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Bt d. appleton and company. 

Elbctrottfbd and Printed 
AT THE Appleton Press, U. S. A. 







I. KATE 1 





VL THE LOCKET . . * 104 














Hugh Paull, house-surgeon to a great City hospital, 
was seated at his writing-desk. During his spare time 
he was working at a treatise on nervous disease, the 
special subject which attracted him. It was a day when 
a certain public event was disturbing the usual City 
routine. The thoroughfares near to the hospital were 
blocked, and his room was quieter than usual. He had 
almost forgotten that he was liable to be disturbed, when 
a tap came at his door. 

" Wanted, sir. Accident just brought in." 

The porter spoke, standing in the doorway. 

Hugh laid down his pen with a sigh. 

" Has Mr. Hamley t^ken the case ? " 

" Yes, sir. They are getting him into the ward. 
Old gentleman — carriage accident. Horse frightened 
and bolted. Two bobbies brought him in." 

" All right, I'll come." 

He put aside his manuscript, and went down to the 
accident ward. The " sister " of the ward, two nurses, 
and young Hamley, a dresser, were standing round the 
recumbent figure of a fine old man, who lay on his nar- 
row bed still as death, his pale features composed, his 


grey hair tossed upon the pillow. It was a grand face 
— a model for a painter. 

As PauU neared the group the two nurses moved 
away to bring forward and unfold a screen. 

" Take it away," he said. 

" I think he's gone, or nearly so," said the dresser, a 
fair young man, his face flushing. He had asked for 
the screen, usually drawn around the dying or dead. 

" Nothing of the sort," said Hugh. He felt the pa- 
tient's pulse, listened at his heart, opened the closed eye- 
lids, placed his hand lightly on his brow, which was 
cold and clammy, then ordered him to be undressed, 
himself assisting the nurses to rip up the coat-sleeves. 

There were no injuries. It was a case of concussion 
of the brain. The groom was having his slight wounds 
dressed in the out-patients' department; and Hugh 
learned from him that his master, whom he appeared to 
hold greatly in awe, was Sir Roderick Pym, one of the 
partners in the well-known banking firm of Pym, Clith- 
ero and Pym. He had a town house in a West-end 
square, and a country house in Surrey, where he mostly 
lived. He was staying in town for a few days, and had 
insisted on driving towards the City to-day, in spite of 
the warning issued by the police to the public. More- 
over, he insisted on driving a thoroughbred mare, who 
no sooner got among quite a small assemblage of roughs 
than she kicked up her heels and was off. The groom 
stuck to the tilbury till the final craA, but his master fell 
out shortly before. That was all he knew (or chose to 
tell). He was a town groom. He never went into the 
country. He would return home and tell Sir Roderick's 
housekeeper. She would come round and see about 
their master. 

PATE, 8 

Hugh went thoughtfully back to the ward, and stand- 
ing at the foot of the bed gazed at the solemn, set face 
of the unconscious man. He was interested — unusually 
so. This old man's aquiline, grave face was full of ex- 
pression. Peaceful and composed as it was now, it was 
the countenance of one who had suffered, and suffered 

" His eyelids quivered a little when the ice-bag was 
applied, sir," said the nurse who was watching the pa- 

Hugh was once more gravely examining the case, 
when the stout, matronly personage, in a high cap and 
huge white apron, who was called the " sister " of the 
ward, came from the little room at its end, through the 
square window of which she could see all that was going 
on in the long room with the rows of beds. 

" I thought I would give you these, Mr. PauU. I 
would rather not have anything to do with them," she 
said, handing Hugh a massive gold watch and chain, a 
purse, and some letters and papers. 

" I will see to them, sister," he said. 

Giving directions as to the immediate treatment of 
Sir Roderick, he returned to his room to lock them away 
in a small iron safe, where certain of the hospital books 
and cases of instruments were kept. The watch was a 
hunter. It struck him that the glass might be broken. 
It was. He shook out the fragments ; then, seeing a 
locket attached to the chain, he opened that. 

The glass of this was intact, and covered the coloured 
photograph of a woman's face — sweet, bright, fair, with 
smiling lips and dark eyes, that even on lifeless paper 
looked mischief and pretty defiance. 

He shut up the locket in a hurry — he had not meant 


prying — and placing the contents of Sir Roderick's 
pockets in a comer of the safe, turned the key upon 

" This is my quiet day's work," he thought, with a 
sigh. It was useless to sit down to a scientific treatise, 
for which the most complete abstraction was an absolute 
necessity, when at any moment he might be summoned 
to this unexpected and important case ; so he put the 
scattered sheets of manuscript together, and re-arranged 
the books of reference that he had piled on chairs by his 
writing-table in their rightful places on the book-shelves. 
Then he sat down in his American chair, and stared at 
the fire. 

" A strange old face," he was thinking, " massive, 
thoughtful. Quite a Rembrandt head. I wonder how 
old he is — whether he will get over it ? Nasty shock, 
anyhow. Must have fallen on a soft bit of road ; if it 
had been the kerb, or cobbles even, it might have been 
all over with him." 

It seemed to Paull that he must have seen that face 
before. Yet this could scarcely be. He had come to the 
hospital from his country home. He was the only son 
of the Rector of Kilby, in Derbyshire, and had seldom 
gone out, except to the museums and to scientific 
lectures ; his ambition kept him chained to its object — 
his profession. 

" The sort of face one sometimes dreams of," he con- 
cluded. " I thought I was past nonsense of this sort. 
This latest thing in accidents has upset me as if I were 
a girl." 

Presently, the "gentleman's housekeeper" was an- 
nounced, and a portly dame, handsomely dressed in 
dark silk and a fur-trimmed cloak, entered. At once 

PATE. 5 

Hugh banished all idea of the locket and Mrs. Naylor 
having the faintest connecting link. 

Sir Roderick's housekeeper was comely, and good- 
looking in her buxom way. But although there was 
anxiety in her enquiries, and evident relief in her man- 
ner when PauU gave her hopes that her employer might 
recover, the ruddiness did not forsake her cheeks, nor 
was she in the least flurried. 

" I feared something might happen, that I did," she 
said, accepting a chair. " The groom, David, he didn't 
half like going behind that mare. Sir Roderick's a 
fii*st-rate driver ; they do say at both riding and driving 
he can manage anything in the way of a horse. But 
there, I've seen that Kitty in the stable, and I know 
she's that bad-tempered — but, lor! no one daren't say 
one word to Sir Roderick." 

PauU asked if there were no near relations who 
might be sent for, or informed of her master's condition. 

"Mr. Edmund — that's Sir Roderick's next eldest 
brother — had dinner with him last night," she answered, 
doubtfully, " But he's taken his family to see the pro- 
cession. Mr. Pym — that's the eldest, the head of the 
firm — isn't on what you might call good terms with Sir 
Roderick, who has nothing to do with the bank now." 

" Were those all ? " asked Hugh. 

Mrs. Naylor could not suggest anyone else. Sir 
Roderick — well, he was one of those gentlemen that 
you didn't know how to take. You might oflEend him 
mortally, and you wouldn't know it except by his never 
having anything to do with you afterwards. 

"You would rather not take any responsibility in 
the matter then, Mrs. Naylor ? " asked Hugh, slightly 


The character of that strange man, lying for the 
present dead to the world without, was being unex- 
pectedly revealed to him. 

" I certainly would rather not, sir," said Mrs. Naylor, 

"But you will not object to give me his brother's 
address ? " 

Mrs. Naylor being quite ready to give Mr. Edmund 
Pym's address, Hugh wrote it down. Then he offered 
to take Mrs. Naylor to see her master. 

From this she seemed to shrink; and it was only 
after being adjured that it was her duty to remain, at 
all events, in the hospital, until someone else belonging 
to Sir Roderick came — that she consented to visit the 

Mr. Edmund Pym arrived to visit his brother about 
nine in the evening : a singularly impassive personage, 
who showed no emotion whatever of any kind, and who 
departed as soon as possible. 

Mrs. Naylor, evidently greatly relieved, slipped away 
after she had had a short interview with her master's 

At ten o'clock the old man still lay on the hospital 
bed — ^breathing, living, but apparently dead to all around 

" What do you think of him, Mr. Paull ? " asked the 
Sister, as Hugh went his last round — at least the round 
which was usually his last. 

"Think of him?" repeated Hugh, absently. "Oh 
— well — Dr. Fairlight will be here in the morning. He 
will take the case. Tell the night nurse I shall be down 
in an hour." 

" You're not going to sit up, Mr. Paull ? " 

PATE. 7 

« I think I shall." 

The Sister looked from patient to doctor, as Hugh 
went striding out of the ward, and back again to the 
livid, solemn face on the pillow. 

"That young cabman's case last week was a good 
deal worse than this," she mused, "and he didn't sit 
up. I suppose the old gentleman's age makes him 

Hugh PauU, with his odd attractiveness, his scrupu- 
lous fidelity to his duties, and his learning, which was 
acknowledged by the great men who were appointed to 
the hospital, as well as by his fellow-workers, was the 
hero of the resident staff, both doctors and nurses ; and 
it did not enter the good Sister's head to dream that 
any other motive but that of devotion to duty led to 
this sacrifice of a night's rest, and singular departure 
from ordinary hospital routine. 

Yet when Hugh took up his position at the patient's 
bedside with some books as the possible companions of 
his vigil, he smiled to himself with a cynical wonder. 

" Why am I doing this ? " he asked himself. Why, 
indeed ? He could have been summoned if any change 
took place. He could have ordered an extra night nurse 
for Sir Eoderick. Why should he go out of his way for 
a strange man? Because this old man's brother and 
the housekeeper had behaved so coolly, and his sense 
of humanity was aroused ? Because this human wind- 
fall in the accident ward was Sir Roderick Pym, of 
Pym, Clithero & Pym ? No ! for neither of these rea- 
sons. Hugh Paull was in the habit of self-interroga- 
tion. His dissatisfaction with ordinary life as ordinary 
people took it had made him desperately in earnest; 
and being desperately in earnest, had made — 


" To thine own self be true, 
Thou canst not then be false to any man," 

one of his governing mottoes. As he settled himself 
to his night watch he grimly told himself that he was 
here for the sole reason that he knew he could not 
without a struggle have kept away. Sir Roderick Pym 
attracted him like a magnet. Why, he had Btill to 

Alternately watching the slightest movement of the 
patient, and reading, the night wore on. There was 
silence in the long ward. The rows of beds loomed 
whitely in the distance. The fire crackled. Now and 
then there was a sigh or a weary moan. The distant 
clatter of cab-wheels, the howl of a restless dog, or the 
slow rumbling of the market- waggons, were the only 
signs that not all in London slept, as did these victims 
of carelessness or misadventure within the quiet stone 

Between one and two o'clock. Sir Roderick gave 
signs of returning consciousness. As the night nurse 
glided from bed to bed, administering medicine to those 
patients for whom it had been ordered, he opened his 
eyes, and muttered something. Then he moved his 
head on his pillow, turned, and gradually subsided into 
natural sleep. 

After Hugh was completely satisfied that this was 
real slumber — " tired Nature's sweet restorer," indeed — 
he might safely have sought " balmy sleep " for his own 
solace ; but by this time he was so wide awake, and his 
brain so fit for study, that he remained. Sir Roderick 
slept for hours as placidly as an infant, while Hugh 
studied with all his might and strength. 

At six o'clock the night nurse brought him a cup of 

FATE. 9 

tea, and congratulated him on the changed appearance 
of the patient. 

" Yes ; he'll do now, I think," said Hugh, content- 

The clatter of the spoon in the saucer,' or the whis- 
pering, or both, aroused Sir Roderick. He opened his 
eyes, and stared at Hugh, first wildly, then with an 
amazed expression. 

" Kemble, in Hamlet^^^ he muttered. Then, as Hugh 
bit his lip to restrain a smile — a shaken brain must not 
be irritated — he frowned and stared, stared and frowned, 
then jerked his head away as from an unpleasant ob- 

Since the old man had been resolutely driving into 
the City, against much warning and advice, all had been 
a blank. Now he was awakening amid the most un- 
pleasant sensations : his limbs heavy as lead, his head 
curiously light. At first he squinted at the strange ob- 
jects around him, struggling to focus them aright, like 
a semi-conscious infant. As his sight adjusted itself, 
he found that there were really many beds — a row of 
beds. He began to count them, but before he had 
reached two figures he felt sick and faint, and instinc- 
tively turned back for help. 

A lithe strong arm was round him, a glass with some 
cordial was at his lips. He swallowed the draught, and 
helplessly subsided. 

As he revived he began to think. 

" This is real," was his first thought. " What has 
happened to me ? " 

After the thought had hummed about in his mind 
like a spinning-top, it subsided, tottered, and tumbled. 
He, as it were, picked it up. 


" Who am I ? " he stammered, suddenly, to Hugh, 
who was sitting near, his eyes alert. He had not meant 
that, but it came out higgledy-piggledy, somehow, and 
he listened to his own voice wonderingly. 

" You are quite safe. Sir Roderick Pym," said Hugh, 
gently. " A few hours ago you were thrown out of your 
carriage, and were brought here. You have been slight- 
ly — faint — but you will soon be all right again, and able 
to go home." 

" A — ^hospital ! " Sir Roderick looked round with evi- 
dent disgust. " Who — knows ? " he added, with a glance 
of alarm. 

Hugh hastened to relate details, slowly, clearly, while 
the nurse administered some light nourishment. 

Sir Roderick listened attentively. The only question 
he asked was if his mare, Kitty, had suffered. 

" I wouldn't have had anything happen to Kitty," 
he began, emphatically. Then, as he glanced up at 
Hugh from under his shaggy grey eyebrows, he seemed 
to remember that he was speaking to a stranger, and 
stopping short, sank wearily back. 

" I took you for a vision of ' Hamlet,' " he said, with 
a short laugh. " You looked like it — all black against 
the light, bending over your books." 

"My black clothes?" said Hugh. "I am just in 
mourning for my mother. I am house-surgeon here." 

Sir Roderick looked at him less coldly, and mur- 
mured some thanks. Then he asked the time. 

" I want to telegraph. I was expected home — in the 
country — to-day," he said. " Perhaps — I could go this 

Hugh convinced him that this would be, if not im- 
possible, the height of imprudence. 


PATE. 11 

Sir Roderick listened to reason, but bargained that he 
should write a telegram now, at once, while he was able. 

So excitedly did he plead, that Hugh reluctantly 
fetched a telegram form from the secretary's room, and 
propped his troublesome patient up in the bed, that he 
might fill it in himself. 

But the pencil fell from Sir Roderick's fingers, the 
effort made him feel faint. 

Not till an hour after was the telegram despatched, 
and then it was Hugh who had written it at Sir Roder- 
ick's dictation : — 

" To L, Pym^ The Pinewood^ 

" Near F , Surrey, 

^Am detained by important bushiess. Will return 
as soon as possible. Keep all letters^ and do not see 
visitors. Roderick Pym^^ 

"To his wife, presumably," thought Hugh, as he 
left his patient to the day nurse, who was fresh from 
her night's rest; and as he thought this he sneered: 
" Younger than her lord and master ; very much under 
his thumb, too, evidently. Married him for his money, 
of course I The original of the portrait in the locket, 
doubtless. Fancy the jealous prudence of the old fox ! 
Wouldn't write * Lady Pym,' only put ' L.' I wondered 
why he hesitated so long before yielding up the name. 
Poor old fellow ! A young wife, with that mischievous 
face ! Why didn't the housekeeper mention her ? " 

Hugh went about his day's work strangely dissatisfied, 
and had never felt more annoyed with anyone in his life 
than with the Sister of the accident ward when she told 
Dr. Fairlight that he had kindly remained all night by 
Sir Roderick's bedside. 

'c ^• 



Sir Roderick decidedly improved on acquaintance. 
During the next two days his health promised to return. 
He declined the offer of a private ward. 

" I like to watch what goes on," he said to Hugh. 
" Of course there is a good deal to see that is painful. 
But I may not have such an opportunity of realising 
certain conditions of human nature again." 

Then he descanted upon the different cases, upon the 
various characteristics of the maimed and injured men 
who were either inmates, or who were brought in, upon 
the method and patient quietude of the nurses, &c. 

" You are a practised observer," said Hugh. Upon 
which they began a conversation that partially showed 
Hugh there was a bond of sympathy between them. 
Both were dissatisfied with life generally, and with cer- 
tain matters particularly. Both were prompted to study 
deeply, and ponder much on the great problems which 
have puzzled philosophers from Thales to Schopenhauer ; 
and although Sir Roderick was a materialist and pessi- 
mist, and Hugh had taken refuge in a high ideal opti- 
mism which was to a certain extent original, they met 
on the common ground of mental disquietude. 

Seen thus, Sir Roderick seemed another man. Weak 
though he still was, his eyes sparkled, his face was bright- 


ened by an almost youthful animation. Hugh was about 
to end the interview, fearing overfatigue for his patient, 
when Sir Boderick stopped short His countenance 
changed. His brother, Mr. Edmund Pym, came into 
the ward with the secretary of the hospital. 

Edpiund Pym was a short, wizened little man, with 
pinched features and blinkiug eyes, scant white hair and 
smooth shaven face. Greater opposites in personal ap- 
pearance than these two brothers could hardly be. 

He glanced at Hugh through his eyeglass, nodded, 
somewhat awkwardly asked the invalid how he was get- 
ting on, then stood fidgeting at the bedside. 

Hugh oflEered him a chair, but Sir Roderick gave 
him such a look that he would have retired precipitately 
but for his patient's apologetic — 

" Pray don't go, Mr. PauU, I want to speak to you. 
My brother cannot stay long." 

" No, I cannot stay long,'* said Mr. Edmund, un- 
comfortably. " I only came in to see how you were get- 
ting on, and to tell you how sorry Mary and the girls are 
about this. Mary will come and see you, if you like ? " 

*'But I don't like," interrupted Sir Roderick, pet- 
tishly. " Tell her — anything you please. I don't mind 
Mary and the girls when I am well. But they can't come 
here. If they do, I sha'n't see them." 

Mr. Pym nervously assured his brother that " Mary 
and the girls" would not dream of doing anything to 
displease him* They were most anxious to show their 
solicitude and sympathy, that was all. 

^* Tell them that as long as they hold their tongues 
and don't gossip about my infernal accident, they may 
do what they please," said Sir Roderick, surlily. " And 
if they must chatter about it, tell them to pray for me. 


Yes, tell them that. They'll think the black sheep is 
coming into the fold at last. It'll please them, and 
won't do me any harm." 

Mr. Edmund Pym was evidently embarrassed, and 
did not stay long. Hugh pitied him, and accompanying 
him to the end of the ward apologised for the irascibility 
of the patient, which was not only natural after the 
shock, but was, if anything, a favorable symptom, &c. 

" Oh ! I am accustomed to my brother, Mr. PauU," 
he said, with a gentleness that touched the young house 
surgeon. "He is naturally irritable. We take it for 
what it is worth. He has had a great deal of trouble 
in his life, and it has soured him. And he is quite a 
recluse. But he has a good heart, a wonderfully kind 

Then he thanked Hugh for his attention to the pa- 
tient and hurried off, evidently relieved that the visit 
was over. 

"H'm!" muttered Hugh to himself, as he slowly 
returned to the patient. "H'm! It strikes me that 
my pessimistic friend is, like most pessimists, a bit of a 

Sir Boderick welcomed him with a forced smile. 

" I daresay you think me ungracious ? " he said, his 
long, withered hand nervously fingering the bedclothes. 
" I'm not — ^at least, not exactly. I can put up with my 
brother when I'm well, but just now I can't. The fact 
is, he is one of the most woman-ridden men on the face 
of the earth. His wife is a bigot and a snob, and brings 
up her daughters bigots and snobs. And they rule bim. 
Rule him ? They sit upon him. They drive him, like 
the old donkey he is. He was always the same. At 
school they called him Neddy, because he took every- 


thing so meekly. It used to enrage me, yonngster as I 
was. I used to say to him : ' Man, why can't you hold 
up your head ? ' And I've gone on saying it to him all 
through life. If there's one thing I despise, it's a man 
who can't hold up his head and defend himself." 

"Against the women?" suggested Hugh. He had 
seated himself in the chair he had offered Mr. Pym. 
His arms were folded. He saw that he must treat Sir 
Roderick boldly, if they were to be friends. And some 
inward feeling told him that Fate, or Providence, had 
brought them together — that at least they were to be 
well acquainted with each other, if nothing more. " I 
am afraid, sir, that you are a woman-hater." 

He half expected his patient to turn upon him some- 
what after the manner in which he had snubbed his 
brother, in which case he would have left the old gentle- 
man to himself, as far as conversation went, for the 
future. Instead, Sir Roderick smiled, and seemed grati- 

" No, Hamlet, my friend," he said, with a sort of 
pleased chuckle, leaning back against his pillows. " You 
must excuse my calling you Hamlet, but with your seri- 
ous speculative nature, the name seems to fit you exactly. 
No, I am no woman-hater. I know we can't do without 
them. But I object to them out of their proper place, 
as I object to cats out of the kitchen, or mastiffs and 
Newfoundlands in the drawing-room. The drudge 
woman and the ornamental woman are necessary evils. 
When strictly kept under, they serve their purpose. 
But bowed down to and worshipped as my unfortunate 
brother fetishes his womankind, they are only fit for 
extermination — as if they were so many rats." He spoke 
viciously. Then turning to Hugh, he said : " I suppose 


you consider me a barbarian ? Like the rest, you adore 
a petticoat — eh ? " 

" No," said Hugh. " But I can't say I am with you 
in the extermination idea ; I have not known any domi- 
neering women. My mother was soft, gentle — more a 
helpmeet than a companion to my father, who is a very 
studious man. She was his right hand. His is not a 
mind to require a second self. My sisters are like her." 

" I understand," said Sir Roderick, in a depreciatory 
tone. " Good specimens of the domestic genus. But 
what about the lady-love, the ideal realised, the creature 
apart — eh ? " 

" I have so many, you see, Sir Roderick," said Hugh. 
" Silent lassies, who only speak when spoken to, and wait 
patiently side by side for days, even weeks, till I throw 
the handkerchief. Their petticoats are half-calf — mo- 
rocco — cloth, lettered — " 

"Oh! your books," said the old man. "Ah! well, 
your turn will come, your turn will come! And the 
longer you wait the worse it'll be." 

" May your words not come true," said Hugh, as he 
went off, amused, yet — when he thought of the portrait 
in the locket, and of the telegram sent to " L. Pym " — 
somewhat puzzled. 

During the time that Sir Roderick remained in the 
hospital — between three and four days — the subject of 
the fair sex was mutually tabooed by doctor and patient. 
They had interesting conversations, and Sir Roderick 
expressing a wish to see Hugh's treatise, the evening 
before the old gentleman left the hospital he supped in 
the house surgeon's room, and Hugh read him portions 
of the work, which he was pleased greatly to approve. 

" You must come and see me in the country," he 


said, when, after writing a check for a handsome dona- 
tion to the hospital fund, and insisting upon Hugh's 
acceptance of a ruby ring he had ordered to be sent 
from his town house, he was taking leave of those of the 
staff who had been good Samaritans to him in his weak- 
ness. ^^ You must come and stay. They think me an 
unsociable old brute, do my neighbors and people round 
about. But they wouldn't care for me if they knew me. 
We have nothing in common. My friends are men of 
about my own age, with similar tastes. I hope you and 
I will be friends. Although I am nearly old enough to 
be your grandfather — minds like yours don't count by 

Hugh answered that he was grateful, obliged — hoped 
they would be friends, certainly, etcetera. But as Sir 
Boderick leaned forward and nodded gravely to him 
from his brougham window when the carriage drove off, 
he felt a strange sensation — was it an uneasy feeling of 
aversion for this peculiar patient who had occupied his 
time and his thoughts these few days ? Was he relieved 
by his departure? He could not tell. The ruby ring 
on his finger almost annoyed him. He locked it away 
in his desk, and tried to lock away the recollection of 
Sir Boderick with it. 

Then he went about his work with a strange oppres- 
sion of mind and weariness of body. It was an operat- 
ing day. A most interesting — in fact, a thrilling opera- 
tion took place in the theatre— -one which set all the 
students and surgical nurses talking. But at the most 
critical moment he seemed to see Sir Boderick's face and 
to hear that short, cynical laugh. He felt as if he were 

As the days and weeks went on, the sensation 


lessened. But when the post came in he generally 
remembered Sir Roderick. At least, for the first few 
weeks after the accident he looked for the large, crooked 
scrawl he had noticed on the cheque, among his corre- 
spondence. When no letter, no news came of the 
strange old man, he began to think of their short 
acquaintance as of one of those purposeless episodes 
which occur in the lives of most medical men. 

As spring blossomed into summer, he began to 
forget. When he had his short holiday, and was once 
more in his childhood's home among the fields and 
woods, with flowers scenting the summer air and the 
birds singing all around, the remembrance of the weird 
old Rembrandt face on the pillow in the hospital ward 
came back into his mind as might some curious dream. 
Alas ! it would have been better for Hugh PauU if 
indeed it could have been but a dream. 

Kilby was a picturesque village among the Derby- 
shire hills. A stream ran through the smiling little 
valley. It meandered through the rectory grounds. 
There was no regular village street. There were 
groups of cottages clustering together about the old 
inn, and around the church. The rectory was a grey 
stone, gabled house, in grounds that the Reverend John 
PauU had enlarged and improved each year since he 
" read himself in " twenty-seven years ago. In front 
of the house was a large, square lawn, with spreading 
beeches and straight conifers on either side. Opposite, 
a yew hedge divided the lawn from the beautiful flow- 
er garden with the masses of bloom bordering the 
winding paths. Then came the river, famous for its 
succulent trout, and beyond, grassy banks, a row of 
elms, and the sloping hills. 


Although Hugh missed the genial presence of his 
sweet-faced little mother, his father seemed determined 
to be cheery during his visit, and his sisters Maud and 
Daisy had made up their minds to be bright in their 
brother's presence, so only indulged in their inevitable 
fits of grief in private. 

" Do not let — Hugh — miss me," had been their 
mother's constant exhortation during her last brief 
illness. " He is such a gloomy boy. Pray be cheerful 
with him." 

Mrs. PauU herself had lived cheerfully ; and as she 
had lived, so she died — ^with a smile of encourage- 
ment to those around her on her lips. To her, life was 
merely one scene in the eternal drama of the human 

When the rector chose the words, " She is not 
dead, but sleepeth," to be engraven on the stone at the 
head of her grave, he felt indeed that his Maggie was 
not, could not be dead. Dead ? Sometimes he believed 
they were nearer and dearer to each other now than 
when for the first time he took his love into his arms 
and kissed her lips. 

Thus it was hardly a house of mourning into whi6h 
Hugh came. As soon as he became accustomed to the 
empty chair, the absence of the kindly voice, and the 
sombre garments of his sisters and the maids, he suc- 
cessfully fought low spirits. 

The ordeal of the first visit to his mother's grave 
over, he also struggled to be unselfish, and not to add 
to his father's and sisters' grief by a mournful presence. 
So he walked about the parish with the rector as usual, 
drove his sisters in the pony-chaise, and fished with them 
in the old haunts of the capricious trout, which some- 


times suddenly and unaccountably changed their favour- 
ite lurking-places, and as suddenly and unaccountably 
returned to them again. 

In the evenings, when the Eector glanced through 
the papers and the girls worked by the light of the 
shaded lamps, he told them stories of the hospital : the 
strange beings that came under his notice, the hard, 
cruel tales of some of their lives. 

About a week after his arrival, he was reminded of 
Sir Roderick. In the weekly journal. Speculative 
Thought^ there was a letter on some subject that bore 
upon certain theories he held in regard to animal 
magnetism. It was signed " E. Pym." At dinner he 
inquired of his father whether he had noticed it He 
had not. So, after dinner Hugh read it aloud. 

" Why, I should have thought you had written that," 
said his father. " That is a pet theory of yours, is it 

" The old thief ! " said Hugh, half to himself, but 
with an amused smile. ^^ At least, I have no right to 
say that. It is written by Sir Eoderick Pym. Of that 
I have little or no doubt. We had a discussion on the 
subject. He defended the opposite view. Now, he is on 
my side. That is what I can't make out." 

" You brought him round to your way of thinking, 
I suppose," said the rector, with a satisfied glance at 
his son. "You certainly have the gift of persuasion. 
Many a time, in our walks and talks, you have staggered 
me. I have felt that your hypotheses were uncalled for 
and preposterous. But for the life of me I could not 
advance anything solid in the way of refutation." 

"You certainly haven't got the gift of persuasion, 
papa," said the fair-haired, round-faced Daisy. " Giles 


was drunk again last night. Mary Giles has a black 
eye to-day. I am sure I thought your sermon on 
Sunday week would do something. But old Brown 
went to the Arms just the same all last week, Mrs. 
Brown told me. I said, quite aghast: 'What! after 
papa's sermon?' And she said: *Lawk, miss, Brown 
do go to church, I know, but he aJlers settles hisself for 
a good sleep while the sermon's a-goin' on.' " 

" One man, single-handed, is powerless against alco- 
hol," said the rector, helplessly. " I've fought it these 
seven-and-twenty years, and haven't scored a point. If 
they will drink, they will drink — an earthquake would 
not stop them." 

The conversation drifted away from Sir Roderick 
Pym. But next morning it drifted back again. 

" There is a letter for you, Hugh ; such a curious- 
looking letter," said Maud, a tall, dark, handsome girl, 
who was pouring out the tea and coffee when her brother 
came down to breakfast. '' A most original handwrit- 
ing. You must tell me whose it is. I have been read- 
ing up graphology lately, and there seems to me a great 
deal of sense in it. At least, my friends' handwritings 
correspond wonderfully with what I know of their char- 

" I warn you, Maud is getting quite a dangerous 
person," said Daisy, with wide-open eyes. "I found 
her reading one of your medical books the other day, 

But Hugh did not hear, or heed her. He was turn- 
ing over the square, grey envelope, with a big black P 
stamped on the flap. The first communication from 
Sir Roderick after ten weeks' silence. There was no 
mistaking the large, crooked scrawl. The stamp was 


stuck on comer-ways. After turning over the closed 
letter once more, he replaced it by his plate and began 
his breakfast. He could not bring himself to open that 
letter in the presence of his sisters. .Why, he could not 
have told. 

"You are not going to open your letter?" asked 
Daisy, wonderingly, as she took her brother's egg out of 
the egg-boiler. 

He was saved the reply by the entrance of his father. 
After breakfast, he escaped into the garden ; and there, 
by the river, among the iBiowers and in the sunshine, 
the first link of the terrible life-chain which was to 
crush his heart was forged. He opened the letter. If 
he could have guessed, have known, would he have cast 
it from him into the stream to be carried away — out of 
his reach and ken, for ever? In after days he asked 
himself this with untold bitterness of soul, but no an- 
swer came. 

The contents of the envelope, which had been re- 
directed and forwarded by the secretary of the hospital, 
were simple enough. 

Sir Eoderick wrote, dating from the Pinewood, near 
F , Surrey, as follows : — 

" My good young Friend, — It mnst be about time for you to 
claim a holiday. Let it be spent here. You will like the place ; 
that it will be congenial I feel sure. Let me know day and hour, 
and the carriage will meet you at F Station. 

"Yours, Eoderick Pym." 

Hugh read it twice, thrice. At first, he had (so he 
thought) been full of self-gratulation that he had so 
complete an excuse to decline the invitation as this, that 
his furlough from hospital, spent in his own home, was 


nearly at an end. But, as he paced the garden walk, he 
wondered whether, in reality, he had won over Sir Rod- 
erick to his views npon the subject of that letter to the 
weekly journal Speculative Thought^ or whether the 
baronet had written it in one of his sardonic humours 
as a sort of grim jest. He would like to know. Per- 
haps Sir Roderick had been laughing at him in hid 
sleeve during those long talks in the hospital. Grue- 
some thought, not to be borne I But he would like to 

" I should do no harm by running down for a day,'* 
he thought. "I could even leave before the dinner 
hour, and not have to encounter Lady Pym." 

The portrait in the locket, no less than the silence 
on the subject of Sir Roderick's young wife on the part 
of the housekeeper and Mr. Edmund Pym, had preju- 
diced Hugh greatly against the lady to whom he had 
indited that telegram. Sir Roderick's contempt for 
women, too, induced the idea that L. Pym, however 
charming she might be, was not a woman to deserve 
either respect or love. 

Seldom vacillating, to-day Hugh was as irresolute as 
any woman. One minute he resolved to accept the in- 
vitation, the next he told himself it would be better to 
let it stand over for the present. At last he got angry 
with himself, went into the house, asked Maud if he 
might use her davenport in the drawing-room, and pres- 
ently posted a letter to Sir Roderick with his own 
hands, lest once more he should change his mind. In 
this he accepted the invitation to the Pinewood for the 
following Saturday morning. 

Why he was reluctant to enlighten his family on 
this subject, he could not for the life of him make oui 


But whenever he neared it in conversation, he felt un- 
comfortable. The days passed. He told them all he 
should return to town the following Friday. But of 
the projected visit to the Pinewood he said not one 

The sweet summer days came and went, one by one. 
Once more Hugh said good-bye, perhaps for months, to 
the old garden ; had a farewell fish in the river, and 
after a reluctant parting with father and sisters, re- 
turned — to meet his strange fate. 



July —, 18 — . 

Am I awake ? Is my visit to the Pinewood a dream ? 
No, no, it has all happened — one of the strangest ex- 
periences that ever befell mortal man. 

It has been like a visit to some new world : the im- 
pressions have been so strong. It is the Pinewood which 
seems the reality, and this, my hospital life, a dream. 
To my horror, things are growing shadowy. I cannot 
concentrate my thoughts upon my cases ; and when the 
fellows or the nurses ask me anything, I am not " all 
there." At last the climax came this morning. An 
epileptic case came in, and Dr. Hildyard asked my 
opinion upon his diagnosis. My mind was a blank. 
Suddenly I could have sworn I heard a laugh — her laugh. 

I will write it all down, that is what I will do ; then 
perhaps I may forget. 

I left London last Saturday week morning, in the 
full possession of my senses (of that I feel sure). I can 
remember everything — all the details of the journey 
down to F , through the heathery moorland, the fir- 
woods, the cornfields. 

No one waiting at F station. Taking my bag, 

I was leaving, intending to make inquiries as to the 
whereabouts of the Pinewood and to walk, when an old 


coachman, perched up on the driving-seat of a high 
dogcart, touched his hat and said : 

" The gentleman for the Pinewood ? " 

" I am going to the Pinewood," I said. 

"The doctor, sir, what attended Sir Roderick in 
London ? " 


I got up, and we drove oflf. The skittish bay' (Rein- 
deer) went like the wind at first along the smooth 
highroad, through snug villages, past outhouses, between 
hop gardens, till we came to the hills covered with pine- 

" This is the Pinewood, sir," said the old man ; " as 
far as you can see a tree." 

That was much farther than I could see. The slopes 
were clad with the straight, tall trees, from slim saplings 
to lofty giants, until the dark green outlines of the hills 
melted into the lilac haze of the horizon. 

Driving less quickly uphill, he told me something 
about his master and his habits. 

" You must excuse my not believin* in you at first 
sight, sir," he said ; " but so few gen'l'men comes here, 
and they're not young gen'l'men, but them as pokes 
about after beetles or goes butterfly catching. Some 
goes out with a hammer, and knocks the stones about. 
And as for a lady — well, sir, I suppose you know Sir 
Roderick can't abide the sight of a petticoat? " 

I murmured something. I was certainly not going 
to discuss my host with one of his servants. Fortunate- 
ly, we were now in the grounds. 

What a dream of beauty ! 

Velvety, mosslike hillocks, among the stem clumps 
of pines ; whole glades of bracken in narrow dells, fairy 


sporting grounds ; then, an occasional oasis of garden, 
apparently growing spontaneously among the wood- 
land. Here and there a flight of steps, leading to the 
shrubbery of high laurels and conifers, or a small white- 
stone temple ; now and again a stone bench, flanked by 
cypresses and urns on pedestals — such a bench as one 
sees in the gardens in Italy. 

Then, suddenly, a dip in the land to the right, dis- 
closing a tiny park, with some beeches and elms, and in 
its centre a circular garden, surrounding a white-domed 

"A chapel ? " I asked. 

" It was wonst," my conductor told me ; " but not in 
my time. We none of us knows nothink about wot's 
inside. They do talk about that chapel, folks do. My 
opinion is, that there's nothink in it ; it just amuses 
Sir Eoderick to tease their curiosity." 

Then a sharp turn and a short drive between thick 
firwoods brought us to a strange place. 

A long, high wall — the wall of a solid building ; for 
there was a porch, a door, and long, narrow windows on 
either side. If the whole facade had had windows it 
would have looked like a museum, for on the top there 
was a balustrade crowned at intervals with small, fu- 
nereal-looking urns. 

The place looked mouldy and dismal even on this 
glorious summer day. 

" Well? " I said, for Thomas drew up before the door. 

" Well, sir, if you just give that bell hanging to the 
right of the door a good pull, they'll hear you." 

Did Sir Roderick's eccentricity extend to his living 
in a semi-tomb? As I pulled the bell, and heard a 
distant, feeble clang, I looked somewhat disconsolately 


after the comfortable-looking dogcart driving away, 
remembering some of the ancient Greek philosophers' 
predilections for doing their work among the tombs. 

Out of perversity, I daresay, I felt utterly disinclined 
for philosophical disquisitions in this tomb-like place ; 
in fact, I yearned for a real boyish holiday in those 
grounds with young, merry companions (I had better 
be truthful with myself). 

What was my dismay when a solemn-looking old 
servitor in black (he had white hair and a " white 
choker," and looked like a major-domo of State funerals) 
ushered me into a vault-like crypt. There were niches 
in the walls and more urns. He offered to take my bag. 
I clutched it tight, expecting some grim jest on the part 
of my host. When he said, " Will you please walk this 
way, sir," and, opening a door, disclosed a long, vault- 
like passage, I hesitated ; but he slouched off at such 
a rate, and the echo of his footsteps clattering on the 
stone pavement was so loud, I could not stop him, so I 
followed in silence — down a iBiight of stone steps, round 
a corner, down another darker and narrower staircase 
(all lighted dimly by tiny yellow-glass windows in the 
wall), until, when I was emerging into total darkness, 1 

" I can't see I " I shouted, really annoyed. 

Sir Roderick could not be living underground — ^that 
was all nonsense. He was playing a trick upon me, 
and would think it fine fun. 

" I will strike a match," I added, crossly ; but the 
old man pulled open a door. 

The landing just below me was suddenly flooded 
with lighi Stepping down, I turned and followed him 
into a large conservatory. 


What a magical change I The blue clear light from 
the glass dome showed up each frond of the great tree- 
ferns, each grand leaf of the palms, each yellow orange 
and white-waxen blossom of the orange-trees. Huge 
crimson blooms hung upon the thick festoons of the 
sub-tropical creeping plants, and there was my friend 
the Cape jessamine strengthening the warm, intoxi- 
cating perfume of the gardenias, daphnes, and, aboye 
all, of the orange-blossom. 

It was a relief to be out of the scented atmosphere 
and in an ordinary, square hall, which had a billiard- 
table in the centre. 

My cicerone asked me to wait; but after opening 
Tarious doors and exploring several rooms, he came to 
me with a rueful expression. 

" They was here half-an-hour ago," he said ; " but 
they must be out now. Lor I why they're on the lawn. 
Come along, sir ! " 

He must have caught sight of " them " through a 
window. He opened the hall-door, and I saw a lawn 
with spreading trees, under one of which Sir Roder- 
ick was seated in a basket-chair, smoking. At his 
feet lay a huge mastiff. By his side sat a lady, bend- 
ing over a book, her face shaded by a broad-brimmed 

My conductor had shut the door, and left me to my 
fate. I walked across the lawn, thinking to myself that 
under that hat was the face I had seen in Sir Roderick's 

No — as she suddenly looked up — ^it was not the 
same I What I that wild-rose, tender young face, with 
large grey eyes, the same as that saucy, imperious minx 
of the portrait ? No relation, I could swear it. 


" Well, Hamlet ! " Sir Roderick was quite warm in 
his welcome. 

" I didn't look myself. No, unmistakably I did not. 
Overwork, of course ; the foul atmosphere, too. Oh ! 
I might say what I liked. Mine was a good hospital in 
its way, doubtless; but all the same, the atmosphere 
was a foul one. Else, why the disinfectants ? " 

" You mentioned some unheard-of sum that you an- 
nually spend in disinfectants, and you can't deny it," 
he said. " Well, here you will have Nature's disinfect- 
ants — pure air, and the scent of the pines and the 
heather and the hay. But I have not introduced you. 
Lilia, this is Dr. Paull." 

The lovely girl, who wore white stuff with some- 
thing red twisted round her waist, had been looking at 
me like children taken to the Zoo for the first time look 
at the wild beasts. 

She did not bow to me. I felt the blood come to my 
face. What on earth was she staring at? Then she 
turned to him, and said slowly : 

" Doctor Paull ? " 

It was not flattering, but I understood. 

"You are right— not Doctor^'' I said. "There is 
much work before me before I can claim that title. I 
am only a medical student — " 

" Bosh ! " interrupted Sir Koderick. " I know what 
Lilia means. I never have any young men here ; she 
expected one of the old fogies. That's it, isn't it, 
child ? " 

" Yes," she said, nodding. " But — do you care for 
butterflies or beetles ? No ? Dear me I Oh, you are a 
botanist ! " 

I hastened to disclaim the soft impeachments. 


" Then " — she knit her brow, and looked like a child 
making np an old woman's face — " then you like geol- 

I remembered Thomas' mention of the yisitors who 

went about with hammers, and responded gravely to my 

" I prefer to look at Nature and to ask no questions," 
I said. 

Then there was some talk of the covered way from 
the road above, which my host informed me was built 
by his father. 

^* He had some peculiar pleasure in startling peo- 
ple," he said. " He used to give out that he was a 
social hermit ; and although he lived down here much 
like other people live, would go about in town strangely 
dressed and behave oddly. My poor father was very 

He made the remark so innocently that I involun- 
tarily glanced at his companion. She seemed unaware 
that there was anything imif in those words, and met 
my eyes with a deep, enquiring look. I have never seen 
such child eyes in a woman's face. 

Then the luncheon bell rang, and I was conducted 
to my room by a blushing youth in livery. I was burn- 
ing to know who " Lilia " was — ^f or that brief introduc- 
tion was all that I had had — but I could not ask the 
gauche young footman (evidently a " new hand "). So 
I washed my hands and wondered, as I gazed round 
the quaint old room. It must be an old house, although 
from the lawn it looked modem, and foreign, with its 
brilliantly white walls and bright green shutters. The 
flooring, though spotless, was old ; the ceiling low. 
There was a fourposter of carved wood black with age, 


and the mahogany furniture, which shone like mirrors, 
was of an ancient pattern. White dimity hung about, 
and there was a fresh scent of lavender. 

Going downstairs, I noticed that the shallow stairs 
were of old oak, likewise the balustrade ; but the dining- 
room, to which Sir Roderick, who met me in the hall, 
escorted me, was of newer fashion — ^a square room with 
massive furniture, and hung with paintings. 

" All Pyms,'* said my host, following my eyes as, 
seated at " Lilia's " right, I ate my soup. Then ensued 
some talk about the various dark visages that frowned 
down from the black canvases. To all appearance, 
misanthropy ran in the family. Most of these bilious- 
looking ancestors seemed to have done something 
strange ; and the nearer they had drifted to contempt 
of social law, the more unctuously Sir Roderick related 
their exploits. Meanwhile the gentle Lilia listened 
with wide-open eyes and evident interest. 

" But that ? Surely that one is not a Pym ! " I said, 
indicating a portrait in an oval Florentine frame that 
hung conspicuously over the mantelpiece — in fact, in 
solitary glory, while the other portraits were somewhat 
huddled together. 

" And pray, why not?" asked my host dryly, after a 
moment's pause. 

I looked again. A sunbeam lighted up the laughing 
face of a fair young man, with large blue eyes and the 
very much-curved lips which always produce the effect 
of a sneer. To me they are painful, recalling the 
cruel risus sardonicus which I have never seen without 

" Why not ? " I repeated, stupidly. " Oh ! because he 
is so unlike all the others, I suppose." 


"Do you not see any likeness?" he quietly asked 
presently, after he had carved a fowl and insisted on 
giving me the breast. 

I looked around. 

" Oh, not to the pictures — to Lilia ! " he cried, im- 

"No, I cannot say I do," I said, glancing at my 

I smiled ; but I did not feel at all like smiling. My 
— was it dread ? — to find so young a girl the wife of so 
old a man made me flinch at any suggestion which 
strengthened such a possibility. 

" They are both Pyms ! " he said, quite irritably. 
" You have evidently no eye for likenesses. Of course, 
there are dark Pyms and fair Pyms. The fair Pyms are 
upstairs in a corridor." 

" Women," said the fair Lilia explanatorily to me. 
" Papa dislikes women so much, he won't have their 
portraits about him." 

I had been on the point of calling the child Lady 
Pym, and she was his daughter! Fool that I had 

"Because they simper and attitudinise," said Sir 
Roderick. " If they behaved as sensibly as men I should 
like them as well." 

" That's not saying very much," said Lilia, with an 
amused look at me. " Papa is not enamoured of his 

" Do you want me to be hail-fellow well-met with 
Tom, Dick, and Harry?" he said, frowning at the 
daughter who was so unlike him that I began to think 
more charitably of my mistake. 

" You know I don't. I like you just as you are I " 


said his daughter, looking adorable with an infantine 
smile of love and trust brightening her sweet face. 

It was like a personal sunshine. I felt it so, later, 
when she deigned to shine upon me ; and every time it 
humbled me, and made me feel coarse, clumsy, unworthy, 
a very clod ; and now it, or the memory of it, comes 
back here — it shines suddenly upon a poor sufferer's 
face upon the pillow, and the patient vanishes and I 
see Lilia. 

This won't do. I must return to my statement. 

After luncheon. Sir Eoderick sent me out into the 
grounds with his daughter. From first to last he pur- 
posely threw us together. What his motive was I can 
not imagine. Motive he has: I have seen enough to 
know that he never acts without one. 

Lilia told me so much as we wandered, first about 
the Italian garden just outside the dining-room windows, 
then across the lawns into the pinewoods. It was so 
diflScult to check her childish confidences, which she 
poured out as a little creature just finding the use of its 
tongue will babble as it trots along holding one's hand. 
They treated me, all of them, at the Pinewood, except 
one, of whom more presently, with simple trust ; even 
Nero, the old mastiff, slouched along at our heels with 
his big tongue out, panting, as if I were an old friend. 
I must never, even in thought, betray that trust. I 
must never forget that to aspire would be a breach of 
that sacred confidence — never, never ! On this subject 
I pray> as the octogenarian said in Dickens' Haunted 
Man^ " Lord, keep my memory green ! " 

She talked of her father — well and good. 

"Papa has no patience with frivolity," she said. 
" He only has sympathy with people who do their duty. 


That is what every one ought to feel, is it not ? Ah ! I 
thought you would say * Yes.' Of course, it is much 
nicer when you like doing your duty, isn't it? Those 
old men who come here and beetle-hunt and botanise, 
or go poring over the books in the library, not only like 
what they have to do in life, they love it I do envy 

"But you — ^you like your life, do you not?" I 

Just then we came to a clearing in the wood. A 
giant pine, lately felled, lay prone among the ferns and 
mosses. She stopped. 

" Let us sit down a moment," she said ; " you take 
my breath away." 

She seated herself on the trunk, looking like the 
embodied spirit of the pinewood in her white gown. 
Kero stood for a few minutes watching me as I sat down 
beside her, then slouched up and lay down at his mis- 
tress' feet, one eye fixed on me. Evidently this pro- 
ceeding was new to him. The botanists and gentlemen 
of the hammer did not care to sit on felled trunks and 
talk with the daughter of the house. 

" I said that," she went on, " because it was just as if 
you knew how treasonable my thoughts have been lately. 
I have actually been wishing to travel, and see the 
world ! " 

I asked her what treason there was in that. 

" Such an idea, in me, is treason itself ! " she said, al- 
most indignantly — " when my father despises the world, 
and would rather anything should happen than that I 
should go beyond the Pinewood." 

Then I was amazed by the disclosure that this sweet 
young creature had lived all her life shut up in the Pine- 


wood, almost as much a prisoner as a princess in a 
fairy-tale immured in a high tower. Her only com- 
panions and friends had been her nurses, the clergyman 
and his wife, and her cousin Roderick, the fair young 
man with a sneer whose portrait I had said to be unlike 
the Pyms. 

Without goYemesses or tutors, Lilia has managed to 
learn a great deal. Latin and Greek are not dead lan- 
guages to her, and she and her father chatter away in 
Italian like natives. But in the ordinary affairs of life, 
poor dear child, how ignorant she is ! 

Sitting there with myself, still almost an absolute 
stranger, she spoke out her heart as if I were a dear old 
friend returned after a long separation, and actually 
asked my adyice. Mine ! 

It seemed that she had mentioned this desire to see 
other places to her cousin Roderick, who was a favourite 
nephew of her father's, although he would not have any- 
thing to do with his family. She and this Soderick had 
been brought up together like brother and sister playing 
and sympathising and bickering in the usual fashion. 
Only when she had confided her treasonable ideas to 
him had he shocked her by a supplementary suggestion, 
which seemed to have made a terrible impression upon 

'• We have quarrelled, and never, never can be the 
same again," she told me in much agitation. ^* My fa- 
ther does not know it, and has asked Soderick to din- 
ner to meet you. What shall I do ? " 

She was quite tragic. I could hardly help smiling. 
But seeing how sensitive she was — a natural sensibility 
greatly increased by a life of unnatural seclusion — I re- 
pressed a smile, and said : 


" See your cousin before dinner, and * make it up,'' 
as the children say. 

" Oh, I couldnH ! " she said, in distress. " He won't 
make it up." 

" Then you have tried him ? " 

She nodded. 

** It has been a dreadful shock to me," she said. 
*' If you knew, you would understand." 

After a little coaxing, she spoke, or rather blurted out : 

"If you must know — he actually — ^asked me— to 
marry him ! " 

Nothing so very dreadful, I suppose; but, under 
the circumstances, rash, to say the least — for Lilia ad- 
mitted that her father was in total ignorance. 

" He would never look at Eoderick again," she as- 
sured me. " Don't say * nonsense.' I tell you he would 
not. I am never to marry I " 

" Why not? " I asked, perversely. 

She looked at me almost with indignation. 

" Marriage means misery," she said, oracularly. 

** You mean, that Sir Roderick thinks it does," I 

" He knows it," she said, with emphasis, below her 

I was silent with confusion. The next word, and 
Lilia might unbosom herself of secrets not her own — 
sacred to her father — ^not from any malice aforethought, 
but through the spontaneity to which she was bred by 
that very father. It behoved me to be cautious. 

" I really should tell Sir Roderick if I were you," I 
hazarded. "It is only what he would reasonably ex- 
pect. Cousins often marry. The contingency must 
have occurred to him." 


At that moment I was incliued to think that such 
an issue might even have been planned by my self- 
sufficient host. 

"I thought you knew him!" she cried, recoiling 
from me a little. 

Nero got up and stood between us, looking suspi- 
ciously at me. 

I explained, apologetically, that although Sir Roder- 
ick and I had talked oyer the questions of humanity in 
the abstract, we had not arrived at the domestic prob- 

^' The most important of all," she said, somewhat 

"Granted," I said. "And problems that can, un- 
fortunately, only be solved by individual experience." 

" Ah ! you acknowledge that," she said, with a sort of 
exultation. " You really uphold my father's theory — 
that the risk is too great. He loves both Boderick and 
myself so well that he has preached the delights of celi- 
bacy to us ever since I can recollect." 

" His preaching has had more effect upon you than 
upon your cousin, evidently," I suggested. 

" I fear so," she said, in a sorrowful tone which re- 
proached me for my feeling this talk, so seriously in her 
estimation, almost absurd. " Poor, dear Roderick I I 
would rather do anything than ' sneak,' as he used to 
call it. But papa will be sure to notice something." 

" Cannot you act — pretend ? " I hazarded. 

She shook her head. 

" I never tried," she said ; " it has never been ne- 

" I daresay he will be equal to the occasion," I said. 
" Your cousin is in the army, is he not? Oh I he is 


captain already? He has told you a good deal about 
life in camp, in barracks ? " 

" Lots," she said. 

(Doubtless lots, Captain Pym !) 

" Well, you know, officers can be silent when neces- 
sary, and know how to veil their opinions and feel- 
ings." (I yearned to say, " know how to tell lies," but 
checked myself.) " If I were you, I should be just the 
same to him to-night: I should ignore his unlucky 
suggestion, and behaye exactly as if he had never made 

Lilia resolved to take my advice, and we strolled in 
the gardens and into the enclosed park. I tried to find 
out something about the chapel in the circular garden, 
but she was evidently on guard. 

I thought of her, dear child, while I was dressing. 
How few real friends she could have had ! These Mer- 
vyns, the rector and his wife, seemed the only ones. I 
was anxious to see them. They had been invited for the 
evening. Lilia told me " they never would come to din- 
ner ; it was no use asking them." 

I went downstairs very soon after the second dress- 
ing bell rang. The drawing-room, which is all choco- 
late-colour, white, and gilding, struck me as like a 
picture I had recently seen. The room was lighted by 
short, thick wax-candles in wall candelabra. In the 
middle of the room an enormous china bowl of white 
roses on a round black table perfumed the air. The 
other object which attracted my attention was a huge 
grand piano in ebony. 

I was just going round to ascertain the maker's 
name, when someone jumped up from an easy-chair — 
Captain Boderick. 


^' HuUoa ! " he said (he had a newspaper in his hand), 
"it'sMr.PauU, isn't it? ^ 

I shook hands with him. A prodigiously good-look- 
ing fellow, this cousin, and good company. It was a 
lively dinner-table. Lilia, child as she is, soon cast 
aside the stately manner she had put on outside the 
drawing-room door when she came sailing in to inter- 
rupt our tSte-d'tete; and she laughed and talked with 
us all till over dessert we none of us noticed how time 
fled, until the footman announced that '^ Mr. and Mrs. 
Mervyn were in the drawing-room, and coffee was 

Mr. Mervyn, the clergyman of the parish, is a tall, 
dark man with white hair and keen black eyes. His 
wife is one of those large, soft, fair women with gentle 
faces and sweet manners, who can nevertheless be stem 
and unflinching when there is a question of right and 
wrong — the very woman for a sick nurse. 

While we men talked over our coffee, Eoderick sat 
down to the piano and sang: little Italian folk-songs 
and German lieder. When he was singing, there was 
a simplicity about him that gave him a likeness to her. 
She hung over the piano, and seemed almost to forget 
where she was. When I remembered her confidences a 
few hours ago, I was puzzled. 

Did she love him — or his music? 

Presently, my question was answered. When he had 
sung half-a-dozen chansonnetteSy he rose and came across 
to us. 

" You like music, doctor ? " he asked. 

" I like yours," I said emphatically. 

" Has Lilia sung to you yet?" he asked. 

" No, and I do. not intend to," said the, young lady, 


jumping up from the sofa where she was sitting by Mrs. 
Mervyn, and joining us. 

"And pray why not?" asked Sir Roderick. 

She shook her head and turned aside. For a minute 
or two I naturally felt embarrassed. But I saw that Mrs. 
Mervyn was expostulating with her, and presently, after 
I had taken part in a conversation suddenly started by 
Mr. Mervyn on the strange vagaries of nervous diseases, 
apropos of an afflicted poor person he wished me to see, 
Lilia rose and came back, looking penitent. 

"Can I speak?" she began, humbly, when a pause 
came. "Thanks! I will sing for you with pleasure, 
Mr. Paull." 

" Not unless you tell us the reason of your extraordi- 
nary caprice," said Sir Boderick, half bantering, half 
annoyed. " Come, out with it I " 

" You insist, papa ? " She spoke pleadingly. 

« I do." 

" Mr. Paull reminds me of that dreadful time you 
were ill — away. I could not sing anything lively; I 
should choke." 

It was good to see the expression on that old man's 
face. There was such a royal content on his fine old 
features as he looked up at his child. 

" Sing one of your morbidities, then," he said. " Ha I 
I know! Sing Hamlet that little Danish song. He 
ought to like that, naturally." He was suddenly in high 
good humor. 

She went obediently to the piano, took off her long 
mittens and bracelets (which she handed to Boderick as 
a matter of course), and sang a sweet, weird melody to 
Ophelia's pitiful verses; sang it simply, with a clear, 
noble voice, the voice of a human being with a great soul. 


It affected me, and I think that my emotion was the 
cause of my curious nervous condition that night. 

We retired to our rooms pretty early. My old- 
looking chamber, with the blackened mahogany furni- 
ture, was flooded with moonlight. I had no intention 
of dreaming thoughts of the day over again all night 
long, as I have done when sleep has followed some 
hours' concentration of thought on one subject; so I 
had borrowed a book from Sir Roderick — a treatise on 
" Somnambulism and other irregular manifestations of 
the Nervous Force," translated from a work by some 
Dutch writer, name unknown, which he had spoken of. 

Armed with this, I subsided into my feather-bed. 
(That feather-bed had something to do with what fol- 
lowed, I believe. I here vow myself to further the 
abolition of feather-beds ; they should be taxed, and 
heavily.) I placed two candles on the little table by my 
bed, propped myself up against my pillows, and began 
to read. 

The first chapters of the ponderous tome were soon 
dismissed. Exploded pathology and ancient fallacies 
filled Part I. of the Dutchman's treatise. Had I felt at 
all sleepy, I should have laid down the book there and 
then, and have chaffed Sir Eoderick next day for recom- 
mending me such old-fashioned stuff. But I felt ab- 
surdly wideawake. So I went on. 

The introductory page to Part II. of the volume 
startled me somewhat. At first I doubted my eyesight. 
But there, sure enough, were the words — 


" What does he mean, the fool ? " I thought, turning 
over. I soon knew. 


The man, whoever he may have been, believed in 
that doctrine of transmigration, attributed in its raw 
state to Pythagoras, who is by some thought to have 
learnt it from the Egyptians ; a fantastic notion which 
is still believed in by many Easterns, notably by the 

This Dutchman spoke of the soul (the " breath of 
God ") as being bom again and again, according to its 
moral progress ; incarnations being its rule, until it 
should become suflSciently purified to be reabsorbed into 
the atmosphere of Divinity (something very like the 
Nirvdna of Buddhism). I smiled, and thought that, 
judging by the people I had met, the world (according 
to the Dutchman) is likely to be well populated for a 
good many years to come. 

"By their fruits shall ye know them," wrote the 
Hollander, who was addicted to quotations, especially 
from Holy Writ. The good man, in enumerating the 
fatal signs of future reincarnation in individuals (whom 
he spoke of compassionately, for he evidently regarded 
human life as the greatest of ills), mentioned two par- 
ticular signs, frivolity and self -absorption. Frivolity he 
seemed to hold in special abhorrence, as being so very 
far away from any attribute that might be termed eter- 
nal or divine. 

This chapter " On the Age of Souls " was such di- 
^ verting reading, that I grew wider and wider awake. At 
last, when two o'clock struck, I got up and dressed. 

Looking out of window, the garden, bathed in moon- 
light, was such a ravishing sight that I thought — Why 
not go out for a stroll ? 

I would. I blew out my candles (I am certain I did), 
and opening my bedroom door as quietly as possible, 


crept downstairs, shoes in hand. Did ever stairs creak 
like those ? Certainly not in my experience. Wonder- 
ing where the dog Nero was, and whether he would be 
as amiably disposed towards a midnight marauder as he 
was towards his master's guest in broad daylight, I 
gained the hall. 

Then I remembered the bolts and bars. Should 
they be in as noisy a humour as the stairs, I should 
have to give up and go back — not to that hot feather- 
bed, but to my room. 

Without in the least thinking it possible that the 
door to the garden would be unlocked, I tried the 

To my surprise, the door was unlocked. I was so 
astonished, that I stood there for a whole minute think- 
ing how foolhardy was Sir Eoderick, or how culpably 
careless were his servants. Open gates to the grounds, 
open doors to the house! It was positively inviting 
burglars to do their worst! 

I thought of this as I walked along the white path, 
which crackled under my feet. I wanted to get out of 
sight and out of the hearing of any wakeful member 
of the household, so I went on and on, disregarding the 
tempting odour of the orange-blossoms in the Italian 
garden, the tempting sight of the terrace, with its white 
marble urns, benches, straight cypresses, and picturesque 
aloes, and was soon in the pinewood, among the gloomy 

It was gloomy. Standing still to listen, the silence 
was oppressive. Then, all of a sudden, there was a 
shrill skreel that made me start; and some bird, I 
suppose, came flapping out of the darkness and went 
fluttering away into the shadow. It must have been a 


bird, although it looked too big even to be a giant owl 
or a raven. 

I laughed at my scared sensation, and walked 
briskly onward. Presently I came to a clearing where 
the grass was toown, and there was a bench against a 
clump of tall laurels. 

I was going towards this with the intention of 
resting awhile, when I stopped short. A lady was 
seated in the corner, in the shadow. 

Good heavens! It might be Lilia! She was just 
the girl to wander about out of doors on a hot night. 
I did not know whether I was glad or sorry when the 
being rose and came towards me. To my amazement, 
I saw a very graceful woman, in a white gown of some 
stuff which shimmered in the moonlight. A veil of 
black gauze or lace was about her head and neck. 

" You are not — angry ? " she said in a slow way ; she 
had a foreign accent. " Come, I must speak." 

As she said the word ^^must," she actually placed 
her hand on my arm in the most familiar way, and half 
led me across the grass plat. 

"We will go to the terrace and talk," she said 
presently, in quite an imperious manner. 

I was so numbed by surprise, that I had gone 
passively with her some distance along the path that 
led away from the house or grounds before I had made 
up my mind what to do. She was no ghost. As she 
pressed close against my arm, I felt solidity and warmth. 
Then it flashed across me. She was dressed in quite 
queenly fashion. Of course I An escaped lunatic from 
a well-known private asylum in the neighbourhood. I 
stopped, withdrew her hand gently and respectfully, and 
suggested that she must be very tired. 


*' Allow me to take you home, princess/' I said, 

I had seemingly struck the right chord. 

^* Do not call me that any more ! " she said, passion- 
ately. " I am less than you I Far less ! " 

Once more she took my arm, and harried me along 
an uphill path I had not seen. To our left, below us, 
was the park, with the round chapel in the garden ; to 
our right was a plateau, a long, wide, grassy avenue, 
with fine trees on either side. 

My strange companion turned abruptly to the right, 
and almost dragged me along a grassy path that went 
straight to the end of the avenue, between beds of 
overgrown shrubs and tangled weeds. My wits were 
returning. I felt inclined to go through with the 
adventure. She was evidently a lady. There was no 
hidden danger, I felt that. 

Half-way up this avenue there was a broken-down 
fountain. Around was a circular grass plat. As we 
reached this the lady relinquished my arm, stepped 
back, and began speaking rapidly in a language I have 
not yet heard. At the end, she seized my hand, and 
before I could snatch it away, kissed it. 

1 felt horribly unnerved. I begged her to let me 
take her home. 

" It is by far too late for you to be here — alone," I 

« Late ? " she cried, in English. " It is not late ! " 

" It must be three o'clock," I said. 

Then I took out my watch and tried to see it in the 
moonlight. Just as I did so, a clock struck three. 

" You hear ? " I said, turning round. 

She was not there I 


It gave me a shock. Then I remembered how swift 
and noiseless lunatics can be. There had been time 
enough for her to slip away under the trees. First, I 
listened. Not a sound ; not the rustle of a falling leaf, 
not the crackle of a twig. Then I searched, and called ; 
until a sudden uncanny sensation that I was the subject 
of some temporary delirium sent me, flying almost, to- 
wards the house. 

I was thankful to see its white walls, to find the door 
open, and to gain my room. 

As soon as I had done so, I felt such sudden fatigue 
that I got back into bed again as quickly as I could, and 
fell asleep directly. 

I have set this down just as it seemed to me to be 
happening, neither more nor less. 

Now comes the, to me, most curious part. 

I was awakened by the footman bringing me the hot 
water. After he had gone out of the room, I turned to 
get up, when my attention was arrested by the china 
candlesticks on the table by the bed. ' The candles were 
burnt out, and the china rims were blackened. 

" I put those out ; I could have sworn it," I said to 
myself. I remembered noticing the peculiar shape of 
one of the gutterings. It was like a monkey crawling 
up a stick. Could I have lit them on my return? I 
thouglit. No! I remembered throwing off my clothes 
in the moonlight, my eyelids weighed down by sudden 

While I had my bath and dressed I pondered. No 
result came from my ponderings. 

Then I heard fresh young voices, and hurried my 
dressing. Some feeling urged me to interrupt a banter- 
ing Ute-a-tete between Eoderick and Lilia. Going down, 


I foand them in the hall : Lilia was standing against the 
billiard- table, frowning ; Eoderick was talking earnestly 
to her. He stopped speaking when I came in. She 

Why blush ? It was no business of mine, of course ; 
but I did not wish to find that charming young creature 
utterly inconsistent. And any parleying from a Jover 
point of view, with her cousin, after yesterday's confi- 
dences, would prove her undeniably inconsistent. 

But the blush faded, and she looked grave when she 
saw me. 

" I am afraid you have had a bad night, Dr. PauU," 
she said, kindly. 

"Why?" I asked, nodding back good-morning to 
Captain Pym. 

" You look so tired.'* 

I vouchsafed that I had an early morning stroll, and 
spoke of the unfastened door. 

" The door into the garden ? " 

She looked amazed ; and then walked to that door 
and tried it. 

" It is locked and bolted now, whatever it was then," 
she said. 

I joined her, and sure enough it was. 

" The omission must have been found out and recti- 
fied," I said. 

Indeed, I was absolutely certain on that point. That 
door was unchained and unbolted at two o'clock that 

She was concerned, and begged me as a favour not 
to mention the fact to her father. I did not. He just 
came into the hall then, jvnd we went in to breakfast. 

After breakfast. Captain Pym took leave, and started 


for the camp. Sir Eoderick settled, in his dogmatic 
way, that after church (this was Sunday) Lilia should 
take me round the grounds. He seemed astonished 
that I should wish to accompany her to morning 

" I thought you and I agreed on those subjects," he 
said. " I had been looking forward to a pipe and a chat 
while Lilia was on her knees trying to propitiate her 

" Just as you please," I said. 

Glancing at Lilia, I fancied she looked disappointed. 
But Fancy seemed to have got me in a vice and to 
shake me like a dog shakes a rat, all the time I was at 
the Pinewood. 

It was settled I should accompany her. Meanwhile 
I went into the study with Sir Roderick, and presently 
we got upon the subject of the Dutchman's treatise. 

" How did you like it ? " he asked. 

" It is hardly a question of liking," I said. " The 
man is as illogical as Swedenborg, without the original- 
ity or the power." 

He looked surprised. 

" How ? " he said. 

" That chapter * On the Age of Souls ' seems to me 
almost an absurdity," I could not help saying. 

" On whatf^^ he said, taking his long pipe from his 
mouth, and staring curiously at me. 

I repeated what I had said, adding comments on the 
extravagance of that part of the treatise. 

He shook his head, puzzled. 

"You must be dreaming," he said. "I have no 
book in my library containing stuff of that sort. " Where 
is it?" 


I offered to fetch it, but he had already sounded his 
hand-gong, and James was sent for the volume. 

He was absent but a minute, but the time seemed 
long to me. Sir Eoderick puffed away at his pipe, with 
an amused smile which was peculiarly exasperating. 

His hand went out for the yolume as soon as James 
appeared, and of course the young man gave it to his 
master, who carefully looked it through, then handed it 
to me. 

" I cannot find this redoubtable chapter," he said ; 
" perhaps you can. But I flattered myself I knew the 
book well." 

I began at the beginning, turning over the pages 
carefully one by one, and recognising what I had read 
overnight. By the time I had come to the end of the 
first chapter I felt more assured. But when I turned 
over to the second, it was totally unfamiliar. I had cer- 
tainly never read a word of it before ; and its heading 
was " On Ordinary Somnambulism." 

I went on turning the pages, feeling as if I was be- 
witched, until I came to the end; but there was no 
chapter that even alluded to any doctrine of transmi- 
gration, and certainly no heading bearing the faintest 
resemblance to that curious title, " On the Age of Souls." 

" It is most extraordinary ! " I cried. " I could swear 
to having read what I told you about. I remember the 
very words and the quaint turning of the phrases." 

He asked me how I had read it; then laughed 
at me. 

" I hit the mark when I said you were dreaming, 
Hamlet," he said. " It has often happened to me to 
continue thinking after dropping asleep, and nice bathos 
the thoughts are ! " 


He dismissed the matter as a joke; but it was no 
joke to me. I was bewildered. When I think of it 
now the bewilderment is greater, the sense of confused 
perceptions more alarming. 

During the talk which followed, I tried to gain a 
clue to the strange lady I met in the grounds. I 
casually alluded to the asylum in the neighbourhood, 
and asked if the authorities there were not almost lax 
in their vigilance. 

" I cannot help thinking that I met an escaped mad- 
woman, when I was taking a walk early this morning,'* 
I said. " She looked, and I think must be, insane." 

"You could not have met a lady patient of Dr. 
Walters', my dear Hamlet," said Sir Koderick. 

I asked, " Why not ? " 

" For a very good reason, the best of reasons," he re- 
plied : " he hasn't any. He only takes men. In which, 
I may add, he shows his wisdom, for female lunatics 
are the most disgusting creatures on earth. Pah ! let us 
change the subject." 

I was only too glad. But I was not in the least fit 
for a scientific discussion with my host. I felt a dread 
gradually investing me — a dread lest I should find that 
the deserted spot the strange lady dragged me to last 
night actually existed in the grounds. 

If I should come upon it just as it was, I should 
believe in my adventure as a fact. In that case, how 
about the missing chapter " On the Age of Souls " ? 
For if my adventure actually happened, I was not 
asleep and dreaming immediately beforehand ; at all 
events, it was extremely improbable that I was. 

I was getting considerably strung up, when a tap 
came at the door, and Lilia came in, fresh, sweet in her 


muslin summer dress, like Dawn dispelling the dismal 
darkness of my thoughts. 

" A quarter-past ten, and service begins at eleven," 
she said. 

" And it is about seven minutes' walk to the church. 
Sit down, we are talking," said Sir Eoderick, dictato- 

She looked wistfully at me. 

*' I thought you wanted to see the grounds," she 

" So I do, very much indeed," I said. 

My host did not look best pleased. He little knew 
what was in my mind. 

IS'or did she, sweet girl, as we started ; and she 
would stop here and there to show me some choice 
foreign shrub or some new plant, or the view from this 
or that particular spot. All the time I was wondering 
how I should introduce the subject of the neglected 
plateau with the broken-down fountain. 

The opportunity came. 

" Your father does not allow any part of his shrub- 
beries to run wild," I said; "but I fancied I saw a 
wild-looking spot among the pines, where there were 
neglected flower-beds and the grass was unmown." 

She shook her head. 

" I don't know of any place about like that," she 
said, reflectively. " No 1 I am sure that none of the 
flower-beds have weeds. Papa hates weeds : and weed- 
ing gives employment to people who cannot do much 

I had hardly time to be reassured by this support of 
the theory that the events of last night meant night- 
mare and nothing else, when we suddenly came upon 


that clearing with the grass plat. That bench under 
the laurels, where the lady had been sitting, was there. 
It was the same spot I had seen by moonlight — the very 

" I come here and read sometimes on summer after- 
noons," said Lilia, looking up at me innocently. " Why, 
what is the matter, Mr. PauU ? You are frowning." 

^' I was thinking that this is rather a damp place," 
I said, " and cheerless looking." 

" Not to me," she said. " But I only come here on 
really sultry days. When it is simply mild, I prefer the 
terrace. You haven't seen the terrace. Do come, it has 
a history." 

The terrace! The terrace with a history! So it 
was not a dream ; no, something far more disagreeable. 
Then and there I began to wonder whether I had not 
hit upon a family mystery. As we strolled along the 
path I had walked over but a few hours since with an 
unknown lady hanging familiarly upon my arm, I was 
imagining a possible elucidation of my mystery. Lilia's 
mother — of whom I had heard absolutely nothing — 
perhaps mentally afflicted, shut up in some cottage or 
house on the estate, and wandering by night ? Other 
even more extravagant ideas occurred to me. 

No ! that idea was untenable, for my moonlight 
acquaintance was indisputably a very young woman, 
almost a girl. 

At that moment we came to the upward path leading 
to the plateau. I recognised it at once. Below was the 
park, with the chapel. 

But — yes, it was the plateau, but not as I had seen 
it. The trees were pruned, the grass-walks smooth as 
green velvet, the flower-beds brilliant with blossom. 


We often have tea here, papa and I," said Lilia. 
The stoiy goes that this was the flower-garden of the 
old house two hundred years ago, and that they used to 
have afternoon gatherings here, like the garden-parties 
people have now." 

She must have thought me abnormally stupid that 
Sunday morning. When I saw a marble fountain, with 
water splashing into a basin where gold-fish were swim- 
ming, instead of the wrecked, broken-down object in 
my dream, I took refuge in silence ; and as soon as I 
could, I left the uncanny spot. Whether I had dreamt 
of it, or of some place like it, of that I felt sure — the 
spot was uncanny. 

While we walked through the wood towards the 
church, Lilia talked, but I heard little of what she said. 
She was telling me some story of a duel between the 
former proprietor of the Pinewood and a supposed 
friend, which had taken place on the terrace, and the 
chapel below was erected in memory of the event. If it 
was not exactly this, it was very much like it; and 
really I do not care. All that I want now is to find out 
whether my brain played me false that night, and 
whether I am likely to be the victim of brain disease if 
I go on working as hard as I have worked. 

That darling girl ! How good she was to me, how 
patient ! 

In spite of my inward anxiety, I shall always remem- 
ber that Sunday with pleasure. The little whitewashed 
church, with the honest rustics singing hearty hymns to 
the quavering organ, while sunbeams came and went 
upon the walls, and the quivering foliage of an elm in 
the churchyard cast green lights upon my open prayer- 
book. The Mervyns are nice people. Mrs. Mervyn is a 


trifle too sharp, perhaps ; I saw her eyes fixed upon me 
now and then with rather too scrutinising an expression. 
But it is very pretty, almost touching, to see her ways 
with that motherless girl. She loves her really, the good 
woman ! When we were walking in the garden, Lilia 
and Mr. Mervyn strolling on in front of us, she was so 
good as to tell me she was glad I had come. 

"Lilia knows so few young people, and no girls," 
she said. " It is a law of her father's, and always has 
been. Poor dear child ! she is really not fit to face the 
world. She knows absolutely nothing of it." 

" Let us hope she may not be called upon to face the 
world," I said. 

[Here the written pages in a notebook of Hugh 
PauU's abruptly ended.] 



" Db. Hildyard wishes to see you, sir." 

" Where is the doctor ? " Hugh asked, putting aside 
the notebook in which he was writing. 

A short, square man, with shaggy grey hair and 
keen blue eyes, came bustling in. 

" How are you, Paull ? Want a few words with you 
on private business." 

" Certainly," said Hugh, bringing up a chair ; but 
the doctor impatiently waved his hand. 

" No, no ! I ought to be miles away as it is. Do you 
remember that case of Sir Eoderick Fym ? " 

Did he remember it? But the doctor was utterly 
unconscious that he was ironical. 

" Ah 1 Well, you pulled him round, and watched his 
progress so closely that I should be glad of your opinion 
in a case of mine, very like his." 

Dr. Hildyard detailed the case, which was one of 
concussion similar to Sir Roderick's ; and the next time 
Hugh was off duty he accompanied the well-known 
specialist to see his patient, a middle-aged lady, whose 
brougham had been overturned by collision with a dray- 

He felt the distinction of his opinion being sought 
by so great a man keenly, but kept this most unusual 


honour a secret, even when writing home. Meanwhile, 
he gave his opinion modestly, but firmly. That opinion 
was in favour of a different course of treatment to the 
one pursued by Dr. Hildyard. 

Dr. Hildyard modified his treatment, and liked the 
young man all the more for speaking frankly. A frank, 
bold man himself, he hated sycophants. 

When, a few weeks later, the patient died, he said : 

" Perhaps, after all, PauU, your treatment might 
have brought her round." 

Events worked curiously in Hugh's life from first to 
last. Sir Eoderick's accident had brought about his 
meeting with Lilia, of whom he constantly thought, 
although he had not written — after his first note to an- 
nounce his safe return to Sir Eoderick — and he had not 
received any communication from the Pinewood. It 
had also led to this special notice from Dr. Hildyard ; 
and that special notice brought about a strange rencon- 
trey which was destined to be of lasting import in his 
extraordinary life. 

It had been an unusually busy time in the hospital. 
Still, he was so much haunted by thoughts and memories 
of the Pinewood, and his experiences there, that, to dis- 
tract himself, he gave every spare hour to the treatise he 
was writing when Sir Koderick's accident changed the 
current of his thoughts. 

He was at his desk one morning, when a note was 
brought to him from Dr. Hildyard, asking him, as a 
special favour, to dine with him that evening (one of 
his " evenings off " ). 

Seven o'clock found him dining tSte-d-tSie with the 

genial specialist, in his house in B Street. The 

family were away. 


The doctor, never at any time a lover of social cere- 
mony, dismissed the servants as soon as possible, and 
then told Hugh what he wanted of him. 

"I have a most interesting but puzzling case," he 
said. "There are some nice people I know in the 
neighbourhood, the widow of a general practitioner and 
her two daughters, who add to a 'small income by letting 
lodgings. I generally send them patients of mine who 
come up from the country for treatment. The other 
day a doctor in Stainbury, an old friend of mine, wrote 
to me. A sad accident had occurred at the theatre 
there, during the performance of an opera by a travel- 
ling company. A scenic staircase, or tower, or some- 
thing, had given way, and the young lady who was 
singing had a remarkably awkward fall. Her spine was 
not fatally injured, but the concussion had been fol- 
lowed by symptoms so new to him that he wished to 
send the case on to me, provided he could raise a sub- 
scription. The girl was poor and friendless, etcetera. 
Well, of course, I was only too glad to do what I could. 
I wrote back, if he would see to her removal here, and 
could get some of his rich friends and patients to help 
a bit, I would see to her for nothing, and her lodging 
could be paid out of a fund I keep going for poor pa- 
tients. You see, PauU, sometimes matters go very well 
very unexpectedly with 'my special cases. (I was going 
to say our special cases, for I see you are doomed to 
nerve specialism.) Then the patient's friends often get 
gushing. Some gush in words, but some wish to ' give 
me some little token,' as they call it. Then, when I 
know they can afford it, I bring out the account book 
of the poor patients' fund, and get a handsome sub- 
scription or donation, or both. Well, the girl came up, 


and has been with Mrs. Draper for the last three weeks. 
They are very kind to her. She has a nurse, of course. 
But we make no progress. To-day I feared she was 

At first, Hugh excused himself, almost with a fear 
that Dr. Hildyard's opinion of his ability was a halluci- 

Did some warning of the influence this incident was 
to have upon his future make him feel so strong a dis- 
inclination to meet the doctor's wishes to-night, and 
visit his interesting patient with him ? Oftentimes, in 
after years, he thought back, and asked himself that 
question, which none could answer. 

It was bad enough to be called upon to pronounce 
on a case which had been a perplexing one to Dr. Hild- 

It was ouly after further talk on the part of the 
doctor, who insisted on the fact of the peculiar insight 
Hugh had shown on various occasions being no credit 
to its owner — in fact, being perhaps somewhat of a 
drawback to the development of talents which were 
necessary to the making of a sound medical man, that 
the young surgeon gave way. 

Almost as soon as he had reluctantly consented, the 
butler announced that the carriage was at the door. 

" It is a mere stone's-throw," said Dr. Hildyard, as 

they drove through the lamplit streets. " We might 

have walked; but it is raining very fast now, and I 

promised to drive you back, if you remember." Then 

he chatted away very fast till the brougham turned the 

comer and stopped before a tall house in a street leading 

out of a well-known West-end square. 

" Here we are," said the doctor. " How is Miss 


Morton to-night?" he asked of the neat parlounnaid, 
who opened the door. " Oh, there is nurse ! " 

A tall young lady, in the dark dress and picturesque 
cap and apron of a professional nurse, appeared on the 
first landing. 

" Come up," said Dr. Hildyard to Hugh, running 
up the stairs. " Nurse, this is the medical friend I 
spoke about this morning." 

Hugh followed the nurse and doctor, feeling as if in 
some strange dream. Truly, of late, his hitherto hum- 
drum and monotonous life had changed — had utterly 

" As if Fate had overlooked me — poor insignificant 
unit — ^until now, and had pounced upon me with a 
vengeance, and intent to make up for lost time," he 

They were conducted to a second-fioor sitting-room 
— a comfortable room enough, with fiowers and pretty 
knick-knacks about — while the nurse went into the 
next room, the sick-chamber. 

Coming back, " She is quite ready," she said, ad- 
dressing Dr. Hildyard. 

" You see her," he said, shortly, to Paull. 

" Without you ? " Hugh was astonished. 

" Certainly." 

Dr. Hildyard sat down at the table and took up a 
newspaper that was lying there. There was a peremp- 
toriness in his voice and manner which forbade Hugh's 
further questioning. He paused a moment, then turned 
and followed the nurse into the next room. 

It was large, bright, airy, and cheerful, with its light 
maple furniture and white hangings. Coloured engrav- 
ings of pleasant subjects hung on the walls. After the 


bare wards of the hospital, Hugh felt that it would be 
almost a luxury to go through an illness here. 

He changed his mind when he saw his patient. No 
face among the many he had watched lying on the hos- 
pital pillows had looked as pitiable as this. The girl 
was beautiful, even now that the pallor of her oval face 
was as the pallor of the dead, that her delicately-shaped 
nose was pinched and transparent in the light of the 
shaded lamp at her bedside ; and her large, dark eyes 
had the solemn, wondering expression he had so often 
seen on the faces of the dying. In health she must 
have been — ^lovely, a " perfect woman, nobly planned." 

She made no remark when the nurse told her it 
was Dr. Hildyard's wish that this gentleman should see 
her, but meekly submitted, answering Hugh's questions 
in a clear though feeble voice. In about twenty min- 
utes Hugh returned to Dr. Hildyard. 

« Well ? " said the doctor. 

Hugh closed the door and came towards him. " I 
cannot find the slightest physical cause for this extraor- 
dinary debility," he said. Then he was silent. 

" And that is all you can say ? " asked Dr. Hildyard. 

" All — ^but — something very unscientific." 

Dr. Hildyard uncrossed and recrossed his legs. 
" Well ! but, my dear fellow, it is just your impressions 
that I want," he said, almost impatieutly. " I can form 
conclusions for myself. In fact, I want your medical 

"I — know," said Hugh, deprecatingly. His eyes 
had the glaze of intense preoccupation. "Of — course 
— you — have formed scientific conclusions. I — only 
seem to^see. And I saw — a peculiarly delicate and 
sensitive temperament, with a deep, strong ego beneath. 


The girl has been deeply wounded, so deeply — I am 
speaking of her mental nature, not of her body — that, 
if I were you, I should think it cruel to keep her alive." 

They talked in subdued tones for some minutes. 
They continued the discussion while Dr. Hildyard ac- 
companied Hugh to the hospital gates, which he en- 
tered, pledged to the physician to watch the case for the 
next few days. 

The next day he appropriated the dining hour of the 
hospital staff to his visit to the sick girl. The nurse 
was reading to her when he entered the room. She was 
an intelligent, sweet-faced woman, and spoke quite ten- 
derly of her charge when she followed Hugh into the 
sitting-room, after he had concluded his visit to the 

" I cannot understand the poor girl, Mr. PauU," she 
said, confidentially. " She seems slowly sinking. The 
first animation she has shown was to-day, when I was 
trying to cheer her up a bit by telling her some little 
family anecdotes. I was just showing her the portrait 
of a scapegrace brother of mine, who ran away and en- 
listed, when she gave a start — a wild look at me — and 

Hugh asked to see the portrait. It was the photo- 
graph of a young man in uniform — an ugly likeness of 
the nurse's, his sister. He was evidently quite young, 
and yery uninteresting in appearance. 

" He is not much like you," said Hugh, cautiously. 
" I seem to know that uniform, though. What is his 
regiment ? " 

" The 45th Fusiliers," she said. " They are at Alder- 
shot now. My brother called here to see me the other 


" Can there — could there, by any possibility, be any 
acquaintance between your brother and our patient?" 
suggested Hugh. 

Nurse Bryant completely negatived the idea. Her 
brother had enlisted in a huff. He had been very silly 
about his employer's daughter, and there had been a 
family row, which was the actual cause of his taking 
the Queen's shilling. 

" Has she not confided in you — I mean about her 
family — her affairs ? " asked Hugh. " Has she told you 
— nothing ? " 

" Not — one — word — not even a hint," emphatically 
said the nurse. 

Miss Bryant confessed herself more absolutely igno- 
rant of the dying girl's antecedents, as well as of her 
actual thoughts and feelings, than she had been of those 
of any patient up to the present time. 

" Try and gain her confidence," was Hugh's urgent 
advice to the nurse. He returned to the hospital more 
than usually thoughtful. 

Next day, when he visited her, he asked her whether 
she had any dread as to the termination of her illness. 

A faint colour rose to her cheek. " Oh ! " she said, 
clutching nervously at the sheet with her emaciated 
fingers, "rfo you think I shall die?" 

It was the hopeful eagerness with which patients 
generally asked him, " Do you think I shall get well ? " 
Hugh began to see light. 

" You speak almost as if you did not wish to live," 
he said gravely. "Surely that cannot be. You are 
young, and neither I nor Dr. Hildyard think that there 
is any real reason why you should not be restored to 
your old active life, and to your friends." 


Her eyelids drooped. "I have — ^no — ^friends," she 
said, with effort. " I left my elder sister and brother, 
and went on the stage. They have not forgiven me. I 
have no parents. They are dead." 

" But " Hugh hesitated a moment. " You know 

I have heard all about you," he said. " You were making 
success after success in various provincial towns — ^you 
must have already had scores of admiring friends among 
the public when that unfortunate accident occurred." 

^'Accident!" she said, scornfully. "That was no 

" It could not possibly have been anything else," said. 
Hugh, warmly. " No human being could have been so 
brutal '' 

" No one — ^was — brutal," she said ; her breathing 
rapid with the fatigue and excitement of speaking. " I 
— did it — myself. I — flung myself down — and pulled 
the scene — with me. It came to me — suddenly. I felt 
I could not live — any — longer." 

Her great shining eyes were dry — but their agonising 
wistfulness was more piteous than tears. Hers was evi- 
dently some incurable grief. Hugh felt disinclined to 
probe further. Still, he spoke gently and comfortingly 
to the poor child — the friendless, motherless girl. He 
said, truly, that he felt no doubt but that her rash act 
was the consequence of overstrain. Were she to die 
now, or later on, she would not, in his opinion, be guilty 
of the frightful crime of self-murder. Then he asked her, 
seeing that her troubled expression remained, whether 
she would like to see a clergyman. 

" Then you do believe I shall die ? " she said, a sud- 
den light crossing her face like a sunbeam. " Oh, thank 
God ! " 


Hugh nearly started up from his chair. Certainly 
the mental state of this poor young creature was a new 
experience. What should he say — or do? She saved 
any hesitation by seizing his hand in her burning fin- 

" Promise me," she said, " that you will do some- 
thing for me after I am dead." 

Once more . Hugh hesitated. He would not promise 
anything, or bind himself to anything, until he knew 
the whole truth about that which he might undertake 
(he would even not say would undertake). 

Then the truth came out. It was the old story — 
love, deception, and the inevitable parting of sinner and 
sinned against. Olive (that was his patient's Christian 
name) had met her hero at a musical party. He had 
been interested in her singing, and had become a fre- 
quent visitor at her brother's house. He persuaded her 
brother to allow her to live in London for a time, to 
study, and himself recommended persons who would, 
he said, care for her as their own daughter during that 

She went to London, and saw her lover as often as 
he could contrive to come to town. She considered her- 
self engaged to him ; he even went so far as to fix their 
marriage. But all was to be kept secret. Her prepara- 
tion for the stage was also kept secret, her future hus- 
band promising her marriage immediately after her first 
appearance. This she made at a theatre in Ireland. 
Her lover was present — but the next morning she re- 
ceived a letter from him telling her that all must be over 
between them. He found that their marriage would 
ruin his career, and he begged her, if she had any affec- 
tion for him at all, never to see or write to him again, 


and, forgetting him, to accept the profession he had 
planned for her instead of a husband. Brokenhearted, 
she wrote a long letter to her sister, which was answered 
by her brother in the harshest terms, telling her she had 
made her own bed and must lie on it. 

After that she roused herself, worked hard, and 
achieved many triumphs. Then came bitterness, deso- 
lation of soul, and the sudden fit of despairing frenzy 
during which she had attempted suicide on the 

She entreated Hugh to take charge of a sealed packet 
after her death. There would be no address on the out- 
side — ^but she begged him, after breaking the seals, to 
send the packet, unopened, to the person to whom it 
was addressed on the inside envelope, and never, under 
any circumstances whatever, to mention her story to 

Hugh promised. After all, it was little that she 
asked; and, as her exhausted brain became confused, 
she forgot to exact any further promises as to his future 
conduct in respect to the man who had treated her as 
unscrupulous men mostly treat loving, generous, and un- 
protected women. When the nurse, directed by her 
patient, found the sealed packet and placed it in Hugh 
Paull's hands, the dying girl's false-hearted lover was 
virtually at his mercy. 

After a long and fatiguing evening — there had been 
more casualties in the district than usual — Hugh was 
leaning out of his bedroom window, smoking and gazing 
down upon the moonlit quadrangle, when there was a 
knock at his door. 

It was a special messenger with this note from Dr. 
Hildyard: — 


" Thursday, 9 p.m. 
" Dear Paull, — Shortly after you left to-day our patient suc- 
cumbed to syncope of the heart. 1 have given certificate of death. 
But, wiring to Dr. Bartlett, at Staiubury, he wires back that he 
knows nothing of her personally, and has no idea who she is. 
The theatrical manager, now in Liverpool, was wired to and re- 
turned similar reply. The nurse has informed me you have a 
sealed packet, and can doubtless give us clue to her identity. 
Messenger will wait for your reply. 

" Yours always faithfully, 

" Chas. Hildyard." 

Hugh conducted the man who had brought the letter 
to his sitting-room below, lit the gas, opened the safe, 
and took out the sealed packet. He turned it over with 
a strange reluctance. He felt he could not open it then 
and there, with strange eyes watching him ; so, giving 
the man some newspapers to look at, he took it upstairs 
with him, and by the uncertain light of a flickering 
candle broke the many seals of the packet which con- 
tained the dead girl's secret. 

What was it? Was some demon mocking him? 
There, staring him in the face, were the words — dis- 
tinctly written on the packet — 

Captain Eoderick Pym, 

45^A Fusiliers, 

He mechanically whispered the name to himself as 
he sank into a chair, staring at the package. 

" Captain — Roderick — Pym," he repeated, as a hor- 
rified, stunned feeling brought cold sweat upon his fore- 
head. " What — how — when ? " 

His eyes felt as if stiffening in his head. The candle 
seemed to bum a dull red; the bed, chairs, chest of 
drawers to tremble and swim in the moonlight. 


" Come, come,*' he said to himself. " This will never 
do. It is a coincidence, that is all. Society is made up 
of tiny circles. This is the most ordinary coincidence, 
such as happens to everyone at least once or twice in a 

Pulling himself together, he forced himself to grasp 
the situation. The unidentified corpse lying, a burden 
to strangers, in a London lodging-house. Dr. Hildyard, 
overweighted with work and all sorts of responsibilities, 
awaiting the return of the messenger below before the 
dead girl could be coffined. And upon himself depended 
the clue that would make proceedings easy. 

Roderick — ^Pym ! Lilia's cousin and possible future 
husband, Sir Roderick's nephew and favourite, the das- 
tard who ruined that fair young life? It was impos- 
sible. Utterly impossible — an idea untenable for a 
moment — he told himself, as he feverishly paced his 

Roderick was possibly a mutual friend of the actors in 
that wretched little tragedy. He did not believe that 
the poor young creature who had shown no symptoms 
of anger, no suspicion of revenge, would trust the 
identity of the man whom she loved, although he had 
illtreated her, to a mere stranger — although she might 
to a mutual friend. No. Roderick Pym was most 
likely the confidant, the bosom friend — some evil feeling 
suggested the Mephistopheles — of the love story. At all 
events, he must not betray him in the affair. He must 

By the time he had arrived at this conclusion, Hugh 
was more himself. He got out writing materials, and 
presently sent back Dr. Hildyard's messenger with the 
following note : — 


" Dear Dr. Hfldyard, — It is true that your patient entrusted 
me with a sealed packet, but I am in honour bound only to con- 
fide the packet, secretly, to another person. All I can do is to 
communicate at once with that person. I hope the upshot will be 
that I may speedily assure you as to the identity of the deceased 
lady. Yours most faithfully, 

"Hugh Paull. 

•• I will write, or see you, as soon as I have any information." 

The messenger despatched, Hugh considered what 
was next to be done. His first impulse was to take the 
last train to Aldershot, and see Captain Pym. Second 
thoughts forbade this hasty move. 

" I know little or nothing of these military men,** he 

His own code of morals and theirs must certainly 
differ. Still it was Essential that he should gain some 
knowledge by means of that package, which most prob- 
ably contained letters. After consideration, he resolved 
to surprise Roderick •Pym into some admission. Un- 
pleasant though it was to him to act, to use subterfuge, 
he told himself that his only course was to be diplo- 

Looking at his watch, he saw that to telegraph to 
Aldershot that night he must seek some central office. 
Fortunately, there was one not very far distant, from 
which he despatched this message : — 

" To Roderick Pym^ Captain — Division^ 

" J/Sth Fusiliers^ The Camp^ Aldershot 

" Can I see you here to-morrow on most important 
and serious business f If you cannot leave, I must go 
to you. Hugh Paull, 

i* The S Hospital:' 


" I think that will fetch him," he thought, as he 
returned through the silent City streets. "He will 
think it is something connected with the state of his 
uncle's health — with Lilia." He smiled bitterly to him- 
self. " Heavens ! how dare I suspect him of being that 
villain ? " he thought. " Yet, would not any ordinary 
person do so ? Can he be a near relation of that poor 
girl's? I must not think of it all ! Come what may, I 
must keep my head clear." 

Next morning the return telegram came : — 

" Will be at your place about ten. Must be back here 
at threey 

It was well for Hugh that Friday was a busy morn- 
ing, besides there being extra work on in consequence 
of yesterday's influx of accidents ; for, despite the close 
attention he must pay to his arduous occupation, his 
nervous agitation as ten o'clock struck from the tower 
above the entrance to the hospital* was great. 

At ten minutes past the hour he was fetched. " The 
gentleman " had arrived. 

"He is ashamed of sending in his card," thought 
Hugh. " Am I not good enough for him ? Or has he 
an uneasy conscience ? " 

Captain Pym was in the hall, standing in an easy 
attitude, his hands behind him, swinging his cane, 
ostensibly studying the notices and regulations on the 
green-baize-covered board. He turned to meet Hugh 
with an amused smile. 

" What laws of the Medes and Persians 1 " he said, 
airily, as he shook hands. " Ours in the service are mere 
child's play in comparison ! Well, what does the mys- 
terious summons portend ? " 


His whole appearance — he wore a light shooting- 
coat and delicacies in ties and gloves — his flippant man- 
ner, just tinged with condescension — chilled Hugh, espe- 
cially when he thought of that pale corpse, lying straight 
and still, whose poor thin hand had written the name of 
this human butterfly for the last time. 

" If you will come to my room, I will explain," he 
said, leading the way through the hall and up the stone 

He had intended to suddenly produce the packet 
of letters and watch the effect upon Eoderick. But, 
as he mounted the staircase, a better idea occurred to 

" I suppose it is something about my uncle — poor 
old fellow," said Captain Pym, as soon as they had fair- 
ly entered Hugh's sitting-room, throwing himself into a 
chair. " Gad ! How close it is to-day I Thunder about, 
I should say." 

"Very likely," said Hugh, dryly, as he produced 
brandy and a siphon of seltzer, which seemed to suit his 
guest's ideas, for he assumed a less patronising manner, 
even saying, " Thanks, old fellow," quite familiarly as 
Hugh handed him the tall tumbler. "No, Captain 
Pym ; I did not telegraph to you on the subject of Sir 
Roderick. The fact is. Dr. Hildyard has a patient who 
has had to do with the regiment — your regiment, I 
mean — and whom you can possibly identify." 

" Well " Captain Pym paused, evidently annoyed. 

" Excuse me, Paull, if I say that I think that is about 
the coolest proceeding I ever heard of in my life ! I 
am to be wired for because some fellow in the hospital 
wants identification ! Why didn't you write ? I'd have 
sent up a non-com. to oblige you. But — really " 


" I think — ^that your friend — is an officer, Captain 

" Oh — well ! " — Roderick tossed off his seltzer and 
brandy, and smiled somewhat souriy. " It was a curious 
thing to do— but you hospital fellows have ways of your 
own, I expect. Can't be expected to know what's what, 
of course. Where is the fellow? I don't remember 
anyone I was particularly friendly with, by the way." 

" Your — acquaintance — is not here, Captain Pym," 
said Hugh, hating the part he was playing — sickened 
as he felt by the young man's manner, which was utter- 
ly different to that of the Roderick Pym he had met at 
the Pinewood. "The case is being privately nursed. 
If you would accompany me, a hansom will take us and 
bring us back within the hour." 

Roderick's face brightened. He glanced at the 

" An hour ! " he said. " I mean to make a holiday 
of what time I've got. You must lunch with me, Paull ! 
We ought to be chums, you know, you being everybody 
at the Pinewood now. Why, my nose is quite out of 
joint. What a devil of a hurry you are in, man I " 
(Hugh had seized his hat, and had opened the door.) 
" The fellow, whoever it is, isn't dying, I suppose ? " 

" No," said Hugh, going rapidly downstairs and feel- 
ing that at least this was absolutely true. 

Speeding along in a hansom, his volatile companion's 
spirits rose ; he laughed and chaffed and told anecdotes, 
rallying Hugh on his gravity. 

" You medicos seem to me to think a lot more of 
death than we army fellows," he said, as they neared 
the house with the lowered blinds. " I have a horror of 
killing : I acknowledge that. But as for death itself, 


what is a corpse, after all ? A mere empty envelope. 
The likeness of the human being is the address ; but the 
contents — the letter itself — is gone." 

Here Hugh shouted to the driver to stop, and with- 
out glancing at his companion, paid the fare and mount- 
ed the steps of No. 99. The sympathetic landlady had 
drawn down her blinds in respect to the dead girl, but 
Captain Pym did not notice this, he was looking after 
the departing hansom. 

" You might have kept the fellow,'* he said, discon- 
tentedly, as they entered the house. 

Hugh muttered something about hansoms being 
plentiful in that fashionable quarter, and hurried up- 
stairs, bidding Roderick follow. 

The utter unsuspiciousness of Lilia's cousin cut him 
to the quick. Yet, what was he to do ? As he opened 
the door of the bedroom, he consoled himself by think- 
ing how lightly Captain Pym had but a few minutes 
previously spoken of death. 

Turning to hold open the door of the darkened 
room, he saw Roderick pause — ^his expression change. 
He looked sternly, distrustfully, at Hugh. 

"What does this mean?" he said, entering and 
glancing from the bed, where a still, straight figure was 
visible under a sheet, to Paull. " The man, whoever he 
may be, is dead, and you must have known it." 

" I did know it," said Hugh, calmly drawing up the 
blind of the window nearest the bed. 

"Do you take me for a coward, then?" sneered 

" I will answer your questions presently," said Hugh, 
watching Captain Pym closely, and throwing back the 
sheet to disclose the waxen, lovely face of the girl. 


There was a calm about the large sunken eyelids, 
with their dark lashes blackly defined against the ivory 
cheek — about the pale forehead, surrounded by a glossy 
wreath of black plaits — about the arms, crossed upon 
her breast over sprays of white lilies; and upon the 
closely-shut, beautiful dead lips was the set, strange 
smile that seems to express: "Fear not — none can 
harm me, now." 

For one instant, Eoderick swerved. He could not 
be said to shudder, or to start — he swerved, as if he 
had made a false step. Then, visibly paler, but per- 
fectly composed, he leant forward, his arms upon the 
brass rail. 

" You — recognize her ? " asked Hugh. 

Either this young man was the most accomplished 
and hardened hypocrite — or he was not the villain of 
the story. He felt puzzled. 

"I — do," said Eoderick, straightening himself and 
looking Hugh full in the face. "But — excuse me — I 
cannot understand why it should have fallen upon me 
to identify her. Where are her friends ? " 

" The only person connected with her whose name 
we have — is yours, Captain Pym." 

Eoderick shrugged his shoulders. 

"It is a mystery," he said. "I knew her brother 
and her sister. I knew her — also — slightly." 

Evidently he began to feel that this was a verbal 
duel. He spoke cautiously, choosing his words, and he 
kept his eyes fixed upon Hugh. 

"Slightly?" asked Hugh, doubtfully. "Perhaps 
you will be so good as to explain ? " 

"You will be so good as to explain first, if you 
please, Mr. Paull. I cannot tell what this lady may 


have led you to understand. She was, as far as I can 
judge, impulsive and imaginative to a degree." 

" Do not asperse the dead. Captain Pym,'* said 
Hugh, contemptuously. " A corpse is but a poor shield 
for a man's conduct. To shorten matters, let me tell 
you that this young lady has told me — all." 

" All ? " said Roderick, raising his eyebrows. "Allow 
me to congratulate you on your knowledge, then. I 
have not seen her for nearly a year — since which she 
may doubtless have had an interesting history of which 
I am absolutely ignorant. The last time I saw her she 
was acting and singing in an Irish theatre, and I was 
one of the audience." 

"And wrote her a merciless letter next morning," 
said Hugh, confronting him and speaking in a low, 
stern voice. "You — ^under promise of marriage^oh, 
do not lose your temper, Captain Pym; you cannot 
frighten me! Under promise of marriage you per- 
suaded this unhappy girl to leave her home and study, 
secretly, for the stage ; you assisted her to make the 
appearance on the stage which separated her from her 
family forever — ^and then — ^you left her to her fate I " 

"I adlnire your romance— I mean, the romance," 
said Roderick, calmly, turning his back upon the bed. 
"I am sorry you should be so credulous, Mr. Paull; 
that is all I feel upon the subject. I will give you any 
information I can. Meanwhile, as I have never given 
the lie to a living woman, it is scarcely likely I shall 
do so to a dead one. Cannot we end our discussion in 
another room ? Such talk is scarcely seemly here." 

" I will come," said Hugh, wrathf uUy. " But, once 
more, do not insult the dead, Captain Pym. Your — 
letters — to this — lady — are in my possession." 


Roderick's pallor assumed a greenish yellow. 

"After you, Mr. PauU," he said, bowing slightly, 
and casting an ironical glance at the sweet young 
corpse. " I cannot blame you. Only I hope you may 
never be dragged into committing yourself out of 
foolish good nature, as I appear to have done." And 
replacing his hat, he walked towards the door. 

" Good God — what a fiend ! " thought Hugh, with a 
pitying glance towards the corpse. " Poor — ^unhappy — 
child ! " 

He had often been deeply touched by the innocent 
trustfulness of young children about to undergo terrible 
operations that meant kill or cure ; he had frequently 
been shamed for his own impatience by the cheerful 
resignation of the sick and dying poor. But he had 
never felt such chivalrous sympathy as that which 
made him stoop— before he reverently re-covered that 
solemn, smiling dead face — and gently touch one thin 
cold hand with his lips. 

Though he was neither kith nor kin to her — ^not 
even an acquaintance — ^her honour was safe with him> 
and he felt he would have staked his very life upon her 

He motioned Roderick to follow him, took him into 
the little sitting-room, closed the door, and faced him 
with righteous indignation. 

"You are in my hands. Captain Pym, and at my 
mercy," he said, harshly. " Only the truth can save 
you from exposure. It lies with Dr. Hildyard and 
myself whether there shall be an inquest or no; the 
cause of the patient's death is sufficiently obscure to 
warrant legal investigation. As you know, every scrap 
of evidence must then be brought forward. Your 


letters will be produced. You will find yourself in an 
awkward position." 

This last blow, given literally in the dark, went 
home. Boderick bit his lip and looked dangerously at 
Hugh. For a full quarter of a minute the men's eyes 
met, unflinching, then Eoderick began to pace the room. 

"One would think you had tampered with the 
woman yourself — at least, I might think so — only I 
happen to know you have succumbed to the fascina- 
tions of my cousin," he said, sneeringly. " It is to this, 
I suppose, I owe your zeal on behalf of this young 

" Let us keep ladies' names out of the conversation, 
Captain Pym," said Hugh, who had flinched at the 
bare mention of Lilia. " Tell me the truth, like a man, 
and I will restore you your letters and bid you good- 
morning. But one condition will I make." 

Boderick paused, and looked full in his antagonist's 

"And that?" he said. 

"You will entirely renounce all idea of marrying 
your cousin," said Hugh. 

It was his turn to pale to an ashen tint. 

" Upon my word ! " Boderick threw himself into a 
chair, and gave a scornful laugh. " By what right do 
you forbid the banns ? " 

"While I live. Captain Pym, she shall not marry 

"Then my promises are scarcely necessary, are 
they?" he asked, looking mockingly up and tilting 
his chair. " You have only to tell your wonderful tale 
to my uncle, and shew him your beautiful documents. 
Do 80, and go to the devil 1 " 


^^ As you please," said Hugh, somewhat astonished. 
" Unfortunately, in telling the news to Sir Boderick, 
it must be told to the world, and your family name 
dragged through the mud." 

Captain Pym had risen to go. He paused. 

** What do you want me to say ? " he said, savagely. 
" Tell me what you accuse me of, and I will answer." 

" That is by far more sensible," said Hugh, seating 
himself at the table, and drawing an inkstand and blot- 
ting-case nearer to him. ** Now that you are inclined 
to listen to reason, the affair assumes a different aspect. 
You will find that, if you confide in me, I will hold my 
peace, while you hold the scheme of marriage with your 
cousin Lilia Pym in abeyance. Think I Can you give 
me your word ? " 

Boderick gazed gloomily at the one window. A ca- 
nary was busily pecking at a morsel of sugar between 
the bars of its cage; below, in a mews, a man was 
whistling while he swept the pavement with a bass 

What, thought Hugh, was passing in that mind? 
Was it possible for some good to be left in that careless, 
cruel nature? 

" I will give you my word," said Boderick at last, 
somewhat sullenly. "You give me my letters, and I 
will not advance a step in the matter of marriage with 
Lilia. Heavens ! do you doubt my word ? " 

" I will not," said Hugh. " I will hope for better 
things than to find you utterly unworthy." 

At least, the young man had no depth of cun- 
ning; for it was he himself who had informed Hugh 
that he had written compromising letters to the dead 


" Come," said Paull, more cheerfully, " tell me her 
name ? " 

" Her name is Olivia Fenton," said Roderick. " Her 
parents are dead. I met her when I was at the Curragh. 
Her brother holds a living near there. She had a fine 
voice, and yearned to make use of it; but her brother 
and sister were against any idea of the sort. She ap- 
pealed to me, and I helped her to come to London, 
and got people to look after her. During the time she 
was studying she, unfortunately, took a fancy to me. I 
liked and admired her ; but as to marrying her, I knew 
such a thing was utterly out of the question. When I 
found that that was what she expected of me, I was 
horrified. She was on the eve of going on the stage, 
and I thought better to leave matters as they were until 
after her debilt. She was successful, fortunately, and 
then I cut the whole thing." 

" As you ought to have done before," said Hugh, 
sternly. "The old story — shut the stable door when 
the steed is stolen." 

" You did not gather that from my letters ! " he 
cried, the blood rushing to his face. " The treacherous 
puss " 

" Hush ! We are speaking of the dead," said Hugh. 

He was firm, composed. He knew as much now as 
it was necessary to know. He obtained the address of 
the brother and sister, pocketed it, and they left the 

The sun was shining. In the full light of day 
Boderick looked ghastly. He stared vacantly at the 
life of the busy streets, and mechanically followed his 
companion. During their rapid drive back to the hos- 
pital [Hugh had chosen a hansom with a good horse, 


who covered the gronnd abont as quickly as it could be 
done] Captain Pym said not one word. 

Arrived, Hugh found himself demanded on all sides. 
The matron, coming out of the accident ward, met him 
with a disgusted frown ; one of the ward Sisters, seeing 
him pass, hurried out, " Oh, Mr. Paull ! " The dispenser 
was waiting outside his room-door with a bundle of 
papers. He waved them all away. " He would be with 
them in a minute." Then shutting himself in with 
Boderick, he unlocked his safe, and took out the packet 
of letters entrusted to him by Olivia Fenton. 

" Before I give you these," he said, earnestly to Eod- 
erick, " you must pledge yourself to give up all thoughts 
of marriage with your cousin. Oh 1 I exact no formal 
oath. A man's word should be as good as his bond I 
Did I not still trust you to this extent, I should act very 

Boderick held out his hand. 

" I promise," he said, with some show of emotion ; 
then he eyed the letters greedily. 

For one moment Hugh faltered in his determination. 
His fingers closed upon the packet; then he fulfilled 
his promise to his dead patient, and handed them to 
the man she had so fatally loved. 

The captain glanced at the superscription, then at 
the seal; then he turned upon Hugh, his blue eyes 
aflame with anger. 

" Good God I you have been lying ! " he cried, wrath- 
fuUy. " This is her seal — I know it — unbroken, and you 
said you had read the letters ! " 

He positively trembled with rage, and gnawed his 
fair moustache as he pushed the packet down into the 
inner breastpocket of his coat 


"I made no such statement, Captain Pym/' said 
Hugh, calmly, leaning up against the mantelpiece and 
watching the young man's ignoble exhibition of feeling. 
" I inferred that you might be the writer of them — that 
was aU. The cap fitted, and you yourself voluntarily 
acknowledged their contents." 

" If you had been straightforward," said Roderick, 
fiercely, " I should have been so, also. Kow, look to 
yourself ! This is my last word to you ; " and seizing 
bis hat, he hurried from the room. 



Whether some feeling of remorse prompted Roder- 
ick to a tardy act of justice, Hugh could only conjecture. 
In any case, Olivia Fenton's brother-in-law appeared 
and claimed the remains of his wife's sister. There was 
no inquest, and the unfortunate girl was quietly buried 
in Woking Cemetery. 

After those few days of excitement, Hugh's life fell 
back into the daily humdrum. His thoughts were con- 
centrated upon his work, now augmented by the final 
preparation for the coming examination for an impor- 
tant degree, so that the memory of Lilia, and that pecul- 
iar feeling, half pleasure, half pain, when he thought 
back upon his visit to the Pinewood, ceased to trouble 
him so much. 

Weeks of quiet study, of unbroken hospital routine : 
then came two startling days, two startling visits. 

It was a gusty autumn morning. Hugh was coming 
out of one ward and just about to enter another, when 
the hall-porter brought him word that the Eev. Mr. 
PauU was below and wished to speak with him. 

He hurried downstairs and found his father, who 
informed him that he was paying a flying visit to town, 
and must have a serious talk with him on important 


'' It is quite clear we cannot talk here and now," said 

" No, no, my boy ; of course not" 

The old gentleman, who looked overwhelmed with 
some weighty affair or another, asked his son to dine 
with him at his hotel. 

* * * * 

*' And now for the serious talk," said Hugh, who had 
been slightly amused at his father's portentous manner 
and evident preoccupation during their dinner in a pri- 
yate room at a quiet hotel near Piccadilly, *' I can see 
that something has happened. What is it ? " 

" Well, it is Daisy," said Mr. Paull. 

" Daisy I What is wrong ? " 

^* Oh, there is nothing exactly wrong. But I shall 
know better presently. She is thinking of getting 

" Daisy married 1 " 

Hugh smiled. 

" Why not ? " 

*' Somehow I can't realise the idea of Daisy married. 
Who is the man ? " 

" Ah ! " Mr. Paull drew up his chair and stirred the 
fire. It was a chill autumnal evening. " Do you re- 
member the Danvers ? " he asked. 

"Of course." (Mr. Danvers was a neighbouring 
clergyman, and his wife was a stout lady of much Ami- 
ability, who, childless herself, had been fond of entertain- 
ing children.) " If I remember rightly," said Hugh, 
*' one of her juvenile parties brought about my first bil- 
ious attack." 

" I daresay. Well, you remember they went away 
for his health when you were at school, leaving a curate 


in charge. Since you came down last time, they have 
returned. At their house Daisy met this young man. 
I suppose you know that Mrs. Danvers was a Miss 
Clithero ? " 


Hugh gave a visible start. 

" Yes ; the sister of the Clithero who is partner of 
the Pyms. Oh! it is hard upon a man, Hugh, left 
alone as I am, when his girls begin to have love affairs." 

" It is," said Hugh. " But whatever I can do, dad, 
shall be done. You know that." 

The old man was touched. For a few moments he 
gazed steadily at the fire. Then he said : 

"I do; and 1 feel sure that you will tell me if 
there is any truth in the shocking stories about those 

" The Pyms ! What have they got to do with it ? " 

'' The man who wants to marry Daisy is a son of the 
head of the firm." 

" Not Captain Pym ? " 

Hugh spoke almost fiercely. 

" Why not ? " 

Mr. PauU looked at him curiously. 

*' Never mind Tell me all — everything." 

It seemed that when Daisy PauU was staying at Mrs. 
Danvers' house for a week, there had been also staying 
there a newly-ordained young clergyman, Herbert Pym, 
third son of Mr. Pym, the reputed millionaire. At the 
end of the week he had offered himself to Daisy. 

" He is a nice young fellow," added Mr. Paull. 
" Frank, no nonsense about him. He has expectations : 
will share equally with his eldest brother. He told me 
that his brother Roderick (the Captain Pym you men- 


tioned) is to inherit nothing from his father, having 
been adopted by his uncle, Sir Roderick, who will leave 
him his whole fortune." 

" That is, to put it mildly, a mistake," said Hugh. 
" You know that I stayed at the Pinewood, Sir 
Roderick's place in Surrey, for a couple of days. 
Captain Pym is a favourite nephew, but is not an 
adopted son. Sir Roderick is wrapped up in his 

" His daughter ? Now, Hugh, what is the mystery 
about that daughter? Is she an idiot? Don't get 
angry ! I have heard such queer tales." 

"Why did you listen to them?" said Hugh, dis- 
dainfully. "I thought you were above listening to 

" I was compelled, in Daisy's interests, to investi- 
gate the matter," said Mr. PauU, with a dignity which 
recalled Hugh to a sense of propriety his anxiety was 
tempting him to forget. " Mrs. Danvers hinted to me 
that, although Herbert was the nicest young man she 
knew, the family were eccentric. She had heard all 
sorts of things about them — ^untrue, doubtless ; still, 
there seldom was so much smoke without some fire. 
Mr. Bullock, the banker, knew how much or how little 
there was in the stories. Now, Bullock being my 
banker, I called upon him." 

" Bullock," said Hugh, thoughtfully. " He always 
seemed an honest, matter-of-fact sort of man. What 
did he say ? " 

" He said much," said Mr. PaulL " There is a 
painful family story. What sort of a girl is this daugh- 

** Simple, innocent, good," said Hugh, shortly, and 


in as matter-of-fact a manner as he could assume in his 

" Dear me ! How strange that bad women so often 
have good children I "sighed his father. 

" Is Lady Pym alive ? " asked Hugh. 

" I will tell you exactly what Bullock told me. Sir 
Eoderick was quite different from that which I under- 
stand him to be now, when he was young. A roistering 
* young blood,' as they termed fast young fellows then. 
There was a handsome girl who was one of the Society 
beauties. No one noticed Sir Roderick's admiration. 
The young lady disappeared one season. Her disap- 
pearance caused quite a talk, especially as her relations 
were reticent on the subject. About two years after- 
wards, when she is almost forgotten, she reappears as 
Sir Roderick's wife. When, how, and where they were 
married — why, and for what reason the affair was kept 
dark — no one has ever known." 

« But the child ? " 

" The girl seems to have been a young infant when 
they returned. Well, it appears that Sir Roderick was 
quite Eastern in his ideas of how a wife should be 
treated. He took that lively young creature to that 
place of his, the Pinewood, and shut her up. She saw 
no one but some of his relations." 

"Jealous, doubtless," said Hugh, thinking back 
upon the pretty, mutinous face, miniatured in Sir 
Roderick's locket. " Well ? " 

"Well, now comes the sad part. Mr. Pym, the 
brother, who was already a husband and the father of 
several children, had then, as I daresay you know he 
still has, an estate about twenty miles distant from Sir 
Roderick's. He seems to have divided his time between 


the two houses. No one knows what took place there. 
But there was a serious family quarrel. Sir Roderick 
withdrew from the firm of Pym, Clithero, and Pym, 
and shut his doors against his whole family. The beau- 
tiful Lady Pym no one saw again. Some say she ran 
away and hid herself abroad : at least, hid herself from 
everyone but the object of her husband's jealousy, Mr. 
Pym. The other rumour is that Sir Boderick shut her 
up more closely than ever, and that she died and was 
buried at the Pinewood." 

Hugh thought of the chapel in the grounds. 

" That last story is more likely to be true than the 
other," he said. 

" Yes," said Mr. Paull ; " if, indeed, there is any 
fact in the gossip at all. Bullock said he felt positive 
that if Sir Boderick suspected his brother of wronging 
him in regard to Lady Pym, his suspicion had been 
utterly groundless. He knows Mr. Pym. He said that 
no doubt he pitied his young sister-in-law for being 
immured in so un-English a fashion, and did his best to 
brighten her life ; but that this was all his part in the 
affair. That Sir Boderick has come to believe so too, 
is, I should think, proved by his love for his brother's 

An idea came into Hugh's mind which took away 
his breath for a moment. He unconsciously rose from 
his chair and straightened himself. 

" How does anyone know that he is really fond of 
Captain Pym ? " he suggested. " His statement that he 
is his heir may have been made in revenge, to spoil the 
young man, to place him in an unnatural position in his 
own family circle, and to leave him stranded and be- 
fooled at the last." 


*' Impossible, Hugh ! No human being could be so 
mean !•* 

'^ Nothing is impossible in Sir Roderick) father. 
Think back on what you have told me of his conduct 
to his wife! His brain is unbalanced. He is clever 
enough, kind enough, in a way ; but he is extravagantly 
eccentric. For instance, I am sure he adores that 
daughter of his as far as he is capable of adoration ; 
yet he keeps her as much shut up as he did her moth- 


" Poor child ! " said Mr. Paull, sympathetically. 
*^ What a good thing it would be for her to know Maud 
and Daisy." 

" To return to Daisy's affair," said Hugh. " It does, 
not seem a very bright specimen of a family to marry 

^' My dear boy, all families have their skeletons in 
the cupboai'd," said the rector, somewhat nervously. 
(Hugh was seemingly getting into one of his stem 
humours, which would be bad for poor Daisy.) " Find 
me the family that has not." 

" Ours," said Hugh. 

" I daresay, if the truth were known, our ancestors 
had their foibles." 

" Madness has, unfortunately, the habit of going 
obliquely, father ; it often attacks the nephew or niece, 
rather than the son or daughter. This Herbert Pym 
may develop into a Sir Roderick." 

" Madness may do that, Hugh ; but surely not ec- 

Hugh paced the room and thought deeply. He had 
felt there was some mystery connected with Sir Rod- 
erick's wife, Lilia's mother. But that any scandal was 


attached to her name he had not believed. For him- 
self, he would not care. Bat when his sister was in 
question, he felt it behoved him to be uncompromisingly 

*' I do not think mother would have liked Daisy's 
marrying this young man, father," he said at last. 

" If you say that, you cannot have understood her, 
Hugh," said the rector, warmly. " She was the largest- 
hearted woman on earth. Scandal was her greatest 
horror. When young Pym came to me and asked for 
Daisy, I felt she would have liked him. It was just that 
which influenced me." 

^' Well, you know best, father. Shall I see him and 
talk to him ? Perhaps I might say things to him that 
you could scarcely say." 

" I wish you would see him," said his father, re- 

Hugh left him with the understanding that when- 
ever it suited the Bev. Herbert Pym to make an appoint- 
ment he was ready to receive him as his probable brother- 

But the meeting was destined to be postponed. 
Next morning, just before noon, the porter came again. 

" You are wanted, sir. A lady, this time." 

*'I am engaged, yon know that," said Hugh, an- 
noyed, for a dresser he had had occasion to reprove was 
just passing, and he saw the young man grin. " You 
should have asked her name." 

*^ I did, sir. But she said it didn't matter, she would 
not keep you a minute. I took her into the board-room, 

She, whoever she was, had evidently known the 
passport to the porter's goodwill, thought Hugh, run- 


ning downstairs. What lady could it be ? If it were 
Daisy, he would give her a scolding she would remem- 

Entering the board-room he was met by Mrs. Mer- 
vyn, pale, agitated. 

" Oh, Mr. Paull ! How could you forsake us so ? " 
she said, almost indignantly. 

Then she broke down, turned away, and hid her face 
in her handkerchief. 

Hugh was so taken aback that for a moment or two 
he stood and stared. Then he felt that something must 
have happened — ^he hardly dared think what. 

" I — forsaken you ? " he said, as Mrs. Mervyn con- 
quered her emotion and sat down. " I have not heard 
one word from the Pinewood since I spent those two 
days there." 

"You have had a letter and two telegrams," said 
Mrs. Mervyn. " Sir Roderick was taken ill a week ago. 
Lilia wrote and asked your advice. No answer came. 
She telegraphed. No answer. Captain Pym offered 
to go to town to fetch Dr. Beard, the physician our 
doctor asked for. Mr. Mervyn wired to you, — silence. 
Captain Pym said he called here, but finding that you 
had been in the hospital all the time, and that therefore 
you evidently did not want to be bothered with us, or 
you would have taken some notice of the letter and tele- 
grams, he did not trouble you in the matter." 

Hugh repressed his impulse to anathematise Captain 
Pym as a liar. " My time will come ; I will bide my 
time," he thought. Then he turned to Mrs. Mervyn, 
and said, gently : 

" There has been some mistake. It does not matter 
now. How is he ? " 


" Dying." 

Mrs. Mervyngave an account of the last trying seven 
days: the attention of Dr. Beard, who gave no hope 
from the first ; Lilia's repressed anguish ; the goodness 
of the two sick nurses ; the summoning of the great Sir 
Edward Debenham yesterday (a mere matter of form, 
to state that death had proved himself conqueror, that 
nothing could be done to reverse the sentence). Then 
she was about to add something further, when Hugh 
asked, suddenly, hoarsely : 

" If this be so, why have you come ? " 

" He asked for you — he wants you," said Mrs. Mer- 
vyn. " He will not be pacified." 

" Did he know I was sent for?" 

" Yes ; and he knew no answer came. But it was he 
who said the messages could not have reached you. I 
would not be the one to suggest anything else." 

" You thought me a wretch, Mrs. Mervyn ? " 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

" What does it matter now ? " she said, in agitation. 
" Let us go by the next train, if we can." 

Hugh procured a time-table. There was time to 

catch a fast train to F . He saw the secretary, 

arranged for a deputy, and before he hardly realised 
the situation London was left far back in the distance 
in its purple veil of smoke, and they were rushing 
through brilliant autumnal scenes, under a breezy Octo- 
ber sky. 

They could not talk during the journey ; they had 
fellow-passengers. It was painful for Hugh to think 
that Mrs. Mervyn had doubted him, and still more pain- 
ful to remember Lilia. Of course the non-arrival of the 

letter and telegrams meant — Boderick. 



Mr. Mervyn was on the platform, looking careworn 
and eager. At the sight of Hugh he brightened. He 
grasped his hand. 

" I knew you would come," he said. Then, drawing 
him aside, he said : " You did not get my telegram? I 
thought not. Say as little as you can, will you ? and be 
as unfathomable as a sphinx. I will explain later." 

Evidently he knew more, in one respect, than Hugh 

A light dogcart was awaiting Hugh, and presently 
he was speeding along the lanes between the devastated 
hop-gardens behind Eeindeer, who was going at full 
speed, while Mrs. Mervyn was following in the brougham 
with her husband. 

During the uphill slackening of Reindeer's pace, 
Hugh gathered that Sir Roderick was still alive, though 
his death was, according to the doctors, imminent; that 
none of his servants were surprised — they had seen so 
great a change in their master since his accident ; and 
that, since he had sent for his brother, Mr. Pym, even 
Miss Lilia had given up hope. 

"Miss Lilia couldn't have believed he was agoing 
to die like other folks, I don't believe, sir, if it hadn't 
ha' been for that," said the sagacious Thomas. " They 
said as when she heard that the captain was to fetch 
his father, at Sir Roderick's wish, she fainted dead 
away. They haven't been friends, you see, sir, for 
many a long year ; and Sir Roderick, when he makes 
up his mind — well, it isn't easy to turn him. So i 
expect Miss Lilia knew, when he sent for Mr. Pym, 
that there wasn't what you might call a straw left to 
cling to." 

" She is better now ? " asked Hugh. 


" I can't say, sir, I'm sure." 

It was hard work to obey Mr. Mervyn's recommen* 
dation to be sphinx-like. But as the dogcart jogged 
down the steep incline leading to the garden entrance 
of the house, Hugh rallied himself, and determined to 
put aside all personal feeling, all emotions and passions, 
to follow no impulse, and to bear in mind that he was 
here on duty, as a species of deathbed sentinel — silent, 
motionless, except to salute the passing soul. 

The house looked the same, as houses will, happen 
what may. There was even a greater gaiety about the 
place. A windy autumn day, when the cloudlets sail 
joyously across the luminous blue sky, and the red and 
golden trees are shaken by the fresh breezes, has a liye- 
liness of its own, as if Nature were at play after the hard 
work of the spring and summer before the night of win- 
ter sets in, when she herself falls asleep. And within 
these four walls ? As Hugh alighted at the garden door, 
and walked in without ringing the boll (all bells had 
been mufSed by the doctors' orders), he did not think 
with any pleasurable anticipation of the possible scene 

But he miscalculated the influence of the young girl 
who was so soon to be left alone in the world. 

As he entered the hall by one door, Lilia came in by 
another. She looked pale and thinner in her clinging 
grey gown ; but she was calm, and met him with a half- 
smile and clinging clasp of the hand. 

"You know?" she asked, in a hushed voice. 

" That he is doomed by the doctors, and that a letter 
and two telegrams were not sent to me? Yes," he said, 

" I trusted " She hesitated, and looked round. 


" Explanations afterwards," she added, with a hopeless, 
bitter meaning in her tones and manner. "KTow we 
must only think of him. Will you have some refresh- 
ment, or see him now ? " 

" Now, at once," said Hugh. 

Then he followed her in silence up the old oaken 
staircase, wondering at her power of self-control — she, 
so sensitive and emotional a creature ! Until now, she 
had drawn his sympathies by her gift of fascination; 
thus, she seized and held his respect. 

At a tap from Lilia, a nurse opened the door. 

" Mr. Paull," whispered Lilia, gliding away. 

" I am thankful you have come," said the nurse, who 
looked worn and harassed. " There are two of us, but 
he has been dreadful. You are a doctor. You will not 
let him over-excite himself ? We are to leave you alone." 

Hugh satisfied the nurse, as they stood by the door 
behind the screen. They whispered, but the hearing of 
the dying man was sharpened. 

"Who's — that?" Hugh heard, in reedy, querulous 
tones he hardly recognised. 

" You must come at once," said the nurse. 

Then her worn, anxious expression suddenly changed 
to the placid, cheerful smile that is as necessary an ad- 
junct in the case of a sick-room attendant as in a 
danseuse before the public. 

Hugh, following her, saw a yellowish-white face on 
the pillows of a big bed hung with dark green. The 
change was at hand. Sir Boderick's aquiline features 
were pinched and shrunken; the great bluish circles 
round his dark eyes intensified the fixedness of his gaze ; 
there was the heaviness of death in his arms, stretched 
motionless at his sides. 


" Hamlet ! " he said, in a far-away voice, and his pal- 
lid lips drew aside in the faint mockery of a dying smile. 
" Come here — close. You two women, go,^^ 

There was a slight suggestion of the living Sir Rod- 
erick in the irritable peremptoriness of that abrupt dis- 
missal of his faithful nurses ; in his ^^ What on earth 
are they doing ? Why don't they go ? " as they arranged 
bottles, glasses, and gong on a table at Hugh's elbow ; 
and in his " Are they gone ? " when the door shut upon 
them so softly that he could not hear it. 

" Of course they are gone." Hugh bent over his for- 
mer patient with a new, real tenderness. ^' I am here to 
do everything you wish me to do, Sir Roderick,'^ he 
said ; " you have only to command." 

"Everything!" said the invalid, hoarsely, with a 
searching look. 

" Everything that my conscience will allow me to do. 
Sir Roderick 1 " 

The old man laughed, or tried to laugh ; but it was 
a curious rattling sound, at which Hugh involuntarily 
bit his lip. 

" That's a dying laugh. Funny sound, isn't it ? " 
said Sir Roderick. Speech was evidently becoming 
more and more difficult. " Ugly sound ; nasty feeling ; 
choked feeling, « too. I shall soon cast my chrysalis, 
Hamlet. I sha'n't come to an end. No. I hope I shall 
be a poisonous serpent. Don't look shocked. I want 
to sting human beings. They are worse than devils, if 
there were those fables. Yes, worse than devils," he 
muttered, his eyes dimming with, Hugh feared, ap- 
proaching coma. " Devils would be good if they 
could ; men can be good, and won't. Fm not dying, or 
going to sleep, Hamlet, so don't look like that," he sud- 


denly said, in a voice so like his own, and with such re- 
Tiving animation, that Hugh almost hoped that death 
was not imminent, despite appearances. " You clergy- 
man's son, you would like me to believe in devils, 
wouldn't you? Well, I do. In human devils. And 
you must help me to punish them." 

The last words were said dispassionately, gravely. 
What did he mean ? The old man groped for Hugh's 
hand, which was resting on the bed near to his own. 
Hugh clasped the icy, clammy fingers in his warm, liv- 
ing grasp. 

" Did you ever wonder why I wanted you here ? " 

It was a question, sudden, and to the point. With 
those dying eyes riveted upon him, Hugh must answer 
with bare fact. 

" I did," he acknowledged. 

" I can't waste my minutes palavering," said Sir 
Boderick, irritable as he recognised his utter helpless- 
ness. " I read you like a book. I wanted you for Lilia." 

Hugh started, and flushed. The room seemed to 
sway and reel ; he hardly knew whether he was shocked, 
hurt, delighted, or horrified. The possession of Lilia 
had been, so to say, hinted to him by his inclinations as 
something he might possibly dare to aspire to in the 
future. To have his ideal, as it were, snatched at, 
pounded together, and shot at him in this fashion was 
like being physically assaulted. He felt mentally wound- 
ed, but did not realise how or where. - 

" I see you know what I mean," went on the dying 
man. ^' You blush like a girl. Love is nonsense. But 
you have a passion for her " 

" I love her ! " interrupted Hugh. " I would not 
have dared — if you had not spoken." 


A dreadful chuckle from the sick man seemed to 
freeze Hugh. If Sir Roderick would only refrain from 
that ghastly, rattling laugh ! 

" You say you love her, but that you would not have 
dared — what bosh! Hamlet, you would be a bad wit- 
ness. Never mind. The question is — to be, or not to 
be ? Will you marry Lilia, or not f " 

What a position ! He was utterly unprepared, too. 
For some moments he hardly knew what to do or say ; 
then he felt he must fight Sir Roderick's eccentricity 
for her sake. 

" What would your daughter say ? '* he asked, gently. 
" You must not dispose of her. No one has a right to 
dispose of another. Of course, I would ask her to marry 
me, if I thought she wished it." 

" Of course she wishes it ! " gasped Sir Roderick. 

His eyes shone with excitement ; cold beads were on 
his pale forehead. 

" How can you tell ? " suggested Hugh, in despera- 

The sick man had a fit of gasping. Hugh support- 
ed him, fearing that the end was come. But after he 
had swallowed a stimulating draught, he revived some- 
what, and asked that his brother, Mr. Pym, his nephew, 
Roderick, and Lilia might be summoned. 

Feeling a certain dread and a thorough reluctance, 
Hugh fetched the nurses, one of whom was despatched 
to bring in Mr. aAd Captain Pym and Lilia. 

" Hold me," said Sir Roderick. " Sit by me. Yes, 
that's right ; and hold me. Goodness ! why ever there 
are women nurses I can't make out ! They can't hold 
one like that ! " 

It took all Hugh's strength to support his host's 


dead weight. Sir Roderick's cunning had evidently not 
left him. In Hugh's position, as prop to a dying man, 
he could hardly assert himself if called upon to do so. 

The first to enter the sick chamber was Mr. Pym, a 
slight old man of middle height, with a long thin face 
and small keen eyes. His manner was quiet and self- 
contained. He accepted a chair from the nurse as 
calmly as he would had she been one of his clerks and he 
in his own office. ^' An emotionless man of business," 
was Hugh's mental comment. '^ The hero of a scandal ? 
Never ! " 

Then came Roderick — pale, handsome. He inclined 
his head haughtily to Hugh, then bent over his uncle. 

" You are not worse, uncle, I hope ? " he said. 

"Better, according to religious people, like your 
father," sneered Sir Roderick. " You feel better every 
Sunday, don't you, William? Nearer heaven? I'm 
dying, so of course I'm better, nearer heaven." 

Mr. Pym reddened. At that moment Lilia entered. 
Mr. Pym rose and offered her his chair. She was de- 
clining it, and going to the bedsidiB, when her father 
querulously said, " No, no ; take it ! " and she accord- 
ingly seated herself. 

" I wanted you together," began Sir Roderick, " to 
tell you a few truths. I once believed in honest men." 
He looked from one to the other ; then gave a chuckle, 
and choked. When he recovered, he added, meaningly : 
• "Yon, William, put an end to that.' You made me 
wiser, much wiser." 

Lilia's pale face flushed. Hugh met her glance of 
appeal, and turned away. What could he do ? 

Mr. Pym looked gravely at his brother ; then, half- 
turning to the others, said : 


"Pray, say what pleases you, Roderick ; it will not 
hurt me." 

" You made a Diogenes of me," went on Sir Roder- 
ick. " Well, at last, I found a man. This is the man 
— the rock I am leaning against to die ! " 

There was silence. Whatever Roderick or his father 
may have felt, they were silent; nor did they betray 
any emotion by glance or movement. But Lilia knelt 
down and kissed the cold hand lying on the bed. At 
that little spontaneous action Sir Boderick smiled, and 
Hugh began to believe that Lilians heart was his. 

" I knew I was done for after the accident," he went 
on ; ^' but as I had found an honest man I didn't mind. 
Where's Mervyn ? " 

He roused himself, and struggled into a sitting 

" Don't kneel there ; fetch Mervyn, can't you ? " he 
said to Lilia, querulously. 

" Fetch him," said Hugh, pleadingly. 

He felt overwhelmed by this sudden and unexpected 
crisis in his life. He pitied himself and each one of 
them for being, as it were, called to arms without hint 
or warning of war. And Lilia — he felt almost as if her 
holiest feelings were to be outraged. Yet, without 
troubling the dying man, he could do nothing to pro- 
tect her. 

There was a hush in the sick chamber. Boderick 
stood leaning against a wardrobe ; Mr. Pym remained 
quietly seated as if he were on the magisterial bench, 
or in his pew in church. Presently the door opened, 
and Lilia came in, followed by Mr. Mervyn. 

At the sight of him Sir Boderick gave a sort of 
grunt of satisfaction. 


" You know what I want you for," he said. 

Mr. Mervyn's pale face flushed, and he glanced un- 
easily round. Then he went up to the bed and laid his 
hand kindly on Sir Roderick's. 

" Not exactly," he said, cheerily. " You must tell 
me, for you said so many things. I do not know which 
one of them you allude to." 

With evident difficulty, Sir Roderick raised his hand 
and pointed from Hugh to Lilia. 

" Marry them I " he gasped. " Here, now, at 
once ! " 

Mr. Mervyn looked helplessly at Hugh. 

" What am I to do, Mr. Paull ? " he said. " Lilia ! " 

Lilia had evidently not heard, or hearing, had not 

"What is it he wants?" she asked, coming to the 

"Will you marry her now?" asked Sir Roderick, 
struggling away from Hugh, so that he could look up 
into his face. 

"If she consents," said Hugh, looking fixedly at 
Lilia. But her eyes were cast down : she was red as a 
rose — the picture of shame. 

Mr. Pym jumped up, as if suddenly awakened from 
a stupor of astonishment. 

"I — I protest against this — this mad notion — this 
insult to my niece ! " he began, evidently angered be- 
yond power of self-control. 

Once more Sir Roderick chuckled. 

"You protest against her money being her own, 
eh ? " he said. " You would like your handsome son to 
spend it on his women, eh? Stand back!" he said, 
solemnly, raising his hand warningly as Roderick 


stepped forward, white with passion. " Mervyn, marry 
them ! Do you hear ? " 

"I cannot, my dear old friend; it is impossible. 
Think, I have no license. To read any service would 
be mere waste of words " 

His speech was interrupted by a hoarse cry, as the 
dying man turned up his glazing eyes and fell back into 
Hugh's arms. 

^'Take them all away, and send the nurses," said 
Hugh, peremptorily. 

Mr. Pym and his son instantly retired, but Lilia 
pleaded to remain. 

^^ Have mercy on me, and let me stay I " she said, 
turning from Mr. Mervyn to Hugh with a piteous ex- 
pression in her distended eyes. 

" You shall stay," said Hugh, tenderly ; " only wait 
just a minute. Nurse ! " 

Mr. Mervyn took her to the window, and said all he 
could think of to comfort her. He, like Hugh, sorry 
though he was, felt almost thankful to Death for put- 
ting an end to the embarrassing position. But all he 
could think of saying was nothing to the poor child in 
her agony, he saw that. 

When the nurses had arranged the now unconscious 
man, under Hugh's direction, Hugh came across to the 

^^ Coma has set in," he said to them ; '^ all pain and 
suffering are over for him. But as this state remains 
somewhat of a mystery to us doctors — I myself believe 
there may sometimes remain a super-conscious state we 
know nothing about — will you come quite close to him, 
Lilia? Hold his hand ; let your head rest by him. We 
never know, it might comfort him ! " 


Lilia put ont her hand, and, guided by him, reached 
the bed. Presently the dying father and the living child 
. were lying side by side, as motionless as if both were 
dead. The nurses sat near, watching and waiting. Mr. 
Mervyn and Hugh sat silently at the window, with 
plenty to occupy their thoughts. The minutes were 
slowly ticked off by the old clock outside the sick-room 
door, which presently, after some wheezing sounds, 
struck one, hoarsely, in a cracked, aged tone. 

One of the nurses rose with a warning " Mr. Paull." 
• Hugh knew then what was before him. He went to 
the bedside, gently roused Lilia, who seemed half- 
asleep, half-stupefied. Then followed the feeling of the 
dead man's pulse, the listening to the silent heart, the 
mirror held over the blue lips — all in vain. 

" Kiss him, dear," said Hugh, tenderly, to Lilia. 

She looked up at him with a wan, bewildered look 
— the look of a lost child; then she flung her arms 
round her father, and the touch of his icy face told her 
that she was an orphan. 

She flung herself back with a shriek. 

" You have let him die I " she cried, frantically, to 
Hugh. " How dared you ? Why did you ? Oh father I 
come back, come back ! " 

" Lilia ! you forget," said Hugh, firmly, seizing her 
wrist. " Eemember, we cannot dictate to God ! " 

He threw all the will he was capable of into those 
words. To his relief, he felt that he had some infiuence 
over his future wife. She recoiled, he felt her stiffen ; 
then she slowly turned her head towards him. 

"He is gone? There is no hope?" she asked, 

" KTo hope — A«r^," said Hugh. " Now, you will be 


good, be worthy of him ? You will come away with me, 
me (he trusted me, you know, dear), for a little while? 
We will come back very, very soon ! " 

Like a child she held out her arms, and allowed him 
to assist her from the bed, and to half-support, half- 
carry her from the room and downstairs to the drawing- 
room, where, like a tired child, she sobbed herself into 
calm, then sleep. 

When she was soundly asleep upon the sofa, Hugh 
fetched Mrs. Mervyn. 

^' It is best as it is, is it not ? " she asked him, some- 
what timidly, by which Hugh gathered that the pro- 
posed death-bed marriage was no secret. 

" I hope so," he said, ambiguously. Then, outwardly 
calm, inwardly racked with mingled emotions, he turned 
to face his life under the new conditions. 



" Where is Mr. Pym ? " asked Hugh, meeting James 
in the hall. 

"Captain Pym is gone, sir. Bode off in a hurry 
about half-an-hour since. If you mean the old gentle- 
man, he's in the library with Mr. Mervyn." 

Sir Roderick's brother was evidently unknown to and 
of little account in Sir Roderick's household. Hugh felt 
that his first duty was to show every deference to a man 
who had been, whether justifiably or not^ cruelly insulted 
by the dying man. He knocked at the library door. It 
was Mr. Mervyn who called out, " Come in." 

The fitful sunshine and the leaping flames on the 
old-fashioned hearth were brightening the room. Mr. 
Pym had unwittingly seated himself in Sir Roderick's 
own particular arm-chair. Mr. Mervyn stood on the 

"That's right, Paull," he said, evidently relieved. 
"She is better? Had a good cry? She'll do, then. 
Mr. Pym and I have had a talk, and I am glad you 
should understand each other before he returns home. 
I have assured him, in your behalf, that Sir Roderick's 
wishes on the subject of yourself and Lilia were more of 
a surprise to you than to myself." 

" I am not a thief, Mr. Mervyn," said Hugh, warmly. 


" If coming here as Sir Eoderick's medical attendant I 
had even thought of Miss Pym as a possible future wife, 
I should have been as much a thief as a common burglar 
— aye, more so." 

Mr. Pym's long upper lip curved a little with more 
a sneer than a smile. 

" These young men now-a-days are so strangely ro- 
mantic," he said, turning to Mr. Mervyn. " It has, I 
a'ssure you, been a great difficulty in my way in the mat- 
ter oi my clerks. My partner, Mr. Clithero, invariably 
defers to me in the affair of our staff. This tendency 
has been a great stumbling-block to me. I will not have 
a person in my employ who uses tall talk." 

Hugh bit his lip, but remembered that this man who 
wished to show him that he classed him with his bank 
clerks, with the despised majority, the bread-winning 
non-capitalists, was not only Lilians uncle, but possibly 
his sister Daisy's father-in-law. 

'^ I have assured Mr. Pym that Lilia, also, was more 
surprised than I was," said Mr. Mervyn, admiring Hugh's 
self-control ; for Mr. Pym's cold, measured tones were far 
more subtly insulting than his words. "This I have 
learnt from Mrs. Mervyn, who at the same time assured 
me that the child had a great regard for you, Paull — 
quite sufficient to render her obedient to her father's 
wishes, when called upon." 

" That is all very well, Mr. Mervyn," said Mr. Pym, 
dictatorially. " But, as you are aware, until quite lately, 
my unfortunate brother's pet whim was to leave his for- 
tune to Boderick, on the condition that he and my niece 
would marry." 

" Of that, sir, I know nothing," said Mr. Mervyn, 


" But you were always in the house, I understand?" 
said Mr. Pym, haughtily. " My brother's almost adop- 
tion of my son cannot have escaped your notice." 

Mr. Mervyn cleared his throat ; and looking dpwn at 
his boots, brushed some invisible dust from the skirt of 
his coat. 

" I have known Sir Roderick change his mind before 
now ; that is all I can say, Mr. Pym," he said. 

" Yes — when he had a mind to change," said the 
banker. " The question is, if the accident which brought 
about concussion of the brain did not so seriously affect 
his mind as to invalidate his opinions from that mo- 

Hugh was about to speak, but Mr. Mervyn silenced 
him with a warning glance. 

" It may be treason to my dead friend ; I don't know ; 
I certainly hope not," he said, " but, if there is to be 
discussion or law-making on the subject of his fortune, 
I must tell the truth — he had no particular fortune to 

Hugh felt as if a heavy weight were uplifted from 
his heart. " Thank God for tbat ! " he said. 

The exclamation was so undoubtedly genuine, that 
Mr. Mervyn smiled — ^almost laughed — ^but recollecting 
the dread presence in the house, checked himself. Mr. 
Pym settled his eyeglasses on his nose, looked curiously 
at Hugh as at some new specimen of unclassed animal, 
then dropped his glasses. 

" Excuse me, if I think you are mistaken, Mr. Mer- 
vyn," he said, politely. " My brother can scarcely have 
dissipated so large a capital as that which he withdrew 
from us when we dissolved partnership." 

Mr. Mervyn shrugged his shoulders. 


" The reading of the Will will doubtless tend to 
explain matters," he said. "At present, we are even 
in the dark as to Sir Roderick's wishes in regard to his 

A minute's silence, then Mr. Pym rose. 

"Understand, Mr. Mervyn," he said, stiffly and 
pompously, and with evident intention turning his back 
upon Hugh, "until I, as her nearest male relative, 
have had several interviews with my niece, I cannot 
countenance any arrangement for her future which may 
have been made by my unfortunate brother when in an 
unsound state of mind." 

Hugh's impulse to resent was suddenly and strongly 
quelled by a strange, almost occult, sensation. He 
seemed, as it were, suddenly to feel, personally, the 
emotions that old Mr. Pym was enduring. These 
were goodwill towards the brother who had persistently 
misunderstood and quarrelled with him; an almost 
despair at that death-bed insult ; an irritable question- 
ing of the motives and intentions of himself and Mr. 
Mervyn, strangers except by hearsay; a yearning ten- 
derness towards his orphaned niece. 

" Mr. Pym ! " he said, impetuously, going to the old 
man as he was quitting the room, " excuse me for de- 
taining you one moment, but I must tell you how much 
your niece's grief is increased by her father's treatment 
of you ; it was harder to console her for that than for 
the fact that Sir Eoderick is dead ! " 

At first, a slight redness flushing Mr. Pym's with- 
ered cheeks encouraged Hugh to fancy that his feel- 
ings were touched. But whatever transient emotion had 
caused that flush, it was but transient. 

*' I am sure I am very much obliged to you," he 


coldly said, with a nod snch as he might have given 
to a saluting servant ; " but really I do not think 
that you, sir, and I need go into these questions. If 
you will direct me to the stables, I will find my car- 

Mr. Mervyn at once came to the rescue. 

" You wait here for me," he said confidentially to 
Hugh. " I'll see him off, and come back." 

Hugh's sensations when left alone were scarcely 
pleasant. " I am an interloper," he thought. " Yet I 
love her ! and if I were to wriggle out of the situation, 
Roderick would step in. Roderick ! No. I must deal 
with the facts as they are, the best way I can." 

At least, he thought, as Mr. Mervyn cordially 
held out his hand to him as he returned to the room, 
Lilia's guardiah and trustee did not misunderstand 

^'It is a sad time for congratulations," said Mr. 
Mervyn; "still, I cannot help congratulating you. 
Lilia is a sweet girl, with the making of a real woman 
in her. I was right when I said that Sir Roderick's 
wish you two should be married took you by surprise, 

" It was more than a surprise, Mr. Mervyn." 

" Not an unpleasant one ? No, I thought not. Mrs. 
Mervyn assured me that you and Lilia liked each other 
weeks ago. Women are pretty reliable judges in these 
matters. Still, when Sir Roderick told me at the begin- 
ning of this last illness that he had invited you here, 
hoping that the child would take a fancy to you, I was 
surprised, I own." 

" What could his idea have been, Mr. Mervyn ? " 

" He liked you. When Sir Roderick liked anyone. 


he trusted that person blindly, I may say foolishly. 
Then he had just been disenchanted, awakened to the 
fact that his nephew Roderick is — what I have always 
thought him — ^a scamp." 

" How was he enlightened ? " asked Hugh, drawing 
a long breath of relief. 

" Oh ! you know how curiously things get about. 
He was not a man to listen to gossip. But since the 
45th were quartered at Aldershot rumours of Roderick's 
looseness of conduct were in the air somehow." 

" Do you think he intended those two for each 
other?" asked Hugh. 

" I cannot make out," said the clergyman, slowly. 
" He made a fool of that lad ; sometimes so much so 
that I felt uncomfortable, as if it were unreal, a cruel 
joke he was enjoying all to himself. You see, he hated 
the father." 

" I thought so," said Hugh. Then he detailed the 
bitter speeches of the dying man, before Mr. Mervyn 
was fetched by Lilia. 

" Dear, dear ! " said Mr. Mervyn. " It is not to be 
wondered at that the old man's back was up just now. 
Curious old man, that. A bit of a Pharisee, I fear. 
But not as guilty as his brother thought him, I be- 

" Were you here then, Mr. Mervyn ? When that 
affair of Lady Pym happened?" 

" Who told you of the family scandal, eh, young 

Hugh recounted his father's visit and its object. 

" Do you know anything of this clergyman son who 
wants to marry my sister ? " he asked. 

" I met him once or twice, and thought him a prig," 



said Mr. Mervyn. " But better a prig, than like his 
brother Roderick." 

You knew Lady Pym ? " asked Hugh. 
I did," said Mr. Mervyn. " A lovely, winsome 
young creature; wretchedly unhappy. She was made 
for society and a lightsome life, and Sir Roderick 
literally imprisoned her. If she clung to her brother- 
in-law — if they were more affectionate to each other 
than in strict justice to him they should have been, — I, 
for one, cannot cast the first stone. It was piteous to 
see that poor girl. When the row came, and she dis- 
appeared, I felt inclined to give up the living. My one 
attempt to interfere was met with coldness; I could 
not try again. If it had not been for my wife, who was 
devoted to the poor baby, and literally went on her 
knees to me to stay, I should not be here talking to you 
now. It is this — with other things — that makes it im- 
possible for me to regret Sir Roderick's death, though 
he has been very kind to me, and to my wife too." 

" And to the poor ? " 

" No," said Mr. Mervyn, energetically. " He has 
been their worst enemy. Tour work is cut out for 
you, Mr. PauU, to undo his doings. But you are the 
man to do it." 

" But — I thought — you said — ^he left no fortune ?" 

Hugh's ambition was certainly not to waste his 
energies in remedying Sir Roderick's mistakes. 

" No fortune, as Mr. Pym considers fortune. But 
you had better see Turner and Moffatt, the solicitors, 
Paull, you really had," added Mr. Mervyn, lapsing into 
the familiar and confidential. " Someone must take up 
a position of authority ; and you are the person to do 
it, as matters stand." 


Hugh wrote ofE to the hospital authorities for further 
leave ; and next day, hearing from Mrs. Mervyn, who 
was acting as mistress of the house pro teni,^ that Lilia 
would not come down till after luncheon, he drove over 
to the quiet little town where "Messrs. Turner and 
Moffatt, solicitors," was engraved large upon a brilliant 
brass plate on the door of an old red-brick house. 

This house was in a wide, quiet street of the silent 
country town, where the grass sprouted about the cobbles 
in the roads. A parlourmaid conducted Hugh into a 
prim library, where he was almost immediately joined 
by a little man, dressed with extreme neatness, and wear- 
ing thick glass spectacles, who met him with repeated 
little bows. 

" A friend of my late client," he said, insisting upon 
Hugh's seating himself in a huge arm-chair, like a den- 
tist's. " Yes, yes." (He referred to Hugh's card that 
he was holding between his finger and thumb.) " My 
name is Moffatt. I have always acted for Sir Roderick. 
Dear me I Very sad, very sad I I only heard of his 
death this morning." 

He sat down and looked at Hugh through his spec- 
tacles with an inquiring, owl-like gaze. 

" I have good reason to suppose that my client has 
spoken of you to me as having treated him very success- 
fully after his accident," he next said, taking off his 
spectacles and absently polishing them with his hand- 
kerchief. " Quite in a friendly way — Sir Roderick was 
very friendly with us; indeed he has often honoured 
Mrs. Moffatt by taking a bit of luncheon with us. And 
how is the poor young lady ? " 

To Hugh's surprise, he found that Mr. Moffatt had 
never seen Lilia. 


" Our poor friend — ^my late client, I should say — was 
slightly eccentric, you see," said the lawyer ezculpat- 
ingly, after which Hugh found it easier to make a clean 
breast of affairs as they stood. 

" Mr. Mervyn advised me to come to you to tell me 
exactly what to do," he said. 

" Certainly, certainly, Mr. PauU, anything that we 

can do." 

The little gentleman, who had been mentally casting 
up Hugh, of whose position in Sir Koderick's will he 
was well aware, was so far satisfied with his new client. 
The reluctance Hugh showed, during their ensuing 
interview, to accept the situation, he thought foolish. 
Still, he liked the young man for it. 

Hugh left him in a more uncertain mood than when 
he sought him. 

He did not see Lilia till next morning. Mrs. Mervyn 
was kind, even tender in her manner to him when they 
dined Ute-h-Ute^ but they both tacitly ignored the posi- 
tion of affairs. Mrs. Mervyn recalled and recounted 
little anecdotes which showed Sir Roderick at his best, 
but nothing further was discussed. Even on the subject 
of Lilia they were equally on guard. 

"This is the most uncomfortable position a man 
could possibly be placed in," Hugh told himself, as he 
breakfasted alone in the dining-room next morning, 
stared at by the painted eyes of the pictured effigies of 
bygone Pyms. " Why will she not see me?" for by Mrs. 
Mervyn's message of excuse, that she would breakfast 
upstairs with Lilia, he augured that Lilia would not 
face him. 

" What am I to do ? " he thought, pacing the room 
in gloomy discomfort. " Of course I I see it. I have 


been forced upon her. As a loving daughter, she was 
ready to sacrifice herself to please her dying father. 
If he had asked to be burnt like an Indian and she to 
lie down among the flames in suttee fashion, she would 
have carried out his whim. She shall not be made 
miserable for life. I must insist upon her accepting her 
release. Of course the Mervyns and lawyer Moffatt 
think it best that Sir Koderick's ideas should be carried 
out. My duty plainly is, to fight for her good, and hers 

While he was hotly arguing against himself Lilia was 
hanging despairingly about Mrs. Mervyn in her dark- 
ened room. 

" My dear, I assure you he loves you, and would have 
wished to marry you even against your father's wish," 
Mrs. Mervyn was assuring the unhappy girl for the 
hundredth time. " If you only see him, you will be con- 
vinced that I am right. Ton will, indeed ! " 

Then Lilia said, brokenly, that she could not. If he 
would only go away, she would write to him. 

" Let him take everything, and go," she said for 
about the hundred-and-first time. " Life is over for 

Then once more Mrs. Mervyn said, this time some- 
what indignantly, for she was losing patience, that such 
a suggestion to Mr. PauU savoured of insult. 

" Tou are cowardly in your grief, Lilia," she said, 
sharply. " At least tell the young man your ideas your- 
self, instead of saying them over and over again to poor 
me, who can do nothing." 

Perhaps it was this speech which brought about the 
following : — 

Hugh, impatiently pacing the dining-room, did not 


hear the door open, and when once he suddenly turned 
round as he reached the hearthrug, he started back 
in alarm at finding himself confronted by a ghostly 

It was Lilia, Magdalen-like, with her hair dishevelled 
and hanging about over her white dressing-gown, with 
her head drooping, her swollen eyelids cast down, her 
arms crossed under her loose sleeves. 

" Miss Pym ! " he said. Then he placed a chair for 
her, and set a guard upon his emotions. 

She sat down on the edge of the chair as if she were 
on sufferance. Indeed, she felt as if nothing in the world 
was her own now, except her grief. 

" What can I do for you ? " he said, as gently and 
tenderly as he could. " Anything, anything that you 
wish, I will try to do." 

She glanced up, at this. 

"Will you— go?" she said, timidly. "And forget 
all about us — ^about him, and me? And I will write to 
you about everything." 

Her head drooped again. He stood looking at her in 
silence for a few moments, wondering what prompted 
that speech — what, indeed, she really felt. Then he said, 
very gently : 

"Am I to understand that you really wish me to 

She murmured " Yes." 

" I will, then," he said. " But you must give me 
your true reason for sending me away." 

" For your — happiness," she said, with a sigh. 

"My — happiness?" he repeated, bitterly. "Even 
though you may hate me because your father wished — 
that — I would rather stay near you, even though you 


would not look at me, or speak to me — than go away — 

He hoped his earnestness might have some effect in 
eliciting the truth. But she still sat there dumbly, mis- 
erably. After a pause : 

" You are — very kind — he used to say so," she mur- 
mured, with a sob. 

He felt somewhat exasperated. 

" I am not kind," he said. " And I never say any- 
thing I do not mean and feel. Don't you believe 

^^Redlly kind people do not know when they are 
kind," she said, raising her grieved eyes and speaking 
more firmly. " Make no mistake, Mr. PauU. I under- 
stand your motives, which seem good to you. But they 
are not the best, or even good, for you or for me. I am 
positively certain of this." 

" My motives? " he said, scornfully. " Then, I have 
none I I only know — that I love you ! " he added, pas- 

She fastened, as if in perversity, on the first half of 
his speech. 

" If you have no motives, I have motives," she said, 
slowly. " Therefore I am the one to see clearly. And 
I plainly see, that the best thing for both of us is — ^that 
you should go away." 

"But — why?" cried Hugh. (In his life, he had 
never felt more inclined to swear.) " That is all I ask 
you to tell me! Why?" 

" I gave you my reason," she said. " For your hap- 
piness ! " 

"My happiness! What do you know — or care — 
about my happiness ? " he said, scornfully. 


" More than you care for mine ! " she said, rousing a 
little. " Or you would go, without asking why ! " 

" No, that I certainly should not," he returned. " Oh, 
what waste of time this beating about the bush is ! Lilia, 
I plainly see what all this means. You cannot love me ! " 

He began pacing the room again. She, poor child, 
worn out by sleepless nights fighting against her incli- 
nations — as she thought, for the welfare of this man 
whom she passionately loved — ^gazed sadly at him, a 
pathetic gaze of renunciation, which, if he had seen, 
might have enlightened him. 

But he did not see. 

" Well ? " he said, at last, almost fiercely, halting op- 
posite to her. " Your answer? " 

" I forget — what you asked," she said, timidly. 

" That is answer enough ! " he retorted sadly. " Poor, 
poor child ! You shall not be sacrificed." (Love him, 
and forget his question ? The two things were incom- 
patible. He was answered, he considered, and com- 

With a swelling heart she held out her limp, cold 
hand to him. 

" Be my brother," she said, with a catching at her 
breath. " Remember — how alone — I am ! " 

He stooped and lightly touched her hand with his 

" If I were your brother, I should stay," he said, 

" If you were my brother, you would do as you like 
without asking me," she said, with an attempt at a 
smile. " Do as you like." 

At that moment there was a tap at the door, and the 
older of the two nurses peeped in. 


" Might I trouble you one moment, Mr. Paull ? *' 

He went outside. The nurse handed him a small 
sealed packet 

" A locket and chain from the patient's neck," she 
said. " Mrs. Mervyn would not take it." 

" I will give it to Miss Pym," he said, wondering 
how much or how little Lilia knew of her father's per- 
sonal affairs. 

" Nurse came to bring me this," he said, returning 
to Lilia. '^ She says it contains a locket and chain she 
found around — ^his — neck." 

" A locket — round — his — neck ? It must be a mis- 
take," said Lilia, confidently. " He never wore any jew- 
ellery — except, of course, his watchchain. He did not ap- 
prove of men decking themselves out with ornaments." 

'^ Well, you can soon find out if it is a mistake," he 
said, handing her the packet. 

She hesitated, took the package, then laid it down 
on the table as if the touch of it had scorched her. 

" I cannot ! " she said, with a sob. " It seems — such 
prying, such desecration ! You open it." 

There was something so childish in her change of 
voice as she pushed the packet towards him, that in- 
stinctively Hugh felt comforted. All the preceding 
palaver might have been partly the masquerading of a 
child, suddenly called upon to act the woman. 

For a moment he hesitated ; then he broke the seal, 
and handing her the locket which had been in his cus- 
tody at the hospital, said : 

" I have seen this before, I think." 

" You ? " she asked, recoiling. " How ? When ? " 

" In the hospital — your father wore it then. If I 
am not mistaken, the locket contains a portrait." 


"I have never been photographed," she said, evi- 
dently believing that no portrait save of herself could 
be so honoured. "It is not — a portrait — of Eode- 
rick ? " 

" Look and see for yourself," suggested Hugh. 

Her fingers trembled as she opened the locket, then 
she stared in amazement at the miniature. 

" I have never seen that person in my life ! " she 
cried. " Have you ? Did he tell you anything about 
it ? Oh, it is impossible, impossible 1 " 

She was roused, almost excited. She tossed the 
locket away from her, then clutched at it again and de- 
voured the portrait with her eyes. 

" Surely the face must recall some one to your mind 
— there must be some — family — likeness?" he sug- 
gested, gravely. 

" I never saw any one in the least like that ! " she 
said, with withering contempt. " It is a horrid face ! " 

Could she speak thus if the slightest suspicion that 
the portrait was that of her unhappy mother had crossed 
her mind ? Hugh thought not. 

" You once — had — a mother," he said, not without 
emotion that he, a stranger, should be called upon to 
remind this fatherless young creature of the fact. 

" I know it," she said, coldly. " Please do not al- 
lude to that — again." 

" What is to be done with this, then ? " he asked, 
chilled by her unwomanliness. And he picked up the 
locket and once more looked at the pretty, defiant little 
face pictured therein. 

"I do not see what one thing has to do with the 
other," she said. 

"I feel certain that this is the portrait of your 


mother,'* he said. " And, that being so, what is to be 
done with it?" 

She glanced at him with a curious light in her grey 
eyes that made her look more witchlike than angelic. 

" I will show you," she said ; and going to the 
hearth she stirred the logs into a blaze, and detaching 
the locket from its slender chain she dropped it into 
the glowing heart of the fire. 

" I will keep this," she said, showing him the chain. 
" It touched his neck. You are answered." 

The horrified expression on Hugh's pale features 
somewhat quieted her passion. He was surprised and 
shocked. Was her rage pure jealousy, or what? He 
stood there, pondering, with his face averted from her. 

" Now you know me ! " she said, recklessly. " No 
— ^not quite. But I will tell you. I hate the woman 
who dared to marry my father without loving him, and 
so, poisoned his life and broke his heart ! " 

Somehow Sir Roderick as Hugh had known him was 
scarcely to be recognised as a man with a poisoned life 
and a broken heart. 

" As you have given me a brother's privilege, I shall 
use it and tell you the truth," he said, seriously, to the 
young creature who was, he could see, all panting and 
as it were aflame with long-repressed emotion. " You 
have no right to judge another whom you have neither 
seen nor known, least of all in the case of your mother, 
to whom you owe your life." 

"And — ^my misery!" she said, passionately. "If 
she had not spoiled his life, he would have been a 
happy man — he might be alive, now ! " 

"This is a very onesided way of arguing," he 
said. "Had your parents been happy together in the 


ordinary way, they might have had a large family of 
troublesome sons and daughters, who would have 
broken your father's heart, as yon call it, a dozen times 

" She was — a wretch, a wretch ! " said Lilia. 

In her passion she forgot her new shyness of Hugh. 
She had seated herself on the comer of the table — 
gracefully enough, she was always graceful — ^but she 
was swinging her little foot impatiently, and thrust 
away the breakfast things, not yet removed, with evi- 
dent carelessness whether they were broken or not. 

" Did it ever occur to you — that if we continue the 
mistakes those beloved dead of ours made here on 
earth, we might possibly be injuring their souls?" 
said Hugh, gravely. "It seems to me that real grief 
for the dead should show itself in continuing the 
good they have done — and, perhaps, in rectifying those 

"My father never made mistakes," said Lilia, ob- 

" He seems to have made one, at least," he said, 
somewhat bitterly — " in thinking that you and I wished 
—or would consent — to marry each other ! " 

She blushed and hung her head. 

" You were speaking of souls," she said, presently, 
in a somewhat defiant tone. " What do you mean by 
souls ? " 

" You ought to know," he returned. " Do you not 
go to church every Sunday, and say your prayers?" 

" I did so while he was here — but never again, never 
again!" she said, in tones so despairing that Hugh's 
growing hardness of humour was melted. 

" Why not ? " he asked, gently. 


^^ I was getting to believe that there might be a good 
God," she said. " That — is crushed — now I kiiow there 
is not!" 

"You do not know what you are saying, poor 
child ! " said Hugh. 

What was he to do? What to say? Never in his 
life had he felt so helpless in thought and word. 

She looked up at him with a sad, but quiet little 

"Would youy hard as you can be, have taken my 
father from me? " she said. 

"I thought your mind was larger, stronger," 
said Hugh, eagerly. "That you could distinguish 
between this little life and eternity; between our 
poor human ideas and the Eternal Must Be. I am 

She sighed. 

"I knew it," she murmured, twisting her fingers. 
"I knew that when you saw me as I really am, you 
would despise me ! " 

" Pray, pray do not misunderstand me," said Hugh, 
almost hopelessly. " It seems to me that all the trouble 
in life comes from people wilfully misunderstanding 
each other. Will you not believe in my devotion to 
you, that I am ready to do, to suffer anything for you ? " 

" I am not worth it," she sighed. " And — really it 
seems to me that I don't care whether I am or not, or 
indeed, what happens 1 " 

She was so listlessly miserable that Hugh re-assumed 
his professional manner. She was suffering from the 
shock. She required complete rest It never occurred 
to him that if he had taken her to his heart, then and 
there, without question or reserve, that complete rest 


would have been hers. Instead, he sent her upstairs to 
Mrs. Mervyn, devoutly kissing her hand at parting, 
with the kind, cool words : 

"Remember, you have a brother who is ready to 
serve you day or night." 

So Lilia went wearily up the old staircase and 
scared Mrs. Mervyn, who was scribbling notes at the 
writing-table in her room, by looking more ghostlike 
than when she left her. 

" Well ? " said that lady, who had quite concluded 
that the young people would understand each other. 

"Well? What?" ahe asked languidly. "Mr. 
Paull said I had better lie down. Lie down, indeed ! 
As if I could rest ! " 

" But — ^you understand each other ? " Mrs. Mervyn 
asked, with a shade of anxiety in her tone. She felt 
her position somewhat onerous. 

" Perfectly," said Lilia. " We are quite agreed — 
we have adopted each other as brother and sister — oh, 
father, father ! " 

And she broke down completely, sobbing hysteric- 
ally for a long time. , 

When she was quieted, and was seemingly asleep, 
Mrs. Mervyn had time to reflect. What were those two 
about ? 

" They are too much in love with each other and 
cannot talk sense, that's what it is," she told herself. 
" Ah, well, time enough ! The brother and sister busi- 
ness is really nicer during the first mourning, when 
there should be no thoughts of ' marrying, or giving in 
marriage.' " 



October — , 18—, 

If I do not tell someone, or something, I shall go 
mad I 

Oh I father, father, I loved you so ; and what have 
you done to me ? 

You could not help dying and leaving me, I know 
that. The relentless progress of atoms, whose rules no 
one is clear-brained or unprejudiced enough to discover, 
determined your death. 

But why, why did you degrade me so ? I have been 
wandering in the dark among the pines, in the forlorn 
hope of meeting your spirit. I have been to the place 
in the churchyard where they buried you, to-day. I 
knew I could not see or hear you, but I thought my 
mind might feel your mind. I felt nothing — but that 
you — are — not. 

You are not. Terrible, cruel thought ! And I have 
not the courage to kill myself and be not^ as well. This 
man you have given me to, without asking me, holds 
me, holds every bit of me — body, heart, what they call 
mind and soul — everything. I feel I must do his will, 
and that my own will is as not as you are. 

I rage and chafe like a chained beast, and every mo- 
ment I feel my chains are getting less galling — present- 


ly, oh, father, father ! they will be pleasant, like your 
chains were — then I shall love them — then they will 
crush me, and I shall not be your Lilia any more, but a 
little piece of another identity. 

It must have been your plan from the beginning. 
How you used to talk about him after that dreadful 
time in the hospital ! You made him out a second 
" Hamlet," only larger-minded, cleverer ; but never said 
he was young and handsome. You must have purposely 
let me imagine him like your friends, that I might be 
surprised, that first time he came here. How well I re- 
member one evening, when you and I were walking in 
the wood, and you were talking about him, and said he 
was coming I 

" At last I shall see this ancient ' Hamlet ' of yours," 
I said, and asked you if there had been an " Ophelia" in 
his story. 

" Scarcely time for that, yet," you said, in a peculiar 
way of yours, that means I am all at sea — all in the dark 
about something. But I was not interested enough to 
think more about it. 

Then came the day, when a graceful, dark, young, 
prince-like creature walked across the lawn, and when I 
saw him I felt all paralysed. I felt nothing, thought 
nothing. He stupefied me. I only seemed to wake up 
when he went away; no, some hours after he went 
back to London, and then my whole being seemed to 
give one great cry of despair, like it did when Mr. Mer- 
vyn told me of your accident and that you were in the 

I did not know what that feeling of despair meant 
then. It only frightened me. ^ I know what it meant, 
only too well, now. I despaired, because it is impossible 


that he can ever love me. And no one could see him 
and know him without feeling that life without his love 
is dry, purposeless — a living death. 

Oh I why did you bring him here, and ask him to 
take me ? Poor, dear father ! I thought you could not be 
mistaken in any one, and you are certainly not mistaken 
in your estimate of him. But when you thought he 
could love me, how you exaggerated me, how your kind 
eyes saw your poor child in a false light ! 

I — ^his companion — his — wife ! Impossible ! The 
whole world would laugh, would stare ! and I should be 
sick with shame, as I was to-day. 

I told him, two days before, that he must go away. 
I begged him to go away. He did not. He thinks he 
ought to sacrifice himself. So he stayed for the " fu- 
neral," as they call it. (Why not good Saxon burial ?) 
Father, you never treated me wrongly till now. Now 
you have wronged your child. When you were dying, 
you did what you thought best for me. But — to-day — 
the shame of it ! 

Your brothers, Mr. Pym and Mr. Edmund Pym, 
came for the burial. Boderick did not come, it was said 
he was ill ; but his brother Herbert, the clergyman, you 
used to laugh at to Roderick, and call the " family prig," 
came. They followed your coffin through the pouring 
rain in carriages. I sat in my room alone — I could not 
even bear Mammy Mervyn with me — ^feeling cold and 
half -dead. While they were seeing your coffin put into 
the ground I was listening to the clatter of plates and 
dishes, and the footsteps of the servants laying the 
luncheon which those people were to eat when they 
came back. I heard the carriages coming back like 
carriages in a dream. Then Mammy Mervyn would 


come in with a cup of beef -tea. She took me in her 
arms and dropped tears on to me, which made me drink 
the beef -tea, as the less disagreeable of the two. She 
told me the will was to be read, and Mr. Moffatt said I 
must come down ; and she made me put on that dreads 
ful black gown, which you would dislike, I know, as 
much as I do. I went downstairs with her. She 
asked me if I thought I should " break down." I said 
the truth : " Mammy, I feel there is nothing of me to 
break down." 

The room was dreadfully light. I could not make 
out which was which of the men in black standing about, 
till he came up to me and took my hand ; and the touch 
of him fired up my life like a flaming match fires spirits 
of wine. Then I again saw — ^heard — thought — and suf- 
fered the anguish of your loss acutely. The lawyer, 
sitting at your table, in your chair, read your will, and 
the awful shame settled about me that I shall never be 
able to lift off myself, never ! 

You left all your money and property to Aim, with 
the condition that he married me. That was all. You 
never made any arrangement for anyone else, or for any- 
thing else, should he refuse, or I refuse. 

If you could have heard the desecration of your name 
which followed I 

Old Mr. Pym, Roderick's father, that pinched old 
man like a sick weasel, got up and said he should op- 
pose your will, which was evidently drawn up when you 
were of unsound mind. 

At this I started up, and said that I should defend 
it. You had never been of unsound mind. 

Mr. Mervyn proposed that discussions, if any, should 
be postponed. 


I said, " Certainly.*' 

This conversation made me feel all anger. 

Then Mr. Pym proposed a private interview with me. 

I said : " Yes ; will you please come into the draw- 
ing-room ? " 

We went. I drew up the blinds, then stood with my 
back to the light, facing him. He offered me a chair. 
I declined. No man who has accused you of having 
been of unsound mind shall be invited to seat himself 
in this, your, house if I can prevent it. 

He stared at me, I stared at him. He began a speech, 
muddling the words and clearing his throat. Then he 
accused me of being in league with him — to have in- 
fluenced you to disinherit Roderick. 

I said : " Excuse me ; but I fail to understand what 
my cousin Roderick has to do with the matter." 

He told me that you had made Roderick your heir 
in a previous will, and that you had intended us to 

I laughed. That made him very angry. He stamped 
about the room, said many things I could not under- 
stand; but finished off by saying that " everything was 
exactly as he expected," which was plain enough. • 

I said what I felt, for I was really sorry for him. I 
said : ^' I am glad of that. It seems to me that what 
one expects so seldom happens." 

Just then Mrs. Mervyn came in, looking quite fright- 
ened. (How frightened — or rather timid — these be- 
lievers in all sorts of unseen extraordinary things are !) 
He and she looked at each other; then he went out, 
and she came to me and said : 

" My darling, this is dreadful for you, I am sure I 
But I know he meant it well." 


I said: "He!— who?" 

" Your poor, dear father ! " she said. 

How dared she defend you, and to me I 

I said : " My father was above ordinary men. He 
knew — he could see farther than we short-sighted mor- 

She seemed a little chidden, and I was glad. Then 
she asked me if I would see — him. 

" I can see, poor fellow ! that he had no idea of this, 
he seems quite overwhelmed," she said. 

The white-hot shame of that scorched me. I stood 
there and — oh, father ! — suffered an agony, to describe 
which there are no words — ^no words ! 

She called him " poor fellow ! " Pityingly, she said 
" he had no idea of that, that he was quite overwhelmed." 
Oh ! my shame, my shame ! And I never dreamt that I 
was good enough for him. I had never aspired, never 
should have aspired to being even his friend, much less 
his wife. Your goodness in overrating your child has 
covered her with a pall — a pall of shame — under which 
she will lie buried till the end of time — if, indeed, 
there should be such a thing as the end of time — which 
seems absurd. 

I said, " To-morrow." I would see him to-morrow. 
And I begged for solitude. I have had it — utter, com- 

October — . 

[" Two days later " is written in another handwriting on the mar- 
gin of the page.] 

For once, I must try and communicate with you, 
dear father, before I begin the new life you cannot blame 
me for living, for you willed it so. 


Did you know that you were giving me to one whose 
thoughts, opinions, feelings are the very opposite of 
your own? This is the great, important question I am 
trying to put to you — in my mind — for it is no use to 
cry out to you, you cannot hear me. Oh ! it is impor- 
tant, most important ! For why should you have edu- 
cated me so carefully in the common-sense conformity 
of actualities, if you meant me to adopt the ordinary 
myths which he believes ? He tells me you knew his 
opinions, that he concealed nothing from you. He can- 
not lie. So I am to think that you felt a secret dis- 
satisfaction with your own explanations of the awful 
mysteries of human life and the universe, and preferred 
I should adopt the blind weaving of human fancies 
they call faith — religion. Can it be? Can it be? I 
cannot, cannot understand you. 

I have sought your spirit everywhere — by your grave, 
in your favourite haunts, in your room. I have knelt 
and grovelled, imploring you to give me one sign, to 
comfort me with a passing breath. N"o ! no ! I have felt 
nothing — but a blank — a silence — death / . . . 

Still, you, or what remains of you, may be dimly im- 
pressed with my burning, fiery thoughts ; so I concen- 
trate them and write them down. If Thought in Mat- 
ter can communicate with disembodied Thought, the 
moment may come when you will in some way become 
acquainted with these sentences. 

So I will tell you how the fulfilling of your will has 
come about. 

I could not sleep last night — no, not last night, the 
night after your burial. In the morning — (fancy, that 
was only yesterday morning, though it seems so far 
away it might have been fifty years ago I) — I had no 


courage left. I could not see him. I sent Mammy Mer- 
vyn to tell him so. When she came back I asked her 
what he said. She answered, " No thing." I said : " He 
must have said something.''^ Shesaid : " N"o. He bowed 
his head, and answered some question James had just 
asked him." 

Somehow, this silence rebuked me, and I felt I was 
not behaving with due respect to your chosen heir, for 
that is what he really is. So all day long I tried to 
nerve myself for what I had to do, which was to tell him 
I could not accept the sacrifice of himself, but that I 
was ready and glad to place myself in the position of his 
younger sister, as you had placed him in the position of 
an eldest — indeed, an only son. This would be very 
hard to say truthfully, feeling, as I do, that to be his 
own wife is the greatest happiness that any living 
woman on the face of this earth can possibly attain. 
When evening came, I could not face him. I felt worn 
out. I sent him a little note, telling him I would 
see him to-morrow morning {this morning) ; and lock- 
ing myself into my room, went to bed and tried to 

Sleep was impossible. The night was chill, I knew, 
though I was hot. The moonlight would not be shut 
out. I hq^rd the quarters chime, the hours strike, the 
noises in the house cease one by one, till the last door 
up above shut softly, and the house had its night hush 
on, which, when you and I were reading together late, 
you used to call its " nightcap." (Only that last night 
that we were trying to find out something of the sepa- 
rate will-power, commonly called " the human soul," you 
said, ^' We must wait till the house has put on its night- 
cap ; " and when the hush came, you laid down your 


long pipe, and with that peculiar smile which meant 
worhy you said, " Come along ! " 

Then, as I lay tossing, eleven struck, and a thought 
came to me as a lightning flash. 

There is an old notion that midnight or thereabouts 
is the time when disembodied spirit-essence can manifest 
itself in some way ; and, as you have often seriously said 
to me, there is always at least a spark of fire underlying 
the dense smoke of these popular fallacies. 

I had not tried to find you in the dead of night yet ! 
I got up, put on a winter dressing-gown, wrapped my 
head in a veil, and, going softly downstairs, went out 
into the pinewood. 

There I roamed and wandered, straining my thoughts, 
fixing them upon you— yearning, longing for you. The 
moonlight streamed calmly down ; the dark night sky 
was clear and peaceful ; the pines stood solemn and still, 
like giant, black-clad sentinels guarding your grave. 
But you — oh, father, father ! — you were not. 

Now and then an owl hooted, or one of those screech- 
ing night-birds flew out of covert. But these natural 
noises only deepened the stem silence of the sleeping 
world. My wretched body, my miserable senses, were 
the barrier between us. Embodied, we shall never meet 
again. Oh, father! that thought maddened me; I 
could not bear the separation any longer. 

I looked up. (Why do we always look up?) That 
cold, solitary eye of the night — the moon — glared bane- 
fnlly at me. To me its chill disdain meant: ^^Fool, 
why stand there drivelling ? If you will have him again, 

The thought steadied me. I would die. Tes ; but 
how, when ? 


Those poor Mervyns ! A rush of pity for dear, good 
Mammy and her worthy husband made me turn away 
from the idea, wrung with pain. They had been so 
tender and good to me always. What a repayment — to 
grieve their kind hearts ! 

Overcome, I made my way to the triangle-lawn, and 
sat down in a comer of the stone bench under the laurels 
to collect my thoughts. Then came the most startling 
event of my whole life. 

I had hardly been there a minute, when a figure 
glided in by the path through the shrubs by which I had 
come — ^the figure of a man. 

It stood motionless in the shadow. At first, with a 
throb of triumph, I thought it was you. I was spring- 
ing up to rush to you when it made a step forward. I 
saw a white face in the moonlight : the face of a thin 
man with grey hair, all tossed about above his forehead 
— a face I seemed to know, but did not know. 

(This I declare to you that I saw, with these living 
eyes, and never, never will I believe that I was deceived. 
Never ! ) 

At first I shivered — ^yes, with fright. I was afraid of 
that man, whose face was familiar and strange at one 
and the same time. 

Then I suddenly remembered something you said to 
me when I was a child, and Eob the pony ran away 
and I stuck on. When you came up and found us 
all right you said, sharply, "Were you frightened?" 
Then, after I answered " No," you said, " That's right 
If you were frightened at anything, I should disown 

You shall never disown me for cowardice 1 So I 
conquered the nonsensical tremor, and went across 


towards the man. As I got near, I saw it was he — ^your 

He looked frightened, horrified — I think, shocked. 
He stared at me without speaking while I could have 
counted twelve ; then he said, quite harshly : 

^^ Is this the first time you have been here at this 
hour ? " 

Before I could think I naturally said " Yes," and told 
him why I had come. 

"This is most extraordinary," he said, staring 
strangely at me. 

He was not like himself : he seemed dazed. I felt 
less shy of him. 

" I came here for two reasons," I said. " I was too 
unhappy to sleep, and I thought that if my father's 
spirit is hovering about anywhere I might find it — him 
— here." 

Just then the church clock rang out so loudly that I 
started, and laid my hand on his arm. He smiled, and 
took my hand. 

***Even the great philosopher. Miss Pym, is super- 
stitious enough to believe in ghosts and to be frightened 
when the clock strikes twelve," he said, in a familiar 
teasing way. 

" I was not frightened ; I was only startled," I said. 

" Come, we must go back to the house at once ; I 
am answerable for you," he said in an authoritative way. 

"Answerable? May I ask to whom?" I said, as 
coldly as I could, though I began to feel a strange joy — 
yes, joy just after my despair, therefore all the keener by 
contrast. Oh, my father, what a paltry nature is mine 
to love another when I have but just lost you ! *' There 
is no one that has any power over me, no one who can or 


will ask or care what has become of me," I said, as he 
did not speak for some moments. 

" There is," he said. 

" That is absurd ; there is wo^," I asseverated* 

« There is," he said,—" Almighty God ! " 

He drew my hand through his arm, and we walked 
silently towards the house. I was wondering why I had 
shuddered at his sudden mention of the Deity ; I was 
frightened to realise that his influence had even greater 
power over me than I thought. 

" You are my sacred charge," he said, in the same 
serious voice. What a voice he has — so deep, yet so 
mellow ! " Do what you may, I shall watch over you 
till I die." 

" If you can find me," I cried ; for the battle to resist 
him against a strong inclination I felt to tell him I was 
his slave, to do as he pleased with, was exciting me to 
wildness. " Perhaps I shall die or disappear ! " 

" If I thought one thing, I should be the one to dis- 
appear ; at least, you should never be troubled with the 
sight of me again," he said, stopping when we came to 
an open place in the road, dropping my hand, and turn- 
ing so that he could see my face plainly+n the moonlight. 
" And I must really now, once for all, ask you to answer 
me a plain question, with truth, absolute truth. It is my 
duty to ask, and your duty to reply." 

" Well ? " I said, nerving myself as if for some process 
of torture, dreading, fearing I should give away sud- 
denly, and shame myself for ever, beyond repair, beyond 

"It is a plain question, and I only want a plain 
Yes or No," he went on. "Can you love me as a 


I stood still, I gasped. Terror ! I had to tell the 
truth, and that truth was horrible. Suddenly I be- 
thought me how to be true both to myself and to him. 

" It must be plain Yes or plain No ? " 1 asked. 

" Yes," he said. 

"Then, iVo/" I cried, emphatically. 

He thrust his hands into his pockets, drew a deep 
sigh, and stared at me. His face was in the shadow : I 
could not see it ; but Ifelt his eyes fixed upon me. 

" Thank you for your frankness," he said, just when 
the silence was getting unendurable, and I dreaded giv- 
ing way and flinging myself at his knees, or something 
equally disgraceful. Oh, the hard, hard fight it was to 
keep cool, silent ! " Then the dream is over," he went 
on, more to himself than to me, beginning to walk along 
the road again. " I might have known it without asking 
you, child ; but it is best to kill a delusion right out, at 

" What delusion ? " I asked. 

" The delusion that you, or, for the matter of that, 
any woman, could care to be the wife of a man so totally 
devoid of interest and charm as myself," he said, bitterly. 
" Thank heaven ! it will never come in my way to ask 
any woman that question again." 

His self -depreciation astonished me. Surely he must 
know what he isl Then I remembered, dear father, 
how people who are born with great gifts do not recog- 
nise the fact because it is so natural to them. Indeed, 

you once told me, when that wonderful man M 

condescended to talk to me about the beetles he had 
discovered, that these men of genius cannot understand 
how it is everyone else has not powers similar to their 


"Do you know that you are telling lies without 
knowing it?" I said. 

" I am What did you say ? " he said, evidently 

startled, stopping short and once more staring at me. 

" When you say you are devoid of charm and interest 
you are telling a monstrous lie," I cried. " If you don't 
know that every woman who sees and talks to you must 
think you a god among men, it is time you did know it ; 
for it is much better for women you should not be with 
them. You make them dissatisfied with their people. 
Don't misunderstand me ! You did not make me dis- 
satisfied with my father : he, too, was perfect. But after 
seeing you that time you came and stayed, everyone else 
seemed coarse and common ; and Roderick — oh, poor 
Roderick ! — I was very unkind to him. I did not want 
him at all." 

Once more he stopped. 

"Do you mean all this?" he said. "Good God! 
Why, of course you do ! I forgot how innocent, how 
ignorant you are ! What shall I do with you ? " 

We stood staring at one another like cats before they 
begin to fight. ^ 

" Do with me ? " I said, thinking as I spoke ; for I 
felt very sorry for him, burdened with me. " Take my 
advice, my first advice : have nothing to do with me. Go 
away, and forget my father and me as soon as you can." 

"But why should I? No, no; that is not the 
question," he said, sternly, like you used to speak 
sometimes. "Lilia, bo sensible I If you think far 
more of me than I deserve, why cannot you consent 
to be my wife ? " 

" You never asked me ! " I said. 

" I have done nothing else but ask you ! " he cried. 


" You are mistaken," I said, and with truth. " You 
did not ask me to be your wife ; you asked me if I could 
love you as a husband." 

" And you said 'iVb.' Such a No ! " 

" I meant it." 

"You are the greatest puzzle I have ever come 
across," he said, almost angrily. "I know you mean 
to speak the truth. But one moment you tell me 
decidedly, in a manner that admits of no doubt, no 
hope, that you cannot love me as a husband, and the 
next you say extravagant things about me — that I am 
a god among men — things which would be insults from 
any lips but yours. What am I to think ? Both cannot 
be true." 

" Both things are true," I said. " I cannot love you 
as, for instance, Mrs. Mervyn loves her husband. She 
doesn't mind much where he is. She is quite contented 
to stay with me while he is at the Vicarage. But the 
woman who marries you will weary her heart out all 
the time you are away from her ; or, perhaps, you might 
find a girl who would not. I can only speak for myself. 
If you love yourself, and I suppose you do — everyone 
does, more or less — save yourself from me ! I cannot 
love you unselfishly. I should be a burden to you ; you 
would get to hate me." 

He took my hands, then took me in his arms — ^like 
you used to, father, when you said " Good-night " — and 
he said to me : 

" I should prefer to risk hating you, then. Lilia, let 
us talk sense. You are mine— doubly mine, as your 
father's dying gift — I am yours. Only listen to my 
advice as you listened to his, and we shall be happy in 
life and death." 


Already, under his influence, I began to see things 
in a different light What a fool I am ! Oh, dear fa- 
ther, what a great, grand thing your patience with me 
has been ! 

We have talked over everything. He is resolved to 
let no consideration interfere with his working out of 
whatever talent he has. So for six months or so, until 
he has passed certain important examinations, he will 
work hard in London, and I shall see but little of him. 
Mr. and Mrs. Mervyn will live here ; and for the present 
the Vicarage will be shut up. 

This, my dear father, is how your will — that our 
lives should be united — will be carried out. I will work 
on faithfully to improve myself, as far as I can be im- 
proved. May the end of these months of probation 
find me more worthy of the great honour of being your 
daughter and his wife ! 

Note in another handwriting : " This ended her diary." 

Extract from the first column of The Times^ in the 
June following the dates of above extracts : 

" On the 24th inst., at; the Parish Church of the Pinewood, 

F , Surrey, Hugh Paull, M. D. Lond., M. R. C. S., etc., to Lilia, 

only child of the late Sir Roderick Pym, Knt." 



Jfay, 18 — . 

It is positively terrible ! to-day I have been married 
eleven months, and during that time my work has been 
at a dead standstill. 

It is rather my poor darling's misfortune than her 
fault. For one with a temperament of passionate con- 
centration such as hers, a totally different up-bringing 
was called for. School, for instance, and plenty of cheer- 
ful, natural society afterwards ; she should have mixed 
freely with girls of her own age, girls like Daisy. This 
might have balanced her tendency to dwell on one idea 
to the exclusion of all others. 

Week after week, month after month, I have tried 
to wean her from the one theme — our mutual affection. 
I see, I feel more bitterly each hour that she is not in 
love with me^ but with her love for me. I may wrong 
her affection : God forgive me if I do I But true love 
is unselfish. Even her love for her father was unselfish. 

To-day I have determined to look into the matter. 
The resolve formed itself in my mind during our walk. 

She has an embarrassing habit of multiplying wed- 
ding-days : I don't know what else to call it. For in- 
stance, I had to keep the day week of our marriage in a 
semi-solemn way : in recalling all our sentiments during 


our betrothal, in reading our old letters, in rejoicing that 
we had met, etcetera. A charming idea, especially when 
supplemented by plans for our future management of 
the Pinewood, our poor people, the tenants and labour- 
ers. But, like other habits of inspection and classifica- 
tion, not good when treated with " vain repetitions." 
That day fortnight, that day month, the function was 
not to be cavilled at. But when, the " day five weeks " 
after our marriage, she raised her eyes in that earnest 
way when she gave me my first cup of tea at breakfast, 
and said : " It is five weeks to-day since we were mar- 
ried " 

Well, I had planned to do some work — in fact, to 
begin my work again ; and I said, as gently as I could : 

" Yes, dear ; and to-day we must give up mooning 
over the past, and begin to live real, sensible lives." 

I cannot blame myself for the words, nor for my way 
of saying them. But their effect upon her alarmed me. 
She became deadly pale, and looked at me as if at the 
very least I had threatened to kill her. 

"Did you say 'mooning over the past ^f^^ she stam- 

I confessed that I did. 

" What do you mean by * mooning ' f " she asked, 

" What you are doing now," I said bravely, for I felt 
I must begin to bring my darling down to earth a bit. 
(It was for all the world like pulling a string attached 
to the foot of some fluttering and unwilling bird.) 
"You have some romantic idea in your mind. You 
want to square my life and your life with it. It cannot 
be done. Life is not a poem in so many cantos. It is 
work ; hard, dry, but honest worh^^ 


" Did I ever say that it was not ? " she said, reproach- 

" No, dear. But " 

Then I explained, as carefully as I could, how es- 
sential it was that we should settle down ; that while I 
continued to study, I should commence practising my 
profession ; a thing as essential to a medical man as the- 
oretical study. 

" You are going to practise f " she asked, in evident 

" Certainly," I said, firmly. 

" Where ? Here ? " (This was at the Pine wood.) 

" Scarcely here, I think," I said. " In London." 

She said no more. For days after she was gentle, 
affectionate, but a very drooping lily indeed. Every- 
thing seemed an effort to her. 

I persisted. Sir Eoderick's town house had been 
sold to pay off some mortgages on the Pinewood. So I 
saw my good friend Dr. Hildyard about a house. After 
discussion, he offered me a floor in his house (which he 
only used for business, having taken a country-house 
near Finchley as his place of residence). 

"By-and-by we may take it into our heads to be 
partners, Paull," he said. " Then you will be on the 

It was a brilliant prospect, and my poor girl rejoiced 
with me. In theory, it was delightful ; in practice, im- 

Day by day I would return to find the spectre of a 
wife, instead of the living, breathing entity I had mar- 
ried. I soon found out that althougli Lilia occupied each 
hour according to a plan we had drawn up together ; al- 
though she managed her household cleverly, visited her 


people, taught in the school, and studied chemistry and 
physiology, as she wished, as she termed it, to be able at 
any moment to help me in minor matters if called upon, 
she seemed to rust^ as it were, working and living alone. 

At first I thought it was loneliness, and Daisy came 
and spent the last days of her single life with us, Herbert 
Pym coming occasionally. (An abominable prig, that !) 
But after a few weeks, my sister came to me with a seri- 
ous face. 

" I must speak to you, Hugh," she said, with an evi- 
dent struggle ; " Herbert said it was my duty. My dear 
boy, do you know about Lilia ? " 

" Know ? " I repeated, slightly nettled by Mr. Her- 
bert's Jack-in-office-ship. " Of course I know everything 
my wife says and does. I almost fiatter myself she tells 
me her secret thoughts." 

" That is just tV," said my sister, who seemed quite 
unlike her usual bright self. " We cannot help seeing, 
Hugh, that if this sort of thing goes on, Lilia will ruin 
your life." 

" And pray why do we think so ? " I asked. 

" If you were to see her when you are away ! She 
does what she sets herself to do. But in such a way I 
As soon as you are gone, she changes. She gets pale^ 
and a sort of film comes over her eyes. She doesn't 
really seem to understand what one says to her ; and I 
can see that the poor people we go to see are beginning 
to think that you beat her, or something. The other 
day, old Dame Ashwell (that wonderful old woman who 
lives in the thatched cottage at the end of Swain's Lane) 
looked quite disgustedly at me, and when she conde- 
scended to speak to me, was very dignified indeed ; and 
yesterday, when I met her in the wood picking up fir- 


cones and determined to have it out with her, I found 
out that not only she but most of your people are no- 
ticing how miserable Lilia looks, and how different she 
was when the ' old gentleman was alive,' as they call it." 

It was this talk with Daisy which determined me to 
give up all idea of practising my profession for the pres- 
ent ; and the very day after Daisy left us (I would not 
allow Herbert the satisfaction of knowing that his inter- 
ference had influenced me, so sure I am that he has a 
secret grudge against me because he thinks I was the 
means of ousting his brother Roderick) — the very day 
after I was well quit of my sister and her betrothed, I 
went to Dr. Hildyard and told him how matters stood. 

He was more taken back and affected than I could 
understand. He was silent for awhile ; then he said : 

" You had better let me see your wife, Paull. She 
must not stand in your way in this fashion." 

For him to see Lilia while entirely in the dark as to 
the peculiarities of her past life would never do. But 
we made a compromise. Shortly he would take a holi- 
day, and spend it at the Pinewood. 

He came, he saw, and was conquered. As I had 
been for some days entirely at home, Lilia was in the 
most brilliant of humours. She treated our distin- 
guished guest with all the consideration and respect 
which Sir Roderick had known so well how to lavish on 
his favourites ; and to this was added a womanly tender- 
ness and reverence under the influence of which Dr. 
Hildyard expanded and, as it were, blossomed out into 
a geniality I had not before known in him. 

It seemed to me that he told my wife the whole story 
of his life. She was intensely interested, and made so 
many apt and pertinent remarks that I began to see 


more than ever that if I pursued my profession, and left 
her to herself and her hopeless mood, between the two 
stools I should probably fall to the ground. Thus, she 
was a perfect woman. Away from me, she was literally 
non est. 

• An embarrassing position. Dr. Hildyard decided 
me. We had the matter out the day he left us. He 
said, warmly : 

" PauU, I confess that from what I heard of your 
wife, I came here prepared to find her one of three 
things: mad, a fool, or a victim to hysteria. From 
what I have seen and observed, I think her one of the 
sweetest women alive, but a perfect baby." 

I told him my growing fear that she was becoming 
too absorbed in my companionship, that it might in 
time become almost a monomania. 

He smiled. 

" I think that will cure itself," he said, " by the 
homoeopathic system. You will find two babies less 
trouble than one." 

Friday ^ May — . 

I was interrupted after that last word (I was writing 
late, in the study) by quick footsteps down the staircase, 
and Lilia came in in her dressing-gown. 

" I was dreadfully frightened ! " she said. " I must 
have fallen asleep, although I thought I was awake, lis- 
tening for you ; and I woke up and you were not there 1 
And the clock struck one ! " 

"And if it did?" I said, taking her on my knee, 
after shutting this book into a drawer. Her heart was 
beating, she was trembling. " Oh, Lilia ! " I said. " I 
thought I had married a woman who would bravely face 


life at my side, not shrink and cower at shadows like a 
nervous horse." 

Then I talked seriously to her. Many husbands in 
my position would have been able to use the argument 
of maternal responsibility to urge her to be more matter- 
of-fact, less absurd in her fancif ulness, and I said so. 

" You dislike giving me pain, dear, I know," I said. 
" And your horror of the poor little one God may give 
to us is a great pain to me. Other women rejoice at 
such a prospect." 

She drew herself away from my arm and looked 
fixedly at me. 

" What other women do you mean ? " she said. 

" All women, at least most women," was my answer. 
** Lilia, I cannot understand this feeling, or rather this 
want of feeling, in you. Tell me truly, frankly, darling, 
why do you hate the idea of a child — our child?" 

She took my face between her hands and kissed me. 

" Because," she spoke passionately, " you may love 
it — ^would love it ; and I cannot spare one thought, one 
word, one look of yours ! " 

I sighed, I could not help it. Then I reminded her 
of a great oak we had seen during an expedition with 
Dr. Hildyard into the adjacent county. We had paused 
to look at the giant, around whose spreading branches 
ivy had climbed and twisted until bough after bough 
was dying. 

She had said : 

" That ivy clings to the tree like I cling to you." 

" The ivy is choking the life out of the oak," said I ; 
" it is to be hoped you will not do the same by me." 

I said it, and she took it, jestingly. But, as I told 
her, if matters do not mend — if I cannot at least have 


freedom for study, or to go to town now and then on 
business and to look people up, my end may be the 
same as the oak's. 

She was all penitence, all promises ; nor would she 
leave the study until I had giren her my word that I 
would for the future go on my own way regardless 
of her feelings, which she would try to modify by de- 

Before we retired for the night, I had promised to 
go to town to-day for some scientific works I particu* 
larly want, and to transact neglected business. 

Sunday, May — . 

Only two days I It seems weeks — weeks of horror, 
anxiety — since I wrote those last words. 

I went to town, got my books, saw Dr. Hildyard, 
etcetera, and returned by the seven o'clock train. 
Thomas was to meet me at the station with the dog- 
cart. He was there. At first I noticed nothing un- 
usual, but the instant I reached my seat he drove off at 
a tremendous rate. 

" Gently, gently ! " I cried. " What's wrong with 
Firefiy ? " 

"Nothing's wrong with the hoss^ sir," he said, 
gruffly ; " but we've had visitors to-day, and whether 
it's them or not I don't know, but the missus is upset, 

" Is your mistress ill ? " I cried, startled, dreading I 
knew not what. 

" I dunno, sir," was all I could get out of Thomas 
for some minutes, until I was really angry, when he 
blurted out that " one of them Pyms — the old 'un, he 
thought," had come and had had a long interview with 


my wife, since which no one had seen her or had been 
able to find her. 

Distracted, I had poor Firefly driven home at racing 
speed, and searched, first the honse, then the grounds, 
with lanterns. 

No result. I feared calling her name, for the cot- 
tagers might hear, and there would be fresh talk such 
as that Daisy repeated to me. 

May I never, never have to go through such a time 
again ! I was getting mad with anxiety and fear when 
something seemed to say to me — not in my ear, but in 
my mind : 

" Her father's grave.*' 

With a flash of hope, I bade the men who accom- 
panied me stay where they were ; and taking a lantern 
went on into the churchyard alone. 

The lantern sent a flicker upon a black heap on the 
grass : Lilia, asleep— K>r dead ? 

Her dress was wet to the touch, drenched with 
dew. Feeling half crazy with dread, I gently shook 

She started, and staring with dazed eyes, sat up, 
rubbed her eyes (thank God ! she had only been asleep, 
but that was bad enough !). Then she said, '^ Oh, 
dear I" looked at me, first with sharp inquiry, then 
with a smile, and held out her hands to be lifted up. 

" How could you ? *' I said, as she clung to me. 

^^ My uncle Pym came and said cruel things ; said 
your inhuman treatment of me was the talk of the 
countryside : that I owed it to myself to leave you and 
go and live with him ; and when I told him what I 
thought of him, got in a fearful rage, told me I was a 
fool and a dupe, and I should rue it, and went away," 



she said, in her direct, childish manner. " Then I felt 
very bad — so lonely — and came here. I could not help 
crying, and I expect I cried myself to sleep. But I am 
not sorry I " she added, triumphantly, " for you look so 
ill, that I see you have really cared ; that you really do 
love me ! " 

If I had not been so thankful to find and hold my 
darling to my heart once more, this would have been 

" Lilia, your absurd want of faith will be your ruin," 
I told her. " Do you know that since our first meeting 
my experience of you has taught me that Faith is not 
only necessary to people's happiness, but to their sound- 
ness in mind and body ? " 

Then I cautioned her to be careful what she said 
and did before those men — there would be talk enough 
of to-day's incidents as it was, — and we went back to 
the house. 

. But the shock of that malignant old man's visit had 
its natural result. Before morning my darling was 
suffering greatly. As soon as the telegraph-oflfice was 
open I wired to Dr. Taylor (the specialist to whom Dr. 
Hildyard had introduced me, and who had promised to 
come to us if necessary). By midday he came. To- 
wards evening a pale, delicate little boy was taken to his 
mother to be kissed. She was quite revived by the fact 
that he was a boy. 

" You may say I am selfish ! I am," she said, wist- 
fully, to me afterwards. " But if it had been a girl, 
and you had loved her like my father loved me, what 
room would there have been in your heart for me ? " 


June — . 

The little one is a week old to-day. It is very sweet 
to see mother and son together. I could sit and look at 
them by the hour. But " Life is real, life is earnest ! " 
as the great author of that incomparable '^ Psalm of 
Life" says; and all the more that the boy has come 
upon the scene, I must be " up and doing, with a heart 
for any fate ! " 

Any fate! what fate can I fear, with those two 
precious ones to love and work for ? 

cTw/y — , 

Can I, this wretched, hopeless* wreck, groping in a 
thick darkness, where not the faintest gleam of hope 
tells me what I am, where I am, how I am to bear my 
life — can I be the/ooZ who wrote that last entry? 

Fool, fool I I boasted of a to-morrow. If ever any 
eyes see this — man or woman, — I solemnly warn you, 
never, never, whatever happens, however you may 
have been blessed, look upon to-morrow with anything 
approaching to the feeling (was it confidence or pre- 
sumption ?) with which I wrote those last words. 

It was all sunshine that day; next day the storm 
was down upon me with a vengeance. 

My darling was lying on the sofa (it was a sultry 
afternoon) by the window. We were looking over a 
map together, discussing where we should all go for 
change of air as soon as she might travel, when sud- 
denly she asked me ''if I would mind shutting the 

''I think the wind must have changed," she said,* 
pulling her little shawl together over her shoulders ; " I 
feel quite cold." 


She could not possibly hare had a chill; the air 
itself was like that which cpmes from a heated oveiu 
Howerer, I closed the window. I had hardly done so 
when she was seized with shivering. 

I called Norse, who is a kind, but highly-experienced 
woman. I called her in fear. I saw her look swiftly at 
Lilia, then at me. 

Then I knew. We both pretended to Lilia to think 
nothing of the rigours which shook her and turned her 
lips blue over her chattering teeth ; but I stole my 
opportunity, rushed downstairs, sent off a telegram to 
Dr. Taylor, despatched a messenger for the Mervyns. I 
could not face this alone : I turned coward. I " groaned 
in my anguish, and the thorn fastened in me." 

And when I went back — the pity of it — Nurse strug- 
gling to lift the pale, suffering darling into bed, and 
baby crying piteously in the next room ; while she said 
piteously to me, " He might be quiet till I get warm, 
mightn't he ? " 

Poor infant ! if he were quiet till his mother got 
warm, he would never cry again. 

I sent Nurse to quiet him, and waited on her myself. 
I did everything, I hazarded everything I dared, to bring 
about a reaction. But presently she complained of her 

'^ I feel as if they had taken one of those hideous flat 
stones off a grave and laid it on my chest," she said, gaz- 
ing at me with eyes that looked bluer and more staring 
than those dear grey eyes had ever looked. " What is 
it? Is there anything wrong with my heart, Hugh! 
Tell me, is it my heart f " (with alarm). 

" Stuff ! " I said. " I let you sit up too long, and 
you are chilly, that's all." 


Then I began, watching her stealthily, to talk as 
easily as I couldl 

Her features were paling into an ngly yellow, her 
eyes were sinking, and her nose looked pinched. Nurse, 
coming to thte bed with a cheerful " Well, dear, are you 
all right now?" gave me a look that, knowing well 
enough what was happening, stabbed my very souL 

" Bather quick, don't you think so ? " she managed 
to whisper to me. 

She need not have whispered. I knew my wife was 
sinking away from me as fast as any human being has 
ever sunk from time into eternity. 

And how — how was she going ? 

'^ What is making that buzzing noise ? I can't hear 
you two," she said presently. " And, Hugh, raise me, or 
I shall choke ! " 

She was gasping. I raised her. She did not feel 
cold now. Nurse was fanning her. 

No hope for anyone to come ! I felt desperate. 
Just then she said, " You fan me ; Nurse — ^baby." So 
Nurse gave me the fan and went away. The dying 
must be obeyed. 

As I held her — ^a dead weight — on one arm and 
fanned her with my disengaged hand, she looked up at 
me with a terrible look — the most hopeless, yet defiant 
and angered, look I have ever seen in human eyes. I 
once saw it in a celebrated picture of " Lucifer at His 
Condemnation," and, remembering this, it yfda hell to 
see it in my wife's eyes now. 

" I must know," she said, in her altered voice. " Is 
this death f " 

" It may be," I faltered. I dared not withhold the 
awful truth. 


She smiled — a sneering, derisive smile. 

" And you still believe in a good God ? " she said. 

" More than ever ! " I said, my very life in my words. 
" Darling, how could I live and see you like this if God 
did not hold me, help me? I should be* like a dead 
thing — helpless — and you know I am holding you up. 
I am calm, I can talk, by the mercy of God " 

" Hush ! " she said, violently, with a tremendous effort 
raising herself (she was gradually slipping down, hold 
her how I might). " Do not say any more about that. 
Tell me, how long have I " 

" My darling, I have sent for Dr. Taylor ; we must 
not give up hope," I said. In my agony of despair the 
words mocked me like so many separate and distinct 
lies. " He may do something. Why should you die? 
You are so young " 

" I asked you, how long ? " she repeated. " I have 
something to say." 

" Days — I mean hours," I stammered, lying hard and 
fast in my misery. 

She feebly shook her head. 

" No, no ! " she said ; " perhaps in a minute. I want 
you to promise your dying wife something. Will you — 
whatever I ask ? " 

" Anything ! anything ! " I said. " Your will is my 
will now I " 

^'Anything ? " she repeated. 

Drops, those last cold drops, were on her brow. 

" I swear — anything," I said, recklessly. 

" Ah I " she laughed. 

Yes, let me remember that, in her hour of agony, I 
pleased her so — that once more, for the last time, I 
heard that sweet little joyous laugh. 


" Well," she said, " as soon as I am dead, go down- 
stairs. In the right-hand draw of my father's writing- 
table you will find a small revolver. I have kept it 
loaded. Shoot yourself 1 We shall then be as much to- 
gether as we are now. You will ? " 

It was an awful struggle — her dying eyes gazing into 
mine. At last I said : 

« I— will." 

" Now I don't hate this God of yours quite so much," 
she began, when suddenly her face was convulsed, a rattle 
came in her throat, her eyes glazed. 

Minutes passed — ^half-an-hour ; then (she had been 
dead a quarter-of-an-hour) I left her body, her beautiful 
young lifeless body, to Nurse, after kissing those dear, 
lips for the last time, and I went to fulfil my promise. 

I locked the library door, and, opening the drawer, 
found not only a revolver, but a case of pistols. The re- 
volver seemed to me untrustworthy, so I cleaned one of 
the pistols, and loaded it. Did I feel remorse, anxiety, 
as to my future ? I did not. I felt absolutely apathetic, 
commonplace, as a body, I imagine, might feel without 
its soul, if its life could continue under those conditions. 

I had just completed the loading to my satisfaction 
when there was a knock at the door. 

" I will come presently," I said. 

" Please, let me in," said Mrs. Mervyn. " Baby fell 
off the sofa and is hurt. I have brought him." 

Her child I For an instant the room whirled ; then 
an agony of grief welled up within me. The poor, inno- 
cent child ! — our child ! 

Senselessly, I staggered to the door, opened it, and 
took the babe from Mrs. Mervyn. He was not much 
hurt — a wound on the head of but slight importance. 


Taming to reassiire Mrs. Merryn, I saw h^* gazing 
at the pistols as if she were petrified. 

^ Yoa meant this f " she said to me, her face aflame 
like the face of the accusing AngeL "• What a lore God 
most have had for yon, for yoa to haTe been sayed ! " 

Walking to me, she took baby's hand and laid it on 

^ He has sayed yoa," she said. ^ Oh, neyer, neyer 
forget itl" 



At first Hngh felt and seemed crushed. He had 
thought of many difficulties and troubles that might 
await him in his married life, but the one thing which 
had not entered into his calculations — Lilians death — 
was the unexpected occurrence which happened. 

He had sometimes felt, from the first beginning of 
their married life, that something was hanging over him 
— some fatality. The whole story of his acquaintance 
with the Pyms was so strange, that the memory of it 
oppressed him. Perhaps this accounted for the feeling 
of discomfort which was now and then almost a dread 
of the future. 

There were moments when he had thought that 
perhaps he was destined to die early ; and he had made 
his will carefully, after much consultation with Mr. 
Mervyn, who was always, as it were, ready to hand dur- 
ing his short married life. Never, never once did he 
think he was to lose his beautiful tormentor, and so 

At first he was prostrate. No one could rouse him. 

His father came to him and stayed. Dr. Hildyard spent 

his Sundays at the Pinewood. But efforts to coax and 

even startle him out of his gloom were fruitless. For a 

whole year he could not shake off the vivid recollec- 


tion of what none bat himself knew — ^the crowning 
horror of Lilia's death-bed, her awful request, and his 

But through all this darkness of soul his faith did not 
waver. He reproached himself bitterly that he had not 
insisted more, struggled more, to help Lilia in her un- 
certainty, her unbelief. He blamed himself for her 
dying blasphemy, and for what he considered his cow- 
ardice in promising to kill himself. He went through 
their short life together over and over again, telling him- 
self that at this juncture he ought to have said and done 
this thing, at such another that. He spent his days in 
listless wanderings about the Pinewood ; his nights, or 
the best part of them, in feverish study, which availed 
him little or nothing. Thus passed the first year of his 

Then came another sharp, shock — ^the death of his 
good, kind friend. Dr. Hildyard, after a short illness of 
ten days. 

During those ten days of close attendance upon his 
patron, Hugh's eyes were opened. He saw that, the ex- 
istence of which in a human being he had never sus- 
pected, never believed possible, a lofty soul. 

Doctors are proverbially the worst patients. Dr. 
Hildyard, well aware that this was the end of his career, 
was a little impatient, perhaps, as to remedies which 
could not possibly reverse the fiat. In a few days his 
soul would be required of him, he knew that. He bore 
his physical agony with stoicism ; his anxiety to leave 
his affairs in perfect order was so intense, it was a greater 
soporific than any narcotic. He talked much and often, 
between the paroxysms, to the young man in whose 
genius his faith had never wavered. He told his life — 


the difficulties he had successfully fought against and 
overcome, the awful temptations he had struggled with 
to the bitter end, the enmities which had dogged his 
footsteps and poisoned his simplest enjoyments— to 
Hugh. Each day of Dr. Hildyard's existence, each day 
of that man who was supposed to be one of the most 
enviable beings in creation, who was in receipt of 
splendid fees, courted by all classes, the much-lauded 
hero of the medical press and the secretly hated of all 
the unsuccessful of the faculty (and their name is 
legion), was a miniature martyrdom 4 and he was await- 
ing his release with eager joy — a joy only damped by re- 
morse that he had not done better, had not been a more 
faithful servant of the Giver of All. 

"The miserable way in which I have crawled 
through my difficulties!" he wailed to his protege. 
** PauU, never, never, fly low ! Soar over your tempta- 
tions and troubles, or when you come to die you will 
be ashamed of yourself, like I am ! " 

It was Dr. Hildyard's exalted opinion of what a 
man should be, that first abashed, then roused, Hugh to 
cast aside self and live a new life. 

Very soon after his friend's death he set himself 
resolutely to a fresh beginning. 

He had been strongly recommended by Dr. Hildyard 
to the influential men who came to shake his hand for 
the last time ; and his start in practice as a specialist in 
nerve cases was made easy to him. 

He took a house recently vacated by a well-known 
physician in a street frequented by doctors near Regent 
Street, and soon had plenty of patients, mostly former 
patients of Dr. Hildyard's, who already knew him by 
repute. Before five years were over he had made some 


remarkable cures, had contributed some original and, in 
certain cases, startling papers on obscure nervous dis- 
eases to the leading medical journals, and was elected 
to appointments in four metropolitan hospitals. 

Then he was consulted by royalty, and his priyate 
practice doubled itself. Ten years passed away, fifteen 
— it was now nineteen years since the awful day of 
Lilia's death — and Dr. Hugh PauU was not only known 
throughout the English-speaking world, but hissworks 
were translated into French, German, and Italian, and 
his name was honoured by the medical profession in all 

His priyate life might be summed up in one word — 

Balph was the name he had allotted to the puny 
pale babe who had been the unconscious instrument of 
his salvation from self-murder. 

Balph had been the name of an invalid uncle, his 
father's younger brother, of whom he had pleasant 
childish recollections — a gentle, white-faced young man 
stretched on a couch in a pretty garden, who had 
seemed to know exactly what little boys liked, and to 
let them have it. So when he stood, one of the little 
group of black-garmented persons at the old stone 
font in the Pinewood church, and Mr. Mervyn said, 
" Name this child," he remembered his uncle and said 
" Ralph." 

The delicate babe with the thoughtful blue eyes 
grew slowly and painfully from babyhood into child- 
hood, from childhood into youth. At first Hugh felt 
the responsibility of being father and mother in one to 
the fragile boy — a heavy care. The child was always 
in his mind, an anxiety that never left him. 


One day he had gone to a well-known educationist 
almost in despair. After detailing his experiments in 
nursery training, which up to then seemed a failure, he 
said, " What am I to do ? " 

" Leave the cliild alone, like I left mine," said the 
authority. " Get him a good nurse, and don't interfere 
with her without necessity. When you have done with 
the nurse, get him a good governess ; then send him to 

To Hugh, who had hitherto acted as a head-gardener 
devoted to one sickly plant, the advice seemed rough« 
But he plucked up courage, and acted upon it. 

The boy grew up without many complications ; but 
he was a strange, silent lad. His two characteristics 
were an unappeasable love of study and a concentrated, 
but undemonstrative, devotion to his father. 

From the beginning of the change in Hugh, when 
he first began his professional life in London, it was his 
custom to spend Saturday and Sunday at the Pinewood. 
The trio — the tall, now gaunt and careworn-looking, 
man ; the thin, effeminate boy, and the mastiff Nero, 
who always dogged their heels (an immediate descend- 
ant of Hugh's first acquaintance at the Pinewood) — 
were familiar figures to the country folk, who were 
attached to Dr. Paull with an attachment bom of his 
unvarying justice and kindliness. 

Following the advice given by the authority, Ralph's 
instruction in matters of faith and dogma was strictly 
ordinary and orthodox ; and remembering the result of 
Lilia's peculiar up-bringing, Hugh was careful to throw 
his son into the company of others of his own age as 
much as possible. He failed to see what others saw — 
that the boy could not endure the companionship of his 


fellows, and only suffered it because it was Us father's 

Meanwhile, Balph showed great aptitude for science, 
and at nineteen was, to his great delight, appointed 

secretary to the famous geologist W , who had been 

one of his grandfather Sir Boderick's intimate friends. 
At the time of the second storm that shook Dr. PauU's 
life to its foundations, Balph was away on a walking 
tour with the great scientist. Hugh PauU was alone in 
his town house. 

He was sitting at the large dining-table in the big, 
silent room. The thin, dark-eyed man, whose prema- 
turely white hair added a dignity to the pensive beauty 
of his face, would have been a suggestive figure to an 
imaginative painter. As he slowly ate his frugal din- 
ner, his eyes fixed as he continued some important train 
of thought, now and then leaning back in his chair, and 
absently crumbling his bread, while the old butler Jones 
hovered noiselessly about in the background, this pic- 
ture of well-appointed solitude might have been named 
" Successful, but alone." Perhaps never, until Balph 
went on this tour, had Hugh so realised his desolation. 

It was the height of the London season, and that 
very day he had had three important consultations be- 
side hospital and other work. But the silence of the 
huge, quiet house oppressed him. He found it tiresome 
to eat. He was planning to tire himself further by pre- 
paring a paper on a recent case for the Lancet when a 
carriage drove up to the door, and there was a somewhat 
violent peal of the hall bell. 

Jones, who had been butler to Dr. Hildyard till his 
death, and then accepted service with Hugh in prefer- 
ence to any other, knew his rules thoroughly. He was 


a spare little man, well fitted for his vocation ; for he 
had a respectful, almost soothing manner, which soft- 
ened the denials he had so often to give to nerve-pa- 
tients wild to obtain the immediate attendance of the 
great authority. Dr. Paull. 

He went silently out, and gently opened the street 
door. The smart single brougham and pair drawn up 
before the house was as unfamiliar to him as were the 
two gentlemen standing on the doorstep, one of whom 
was tall and fair, the other being short and dark, with 
piercing black eyes and a thick black moustache. Both 
were dressed in the height of fashion; in fact, were 
evidently petits-maitres. 

It was the tall, fair man who, slightly lifting his hat, 
said in good English, but with a foreign accent : 

" Can we see Dr. Hugh Paull at once ? " 

The bold demand — for Hugh was now fl " consulting 
physician,'' to be approached through the patient's 
ordinary medical attendant — nearly deprived poor 
Jones of breath. He gave but one gasp only though, 
and remembering these were foreigners and ignoramuses 
in medical etiquette, recovered himself, and said polite- 
ly, but in a somewhat shocked tone of voice : 

" I am very sorry, sir, but that is quite impossible." 

The fair man turned to the dark one with a smile, 
and said something rapidly in a foreign tongue, upon 
which the dark young man produced a cardcase and 
presented Jones with his card, saying, " Please, you 
will give the docteur," in broken and very foreign- 
sounding English. 

Jones, seeing the word " Prince " prefixed to a, to 
him, unreadable and unpronounceable name, was some- 
what startled, for the title meant royalty to his British 


mind. For a moment he was puzzled; then, saying, 
" Please, will you step this way ? " he hurried along the 
hare stone hall, and ushering the distinguished visitors 
into the cheerless waiting-room, with the skylight, rows 
of dining-room chairs against the walls, and an old dining 
table, whose dingy cloth was strewn with as dingily- 
covered volumes of illustrated journals, hurried to his 
master with the card. 

Hugh glanced at it listlessly, read " Le Prince 
Andriocchi^^^ and laid it aside. Stray patients, arriving 
at odd moments, were always dismissed with a certain 
formula, and Hugh was not giving a second thought to 
the Prince Andriocchi or his card when an anxious 
voice piped at his elbow, " What am I to say, sir ? " 
and turning, he saw Jones watching him in evident dis- 

" Say ? " he asked. " To whom ? " 

" To the prince, sir I I took him into the waiting- 

" You took him into the waiting-room f " repeated 
Hugh, hardly believing his own ears. 

For a patient to be admitted outside regular hours 
and against all rule was a most unwonted occurrence, 
and by Jones the impregnable, the unassailable ! Had 
a golden talisman — No ! such an idea was a treason to 
the faithful old servant. 

" I thought as he was a prince, sir," stammered 

" Oh, well, never mind ! I will explain to him that 
I cannot see him now," said Dr. Paull, good-naturedly, 
rising and going to the waiting-room. 

The two men were seated, but rose and bowed as 
he entered. The tall fair man, who had candid blue 


eyes and an insinuating smile, informed Hugh, in 
laboured but fairly correct English, that they had been 
recommended to consult him by the Spanish ambassa- 
dor, whose son had been cured by him last season in so 
maryellous a manner. 

" But your highness is surely not Spanish ? " asked 
Hugh, glancing at the card he still held between his 

" The prince," said the fair man, bowing deferen- 
tially in the direction of the dark little gentleman, who 
was watching them while he nerrously twisted his 
moustache, ^^ is from Italy — is Italien. It is madame la 
princesse who is from the land of chivalry. It is for 
madame la princesse that we come to visit you.'' 

Hugh bowed. 

" She is not very ill, I hope ? '* he said, awkwardly. 

He had had but little experience of the denizens of 
other countries, and this had been of their learned men, 
who have a family likeness no matter in what latitude 
they are bom. These two eUgants embarrassed him. 

^ How shall I explain ? " said the fair man, knitting 
his brow and gazing at the skylight. *^You speak 
French? No? My friend the prince speak French 
as Italien. I am sorry. But I tell you, monsieur le 
docteur, best way I can : you so clever, you understand 
me with all my faults. M. le prince here, he marry 
this lady, who is the daughter of the Duke de Sal- 
danh6s. You know his name, of course ? He is great 
at the Court of Spain. You must surely hear that the 
princesse is one of the most beautiful ladies in all 
the world ; for the papers de Sodite^ as you call them, 
tell everyone that. The princesse adore M. le prince ; 
he adore her. Bat soon after the noces madame be- 


comes more delicate, and she likes not to walk or drive; 
she shows no inclination for the world ; she goes much to 
the church,«and gets pdle^ maigre. In the truth, mon- 
sieur le docteur, she shows symptoms of being, what you 
call, a sainte.^^ 

The fair man raised his eyebrows, and looked so 
oddly at Dr. Paull as he half-whispered the last sen- 
tence, that Hugh felt inclined to laugh. 

*'Ifear I cannot presume to cure a disposition to 
sanctity, sir," he said. His voice sounded rough, in 
contra-distinction to the suave, delicately-pitched tones 
of his interlocutor. " I try to cure nervous diseases ; 
I cannot cure a tendency which the most exacting hus- 
band can scarcely disapprove." 

'^ Monsieur is Gatholique ? " insinuated the fair man, 

" I — what 9 I beg your pardon, sir, but you took 
me by surprise," added Hugh, his thin face flushing. 

Then he explained that if there were any symptoms 
of physical disease he would see the princesse with 
pleasure, but that he did not prescribe for the mind. 

The fair man, whose white satin manners and 
womanish grace were peculiarly repugnant to Hugh, 
rapidly translated Dr. PauU's speech to the prince in 
Italian (a language with which Hugh had a slight 
acquaintance), and the prince made a voluble reply, 
which touched Hugh as being the earnest appeal of a 
man who was in considerable anxiety on the subject of 
his wife. 

" I have understood his highness," he said, some- 
what dryly, when the count (he had been addressed as 
such by the prince) turned towards him to interpret ; 
"and I will willingly see the lady and prescribe for 


her if it be in my power to do her any good, which I 

" Ah ! sir ; but we do not doubt it," said the count 
with enthusiasm. " Nor did le Docteur Fosterre, who 
saw her it is two days ago, but whose medicine the prin- 
cesse will not accept." 

" Dr. Foster saw her?" asked Hugh, puzzled. (Dr. 
Foster was a nerve-doctor with a large fashionable prac- 
tice, much in favour with lady patients.) " I fear if 
Dr. Foster has been unsuccessful, I can do nothing." 

Further persuasions on the part of the count, who 
interpreted everything to his princely friend, led to 
Hugh's provisional promise that after two days he 
would see the lady. He was to meet Dr. Foster in con- 
sultation on the morrow, and intended to talk with him 
on the subject. Then a difficulty was explained to him : 
the princess objected to doctors m toto. The meeting 
must be brought about by stratagem. The great Dr. 

B S had fallen in with this arrangement, and 

had had a long interview with the princess one evening 
at the Italian Embassy in Paris without her realising 
that he was one of the obnoxious faculty until it was 

" But could he do nothing ? " asked Hugh, astonished. 

" Monsieur, he said the same as the Docteur Z. in 
Eome, and your Docteur Fosterre here in Londres. The 
princesse has a disease which is rare in one who has all 
the world at her charming feet. She likes not life, she 
longs for death, or, let us say, the heavens." 

" Which, interpreted, means the lady is a spoilt crea- 
ture, and is thoroughly discontented," thought Hugh, 
with a smile of amusement, after bis visitors had op- 
pressed him with a profusion of thanks, had bowed them- 


selyes out, and driyen off in the carriage. At first the 
interview amused him ; but after the novelty had worn 
off, he felt a distaste for the task he had undertaken, 
neither an onerous nor an unpleasant one, the inter- 
viewing of a beautiful and evidently amiable Spanish 
lady. But Hugh disliked women as patients even more 
than he disliked them as companions. His liking for 
the sex lay buried in Lilia's grave. 

After his consultation with Dr. Foster next day, he 
took him aside and told him of the prince's visit and 

" I thought they would come to yon," said Dr. Fos- 
ter, a short, stout little man, his eyes twinkling. ** Cu- 
rious fellow, that count, isn't he ? I can't make him 
out Means well, though, I daresay. A sort of cousin 
of the prince's, I understand. You know all about the 
family, don't you? Ko? Well, the Andriocchis are 
one of the most ancient Italian families. He came into 
everything a couple of years ago, at his father's death. 
He is only six-and-twenty, though he looks older. I 
saw him here the first season. He got into a fast set, and 
did no good. Last year his family married him. Fam- 
ilies in those countries always sort the young folks and 
couple them, you know. Wonderful match — ^a great 
beauty — daughter of one of those awfully blue-blooded 
Spanish grandees, Duke de Saldanh6s, great favourite 

at Court. She's a charming woman, but ^" Dr. 

Foster shook his head, and looked whole volumes of 

" But ? " asked Hugh, suddenly interested and sorry. 
He did not know why. 

"Well, perhaps you'll find out. She baffled me; 
that's all I know. First I thought there might be a 


suicidal tendency, or simple melancholia. Soon gave np 
that idea— one of the keenest-witted women I ever met. 
She gives yon one look out of those lamps of eyes of 
hers, and tots you up pretty correctly, I can tell you. 
No, no ! She's as sane as you or I — saner perhaps, if 
the truth were known ! But there's something wrong 
somewhere. Whether it's fretting, or remorse — well, 
it's no use speculating. My opinion is this — she's 
wretchedly ill ; and before she can get any better, the 
cause of it must be got at, and treated. Perhaps you'll 
do it. B S seems to have failed, and I con- 
fess myself nowhere." 

Dr. PauU felt less distaste for his task after this 
interview with his colleague : in fact, his professional 
interest was awakened ; and when three, then four days 
passed without his being summoned by the prince, his 
surprise was flavoured with something akin to a feeling 
of disappointment. 

On the fifth day, when he was snatching a hasty 
breakfast, the prince's brougham drove up to the door, 
and the count alighted alone, and sent in a message — 
might he see the doctor for one minute ? 

" Show him in here," said Hugh. 

Accordingly the count entered, apologising for his 

" It was necessaire that I find you early, docteur," 
he said. ^' An opportunity comes that you see madame 
la princesse to-night. She has consented to visit the 
Govent Theatre, to see the new opera." 

*' But, excuse me, I do not understand," said Dr. 
PauU, somewhat dryly. " I do not go to theatres and 
operas. I have no time, still less should I go there to 
see patients." 


The count explained, almost pathetically, that the 
prince had naturally feared that this was the case. 
" And, in anticipation of your refusal, monsieur, I just 
paid visit to the Lady Forwood, to ask her to join in 
our appeal." 

He drew a note from his breast pocket. It was from 
Lady Forwood, the wife of the popular baronet. Sir 
David Forwood, who had been Hugh's friend for many 
years. Lady Forwood was the only woman, with the 
exception of his sisters, with whom Dr. PauU was at all 
familiar. She was not only a good woman, but was 
possessed of the feminine gift of tact in a marked 

" My dear Doctor " (she wrote), — " I am quite thankful to 
hear you have consented to see my old friend Mercedes. As I 
know you always like to have a good look at your patients, I 
venture to propose that you should spare us half-an-hour, and 
come to our box at Covent Garden to-night. It is exactly oppo» 
8it€ the Prince Andriocchi's, and you will be able to judge of my 
poor friend all the better, because she will not know you are look- 
ing at her. Afterwards, we can introduce you to her. 

" Yours most truly, 

" Margaret Forwood. 

" P. S. — The number of our box is 9. I will leave word at the 
door that you are coming." 

Hugh wavered ; but before he knew that he had con- 
sented to the fair letter-writer's proposition, the count 
had left him, and he could hardly withdraw his half- 
reluctant consent. 

" I suppose I must go," he told himself. 

He disliked the proceeding altogether. The sense 
that he was doing that which he reprehended in others, 
acting for the great of this world in a manner he would 


certainly not act for the lowly, oppressed him through- 
out the day. 

" It is a step in the wrong direction," he told him- 
self, as he stood before the glass, arranging that con- 
ventional white tie which he professed to disdain, with 
" the rest of men's enforced toggery," as he called the 
swallowtails and chimneypots, '^but I have let myself 
in for it somehow, and must go through with it." 

He would not have out his carriage; he took a 
hansom to the opera house. On entering, he stood 
amazed! There had been a drawing-room that day, 
and the ladies who were alighting from their carriages 
and sailing and sweeping through the entrance-hall and 
up the staircase were in all the bravery of silk, satin, and 
velvet, and literally ablaze with jewels. The heated 
air was scented with the perfumes they used, and with 
the odour of the Court bouquets they carried. The 
scene of excessive luxury was foreign to the severe 
simplicity of Dr. Paull's hard-working life. 

*' I suppose all this is good for trade," he thought, as 
he made his way through the glittering throng to box 9, 
^' but it seems a queer way for mortals to spend their 

He was ushered into the box just as the final bars of 
the National Anthem were being played, for it was a 
semi-State performance in honour of a foreign potentate. 
Lady Forwood, a fair young dame with a bright face, 
was standing in front of the box. She turned to welcome 

" It is very good, indeed, of you to come," she said, 
as she warmly shook hands. ^' Don't say, No ! David 
and I flatter ourselves we understand you pretty well. 
I know that nothing but a sense of duty brings you 


here. However, now that you are here, you may as 
well have a good look at it all. Take that chair. 
David is at the House. He may look in, but not till 
late ; there is some important debate on to-night Now, 
tell me, it is a fine sight, isn't it ? " 

" It certainly is," said Hugh. 

The orchestra had struck up the spirited introduc- 
tion to the new opera, and the unaccustomed sounds of 
bright music insensibly raised his spirits. The coup^ 
d*ml of the gigantic horseshoe of tiers of crimson-cur- 
tained boxes filled with ladies in brilliant attire, white 
and the palest tints predominating, was magnificent. 

^' I never imagined women could look so like flow- 
ers," said he, honestly. 

" I thought you would think better of us when you 
knew a little more about us ! " laughed Lady Forwood, 
who was scanning the house through her lorgnettes, 
" There 1 Mercedes has just come in! How lovely 
she looks I What a magnificent dress I I suppose she 
was at the drawing-room. I went last time, so I was 
not there to-day." 

"Where?" said Hugh, drawing back a little, and 
feeling like a conspirator. 

"Not in the chandelier! and not exactly in the 
pit," said Lady Forwood, laughingly. "Don't be 
shocked at me ! I positively can't help teasing people. 
Look at the third from the royal box. There, she is 
just settling herself, and throwing off her mantilla — ^the 
lady in white." 

Hugh was looking at the third box to the left of the 

" Take my glass," said Lady Forwood, " and look at 
the third box to the right of the royal people. Make 


haste, for in another minute she may settle herself 
behind the curtain and stay there the whole evening. 
It would be just like her." 

Hugh focussed the glass, and with a singular sen- 
sation that was almost a thrill, he gazed at a lovely 
girl who was leaning forward glancing round the house. 
She was pale with a waxen pallor ; her black hair was 
dressed high, and studded with pearls. She wore a 
white velvet gown, a shade whiter than her beautifully 
moulded bust and arms, and this appeared to be sewn 
with pearls. So youthful was her slender form that, 
had Hugh not recognized the Prince Andriocchi and 
his friend the count hovering in the background, he 
would hardly have believed this could be the new pa- 
tient about whom so much fuss had been made. 

^' She is quite a girl ! " he said, in surprise, turning 
to Lady Forwood. 

"Why not?" asked she. "She was only married 
a year ago. Spanish girls marry young." 

" But, from what you said, I fancied you had been 
girl friends," said Hugh, without thinking. 

" How like you, to say that ! " said Lady Forwood, 
with a good-natured laugh, as Hugh, forgetting his 
dislike to the r6le of " spy," scrutinised her highness 
closely through the glasses. " That is almost on a par 

with your speech to the Princess M , one of the 

stories she always tells to show what a bear you are, 

" I do not remember saying anything to the Princess 
M ," said Hugh, laying down the lorgnette. 

" You don't remember her playing to you, and your 
saying that you had never cared for any playing except 
that of a relation of yours ? " 


" No," said Hugh, who was beginning to think 
deeply on the subject of his new "case;" and his 
thoughts were curious, and to him utterly unexpected. 
" But what did I say to you that was bearish just now, 
Lady Forwood? I don't care if her Koyal Highness 
tells anecdotes about me or not — it amuses her, and 
doesn't harm me. But I cannot be misunderstood by 

" That pretty speech makes up for the rude one," 
said Lady Forwood, smiling. " You seemed surprised 
that Mercedes and I were girl-friends. Of course I am 
her senior by some years. I will tell you how it was. 
Her parents were anxious about her as a child, she was 
such a delicate, mopy little thing. So they sent her to 
a convent school at the seaside in England. I was what 
you might call a sixth-form girl when she came ; and, 
as the nuns thought me steady-going, they gave her to 
me to look after specially. I was to be a sort of dep- 
uty-mamma ; and she grew very fond of me, poor little 
thing ! " 

"Why do you say *poor little thing'?" asked 

" Oh, Mercedes has always been peculiar," said Lady 
Forwood. " The nuns thought her cold and apathetic. 
I knew very differently ! There is fire underneath that 
cold manner of hers — she is the most passionate girl, I 
think, I ever met ! And her parents have been idiots 
enough to marry her to that man ! " 

" You do not approve of the prince ? " asked 

" Hush I We really must not talk any more, people 
will notice us," said Lady Forwood, directing her lor- 
gnettes towards the stage, where the prima-donna had 


just finished an air which was evidently greatly to the 
taste of the pit and gallery. 

Hugh leaned back and during the remainder of the 
first act watched the Princess Andriocchi as naiTowly as 
he could without being specially noticed. 

She sat perfectly still at first, leaning back, her white 
profile cameo-like against the crimson curtain, her hands 
lying listlessly in her lap. She appeared to be watching 
the stage, but in reality her eyes were more than half 
veiled by their heavy lids. Through the glass he could 
see that her exquisite little ears were transparent as wax. 

" Poor child ! " thought Hugh, compassionately. 

He thought he knew now why the great B— S 

and the clever Dr. Foster could neither of them re- 
lieve the little princess of her malaise. The cause was 

He had almost arrived at a resolution to '* get out of 
the affair," if he possibly could, when (to his absent 
mind, with a strange suddenness) down came the cur- 
tain upon the first act among the plaudits of the house, 
and people began to move and stand up ; there was a 
general air of awakening to life of the attentive audi- 

"Well," said Lady Forwood, turning to him, "you 
must confess it is a charming opera ! ' The next thing 
to be done is to take me over to see Mercedes." 

But this Hugh steadily to refused do. 

Lady Forwood was still endeavouring to persuade 
him by all the arguments at her command, when the 
box-door opened, and the count entered. 

He bowed profoundly to Lady Forwood, and offered 
his hand deferentially to Hugh, who scrutinised him 
with a new misgiving. Was this man who shadowed 


the young pair in any way connected with that young 
creature's unhappiness ? He was, certainly, the sort of 
man that some women would consider fascinating, with 
his persuasive manners and his fair, handsome face. 

He had brought a message to Lady Forwood : the 
princess wished to come round to her box — would it be 

Lady Forwood clapped her hands with evident de- 

Hugh had not known her in this child -like, unaf- 
fected mood. 

"Convenient? Splendid!" she said to the count, 
who at once vanished. 

^^ Could anything be better?" she asked Hugh. 
" You will see her just as she really is when she is talk- 
ing to her ' mammy,' as she calls me. What is the mat- 
ter?" she said, suddenly, in a changed voice, for she 
saw her pale friend wince and bite his lip. 

" Nothing, I assure you," he said, earnestly, recover- 
ing himself. That word " mammy " had not been heard 
by him since Lilia had last addressed Mrs. Mervyn by 
the tender nickname in his presence. 

What seeming trifles are the feather-weights that 
balance human destinies ! But for the effect produced 
upon Hugh by that one word, he would have made an 
excuse, and missed 

What ? As he stood hesitating, the box-door opened, 
and the princess came in. 

A girl, with the carriage of a young queen. 

Hugh stood back, and stared at the beautiful, dark 
young creature, in her magnificent robe of white velvet, 
embroidered with seed pearls, with but one feeling — 


The princess gave him a careless glance, with a half- 
nod, in return for his obeisance, as Lady Forwood in- 
troduced him, and seated herself by her friend. 

She murmured something in a low voice to Lady 
Forwood, upon which the English lady blushed and 
looked annoyed. After some whispering, Lady For- 
wood turned to Hugh with a beseeching look. 

" I am going to test your friendship to the utmost," 
she said, pleadingly. " I am half afraid to ask you, but 
you will understand," she added, meaningly. " I want 
you to go down and see if Sir David has arrived ; there 
is nothing particular to hear for the next ten minutes." 

" With pleasure," said Hugh, understanding that the 
little princess had some secret to tell her friend, and 
that he was not wanted for the next quarter-of-an-hour. 

" A spoilt beauty," he thought, as he strolled along 
the lobbies. " I should like to know how any physician 
can cure tJiat^ unless he inoculates her with the small- 
pox ! " 

He had hardly left the box before the princess' man- 
ner changed. She clasped her friend's hand, and with 
her lovely face all quivering, the corners of her lips 
drooping, and her great eyes full of tears, she almost 
sobbed : 

" Oh, mammy, mammy ! It is true ! — it is true /" 

" My dear, what is true ? You have been thinking 
such strange things!" said Lady Forwood, distressed 
and worried, for she loved the unhappy little creature. 
" You have got some silly notions into your head, and 
you imagine all sorts of nonsense." 

" Listen ! " said Mercedes, glancing round and speak- 
ing low. " To-day he told me that he and the count 
would go on the river. I had to go to the Court alone. 


Well, I thought I would ask the ambassadress to take 
me — it would be not so long — she has the entr6e, as you 
call it. She did take me. Coming back, my carriage 
got into a number of other carriages, and I saw — Am." 

♦' The prince ? Well, why not ? " asked Lady For- 

" I saw Mm — and her — the woman whose portrait I 
found ! " said Mercedes, in a tone of anguish. 

" Well, my dear," — Lady Forwood spoke in a matter- 
of-fact manner, although she was anathematising the 
prince for his flagrant conduct in being publicly seen 
with the beautiful French actress whose name had been 
coupled with his in society gossip — " I daresay he will 
be able to explain it all to you, if, indeed, you were not 

" How — explain f " asked Mercedes, bitterly. " How 
explain a lie^ mammy ? " 

" Hush ! " said Lady Forwood, uneasily. " My dear, 
I never should have worried David if I had seen him 
with fifty women ! " 

" That — is different ! " said the princess. " Mammy, 
you love each other ! " 

Lady Forwood began a brisk lecture : 

" My child, you are not fit to be out in the world at 
all," she said. " You ought to have come to me for a 
year's instruction before you were married, instead of 
going straight to the altar from the convent. You 
know absolutely nothing about men. Men's ways are 
not women's ways. The world allows them their lib- 
erty ; and if their wives don't allow it them also, they 
will neglect their wives for the world, and the wives 
will be to blame." 

And she held forth on this somewhat loose doctrine 


80 subtly that the princess' expression gradually changed 
from grieved perplexity to a sort of placid resignation. 

" A man is not bad who allows a lady acquaintance 
to take him some distance in her carriage," went on 
Lady Porwood, didactically. "You will be wiser by- 
and-by, darling. You will take it for granted that men 
are better than they seem." 

" The count is good," said Mercedes, sorrowfully. 
" He is so kind to me I " 

" The count is no better than his neighbours," said 
Lady Forwood, sharply, feeling that from Scylla she was 
nearing Charybdis. " Mercedes, you must rouse your- 
self, and go into society. Then you will not brood on 
the subject of your husband. You can't change him, 
at least, not all of a sudden, so you must put up with 

" The count says ^" began Mercedes. 

" Don't talk about the count to me ! You know my 
opinion of Italians, my dear. You shall be introduced 
to some Englishmen. You must know this friend of 
ours, that you made me turn out of the box just now. 
David says he is the best man he ever met." 

At this moment Hugh knocked at the box-door. He 
had been outside in the cool night. He had not seen Sir 
David ; he had not expected to do so. He had watched 
the arrival of some late comers, and, unnoticed by them, 
had seen the Prince Andriocchi and his friend the count 
come out of the opera-house, light their cigarettes, and 
remain in <3lose conversation for a few minutes, after, 
which they interchanged % glance of intelligence ; the 
prince hailed a hansom and drove off, and the count re- 
entered the theatre. 

So he interpreted the steady gaze which Mercedes 


fixed upon him as he told Lady Forwood there was no 
sign of her husband's arrival as a mute questioning as 
to the whereabouts of the prince, the count having 
established himself alone in the opposite box. 

And the next occurrence startled him. The curtain 
was rising ; he was turning to take his seat at the back 
of the box, when the princess suddenly leant towards 
Lady Forwood : 

"Mammy, I have seen this — ^gentleman — before!" 
she said. " Where?" she added, turning to Hugh. 

He smiled, amused at the startled look in her gazelle 

" You have the advantage of me, princess," he said. 
" I do not think I have had the honour of meeting you 
before to-night. And yet " 

He was puzzled. Looking at her steadily, there was 
something in the wistful, childish beauty of Mercedes' 
oval face which was familiar. She had some resemblance 
to someone he had seen somewhere. But, even as he ran- 
sacked his memory, the likeness eluded him, as a forgot- 
ten name will refuse to repeat itself when the thinker 
struggles to recall it. 

"You two had better talk over your previous ac- 
quaintance behind the curtain, I think," said Lady 

Hugh took the hint. He drew his chair nearer to 
the princess, and asked her where they possibly could 
have met, while Lady Forwood became absorbed in the 

" You have been much in England ; anyone can tell 
that who hears you speak," he said. " But have yott 
been in London ? " 

"Never, till now," said Mercedes, still scrutinising 


him with a feeling of uneasiness, for she felt that this 
worn-looking but attractive man, with the prematurely 
white hair, was no stranger to her, yet she could not 
recall how or when she had seen him. " I have lived 

seven — no, eight years in the convent at B . That 

is where mammy and I were together " (with an affec- 
tionate look towards her friend) ; " but to London I 
came — not — once ! When I returned to Spain, we went 
by Newhaven. This is the first time I see — London." 

" Curious ! " said Hugh, half to himself. 

The resemblance to someone he had known was 
stronger while she was speaking, and yet there was 
nothing definite about it. It stirred him strangely ; but 
what the emotion was which disturbed him and quick- 
ened his ordinarily sluggish pulses, he could not tell. 

" Were you ever in Surrey? " he suggested, after a 
few minutes' fruitless mental searching. 

" Never in any place here but the convent," she 
said, decidedly. " But you, sir. Perhaps you were in 
B sometime ? " 

"Never," said Hugh. 

" Then you have, perhaps, been in my country — in 
Spain ? " 

" Not yet," said Hugh. 

They both smiled ; and then, suddenly remembering 
that they were strangers, talked more reservedly of the 
music, which the princess appeared to know well. 

"I had the pianoforte score for a week," she in- 
formed Dr. Paull. " The composer lent me his manu- 
script. I played it for him when he was in Madrid." 

She was telling Hugh of what was to come during 
the ensuing acts, when the box-door opened, and the 
count came in. 


" The prince requested me to escort you home at the 
end of the act, madame la princesse," he said in English, 
bowing very slightly to Dr. PauU. 

" But my husband ? Where is he, monsieur ? " 

The count shrugged his shoulders, with an appealing 
smile, to Lady Forwood. 

"He must go to the club for an hour, madame. 
When you arrive at the house, he will without doubt 
be there." 

Mercedes sat silent till the close of the act, then she 
rose abruptly, held out her hand to Lady Forwood, said 
" Adieu, monsieur," with a melancholy little smile, to 
Hugh, and left the box on the count's arm. 

" Well ? " said Lady Forwood, -eagerly, when the 
two were alone. 

" Well ? " he repeated, coolly. 

Some glamour, under the influence of which he had 
unbent — ^had forgotten his ordinary almost apathy to 
his surroundings — ^had passed away. He was on guard 

" Tell me frankly what you think of her. I love 
her so much ! " said Lady Forwood, eagerly and hon- 

" There is nothing the matter with her — ^physically," 
said Hugh. 

"But— mentally?" 

" As I told her husband, I do not profess to cure the 

" Do you not see how miserable she is. Dr. PauU ? 
We must do something for her," said Lady Forwood, 
energetically. "You can, even more than I. She 
wants friends. She wants some powerful mind to con- 
trol hers, and lead her to live her own life, without 


reference to the prince. That wretched young man! 
He neglects her shamefully; and how he can throw 
her with that count as he does — everyone is talking 
about it 1 " 

" My dear Lady Forwood, what can / do ? " asked 
Hugh, helplessly. Had she spoken to him thus before 
he had met Mercedes, he would have thought she was 
taking leave of her senses. Oddly enough, now, her 
appeal did not strike him as in any way peculiar. " I 
could see her professionally, and give her a few hints ; 
.but I could not talk to her openly, as you could," he 
added, hesitatingly. 

" What I want is for her to take an interest in some- 
thing. Dr. PauU. I don't mean an ordinary interest — 
but something that will occupy her energies, will dis- 
tract her from brooding over her wrongs. Oh, she is 
wronged, poor child ! David thinks very badly of the 
prince. I would not believe anything so dreadful of a 
fellow-creature. Oh, dear me, here is David ! " 

A portly, pleasant-looking man, who seemed as if 
the world suited him, and he it, came in with a 
" HuUoa 1 You don't look best pleased to see me, my 
dear ! I don't wonder. It isn't often she gets you all 
to herself, is it, PauU ? Well, we've won. Majority of 
seventeen for our motion." 

Sir David talked away about the debate just over ; 
and as soon as he could take leave, Hugh quitted the 

Walking through the streets, under the dark night- 
sky, he seemed awakening from some vivid dream, in 
which he had behaved in a manner in which he would 
certainly not have behaved when awake. 

Letting himself in with his key, he rang for Jones. 


^Yon can go to bed. I shall sit up to do some 
work," he said. 

" You will find the letters in the library, sir," said 
Jones, with extra gravity. 

"Very well," said Hugh. Then he flung himself 
into a chair, and began to think. 

" That girl and I have met before," he mused. " But 
how ? — when ? When I looked into her eyes, I felt she 
understood me . . . and — I understand her. What on 
earth induced Lady Forwood to ask me to look after 

He almost laughed. Here, in the big, lonely house, 
which for years had been as a hermitage to him, the 
idea of his being asked to become mentor to a lovely 
Spanish princess seemed an absurdity. 

" Let me see what Grantley has to say about Spain 
and the Spaniards," he said to himself, going to the 
book-shelves and taking down a volume. 

Captain Grantley was a patient of his, who had 
travelled in Spain, and recorded his experiences in 
print. For the next half-hour Hugh was reading about 
bullfights, romantic ruins seen by moonlight, mantillas, 
dark-eyed beauties, unpleasant railway journeys, and 
stuffy hostelries where the diet appeared to be garlic 
fried in oil. Nothing seemed to remind him of his 
princess ; but he was still reading on, when a cab drove 
up, and there was a ring at the hall-bell. 

"At this hour!" (It was nearly midnight.) He 
went into the hall, unbarred and opened the door : 

"Father?" His lanky son stepped joyfully in. 
" Why, you look surprised ! Surely you got my letter ? " 
he said, after depositing bags and hampers in the hall. 

"Your letter? No," said Dr. PauU. Somehow, 


Ealph's unexpected arrival was a slight shock to him. 
" I thought you were not coming back for a week yet," 
he said, after they went into the dining-room. 

" We were away more than the fortnight, father," 
said the pale lad, with a smile as sad as his dead young 
mother's had been when her morbid sensitiveness was 
wounded. "But — ^you don't look well! You have 
been worried into going to some dinner-party or an- 
other " (with a glance at his father's evening dress). " I 
must not go away again ! They will do for you among 
them ! " 

" I'm not dead yet, you see," said Hugh, feeling a 
new embarrassment. 

Until now there had been a confidence between him 
and the delicate lad, who looked at him with his lost 
Lilia's eyes, which was more like the mutual under- 
standing between attached brothers than that of father 
with son. For the first time Dr. Paull felt reluctant to 
speak of his doings to Ealph. 

" But you must want some supper," he suggested. 
" I will call up one of the servants — " 

Ralph protested that he was not in the least hungry, 
and that he had had some sandwiches at Derby Station, 
which was literally true, although on his way from the 
terminus he had thought pleasantly of the snug supper 
with his father, which he fully expected was in store 
for him. His reception had effectually satisfied his 
youthful appetite. 

" By the way, Jones said something about letters in 
the library; just get them, will you? Perhaps yours 
may be among them. I have had an extra-busy day — 
was interrupted at breakfast — hadn't time to open my 
letters," said Hugh, uneasily. 


Balph hastened to execute his father's command, and 
retamed with a bundle of letters in his hand. 

" Here is yours — unopened — ^as you see," said Dr. 
Paull, showing Balph his own letter, which he had 
neglected with the rest of his morning's correspondence. 
" It was a fortunate thing I had not gone to bed." 

Balph looked astonished. His father, the acm6 of 
punctiliousness in business, speaking so carelessly of a 
whole batch of unopened letters! What could it 

" I have something to show you, father," he said, 
gently. The poor boy thought that the fortnight's 
loneliness had wrought this change in his beloved parent, 
whom he understood about as much as a beetle under- 
stands an eagle. And he fetched in two small packing- 
cases with lightly-fastened lids. 

" There," he said, " are they not beautiful ? I made 
the ivy one myself." 

He opened the cases and removed some wadding. 
Dr. Paull stared with some perplexity at two wreaths- 
one of ivy, the other of white lilies. Then he bit his 
lip — he remembered ! For the first time since Lilia's 
death, he had not noted the approach of the anniversary 
of that terrible day when his son's baby-hand had held 
him back from the one unforgivable sin — self-murder. 
On that day it had been his custom to take Lilia's son to 
her grave, and talk to him of his mother : of what was 
best in her, that the memory of a mother should be even 
more to the boy than the influence of that mother, had 
she lived. 

This time — he had forgotten ! 

" They are beautiful, Balph," he said, placing his 
hand affectionately on his boy's shoulder. " Let us put 


them in a cool place, and go to bed. We must be up 
early to-morrow." 

He had not counted these last days as days of the 
month. He had made careless engagements for Tues- 
days or Wednesdays, or other days in the week ; and to- 
morrow he had appointments with important patients, 
and a consultation. 

" It looks like decadence — strangely like decadence," 
he told himself, bitterly, as, looking in the glass, he 
noted the deep lines on his face, the haggard look in his 
eyes. " I did not remember the twenty-first ; and now 
I must cancel everything to-morrow — for the boy's sake, 
I must be consistent — I must take him to his mother's 
grave. But — to let everything go to the wall ! Well, it 
must be done. But this shall be a lesson. No more 
fooling with princes and princesses — solid, sensible 

A brave determination. Dr. PauU! But, when you 
made it, did Fate smile, or shed a tear ? 



Dr. Paull and his son left Waterloo with their cases 
of flowers at an early hour next morning. Hugh was in 
a severe humour. Out of temper with himself, he was 
inclined to be out of temper with the rest of mankind. 
The first incident did not improve his humour. Like 
other travellers, he was in the habit of buying papers, to 
beguile the tedium of the railway journey. He had 
partially read his Times^ when Ralph, who sat opposite, 
leant over, and, showing him an illustration in a well- 
known weekly, said : 

"Is it like her, father?" 

It was the portrait of the Princess Andriocchi, after 
a painting in the Paris Salon. 

For a moment he hardly realised the extraordinary 
fact that his boy should ask him such a question, then 
recovering himself : 

" Like whom ? " he asked. 

" Like the princess. Jones told me you had a new 
patient — a princess — and showed me the prince's card. 
Poor old fellow ! He does think a lot of royalty, father." 

" These people do not happen to be royal," said Dr. 
Paull, as coldly as he ever spoke to his son. " But I am 
sorry that Jones is getting old and garrulous. I thought 
he would last my time out." 


"He meant no harm " began Ralph; but his 

father gave him a Times leader on the recent death of a 
celebrated geologist to read, and glanced at the memoir 
attached to the portrait. 

This, after stating that the Princess Andriocchi was 
the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Saldanhes, 
who were high in favor at the Court of Spain, enlarged 
upon the sensation her beauty had created in Paris, how 
her carriage had been mobbed, how great portrait 
painters had made interest in influential quarters to have 
the privilege of taking her portrait, not knowing, until 
the picture by a celebrated Spanish artist was on the 
walls of the Salon^ that they had been forestalled. 
After some further complimentary remarks, the article 
ended with the statement that although the princess 
was Spanish by birth, she had been educated in England. 

" And this is the fulsome adulation with which the 
world ruins its sweetest women I " thought Hugh, in- 
tensely disgusted and annoyed. " What can be done 
against that ? How can anyone or anything make an 
honest, God-fearing woman out of the object of that sort 
of stuff?" 

He tried to occupy his mind with general subjects 

until they reached P Station, where Mr. and Mrs. 

Mervyn met them, beaming with smiles. 

" Granny ! " 

" My dearest boy ! " 

Ralph was rapturously embraced by Mrs. Mervyn, 

who was stouter and greyer than twenty years before, 

while Mr. Mervyn, a handsome old man, with hair as 

white as Hugh's prematurely blanched locks, shook 

hands with Dr. Paull, who this year had been absent 

from the Pinewood for six months, 


" You must be glad to get away for a peep at the 
dear old place," said Mrs. Mervyn, warmly, as she sat 
opposite Hugh in the waggonette. "You will find the 
garden a little neglected, I fear. You see, the men have 
had no direct orders, and we did not like to interfere." 

To Hugh, the peeps of the grounds through the 
clumps of pines as they drove along produced an effect 
of desolation. There was the still, overgrown, neglected 
look about the place which even the best kept estate 
will assume after the protracted absence of its owner. 
They were all to lunch together at the Pinewood. As 
they neared the house, Hugh's spirits fell lower and 

" It is like a big churchyard with one grave in it," 
he thought. To him the house looked mausoleum-like. 
Its windows stared blankly at him like so many reproach- 
ful eyes. 

Within, he fancied there was a smell of damp. Mrs. 
Mervyn and the old housekeeper assured him, as they ac- 
companied him through the unused rooms where the 
furniture was carefully shrouded in holland and the car- 
pets rolled up, that during the wet weather there had 
been fires everywhere, and that at a couple of days' notice 
the house would be ready for occupation. 

" You could invite any number of people, sir. I'd 
undertake to be ready for them," said Mrs. Gray, who 
had been housemaid at the Pinewood when Sir Roderick 
was a young man. " The parties as old Mr. Pym had 
here during the shooting ! And how they used to enjoy 
theirselves ! I only wish as how those times would come 
again, sir. As I said before, I'd be ready for 'em, as long 
as you'd let me have two housemaids and a man as knew 
something of his business." 


Hugh looked sharply at her — as if the tempter him- 
self had spoken through her lips. 

" If I had people here — the whole place would have 
to be refurnished," he said, turning to Mrs. Mervyn. 
" It all looks — so faded — so worn-out." 

Last night's splendid scene was in his mind. Not 
for one moment had his memory failed to reproduce it. 
Even as he looked at the good old furniture — (they were 
standing in the drawing-room, he, Mrs. Mervyn, and the 
housekeeper) — he seemed to see the opera house as back- 
ground to the central figure of the princess in her pearl- 
embroidered robe, wearing priceless gems on her fair 
neck and arms and in her black hair as carelessly as if 
they were glass. 

" I daresay it does all look poor after the houses you 
are accustomed to see," said Mrs. Mervyn, indulgently. 
Good, untiringly faithful in well-doing as she was, her 
woman's natural instincts remained ; she daily witnessed 
by far too much squalor and poverty, and at the faint 
promise of something that would "brighten up the 
place," as she termed it, she revived as an old war- 
horse pricks up his ears at the sound of the trumpet. 
"But, you know, all these things are solid and good, 
and at a comparatively small expense you could make 
the house look utterly different," she added, persua- 

Then, while Mrs. Gray stood by, intensely interested, 
she unfolded the poor old chocolate-coloured draperies, 
and showing Hugh how threadbare and faded they were, 
suggested numberless little plans for beautifying the 
rooms at a comparatively trivial outlay. 

He listened with seeming interest. But he hardly 
heard what she was saying. He was building a castle in 


the air. He was reorganising the whole place on a far 
grander scale than would ever have occurred to Mrs. 
Mervyn's frugal mind — he was preparing it for the en- 
tertainment of such guests as Sir David and Lady For- 
wood. (Sir David and Lady Forwood — his thoughts 
presumed no further. Hugh Paull, hitherto sincere, 
true to himself, had taken the first plunge into the bot- 
tomless waters of self-deception !) 

" It seems a shame that a house with such capacities 
should be allowed to be in this state, doesn't it ? " he 
said to Mrs. Mervyn. 

" It seems a shame so beautiful a place should ' waste 
its sweetness on the desert air,' " she said, half -laughingly, 
half-earnestly. " But we know you will not leave it as 
it is," she went on, in a low voice, to Hugh, as they f ol- 
lowed the inwardly-elated housekeeper out of the room. 
"You see, Ralph is getting to be a young man, and 
should meet people. We have thought you would come 
to see this in its right light before very long." 

As Mrs. Mervyn was saying these words, they were 
passing through the hall, and Mrs. Gray, in her exuber- 
ance of spirits at the prospect of liveliness to come, went 
up to the gong and sounded the summons to luncheon 
in quite a joyous fashion. 

Hugh, following Mrs. Mervyn into the dining-room, 
was struck by the bare and empty appearance of the 
room, but he was still more impressed by something else. 
This was Lilia's portrait in pastel, which he had had 
painted by a celebrated French artist after her death, to 
be hung over the mantelshelf where Eoderick Pym's 
portrait in oils used to hang. This portrait, which had 
been somewhat of an abstraction, a study in grey and 
lilac, had lost whatever life the artist had put into it. 


" It might be a portrait of her ghost," he thought, 
with an eerie feeling. 

In truth, as he sat at luncheon, and afterwards, when 
he and Ralph laid the wreaths on the grave, there was 
no longer that old sensation of her presence lingering 
about the place. It was all empty as a husk. 

" The old life has gone for ever," he thought. To 
make the Pinewood bearable, he felt he must live a new 

They took tea at the Eectory with the Mervyns. 

As he was strolling in the garden with his hostess 
afterwards, he said to her, suddenly : 

" If I should invite people here later on, would you 
consent to be hostess for a time?" 

Mrs. Mervyn was slightly startled, but acquiesced. 
After the father and son had left, she broached the mat- 
ter to her husband. 

" Do you think he means to marry again ? " sug- 
gested Mr. Mervyn, who had noticed some change in 

" Marry again ! " 

Mrs. Mervyn's indignation made her husband smile. 

" Well, we shall see," he said. " My belief is, he 

Arrived home, by far more cheerful than when he 
started, Hugh went at once to his library for letters. 
There were a few, manifestly business communications. 
He looked at these somewhat blankly, then rang the 

" Are these all the letters ? " he asked. 

" Yes, sir." 

« Who called ? " 

" No one, sir." 


"You are suref* 

He looked somewhat steml j at old Jones (the prat- 

" I am posidre certain, sir," said the old domestic, 
aggrieyed, casting a reproachful look at his master as he 
retired. Dr. Paull had ncTer spoken so sharply to him 

"• What a curious thing," Hugh was telling himself. 
" Lady Forwood made all that fuss about my seeing the 
girl — ^and I am not sent for ! " 

It was only twenty-four hours since he was sitting 
in the box talking to the princess, but this fact did not 
occur to him. So many thoughts had passed through 
his mind, he had made such startling resolutions during 
those twenty-four hours that they seemed a week. 

The next day passed, and the day after, in the usual 
routine. Barely had that routine seemed so dull. 

" What is the matter with my father, do you think, 
Jones?" asked Halph of his old crony, who had been 
his secret playfellow since he first spun tops and made 
kite-tails for him. '^ He seems so strange. Has he been 
ill, and kept it to himself?" 

"How can I tell. Master Ealph? How can the 
likes o' me understand the likes o' Atmf " answered 
Jones. In his heart of hearts, Jones feared that " much 
learning " was making his master certainly inclined to 

A few days later came a note from Lady Forwood. 

" At last," muttered Dr. Paull, who considered him- 
self somewhat peculiarly treated by " a con pie of women," 
and attributed his irritable humour to annoyance thereat. 
Bat the letter merely asked him to dine to-morrow, and 
contained no mention of the princess. 


" But it is pretty certain she is to be there, or I 
should scarcely have been invited," he thought. 

Apart from his profession, he thought very lightly 
of himself. Since Lilia died he had merged the 
man in the physician; if one had told him people 
liked or disliked him as the man, without reference 
to the professional healer, he would scarcely have be- 
lieved it. 

He put the note into his breast-pocket — he was just 
going to deliver a lecture — said a few words to Ealph, 
and, stopping the carriage at a telegraph office, wired 
" With pleasure " to Lady Forwood. 

He lectured brilliantly that day. The students were 
astonished at the youthful enthusiasm of their ordinarily 
calm and logical professor. 

Returning, he found a letter from Mrs. Mervyn, who 
was anxious to keep him up to his new good resolutions. 
Mrs. Mervyn offered to come to town any day and " do 
his shopping for him." 

He talked of his idea of embellishing the Pinewood 
to Balph that evening. 

" You both, you and granny, have more artistic taste 
than I have," he said to his son. " Suppose I were to 
give you carte blanche to refurnish the house — both 
houses, this is a great deal too shabby — and I will not 
grumble at the bills ? " 

Balph acceded to his father's suggestion joyfully, as 
he invariably did. But in private he wondered, and pon- 
dered. This man, all elation one day and moody ab- 
straction the next, was not the father he had loved and 
revered. He was metamorphosed. 

Sir David Forwood lived in one of the fashionable 
squares. When Hugh's carriage drove up, it had to 


wait — another equipage was " setting down " at the hall 
door, where there was an awning. 

" A large party ? " he asked the footman who took 
his hat. 

" My lady reoeiyes after dinner, this evening," said 
the man. 

There were two or three ladies seated near Lady 
Forwood, and a few men were standing about in the 
big front drawing-room. One of these was the count, 
who bowed to him with what he considered an ironical 

" I want you particularly to take in Lady Boisville," 
Lady Forwood said to him after she had said a few 
nothings. " She is dying to talk to you. You know 
she is a bit blue — and she positively raves about your 
'Commentaries on Psychological Facts.' Did I pro- 
nounce that properly? Yes? For the first time, I as- 
sure you ? " 

Then she introduced him to the lady in question. 

Lady Boisville was the wife of a millionaire who had 
been recently created a baron for some good reason best 
known to the title creators of the period. She was a 
stout lady in the sixties, who worshipped brains, as she 
said, and took a motherly interest in her juniors. She 
was fond of a little bit of gossip, and Hugh listened to 
her monologue half interested, half dreading that he 
might hear something — what, he hardly knew — ^that 
would unpleasantly affect him. 

" You know Count Tornelli ? " she said to him, after 
she had chattered about most of the persons present not 
strictly within earshot. " The man who is always with 
the Prince Andriocchi ? I am very much interested in 


" Indeed ? " remarked Hugh, coldly. 

" You speak as if — do you know anything about him 
that is not quite nice ? " asked her ladyship, alarmed by 
his manner. " Because, if you do, you must tell me at 
once ! That dark girl sitting by him is my niece, and 
we quite think that if will be a match — if everything 
should be suitable, of course." 

Hugh felt quite sorry for having excited Lady Bois- 
ville's suspicions. He became suddenly sympathetic in 
her regard, and thinking she was a good motherly soul, 
he assured her quite warmly that during his slight ac- 
quaintance with the count he had seen nothing at all at 
which she might take exception. 

" I hear that the prince is dreadfully /a«^," said she. 
" But that the count does his utmost to lead him away 
from his temptations." 

" A sort of Mentor," said Hugh, with a smile. 

He felt amused now, and discussed the advantages of 
the possible marriage with Lady Boisville with as much 
interest as if he had been a lady matchmaker. 

The dinner over, he established himself in a corner 
of the back drawing-room and watched the arrivals to 
the " At Home." 

These were many ; people he knew, people he did 
not know. Every gown as it flitted past the doorway 
set him on the alert — he felt that each dark head or 
pair of snowy shoulders might be hers. 

As the quarters were chimed by a clock on a cabinet 
near him, as ten o'clock came, then eleven — he began to 
feel a peculiar sensation of uneasiness. It annoyed him. 
What was there to be uneasy about? he asked himself. 
Was he uneasy because he was wasting his time ? Had 
he thought he was there in the cause of science, to see a 


patient that had baffled greater nerve-doctors than him- 
self? Yes, that was it. Men came up to him and 
talked, and he conversed with them, still watching the 
doorway. Then guests began to depart, and feeling as 
if he had been made a fool of, he sought out his host- 
ess and somewhat reproachfully told her he must leave, 

-" I am sorry I cannot wait any longer to see mj pa- 
tient" he said with emphasis. 

"Your patient?" repeated Lady Forwood. "Oh, 
dear ! You expected to meet Mercedes ! " she said. 
" You thought I was arranging something like they did 
with the Paris doctor. No ! I wanted you particularly 
to know Lady Boisville. Mercedes and her husband are 
with the Arrans in Wales. I had a more cheerful letter 
from her than I have had for a long time. Her husband 
seems to like Wales, and all is couleur de rose^ 

" I am happy to hear it," said Hugh. Then he made 
his way out of the house and walked home, utterly dis- 
gusted with himself — ^ashamed of himself to himself for 
the first time in his life. 



Fob the first time in his life Dr. Paull felt that he 
had considerably lost in his respect for himself, and he 
set himself to inquire into his mental and moral con- 

" I have lowered myself in some way," he thought 
(He was thinking of self in a strictly professional sense, 
be it understood.) " It has been the doctor running 
after the patient, not the patient seeking the doctor. It 
must not occur again. I know I meant well — but it 
must not occur again." 

After this neat little compromise with his con- 
science, which perhaps was rusty for want of work and 
therefore not equal to the occasion, he as it were shook 
hands with himself, and set to work again, ignoring 
the question of unhappy young princesses with neglect- 
ful husbands and doubtful counts in dangerous prox- 

It was the old life again. Patients at home in the 
morning, hospital work later, later still consultations or 
sudden calls. Then evenings spent quietly with Ealph, 
talking over his late tour with the geologist and helping 
him to arrange his specimens. 

The boy was never so happy as when his father was 
sharing his life, thus. But he loved him unselfishly, 


and the seed of donbt whether that father was as well 
or as happy as he should be was sown, and had already 
fructified. | 

" Father," he said suddenly, one evening, " why have 
you given up going out ? ^ 

*' My dear boy, I cannot give up what I never 
began," said Dr. Paull, startled so that his pale face 

" You went to the opera and to parties,** persisted 
Balph. "And you looked so jolly then. You don't 
now. You are quite different." 

" Don't let us talk nonsense," said Hugh, annoyed. 

Could it be true that he looked brighter after mixing 
with a crowd of silly people, who lived to waste time in 
amusing themselves? 

The very next morning he was down to breakfast 
somewhat earlier, to keep an appointment with a patient, 
when Ralph came in, all eagerness. A letter was in his 

" From the princess, father," he said. " A footman 
brought it, and is waiting for an answer." 

" Well, let him wait," said Hugh, once more flushing 
with annoyance. (Why his son's empressement f ) 

"He says one word will do," said Ealph, plead- 

" What is the matter with you ? " asked his father, 
with an embarrassed laugh, taking up the dainty little 
note addressed to " Monsieur le Docteur Paull," in a 
weak but pretty handwriting. "There," he said, 
suddenly, by some curious impulse handing the open 
note to the lad. " I don't know what to do. You shall 

The note contained but a few words : 


" Cher Monsieur, — I will ask yoa as a great kindness to rae to 
give me your advice, when and how it pleases you. Receive my 
compliments. ** Mercedes (Princess Andriocchi)." 

" Decide ? " Ralph stared at his father. 

" Shall I go, or not ? " said Hugh. 

"What else would you do, father?" said his son, 

He scarcely understood — he had never known his 
father refuse advice to a patient. 

" Look here," said Dr. Paull, throwing himself back 
in his chair. "This is a fashionable, selfish woman, 
who has really nothing the matter with her. If I go, it 
is merely truckling to her position and wealth." 

" Has she consulted you before, then? " said the boy, 

He was naturally serious, and in the most minor 
matters, which had any reference to his father, he was 
preternaturally so. 

" No, I have not seen her professionally, exactly," 
admitted Hugh. 

" You once told me, father, that no man, however 
gifted in diagnosis, should pronounce upon a patient 
without making an — what was the word ? — an exhaustive 

" Does that mean I ought to go ? " 

" Why not ? " 

Hugh looked into the earnest blue eyes which, de- 
spite the lad's years, had still an almost infantine 

" Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings one often 
hears the truth," he thought. 

" I suppose I must go, then," he said, " although it 
is most inconvenient," and abruptly rising he went into 


the hall, spoke to the man, and returned pledged to see 
the princess. 

He was set down for a clinical lecture at noon. At 
eleven he started in his brougham and drove to one of 
the new roads in South Kensington where the Prince 
Andriocchi rented a furnished house for the season. 

An English groom of the chambers came forward as 
the door opened. 

The princess was at home. 

Hugh followed the man, who wore a dress something 
akin to ordinary levee costume, up the wide staircase, 
through the large, silent drawing-rooms which were 
furnished in the Parisian style rather than according to 
British taste, into a boudoir where he left him. 

It was a circular room lighted from above. The 
ceiling was a dome draped in a peculiar fashion with 
some soft white stuff in cloud-like puiBfings ; the narrow 
windows were of pink glass. The carpet was rose-pink 
with a white flower pattern, the walls were lined with 
puffings of white and pale pink satin, while the furni- 
ture was of pink and white brocade and gilded wood. 
A few engravings of celebrated pictures stood about on 
easels ; and everywhere, wherever he looked, Hugh saw 
the choicest flowers ; cut flowers in bowls, plants in 
jardinieres. It was a room which was unlike all other 
rooms he remembered, yet, as he looked around, it 
struck him that he had seen some room like it some- 
where, once. When ? How ? In a dream ? 

The sound of a door opening behind him made him 
turn round, and he saw the princess coming towards 
him through a conservatory which lay beyond a cur- 
tained arch opposite the door by which he had entered. 

She was dressed in some floating girlish dress of 


softly tinted stnffs : she seemed lost in thought — Hugh 
fancied she was unaware that he was there : she walked 
slowly and wearily, her eyes cast down — then paused to 
pick off a dying blossom as she passed between the 
banks of bloom. 

But — she knew ! For as she came in she raised her 
eyes, and the colour rising to her pale cheek she said : 

" Ah, I knew you would come ! " 

It was a strange thing to say ; but it was said sim- 
ply, earnestly, without the slightest tinge of vanity. 
As for coquetry, no man, looking at that sad, beautifal 
young face, would have been so lost to all sense of chiv- 
alry as to dream of the detestable quality in the pres- 
ence of this gentle, modest woman. 

She did not offer Hugh her hand. She seated her- 
self on a settee, and motioned him to occupy an easy- 
chair opposite. 

"My husband is away," she said, in her foreign 
English, looking wistfully at Dr. Paull. " He sent to 
me the count late last night, to say it was impossible 
that he should return." 

She was evidently watching for the effect of her 
communication. But Dr. Paull maintained his profes- 
sional sphinx-like calm. 

" Indeed ! " he said. " But you have friends staying 
with you ? You are not alone ? " 

" I am quite alone," she said. " But I have always 
been alone, so that is nothing." 

There was an awkward pause. Hugh hardly knew 
how to meet these naive confidences. 

" You sent for me ? " he began, suggestively. 

She looked at him with a peculiar, scrutinising 
glance for quite half a minute. Then she said : 


" Lady Forwood told me you are a good man." 

This was somewhat disconcerting. 

"Lady Forwood is a charming, kind woman," he 
said, warmly ; " and I am glad that you are such 

" She told me I should tell you everything ! " said 
the girl, clasping her jewelled hands nervously. 

" Naturally, of course," said Hugh, who had rapid- 
ly determined to treat the princess' case, whatever it 
might prove to be, with bare matter-of-fact common- 
sense : and, as in the case of hysterical subjects, to be 
unsympathetic — even, if necessary, rough. " A doctor 
should hear the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, 
from a patient. Otherwise, he is working in the dark, 
and might do more harm than good." 

The princess was evidently in earnest about herself. 
She fixed her eyes intently upon Hugh as he was speak- 
ing, listened with all her ears, and when he had ended 
his somewhat didactic little speech, sighed a little sigh 
of relief. 

" It is a long story," she began, apologetically. 

" We medical men are accustomed to long stories," 
said Hugh, " especially from ladies." 

" You do not like ladies ? " said the princess, with a 
smile. (She seemed rather pleased than otherwise.) 
" I did not like the ladies of my country when I was a 
child. My mother and father were every day at the 
Court. Their own palace was a little Court. I was 
very unhappy. It was there I began to dream." 

She hesitated and gave a nervous glance around be- 
fore she said the word, which, indeed, she spoke with 
bated breath. 

" To dream ? " said Dr. PauU, beginning to set down 


his new patient among the hysterical category. (When 
his hysterical patients could find nothing else to com- 
plain of, they invariably grumbled about their bad 
dreams, which were beyond anyone's power to verify.) 
" Why, dreams are only imagination. Everyone has bad 
dreams. Dreams are nothing." 

" Do you think so ? " asked the girl, with intense 
anxiety, with a strained look in her big eyes. " Tell me 
that again ! Tell me dreams are nothing ! " 

" I do not exactly mean that they are nothing^ that 
is merely an expression to be taken for what it is worth," 
said he, impressed by her intensity. " But come, tell 
me all about these dreams ; I am interested in dreams. 
I wish I could have met you when I was writing a little 
book about the brain. Your experiences might have 
been of great use to me. They still will be, if you will 
tell me all about them." 

She knitted her brow, considered for some moments, 
then said, with evident effort : 

" Tell me, doctor, tell me truly. Do you think there 
could be two souls in one body, and one soul could be 
awake when the other was asleep ? " 

" Is such a wild, horrible idea allowed by your 
Catholic religion?" asked Hugh, somewhat brusquely. 
" Do you know, princess, that allowing yourself to think 
of such things probably causes you these bad dreams ? " 

She looked at him with a sad smile, and shook her 
head slowly. 

" Ah ! you do not know ! " she said. He had heard 
that plaintive tone of voice before from patients suffer- 
ing acute anguish from deadly disease. " But you are 
right, monsieur le docteur, I am wrong to say such a 

thing. It is against my holy faith." 


Her proud humility touched him. 

" And I was wrong to ask you such a question," he 
said. Then he coaxed her to speak freely to him. 

" You dreamt these dreams as a child ? " he begun. 
" They ought to be forgotten — dead." 

Then she told him simply, in her imperfect English, 
what her trouble really was. As a young child, she 
had been much like other children, without their life 
and cheerfulness when awake. But no sooner did she 
sleep than she felt herself surrounded by terrors, vague 
but horrible; a sense of impending doom seemed to 
suffocate her, yet some interior feeling made her believe 
that the doom was just. She heard weeping and 
lamenting among the dark shadows that surrounded 
her ; and sometimes great eyes, with an expression of 
frantic appeal, appeared amid the gloom, and haunted 
her waking thoughts. 

" I did think the souls in Purgatory were near me," 
she said. " I told the Eeverend Mother of the Convent. 
We children could any of us go to her when we liked, 
just as to a real mother. Oh, much more ! I could 
never have talked to my mother, the Marquesa, like 

" And what did the Reverend Mother say ? " asked 
Hugh, with a suggestion of sarcasm, for he had a good 
honest British distaste for the conventual system. 

" Oh ! she laughed at me, and said little children 
had nothing to do with Purgatory ; and she showed me 
a picture-book, The Cats^ Tea Party ^ and when a lay 
sister brought her some bouillon^ I had some in a pretty 

"Altogether the bad dreams were rather a good 
thing than otherwise ? " suggested Hugh, almost ban- 


teringly, thinking that at least that nun had some 
common sense, whatever dreamers the rest may have 

^' I had holidays, and the doctor came, and I had 
more things to eat," said Mercedes ; " and everyone was 
so kind to me." 

^' Did not all that send away the bad dreams? " asked 
Hugh, still speaking lightly. 

" No," she said, sadly, " Nothing has ever altered 
them. It is so — always. And I cannot care for my 
life ! " 

She spoke with such despair that Hugh was touched. 
His determination to be harsh wavered, although he was 
unaware of the fact. 

"But, for instance, lately," he said, thinking of 
Lady Forwood's account of a cheery letter, " you have 
been away in the country, I understand. How did you 
sleep there ? " 

"Not at all," she said. "And it was beautiful! 
First came the quiet, dark night, with the scent of roses 
coming in with the cool air, and just a little rustle of 
the trees outside. Then a grey light, and the young 
birds twitting (is that the word ?) little questions to their 
parents. Then the old birds began to sing sweet, happy 
songs, and the day came, first with blue light, then white, 
then pale rose. Then I got up, and from my window 
saw the rise of the glorious sun — ah! that waking is 
better than the sleep you doctors say is good. It is not 
good, to be asleep ! " 

Her eyes sparkled ; her dejection had lifted. 

" I cannot agree with you," said Hugh. " And sleep 
— good sleep, mind — you must have. But last night — 
here, in London, — you had no rest? " 


" I had my worst-of -all dream ! " she said, bitterly. 
" It has come to me these last years : at first — ^years back 
— I waked up crying and miserable, but could not re- 
member. Then I remembered something about pistolets, 
I do not know your English word." 

" Pistols ? " said Hugh. He never used the word, or 
thought of the weapon, without a shudder. 

" That is it," she assented. 

" Were you ever frightened by firearms, do you 
think?" asked Dr. Paull, resolutely suppressing the 
commencement of the hopelessly wretched mood which 
inevitably succeeded any suggestion of that past terrible 
experience. "Sometimes a fright in infancy will re- 
produce unpleasant impressions. ... Do you under- 
stand me ? " 

" I never saw pistolets before that dream," she said, 
slowly and solemnly. " I could swear it to you before 
the hon Dieu, monsieur ! " 

" I quite believe you," said Hugh, hurriedly. " There 
are strange incidents in the lives of young children, and 
they have curious ideas — science is yet in the dark about 

these things. But " He paused and looked almost 

tenderly at the great, childish, anxious eyes raised to 
his. " I want to help you," he said ; " but, frankly, it 
is difficult." 

Then he questioned her as to the drugs physicians 
had ordered her, and she brought him a pile of prescrip- 
tions which proved to him how futile the greatest 
scientists' efforts had been to alleviate the torture suf- 
fered by this envied, but in reality most pitiable young 

She looked so lovely, such a rare blossom of sweet 
womanhood ; and, glancing at her amid her luxurious 


surroundings, anyone would, have derided the idea of 
pitying her. But, as Hugh looked at her a strong be- 
lief arose in his mind that she was not, in some way, 
like other people ; and that — how or why, he dared not 
imagine — some blight was upon that fair young head. 
Possibly some ante-natal occurrence, however remote, 
might have produced her morbid condition. 

As he sat looking at her, thinking deeply, casting 
about how he could help her, she was watching him 
hopefully. At their first meeting she had felt a calmed 
sensation, an access of strength, while talking to him, 
and since— even when merely remembering or speaking 
of him. 

"Well, monsieur?" she asked at last, with a 

He sighed, almost impatiently. 

" You expect me to give you medicine ? " he asked. 

" If you do, monsieur le docteur, I think I could not 
take it," she said. " I have had so much medicine^ and 
never, never did it take away one dream; no, not 
one ! " 

" Then what am I to do for you ? " asked Hugh, in 
his perplexed mood unaware how strange a question this 
was from an eminent physician to a patient. 

She looked at him earnestly, and leaning forward 
she said, slowly : 

" See me — every — day ! " 

Hugh started. Then he laughed, then checked him- 
self. Was she mad, or only eccentric ? 

" Why ? " he asked. " Why see you every day, espe- 
cially as you tell me that if I prescribe for you, you will 
not take my medicine ? " 

She opened her lips ; evidently she would have told 


him — ^had not some secondary thought arisen to check 
her confidence, whatever it might be. 

"Will you see me every day for one week? then I 
will tell you," she said, imploringly. " Lady Porwood 
said you would be my good friend. Be my good friend, 
monsieur, and do this ! " 

It was an embarrassing position ; and although Hugh 
was deeply moved by the giri's pathetic tone of entreaty, 
by this almost desperate appeal to him — for that was 
really what it seemed to be, — he wondered what was 
behind this strange request. Was Mercedes in the 
power of one of those two men — the prince and the 
count, — and unconsciously aiding in some bet or friv- 
olous conspiracy? Or was she herself whimsical and 
capricious — " hysterical " ? No ! Those last ideas 
were treason. Having harboured them for an instant 
brought back his instinctive faith in the simple young 

" I would do what you ask, but really it is not pos- 
sible, princess," he said, gently, respectfully. Then he 
explained how his time was occupied, and gave her a 
list, jotted down hastily upon a leaf torn out of his 
pocket-book, of the engagements for the next few days, 
which could not be cancelled. 

She took the list and went over it carefully, in a 
practical manner, quite unlike that of a hysterical 

"I see," she said. "But, monsieur, the evenings? 
There is nothing for the evenings." 

Hugh told her that his evenings were sacred to his 

" I am all that he has," he said, " both mother and 
father. His mother died when he was born." 


She asked his age, and Hugh told her. 

"Nineteen!" she said, with a little laugh of sur- 
prise. " How funny ! That is my age. But your son, 
when is he nineteen ? You say, a few days ago ? Why, 
he is older than I am, monsieur? You could be my 

" Certainly," said Hugh, relieved, somehow, of part 
of the uneasy sensation excited by the situation by this 
suggestion. " But I confess I thought you older." 

" I was eighteen last March," she said, gravely. "And 
my friend. Lady Forwood, was twenty-four." 

Eighteen — and a wife! Hugh looked pityingly at 
her. It seemed to him that parents who could wed a 
child of seventeen to a young roue of twenty-six were 
almost criminal in their rashness — or worse than rash- 

" But, your son, he would like to go out ? " said the 
princess. "Monsieur, you and he, can you not come 
sometimes to Lady Forwood — to Lady Boisville ? Then 
I could see you." 

"Impossible," said Hugh, suddenly rising. This 
curious interview had lasted long enough. 

" You will not f " 

She sat back on the settee, and to his astonishment, 
a deathlike pallor spread over her face. A shrunken 
look aged her sweet youthful features, her eyes seemed 
to harden and recede beneath her dark eyebrows. His 
conscience smote him. 

" I will try and see you again soon," he said, lamely. 

She raised her eyes languidly. He could not bear to 
see such abject misery on so young a face. . . Young? 
This girl was younger than Ralph, more than young 
enough to be his own child. And so alone — ^and he 


could help her; he saw, he felt that there was some 
strong bond of sympathy between them. 

Without further thought, he almost flung himself 
down upon the settee at her side. 

" Suppose I were to see you every day for five days," 
he said, with an affectation of amusement, " what good 
would that do you ? " 

" You shall see," she said, reviving somewhat ; " I 
promise you, you shall be astonished." 

" Pleasantly astonished ? " he asked. He determined 
to treat her in a fatherly, indulgent way, as a spoilt 

" You will see," she said, nodding her head. " But," 
— she seized his hand in hers in a familiar, innocent 
way which took his breath away for the moment — " you 
promise f " 

" Promise ! What ? " he asked, uneasily. Something 
in the clinging touch of those slender fingers moved him 
deeply, recalled — what? Sensations long passed and 
gone, almost forgotten ; sensations that stirred his heart 
to feel the pain of loss. 

" Promise to accept the invitations you will receive 
this week," she said. 

" But where ? " he asked. 

" Here, to Lady Porwood, to Lady Boisville," she 

" Nowhere else ? " he asked, gazing wonderingly into 
her upturned eyes. Had there ever been such beautiful 
dark eyes in this world before ? He believed not. In 
any case, if such existed, he had never seen them. 

" Nowhere else," she said, earnestly. 

" I do not quite understand, but I promise," he said, 
rising. " And now au revoivy princess." 


He bowed low> and hurried away without looking 
back. He felt shamefaced and guilty : running down- 
stairs more actively than he had run for years past, he 
came full tilt against the count, who was standing at 
the foot of the staircase. 

Bows, apologies. Then the count asked tenderly 
about the princess. 

" We may hope, now that you have seen her, that 
our beautiful lady will be better, docteur," he said, 
obsequiously. " But how, how do you find her?" 

"There is nothing much the matter," said Hugh, 
dryly. Then, wondering where the prince was, and 
how he could " let that fellow come hanging about at 
all hours," he hurried out to his carriage. 

" Where to, sir ? " asked the coachman, leaning over 
as he came up. 

" Where to ? The hospital, of course," said Hugh, 
getting into his brougham and pulling the door to. 
What did Fuller, his coachman, mean ? He knew his 
hours well enough. And what was the matter? He 
was tapping at the glass. Hugh let down a front win- 
dow, impatiently. 

" Did you say to the hospital, sir ? " 

" Of course ! " shouted Hugh. 

"It's half -past twelve, sir," said the coachman, re- 
proachfully. Had he not sat on his box wondering what 
had become of his master for five mortal quarters-of-an 

" Half -past eleven, you mean ! " said Dr. PauU, 

For reply. Fuller pulled out a turnip silver watch. 

" It don't never vary a second, sir, it don't," he said, 


A glance at his own watch, and Hugh, saying, 
" You're right, Aowe," drew up the window, and threw 
himself back in consternation. 

" Am I mad, or dreaming ? " he asked himself. He 
had missed a lecture for the first time since his appoint- 
ment ten years ago I 

"'twixt the cup and the lip." 

" Incredible ! Preposterous ! " 

That was Dr. PauU's mental attitude : he could not 
understand how that hour, or more, had slipped away in 
the princess' boudoir. 

His annoyance, and his difficulty in accounting for 
his absence from his post, made him half -forgetful of 
the princess' expressed determination to see him every 
day. Next morning, when Sir David Forwood was 
announced, he had no idea of his old friend's errand. 

"No one ill, I hope?" he said, with concern; he 
left his consulting-room to join his visitor in the dingy 
old drawing-room, a melancholy apartment. He was 
fond of the Forwood children, one or two of whom 
were weaJily. 

" No," said Sir David, who looked as he felt, uncom- 
fortable. " Eeally I am ashamed to come on such an 
errand to a man like you, PauU. But you must blame 
my wife and Lady Boisville, rather than myself. Lady 
Boisville gives a concert to-night in honour of the 
young French prince, and she has set her heart on your 
being there. She actually came herself about it, and 
the two ladies packed me off to secure you. I am 
afraid you will have to come, PauU, or I shall never be 


Dr. Paull smiled. He remembered. His new pa- 
tient evidently understood how to carry out her whims. 

"I am pledged to go, or I certainly would not 
These things are not at all in my line," he said. 

"Pledged to go?** Sir David looked astonished. 
" Lady Boisville must have been mistaken, then. She 
said it was an afterthought of hers, and was so afraid 
you would be offended at being asked so late in the day." 

" I knew nothing of the entertainment ; still, I am 
pledged to go," said Hugh, amused at Sir David's inno- 
cence. " I will be there." 

Then Sir David departed, perplexed, as he would 
not have been had his wife been a society intrigante. 

Going into the dining-room to luncheon, Hugh was 
startled to see Mrs. Mervyn, without her bonnet and 

" Good heavens ! " he said, startled. " What brings 
you to town ? " 

" You, of course," said Mrs. Mervyn, amused. " How 
do you think the Pinewood is to be restored, and all 
that, without some one working pretty hard ? Ealph 
and I have our work cut out for us this next week, I 
can tell you. Ealph arranged for my staying here. I 
won't be in your way, I promise you." 

" As if that were possible," said Hugh, affectionately. 
He was always glad to see poor Lilia's " mammy." Her 
round placid face and kind eyes were dear to him. But 
as he presided at the luncheon table, and talked to her 
and to Ealph, who appeared in the seventh heaven with 
delight and importance, he hardly knew what they said, 
or how he answered them, except that the words carpets, 
curtains, furniture, were frequently repeated. He was 
wondering how he should explain his absence that even- 


ing to " mammy," who regarded him as an incorrigible 

" I fear I must seem rude, and leave you to-night 
for an hour or two," he said, as they rose from table. 

"Patients make doctors' laws," said Mrs. Mervyn, 
sagely. " I know that,''^ 

" But this is a private concert at Lady Boisville's," 
said Hugh, uneasily. " Nothing to do with business. 
In an evil hour I promised to go." 

" My dear, I am so glad that you are coming out of 
your shell," said Mrs. Mervyn, warmly. " And that 
reminds me. When am I to be ready to play hostess 
at the Pinewood? It is necessary that I should' know, 
to have everything in order." 

Hugh looked at her in consternation. He had for- 
gotten his wild, fleeting ideas that day at the Pinewood. 
Evidently Mrs. Mervyn had not. 

" Oh ! I have not thought any more about that," 
he said. 

"Then I am glad I have reminded you," said 
" mammy." " And really you men of science are so un- 
practical in ordinary life, that the best thing one can do 
with you, I think, is to help you a bit. I suppose you 
mean to ask your friends for the partridge shooting? 
There are plenty of birds about; and old Caesar has 
been taking pains with them since he knew for certain 
you were coming down." 

Before they parted, Hugh was aware that this was 
before him: he was to entertain the princess at the 
Pinewood. It was his own fault. When he had per- 
suaded himself that day in the country that he was 
planning to entertain Sir David Forwood and his wife, 
he was deceiving himself. 


•1 vases of the old Dutch painters or 

•' r which the Boisyille collection wa^ 

• ■ » men he knew, the most celebrated 

lie day, two of the foremost mem- 

aud the physician dearest to reign- 

iind talked with him. All seemed 

One of the statesmen, a man of 

y and renowned for his honest 

(' was taking a step in the right 

your patients not to shut them- 
" But hitherto you have not fol- 
the portrait painter came up to 

. t he loveliest woman in the world," 
lly; "and Lady Boisyille tells me 
Lucky fellow!" 

.e questioned Hugh with what Dr. 

•crable taste, until at last he made 

ainc out of his corner to avoid the 

■roedes, an exquisite picture in some 

•itT, with pearls round her girlish 

: trail of lilies from her beautiful 

Ml of her dress. Her large eyes were 

> from face to face, her lips were 

vously playing with her fan, yet the 

- talking to her, and in the knot of 

Mill were some of the celebrities of 

.»'s met, her face lit up with pleasure, 

to swell with some emotion. He was 

angry with himself for being so. 


" I wanted her there," he told himself, in consterna- 
tion. " What influence has that girl over me, and how 
in Heaven's name did she get it ? " 

He felt like some ponderous fly may feel entangled 
in the fine web of a seemingly insignificant spider. 
That delicate creature! How came it that he, a 
strong man, was subject to her will, or rather, her 
caprice ? 

"It must not be," he told himself, sternly; "al- 
though, of course, I must fulfil my promise. I must 
see her, when and how she plans for these few days. 
But after that, no more,^^ 

His determination seemed to him so strong, that he 
grew quite cheerful, and after a pleasant chat with Mrs. 
Mervyn during and after dinner, he sent her to the 
opera with Ralph and dressed for Lady Boisville's 
concert quite as if these new doings had been his rule of 

Lady Boisville's house was well known. Its tapes- 
tries, picture-gallery, and new French ball-room were 
much talked of in society. When Dr. Paull arrived, 
the picture-gallery was already nearly filled by a 
brilliant crowd who were seated or standing about in 
groups, awaiting the young French prince. Hugh 
took up his position in the background. He had 
been forced into this gathering, he determined to re- 
main a spectator of the interesting living picture as 
much as possible. At first it seemed as if his intention 
would be fulfilled. The concert began. Celebrated 
Italian singers warbled delicipus music. The ladies 
smiled and fluttered their fans. The men conversed in 
snatches between the pieces, while the Boisville ances- 
tors frowned darkly or smiled blankly from among the 


celebrated black canvases of the old Dutch painters or 
the gay Canalettis for which the Boisyille collection wa^ 
famous. One or two men he knew, the most celebrated 
portrait painter of the day, two of the foremost mem- 
bers of the Cabinet, and the physician dearest to reign- 
ing royalty, came up and talked with him. All seemed 
surprised to see him. One of the statesmen, a man of 
constitutional vigour and renowned for his honest 
joviality, told him he was taking a step in the right 

"You preach at your patients not to shut them- 
selves up," he said. " But hitherto you have not fol- 
lowed your own prescription." 

Just after that the portrait painter came up to 

" I have just seen the loveliest woman in the world," 
he said, enthusiastically ; " and Lady Boisville tells me 
you are her doctor. Lucky fellow ! " 

And forthwith he questioned Hugh with what Dr. 
PauU considered execrable taste, until at last he made 
some excuse and came out of his comer to avoid the 

Then he saw Mercedes, an exquisite picture in some 
silvery gossamer stuflf, with pearls round her girlish 
throat and a long trail of lilies from her beautiful 
shoulder to the hem of her dress. Her large eyes were 
travelling restlessly from face to face, her lips were 
apart, she was nervously playing with her fan, yet the 
French prince was talking to her, and in the knot of 
people around them were some of the celebrities of 
the day. Their eyes met, her face lit up with pleasure, 
his heart seemed to swell with some emotion. He was 
touched, yet was angry with himself for being so. 


**I suppose I must speak to her," he told himself; 
" but that must suffice. After that, I go home." 

He waited until the French prince moved away, 
then went up to her and asked her how she was. 

" Very well, now^^^ she said. " Not before, for you 
had not come." 

" I have been here all the evening," said Hugh, as 
coolly as he could, for her sweet face lifted to his actu- 
ally stirred his steady pulses, and he rebelled against 
these new, involuntary sensations. " I must go, now. 
Good-bye ! I am glad you are looking so well." 

"You will stay? Just a little while?" she 

" I am sorry that I cannot possibly do so," he said. 
" My time is not my own." 

Her blank look of disappointment startled him. 
What was this violent fancy of hers for him? Was 
he wise, was he, indeed, doing right to encourage it ? 
He began to fear that he had taken some dangerous 
step on that flowery way to destruction that he had 
hitherto succeeded in avoiding. 

Still, as he argued to himself walking home under 
the calm night sky, why should he think there was 
anything approaching to danger in the kindly feeling 
this young, beautiful creature entertained for him ? 

" I am absurdly vain to think of such a thing," he 
told himself with a scornful laugh. " I, more than 
middle-aged, white-haired, awkward, stupid in women's 
society, she can only feel a mixture of pity and confi- 
dence. How absurd it is of me to make a mountain 
out of a molehill ! " 

He went to bed with a heavy heart, accusing him- 
self of ingratitude to the princess. 


" I ought to feel flattered at it all, I suppose," he 
said when he awoke, his spirits oppressed with the feel- 
ing of something going wrong in his life. Instead of 
this, he felt utterly wretched. 

Had he expected to hear from Mercedes ? He did 
not know. He only knew that he turned over his 
letters with a sense of disappointment, and although he 
talked with Mrs. Mervyn about the opera, and listened 
to her and to Kalph's hints of some pleasant surprise 
in store for him in the arrangements at the Pinewood, 
he could not have given an account of the conversation 
afterwards had his life depended upon it. He had hard 
work to concentrate his energies upon his work that 
day. When he returned home he found a letter — a 
letter with the Andriocchi arms on the flap of the en- 
velope, with his name in that graceful, sloping writing. 

It lay among many others on his library table. If 
he had really doubted the girl's power over his emotions, 
the eagerness with which he pounced upon it would 
have told him the truth. 

Before he read it he locked the door. Another 
desperate symptom, had he been reflecting on his own 
case. But he was not. He had but one feeling, intense 
relief. He had been fearing he had offended her, and 
he had not done so. 

He opened the envelope. The enclosed sheet of 
notepaper contained but a few words : 

" 1 release you from your promise. Farewell. 

" Mbbcbdbs." 

The date ; her address ; those few words. No more. 

In his present frame of mind, it was a shock. At 

first he paced the room, his old habit when perturbed. 


Then after gloomy self-chidings, during which he 
thought of himself as an inhuman bear who had 
trampled on the generous nature of one of the sweetest 
women God had ever created — he stopped short, con- 
soled by a new thought. 

" What did I do, or say ? " he asked himself. " I 
only made excuses to get away from a fashionable en- 
tertainment. I did not slight her personally. She is a 
child I She has jumped to some conclusion or another 
— I must write at once and disabuse her of it, whatever 
it is." 

He sat down, and wrote : — 

" Dear Princess, — It grieves me to find that you have lost con- 
fidence in me as your medical adviser, l)ecause 1 have given much 
consideration to your case. Allow me to assure you that if you 
permit me a further trial, you will be satisfied with the result. 
At the same time, if you conclude that you are better without my 
advice, I sincerely hope you will allow me to talk over your next 
medical adviser with you, as the selection is a matter of impor- 
tance to your health. " I am, faithfully yours, 

"Hugh Pjlull." 

" Whether this is too warm, or too cold — whatever it 
is, it shall go,^^ he said to himself decidedly, as he rang 
the bell. 

" When did this letter come ? " he asked of Jones, 
who came in response to his summons. 

"That, sir? Oh, the princess! The fair, foreign 
gentleman brought it. He wanted to see you, sir. He 
came about two." 

" Which gentleman ? " asked Hugh — nettled to find 
that the letter had been recognised. 

" The count, sir ; not the prince.'* 

"Send this by a hansom at once," he directed. 


" And send round to the stables. I want the brougham 
directly after dinner." 

He had given this order, spurred by a feeling he had 
not hitherto known : he wished to conceal his move- 
ments from his own servants. Hitherto, they might 
have known all that he did, and spoke, and thought, 
for all he cared. 

Now, the idea of his patient the princess being 
commented upon by any one of his household, even by 
Ealph, was unbearable to him. He had ordered his 
carriage to elude remark. 'No sooner had he done so, 
than he wondered what he should do with it — where he 
should go. 

" I will take mammy to the theatre," he suddenly 

Upstairs he bounded — she was not in the drawing- 
room. Once more he rushed up the stairs three steps 
at a time and bounced up against Mrs. Mervyn. 

" My dear boy ! " Mrs. Mervyn was astonished, but 
not disconcerted. 

It did her good to see the long disconsolate widower 
" alive again," as she said afterwards to her husband. 

" I came to see if you would come to the theatre, 
to-night," he said, in a low voice. " Don't say any- 
thing before the servants — but after dinner, we three 
can just go and see anything good that you would care 
to see." 

Mrs. Mervyn was enchanted. 

" All the same, I would just as soon spend a quiet 
evening with you and Balph," she said. " You must 
not fatigue yourself on my account, dear." 

" Don't be alarmed ! I am purely selfish ! " he said, 
going oflf disgusted with himself. 


What had happened to him ? He was unstrung — 
his emotions were in revolt. He felt as if he could not 
sit quietly at home that evening, waiting for a reply to 
his note. He must have change of scene, excitement, 
to balance him. If mammy could only know ! Poor 
" mammy ! " 

Perhaps " mammy " knew more than he thought. 
Mrs. Mervyn, finding him changed, had certainly been 
on the watch these days. She had discovered no clue 
to the feminine influence which, woman-like, she be- 
lieved to be the root of Dr. PauU's alternate high spirits 
and absence of mind — still, she believed that the femi- 
nine influence was there^ and that in time she would 
" know everything." 

Poor " mammy ! " 

Meanwhile, she enjoyed herself that evening, as she. 
Dr. PauU, and Kalph sat together in a box to see a 
new piece, a serious comedy with both humorous and 
pathetic interest which was having a steady " run " at 
one of the principal theatres. Hugh exerted himself to 
be amusing, or, at least, to pay the undivided attention 
to Lilia's dearest friend which he considered her due ; 
and Mrs. Mervyn thought, more than once during the 
performance, " If there really is some love affair, it is 
going on favorably." 

So hoped Hugh. At least, so he hoped of this new 
acquaintance which he mentally designated his and 
Mercedes' "friendship." He believed his letter had 
"made it all right" between him and his offended 

But the next day passed, and the day after that, and 
no answer came. 

Then Mrs. Mervyn departed, with the promise that 


he would send her full particulars of his house party at 
the Pinewood next month. She assured him at parting 
that everything would be ready for next month in a few 

Good soul ! — she journeyed home somewhat heavy- 
hearted on the subject of Hugh, of whom she was genu- 
inely fond. When he returned from the bookstall with 
the newspapers he had bought to beguile her homeward 
journey, she noticed that he was de.xdly pale and looked 
very ill. 

" He has been overfatiguing himself for me," she 
dismally thought as the fields and hedges seemed to fly 
by the compartment in which she sat alone. " Poor, 
dear boy ! I have been very thoughtless." 

She might have spared herself her misgivings. The 
cause of Dr. PauU's pallor was a short paragraph in a 
society column his eyes rested upon as he brought her 
the papers : 

" The Prince and Princess Andriocchi, who have 
been making a brief stay in the Metropolis, intend to 
take their departure for Madrid to-day. For the future 
they will reside in the well-known palace of the Duke 
and Duchess of Saldanh6s, the parents of the princess, 
where an extensive suite of apartments has been mag- 
nificently re-decorated for their reception. One of the 
objects of the Prince Andriocchi's recent visit to the 
Palazzo Andriocchi, in Florence, is said to have been 
the organisation for the removal of the most celebrated 
among the many renowned works of art accumulated 
by his ancestors to his new abode in the Spanish 

So Mercedes had left him — ^without one word! 



He left the station as in a trance. He felt nothing 
but that something had happened to him that had mor- 
tally wounded him. 

Mechanically, he got rid of Ralph's companionship 
by leaving him at the scientist's hoose. Then he gave 
the order " Home." 

He was going up the steps of his house when the 
door opened, and the count came out. 

" Ah I " The count's exclamation was one of satis- 

" But I am glad to find you, monsieur le docteur ! 
The prince is terribly anxious about madame ! She is 
very ill. You will come to her at once ? " 

The revulsion of feeling was acute. The blood 
rushed to Dr. PauU's cheek. He turned abruptly from 
the count, and opened the street door with his key. 

" Will you come in ? " he said coldly. 

At that moment some instinct suggested aversion to 
this man. He had met those seraphic blue eyes fixed 
upon him with a mocking expression that was anything 
but seraphic, and in his present humour he would have 
doubted anyone. 

" I understood that the prince had left town," he 
said, after he had led the way into the library and 


closed the door. " Was it he who sent you, or the 
princess ? " 

The count explained that the princess was too ill to 
give directions, and was proceeding to make further ex- 
planations when Hugh cut him short, and explained that 
the princess having dismissed him, he could attend at 
her summons alone. 

He was desperately angry — was it with Mercedes, or 
with himself? This anger nerved him to write the 
names and addresses of certain physicians and to hand 
them to the count. 

" Any of these gentlemen will attend at the prince's 
request," he said. " Under the circumstances, you will 
quite understand that it is impossible for me to do so 
except at the princess' special desire." 

The count was compelled to retreat. He was sur- 
prised. Perhaps he had expected that Hugh had only 
to hear that he was wanted by his beautiful patient to 
fly to her. 

During that short interview Hugh felt triumphant. 
No sooner was he alone than the agreeable sense of self- 
vindication fled. He began to doubt whether he had 
acted rightly. 

" I have been selfish — hard," he told himself. " I 
ought to have remembered what a child she is — and so 
tender and sensitive — and so utterly friendless, with that 
man for a husband, and that fellow for a go-between ! '* 

However, he had no time for farther self-reproach. 
Patients arrived and had to be interviewed. Later in 
the day he had to visit a hospital, and in the evening 
Ralph was full of his day's work. He had written a 
chapter at the professor's dictation which had opened 
out a new vista of science to him. As the boy sat eagerly 


expatiating upon his day's experiences, his flushed cheek 
and glistening eyes made him strangely like his dead 
mother. As Dr. Paull noticed the likeness he shud- 
dered. As soon as he could, he made an excuse to be 

" I have work to do— can you amuse yourself with- 
out me ? " he said. 

Ralph's affectionate glance recalled Lilia still more. 
Was it his fancy that to-night, of all nights, the lad 
bore a startling resemblance to his mother that Hugh 
had not observed before? 

" It is not," he thought, as he lowered the lamp in 
the library, and opening the window, drew an easy-chair 
near it and lighting his pipe, settled himself to think. 
" He is growing like her." 

It was a dark night — moonless, but clear. The 
stars were brilliant. Obscurity lent a charm to the 
blackened shrubs in the so-called gardens at the back 
of the house. The forms of the opposite houses were 
vaguely defined against the ebon blue. Hugh tried to 
recall nights such as this, when he and his wife strolled 
into the pinewoods, and Lilia talked Jove to him as 
she leant upon his arm. He tried to recall the tones 
of her voice, but could not. He tried to remember the 
expression of her eyes, but, to his horror — for to-day 
he would have sacrificed much for a keen recollection of 
the past — when he thought of Lilia's face, he seemed to 
see the pathetic beauty of Mercedes ; when he thought 
of Lilia's voice, he seemed to hear Mercedes when she 
last spoke to him. 

" I am a fickle wretch ! " he told himself, bitterly. 
" I have forgotten the child who loved me better than 
she loved her God ! " 


He was attempting to do what he had never since 
dared to attempt — to recall in all its torturing details 
the closing rebellious scene of Lilia's short life — when 
he heard a tap at the door, and " May I come in?" in 
Balph's familiar tones. 

He laid down his pipe with a sigh, and went to the 
door. He would send Ralph away — he was not in a 
humour to talk. 

On opening the door, he saw Ralph — and two 
women, one of whom turned to her companion and 
said a few words in a low voice, then coolly passed him 
and walked into his room. 

He recognised her at once, cloaked and veiled 
though she was. Still, he stood at the door, hesitating ; 
his heart seemed to stand still at such unparalleled 
audacity. Only when, removing her veil, she said, 
almost impatiently, "Please shut the door," did he 
seem to recover the right use of his senses. 

" I thought — you were very ill," he said, coming 
towards her. 

" I am," said Mercedes, throwing up her veil. 

She certainly looked like death : her face pallid, her 
features sunken, her great eyes dimmed. 

" This is terrible — ^you should not have come ! " said 
Hugh, passionately, stirred by the sight of the face 
which had bewitched him, bereft of its exquisite beauty, 
" This is worse than imprudence ! " 

He drew a chair for her near the writing table, 
turned up the lamp, and pulled down the blind, half 
indignant that his love — oh ! when he saw her he felt 
she was his love, and nothing else — that this cruel love 
of his, who had caused him such throes, should have 
lowered herself thus, and have forgotten her high estate 


and womanly dignity to come to him! Bnt half de- 
spairing — ^f or he saw nothing but an abyss — an abyss of 
shame for her, of dishonour for him, in this. 

" Why did you come ? " he asked her, when his 
emotion permitted him to think. ^^It is madness — 
madness — ^f or you to come here ! And at this hour ! " 

"Why did you not come — ^to me?" she gasped, 
rising in her chair. " My husband sent for you — ^and 
you would not come ! " 

*' You wrote me my dismissal," said Hugh, bitterly. 
" You felt a whim, a fancy, not to see me any more. You 
gratified it. You did not think what suffering it would 
cause me. You only pleased your vanity. It pleased 
your vanity to think you could hurt a man who has not 
been hurt by a woman before." 

He stopped short, for a sudden light came upon her 

"What?" she whispered, leaning forward, her fea- 
tures losing their contraction, her pallor lessening. " No 
woman hurt you before I I was told you loved your 
wife ! " 

She said the word " wife " reluctantly. Hugh gazed 
at her wonderingly. His eyes travelled eagerly over her 
countenance. Every line was dear to him. The dim- 
ples about her mouth — how sweet they were ! 

But suddenly he remembered himself — his position 

. — and her, his patient. He recalled himself to a sense 

of propriety, and assumed a calm which he did not feel. 

"I was very sorry to receive your dismissal," he 
began, in as ordinary a tone of voice as he could com- 
mand, leaning up against the bookshelves in the shadow 
opposite to her, and folding his arms with a vague 
instinct to repress the turbulent beating of his heart. 


" But I am still more sorry that you, princess, should 
have stooped to come to me." 

Then he tried to explain why he had not gone to her 
at the count's bidding. He spoke of professional eti- 
quette, of the duty imposed upon members of his craft 
to support the rules that upheld their dignity. She 
leant back in her chair listening, with a curious smile 
on her pale lips. • 

He spoke confidently at first ; indeed, almost with 
firmness. But as he looked at her, sitting like some ex- 
quisite waxen figure in the old leathern chair, a delicacy 
and royal daintiness about her, even to every fold of her 
glistening evening gown, her eyes fixed upon him with 
an expression of sad reproach, faintly tinged with dis- 
dain, he felt a wild impulse to throw himself at her feet 
and tell her he was hers — her slave, to be hers till death. 
Astonished at his own feelings — alarmed, — he violently 
repressed them ; but his voice first faltered, then lost 
its resonance ; he stammered, forgot what he wanted to 
say ; in fact, failed miserably in his attempt to assert 
himself. He was thankful to her when she spoke, al- 
though she reproached him. 

" You were not only my docteuVy^ she said, and her 
sweet, reproachful voice seemed dearer, more familiar, 
than before. "You said — ^you promised to be my 

" Friendship cannot be all on one side," said Hugh 
bitterly, relinquishing the pretence of doctor speaking 
to patient. " You told me you did not want me. You 
wrote as cruelly as over woman wrote to man. I could 
not believe in your wish for my friendship after that." 

She looked at him, surprised. 

"Think," she said; "remember, remember! How 


did you be to me that night — that night at Lady Bois- 
ville's? The good count he did come afterwards to 
console me. He said to me, ' Excuse him, because he 
is so clever a man, and he understands les nerfs as no 
other man does understand them.' Then he tells me 
more " 

" The count is extremely kind," said Hugh. " He 
appears to know me very well. And pray what more 
did the count tell you about me ? " * 

" He tells me " (she closed her eyes and spoke with 
hesitation and in a stifled voice) " how beautiful was 
your young wife, and how your poor heart is buried in 
her grave." 

There was silence in the big, shabby old room, where 
the Princess Andriocchi, seated in the lamplight, was 
the spot of light among the shadows. The princess had 
not spoken mockingly; she spoke like a true woman, 
sympathetically, although a cool listener would have 
gathered from her tone and manner how deeply she 
loved the man to whom she addressed those words. 

But Hugh was no cool listener; he was excited to 
the utmost pitch, beyond the point where he could rec- 
ognise that he was not himself. 

" That is true in a way," he said, roughly, with a half 
laugh. " It is true as far as this : if I had a heart, it 
might be buried in a grave. But I have none, princess. 
All women and men are alike to me. If they are ill and 
want me, then, of course, they are my patients, and I 
am interested in them as such. Otherwise — well, I wish 
good to everyone ; but I am content to live alone — ^aye, 
and to die alone." 

He had paced the room while venting that speech. 
Turning abruptly, as he somewhat savagely enunciated 


those last words, he saw a smile on Mercedes' sweet 

" Ah ! " she said, shaking her head, " you think you 
feel that. But '' 

She looked incredulity. He and his sentiments had 
evidently not impressed her or depressed her spirits in 
the least. On the contrary, she looked far more human, 
far better in a physiological sense, than when she first 
came into the room. 

" How good it is to be here ! " she said, almost ecstat- 
ically, glancing above at the dingy ceiling, and around 
at the rows of bookshelves filled with plain bound 
volumes. " How much good it does me to be here ! " 
and she heaved a sigh, a sigh of relief and contentment, 
sinking back in the old chair. 

There was so true a ring in her voice, such a reality 
about her, that Dr. PauU was subdued by a sense of awe, 
or the beginning of awe. The situation was unnatural, 
yet Mercedes, more than at her ease, was making him 
feel as if it were not only natural that he and she 
should be here alone together thus, but even right and 

She was evidently completely at her ease. "While he 
stood uncomfortably wondering what he should do or 
say next, she promptly solved the difficulty. 

" Come here," she said, not exactly with imperious- 
ness, but certainly with the confidence of one in com- 
mand. " Come here " (she drew one of the chairs near 
her own), " and I will tell you — all." 

He hesitated for a moment. A disagreeable feeling 
that some shock was awaiting him in this threatened 
revelation made him almost inclined to refuse to hear it, 
now and for always. 


What if he had refused? What if he had left her 
there and then, unconfessed of her secret, whaterer it 
might be ? Would it have changed his after life ? would 
it have averted his fate? Often afterwards he asked 
himself this question, in wonder, in awe : that question 
which none on earth could answer. 

He did not refuse. He seated himself by her, and 

" You are mysterious." 

" Yes," she said, simply. " It is all a dreadful mys- 
tery. You know, every time I have seen you, you have 
made me feel stronger. That is why I ask you to see 
me for five days, and then I tell you all ! I tell you — 
you will be frightened when you hear what I have to 

There was no lightness about her voice and man- 
ner. Indeed, she spoke with reluctance, almost with 

*' I do not think there is much which can frighten 
me now," said Hugh, reassuringly. " You can tell me 
everything, anything you please." 

A nervous tremor shook her whole frame. 

" I will tell you," she said, almost convulsively. " I 
dreamed a dream once, when I was a child. I was 
sitting on a stone bench, such as we have in our coun- 
try. But round me were dark trees, dark bushes of the 
sort we do not have there. It was dark. I dreamed I 
was in the expectation of some one to come to me. I 
was sitting there, waiting. Then I saw the moon, and 
just as I saw the moon, I saw some one who came — a 
man ; and I knew that the man was the one I loved be- 
fore everything, and as I did not love anyone else." 

" Yes," said Hugh, encouragingly. 


The words brought back some unpleasantly suggest- 
ive recollection, but indistinctly. 

" I woke from that dream," she went on, musingly ; 
" and I knew it was not like other dreams. I knew that 
it meant something. I had been not fond of people like 
my girl friends were fond of people ; but that man, oh ! 
I loved him ! " 

" Did you recognise him ? " asked Dr. PauU, feeling 
uncomfortable, he hardly knew why. 

She shook her head. 

" No," she said, " not then. ... I will tell you. I 
did not dream that dream again. It made me think ; I 
told my confessor. It was not like other dreams. If 
ever I see the place I shall know it ; of that I am sure." 

" And the man ? " asked Hugh. 

" I did not see his face," she went on. " Only from 
what I felt did I guess him to be the same." 

"As what ? " His heart beat quick. 

" As the man of the dreams which made me so — so 

She spoke almost piteously. 

" And what were they ? " asked Hugh. 

Pale as she had been when she came, she grew paler 

"They," she said, in a hushed voice, "they were 
many, many; time after time, but always the same 
dream." She paused, drew a sobbing breath, then went 
on : " It was of a room. At first when I had the dream 
I could only notice that it was a room with a table, all 
the other was dark. But two things I could see quite 
plain : one was a pistolet lying upon the table, the other 
was a man sitting like this." (She leaned her arms upon 
the table and buried her face in her hands.) " And I — 


I, eren in the dream, wanted that man to kill himself ! 
yes, to take that pistol and shoot himself ! Ah ! mon- 
sieur ! " she started and exclaimed. Hugh had uttered 
an exclamation. 

** I said I should frighten you ! " she said, sinking 
back and looking at him concerned. 

He was pale to lividity, but, with a ghastly attempt 
at a smile, he once more folded his arms, and said, 
coolly : 

" Go on. Did the gentleman of your dream take 
your advice ? " 

" You must not mock or sneer," she said, somewhat 
defiantly. " Monsieur, I do not think you should sneer 
at my suffering! I have been in torment with that 
dream ; when I woke up I have felt that I was wicked, 
just as if it were the truth. I have cried and groaned. 
Oh ! I have prayed to die I " 

"Sneer? I wish I could sneer!" said Hugh, bit- 

She fixed her eyes upon him, seriously, earnestly ; 
then went on : 

" After I had that dream many times each year, I see 
that room plainer. It is a room" (she stopped and 
looked round) "something like this. Books every- 
where, on the walls like those, on the table. But while 
I dream that I ask that man — I beg him, indeed, more 
and more each time — to kill himself, never once in all 
those years did he move or look at me ; never once did 
I see his face ! " 

Hugh could not speak ; he was dumb with horror. 
He could not doubt that this dream of Mercedes' was a 
dream of the terrible crisis in his life; of that hour 
when Lilia had, dying, tempted him to commit self- 


murder, and he had been saved from the crime by the 
accidental appearance of Mrs. Mervyn. But why should 
this Spanish girl have dreamt of him throughout her 
young life, far away in a foreign land ? Could it be — 
but of course it must be — a coincidence ? The thought 
of a coincidence was a relief, 

" Dreams are strange things," he stammered, " Go 
on, you interest me much I " (Interest him— good 

" Then," she said, " came the strangest thing of all. 
When I was away in the country I dreamed that — once 
more. But it was more like real life than before ; the 
room, oh 1 1 saw it plain, even as I see this now. But 
the man — this time he looked at me — and — it was 
you ! " 

He did not speak. He did not think. It seemed as 
if his whole life had come to a halt. 

It was Mercedes who spoke first. She had watched 
him wonderingly after her revelation. His dark face, 
stern and set, told her nothing. 

"What — you think about it?" she said, at last. 
Her voice made him shiver like the touch of cold steel 
before the cut. 

" I ? I do not know," he stammered. " Of course, 
it all seems very strange to you. But you must not 
think about it." 

In his perturbation, the instinct to protect this weak 
woman, who by some law not understood by science had 
suffered in dreams on his account, mastered all selfish 

" I assure you," he said, with a valiant attempt at a 

smile, " that the best thing you can do is to forget all 

about these dreams. I will give you a book about 


dreams, a book dry and hard to read perhaps, bat 
which will make you feel happier on the subject." 

"But** — she began — "why — why — should I like 
you so much — ^why should the man of my dream be 

How could the wife of Prince Andriocchi and the 
constant companion of his friend the count, contrive, be- 
ing no actress, to look into his face with infantine inno- 
cence as Mercedes looked now ? That look made him 
think better of those two men. 

" That — belongs to a branch of a subject I have not 
studied," he said, hoping she did not notice the guilty 
flush which suddenly rose to his face. " I will think 
over all you have said to me to-night, and will tell you 
my opinion next time I see you," he added, rising. 

"Oh!" She looked disappointed. "When — ^when 
will that be?" She spoke anxiously. "You see how 
well being with you makes me ! Let it be soon ! " she 

What was he to say? To follow the promptings of 
his passionate feeling for her would have been madness. 
No, no ; duty, duty alone 

That pause of a few seconds when he summoned all 
his force to subdue himself, a pause which seemed to 
him hideously long, was broken by a neighbouring, a 
friendly church clock, which struck ten. 

" Do you hear ? " he exclaimed, seeming to be hor- 
rified although nothing could have horrified him just 
then. He sprang up. " I had no idea it was this hour," 
he said, truthfully enough. " Have you your carriage? 
Who was that with you ? " 

" My maid," she said. " Emma — ^a German. Lady 
Boisville sent her to me. Such a kind person 1 " 


" But your carriage ? " lie asked, anxiously. It was 
farthest from his thoughts to compromise her. 

" It is there," she added, with a certain assertion 
of dignity, rising. " Perhaps you will tell — that I am 

Hugh hastened to the door and called " Ealph." A 
voice from the dining-room answered " Yes," and Ealph 
came hurrying to the door. 

" Where is the princess' maid ? " asked his father, as 
coldly as he could. 

" She has been sitting in the dining-room with me, 

" That was right Call up the carriage yourself, will 
you? Don't bother Jones." 

" Yes." 

Hugh returned to. the room. She was standing 
thoughtfully at the table. 

What should he say to her ? As he stood undecided, 
Ealph came hurrying back ; he ceremoniously offered 
her his arm, and presently he was standing alone on the 
pavement, the stars shining mockingly down upon him 
as he gazed after her departing carriage. 



De, Paull had but little sleep that night. He spent 
it reading a book which had been presented to him by 
its author a few months ago, and which he had then 
shelved at the top of his bookcases among works not 
likely to be required. 

The author was an old man, a Mr. Helven, who had 
been a celebrated analytical chemist, but who had retired 
from active practice to pursue certain fantastic theories 
which had taken possession of his mind. He had been 
a frequent visitor at the Pinewood during Sir Roderick's 
lifetime. Hugh had seen him once since at a learned 
conversazione, and they had had some discussion, the 
result of which was that Mr. Helven sent him a copy of 
his book, " The result," he wrote in the accompanying 
note, " of the research of a lifetime." 

Dr. Paull had thoughts which he chose to hide, not 
only from the whole world, but even, if possible, from 
himself. He took the book to his bedroom and only 
began to read when the last sounds of daily life had 
ceased within and without the house. 

The title of the work was : " On Certain Ancient 
Doctrines. By a Modem Pythagorean." 

While cutting the pages Hugh's attention was ar- 
rested by certain words on the flyleaf : 


" Book IL 
On the Age of Souls." 

"Where have I seen that before?" he asked him- 

The words were familiar, and recalled sensations the 
reverse of pleasant. 

He pondered for a few minutes : then he recollected. 
Memory carried his mind back to the night at the Pine- 
wood when, after the day spent' with Lilia, Sir Roderick 
had lent him a treatise written by a Dutch author. He 
had, so he afterwards believed, fallen asleep while read- 
ing it — and had dreamt that he read a chapter or chap- 
ters of its second part (which was entitled, " On the Age 
of Souls "). 

This finding in black and white that of which he 
had dreamt years ago was weird. He turned over the 
pages that followed, and the sense of the uncanny was 
intensified. Here, almost word for word, was the strange 
treatise which he had read in his vision long ago ; here 
was the history of the old doctrine of Metempsychosis, 
or the passage of the Soul through many bodies in vari- 
ous lives. There was also the speculation of the author 
(or commentator), that the object of all life upon the 
planet was to develop high spiritual force: gradually, 
slowly, through its friction with material frames. The 
speculator assumed this plan to be a merciful idea of a 
beneficent Creator, by which the Soul, when finally at- 
taining to its eternal grandeur, might not be overwhelmed 
with the magnitude of its obligations, because it would 
recognise glory as principally earned by its long course 
of suffering and struggle. 

Meanwhile, the author suggested that while the spir- 


itaal essence called the Soul, being eternal, could hare 
no age, there being no such thing as Time in Eternity, 
the duration of its inhabitance of matter was of differ- 
ent length in different cases. Courageous souls that 
fought bravely for perfection would attain it sooner 
than the less enterprising. Those who lent themselves 
to evil would retrograde — would, like Sisyphus, be per- 
petually at work at the same step-in>advance. And 
those who failed to believe in the Eternal might revolve 
in fleshly forms even while the globe itself continued in 
the Universe in its present form. 

Hugh read and re-read. Certain ideas he had vague- 
ly felt floating among his troubled thoughts of late 
were assuming definite shape. 

Throughout that hardest, most perplexed reverie of 
his life he remembered certain facts. Lilia's unbelief 
during life : her rebellion against the law of Death at 
the last. The strange knowledge the Princess Mercedes 
had had from her earliest years of the awful scene in 
his life — Mercedes, who was bom nine months after 
Lilia's death. 

" If I tell Helven this," he said to himself, with a 
ghastly laugh at his own thoughts, " he will say that 
Mercedes is Lilia re-embodied. Did ever a romantic 
dreamer on subjects beyond our mortal powers of com- 
prehension find such a case in point to bear out his wild 

Lilia's death — Mercedes' birth — Lilia's wild love for 
him — Mercedes' feeling that his presence was necessary 
to her wellbeing. 

" Bah ! I am trjring to justify my passion for that 
girl — that is what I am doing ! " he cried to himself in 
an excess of self ^anger. " I want to justify my unf aith- 


fulness to Lflia, whom, if this is love, I never loved I 
Ood ! I would die a thousand times for this girl — she 
has me, soul, body, all ! " 

No more would he deceive himself. He knew now 
— he knew that he was in the grasp of the one great 
passion of his whole life. 

What should he do ? Fly ? To-morrow, if he chose, 
he could cancel all engagements, cast off all responsibil- 
ities, leave all arrangements to his lawyer, and start for 
— anywhere — ^without detriment to his one duty in life 
— Balph. His father was dead, his sisters absorbed in 
their husbands and families. He had no ties. Would 
it not be best to turn his back upon his great tempta- 

He resisted the thought. The fact was, he shrank 
from the daily and hourly struggle against the longing 
for Mercedes' presence which he felt would arise when 
he had cut himself adrift. 

^^ I am exaggerating the situation," he told himself, 
summoning his ordinary common sense to his aid. '^ It 
throws one off one's mental balance to be confronted by 
Buch a coincidence as my dreaming of that fantastic 
stuff years before the man wrote it." 

Meanwhile he felt as if he would like to see Helven 
again. The feeling was so strong next morning that 
after he had finished his hospital work he drove to the 
publishers of the book his thoughts had so curiously an- 
ticipated, to obtain its author's address. 

The address was a street in Bloomsbury. With 
the new instinct to hide his doings dominating 
him, Dr. Paul! would not drive there in his own car- 

He telegraphed to Helven asking him for an audi- 


ence that evening. The reply arrived during the after- 

" With pleasure — at eight. — Helven.^* 

So, with an excuse for his absence to Balph, at 
twenty minutes to eight Hugh strolled out of the house, 
and hailing a hansom in Oxford-street, drove to Blank 
street, Bloomsbury. 

It was a large, old, neglected house, smelling of 
damp and stale tobacco smoke. A maid ushered Dr. 
Paull up the blackened staircase into the large drawing- 
rooms, once, in their early days, the reception-rooms of 
fashionable dames, and doubtless gorgeous with tapes- 
tries and crystal chandeliers ; now dismal with dirt and 
dingy books, papers, and dusty odds and ends of crazy 

There was one bright spot in the room — ^a large 
lamp on the centre table, where Mr. Helven was bend- 
ing over his papers, a long pipe in his mouth. 

" Ah ! " he said, in a pleased tone, looking up from 
his work over his spectacles and laying aside his pipe, 
" I am glad to see you. Dr. Paull. A chair for Dr. 
Paull, Margaret, if you please. Allow me, I will help 
you ; " and as courteously as if the dirtily-dressed serv- 
ant girl had been a refined lady, the old man assisted 
her to remove some twenty or so large volumes from a 
chair, and bowing her out of the room, invited Hugh to 
be seated. 

" This is unexpected," he said, beaming at his guest 
" I remember meeting you about ten years ago. You 
were then a confirmed materialist, doctor." 

"Scarcely that," said Hugh. "I have never alto- 
gether given up the simple tenets I learned in my 
mother's lap.'' 


Now that he was here, hurning to tell his story and 
to see the effect it would produce on the Pythagorean, a 
certain awkwardness made him preface his disclosures 
by ordinary talk. For some minutes the two scientists 
spoke of the recent discoveries in physiology and other 
of Nature's storehouses, and of the careers or deaths of 
well-known scholars who had been present at the con- 
Tersazione where they had met. Then old Helven grew^ 
absent in manner, and suddenly interrupted Hugh in 
the middle of a sentence. 

^^ Dr. Paull, you have something to tell me," he said. 
" What is it ? " 

Their eyes met, they smiled. 

''I have a strange story to tell you," said Hugh. 
^' But first you must understand that, without my ex- 
press permission, it must go no further than your 
memory. You will remember, no fear of that 1 " 

Then he told him of his last night's perusal of his 
work On Certain Ancient Doctrines^ and of his strange 
dream of the part '< On the Age of Souls," twenty years 
ago, at the Pinewood. 

Helven was amazed. 

''I cannot doubt your impressions," he said, after 
hearing details. '^ But, visionary though people think 
me, I confess to but small belief in dreams. I can be- 
lieve that there may appear to be a strong similarity in 
a vivid dream to facts that afterwards ensue. But you, 
in your own book On the Physiology of Sleep^ refute the 
idea of impressions we receive in dreams and our waking 
memory of those impressions coinciding. The fact is, 
that when you thought you dreamt of those chapters I 
headed ^ On the Age of Souls,' I had not even planned 
out their synopsis." 


"But you knew the doctrines then, Mr. Helven," 
said Hugh. 

" The doctrines are as old as the hills, Dr. Paull," 
said Helven. " But is your story a story of dreams ? " 

" I wish it were I " said Hugh. " No, what I have to 
tell you is simple fact. I trust you ; so I will not disguise 
identities. The tale is of my own life." 

He briefly recounted his acquaintance with Sir 
Boderick, his affection for Lilia, and their marriage, 
not omitting his dream of a strange lady who spoke 
strange words to him with a foreign accent: the 
dream which he believed now to have been a pre- 
vision of Mercedes. 

" My wife loved me unreasonably," he said. " At 
times I feared the feeling might become a monomania. 
Poor child ! when I had to tell her that she must resign 
herself to die, there was a terrible scene." 

He recounted the awful hour of his life, when Lilia 
exacted a promise that as soon as she was dead he would 
commit self-murder, and how he was saved by the acci- 
dent to the babe, and Mrs. Mervyn's consequent inter- 
ruption with the child in her arms. 

" I was sitting at the table in the library when this 
friend, with my child in her arms, suddenly appeared," 
he said. " Pistols were on the table before me. I was 
resting my arms on the table and my head was bent 
down upon them. I am telling you these details be- 
cause they bear upon the extraordinary partof my story. 

" Well, I was saved. Then followed nineteen years 
of hard work and solitude. I have shunned society; 
I went weekly to the Pinewood, to my wife's grave. I 
did all I could to prevent my poor child from feeling 
her loss ; and in this sort of life I hoped to atone to 


my wife's spirit for breaking the terrible promise she 
forced from me on her deathbed. I had many hours of 
wretchedness when I remembered her frame of mind 
when she passed into the Infinite. Often and often I 
reproached myself that I had not taken her atheism 
more seriously, that I had not made her realisation of 
Eternity my constant work. Since her death I have 
tried constantly, in all possible ways, to communicate 
with her soul, wherever it may be. But pray, struggle, 
do what I might, I failed." 

" You, with your knowledge, believed it possible for 
an embodied spirit to communicate with the imma- 
terial ? " asked Helven, leaning back in his chair, sur- 

" I did not believe, but I — ^shall I say, hoped ? No, 
scarcely that. Mr. Helven, when loss and grief and 
anxiety are brought close home to us, to our very hearts, 
where are we ? Where are theories, beliefs ? " 

Helven looked at Hugh, whose pale cheeks were 
flushed with excitement, as he might have looked at a 
newly-found specimen of a rare genus. 

" I have never married," he said, dryly. " I do not 
understand these family feelings." 

" Would you understand a being who rose from the 
dead to bear witness to your theories ? " asked Hugh. 

" When it happens, I will tell you my opinion," said 

" It has happened to me," said Dr. Paull. " At least, 
when you hear what I have to tell you, you will, I think, 
be glad that we have met — years ago and now." 

Helven assured him he was not credulous, nor easily 

" Hear me before you say more," said Hugh. Then 


he recounted his meeting with the princess, the attraction 
she had felt for him, the deep, almost terribly strong af- 
fection that he had discovered to exist for her in his 
mind, and the mystery of her visions of the crucial hour 
of his life. 

" What you say is peculiar, and would certainly bear 
favourably upon the development of a case of transmi- 
gration," Helven admitted. " But there are other theo- 
ries to be considered. We do not at present understand 
the influence that embodied spirits have upon each 

Then he discoursed learnedly about natural affinities, 
of the attraction between certain human beings of oppo- 
site sexes, even at a first most cursory meeting. 

'^When material law meets spiritual law, it is 
difficult, almost impossible, to detect which of the two 
is at work," he concluded by saying. "I can assure 
you, doctor, I could have filled volumes with cases of 
possible metempsychosis as plausible, as well authenti- 
cated as yours, had I believed that the record would 
further faith in that which I believe to be a fundamental 

"The most staggering fact of all I have not yet 
told you," said Hugh, somewhat repelled by the cool 
and calculating reception of his experiences by the 
philosopher. " My wife died on a certain date. Nine 
months, less two days afterwards, this girl, who is 
conversant with my life story without ever having 
learned it, who kuows more of my true history than 
any one alive, was born." 

Helven looked curiously at him. 

" That is certainly strange," he said, more Tnterested. 
Then he entered notes, in a shorthand of his own inven- 


tion, in one of the manuscript volumes devoted to cases 
of this sort, and Hugh, somewhat astonished, took 

He could not understand Helven's apathy. Placing 
himself in imagination in the old scientist's place, he 
fancied that he would have been excited to enthusiasm 
at the statement of a case such as his. 

If he could have seen and heard Helven as he left 

The old philosopher looked after him with a smile 
and a sigh. 

" Fifty years old at least," he muttered to himself, 
^' and as much in love, as they call it, with a girl as if 
he were a boy ! " 

Then he took a few notes of the interview, and re- 
suming his work speedily forgot Hugh and his throes as 
if no one existed but himself. 

Hugh, dissatisfied, a trifle disgusted too, he hardly 
knew why, strolled westward. A fresh breeze met Hm 
as he walked up Oxford Street It made him think 
yearningly of the country, of the heathery hills lying 
purple under a wind-blown sky, of the pine-clad valley 
where the solemn trees stood as sentinels about — a 

The busy thoroughfare was comparatively still : only 
a few passengers were strolling west or east. The street 
lamps twinkled redly in the clear summer night in con- 
trast to the white glimmer of the stars in the fathom- 
less dark blue above. Deep in thought, Hugh, without 
noticing, wended his way homewards through the square 
where Lady Forwood lived. 

As he passed he saw her brougham waiting and the 
half-door open. He was hurrying past to avoid a meet- 


ing — ^he was in no hnmonr for ordinary talk — bat Lady 
Forwoody jnst as she was coming out, had seen him, and 
called ont '^ Dr. Paull ! " so eagerly, there was no escape. 
He reluctantly turned back. 

"I am going to a concert at Lady M ^'s," she 

said; ^'positively the last entertainment this season, 
and yery few are in town to go, so my absence would 
be noticed. But you must come in ; I haye something 
most important to ask you." 

She caught the long train of her dress over her arm 
and preceded him to the dining-room. There was 
something new in her manner to him which was half- 
annoyed, half-bantering. 

'^ Now, sir, perhaps you will explain," she said, half- 
laughingly. '^ The first intimation we had that we are to 
be your guests next month was a newspaper paragraph, 
and you must acknowledge that that is hardly fair." 

Hugh stared at her. 

"You — a newspaper paragraph — I do not under- 
stand," he stammered. 

" Surely " she began ; then, with a glance at his 

face, on which there was a comical expression of horror, 
she turned aside and, repressing a laugh, fetched a 
newspaper from a side-table, and, opening it, showed 
him a paragraph in a column headed '^Fashionable 

"The Prince and Princess Andriocchi and Sir David and 
Lady Forwood will be the guests of Dr. Paull at his residence, 
the Pinewood, Surrey, next month." 

Hugh read it twice, thrice, before he believed that 
this experience was a reality. Then he turned to Lady 
Forwood with a laugh — a laugh of a strange exhilara- 


tion whicli was produced by the surprise, the shock al- 
most, following updn his interview with Helven. 

"Do you mean to say you have not received my 
letter?" he had said, before he had even had the idea 
of speaking. It seemed to him as if some other entity 
was speaking through his lips, while his will remained 
passive. And what the other entity uttered was a fals- 
ity 1 

" Not a line, not a word ! " said Lady Forwood, be- 
coming serious. " Whose fault can it be ? If the serv- 
ants " 

" Whatever fault there is in the matter is mine, and 
mine only," said Hugh, reckless with a feeling which 
was half delirious joy, half despair. ** But do you think, 
when the princess' name has been taken in vain like 
this, that they will come ? " 

"Come?" Lady Forwood looked blank surprise 
with her beautiful blue eyes. " You don't mean to say 
you have not asked her f " she cried. 

"I had hoped yot^ would arrange it with her," he 
said in desperation. " I thought — I fancied — the change 
and the quiet might be good for her, so I was having 
the place done up." 

"I think myself I should have made sure of the 
birds before I got the cage ready," said Lady Forwood, 
demurely (although her inward comment was an amused 
" It is really high time the poor man had a woman to 
look after him "). " However, you know, you and I are 
old friends, as friends go nowadays, and I should so 
much enjoy invading you in your Surrey hermitage, 
that I will undertake to make it all right with the 
Andriocchis. Only tell me exactly when you want us." 

" You saw—next month," said Hugh, half -savagely. 


He would investigate the affair of the paragraph. He 
would find out whose hand had precipitated his fate, 
had cast the last straw to balance his destiny. 

" Any day ? " asked Lady Forwood, smiling. 

" Any day," he said, somewhat brusquely. 

Just then Sir David's voice was audible in the hall 
asking where " my lady " was. 

" Here," she called out. " It is all settled," she said, 
as her husband appeared. '^An important letter mis- 
carried — thus the mistake." 

Then she entered into a voluble explanation which 
astonished Hugh, but appeared perfectly intelligible to 
Sir David, who shook his hand quite warmly as he 
stepped into the brougham after his wife. 

Who had done this thing? Who was it who had 
fathomed not only his secret thoughts, but had dared 
to publish them to the world ? 

" I will know some day," he promised himself. 

Then he went home, and wrote to Mrs. Mervyn. 
The gist of the letter was that he and the house-party 
might arrive any day after the 1st of September. 



T?ie Pinewood, October ^ 18—, 

They say lookers-on see more of the game than the 
players. I shall write down all that has happened, and 
review it as a third person might before sending a brief 
statement to Helyen. I do not think myself that when 
he reads it he will retain any reasonable doubt of the 
re-incarnation of Lilia's soul. 

I know now who instigated that paragraph ; but 
more of that in its proper place. 

Was I glad when my life was unexpectedly taken out 
of my own hands, and my wild dream of entertaining 
Mercedes and inviting the Forwoods at the same time, 
was suddenly realised? I cannot tell. I have felt emo- 
tions called forth by an extraordinary position, therefore 
cannot classify them. 

My first step when I received a few words from Mer- 
cedes, that she and her husband would come here, was 
to come down myself and see to things, after sending off 
Balph a few days in advance. 

A surprise awaited me. I had certainly given 
mammy carte llanche to pledge my credit to any rea- 
sonable amount, but hardly considered how thoroughly 
she would set to work. I scarcely recognised the old 


brougham under its new paint and varnish, nor Andrew 
the groom in his brand-new livery. As I drove through 
the wood, the roads were in capital condition, the young 
trees were flourishing, the desolate look had gone. The 
same with the garden — the beds bright with flowers, the 
turf close shaven. The house ? The house looked as 
when I first saw it — the veranda and shutters bright 
green, the creepers carefully trailed. 

Eover, poor old Nero's descendant after I don't know 
how many generations, came leaping about me quite de- 
lighted at the change about him ; and there, at the^hall- 
door, stood mammy in a very becoming cap, quite the 
mistress of the mansion, fialph came springing out 
more like other lads than I have yet seen him. Poor 
boy! I felt a pang of remorse. Has my barren life 
overshadowed his? Heaven forgive me if it has! I 
thought I was doing my best. 

The hall had been modernised, the billiard-table 
renovated. But the drawing-room! Could it be the 
room where I saw Lilia leaning against the piano ? The 
brown draperies, the neutral tints had disappeared. It 
was gold and white everywhere : the room had positively 
a bridal look, and even the plants in the white flower- 
stands were white and yellow. 

" This looks a thorough woman's den," I remarked. 
" If I were left to myself, I should not set my foot across 
the threshold." 

" Don't be churlish," mammy said. " You have in- 
vited a princess, and you must entertain her properly, 
especially as it is only for once." 

" Why only for once ? " I asked. 

Poor innocent mammy ! how little she suspected who 
it was she was to play hostess to. 


" I thought they lived in Spain ? " she said, looking 
curiously at me. 

I hurried her upstairs, where the arrangements for 
the guests were wonderfully managed. Then I felt a 
sudden uneasiness. Coming down in the train I had 
determined to give Lilia — God pardon me if I dare to 
call Mercedes by her old name ! — ^to give the one who is 
really my own darling the opportunity of showing her- 
self to me in gleams of recognition of her old home. I 
had planned that some day she should come into the 
library and find me seated^ at the table — those pistols 
before me — then, then, when I am convinced of her 
soul's identity, my love for her and hers for me could 
not be sinful or even faulty, it would be the most natural 
thing in the world. Now, her old home was changed, 
scarcely recognisable. 

"You have not done anything to the library?" I 
cried, almost fiercely, I fear ; for poor mammy seemed 
dreadfully " upset," as women call it, until I pacified 

The library furniture had been re-covered and the 
position of the chairs and tables altered, that was all. 
I soon had all the things jpack in their places. The 
books were untouched. Standing at the door, the room 
looked so much the same I could almost conjure up the 
figure of Sir Roderick, seated in his chair, his long pipe 
in his mouth. 

Oh the misery of recalling the past ! Yet, yet, had 
they not died, would Lilia's soul and my soul have ever 
known each other as they do now ? 

I went to meet her at the station. They were all to 
have a saloon carriage — the prince and princess, the 
Forwoods, and Lady Boisville. I had invited the count, 


much against my wish, but in deference to Lady For- 
wood's advice. " If yoa did noty the prince might make 
an excuse at the last moment, in which case it would 
hardly do for Mercedes to come,'' she said. And recog- 
nising that she was right in her suggestion, I wrote to 
the fellow. Fortunately he had accepted an inyita- 
tion to deerstalk, and was going to the Lakes on his 
way (or said he was, which amounted to the same 

Driving to the station in the brougham (the waggon- 
ette foUowod for the men), I felt a dread that she would 
not come. It seemed too glorious a crown to my wasted, 
weary life that she would live under my roof, that every 
hour of each day I could look at her and listen to her 
voice, that morning and night I should touch her 

" Impossible I " I said to myself. " It cannot happen, 
it will not happen ; something will prevent it all at the 
last moment." 

Shall I ever forget waiting on the platform that Sep- 
tember evening? The houses and trees growing dark 
against a yellow sunset, people coming out of the book- 
ing-oflGice and buying papers (travellers by the incoming 
train), porters trundling the luggage to the end of the 
platform. How could they all go on in this senseless, 
mechanical way when the one great event of my life was 
happening — when Joy was coming for the first time to 
my tired, thirsty soul ? 

Then came an awful minute. The signal was down. 
The electric bell had sounded, " ding-dong, ding-dong " 
went the porter's handbell. " Andrew ! " I shouted (it 
seemed to me a shill, frantic cry, but it can scarcely have 
been, for he only said, " All right, sir," and no one else 


looked round), then I saw the steam-cloud and the black 
engine-front, and rattle-rattle the train came slowly 
nearer and alongside, how slowly ! Was tortoise ever so 
abominably languid in its creepings ? 

No one there ! That was my first belief. I went up 
and down by the first-class carriages, then someone 
touched me on the shoulder — Sir David. 

" They put us at the wrong end," he said. How 
jovial he looked in his shooting suit ! " Oh, yes, we've 
all come." What more he said I don't know. I turned 
and saw her wrapped up in a cloak, her face so pale, 
sweet and wistful under a heavy black hat ; just a little 
colour came to her lips as our eyes met, and I took her 
hand upon my arm. Her touch strengthened me. I 
cooled down and was able to behave decently, respect- 
ably. Ealph appeared — Mrs. Mervyn had sent him, I 
suppose — and Mr. Mervyn came out of the booking- 
ofiice. I never was more delighted to see them in my 
life; for Lady Forwood preferred the waggonette, and 
I gave her and the prince and the other men over to 
Mervyn, and was thus able to drive home opposite her 
and Lady Boisville. 

Lady Boisville, good-natured soul, was pleased with 

" What white sand, what purple heather, what very 
majestic pines. Dr. Paull ! " she said, looking at the dear 
old trees through her eye-glass. 

But, my darling^ what did she say, or think ? Would 
she recognise? Would some gleam of a soul-memory 
beyond our knowledge and power of understanding show 
itself ? I watched her narrowly, breathlessly. As the 
shadows flitted across her face, I fancied I saw a troubled 
expression in her eyes. 


It vanished as she looked at me. She smiled. ^' Can 
I walk here, some day ? " she asked me. 

I replied that ^' she must do exactly as she pleased." 
I wished her to understand that while she was in my 
domain, she was its queen. 

She laughed — a laugh which chilled me, for it was 
Lilia's laugh. Those two women, so utterly unlike in 
outline, feature, colouring, laughed alike. One physical 
detail in common — one only ! 

Arrived home, mammy welcomed her so warmly, in 
so motherly a way, I felt grateful. The ladies disap- 
peared to their rooms. A cloud obscured the sunshine. 
Then came the prince, and Forwood, and the valets and 
maids, and the rest of the inevitable paraphernalia. 
Well I if you have the pearl, I suppose you must take the 
oystershell as well. 

Was this my old bachelor, or rather widower domain, 
which used to look so grim and forlorn, all echoes and 
musty odours, where Balph and I used to stroll about 
together in an aimless fashion, always, I fancy, feeling a 
certain amount of relief when we got back to bustling 
London, which, however noisy and grimy, is life-full ? 
This pleasant, well-lighted house, where, thanks to 
mammy's arrangements, bright patches of colour met 
the eye at every turn ; deftly placed bits of china, or 
banks of plants glowing with bloom. I felt self-reproach. 
Ko, I have not lived as I ought to have lived. I have 
taught my boy to live beside a tomb. 

I went down to the drawing-room. I was gazing at 
the fading sunset out of the open window, after wonder- 
ing at the pretty effects of light made by lamps set about 
the room with coloured shades, when I started — it was 
Lilians laugh again. 


She came into the room ; she was dressed in glisten- 
ing white, with lilies at her breast, and Eover was leap- 
ing about her. 

" Your dog is very friendly," she said, and she 
patted the obtrusive animal, which was panting with 

" He is not generally so," I said, with a scared sensa- 
tion. In the dim light it recalled Lilia and her Nero 
too forcibly. " He is mostly surly to strangers." 

" He reminds me of some dog, but I cannot remem- 
ber where I have seen the dog," she said, thoughtfully, 
coming to me at the window, but her attention was ar- 
rested by the sunset. What happy minutes those were, 
as we stood side by side gazing at the monarch of the 
sky sinking into his purple bed ! (Those were her words, 
not mine.) 

It was delightful to see her look bright as she sat by 
my side at dinner. In the evening she played her guitar, 
and sang to it. It was a peep into the country of her 
birth. I could imagine the hidalgos and donnas pacing 
amid the picturesque buildings, and many other things. 
When Mercedes, during this visit to me, was purely 
Spanish, I almost ceased to believe in the identity I so 
firmly hold in my own mind as hers. 

Next morning I took my guests about the place ; 
carefully avoiding the terrace. I had a plan about the 

In the afternoon Mercedes and I, Lady Forwood 
and the prince, drove in the waggonette. I took them to 
see the ruins of an ancient abbey. Lady Forwood ab- 
sorbed the prince's attention — (for such a born boor as 
he is, I must say he behaved very decently) — and I was 
able to tell my love the old tales of the by-gone monas- 


tery, and to watch the changing expressions that flit 
across her pure face, like the clouds across a summer 
sky. What intense reverence this childwoman has for 
all that is holy ! As we walked through the ruins of the 
monkish chapel I was shamed by her hushed, almost awe- 
struck manner. 

^Ood has lived here/' she said, casting a longing 
look back as I removed the hurdle, placed to keep out 
the sheep, for her to pass out. ^^ And it is a ruin ! " 

" God is everywhere," I said. 

*^ Tes," she said. ^' But it makes me sad that those 
monks, they are all gone from your land." 

Then she told me of all that the nuns had been to 
her in her haunted childhood; of their cheerfulness, 
their patience with the child who was unlike other 
children. I did not wonder she reverenced religious 
orders. For my part, realising as I did that Lilia's love 
for me was the cause of Mercedes' sad life, I blessed 

Returning home, my chastened mood was roughly 
dispelled by a significant incident 

A fine barouche and pair drove past us: in it sat 
Colonel Boderick Pym, his wife, Lady Camwood — (how 
objectionable is that fashion of re-married widows re- 
taining their late husband's name !) — and his pretty step- 
daughters. I cut him dead, as I have steadily done. To 
my astonishment he bowed low, raising his hat, and the 
prince did the same. 

I looked at Mrs. Mervyn. She got very red. The 
prince explained. 

" Who is that gentilman ? " he asked me. " I see 
him with my fren, the count I not know at all that 
he live here." 


This explained the paragraph in the paper. Boderick 
Pym and the count in league ! Without absolute con- 
firmation I would swear those two are our enemies. 

Our enemies? How natural it has been to class my- 
self with my twin soul ; but to what will it lead ? How 
will our spiritual union end? That spiritual union 
which came about this- wise. 

First of all, after some bright days spent almost 
entirely with her — days made up of long strolls in the 
part of the garden which had been best kept up since 
Lilia's death (the flower-gardens in the Pinewood, in- 
cluding the terrace, I had let go ; it would have been 
useless expense to keep them trim and fair as in Sir 
Boderick's time) — after our drives, our chats at dinner, 
rendered livelier by little sparrings between Lady For- 
wood and Mrs. Mervyn, and our talks in the softly lighted 
drawing-room, peace was disturbed by a telegram which 
arrived one day at luncheon for the prince. 

He turned a yellowish white, and a remarkably nasty 
expression changed his face from moderately pleasant to 
cowardly hang-dog. Still, he was well-bred enough to 
conceal further emotion. 

I saw Mercedes look uneasy. After luncheon he 
evidently asked her for a tete-d-tStey quite an event be- 
tween those two. I was sitting in the library, anxious, 
when a tap came at the door, and enter Sir David and 
the prince. 

" The prince, not feeling his English equal to the 
occasion, PauU, wishes me to explain to you that some 
bad news about a recent speculation obliges him to 
return to town at once," said Sir David ; then, evidently 
noticing my dismayed look, he added, hurriedly : " He 
asks a continuance of your hospitality for the princess." 



Of course, I said I should be delighted. I was not 
sorry to be rid of the man ; but somehow I augured ill 
for Mercedes for the future. Heaven avert the evil, 
whatever it may be I 

No drive that afternoon. The prince departed, lug- 
gage, valet, and all. I did not see Mercedes till just 
before dinner. She looked pale, but not unhappy. As 
I took her in to dinner, she said : 

" Can I see you, alone, this evening?" 

During dinner the wild idea flashed across me to 
take her to the spot she had dreamed of, the spot 
where I had seen her in that strange vision twenty years 

The very thought of it exhilarated me. I was ex- 
cited. I felt as if each moment that passed a year was 
slipping from my shoulders. I was rejuvenating, I 
hurried the men over their wine. Then I went into 
the drawing-room and got mammy away into a corner. 

" Don't look surprised at what I am going to say," 
I said in an undertone. ^' Aiid don't exclaim, or look 
round. You must do something for me." 

She stared at me. I must have looked wild, but very 
quietly she said : 

" If I can." 

" It is the merest trifle," I said. " I wish to show 
the princess a certain spot in the grounds by moonlight. 
Keep them all amused till we come back." 

She said something, but I did not listen. I left her 
at once. I made Lady Forwood sit down at the piano, 
and when everyone was attentive (she plays well) I told 
Mercedes to slip away, quietly, soon after I left the room, 
and I went into the hall. 

It was a glorious night, with a brilliant golden moon 


that bathed everything in a warm light Presently she 
came gliding into the hall and up to me like a ghost, 
and would have seated herself on the divan, but I said, 
" No, the garden," and wrapping her light cloak, which 
was hanging near, round her shoulders, I took her out. 

Out into the stillness. It was so still, we could hear 
the voices of the people in the drawing-room, and the 
sound of our footsteps on the gravel was so loud I 
fancied that it must be audible in the house. 

We walked on for some time, side by side, in silence. 
Presently we came to the pine grove. The light fell 
through the straight rows of slender trunks as the sun- 
light falls by day, only it was a yellowish white that 
silvered the sandy water tracks, glimmered upon the 
pebbles, and made fairy dells of the clumps of bracken. 
By common accord we halted here. As we stood still, a 
soft night wind arose and went sighing among the pine- 
tops ; the feathered crests of the slim trees nodded to 
one another as if, so it seemed to me, they mourned my 

And she? She drew a long breath. 

" This beautiful scent ! " she said. " How I love it I " 

" Have you pinewoods in Spain ? " I asked. 

"Such as this? No," she said, beginning to walk 
again. There was not a shadow of embarrassment at 
being alone with me, in almost a forest, at this hour. 
She is too simple-minded for that. " But this perfume, 
it is like a room in our (I mean my father's) castle in 
the country in Spain." 

She explained that the Duque's drawing-rooms, as 
we call them, were each furnished in some luxurious 
material. One was all malachite, from the doors to the 
table furniture ; another was silver, another cedar. 


" In the cedar room I was most happy," she said ; 
" it seemed that I knew that odour, it was like Jiome^ and 
this scent of your pines is the same." 

Then I asked her what she wished to say to me. 
She hesitated for a few moments. Then she put her 
hand on my arm with the childlike abandon so pecul- 
iarly hers. 

" Tell me what I must do," she said. " The prince 
he has gone away to see, someone else he should not go 
to see." 

She asked me such a question ! Anger, jealousy ! I 
have been angry often, too often — ^but jealousy ? I have 
condemned others for that meanest passion in human 
nature, and now I am punished. I know what it is ! 

" What do you mean ? " I said. " I do not under- 

" Ah ! " (It was a sob rather than a sigh.) " Mon- 
sieur, I am sure you do not understand," she said, once 
more standing still, but this time confronting me. 
" You were good to your wife, I know that ! " 

" I was not good to my wife," I said, bitterly. " You 
must not come to me for advice. Ask Lady Porwood, 
Mrs. Mervyn, anyone, not me ! " 

At that moment I forgot my theory, that Mercedes' 
soul and Lilia's are one and the same; this was the 
wiSe of the Prince Andriocchi, and I, daring to love her 
as no man should dare to love another man's wife, was 
burning with jealousy, and was false to Lilia's memory. 

" Never tell me you are not good," she said ; " I 
know better." 

The words were ordinary enough. But at the end 
of her speech she gave a little satisfied laugh — Lilians 


I felt less haman — the ghostly, creepy sensation re- 
asserted itself. 

" How can you know better ? " I said. 

" I know you are good," she said. " Yon are an 
angel among other men : and I ask you what I am to 
do. I should feel sorry, should I not, when the prince 
does wrong ? " 

I felt my breath go— as after a blow. 

" Certainly," I said. 

"Do not think me wicked," she said, her voice 
trembling. " Oh, I knew I ought to be sorry when he 
was going away — and I knew well that he would see 
someone that he ought not to see while he is away — 
but I did not feel sorry, I am glad ! " 

" Olad f " I said, assuming as shocked a tone as I 
could — (sinner — liar — when I was transported with joy 
and relief !). " Surely not glad f " 

"Yes, ^Zflrf," she said. " Because I should be glad 
if everyone would go and leave me alone— with you." 

"This is foolish," I said, chidingly. "You will 
know better when you have seen more of me." 

Then I changed the conversation to the subject of 
her dreams. We were nearing the spot where I meant 
to test her identity. 

There was a narrow path between clumps of laurels. 
This was the path I had traversed alone in my dream 
years ago— when I emerged into the open I had seen 
this very woman — this woman I loved — seated on the 
stone seat opposite to me. 

Now — she was by my side. As we came across the 
grass-plat I summoned all my courage. I did not know 
whether I wished to be convinced that she was Lilia — 
or that she was not I only felt abject fear — ^for the 


first time in my life I was an entire coward : I sickened, 
I was in a cold sweat. 

" Will you sit here a minute ? " I asked. " I want 
to see what time it is. I must strike a match under the 
bushes — there is too much wind here." 

I slipped away, and going round came slowly into 
the moonlight opposite to her. Ah ! it was terrible to 
see her seated there, then to see her spring up and 
come to me — ^for once in my life, to experience a real- 
ised dream. 

"Let us go," she said, passionately — I had never 
seen her so disturbed. " I remember — come — ! " 

I accompanied her, passively. She went along the 
path between the laurels, then, after but a moment's 
hesitation, she took the path leading to the terrace. 

A few swift steps and she turned back to see if I 

" Come! " she said, in a voice of pain. " Come ! " 

Then, after one more pdise — like a bird before it 
takes flight — she hurried up the slope and was at the 
end of the terrace. The wide, grassy avenue was be- 
fore us. 

I joined her. It was a long time since I had vis- 
ited the spot. The long grass was rank and weedy, the 
beds were unkempt — I could see that much in this 
light. The scene by moonlight, that light which chas- 
tens and beautifies, was desolate — what would it be by 
the light of day ? 

The shame that I had neglected this favourite resort 
of Lilia's partially levelled emotions, brought me back 
in some degree to ordinary common sense. But my 
practical mood did not last long. I followed Mercedes 
across the grass, blaming myself that I had let her 


come here, to a spot which was a disgrace to its pro- 
prietor in its neglected state — when to my astonishment 
she flang her arm about the stone fountain and turned 
upon me. 

Her face, in the moonlight, looked drawn — I should 
scarcely have recognised her, nor indeed should I have 
recognised her sweet, dear voice. 

Oh ! what was it she said, in those hard, shrill 
tones ? I was so unnerved, I can hardly recall those 
terrible words. 

But she spoke with reproach. 

" Where is the water here ? " she asked. " There 
were fish — gold fish, silver fish — where are theyf 
Where are the flowers f There were roses, red roses 
there," and, pointing to a bed where Sir Roderick by 
careful expenditure had cultivated some hardy rose 
trees, she fell prone at my feet. 

I had my token — she knew the place as it was of 
old, before she had awakened in this world. 

Perhaps the greatest mystery among these many 
mysteries is this — I can write it all down, just as it 
happened, calmly, coolly, as I should record an excep- 
tional case in medicine. 

I took her in my arms and carried her back through 
the wood into the flower garden of the house. She was 
a dead weight, but I was impervious to ordinary im- 
pressions. Then I laid her upon a wide wooden bench 
in the Italian garden, and by slow degrees she recov- 
ered. Before the clock struck ten, she was able to join 
them all in the drawing-room. 

I have a great power over her. I found that when 
I had sufficiently rallied from my emotions to ex- 
ercise my will, that witting her to be her ordinary self 


(while her hands were in mine and my eyes fixed 
upon her face) '' broaght her to," as the nurses say, at 

This had opened up another aspect of affairs. If I 
have this power oyer her, may not that possibly be the 
cause of her liking for me — even of her impressions of 
her dreams ? I must inyestigate, search, leave no stone 
unturned to unearth the truth. Too much is at 

Next day, I willed her to be cheerful and happy, 
and she was so. (Another symptom, which I duly re- 

I found she had not as perfectly clear a recollection 
of that terrible evening as I have myself. I was thank- 
ful for this. I was as commonplace as I could possibly 
be during those days before the prince's return. I took 
care she should have no time to meditate, and mammy. 
Lady Porwood, and good Lady Boisville helped me. I 
don't know what they have thought of it all, but they 
have consciously or unconsciously abetted me with that 
woman's own gift of tact which is worth a king's — no, 
an emperor's — ransom, aye, and far more ! 

The prince returned, unexpectedly, one rainy after- 
noon. He came in a station fly. When he entered the 
hall we men were playing billiards. 

I fancied he looked sulky, but during the short time 
that followed before the general departure he was amia- 
bility itself, and has declared his intention of remaining 
in England the winter, also to look out for a country 
house near here for the 

Dr. PauU was seated in his library a misty autumn 


morning writing the above, when a tap at his door dis- 
turbed him. 

The servant brought him a telegram : 

'^ Come at once to London. This evening at half -past 
nine I will be at your house. 

" Mercedes.^^ 




What was there in that telegram to cause Hugh 
Paull misgiviDg? 

Ostensibly, but little. Many things could have oc- 
curred, simple in themselves, to give Mercedes an excuse 
to summon him. That she would take advantage of an 
excuse to shorten their separation, he well knew. As 
he turned over and re-read the telegram, he chided him- 
self for the chill sense of impending trouble which was 
unnerving him ; but his efforts came to nothing. He 
started for London at once, in irrepressible perturbation 
of mind. 

Arrived home, the commonplace aspect of the famil- 
iar old house somewhat relieved him of his mental op- 
pression. The housekeeper had had notice of his return 
in a week or ten days, and charwomen were about ; there 
was a clatter of pails and the homely sound of busy 
brooms and scrubbing-brushes. 

He spent the hours till Mercedes should arrive in 
superintending the arrangement of the library, and pre- 
tending to dine. His study lamp ^oked. Just as he 
and the housekeeper had succeeded in coaxing it to burn 
with its wonted urbanity, one quarter chimed from the 
nearest church clock-tower. 

A quarter-past nine ! In a quarter of an hour she 

MIZPAH. 269 

would be here — and the big, dingy room seemed to him 
full of the ill-savoured fumes of lamp oil. He dismissed 
the housekeeper, who knew he expected a patient, and 
threw open the windows. 

It was a clear night. The stars shone, brilliant 
specks in the dark-blue. He leaned out of the window, 
listening for the roll of wheels — ^f or that peal of the hall 
bell which he longed for, yet dreaded. He would always 
long for her presence with an intense longing : yet this 
longing would be tempered by the dread that he would 
betray himself in some unguarded moment, would be- 
tray the passionate character of his love. 

He mentally forecast the interview. Leaning out 
in the sharpened autumnal air, he braced himself to 
endure : to keep himself at a completely respectful dis- 
tance from the woman whose soul he believed to be the 
soul of his lost wife, and part of his own soul, but whose 
physical being belonged to the lazy voluptuary, the 
Prince Andriocchi. 

" It is hard," he told himself. " Oh, God ! Thou 
alone knowest how hard ! " 

The wild apostrophe brought a calm, a sudden peace 
— as if indeed his guardian angel had laid its holy hand 
upon his heated head ; and a« he took courage from the 
sense of occult help in his sore need, the clock slowly, 
warningly — it seemed to him with some knowledge of 
what was to come — chimed the half -hour. 

Would she come ? What was it all about ? Perhaps 
the next few minutes' silence and suspense were the 
worst of his life. Often afterwards, looking back into 
his past with a shudder, he thought so. 

Yet the ring^of the bell, sudden, impetuous, when it 
did come, was horrible. The sound of her voice, the 


slow footsteps along the hall — ^he clenched his hands as 
he listened, and cold drops of sweat were on his brow. 

He went slowly to the door and opened it — for his 
limbs were stiff and heavy, disobedient to his will. Had 
he expected to see her also unnerved, trembling ? He 
did not know — bat the calm with which she entered 
was a shock to him. 

" Please — shut — lock the door," she said quietly, but 
with a desperate calm — imperiously, but in a tone of 
voice in which command was mingled with respect. ^^ I 
have come," she said, throwing aside her cloak and seat- 
ing herself by the table, " to tell you, my friend, what 
will cause you grief, what will make you angry. But I 
must tell you, for your sake, and for mine." 

He stood, facing her, wondering at the extraordinary 
change in her, in her whole outward self. Her lovely 
face was pale and delicately beautiful as ever ; but there 
was a new sternness about her sweet mouth, a look of 
absolute will in her dark, lustrous eyes which complete- 
ly altered her., The clinging, tender girl had given place 
to the determined woman. 

« What— is it ? " he asked. " What has happened ? " 

" I — will tell you," she began, evidently nerving her- 
self for some disclosure, "just as it happened. You 
know that the prince " — (a look of pain contracted her 
features, and she blushed slightly as she said the word) 
— " my husband — ^liked the Pinewood. You know " — 
(she stopped and looked pleadingly up into his face) — 
" he liked you, liked our — friendship." 

Some warning of what was to come arose in his 
mind. Ah ! at last some goodnatured friend — some 
meddler — had stepped in between him and his long- 
waited-for happiness in life. 

MIZPAH. 271 

" Go on," he said, in a hard tone, turning away from 

" The prince knows you, and he knows me," she 
went on, proudly. " Well, I must tell you what hap- 
pened. Last night, we — the prince', the count, and myself 
— we went to the new play. The prince did not like it, 
and went away to his club. I was sitting, not talking, 
the count was silent also, when I heard the voices of 
men (it was between the acts) in the next box. They 
spoke of you — ^and of me. What they said, was an in- 
famy. Ah ! do not look so, monsieur. You and I, we 
have a champion. The count, he did hear it also, and 
his anger against these men was great. He at once took 
me away down the staircase, procured my carriage, and 
I came back to my house. He told me he would avenge 
my honour — your honour. At eleven o'clock he came 
in. He told me he had challenged the man who said 
that infamy ; that to-day they would fight, not here in 
Englaud, but in Prance ; and he said good-bye. . . . 
This" (she drew a case from her bosom), "this is the 
name of the man who separates us, monsieur, for I also 
have come to say good-bye. To-morrow I go home with 
the prince to Spain." 

It was so abrupt, her calm yet confused statements 
were so unexpected, that for a moment Hugh's head 
swam, he had to steady himself by placing his hand on 
the back of a chair. Then he took a slip of paper that 
she held out to him, and holding it near the lamp, saw 
in her handwriting — 

^''Colonel Roderick Pym,'" 

As he gazed upon that familiar, distasteful name, he 
seemed to have known all along that this must come, 


this moment, this interview; that this was what had 
cast a shadow on their relations, and that this was the 

*'Once," he said, half to himself, half to her — ^it 
seemed to him as if her mind ought to recognise his 
thoughts without the outward expression of words, — 
^^ once I robbed this man of someone he loyed ; and now 
he robs me of you ! " 

As he sighed out that last word he recollected. Per- 
haps at that moment Boderick Pym was dead, his 
revenge had cost him his life ; for the count would be a 
dangerous antagonist, he was a skilled swordsman and a 
dead shot. 

" How, when do they fight?" he asked breathlessly, 
with the instinct to stay that duel at any cost. 

" Fight ! " she spoke almost indignantly. " Do you 
think I would let the good count kill himself for me — 
even for you f Tears stood in her eyes. " I knelt and 
prayed him," she said. " I begged him, but he would 
not hear me. He said : ' Would you have me be a 
coward?* Then afc last he said to me : *If you will 
promise me that to-morrow you will go home to Spain 
with the prince, and will never see or speak to him again, 
I too will go with you, and will sacrifice my honneurJ* " 
She paused and hung her head. " So, as I have prom- 
ised, I have come to say good-bye," she faltered. 

Yes ; he had known this all along, he felt he had. 
This was the end — the end of a promised passionate joy 
— the end of delights of eye and ear— of heart, soul, 
mind, body — all ! 

" Yes," he said, meekly bowing his head, " I under- 
stand. We part ; it is all over for ever." 

^^ Oh no ! " she cried, with sudden life, and her face 

MIZPAH. 273 

was alight with love and hope, " only for here ! You 
know — who should know better than you ? — ^how short 
is this life, you who always see the dead and dying ! Is 
it death, that which we call death ? " she asked him, 
passionately. " Do you think it ? Do you not rather 
think that this is dying, this living in a place where you 
must not love, where people hate and torture each other, 
and happiness cannot be, for no one will let another one 
be happy ? " 

He went to her and took her slender, cold hands in 
his — for the last time. 

" It does not matter," he said, bitterly, yet feeling, 
with a strange joy, that this sacrifice of love ennobled 
their love, raised it from a common thing to divinity. 
^^ No one can separate us after death, if God wills us to 
be soul to soul — one for ever." 

A strange expression flitted across her face. For one 
instant it seemed to him that this was not Mercedes, but 
Lilia. Then came the memory of that awful deathbed, 
when Lilia defied the will of her Creator, and would 
have forced him, her husband, to die with her, and he 
contrasted that hour of rebellion with this hour of 
humble renunciation. 

" This is her soul,^* he thought, in mingled awe and 
gratitude. " Roderick would have caused our misery ; 
instead, he has saved us from an evil life together for 
here, in this painful world, to be united in eternity." 

This was his actual death, he felt, as he silently gazed 
into her eyes, this parting. Physical death, after this, 
would be nothing — ^would, indeed, be welcome. 

For a moment he thought to take her, just this once, 
into his arms : to let her heart beat against his breast, to 
feel her lips upon his mouth ; but before the thought 


was really born in his mind he killed it and flung it 
from him. 

" Risk eternity for a moment?" he said to himself. 
« No ! " 

He dropped her hands and smiled at her, the smile 
she might have seen with the eyes of her soul upon the 
face of her angel guardian. 

" There is no more for us to say wow," he said, " but 
to pray for each other. By-and-by we shall have time 
to see what this means — this you and I being but one 

She rose and kept her eyes steadily fixed upon him. 
Then she slowly walked to the door. How slowly she 
passed from the room he never knew. Their eyes dwelt 
upon each other, and till she was gone he felt that never, 
even in infinite glory, could they be more really wedded 
than now. 

The door was half open. The room was empty, save 
for himself and the shadows. The hall-door was gently 
shut. He heard the sound of carriage- wheels. All was 

He sat down stupefied. This dead future which 
loomed blankly before him was stupefying — a dense 
blackness, a hopeless nothingness. 

Th^ hours passed. The lamp flickered and went 
out. Still he sat there gazing at vacancy, his mind 
groping about in this dreary cloud of fathomless 

He thought nothing tangible, felt neither cold nor 
fatigue. At last he began to wonder vaguely whether 
this was all that really existed — this dull, senseless 

As he began to wonder, his attention was attracted 


by a brilliant speck of light at his feet. Tiny at first, 
it seemed to grow larger and brighter as he looked. A 
mere pin's-point of light at first, in a few minutes it was 
a disc of some size. Then he saw an object he knew 
well — a steel urn at the end of his library fender. 

With a flush of pain, he was alive again ; alive, con- 
scious of anguish, of separation from her, his darling, 
his adored. He seemed to see her retreating from him, 
steadily, hopelessly. 

With a cry, he sprang up. That light was a mocking 
sunbeam. He saw it now, creeping in between the 
shutters. He went to the window, he flung open the 
shutters and defied the day, or would have defied it. 

But he was face to face with the glory of the sunrise. 
The whole sky was golden, and crimson clouds floated 
upward, stately attendants upon the magnificence of the 
young day. Soft, white rounded masses were like smiles 
upon the clear blue sky : all meant life and hope and 

And as he gazed he felt abashed at his own little- 
ness. What was he but a speck upon the bosom of the 
earth ? That little steel urn was greater in the shine of 
the world's sun than was he in the Light that streams 
from the Eternal. 

" I must reach it," he told himself. " I must be 
more than a speck of dust. What is suffering, what is 
dull commonplace, but the ladder by which we climb to 
immortality ? " 

That was his crucial hour, the bridge over which he 
passed from unrest to peace. 

None who knew him ever guessed the secret motives 
of his afterlife. They thought him more energetic, 
larger-minded, gentler, and more sympathetic. But he 


was envied as a man who seemed to have fathomed the 
mystery of " peace on earth." 

He died suddenly. A month before his death he 
received a letter from a Spanish priest, who informed 
him of the death of the Princess Andriocchi, and en- 
closed him a sealed envelope addressed to him in 
Mercedes' handwriting. He recognised the writing at 
once, though in character it was larger and firmer. 

It contained a slip of paper, on which was inscribed 
one word — ^'Conie! " 

That word seemed to pierce his heart like an arrow. 
From that day his strength waned, his health failed. 
His household were hardly astonished when, one morn- 
ing, he was found sitting in his chair by the library 
window, the early sunlight hovering about his dead, 
smiling face. 

He passed away, smiling — a joyful smile that none 
had ever seen upon his face before. 

DlC ■ V:5i7 


<■■ I ■! I ■ ■ - -III ■ - I.. ■ ■ ■ ,,--■■■-- ■- ■ Ml 11 ■^1^»^^^— 

*^A book which no student 0/ modem literature should /ail to readj*^ 

/^OD'S FOOL. By Maarten Maartens, author of 

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. . . It is, in short, a book which no student of modem literature should fail to read." 
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This work gives an intimate and most entertaining series of pictures of 
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contains personal reminiscences of the old Latin Quarter, the Revolution of 
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siege of Paris, and the reign of the Commune. The author enjoyed the 
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Delacroix, from Louis Philippe to the Princess Demiddff, and from Lola Montez to 
that other celebrated woman, Alphonsine Plessis, who was the original of the younger 
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fied by the eminent historian and novelist, Ur. 
Eggleston. It is not too much to say that the 
whole world has been drawn upon for ma- 
terial by the author and the aitist. The fniits 

of these hivestigationa are presented in a popular, readable, always Mterlain- 

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modem inquiry ofTered in the. bulkiest biographies, 

the stoiy is here condensed and the material selected 

with a view to an always interesting narrative. To 

a considerable ejtent the plan of both teit and illus- 

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say mora regarding the fitness of this volume for a cabavkl. 

place in every American private, public, and school 

library. „,, .': h: ^'^- ["f"'"' i°'=™iin=, «id yet 

' J^tA cnticHl volume, ju« such as we should wi^h 

keep JI on a high plane of accurecy 

tpectt a11i>g«Lber the best 
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" A simple ttory told 

New York : D. APPLETON & CO., i, 3, & 3 Bond St. 



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toms, addresses and signatures, and funeral customs, covering so far as 
practicable all sodal usages. 



ON*T J or, Directions for avoiding Improprieties in 
Conduct and Common Errors of Speech. By Censor. Parch" 
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^HAT TO DO, A Companion to "Don't." By 
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A dainty little book, containing helpful and practical explanations of 
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v>^ American, resident in the United Kingdom. i2mo. Cloth, 

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