. It was empty, and then 
the clamour began. The Parson had thus three 
hours' start, and, though a reward of 300/. was offered 
for his recapture, no more was heard of him for a 
week. 

Then, however, two fishermen coming into an ale- 
house at Broadstairs saw the reward for Kelly pro- 
claimed in print upon the wall, and fell into a great 
fury and passion, saying that they had only received 
five pounds when they might have had three hundred. 
For a fee of five pounds they had put a man over 
from Broadstairs to Calais, who, when once he was 
landed in France, had said to them : 

' If anyone inquires for George Kelly, you may say 
that he is safely landed in France.' 

And indeed at the very moment when the fisher- 
men were lamenting their mistake in the alehouse, 
George Kelly and Rose were taking their dinner in 
Mr. Wogan's lodging at Paris. Rose had travelled 



PARSON KELLY 403 

into France the day before the Parson escaped, and 
so, after fourteen years, they were united. It was a 
merry sort of a party, and no doubt Wogan made 
a great deal of unnecessary noise. He drew the 
Parson aside into a window before the evening was 
over. 

' You are not very rich, I suppose? ' said he. 

' I want for nothing,' said the Parson with a foohsh 
eye on Rose, like a boy of eighteen. 

Wogan fumbled in his fob and brought out a packet 
which he unfolded. 

' Diamonds ! ' cried Kelly. 

' They are yours,' said Wogan. ' I picked them up 
off the floor of a room in Soho on an occasion which 
you may remember. A miniature frame had come by 
a mischance.' 

' Smilinda's ? ' asked Kelly with a frightened glance 
over his shoulder to Rose, who had the discretion not 
to meddle in this private conversation. 

' Yes,' says Wogan ; ' Smilinda's. She gave the 
stones to you. Very likely they are worth a trifle.' 

" We '11 slip out and sell them to-morrow,' answered 
the Parson in a whisper. 

They slipped out, but they did not sell them. The 
diamonds were paste, and Mr. Wogan at last under- 
stood why Lady Oxford, when she gave her miniature 
set with brilliants to the Parson, had been so anxious 
that he should never part with it. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

MR. WOGAN AGAIN INVADES ENGLAND, MEETS THE 
ELECT LADY, AND BEARS WITNESS TO HER PER- 
FECTIONS 

IT seemed to Wogan that this particular story of the 
Parson's fortunes, which began in Paris so long 
ago, had now ended in Paris. But he was wrong, and 
it was not till ten years after Mr. Kelly's escape from 
the Tower that Wogan witnessed the last circumstance 
in England, and himself spoke the closing word. 

Retiring soon from Paris, which ill suited a slender 
purse, Mr. Kelly lived, with his fair wife, at Avignon, 
where he played secretary to the Duke of Ormond. 
The Parson was a gine on the amours of the aged 
Duke, who posted him off, in the year Forty-Five, to 
escort the Prince of Wales to the Scottish islands. 
Wogan himself, earlier in the same year of grace, 
lost an arm at the battle of Fontenoy, but got a leaf 
of the laurels, being dubbed Chevalier of the Order 
of St. Louis. 

His arm amputated and the wound healed, Wogan 
must needs join the Prince of Wales, then residing in 
his palace of Holyrood, near Edinburgh. Wogan 
came too late for that pretty onfall at Prestonpans, but 
he marched south with the Prince's forces, riding again 
the old roads from Carlisle to Lancaster and Preston. 



PARSON KELLY 405 

The buxom maids of the inns were broad-blown 
landladies now; some of them remembered Wogan; 
and the ale was as good as ever. 

It chanced that at Preston, where he tarried for a 
couple of days, Mr. Wogan was billeted on a cobbler, 
a worthy man, but besotted with a new religion, which 
then caused many popular tumults. To England it 
had been brought over from America by two brothers 
of Wogan's old friend, Sam Wesley, the usher at 
Westminster School, and familiar of Bishop Atter- 
bury. 

Wogan's host could talk of nothing but this creed, 
whose devotees cried out (it seemed), laughed, fell 
down in fits, barked, and made confession in public. 

' Ah, sir,' he said to Wogan, ' if you could but hear 
the Brothers Wesley, Charles and John, in the pulpit 
or singing hymns ! Charles sings like an angel, and 
to hear John exhort the unaroused might waken those 
who have lain for a score of years in the arms of the 
Devil.' 

'John Wesley, little Jack Wesley?' cried Wogan. 
' Why, I have saved him from many a beating at 
Westminster School ! ' 

' Do you know that saint, sir? ' asked the cobbler, 
in an enthusiasm. 

'Know him, I know nobody else, if he is the 
brother of honest Sam Wesley, that once let me into 
the Deanery on a night in May. Assuredly I knew 
little Jack.' 

The cobbler came near kneeling to Wogan. ' Here, 
indeed, is the finger of Providence,' he exclaimed. 
' Dear sir, you may yet cast off the swathings of the 
Scarlet Woman.' 



4o6 PARSON KELLY 

' Easy, be easy, Mr. Crispin ! ' quoth Wogan. 
' But tell me, is Jack to preach and is Charles to sing 
in this town of yours to-night?' 

'Unhappily no, but we are promised the joy of 
hearing that famed disciple, Mr. Bunton, discourse, 
and the Elect Lady, as the Brethren style her, will 
also speak.' 

'Do the women preach in your new Church? ' 

'No, but they are permitted to tell the story of 
their call, and to-night we shall hear the Elect 
Lady — ' 

' Confess before the congregation? 'Faith, the 
discourse may be improving. Is the Elect Lady 
handsome?' 

' She hath been one of the most renowned beauties 
of her age, and there are some who say that she is 
little altered by time. Ah, sir, she will make you 
embrace the truth.' 

' My embraces were ever at the mercy of feminine 
persuasion,' said Wogan. ' Is this Elect Lady of 
these parts ? * 

'No, sir, she comes from the South, travelling 
with holy Mr. Bunton. You will oblige me infinitely, 
sir, if you will take pity on your own poor soul and 
join our love-feast. We meet in the warehouse of 
Mr. Brown, our most eminent grocer, in Scotch 
Lane, behind the " Jackdaw and Bagpipes." ' 

' I thank you for your solicitude,' Wogan said ; 
' and as to the love-feast, I '11 think of it.' 

Consequently he thought no more of it till the 
bottle had gone round half-a-dozen times at the 
Prince's mess in the ' Bull Tavern.' Lord Elcho, 
who had certainly drunk his dose, began telling, as a 



PARSON KELLY 407 

good thing, of his conversation with a bourgeois of 
Preston. 

'"What is your Prince's religion?" asked the 
bourgeois. 

' " That is still to seek, my good man, still to seek," 
I answered him,' cried Elcho, laughing. 

The Prince laughed also; the free-thinking phil- 
osophers had been at him already, first in Rome, 
then in Paris. 

'Good for you, Elcho,' he cried; then, musing, 
' 'T is a very awkward business, this of religion. We 
have given three crowns for a mass, and there 's the 
difficulty, there it is, as black as ever. I wish some 
one would invent a new creed, and the rest agree 

about it, d n them, and then what is still to seek, 

my religion, would be found.' 

A thought came into Wogan's head ; the bottle had 
made rounds enough, and more ; next morning they 
were to march early. 

' Sir,' he said, ' there is a new religion, and a 
handsome lady to preach it' Then he repeated 
what his host, the cobbler, had chanted to him, 'The 
meeting is at night in the warehouse of Mr. Brown, 
the eminent grocer.' 

'A handsome woman! — a new belief! By St. 
Andrew, I '11 go,' cried Charles. ' You '11 come, 
Nick, you and — ' he looked at the faces looming 
through the tobacco smoke round the wine-stained 
table. The blue reek of pipes clouded and clung to 
men's faces; to the red rough beard of Lochgarry, 
the smart, clean-shaven Ker of Graden and Maxwell 
of Kirkconnell, the hardy gaze of brave Balmerino, 
the fated Duke of Perth. Wogan thought of the 



4o8 PARSON KELLY 

Highland belief in the shroud of mist that is seen 
swathing men doomed soon to die, as were so many 
of them. The Prince stood and stared, his pipe in 
his hand. ' Nick, you will come, you and Ker of 
Graden ; he 's sober ! Allans ! ' 

' Sir,' whispered Mr. Murray of Broughton, ' think 
of the danger ! The Elector has his assassins every- 
where ; they are taken ; your Royal Highness laughs 
and lets them go, and the troops murmur.' 

' Danger ! Will they look for me at a tub-thumping 
match ? ' 

The Prince picked up a cork from the floor; he 
set it to the flame of a candle ; he touched with it his 
eyebrows and upper lip ; he tucked his brown hair 
under his wig, standing before the mirror on the 
chimneypiece. Then he flung a horseman's cloak 
over his shoulders, stooped, and limped a little in his 
walk. 

' A miracle,' everyone called out, for scarce a 
man of them could have known him. 

He tossed his hand in the air ; ' Allans, en avant ! ' 
he cried, with a laugh; and Wogan, with Ker of 
Graden, did what all might have better done at 
Derby — ■ followed their leader. 

The night was wintry, and a cold north wind blew 
about the rare flickering oil lamps in the street. All 
three men buttoned themselves up in their cloaks. 
The Prince, still stooping and limping, took an arm 
of each of his aides-de-camp; indeed, he somewhat 
needed their support. 

' I am like that Sultan in Monsieur Galland's 
Eastern tales,' he said, ' visiting my subjects incog- 
nito. Nick, you are Mesrour, the Chief of the — 



PARSON KELLY 409 

no, you 're Giaffar. Graden is — I forget the Eastern 
minister's name. I am the Caliph. But what are the 
rabble about?' 

The three pilgrims had entered the lane that led to 
the warehouse of the devout grocer. There was a 
mob around the door waving torches and shouting 
insults at a few decent tradesmen and their wives who 
were bent on the same pious errand as Wogan and 
his friends. 

' Away, swaddlers ! ' ' Down with the Methodists ! ' 
they cried ; and a burly fellow brushed against 
Wogan's shoulder in the least gentlemanly style. He 
reeled off and fell flat in the lane, while the other 
ragamuffins laughed at him. 

The three devotees stepped briskly through the 
grinning crowd that cried to Graden, ' Come to buy 
brimstone, Scotch Sandy? ' 

' Come to escape it, my dear friend,' quoth Wogan's 
host, the cobbler, who stood at the door, and kept 
it, too, against the mob with a great show of 
spirit. 

' You have thought of us, sir ? ' asked the cobbler. 

' Ay, and brought two other inquiring spirits,' said 
Wogan. 

They were conducted into a long half-empty ware- 
house, smelling of cheese and festooned with cob- 
webs. A light or two burned dimly in horn lanterns ; 
a low platform of new planks had been set up at the 
top of the room ; a table with seven candles made an 
illumination there; a big black Bible, and a jug of 
water with a glass flanked the Bible. The preacher 
sat on a chair (most of the congregation stood, or 
reposed on barrels and benches) and on another 



4IO PARSON KELLY 

chair, beside the preacher, was a lady, veiled, her fine 
figure obscured by widow's weeds. 

' Is that your beauty? ' whispered the Prince. 

' The Elect Lady, sir,' murmured the cobbler 
devoutly. 

' Mon Dieu ! she has a very pretty foot ! ' 

And Wogan, too, noticed the blaze of a diamond 
buckle that nearly covered the little arched instep. 
Tap, tap ! went the Elect Lady's foot, thrust out in 
front of her heavy petticoat of crape. 

' The lady is travelling everywhere, for the good of 
souls, gentlemen, with Mr. Wesley's friend and choice 
disciple, the preacher, Mr. Bunton.' 

' L'heureux Monsieur Bunton ! Quelle chance ! ' 
quoth his Highness. 

Mr. Bunton, the preacher, was indeed a fine, hand- 
some young fellow as any widow could wish to look 
upon. He wore lay dress, not being a priest ordained 
of the Church of England. As for the congregation, 
they were small trading people, not rabble ; indeed, 
the mob outside broke most of the windows during 
the sermon, that was interrupted, not only by the 
pebbles of the ragamuffins, but by the antics of the 
congregation. 

Mr. Bunton, after a hymn had been sung without 
any music, began his preaching. He assured the 
audience that none of them could be a gayer dog 
than he had been, that was now a shining light. He 
obliged the congregation with a history of his early 
life and adventures, which Wogan now tells in few 
words, that people may know what manner of men 
were certain of these saints, or had been. Mr. Bunton 
was reared in sin, he said, as a land-surveyor. A 



PARSON KELLY 411 

broth of a boy he was, and nine times his parents 
sent him from Reading to London to bind him to a 
trade. Nine times his masters returned him on their 
hands. 

Here the audience groaned aloud, and one went off in 
a fit. Mr. Bunton then told how he was awakened to 
sin as he walked in Cheapside. At this many, and 
the cobbler among them, cried ' Hallelujah ! ' but 
some went off into uncontrollable fits of laughter, 
which did not disturb the gravity of the rest of the 
assembly. 

The preacher's confession was, indeed, of such a 
nature that Wogan let a laugh out of himself, while 
Graden and the Prince rolled in extreme convulsions. 

' Go on, gentlemen ; you are in the right path,' 
said the cobbler. ' Our converts are generally taken 
in this way first. It is reckoned a very favourable 
sign of grace. Some laugh for a week without stop- 
ping to sleep, eat, or drink. 

' I '11 try to stop to drink,' hooted his Highness, 
his face as red as a lobster ; and then off he went 
again, the bench shaking beneath him, while Wogan 
and Graden laughed till the tears ran down their 
cheeks in their dark corner. The sympathetic cobbler 
murmured texts of an appropriate character. Indeed, 
now he thinks of it all, and sees Mr. Bunton sawing 
the air while he tells the story of his early wicked 
days, Mr. Wogan laughs as he writes. The man was 
greasy and radiant with satisfied vanity. His narra- 
tive of what he did and thought after he awoke to sin 
in Cheapside was a marvel. 

' I felt that beef and mutton were sinful things. ' 

Here came a groan from an inquiring butcher. 



412 PARSON KELLY 

' I wished to put away all that was of the flesh 
fleshy. My desire was to dwell alone, in a cave, far 
from the sight of woman.' 

The Elect Lady groaned, and all the wenches in 
the congregation followed suit. 

' Abstaining from feasts of fat things, my mind was 
set on a simple diet of acorns, grass, and crabs.' 

' Les glands, les dcrevisses, et I'herbe des champs ! ' 
hooted the Prince. ' Mon Dieu, quel souper, et quelle 
digestion il doit avoir, cet homme-lcl ! ' 

' But, sisters and brethren,' Mr. Bunton went on, 
' did I yield to these popish temptations? Did I live, 
like one of their self-righteous so-called saints, on 
crabs, acorns, and grass? Did I retire to a cave? 
No, dear sisters and brethren. My motive for ab- 
staining was bad; it was a suggestion of the Old 
Man—' 

'Qui done est-il, ce vieillard bien pensant? ' whis- 
pered the Prince. 

'The devil, sir,' answered Graden, who knew the 
doctrine of the Scotch ministers. 

' My motive for not living on crabs in a cave was 
bad, I confess, but it was over-ruled for the best. 
Dear friends, I kept myself far from these tempta- 
tions, because, indeed, I was afraid of ghosts that 
haunt caves and such places.' 

' II ne mangeait pas les dcrevisses, parce qu 'il avait 
peur des revenants ! O c'est trop ! ' said the Prince, 
in a voice choked with emotion, while more advanced 
disciples cried ' Glory ! ' and ' Hallelujah ! ' 

'But next,' the preacher went on, much gratified 
and encouraged by these demonstrations, ' I was 
happily brought acquainted with that precious sister, 



PARSON KELLY 413 

that incomparable disciple of Mr. Wesley, whom we 
call the Elect Lady. Then I awoke to light, and saw 
that it was laid upon me to preach, continually and 
unceasingly, making in every town confession of my 
offences. That dear lady, friends, promises for this 
once (she is as modest as she is generous and good) 
to tell us the moving story of her own early dangers, 
while she was a dweller in the tents of — of Shem, 
I think.' 

The congregation cheered and stamped with their 
feet, all but a few who were rolling on the floor in fits 
and foaming at the mouth. Mr. Bunton sat down 
very warm, and applied himself to the mug of 
water. 

The Elect Lady rose up to her full height, and 
tossed back her veil over her shoulders. 

' Ah, nous sommes tromp^s,' said the Prince. 
' C'est une femme de quarante ans, bien sounds ! ' 

But Wogan, between the shoulders of the congre- 
gation, stared from his dim corner as he had never 
stared at mortal woman before. The delicate features 
were thickened, alas, the lips had fallen in, the gold 
threads had been unwoven out of the dark brown 
hair. There were two dabs of red on a powdered 
face, where in time past the natural roses and lilies 
had bloomed ; but the voice and the little Andalusian 
foot that beat the time with the Elect Lady's periods 
were the voice and the foot of the once incomparable 
Smilinda ! Nay, when she turned and looked at the 
converted land-surveyor beside her, Mr. Wogan knew 
in her gaze the ghost of the glance that had bewitched 
Scrope, and Kelly, and Colonel Montague, and Lord 
Sidney Beauclerk, and who knows how many other 



414 PARSON KELLY 

gallants? In that odd place Wogan felt a black fit 
of the spleen. A woman's loss of beauty, — Wogan 
can never think of it unmoved. What tragedy that 
we men endure or enact is like this ? 

But her ladyship spoke, and she spoke very well. 
The congregation, all of them that were not in fits or 
in laughing hysterics, listened as if to an angel. 
Heavens ! what a story she told of her youth ! What 
dangers encountered ! What plots prepared against 
her virtue, ay, by splendid soldiers, beautiful young 
lords, and even clergymen ; above all, by one mon- 
ster whom she had discovered to be, not only a 
monster, but a traitor to the King, and an agent of 
the Pretender. She was a young thing then, married 
to an old lord, all unprotected, on every side beset 
by flattery. 

The congregation groaned and swayed at the pic- 
ture of man's depravity, but Wogan, his spleen quite 
forgotten, was chuckling with delight. 

Yet, all unawakened as she was, said this penitent, 
an unknown influence had ever shielded her. She 
remembered how one of these evil ones, the clergy- 
man, after kneeling vainly at her feet, had cried, 
'Sure, some invisible power protects your ladyship.' 

Here the groans gave place to cries of praise, arms 
were lifted, the simple, good people wept. Wogan 
listened with a less devotional air, bending forward 
on his bench, and rubbing his hands for joy. In 
truth it had just come upon him that it was his duty 
to stand up when the Elect Lady sat down, and bear 
his witness to the truth of her narrative. 

' Not to her be the triumph,' she went on, ' all 
unawakened as she then was, and remained, till 



PARSON KELLY 415 

she heard Mr. Wesley preach,' and thereafter went 
through the world with Brother Bunton, converting 
land-surveyors, colliers, and others. 

Wogan does not care to remember or quote 
any more of this lady's pieties. They had a kind 
of warmth and ease of familiarity which, in sacred 
things, are not to his liking. However, when she 
ceased, Mr. Wogan stood up, a tall figure of a 
French officer with an empty sleeve in his dim 
corner. 

' Good people,' he said ; ' in my heedless youth I 
had the honour to be of the acquaintance of this 
lady who has just. spoken to you.' 

The Elect Lady glanced at Wogan; she gave 
a strange, short cry, and the black veil swept over 
her face again. 

' I was,' Wogan went on, ' the eye-witness of these 
trials to which her Ladyship's virtue was exposed by 
the wicked ones of whose company I was a careless 
partaker. I have heard that wicked minister say 
that some invisible power protected her Ladyship. 
If any testimony to the truth of her ladyship's 
moving tale were needed I could bear that evi- 
dence, as could my friend the Rev, Mr. Kelly, 
now in France with despatches, and also General 
Montague, at present serving with Field-Marshal 
Wade, in the neighbourhood of Newcastle.' 

Wogan sat down. 

' That was providential indeed,' said the cobbler ; 
and all the congregation bawled ' Miracle.' But the 
Elect Lady sat still, her face in her hands, like a 
Niobe in black bombazine. 

In the confusion, the three inquirers from the 



4i6 PARSON KELLY 

Prince's army slipped modestly out. A heavy 
shower of snow had swept the rabble out of the 
lane. All was dark and cold, after the reek of the 
crowded warehouse. 

' Nick,' said the Prince, ' was that story all true ? 
Was the Elect Lady a prude?' 

'It is Mr. Kelly's story, sir,' said Wogan. Your 
Royal Highness can ask him.' 

'George was her adorer? Then George shall tell 
me the tale over a bottle. How the cold strikes ! 
Hey, for a bowl of punch ! ' cried the Prince. 

' I am at your commands, sir, but may I say 
that it is one of the morning, and the pipes play 
the reveilld at four?' 

'To quarters, then! What is the word, damme? 
What is the word?' 

' Slaint an Righ, sir.' 

' Slaint an Righ ? I never can get my tongue 
about it. Oh, if our subjects had but one language 
and one religion ! But it shall not be the religion of 
Mr. Bunton. Bonsoir!' 

' You have taken every trick, Wogan ! ' said 
Gradcn, as the Prince entered his inn, 'A sober 
night, for once, before a long day's march.' 

Next morning the army went south, to Derby, 
and then (by no fault of the Irish officers or of 
their Prince) came back again. Wogan was at 
Falkirk, Culloden, and Ruthven, woe worth the 
day! How he reached France when all was over, 
is between him and a very beautiful young lady 
of Badenoch; she said she bore a king's name 
. — Miss Helen Macwilliam. Of King Macwilliam 



PARSON KELLY 417 

Wogan hath never heard, but the young lady 
(whose brothers had taken to the heather) pro- 
tected Wogan in his distress, tended his wound, 
hid him from the red-coat soldiers, and at last 
secured for him a passage in a vessel from Mont- 
rose. 

And for all souvenir, she kept the kerchief with 
which she had first bound up the bayonet-stab that 
Wogan came by, when he, with the Stewarts, broke 
through Barrel's regiment at Culloden. He writes 
this at Avignon, where George and his wife also 
dwell, in the old house with the garden, the roses, 
and the noisy, pretty children that haunted Mr, 
Kelly's dreams when he was young. 



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AT THE ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY PRESS,