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Full text of "Golden fleece; the American adventures of a fortune hunting earl"

LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 

CALIFORNIA 

SANTA CRUZ 



SANTA CRUZ 



Gift oi 
Lem C. Brown 



SANTA CRUZ 




GOLDEN FLEECE 



OTHER BOOKS BY 
DAVID GEAHAM PHILLIPS 

r 

The Great God Success, Her Serene Highness 
A Woman Ventures 




The three descended the grand stairway rapidly 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

The American Adventures of a 
Fortune Hunting Earl 

By 

David Graham Phillips 



ALDl 




Illustrations by Harrison Fisher 

r 

McClure, Phillips $ Co. 

New York 

1903 



COPTRIGHT, 1903, BY 

McCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO. 
COPTRIGHT, 1903, BY CURTIS PUBLISHING Co. 

Published, April, 1903, R 




3*31 




ILLUSTRATIONS 




Facing 
page 



The three descended the grand stairway rapidly 

Frontispiece 

A strongly-built, fairish young man of perhaps six 

and thirty 4 

"My name is Longview " 16 

Barney half a dozen chairs away glowering at Long- 
view 26 

He liked the very first glimpse of her .... 46 
" As if we were a pair of new chimpanzees in a zoo " 70 

"Just my rotten luck/' he muttered 90 

"Then you're not a Buddhist or a Spiritualist?" . 130 

"Forgive me it was all my fault yet not mine 

good-bye " 164 

Cosimo, Prince di Rontivogli 200 

" I can imagine many extenuating circumstances " . 224 

[v] 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Facing 
page 

" I'll give the guinea one more chance " . 230 

Found Nelly alone in the front parlour . . . .258 
" You may ask, sir, but I'll not answer . . . .284 

As soon as her father and mother were out of the 

way . . .296 

"I take to it like a duck to water" 314 



[vi] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 



TWO hours after Surrey's letter came his sister 
Gwen rode over to Beauvais House eager to 
tell Evelyn the news of his luck in America. It 
was almost five o'clock in the beautiful autumn after 
noon, and she found Evelyn at tea on the porch that 
looks out upon the Italian garden. 

" It's settled," she said. " They're to be married 
on the 5th of November only two months ! And 
George says she is sweet and lovely not at all like the 
Americans we know. And her dot is a million and a 
half he calls it seven and a half, but he means in their 
money, which sounds bigger, but counts smaller, than 
ours. She'll get twice that when her father dies 
and he's nearly seventy and not strong. And I'm so 
glad and so sorry that I don't know whether to laugh 
or cry." 

" What's her name? You told me, but I forget." 
Evelyn's hand was trembling just a little as she gave 
Gwendoline a cup of tea. She spoke slowly, in the 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

clear, monotonous, but agreeable, English tone. Her 
voice, always calm, seemed stagnant. 

" Dowie Helen Dowie. He sent me a proof of a 
photograph they had taken together." Gwendoline 
took a letter from the bosom of her shirtwaist, drew 
from it the proof, and handed it to Evelyn. She took 
it, lowered her head so that Gwen could not see her 
face. She looked long and intently, and, if Gwen 
had seen, she would have wondered how eyes could 
be so full of tears without shedding a single one. 

" Quite aristocratic," she said at last, giving it 
back. " How much style those American girls 
have!" 

" But don't you think her rather pert-looking? >; 
asked Gwen discontentedly. " She looks ill-tempered, 
too. I'm sure we shan't get on. Mother and I are 
making ready to go to Houghton Abbey at once. 
We'd have a jolly uncomfortable time of it, I wager, 
if she were to catch us at the Hall." 

Evelyn was gazing into her tea and stirring it ab 
sently. 

" It seems a shame to have an American nobody 
come in," continued Gwen, " and throw us out neck 
and crop from a house where we've always lived. Now, 



CHAPTER ONE 

if it were an English girl of our own class, you, 
Evelyn, we shouldn't mind at least, not so much, 
or in the same way." 

Evelyn paled, and her lips contracted slightly. 

" But it's of no use to think of that. We need her 
money everything is in tatters at the Hall, and poor 
George is down to the last seventy pounds." Gwen 
laughed. " Do you remember what a time there was 
getting the five hundred for his expenses out of Aunt 
Betty? We've got to cable him another five hundred 
he can't begin on her money the very minute he's 
married, can he now? " 

" Arthur must go over," said Evelyn suddenly, with 
conviction. " We're worse off than you are. Old 
Bagley was down yesterday. He and Arthur were 
shut in for two hours, and Arthur's been off his feed 
horribly ever since." 

Gwen, two years younger than Evelyn, could not 
conceal her feelings so well. She winced, and a look of 
terror came into her big blue eyes. 

" We can't hold on another year," continued Eve 
lyn. " And it's quite impossible for Arthur to take 
Miss Cadbrough. She's too hideous, and too hide 
ously, hopelessly middle-class. She could never, never 

[3] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

learn not to speak to ladies and gentlemen as if she 
were a servant." 

Evelyn pretended not to notice Gwen's unhappi- 
ness. She glanced in at the great drawing room, with 
splendid furniture, and ceiling wonderfully carved by 
a seventeenth-century Italian. Then her eyes wan 
dered away to the left, to the majestic wing showing 
there, then on to the brilliant gardens, the fountains 
and statuary. Her expression became bitter. " And 
we've been undisturbed for nine centuries ! " she ex 
claimed. 

Gwen, in spite of her inward tumult, remembered 
that this boast was rather " tall," that the Beauvais 
family had, in fact, been changed radically several 
times, and only the name had been undisturbed. Her 
mind paused with a certain satisfaction on these little 
genealogical discrepancies, because, though she was 
the sister and the daughter of a duke, she was the 
granddaughter of a brewer, who had begun life as an 
apprentice. 

" George wishes Arthur to go over to the wedding," 
she said reluctantly, after a silence. 

A servant appeared his gaudy livery was almost 
shabby, but his manners were most dignified, and his 

[4] 




8 

s 



CHAPTER ONE 

hair was impressively or ridiculously, if you please 
plastered and streaked with powder. " His Lord 
ship says he will have tea in his study, Your Lady 
ship." 

" Please tell him that Lady Gwendoline Ridley is 
here," said Evelyn. 

A few minutes later, a strongly built, fairish young 
man of perhaps six and thirty came lounging out upon 
the porch. He had pleasing, but far from handsome, 
features a chin that was too long, and hung weakly, 
instead of strongly, forward ; uncertain blue eyes, with 
a network of the wrinkles of dissipation at the corners. 
A large, frameless, stringless monocle was wedged, ap 
parently permanently, into the angle of his right eye- 
socket. He was dressed in shabby light grey flannels, 
and he looked as seedy as his clothes. He shook hands 
with Gwen. " Thanks. No tea. I'm taking whis 
key," he said to Evelyn. And he seated himself 
sprawlingly. The servant brought his whiskey and a 
note for his sister. 

" Is the man waiting for an answer? " she asked, 
when she had read it. 

" Yes, your ladyship." She left her brother and 
Gwen alone. 

[5] 



" 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

George is marrying the heiress," Gwen began. 
So he wrote me," replied Frothingham sullenly. 

" Evelyn says you must go and do likewise." 

He scowled. " But I'd rather stay here and marry 
you." 

" Don't be silly," said Gwen, with a shrug of her 
athletic young shoulders. " You've got nothing. I've 
got nothing. So you must do your duty." 

" Duty go hang ! " said Frothingham fretfully. 
;< Sometimes, do you know, Gwen, I come jolly near 
envying those beggars that live in cottages, and keep 
shops, and all that." 

" Now, you're slopping, Arthur. You know you 
don't envy them ; no more do I." 

" Did Eve tell you old Bagley was down? " 

" Yes. Ghastly wasn't it? " 

Frothingham sighed. " I shouldn't be so cut up if 
I'd had the fun of spending it." 

" You did spend a lot of it." She was thinking 
what a great figure the young Earl had cut in her 
girlhood days ; she had always listened greedily when 
her brother, with admiring envy, or Evelyn, with sis 
terly pride, talked of his exploits on the turf, and let 
us say elsewhere, to shorten a long story. 

[6] 



CHAPTER ONE 

" Only a few thousands that weren't worth the keep 
ing," said Frothingham, a faint gleam of satisfaction 
appearing in the eye that was shielded by the monocle 
he liked to remember his " career," and he liked the 
women to remind him of it in this flattering way. 
" All I really got was the bill for the governor's larks, 
and his governor's, and his governor's governor's. 
It's what I call rotten unfair jolly rotten unfair. 
The fiddling for them the bill for me." 

" Buck up, Artie," said Gwen, stroking him gently 
with her riding whip. " See how Georgie has faced it. 
And perhaps you won't draw such a bad one, either. 
She couldn't be worse than Cadbrough." 

" But I want you, Gwen. I'm used to you, you 
know and that's everything in a wife. I hate sur 
prises, and these American beggars are full of 



Evelyn came back. " Go away somewhere, both of 
you," she said. " Charley Sidney's just driving up. 
I wish to talk with him about the States." 

Gwen paled and flushed ; Frothingham grunted and 
scowled. They rose, made a short cut across the gar 
den, and were hidden by the left wing of the house. 
Almost immediately the servant announced " Mr. Sid- 

[7] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

ney," and stood deferentially aside for a tall, thin 
American, elaborately Anglicised in look and dress, 
and, as it soon appeared, in accent. He had a narrow, 
vain face, browned and wrinkled by hard riding in 
hard weather in those early morning hours that should 
be spent in bed if one has lingered in the billiard-room 
with the drinks and smokes until past midnight. 

" Ah, Lady Evelyn ! " He shook hands with her, 
and bowed and smirked. " I'm positively perishing 
for tea." 

" You mean whiskey ? " 

" Ah, yes to be sure. I see there is whiskey." 

Evelyn's manner, which had been frank and equal 
before her friend and her brother, had frozen for Sid 
ney into a shy stiffness not without a faint suggestion 
of superior addressing inferior. She had known Sid 
ney for the ten years he had lived within two miles 
of Beauvais House, but well, he wasn't " one of 
us " exactly ; he had a way of bowing and of pro 
nouncing titles that discouraged equality. The con 
versation dragged in dreary, rural fashion through 
gossip of people, dogs, and horses, until she said: 

" Have you heard the news of Surrey ? " 

" No is His Grace coming home ? ' : 

[8] 



CHAPTER ONE 

" He's marrying a Miss Dowie, of New York. Do 
you know her? ' : 

" I've heard of her. You know, I've not been there 
longer than a week at a time for fifteen years." Sid 
ney put on his extreme imitation-English air. " I 
loathe the place. They don't know how to treat a 
gentleman. And the lower classes ! " He lifted his 
eyebrows and shook his head. He was at his most en 
ergetic when, in running down his native land to his 
English acquaintances, he reached the American 
" lower classes." 

Evelyn concealed the satire which longed to express 
itself in her face. She despised Sidney and all the 
Anglicised Americans; and, behind their backs, she 
and her friends derided them perhaps to repay them 
selves for the humiliation of accepting hospitalities 
and even more concrete favours from " those Amer 
ican bounders." The story among Sidney's upper- 
class English tolerators was that his father had kept 
a low public house in New York or San Francisco, or 
" somewhere over there " they were as ignorant of 
the geography of the United States as they were of 
the geography of Patagonia. 

" So he's to marry Dowie's daughter ? " continued 

[9] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Sidney. " He was brakeman on a railway thirty years 
ago." 

"How you Americans do jump about!" said 
Evelyn, forgetting that Sidney prided himself on no 
longer being an American. " He must be clever." 

" A clever rascal, probably," replied Sidney spite 
fully. " Over here he'd have been put into jail for 
what they honour him for over there." 

" We've many of the same sort, no doubt," said 
Evelyn, thinking it tactful to hold aloof when a son 
was abusing his mother. 

" Yes, but usually they're gentlemen and do things 
in a gentlemanly way." 

"Mr. Dowie is rich?" 

" Just now he is they say." Sidney had the rich 
man's weakness for denying, or at least casting 
doubt upon, the riches of other rich men. He knew 
that his was the finest and most valuable wealth in the 
world, and he would have liked to believe that it was 
the only wealth in the world. " I trust the Duke has 
looked sharp to the settlements." 

' Why ? " asked Evelyn, preparing to make mental 
notes. 

" He may never get anything but what's settled on 

[10] 



CHAPTER ONE 

him and her now. Dowie is more or less of a specu 
lator and may go broke. But that's not the only dan 
ger in marrying an American heiress. You see, Lady 
Evelyn, over there they have the vulgarest possible 
notions of rank and titles. And often, if there isn't 
a cash settlement when they ' buy the title,' as they 
describe it, they refuse to give up anything. Many of 
their rich men have the craze for founding colleges 
and asylums and libraries. They reason that they've 
got the title in the family, therefore it isn't necessary 
to pay for it; and so they leave all their money to 
build themselves a monument. Dishonourable, isn't 
it ? But they stop at nothing." 

" Then," said Evelyn, " an American heiress isn't 
an heiress so long as her father is alive ? " 

" Exactly. It's misleading to call her an heiress. 
She simply has hopes." 

" I hope Surrey knows this." 

" If he doesn't it's his own fault. I cautioned His 
Grace before he sailed." 

" That reminds me, Mr. Sidney. Arthur may be 
going over to the wedding. Could you " 

" I'd be delighted," interrupted Sidney. " Any 
thing I could do for Lord Frothingham it would be 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

a pleasure to do. I can give him some useful letters, 
I think. Will he travel? " 

" Possibly I don't know. He has no plans as 

yet." 

" I shall give him if he will do me the honour of 
accepting them only a few letters. The wisest plan 
is a proper introduction to the very best people. Then 
all doors will be open to him." 

" The Americans are hospitable to everyone, are 
they not? " 

" Not to younger sons any more. And not to un 
accredited foreigners. They've had their fingers jolly 
well burned. I knew of one case a girl quite a 
ladylike person, though of a new family from the in 
terior. She married a French valet masquerading as 
a duke." 

" Poor creature," said Evelyn, smiling with amused 
contempt. 

" Yes, and another girl married or thought she 
married a German royal prince. And when she got 
to Germany she found that she'd bought a place as 
mere morganatic wife, with no standing at all." 

" Fancy ! What a facer ! " 

" And she never got her money back not a 

[12] 



CHAPTER ONE 

penny," continued Sidney. " But, like you, I don't 
sympathise with these upstart people who try to 
thrust themselves out of their proper station. The 
old families over there and there are a few gentle 
folk, Lady Evelyn, though they're almost lost in the 
crowd of noisy upstarts never have such humiliating 
experiences in their international marriages." 

" Naturally not," said Evelyn. 

" But, as I was about to say, a foreigner with a 
genuine title, the head of a house of gentle people, is 
received with open arms. Lord Frothingham would 
be overwhelmed with hospitalities. My friends would 
see to that." 

After a few minutes, without any impoliteness on 
Evelyn's part, Sidney began to feel that it was time 
for him to go. As he disappeared Gwen and Arthur 
came strolling back. 

" What a noisome creature Sidney is ! " said Evelyn. 
" But he'll be of use to you, Arthur." 

" Did he talk about the old families of America and 
the gentle birth? " asked Gwen. Her eyes were curi 
ously bright, and her manner and tone were agi 
tated. 

" All that again." 

[13] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" He's an ass a regular tomtit," growled Froth- 
ingham. 

" I should think he'd learn," said Evelyn, " that 
we don't take him and his countrymen up because 
they're well born we know they aren't." 

" If those that are sensible enough to fly from that 
beastly country are like Sidney," said Gwen, " what 
a rowdy lot there must be at home." She spoke so 
nervously that Evelyn, abstracted though she was, 
glanced at her and noticed how pale and peaked she 
was. When she had ridden away Evelyn looked at 
her brother severely she was only three and twenty, 
but she managed him, taking the place of both their 
parents, who were long dead. 

" You've been making love to Gwen," she exclaimed 
reproachfully. " You should be ashamed of your 
self." 

Frothingham removed his monocle, wiped it care 
fully in a brilliant plaid silk handkerchief, and slowly 
fitted it in place. Then he sent a mocking, cynical 
gleam through it at his sister. " You forget," he 
drawled, " that I caught you and Georgie kissing 
each other and crying over each other the day he 
went off to the States." 

[14] 



CHAPTER ONE 

Evelyn flushed. " How does that excuse you ? " 
she demanded, undismayed. 

He was silent for a moment, then with tears in his 
eyes and a break in his habitual cynical drawl, " I 
can't go, Eve. I can't give her up." 

Evelyn's heart ached, but she did not show it. She 
simply asked in her usual tone of almost icy calm, 
" Where's the cash to come from ? " 

He collapsed helplessly into a chair. There was no 
alternative he must go ; he must marry money. He 
owed it to his family and position ; also, he wanted it 
himself what is a " gentleman " without money ? 
And why, if he did not bestir himself he might actu 
ally have to go to work ! And " what the devil could 
I work at? I might go out to service I'd shine as a 
gentleman's gentleman or I might do something as 
a billiard marker " 

With such dangers and degradations imminent, to 
think of love was sheer madness. Frothingham 
sighed and stared miserably through his monocle at 
the peacocks squawking their nerve- jarring predic 
tions of rain. 



[15] 



II 

ON the second day out, in the morning, Froth- 
ingham was at the rail, his back to the sea, 
his glassed gaze roaming aimlessly up and 
down the row of passengers stretched at full length 
in steamer chairs. He became conscious of the ma- 
noeuvrings of a little man in a little grey cap and little 
grey suit, with little grey side-whiskers that stood out 
like fins on either side of his little grey face. Each 
time this little person passed it was with a nervous 
smile at Frothingham, and a nervous wiping of the 
lips with the tip of his tongue. When he saw that 
Frothingham, or, rather, Frothingham's monocle, was 
noting him, he halted in front of him. He was too 
painfully self-conscious to see that the Englishman's 
look was about as cordial as that of a bald-headed man 
watching the circlings of a bluebottle fly. 

" The Earl of Frothingham, is it not? " said he in 
a thin, small voice, his American overlaid with the 
most un-English of English accents. 

[16] 




name is Longview* 



CHAPTER TWO 

Frothingham moved his head without relaxing from 
his stolid, vacant look. 

" My name is Longview. I had the honour of meet 
ing you at the hunt at Market Harboro two years ago 
my daughter and I." 

Frothingham stared vaguely into space, little 
Longview looking up at him with an expression of 
ludicrously alarmed anxiety. " Oh, yes," he drawled 
finally. And he extended his hand with condescend 
ing graciousness. " I remember." 

Longview expelled a big breath of relief. He was 
used to being forgotten, was not unused to remaining 
forgotten. " You may recall," he hastened on, eager 
to clinch himself in an earl's memory, " we had your 
cousin, Lord Ramsay's place, Cedric Hall, that 
year." 

Frothingham remembered perfectly the rich, 
Anglicised American who fed his neighbours well, was 
generous in lending mounts and traps, and was, alto 
gether, a useful and not unamusing nuisance. Rich, 
but how rich? 

" And your daughter ? " said Frothingham he re 
called her indistinctly as young, hoydenish, and a dar 
ing jumper. 

[17] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" She is with me," said Longview, delighted to be 
convinced that he was remembered, and remembered 
distinctly and by a Gordon-Beauvais ! " It would 
give me great pleasure to present you." 

As they went down the deck the little man peered 
at everyone with a nervous little smile " as if he 
were saying, ' Don't kick me, please. I mean well,' ' 
thought Frothingham. In fact, back of the peering 
and the smile was the desire that all should see that he 
had captured the Earl. They entered the library and 
advanced toward a young woman swathed in a huge 
blue cape, her eyes idly upon a book. 

" Honoria, my dear," said Longview, as uneasy as 
if he were speaking to the young woman without hav 
ing been introduced to her, " you remember Lord 
Frothingham ? " 

Honoria slowly raised her eyelids from a pair of 
melancholy, indifferent grey eyes, and slightly in 
clined her head. The men seated themselves on either 
side of her ; Longview rattled on in his almost hyster 
ical way for a few minutes, then fluttered away. 
Honoria and Frothingham sat silent, she looking at 
her book, he looking at her. 

" You are going home ? " he said when he saw that 

[18] 



CHAPTER TWO 

she would not " lead," no matter how long the silence 
might continue. 

" No," she replied. " We are English at least, 
my father is." 

"And you?" 

She just moved her shoulders, and there was the 
faintest sneer at the corner of her decidedly pretty 
mouth. " I don't know what does it matter about 
a woman? I've lived in England and France since I 
was five, except a year and a half in America. Father 
detests the country and the people. He was natural 
ised in England last year. I believe he decided that 
his social position, won through his being an Amer 
ican, was sufficiently established to make it safe for 
him to change." 

Frothingham smiled. As he was used to the freest 
and frankest criticisms of parents and other near rel 
atives by fellow-countrymen of his own class, it did 
not impress him as unfilial that a daughter should thus 
deride a father. Honoria became silent, and appar 
ently oblivious of his presence. 

" I've never been to America," he said, hoping to 
resurrect the dead conversation. " I'm looking for 
ward to it with much pleasure. We have many 

[19] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Americans in our neighbourhood such jolly 
people." 

" I know few Americans." Honoria looked disdain 
ful. " And they are like us, the most of them ex 
patriated. They say their country is a good place to 
make money in, but a horrible place to live crude 
and ill-mannered, full of vulgar people that push in 
everywhere, and the servants fancying they're ladies 
and gentlemen." 

" I hope it's no worse to live in than England," 
said Frothingham. "You know we're always flying 
to the Continent to escape the climate and the dul- 
ness. And our middle classes are very uppish nowa 
days, don't you think? " 

" I detest England." Honoria put the first em 
phasis into her voice, but it was slight. 

" Beastly hole, except for a few weeks in the spring, 
ain't it? If it wasn't for the hunting it would be 
deserted." 

He saw her cold, regular features light up. " I 
love hunting," she said. " It's the one thing that 
can make me forget myself, and everything except 
just being alive and well." Then her face shadowed 
and chilled, and she looked at her book so signifi- 

[20] 



CHAPTER TWO 

cantly that Frothingham was forced to rise and 
leave. 

At luncheon the man in the chair next him Bar 
ney, who had told him in the first half -hour of their 
acquaintance all about his big dry-goods shop in 
Chicago said : " I saw you talking to Longview on 
deck. Is he a friend of yours? " 

" An acquaintance," replied Frothingham. He 
rather liked Barney because he was shrewd and hu 
mourous, and treated him in an offhand fashion 
that was amusing in a " tradesman " from Amer 
ica. 

" He's a low-down snob," said Barney, encouraged 
by Frothingham's disclaimer. " One of those fellows 
that think their own country ain't good enough for 
them. I was glad when he got himself naturalised 
over in your country. You're welcome to him. What 
kind of people does he herd with in England ? ' 

" We like him very well, I believe. He seems to be 
an agreeable chap." 

" I suppose he kowtows and blows himself, and so 
they let him hang onto the tailboard he ain't heavy 
and don't take up much room. His grandfather stole 
with both hands, and put it in real estate. Then his 

[21] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

father made quite a bunch in the early railroad days. 
And now this fellow's posing as an aristocrat. If he 
wasn't rich who'd notice him? ' : 

" Then he's rich? " inquired Frothingham. 

" Yes and no," replied Barney, his rich man's jeal 
ousy visibly roused. " There was a big family of 
them. He's got maybe a couple of millions or three. 
That ain't much in these days. You heard about his 
knockout? ' : 

" Has he lost part of his money ? " 

" I thought everybody knew that story it was in 
all the papers. No, it wasn't money worse than 
that, from his point of view. His daughter she's 
with him on the ship fell in love with the second son 
of some marquis or other. But he didn't have any 
thing, and I believe you titled people ain't allowed to 
work. Longview was red-headed wouldn't give his 
daughter a cent unless she married a big title. And 
then the young man's older brother died." 

" Was it the Marquis of Dullingf ord ? ' : 

" Yes, that was it. And right on top of it his elder 
brother's two sons were drowned, and he came into the 
title and estates. And what does he do but up and 
marry an English girl that he'd been struck on all the 



CHAPTER TWO 

time, but couldn't marry because he was so poor. 
Longview nearly went crazy at missing the chance. 
And his daughter it must have made her mighty 
sour to find out that the fellow had been only pretend 
ing to be in love with her, and was really out for her 
cash, and didn't care a rap about her. A low pup, 
wasn't he? " 

Frothingham began to detest Barney " an im 
pudent, malicious beggar," he thought. He gave him 
his monocle's coldest stare. 

" No," went on Barney, unchilled, " Longview's not 
so rich. I could buy him twice over, and not take a 
cent of it out of my business. But I want to see any 
scamp, foreign or domestic, hanging round my 
daughter for her money. She'll get nary a red till I 
shuffle off. And she'll get mighty little then if she 
don't marry to suit me. That's our way." 

Frothingham changed his mind about dropping 
Barney. He had begun to modify the low view of him 
as soon as he heard that he had a daughter, and 
" could buy Longview twice over," and leave the big 
business " seventy stores under one roof " intact. 
" Miss Barney may be worth looking at," he reflected. 
"And her papa might relent about settlements. I 

[23] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

suspect he isn't above loving a lord he's too good an 
American for that." 

What Barney had told gave him the key to Hon- 
oria. He felt genuine sympathy for her their sor 
rows were similar. " Poor creature," he thought. 
" No wonder she's so down in the mouth." After 
luncheon he met her father on deck, and did not re 
pel his advances. " But," he said to himself, " it 
don't do to be too friendly with these beggars. It's 
like shaking hands with your tailor. He don't think 
you've pulled him up, but that you've let yourself 
down." 

To the " beggar " he said : 

" I looked all round the dining room, but I didn't 
see you and your daughter." 

Longview smiled proudly. " We have our meals in 
our sitting room," he replied. " We dislike being 
stared at, and mixed in with a crowd of eating people. 
We like privacy. We'd be glad to have you join us." 

Frothingham's first impulse was to accept. It 
would cost him nothing probably he'd get his wine 
and mineral water and cigars free. And he'd have a 
rare chance at Honoria. But her face came before his 
mind. He decided that he would do well to wait until 



CHAPTER TWO 

he could learn whether she was really part of the in 
viting " we." 

Although he was not welcomed, but merely toler 
ated, he seated himself on the extension of a vacant 
chair beside her and talked hunting, which, as she 
had shown him, was her weakness. She was soon inter 
ested, and she unbent toward him so far that, when 
her father came and renewed his invitation, she joined 
in it. Just as Frothingham accepted he saw Barney 
half a dozen chairs away glowering at Longview. 
" I'll offend Barney, no doubt," he said to himself. 
" But I'll risk it. I must play the cards I have in my 
hand." 

Barney came into the smoke-room late in the even 
ing as he was sitting there, having a final whiskey 
and water before going to bed. " Won't you have a 
high ball or something? " he asked, making room for 
Barney's broad form. 

" No, I never touch liquor. Don't allow it in my 
house. It's no good no business man ought to touch 
it." 

" I suppose not," replied Frothingham, feeling that 
here was new evidence of the essentially degrading na 
ture of business. 

[25] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" I missed you at dinner," Barney went on. 

" The Longviews invited me to feed with them," 
replied Frothingham carelessly. " They eat in their 
sitting room. Sorry to leave you, but the service is 
much better." 

Barney's maxillary muscles expanded and con 
tracted with anger. He half snorted, half laughed. 
" You might know," he said, " that that shark-faced 
snob would invent a new way of making himself ridic 
ulous. So, the general dining room ain't good enough 
for him, eh? He is a swell, ain't he? I should think 
he and his no, leave the young lady out of it I 
should think he'd be ashamed to fish for you so 
openly." Barney's tone softened apologetically, 
greatly to Frothingham's surprise, as he added : " I 
don't blame you, Mr. Frothingham. I understand 
how it is with you titled people in your country. I 
don't blame anybody for walking round on human 
necks if their owners '11 allow it. But we feel differ 
ently about all those kind of things." 

Frothingham smiled conciliatingly. " Oh, I say, 
now ! I don't see anything to make a row over. The 
beggar's a right to eat where he pleases, hasn't he? " 

" Of course he has, and to stick his tongue out at 

[26] 




Barney half a dozen chairs away glowering at 

Longview 



CHAPTER TWO 

all the rest of us, as he does it. You don't understand. 
It ain't what he does. It's why he does it. We Amer 
icans can't stand those kind of airs." 

" It seems very mysterious to me," confessed Froth- 
ingham. " I admit I don't understand your country." 

" Oh, you're all right," reassured Barney, slapping 
Frothingham's leg cordially. " I never thought I'd 
like one of you titled fellows. I despised you all for a 
useless set of nobodies and nincompoops. And when 
ever my womenfolks got to talking about that kind of 
thing I always sat on 'em, and sat hard I'm a 
hard sitter when I want to be. But I like you, 
young man. You're more an American than an 
Englishman, just as Longview's more English than 
American he ain't American at all. You talk like 
an American. You behave like an American. And 
when you've been in America long enougK to wear 
your clothes out, and get some that fit you, you'll look 
like an American." 

" Thanks," said Frothingham drily. 

" You don't like it ? " Barney laughed good-hu- 
mouredly. " Well, I don't blame you. You're judg 
ing America by Longview and me. That ain't fair. 
I'm a rough one never had a chance first thing I 

[27] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

remember is carrying the swill buckets out to feed the 
hogs before sun-up when I still wore slips. But I mean 
right. And I've got a son and a daughter that are a 
real gentleman and a real lady, and don't you forget 
it." 

" Oh, you're all right," said Frothingham, slap 
ping Barney on the leg Frothingham was a senti 
mental dog where his pocket and his pleasure were not 
concerned, and he liked Barney's look as he spoke of 
himself and the hogs, and his children. 

" You don't want to go back to that little old island 
of yours," continued Barnay, " without seeing Chi 
cago. There 9 s a town ! And I'll give you the time of 
your life. I want you to meet my family." 

" I hope I shall," said Frothingham. He was smil 
ing to himself evidently Barney wasn't above a 
weakness for a lord. " It was a good stroke any way 
you look at it, my going with the Longviews," he re 
flected. " It's made Barney jealous, and he thinks 
more of me than ever." 

He divided his time unevenly between the Long- 
views and Barney. He wished to introduce Barney to 
them, but Longview hysterically refused. " It's all 
right for you, Frothingham," he explained. " But we 

[28] 



CHAPTER TWO 

can't afford to do it. How'd you like to be introduced 
to middle-class English ? " 

" Oh, I shouldn't mind. I'd just forget 'em the 
next time we met. The beggars 'd expect it and 
wouldn't think of annoying me. " 

" Precisely precisely," said Longview. " But 
our that is the American middle-classes are differ 
ent. They don't understand differences of social posi 
tion, or pretend not to. If this Barney person were 
presented to us, he probably wouldn't take the cut 
when we met again, but would come straight up to us. 
You've no idea how impudent they are." 

" But why do you call him middle-class ? Ain't he 
rich? " asked Frothingham. 

Longview looked at him tragically. " Birth and 
breeding count with us just as I mean count in 
America just as in England." 

" Gad, they don't count in England any more, ex 
cept against one. But we can't get it out of our 
heads that you Americans go in for equality and all 
that sort of thing." 

" Not at all. Not at all," Longview protested. 
" The lines are the more closely drawn because there 
are no official lines." 

[29] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" But what's the matter with Barney ? He seems 
right enough. I've got uncles that are worse. Gad, 
there's one of 'em I could get rich on if I could cage 
him and show him at a shilling a look." 

" My dear Frothingham, this Barney keeps a retail 
shop. Even in New York they draw the line at retail 
shops." 

" It's very mysterious." Frothingham shook his 
head. " I fear I shall never learn. Why don't they 
put it all in a book, as we do? Then we could take it 
at the university instead of Greek." 

He looked at Honoria. She was giving her plate 
a scornful smile. Her father looked at her also, and 
reddened as he noted her expression, and shifted the 
conversation abruptly to the day's run. Frothingham 
was becoming interested in Honoria, now that he had 
assured himself of her eligibility. She was not beau 
tiful, not especially distinguished-looking. But she 
had as little interest in him as in the rest of her 
surroundings, and that piqued him. Then, too, 
her figure was graceful and strong; and when her 
face did light up it showed strength of character, and 
either what she said or the way she said it created a 
vivid impression of personality. He soon felt that 

[30] ' 



CHAPTER TWO 

she liked him. Her manner toward him was friendlier 
far than her manner toward her father, her lack of 
respect for whom was scantily concealed. 

The night before they landed she and Frothing- 
ham sat on deck late, her father dozing in a chair at 
a discreet distance. Both were depressed the sense 
that they were once more about to plunge into the 
whirlpool of life made each sad. Honoria was re 
membering the past; Frothingham was brooding over 
the future. If he had dared he would have proposed 
to her. " She'd make a satisfactory wife," he said to 
himself. " She's just enough English to understand 
me and to make my people like her. She wouldn't get 
on their nerves. And she doesn't talk through her 
nose except when she's excited. She's a little too clever 
but a steady goer, once the harness is on. If I 
could get her it would be good business, good swift 
business." 

" You're a queer sort," he said to her suddenly. 
" Most girls are full of getting married. But I don't 
believe you give it a thought." 

" I sha'n't ever marry," she replied. 

He laughed. " Oh, I say, that's nonsense. Every 
girl must marry. You may as well make up your 

[31] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

mind to it, close your eyes, shut your teeth, and 
dash in." 

" You might not think it," she said after a pause, 
" but I am like you English I'm horribly, incurably 
sentimental. I know it's foreign to my bringing up, 
but " Her jaw set, and her eyes fixed upon some 
thing visible only to her in the blackness beyond the 
rail. " My bringing up was all wrong and rotten," 
she went on presently. " I don't know just how or 
where, but I know it's so. I began to feel it dimly 
when I visited my aunt in America four years ago. 
My mother died when I was a baby, and I was trained 
by my father and governesses governesses that 

suited him. My father But I needn't tell you, 

and you probably don't sympathise with me. His 
one idea in life is social position. It seems to me a 
contemptible ambition for a man. With women 
there's some excuse for it. We're naturally petty, f 
And, so far as I can see it, as the world is made up, 
if we haven't got that we haven't got anything. We 
can't have any other ambition it's the only one open 
to us. Well, I haven't got even ambition. I want 
that is, I wanted " 

She paused again, resisting the mood that was urg- 

[32] 



CHAPTER TWO 

ing her on to confidence. " By Jove," thought Froth- 
ingham, " it wouldn't be hard for a man to like her." 

" No matter what it was I wanted," she went on, 
" I didn't get it and sha'n't, ever." She turned her 
face toward him. " You may misunderstand me 
may think I am in love and hopelessly disappointed 
there's a story of that kind going round. But I'm not 
in love. I was but I'm not now." 

" Do you think one ever gets over it? " he asked ab 
sently. 

She did not answer. 

" I'm afraid not at least, not thoroughly," he an 
swered himself. There were two faces out there in 
the blackness into which they were staring, but each 
was seeing only one. 

" One ought to get over it one must" she said 
slowly, " when one finds that the person one cared for 
is a bad lot. But " she sighed under her breath 
" I might marry, yes, would, if I needed a home or 
money. But I don't. So I shall be much better con- 
' tented alone. I'll never believe deeply in any human 
being again." 

" You mustn't take life so seriously," he said 

gently. " You'll change before " 

[33] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

"So my father thinks." She looked at Froth- 
ingham with a mischievous, audacious smile. " He 
thinks I shall change immediately and marry 
you ! " 

Frothingham gasped. 

" How funny and fishlike you look," she said, 
laughing at him. " You are in no danger. Do you 
suppose I'd have said that if I'd had you on my list? 
No, I like you, but but! ' 

" You may change your mind," he recovered him 
self sufficiently to say. 

" No you're safe. I spoke out because I wish to 
be friends with you. I don't especially admire your 
purpose in going to America. But at least you're 
frank about it." 

" I? Why, Miss Longview I " Frothing 
ham began to protest, pushing at his dislodging eye 
glass. 

" Don't prevaricate. You wouldn't do it well. As 
I was about to say, I wish to be friends with you. 
And it's impossible for a woman and a man to be 
friends when either is harbouring matrimonial de 
signs against the other, or fancies the other is har 
bouring them." 

[34] 



CHAPTER TWO 

" I certainly have to marry somebody," said Froth- 
ingham mournfully. 

" Yes I know. Father explained about you. He's 
up on every titled family in England above the baron 
ets. And he's determined that I shall be a countess 
at the very least. He says he has the money to buy it 
and possibly he has. But " she was intent upon 
the blackness again " I shall never go back to 
England. I shall stay in America with a visit to 
Paris and the Riviera now and then." 

" That '11 cheer your father when he hears it," 
drawled Frothingham. He coughed and stammered, 
and added in an embarrassed, apologetic tone, " And 
I don't like to hear a girl as young and attractive as 
you are talk in that ghastly way." 

She looked at him with a teasing smile. 

" You'll make some woman a good husband," she 
said. " Selfish and flighty, perhaps, but on the whole 
good. I'll be glad to help you with some other girl. 
In fact, I've one in mind an acquaintance in New 
York we call each the other friend, and I'm fond of 
i her, as that sort of thing goes with women." 

He began to stammer again, and she saw that he 
was still hanging hopefully over her father's plan. 

[35] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" If I were a marrying woman and ambitious," she 
went on, " I'd think seriously of having a cast at you. 
But I'm neither, so I can appreciate your assets quite 
impartially." 

" I've got nothing," he said, " nothing but debts." 

" Debts are an asset if contracted in a way that 
would seem romantic to a girl. Then, there's your 
title. That's a big asset either in England or Amer 
ica. And you've got a fairly good disposition and nice 
manners, and you pretend indifference charmingly, 
assisted by your eyeglass. And your character is not 
too bad. Not too good, either. I've heard one or 
two rather thick stories of you. If I were your wife 
I'd keep an eye on the money you will gamble. But 
your character is well up to the average for our kind 
of people." 

" I've been rather bad, I'm afraid," he said, in the 
shallowly penitent tone in which human beings glory 
in the sins they are proud of. " I've been as bad as 
I knew how to be." 

" All of us are that, I fancy," replied Honoria, 
rising. " I sha'n't trouble you to confess to me. Save 
it for her. Good-night." She put out her hand 
friendlily. " I think we shall be friends." 

[36] 



CHAPTER TWO 

Frothingham looked after her as she went with her 
father down the deck toward the main companion- 
way. " She is a queer lot," he muttered. " I sup 
pose that's American. Well, if it's a fair specimen, I 
certainly sha'n't be bored in America. 3 



55 



[37] 



Ill 

NEW YORK, 6 November. 
My Dear Eve : 

I'M just sending you off the newspapers with the 
accounts of George's wedding. Don't show them 
about, please, as he's frightfully cut up over them. 
He swears he'll never set foot in this country again, 
or let his Duchess come. You'll be tremendously 
amused as you read. You'll never have seen anything 
so frank and personal. And the illustrations ! We've 
done nothing but dodge cameras when we weren't 
dodging reporters. I don't agree with George I 
think it's great fun. 

They let me off easy, as you'll see, and some of the 
pictures of me are not half bad. But I don't wonder 
that George is furious. Just read the descriptions of 
his looks and really he's looking horribly seedy. 
And don't neglect the accounts of the new Duchess' 
papa, and how he came by his cash. He must be a 

gory old vulture though really he doesn't look it, 

[38] 



CHAPTER THREE 

and except when he gets to going it hard his English 
is fairly good, of the nosey, Yankee kind. 

George came down to the dock to meet me. He 
was in a blue fury. It seems the newspapers had 
been making a fearful row over him from the moment 
he left the other side. And then by illustrated ac 
counts of his houses, his property, his family, and him 
self, not to speak of what they printed about the 
Dowies' past and present, they set the crowds to col 
lecting at his hotel, and to following him round the 
streets. They published even what he ate and drank, 
and the size of the tips he gave the servants. And 
after the engagement was announced the excitement 
became something incredible. He couldn't poke his 
nose out of his rooms that somebody didn't collect the 
crowd by shouting, " There's his Booklets, there's the 
little fellow " and you know Georgie is a bit sensi 
tive about his size. 

Well, the newspapers published everything his 
height and weight, the tooth he has out on the left 
side, every rag in his boxes, pictures of them, every 
thing in Miss Dowie's trousseau columns and col 
umns. And how he did hop round when he found that 
the Dowies had actually hired a fellow and a woman 

[39] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

to give out facts to the press ! What do you think 
of that for a Yankee notion? 

You can't imagine the presents. You'd have 
thought the crown princess was marrying. The news 
papers say they alone were worth a million and a half, 
American money. I and Cleggett went over them, and 
we decided they'd fetch more. You know, Cleggett 
he's Georgie's solicitor is over here looking after 
the settlements. He simply had to put the screws 
onto old Dowie. I got a good many hints from him on 
how to deal with these beggars in money matters. 
Dowie's a shrewd chap. He and Cleggett did all the 
money talk. Georgie was supposed to know nothing 
about it. But maybe he wasn't in a funk when it be 
gan to look as if the whole business were off at the 
last minute. I had to work hard to keep him up to the 
mark. Clegget won out, though got a hundred 
thousand pounds more than Georgie expected. 

To go back to the presents, her uncle one of the 
ha'penny rags here said he's been in the penitentiary, 
but I hear it's not true he gave her a yacht, a regular 
ocean steamer. You'll admire the necklace her aunt 
sent her it can't have cost less than fifty thousand, 
our money. It makes me ill to see these beggars wad- 

[40] 



CHAPTER THREE 

ing and wallowing in money. By the way, I notice 
that while they talk of spending money, they talk of 
making it as much as they talk of spending it, if not 
more. 

Wallingford, a fellow I've met here, said to me at 
dinner the other night, a few minutes after the women 
had gone : " Shall we stay here with the men and dis 
cuss making money, or shall we go up to the women 
and discuss spending it? r 

But to go back to Georgie and his coming down to 
meet me. I saw him on the pier, his face like a sunset 
and his arms going like mad. He was haranguing a 
crowd in which there were several cameras. I shouted 
to him I and Miss Longview and her father were at 
the rail together. As I shouted the crowd looked, and 
the cameras were pointed at us. Miss Longview darted 
away, and her father pulled at me. 

" Come, come ! " he said, all in a flurry and a sweat. 
" They'll take your picture if you stay." 

" Who? " said I. " And why should they take my 
picture? " 

" The reporters," he answered, dragging at me. 
" You don't understand about American newspapers." 

I let him drag me away, and then he explained. 

[41] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" They know you are coming to the wedding," he said> 
" and they'll photograph you and interview you and 
print everything about you insulting, impudent 
things. There's no such thing as privacy in this hor 
rible country. Didn't I tell you they haven't the 
faintest notion what a gentleman is, or what is due 
a gentleman ? ' : 

Barney, I'm sure I told you about him in the let 
ter I wrote you on the way over, Barney was sitting 
near us. He burst in with, " I think your friend is 
unduly alarmed, Earl." (He always calls me Earl. 
He says he'll be blanked if he'll call any man lord.) 
* You haven't committed a crime, or done what you'd 
be ashamed to see in print. No honest man objects to 
having his face published, or anything else about him 
that's true." And he glared at Longview, who sniffed 
and walked away. Barney sent a jeering laugh after 
him, and said, " The scrawny little chipmunk ! " 

" What's a chipmunk? " said I. 

" A kind of squirrel," said he, " only littler, and 
even easier to scare." 

We went to the rail, and there was George, with 
his crowd pushing and jostling him. As soon as the 

gangway was let down he rushed aboard, the crowd 

[42] 



CHAPTER THREE 

with the cameras on his heels. At the top he turned 
like Marius, or whoever it was, at the bridge. And he 
shouted to the officers, in a funny, shrill voice, " Drive 
those ruffians back ! " But the officers were smiling at 
him, and only pretended to restrain the reporters and 
photographers. On they came, reaching us about as 
soon as George did. They poured round and between 
us, and began to ask me questions. I must admit they 
were polite, in the Yankee way, and friendly, and 
good-natured. 

I said to one of 'em : " I say, my good fellow, can't 
you give me time to get my breath ? " 

" No, I can't, Lord Frothingham," he said, laugh 
ing. " What would you do if you were I, and your 
paper were going to press in ten minutes and you were 
five minutes from a telephone ? " 

I got on famously with them. I didn't in the least 
mind. They must have liked me, as you'll read. But 
Georgie ! How they have been dishing him ! 

It wasn't until we got into the carriage that I and 
he had chance at each other. " Did you ever see or 
hear of anything like it? " he said. His hands were 
shaking, and the sweat was rolh'ng down his cheeks. 
" They act like a lot of South Sea savages when a 

[43] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

whale comes ashore. They are savages. I had heard 

it was a beastly country, but " And he actually 

ground his teeth. 

You know George is very touchy on his dignity, 
and has old-fashioned ideas of what's due a Duke from 
his inferiors. It seems he got into a huff when he first 
came because they treated him in offhand fashion, as 
they treat everybody. And he tried to snub them. 
And when they snubbed back, only they had illustrated 
newspapers to do it in, he went wild, and has been 
making matters worse and worse for himself. Some 
of the papers have had leaders pitying Miss Dowie, 
and predicting that she'll have him in the divorce court 
for brutality shortly think of it Georgie, quiet 
Georgie! Everyone is hating him, for he assumed 
that even Miss Dowie's friends were like the news 
papers that had slated him, and he snubbed right and 
left. 

He took me to his hotel. He had an apartment that 
costs him fifteen pounds a day ain't that cruel ? But 
he said he didn't propose that these savages should 
sneer at his poverty they're doing it, anyhow, and 
they hint that the Dowies are paying his hotel bill, 
or will have to pay it. However, I think he did well 

[44] 



CHAPTER THREE 

to spread himself. There's something about this 
country that makes you ashamed to seem poor. You 
spend money and pretend you've got plenty of it. 
They call it " throwing a bluff," or " making a front." 

George had taken an apartment for me at a tall 
price, but I wouldn't have it, as I wouldn't saddle him 
with the expense he hadn't her money in hand then. 
Besides, I knew that as soon as he was gone I'd have to 
come down, and that would have looked bad. After I 
was installed in a very comfortable little apartment 
thirteen floors up think of that ! at three pounds a 
day, we drove to Dowie's. A crowd saw us off at the 
hotel, people pointed and stared at us all the way up 
the street, and there was a crowd waiting for us at 
Dowie's. They live in a huge greystone castle, 
there is no end of smart houses here, but a queer jum 
ble samples of everything. I hadn't known old 
Dowie an hour before he told me the house and ground 
and all cost him six hundred thousand, our money. 

The girl but you'll judge her for yourself. I 
rather fancied her. Affected, of course, and trying 
to act a duchess out of one of Ouida's novels. Rather 
fat, too, and her hair is thin, and a mussy shade of 
yellow. I think she'll waddle in about five years. 

[45] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Still, she's sensible and quick, and dresses well. All 
the women here do that. But the money ! It's heart 
rending to see it parade by. And they seem to be 
throwing it away, but they don't. Everything is hor 
ribly dear here. I must look sharp or I sha'n't last 
long. 

The newspapers will give you all you want to know 
about the wedding it was quite a show perhaps vul 
gar and overdone, but really gorgeous. I like Amer 
ica, and I like the people. They're jolly good-natured, 
and the nice ones here are much the same as nice people 
anywhere else. The Longviews have taken a big 
furnished house, and I'm staying with them. Next 
week a friend of Miss Longview a Miss Hollister, 
who lives here, but her people are still in the country 
is coming to visit her. Her (Miss Hollister's) 
father owns a lot of railways and mines, and is no end 
of a financial swell. I'm too sleepy to write another 
word, except 

ARTHUR. 

How is Gwen? Be good to me, Evelyn with 
love A. 



[46] 




He liked the very first glimpse of her 



HONORIA took Frothingham to the . Grand 
Central Station to meet Catherine, and he liked 
the very first glimpse of her as she came strid 
ing down the platform. She was tall and narrow, and 
she wore dresses and wraps that emphasised both these 
characteristics. She had a long, thin neck and a small, 
delicately coloured face, which she knew how to frame 
most fascinatingly in her hair, with or without the aid 
of her hat. She had dreamy young eyes, long and 
narrow, and her red lips and her slender, nervous fin 
gers made it clear that she lived in her senses rather 
than in her intellect that she would neither say nor 
think anything brilliant, but would feel intensely, and 
could be powerfully appealed to through her imagina 
tion. She was wearing a light brown, brightly lined 
coat that trailed to her heels ; and she was holding up 
from the dust and close about her many folds of soft, 
fine materials, cloth and silk and linen and lace. In 
her wake came a maid and a porter, each laden with 

[47] 



CHAPTER FOUR 

her belongings, an attractive array of comforts and 
luxuries of travel. 

" I'm glad you brought a closed carriage," she said, 
with a shiver, as they started for home. " It's raw, 
and the sky seems to weigh upon one's shoulders and 
head. This is a day to hide in the house, close by an 
open fire." 

Frothingham was surprised by this fairy-princess 
delicateness in so robust a creature. He thought the 
day mild, and as for the sky, why bother about any 
thing that far away, so long as it sent nothing down 
to bother one? 

" You forget we are English," said Honoria. " We 
call this good weather. I must confess the closed car 
riage was a happy accident." 

" So like you, Honoria ! Isn't it, Lord Frothing 
ham ? " Catherine gave him a sweet smile. " She 
never permits one to keep agreeable illusions. Now, 
I was loving her for being so thoughtful for me." 

As Frothingham only stared, shy and stolid, 
through his eyeglass, the two girls began to talk each 
to the other they had not met in two years, not since 
Catherine and her mother visited Honoria at Long- 
view's place in Bucks. 

[48] 



CHAPTER FOUR 

" What a beautiful place it was ! " said Catherine. 
" I often dream of it. But then, I love England. It 
is of such a wonderful, vivid shade of green, and every 
thing is so cultivated, and refined, and and like a 
fairy garden. Don't you find the contrast very great, 
Lord Frothingham ? We are very new and wild." 

" I've seen only people since I've been here. I must 
say the people at least, those I've met remind me 
of home, except that they speak the language differ 
ently. As for the city, it's not at all as I fancied. It's 
much like Paris more attractive than London, not so 
gloomy." 

" Paris ! " Catherine smiled, with gently reproach 
ful satire. " Oh, you flatter us." 

" I like it better," insisted Frothingham. " It's 
Paris with English in the streets I hate Frenchmen." 

" No, they're not nice to look at the men," admit 
ted Catherine. " But I adore what they've done. 
What would the world be without France? '" , 

" Oh, I don't know," said Frothingham, with his 
cynical, enthusiasm-discouraging drawl. " They're 
hysterical beggars, always exploding for no reason. 
It makes me nervous. I like quiet and comfort." 

" Lord Frothingham isn't so sensible as he pre- 

[49] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

tends," put in Honoria. " He's really almost as sen 
timental and emotional as you are, Catherine." 

" Oh, but I'm neither," replied Catherine. " I don't 
dare to be. If I find myself the least bit enthusiastic 
I catch myself up and look round, frightened lest 
somebody may have noticed. I'm such a liar we all 
are over here. Don't you like sincerity, Lord Froth- 
ingham ? " 

" I I suppose so." Frothingham looked vague. 
" What do you mean ? " Catherine's " intensity " con 
fused him. 

" I mean being true to one's self, and not ashamed 
to show one's self as one is, and never afraid to tell the 
truth." 

" But all of us do that, don't we ? " said Frothing 
ham. There was a twinkle in his eye or was it only 
the reflection of light from his glass? 

Honoria gave him her " candid friend " look. " No 
body does," said she. " That is, nobody who has tem 
perament enough to lead any sort of life above an 
oyster's." 

" But I can see at a glance that Lord Frothingham 
has temperament." Catherine looked at him with in 
tensely sympathetic appreciation. " Yes, men can be 

[50] 



CHAPTER FOUR 

sincere and truthful. But women must always repress 
their real selves." 

Frothingham looked stolid and hopeless. When 
ever conversation turned on abstractions he felt like a 
man fumbling and stumbling about in a London fog. 
" Really ? " he said. " Really, now? " 

" I don't know why women fancy they must be 
liars," said Honoria. " Do you mind dining at Sher 
ry's to-night? ' ; Catherine in her psychological 
moods bored her. She sometimes ventured on aerial 
flights, but had no fancy for aerial flounderings. 

" Sherry's? That will be delightful! I like din 
ing at restaurants I'm very American in that re 
spect." 

" But so do I," said Frothingham. " That is, in 
your restaurants here. The people are interesting, 
and they talk a lot, and loud enough so that one hears 
every word and isn't annoyed by missing the sense. 
And how they do waste the food ! " 

" Food ! " Catherine repeated the word with a 
smile that was half-humourous, half pleading. 
" Please don't use that word, Lord Frothingham. It 
always makes me shiver. It sounds so so animal ! 5! 

Frothingham put on the blank look behind which he 

[51] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

habitually sheltered himself when he did not know 
what to say, or to do, or to think. Honoria was dis 
gusted with him and with Catherine. " They're not 
going to like each other, not even enough to marry," 
she said to herself. " And it's a pity, as they're 
exactly suited. If Catherine only wouldn't 
pose ! " 

She was, therefore, somewhat surprised when, im 
mediately she and Catherine were alone, Catherine 
burst into rhapsody on Frothingham. " What a fine, 
strong face! So much character! What a sincere, 
sensitive, pure nature. He's a splendid type of true 
gentleman, isn't he, Nora? How well he contrasts 
with our men! Doesn't he?" 

Honoria smiled to herself. " She wants to marry 
him," she thought, " and she's building a fire under 
her imagination. I might have known it. She's the 
very person to weave romance over a title and imagine 
it all gospel. What a poser ! " To Catherine she 
said : " He's a decent enough chap, Caterina. And 
you'll admire him more than ever when you've read 
him up in Burke's Peerage and looked at the pictures 
he's given me of Beauvais House." 

"How do you spell it? B-e-v-i-s?" 

[52] 



CHAPTER FOUR 

" No, that's the way you pronounce it. You spell 
it B-e-a-u-v-a-i-s." 

"Isn't that interesting? It's so commonplace to 
pronounce a word the way it's spelt, don't you 
think? " 

" I never thought of it, my dear. Why not marry 
him?" 

" You are so abrupt and and practical, Honoria," 
said Catherine plaintively. " But you are a dear. I 
should never marry a man unless I loved him." 

Honoria looked faintly cynical. " Certainly not. 
But surely you can love any man you make up your 
mind to marry. What is your imagination for ? " 

At Sherry's that night, besides Honoria, Catherine, 
Longview, and Frothingham, there were at Longview's 
table Mrs. Carnarvon, of the hunting set, and Joe 
Wallingford he hunts and writes verse, both badly, 
and looks and talks, both extremely well. Honoria de 
voted herself to Wallingford and so released Catherine 
and Frothingham each upon the other she listened 
for a few seconds now and then to note their progress. 

" It's a go," she said to herself with the match 
maker's thrill of triumph, as the cold dessert was 

served. She saw that Frothingham had ceased to 

[53] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

listen, and so had ceased to puzzle; his eyeglass was 
trained steadily and sympathetically upon Cather 
ine's fascinating beauty why weary the brain when 
it might rest and enjoy itself through the eyes? 
Catherine was talking on and on, quoting poetry, tell 
ing Frothingham of her emotions, telling him of his 
emotions he did not have them, but she was so earnest 
that he was half convinced. 

" When you said this afternoon that you liked 
things quiet and comfortable," she said, " I felt that 
it was splendidly in keeping with your character. I 
saw that you hated all this noise and display, that 
you like to get away in your own corner of your beau 
tiful England and live grandly and quietly near 
Nature." 

If Catherine had not been beautiful and rich he 
would have said to himself, " What rubbish ! " But, 
as it was, he thought her profound and spiritual. And 
he said, trying to touch bottom and get a firm stand 
upon firm earth, " I think you'd like Beauvais." 

" I'm sure I should," replied Catherine with en 
thusiasm. " Honoria was showing me the photo 
graphs of it. I admire the great, stately old house. 

But I liked best of all the picture of the woods and 

[54] 



CHAPTER FOUR 

the brook. It reminded me of those lines of Cole 
ridge's they are so beautiful where he speaks of 
the brook 

" ( In the leafy month of June 

That to the sleeping woods all night 
Singeth a quiet tune.' 

Don't you think those lines fine? Do I quote them 
right? " 

" Yes I think so that is," stammered Frothing- 
ham, " it's a jolly brook, but we call it a river." Then 
to himself : " What an ass she'll think me ! " But the 
starting sweat stayed, for she asked him no more ques 
tions; and he, freed from the anxiety of having to 
try to soar with her, was able to sit quietly and en 
joy her beauty, and the murmurous rush of her low, 
musical voice " It's like the brook that brute she 
quoted wrote about," he thought. 

He did not drive home with his party, but accepted 
Wallingford's invitation to walk in the fresh night 
air to his club. " Your American women are tre 
mendously clever," he said, as they were strolling 
along. He was feeling dazed and dizzy from the 
whirl of his emotions, the whirls and shocks Catherine 
Hollister had given his brain. 

[55] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

"Yes, they're clever," replied Wallingford, "but 
not in the way they think they are. Take Kitty Hoi- 
lister, for example. She's all right when she wants to 
be. She thinks sense. But what a raft of fuzzy trash 
she does float out when she gets a-going. I pitied you 
this evening. She laid herself out to impress you. 
You're staying in the house with her, aren't you? I 
suppose she whoops it up whenever you're round? " 

" I find her very clever and interesting," said 
Frothingham somewhat stiffly. 

" Of course she is. I've known her for seventeen. of 
the nineteen years she's gladdened the earth and I 
ought to know her pretty well. But she's like a lot of 
the women in this town. They haven't any emotions 
to speak of nothing emotional happens. But they 
think they ought to have emotions such as they read 
about, and so they fake 'em. Then, they've got the 
craze for culture. They haven't the time to get the 
real thing they're too busy showing off. Besides, 
they're too lazy. So they fake culture, too. Oh, yes, 
they're clever. And they look so well that you like 
the fake as they parade it better than the real thing." 

" We have that sort in London," said Frothingham. 

" So I've observed. But it's done rather better 

[56] 



CHAPTER FOUR 

there they're older hands at it. If you weren't an 
Englishman, I'd say it fitted in better among the 
other shams. I suppose you've noticed that many 
people here are imitation English or French? You've 
seen the tags ' Made in England,' ' Made in France,' 
* Made in England, finished in France ' ? ' : 

" I've noticed similarities," replied Frothingham 
tactfully. 

" It's all imitation stuff the labels are frauds. 
We over here don't know how to be gracefully idle and 
inane, as your upper classes do. It's not in us any 
where. We haven't the tradition our tradition is all 
against it. Whenever we do produce a thoroughly 
idle and inane person, he or she goes abroad to live, 
or else loses all his money to some sharp, pushing fel 
low, and drops out of sight. All this aristocracy you 
see is pure pose. Underneath, they're Americans." 

" What is an American ? " asked Frothingham. 
" Every time I think I've seen one, along comes some 
native and tells me I'm wrong. Are you an Amer- 
can?" 

" Underneath yes. On the surface no. I used 
to be, but now I'm posing with the rest of 'em. You'll 
have to get out of New York to see Americans. There 

[57] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

are droves of 'em here, but they're so scattered in 
places you'll never go to that you couldn't find them. 
You'd better go West if you wish to be sure of seeing 
the real thing." 

" It's very confusing. How shall I know this Amer 
ican when I see him ? " 

" When you see a man or a woman who looks as if 
he or she would do something honest and valuable, 
who looks you straight in the eyes, and makes you feel 
proud that you're a human being and ashamed that 
you are not a broader, better, honester one that's an 
American." And then he smiled with his eyes so 
queerly that Frothingham could not decide whether or 
not he was jesting. 

At the club Wallingford introduced him into a 
large circle of young men, seated round two tables 
pushed together, and covered with " high balls," and 
bottles of carbonated water, and silver bowls of 
cracked ice. He said little, drank his whiskey and 
water, and listened. " It's the talk of stock brokers 
and tradesmen," he said to himself. " Yet these fel 
lows are certainly gentlemen, and they don't talk 
business in the least like our middle-class people. It's 
very confusing." 

[58] 



CHAPTER FOUR 

After he left the others were most friendly, and even 
admiring, in their comments upon him. 

" He's monotonous, and poor, and will never have 
anything unless he marries it," said Wallingford. 
" If he were a plain, poor, incapable, rather dull 
American, is there one of us that would waste five 
minutes on him? " 

There was silence, then a laugh. 



[59] 



WALLINGFORD and Frothingham devel 
oped a warm friendship. Wallingford was 
extremely suspicious of himself in it, but 
after a searching self-analysis decided that his liking 
for the Earl was to a certain extent genuine. " He 
doesn't know much at least, he acts as if he didn't. 
But he's clever in a curious way, and a good listener, 
and not a bit of a fakir. No doubt he's on the look 
out for a girl with cash, but English ideas on that sub- \ 
ject are different from ours that is, from what ours 
are supposed to be. He's a type of English gentle 
man, and not a bad type of gentleman without any 
qualification." 

When he expressed some such ideas to Catherine 
Hollister, at a dance given for her by Mrs. Carnar 
von, she went so much further in praise of Frothing 
ham that he laughed. " So that's the way the wind 
blows, eh ? " he said, grinning at her satirically. 

She coloured, and put on the look of an offended 

saint. 

[60] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

" Countess of Frothingham," he went on, undis 
turbed. " That would sound romantic, wouldn't it? 
Catherine, Countess of Frothingham ! " 

" How can you be so coarse-fibred in some ways, 
Joe, and so fine in others? " she said reproachfully. 

" I don't know, dear lady. I suppose because I'm 
human just like you." 

" Let us dance," was her only reply. She had 
known Joe so long that she couldn't help liking him, 
but he certainly was trying. 

Later in the evening, remembering Joe's cruelty 
and sordidness, she said to Frothingham : " You don't 
know what a pleasure it is to the finer women over here 
to meet foreign men. They are so much more subtle 
and sympathetic. They are not coarsened by busi 
ness. They are not mercenary." 

She raised her dreamy eyes to his as she spoke the 
word " mercenary." He reddened and stumbled 
they were dancing the two-step. " I wish you wouldn't 
look at me like that," he said, with an ingenuousness 
wholly unconscious. " It reminds me of my sins, and 
and all that." 

She trembled slightly, as he could plainly feel in 
his encircling arm. He looked down at her she al- 

[61] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

ways was ethereally beautiful in evening dress. In his 
admiration he almost forgot how rich she was ; he quite 
forgot how oppressively intellectual she was. " Do 
you do you " he began. Then he stopped danc 
ing and led her into the hall, through the hall to the 
library. Two other couples were there, but far enough 
from the corner to which he took her. 

" May I smoke? " he asked. 

" I love the odour of a cigarette," she replied, in a 
voice that encouraged him to resume where he had ab 
ruptly left off. 

" Perhaps you will smoke? " 

" No," she said, in a tone that was subtly modu 
lated to mean apology or reproach, according as he 
liked or disliked women smoking. 

"Do you really like England?" he began nerv 
ously, seeing to it that his glass was firmly ad 
justed. 

" I adore it ! " Usually she would have gone on 
into poetical prose unlimited. But this, she felt, was 
a time for short answers. 

" Would you mind England with with " 

He halted altogether, and she slowly raised her 
heavy lids until her eyes met his. 

[62] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

" Catherine ! " He seized her hand, and the thrill 
of her touch went through him. " You are so lovely. 
I I'm horribly fond of you." 

She sighed. " Isn't it beautiful? " she said. "This 
lovely dance these fascinating surroundings the 

music the dim lights and and " She lifted 

her eyes to his again. 

He murmured her name, threw away his cigarette, 
looked round to see where the other eyes in that room 
were, then clasped her round the waist for an instant. 
" Will you ? Will you ? " he exclaimed. 

" Yes," she replied, in a tone so faint that he barely 
heard. 

" You have made me happy." And he meant it. 

" How satisfactory she is in every way," he was say 
ing to himself. " Looks, money, everything. I'm a 
lucky dog." And she was saying to herself, " Count 
ess of Frothingham ! How strong and fine and simple 
he is. I love him ! " But when he suggested speaking 
to her father at once she would not have it. " No I 
want it to be just our secret for a little while," she 
pleaded. " Don't you? ' He did not see any reason 
for it, but he said " Yes " with a surface reflection of 
her earnestness. 

[63] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" It's a pity the world ever should know anything 
about it, don't you think so? " she went on. 

" I'm very impatient to claim my countess," he an 
swered. 

She liked the " countess," but the " my " jarred 
slightly in her sensitive ear she was " acquiring " an 
earl, not he a countess. 

" Not too long," he remonstrated. It was all very 
well for her to be romantic he wouldn't have liked it 
if he had not inspired some romance. But why should 
either of them wish to delay ratifying the bargain that 
was the real purpose in view ? Certainly he wished no 
delay. And there was much to be arranged settle 
ments, a trousseau, a host of time-consuming prelimi 
naries. Not a day should be lost in getting under 
way. His creditors, impatiently awaiting the event of 
his American adventure, might become ugly. He hated 
ugly letters and cablegrams almost as much as he 
hated ugly " scenes." No, he felt strongly on the sub 
ject of long engagements. 

His heart was full of her beauty he had drunk a 
good deal at supper half an hour before. His head 
was full of her dowry he never drank so much that 

he forgot business. " How could I evade if anyone 

[64] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

should congratulate me? " he asked. And then he 
wished he had not said it, but had made that the ex 
cuse for not obeying her. 

" You must deny it, as I shall. You know, we're 
not really fully engaged until I'm ready to have it an 
nounced. Besides, as Joe Wallingford says, a lie in 
self-defence isn't a lie. And self-defence isn't either a 
crime or a sin, is it? I think self-defence against pry 
ing is a virtue, don't you ? " 

A man came to claim her for a dance. She smiled 
sweetly at him, plaintively at Frothingham, and went 
back to the ballroom. Frothingham stood in the door 
way watching her for a few minutes, then went away 
from the dance to walk and think and enjoy. But 
his mind was depressed. " Too much supper," he 
grumbled. " I ought to be tossing my hat. I don't 
deserve her and my luck. Her cash will put us right 
for the first time since my great-grandfather ruined 
us by going the Prince Regent's gait. We shall re 
store Beauvais House and take the place in Carlton 
Terrace again. Gad! what a relief it will be to feel 
free in my mind about cab fares, and not to claim com 
missions from my tailor when I send him customers. I 
shall be able to live up to the title and the tradi- 

[65] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

tions " He painted vividly, but in vain. He 

caught himself looking away from the glowing pic 
tures and sighing. " Yes, she's pretty devilish pretty 
and a high stepper, but Gwen would be so com 
fortable so d n comfortable ! " 

Honoria suspected their secret, yet doubted the cor 
rectness of her intuitions. " She'd parade it," she 
reflected, " if she were really engaged to him. There 

x, 

must be a hitch somewhere." And her wonder grew as 
the report of their engagement spread only to be 
strenuously denied by Catherine. 

Catherine was almost tearful in lamenting this " im 
pertinent gossip " to her. " Isn't it hateful, Honoria," 
she said, " that a young man and a young woman can't 
be civil and friendly to each other when they're visit 
ing in the same house, without all the busybodies try 
ing to embarrass them? Did you see the papers this 
morning? How dare they print it ! " 

Honoria smiled at this mock indignation. " Where's 
the injury to you in crediting you with landing an 
earl? " she asked. 

Catherine gave her a look of melancholy reproach. 
" Do you know," she said dreamily, " I don't think of 
him as an earl any longer? His character makes 

[66] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

everything else about him seem of no consequence. 
Don't you think he is a remarkable man ? " 

" A little less remarkable than a marquis, a little 
more remarkable than a viscount and in comparison 
with a baronet or a plain esquire, a positive genius ! " 
replied Honoria. 

Frothingham was more and more uncomfortable. 
Catherine took him everywhere in her train and, with 
seeming unconsciousness of what she was doing, fairly 
flaunted him as her devoted attendant. Yet only when 
they were alone did she ever betray that she had more 
than a polite, friendly interest in him. He would have 
got angry at her, would have made vigorous protest, 
but how was it possible to bring such sordidness as 
mere vulgar appearances to the attention of so inno 
cent and high-minded a creature ? He restrained him 
self, or, rather, was restrained until Horse Show 
week. 

Those afternoons and evenings of dragging at the 
divine Catherine's chariot wheels before the eyes of the 
multitude were too much for him. It was one of the 
years when the Horse Show was the fashion for the 
fashionable. Not only the racing set and the hunting 
set, but also the dancing and the dressing and the 

[67] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

literary and artistic sets, and the fadless, but none the 
less frivolous, set, flocked there day and evening to 
crowd the boxes with a dazzling display of dresses, 
wraps, jewels, and free-and-easy manners. At first 
Frothingham gaped almost as amazedly as the multi 
tude that poured slowly and thickly round the prom 
enade, eyes glued upon the occupants of the boxes, 
never a glance to spare for the ring from the cyclb- 
rama of luxury and fashion. " And at a horse show ! " 
he muttered, as he noted the hats and gowns made to 
be shown only in houses, or in carriages on the way to 
and from houses, but there exhibited amid the dust of 
the show ring. " What rotten bad taste ! " 

He was astounded to find Catherine outdone by none 
in extravagant out-of-placeness of ostentation as he 
regarded it. Day after day, night after night, she 
showed herself off to her friends and to the craning 
throngs of the promenade in a kaleidoscopic series of 
wonderful " creations." And she insisted that he 
should always be in close attendance. As he sat beside 
her he heard the comments of the crowd there was al 
ways a crowd in front of Longview's box : " That's the 
girl." " Yes, and the fellow beside her, with the eye 
glass, he's the Earl." " I don't know how much 

[68] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

some say a million some say two or three." " He 
looks dull, but then all Englishmen look that." " I'll 
bet he could be a brute. Look what a heavy jaw he's 
got." " She'll be sick of him before she's had him 
a year." 

Did Catherine hear? he wondered. Apparently not. 
He never surprised in her face or manner a hint of 
consciousness of self or of being stared at and com 
mented upon. " But she can't avoid hearing," he said 
to himself. " These asses are braying right in her 
ears. And why should she get herself up in all these 
clothes, if it ain't to be stared at? " 

And, between performances, the performers in the 
Longview box dined in the palm garden at the Wal 
dorf, with their acquaintances at the surrounding ta 
bles, and gossip of their engagement flying, and curi 
ous glances straying toward them over the tops of 
wine-glasses, and whispers and smiles and Catherine 
soulful and unconscious. On Friday night, as they 
drove from the Waldorf to the Garden she had 
given him her hand to hold under cover of the 
lap-robe she said, with a sigh : " I'm so glad 
it's nearly over. Only to-night and to-morrow 
night." 

[69] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" Not to-morrow afternoon? " asked Frothingham. 
" Why do we miss a chance to exhibit ? " 

" Only the servants and the children go to-morrow 
afternoon," replied Catherine sweetly. " I'm worn out 
and sick of it all. So many go merely for self -display ; 
so few of us, not to speak of those dreadful people in 
the promenade, care anything about the dear, beauti 
ful, noble horses." 

" Why look at horses," said Honoria, " when there's 
a human show that's so much more interesting? It 
may be vulgar, but it's amusing. I'm afraid my tastes 
are not refined." 

Frothingham looked at her with the expression of a 
thirsty man who is having a glass of cold water. 
" That's what I think," said he. " And I'm fond of 
horses." A faint sneer in his satirical drawl made 
Catherine give him a furtive glance of anxiety was 
the worm thinking of turning? 

When they were in the box and the others were busy 
she said to him, in her tenderest tone : " You're dread 
fully bored by all this, aren't you? And I thought it 
would give you pleasure for us to be together so 
much." 

The surliness cleared from his face somewhat. " No, 

[70] 




l As if we were a pair of new chimpanzees in a zoo' 



CHAPTER FIVE 

I'm not bored. But I hate to be shown off. And, while 
you've been unconscious of it, the fact is that you and 
I have been sitting here in this cage five or six hours a 
day, gaped at as if we were a pair of new chimpanzees 
in a zoo." As he remembered his wrongs, his anger 
rose upon the wine he had freely drunk at dinner. 
" It's what I call low downright rotten, Catherine," 
he finished energetically. 

" I wish you wouldn't use that dreadful word," she 
said, tears in her eyes, but a certain sting in her voice. 
" I know it's all right in England some of us use it 
here. But it every time you or anyone says it I feel 
as if someone had thrust a horrid-smelling rag under 
my nose. You don't mind my saying so, do you, dear? v 

" Beg pardon," he said. " We do use rowdy words 
nowadays. I'm so accustomed to it I don't notice." 

Just then up to his ears from the promenade and the 
crowd gaping at the " new chimpanzees " came a 
voice : " They're fighting look ! look ! Hasn't he got 
an ugly scowl? And she's almost crying." 

He flushed scarlet and sent a glowering glance down 
into the crowd. He turned upon Catherine : " Just 
hear that! They think I'm rowing you. By beg 
pardcn, but well I sha'n't endure it another in- 

[71] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

stant." And he rose, brushed past Catherine's mother 
and Longview, Honoria and two men hanging over 
her, and stalked along the aisle down into and through 
the recognising crowd, and out of the Garden. 

The boxes ate greedily of this sensation, and the 
crowd in the promenade scrambled frantically for the 
crumbs. It was presently noised round that the Eng 
lishman had become angered, had struck someone. 
Rumour at first said it was Catherine ; but the crowd by 
the use of its legs and eyes, and the boxes by the use 
of their glasses, learned that this was false. There sat 
Catherine, calm, absorbed in the ring, applauding the 
jumpers, and turning now and then to her compan 
ions with outbursts of ladylike enthusiasm for some 
particularly clever performance. However, crowd and 
boxes saw that the Englishman was gone, felt that he 
must have gone in anger. 

The Longview party stopped at the Waldorf for 
supper, and Frothingham, calmer and a little embar 
rassed, joined them. Catherine received him as if 
nothing had taken place, and the next night they ap 
peared together at the Garden as usual. 

Late in the evening she said to him : " I've told 
mother of our engagement. Do you mind, dear? " 

[72] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

His face lighted up. 

" She wishes you to come down to the country with 
us on Sunday to stay a week or two. It is beautiful 
there, and we shall be very quiet. Shall you like 
that? " 

" And I may speak to your father ? " he asked. " In 
my country it wouldn't be regarded as honourable for 
me to act as I've been acting with you. I can't help 
feeling uncomfortable because I've said nothing to 
your father." 

" I'll speak to him first, Arthur. He lets me do as I 
please. And he'll be contented with whatever makes 
me happy. He's such a dear ! " 

Frothingham looked faintly annoyed. It was not 
in his plan to include " father " in their romance. Ro 
mance with daughter, business with father that was 
the proper and discreet distribution of the prelimina 
ries to the formal engagement. He had, deep down, a 
horrible, nervous fear that he might be drawn into 
matrimony without definite settlements the father 
might be as difficult to pin down in his way as was the 
daughter in her way. " I must take this business in 
hand," he said to himself, " or I'll be in a ghastly 



mess." 



[73] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Catherine, her mother, and he went down on the one- 
o'clock train. The Hollister country' place Lake- 
in-the-Wood was a great pile of brick and stone, im 
pressive for size rather than for beauty, filled with ex 
pensive furnishings and swarming servants in showy 
livery, and surrounded by a handsome, well-ordered 
park, with winding walks and drives, and romantically 
bridged streams flowing to and from a large lake. 
They lived with more ceremony than did Surrey at 
Heath Hall but there was an air of newness and stiff 
ness and prodigal profusion about it all, a suggestion 
of a creation of yesterday that might find a grave to 
morrow. This impression, which had often come to 
him in the palaces of New York, began to form as the 
porter opened the huge gates between the park and 
the highway. It grew stronger and stronger as he 
penetrated into the gaudy, if tasteful, establishment. 
Everything was too new, too grand, too fine. The 
daughter alone was at her ease; the mother was not 
quite at her ease; the father was distinctly, if self- 
mockingly, ill at ease. 

The two women left Frothingham alone with him, 
and the old man soon vented his dissatisfaction. " I 
suppose you like this sort of thing," he said, with a 

[74] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

wave of the arm to indicate that he meant the establish 
ment. " But I don't. If I had my way we'd be simple 
and comfortable no, I don't mean that exactly. I 
suppose at bottom I'm as big a fool as the women. 
But, all the same, French cooking gives me indigestion. 
That infernal frog-eater in the right wing has it in 
for me. He's killing me by inches. And I'm so afraid 
of him and the butler and all the rest of 'em that I 
don't kick the traces more than once a week." He 
laughed. " My wife and daughter have got me well 
trained. Whenever they tell me to, I sit up on my 
hind legs and * speak ' for crackers and snap 'em off 
my nose." 

Frothingham liked him at once he was a big, 
handsome old fellow, with keen, steel-grey eyes, 
and the strong look of the successful man of affairs. 
" I fancy he's almost one of those Americans Walling- 
ford talked about," he thought. 

After a smoke with Hollister he went to his rooms 
a suite of vast chambers, like the show rooms of a 
palace, with a marble bathroom that had a small 
swimming pool sunk in the middle of it. He looked 
out upon the drive and the park and the half-hidden 
streams glittering in the sunshine. " These people 

[75] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

^ 
will beat us out at our own game when they get used 

to the cards," he said. 

There was the sound of wheels and horses many 
wheels and many horses. He looked down the drive 
one after another came into view a three-seated buck- 
board, a stylish omnibus, a waggon with the seats 
taken out to make room for a huge pile of luggage. 
In the buckboard and the omnibus he recognised men 
and women whom he had met in New York the Leigh- 
tons, the Spencers, the Farrells, the Howards, Mrs. 
Carnarvon, Wallingford, Gresham, Browne, a man 
whose name he could not recall, Miss Lester, Miss Dev- 
enant. " I thought Catherine and I were to be * very 
quiet,' " he muttered. 

There were thirty-two people at dinner that night, 
sixteen of whom? including himself, were guests in the 
house for stays of three days, a week, ten days. " You 
said you were to be alone," he said to Catherine, with 
ironic reproach. 

She gave him her pathetic, helpless look. " I did 
hope so. But I asked some, and mamma asked others, 
and the rest asked themselves." 

The days passed, and he had only fleeting glimpses 
of her. Everybody was hunting, riding, driving, go- 

[76] 



CHAPTER FIVE 

ing to luncheons, teas, dinners, through a neighbour 
hood ten miles square. Every moment from early un 
til late was more than occupied it was crowded, 
jammed. His idea of country life was the quiet, lazy 
ease of England ; a week of this rushing about fagged 
him, body and mind. He ceased to try for a moment 
alone with her; he saw that it was hopeless to expect 
so much in a place where he could not get a moment 
alone with himself. 

" You never rest in this country ? " he said, address 
ing the men in the library at midnight, as they were 
having a final nightcap. 

" Why should we? " replied Browne. " Why antic 
ipate the grave's only pleasure ? " 

" You see," explained Wallingford, " on this side 
of the water we take our pleasures energetically. When 
we work, we work hard ; when we play, we play hard. 
If we're having a good time, we crowd our luck, in the 
hope of having a better time. If we're bored, we 
hurry, to get it over with." 

" Do you keep this up the year round ? '' 

" Except on ocean steamers. But we'll close that 
gap when we get the ' wireless ' installed, with a tele 
phone to the head of every berth." 

[77] 



VI 

ON a Monday morning Frothingham's eighth 
day at Lake-in-the-wood only Wallingford 
and the tireless Catherine appeared for the 
early ride. " It's cold," said Wallingford. " Shall 
we canter? " And they swept through the gates and 
on over the frost-spangled meadows for several miles 
before they drew their horses in to a walk. Cather 
ine's cheeks were glowing, and her eyes were not 
dreamy and soulful, but bright with vigorous, wide 
awake life. 

" I haven't seen you looking so well in years, Kitty." 
Wallingford was examining her with the slightly 
mocking, indifferent eyes that had piqued not a few 
women into trying to make him like them. ' You look 
positively human. And it's becoming most becom- 
ing." 

Catherine began to scramble into her pose. She did 
not like to be caught lapsing from her ideals. 

" Why do you do it ? " Wallingford dropped his 

[78] 



CHAPTER SIX 

mockery for an instant. " Your own individuality, 
no matter how poor you may think it, is far bet 
ter than any you could possibly invent or bor 



row." 



Catherine looked hurt. " Why do you charge de 
ception against everyone who lives above your level? ' ! 
she asked. " I hope you're not going to be nasty this 
morning, Joe. I'm blue." 

" What's the matter ? Something real, or " 

" Don't tease. This is real." 

" What is it? I see you wish to be encouraged to 
tell me." 

" No I couldn't tell anyone." Catherine's eyes 
were tragic. " It's one of those things that can't be 
told, but must be " 

" Go on. What is it? '' Wallingford refused to be 
impressed by tragedy. " I see you're dying to tell me. 
Why not get it over with? " 

" You are so sympathetic, Joe. You pretend not to 
understand me, but I feel that you always do." 

" You mean that I refuse to be misled by your 
charming little pretences. But how could I? Why, 
don't I remember the day, the very hour, you went in 
for the 6 soulful ' ? I must say, I never could see why 

[79] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

you took that up as your facL- Being natural is much 
harder to win out at few people are interesting, or 
even endurable, when they're natural." 

" Joe," she said absently, as if she had not heard 
him, " I'm afraid I'm making a a dreadful mis 
take." 

" Well? " he asked almost gruffly, after a short 
pause. 

" About about Lord Frothingham," she con 
fessed, lowering her eyelids until her long lashes shad 
owed her cheeks. 

" Oh, I think you'll land him all right," said Wal- 
lingf ord encouragingly. " He's a bit gone on you ; 
and then, too, he needs the cash." 

" Please don't speak of him in that way, Joe. He's 
not a vulgar fortune-hunter, but a high, sensitive, no 
ble man." 

" Who said he was a vulgar fortune-hunter? On 
the contrary, he's an honest British merchant, taking 
his title to market. And he's been lucky enough to 
find a good customer." 

Catherine ignored this description of her knight 
and her romance. " You know I'm engaged to him ? " 
she asked. 

[80] 



CHAPTER SIX 

" Ever since the first time I saw your mother look at 
him." 

" Yes she approves it." 

" I should say she would," said Wallingford judi 
cially. " She's got the best part of it. She'll have all 
the glory of having an earl in the family, and she 
won't have to live with him." 

" I'm afraid I don't love him as I ought," said 
Catherine, with a sigh. 

Wallingford laughed. " Now, of what use Is it to 
talk this over, Kitty, if you won't be frank? It can't 
be a question of loving him that's troubling you. Of 
course you don't love him. You love his title, and that 
would prevent you from loving him for himself, no 
matter how attractive he was. But why bother about 
love? He's giving you what you really want." 

" What do I want? " She looked at Wallingford 
with sincere appeal, slightly humourous, but earnest. 

" I once thought that you wanted to be a real 
woman. But ever since your mother took you abroad 
to fill her own and your head with foreign notions I've 
been losing faith. What do you want now? Why, 
the trash you're buying." 

" Joe, how can you think I'd sell myself? " 

[81] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" Why not ? It's generally regarded as a reputable 
transaction unless one is vulgar enough to sell out 
for the mere necessaries of life. Oh, I'm not criticis 
ing you, Kitty. Perhaps I'd sell myself if I could get 
any sort of price. Never having been tempted, I can't 
say what I'd do." 

" Please don't talk in that way, even in jest. It 
isn't true. I know it isn't true. And it's knowing that 

that makes me " She hesitated, then went on 

" despise myself ! It's of no use to lie to you, Joe. 
I'm glad there's somebody I can't lie to, somebody that 
sees into me and forces me to look at myself as I am. 
And sometimes I hate you for it. Yes, I hate you for 
it now! "' She was sitting very erect upon her horse, 
her head thrown back, tears of anger in her eyes. 

" Hate? " He shook his head teasingly at her. " I 
envy you. I've tried every other emotion, and I'd like 
to try that. But I can't. I can't hate even Frothing- 
ham. On the contrary, I like him. If you must have 
a title, you've got to take a husband with it. And I 
must say, I think you'll be able to harness Frothing- 
ham down to a fairly reliable family horse." 

" How can you jest so coarsely about such a serious 
matter? " she exclaimed indignantly. 

[82] 



CHAPTER SIX 

" But is it? What does it matter whom you marry, 
so long as you have no purpose in life other than to 
make a show and to induce shallow people to admire 
you and envy you for the things you've got that can 
be bought and sold? It's better, on the whole, isn't 
it, my friend, that you should carry out these pur 
poses through a foreigner, and in a foreign country, 
than that you should spoil some promising American 
and be a bad influence here? ' ! 

" You are cruel, Joe. And I thought you'd sympa 
thise with me, and help me ! " 

There was a pause, then he demanded abruptly: 
" What does your father say? 5i 

She flushed partly at the memory of the interview 
with her father, partly through shame in recollecting 
that she had led Frothingham to believe she had not 
told him. " He said but why should I tell you? " 

" I don't know, I'm sure, unless because you wish 
to." 

" Well I will tell you. He said " (she imitated his 
nasal drawl) : " * If your ma and you want to make the 
deal I'll sign the papers. I reckon you know what 
you're about. And all our money's for is to make us 
happy. Buy what you please I'll settle for it.' " 

[83] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

"Was that all?" 

Catherine lowered her eyes. " Yes, that was all he 
said. But he looked Joe, it was his look that upset 



me." 



" I understand." Wallingford's voice was gentle 
and sympathetic now. " And what answer are you go 
ing to make to that look ? " 

" I'd rather not say," she replied, giving him a 
brilliant smile. " Let's canter again. We must get 
home." 

As soon as she reached the house she went to her 
mother's rooms. Mrs. Hollister was finishing her 
morning's work with her secretary. Catherine waited, 
impatiently playing with her riding whip. When the 
secretary left she said : " Mother, I'm going to throw 
him over." 

Mrs. Hollister paused for an instant in putting 
away some of her especially private papers, then went 
on. Presently she said tranquilly : " You will do noth 
ing of the sort." 

Catherine quailed before that tone she had been 
ruled by her mother all her life, had never been inter 
fered with in any matter which her mother regarded as 
unimportant, had never been permitted to decide any 

[84] 



CHAPTER SIX 

matter which her mother regarded as important. And 
her mother's rule was the most formidable of all tyr 
annies the tyranny of kindness. 

" But, mother, I should be wretched with him." 

"Why?" 

On the basis of their method of thought and speech 
each with the other, it was impossible for her to erect 
" Because I don't love him " into a plausible objection. 
So she said : " We have nothing in common. His lazi 
ness and cynicism irritate me. He makes me nervous. 
He bores me." 

" All men are objectionable in one way or another," 
replied her mother. " If you married the ordinary 
man you would have nothing after you had grown 
tired. But marrying him, you'll have, first, last, and 
all the time, the solid advantages of your position and 
your title. And you'll like him better when you're 
used to him he has admirable qualities for a hus 
band." 

" I can't marry him," said Catherine dog 
gedly. She knew it was useless to argue with her 
mother. 

" You can't refuse to marry him. It would be dis 
honourable. Your word is pledged. It would be im- 

[85] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

possible for a child of mine to be guilty of a dishon 
ourable action." 

" When I tell him how I feel he will release me." 

" You mean he would refuse to marry a woman who, 
after treating a man as you have treated him, would 
show herself so light and so lacking in honour. No, 
my daughter will not disgrace herself and her family." 
Mrs. Hollister seated herself beside Catherine and put 
an arm round her. " She has had her every whim 
gratified, and that has made her careless of responsi 
bilities. But she will not show herself in serious mat 
ters light and untrustworthy." 

Catherine stiffened herself against the gentle yet 
masterful force that seemed to be stealing in upon her 
from her mother's embrace and tone. 

" You've come to one of those rough places in life," 
Mrs. Hollister went on, " where young people need the 
help of some older, more experienced person. And 
some day soon you'll be glad I was here to see you 
safely over it." 

" I can't marry him, mother." 

Mrs. Hollister frowned for a second, then her face 
cleared, and she said quietly : " Your father and I have 
put you in a position to establish yourself well in life. 

[86] 



CHAPTER SIX 

You have engaged yourself to an honourable man, 
who has something to offer you, who can assure you a 
position that will be a satisfaction to you all your life 
and to your children after you. I know I have not 
brought you up so badly that you would throw away 
your career, would disregard the interests of those you 
may bring into the world, all for a mere whim." 

Catherine was silent. 

" Even if you cared for someone else - " 

" But I do," interrupted Catherine impetuously. 

Mrs. Hollister winced and reflected before she went 
on : " It cannot be a serious attachment, Catherine, or 
I should have noticed it. Is it Joseph Wallingford? " 

Catherine did not answer. 

" Even if you had been attracted for a moment by a 
man who had something to offer besides a little senti 
ment, that would be gone a few brief months after 
marriage, still it would be your duty to yourself and to 
your family to make the sensible marriage. You arc 
not a foolish girl. You are not a child. You know 
what the substantial things in life are." 

" I can't marry him," repeated Catherine stub 
bornly. 

Has Wallingford been making love to you ? " 

[87] 



" 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

The anger was close to the surface in Mrs. Hollister's 
voice. 

Catherine smiled bitterly. " No," she answered, 
" he has not. He cares nothing for me. But I can't 
marry Lord Frothingham and I won't." 

" You must not say that, Catherine," said her 
mother sternly. " It is a great shock to me to find that 
you cannot be trusted. If you refused to marry the 
man you have voluntarily engaged yourself to, I 
should never forgive you." 

Catherine's eyes sank before her mother's. " The 
engagement must be announced at once," her mother 
went on. " You will change your mind when you have 
thought it over, and when you realise what my feelings 



are." 



" I can't " began Catherine monotonously. 

" I wish to hear no more about it, child," inter 
rupted her mother, her eyes glittering a forewarning 
of the hate she would have for a daughter who dis 
obeyed her. " To-morrow we will talk of it 
again." 

Catherine and her mother arose, and each faced the 
other for a moment two inflexible wills. For Mrs. 
Hollister had made one error, and that fatal, in train- 

[88] 



CHAPTER SIX 

ing her daughter. She had not broken her will in 
childhood, when the stiffest inherited will can be made 
to yield; she had only subdued it, driven it to cover. 
She had left her her individuality. But she did not 
know this; so, she saw her daughter's looks, saw her 
daughter leave the room with resolution in every curve 
of her figure, and was not in the least disturbed as to 
the event. The idea that she, Maria Hollister, could 
be defied by anyone in her family or out of it could 
not form in her mind. " It is fortunate," she said to 
herself, " that Wallingford is leaving early in the 
morning. I'll announce the engagement at dinner to 
night." 

Catherine went to change her dress, and then 
searched for Frothingham. He was alone in the 
billiard room, half asleep, on one of the wall lounges. 
At sight of him she saw him before he saw her 
her courage wavered. Yes, he was a decent sort of 
chap; and she was treating him badly, despicably 
had bargained fairly with him, had used the contract 
publicly to aggrandise herself at his expense, was 
about to break her contract and humiliate him, injure 
him, through no fault of his. He had been fair with 
her, she had been false with him, was about to be base. 

[89] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" I can't," she said to herself. " At least, not in cold 
blood." 

He saw her, and his face lighted up. She smiled, 
nodded, hurried through the billiard room, and disap 
peared into the hall beyond. As she turned its angle 
her knees became shaky and her face white. Then 
Wallingford suddenly appeared at the conservatory 
door. He came toward her as if he were going to pass 
without stopping. But he halted. 

"Well? "he said. 

She leaned against the wall. Her throat was dry 
and her eyelids were trembling. 

" What is it? " he asked gently. 

She hung her head. 

"Don't be afraid to say it to me" he urged. 
" There isn't anything you couldn't say to me." 

" Do you do you do you care for me ? " she said, 
in a queer little choked, squeaky voice. 

He laughed slightly, and came close to her and 
looked down at her. " You're the only thing in all 
this world I do care for," he said. " Why ? " 

" Oh, nothing don't follow me," and she darted 
back toward the billiard room. 

Frothingham was still there, seated now at the open 

[90] 







'Just my rotten luck," he muttered 



CHAPTER SIX 

fire. " Ah you ! I'm glad you've come back," he 
drawled. 

" I want you to release me from my engagement," 
she said. 

His jaw dropped, and he stared stupidly at her. He 
could hardly believe that this impetuous, energetic 
creature was the languorous, affected, dreamy Cath 
erine. 

" I mean it," she sped on. " I've no excuse to make 
for myself. But I can't marry you. And you ought 
to be glad you're rid of me." 

Her tone instantly convinced him that he was done 
for. He turned a sickly yellow, and put his head be 
tween his hands and stared into the fire. His brain 
was in a whirl. " Just my rotten luck," he muttered. 

" I don't hope that you'll forgive me," she was say 
ing. " You couldn't have any respect for me. I'm 
only saving a few little shreds of self-respect. 
I'm " 

" You mustn't do it, Catherine. You mustn't, 
you " he interrupted, rising and facing her. 

" I must be free. I care for someone else. Don't 
discuss it, please. Just say you let me go." 

" It ain't right." Cupidity and vanity were lashing 

[91] 



CC 

u 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

his anger into a storm. " You can't go back you've 
gone too far. Why, we're as good as married." 

" Don't make me any more ashamed than I am/' 
she pleaded humbly. 

No, I can't release you," he said with cold fury. 

I can't permit myself to be trifled with." He knew 
that he was taking the wrong tack, that he ought to 
play the wounded lover. But his feeling for her was 
so small, and his anger so great, that he could not. 

She was almost hysterical. She felt as though she 
were struggling desperately against some awful force 
that was imprisoning her. " Let me go. Please, let 
me go," she gasped. 

" No ! " he said, arrogance in his voice the arro 
gance of a man used to women who let men rule them. 

Her eyes flashed. " Then I release myself ! " she 
exclaimed haughtily, with a change of front so swift 
that it startled him. " And don't you dare ever speak 
of it to me again ! " 

She slowly left the room, her head high. But her 
haughtiness subsided as rapidly as it had risen, and by 
the time she reached her own apartment she was ready 
to fling herself down for a miserable cry and she did. 
" If I could only get him out of the house," she wailed. 

[92] 



CHAPTER SIX 

Frothingham debated his situation. " The thing to 
do," he concluded, " is to go straight off to her 
father." He had not yet become convinced that in 
America man occupies a position in the family radi 
cally different from his position in England. He 
found Hollister writing in his study. 

" Mr. Hollister," he began. 

Hollister raised his head until it was tilted so far 
back that he could see Frothingham through the 
glasses that were pinching in the extreme end of his 
long nose. " Oh Lord Frothingham yes ! " He 
laid down his pen. " What can I do for you? ' : 

Frothingham seated himself in a solemn dignity 
that hid his nervousness. " For several weeks your 
daughter and I have been engaged. We we " 

Hollister smiled good-humouredly. " Before you 
go any further, my boy," he interrupted kindly, " I 
warn you that you're barking up the wrong tree." 

" I beg your pardon," said Frothingham stiffly. 

" The person you want to see is the girl's mother. 
She attends to all that end of the business. I've got 
enough trouble to look after at my own end." 

" What I have to say can be said properly only to 

her father as the head of the family." 

[93] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" But I'm not the head of the family. I'm not sure 
that I know who is. Sometimes I think it's my wife, 
again I suspect Catherine." 

" Your daughter now refuses to abide by her en 
gagement," said Frothingham, in desperation at this 
untimely levity. 

Hollister took off his glasses and examined them on 
both sides with great care. " Well," he said at last, 
" I suppose that settles it." 

Frothingham stared. " I beg pardon, but it does 
not settle it." 

Hollister gave him a look of fatherly sympathy. 
" I guess it does. You can't marry her if she won't 
have you. And if she won't have you why, she 
won't." 

" You treat the matter lightly." Frothingham had 
a bright red spot in either cheek. " You do not seem 
to be conscious of the painful position in which she 
places you." 

" Good Heavens, Frothingham ! What have I got 
to do with it? You ain't engaged to me. She's 
got the right to say what she'll do with her 
self." 

Frothingham rose. " I was under the impression, 

[94] 



CHAPTER SIX 

sir, that I was dealing with a gentleman who would 
appreciate the due of a gentleman." 

Hollister's eyebrows came down, and a cruel line 
suddenly appeared at each corner of his mouth. Just 
then Mrs. Hollister entered. Intuitively she leaped to 
the right conclusion. " The idiot ! " she said to her 
self. " Why didn't he come to me? " Then she said 
smoothly, almost playfully, to " the idiot '* : " Has 
Catherine been troubling you with her mood this morn 
ing?" 

Frothingham's face brightened her mood ! Then 
there was hope. 

" You ought not to pay any attention to her 
moods," Mrs. Hollister went on with a smile. " She's 
very nervous at times. But it passes." 

" She told me flat that our engagement was off," 
said Frothingham. " I came to her father, naturally. 
She seemed to be in earnest." 

Mrs. Hollister continued to smile. " Don't concern 
yourself about the matter, Lord Frothingham," she 
replied in her kindliest voice. " Catherine will be all 
right again to-morrow at the latest. She has been do 
ing too much lately for a young girl under the ex 
citement of an engagement." 

[95] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Hollister, who had been looking hesitatingly 
from his wife to Frothingham, went to the wall and 
pressed an electric button. When the servant ap 
peared he said : " Please ask Miss Catherine to come 
here." 

Mrs. Hollister turned on him, her eyes flashing. 
" Catherine is in no state to bear " 

Hollister returned her look calmly, then repeated his 
order. The servant looked uneasily from the husband 
to the wife, saw that Mrs. Hollister was not going to 
speak, made a deprecating bow, and withdrew. In a 
few minutes it seemed a long time to the three, wait 
ing in silence Catherine appeared. Her eyes were 
swollen slightly, but that was the only sign of pertur 
bation. Mrs. Hollister said to Frothingham : "I think 
it would be best that her father and I talk with her 
alone first." 

Frothingham instantly rose. With eyes pleadingly 
upon Catherine he was nearing the door when Hollis 
ter spoke it was in a voice neither Frothingham nor 
even Catherine had heard from him or suspected him 
of having at his command. " Please be seated, Lord 
Frothingham. The best way to settle this business is 
to settle it." 

[96] 



CHAPTER SIX 

Frothingham could not have disobeyed that voice, 
and he saw with a sinking heart that at the sound of 
it Mrs. Hollister looked helpless despair. 

" Catherine," said her father, " do you, or do you 
not, wish to marry Lord Frothingham ? " 

" I won't marry him," replied Catherine. She gave 
Frothingham a contemptuous look. " I told him so a 
while ago." 

Mrs. Hollister's eyes blazed. " Have you forgotten 
what I said to you? " she demanded of her daughter, 
her voice shrill with fury. 

" No, mother," Catherine answered slowly ; " but 
I cannot change my mind. I cannot marry Lord 
Frothingham." 

An oppressive silence fell. After a moment Froth 
ingham bowed coldly, and left the room. Mrs. Hol 
lister started up to follow him. " One word, Maria," 
said her husband. " I wish you to understand that 
this matter is settled. Nothing more is to be said 
about it either to Catherine or to that young man 
not another word." 

Mrs. Hollister was white to the lips. " I under 
stand," she replied, with a blasting look at her daugh 
ter. And she followed Frothingham to try to pacify 

[97] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

him she knew her husband too well not to know that 
her dream of a titled son-in-law was over. 

When she was gone Catherine sank limp into a 
chair. " She'll never forgive me," she exclaimed de 
spondently. 

Hollister nodded in silent assent. After a few min 
utes he said : " It's been fifteen years since she made 
me cross her in a matter I sha'n't speak of. And she 
remembers it against me to-day as if it had happened 
an hour ago. The sooner you find your man, Katie, 
and marry him, the better off you'll be that's my ad 
vice." He smiled with grim humour as he added, 
" And I ought to know." Then he patted her en 
couragingly on the shoulder with a hand that looked 
as if it could hold the helm steady through any tem 
pest. 



[98] 



VII 

FROTHINGHAM had gone direct to his apart 
ment. " Get my traps together at once," he 
said to his man Hutt, whose father had been 
his father's man. He threw himself into a chair in his 
sitting-room, and tried to think, to plan. But he was 
still dazed from the long fall and the sudden stop. 
Presently Hutt touched him. 

" Well well what is it ? " he asked, looking stu 
pidly up at the round, stupid face. 

" Beg pardon, my lord," replied the servant, " but 
Hi've spoke to you twice. Mrs. Hollister wishes to 
know hif you'll kindly come to 'er in 'er sitting-room." 

Frothingham found Mrs. Hollister's maid waiting 
for him in the hall. He followed her to the heavily 
perfumed surroundings of pale blue silk, both plain 
and brocaded, in which Mrs. Hollister lived. He lis 
tened to her without hearing what she said thinking 
of it afterward he decided that she had been incoherent 
and not very tactful, and that her chief anxiety had 

[99] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

been lest he might do something to cause scandal. He 
remembered that when he had said he would go at once 
she had tried to persuade him to stay as if leaving 
were not the only possible course. He gradually re 
covered his self-command, and through weakness, 
through good nature, through contempt of his hosts, 
and through policy, he acted upon the first principle 
of the code for fortune-hunters of every degree and 
kind : " Be near-sighted to insults, and far-sighted to 
apologies." 

Surveying the wreck from his original lodgings at 
the Waldorf, he found three mitigations first, that 
the engagement had not been announced ; second, that 
he had not written Evelyn anything about it; third, 
that it was impossible for " middle-class people " such 
as the Hollisters to insult him " if I wallow with 
that sort, I can't expect anything else, can I ? >: To 
cheer himself he had several drinks and took an account 
of stock. He found he was ninety-three pounds 
richer than when he landed he played " bridge " 
well, and had been in several heavy games at Lake-in- 
the-Wood, and had been adroit in noting the stupid 
players, and so arranging partners that he could bene 
fit by them ; also he had been lucky in a small way at 

[100] 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

picking the numbers at Canfield's the few times he had 
trusted himself to go there. " Not so bad," he said. 
" It's a long game, and that was only the first hand." 
He hesitated at the indicator, then instead of ordering 
another drink went to the telephone and called up 
Longview's house. It gave him courage, and a sense 
that he was not altogether friendless and forlorn, to 
hear Honoria's voice again. " Shall you be in late 
this afternoon ? " he asked. 

" Why ! I didn't know you were in town or are 
you calling me from Catherine's ? " 

" Yes I'm in town," he replied, and he felt that 
she must notice the strain in his voice. 

" Oh ! " 

" I'm up to stay," he went on, his voice improving. 

" Oh yes come at half -past five." 

" Thank you good-by." He held the receiver to 
his ear until he heard her ring off. " Good girl, Hon- 
oria," he muttered. " Not like those beastly cads." 
He went to the club, lunched with Browne, whom he 
found there, was beaten by him at billiards, losing ten 
dollars, and returned to the hotel to dress. 

At a quarter-past five he started up the avenue 
afoot a striking figure in clothes made in the 

[101] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

extreme of the English fashion; but he would have 
been striking in almost any sort of dress, so distin 
guished was its pale, rather supercilious face, with 
one of his keen eyes ambushed behind that eye 
glass, expressive in its expressionlessness. The occu 
pants of every fifth or sixth carriage in the fashion 
able parade bowed to him with a friendliness that gave 
him an internal self-possession as calm as the external 
immobility which his control of his features enabled 
him always to present to the world. 

He told Honoria his story in outline " the surest 
way to win a woman's friendship is to show her that 
you trust her," he reflected. She was sympathetic in 
a way that soothed, not hurt, his vanity ; but she sided 
with Catherine. " I half suspected her of being in 
love with Joe," she said, " but I thought he was a con 
firmed bachelor. He played all round you that's the 
truth. I'm going to say something rather disagree 
able but I think it's necessary." 

" I want I need your advice," he replied. 

" You've been relying entirely too much on your 
title. You've let yourself be misled by what the news 
papers say about that sort of thing. You don't un 
derstand I didn't understand until I'd been here a 

[102] 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

while, and had got my point of view straight. They're 
not so excited about titles now as they used to be when 
they had no fashionable society of their own, and had 
to look abroad to gratify their instinct for social posi 
tion. If you'd come five years ago " 

" Just my rotten luck," he muttered. 

" Your title is a good thing properly worked. It 
will catch a woman, especially if she's not well forward 
* in the push,' as they say. But it won't hold her. 
She's likely to use you to strengthen her social posi 
tion, and then to drop you, unless she has lived in 
England, and has had her head turned, and has be 
come like your middle classes." 

" But my family is away better than Surrey's." 

" Your family counts for nothing here. New York 
knows nothing and cares nothing about birth. En 
glishmen count by title only." 

" Then they ran after Surrey because he was a 
Duke?" 

" Perhaps to a certain extent," replied Honoria. 
" But I fancy the principal reason was that they 
wished to see what it was Helen had paid such a tall 
price for. If he had come here quietly to marry a 
poor girl there'd have been no stir." 

[103] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" Money money nothing but money always 
money," sneered Frothingham. He saw the twinkle 
in Honoria's eyes. " But, I say," he protested, " you 
know that we over there do care for other things, 
too." 

" So do they here, but what do they care for, first 
and most, in both countries? " 

He smiled. 

" It's money first there and here, and the world 
over," she went on with bitterness under her raillery. 
" And among our kind of people everything else 
sentiment, art, good taste even is far behind it. How 
could it be otherwise? We've got to have money 
lots of money or we can't have the things we most 
crave luxury, deference, show. But where are you 
dining to-night ? " 

" Probably at the club." 

" Excuse me a minute. I'll just see if Mrs. Galloway 
will let me bring you. We're going to the opera 
afterward." She looked at him quizzically. " I 
think I'll arrange to ship you off to Boston. A little 
vacation just now will do you no harm. And Boston 
might interest you." 

When she returned from the telephone it was with 

[104] 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

a cordial invitation for him from Mrs. Galloway. He 
said : " I've a letter to a Mrs. Saalfield in Boston. Do 
you know her? ' : 

" Yes she's here now, I think. But you would 
better keep away from her. She wouldn't do you the 
least good." 

" Is she out of ' the push '? " 

" Oh, no she leads it there, I believe. But she 
wouldn't let you look at a girl or a widow, or any 
woman but herself. She's about forty years old it 
used to be the woman of thirty, but it's the woman of 
forty now. Everywhere she goes she trails a train of 
young men. They're afraid to look away from her. 
They watch her like a pack of hungry collies, and 
she watches them like a hen-hawk." 

There was more than the spirit of friendly helpful 
ness in Honoria's plan to send him away to Boston. 
The bottom fact hidden even from herself was that 
she was tired of him. He seemed to her helpless and 
incapable, worse in that respect than any but the very 
poorest specimens of men she had met in New York. 
She felt that he was looking to her to see him through 
an adventure of which she disapproved rather than 
approved. She had no intention of accepting such a 

[105] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

burden, yet she was too good-natured and liked him 
too well to turn him abruptly adrift. 

Mrs. Galloway took him in to dinner, and it was not 
until the second act of the opera that he had a chance 
to talk with the Boston woman in the party Mrs. 
Staunton. Then he slipped into the chair behind her ; 
but she would not talk while the curtain was up. 
Grand opera bored him, so he passed the time in gaz 
ing round the grand-tier boxes the Galloway box 
was to the left of the centre. The twilight was not 
dark enough to hide the part of the show that inter 
ested him. He knew New York fashionable society 
well now, and as he looked he noted each woman and 
recalled how many millions she represented. " Gad, 
how rich they are these beggars," he thought envi 
ously. And he was seized by a mild attack of what an 
eminent New York lawyer describes as " the fury of 
the parasite " that hate which succeeds contempt in 
the parasite as its intended victim eludes it. 

When the curtain went down on the last of seven 
uproarious calls the opera was " Carmen," and Calve 
was singing it Mrs. Staunton's disdainful expres 
sion gave him the courage to say : " Ghastly row they 

make, eh? J! 

[106] 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

Mrs. Staunton was perhaps fifty years old, long and 
thin, with a severe profile and a sweet and intelligent, 
if somewhat too complacent, front face. " Calve 
sings rather well in spots," she said. " But I doubt 
if Boston would have given her seven calls." 

The mirthful shine of Frothingham's right eye 
might have been a reflection from his glass ; again, it 
might have been really in his eye where it seemed to be 
Mrs. Staunton was so seated that she could not see 
him as he talked over her shoulder into her ear. 
" Really," was all he said. 

" You've not been at Boston? " asked Mrs. Staun 
ton. 

" Not yet. I thought it would be well to get ac 
climated, as it were, before I ventured away from New 
York." 

" You will have it to do over again," said Mrs. 
Staunton. " We are very different. Here money is 
king and god, and " Mrs. Staunton cast a super 
cilious glance round the brilliant and beautiful, and 
even dazzling, grand tier. " You see the result. 
Really, New York is becoming intolerably vulgar. I 
come here rarely, and leave as soon as I decently can. 
But one can't stay here even for a few days without 

[107] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

being corrupted. The very language is corrupt here, 
and among those who call themselves the best people." 

" Really ! Really, now ! " said Frothingham. 

" Indeed, yes. In Boston even the lower classes 
speak English." 

" You don't say." Frothingham's drawl was calm ; 
he put upon his eyeglass the burden of looking 
astonished interest. 

" It must fret your nerves to listen to the speech 
here," continued Mrs. Staunton. " It's a dialect as 
harsh and vulgar as most of the voices." 

" It will be a great pleasure to hear the language 
spoken as it is at home though I can't say that I 
mind it here. Yes I shall be glad to see Boston." 

Mrs. Staunton lifted her eyebrows and looked 
politely amused. " But we don't speak as you speak 
in England. I didn't say that." 

" Oh I thought you were by way of saying they 
spoke English at Boston." 

" So I did. I meant that we speak correctly. You 
English speak very incorrectly. Your upper class is 
even more slovenly in that respect than your middle 
class." 

Frothingham looked interest and inquiry. " Ah 

[108] 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

yes quite so," he said. " I believe we do let our 
middle class look after all that sort of thing. It saves 
us a lot of bother." 

" I'm glad you admit the truth." Mrs. Staunton 
looked gracious and triumphant. " Last winter we 
had the president of one of the colleges at Oxford 
with us a very narrow man." 

" Frightful persons, all that sort, / think," said 
Frothingham. 

" I'm not astonished that you think so," replied 
Mrs. Staunton. " He it was Mr. Stebbins scoffed 
at the idea that Boston spoke English. He insisted 
that whatever your upper class speaks is English, 
that they have the right to determine the lan 
guage." 

That was Frothingham's own notion, but he gave 
no sign. " Stebbins is a hideous old jabberwock," he 
said, glad that the orchestra was beginning. 

He had accidently, but naturally, stumbled into the 
road to Mrs. Staunton's good graces. She wanted ac 
quiescent listeners only; he disliked talking and ab 
horred argument. She was living at the Waldorf 
also, and this gave him his opportunity. She found 
him most agreeable. He had the great advantage of 

[109] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

being free all day, while her New York men friends 
were at work then and she did not like women. She 
insisted it was only the New York woman " so 
trivial, so childish in her tastes for show and for far 
cical amusements " that she did not like ; but the fact 
was that she did not like any women anywhere. Nom 
inally, she was in New York to visit her sister, Mrs. 
Findlay, but she rarely saw her. " I can't endure 
staying in Henrietta's house," she explained to Froth- 
ingham. " She has fallen from grace. If anything, 
she out-Herods the New York women always the way 
with renegades. And she lets her housekeeper and her 
butler run her household dust everywhere, things go 
ing to ruin, the servants often drunk. If I were in 
the house I could not be silent; so I stay at a hotel 
when I make my annual visit to her." 

She invited Frothingham to come to her at Boston 
in the second week in January and he accepted. She 
had said never a word to him about her niece, Cecilia 
Allerton, and for that very reason he knew that she 
was revolving some plan for bringing them together. 
He also knew that Cecilia Allerton's father, head of 
the great Boston banking house of Allerton Brothers 
& Monson, was rich enough to give his daughter the 

[110] 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

dower necessary to admission into the Gordon-Beau- 
vais family. 

In the two weeks between Mrs. Staunton's departure 
and his engagement to follow her he did not neglect 
his business. But his assiduity was wasted. He saw 
chances to marry, and marry well but no dowers 
worth his while. Many mothers beamed on him, and 
their daughters brightened at his approach; but not 
one of the families that might have had him for the 
faintest hinting showed any matrimonial interest in 
him. One mother, Mrs. Brandon, actually snubbed 
him as if he were a mere vulgar, poor, and untitled 
fortune-hunter and the snub was unprovoked, as he 
was only courteous to Miss Brandon. When Froth- 
ingham laughed over this incident to Honoria she said : 
" Mrs. Brandon purposes to marry Estelle to Walter 
Summit." 

" That chuckle-head? Why, I found him in the 
cloak-room at the Merivale dance the other night sit 
ting with his big damp hands in his lap, and his mouth 
hanging open. And he wasn't screwed, either." 

" But Estelle isn't marrying him. She's marrying 
his forty millions. With what she'll inherit from her 
father and her uncle that will make her the third rich- 

[in] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

est woman in New York. The fact that Walter is 
slightly imbecile is rather in his favour she'll have a 
free hand, and that's everything where a woman's am 
bitious. If you Englishmen hadn't the reputation of 
being masterful in your own households you'd have 
less difficulty in marrying here. It was a bad day for 
English marriages when the American woman learned 
that England is a man's country. A girl brought up 
as are the girls here nowadays hates to abdicate and 
she don't have to if she marries an American." 

" I've heard that all women like a master," sug 
gested Frothingham. 

" So do men. Everyone likes to bow to real supe 
riority and serve it, when he or she finds it. But the 
difficulty comes in trying to convince a man or a wo 
man that he or she has met a superior." 

" Well, then perhaps women are more easily con 
vinced than men." 

Honoria smiled satirically. " They seem to be," 
she replied, " because they are prudent. But if some 
husbands only knew what their wives really thought, 
they might be less easy in their vanity than they are." 

" That ain't true of our English women," said 
Frothingham. 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

" No and why ? Because, milord, they don't 
think." 

" Well my wife can do as she jolly well pleases if 
she'll only let me alone." 

" If she's an American you may be sure she will do 
as she jolly well pleases and you may also be sure 
that it won't please you to be jolly as she does it." 

Just then a servant came in to say that Catherine 
was at the door in her carriage, and wished to know 
whether Honoria was at home. Honoria looked at 
Frothingham inquiringly. 

" As you please," said Frothingham, settling his 
eyeglass firmly, and clearing his face of expression. 

Honoria left him in the large drawing room, and 
waited for Catherine in the adjoining smaller room. 
" Lord Frothingham is here," she said in an under 
tone, after they had kissed each the other. 

Catherine paled and her eyes shifted. " Does he 
know I'm here ? " she asked. 

" Yes," replied Honoria, " but you needn't see him 
if you don't wish." 

Catherine reflected. " I'm certain to meet him 
again some time, ain't I, dear ? " she said. " And it 
might be more awkward than this." 

[113] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

She advanced boldly with Honoria and put out her 
hand to him, her face flushing, and a delightful plead 
ing look in her eyes. " I'm so glad to see you again. 
Lord Frothingham," she said. 

" Ah thank you a great pleasure to me also, I'm 
sure," he answered in his most expressionless tone. 
" Are you staying in town ? ' : 

" We came up yesterday to stay. Won't you 
come to see us? Are you at the Waldorf? I do hope 
we can get you for a dinner mamma's arranging for 
the latter part of next week." 

" Very good of you. But I'm just off to Boston." 

He shook hands with her, then with Honoria. At 
the door he turned, and a faint smile showed in his eye 
glass and at the corners of his mouth. " Oh, I almost 
forgot give my regards to Wallingford when you 
see him won't you? " 

Catherine looked gratefully at him. " Thank you 
thank you," she said. " I know he'll be glad of a 
friendly message from you. He's very fond of you." 

" Really ? " drawled Frothingham. " That's charm 
ing ! " He smiled with good-natured raillery. " He 
had such a quaint way of showing it that I wasn't 

quite certain." 

[114] 



CHAPTER SEVEN 

When he had bowed and dropped the heavy portiere 
behind him Catherine went to the window. She stood 
there until she had seen him enter his hansom and 
drive away. 

" How beautifully he dresses," she said absently to 
Honoria. " And what distinguished manners he has 
as if he'd been used to being a gentleman for ages 
and ages." 

She seated herself near the fire the tea-table was 
between her and Honoria. " You didn't know that we 
were engaged, did you ? " she went on, looking dream 
ily into the fire. 

" Were you ? " said Honoria she never betrayed 
confidences. 

" Yes. But I broke it off." 

"Why?" 

" I think," Catherine answered slowly, " I think 
perhaps it was because I didn't feel at home with him 
and I do with Joe. He knows how to manage me." 

" Joe? Why, you used to act as if you disliked 
him." 

" So did I think so." Catherine sighed. " I 
wish," she said after a moment, " that Joe had Beau- 
vais House and the title." 

[115] 



VIII 

A' half-past four o'clock in a raw January 
afternoon Frothingham descended from a 
Pullman fiery furnace to adventure upon Bos 
ton. As he drove to Mrs. Staunton's the rain sifted 
through the cracks round the windows and doors of 
the musty cab, and was deposited upon his face in a 
greasy coating by currents of the iciest air he had felt 
since he was last in Scotland. It was air that seemed 
to mangle as it bit, that sent the chilled blood cower 
ing to the depths of the body instead of bringing it 
to the surface in healthful reaction. 

" Loathsome ! " he muttered as he looked out on 
either side. " Looks something like London no, 
Liverpool. The people look English, too." A big, 
dingy street car with bell wildly clanging darted from 
a narrow side street into the narrow main street which 
the cab was following. There was a bare escape from 
a disastrous collision. " It's America, right enough, 

he said. 

[116] 



99 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

The rain was whirling in the savage wind, umbrel 
las were tossing and twisting, impeding without in the 
least sheltering the sullen throngs on the sidewalks. 
Everything looked wet, and sticky, and chilly, and 
forbidding. " They certainly are English," he said as 
he noted the passing faces ; and he did not like it. In 
New York he had been amused by the variety speci 
mens of all nationalities, often several nationalities 
struggling for expression in the same face. Here the 
sameness was tiresome to him, and he missed the alert 
look of New Yorkers of all kinds. 

He began to feel somewhat better, however, when 
he reached the wide front hall of Mrs. Staunton's big, 
old-fashioned, comfortable house on the water side of 
Beacon Street. And he felt still better when the but 
ler showed him to the room he was to occupy the 
furniture and hangings, the woodwork and wall paper, 
sombre yet homelike in the light and warmth of an 
open fire. At half-past five he entered the drawing 
room in fairly good humour now that he and Hutt 
were established arid safe from the weather. He joined 
Mrs. Staunton and her daughter-in-law at the fire, 
where they were cosily ensconced with a tea-table be 
tween them. 

[117] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" You must have a cheerful impression of Boston," 
said young Mrs. Staunton, called Mrs. Ridgie her 
husband's name was Ridgeway. 

" That wind was a bit nasty," admitted Frothing- 
ham. " But I've forgiven and forgotten it. I always 
spill my troubles as soon as ever I can." 

" You'll detest Boston after New York," continued 
Mrs. Ridgie. " I've lived here ten years. It's it's 
a hole." 

Her mother-in-law's expression was not pleasant, 
and Frothingham saw at a glance that they disliked 
each the other. " Virginia is from New York," she 
said to him apologetically. " She determined in ad 
vance not to like us, and she does not change her mind 
easily." 

" Us." Virginia smiled mockingly. " Mother 
here," she said to Frothingham, " was born at a place 
a few miles away Salem, where they burned 
witches " 

" Hanged witches none was burned," interrupted 
Mrs. Staunton. 

" Thank you, dear hanged witches. At any rate 
she was born at Salem. And her people removed to 
this very house more than forty years ago. The other 

[118] 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

day I was talking to old Judge Arkwright, and spoke 
of my mother-in-law as a Bostonian. ' But,' said he, 
* she's not a Bostonian. She's of Salem town.' Think 
of it, Lord Frothingham ! She's lived here nearly 
half a century, and she married a man whose family 
has lived here two hundred years. And they still speak 
and think of her as a stranger. That's Boston." 

" It reminds me of home," said Frothingham. 
" Very different, from New York, isn't it ? I asked 
the woman I took in to dinner the other night where 
her parents came from. ' Good Lord, don't ask me! ' 
she said. * All I know about it is that they came in a 
hurry and never went back.' ; 

" How sensible ! " said Mrs. Ridgie, the more en 
thusiastically for her mother-in-law's look of disgust. 
" You'll notice that people on this side never talk of 
their ancestors unless there's something wrong some 
where with themselves." 

Mrs. Staunton restrained herself. " You'll give 
Lord Frothingham a very false idea of this country, 
Virgie," she said with softness in her voice and irrita 
tion in her eyes. 

" Oh, he's certain to get that anyhow. He'll only 
see one kind of people while he's here, and though they 

[119] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

think they're the whole show they don't amount to 
that." At " that " she snapped her fingers so loudly 
and suddenly that both Mrs. Staunton and Frothing- 
ham started. " If you came really to know this coun 
try," she went on, " you'd find out that just as soon as- 
people here begin to pose as 6 our best people,' ' our 
best society,' and all that rot, they begin to amount to 
nothing. They're has-beens, or on the way to it. We 
don't stand still here not even in Boston. We're al 
ways going up or coming down." 

After a silence Mrs. Staunton ventured to say, " I 
think you'll find, Lord Frothingham, that the tone of 
Boston is, as I told you, far higher than New York's." 

" Really ! " Frothingham looked slightly alarmed. 
" That's bad news," he said. " I don't go in for a 
very high tone, you know. I'm keyed rather low, I 
should say." 

" You needn't be frightened," said Mrs. Ridgie. 
" They beat the air a good deal here. But, if you'll 
be patient and not encourage 'em, they'll soon get 
down to the good old business of ravelling reputations. 
At that they're far superior to New York." 

Mrs. Staunton looked vigorous dissent, but said 
nothing. They listened for a few minutes to the 

[120] 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

drowsy crackling of the wood fire, and to the futile 
beat of the storm against the windows. Then Mrs. 
Ridgie rose. " I'll see you at dinner," she said to 
Frothingham. " I'll forgive you for being so cross to 
me, belle-mere," she said to Mrs. Staunton, patting 
her on the cheek. Then her pretty little figure and 
pretty, pert face vanished. Mrs. Staunton frowned at 
the place where she had been she disliked Virgie's 
hoydenish movements almost as much as her demon- 
strativeness ; in her opinion, " no thoroughly respect 
able woman laughs loudly, uses slang, or indulges in 
public kissing and embracing." 

They were ten at dinner that night, and Frothing 
ham, seated between Mrs. Staunton and a middle-aged, 
stiff, and homely Mrs. Sullivan, fought off depression 
by drinking the champagne steadily " vile stuff," he 
said to himself, " and bad cooking, and a dull old 
woman on either side. And what's this rot they're 
talking?" 

The conversation was of a Buddhist priest who was 
making converts among " the very best people." Mrs. 
Sullivan was contending that he was a fraud, and that 
his teachings were immoral. Mrs. Staunton was de 
fending him, assisted by a sallow, black-whiskered, 

[121] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

long-haired young man on the opposite side of the 
table a Mr. Gilson. 

Frothingham would not even pretend to listen. His 
look and his thoughts wandered down the table to Ce 
cilia Allerton. 

Her slender paleness was foiled by two stout red and 
brown men Ridgeway Staunton and Frank Morti 
mer. They were eating steadily, with the slow, linger 
ing movements of the jaw which proclaim the man or 
the beast that wishes to get food into the mouth rather 
than into the stomach. Between forkfuls they drank 
champagne, holding it in the mouth and swallowing 
deliberately. Cecilia was evidently oblivious of them 
and of the rest of her surroundings. " She looks 
sickly," thought Frothingham, " and an iceberg." 

She had a small head, a high, narrow forehead, a 
long, narrow face pale, almost gaunt. The expres 
sion of her mouth was prim to severity. But her eyes, 
large and brilliant brown, and full of imagination, 
contradicted the coldness of the rest of her face, and 
gave her a look that was certainly distinction, if not 
beauty. " I wonder what she's thinking about? " said 
Frothingham to himself. " Buddhism, I wager. How 
English she looks. But they all do, for that matter, 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

except this long-haired beast opposite. He looks a 
Spaniard, or something else Southern and dirty." 

" Did you find that the New York women swore 
much, Lord Frothingham ? " 

He started. It was the Puritanic-looking Mrs. Sul 
livan. " I beg pardon," he said, turning his head so 
that his entrenched eye was trained upon her. 

" The New York women," replied Mrs. Sullivan. 
" Were they very profane? ' : 

" Ah well that is Now, what would you 

call profane? " asked Frothingham in his driest drawl. 
" Damn, and devil, and that sort? ' ; 

" I should call them profane in a woman, and worse. 
I should call them vulgar." 

" Really ! " 

"Shouldn't you?" 

" Ah, I don't know. I don't call things. What's 
the use? ' : 

" But you must have opinions." 

" Lots of 'em lots of 'em a new set every day. 
It's a good idea to look at everything from all sorts of 
directions, don't you think? " 

" If one has no sense of responsibility. But I know 
you have. One of the characteristics I particularly ad- 

[123] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

mire in the English upper class is their sense of re 
sponsibility. I think it splendid, the way they sup 
port the Church, and so set an example to the lower 
classes." 

" I don't go in for that yet I stop in bed. It's not 
expected of one until he's head of a family. When I 
am, of course I'll tuck my book under my arm and 
toddle away on Sunday morning to do my duty. I 
think it's rather funny, don't you? We do as we jolly 
please all week and then on Sunday, when there's 
nothing naughty going on, anyhow, we do our duty. 
Cleverest thing in the British Constitution, that ! " 

" But you believe in your your church, don't 
you ? " 

" Believe? To be sure. Everyone does, except 
ghastly middle-class cranks. Some of 'em go crazy 
and are pious every day. Others go crazy and chuck 
it all. They run to extremes that's bad form. I 
don't like extremes." 

Mrs. Sullivan looked at Frothingham suspiciously. 
His face was always serious, but the eyeglass and the 
drawl and the shadow of a hint of irony in his tone 
raised a doubt. She returned to her original question : 

" They tell me that the women the fashionable women 

[124] 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

swear a great deal in New York now that it's the 
latest fad." 

" I can't say that they ever swore at me much," 
replied Frothingham. " But then, you know, I'm 
rather meek. It's possible they might if I'd baited 



.. 



A few of our women here those that hang round 
horses and stables all the time have taken up swear 
ing. It is said that they contracted the habit in New 
York and Newport. But I doubted it." 

" Perhaps it's the horses that make 'em swear," sug 
gested Frothingham. " Horses are such stupid 
brutes." 

" And they smoke but that's an old story. All the 
women smoke in New York, don't they ? " 

" I'm not observant. You see, I don't see well un 
less I look sharp." 

Mrs. Sullivan smiled amiably. " You're very dis 
creet, Lord Frothingham. You don't gossip I de 
test it myself." 

She talked to the man at her left, but soon turned 
to him with : " Doesn't it shock you, the way divorce is 
growing nowadays ? It's almost as bad in England, I 
understand, as it is with us. We're taking up all the 

[125] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

habits of the common sort of people. Really, I try to 
be broad-minded, but I can't keep up with the rising 
generation. A young married woman called on me this 
afternoon she and her husband are of our best fami 
lies. She told me she was engaged to a young married 
man in New York. ' But,' said I, ' you're both mar 
ried.' ' We're going to get our divorces in the spring,' 
she said. She asked me not to say anything about her 
engagement * for,' said she, ' we haven't announced 
it. I've not told my husband yet that I'm going to 
get a divorce, and my fiance hasn't told his wife.' 
What do you think of that, Lord Frothingham? " 

" Devilish enterprising, isn't it, now ? That's what 
we call a Yankee notion. Do you think it '11 be a 
go?" 

" I've no doubt of it. She's extremely energetic 
and conscienceless I'd say brazen, if she weren't a 
lady." 

When the women went into the drawing room Ridge- 
way Staunton brought to Frothingham a tall, ascetic- 
looking man, with the bald, smooth, bulging temples 
and the sourly curled lips of habitual bad temper. 
" Lord Frothingham, Mr. Allerton." They bowed 
stiffly, and looked each at the other uncertainly. 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

" I've heard much of you from my sister-in-law, 
Mrs. Staunton," said Allerton. 

" She's been very good to me," replied Frothing- 
ham cordially. 

" She's an admirable woman," said Allerton. " She 
has been a mother more than a mother to my little 
girl for years." 

" Your daughter was most fortunate," replied 
Frothingham, in a tone that was for him enthusiastic. 

Allerton began to talk English politics ; and Froth 
ingham, who, like Englishmen of all classes, knew his 
country's politics thoroughly, was astonished at the 
minuteness and accuracy of the American's knowledge. 
But he was amazed to find that Allerton, though an 
aristocrat and a Tory in the politics of his own coun 
try, with narrow and bitter class views, was in English 
politics a Liberal of the radical type a " little Eng- 
lander " and a " Home Ruler." And he presently dis 
covered that there were other inconsistencies equally 
strange. For example, Allerton was savage in his ha 
tred of all social innovations, was fanatical against the 
morals and manners of the younger people in the lim 
ited Boston set which he evidently regarded as the 
pinnacle and pattern of the whole world, yet was al- 

[127] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

most a sensualist in literature, art, and music. He 
sneered at superstition, yet believed in ghosts and in 
dreams. Intolerant with the acidity of a bad diges 
tion and a poor circulation, he would cheerfully have 
jailed and hanged all who were intolerant of those 
things of which he was tolerant and he thought him 
self tolerant to the verge of laxness. Finally, he was a 
theoretical democrat, yet had a reverence for his own 
ancestry, and for the title and ancestry of Frothing- 
ham, that even to Frothingham seemed amusing and 
contemptible. 

At first Frothingham feared lest he should ex 
press some opinion that would rouse the cold and tena 
cious dislike of Allerton. But he soon saw that, be 
cause of his title and descent, he was regarded by 
the banker as privileged and exempt from criticism. 
Just as Mrs. Staunton and Mrs. Sullivan thought 
Frothingham's slang even when it trenched on pro 
fanity not only tolerable but proper in him, so Aller 
ton smiled with frosty indulgence upon his light, and 
not very reverent, criticisms in politics, religion, 
morals, and art. 

" What do you think of him? " Mrs. Staunton asked 

her brother-in-law, when the men rejoined the women. 

[128] 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

" A fine type of English gentleman," replied Aller- 
ton ; " manly and dignified, and his mind is keen. I 
like him." 

" I'm going to take him to Cecilia," said she. 

" I'm sure Cecilia will like him. I don't think she's 
looking well, Martha." 

" Poor child ! You can't expect a girl of her depth 
of feeling, her spirituality, to recover soon. You must 
remember, it's been only a year and three months. 
This is the first time she's been out, isn't it ? " 

" I should not have believed she could be so disobe 
dient as she has been in the past year," said Allerton 
sourly. " The night of the opening of the gallery I 
ordered her to come down and help me receive. I shall 
never forget that she locked herself in her room. It 
shows how the poison of the example of the young peo 
ple nowadays permeates." 

" But that was nearly a year ago, Edward. Be 
careful not to be harsh to her. She inherits your im- 
periousness." Mrs. Staunton hesitated after " inher 
its," because the look in her brother-in-law's eyes re 
minded her that his wife her sister after enduring 
for eight years the penitentiary he made of his 
home, fled from him and refused to return, and 

[129] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

lived by herself in a cottage at Brookline until her 
death. 

After talking to several of her guests, so that her 
action might not seem pointed, Mrs. Staunton took 
Frothingham where Cecilia was listening to Gilson's 
animated exposition of the true, or Gilson, theory of 
portrait painting. A moment after Frothingham was 
introduced Mrs. Staunton took the reluctant Gilson 
away. 

Cecilia looked after him, a quizzical expression in 
her eyes. " Do you know Mr. Gilson ? " she asked. 

" No ; I've only just met him." 

" What do you think of him ? 5! 

" I can't say. I've barely seen him." 

" But isn't Schopenhauer right where he says, 
' Look well at a human being the first time you see 
him, for you will never see him again? ' 

" I should say Gilson was not very clean, then. 
Who is he?" 

" He came here four years ago from we don't know 
where, and exhibited a lot of his own paintings, most 
of them portraits of himself in all sorts of strange at 
titudes and clothes. Everybody ran after him we 

have a new craze here each year, you know. That year 

[130] 




Then you're not a Buddhist or a Spiritualist?' 



CHAPTER EIGHT 

it was Gilson. A girl, a Miss Manners, married him. 
If it hadn't been for that, he'd have been forgotten, 
and would have disappeared. As it is, we still have 
him with us. That's his wife on the sofa in the cor 
ner." 

Frothingham looked toward the enormously fat 
woman disposed there, and gazing round vaguely, 
with a sleepy, comfortable, complacent smile. " How 
do you know it's a sofa she's sitting on ? " he asked. 

" Because I saw it before she sat down," replied Ce 
cilia. " Her fad is a diet of raw wheat. If she'd been 
where you could see her at the table, you'd have no 
ticed that she ate only raw wheat. She's served spe 
cially everywhere since she got the idea last autumn. 
She brings her wheat with her." 

" And what is your fad ? you say everyone has a 
fad." 

" Everyone except me." She smiled pensively. 
" I'm too serious for fads, I fear." 

" Then you're not a Buddhist or a Spiritualist? " 
he said, with a feeling of relief. 

The colour flared into her face. " Spiritualism ! " 
Her lips compressed, and seemed even thinner. Her 

expression vividly suggested her father. " But that 

[131] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

is not a fad ! Only the thoughtless and the ignorant 
call it a fad." 

Frothingham's face became blank. " This is a 
time to sit tight," he said to himself. " She's looking 
at me as if I were a witch and she were about to burn 
no, hang me." 

" It would be a dreary world, it seems to me," she 
went on, her voice low, and a queer light in her soften 
ing eyes, " if it were not for the friendship and guid 
ance of those in the world beyond." 

" Really ! " His tone might have meant almost 
anything except the wonder and amusement it con 
cealed. 

Her father came to take her home. " We should 
be glad to see you, Lord Frothingham, at our house," 
he said graciously. " I hope you will let Mrs. Staun- 
ton bring you." 

" Thank you I'll ask her to." 

As he watched Cecilia leave he said to himself, 
" She's mad as a hatter or is it just Boston? " 




IX 

BOUT a week after he met Lord Frothingham 
at Mrs. Staunton's, Edward Allerton left his 
bank an hour before luncheon time and went 
to the Public Library. His look as he entered was un 
doubtedly furtive; and as he drifted aimlessly round 
the reading-room, declining the offers of assistance 
from the polite and willing attendants, his manner 
was such that had he been a stranger he would have 
been watched as a suspicious character. He took sev 
eral reference books from the cases, finally and most 
carelessly of all, a Burke's Peerage. Half concealing 
it with his overcoat, he bore it to a table and seated 
himself. He turned the pages to where " Frothing 
ham " appeared in large letters. There he stopped 
and read at first nervously, soon with an attention 
that shut out his surroundings: 

Frothingham George Arthur Granby Delafere Gordon-Beau- 
vais, seventh earl of Frothingham, Baron de Beauvais, b. at Beau- 
vais House, Surrey, March 9, 1865, s. of Herbert Delafere Gordon- 
Beauvais, sixth earl of F., and Maria Barstow, 2nd dau. of the 

[133] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Marquess of Radbourne. Succeeded on the death of his father, 
Aug. 4, 1890. 

Allerton studied the coat of arms, which originated, 
in part, in the tenth century, so Burke said. He read 
on and on through the description of the secondary 
titles and other honours of his sister-in-law's guest, 
into the two columns of small type which set forth 
the history of the Gordon-Beauvais family its far 
origin, Godfrey de Beauvais, a great lord in the time 
of Charlemagne, so Burke declared; its many and 
curious vicissitudes of fortune, its calamities in old 
France through the encroachments of the Dukes of 
Burgundy, which finally drove it, in poverty, but with 
undiminished pride and unabated resolution to live 
only by the sword and the tax-gatherer, to England 
in the wake of William the Conqueror ; its restoration 
there, and long and glorious lordship, so glorious that 
it scorned the titles a mere Tudor, or Stuart, or Ger 
man nobody could give until 1761, when it conde 
scended to receive from George III the Earldom of 
Frothingham. There were places in the narrative so 
weak that even the adroit and sympathetic Burke 
could not wholly cover them. But the Milk Street 

banker saw them not. No child ever swallowed a tale 

[134] 



CHAPTER NINE 

of gnomes and fairies and magic vanishings and ap 
paritions with a mind more set upon being fooled. 
He read slowly to prolong the pleasing tale. And 
when he came to the end he read it through again, 
and found it all too short. 

He started from his trance, glanced at his watch, 
noted that no attendants were in sight, and stole 
hastily away from the scene of his orgie. But in his 
agitation he was guilty of the stupidity of the novice 
he left the book on the reading-desk ; he left it open 
at the second page of " Frothingham." An attend 
ant was watching afar off; as soon as Allerton had 
slipped away he swooped, full of idle yet energetic 
curiosity. 

When he saw that the book was a Burke's Peerage 
he was puzzled ; then he turned back a page, and his 
eye caught the name " Frothingham." Like all Bos 
ton, he knew that the Earl was in town, was staying 
at the Mrs. Staunton's, " on the water side of Beacon 
Street." And like all Boston, he had heard the ru 
mour that the Earl was trying to marry " Celia " 
Allerton, the second heiress of Boston. Thus, the 
sight of that name caused a smile of delight to irra 
diate his fat, pasty face with its drapery of soft, scant 

[135] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

grey whiskers. He looked round for someone to en 
able him to enjoy his discovery of a great man's weak 
ness by tattling it. He saw Gilson, industriously 
" loading up " for a lecture on " colour in Greek 
sculpture and architecture." 

He hastened to him and touched him on the 
shoulder. " Come with me," he whispered. 

Gilson, a natural gossip, had not lived four years 
in Boston without becoming adept in the local sign 
language of his species. He rose and followed to the 
table whereon was spread the damning proof of Aller- 
ton's guilt. 

" Look at this," whispered the attendant, pointing 
to the name " Frothingham." 

Gilson looked, first at the page, then at the attend 
ant. His expression was disappointment he cared 
not a rap about Frothingham or about Burke's genea 
logical romances. 

" But who do you think was sitting here ? " whis 
pered the attendant, his eyes sparkling. " Sitting 
here, reading away at this for more than an hour? r 

" Frothingham ? " said Gilson, in the reading- 
room undertone. " Those adventurers are always 
crazy about themselves." 

[136] 



CHAPTER NINE 

" No it was Edward Allerton! ' As he hesi 
tated on the name the attendant shot his big head for 
ward; at the climax he jerked it back, regarding the 
artist with delighted eyes. 

" You don't say so ! " exclaimed Gilson, and then 
they had a fit of silent laughter. 

" Don't give me away," cautioned the attendant. 

By nine o'clock the next night there was not a mem 
ber of the Beacon Street set, whether living in Boston 
or in Brookline and the other fashionable suburbs, who 
had not heard the news ; and the mails were carrying it 
to those at a distance. And wherever it was repeated 
there was the same result derision, pretended con 
tempt of such vulgar snobbishness, expressions of 
wonder that an Allerton had descended to such low 
trafficking. Of course none dared tell the Stauntons 
and the Allertons or Frothingham. But Frothing- 
ham, who saw everything through that monocle of his, 
noted the covert smiles that now peeped at him, the 
grins and nudgings and cranings when he and Cecilia 
Allerton appeared in public together. 

One of the many rules which Mr. Allerton had or 
dained for the guidance of his household in the lines 
he regarded as befitting the establishment of a gentle- 

[137] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

man of family and tradition was that Cecilia must be 
at the half -past seven o'clock breakfast with her 
father. Usually he did not speak after his brief, 
formal salutation a " Good-morning, Cecilia," and a 
touch of his dry, thin lips to her forehead. But he 
might wish to speak, and it would be a grave matter 
if he should wish to speak and no one were there for 
him to speak to. Besides, he always gave his orders 
at breakfast his comments on the shortcomings in 
the servants, or in Cecilia's housekeeping; his criti 
cisms of her conduct. These " breakfasts of justice " 
were not held often, because Cecilia made few mis 
takes, and the maids Allerton kept no men servants 
but a coachman had been long in the family service, 
and had therefore been long cowed and trimmed and 
squeezed to the Edward Allerton mould for menials. 
But when a " breakfast of justice " was held it was 
memorable. 

Toward the end of the second week of Frothing- 
ham's Boston sojourn Mr. Allerton laid aside his paper 
at breakfast and looked at Cecilia. Agnes, the second 
waitress, who always attended at breakfast, under 
stood the signal, and at once left the room, closing the 
door behind her. Cecilia gave a nervous little sigh, 

[ 138] 



CHAPTER NINE 

dropped her eyes, and put on the pale, calm expres 
sion behind which she hid herself from her father. 

" You were at Dr. Yarrow's lecture yesterday af 
ternoon, I believe? " Allerton began. 

Cecilia's nerves visibly relaxed as she noted that 
his voice was not the dreaded voice of justice. " Yes, 
sir," she replied. 

" It was on the evidences of communication with 
the spirit world, was it not? ' ! 

" Yes, sir the fourth in the series." 

" Who accompanied you ? " 

" Aunt Martha and Lord Frothingham." 

There was a pause, then Mr. Allerton coughed 
slightly and said : " How do you like the young En 
glishman, Cecilia? " 

Cecilia lifted her eyes in a frightened glance that 
dropped instantly before her father's solemn, rigid 
gaze. " He's well-mannered and agreeable," she re 
plied. " I like him as much as one can like a for 
eigner." 

" I'm surprised at your speaking of him as a for 
eigner. He in fact, he seems to me quite like one of 
our own young men, except that he lives upon a higher 
plane, and shows none of the degeneration, the vul- 

[139] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

garisation, I may say, with which our young men 
have become infected through the overindulgence of 
their parents and contact with New York." 

Another long pause, and when Allerton spoke there 
was a suggestion of combating opposition in his 
voice. " I have been much impressed with the young 
man. Titles are very deceptive. As you know, I 
have no regard for them, or for the system which pro 
duces and maintains them. But, his title aside, the 
young man comes of a family that has the right sort 
of blood. You must have noticed the evidences 
of it in his face, and in his manners and char 
acter?" 

As the statement was put interrogatively, Cecilia 
knew her duty too well not to reply. " He has a 
strongly featured face," she said. " But it seemed to 
me to indicate rather a race that had been great, but 
was now small." 

Allerton frowned. " I am sure that, properly es 
tablished, he would have a distinguished career." He 
paused, then went on in a tone Cecelia understood and 
paled before : " It would be most satisfactory to me to 
have my daughter married to him. I should regard 
it as satisfactory in every way. You would be estab- 

[140] 



CHAPTER NINE 

lished in an honourable and dignified position. You 
would exert in society and the wider world the influ 
ence to which your birth and breeding entitle you. 
You would maintain the traditions of your family 
and strengthen his." 

Cecilia shivered several times as he was speaking; 
but when she spoke her low voice was firm. " But, 
father, you know my heart is with Stanley." 

Her father looked steadily at her the look she felt 
like a withering flame. " I requested you more than 
two years ago months before he died never to men 
tion his name to me, and never to think of him seri 
ously again. I repeat, it would be gratifying to me 
if you were to marry Lord Frothingham. When is 
he leaving your Aunt Martha's ? " 

" Next Monday, I believe. He goes down to Brook- 
line to Mrs. Ridgie." 

" You are invited for the same time? * 

" Yes." 

" I shall expect you to go." Mr. Allerton rose. " I 
trust, in thinking the matter over, you will appre 
ciate that I am more capable to judge what is best for 
you than you are, with your limited experience and 
the narrow views of life and duty not unnatural in 

[141] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

youth." He left the room, severe and serene, master 
of himself and of his household. 

The Allertons were traditionally Chinese in their 
beliefs in the sacredness of the duty of obedience from 
children to parents, and the duty of despotic control 
by parents over children. 

Theirs was one of the old houses in Mount Vernon 
Street a traditional New England home for a sub 
stantial citizen. There was no ostentation about them 
the carriage in which they drove forth was delib 
erately ancient in style and in appointments, looked 
modest even among the very modest or, if you choose, 
" badly turned out," equipages of the Boston " aris 
tocracy." Mr. Allerton's public expenditures on an 
art gallery, in partial support of an orchestra and a 
hospital, in subscriptions to colleges, lectures, char 
ities were greater by thirty thousand a year than his 
private expenditures. Cecilia had few clothes, and, 
while they were of the very best, and were in good 
taste and style, they modestly asserted that in the 
Allerton conception of dress for a lady conspicuous- 
ness for inconspicuousness was the prime requirement. 
Mrs. Ridgie, who often complained that she " hated 
to live in a town where the best people didn't wear 



CHAPTER NINE 

their best clothes every day," called Cecilia a "dowd"; 
but that was unjust, because Cecilia was most careful 
in her dress, and adapted it admirably to her peculiar 
charms. 

If Honoria had not forewarned Frothingham he 
would have been deceived by the modesty and fru 
gality of the Allerton establishment. After New 
York, it seemed to him most un-American for people 
of great wealth to live thus obscurely. But, having 
been pointed by Honoria, he soon discovered that Al 
lerton was indeed enormously rich. And he also dis 
covered that he was favourably inclined to a titled son- 
in-law. But Cecilia 

" There's some mystery about her," he reflected. 
" She acts as if she were walking in her sleep. But if 
I could get her, I'd do even better than if I'd taken a 
wife from among those nervous New Yorkers. She's 
meek and a stay-at-home. She'd not bother me a bit, 
and she and Evelyn would hit it off like twins. She's 
not exactly stupid, but she's something just as good. 
It doesn't matter whether one's wife is stupid or ab 
sent-minded the effect's the same." 

But he walked round and round the fence between 
her personality and the world in vain. He found no 

[143] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

low place, no place where he could slip under, no knot 
hole or crack even. They went down to Brookline to 
gether he was more puzzled than ever by her atti 
tude toward him that morning. She was less friendly, 
but also less forbidding. She seemed to him to be 
awaiting something he suspected what. He tried to 
muster courage to put his destiny to the touch when a 
chance naturally offered; but he could not her ex 
pression was too strongly suggestive of a statue. 

Instead, he said : " What do you think about 
away off there wherever it is ? " 

" Think? " She smiled peculiarly. " I don't think 
I feel." 

" Feel what? " 

She looked mocking. " Ah that's my secret. You 
would stay where I do if you could go there and it 
made you as happy as it makes me." 

" You're mysterious," he drawled. " I'm a block 
head at riddles and all that." 

But she did not assist him. 

Mrs. Ridgie herself was waiting for them in a 
two-seated trap with a pair of exceedingly restless 
thoroughbreds. Halfway to the house they shied at 
an automobile and started to run. She got them 

[144] 



CHAPTER NINE 

under control after a struggle, and glanced round at 
Frothingham for approval he looked calm and seemed 
unconscious that anything disturbing had happened. 
" Ridgie told me not to take this pair out," she said. 
" But I make it a rule never to obey an order from him. 
In that way we get on beautifully. He loves to give 
orders and I never object. I love to disobey orders 
and he never objects." 

The Ridgie Stauntons lived in what seemed to 
Frothingham little more than an exalted farmhouse, 
though it was regarded in that neighbourhood as a 
sinful flaunting of luxury, the worst of Mrs. Ridgie's 
many sins of ostentation and extravagance. These 
were endured because she was married to a Staunton, 
and because she was from New York, and therefore 
could not be expected to know what was vulgar and 
what well bred. But Frothingham was more com 
fortable than he had been since the day before he left 
Lake-in-the-Wood. Mrs. Ridgie would live in free- 
and-easy fashion one could smoke through all the 
house; there were drinks and plenty of good cigars 
and cigarettes available at all times ; and the talk was 
the unpretentious gossip and slang of fast sets every 
where intelligent people intelligently frivolous. 

[145] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Frothingham thought Ridgie Staunton " a harm 
less sort, a bit loud and noisy," but well-meaning, and 
good enough except when he had his occasional 
brief spasmodic fits of remembering his early 
training, and feeling that his mode of life was 
all wrong. He was, in his wife's opinion, a 
perfect husband, except that he hung about so 
much. 

" What do your English women do with their hus 
bands, Lord Frothingham? " she said. " It's a hor 
rible nuisance, having a man a husband round all 
day long with nothing to do. I try to drive Ridgie 
out to work. But he's a lazy dog. He goes a few 
steps and then comes slinking back. I'm opposed to 
a leisure class of men." 

" And you said only yesterday," complained 
Ridgie, " that Englishmen make better lovers than 
Americans because they have leisure and the sense of 
leisure, while Americans are forever looking at watches 
and clocks." 

" Did I ? But that was yesterday," retorted his 
wife. " Besides, I said lovers not husbands. Give 
me an English lover, but a hard-working, stay-away- 
from-home American husband." 

[146] 



CHAPTER NINE 

" Do you wonder that I watch a wife who talks like 
that? " said Ridgie cheerfully. 

Frothingham and Cecilia rode the next morning. 
Getting away from the staid old house in Mount Ver- 
non Street seemed to have revived and cheered her. 
There was colour in her cheeks, life in her eyes, and she 
showed by laughing and talking a great deal that she 
was interested in the earth for a moment at least. 
Ridgie had given Frothingham a difficult horse, but as 
he rode well he succeeded in carrying on a reasonably 
consecutive conversation with Cecilia. She asked him 
many questions about country life in England, and 
drew him on to tell her much of his own mode of living. 
And he ended with, " Altogether, I'd be quite cheer 
ful and happy if I were properly established." 

Cecilia became instantly silent and cold and again 
he had the feeling that she was expecting something 
to happen. 

" What the place needs," he went on boldly, " what 
I need, is a woman such a woman as you." 

His horse reared, leaped in the air, tried to bolt. 
It was full a minute before he got it under control. 
" Nasty brute," he said, resettling his eyeglass, and 
turning his face toward her again. He thrilled with 

[147] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

hope. " Is there a chance for me ? " he asked. " I 
have not spoken to your father that isn't the Amer 
ican way, is it? And I sha'n't trouble you with a lot 
of of the usual sort of talk until I know whether 
it's welcome. You're not the sort of girl a man ven 
tures far with unless he's jolly sure he knows where 
he's going." 

" Thank you," she said simply. " I shall be frank 
with you. My father wishes me to marry you. If his 
will were not stronger than mine I shouldn't think of 
it. It is only fair to tell you why." She was looking 
at him tranquilly. " I loved a man loved him well 
enough to have, where he was concerned, a stronger 
will than my father. But he died. I love him still. 
I shall always love him. When my father told me that 
he wished me to marry you, I asked my lover and he 
said that I ought to obey. He has been urging me 
to marry except occasionally ever since he died." 

Frothingham stared at her in utter amazement. 

" Do you mind " he began, but again his horse 

tried to throw him. When he got it under control he 
saw that she was much amused apparently at him. 
She rode up close beside him, laid her hand on his 
horse's neck and said, " Please, Stanley, don't ! " in a 

[148] 



CHAPTER NINE 

curiously tender tone. The horse instantly became 
quiet. 

" You were saying? " she asked. 

" Do you mind if I admit that Really, I'm 

not sure that I heard you aright a few minutes 
ago." 

" You mean when I spoke of talking to Stanley 
after he was dead? " 

" Stanley " Frothingham regarded her quiz 
zically. " Is this horse named after him? " 

" No I don't know what the horse's name is. The 
reason it was so restless was that Stanley was teasing 
him to make him a little troublesome for you." 

Frothingham paled and glanced round. 

" The second night after he died," she went on, a 
far-away look in her eyes, " he came to me in a dream. 
He assured me that he was happy, and that I must be 
so, too, and that he would always be with me, nearer, 
in more perfect communion, than if he had remained 
alive. It was just when Dr. Yarrow was beginning 
his experiments to establish communication with 
the other world. Stanley and I had been most inter 
ested. And when he appeared to me after his death 
he explained that he had been able, through the in- 

[149] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

tensity of his love for me, to pierce the barrier and 
bring his soul and my soul face to face." 

Frothingham showed that he was profoundly 
moved. " When I was a little chap," he said in a low 
voice, " I ran bang into the ghost of an ancestor of 
mine old Hoel de Beauvais. He has paced a hall in 
the east wing of Beauvais House the night before the 
head of the family dies, for hundreds of years. They 
laughed me out of it, but, by gad, I knew I saw him 
and my grandfather was thrown from his horse and 
killed the next day. I pretend not to believe in that 
sort of thing, but I do all we English do." 

" Nothing could be more certain," said Cecilia, 
radiant at this prompt acceptance of what she ex 
pected him to try to laugh her out of. " I have told 
no one I shouldn't have told you if it hadn't seemed 
the only course I could honestly take." 

" Can you see him now?" asked Frothingham in 
an awe-stricken voice. 

" No I see him only in dreams and sometimes 
when I go to Mrs. Ramsay. But we talk together at 
any time. You noticed how he stopped teasing the 
horse? " 

The horse was, indeed, perfectly quiet. Frothing- 

[150] 



CHAPTER NINE 

ham nodded. His habitual look of vacancy and satire 
had given place to earnestness and intense interest. 
" And does he wish you to marry ? " he asked. 

"Yes he has said it, and he has written it in one 
of the first letters he sent me through Mrs. Ramsay. 
I've only asked him verbally about you, and he con 
sents and approves. I'll take you to Mrs. Ramsay, 
and we'll get his written permission." 

" But why does he consent ? " asked Frothingham. 
" Is there no no jealousy there? ' 

" Jealousy ? Impossible ! Don't you see, he can 
look into my soul he knows that I am his. And all 
the interest he has in this gross mortal life of mine is 
that it shall be honourable and that I shall do my duty 
as a daughter and as a woman." 

Frothingham said no more. He was overwhelmed 
with a sense of the imminence of an unseen world 
that world which had been made real to him by his 
nurses, bred in the legends and superstitions of Eng 
land, and by his similarly trained companions at school, 
at the university, and ever since. It was a shock, but 
nothing incredible to him, this revelation of a daily 
and hourly commerce with that other world of which, 
he was certain from his own childhood experience, 

[151] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

everyone had glimpses now and then. From time to 
time he looked at Cecilia, now returned to her wonted 
expression of abstraction. She seemed the very per 
son to have such an experience. He was filled with 
awe of her ; he was fascinated by her ; he began to feel 
the first faint, vague stirrings of jealousy which he 
dared not express, even to himself, lest the spirit eyes 
of Cecilia's lover should peer into his soul, and see, 
and punish. 



A 1 dinner that night Willie Kennefick, who was 
staying in the house, began to tell his experi 
ences in New York he had just come from a 
little visit there. " The woman I took in to dinner," 
said he, " gave me a solar plexus while I was busy with 
the oysters. She said to me, ' I went to see such a 
wonderful man to-day. He told me the most aston 
ishing things about my past and future, and he sold 
me a little wax image that I'm going to burn for my 
gout.' ' What ! ' said I. ' For my gout,' said she. ' I 
have to burn it slowly, and when it's consumed my 
gout will be gone. I got it so cheap ! Only twenty- 
five dollars.' ' 

" And what did you say, Willie? " asked Mrs. 
Thayer. 

" I said ' Cheap ? It was a shame to cheat the poor 
devil in that fashion.' And she said, * Wasn't it a 
bargain? He wanted a hundred, but I brought him 
down.' " 

[153] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" You must have been keeping queer company in 
New York," said Henrietta Gillett. 

" Not at all. It was at Mrs. Baudeleigh's house, 
and the woman well, her husband's one of the biggest 
lawyers in New York. But, then, that's no worse 
than the astrology some of us here have gone daft 
over." 

" Oh astrology that's a different matter," ob 
jected Mrs. Thayer. " You evidently haven't looked 
into it. That is a science not at all the same as 
palmistry and spiritualism, and those frauds." 

Cecilia smiled the amused, pitying smile of wis 
dom in the presence of ludicrous ignorance and 
looked at Frothingham. He returned her look 
pleased to have a secret, and such an intimate secret, 
in common with her. " But don't you think you're a 
bit rash, Mrs. Thayer? ' : ' he drawled. " You cer 
tainly believe in ghosts, now, don't you ? ' ; 

Miss Gillett's handsome, high-bred face expressed 
astonishment. " Do you? " she asked, before Mrs. 
Thayer could answer him. 

" We can't doubt it over on our side. We've too 
much evidence of it. And I was listening to an old 
chap from Cambridge your Cambridge very clever 

[154] 



CHAPTER TEN 
old fellow, 7 thought Yarrow, wasn't it? Yes, Yar 



row." 



" Yarrow ! " Miss Gillett's eyes flashed scorn. 
" He's a disgrace to New England. We pride our 
selves on having the culture of Emerson and the other 
great men of our past. What would they think of us 
if they could look in on us with our Yarrows and our 
Gonga Sahds and our Mrs. Ramsays. All the sen 
sible people in the country must be laughing at us. 
Pardon me, Lord Frothingham I'm very indignant 
at what I regard as superstitions and impostors. It's 
only my view." 

" Not at all, not at all," said Frothingham with an 
uneasy glance at Cecilia's angry face. " I'm not one 
of those who wish all to believe alike. What the devil 
should we do if we hadn't each other's opinions to 
laugh at? " 

" You're such an ardent disciple," continued Miss 
Gillett, " you ought to go to Yarrow's Mrs. Ramsay. 
She'll put you in communication with spirits, as many 
as you like, or rather as many as you care to pay for. 
I think she gets ten a ghost twenty for letters." 

The discussion was raging hotly round the table, 
all but two of the men, and all but four of the women 

[155] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

deriding astrology, palmistry, Buddhism, spiritual 
ism; and the respective devotees of these cults derid 
ing each the others. " Cut it out," said Mrs. Ridgie 
finally. " We'll have * rough house ' here the first 
thing you know." 

Everyone laughed. They liked slang, and Mrs. 
Ridgie's was the boldest and quaintest. When the 
men and women were separated, " metaphysics " was 
again attempted by both. But the men who did not 
believe summarily laughed it down in the smoking 
room. " Those fads are all well enough for the women," 
said Kennefick. " They've got to do something to pass 
the time, and they won't do anything serious, or, if 
they do, they make a joke of it. But our men, Lord 
Frothingham " he was addressing himself to the 
Earl, whose spiritualistic views he had not heard and 
did not suspect " are too busy for such nonsense." 

" That's a libel on the woman," said Thayer his 
fad was a militant socialism that had a kindly eye for 
a red flag. " It's only women of the so-called fash 
ionable class who go in for such silliness. The great 
mass of American women have something better to 
do." 

" That's a libel on the women of the better class," 

[156] 



CHAPTER TEN 

retorted Kennefick. " Precious few of them are so 
silly." 

" If it isn't that it's something else equally idle," 
said Thayer. Except Frothingham he was the best- 
dressed man in the room. " I've no time for idlers." 

" Why don't you give your money away and 
shoulder a pick? " asked Kennefick teasingly. 

" I'm not fit even to wield a pick " Thayer was one 
of the ablest lawyers in Massachusetts " and I'd give 
my money away if I could without doing more harm 
than good. There are two kinds of parasites the 
plutocrats and the paupers. I'm ' agin ' 'em both. 
And, as for spiritualism, I will admit that I don't 
think we know enough about mind or the relations of 
mind and matter to dogmatise as you fellows have been 
doing." 

Kennefick winked at Frothingham as if saying: 
" Another proof that Thayer's a crank." 

When Frothingham was beside Cecilia in the draw 
ing room she said : " Would you like to go to Mrs. 
Ramsay ? " 

" Yes will you take me? " he replied. 

" I'll write to-night making an appointment for 
Wednesday." 

[157] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

He was liking her immensely now, and, while he be 
lieved not nearly so vividly as at first in her con 
nections with the other world, he felt growing con 
fidence that they would rapidly fade before reawaken 
ing interest in this world. Meanwhile, he reasoned, 
his cue was to ingratiate himself by sympathising with 
her and encouraging her to closer and closer confi 
dence. " It's only a step from best friend to lover," 
he said to himself. And he made admirable use of 
the two days between her tentative acceptance of him 
and their visit to Mrs. Ramsay. He was justly proud 
of his manner toward her a little of the brother, a 
great deal of the best friend, the tenderness and sym 
pathy of the lover, yet nothing that could alarm her. 

Mrs. Ramsay lived in an old brick cottage in a 
quiet street near Louisburg Square. In the two days 
Frothingham had become somewhat better acquainted 
with Henrietta Gillett and had got a strong respect 
for her intelligence. As he and Cecilia entered the 
dark little parlour he remembered what Henrietta had 
said about Mrs. Ramsay, and was on guard. The first 
impression he received was of a perfume, ujfmistak- 
ably of the heaviest, most suspicious Oriental kind. 

" Gad ! " he said to himself, " that scent don't sug- 

[158] 



CHAPTER TEN 

gest spirits. It smells tremendously of the world, the 
flesh, and the devil, especially the devil.'* 

As his eyes became accustomed to the faint light he 
discovered the radiating centre of this odour a small 
blackish woman of forty or thereabouts, with keen 
shifty black eyes and a long face as hard and flesh- 
less from the cheekbones down as from the cheekbones 
up. The mouth was wide and cold and cruel. She 
was dressed in a loose black woollen wrapper, tight at 
the wrists, and her scanty black hair was in a careless 
oily coil low on the back of her head. Her eyelids 
lifted languidly and she gave Cecilia her hand a 
pretty hand, slender and sensitive. 

" Good-morning, my dear," she said. " This is the 
Earl of Frothingham, is it not ? " 

At this both Cecilia and Frothingham started 
Cecilia because it was another and impressive evidence 
of Mrs. Ramsay's power; Frothingham because he 
knew that voice so well. His knees weakened and he 
looked at Mrs. Ramsay again. 

But she was not looking at him. She was saying to 
Cecilia : " Dr. Yarrow was here for two hours he 
left not twenty minutes ago. I am so exhausted ! " 

" Perhaps we would better come to-morrow," said 

[159] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Cecilia, appeal, apology, and disappointment in her 
voice. 

" No no," replied Mrs. Ramsay wearily. " Dr. 
Yarrow tells me he has never known me to be so 
thoroughly under control as to-day. And" she 
smiled faintly at Cecilia " you know I would do any 
thing for you" 

" You "have done everything for me," said Cecilia, 
and her tone of humble, even deferential, gratitude 
filled Frothingham with pity and disgust. He was 
staring stolidly at Mrs. Ramsay, but if the room had 
been lighter his changed colour and white lips might 
have been noted. Cecilia seated herself, and Froth 
ingham gladly sat also, where he could see Mrs. Ram 
say's face without her seeing him unless she turned her 
head uncomfortably. 

She rang a small silver bell on the table at her elbow. 
A girl answered. " The light, please," said Mrs. 
Ramsay. 

The girl went away and returned in a moment with 
a lamp whose strong flame was completely and curi 
ously shielded by a metal sphere except at one point 
underneath. When it was set upon the table it threw 
a powerful light in a flood upon a part of the surface 

[160] 



CHAPTER TEN 

of the table about six inches in diameter. The girl 
went to the windows and drew the heavy curtains across 
them. It was now impossible to see anything in the 
room except that small disc of intense light. In it 
presently appeared the slender, sensitive right hand of 
Mrs. Ramsay it seemed to end at the wrist in noth 
ingness. It laid upon the brightness a pad of white 
scribbling paper and a thick pencil with the heavy 
lead slightly rounded at the end; then it vanished. 
There was a long silence Frothingham was sure he 
could hear Cecilia's faint breathing. His own breath 
hardly came at all and his heart was beating crazily. 
He stared at those inanimate objects in the circle of 
dazzling light until his brain whirled. 

A long sigh, apparently from Mrs. Ramsay, as if 
she were sinking into a deathlike sleep ; a quick catch 
ing of the breath from the direction of Cecilia. He 
heard her move her chair to the light and then in it 
appeared her hand long and narrow, looking waxen 
white, its nails, beautifully rounded, the most delicate 
blush of pink. It took the pencil and moved across 
the paper. Frothingham bent forward she had 
written large, and he could easily read: 

Dearest! 

[161] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Her hand disappeared, and again there was in that 
unearthly light, only the pad, the pencil, and the 
heart-call into the infinite " Dearest ! " 

A long pause, then the weird, severed hand Froth- 
ingham could not associate it with Mrs. Ramsay 
crawled haltingly into the light, hovered over the pen 
cil, took it, began to make its blunt point scrawl along 
the paper a loose, shaky handwriting. With the 
hair on the back of his head trembling to rise, Froth- 
ingham read: 

My wife I am glad you have come, though you bring another 
with you to profane our holy secret. 

In the darkness a sharp exclamation from Cecilia, 
then a sound like a sob. The hand ceased to write, 
dropped the pencil, vanished instantly. In the light 
appeared Cecilia's hand, trembling, its veins standing 
up, blue and pulsing Frothingham was amazed that 
a hand by itself could express so much ; it was as per 
fect a mirror of her feelings as her face would have 
been. She wrote eagerly : 

But, dearest, you told me only this morning that he might, 
should, see all. 

Her hand lifted the sheet, now filled with writing, 
laid it beside the pad, then disappeared. Again there 

[162] 



CHAPTER TEN 

was a long silence, and again the mysterious hand 
crawled out of the darkness, loosely held the pencil, 
and wrote slowly, staggeringly, faintly: 

No, I have not spoken to you, seen you, since he came into 
your life It has been hard for me to push my way through 
to-day There is a barrier between PS You have been deceived 
Can it be that you but no, I trust my wife 

The hand paused. " Oh ! oh ! " sobbed Cecilia. 
The hand was moving again: 

My friends here tell me that you are going away across the sea 
with an English fortune hunter with him. You have been cruel 
enough to bring him here to our bridal chamber Oh, Cecilia 

The end of the sheet had been reached, but the hand 
wrote on for a few seconds, making vague markings in 
space, then vanished, dropping the pencil with a noise 
that in the strained silence sounded like a crash and 
made both Cecilia and Frothingham leap in their 
chairs. After a moment Cecilia's trembling, eager, 
pathetic hands lifted off the filled sheet and withdrew. 
But the hand did not return. After a long wait her 
right hand it seemed bloodless now appeared once 
more upon the paper and wrote : 

I have been deceived. I love only you. I thought I was obey 
ing you. Speak to me, dearest. You see into my heart. Speak 
to me. Do not leave me alone. 

[163] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Her hand laid the sheet upon the other filled sheets 
and withdrew from that neutral ground of dazzling 
light between the two great mystery lands. Imme 
diately the other hand darted into the light, caught 
the pencil, and scrawled in great, tottering letters : 

Yes, yes but I cannot until he has gone far from you Then 
come again Good-b 

The hand vanished and there was a moan from the 
darkness that enveloped the medium a moan that 
ended in a suppressed shriek. Frothingham saw 
Cecilia's hands hastily snatch the written sheets from 
under the light. Then he heard a voice in his ear 
he hardly knew it as hers : " Come come quickly ! " 

He rose, and with his hand touching her arm fol 
lowed her. The door opened the dim hallway 
seemed brightly lighted, so great was the contrast. 
The maid was seated there. She at once rose, entered 
the medium's room, and closed the door behind her. 
Cecilia and Frothingham went into the quiet little 
street the enormous sunshine, the white snow over 
everything, in the distance the rumble of the city. 
He gave a huge sigh of relief, and wiped the sweat 
from his face his very hair was wet and his collar 

was wilted. He was sickly pale. 

[164] 







'''Forgive me it was all my fault yet not mine- 
good-bye " 



CHAPTER TEN 

" She always wishes to be left that way," said Ce 
cilia, as if she did not know what she was saying. 

They walked to the corner together. " I am not 
well," she said. He ventured to look at her ; she was 
wan and old, and her eyes were deep circled in blue- 
black and she was blue-black at the corners of her 
mouth, at the edges of her nostrils. " I must go 
home they will telephone Mrs. Ridgie. Don't say 
where I was taken ill. Forgive me it was all my 

fault yet not mine good-bye " She did not 

put out her hand to him, but stood off from him with 
fear and anguish in her eyes. 

" The woman's a fraud a " he began. 

She turned upon him with a fury of which he would 
not have believed her capable. " Go ! go ! " she ex 
claimed, as if she were driving away a dog. 
" Already you may have lost me my love. Go ! " 

He shrank from her. She walked rapidly away, 
and he saw her hail a cab, enter it, saw the cab drive 
away. With his head down he went in the opposite 
direction. " I think I must be mad," he muttered. 
He thrust his hands deep into the outside pockets of 
his ulster. He drew out his right hand in it was her 
purse, which she had given him to carry because it did 

[165] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

not fit comfortably into her muff. " No," he said, 
" she was with me." 

He put the purse in the pocket and strode back 
the way he had come. He turned into the quiet little 
street, went to Mrs. Ramsay's door, lifted and 
dropped the knocker several times. The maid opened 
the door a few inches and showed a frowning 
face. 

Frothingham widened the space by thrusting him 
self into it. " Tell Mrs. Ramsay that Lord Froth 
ingham wishes to speak to her," he said in a tone that 
made her servant his servant. 

She went into the ghost-chamber and soon reap 
peared. " Mrs. Ramsay is too exhausted to see any 
one to-day." 

" Bah ! " exclaimed Frothingham, and stalked past 
the maid and into the ghost-chamber. 

The curtains were back and the slats of the shutters 
were open. Mrs. Ramsay, in her great chair by the 
table, was using a bottle of salts. She did not look in 
Frothingham's direction as he closed the door sharply 
behind him. 

He went to her and scowled down at her. " What 
the devil did you do that for, Lillian ? ' ! 

[166] 



CHAPTER TEN 

Mrs. Ramsay did not change expression and did not 
answer. 

"No one ever treated you decenter than I did. 
You " 

" No names, please, Slobsy," said Mrs. Ramsay, 
shaking her bottle and sniffing it again. 

At " Slobsy " he shivered he was not a lunatic on 
the subject of his dignity, but he did not fancy this 
nickname of his Oxford days, thus inopportunely 
flung at him. He felt that at one stroke she had cut 
the ground from under his feet. 

" I was sorry to do it," she continued. " But I 
couldn't have you poaching on my preserves, could I 
now, Slobsy ? It cut me to do it " she looked at him 
with friendly sympathy " but you could better 
afford to lose her than I could. You forgive me, 
don't you? You always were sensible." 

" I'll expose you," he said he was once more im 
perturbable, and was looking at her calmly through 
his eyeglass and was speaking in his faintly satirical 
drawl. 

" Expose what ? " asked Mrs. Ramsay, sniffing at 
her salts. 

He reflected. Suppose he denounced her, put him- 

[ 167 ] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

self in a position where he could, probably would, be 
forced to tell all he knew about her, roused her anger 
and her vindictiveness whom would he expose? 
Clearly, no one but himself to Cecilia, or Cecilia to the 
public. He knew nothing about Mrs. Ramsay that 
would prove her a fraud in fifteen years she might 
have become the properest person in the world, might 
have developed into a medium. He turned and left 
the room and the house. Halfway to the corner he 
paused ; a faint, dreary smile drifted over his face. 

" It's really a new sensation to settle a bill," he 
said to himself. " An outlawed bill, too. What luck 
just my rotten luck ! " 



[168] 



XI 



A Mrs. Ridgie's they guessed that Froth- 
ingham had proposed to Cecilia and that she 
had been unnerved by the shock to her wid 
owed heart. He stayed on until the following Mon 
day, neither amused nor amusing, then returned to 
Mrs. Staunton's for two days. He found her intensely 
curious as to the trouble between Cecilia and him she 
brought up the subject again and again, and with 
expert ingenuity at prying tried to trap him into 
telling her; she all but asked him point-blank. But 
he looked vague or vacant, pretended not to under 
stand what she wanted, expressed lively interest in 
Cecilia's progress toward health, professed keen 
regret that he must leave before she would be well 
enough to receive him. 

As he was about to go Mrs. Staunton became des 
perate. " Allerton is a stern man," she said, with an 
air that forbade the idea that mere vulgar curiosity 
was moving her. " He has the notion that Cecilia 

[169] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

was not polite to you you know, she gives way to 
strange moods. And he is so irritated against her 
that he is treating her harshly." 

Frothingham looked astonished. " Really ! " he 
said. " How extraordinary. I can't conceive how he 
happened to wander off into that. Nothing could be 
farther from the truth." 

" I confess," Mrs. Staunton went on, " I'm much 
disappointed. I've taken a fancy to you. I had 
rather hoped that you and Cecilia would like each 
other you understand." 

Frothingham reflected. It was possible, yes, prob 
able, that Cecilia's father could drive her into marry 
ing him, would do it if he should hint to Mrs. Staunton 
that he did fancy Cecilia and was " horribly cut up " 
because she didn't fancy him. " What the devil do 
her feelings matter to me ? " he demanded of himself. 
" A month after we were married she'd forget all this 
ghost nonsense and would be thanking me for pulling 
her out of it." 

" And," Mrs. Staunton was saying, " I know her 
father would have liked it as well as I." 

But Frothingham didn't follow his impulse and her 
unconscious leading. " What am I thinking of? " 

[170] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

he said to himself in the sharp struggle that was going 
on behind his impassive exterior. " I'm not that sort 
of blackguard at least, not yet." Then he drawled 
his answer to Mrs. Staunton: " I'm tremendously flat 
tered, but really, I fear the young lady and I would 
never hit it off. I've no great fancy for marrying 
never had. I've always thought it a poor business 
one of the sort of things that are good for the women 
and children, you know, but not for the men." 

Mrs. Staunton looked mild and humourous disap 
proval. " What is the world coming to ? A man asked 
me the other day why all the nice women were mar 
ried and all the nice men single. I hadn't thought of 
it until he spoke. But I must say it's true of my 
acquaintances." 

" I hope you'll let Mr. Allerton know he's wrong," 
said Frothingham. " I hate it that the poor girl's 
had the screws put on her on my account." 

" Certainly I'll tell him. But I'm sorry it's not to 
be as we hoped." She was studying him with a puz 
zled expression. She had heard from what she 
regarded as a thoroughly trustworthy source that he 
had come over especially to get him a rich wife. If 
that wasn't his object, why was he wandering about 

[171] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

here? Titled foreigners didn't come to America ex 
cept for the one thing of interest to them which 
America has money. She could not understand his 
unbusiness-like conduct. 

He couldn't understand it himself. " I always was 
an ass," he thought. " Here am I, sinking straight 
to the bottom or, what's worse, the bottomless. Yet 
I'm squeamish about the kind of line that pulls me 
ashore. Yes I'm an ass. Even Lillian, well as I 
knew her at Oxford, took me in a bit with her trumpery 
tricks to make a living. She completely foozled me 

that is " Did she " foozle " him? He couldn't 

banish the doubt. And there was the incident of the 
horse Lillian had nothing to do with that, yet it 
fitted in with her professions as to the spirit world. 
But hadn't she as good as owned up by apologising 
for breaking it off between him and Cecilia? Per 
haps she hadn't meant that; perhaps she had meant 
she was sorry to be the medium for such a letter. 
" There was a lot of truth in that letter. And there 
must be something in witches and ghosts and all that, 
or the whole world wouldn't believe in 'em. But what 
ghastly luck that Lillian should turn up after fifteen 
years no, seventeen, by Jove! Gad, how she has 

[172] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

gone off since she was bar-maid at the Golden Cross 
and the prettiest girl that walked the High Street." 

He paused in New York a few hours, long enough 
to get a disagreeable mail from the other side a 
dismal letter from old Bagley, a suspiciously cheerful 
note from Evelyn, a few lines from Surrey with a post 
script about Gwen " I've shipped her off to Mentone. 
She's a bit seedy this winter, poor girl." Frothing- 
ham quarrelled at Hutt, drank himself into a state of 
glassy-eyed gloom and took the three-o'clock express 
for Washington. As he sat in the smoking car a man 
dropped into the next chair with a " How d'ye do, 
Frothingham? " Frothingham's features slowly col 
lected into an expression of recognition, of restrained 
pleasure. " Glad to see you, Wallingford. Going 
to Washington ? 5: 

" Yes I'm in Congress, you know." 

" No, I didn't know." And it struck him as uncom 
monly modest in Wallingford never to have spoken of 
so distinguished an honour. 

" My father put me in last year." 

" Oh, you've a seat in your family." Frothing 
ham nodded under standingly. " That's very nice. 
They've almost abolished that sort of luxury with us. 

[173] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Nowadays, to get into Parliament a fellow has to put 
up a good many thousand pounds. Even then he 
must take his chances of winning a lot of noisy brutes. 
They often shout for him and vote for the other 
fellow." 

Wallingford's face had flushed when Frothingham 
said " a seat in your family," and the flush had deep 
ened as he went on. " You haven't got it quite 
straight, Frothingham about us, I mean. No one 
can have a Congressional seat in his family in America. 
My father has some influence with the party in New 
York City. He always puts up a lot of money for 
campaigns. And they give him the chance to name a 
Congressman if he's willing to pay for it. That's 
between us, you understand. It's a bad system. But 
it applies only to a few districts in New York and 
perhaps one or two other cities." 

" It sounds like our system," said Frothingham. 
" A devilish good system, I call it. If it weren't for 
that the lower classes would be chucking us all out 
and putting their own kind in." 

" Well, we think it bad. I feel something like a 
fellow who knows he wouldn't have won the race if he 

hadn't bribed the other fellow's jockey." 

[174] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

" That's your queer American way of looking at 
things. You are always pretending that birth and 
rank and wealth aren't entitled to consideration. But 
that's all on the surface all ' bluff,' as you say. 
They get just as much consideration here as among 



us." 



" You're judging the whole country by the people 
in one small class and not by any means all of 
them." 

" Human nature is human nature," replied Froth- 
ingham, with a cynical gleam in his eyeglass. 

" If you go out West " 

" I'll find what I've found in the East, no doubt 
perhaps in a little different form. I'm visiting West 
ern people at Washington after I've stopped at the 
Embassy a few days some people I'm meeting 
through an American acquaintance of ours in Eng 
land Charles Sidney." 

" Sidney ! " Wallingf ord laughed. " He's my 
second cousin. Ain't he a shouting cad? " 

" Oh, I think he's a well-meaning chap most 
obliging." 

" I should say so to anybody he crawls before. 
And who are these Westerners he's sending you to? " 

[175] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" The Ballantynes. I think Mr. Ballantyne's a 
Senator, is he not? " 

Wallingford laughed again. " That's one on me," 
he said. " Yes, they're from the West. But for 
everything that isn't American they lay it over any 
body you've seen in New York. Ballantyne! I 
sha'n't say any more. It's of no use to tell you you're 
going round and round in a circle that's in America 
but not really of it." 

" Do you know the Ballantynes? " 

" I've met Mrs. Ballantyne and the daughter 
that's married to a Spaniard the Duke of Almansa. 
They were at Monte Carlo three years ago when I was 
there. A handsome woman amusing, too. She 
spent most of her time in the gambling rooms used 
to come in always dressed in something new and loud 
and what tremendous hats she did wear! She'd 
throw on the table a big gold purse blazing with dia 
monds. Then she'd seat herself and open the purse, 
and it would be stuffed with thousand-franc notes. 
She'd plunge like a Russian. Every once in a while 
she'd go out on the balcony and walk up and down 
smoking a cigarette. She forbade her husband the 
Casino unless she was with him; even then he wasn't 

[176] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

allowed to stake a single louis. He'd slip away and 
play in one of those more private rooms upstairs." 

Frothingham smiled reminiscently. 

" You know, the play's higher there," continued 
Wallingford. " But the crowd of spectators was too 
small and indifferent for Her Grace of Almansa. 
When she found out what he was up to she made a 
scene right before everybody ' How dare you squan 
der my money? ' she said, " and she led him off like a 
spaniel on its way to a whipping." 

" Charming person," said Frothingham. " Must 
have been amusing." 

" Indeed she was. They'd talk of her all day with 
out growing tired and always a new freak. You'll 
be amused by her." 

"Ah she's here?" 

" Yes left the Duke two years ago paid him 
off and came home to her father. She's quite quiet 
now, they say educating her children." 

Frothingham's three days at the British Embassy 
were to him days upon an oasis in the desert. It was 
literally as well as legally part of the British domain 
Britain indeed, as soon as the outside door were passed. 
The servants at most of the houses at which he had 

[177] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

been entertained were direct and recent importations 
from England, yet they had already lost an essential 
something even his faithful Hutt was not the docile, 
humble creature he had been. But here in the Em 
bassy the servants, like the attaches, like the Ambas 
sador's family, like the Ambassador himself, were as 
English in look, in manner, in thought, as if they had 
never been off the island. The very furniture and the 
arrangement of it, the way the beds were made and the 
towels were hung in the bathrooms, represented the 
English people as thoroughly as did the Ambas 
sador. 

From this miniature Britain Frothingham on the 
third day was transferred to the international chaos 
beneath the turrets and battlements of the Ballantyne 
castle. When the house was finished, twelve years 
before Frothingham saw it, the various suites were 
furnished each on a definite scheme French or Eng 
lish or Italian of different periods, classical, Oriental, 
Colonial American. But the Ballantynes had the true 
American weariness of things that are completed. 
They were not long interested in their house after it 
was done. They felt like strangers in it, lived in it 

only for the sake of show, were positively uncomf ort- 

[178] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

able. More through carelessness and indifference 
than through ignorance, the movable objects in the 
suites had become changed about a gradual process, 
imperceptible to the inhabitants. There were now 
specimens of every style and every period in each 
suite; and Frothingham, who knew about interiors, 
seeing this interior for the first time, thought it the 
work of an eccentric verging on lunacy. 

" Awful, isn't it ? " said Madame Almansa, as she 
was called. She had noted Frothingham's glance 
roaming the concourse of nations and periods that 
thronged the walls and floor space of the vast parlour 
the Ballantynes used the American term instead of 
the British " drawing room." 

Frothingham looked at her inquiringly. 
" What? " he said, pretending not to understand. 

" Do you wonder I refuse to live here? " she went 
on, as if he had not spoken. " There's some excuse 
for the great houses on the other side. At least the 
present tenants didn't build them and can put the 
responsibility upon their ignorant semi-barbaric 
ancestors." 

" That has struck me as a bit queer," replied Froth 
ingham. " Over on our side we're cursing our ances- 

[179] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

tors for having burdened us with huge masses of brick 
and stone beastly uncomfortable, aren't they? " 

" Worse unhealthful," she answered. " And as 
dwelling places for human beings, ridiculous." 

" Yes and it takes an army to keep 'em clean, and 
then it isn't half done. And it does cost such a lot to 
keep 'em up. And there's no way of heating them. 
We don't build 'em any more except new people that 
must show off." 

" That's the trouble here," said Madame Almansa. 
" The new people who know nothing of the art of 
living build palaces as soon as ever they can afford it. 
It's supposed to be the badge of superiority. Instead, 
it's the badge of ignorance and vulgarity. I refuse 
to permit my children to live in the midst of such non 
sense. You must come to see us, Lord Frothingham, 
in our little house just through this square." 

Her sister, Isabella, who called herself Ysobel 
because she fancied it more aristocratic, laughed 
queerly almost a sneer, though good-natured. And 
when Frothingham went away to her father's sitting 
room, she laughed again. " It's all very well for you, 
Susanna " 

" Susan," interrupted Madame Almansa. 

[180] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

" Well, Susan, then though I hate to pronounce 
such a common word in addressing anyone above the 
rank of servant. It's all very well for you to talk in 
that fashion. You've established yourself. You can 
afford to affect simplicity, and to insist on being 
called Susan, and on dropping your title, and on living 
in a plain little house, and on bringing up your chil 
dren as if they were tradesmen's sons instead of the 
sons of one of the proudest nobles in " 

" You know Almansa," interrupted * Susan.' 
" How can you speak of him as proud or a 
noble?" 

" He is a weazened, oily creature," admitted Ysobel, 
delighted to make her sister wince by agreeing with 
her and " going her one better." " And I jumped 
for joy when you shook him, because I shouldn't have 
to let him kiss me any more. But, all the same, he's a 
great noble. And you know perfectly well, Madame 
Almansa, that if you had it to do all over again you'd 
marry him yes, if he were ten times worse " 

" Don't, Bella please ! " exclaimed " Susan " in a 
large, tragic way. " Mon Dieu ! " She clasped her 
hands and in heroic agitation swept magnificently up 
and down the small, clear space. " When I think of 

[181] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

the heritage of my boys my Emilio and my Al 
fonso " 

" My Prince Rio Blanco and my Marquis Calamar," 
mocked Ysobel. " Cut it out, Sue. I loathe cant ! " 

" Instead of filling your head with these false 
notions of nobility," said " Sue," sarcastically, " you 
would better look to your English, at least. But the 
vulgar speech you and your girl friends use nowadays 
is in keeping with your vulgar ideas of aristocracy." 

" Yes, Madame la Duchesse," said Ysobel, her good 
nature unruffled. " And when I've married a title 
and then shaken the man I'll talk in the same top-lofty 
way that you do." 

Madame Almansa raised and lowered her superb 
shoulders and changed the subject to dress she 
affected an extreme of simplicity, and that required a 
great deal more time and thought than her former 
easily gratified craze for the startling. Presently 
her father came with Frothingham. " You're going 
to Senator Pope's to dinner, aren't you ? " he said 
absently. Frothingham thought he looked like the 
pictures of " Brother Jonathan," except that his white 
chin whiskers were rooted in a somewhat larger chin 
space. 

[182] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

" Not I," replied Madame Almansa. " You know, 
father, I'm to stay here and do the honours at your 
dinner." 

" Yes, yes, Susie I remember." Senator Ballan- 
tyne seemed pleased, but uneasy. " But you must be 
careful very careful. Your grand airs will frighten 



'em." 



Ysobel laughed. " Mamma and I are going to 
Mrs. Pope," she said, " and Lord Frothingham, too. 
And then we all go to the White House dance after 
ward." 

" No, the White House dance is to-morrow night," 
said Madame Almansa. " I am going." 

" Well, well no matter," interposed Senator Bal- 
lantyne. " All I want is to be sure that you get out of 
the way before my constituents come. Your mother 
ought to be ashamed of herself to desert me. But 
I suppose they won't mind it so long as Sue is 
here." 

" What time's your dinner, pa? " asked Ysobel. 

" Half-past six," replied the Senator, and he 
turned to Frothingham : " At home they have dinner 
no, they call it supper at five o'clock." 

" That's 'way, 'way out West, Lord Frothingham," 

[183] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

explained Ysobel, " where papa and mamma come 
from." 

" And you, too, young lady," said her father teas- 
ingly. " You were born there." 

" Yes, but I was caught young and taken to 
France," retorted Ysobel. " I spoke French before I 
spoke English." 

Senator Ballantyne frowned, became abstracted, was 
presently sighing. His eldest daughter heard it and 
gave a theatrical sigh of sympathy. Ballantyne 
seemed not to hear, but something had irritated him, 
for he frowned heavily. 

Mrs. Ballantyne came in from her drive. She was 
a fine-looking woman, had all the outward appearance 
of the grande dame, and acted the part so well that 
not even herself had caught her in a slip for many 
years a notable triumph in the art of pose when it is 
considered that she was a country-school teacher until 
she was twenty-four and had never seen a city or been 
east of the Alleghenies until she was past thirty. 
Frothingham helped her relieve herself of a great 
sable-lined cloak which he handed to a servant. The 
servant bent double in a bow Mrs. Ballantyne paid 

well for obsequiousness. " When do those people of 

[184] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

yours begin to come, Samuel? " she asked, framing 
her sentence and her manner to impress Frothing- 
ham. 

Ballantyne looked annoyed, and, with a furtive 
glance at him, said : " Lord Frothingham will carry 
away a strange notion of democratic institutions as 
represented by Senators, mother." 

Mrs. Ballantyne permitted him to call her mother 
because it was the only word of address that did not 
rasp her aristocratic nature. Her name was Jane 
that she could not endure even before the days of her 
grandeur. She had made him call her Mrs. Ballan 
tyne before people until she discovered that it was 
" shocking bad form." She decided upon mother 
because the old Austrian Ambassador, whose title was 
of the oldest and whose blood was of the thin and 
pale bluest, said to her one day, " I like your American 
fashion of husbands and wives calling each other 
mother and father. It has a grand old patriarchal 
ring. My wife and I have adopted it." 

" You must get out of the way by six o'clock," 
continued Ballantyne, addressing himself to 
" mother." " Several of them said they'd come round 
early for half an hour's chat before supper." 

[185] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" I'm sorry we're to be driven out," said Frothing- 
ham. " I fancy I'd like to see your constituents." 

" Oh, no, you wouldn't, Lord Frothingham," Mrs. 
Ballantyne answered him for his benefit she was 
" laying it on with a trowel," as Ysobel would have 
said. " They're but you know how it is in politics. 
I wish Samuel would leave public life." 

" What ! " exclaimed Ballantyne, in mock horror. 
" And have all our poor relations that I've got nicely 
placed at the public crib bounced in a body, and come 
grunting and squealing to me to be supported ! One 
of the objects in getting public office in this country, 
Lord Frothingham, is to relieve one's self of the sup 
port of one's poor relations and friends. The late 
President Arthur said to me when he was at the White 
House : ' The degradation of it ! That I should 
have to lower myself for six hours every day to keep 
ing an employment agency ! ' 

" But we can't dress and drive round the streets 
from six o'clock until eight," said Ysobel. 

" They'll be in the reception-room by eight," re 
plied her mother, " or else they won't be through 
dinner. We can get out unseen." 

Frothingham maintained his look of blank indiffer- 

[186] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

ence, but underi eath he was vastly amused " And 
they're quite unconscious what cads they are," he 
thought. As if in answer to this, Senator Ballantyne 
said to him, in a tone of humourous apology : " Our 
constituents are plain people, Lord Frothingham 
honest, simple. They lead quiet, old-fashioned lives. 
I always send my family away or make them ' come off 
their perch ' when I have to receive anyone from 
home that is, any but my regular political lieuten 
ants. To tell you the gospel truth, I'm ashamed to 
have my old friends see how absurd we've become." 

At six o'clock Frothingham was idling in a small 
smoking room in the rear of the great parlour it was 
on the second floor. Senator Ballantyne came in and 
grew red in the cheeks. " Oh, I didn't expect to see 
you," he said, with an embarrassed laugh. 

Frothingham pretended not to notice, but he 
instantly saw the embarrassment, and the cause of it 
as well. The Senator was not in evening dress, nor 
even in his uniform of " statesman's frock." To com 
bat the unfavourable impression his great castle would 
make upon the excursionists from his distant State 
he had got himself up in an old blue sack suit with 
torn pocket and ragged cuff, in trousers bagging at 

[187] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

the knees and springing fantastically where they cov 
ered his boot-legs. 

He seated himself and talked absently until there 
was a ring of the front doorbell. He started up. 
" I must go," he said. " That's the first ones." And 
he hurried away. 

Frothingham waited a few seconds, then went into 
the hall and leaned carelessly on the banister where it 
commanded a view of the front door. He chuckled. 
Not the pompous and liveried butler was opening it, 
but Senator Ballantyne himself in his impressive liv 
ery of the " plain people." And Frothingham 
grinned as his great hearty voice how different, how 
much more natural, than his usual voice rolled out a 
"Why, hello, boys! Hello, Jim! Hello, Rankin. 
How d'ye do, Mrs. Fisher. Glad to see you, Miss 
Branigan. The maid wasn't about, so I thought I 
wouldn't keep you waitin'. Come right in and take 
off your things. Ladies, I'm sorry to say my wife's 
run off and left me had to go to a dinner where the 
President and his wife are to be. You know, we ain't 
allowed to decline. But we won't miss her. My oldest 
girl Sue's in the parlour. You remember Sue ? " 

They all went into the " parlour " that is, the 

[188] 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 

little first-floor reception room, which had been partly 
refurnished, or rather, dismantled, for the occasion. 
The bell rang. Frothingham chuckled again, as he 
saw, not butler nor manservant nor Senator, but a 
neatly dressed upstairs girl, without a cap, hasten to 
open the door. As he heard the rustle of skirts on the 
stairway leading to the sleeping rooms, he prudently 
strolled into the smoking room. 

When he went up to dress Hutt said to him : "Beg 
pardon, my lord, but my, it's queer, the dinner party 
they're 'avin hin the little back room." 

Frothingham went on shaving. Hutt took silence as 
permission to gossip. 

" They've sent hoff hall the servants, hexceptin' the 
maids, my lord. They've got hevery think on the 
table at once and they're waitin' on themselves." 

" Last night," said Frothingham, " you gave me a 
shirt with a spot on the collar. You're getting care 
less and impudent, Hutt." 

When he reached the parlour Mrs. Ballantyne and 
Yscbel were waiting Mrs. Ballantyne ablaze with 
rubies and diamonds, Ysobel slim and white and 
golden in an expensively plain white dress with golden 
spangles. Mrs. Ballantyne rang for a servant. 

[189] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" See that the doors leading into the hall downstairs 
are closed," she said. 

The servant returned and announced that the way 
was clear. The three descended the grand stairway 
rapidly, entered the carriage, and drove away " with 
two on the box." 

Presently Ysobel laughed. " You should have 
seen Susan, Lord Frothingham," she said. " She was 
rigged up in a black alpaca made with a basque." 

"Alpaca?" asked Frothingham. "What's that? 
And what's a basque? " 

" Alpaca is well, it's a stuff they wear out West 
in the country when they dress up. I suppose they 
wear it because the country is so dusty, and black 
alpaca catches and shows every bit of dust. And 
when you touch it it makes your teeth ache and the 
gooseflesh rise all over you. A basque it's a sort of 
waist, only it's little and tight and short on the hips and 
low in the collar, and it pulls under the arms I can't 
describe a basque. It has to be seen. My idea of 
future punishment is to dress for a thousand years in 
black alpaca made with a basque, and to have to rub 
your hands over it every five minutes." 

[190] 






XII 

POPE, as Mrs. Ballantyne explained to Froth- 
ingham, was an Eastern Senator a multi 
millionaire, sent to the Senate because he prac 
tically supported, that is, " financed," the machine of 
his party in his State, besides making large contribu 
tions to its national machine. " So the * Boss,' as they 
call the leader of the party in that State," she said, 
" sold Mr. Pope one of the Senatorships, keeping the 
other for himself. Mr. Ballantyne is the leader, the 
master, of his party in his State and, while he's too 
modest to tell it, is one of the masters of the party in 
the nation. He could be President if it weren't for 
the disgusting prejudice among the people against all 
who happen to have a little something " " a little 
something " being Mrs. Ballantyne's modest way of 
speaking of their millions. " But," she went on, " old 
Mr. Pope is a nonentity. He sits in his seat and votes 
the way they tell him to and is nice to everybody. 
Mr. Ballantyne suspects he's getting ready to buy the 
Vice-Presidency. 



" 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" How much does that cost ? " asked Frothingham. 

" It '11 cost him half a million if the chances of our 
party's carrying the election are good ; if they're not 
so good, perhaps he can get it for a quarter of a 
million. But they may not dare nominate him. 
They may have to take some popular poor man. The 
' many-headed monster,' as Shakespeare calls it, has 
been grumbling of late. We have a hard task in 
our country, Lord Frothingham, to keep the people 
with property in control." 

" It's the same all over the world nowadays, I 
fancy," said Frothingham. " One has to apologise 
for being well born or for living in decent style. The 
trouble with the lower classes at home is that they 
don't have to work hard enough. They used to be 
too busy to look about and make themselves and every 
body uncomfortable by doing what they call think- 
ing." 

" That's the trouble with our lower classes, too," 
answered Mrs. Ballantyne, in her grandest manner. 
" We educate too much." 

The carriage rushed into the brilliantly lighted 
entrance of Senator Pope's house. Frothingham saw 
Ysobel's face, saw that she was having a violent attack 

[192] 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

of silent laughter. And he understood why. " The 
young 'un has a sense of humour," he said to himself. 
" It's ridiculous for these beggars to pose and strut 
before they've had time to brush the dirt off their 
knees and hands." 

As they entered the drawing room Frothingham's 
attention riveted upon two gilt armchairs ensconced 
in a semicircle of palms and ferns. " For the Presi 
dent and his wife," said Ysobel. " They're dining 
here to-night, you know. This is the first President 
in a long time who has accepted invitations below the 
Cabinet circle. He comes to Senator Pope's because 
they're old friends. It's quite an innovation and has 
caused a great deal of scandal. But I don't blame 
him. Where's the use in being President if you can't 
do as you please? " 

Mrs. Pope, stout and red and obviously " flustered," 
came bustling up. After she had greeted them she 
said : " Lord Frothingham, you're to take my 
daughter Elsie in to dinner." Then to Mrs. Ballan- 
tyne : " Oh, my dear, why didn't you warn me of the 
quarrel between the Cabinet women and the Speaker's 
family. Whatever shall I do? Mrs. Secretary Man- 
don's here, and so are the Speaker and his wife." 

[193] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" I'd send Grace Mandon in ahead of the Speaker's 
wife, if I were you," replied Mrs. Ballantyne. " I've 
no patience with the pretensions of the House. It's 
distinctly the commonest branch of the Government, 
while the Cabinet is next to the President." 

" But," objected Mrs. Pope plaintively, " the 
Speaker is so influential and really fierce about 
precedence, and his wife has such a tongue and 
such a temper, and neither he nor she ever for 
gives." 

" Do as you like, of course," said Mrs. Ballantyne 
stiffly. Being of the Senate it exasperated her that 
the House should be placed ahead of it. 

Just then a murmur ran around the room " The 
President ! The President ! " Those who were 
seated rose, conversation stopped, and the orchestra 
began to play. " Bless my soul," muttered Frothing- 
ham, " they're playing ' God Save the King ' ! " 
And then he remembered that the Americans had, as he 
put it, " stolen our tune and set a lot of rot about 
themselves to it." The President and his wife entered, 
he frowning and red and intent upon the two gilt 
chairs. Mrs. Pope curtsied, her husband contracted 
his stiff old figure in a comical half -salaam. All bent 

[194] 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

their heads and a few of the young people, among 
them Ysobel, curtsied. 

" See him looking at those chairs ? " said she to 
Frothingham. 

Frothingham nodded. 

" He's awfully sour at the etiquette here," she went 
on. " I suppose he's afraid the country '11 find out 
about it and cut up rough. He's smashing right and 
left, and everyone's wondering when he'll throw out 
the gilt chairs." 

But his courage apparently failed him, for he and 
his wife advanced to the " thrones " and seated them 
selves. No one else sat, the men moving about to get 
the partners indicated on the little gilt-edged crested 
cards they had found in envelopes addressed to them 
and laid upon the tables in the coat-rooms. Frothing 
ham examined Elsie Pope and saw that she was small 
and slight, square in the shoulders, thin in the neck, 
her hair of an uncertain shade of brown, her eyes 
commonplace, her features irregular. " She. looks 
a good-tempered soul," he said to himself, searching 
resolutely for merits. And then he noted that her 
hands were red, and that she had flat, rather wide 

wrists. " A good, plain soul," he added. He sat 

[195] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

silent, waiting for her to begin to entertain him he 
hadn't got used to the American custom of the men 
entertaining the women ; and the New York and Bos 
ton women, acquainted with the British way, had 
humoured him. But he waited in vain. At last he 
stole a glance at her, and noted a gleam in the corner 
of her eye, the flutter of a humour-curve at the corner 
of her mouth. " A shrewd little thing, I suspect," he 
thought. And he said to her, " No really, I don't 
bite." 

Her eyes twinkled. " I was beginning to be afraid 
you didn't bark, either," she said. 

His expression retired behind his eyeglass. " Nor 
do I, unless I'm bid." 

" I like to be talked to I'd so much rather criti 
cise than be criticised." 

" What do you like to hear about ? " he asked. 

" About the man who's talking. It's the only sub 
ject he'll really put his heart into, isn't it? " 

Frothingham smiled faintly, as if greeting an old 
and not especially admired acquaintance. 

" I'm so disappointed," she said presently. " All 
winter I've had the same man take me in everywhere 
you know, we follow precedence very closely here in 

[196] 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

Washington. And, when I found I was to have a new 
man, I had such hopes. The other man and I had 
got bored to death with each other. And now 
you're threatening to be a failure ! " 

Frothingham did not like this it was pert for a 
woman to speak thus to him; he resented it as a man 
and he resented it as Lord Frothingham. " That's a 
jest, ain't it?" he drawled. "We English, you 
know, have a horribly defective sense of American 
humour." 

" No, it wasn't a jest," she replied. " It was a 
rudeness, and I beg your pardon. I thought to say 
something smart, and I missed. Let's change the 
subject. Do you see that intellectual-looking man 
with the beard on the other side of the table next to 
Ysobel Ballantyne?" 

"The surly chap?" 

" Yes and he's surly because mamma has made a 
dreadful mistake. She's put him two below the place 
his rank entitles him to. He'll act like a savage all 
evening." 

" Fancy ! What a small matter to fly into a rage 
over." 

" A small matter for a large man, but a large mat- 

[197] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

ter for a small man. Sometimes I think all men are 
small. They're much vainer than women ! " 

" Why do you say that? " 

" Because of what I've seen in Washington. They 
say the women started this craze for precedence. I 
don't know whether that's so or not. But I do know 
that in the three years I've been out I've found the 
men worse than the women. And those things look so 
much pettier in a man, too." 

" But I thought there wasn't any rank in this 
country." 

" So I thought I was educated in France. I be 
lieve in rank and all that it seems to me absurd to 
talk about equality. But I despise this silly squabble 
over little places that last only a few years at most. 
As Mr. Boughton was saying you know Mr. Bough- 
ton?" 

" You mean the Second Secretary at our Em 
bassy ? " 

" Yes. He said to me only last night : ' America 
has an aristocracy just as we have, but gets from it all 
the evils and none of the good, all the pettiness, none 
of the dignity and sense of responsibility.' ' 

" But they tell me it's different out West" 

[198] 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

61 1 don't know. I can only speak of the East 
especially of Washington. There isn't a capital in 
Europe or Asia, the diplomats say, with so elaborate 
a system of rank and precedence as we have. Why, 
do you know, it's so bad that the fifteen-hundred- 
dollar-a-year clerks and their families have a society 
of their own between the circles of those who get 
eighteen hundred and those who get twelve hundred. 
And they'd rather die than mix with those who get 
less than they do." 

"Really! Really, now!" 

" And anything like a good time is almost impos 
sible. It's precedence, precedence everywhere, always. 
You can't entertain informally." 

" It must be as if one were laced in a straight 
jacket." 

" I'm going abroad next year and am never coming 
back, if I can help it. I'm going where at least there's 
real rank to get excited about. I'll go with Ysobel 
and her mother unless Ysobel decides to marry on 
this side." 

Frothingham was internally agitated, but gave no 
sign of it. 

" She's marrying either Mr. Boughton or that 

[199] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

handsome Italian sitting next to Mrs. Ballantyne 
the Prince di Rontivogli." 

" Ah," said Frothingham. And to himself, " Just 
my rotten luck ! " 

" She makes no secret of it," continued Miss Pope, 
" so I'm not violating her confidence. She says she's 
determined to marry higher than her sister did. She 
likes Mr. Boughton better, though I should think 
she'd prefer the Prince his face is ideal, and such 
manners! But, while Mr. Boughton is his grand- 
uncle's heir and his granduncle is old and a widower 
still well, the dukedom might slip away from him. 
For instance, he might die before his granduncle." 

" That would be ghastly for her, wouldn't it, 
now? " said Frothingham. 

" It would kill poor Ysobel. She's so proud and 
ambitious ! And that's why she has an eye for the 
Prince he's of a frightfully old family, you know. 
One of his ancestors tried to poison Cesare Borgia 
and did succeed in getting himself poisoned or smoth 
ered or something thrilling. And they were an old, 
old family then. Oh, Ysobel is flying high. If her 
father would give her mother and her a free hand, I 
think she'd land a prince of some royal family." 

[200] 




7 



Cosimo, Prince di Rontivogli 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

Behind his mask Frothingham was hastily reform 
ing his line of battle. The Ballantyne fortune was 
apparently inaccessible to an attack from a mere 
Earl; but he could keep it under surveillance while 
employing his main force against the Pope citadel, 
which seemed to be inviting attack. He did not fancy 
Miss Pope she was too patently conscious of her 
cleverness and it was of a kind that did not attract him, 
was not what he regarded as feminine; nor was she 
physically up to his standard for his Countess-to-be. 
But she had the essential ; and he had been in Amer 
ica nearly five months and had had two, practically 
three, failures. 

For the rest of his two weeks at the Ballantynes' he 
spent as much time as he courteously could with Miss 
Pope. And when he joined Joe Wallingford at the 
New Willard, sharing his suite and paying less than 
a third of the expenses he was with her a large part 
of each day, driving with her, riding with her, lunch 
ing where she lunched, dining where she dined, danc 
ing with her, walking with her, sending her flowers. 
In Boston and New York he had been somewhat hin 
dered by the chaperon system, careless though it was. 
Here chaperoning was the flimsiest of farces, and he 

[201 ] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

and Elsie were together almost as freely as if she were 
a man. 

In his fourth week in Washington he called one 
afternoon to keep an engagement to walk with her at 
half -past four. She had not returned from a girl's 
luncheon to which she had gone. At ten minutes past 
five she came, full of apology for her delay " I 
really couldn't leave. The lunch was over before 
three o'clock, but the Secretary of State's daughter 
was enjoying herself and, though we were all furious 
with her, as we had other engagements, she wouldn't 
leave; and, of course, none of us could leave until she 
left. When she did finally take herself away the Sec 
retary of the Treasury's daughter had given up her 
engagement and had settled herself for the rest of the 
afternoon. She didn't leave until ten minutes ago. 
So there we were, penned in and forced to stay." 

" Precedence again ? " said Frothingham. 

" Precedence. It's outrageous that those two girls 
should show so little consideration." 

" I've known the same sort of thing to happen at 
home," Frothingham assured her. " Once when I'd 
gone to a house only for dinner I had to stay until 
half -past four in the morning. The Prince of Wales 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

was there, and he was just then mad about ' bridge. 5 
He insisted on playing and playing. Several of us 
were asleep in the next room the hostess was nodding 
over her cards." 

" But he must have seen," said Elsie. " Why 
didn't he take the hint? " 

" Well, you see, the poor chap led such a deadly 
dull life in those days. When he found himself hav 
ing a bit of fun he didn't care a rap what it cost 
anyone else. It's a mistake to bother with other 
people's feelings, don't you think?' 1 

" It only makes them supersensitive and hard to get 
on with," replied Elsie. " I used to be considerate. 
Now I'm considerate only when it's positively rude 
not to be. Besides, I must expect to buy my way 
through the world. I never had any friends though 
I used to think I had, when I was a fool and didn't 
know that just the sight of wealth makes human 
beings tie up their good instincts and turn loose the 
worst there is in them. Even when rich people are 
friendly with each other it's usually in the hope of 
getting some sordid advantage." 

" Do you apply that to yourself or only to 
others ? " 

[203] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" It applies to me it has applied to me ever since 
I found what sort of a world I was living in." 

" I don't believe it, my dear girl," drawled Froth- 
ingham, the more convincingly for the lack of energy 
in his tone. And he gave her a quick, queer look 
through his eyeglass and was stolid again. 

She coloured just a little. " Oh, I suppose I'd be as 
big a goose as ever if I should fall in love again." 
"Again?" 

She laughed. " I've been in love four times in the 
last four years, and almost in love three times more. 
That's a poor record for a Washington girl there 
are so many temptations, with all these fascinating 
foreigners streaming through. But I'm not counting 
the times I've been made love to in half a dozen modern 
languages I and my father's money." 

" Possibly you were unjust to some of the men 
who've said they admired you. They may not have 
attached so much importance to your father's money 
as you do." 

The thrust tickled her vanity nature had given 
her an over-measure of vanity to compensate for her 
under-measure of charm. She looked pleased, though 

she said : " I don't deceive myself as to myself." 

[204] 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

" A man might have been attracted to you because 
you had money," continued Frothingham dispassion 
ately, " and might have stayed on for your own 
sake." 

Elsie lifted her eyebrows. " Perhaps," she said. 
" I'll admit it's possible." 

" And, honestly now, do you pretend that you'd 
marry a man who had nothing but love to offer you? 
What has attracted you in the men you thought well 
of? You say there have been four or, rather, four 
and three halves. Has any one of 'em been a poor 
devil of a nobody ? " 

Elsie hesitated ; in the twilight he saw from the cor 
ner of his eye that her upper lip was trembling. 
They were walking near the tall, white, glistening 
monument, in the quiet street that skirts the grounds 
of the White House. " One," she said, at last, in a 
low voice. " I didn't care especially for him. But 
sometimes I think he really did care for me he was a 
wild, sensitive creature." She looked at Frothingham 
and smiled. " And when I get in my black moods I'm 
half sorry I sent him away." 

"But you did send him away, didn't you?' 5 
Frothingham's expression and tone were satirical, yet 

[205] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

sympathetic, too. " And you complain of men for 
being precisely as you are ! " 

" I hadn't thought of that," she admitted. 

" I take it for granted the girl who consents to 
marry me will consent because she wishes to be a 
Countess." He drew closer to her she looked her 
best in twilight hours, and he succeeded in putting as 
much tenderness into his voice as was necessary to 
enable so drawling and indifferent a person to create 
an impression of sentiment. " If I were walking here 
with the girl I wished to win, I'd say nothing of sen 
timent. I'd simply trust to the only thing I have that 
could possibly induce her to listen to me." 

She glanced shyly up at him he thought her 
almost pretty. 

" Do you think that would win her? " he asked in a 
low tone. 

" I don't know," she replied slowly. Her com 
monplace voice had also been touched with the magic 
that had transformed her face. 

" Won't you think of it? " 

" If you wish," she murmured. 

They went on in silence a few minutes, then she 
spoke in an attempt at her usual voice : " But we 

[206] 



CHAPTER TWELVE 

must turn back. I'll have just time to dress for 
dinner." 

And he decided that he would say no more on the 
principal subject for several days. He thought he 
understood how to deal with American girls rather 
better now. " I'll give her a chance to walk round the 
trap," he thought. And then he reminded himself 
that it was hardly a trap wasn't she getting the 
better of the bargain ? " She's indulging in a luxury, 
while I'm after a desperate necessary. And, by Jove, 
it won't be easy not to make a face, if I get it with 
her." 



[207] 



XIII 

SO confident was he and so out of conceit 
with his impending success that he took a 
day's vacation, going up to New York with 
Wallingford to attend a ball for which Longview had 
hired half of Sherry's, and otherwise to amuse himself. 
The revisiting of the scene of his early failure 
depressed him; he lost nearly a thousand dollars at 
Canfield's ; he borrowed a thousand from Wallingford ; 
he returned to Washington in the depths of the blues. 
And he found the posture of his affairs completely 
changed. 

On the very day he gave Elsie the chance to become 
a Countess, Prince Rontivogli had discovered that 
Ysobel Ballantyne had decided that she was suffi 
ciently in love with Boughton to take the risk of his 
not succeeding to the title. Rontivogli was not the 
man to waste time on impossibilities indeed, he had 
no time to waste. He turned away from the beautiful 
Miss Ballantyne instantly, and with all the ardour of 

[208] 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

his fiery Southern nature laid siege to Elsie Pope. 
And, while Elsie was somewhat reserved in her wel 
come, he found an ally in her father, who thought it 
would sound extremely well to be able to say, " My 
daughter, the Princess." 

Rontivogli was tall, had a clear, pallid skin, elo 
quent black eyes, the brow and nose and chin of an 
Italian patrician, the manners and speech of chival 
rous adoration for women which disguise profound 
contempt for their intelligence. 

When Frothingham, just returned from New York, 
and still enshrouded in surly gloom, drove up to Pope's 
door, he saw Rontivogli's cabriolet standing a few 
yards down the drive. Rontivogli was conducting 
himself in Washington as if he were rich, so plausibly 
that only the foreign element was without doubts as 
to the object of his visit to America. At sight of this 
trap Frothingham scowled. "What's that Italian 
doing here ? " he said to himself, and his fear answered 
the question. When they came face to face in the 
parlour Elsie greatly enjoyed it. The Italian was 
smooth and urbane ; Frothingham, careless of the feel 
ings of a man he despised and thoroughly English in 
his indifference to the demands of courtesy to Elsie, 

[209] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

was almost uncivil. He and Elsie talked for a few min 
utes, then she drew Rontivogli into the conversation. 
The Prince answered in French, and French became 
the language. Frothingham spoke it far worse than 
Rontivogli spoke English, so he was practically ex 
cluded. He sat dumb and stolid, wondering why " the 
brute hasn't the decency to take himself off when I 
came last." 

But " the brute " drew Elsie into a lively discussion 
on a book he had sent her and, because there was no 
break in the argument, was seemingly not impolite in 
lingering. It was almost an hour before he rose, 
kissed her hand, gave her an adoring look, said 
" A bientot," and departed. But, although he was 
physically gone, he was actually still there if any 
thing Frothingham was more acutely conscious of him. 

" I don't believe Miss Ballantyne could stand that 
fellow," he said, aware of his tactlessness, but too 
angry to care. " I think all those Latins unendur 
able. They're a snaky lot and their manners suggest 
waiters and valets." 

Elsie flushed and slightly drew in the corners of her 
mouth, a sure sign that her temper had been roused in 
the worst way through wounded vanity. " Oh, you 

[210] 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

British are so insular," she replied, " and so self- 
satisfied. Here in Washington we learn to appreciate 
all kinds of foreigners and to make allowances even for 
Englishmen " that last with a mere veneer of good 
nature. " I think Rontivogli charming. He's so in 
telligent, and has so much temperament." 

Frothingham recovered his self-control in presence 
of obvious danger. He looked calmly at her through 
his eyeglass. " Dare say you're right," he drawled. 
" Rontivogli's a decent enough chap, so far as I know, 
and for an Italian devilish clean-looking." 

Elsie had no intention of driving him off; in spite 
of the Italian's superiority in title and " tempera 
ment," she preferred the Englishman she knew him 
better and in a more candid way. She became concili 
atory, and they were soon amicable again. But Froth 
ingham saw that his vacation had been perilously 
costly, that he must work to reinstate himself, that it 
was not a wise moment for reopening the matter of 
the engagement which only four days ago seemed all 
but settled. He found that Elsie was dining at the 
Italian Embassy, to go afterwards to a ball at the 
Vice-President's to which he was invited. He ar 
ranged to see her there and left. 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Boughton and he dined together at the Metropol 
itan Club. While they were having a before-dinner 
cocktail Boughton told him, in confidence, that he was 
engaged to Ysobel Ballantyne. " So that's why 
I find Rontivogli poaching/' thought Frothing- 
ham. And he said presently : " What do you know 
about that chap Rontivogli? He looks a queer 



>un." 



" Not a thing," replied Boughton. " I had all our 
fellows writing over to the other side, following him 
up. The answers thus far show nothing downright 
shady. He's down to a box of a house and a few 
acres just north of Milan. And that's swamped in 
mortgages. No one knows how he raised the wind for 
this trip. He seems to have a good bit of cash, doesn't 
he?" 

" I'm particularly interested in knowing about 
him," continued Frothingham. " He's developed an 
astonishing interest in a girl friend of mine. I'd hate 
to see her taken in by a scamp. And I'm sure he's 
that." 

" Oh," said Boughton. " Miss Pope? " 

" Yes," replied Frothingham. " And she thinks 
well of him." 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

" I'll be glad to help you, old man. I sha'n't drop 
my inquiry as I'd intended." 

" Thanks," said Frothingham. And they talked of 
other matters. 

When he looked Elsie up at the Vice-President's 
that night for the first of the dances she had prom 
ised him, he found her on a rustic bench in the garden, 
almost screened from observation, Rontivogli beside 
her. The Italian's classic face was aglow, and Froth 
ingham saw that he had checked a torrent of enam 
oured eloquence. He saw, also, that Elsie was not 
pleased by the interruption. However, she left Ronti 
vogli and went with him. As they entered the ball 
room he said : " I don't care for this music, do you ? 
Let's sit it out. Only " he gave her a look of quiet 
raillery " you must engage not to go back to your 
volcano until my dance is over." 

" Volcano ? ' : A smile of pleased vanity strayed 
into her eyes and out again. 

" Yes your Vesuvius, whose eruption I was brute 
enough to interrupt. Beastly of me, wasn't it ? " 

" Rontivogli seems to annoy you a great deal." 

" He? Not in the least." And his tranquil eye 
glass affirmed his falsehood. " But I assure you he'll 

[213] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

spout all the fiercer for the interruption. I know 
those Southern chaps. I don't wonder we stand no 
show against 'em. I tossed the sponge as soon as I 
saw what he was about." 

They were sitting on the stairs now and could talk 
without being overheard. " Possibly you may remem 
ber," he went on, " I said something that was rather 
important to me last Thursday, down near the mon 
ument at half-past six precisely, to be exact I 
heard a clock strike as I finished. Do you recall it? 5! 

Elsie was puzzled by his light, satirical tone. 
" Yes," she said. " I do vaguely recall that you said 
something vague." 

" I didn't mean to be vague. But that doesn't 
matter now. I see there's no chance for me at pres 
ent. And I wished to say to you that at least I shan't 
give up our delightful friendship. No matter what 
you do with your Italian, you'll feel that I'm your 
friend, won't you ? ' : Frothingham said it as if he 
meant it ; and to a considerable extent he did mean it 
chagrined though he was, he fancied her so little 
in the role he had invited her to play that his prospec 
tive defeat found him not utterly despondent. He 
had reasoned out his course carefully and had come 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

to the conclusion that his chance lay in posing as 
her disinterested friend. Perhaps she would confide 
in him, would give him the opportunity to advise and 
criticise an admirable position from which to under 
mine and destroy his rival. 

As Elsie had not fully made up her mind to Ronti- 
vogli, and as she saw nothing but advantage to her in 
keeping Frothingham " on the string," she responded 
to his frank and manly appeal. And she believed 
what he said, as she believed pretty much everything 
men told her ; and she liked him better than ever. " If 
he were only a prince," she said to herself regretfully, 
" and had temperament." 

That same night she accepted Rontivogli; when 
Frothingham came to lunch the next day she told 
him. " Well," he drawled, " I can't say I'm shouting 
glad. But I can honestly congratulate him. And 
I hope you won't regret." 

" We're not announcing the engagement for several 
days," she said. 

" That's good. You don't mind my saying you 
know we've agreed to be friends but I think you 
your father ought to make careful inquiry about him. 
I'm sure everything's all right, but it's prudent." 

[215] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Elsie smiled. " Oh, we have made inquiries," she 
said. " Besides, anyone can see what sort of man he 
is anyone but a prejudiced Englishman." 

"I don't deny prejudice. Is it surprising?' 1 
And he gave her a long look that might have meant 
anything or nothing. " But one can't be too care 
ful about foreigners." 

" Foreigners ! " Elsie laughed with good-hu 
moured mockery. " And what are you? ' 

" Why, an Englishman. We don't count as for 
eigners here." 

" No but as as " Elsie had " poor relations " 
on the tip of her tactless tongue, but she caught it 
and changed it to " step-brothers." And she went 
on, " Which is much more suspicious." 

Frothingham found encouragement in her willing 
ness to discuss her fiance with him it showed plainly 
how foreign she felt to Rontivogli, how friendly to 
him. A few afternoons later it was the day after 
the dinner at which her engagement was formally 
announced she went with Frothingham to call on 
" Madame Almansa " in her surroundings of Spartan 
simplicity. They found Ysobel and Boughton there 
also, and when Ysobel took Frothingham and Bough- 

[216] 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

ton into the small library adjoining the smaller draw 
ing room to look at some old prints " Sue " had 
brought with her from Spain, Elsie talked with 
"Sue " of the engagement. 

Madame Almansa was chary of congratulations, 
full of cautionings and doubts. " I don't wish to 
cast a shadow on your happiness, dear for you are 
happy, aren't you? 5: 

" Indeed I am," replied Elsie convincingly Ron- 
tivogli was an ideal lover ; he could even sing his mad 
passion in a voice that was well-trained and thril 
ling. 

" But you know my sad experience." Madame 
Almansa sighed like Medea thinking on the treachery 
of Jason. Her glance fell upon the engagement ring. 
She took Elsie's hand. " How beautiful ! " she ex 
claimed. " I love emeralds and that is a magnificent 
one. And only a tiny flaw." 

Elsie coloured with annoyance. " I think you are 
mistaken," she said. " It's a perfect stone." 

" Certainly it is perfect, dear," replied Madame 
Almansa in her superior, informative tone. " Perfect 
for an emerald. But, you know, there are no emeralds 
of size anywhere in the world that haven't flaws. At 

[217] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

least, I never heard of one. Emeralds are valuable in 
spite of their flaws." 

Elsie coloured again, this time with annoyance at 
having exposed her ignorance. 

" A superb setting," continued Madame Almansa. 
" It must be very, very old. I love that kind of set 
ting beautifully engraved, dull gold. The only ob 
jection is that it's the best kind for deceiving one as 
to genuineness, isn't it? One could not tell whether 
that stone was genuine or imitation. You know, they 
make such wonderful imitations. When I was going 
out in the world I had all my best jewels reproduced 
in imitation stuff, and usually I wore the imitation. 
One felt so much safer." 

Elsie drew her hand away, smiling sweetly. She 
was inwardly raging "The cat!" she said to her 
self. " Clawing me viciously, and purring as if she 
hadn't a claw." 

She left in a few minutes, Rontivogli calling for 
her. To relieve her feelings, and also because she was 
in the habit of saying nearly everything that came 
into her head, she told him what Madame Almansa 
had said, making vigorous comments as she related. 

Rontivogli, half turned toward her as they sat side 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

by side in her victoria, regarded her with his luminous 
smile. " That is the way of the world, ma belle et 
bonne" he said in his gentlest manner. " It is diffi 
cult to harden one's self to such wickedness. But 
there is also much that is beautiful and fine. And we 
you and I will shut everything else out of our 
lives, will we not? " 

He made her feel unworthy, almost " common," 
when he talked in that fashion she realised painfully 
that she was sadly lacking in " temperament," and 
she dreaded that he might find her out. 

" The ring," he went on, " has been in the family 
for eight hundred years perhaps longer. It is un 
changed. No question of its genuineness has ever 
been raised, so far as I know. We are not so suspi 
cious as some of you Americans." 

" She didn't question it's genuineness," replied 
Elsie. " She simply wished to make me uncomfortable 
with a malicious insinuation. Or, maybe, she was 
just talking. It was silly of me to tell you." 

He protested that he was not disturbed. But he 
seemed unable long to keep off the subject, returning 
to it as the cleverest habitual liar will fatuously return 
to his unquestioned lie to weaken it by trying further 

[219] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

to bolster it up. So persistent was he that he at last 
made her uneasy not that she suspected him, or was 
conscious of having been disturbed by his unnecessary 
reassurances. The next morning she went down to a 
jeweller's in Pennsylvania Avenue she had other 
business there and thought it her sole object in 
going, forgetting that she had intended to send her 
mother. She discussed several proposed purchases 
with the manager, whom she knew well. As she talked 
she had her elbows on a show case, and her ungloved 
hands clasped so that the ring was in full view 
curiously, it was not on the engagement finger. He 
noted it, thought she wished him to speak of it, be 
cause as she exhibited it she often glanced at it. 

" Would you mind letting me look at that beauti 
ful ring? " he asked. 

" Certainly." She drew it off with some nerv 
ousness, gave it to him, and, as he looked, watched 
him and it alternately with vague anxiety. 

" A very old, a very quaint setting," he said, " and 
a fine " 

He paused ; her mouth was dry and her skin hot. 

" A fine stone a beautiful stone," he continued. 
" One of the finest I ever saw. The flaw is slight." 

[220] 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

Elsie drew a long breath she felt an unaccount 
able sense of relief. The manager took his glass, went 
to the window, and studied the stone and the setting. 
" I'm glad to hear you say the stone's genuine," said 
she, now admitting to herself that Madame Alman- 
sa's poison had been lurking far down in her mind. 
" Someone doubted it, and as it was important to me 
to know, I intended to ask you." 

" In that case," said the manager, " I feel it's my 
duty to tell you the stone's an imitation." 

Elsie grew rigid and cold from amazement and 
rising horror. 

" A good imitation," continued the manager, intent 
upon the stone, " but unquestionably not genuine. 
The setting makes it additionally deceptive." 

" How much is the ring worth? " she asked, gath 
ering herself together heroically. 

" Well the stone, of course, is worthless a few 
dollars. But the setting is old and quite beautiful. 
It might bring a hundred or so from a collector if it 
hit his fancy and had an authentic history. If the 
stone were genuine, the ring would be worth about 
five thousand, I should say, as a rough guess." 

" Fortunately, I haven't bought it yet," she said 

] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

carelessly. And she took it from him and put it in 
her pocketbook. " The stone seems to have been un 
disturbed in that setting for a long time," she added, 
as she closed the pocketbook. 

" Oh, there's no telling as to that. It was manu 
factured by the newest process. It has been only 
two or three years, I believe, since they learned to 
put in the flaws so cleverly. They make them very 
well in New York now." 

" Thank you so much, Mr. Macready," said Elsie. 
" You won't say anything about it, will you? " 

" You needn't have asked that, Miss Pope," an 
swered Macready with a reproachful smile. 

" Thank you again," she said. It was not until she 
was driving away, that her cheeks began to burn 
fiercely and the hot tears of shame and anger to scald 
her eyes. 



XIV 

SHE went straight to her father with the whole 
story. He listened sitting at his desk, balancing 
a broad ivory paper-cutter on his forefinger. She 
felt much better when she had finished; her anger 
seemed to have been carried off in her words. 

After a long silence her father said : " What do you 
wish to do? " 

She looked foolish. " I don't know, papa," she 
said feebly. " What do you think we ought to do? ' ! 

" He may have been honestly deceived." 

" But Mr. Macready said " 

" That was merely his offhand opinion," he inter 
rupted. " They've been making imitation jewels of 
all kinds for years. I know the Italians have long 
been clever at it." 

Elsie was silent. She could not help remembering 
Rontivogli's stupid, over-crafty reiterations. She 
knew that he knew. 

" And," continued her father, examining the paper- 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

cutter critically, " there isn't the slightest doubt as to 
the genuineness of Prince Rontivogli himself." 

Another long silence during which neither father 
nor daughter showed the slightest curiosity as to what 
thoughts the other's face might be revealing. 

" Even if he did wilfully deceive in this not vitally 
important matter," continued the aspirant for a 
princess-daughter, " I can imagine many extenuating 
circumstances. It isn't the young man's fault that 
he's poor. It isn't unnatural that he shouldn't wish 
to expose his poverty especially if he " the Sena 
tor's face took on a smile of fatherly benevolence 
" happened to care for the young lady. * All's fair 
in love and war,' you know. And we must not judge 
harshly those who have less than we have. Still - " 

Rontivogli's " temperament " was vigorously rein 
forcing his title in repairing the havoc the false jewel 
had played with him in Elsie's mind. He had been 
a convincing lover ; Elsie had too much vanity and too 
much desire to be loved madly not to be a credulous 
young woman. " I don't know what to do, papa," 
she said in the tone that proclaims a decision reached 
and a wish for support in it. 

Perhaps," replied the Senator slowly, the person- 



" 




7 can imagine many extenuating circumstances' 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

ification of forgiving charity, " it might be best to 
let the matter drop." 

" But I simply can't wear the ring ! I'd feel 
such a fraud, and I'd soon be disliking him, though 
this may not be at all his fault. Besides, someone 
might " 

" That could be easily arranged." Her father's 
eyes twinkled he was preparing to treat the discov 
ered deception as a little private joke on the prince 
between his daughter and himself. " We can get 
Tiffany to set an emerald in the ring. No one will 
know. And some day you can tease him about it. If 
he is innocent it would mortify him to learn the truth 
now, wouldn't it ? " 

Elsie smiled somewhat cheerfully. She was trying 
hard to make herself doubt the prince's guilty knowl 
edge. " It must be done right away," she said. 

She wore her gloves that afternoon. But Ronti- 
vogli, with nerves like a sensitive plant's leaves, felt 
a change in her, hard though she tried to seem un 
changed. In the clear light of hind-sight he had 
been cursing himself for saying so much to her of 
Madame Almansa's insinuations ; and at first he feared 
that by his blundering he had roused suspicion in her. 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

But she showed that she was still in the mood to marry 
him, and the negotiations for settlements went 
smoothly on between Senator Pope's lawyer and the 
attorney to the Italian Embassy, whom he had en- 
aged to represent him. He dismissed his fear as a 
wild imagining of guilt and set himself to remove the 
coolness just under Elsie's surface of warmth by lav 
ishing his " temperament " upon her. And he was re 
warded with swift success. A flaw in such a lover was 
as inconsequential as a flaw in an emerald and was 
it not as much a matter of course? 

Toward the end of the week she went with her father 
to New York, and in two days Tiffany changed the 
setting for a consideration of four thousand eight 
hundred dollars. She returned fully restored but 
she kept the false stone, hid it far back in the bottom 
of her jewel-safe. 

The shock and its after-effects were soon over. She 
was a little astonished that she, so used to the quaint 
ways of foreigners, should have attached importance 
to the quaintness of this foreigner a lover who was 
fiery and infatuated, a lover who sang, a lover who was 
a Prince of a " house " that ruled and plotted and 
patronised the arts when Europe beyond the Alps was 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

a savage wilderness. Rontivogli had not been study 
ing women for twenty years or ever since he was 
eighteen aided by a classic face, a classic figure, a 
classic name, and classic recklessness, without learn 
ing thoroughly the business he was now follow 
ing. 

Frothingham had ceased to hope, and, for lack of 
any other opening, was arranging to go to Chicago, 
there to visit his steamer friend Barney, whom he had 
not permitted to forget him Barney had a marriage 
able daughter and was rated at eleven millions; also, 
Chicago was reputed to be a promising field for titled 
foreigners. He felt that he was neglecting business 
in lingering at Washington. He saw no signs, heard 
no news, of available rich girls or rich men's daugh 
ters. Half a dozen questions about any girl and he 
would get an answer that would force him to strike 
her from his list the father was opposed to large 
settlements ; the family was opposed to international 
marriages; the family's social ambitions were of the 
new cis- Atlantic kind; the daughter was already 
engaged; the mother's aim was for princely or ducal 
rank. And he was kept in low spirits by the spectacle 
of the triumphant Rontivogli and was exasperated by 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

Elsie's treating him as an object of pity, a rejected 
and inconsolable lover. 

As he sat alone in a corner of the club, staring 
with grim satire into the ugly face of his affairs, upon 
him intruded a man whom he had often described as 
the most viciously tiresome person he had ever met 
Count Eitel zu Blickenstern. He disliked Blicken- 
stern because he was a German ; he avoided him because 
he was dull, because he was a chronic and ingenious 
borrower of small sums of money, and because every 
remark that seemed to him to have been intended hu 
mourously was hailed by him with a loud, mirthless 
laugh the laugh of those who have no notion of wit 
or humour and fear their deformity will be discovered. 

Frothingham had first met Blickenstern in the 
Riviera, where he was living on the last lees of toler 
ance. He would have cut him when he ran across him 
in New York had he not found him in high favour 
with the women who dominated fashionable society. 
They admitted Blickenstern as they admitted almost 
any of the few available men with no occupation but 
idleness. They needed escorts, attendants, fetch-and- 
carry men ; Blickenstern was idle and willing, was big 
and always well dressed, was useful to do the hard 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

work of arranging an entertainment once it had been 
planned. And his noisy convulsions flattered those 
unaccustomed to having their jokes appreciated. 

Frothingham's cold stare did not disturb Blicken- 
stern, born insensible to mental temperatures. He 
posed for a moment to give Frothingham a chance to 
admire his fashionable array of new light grey frock 
suit, white spats, orchid in buttonhole, and dark red 
tie; then he dropped upon the lounge with the good- 
natured, slightly condescending greeting he gave men 
when he had money in his pockets. He explained 
that he had come the night before in a private car with 
a party of distinguished New Yorkers who had to 
testify before a Senate committee. " And, do you 
know," said he his English was idiomatic American 
and almost without accent, " the first person I ran into 
was that Italian scalawag, Rontivogli." 

Frothingham's eyeglass glistened; otherwise he did 
not change expression. " D' you know 'im? ' : he 
asked languidly. " What '11 you drink? " 

" Brandy and soda," replied Blickenstern. " Know 
'im? Rather! I'm responsible for him in this coun 
try. He landed without a friend and the people he 
had letters to shut the door in his face they don't 

[229] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

fancy Italians in New York. I introduced him round 
and got him in everywhere. And, by gad, he not only 
refused to pay a note he gave me, but when I met him 
here last night he stared at me as if he'd never seen me 
before." 

"Rough, wasn't it?" 

Blickenstern laughed cheerfully, without a trace of 
irritation. Insults did not disturb him ; he had killed 
one man and had wounded several in duels, but he 
fought only because it was the " proper thing for a 
gentleman " and respect-inspiring in certain coun 
tries and in certain circumstances. " I'm off for home 
next week," he said, " never to return to this bounder- 
land. I think, just before I go, I'll get the face value 
of that note and interest and not in money, either." 

Blickenstern had several drinks " on " Fro thing- 
ham half a dozen in as rapid succession as Frothing- 
ham could induce. But he refused to disclose his pro 
posed revenge, only chuckled, " I'll bet the dago '11 
leave on the first steamer after I sail." 

Frothingham got Boughton to attempt Blicken 
stern, and Boughton not only tried it himself, but 
also put at work a friend of his in the German Em 
bassy. Blickenstern, however, would not go beyond 




77Z give the guinea one more chance' 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

wagging his big blond head and saying, " Wait ! I 
don't want to spoil the fun." The military attache at 
the German Embassy was with him when he met Ron- 
tivogli again. " I'll give the guinea one more chance," 
said he, overflowing with good-nature as always when 
he had drunk to excess. It was the office of the Shore- 
ham, and Rontivogli was on his way out ; Blickenstern 
bore down upon him, caught him by the lapel. 

" I'm giving you your last chance, Cosimo," he 
said. " You'd better pay up." 

" If you don't take your hands off" me," exclaimed 
Rontivogli in French, " I'll have you put into the 
street." The look in his black eyes suggested the glit 
ter of a stiletto. 

Blickenstern shook him gently. " If you don't pay 
that note," he replied with unruffled good nature, " I'll 
publish it and the contract also. I'm leaving the coun 
try, and don't care what they think of me here. But 
you I hear you're about to marry ? " 

Rontivogli grew yellow under the bronze of his 
clear, pale skin. " I tell you, I can't pay the note. 
You know it. You drove me out of New York with 
your dogging and dunning me. In a few weeks I can 
pay, and will." 

[231] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" Yes when you're married." Blickenstern 
laughed loudly and not hollowly here was a joke he 
could see. " What do you think I am an imbecile ? 
Don't I know that as soon as you're married you can 
snap your fingers and will ? " 

Rontivogli disengaged himself and readjusted his 
close-fitting coat. " I'm certain you will not lay your 
self liable to arrest for blackmail," he said with calm 
contempt, and went on to his carriage. 

Blickenstern looked after him, nodding and laugh 
ing. " Just wait ! " he said, addressing his fellow- 
German, and including the curious loungers in the 
office. 

Frothingham searched for Blickenstern he had a 
vague idea of taking him to call at the Popes'. But he 
could not find him. He did see Rontivogli, however 
one glance was enough to tell him that Blick- 
enstern's threats had devoured his high spirits and 
were eating into his courage. He waited impatiently 
for the explosion a five-days' wait, for it did not 
come until the following Tuesday. That morning, 
as Hutt went out of his bedroom after fixing his bath, 
Joe Wallingford called from their common sitting 
room: 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

" You're awake, aren't you? ' ! 

" Almost," answered Frothingham. 

" Then just read that." He flung a newspaper 
through the crack in Frothingham's door onto his 
bed. 

Frothingham took the paper and instantly caught 
the names of Rontivogli and Blickenstern in the larg 
est headlines. He began eagerly upon a three-column 
article, the most of it under a New York date line. 

" Ain't that cruel? " caUed Wallingford. " Ain't 
it a soaker ? " 

" Um," replied Frothingham, too busy to pause. 

It was an account of a suit brought by Blicken 
stern against Rontivogli to collect a note for twenty- 
five hundred dollars. The " sensation " lay in a docu 
ment which Blickenstern had attached to the note and 
had filed with the papers in the suit a contract, read 
ing: 

I, Cosimo di Rontivogli, hereby agree to pay Count Eitel zu 
Blickenstern twenty-five hundred dollars as soon as he has intro 
duced me to the persons whose names are written upon the back 
of this contract in my handwriting. And I further agree to pay 
him an additional twenty-five hundred dollars within one month 
after I become engaged to an American lady, whether or not I 
am introduced to her by him. And I further agree to pay him 
an additional ten thousand dollars within three months after my 

[233] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

marriage with an American lady, whether or not he introduced 
me to her. 

(Signed) COSIMO DI RONTIVOGLI. 



This contract, the newspaper said, was in Ronti- 
vogli's autograph, and was witnessed by two clerks at 
the Holland House ; on the back of the contract, and 
also in Rontivogli's autograph, were the names of 
fifteen fashionable and rich New York women. Froth- 
ingham glanced at the names he knew the bearers of 
most of them and hastened on into Blickenstern's 
interview. " In Europe," he had said to the reporter, 
" I should call the fellow out and kill him. Here, 
where the duel does not exist, I must take the only re 
dress open to me for his betrayal of my friendship. 
I asked him to pay only the note. In fact he owes me 
five thousand, as he is now engaged to a Washington 
heiress. He is a black rascal. If you will send to 
Milan you can get a fine tale of how he happened to 
come to your country. I owe all my American friends 
an apology for introducing him. I confess with 
shame that but for me he would have known no one." 

The article went on with an account of Rontivogli's 
engagement to " Miss Elsie Pope, one of the best 
known young women in Washington, Philadelphia, 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

and New York society, the only daughter of Senator 
John C. Pope, reputed to be the third richest man in 
the Millionaires' Club, as the Senate is called." Then 
followed Rontivogli's sweeping denial, and his denun 
ciation of the Prussian as a " blackmailer," a " notori 
ous card-sharp," a " thorough scoundrel." 

When Frothingham finished he said, " Gad, what 
a facer for Miss Pope ! " 

" Isn't it, though? " replied Wallingford. " And 
for her father. I always blame the fathers." 

" But I thought it was the mothers who hankered 
after European marriages," said Frothingham. 

" That's what is usually said," Wallingford an 
swered, " because only the mothers appear in the pub 
lic part of the business. But who gives up the money 
for the settlements ? The women ain't a nose ahead of 
the men in the race of snobbishness. Poor little Elsie 
Pope! This ought to be a lesson to our girls 
against " 

He paused abrubtly and reddened, though Froth 
ingham could not see him. " I almost forgot that 
Frothingham's one of 'em," he said to himself. 

Frothingham was grinning in the seclusion of his 

bedroom. " I should say so ! " he exclaimed in his 

[235] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

drawling, satirical voice. " Wonder what the Milan 
yarn is ? >! 

He learned in a few hours, for the Washington 
afternoon papers had a long Associated Press despatch 
from Milan. Rontivogli, heavily in debt and ruined, 
had been backed by a syndicate of his creditors for an 
American tour in search of an heiress. They had 
risked in the venture forty thousand lire and, within a 
month, an additional twenty thousand. They re 
garded it as a by no means desperate investment for 
the recovery of the very large sum which Rontivogli 
had got out of them before they discovered his finan 
cial plight certainly with such a title and so much 
personal beauty and charm he could win the daugh 
ter of one of the multitude of rich men among those 
title-crazy American vulgarians. The Milan despatch 
set forth that the correspondent had had no difficulty 
in getting the facts, as " everyone here knows the 
story. The formation of such syndicates is said to 
be common in England, France, Germany, Austria, 
and Italy, and many of them have been successful." 

" Poor Frothingham ! " Wallingford thought as he 
read. " This is bad for his business. I fancy it '11 be 
many a day before I see my thousand again." And 

[236] 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

then he delicately gave Frothingham a hint that if he 
needed another thousand he could have it. But Froth 
ingham didn't need it just then and, it should be set 
down to his credit, he would have hesitated long before 
taking it, had he needed it. Wallingford was not 
wrong in thinking there had been since he met 
Frothingham a marked decline in his " honour as a 
gentleman," and a marked rise in his " honour as 



a man." 



Rontivogli went to the Popes' at eleven o'clock that 
morning. The look of the flunky who opened the door 
foreshadowed to him his fate. He was shown not 
into the drawing room, but into a reception room 
a small alcove to the left of the door, intended for 
wraps rather than for callers. The servant returned 
with a package on his tray. " Miss Pope is not at 
'ome," he said haughtily, omitting the customary 
" Your 'Ighness," and not even substituting so much 
as a " Sir " for it, " and she left this to be given to 
you." 

Rontivogli ignored the impudences of omitting his 
title and of addressing him as " you," and took the 
package. The servant held aside the portiere with 
the broadest possible hint in his face and manner. 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" Tell Senator Pope that the Prince di Rontivogli 
wishes to see him," said Rontivogli in a tone which at 
once reduced the servant, in spite of himself, from a 
human being to a mechanical device for the transmis 
sion of messages. 

When he hesitatingly withdrew Rontivogli opened 
the package his ring with the stone unset and loose 
in the box. He solved the puzzle almost as soon as it 
was presented to him. He scowled, then gave a short, 
sneering laugh, put the lid on the box, and thrust it 
into the tail pocket of his frock coat. 

Senator Pope received him in his study, rising and 
bowing without advancing or extending his hand. 
He was serious, but bland he did not know how to be 
brusque, or even unkind in manner ; he did know how 
to be diplomatic. 

" I have come, sir, to repel the lies of that infamous 
Prussian," began Rontivogli with suppressed passion. 

" You will, I trust, not distress me with the painful 
subject," said Pope slowly and gently. " We know 
that the Count has maligned you. But you, as a gen 
tleman, must appreciate how terrible the notoriety is 
to us all. I assume that you have come to relieve the 
young lady of the embarrassment of the situation." 

[238] 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

Rontivogli lost control of himself, raved, paced the 
floor, pleaded, denounced, threatened even. But Pope, 
sympathetic and in the proper places tenderly sorrow 
ful, pressed in upon the Prince his and Elsie's un 
changeable determination. At last Rontivogli gave 
up the useless battle and drew the box from his pocket. 
" Your daughter," he said, " sent me by a servant 
this broken ring. The stone has been removed and 
to my astonishment I find that a false emerald has been 
substituted." His voice and manner were apologetic, 
deprecatory, as if Senator Pope owed him an explana 
tion which he was loath to demand. 

He opened the box and exhibited its contents to 
Pope, who looked with polite interest. " The stone 
has become detached," was all he said. 

" But why was it not returned to me ? " asked Ron 
tivogli. " Why this false emerald in its place? " 

" It is the same stone," said Pope. His tone was 
absent, as if he were thinking of something else. 

" It is not ! " Rontivogli's voice was bold and hard, 
a covert threat in it. 

They looked each the other straight in the eyes 
Pope inquiringly, the Prince defiantly. Then Pope 
said : " Ah ! Excuse me one moment." 

[239] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

He left the room, muttering as he reached the hall, 
" The miserable swindler ! He knows we won't have 
any further scandal, no matter what it costs." When 
he returned he had in his hand the emerald he and 
Elsie had bought at Tiffany's. He laid it on the cor 
ner of the desk nearest the nobleman. 

" This is a genuine emerald," he said, his voice 
neither hot nor cold. " You may take it if you 
like." 

" I thank you," replied the nobleman with a slight 
bow of acknowledgment, as if a wrong to him had 
been righted. 

He put the emerald and the ring in his waistcoat 
pocket; he put the box, with the false emerald in it, 
on the corner of the desk exactly where Senator Pope 
had laid the genuine stone. Then he went on, in a 
way that was the perfection of courtesy : " May I pre 
sume further on your kindness ? This German cur has 
placed me in a distressing position. I wish to leave 
America at once, to return where a gentleman can 
not be thus attacked without defence. Unfortu 
nately " He hesitated with a fine affectation of 

delicacy. 

Senator Pope's eyes were more disagreeable to look 

[240] 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

at than any human being had ever before seen them. 
" I shall be glad to give you any reasonable assist 
ance," he said with resolute self-control. 

" You are most kind ! " Rontivogli was almost ef 
fusive. " I shall return any advance you may make 
as soon as I am at home." 

" How much? " asked Pope with a trace of im 
patience. 

" I have many obligations which must be settled be 
fore I leave. I had just cabled for a remittance, but 
I wish to go before it can arrive. Might I trouble you 
for an advance of, perhaps, five thousand I think 
that will be enough." 

Senator Pope unlocked and opened a drawer, took 
out a flat package of bills. " Here is a thousand dol 
lars," he said. " I cannot advance you more. And I 
trust you will sail the day after to-morrow." He 
looked hard at the Prince. " That will spare me the 
necessity of making a private appeal to the Italian 
Embassy through our State Department." 

" You are most kind, mon cher Senator," replied 
Rontivogli. 

He put the package of bills in the inside pocket of 
his coat. He reflected a few seconds, then took his top 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

hat. " Will you do me the honour of presenting my 
compliments and regrets to Madame Pope and to 
Mademoiselle? " he said with steady eyes and elabo 
rate politeness. " I thank you again. I regret that 
we part in circumstances so unhappy. I shall send 
your little advance within the month." 

He bowed profoundly, and Senator Pope inclined 
his head. He went to the door, turned there, bowed 
again. " Au revoir, my dear Senator," he said cor 
dially, and was gone a fascinating patrician figure 
of handsome ease and dignity. 



XV 



FROTHINGHAM let three days pass, and on 
the fourth called at Senator Pope's. Elsie was 
in Philadelphia was visiting an aunt. It had 
not occurred to him that she would run away and hide 
herself, so little did he think of the matter in any 
other light than that of a game between himself and 
Rontivogli. He was much upset, and did not know 
what move to make next. Fate helped him the even 
ing of the same day the mail brought a note from 
Elsie: 

MY DEAR FRIEND: 

I can't help writing to thank you. You warned me, and you 
were good and kind about it, and I was very disagreeable. I 
should like to say so to you, but I don't suppose you'll be in 
Philadelphia, will you ? And it will be many a day before I see 
Washington. Indeed, I hope I shall never see it again. I didn't 
deserve your friendship. E. W. P. 

Frothingham had not reflected on this letter long 
before he was telling Hutt to get his belongings to 
gether. The next afternoon found him at the Belle- 
vue in Philadelphia, and a few hours later he was din- 

[243] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

ing at the Hopkins' with Elsie and her uncle and 
aunt. He liked the Hopkinses stiff and shy, but 
kindly. He liked the dark furniture, and walls and 
woodwork, suggesting old English; liked the faces in 
the family portraits English faces; liked surround 
ings where there was nothing new or new-fashioned 
except his own and Elsie's dress, where there was so 
much that was fine as well as old. And he had never 
liked Elsie so well as now that she was chastened into 
an appealing gentleness and humility. 

He saw that he had been right in thinking her note 
an apology, and an attempt to recall him. And when 
the Hopkinses left them alone in the parlour after 
dinner he soon said : " I've come for an answer to that 
question I asked you down by the monument." 

She hung her head and flushed deeply. " Oh, I 
wish to get away from all this," she said in a low 
voice. " I'll be glad to go far away far as as you 
care to take me." 

He sat beside her and took her hand. But he made 
no effort to show " temperament." " I'll go back to 
Washington and see your father to-morrow if you 
wish," he said, after a silence. 

" Yes," she replied. 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN 

She wrote a long letter to her father as soon as 
Frothingham was gone her maid posted it at mid 
night. So it came to pass that Senator Pope was ex 
pecting him. He received him with the benign court 
esy he gave to the humblest negro. He liked Froth 
ingham but, for that matter, it was impossible for 
him to dislike any member of the human race, even 
Rontivogli, or any well-disposed domestic animal ; ever 
since he had " gathered his bunch," his content and 
complacence had, with a few brief pauses, been bub 
bling over in words and acts of kindness. But when 
Frothingham said, " I've come to see you, sir, about 
something of which I and your daughter have been 
talking," his face clouded with a look of apologetic 
distress almost the same look as that with which 
he had received Rontivogli for the final inter 
view. 

Frothingham would not have attributed it to em 
barrassment had he known Senator Pope better. It 
was the look he wore whenever the exigencies of fate 
forced him to do anything unpleasant whether to 
refuse a small favour, or to cut a rival's throat, or to 
scuttle a financial or political ship. For, being a good 
man, and a lover of smoothness, it pained him exceed- 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

ingly to cause his fellow-beings any other emotion 
than happiness. In the present instance the cause of 
his distress was the discovery that an alliance with no 
bility would destroy his chances for the Vice-Presiden 
tial nomination which he was plotting to get. He had 
not confided his ambition to his closest political lieu 
tenant. But when Rontivogli was exposed and cast 
out, his colleague and boss had said to him : " I'm 
glad to hear you're not going to take a foreign 
nobleman into your family, Senator. Until the en 
gagement was announced we were hoping you could 
be induced to make the race for the Vice-Presidency. 
While an Italian wouldn't have been as bad as an 
Englishman on account of the Irish vote, I don't think 
the party would have stood for even an Italian. The 
people don't like that sort of thing." 

That settled Senator Pope's aristocratic ambi 
tions. 

" I've come, sir," Frothingham was saying, " to ask 
your consent to marrying your daughter." 

Senator Pope's eyes swam, so strong was his emo 
tion. " I am highly honoured, Lord Frothingham. 
But I cannot give you an answer in so important a 
matter at once. I must consult with her mother." 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN 
Mrs. Pope was a shadowy nonentity, flitting nervously 
in the wake of father and daughter. 

He detained Frothingham for a long talk on Eng 
land and America, and sent him away in an almost 
jubilant mood no applicant ever left him downcast. 
The next day Frothingham got a telegram from Elsie 
asking him to come to her as soon as he could. He 
assumed that her father had decided to convey his con 
sent through her, and his spirits rose higher. But the 
first glimpse of her disturbed him hers was not the 
face of a bearer of good news. 

" I saw your father," he began. 

" Yes," she interrupted. " He has written me." 

" Does he consent? " 

" Yes and no." She hesitated. " He asked me not 
to tell, but I know I can trust you. He has been plan 
ning to be nominated for Vice-President. And he has 
found that he can't have the nomination if I marry a 
titled foreigner especially an Englishman, because 
of the Irish. They say it would kill the ticket." 

Frothingham retreated behind a vacant look. 

" He found it out only a few days ago." She did 
not feel equal to telling him that her father had 
learned this fatal fact through the exposure of Ron- 

[247] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

tivogli. " So," she ended, " we couldn't marry until 
after the election. For he says he's sure of the nom 
ination." 

" And when is this election ? " 

" A year from next fall." 

Fortunately Frothingham had not the habit of let 
ting his face speak for him. After a pause he said: 
" But surely you can persuade him." 

" It's useless to try. You don't know him as I do. 
He seems yielding, and usually he is. But where he's 
set he's hard as granite." 

" Nearly two years," he repeated. And to himself : 
" Impossible ! I might weather six months, but two 
years the creditors would laugh at me." 

" And I wish to go away at once," she said with a 
long sigh, looking at him mournfully. 

" I we can't wait two years," he replied. 

" We needn't, need we? We might " she be 
gan, then halted, blushing vividly. 

He pretended not to understand though he did, 
for he had already thought of that plan. 

" You know I'm of age," she went on, seeing that 
he was not going to help her out. " We we needn't 
wait for his consent." He did not change expression, 

[248] 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN 

but he was saying to himself, " Here's a mess. She's 
so mad to get away that she's ready to do anything." 

" I think he'd forgive us," she went on. " But even 
if he didn't, I'd never regret." 

He knew that he must say something, must say it 
quickly, and that it must be appreciative but noncom 
mittal. " I couldn't accept such a sacrifice," he said. 
" It wouldn't be decent to take advantage of you in 
that fashion. I know it sounds unromantic to say it, 
but, by Jove, I don't go in for the sort of romance that 
makes a fellow a blackguard." And he frankly told 
enough of his financial difficulties to make the situation 
clear to her. " I believe you can talk your father 
round," he ended. " He thinks the world of you." 

Elsie smiled melancholy and cynical. " Yes so 
long as I don't interfere. But I know how he feels 
about the Vice-Presidency. And that that other 
affair has made him " She shook her head. 

This chilled Frothingham. " He'd never forgive 
her if she ran off with me and lost him the office," he 
reflected. " Besides, I can't afford to go in without 
settlements arranged beforehand. I must chuck it 
quick as ever I can." 

He urged persuading her father, and she promised 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

to try. He saw her the next day, and the next, both 
afternoons and evenings. On the third day he did not 
see her until late in the afternoon her father had 
come from Washington, and had spent the morning 
with her. And while they were talking Frothingham 
was reading a letter from Honoria which had been 
languidly pursuing him for a week. Part of it was : 

I think you met Cecilia Allerton in Boston. Had you heard 
of her bolting with Frank Mortimer ? 

" Frank Mortimer ! " he exclaimed, sitting upright 
in bed in his astonishment. " That brute with the 
big teeth and the empty head ! " 

Her father was angry with her for something or other and 
Created her cruelly. Everyone was pitying her. Frank fell in 
love with her out of sympathy, and she was so miserable that, 
when her father wouldn't consent, she ran off with him. Mr. 
Allerton has changed his will, they say, leaving everything to 
colleges and charities. But Frank has an income and will have 
more when his uncle dies, and she has a rich aunt who loathes 
her father, and so may leave her something. 

Cecilia's quite mad about Frank, now that they're married. 
Willie Kennefick was dining with us last night. He says she was 
in love with Stanley Huddiford, who died a year or so ago. He 
says she believes Stanley's soul has entered into Frank ! She's a 
clever girl, they say, but a bit eccentric, like so many of them 
down Boston way 

Frothingham looked on this news as a direct, provi- 

[250] 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN 

dential warning to him. " I'll take no risks with 
Pope," he said. " It would be sheer madness." 

And before he left his rooms he wrote to Barney, 
fixing the next day but one for his arrival at Chicago. 
He felt that there was no hope of winning Pope at 
least not at present. " If she by chance succeeds after 
I'm gone and I'll leave her in a good humour I can 
easily return. But I know there's nothing in it." 

Failure was mourning in her eyes when he called at 
five o'clock. They went for a walk, and in reluctant 
words she told him that her father was immovable, that 
their only choice was between disobeying him and 
breaking the engagement. She listened coldly while 
he explained his position again ; when he had finished 
she sneered. " You are unanswerable," she said bit 
terly. 

" No doubt I do lack * temperament,' " he drawled, 
an ironic gleam on his eyeglass. 

She was humble at once. " Oh I understand," she 
answered. 

But she was too heartsick to talk; and he forgot 
that he was walking with her, could only feel ruin's 
arm linked firmly in his. It was dusk when they 
reached the house. 

[251] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

In the doorway he took her hand and held it. 

" I shall see you when I return ? " he asked. " Will 
you answer if I write now and then ? " 

" Yes," she replied gratefully. 

She sent away the servant who came at her ring. 
She detained Frothingham, hoping against reason and 
instinct that he would tear off that tranquil mask of 
his, would forget his responsibilities as the bearer of a 
proud and ancient name, would say : " I care for only 
you. Come ! " Even after he had left her she lin 
gered, holding the door ajar, listening for returning 
footsteps. At last she shut the door, and went for 
lornly and wearily to her great, lonely, sombre dress 
ing room. She stood before the mirror of her dress 
ing table, studying her plain, wistful, woeful little 
face. " You aren't pretty," she said to it, with that 
candour which has its chance in those rare moments 
when vanity is quite downcast. " And one can't ex 
pect much when men think of nothing but looks in a 
woman." She could no longer see herself for tears. 
" And I believe he'd have been at least kind to 
me." 

She rang for her maid, and began listlessly and 
mechanically to dress for dinner. 



XVI 

A 1 Chicago Barney came down the platform to 
meet Frothingham. " Here you are ! " he ex 
claimed. " Six months in the country, but not 
a bit changed. And if an American goes over to your 
side and stays a week he has to learn the language all 
over again when he gets back." 

It was still daylight, and Barney told his coachman 
to drive home by way of " the store " the great 
" Barney and Company Emporium seventy stores 
and a bank, three restaurants, a nursery, and an emer 
gency hospital, all under one roof." Frothingham 
watched the throngs pouring torrent-like through the 
canons made by the towering buildings. " Don't it 
remind you of New York ? " asked Barney. 

" Yes and no," he replied. It seemed to him in 
the comparison that New York was a titanic triumph, 
Chicago a titanic struggle ; New York a finished or at 
least definite creation, Chicago a chaos in convulsion. 
There was in the look and the noise of it an indefinable 

[253] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

menace which oppressed him, filled him with vague un 
easiness. When Barney told him the site of it was a 
swamp a few years before, he thought of a fairy story 
his nurse had told him of a magic city that used to 
rise from an enchanted morass at dusk, live a single 
night, and vanish with the dawn. And as the day 
light waned, he wondered whether this inchoate, vol 
canic unreality of a city would not soon be again en 
gulfed in the bosom of its mother, the swamp. But 
he began to note here and there traces of form, civil 
ised form, peering from the chaos to indicate the 
trend of the convulsion that it was upward, not 
downward. 

" It is tremendous," said Frothingham. " Is it 
bigger than New York?" 

" No," Barney reluctantly answered. Then he 
added with curious, defiant energy : " But it will be ! 
And it's American, which New York ain't. It's full of 
people that think for themselves, and do as they 

d n please. We ain't got many apes out here. 

We run more to humans." 

They were now driving past Barney and Company's 
a barrack-like structure, towering story on story 

from a huge base bounded by four streets, where 

[254] 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

surged a seemingly insane confusion of men, women, 
children, horses, vans, automobiles, articulate in the 
demoniac voices of boys shrieking extras and drivers 
bawling oaths. And the sky blackened suddenly, and 
from the direction of the lake came a storm, cruelly 
cold, bitter as hate, seizing the struggling, swearing, 
shouting mass of men and animals, lashing it with 
whips of icy rain, and pelting it with bullets of hail. 

" That's my little place," said Barney, pride ooz 
ing through his offhand tone. 

" It's tremendous," was all Frothingham could say. 
The " Emporium " and its surroundings dazed him. 
He muttered under his breath, " And it's Hell." 

Barney told the story of creation as it read for him. 
He had been a drummer for a suspender house 
eighteen hundred a year for touring the cities and 
towns of northern Indiana and Illinois; four thou 
sand dollars put by after twelve years of toil; eyes 
ever alert for a chance to go into business on his own 
account. One of his towns was Terre Haute he called 
it Terry Hut. In it was a dry-goods shop kept by a 
man named Meakim. Barney found that of all the re 
tailers he visited, Meakim was by far the shrewdest, 
the most energetic, and, above all, that he had an 

[255] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

amazing talent for " dressing " his show windows and 
show cases. He persuaded Meakim to sell out and ad 
venture Chicago with him. They set up in a small 
way, and in an obscure corner. But both toiled ; Bar 
ney was shrewd and almost sleepless, and Meakim 
" dressed " the windows and displayed the goods on 
and over the counters. They prospered, spread too 
rapidly for their capital, failed, gathered themselves 
together, prospered again. " I've built three stores 
in fourteen years," said Barney. " This last one was 
finished only five years ago the year Meakim died. 
And already it's too small we're moving our whole 
sale department to another building." 

Presently they were in Michigan Avenue and at 
Barney's house. It was a mass of Indiana limestone 
which he with the assistance of a builder, audaciously 
" branched out " as an architect had fashioned into 
a fantastic combination of German mediaeval fortress 
and Italian renaissance villa. " Here's where I live," 
said Barney as the carriage stopped before the huge 
doors studded with enormous bronze nails. " And 
don't you dare back up Nelly when she jeers about it. 
She says she can't look at it without laughing, or come 
into it without blushing. I suppose it is no good, in 

[256] 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

the way of art. But it keeps out the rain, and that's 
the main point in a house, ain't it? ' ! 

As he was getting out his keys the door was 
opened by a maid in a black dress, a white apron and 
cap. " Jessie," said he, in a tone which suggested that 
she might be his daughter, " this is the Earl of Froth- 
ingham, and I want you to take good care of him, 
and of the young man who's coming with his trunks." 

Frothingham took off his hat and bowed vaguely 
to the maid, who smiled cordially. " I'll show you 
your room," she said. 

" Never mind, Jessie," interrupted Barney. " You 
needn't bother. I'll take him up myself. But I 
know everything's all right Nelly looked after that." 

Frothingham was impressed by the astonishing dif 
ference between the exterior and the interior of the 
house. He felt at home at once in this interior hand 
some, cheerful, the absurd splendours of the architect- 
builder's devising softened into comfort and good 
taste. " We thought you'd like your young man 
near you," explained Barney, " so we put a bed in the 
dressing room." 

" Thank you," replied Frothingham. " This is 
charming." 

[257] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" Nelly knows her business." Barney's good- 
natured face, with its many dignifying scars from his 
wars with destiny, beamed paternal enthusiasm. " You 
needn't dress for dinner unless you want to," he went 
on. " I never do unless we have company or I go out 
somewhere to something swell and formal. Wickham 
sometimes does and sometimes don't." 

" I think I'll dress, if you don't mind," said Froth- 
ingham diplomatically. 

" Suit yourself. This is Liberty Hall. We ain't 
got any rules." He looked at his watch. " That 
clock on the mantel there is four minutes fast. It's 
seven minutes to seven by the right time. We're hav 
ing dinner at half -past seven, but you can come down 
just as soon as you feel like it." 

Frothingham descended at five minutes before the 
dinner hour and found Nelly alone in the front par 
lour. Superficially she was like the women he had met 
in the Eastern cities. Like them she was dressed in a 
gown obviously imported from Paris; like them she 
wore it as only American and French women wear their 
clothes. He saw instantly that she was a well-bred 
girl of a most attractive American type. She was 

tall and long of limb her arms were almost too long. 

[258] 




T- 

Found Nelly alone in the front parlour 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

She had a great deal of dark brown hair shading 
fascinatingly into black here and there. She had 
dark eyes not brown, as he at first glance thought, 
but dark grey a humour-loving mouth, a serious 
brow, a clear, delicate, olive skin. As she and Froth- 
ingham were shaking hands, her father and her 
brother entered the brother, Wickham, a huge fel 
low, topping his father by several inches and having 
his father's keen, good-natured dark grey eyes and his 
father's features, except that the outline was more 
refined without being less strong. 

Barney put his arm round his daughter and, with 
a foolish-fond expression, said : " Didn't I tell you, 
Frothingham? Wasn't I right? " 

If Frothingham had been new to " the States " he 
would have thought this the strongest kind of a bid 
for him to enter the family. But he understood the 
American character in its obvious phases now. " The 
old chap's mad about her," was all Barney's speech 
suggested to him. " And," he admitted to himself, 
" I think he has reason to be. She's got the look I 
like." He noted the humourous comment on her 
father's flattery in Nelly's dark eyes, as he examined 
her through his eyeglass with ostentatiously critical 

[259] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

minuteness. " Quite up to the mark, I should say," 
he replied with polite audacity, adding apologetically, 
" though I don't pretend to be an expert." 

" You see, I did put on my dress suit, after all," 
said Barney, looking down at his old-fashioned, ill- 
fitting evening clothes. " The children would have 
it. I always feel like a stranded fish in these togs. 
You see, I never wore 'em in my life till I was past 
forty." 

Wickham looked a little nervously at Frothingham ; 
Nelly was smiling with frank amusement. Then 
Wickham looked ashamed of himself but he care 
fully observed the peculiar stripes down the legs of 
Frothingham's trousers and the curious cut of his 
waistcoat and coat " I must find out who's his tailor," 
he thought. " Poole don't send me over the real 
thing. I wish I dared wear a monocle. It's a whole 
outfit of brains and manners by itself. I don't be 
lieve he takes it out, even at night." 

A maid announced dinner not " Dinner is served," 
but " Dinner, Mr. Barney." And Barney jumped up 
with, " I'm glad to hear it. I'm hungry as a wolf." 
The dining room was done in old English fashion 

and the dinner, too, though an American would have 

[260] 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

called it the American fashion. The feature of its 
four courses was a huge roast, set before Barney on 
a great platter, with a mighty carving knife like a 
cimetar and a fork like a two-pronged spit. Barney 
himself carved an energetic performance, lacking 
in grace perhaps, but swift and sure. On the table 
between him and the platter was a pile of plates. He 
put a slice of the roast into the top plate and the 
waitress removed it, carried it to Nelly's place and set 
it down before her. This was repeated until all were 
served. 

Frothingham watched Barney's movements atten 
tively, surprised that any of the American upper 
classes condescended to eat in such simplicity. He 
was almost startled when a bottle of wine was brought, 
for he had not forgotten Barney's denunciation of 
drink and drinkers. He had seen so many concessions 
of real or reputed principle for his benefit since he 
had been moving about in American " high life " that 
he was somewhat cynical as to principle in America. 
But he had not expected to find this degree, or even 
kind, of weakness in Barney. " He told me he 
wouldn't permit the stuff to come into his house," he 
thought, laughing to himself. Then he noticed that 

[261] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

none of the family drank it. One taste was enough 
for him " No wonder he's opposed to wine," he said 
to himself. Then aloud : " If you don't mind, I'll 
just take whiskey a little Scotch." 

Barney showed amused embarrassment; Nelly and 
Wickham laughed. " We don't have anything to 
drink," she explained. " Father doesn't approve. 
But he told us you'd been brought up differently 
that you must have wine. So we've got wine, but 
there isn't any whiskey." 

Frothingham looked vague he was relieved to find 
that his friend Barney was not quite so weak as he had 
feared. " It doesn't in the least matter," he replied. 
" I shall get on famously with this." 

" I'll take you down to the club after a while," said 
Wickham, " and you can have all you want. And 
to-morrow eh, father? " 

" Yes yes of course," answered Barney. " I 
never do try to put on style that I don't get 
left." 

He winked at one of the maids significantly, and 
when she drew near and bent her head whispered to 
her. She left the dining room ; in about five minutes 
she reappeared with a decanter of Scotch whiskey, a 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

tall glass, a bowl of ice, and a bottle of imported soda 
on her tray. 

" Why, father ! " exclaimed Nelly, " where did that 
come from ? " 

Barney beamed, triumphant. " We've got neigh 
bours, haven't we? ' : 

"But what will they think of you?" she asked, 
pretending to be shocked. 

" I don't know and I don't care," he answered. 
" I never did spend much time in worrying about what 
my neighbours thought of me. Probably that's why 
we're here, and not in the poorhouse." 

After dinner Frothingham stayed with Nelly in the 
parlour instead of going to the club with Wickham. 
He had found many girls in America who thought 
they were natural or who affected naturalness as a 
pose: but here was the first girl, it so happened, who 
was really natural, without thinking anything about 
it. She had all the charm of the girls of his own coun 
try for him he liked ingenuousness ; and in addition 
she had the charm of knowledge. She knew the world, 
but she looked at it with ingenuous eyes and he 
would not have believed this a possible combination. 
" How do these Americans manage it? " he said to 

[263] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

himself. " Her father comes from well down in the 
lower classes, yet he has all the assurance of an aris 
tocrat. And as for the girl, she reminds me of Evelyn 
and Gwen." 

" Do you know," he said to her, " you don't suggest 
an American girl at all that is, you do and you don't. 
You women over here are cleverer than ours, but a 
good many of 'em lack a certain something a I 
don't know just what to call it. It seems to me that 
well, they are ladies, of course. But many of 'em 
not all but a great many of those I've chanced to 
meet make me feel as if they were not exactly sure 
of themselves, as if they were trying to live up to 
something they'd read about or seen somewhere. I 
don't know that I make myself clear." 

" Perfectly," replied Nelly. " You mean that they 
act as if they weren't satisfied with being the kind of 
lady they were born, and are trying to be some other 
kind and don't succeed at it especially well." 

" Exactly," said Frothingham. " I feel like say 
ing to them, * Oh, come now, chuck it, won't you, and 
let's see what you're really like.' But you you re 
mind me of our women, except that they're so ghastly 
dull the most of 'em. Gad, they sit about in the 

[264] 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

country until they're feeble-minded. After a certain 
age, about all there is left of 'em is the match-making 
instinct. You'd understand if you'd been over there." 

" I have been there," answered Nelly. " I spent 
more than a year in Europe nearly half of it in your 
country. I liked it, but well, one likes one's own 
country best, of course." 

" I thought you American women preferred the 
other side." 

" Oh, a few of us do those who aren't happy un 
less they have somebody bowing and scraping to them 
or are bowing and scraping to somebody. You know, 
the poor we have always with us the poor in spirit 
as well as the other kind of poor." 

Before they had talked an hour Frothingham felt 
that the outlook for his campaign in the Barney house 
was not promising. Nelly was frank and friendly, 
and he saw that she liked him. But there was some 
thing in her atmosphere which made him know that 
she cared little for the things which were everything 
to him and which must be everything to the woman he 
might hope to win. He feared that she was not for 
him. " She ain't in my class or perhaps I'd better 
say, I ain't in hers." 

[265] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

When Wickham came, at half -past ten, she left 
them. After suppressing yawns for fifteen minutes 
he said : " I'm off to bed. I was at a dance last night 
and owe myself five hours sleep. You see, father and 
I get up at half-past six. We have to be at the store 
at eight." 

At the store ! At eight ! " And he hasn't in the 
least the look of that sort of chap," thought Froth- 
ingham. As for rising at half-past six, one might do 
it to hunt or shoot. But to do it morning after morn 
ing " merely to set a lot of bounders to selling a lot 
of cloth " preposterous ! 



1 266 ] 



XVII 

ATER a few days of Chicago Frothingham 
felt utterly out of place. There were no 
idlers, no idling places. To idle meant to sit 
in lonely boredom. 

Barney and his son were busy all day they 
grudged the half-hour of that precious time of theirs 
which they spent at luncheon. Nelly, too, had her 
work some sort of a school she was running, away off 
somewhere in the poorer part of the town. He was 
sensitive enough soon to discover, in spite of her cour 
tesy, that he was interrupting her routine seriously and 
was in the way to becoming a burden. He saw as much 
of her as he dared she had for him a charm that be 
came the more difficult to resist as his hope of winning 
her decreased. He relieved her of himself during her 
busy hours so tactfully that she did not suspect him 
of penetrating what she honestly tried to conceal. 

He betook himself to the club. It was usually de 
serted ; if a man did enter, he raced through and away 
as if pursued by demons; at luncheon all ate as if 

[267] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

struggling for a prize offered to him who should chew 
the least, swallow the fastest, and finish the soonest. 
He called on the women he met they were out or just 
going out, or just coming in to busy themselves at 
home. 

In New York, Boston, Washington he had thought 
the leisure class a lame imitation of the European 
class of industrious, experienced idlers, had found it 
small and peculiarly unsatisfactory because its men 
were inferior to its women in numbers and especially 
in brains. But here there wasn't a pretence of a 
leisure class except the loungers in the parks; and 
they were threatening, so it was said, to organize and 
do all sorts of dreadful things if they weren't given 
something to do. " This is a howling wilderness," he 
said to himself. " I should be better off in a desert. 
These lunatics make my head swim." 

Wherever he went, all seemed possessed of and pur 
sued by fever-demons. If it was a dinner, the diners 
were eager to despatch it. The courses were served 
swiftly, the waiters snatching one's plate if he for a 
second ceased the machine-like lifting of food; the 
conversation was nervous and in the shrill tones of 
acute mental excitement. Words were cut short and 

[268] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

slapped together almost incoherently. Sentences were 
left unfinished, the speaker leaping on to another sen 
tence or submerged by the breaking of the flimsy 
speech-dam of the person he was addressing. Often 
all were talking at the same time. " Surely you can 
listen as you talk," said a woman to whom he com 
plained. " Think how much time it saves ! " 

If it was a dance, the orchestra detonated the notes 
like cartridges from a Maxim gun ; the dancers whirled 
or raced furiously. " Why this hurry ? " he gasped 
to a handsome, powerful girl, who had dragged him 
round a ballroom twice, had flung him into a chair, 
and was dashing away with another man to finish the 
waltz. 

" I've got to catch the train for the millennium," 
she screamed back over her shoulder and disappeared 
in the maelstrom. 

Even at the play the audience shuffled uneasily while 
the players sped through their lines or the orchestra 
rattled off the between-the-acts music ; and afterward 
all rushed from the theatre as if it were afire. The 
blank expression habitual to Frothingham's face was 
now less a disguise than a reflection of his internal 
state. 

[269] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" I must get out of this," he said to himself at the 
end of two weeks. " The disease may be catching. 
Now I understand that fellow who went from here to 
tear London up by the roots and put in his tuppenny 
tubes. A Chicagoan should be barred from a country 
like any other plague." And he wrote his sister that 
he was " beginning to twitch with the Chicago dis 



ease." 



Evelyn had written him regularly a letter by each 
Wednesday's steamer. She had put a brave face 
upon their affairs, had tried to make him picture life 
at Beauvais House as smooth, almost happy. But 
he had more than suspected that a far different story 
ran between the lines; and when she wrote that she 
had engaged herself to Charley Sidney he under 
stood. 

Seven months before he would have grumbled and 
cursed, and would have accepted the sacrifice. Now, 
it roused in him a fierce protest, a feeling of abhor 
rence of which he would not have been capable before 
he visited America and the Barneys. " She sha'n't 
sell herself to that creeping cad," he said, and on im 
pulse he cabled : " Sidney impossible and unnecessary. 
You must break it. Answer." 

[270] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

The answer came a few hours later : " Shall do as 
you wish." 

Instead of being relieved he repented his impulse, 
wondered where it had come from, fell into a profound 
depression. Seven months of stalking; nothing to 
show for it but three ridiculous, sickening misses. 
And here he was with an empty bag; and what little 
heart he once had for the game was gone ; in its place 
a disgust for it and for himself. " How Nelly Bar 
ney would scorn me if she knew what a creature I am," 
he said. He was now thinking a great deal on the 
subject of Nelly Barney's standards for men and also 
on the subject of Nelly Barney as a standard for 
women. In neither direction did he find any encour 
agement. He knew her through being in the same 
house with her day after day, through seeing her at 
all hours and in all moods and she never made the 
slightest attempt to conceal her real self. He felt 
that such a woman could not be attracted by his title, 
would not be likely to be attracted by himself ; he felt 
that she was at the same time more worth the winning 
than any other woman he knew in America " Yes, 
or in England," he confessed at last. 

"What a pity, what a beastly, frightful shame," 

[271] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

he thought. " She's got everything that I must have, 
and everything that I want, too." 

But he had only twelve hundred dollars left, includ 
ing the thousand from Wallingford. " I must be 
gone clean mad," he exclaimed whenever he wasn't 
with her and was alone with his affairs. Finally he 
was able to goad himself into dashing feverishly about 
in Chicago society. He sought the set she avoided 
it was to him an additional charm in her that she did 
avoid it, for he had at bottom the extra-prim ideas 
of women which have never lost their hold upon Eng 
lishmen. There was, however, no alternative to seek 
ing this set. He thought it the only one in which he 
was likely to succeed those among the fashionable 
young women of the rich families who carried the 
" free and easy '" pose in speech and manner to the 
point where it looked far worse to a foreigner than it 
really was, who laughed and talked noisily in public, 
who wore very loud and very clinging dresses, very 
big hats and very tight shoes. 

The newspapers gave him columns of free advertis 
ing and, with the Barneys vouching for him and 
" Wick " Barney pushing him, he immediately became 
a figure. Some of the young women of the " lively ' ! 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

set pursued him with an ardour which he would have 
mistaken when he first landed for evidence of serious 
attachment or intentions. But he had learned some 
thing of the ways of American flirts, married and 
single, and he had had experience of that American 
curiosity as to foreigners of rank which he had at first 
regarded as the frankest kind of title-worship. 

Presently he found a girl he thought he could not 
be mistaken in fancying he could get Jane or Jenny 
(Jeanne, she wrote it) Hooper, the daughter of that 
famous Amzi Hooper whose " Hooper's High-class 
Hams " and " Hooper's Excelsior Dressed Beef and 
Beef Extract " are trumpeted from newspaper, bill 
board, and blank wall throughout the land. 

Her older sister had married a Papal duke under 
the impression that he was a noble of ancient and 
proud family. To her horror, to her family's humil 
iation, and to her friends' hilarity, it came out that 
the Duke of Valdonomia was the son of a Swiss hog- 
packer of as humble origin as Amzi Hooper and of less 
than one-fifth his wealth. The family longed to pos 
sess a genuine nobleman, and Jane, a devourer of the 
English novels which are written by the middle 
classes for the middle classes about the upper classes 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

seemed to be in sympathy with her father's and 
mother's ambition and keenly eager to become a " real 
lady." It was assumed by her set that Frothingham 
had come for her the newspapers hinted as much 
several times each week. 

But Frothingham, grown extraordinarily sensitive, 
shied at the amazing high heels on which she tottered 
like a cripple, at the skin-like fit of her clothes, at the 
suspicious brilliance of her cheeks and blackness of 
her brows and lashes. Whenever she spoke to him 
suddenly in her shrill dialect he felt as if a file had 
been drawn across his pneumogastric nerve. And 
she constantly used a slang expression which seemed 
to him in her the essence of vulgarity. She could 
not speak ten sentences without saying that she or 
somebody or everybody had nearly or quite " thrown 
a fit." 

It struck him as a biting irony of fate that the 
woman whom of all he knew well in America he least 
approved should be the one who was frankly throwing 
herself at his head in his hour of desperation. When 
he learned that her father was an Englishman born 
and bred in the " lower middle class," he felt that he 
had solved the problem of the family's over-eager- 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

ness to get him. " That's why the old beggar almost 
cringes as he talks to me," he said to himself. 

" D n their impudence ! " And the next time he 

met Hooper he treated him not as an American and 
an equal, but as an Englishman and an inferior. And 
Amzi at once fell into his " place," just as a car horse, 
though elevated to be a coach horse, will halt at one 
ring of a bell. " It's in the blood," thought Froth- 
ingham. " It can't be hid or got out." But he 
didn't venture the experiment with the daughter. 

The climax came one morning when he met her by 
chance in the Lake Park Drive. She was perched 
high on a red and black dog-cart in which she was 
driving a bay and a gray tandem. Her hat was the 
biggest he had seen her wear, and she was swathed 
in a silver-grey dust-coat with a red embroidered col 
lar. She stopped and invited him to join her. 

" I needed you to complete my turnout," she said, 
when they were under way. Her dazzling smile took 
part of the edge off her unconscious insolence or 
was it conscious? He found her a puzzle, with her 
flashes of good taste and flashes of good sense, with 
her wit that seemed accidental and her folly that 
seemed her real self. 

[275] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

He set his teeth and tried to think only of how much 
" I need her to complete my turnout," and of how 
pretty she was for there was no denying her beauty, 
or her style for that matter, in spite of its efflo 
rescence. He saw that everyone was looking at them, 
but he did not appreciate that his own striking cos 
tume and his eyeglass were as magnetic as were her 
hat, her bright skin, and her dust-coat with its gaudy 
collar. She was supremely happy. The most con 
spicuous girl in Chicago, driving with the most con 
spicuous man, in the most conspicuous trap and on 
the most conspicuous highway what more could a 
young woman ask? 

" Wonder why everyone stares so ? " she said with 
deliberate intent to provide an opening for compli 
ment. She wished to hear him say the flattering 
things she was thinking about herself. 

" I fancy they're staring at what I can't take my 
eyes off of," he replied. " You do look swift this 
morning." 

" Swift ! I don't like that." She was frowning. 
" You Englishmen come over here and think you can 
say what you please." 

" I can't see where's the harm in telling a girl 

[276] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

she's pretty and well got up, and looks a stun 



ner." 



" That isn't what ' swift ' means in Chicago." 

" Really ! You don't say ! That's what it means 
in London." 

" But you're not in London." 

" No." His tone strongly suggested a wish that 
he were. 

"Wouldn't it be jolly if this were Hyde Park!" 
she exclaimed. 

He did not show enthusiasm at this but then his 
face was made to suppress, not to express, emotion. 

" I simply adore London," she went on. 

" It ain't bad for a while, now and then." 

" There's so much atmosphere about London I 
don't mean the fog and soot. Here, they're all crazy 
about making money and working and all those kind 
of things. Whereas, over there, everybody's for hav 
ing a good time and all those kind of things. Some 
times I think I'll throw a fit if I don't get away from 
here." 

He looked gloom, then brightened yes, she was 
tremendously pretty, and her mouth was like a red- 
ripe cherry ; yes, she might be toned down into a fairly 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

decent countess. " They're quick to adapt them 
selves, these American girls. The minute she sees 
Evelyn she'll begin to learn." 

" I don't see how you stand it," she continued. 
" When are you going away ? Not that I sha'n't be 
sorry you've been awfully nice to me, and I like to 
see a really well-dressed man once in a while." 

" Ah, I don't mind it here." He paused for fully a 
minute, then said : " And I'd like it, you know, if I 
could take you with me when I go." He followed 
this speech with a slow turning of the head until his 
eyeglass was full upon her. " By Jove, her colour's 
genuine," he said to himself. 

She had been happy a few minutes before; now 
she was all thrills and palings and flushings of ecstacy. 
She glanced at her conquest with sparkling eyes and 
laughing lips. . She made him forget what " bad 
form " he had been thinking her. " Is that a joke? " 
she asked, as if she were assuming that it was. 

" We don't go in for joking about that sort of 
thing where I come from," he drawled. 

" But you oughtn't to have said it here." She 
was radiant, but her hands were trembling it seemed 

most romantic to her, quite like a chapter out of a 

[278] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

novel. Nobility and titles and genuine aristocracy, 
that not only recognised itself, but also was recognised 
as aristocracy by everybody, seemed to her as dream 
like as fairyland. " And he does so look the part ! " 
. she said to herself. " Anyone could see that he is the 
real thing." 

" If you'll drive home I'll ask you again there," 
he continued. 

And he did, and she accepted him ; and he was half 
way to Barney's before he came from the spell of her 
fresh young beauty and her frank admiration of him, 
and began to think of Nelly and to see Jeanne from 
Nelly's standpoint again. At that moment Jeanne 
was busily telephoning her engagement to her inti 
mates, her head full of castles and coronets and crests 
and peeresses' robes. It seemed to her that she could 
not wait to begin her triumph the congratulations of 
friends, the receptions, dinners, dances in honour of 
her and her fiance, the flare of newspaper brasses, the 
big wedding, and the crescendo of her gorgeous entry 
into English society as Countess of Frothingham. Cin 
derella was no more enraptured when the prince lifted 
her from the ashes than was Jenny Hooper with her 
ill-fed and exuberant imagination, her ill-directed 

[279] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

and energetic ambition, her ill-informed and earnest 
conception of " being somebody." 

" And he's coming to see you to-morrow, pa," she 
said to Amzi Hooper, after delighting his ears with 
the great news. " He says your consent is necessary 
before the engagement's announced." 

" I guess he and I won't quarrel over it, Jenny," re 
plied her father. " If he suits you, I can stand him." 

Frothingham came the next afternoon and made 
his formal request. Mr. Hooper shook hands with 
him cordially. " I guess my girl knows what she's 
about," said he. " I'm pleased to have you as a son." 

" Thanks," replied Frothingham he could not al 
together banish from his manner the instinctive 
haughtiness of English upper class toward English 
lower class. " When could you receive my representa 
tive? Or shall I send him to someone who represents 
you?" 

Mr. Hooper looked embarrassed and rubbed his jaw 
bone vigorously with his thumb and forefinger. 
" Yes yes certainly any time you say. I'll talk 
to him, myself. Can he come to-morrow? I don't 
think it '11 take him long to satisfy me you're all 

right." 

[280] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

Frothingham stared, thinking " D n his impu 
dence ! " He said only, " To-morrow, at eleven, 
then," shook hands as warmly as he thought wise, 
and went back to the parlour where Jeanne was wait 
ing for him. 

Frothingham's " representative " was Lawrence, 
attorney to the British Consulate at Chicago, a 
brother of Gerald Boughton's mother. He had 
come to America thirty years before because he 
could make a living here and could not make a 
living at home. He had renounced allegiance to the 
British throne because by doing so his income was 
doubled. But at heart he regarded himself as a Brit 
ish subject and, while he pretended to be an American, 
was so savagely critical of things American that 
everyone disliked him. He wore the long, slim side- 
whiskers which were the fashion when he left home; 
he talked with the lisp then affected as the " hall 
mark " of a gentleman. He disliked Americans ; he 
despised Anglo-Americans of the Hooper type; 
Hooper himself he loathed as an intolerable upstart, 
successful where he, of the " upper class," was barely 
able to keep chin above water. 

[281] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

When he came into Hooper's study at the hour fixed 
by Frothingham he was an accurate representation of 
the supercilious, frozen-faced " swell " of the Picca 
dilly district a quarter of a century before. Hooper 
knew that he was of the " upper class," but had not 
the faintest deference for him. Hooper had been 
Americanised to the extent of caring nothing for 
mere family. It took a title to stir his dormant in 
stincts of servility ; the untitled Lawrence was a man 
to be judged by American standards, as he understood 
them. Lawrence was not a millionaire and not on the 
way toward that goal of every rational ambition; 
Hooper, therefore, had no more respect for him than 
he had for any other " failure." 

" You've come to explain about the Earl of Froth 
ingham," began Hooper in the arrogant voice he used 
at business. " But it's not necessary. I'm well in 
formed as to Lord Frothingham's family and am satis 
fied he's what he represents himself to be." 

Lawrence combed his long lean " Dundrearys " with 
his slim white fingers. The joy of battle gleamed 
in his eyes. " I can't imagine," he replied he had 
a broad accent and drawl, said " cawn't " and 
" fawncy " " why you should fancy I came here to 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

insult Lord Frothingham, whose representative I have 
the honour to be." 

"Insult? What do you mean, Mr. Lawrence?" 
demanded Hooper, his voice courageous, but not his 
eyes. 

Lawrence felt he had been right in thinking that 
no American would negotiate for the purchase of a 
title unless he were at bottom a " grovelling snob." 
" There could not be a question of Lord Frothing- 
ham's character," he said. " And as for his family, 
there's none more illustrious in England." 

" Certainly, certainly. I admitted all that. I as 
sumed that Lord Frothingham was sending you 
through over-anxiety not unnatural when he's so far 
from home." 

" My business with you, Mr. Hooper," continued 
Lawrence, " relates to settlements." Hooper's pre 
tence " the shallow device of a bargain-hunter " 
disgusted him. 

Hooper waved his hand a broad, thick, stumpy- 
fingered hand. " Oh, I've no doubt Lord Frothing 
ham will do the right thing by my daughter. And 
besides, I intend to do something for her no one ever 
accused Amzi Hooper of stinginess." 

[283] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" That is gratifying," said Lawrence. " We shall 
no doubt have not the slightest difficulty in reaching 
an understanding. What, may I ask, is the aw 
extent of the settlement you purpose to make upon 
your daughter and and Lord Frothingham." 

Hooper's face grew red. " You may ask, sir, but 
I'll not answer. I'm not in the habit of discussing my 
private affairs with awe/body." 

Lawrence was angry also " the fellow's taking me 
for a fool," he thought. But he knew he must control 
himself, so he answered smoothly : " This is extraor 
dinary most extraordinary, Mr. Hooper. You've 
had some experience aw in foreign marriages " 

Hooper dropped sullenly before this poisoned shaft. 

" And," continued Lawrence, " you must know that 
settlements are the matter of course." 

" No, sir ! " exclaimed Hooper, pounding the desk, 
" I know nothing of the sort. When my oldest daugh 
ter married they talked to me about settlements, but I 
refused to have anything to do with it." 

Lawrence, in fact all Chicago, knew that Hooper, 
who was not nearly so rich then, had settled a quarter 
of a million upon the Papal nobleman and half a mill 
ion on his daughter, and had engaged to settle a 

[284] 




You may ASK, sir, but I'll not answer 9 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

quarter of a million more upon the first male child of 
the marriage. " We should, of course, not be satis 
fied with the settlements you made upon the Duke of 
Valdonomia," said he, ignoring Hooper's falsehood. 

Hooper winced, looked bluster, thought better of it, 
said quietly : " You've been misinformed, Mr. Law 
rence. I made no settlements. But I gave the young 
people enough to set them up comfortably j" 

" Lord Frothingham's position forbids him to con 
sider any such arrangement as that, Mr. Hooper. 
You know how it is with the great families. They 
have station, rank, tradition to maintain. They " 

" I won't bribe any man to marry my daughter. 
That ain't the American way." This was said, not 
fiercely, but, on the contrary, in a conciliatory tone 
and manner. 

Lawrence sneered inwardly at this " cheap clap 
trap," and said : " That's sound and eminently 
creditable to you, sir. But you will bear in mind that 
Lord Frothingham is an English nobleman, the head 
of a distinguished family, and that your daughter is 
about to become his Countess, an Englishwoman, the 
mother of a line of English noblemen. Do I make my 
self clear? " 

[285] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" Perfectly. Perfectly. And I've not the least ob 
jection to doing what's right. I want to make it clear 
that I'm giving only out of generosity and affection, 
and a desire to see my girl properly established." 

" No one who knows you will doubt that," said 
Lawrence so blandly that Hooper could find no 
fault, could not understand why he was irritated. 
" And now that we're on common ground I hope you'll 
give me some aw data so that I may draw up the 
necessary papers." 

" Has Frothingham any debts ? '' asked Hooper 
abruptly, after a thoughtful pause. 

" There are about fifteen thousand pounds of per 
sonal obligations," replied Lawrence carelessly, " and 
a matter of perhaps a hundred thousand pounds as a 
charge on the entailed estate. I understand the en 
tailed part is all that's left ; but the estates can be, 
should be, restored to what they were until a hundred 
or a hundred and fifty years ago." 

" Um ! " muttered Hooper. 

" The debt represents, I believe," continued Law 
rence, " the wild oats and careless management of 
previous generations. The present Earl has been 
remarkably steady, they tell me, considering his sta- 

[286] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

tion and opportunities, and the example of his father 
and grandfather." 

Hooper had read with an attention that made his 
memory leechlike every word of every sketch of Froth- 
in gham and the Gordon-Beauvais family in the Chi 
cago papers. Lawrence's aristocratic allusions were, 
therefore, full of suggestion and moved him pro 
foundly. " Well," said he, " I should say, in round 
numbers, that a million would straighten the 
young man out and set them housekeeping in good 
style." 

There was a queer gleam in Lawrence's eyes as he 
replied : " Very handsome, Mr. Hooper. Most satis 
factory. Your daughter can take the position in Eng 
land to which the Earl's rank entitles her." He 
looked as if he were reflecting; then, as if thinking 
aloud : " Let me see a million pounds five mill 



ion " 



Hooper sprang to his feet. " You misunderstood 
me, Mr. Lawrence," he protested angrily, but nerv 
ously. " My daughter will have that perhaps more 
than that ultimately. But I meant dollars, not 
pounds." 

Lawrence put on a expression of amazement. " I 

[287] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

beg your pardon, Mr. Hooper, but really really 
you can't mean that. Two hundred thousand pounds 
would barely fetch them even. They'd have nothing 
to live on." 

" Oh, of course I don't mean that I'd not give 'em 
anything in addition. We were talking only of set 
tlements." 

" Certainly. And you must see, Mr. Hooper, that 
it would be impossible for us to accept any settlement 
so inadequate. Some misfortune might overtake you 
and you would be unable to carry out your present 
generous intentions." 

" A million dollars is a big sum of money. It looks 
even bigger in England than here." 

" But you are making a great alliance. A million 
dollars is a small sum in the circumstances I mean, 
in view of the necessity of enabling your daughter to 
take all that her position as Countess of Frothingham 
entitles her to." 

" Permit me to ask," said Hooper with some sar 
casm, but not enough to conceal his anxiety, " what 
did Lord Frothingham expect in the way of settle 
ment ? " The multi-millionaire had developed two 
powerful passions with age avarice and social ambi- 

[288] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

tion. These were now rending each the other and both 
were rending him. 

" Lord Frothingham, of course, did not discuss the 
matter with me a gentleman is, naturally, delicate in 
matters of money. He simply stated the posture of 
his affairs and left me in full charge. When I sug 
gested to him that eight hundred thousand pounds 
would be adequate, he protested that that was too 
much. * I wish Mr. Hooper to appreciate that it is 
his daughter I want,' said he. * Make the least pos 
sible conditions. I'd be glad to marry her without a 
penny if my position permitted. It's hard to have to 
consider such things at this time,' he said. * I'm sure 
we can pull through with seven hundred thousand.' 
I did not and do not agree with him, but I assented be 
cause I knew that you would liberally supplement the 
settlements." 

Every sentence in that speech exasperated Mr. 
Hooper perhaps Lawrence's persistence in express 
ing himself in pounds instead of in dollars most of all. 
Pounds made the huge sum demanded seem small, 
made his resistance seem mean and vulgar. He re 
flected for several minutes. " I won't do it ! " he said 

in a sudden gust of temper. " Half that is my final 

[289] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

figure. I'll settle the obligations the five hundred 
and seventy thousand dollars and I'll entail five hun 
dred thousand and give Jenny five hundred thousand 
for her lifetime, it to go afterward to the younger 
children." 

Lawrence combed his whiskers with his fine fingers, 
shaking his head slowly as he did so. " But, Mr. 
Hooper " 

" That's final," interrupted Hooper. " It's bad 
enough it's shameful it's un-American, sir, to make 
any settlement at all." 

At " un-American " Lawrence took advantage of 
the fact that Hooper was not looking at him to in 
dulge in a glance of contemptuous amusement. " No 
body but an American," he said to himself, " could 
have dragged ' un-American ' into such a discussion 
as this. The cad is dickering over his daughter like an 
old-clothes dealer over a bag of rags." 

Hooper was talking again talking loudly : " Not 

a cent more ! Not a d n cent more ! If they need 

more after they're married, let 'em come to me for it. 
They'll get it. But I ain't fool enough to make 'em 
independent of me. I ain't going to give 'em a chance 

to forget the hand that feeds 'em. No, sir ; I want my 

[290] 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

daughter to continue to love me and think of 



me." 



There was no affectation in Lawrence's astonish 
ment at this view of affection and the way to keep it. 
" Poor devil," he said to himself pityingly, " he's 
been so perverted by his wealth that he actually doesn't 
see he's taking the very course that '11 make his chil 
dren hate him." But he ventured only, " I'm certain, 
sir, from what I know of your daughter and Lord 
Frothingham that money could have no influence with 
them one way or the other." 

Hooper smiled cynically. " It's human nature," he 
said. " The hand that feeds is the hand that's licked. 
I'll give 'em all they need whenever they need it. Do 
you suppose I've no pride in my daughter, in seeing 
that she makes a good appearance over there? But 
a million and a half is my outside figure for settle 
ments." 

" Practically less than a hundred thousand over and 
above the debts," replied Lawrence, irritatingly revert 
ing to pounds. " That is, about four thousand a year 
for them to live on." 

" Forty to fifty thousand a year, including Jenny's 
income," corrected Hooper, standing up for dollars. 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" And while I don't promise, still, if they behave, they 
can count on as much more from me." 

" Nine thousand a year," said Lawrence, translat 
ing into pounds, " would hardly keep up Beauvais 
Hall in a pinched fashion. It would leave nothing 
for restoring the property; the Hall, for example, 
needs fifty thousand pounds at once to restore it." 

The reasonableness, the unanswerableness of this 
presentation of the case exasperated Hooper. 
" They'll have to look to me afterward for that," he 
said angrily. " I've said my last word." 

But Lawrence didn't believe him. He saw that, 
though avarice was uppermost for the moment, the 
" cad's craving " was a close second then there was 
the daughter's aid. She would have something to say 
to her father when she knew of the hitch in the nego 
tiations. He rose. " There's nothing further at 
present, Mr. Hooper. I shall be compelled strongly 
to advise Lord Frothingham against going on and en 
gaging himself. I cannot do otherwise, consistently 
with my duty as the, as it were, guardian for the mo 
ment of his dignity and the dignity of his house. It 
may be that he will disregard my advice. But I don't 
see how he can, careless in sordid things and impetu- 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

ous though he is. The prospect for an unhappy mar 
riage would be too clear. Good-morning, sir." 

Hooper shook hands with him lingeringly. Avarice 
forbade him to speak. " The Earl will come to your 
terms," it and shrewdness assured him. " If he don't 
the deal is still open, anyhow." His parting words 
were, " Give my regards to the young man. Tell him 
we hope to see him as usual, no matter how this affair 
comes out." 

" The coarse brute," muttered Lawrence, as he stood 
without the doors of the granite palace. " The soul 
of a ham-seller, of a pig-sticker." And he took out 
his handkerchief and affectedly wiped the hand which 
Hooper had shaken. " Always a nasty business, this, 
of American upstarts buying into our nobility. If 
they weren't a lot of callous traders and money-grab 
bers they couldn't do it. And they usually negotiate 
at first hand, so that they can drive a closer bargain. 
And their best society, too! Beastly country no 
wonder the women want to be traded out of it into 
civilisation." 



[293] 



XVIII 

THERE was a family council at the Hoopers' 
after luncheon that day Mr. Hooper, his wife, 
and Jeanne. The two women followed Hooper 
from the dining room into his study, where he was 
pulling sullenly at his cigar and awaiting the attack. 
It was his wife who began : " Do you know why Lord 
Frothingham sent word he couldn't come to lunch, 
pa? Jenny here is worried about it." 

Mr. Hooper grunted. Finally he said : " I'm will 
ing to do anything in reason to please Jenny. I don't 
approve of this title business. It ain't American. But 
as long as the young fellow has turned her head I was 
not disposed to stand in the way." He frowned 
fiercely. " But I tell you flat, I won't be held up ! 
And that fellow he sent here this morning was a plain 
highwayman." 

Mrs. Hooper and Jeanne looked significantly each 
at the other they had had many talks about his grow 
ing stinginess, and they suspected him at once. 

" What did he want? " inquired Mrs. Hooper. 

[294] 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 

" I don't propose to talk this thing over before 
Jenny. It's disgraceful that she should have gone 
into such a business. It ain't right that she should 
know about such things." 

Jeanne's eyes filled with tears. " And I've told all 
the girls ! " she exclaimed. " Everybody knows it. I 
can't back out now. The whole town 'd be laughing at 
us. I'd be ashamed ever to show my face in the street 
again. You don't want to break my heart, do you, 
pa?" 

" You've made a sweet mess of it ! " snarled her 
father. " You ought to have had better sense than to 
have told anybody till the business side of it was set 
tled. I warned your ma about that I knew what was 
coming. Now, here you two 've gone and given him 
the whip hand ! " 

" She got at the telephone before she told me," said 
Mrs. Hooper. 

Neither she nor her husband suspected that Jeanne 
had thought of just this emergency of a wrangle over 
settlements and had decided that the best way to over 
come her father's avarice was to put him in a posi 
tion from which he could not recede. If Frothing- 
ham had not insisted on liberal settlements she would 

[295] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

have prompted him to it. She was no more eager than 
was he to embark with small supplies in the hold when 
it was possible to lay in supplies a plenty. And as her 
father had acted all her life upon his principle of pa 
ternal affection " The hand that feeds is the hand 
that's licked " she saw no harm in guiding her con 
duct toward, him by principles from the same prac 
tical code. As she was about to engage in business, 
wasn't it common sense to get as large a capital as she 
could ? " We can't back out now," she repeated tear 
fully, watching him shrewdly through her tears. 

" A pretty mess ! " growled her father. But he was 
not really offended, partly because he was fond of his 
daughter and would have forgiven her almost any 
thing, partly because he understood and sympathised 
with her eagerness to proclaim her triumph, chiefly 
because, now that he had thought it over, he was ready 
to accept Frothingham's terms. " The hope of get 
ting more and the need of it will keep 'em tame," he 
reasoned. And he said, addressing the two women: 
" When that Lawrence fellow comes again to-mor 
row, as I'm dead sure he will, I'll close the matter. 
But you two keep your hands off ! " 

As soon as her father and mother were out of the 

[296] 




A s soon as }ier father and mother were out 
of the way 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 

way Jennie went into the library and called up the 
Barneys. " Is Lord Frothingham there? " she asked. 

" I'll put you on the switch to his room," was the 
reply. And presently a voice she recognised as Hutt's 
said : " Who wishes to speak to 'Is Lordship ? " 

" Say that Miss Hooper's at the telephone." 

There was a pause, a murmur of voices she was 
sure one of them was Frothingham's. "Then Hutt an 
swered: "'Is Lordship hain't 'ere just now, ma'am. 
Hany message, ma'am? " 

She was trembling with alarm. " Just tell him that 
I called up, and that I'd like to speak to him when he 
comes in " this in a rather shaky voice, for a great 
fear was gathering in around her, a fear that he had 
become offended at her father's stinginess and barter 
ing and bargaining, and had decided to withdraw. 

She wandered uneasily from room to room. She sat 
at the telephone several times once she had the re 
ceiver off the hook before she changed her mind about 
trying to reach him. She ordered her victoria and got 
ready for the street, to drive about in the hope of acci 
dentally meeting him. At the door she changed her 
mind again. As she was turning back a boy came by, 
shouting an extra " All about the Earl of Frothing- 

[297] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

ham ! Big sensation ! " She saw that the boy knew 
who she was, knew that she was supposed to be en 
gaged to Frothingham, was clamouring in that neigh 
bourhood because he thought sales would be briskest 
there. She fled into the house but sent a servant out 
by the basement way to buy the paper. 

The headlines were large and black. Frothingham, 
the story ran, had got into debt in England so deeply 
that his creditors found he could not pay more than 
a few pence in the pound; they had consulted as to 
ways and means of recovering, had organised them 
selves into a syndicate, had put up five thousand 
pounds to " finance " him for a hunt for a rich wife 
in America. " And," concluded the account, " this ex 
posure comes barely in time to block his attempt to 
marry the beautiful daughter of one of the richest 
meat packers in Chicago, moving in our smartest 
smart set." 

She did not know that this tale was a deliberately 
false diversion of the facts about a syndicated German 
prince who had visited Chicago several years before 
and had almost married there. The truth as to his 
enterprise had just come out on the other side through 
the collapse of the Rontivogli syndicate ; and the news- 

[298] 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 

paper, relying for immunity on Frothingham's alone- 
ness, and on his well-understood mercenary designs, 
had substituted his name for the German's. She read 
and believed. She had known from the outset that his 
main motive was money. But she had succeeded in 
disguising this unsightly truth in the same flowers of 
her crudely romantic imagination in which she dis 
guised the truth as to her craving for a coronet. Now 
it was as if the flowers had been torn away to the last 
concealing petal and had left exposed things more 
hideous than she thought were there. 

She hid her face and cried a little " I despise him. 
Besides, if I went on and married him, what would 
people say ? " 

It would have taken finer scales than those avail 
able for weighing human motives to decide which of 
the two reasons embodied in those two sentences was 
the heavier. She dried her eyes and sat with her elbow 
on the table and her chin in her hand. 

" That's the best thing to do, every way I look at 
it," she said aloud slowly at the end of half an hour's 
thought. 

She went to the telephone, called up the offices of the 
Great Western and Southern Railway, asked and got 

[299] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

the General Manager. " Is that you, Mr. Burster? 
Is that you, Tom? Meet me in the parlours of the 
Auditorium right way." And she rang off and tele 
phoned to the stable for her victoria. 

Ten minutes later she was driving down the avenue 
in her largest, most beplumed black hat and a pale 
blue carriage-coat that produced the wonted effect of 
her public appearances Burster once said to her: 
" Jeanne, you're the only thing on earth than can stop 
traffic in the streets of Chicago. You can do in two 
seconds more than a blizzard could do in a week." 

She returned at half-past five. Her father and 
mother were in the front sitting room upstairs, gloomy 
as the lake in the dusk of a cloudy day. She entered, 
whistling and tilting her big hat first over her right 
eye, then over her left. " Don't look so cheerful," she 
said, patting her mother on the cheek and pulling her 
father's beard. 

He tried to scowl, but it was a failure ; and his voice 
was not in the least formidable as he said : " A pretty 
mess you got yourself into, miss, with your telephon- 
ing." 

" What telephoning? " she asked with a start. 

" Tattling your engagement." 

[300] 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 

" Oh ! " She threw herself into a chair and 
laughed. 

" Your father telephoned to Mr. Lawrence after he 
left us " began her mother. 

" What did you do that for, pa ? " she interrupted. 
" He'll think we haven't any pride." 

" You ungrateful, thoughtless child ! I did it for 
your sake." 

" What did Mr. Lawrence say ? " 

Her father hesitated and his face showed how he 
hated to inflict upon his daughter the pain he thought 
his words would cause. " He said it was useless to con 
tinue our discussion, as Lord Frothingham had defi 
nitely and finally decided not to renew his proposal." 
The old man's voice almost broke as he went on: 
" Jenny, here's a note that came a few minutes ago 
I think the address is in Frothingham's handwriting." 

Neither he nor her mother dared to look at her as 
she was hearing these awful disclosures of the downfall 
of her hopes and the impending brutalities to her 
pride and vanity. She picked up the note, opened it 
slowly, read it a few polite formal sentences, setting 
forth that he had " yielded to the insuperable ob 
stacles interposed by your father." 

[301] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

She dropped the sheet and pirouetted round the 
room in and out between the chairs occupied by her 
frightened parents they thought her suddenly gone 
mad from the shock. " Who says I ain't the luckiest 
girl on earth? " she exclaimed. 

" What are you talking about, Jenny ? " demanded 
her mother sharply. 

" Why, I married Tom Burster half an hour ago. 
He's putting the notices in all the papers for to-mor 
row morning. Everybody '11 think I changed 
my mind and shook Frothingham. And I did, 
too!" 

" Jenny ! " exclaimed her father. " Tom Burster ! " 

" And he's coming here to dinner, if you don't ob 
ject," she continued. " If you do, why I'll join him 
and we'll go away and give you a chance to cool off." 
She caught her father by the beard. " What do you 
say, daddy? Say yes, or I'll pull." 

" Yes," replied her father with a huge sigh of re 
lief his daughter was contented; her and their van 
ity would be spared; Tom Burster would not demand 
or want a dower ; he was not only independent, but also 
one of the most forward young " self-made " rich men 
in Chicago. " You've got more sense than all the rest 

[302] 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 

of the family put together," he exclaimed proudly, 
patting her on the head. 

And in an absent, reflective tone she said : " I 
always felt I'd have some use for Tom sooner or 
later." 



[ 303 ] 



XIX 

FROTHINGHAM'S abrupt change of tactics 
had been caused by a cablegram from Evelyn 
which reached him at the Barneys' even as his 
diplomatic agent was in the heat and toil of the nego 
tiations with Amzi Hooper. It read : 

Break off everything and return. Have written you New 
York. Best possible news. Gwen sends love. 

" Why didn't she say what it was ? " he wondered. 
And he decided that it must be news of too private a 
nature to be trusted to the telegraph station at Beau- 
vais. Why had she written if he was to go at once? 
" I suppose," he concluded, " she was afraid I 
mightn't obey orders. ' Gwen sends love ' that 
must mean that the news is about me and Gwen." 

But he had no uplifting of spirits instead, he felt 
a sense of impending misfortune. He called up Law- 
ence's office and told one of the clerks that he wished 

Lawrence to call him as soon as he came in. In a few 

[304] 



CHAPTER NINETEEN 

minutes Lawrence was relating over the wire the 
favourable progress of the negotiation. 

" It's off," said Frothingham. " I want nothing 
more to do with it. I'm glad it's in good form for 
the break. I can drop it decently." 

This so delighted Lawrence that he laughed aloud. 
" Hooper's certain to send for me," he said. " I'll 
give him the shock of his life." 

Frothingham cautioned him against any transgres 
sion of the most courteous politeness, then went down 
to luncheon with Nelly, alone. While she was talk 
ing and he listening and looking, all in a flash he un 
derstood why the " best possible news " from home 
depressed him, why " Gwen sends love " did not elate 
him. He asked Nelly to take him to her school. 

" Oh. you wouldn't be interested," she said. 

But he insisted, and they set out immediately after 
luncheon. As they went in a street car she ex 
plained her work: 

When her mother lay dying she said to the man 
beside whom she had worked for thirty-six years, 
mostly cloud and rain : " Henry, I don't want a big, 
showy monument over me. If you should do some 
thing for me, build a school of some kind, a school 

[305] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

where girls can be taught how to be useful wives 
and mothers, instead of spending their whole lives 
at learning." And Nelly's father had put by 
money, a large sum each year, until his daughter's 
education was finished. Then he had said to her, " I 
want you to help me carry out your ma's memorial." 
And he turned over to her a mass of plans and hints 
and schemes which he had been accumulating for seven 
years. " Get up a plan," he had said, " on the lines 
your ma would have liked. It's a woman's work 
it's your natural work. I'll supply the money." And 
after two years' labour, one year of it abroad, she had 
perfected a scheme for a great school where several 
hundred girls could be instructed in all that a woman 
as a woman should know housework, sewing, cooking, 
shopping, marketing, the elements of business and of 
art, the care of babies, the training and education of 
children. And she had so planned it that the girls 
could and should support themselves while they were 
learning. 

Frothingham did not take his eyes from her face 
as she talked. She seemed to him the most wonderful, 
the noblest human being in the world. " A fine, a 
beautiful idea," he said. " But aren't you afraid of 

[306] 



CHAPTER NINETEEN 

spoiling those girls for workingmen's wives? You're 
educating entirely too much in this country, I should 
say, as it is. You're making the lower classes restless 
and discontented. They'll pull everything down 
about your ears the first thing you know." 

Nelly smiled he saw that she was not seeing him 
at all, was looking far, far past him. " I'm not 
worrying about the consequences," she said. " If we 
did that we should never move. You must remember 
that we haven't any classes here, but are all of one 
class we differ in degree, but not in kind. One 
can't look into the future. I only know it was in 
tended for the light to shine on the whole human race, 
and that it's our duty to help all we can. And knowl 
edge is light, and ignorance is darkness, isn't it ? I'm 
not afraid of light, anywhere. Whether it's little or 
much, it's better than darkness." 

He looked at her strangely. " I had never thought 
of that," he said in a low voice. Then, after a few 
minutes : " How good you are ! I didn't know there 
was anybody in the world like you. How generous of 
you to give your, life to these people." 

" No no ! " she protested. They were walking 
now through a maze of homely streets lined with flat- 

[307] 






GOLDEN FLEECE 

houses large and small and odourous of strong-smelling 
cookery, of decaying food, of stale whiskey and beer 
- J a typical tenement district. " When I first began 
on this scheme," she went on, " I thought as you do. 
But I soon saw how false, how foolishly false, that 
was. And if I had continued to think as at first, if 
I had gone into the work to patronise and to feed 
my vanity, I should have injured myself and all whom 
I wished to help. I should have made a snob of my 
self and parasites of them." 

She paused and into her eyes came a look which 
he thought " glorious." She went on : " But fortu 
nately, I got the right sort of guidance from the very 
start. And I discovered that I had more to learn than 
these people. I was actually more ignorant than 
they." She turned her face toward him. " Did you 
ever think," she asked, " what would become of you 
if you had all the props taken from under you, and 
were cast upon the world and were forced to make the 
fight alone without a penny or a friend or a relative 
or any outside help of any kind ? ' : 

"Thought of it? Well, rather!" he exclaimed. 
"And I know what would happen to me jolly 

quick ! " 

[308] 



CHAPTER NINETEEN 

" That was my first discovery about myself. I 
found that I was in the world without any fit equip 
ment to live. I found that if the props were taken 
from under me I'd be no match for the working people, 
that I'd perish or else have to live on the charity of 
rich people by doing the sort of pottering work they 
give the poor of their own class. And I said to my 
self, ' You are a fine human being, aren't you to 
pose as the superior of those who are independent and 
self-respecting? You call them ignorant, yet they 
are conforming to nature's laws and to the conditions 
of life infinitely better than you, with your boasted 
intelligence and your fancied refinement.' I saw that 
I was not a real woman, as my mother had been, but 
was only a parasite on the labour and the intelligence 
of others." 

" And what did you do ? " 

" I went to school with my girls. And " Her 

face lighted up with enthusiasm " oh, you don't 
know what a a magnificent sensation it is to be 
conscious that one can swim alone on the sea of life 
without fear of drowning or of having to call for help. 
You spoke as if I were giving these people something. 
Why, I owe everything to them ! It is they who gave 

[309] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

and are giving. And I am and always shall be in 
their debt." 

He tried to think of some satirical phrase with which 
to lessen the impression what she had said was making 
upon him. But he could only blink into the flooding 
light which seemed to him to surround her and to 
blaze upon his pettiness and worthlessness and the 
tawdriness of all upon which his life had been based. 
In his own country, in his surroundings of alternating 
dulness and dissipation, his naturally good mind had 
become a drowsy marsh with pale lights gleaming in 
it occasionally here and there. Unconsciously, he had 
been slowly rousing ever since he landed in New 
York. 

The people he had met were like enough to those he 
had met at home, and also like enough to the people 
of the real America from which they were offshoots, 
to form for him a mental bridge on which he could 
pass from his England of narrow and bigoted caste 
to Nelly's America of alert and intelligent and self- 
respecting, level-eyed humanity. And he was now 
feeling in this restless Chicago the fierce impact of 
energies and aspirations of which he had had no con 
ception, of which he could never have a clear concep- 

[310] 



CHAPTER NINETEEN 

tion. Through the eyes of this earnest, unaffected 
girl with her lived ideal of self-forgetfulness he had 
been getting confused, dazzling glimpses of a new 
world. 

But he did clearly see and feel that he loved her. 
And she now saw in his curiously changed face what 
was in his mind. She looked away instantly her 
expression was uneasy, almost frightened. " Here 
we are at the school," she said nervously as they 
turned a corner and came in sight of three great 
buildings plain yet attractive which faced three 
sides of a broad lawn in the centre of which a large 
and artistic fountain was playing. 

He never could give a clear account of that school. 
He remembered the manager a Mr. Worthington, 
with a strong and serious, yet anything but solemn 
face, with rather homely features except a pair of ex 
traordinary eyes. He remembered many classrooms 
where all sorts of feminine enterprises were going for 
ward with energetic informality. He remembered 
many girls uncommonly clean, bright, well-dressed 
girls with agreeable voices and manners. He remem 
bered many smiles and other evidences of health and 

spirits. He remembered many babies all in one big, 

[311] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

sunny room, chirping and crowing and gurgling, bal 
ancing on uncertain little lumps of feet or crawling 
toilsomely. " Practice babies," Nelly called them, 
and he thought, " If this is the way her girls succeed 
with mere ' practice babies,' what won't they make of 
their own?' ; Finally, he remembered Nelly. All 
his other memories were a hazy background for her 
tall, graceful figure and wonderful, luminous face. 
Her he never forgot in the smallest detail of look or 
gesture. 

When they were once more in the street, walking 
toward the car, he began abruptly : " I came over here 
to America because I was ruined because we 
were going to be sold up and chucked out in the 
autumn. I came I'm ashamed to put it into words 
I'd rather you'd imagine you can, easy enough. 
It's often done and nothing's thought of it at least 
on our side of the water. This morning in fact, 
just before luncheon I got a cable from my sister. 
Our luck has turned, and " 

" I'm very glad," she murmured as he paused. 

" I don't wish to go back," he went on impetuously, 
his drawl gone. " I wish it's you I want. And I 
ask you to give me a chance. I don't think I'm such 

[312] 



CHAPTER NINETEEN 

a frightfully bad sort, as men go. And while I ain't 
fit for you to walk on, where's the man that is? And 
perhaps if I were less fit I couldn't care for you all 
the height from down where I am to up where you 



are." 



The storm which had burst from deep down within 
him, deeper far than he thought his nature extended, 
was so sweeping and whirling him that he could not 
see her face distinctly. 

When she spoke it was in a voice that took away 
hope, but gently, soothing the wound it made. " I'm 
sorry," she said, " and yet I'm not. No woman could 
help being pleased to hear what you've said to me, 
and hear it from such a man as you are. Oh, yes ! " 
this in answer to his expression " for I've found out 
what sort of man lives behind your look of irony and 
indifference. A so much better man than he lets him 
self know or show. And I understand how differ 
ently you've been brought up, how different your sys 
tem is from ours. But " 

She hesitated, and somehow he felt that he must give 
her sympathy instead of asking it. 

" You remember, I told you that when I began with 

the school I had the right sort of help ? ' J 

[313] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

He looked away from her and it was black before 
him for an instant. " That fairish chap with the 
eyes Mr. Worthington ? " he asked, cutting his 
words off sharp. 

She nodded, her cheeks bright. " I simply couldn't 
help it," she said. " He was what I longed to be. 
And he didn't preach the things I believed in he just 
lived them." 

They were silent until they were in the car, then she 
went on : "I don't want you to misunderstand. He 
has never even looked what I'd like him to look and 
say. I don't know whether he cares probably 
not. Sometimes I think he cares only for his work, 
and " 

" He does care I saw it," interrupted Frothing- 
ham, and then he was astonished at himself for being 
so " ridiculously decent." 

" I don't know," she said doubtfully. " Thank 
you for saying so." She looked at him shyly. " You'll 
think me queer for telling you about it when he has 
said nothing to me." 

" I understand why you tell me," Frothingham 
answered. " It was like you." He smiled faintly, 
his frequent, self -satirising smile. " Don't mind me. 

[314] 




- 



V 



7 take to it like a duck to water 9 



CHAPTER NINETEEN 

I'm used to bad luck. I take to it like a duck to 
water." 

Nelly's instinct told her that she had said enough, 
and they rode in silence. When she spoke again 
it was of the dance to which they were going that 
night. An hour and a half later as they were sepa 
rating for dinner he said earnestly : " Thank you for 
what you said. And thank you even more for 
what you didn't say." 



[315] 



XX 

ON the way to Mrs. Graf ton's ball that night 
he sent Evelyn a cablegram asking her to cable 
him 175 he needed to help him to pay Wal- 
lingford and fixing the next day week for his sailing. 
He might have sailed three days earlier, but he wished 
to get her letter and so not carry an unsatisfied curi 
osity on a six-days' voyage. 

At the ball everyone was talking of the Frothing- 
ham " exposure " and of Jenny Hooper's marriage. 
The " exposure " had appeared in but two editions of 
the "yellow" that invented it. "Wick" Barney 
had seen it and had lost not a moment in forcing its 
suppression and a denial and in warning the other 
papers. He said nothing to Frothingham, and 
Frothingham did not know of it then, or indeed until 
several years had passed. But even if it had not been 
suppressed and had been everywhere believed, Froth- 
ingham's social position would not have suffered. His 
title was genuine and his family and his position at 

[316] 



CHAPTER TWENTY 

home were of the best more, American fashionable 
society never asks about upper class foreigners who 
come to it for no apparent, or, rather, no avowed pur 
pose. It expects them to be somewhat " queer " in 
other respects. It assumes that they will be " queer " 
in money matters. 

Frothingham did, however, hear of Jenny's mar 
riage heard of it from Jenny herself. At the Graf- 
tons' the dressing rooms are at opposite ends of the 
hall from which the grand stairway ascends to the 
drawing room and the ballroom. It chanced that 
Jenny and Frothingham came along this hall from the 
dressing rooms at the same time and, to the delight 
of the few guests and the many servants who wit 
nessed, met at the foot of the stairway. As Frothing- 
ham's face habitually expressed nothing beyond a sug 
gestion that he had nothing to express, he and his 
eyeglass withstood the shock admirably. Jenny had 
intended to " cut him dead " the next time she saw him. 
But as she tottered suddenly into his presence on her 
monstrous tall heels she was not prepared for a course 
so foreign to her nature as the cut direct. Before she 
Joiew what she was doing or saying she had smiled and 
nodded. She instantly shifted to a frown ; but it was 

[317] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

too late Frothingham had spoken, had subdued her 
with that " perfectly splendid, so aristocratic " mon 
ocle of his. " What's the use of throwing a fit over a 
thing that's past and done? " she reflected. " He's 
all right in his way. And won't it give Tom and 
everybody a jolt if we enter the ballroom together? " 

Frothingham had called her " Miss Hooper." This 
gave her the opening. " Miss Hooper ! " she said with 
her jauntiest air. " That's ancient history. I ain't 
been called that for ages and ages. Why, I'm an old 
married woman for Chicago." 

" Really," said he, thinking it " some stupid, silly 
sell or other." He was hardly listening. He was more 
interested in the rope of pearls and diamonds that 
swung from her neck to far below her waist. The 
pearls were large and were once perfect ; but each pearl 
had been mutilated by having a diamond set in it a 
very nightmare of sacrifice of beauty and taste in an 
effort to make more expensive the most expensive. 

" Yes, indeed truly. I'm Mrs. " She stopped 

short and gave him a look of horror. 

" Dear me ! " exclaimed Frothingham with satiric 
sympathy. " Have you forgotten his name, or did 

you forget to ask it? " 

[318] 



CHAPTER TWENTY 

" No but I never thought of it before thought 
how it sounds. My, but it's awful ! I'd never in the 
world have married him if I'd have pronounced it be 
forehand. Mrs. Burster! Ain't that horrible? " 
Frothingham had lifted " ain't " from the slough of 
doubtful grammar to the pinnacle of fashion in fash 
ionable Chicago. 

" Oh, I don't know," he drawled, still imagining she 
was jesting. " It might be worse, mightn't it, now? " 

At this seeming impertinence her eyes flashed. 
" Yes it might. It might be Bursted or ' Busted ' 
mightn't it? " Then, seeing that her " shot " at 
his financial condition as described in the newspaper 
she had read and believed apparently did not touch 
him, she relented and was in a good humour again. 
" I've been engaged to Tom for a year or so on and 

o o / 

off," she went on. " When I woke up this morning it 
came into my head to marry him. And I did it while 
your lawyer and papa were squabbling." She said 
this so convincingly that she herself began to feel that 
it was " as good as true." 

The news that she and Frothingham were advanc 
ing together preceded them to the ballroom, but had 
not spread far enough from its doors to impair the 

[319] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

sensation made by their entrance with every appear 
ance of friendliness. And the much discussed mystery 
of that day's doings is here solved for the first 
time. 

The next afternoon Frothingham and Wickham 
drove up to Barney's door as Nelly and Worthington 
were arriving on foot. One glance at their faces and 
he knew that they understood each the other now. 
" All I accomplished," he said to himself mournfully, 
" was to force the fellow to play his hand. What rip 
ping luck I do bring other people ! " He paused 
only long enough to make his passing on seem natural. 
Presently she followed him to the library, where he 
was standing on the rug before the closed fireplace 
with a cigarette drooping dejectedly from the corner 
of his mouth. She moved restlessly about the room, 
evidently seeking a way to begin telling him some 
thing. 

" I saw it in your face at the door," he said, in 
answer to an appealing glance from her. 

She put her hand on his arm and her eyes were wist 
ful. " I know you did, and I hoped I thought I 
saw in your face that you were generous enough to be 
glad I'm happy." 

[320] 



CHAPTER TWENTY 

" No, I can't say that you did. The most I can do 
is to bear it without the grin." He seated himself 
on the edge of the big table and smoked and looked 
at her reflectively. " I say," he began at last, " do 
you see how it's possible to be in love with two at the 
same time? 5: 

She nodded, smiling a little. " Yes I I think 
if I hadn't met someone first I should have been in 
love with someone else." 

" That's something," he said in his satirical drawl. 
But he kept his eyes down and his eyelids were trem 
bling. " Do you know," he went on after a pause full 
of cigarette smoke, " I've been thinking about car 
ing for two people and that sort of thing. I don't 
mind saying to you you'll understand, I'm sure 
there's a girl over on the other side " 

" I'm so glad ! " she exclaimed and then she 
wasn't. 

" I care for her in a different way, but it's quite a 
real way. And when I go back home, it may be you 
know what I wish to say. I'm telling you because I 
don't wish you to think I'm disloyal to you " his ex 
pression was half -satirical, half -mournful " or to her 
either." 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

" I appreciate your telling me," she said. " But 
I'd have understood, if you hadn't. I believe I recog 
nise a man when I see him, and you know that's what 
I think you." 

He shrugged his shoulders. " I dare say I'm much 
like other people. I show everyone the side that 
matches the side they show me." 

After a moment he went to her and lifted her hand 
and kissed it. She stood and turned her face, sweet 
and friendly, up to him. " I'd rather you'd kiss 
me," she said. 

He winced and paled and let go her hand. " No, 
thanks," he replied. " If you don't mind, I'd rather 
not." 

With this Mr. Barney bustled into the room no 
one had ever seen him make a slow movement of any 
kind. At sight of them standing thus suspiciously, he 
halted and, as they flushed and moved apart, he 
laughed in such a way that Nelly felt impelled to ex 
plain : 

" I was talking to Lord Frothingham of my en 
gagement, and he was congratulating me." 

" Bless my soul ! " ejaculated Barney. " This is 
news ! " 



CHAPTER TWENTY 

" I haven't had a chance to tell you, father. It's 
Mr. Worthington." 

Barney seemed depressed. " Well I guess he's all 
right," he said slowly. " I've got nothing against 
him. But " 

" And," interrupted Nelly, afraid of her father's 
frankness, " he was telling me of his engagement." 

Barney looked at Frothingham sharply. " Amer 
ican? " he asked, showing that he wouldn't like it if 
he got an affirmative answer. 

" No a neighbour of ours in England," replied 
Frothingham. 

" Delighted to hear it. You ought to have been 
married and settled long ago. I still think you'd 
have done better to sell your farm over there and settle 
down here in Chicago." Barney would have scorned 
to apply such words as estate and plantation to a farm 
though he did call his shop an " Emporium." 

Wickham went to New York with Frothingham the 
next day but one; and on the day after they arrived 
they had Honoria, chaperoned by Mrs. Galloway, at 
dinner and at theatre, and, because Wickham insisted, 
at supper. It was almost two o'clock when they put 

[323] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

the two women in their carriage at the Waldorf and 
went to bed Frothingham refused to sit up listening 
to Wickham on Honoria. He was surprised that 
Wickham had invited her for luncheon the next, or, 
rather, the same day was astonished when he found 
that she had accepted. His last three days in Amer 
ica were spent in studying and encouraging an in 
fatuation. 

The morning of his departure came, and the steamer 
which he assumed must be bringing Evelyn's letter, 
as it had not arrived on Friday, was just getting in. 
He decided that he would not put off his sailing to get 
the letter " Why wait merely to satisfy my curiosity ? 
Evelyn sent me over here. She knows what she's about 
in recalling me." He left Hutt at the hotel to stay 
until the last moment on the chance of the mail arriv 
ing; he and Wickham went down to the pier Mrs. 
Galloway and Honoria and Joe Wallingford and his 
wife were already there. He had a few sentences aside 
with Honoria. 

" I'm so glad you introduced Mr. Barney to me," 
she said. He trained his eyeglass upon her mockingly. 
" Really ! How extraordinary ! Precisely what he 

said on Wednesday." 

[324] 



CHAPTER TWENTY 

" Don't be a silly ass," protested Honoria in an 
unconvincing voice. " He's only a big, nice boy. I'm 
four years older than he. Or, rather, he's four years 
younger than I I don't fancy the word old." 

" That's as it should be. If a young chap will 
marry, he should be several years the younger. She'll 
keep him straight and bring him up properly. She'll 
be patient with his ignorance and know how to handle 
the reins when he frets or frisks. Good business, this 
you're planning, Honoria." 

" Do you think he likes me ? " 

" Likes? He's positively drivelling. Look at 'im!" 

Honoria's glance met Wickham's he was at the 
rail, pretending to listen to Catherine. His " drivel 
ling " expression as he came at the call in her eyes 
seemed to please Honoria mightily. With the last go- 
ing-ashore gong Hutt came bringing Evelyn's letter. 
Frothingham at once read enough of it to interpret 
her cablegram: 

As you doubtless know, Georgia's father-in-law died in New 
York a few weeks ago. He left them I don't know how much 
something huge. And George is giving Gwen a dot of three 
hundred thousand. She was just here with the news she came 
to me the instant she heard it. As she was leaving she said : 
4 ' Won't you give Arthur my love when you write ? " It's the 
first time she's spoken of you to me since you left. And when I 

[ 325 ] 



GOLDEN FLEECE 

said, " I'll cable it to him," she blushed you should have seen 
her, Arthur and heard her say, ** Oh, thank you, dear ! " 

" Good chap, George," murmured Frothingham. 
" The right sort clean through. He wouldn't let Gwen 
and me be cheated as he and Evelyn were. 
Poor Evelyn ! . . Gwen and me ! " He be 
gan a sigh that changed into his faint smile of self- 
mockery. " Just my beastly, rotten luck not to be 
sure it's good luck when it finally does come." 

He went to the rail and his glance sought out and 
rested upon the little group of his friends on the 
crowded pier across the widening gap between Nelly's 
land and him. Wickham took Honoria's blue chiffon 
parasol and waved it ; Catherine fluttered her handker 
chief. He lifted his hat and bowed. Long after they 
were lost to him in the merge of the crowd they could 
make out his loud light tweeds and scarlet bow, and 
once they caught the flash of a ray of sunlight on his 
eyeglass like a characteristic farewell look. 

It was five o'clock in a late September afternoon. 
As usual, on the low table on the porch viewing the 
Italian garden at Beauvais Hall was the big tea tray 
with its array of antique silver and old porcelain, the 
cake and the toast and the slices of bread and butter. 



CHAPTER TWENTY 

Round it were Evelyn and Gwen and Frothingham 
Gwen in a shirtwaist and riding skirt, Frothingham 
in the slovenly, baggy flannels of an English gentle 
man in the seclusion of his country-seat. No one was 
speaking and the quiet was profound. Presently 
Evelyn rose and went through the open French window 
into the drawing room. Gwen was watching Froth 
ingham ; he was watching the peacocks as they strutted 
with tails spread in splendour. 

" I'm always wondering that one of those clever, 
handsome American women didn't steal your heart 
if you've got one," said Gwen. 

He slowly withdrew his gaze from the peacocks and 
fixed it upon her with his monocled expression that 
might mean everything or nothing. She chose to read 
everything into it and flushed with pleasure. And 
her left hand, moving nervously among the silver and 
porcelain, revealed on its third finger a narrow, gold 
band. 

He drew a long, slow breath of lazy content and 
drawled : 

" You're so d n comfortable, Gwen ! " 

THE END 



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Author of " The Second Generation 




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TRUE LOVE 

A Comedy of the Affections 

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THE SQUIREEN 

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"A LAD OF THE O'FRIEL'S" 



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