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HONEY" 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

comin' thro' the rye 
bam wildfire 

BECKY 
CINDERS 



"HONEY" 



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BY 



helen(mathers)7^Cv ; C 3^. 



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METHUEN & CO. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.C. 

LONDON 

1902 

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"HONEY" 



CHAPTER I 

** All the bodies of the universe are allied by sympathies 

or natural antipathies." 

" Miss Honey M Bury " 

I LOOKED at her, startled at the unsuit- 
ability of her name, for there was honey 
neither in her glance nor on her lips, and 
beauty at that moment she had none, unless 
she had deliberately veiled it with the sullen- 
ness that enveloped her as with a cloud. 

" You do not wish to dance ? " I said, 
though the nod she had thrown at me was 
in the affirmative ; and then I glanced down 
at her, and saw that she was trembling, but if 
from temper or emotion, I could not tell. 

" I would like," she muttered, " to be shut 
up in a room lined with looking-glasses, and 

B 



t J / 

1 J i 



2 *• HONEY" 

plenty of crockery, that I might smash them 
all." 

"Perhaps it could be managed," I said, 
" but not here and now. Do you often feel 
like that ? " 

" Often, in town ; not in the country." 

" Then why don't you stay there ? " 

She frowned, looking up at me quickly, 
but her face was no longer sullen. 

" Do you think time is ever wasted if you 
are happy ? " she said, with apparent inconse- 
quence, as we sat down in the conservatory to 
which I had piloted her. 

" And yet," I said, " many girls would 
think a good floor, good music, a suitable 
partner " 

I paused. Perhaps it was my age that had 
upset her. 

" I can't help being old, you know." 

" You were just dragged up to me," she 
said, " and you looked quite as unwilling as I 
did ; and you are not old." 

"And still," I said, "my appearance coin- 
cided with your wish to smash looking- 
glasses." 

"The wish was there long before," she 



• . 









" HONEY 



99 



said quickly. ^^I cannot stand heat and 
crowds, and want to be in the country. So, 
in their hearts, do all these poor capering 
wretches. The very air is flat to-night, with 
no electricity of human enjoyment in it ! " 

I nodded, for I had felt it myself. Floor, 
lights, music, flowers, and the girls' frocks, 
even the men, were all right, yet there was 
a subtle lack of gaiety about the whole thing, 
that proclaimed youth as stale, when it should 
have been lusty and full of go. 

" They are all pretending," she said, " and 
life's too short for it. Our mothers never 
did. Do you ? " 

" Often," I said, with an angry energy that 
astonished even myself. But 1 did not mean 
in the way that she did. 

" Then why are you here ? " she said. 
"Women are beggars, not choosers. But 
men — I don't believe you like it any better 
than I do." 

" A tyrannic sister-in-law," I murmured, at 
which she laughed, just as if she knew Mary 
well. 

" Why can't we have pointed roofs, instead 
of ugly flat ceilings to our houses," she said, 



(I 



HONEY " 



glancing up discontentedly, "like the old 
English folk, who, if they could not get 
arched roofs, loved to make them pointed, 
with polished timber beams on which their 
eyes rested, as if looking upwards through 
a tree ? It was about the only comfort they 
had got when they left their beloved forests, 
and were obliged to suffocate within four 
walls. But at Burghfield we have forests and 
pointed roofs too." 

Her voice softened, and told me one thing, 
that Burghfield, wherever that place might be, 
held her heart. 

"If I were in the country to-night," she 
said, "I would sling my hammock in the 
garden, and sleep in it." 

I looked at her more closely, knowing that 
her restlessness meant pain ; and it is one of 
the worst signs of the age, that people cannot 
and will not endure pain of either mind or 
body. They fly it, drug it, but they will not 
face it open-eyed. 

" You would not go to sleep," I said, " and 
you would want someone slung in another 
hammock to causer with." 

She coloured brilliantly. 



"HONEY" 5 

" You have found me out," she said ; " but 
I do not causer with everybody. I thought 
that you — you " 

"I am a good listener," I said, and she 
darted me a quick, indignant glance, and was 
silent for a full minute, thus giving me an 
opportunity of noting the promise of her 
mouth. 

More a dryad than a beauty she was, with 
that wreath of green leaves on her brown 
hair, framing the brown oval of a small face 
— scornful, proud, virginal — that wanted 
woods for its background, and seemed to 
resent the anachronism of being set in a 
town conservatory. 

I have a keen eye for details, and noted 
that the colour of the leaves repeated itself 
delightfully in the necklace that ran like green, 
living fire round her neck ; all the rest of her 
was white and gauzy as the robes of Titania 
herself. But suddenly she disappointed me, 
going nearer to feminine malice than I ex- 
pected of her. 

" I don't believe there's a bit of paint and 
powder left in all London to-night," she said ; 
" it's all herer 



6 " HONEY " 

I shook my head, but she only threw up 
hers, and went on defiantly — 

« They're so groovy," with a wave of her 
hand towards the dancers. "The world is 
their circus-ring, and they canter and amble 
round and round it, and jump through their 
paper hoops, smirking for applause ; but they 
never get off the track — they would be lost 
without Society's crack of the whip ! Some- 
times the women break out in little tails to 
their jackets, called basques — and they must 
all have tails, or die (it's really a revolt to 
prehistoric times, and quite explainable) ; 
sometimes they wear tassels over their left 
eye — and there's no authority for that; and 
now the old boat-shaped hat has come in, 
with cascades falling down their backs — sheep 1 
sheep ! Are you groovy, too ? " she added 
abruptly. 

Here she had me on the raw, and I moved 
impatiently. But she was very quick ; if she 
made a wound, she tried instantly to heal it, 
and with a winning little air that justified her 
name, she said — 

"I'm sorry — you don't look it — but, being 
a doctor, I suppose you can't, help it." 



(I 



HONEY '' 



I started, trying to remember if I had 
been introduced with any prefix to my name. 

" You dislike my profession ? " I said. 

"Til tell you a story," she said. "Some- 
one was dying, with four doctors standing 
round him. He asked one of them what 
complaint he was dying of. *We shall find 
that out at the post-mortem,' said the man." 

I laughed. 

" That is an old wheeze," I said. 

« No." 

She had turned very white. 

" My mother died while the surgeons were 
quarrelling downstairs over some point of 
professional etiquette," she said. "And the 
lessons your dead mother's face does not 
teach you, God Himself cannot," she added 
under her breath, but recovered herself 
quickly. 

" A wider humanity and less red-tape," she 
said, " would become the noblest profession in 
the world. 

" * We are travelling home to God 
In the way our fathers trod,* 

" at least that is what I heard a lot of broad- 
arrow-dressed rascals singing in church one 






8 " HONEY " 

morning in Pordand gaol — and that is what 
you doctors are doing. You are not half as 
progressive as they are in America." 

I frowned, for I was beginning to suspect 
the little termagant of being flippant as well 
as clever, and clever women tire me ; yet I 
liked the unconscious way she looked me in 
the face, and the subject she had happened to 
hit on interested me. 

" Your war-cry should be Humanity ! and 
not individual aggrandisement," she said. 
"And if you think because you have a row 

of letters after your name " she paused, 

then added, "public opinion has got out of 
its swaddling clothes, and nowadays thinks for 
itself — and pretty sharp, too. It judges by 
results only — doesn't care a fig if you are 
physician to royalty, troubles nothing about 
you as a man, or your degrees either — only 
asks * What can he do ? Can he cure me ? ' 
And, if he can, they flock to him." 

"But how are they to know of our re- 
sults ? " I said. " We are like Kipling's Bobs 
— do not advertise." 

" No, only the so-called heads of the pro- 
fession may do that. When the Duke of 



/ 



« HONEY " 9 

Bumbledom has a pain in his big toe, or the 
Marchioness of Tippleary has an attack of 
nerves, every paper paragraphs the name of 
the doctor called in to them ; but woe betide 
the lesser ones who get into print ! " 

"Common souls pay with what they do, 
other souls with what they are," I quoted, 
" Some soldiers are set to fight, others to dig 
trenches ; but it is good work, every bit of it, 
all the same." 

" But you are a born fighter," she said ; 
" you would like to do in hot blood, what you 
slowly and painfully do in cold." 

I was silent, suspecting Mary of breach of 
confidence. Who but she knew my customary 
mood of revolt, of hatred of the chains that 
bound me in my profession ? 

" The surgeon of the future," said the girl 
musingly, "will seek truth everywhere, find 
it even in shams and popular errors ; he will 
despise nothing, learn, as he goes, use as he 
goes for the benefit of humanity ; he will not 
keep one eye on his patient, the other cocked 
for the list of Birthday honours ! And Tm 
not sure there is not something in those Faith 
Healers' religion, for faith heals physically, 



\ 



lo "HONEY" 

when there is no organic disease; it so buoys 
up a poor creature, lifts it so completely 
above all mundane worries, that the patient is 
supremely happy, therefore well. Of course," 
she added apologetically, "it wouldn't have 
that effect upon people with backbones, but 
how many have any ? " 

"You, for one," I said. "And woman was 
made out of a rib, you know. Backbones are 
for men." 

She flashed me an indignant glance, and by 
now I had discovered that there was meaning 
in the latter half of her name, though expres- 
sion had probably much to say to it. It 
struck me then that only a blind man might 
dwell with her in peace, so perpetually chang- 
ing was the stormy-weather-chart of her little 
brown face, though the many notes in her 
voice would probably enlighten him as to her 
moods. 

" Do not vex your youth with riddles," I 
said. " Most of us make that mistake. We 
clamour, protest, rebel. It is only time that 
deadens our voices — our only time of content 
is when we cease to cry out, and compose our- 
selves to wait quietly for the end." 



-HONEY" II 

"And you have not reached that stage of 
content yet," she said quickly, " Oh ! Roose- 
velt's gospel appeals to me so tremendously," 
she went on warmly. " ^ I wish to preach,* he 
said, with snapping teeth and blazing eyes, 
*not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the 
doctrine of the Strenuous Life, the life of toil 
and effort, of labour and strife — to preach that 
highest form of success, which comes, not to 
the man who desires more easy peace, but to 
the man who does not shrink from hardships, 
or from bitter toil ; and who out of these 
wins the splendid ultimate triumphs.* *' 

" But I thought," I murmured, " that we 
were not to have any triumphs — only to 
labour in the cause of humanity ? Supposing 
we go and fight for supper — that is all Society 
comes out for really — I for you, and you for 
me ? " 

She laughed, and we went down — fought, 
and won, and parted ; parted on my side at 
least with regret, and the desire to meet her 
again. 



CHAPTER II 

<*So seems the life of man, O King, as a sparrow's 
flight through the hall when a man is sitting at meat in 
wintertide, with the warm fire lighted on the hearth, but 
the chill rainstorm without. The sparrow flies in at one 
door, and tarries for a moment in the light and heat of 
the hearth fire, and then flying forth from the other, 
vanishes into the wintry darkness whence it came. So 
tarries for a moment the life of a man in our sight, but 
what is before it, what after it, we know not." 

I WALKED round to Brook Street one after- 
noon to look up my sister-in-law, Mary 
Cassilis, whom I had not seen since her ball, 
and whom I had greatly missed during her 
absence abroad during the winter and early 
spring. 

I think Mary genuinely liked me — for I 
filled a want ; probably there is nothing a 
widow feels the lack of so keenly as the 
masculine dust-bin, into which she has been 
accustomed to shoot all the conversational 
and other rubbish that no one else will put up 

12 



"HONEY" 13 

with. And my brother had been a docile 
creature, heaven-born to marriage, as not one 
man out of a million is, though you always 
felt that he was merely an annotation to 
Mary's text. 

Her cool drawing-rooms rested me ; the 
absence of many flowers, the prevalence of 
growing things, so that green was its prevail- 
ing atmosphere, pleased my taste, and I sank 
into a deep chair while Mary put me through 
my paces in a way astonishing in so frail and 
elegant a person. 

"Ben," she said, "you are nearly twenty 
years younger than lam, and ought to be my 
son instead of my brother-in-law ; if you had 
been, you would be a swell G. P. now ; 
babies are always in season — or if you object 
to them, have gone in for something to eat or 
drink, or boots or clothes, things people can't 
do without, you know, thafs what pays. 
Poor men shouldn't try to run philanthropy 
shows — it's a rotten, false, undignified attitude 
for the men who must earn a living-wage, or 
go to the wall, to be called an "honorary" 
surgeon — he should be paid, and paid well — 
it's all wrong, I tell you. See the order, the 



14 ''HONEY" 

luxury even, the flowers, the money lavished 
on the patients in the hospitals, and yet you, 
and the other men who cure those people, and 
keep the whole thing going, and without 
whom the whole fabric must collapse, are not 
paid one farthing ! " 

" We get valuable experience there,*' I said, 

" Experience ! And while you are sticking 
your silly noses in the air, and giving your 
best years and energies to doing gratuitous 
work, your landlord takes the roof from over 
your head, and you find yourself star-gazing 
in the street ! " 

"In excellent company," I said, "Men 
with the money instinct are usually detest- 
able," 

"But it brings a man peace, and a down 
bed at the last," said Mary. " It*s mediocrity, 
not genius, that blends with the spirit of the 
age. There are no great men now," she 
added sadly, " they are all dead, and we don't 
grow the breed any more. Yet how scarce 
they were — those glorious names that are 
household words to us — how rare they seem, 
when in this great city, we see an endless 
procession of millions of men, and not one 



"HONEY" 15 

half-dozen among them all^ whose names will 
live when this century is out ! " 

^* Fame, like success, is mainly the product 
of the imagination," I said. "Failure has 
its joys, and promotes peace and quiet." 

" Shame on you 1 " cried Mary indignantly. 
" If talent abounds, genius has fled from our 
midst, because we are not strenuous enough, 
because we work for gold ; the ancients and 
Elizabethans worked for immortality. In 
science we have made great strides, but have 
we added anything tangible to the store of 
great poetry, of great prose, in the cupboard 
(there is not enough to fill a temple) of Fame ? 
Energy, power, is what is demanded in vain 
in this sickly, self-conscious age." 

" Oh, let us be happy, and blow strenuous 
endeavour," I said lazily, "especially in hot 
weather." 

" Rubbish," said Mary ; " such opinions 
suited your brother Ernest, because he hated 
responsibility of any kind. That's why he 
married me. He thought that food dropped 
ready cooked into a plate before him, and 
clothes blew on of themselves ; and he never 
mastered the intricacies of a cheque-book, or 



i6 '* HONEY" 

the everyday business of life. So absent- 
minded, too ! When I heard of a woman 
who was at the Military Tournament, and 
in her joy at the relief of Mafeking, turned 
round and violently shook the biggest nose 
nearest to her, I thought it was just the thing 
Ernest might do on provocation, and forget 
to apologise." 

I agreed that it was quite possible. 

"And one night, after I and the servants 
had all gone to bed, he went out to post a 
letter with his lighted bedroom candlestick in 
his hand ! " 

"He must have been thinking of Diogenes," 
I said, " who lit a candle in the daytime, and 
went through the streets saying, *I am looking 
for a man.* If he had lived to be old " 

She sighed. " It's so hard to bring up our 
second-childhood children properly ! But I 
miss him," she went on sadly. " To be strong, 
really strong, you must have someone to lean 
on you ; then your back stiffens, you stand 
foursquare to the winds that blow. You must 
not, dare not weaken. But once he is with- 
drawn, often you collapse, and fall yourself." 

"But perhaps he is better off," I said. 



*' HONEY" 17 

" Heaven "- — and I quoted a great authority — 
" has great rewards for the husbands df talka- 
tive women." 

"You always pull me out of the pit of 
sentiment," she said, half ruefully, as indeed 
I did, for Mary's moods were not always as 
bright now as they had been formerly. 

"By the way," she said, "how did you 
like Miss Bury ? " 

"Better than in my youth," I said, "for 
my grey powders were always given me in 
honey when I was a child. Is not Miss Bury 
the girl you stay with in Devon, and who 
keeps foxhounds ? — an unfeminine sort of 
person, as I always supposed." 

" It's the prettiest thing you ever saw — the 
girl in pink, with the pack round her," said 
Mary. " You would have met her long ago, 
only she hated town so much, she never came 
to it till after she met Holford." 

"She is very Irish," I said, "if she said 
that. And who looks after her in the country 
— a duenna ? " 

" She never felt the want of one. Honey 

lives her life out of doors ; every man, woman, 

and child in the country is her friend." 
c 



1 8 "HONEY" ^ 

" She lives the ideal life — that of a sporting 
squire," I said. 

"Ben," cried Mary, "you great muscular, 
outdoor chap — made for your sins a surgeon 
— I do believe you would rather be a labourer 
earning twelve shillings a week in an open- * 

air life, than thousands within four walls." 

"Yes," I said, "to work hard, to eat and 
drink hard, to sleep hard — there are worse 
lives. Exercise your muscles well, and all 
that rot about love doesn't come in," I 
added, with a fleer at Mary's pronounced dis- 
approval of my bachelorhood. "But how 
does Holford affect her ? " 

"I suppose I may as well tell you," said 
Mary. "I shall probably want your help 
later on. She met him in Devonshire ; he 
was staying at one of the frisky houses in 
the neighbourhood. Had his violin, of 
course — is by way of being a clever man — 
imagine his effect on a little girl who had 
never been in love — while her effect upon 
him — did you notice her jewels ? " 

I threw back and remembered the delight- 
ful note of green, struck twice about her, and 
nodded. 



u 



HONEY" 19 



"You know," said Mary, "your brother 
never gave me very much jewellery, and I 
was glad of it. When a man does that, it's 
usually a sop thrown to his wife to hide how 
much he is giving to the others. But Honey's 
emeralds give me wicked sensations." 

" She struck me as having points of view 
of her own," I said. " I like her unexpected- 



ness." 



" There are too many dead-alives in the 
world," said Mary ; " moribunds, like the 
flies that in autumn strike you coldly on 
the cheek. Death won't take 'em, life don't 
want *em ; meanwhile they afflict us. Honey 
is alive. There are three things that sharpen 
you up, if you have any wits to sharpen — 
physical suflFering, mental pain, and travel. 
The second is what ails her." 

"I thought her spirits were uneven," I 
said, and waited for enlightenment. 

" When you do what is within your power," 
said Mary, who loved the byways of conversa- 
tion, " Nature looks on pleased and happy ; 
but when you try to do more, the instinct 
of self-preservation asserts itself, and cries 
* Stop ! * And because you don't, or can't, 



20 'HONEY" 

spoils your spirits and your temper, and you 
worry other people, while everybody exclaims 
what a brute you are." 

" I am still waiting," I said resignedly, 

" I would rather trust a man than a woman," 
said Mary meditatively, "because he smokes 
his pipe, and thinks and thinks, but says 
nothing. He never expects anything of a 
woman, and is never astonished at anything 
she tells him. Now women's bitterness to- 
wards women is because they are always ex- 
pecting good from them, and are angry when 
they don't get it." 

She leaned her smart grey head back against 
the chair, (and grey hair makes a delightful 
combination with blue eyes and a fair skin), 
and considered me maliciously. 

" It has put Honey on the defensive," she 
said, " and spoiled her manners ; and as I said 
to her once, * Never be rude to anybody, be- 
cause you have to be so disgustingly civil 
afterwards, to rub out the memory of the 
affront.* The man who is master of his likes 
and dislikes never ruins his trousers by over- 
much kneeling 1 But she is self-willed to a 
degree. Ah, my boy, we all thought our- 



'HONEY" 21 

selves such damned fine fellows when we were 
young ! " 

" She struck me as not running in her true 
form," I said, "yet as having somehow got 
close to the eternal verities. By intuition, 
of course ; it could hardly be experience at 
her age." 

" You're wrong. One bad man will educate 
a girl quicker than fifty good ones. We 
women build a shrine, and are so occupied in 
sticking all our best jewels in it, that we don't 
properly examine what we are going to put 
inside, and lo ! one day we find we have 
placed a leper in it, and he grins at us, but he 
won't come out." 

"You mean that Lawrence Holford — 
Holford, the musician — who is in prison 
for killing Hammersley — is Miss Bury's 
lover ? " I cried impatiently. 

"Yes, but it really was an accident. His 
sentence was a light one ; he comes out soon." 
(And Mary nodded significantly.) "I was 
abroad when it happened, so could be of no 
use to the poor girl. She has taken a house 
in town, to be near him." 

"But I haven't heard the story yet," I 



22 ''HONEY" 

objected. " Did he kill Hammersley on her 
account ? " 

"He persuaded Honey the quarrel was 
about her. But it was her wealth that 
attracted him, as it attracted Hammersley, 
who was a man of low tastes. I feel sure 
they fought over another woman." 

" Miss Bury loved Holford ? " I said. 

" What a question ! The nicest women 
always love the worse men, and the worse 
men naturally like the women who are as bad 
as, or worse than themselves." 

" Good God 1 " I said, " how do you 
account for it ? " 

" Temperament partly. Also Holford's un- 
lucky * accident ' has brought out all Honey's 
finest qualities : unselfishness, devotion, pity ; 
and once rouse the constancy of a perfecdy 
loyal woman, and you get a coat of mail that 
turns aside every blow and thrust of truth. 
Ben, it is all a question of what we can 
do without. If a woman could consciously 
deny the charm of a bad man — say * No ' to 
it — she would be all right ; but she won't. 
Instinct may warn her, but Nature wins, and 
the girl often goes open-eyed to her ruin. 



" HONEY '' 23 

It's the most terrible sight on earth — a young, 
beautiful life fouled and obscured by a mis- 
take in marriage, by a moment of idiocy, of 
error of judgment, that is annoying and irritat- 
ing enough in business or ordinary affairs, 
but in the vital scheme of happiness, becomes 
tragic, awful, bearing crimes in its breast." 

" Can't anything be done ? " I said. 

"Nothing," said Mary smartly, "but to 
make her fall in love with yourself. She 
won't look at a man ; but she'll have to at 
you, because you are my brother-in-law." 

I shook my head. The woman who had 
passed through the hands of a Lawrence 
Holford was not for me. Very few men want 
temperament in a wife ; and among my 
married acquaintance the amazing fact had 
often struck me, that what a husband admired 
most in his wife before marriage, displeases 
him most afterwards. 

" Ben, you are a fool I " cried Mary in a 
rage. " Doesn't Amiel say that * without pas- 
sion, man is a mere latent force and possibility, 
like a flint that awaits the shock of iron before 
it can give forth its spark ' ? " 

" I don't want sparks struck out of me," I 



24 ''HONEY" 

said. " I would much rather be a damp 
lucifer, left in peace. Once the one sex 
invades the privacy, and confuses the brain 
and senses of the other, all is disorder.** 

" Go to Korea," gibed Mary as I departed, 
" where a miserable bachelor of forty is forced 
to wear the despised pigtail of boyhood, while 
the engaged youth of eight proudly rolls his 
hair into a top-knot 1 " 

I laughed, and went away. 

Liberty is sweet, and I envied no man his 
domestic happiness, for happiness exacts 
more penalties even than misery, and I 
thanked God that I had never let a woman 
break up my life with her moods, and fads, 
and exactions. 



n 



CHAPTER III 

" The worldly hope men set their hearts upon 
Turns ashes— or it prospers ; and anon 
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face 
Lighting a little hour or two, is gone." 

WHEN once you have fixed your mind 
on an especial person or circumstance, 
the very stones in the highway will rise up 
to testify to some new fact concerning them, 
yet I was startled when, dining with Golightly 
at his club that night, Lawrence Holford's 
name came up, and I got a grip of his char- 
acter that a year of talk with Mary would not 
have afforded me. 

We men are mostly inarticulate and dis- 
interested in our friendships, but we can find 
a rousing word or two for a scoundrel, and 
sinners all as we were in the room that 
night, there was not one present who did 
not, roughly speaking, resent sins against 
humanity. And the breaking up of many 

25 



26 " HONEY " 

women's lives for one man's pleasure came 
under that category. 

And when men count a man a disgrace to 
themselves, he has reached the full measure 
of his degradation, and there is no deeper 
depth for him to plumb. 

Holford's imprisonment was not called 
" bad luck," as indeed it was — the man had 
gone unpunished over so many worse things, 
that to be caught when probably not guilty 
only showed ironically as rough retributive 
justice. 

" Now personally," said Golightly, who was 
a famous artist, "I don't trouble about my 
character at all. I am contented to be judged 
by my work — most of us are. And if our 
colours don't come out in the public wash — 
and the public has got into the way of wash- 
ing on its own account — doesn't send it 
to the cleaners, otherwise critics — we are 
generally all right. But Holford's an out- 
and-out bad egg.'* 

"Played the violin like an angel," said 
Fred Singleton, " looked like one — you know 
that slight, graceful, spiritual type — ought 
to have been a High Church parson, and 



"HONEY" 27 

waved his lily hand from the pulpit, with 
beauty waiting for him afterwards in the 
vestry. Hard as nails, but looked frail — 
and pity's almost as strong as love with some 
women." 

*'A jolly sight stronger, you mean," growled 
Golightly. "The brute will be out soon — 
free to begin his tricks over again — if he 
isn't torn in pieces by the women who will 
fight for him at the prison door." 

" What kind of women ? " I inquired. 

"The best and the worst. Naturally he 
prefers the latter." 

"Anyone in particular?" 

Golightly shrugged his shoulders. 

" If he and Hammersley quarrelled over a 
woman, you bet she wasn't a nice one. I 
heard there was a really good, pretty girl 
somewhere in the country whom Holford 
was going to marry — for her money, of course 
— but no one seems to know her name." 

"And if she is at the prison door when he 
comes out, and the others — which do you back 
to win ?" I asked cynically. 

*' He'll marry the girl and go back to the— 
carrion," said Tom promptly. 



28 " HONEY " 



" But the girl must have friends," I said 
indignantly. " Can't they stop it ? " 

"Probably they don't know," and Tom 
shrugged his shoulders. "That sort of thing 
is very often only known among men. Ham- 
mersley belonged to this club before you 
joined, and often brought Holford in, whose 
talk was as callous as his life." 

The room had emptied while we talked, 
some of the men had gone to whist, others 
to the play, balls, or opera. Golightly and 
I alone were left, at one in our love of peace 
and hatred of society, and we were likely to 
be left undisturbed for some time. 

" The papers never give you the real inside 
of things," I said. "Tell me the true version." 

" Well, it happened here^ you know, in this 
very room, but I don't believe in ghosts. 
Holford and Hammersley were smoking and 
talking, the other men had dropped off, just 
as those fellows did to-night. One of the 
servants passing the door heard raised voices, 
and a woman's name shouted, then a crashing 
fall, and rushing in, found Hammersley lying 
on the ground, dead, and Holford standing 
over him." 



"HONEY" 29 

« And you think ? " 

"That Holford undoubtedly struck him, 
but it came out at the inquest that Ham- 
mersley's skull was as thin as an egg-shell, and 
even a slight blow would smash it. Holford 
swore that Hammersley had attacked him, 
slipped, and being a heavy man, had fractured 
his skull where it was thinnest, just above the 
ear ; but even allowing for its being an 
accident, and also taking into account the 
judge's proclivities, Holford got off lightly — 
six months as a first-class misdemeanant — and 
Fve no doubt the women have seen to it that 
he wants for nothing in gaoK He will be out 
in a month or so.'* 

"Did the name of the woman they had 
quarrelled about come out in court ? " 

" No. Holford somehow got at the waiter, 
and " 

" But you know it ? " I exclaimed, struck 
by his tone. 

Golightly nodded. 

" I made it my business to know. Once I 
did the man a good turn, and " 

" The name was } " 

Golightly shook his head. 



30 -HONEY" 

" It was one of the usual names of women 
of her class," he said ; " take your choice of 
them. Men never fight over a good woman, 
and as I heard Holford once remark, * It's a 
far greater crime to be untrue to your mis- 
tress than your wife.' " 

I muttered a bad word. 

^^ Some clever chap said life was a falling and 
catching ourselves. I would add, a slipping 
and getting up again, but Holford has given 
up even trying to catch himself." 

" But how did he live ? How could he 
aflFord such amusements ? " 

"I should say," said Golightly, "by the 
easy method of getting money out of one 
woman, and spending it on another ! He has 
better men to keep him company," and Go- 
lightly ran over certain names well known to 
the public. " His profession was music — un- 
doubtedly the man loved it, and was a good 
artist — any rudiment of conscience he had 
went into his Art. Strange thing that Art," 
went on Tom musingly, "beginning with a 
music that came out of the winds and the 
sands of the desert, interpreted by the tribes 
of Judah who wandered across it, and which is 



•* HONEY " 3 1 

accountable for such later psalmody, as in its 
yearning and pathos has influenced Christian 
musical sentiment, and religious thought — 
indeed, all the later developments of musical 
thought, and musical emotion. And these 
musicians play the very devil with women. I 
mean, of course, the second-rate women." 

I thought of poor Miss Bury, who was not 
second-rate, and cursed the imagination that 
would not let her see him as he was, only as 
she wanted him to be. 

"The brute is interesting," said Golightly, 
"because positive qualities of evil are ex- 
tremely rare. A very wicked or very good 
person is respectively an abnormality, or a 
dull freak of nature. Holford is the former, 
and a woman hates signposts, while curiosity 
precipitates her towards the dangerous and 
the unknown. Still, if you live under the 
laws, you must live by the laws, or pay for 
it ; and that man is a fool who, in a civilised 
country, insists on uncivilised habits. He 
pays dearly for his pleasure in the long run, 
and it isn't worth it. Not, mind you, but 
that many bad men go on from height to 
height, and are signally successful ; but that 



32 "HONEY" 

is because their intellect is greater than their 
failings. Holford will go under because he 
has not enough brains, and is also extremely 
indolent." 

" I'm afraid I too must plead guilty to that 
last sin," I said. 

" That's because in your profession you are 
the square peg in the round hole," said Go- 
lightly. "All you want is to be a good 
animal. It's what we all honestly want, we 
want to be happy. And I'll admit," he went 
on slowly, " that I'm sorry for you. Now this 
consulting business — this haggling over fees 
— is all wrong ; a secretary should manage 
it. This would obviate the absurd attitude 
of holding out your hand, while pretending 
not to see what is slipped into it, and finding 
out afterwards you've got sovereigns instead 
of guineas. It's all false — false sentiment, 
false everything ; and what is more, my dear 
boy, it's the day of specialism, when men will 
pay five guineas for an expert opinion given 
sharp, for time's more than money to 'em ; 
and the surgeon who makes his own little 
corner, and is first in it, reaps a fortune. 
And between those tip-top men, and the 



•^ HONEY " 33 

general practitioners there will soon be nothing ; 
the middle men must go." 

"And Fm hanged," I said, "if I shan't 
be glad to go — be free, like glorious dead 
Hokusai, who ordered to be inscribed on his 
tomb, *My soul, turned Will-o'- the- Wisp, 
can come and go at ease over the summer 
fields/ Well, I shall wander where I will 
— homeless, ragged, and bare." 

I trolled out the last words, and Golightly 
laughed. 

"But if you stay, you must develop up," 
said Golightly. " The doctors of the past 
and present generations are almost entirely 
materialists of the narrowest order, simply 
relying on the use of drugs and the knife, 
and of late years on slight sanitary science, 
with vivisection and bacteriology thrown in. 
But the doctor of the future must be a totally 
different individual to the hard, callous, 
money-grubbing individual, tied down by 
trades - unionism of the worst type, and 
whose natural grandeur is distorted and con- 
taminated by what is called * professional 
etiquette.' " 

I nodded, for it was true enough. 

D 



] 



34 '' HONEY " 

"The doctor of the future must be a 
different man. His motto must be * Advance- 
ment in natural research,* and a minute study 
of the laws of nature and their workings, to 
enable them to assist nature, through these 
laws to perform their proper functions ; to 
watch results, not theory. The spiritual 
elevation of the doctor ought so also to 
elevate the patient, that he brings to bear 
forces which would otherwise lie inert, be- 
cause one of the principal things to assist 
the highest laws of nature is to bring the 
highest spiritual forces to work, so as to 
regulate the lower laws of materialism. The 
grandeur of the laws of the Great Ruler of 
the Universe can be the most easily conceived 
by a man who tries to elevate himself up to 
the highest moral, mental, spiritual, and phy- 
sical condition." 

"He will be lonely there," I said wearily. 
" I know that*s what doctors ought to be, but 
Fm hanged if I can take any great interest in 
them. I met a girl at a ball the other day 
who talked something like you. Then Mrs. 
Cassilis began, now it's your turn." 

" All sheer waste of time," said Golightly, 



'• HONEY " 



35 



as he put out his pipe, and presently we parted, 
and went our several ways. 

I was glad to be alone. It was of Holford's 
character, of Miss Honey's fate, I was think- 
ing as I walked home. 



CHAPTER IV 

" What's greener than the greenest grass ? 
What's higher than the trees ? 
What's waur nor an ill woman's wish ? 
What's deeper than the seas ? " 

I HAD come to the last of the out-patients 
at my hospital — a new case, with that in- 
definable stamp of impurity upon her that 
you often see on the faces of certain women 
in Society, only their brave setting of sur- 
roundings, and jewels, and clothes half ob- 
literate it — it shows naked in the women of 
the people. 

Smiling, complaisant, porcine, she un- 
wrapped the bandages from her clean, and 
not ill-shaped hand, and showed me a broken 
finger, to which I ministered, asking no ques- 
tions, even as she vouchsafed no information, 
of how the accident had happened. 

She was no longer young. Her coarse 

features could never have been handsome, 

36 



-HONEY" 37 

and from her accent she appeared quite un- 
educated ; yet from the woman as she smiled, 
and thanked me, there came some emanation 
of dreadful power that my senses received, 
and as instantly rejected. Then, as by divina- 
tion, I thought of Lawrence Holford, that 
man of unbridled passions who instinctively 
sought his kind, and when she thanked me 
by name, I guessed who the woman was who 
stood before me. 

Probably the fellow had spoken to her of 
Mary Cassilis as Honey's friend, and she had 
made the broken finger an excuse to see me, 
on the unlikely chance of gleaning from me 
something of Honey's intentions, or likelier 
still, of telling me on what footing she stood 
with him, meaning me to tell the girl. 

I resolved on a game of bluff, and said, 
" You are Lawrence Holford's mistress ? " 

A dull red flamed out on her cheek, and 
completely taken oflF her guard, she screamed 
out — 

" He killed Hammersley for me — not her!'^ 
And there was the vicious snarl in her voice 
that the bad woman always has ready for the 
good. 



38 « HONEY " 

^^It was an accident," I said, and laughed. 
" You flatter yourself." 

"He's mine," she said, "will be mine 
always ! " 

She spoke indifFerently, as if the ways of 
men had given her a profound contempt for 
them. In the eyes of all the famous cocotesy 
whose beauty, or sheer vice, has enabled them 
to set their heels on the necks of men, you 
may see the very apotheosis of this poor 
drab's open contempt. 

I held the door open for her to go, and 
she went, smiling her dreadful, carneying 
smile to the last, neither reiterating, nor deny- 
ing, truly the woman had a great power of 
silence, even if hatred of Honey had for the 
moment startled the truth out of her. 

Looking through the window, I saw her cross 
the street, where she was joined by a big bully, 
and the pair walked amicably off together, 
while cynically I reflected on the fact that to a 
man of a certain type, the unfaithful woman 
is worth a hundred loyal ones, and then I 
went to look at the name and address given 
by the creature, and afterwards, as I expected, 
found both to be false. 



" HONEY ' 39 

The pavement under my feet was like 
molten metal, as cross and irritated, I walked 
round to Harley Street, and my study seemed 
a refuge of coolness when I reached it, and 
getting into a deep chair, sat down to think. 
Fate was rushing me, and I declined to be 
rushed. I had my work in the world to do, 
without mixing myself up in an imbroglio 
where my opinions would probably not be 
valued at a groat, one way or the other ; and 
because a self-willed girl was determined to 
ruin her life over a scoundrel, was I to cut 
an absurd figure rushing in to save her, 
when she did not even wish to be saved ? 
Mary Cassilis held the brief, and carefully 
watched the case ; and I knew that if the 
situation could be saved, she would save it, 
though to do this, she must be in full posses- 
sion of all the facts, and more especially of 
the woman who had come to the hospital that 
afternoon, and I could not tell her. The 
woman had come to me professionally, prob- 
ably aware that the consulting - room is 
practically a confessional beyond which no 
communications are suffered to pass ; if I 
meant to bring her to Honey's knowledge, it 



40 "HONEY" [ 

t 
must be in some other way, and I did not see { 

that way. 

Presently I opened my letters. One was i 

from Mary, whom I had not seen for some 
days. 

" I am asphyxiated with the heat, and going 
td the river to cool myself," she said. " Not 
too far, as I must run up and down ; there are 
some dinner engagements I cannot get out of. 
Miss Bury is coming, and my orders are, that 
you pack some flannels and a straw hat on { 

Friday afternoon, and come down to us till 
Sunday night, or Monday morning. We will 
lie in a punt, and Honey, who is an expert 
with the pole, shall take us about." She 
enclosed the address. 

" I won't be hustled along like this," I said 
loudly and indignantly. Yet Friday afternoon 
discovered me flowing with a great tide of 
parched humanity, to the coolness and mystery 
that lies such a little way beyond the ugly 
streets and sights of our great city, for men love 
the river, and its lotus-eating ways. 

The rose-covered cottage was empty when I 
arrived, but when I had got into my flannels, 
I went through the little garden, and found 



-HONEY" 41 

Mary Cassilis lost among cushions, and fast 
asleep in a punt, with Miss Bury beside her, 
alternately reading and gazing at the water, so 
that I was beside her almost before she knew 
of my approach. 

She glanced up at me with a look of non- 
recognition, looked again, then put a finger 
on her lip, and stepped on to the lawn beside 
me. 

"I did not know you, you looked so 
young," she said. "Look at the water, all 
a-shiver with heat!" And as we watched it, 
Mary Cassilis cried out, " Ben, come here ! " 

" It's drift, drift, drift here," she said, "from 
morning till night, and you've got to drift 
with the rest. Nearly all the men I know are 
down here with their step-wives," she added 
in a whisper, as I helped her to rise, " so I've 
told Honey not to bow to anybody, man or 
woman — not if it's her own grandfather or 
grandmother ! Now you've got to be young 
and frivolous, mind, and nothing else." 

"I feel demoralised already," I said, and 
indeed it ended in my falling asleep later in 
the punt, my last impression being of a 
slender white figure swaying to a pole, and 



42 ** HONEY " 

the soft, lapping noise of the water as we 
glided swiftly down the river. 

# # # # # 

Idling has a deadly fascination all its own, 
and it flourishes best on those lower reaches 
of the Thames, where the beautiful, dense 
woods exhale a subtle miasma that relaxes the 
moral and mental fibre, till its victims ask 
nothing but to be let alone, to dream, or to 
love, or to sleep the hours away at will ; yet as 
it happened, I did nothing of the sort. No 
mesmeric influence had touched Honey ; she 
was very much awake, very much alive, and a 
couple of days spent in a punt practically alone 
(for Mary developed a passion for the lawn, 
and hardly left it) will bring two persons' dis- 
positions into astonishing juxtaposition, or 
the reverse, if every moment is utilised. 

We talked many things out ; though I doubt 
if Honey had a single accomplishment, yet 
she had read pretty well everything worth 
reading, and a better authority on hunting, 
shooting, and fishing, I never met. Dogs she 
knew by heart, and loved them — all their 
faults were on the surface, she said, the 



^ - -- ,^^cuJ««^_- _^i . trr si ^ . 



-HONEY" 43 

warmth and love, the devotion, were below. 
Cats she loathed, and triumphantly wore the 
rudimentary collar-bone, an inch and half long, 
set as a brooch, of a tiger who had measured 
eight feet, remarking that it was what she 
expected of a cowardly big cat ! 

Now I was at one with her there, for I 
hated the larger cat's way with men, the 
smaller with birds. Moreover, if she were a 
Devonshire woman, I was a Wiltshire man, 
and now and then we fought over the merits 
of our respective counties ; but once, when she 
called me a moonraker, I arose in my wrath, 
for a punt is safe footing, and told the true 
story of the supposed attempt to fish the reflec- 
tion of the moon out of a pond, by which a 
mower fixed the nickname ** moonrakers " on 
his Wiltshire neighbours for ever. 

The story goes, that two Wiltshire hay- 
makers going home from work, espied the 
reflection of the moon in a pond, and took it 
for a lump of gold. One took oflT his boots 
and stockings, waded in, and tried to lay hold 
of the glittering prize. It was too deep for 
his reach, so, seizing hold of his rake, he 
began to rake the water, and persevered, until 



44 " HONEY " 

a party of Somersetshire mowers came along 
and jeered him as a "moonraker"; but he 
laughs longest who laughs last, for a learned 
Wiltshire philologist, anxious to remove the 
slur of stupidity from his countrymen, ingeni- 
ously accounts for the opprobrious nickname 
in this way : " Piple zay as how they gied th' 
neame o' moonrakers to we Wiltshire vauk 
bekase a pessel o' stupid bodies one night 
tried to rake the shadow o' th' moon out o' th' 
bruk, and tuk't vor a thin cheese. But that's 
th' wrong end o' th' story. The chaps as was 
doin' o' this was smugglers, and they was 
a-vishing up zome kegs o' sperrits, and only 
pertended to rake out a cheese. So the 
Exciseman as axed 'em the question had his 
grin at 'em : but they had a good laugh at he 
when 'em got whoame the stuff." 

"That's a story," she said derisively. 
"And who are your prophets ? We have, 
next door in Dorset, Thomas Hardy, and in 
my own country, which he seems to have 
made his own, Eden Phillpotts. You've got 
nobody." 

We fought hard, and liked each other the 
better for it ; and the more I talked with her. 



" HONEY " 45 

the louder " Back to the land ! " shouted in 
my ear, the more her hatred of the city 
roused mine. I had always loathed the life 
of town — that octopus eating up all the life 
of the country, drawing all into its net ; it 
is the congregation of bodies, the seething 
emotions of them, that breed not mere 
animalism, but strange vices, and I hated it 
all, but it gave me a living-wage, and there, 
for the present, I must stay. 

" I'm sure my ancestors were gipsies," said 
Honey confidentially one day ; " they may 
have settled down, and tried to be respect- 
able ; but it was no good — they burst out 
again in me^ 

I wanted to hear about them — I wanted to 
know what they had done towards the pro- 
duction of this girl, essentially gamin unless 
I greatly mistook her, for full of fun she was, 
with a perfect genius for fooling, and I will 
confess that Honey had a way with her, quite 
innocent, and therefore dangerous, that might 
have misled a man, possibly it did Holford, 
and later he might be angry at its cold up- 
take — but I was not. I should say he was 
not able to differentiate between the pure 



46 " HONEY " 

and passionate woman, and the out-and-out 
bad one, while the cold were not even in- 
cluded in his category ; and that from all I 
had heard, Honey would be about as adequate 
to his taste as a perfume, or a glorious sunset, 
to the satisfaction of an excellent dinner, or 
a good cigar. From her I got no hint, for 
she never mentioned his name until the 
Sunday night, when we were moored under 
the tree she called her own, and the old, the 
middle-aged, the unattractive, had miraculously 
disappeared from the scene, and youth and 
love, or love's counterfeit, ruled all the dim 
waterway. A girl's gurgling laugh sounded 
close ; through the gloom you could see hers 
and the man's eager face beside it, and a low 
cry broke from Honey, and her head fell on 
her knees. I knew then that the mere 
human longing for his touch, his presence, 
had pressed her hard, that every dimly seen 
man she saw that night meant Holford, and 
that she fiercely envied the girl who had just 
passed, scattering her happiness as she went. 

I knew then that the man had got a physical 
hold on Honey, vital even in absence, to be 
remembered so long as body remembered 



'HONEY" 47 

body ; that is why, when spiritual, moral, 
physical, and financial ruin have swamped a 
man, the fibres of a woman will cling to him, 
and call him lord, and go down into the dust 
with him, refusing all other life. 

And the other, the woman with the broken 
finger, had got her grip on Holford. 

Suddenly Honey lifted her head, and spoke. 
I have noticed that a girl will speak more 
openly to a man of whom she is by way of 
making a comrade than to another woman. 

And though I had taken Honey on the 
lighter side, leaving the explosive, the pas- 
sionate untouched, I knew that now I was to 
have a glimpse of the latter side of her nature. 

" Perhaps Mrs. Cassilis has told you," she 
said, and paused — she had clasped her arms 
about her knees ; her brown hair and eyes 
made dark blots against the whiteness of her 
face and gown — "about Lawrence Holford." 

« Yes." 

" I love him," she said in a vibrating tone 
that I had never heard before, and I thought 
I knew most of the notes in the loveliest 
speaking voice I had ever heard, "and he 
loves me." 



48 "HONEY" 

I was silent "Yes," stuck in my throat, 
and would not out. For a moment she 
waited, then — 

" Mrs. Cassilis does not like him," she said, 
quick and indignant. " Have you ever seen 
him ? " 

" Never." 

" Then when you do, you will understand." 

Her voice was shy ; she dropped her head. 
It seemed to me a strange world that held 
maiden's hearts, and man's villainy. The 
silence was heavy — perhaps she sensed what 
I was thinking. 1 half stretched my hand to 
smooth the brown head so near my hand, and 
"Poor Honey!" escaped me involuntarily. 

" That is what they all say, 'poor Honey ! ' " 
she cried, sitting erect. " It's ' poor Law- 
rence ! ' cut off from his kind, living that 
hideous existence because he would not hear 
a man speak ill of me." 

" Tell me," I said harshly, for the constrwnt 
upon me was great. 

"It is not nice to — to speak of," she said 
e^crly, " but Fred Hammcrsley, the man 
Lawrence killed by accident, was angry be- 
cause I had refused him, and spoke slight- 



^' HONEY" 49 

ingly of me at the club before the other men. 
Lawrence waited till the others had gone, then 

he and Fred quarrelled — about — me — and 

he kept my name out of it," she went on 
proudly, " though it would have been a justi- 
fication of the blow he struck. His solicitor 
came from the prison, and told me all about 
it. Was it not fine of Lawrence ? " 

I asked her. how she came to know Ham- 
mersley, and she told me that he had accom- 
panied Holford on that visit to Devon, when 
she had met her fate in the latter. Evidently 
both had coveted her money, but the one 
looked the life he led, Holford did not, and 
she had only felt Hammersley's proposals as 
an insult. 

Nothing marked her intense femininity 
more than the fact that she never felt, or ex- 
pressed, any horror or regret at the man's 
fate. All her sympathies were with Holford ; 
all her pity was for him. Yet I could express 
none, remaining silent, and by now I could 
not see her features, only a white blur of face 
and gown ; but my enormous pity for her 
seemed to cry out of the darkness, and hurt 
her. 



Bk>JMi-«i^** 



> ll ^1 » * * 1^^ - 



*- ■ ■» » — •■^«J(tl_ 



50 " HONEY " 

" You are very rich ? " I said slowly. 

« Yes." 

" And he is very poor ? " 

I could almost feel her flush in the dark- 
ness. Then she said defiantly — 

"Don't you know any better way to try 
and detach me from him than that ? Mary 
Cassilis has ground it into me, all my friends 
have shouted it, yet other men have loved me 
for myself, and why not he ? " 

"That is true. Honey," I said, calling her 
by her name for the first time ; " but for one 
man your wealth attracts, you will scare away 
a dozen who would have loved you for your- 
self" 

"That is nice of you," she exclaimed, de- 
lighted. "And do you know," she added 
confidentially, "that sometimes I made Law- 
rence jealous, for I found out it made him 
love me more, when other men were dancing 
after me ? " 

I thought of the woman going oflT happily 
with her bully that day. There was a startling 
consistency about Lawrence's dealings with 
two women at opposite ends of the social 
scale, and both seemed to answer. 



H 

1 






(( 



HONEY " 5 I 



" So you are a flirt," I said aloud. " Some- 
times I have suspected it." 

"I thought that you would be different," 
she said heavily. " Everyone is against Law- 
rence. The men are jealous, and the women 
are all in love with him, and angry because he 
loves w^/" 

" When does he come out ? " I said. 

She told me the time was very near, also 
that she would be at the prison gates to meet 
him ; and I shivered in the warm night. She 
would find the other woman there, whose 
face would be such an enlightenment of Hol- 
ford's tastes and character as none but the 
blind could possibly disregard. Yet loyalty 
is blind twice over, and perhaps still Honey 
would not see. 

" Oh, you never loved ! " she cried warmly 
and passionately, "and you will never know 
now." And on the instant came Mary 
Cassilis' voice calling us in to supper. 



cc 



CHAPTER V 

And, struggling spirit, let not worldly gain. 
Nor worldly loss, provoke thy heart to pain. 
For all the burden of such fevered dross 
Will filter through thy wasting palms like rain." 



PAIN is a distinct stimulant to work, to 
ambition ; we work to forget it, are 
braced by it. Pleasure enervates, stultifies 
us. And if not exactly pain, I felt so much 
discomfort at Honey's poor prospects of 
happiness, that I threw myself into my pro- 
fession with unusual energy, and did not 
call in Brook Street till an imperious letter 
summoned me thither immediately. 

I found Mary walking about the drawing- 
room in great excitement, and this was some- 
thing unusual, as she had no worries, and 
ensured peace by caring for next to nobody. 
I thought at once of Honey, whom Mary 
really loved. 

"That brute comes out to-morrow," she 

52 






" HONEY " S3 

said, **and Honey is going to meet him. I 
want jrou to go with her," she added abruptly ; 
** my temper is not to be trusted if I saw him, 
or I'd go myself. She is mad with joy, poor, 
poor soul 1 " 

** Does he expect her ? " 

"No, it's to be a wonderful surprise for 
him, she says ; but supposing some of the 
other women have got wind of it, and are 
there too ? So much the better for Honey. 
Still, if she has to face humiliation, there must 
be a man to stand by her." 

I thought of the woman with the broken 
finger, who, no doubt, had her own means of 
communication with him, and who would 
certainly be there ; and I hate scenes, and 
knew I was in for one next day. 

" Can't you stop her going ? " I said. " If 
he is anything of a man, he will get some 
clothes, and come to her straight." 

" No, she must do it, she says. Histrionic 
decidedly, bad form certainly, heart is always 
vulgar. But who is to prevent her ? I can't, 
and she hasn't a man relative in the world." 

** Does she know you are asking me ? " I 
said. 



54 "HONEY" 

" No ; but she likes and trusts you. She'll 
probably shrink into a nutshell at the last 
moment. I'll send round a carriage for you " 
— she named the hour — " then you can come 
here, and pick up Honey." 

But I protested strongly. 

" Why should I be in this ? " I said angrily. 

" Because you are my representative," said 
Mary sharply, "and you've got to help an 
old woman who is in trouble. Boy, you have 
lost your nerve. You will grow timid in 
time. And doesn't Amiel say that ' the man 
who insists on seeing with perfect clearness 
before he decides, never decides ? Accept life, 
and you must accept regret.' And, after all, 
he may not be so bad. Oh, we all talk and 
/u/i&, and half the time it's slander and 
scandal ; but, bless you, we don't mean it ! 
We should be the first to help the people we 
discuss if they were in trouble ; and when 
we meet 'em, we try to remember the last 
awful thing we've heard of 'em, and we can't. 
It's job enough to remember our own, much 
less other people's filings ! It's like getting 
up early in the morning, and falling over 
enraged housemaids' pails, and pluming our- 



<< 



HONEY " 55 



selves on our virtue. Yes, but how do we 
know that the snorters may not do something 
infinitely nobler than ourselves before night ? " 

"But you — or Honey — will expect me to 
bring him back in the carriage ; and if I 
don't take the box-seat, I shall be very much 
in the way," I said grimly. " Has it occurred 
to you that Holford may resent my presence 
there ? — for, after all, neither you nor I are her 
lawful guardians. But supposing he puts up 
with me, where are we to bring him ? " 

" Not here ! " exclaimed Mary. ** Nor yet 
to Honey's house in Green Street — it wouldn't 
be decent. Can't you drop him somewhere ? " 
she added vaguely, and for once her know- 
ledge of life was not equal to the situa- 
tion. "Of course, I'm not sending my 
own carriage ; I ordered one from an im- 
mense distance. I don't know why I take 
so much trouble ; but — well, you know, we 
always want what we haven't got, just as 
we are mostly paid out, not for what we doy 
but what we don't do. I have frequently 
observed that the thing we do from the most 
unselfish motives turns out badly for all 
concerned, and a really brutal thing, done slap 



56 " HONEY " 

against our consciences, has the best possible 
results. Cheering, ain't it ? " 

"Then I'll be selfish, and not go to- 
morrow," I said. 

" Yes you will — for my sake. Sometimes I 
shut my eyes, and try to think that Honey is 
my child. It isn't the best — but it's the second 
best. Life is made up of second bests." 

I was silent. How the heart of the child- 
less, V elderly woman still ached — how the 
modern wife shirked maternity I I patted 
her shoulder, and her lips trembled. 

" You know, Ben," she said, " I didn't envy 

Madame (she mentioned a world-renowned 

beauty, lately dead, who had worn the yellow 
peplum of Lydia with a supreme grace) her 
troops of lovers, but I did envy her a lovely 
little daughter, born when she was fifty-six, 
when she had married a delightful young 
man who had prepared himself with prayer 
and fasting to be good enough for her. Ha, 
ha ! Wonderful woman ! She was deaf as a 
post all her life, and, of course, couldn't con- 
verse. Never say, after that, Cupid needs 
a tongue ! So it's settled that you take 
Honey ? " 



it 



HONEY" 57 



i 



I repressed an angry word. 

"I suppose so. My hospital patients are 
waiting for me now," and I went away wroth 
at the part forced upon me. 

And not half an hour later, my fear for the 
morrow was turned to disagreeable certainty, 
for the woman with the broken finger walked 
into the hospital. Her hair was more metallic 
than ever. As usual, she smiled that slow, 
complaisant smile, while her sleepy, heavily 
blacked eyes talked language known all the 
world over without need of words. 

" Lawrence Holford comes out to-morrow," 
she said, " and I'm going to meet him. Tell 
her to keep away." 

" Who are you talking about ? " I said 
sternly. 

" You know her name well enough. I read 
the papers — you and she were both at your 
sister-in-law's ball the other night — and a 
woman as rich as that, ain't overlooked any- 
where. No looks to speak of" (a shade of 
animation came into her coarse voice), " not 
that looks matter with Lawrence — but what 
pleases him." 

"Arc you going to take that great bully 



S8 * HONEY" 

with you who joined you when you left here 
the other day?" I said. 

She started. 

"Lawrence was always poor," she said. 
" He couldn't provide for me as he wished — 
but he did his best. And he never asked 
any questions. And I never ask him any 
either." 

" Get out I " I said roughly, for she brought 
a foul reek into the air that suffocated me. 
"And don't come here again." 

She went away, smiling that mysterious 
smile to the last, dreadful because it repre- 
sented the successful force of wickedness, and 
I knew that the oldest quarrel in the world, 
of two women, the one good, the other evil, 
over one man must be fought out by the 
persons most concerned ; and when the man 
was of Holford's type, I had never seen it 
end but in one way. He must choose be- 
tween them, I thought ; the middle way, the 
way of treachery unspeakable, had not then 
occurred to me, nor, as 1 now believe, to the 
drab just gone out. 

Meanwhile I came to a decision, and later 
in the day took an extreme step, and one 



— — s--. ---»■ 



(( 



HONEY " 59 



most repugnant to my instincts ; but I could 
think of nothing better in Honey's interests, 
and, after all, the morrow's events might prove 
it to have been quite unnecessary. 

A closed carriage, unobtrusive, neat, was at 
my door at the time appointed next morning, 
and on reaching Brook Street, I found Honey, 
in spotless white linen and a straw hat, await- 
ing me. 

Perhaps love lit her, perhaps hers was a 
morning beauty, but looking on her, Omar 
Khayyams' lines irresistibly occurred to 
me — 



''As thus the tulip from her morning sup 
Of heavenly vintage from the soil looks up- 



}> 



was she presently to return hither, fulfilling 
Omar's last line of the verse — 

" To earth inverted, like an empty cup " ? 

She swept me out of the house like a whirl- 
wind, talking of Holford all the way, of his 
charm, his loyalty to her, his patience under 
punishment ; there was that lilt in her voice 
peculiar to young things who think they have 
suffered, but have certainly gathered no 
experience from their suflFerings, and she 



6o " HONEY " 

noticed my silence not at all. The drive was 
a favourite one of mine, for the Heath beyond 
was a joy to me ; I never wearied of climb- 
ing up and up, into that incredibly purer air, 
out of the stifling fumes of the great city, or 
left it without regret. But Honey looked 
nowhere, said nothing ; it seemed to me but a 
matter of moments before we were at HoUo- 
way Gaol — and the woman was there. Only 
one. Probably the others did not know his 
time was up that morning. Almost before 
we were in sight of the prison, I saw her, and 
as we drew up at the entrance. Honey shrank 
instinctively when the other pressed close, and 
looked right in upon us. 

I pulled up the window sharply, and she 
withdrew a step, one eye seemingly on the 
prison door, and one on us. 

"Poor creature ! " murmured Honey. (I had 
almost said, " What a beast ! '*) " I suppose she 
is waiting for her man to come out, and she 
has put on those tawdry red roses in his 
honour. And I am waiting for my man," she 

added joyously; then she uttered a cry, and 
down clattered the window, for a man with his 
eyes cast down, had come out quickly, and 



"HONEY" 6 1 

for the first and last time in my life I 
pitied Lawrence Holford. " Lawrence ! " cried 
Honey, and at the same moment, the woman 
put her hand within his arm to lead him away, 
but he freed himself instantly, gave her a look 
and a muttered word, then sprang into the 
carriage, shouting out " Home ! " 

The horses sprang forward ; the whole thing 
passed in a moment ; there had been no scene, 
owing to the cool resource of the man; the 
situation had been saved, but not by me, and 
I felt that I could stand no more, but luckily 
for me, some obstacle for a moment slackened 
the horses' pace, I turned the carriage door- 
handle, slipped out, and escaped. 

Still, in the brief moments I had spent in 
Holford's company, while he and Honey sat, 
with clasped hands, looking in each other's 
faces, I had made two discoveries — that he 
was exceedingly handsome, and that he was 
not a gentleman. 

" No man of breeding will ever please her 
now," I said to myself, savagely, " and it's the 
same with us. Once we enjoy the company of 
low women, we're never fit for decent ones ; 
and, what is more, we don't want 'em." But 



'7 



62 "HONEY" 

I was angry with Honey that she had not hit 
the blot in him, though it was one that many 
otherwise fastidious women do not in a lover ; 
all too quickly they learn the lesson that 
nothing is to be expected of such an one in 
his dealings with their sex. 



CHAPTER VI 

'* And generations pass, as they have passed, 
A troop of shadows moving with the sun ; 
Thousands of times has the old tale been told ; 
The world belongs to those who come the last." 

MARY appeared in Harley Street next 
morning at, for her, an unearthly hour, 
and reproached me bitterly with neglecting my 
duties as chaperon the day before. 

" But I know what to expect of a man set 
to do something he does not like," she con- 
cluded, " also of a bewitched fool like Honey, 
so I went to Green StreeJ,. and waited for 'em. 
Up came the carriage spanking, out jumped 
what looked like bride and groom. Judge of 
their feelings when they flew to the seclusion 
of the drawing-room to discover me ! " 

I was silent. Poor Honey ! so ardent, so 
true ; and I thought of where he had gone 
straight on leaving her a couple of hours 
later. 

63 



64 " HONEY " 

"I brought her back with me to Brook 
Street," went on Mary. "It wasn't decent 
receiving him at her house without the ghost 
of a duenna. And you have got to come and 
dine with me to-night ; I want your opinion 
of him." 

" You find him irresistible ? " I said drily. 

" He is not a gentleman," said Mary ; " but 
every man is his own shop, to attract or repel 
business, or patients, or love, or whatever he 
goes in for. And Holford dresses his shop 
front well, tempts folks (especially women) to 
look inside, you know. I should call him 
a cheap man, who does not let himself go 
cheap. You know the type — good-looking, 
unscrupulous ; has a way with women. When 
he fiddles, I'm told, they cluster round him 
like flies." 

" Poor girl ! " 

" Yes, but she's wrong. It's a form of self- 
indulgence, doing what she likes, with a 
superb recklessness of consequences. Oh this 
profligate waste of youth ! Also, there's a 
little conceit in it, as she expects to find in 
others what seems good to her in herself." 

" Can't you let me oflF to-night ? " 1 said. 



" HONEY " 65 

"No, But prepare yourself for a ghasdy 
evening, dear boy — though dinners, even 
without tiresome lovers, are dull nowadays. 
Now a Radziwill feast in 1 548 was something 
like life ; gunners and a party of five hundred 
gentlemen to escort the English ambassador to 
table, when trumpets sounded, and kettledrums 
roared ! The first service brought in (I quote 
from memory, dear boy), jesters and poets 
discoursed merrily ; loud instruments and soft 
played very, very musically ; a set of dwarfs, 
men and women, finely attired, came in with 
mournful pipes and songs of art — Davids' 
timbrels, and Aaron's sweet-sounding bells, as 
they termed them. His Highness drank for 
Her Majesty, *the angelical Queen of Eng- 
land,' her health, and the great princes and 
ladies every one, their glass of sweet wines 
pledged. Strange portraitures, lions, unicorns, 
spread-eagles, swans, and other, made of sugar 
paste, some wines and spices in their bellies 
to draw at, and sweets of all sorts cut out of 
their bellies to taste of; everyone with his 
silver fork. . . . Some pastimes with lions, 
bulls, and bears, strange to behold, I omit to 
recite." 



66 -HONEY" 

When Mary paused, out of breath, I con- 
gratulated her on her memory. Yet I would 
cheerfully have faced those "strange bellies," 
rather than Lawrence Holford, that night. 
Nevertheless, eight o'clock found the four of 
us sitting at a round table, and it is part of 
the upsidedownness of things, that we stare 
at each other most persistently and critically, 
when we are engaged in the utterly inelegant 
operation of eating. 

Honey looked across at him proudly and 
eagerly, too eagerly, I fear, while he gave her 
back glance for glance, with none of the 
reserve of real love about him. 

The prison life had made no visible mark 
upon Holford, or the man's self-conceit lay 
so deep, that he did not consider any outside 
accident able to affect his personality, which 
undeniably was a most attractive one. 

Graceful, handsome, with far more of the 
angel than the beast in his appearance, there 
was a surface geniality about him, a sunny 
charm and sweetness that goes oftenest with 
a kind heart, and in this rough world kindness 
appeals to us more powerfully, perhaps, than 
anything else. 



"HONEY" 67 

If I had not known what I knew, I should 
not have been hard on Holford, We men 
take a man as we find him — knowing the 
excursions and alarms, the invasions of the 
other sex — so that as a rule we are surprised 
to find him as straight as he is — not angry 
that he is no better. Therefore, for the sake 
of the brotherhood that makes all us men 
kin, (as women never seem to be sisters), and 
for Honey's sake, I would, in despite of 
Golightly, have given him the benefit of the 
doubt, but for what the woman had told me 
at the hospital, and for something that had 
occurred last night. 

Talk he could, and extremely well too, but 
he would not let anyone else talk, ignoring 
the woman's privilege to lead the conversa- 
tion, which is just one of those trifling 
matters by which you may know if a man is 
fit for a gentlewoman to live with — or the 
reverse. 

I thought of Joubert's dictum, "Manners 
are an art. They may be perfect, or praise- 
worthy, or faulty, but they are never of no 
importance. If virtue leads to conduct, con- 
duct leads to virtufi ; nffw tgnnnfr'? are an 






68 " HONEY " 

essential part of conduct. Therefore let us 
train ourselves in fine, simple, fitting manners, 
if we would reach the heights of goodness.** 

Gradually Honey's gaiety was quenched, a 
stricken silence fell on us who listened ; in 
Mary*s eyes was a vindictiveness born of 
cheery Radziwill reminiscences ; Holford 
alone seemed to enjoy himself immensely. 

I saw at a glance how it would be. Honey, 
with brains and originality, would always have 
to listen to him. He would never stimulate 
her, allow her room to grow in ; and he 
would hate her for finding him out, and find 
his happiness in the company of women too un- 
educated to be able to argue, or differ with him. 

Then — and nothing can be more fatal to a 
happy fusion between man and woman — they 
were both of the same colour, dark-eyed, 
dark-haired — I even suspected some similar 
points of temperament ; but while he had 
grace, she had distinction — two entirely 
different matters. 

Over our wine, we did not become better 
acquainted, and I think that from the first he 
disliked and suspected me, feeling my attitude 
antagonistic towards him ; but when we went 



" HONEY " 69 

upstairs, all was changed, and I understood 
better the reason of his hold over Honey 
and other women. 

He took bow in hand, cuddling his violin 
into his neck as though he loved it,^ and I 
closed my eyes, and gave myself up to the 
only enjoyment that has power to transport 
us humans out of ourselves, out of the 
world, to melt us, bone, and flesh, and 
muscle, into one supreme sense of illimitable 
joy, of detachment from all human hurt, 
and fear, and sorrow, the greatest, as perhaps 
it is the last of the pleasures left to us in this 
brutal, utilitarian age. 

For, unlike the other arts, music leads no- 
where, achieves no moral results, just makes 
us happy, makes us willing to experience 
under its influence every kind of emotion, no 
matter how alien to our natures and characters, 
appealing frankly to, and delighting the senses 
only, for it is an error to suppose that it in- 
spires lofty and devotional thoughts. 

That night he played none but the music of 
love, from Cavalleriay with its sequence of 
rapturous melodies, its irresistible summoning 
of our brute delight in melody, passing to 



70 " HONEY •• 

the Tristan love-music, then to Massenet's 
opera of Samson et Delilah^ so rarely heard 
in England, with its haunting, exquisite move- 
ment — when the sob of passion, scarce heard 
at first, rises, and swells and soars to its 
triumphant climax, showing us as by visual 
sight the betrayer and the betrayed on that 
tremendous height, repeated again, but in 
mockery, when Delilah taunts the bound 
and helpless man. 

I moved restlessly, and turned to see Honey 
with eyes shining like stars ; then to Mary, 
sitting tense and erect, clutching her chair 
with both hands, all the fire of a dead youth 
burning in her gaze, so much had a passionate 
love-number, played by a villain, done for 
the three of us. 

Suddenly Holford threw down his violin, 
and sprang to Honey, and she to him, dis- 
appearing as with one impulse into the other 
room, and out of sight. I realised how 
tremendous was the hold he had on her, both 
as man and musician, then. 

Mary, who had now recovered herself, 
looked at me, and shook her head. 

" You won't stop her," she said. " I'm not 



"HONEV 71 

sure — if I could shut my eyes tight to his not 
being a gentleman — that if I were Honey*s 
age, I might not be as obstinate as she is. 
But I should insist on his never addressing 
me, save through his violin. After all," she 
added briskly, "I doubt if even the Radzi- 
wills got better music than that." 

But when, half an hour later, Holford and 
I left the house, and he made as though he 
would take the first passing hansom, I touched 
his shoulder, and said — 

" Not yet. The woman must wait. I have 
a word to say to you. j, j^ 
jtfhf'^ Ilyda was gone. Jc|.yir snarled at me out 
^ of the man's face, as at the corner of Berkeley 

Square I named an address to which he had 
driven straight on leaving Honey the preced- 
ing day. 

"And what if I did," he said savagely, 
" where do you come in ? " 

"Nowhere. But Miss Bury does," I said 
quietly. 

He had himself well in hand now, re- 
assumed that prepossessing air (hateful adjec- 
tive, implying falseness) with which he took 
in so many people. 



72 *• HONEY" 

"You are on the wrong scent," he said 
glibly. " My visit yesterday was on Ham- 
mersley's account. I felt I owed it to him 
that she ishould not want. You see, I killed 
the man — and she was his property, not 
mine." 

He lied bravely ; he was of the sort to lie 
to save his skin or his purse. The words 
poured over each other as the utterances of 
truth never do. 

"She was quite decent at one time, I 
believe," he said ; " was a shopwoman, or 
something of that sort ; but she drank, and 
got sacked everywhere. And Hammersley, 
who was down on his luck — poverty makes 
us acquainted with strange bed-fellows, you 
know " 

" Talk decently," I said, " if you can. You 
mean to tell me that Hammersley put up with 
that ofFal ? " 

" You have seen her ? " he said quickly. 
"So you have been playing the spy upon 
me. 

" She came to my hospital with a broken 
finger," I said. "Her bully was waiting for 
her outside" — I looked him full in the face. 



■a^a 



-HONEY" 73 

but he gave no sign — ^**and she told me to 
prevent Miss Bury meeting you when you 
came out of prison, as she meant to meet 
you herself." 

"Miss Bury would naturally not under- 
stand the delicate position in which I was 
placed," began Holford, but I called out — 

" Indelicate, man, indelicate ! Call things 
by their right name if you can, and stop lying. 
That drab told me you killed Hammersley 
on her account — accidentally perhaps — but for 
her." 

He muttered an evil word under his breath 
that boded ill to her when they met, then 
started off lying again, and doing it so well, 
that secretly I applauded him, for he had made 
of the sorry business a fine art. He intoxi- 
cated himself with his own persuasiveness, 
might even have persuaded some listeners less 
resolute than myself; there was a fluidity of 
apparent good, and certain evil in the man, 
each running into the other, most baffling and 
confusing, so that he produced on my mind an 
impression as of an octopus or a jelly-fish, im- 
possible to pin in any vital part. 

" Now I ask you as a man of the world," he 



74 " HONEY " 

concluded, " should I be likely to so imperil 
myself with Miss Bury ? " 

I laughed aloud. 

"You are no man of the world," I said. 
"Only weak fools act as you have done — a 
stout knave does not do half such harm in the 
world as men like you. Now, mark me. 
There shall be no double life for Miss Bury's 
husband — no slinking off from a beautiful 
home, with a wife whom most men would 
envy you, to " I paused abruptly. 

" You know the story of the lovely princess, 
who nightly left her husband's side to seek the 
swineherd, who returned her love with 
blows — well. Miss Bury shall not share the 
prince's fate. Man, I think I know you, 
and you would be gay, kind even to her, so 
long as she did not find you out, and left you 
free to follow your every inclination, unless — 
and it is one of the few privileges of the out- 
side woman — your mistress was for ever setting 
you against your wife. But once Miss Bury 
knew it — and sooner or later sin, like murder, 
will out — her life would be ruined," 
I " If you don't believe me," he snarled, all 
H^ ^J clg yll n ow, the surface sweetness gone that 



J^^,^^t»mM 



" HONEY " 75 

hid his callous heart, " have me watched, 
follow me yourself if you like, or, better still, 
rU tell Miss Bury myself, and make you 
prove your accusations." 

Now this was a bold move, and my silence 
must have told him he had scored in what 
had looked for him like a losing hazard, for 
if Honey believed him, and the other woman 
backed him up, where was I ? 

In trying to save Honey, I should only have 
lost her friendship, and Holford would deceive 
her with even greater impunity than before, 
but a moment's reflection told me he dared 
not risk it, that he was playing a game of 
bluflf. Well, I could play it too. 

"Miss Bury is a young lady of great 
character," I said, " who has definite points of 
view of her own ; also, she has some respect 
for my opinion, and you would lose her. I 
should make it my business to place the whole 
of your past life before her, demonstrate fully 
that your imprisonment was attributable to 
this woman, and the direct, if accidental, 
result of your vicious habits. You're young 
yet. Do you know how this life of vice grips 
you — ^getting a closer hold on you with every 



76 " HONEY " 

year, till you come to loathe, to curse, the 
prison in which you live ? But God himself 
can't get you out of it." 

He jeered, and quoted the ordinary habits 
of men, tried to pour out a cheap flood of 
second-hand science on the subject ; and I 
knew that it was true, that there were hun- 
dreds and thousands of men living his life 
to-day, just as there are countless women being 
pushed downwards by their influence. 

" Listen," I said, thinking less of the man 
than Honey's great love for him, and how she 
would be as bindwood in the dust, if what 
she clung to were broken. " Give ine your 
written oath not to hold any communication 
whatever with that woman again, or give her 
money, or visit her again, and for the present, 
at least, Miss Bury shall be told nothing about 
her." 

He promised eagerly, and before we parted 
that night, the paper was in my possession. 
Yet I had only a deep misgiving, and a feeling 
that I had somehow bungled the matter, and 
traflicked to a dead loss with a scoundrel for 
the price of Honey's happiness. 



CHAPTER VII 

" There's none may lean on a rotten staff 
But him that risks to get a fa\" 

THE world was treating Holford well, and 
when it found that he was marrying a 
great heiress, it took them both to its greedy 
bosom, and raved about the romance of the 
thing, how he had killed another man for 
Honey's sake, yet never given her name away 
at the trial. As to his mistakes, " that no my 
Pidgin," says Society about a rich or influen- 
tial person's faults, and passes on, though 
anything vital to itself — the loss of its lover, 
or cook, or money, reduces it to a mere jelly 
of quaking nerves and apprehension. And 
if men fought shy of him, and he was never 
seen at the best clubs (indeed, he seemed to 
have no male friends, nor to want them), 
women flocked round him whenever he ap- 
peared, and he seemed entirely happy. Per- 

77 



78 " HONEY " 

haps the mere sense of freedom would account 
for this, and the enjoyment of those material 
pleasures from which he had been for a time 
cut off. In any case, the easy good nature of 
the man, his tolerance and charm, his almost 
shadowy grace and elegance, were so many 
letters of recommendation ; and had I not 
known him for what he was, I might have 
succumbed to the charm of his outwardly 
sunny and genial character, made allowance 
for the fatal artistic temperament that did not 
recognise the boundaries, the limitations, that 
held ordinary men. 

If he had relatives, they were evidently no 
more anxious to claim him, than he to claim 
them, for he was never known to mention 
any ; but he knew a vast number of people, 
and of all conditions, chiefly actors and 
actresses, artists, journalists, and musicians ; 
indeed, the Bohemian element was very 
strongly marked in his acquaintance, and 
knowing Honey*s somewhat lawless, gipsy 
tastes, I was surprised to see how she shrank 
into herself, and was almost silent when 
thrown among them. Something impalpable 
but real came between her and these widely 



"HONEY" 79 

tolerant friends of Holford's. Their ways 
were not hers, nor their thoughts ; and, on 
the other hand, her brown, delicate type of 
beauty did not stand out vividly enough to 
satisfy Holford in contrast with the redundant, 
fair type of "coloured" woman whom he 
admired, and to whose pronounced attentions 
he had become accustomed. 

There was at times an Elizabethan sim- 
plicity and vigour of language about Mary, 
or rather she called things by their right 
names, did not pretty-pretty the ugly, mince 
the base ; and for Holford's female friends 
she coined the epithets of " fly-blown women," 
and " musk-cats." 

Holford knew and resented this, could not 
fail to see that when Honey went among 
Mary's friends — well-born, well-bred persons 
like herself — the best men watched and appre- 
ciated her, would have approached her but for 
his presence ; and Honey, who was very quick 
of apprehension, and vibrant to the smallest 
slight to him, saw it all, but set it down to 
his misfortune in killing Hammersley. So 
she clenched her little teeth and resolved to 
make the world accept him, the outcome of 



1 



80 ' HONEY " 

this being the determination to entertain 
largely, and there happening to come into the 
market just then a house in Piccadilly, look- 
ing on the Green Park (she must have trees 
near her, or die), she fell eagerly into Hol- 
ford's wish that she should lease it for a term 
of years, with the option of purchase if she 
so decided. His refusal to settle in the 
country, while his work and all his interests 
in life lay in town, showed to her as independ- 
ence, and a determination not to live on her, 
but she opposed his giving one of the big 
concerts with which his name had formerly 
been identified ; it seemed to her an adver- 
tisement, or making money out of his mis- 
fortune ; and to my surprise, he did not insist, 
it seemed his aim to agree with her in every- 
thing — for the present. 

And in that magic month of June, when 
the country steals laughing and laden with 
blossom into the great city, and you may 
steep your senses in the joy of the down- 
dropping gold of the laburnum, the scented 
snow of the lilac, when the hawthorn trees 
ring every note of colour from palest pink to 
deepest scarlet flame, then, with the full tide 



"HONEY" 8 1 

of human life throbbing and pulsing around 
you, the man you love by your side, is not 
town a city of enchantment, a place in which 
to take your pleasure, the blood running 
swiftly in your veins? Mary's horses took 
Honey where she willed, often out of town 
to cool and lovely places to which Holford 
objected, and this vexed the girl, though she 
consoled herself by thinking that perhaps he 
found it as hard to understand and love 
Nature, as she would to play his violin. 

From the first I saw that they had not a 
single taste in common, but the glamour of 
this first season in town, of love, of the ease 
and beauty of a life in which no want went 
ungratified, entirely precluded serious thought, 
and if spots on her sun there were, they did 
not hinder the sun shining brilliantly. She 
enjoyed everything — from her early gallops 
in the morning, to the opera or a play at 
night, and for a while, at least, the town had 
taken Honey, who, ardent, curious, intellectual, 
marked time with every moment of her day, 
as if she felt the time were short for happi- 
ness, and she must use up every scrap of it. 

In that fever of youth, of love — and how 



82 "HONEY" 

sweet a fever — what intoxication, what glor- 
ious rhythm when life sets like some swift- 
flowing river to its inevitable goal ! — Honey 
was blind to what everyone else saw plainly 
enough — that Holford did not love her. 

He had none of the little heaven-born 
courtesies of the man who loves — the oflFered 
flower, the surprise, to show her he had 
thought of her while absent, the eager watch- 
ing, and welcome when she came ; his face 
never told you that the room was dark in 
Honey*s absence, golden in her presence ; the 
language of flattery and compliment indeed he 
used, but it never rang true ; and when she 
talked to him of Burghfield, of her beloved 
woods and garden, he did not even try to 
understand her. 

I knew the type of man so well. He would 
never teach the woman he married love, for 
fear of her passing it on to another man — he 
would keep all that for outside — Honey would 
always get his second best. He was abso- 
lutely incapable of love in its true essence, 
love demands unselfishness, loyalty, strenu- 
ousness ; ^^nd Holford had not one of these 
qualities. 'No one has learned the meaning of 



\ 



" HONEY " 83 

love who has not learned the meaning of sacri- 
fice, and all women to him were merely ministers 
to his pleasures — he could never regard them 
in any other light ; Holford and music — 
music and Holford's pleasures, these consti- 
tuted his world. 

Meanwhile, on the principle that " what the 
eye don*t view, tlie heart don't rue," Mary's 
attitude was studiously detached towards Hol- 
ford. She doted on his music, admired him 
as a man, forbore to speak of his moral char- 
acter ; but one day a fit of the spleen over- 
took her, the immediate cause being the state 
of her hall-table, and to heaven (or elsewhere) 
she blew with him all his pretensions to virtue, 
and this was unfair, as I had never heard 
him make any. 

"Did you see my hall-table as you came 
in ? Do you hear that front bell ? " she 
said to me one day, irritably. " My house is 
a dumping - ground for all the second-rate 
women who ever made love to Holford, or 
he to them, and by November (for, of course, 
he neither shoots nor hunts) that Piccadilly 
place will be just a happy hunting-ground for 
'em all — with Honey paying the piper I " 



/ 



84 ** HONEY" 

"They mean to go in for society?" I said. 

" Society ? " said Mary, and raised a whim- 
sical eyebrow. "Those born out of it, try 
once, but seldom twice, to get into it. A 
millionaire's wife may lure the world to cross 
her doorstep to hear Melba beyond, but in 
return rarely gets beyond her invite's door- 
step. So in revenge she annexes another 
country house or two, buys a few dozen 
exquisite frocks, with nowhere to wear 'em I 
If Honey tries to entertain, the best men 
won't come — the women's best men will — 
which is not the same thing. The sort 
to do her good will damn her for Holford. 
After all, if you must look on at the 
show, it's pleasanter to sit in the stalls than 
the gallery ! Then she is very hospitable, 
and hospitality's dead — call it ostentation, and 
have done with it ; you don't always find it 
in the country even, for if people can't *do 
you ' as sumptuously as alien millionaires, 
they don't entertain at all. On the other 
hand, we can't afford to accept invitations, 
the tips are so ruinous, the saucy varlets 
stare at gold, and barely thank you for 
paper." 



(( 



HONEY " 85 



"I'm not sure," I said, "that Honey has 
not a better chance of happiness in town for 
a year or so. She is so extraordinarily vivid 
— when she has taken in everything worth 
having, she will be glad to return to the 
real self she has left at Burghfield. She 
never brought it to town ; at Burghfield she 
will find it again." 

Mary nodded. 

"Till Holford came out, the girl had not 
a chance of enjoying herself in town. To 
be without a man to take you about, is like 
trying to wash your hands without soap — 
alike futile and irritating. They say virtue 
is its own reward. Don't you believe it I 
It's damned dull. You carCt enjoy yourself 
without a man. It's the women who freeze 
on to the right men, who have a good time, 
and the men worth having, always freeze on 
to the wrong women. Here is Holford 
playing the fool (more or less) with every 
pretty woman he meets, but he is careful to 
say to the child, * It's all to your face, Honey, 
never behind your back,' and she swallows 
something down, and actually believes him. 
She must always be torn two ways — love one 



86 "HONEY" 

way, shame another — and the man's love goes, 
her shame in him remains." 

I felt disturbed. To be sure I saw him 
but seldom, and there had been no mention 
of other women in our contract. 

" Fm sure he's vicious," said Mary. " He 
has large hips. Nature intended men like 
that for cocotes — only they missed their 
vocation. There's a suspicious cleanliness 
about his finger-nails, too, that show they 
long to relapse into dirt at the first oppor- 
tunity ; and he drinks." 

" I never saw Holford drunk," I protested. 

" My dear Ben, you hear of a person that 
^he can take his glass,' which means that he 
has a red nose — but never falls on it. Perhaps a 
coarse woman might lick Holford into shape — 
but Honey ! And she makes herself too cheap. 
She is on the wrong tack with him altogether. 
Now unpunctuality is one of women's strongest 
cards — it is always the woman who is a little 
late, who makes the men a little * previous.' 
Honey is always ready — waiting for him even 
— and a woman waiting to be fetched, doesn't 
appeal to Holford, but a girl carried off by 
a brisk coup d'etat from another man is highly 



' HONEY " 87 

delectable. You great, shaggy monster," she 
broke off irrelevantly, "why don't you let 
Holford choose your clothes ? He is one 
of the best turned-out men in town." 

She grimaced as she said it, like one who 
smells something nasty. 

"And then she's clever," went on Mary. 
"And brains are a mistake. They are a store 
you keep for other people to help themselves 
from ; and they get the solids, and you all 
the wear and tear, and broken health. Thank 
your stars, Ben, you haven't any ; they aren't 
worth it." 

" Thank you, Mary." 

"As well you may, though a true, other- 
wise a brutally candid friend, is about as 
comforting as a bald-headed electric light to sit 
under, when you want to look your very 
test." 

" See what it is to be a man," I said. " I 
fear neither one nor the other." But Mary 
was off on her own train of thought. 

"The type of woman who lives in men's 
eyes and hearts is that which says nothing — 
merely gives a glance, a kick of the frills, a 
caress," went on Mary, for our easy-chairs. 



88 ''HONEY" 

the restful green room, were conducive to 
prolixity. 

" It doesn't to me," I said shortly. 

Mary stared. 

"I thought it did," she said unkindly. 
" Well, the heart knoweth its own bitterness, 
and every woman her own wig." 

" But you don't wear one," I said. 

" But I may. Has it ever struck you that 
half of us women's lives are spent in trying to 
appear other than (physically) we really are ? 
Now how dignified, how convenable are a 
man's grey hairs — or ostrich -egg head — how 
much better they look as they grow older! 
See a photographic gallery of men, then of 
made-up women, and judge I " 

" I would blush," I said, " but that I never 
had my photograph taken in my life, and don't 
mean to." 

"There isn't a camera big enough," said 
Mary; "but what I said just now is true. 
The great majority of men of remarkable 
intellect have been also men of distinguished 
physical attractions ; look at the faces of the 
poets, Shakespeare, Spenser, Sidney — the last, 
not merely a poet, but soldier and statesman, 



"HONEY" 89 

was " the hero of Europe at four-and-twenty " 
— or at the two dramatic collaborators, Beau- 
mont and Fletcher ; but one might go on for 
ever with the list." 

I cast my mind back, Mary spoke truth. I 
saw passing before me, as the names of great 
men rose in my mind, a long line of noble 
and beautiful faces — Dante's, sad and stern ; 
Goethe's and Schiller's, almost godlike in their 
radiant tranquillity of expression ; the wistful 
smiles of Keats and Shelley ; the proud eyes of 
Byron, more than half-conscious of their own 
charm ; the calm and stately features of 
Addison ; the stolid, strong face of Scott, lit 
with a winking light of humour ; the bright, 
frank, friendly challenge which illumined the 
eyes of Dickens, as we see him in the earlier 
portraits of Maclise ; the superb and flawless 
beauty of Peter Paul Rubens, and of others. 

"And we could admire them with all our 
hearts," said Mary, " because their faults, how- 
ever big, never showed ! You could no more 
see 'em than the spots on the sun in a blazing 
midday! The mistakes made by the few 
really great women who have lived and died 
almost completely obliterate their genius. A 



90 '' HONEY " 

woman with vagrant impulses of mind and 
body almost invariably goes to bits — possibly 
because she has less brain — fewer great qualities 
to obscure her faults than a man has." 

"So the wedding is to be in October," I 
said, getting up. 

^^ Don't go, Ben," she said, so imploringly 
that I sat down again. 

" Honey behaved beautifully over the post- 
ponement ; she was as willing as he to have it 
herCy this month. Oh I " burst out Marj^ "take 
two shillings that rub together, thin and 
poverty-struck in your hand, so that you feel 
uneasily that you have got short measure — 
that's an unhappy marriage. Feel a handsome, 
•comfortable half-crown in your palm — that's a 
real marriage, the odd sixpence of happiness 
makes all the difference ! And Holford can't 
furnish that odd sixpennyworth. She can't 
see it — she just walks about with a bandage 
tied tight over her eyes " 

" But when it is removed," I said, " it will 
be removed for ever." 

" And she will either die," said Mary, " or 
there will be a new Honey — with all the 
bloom rubbed off her — perhaps a wicked 



-HONEY" 91 

Honey, to smite others even as she herself 
has been smitten. It's a sin that a Lawrence 
Holford should have the power to destroy 
the girl, body and soul ! " she added, with 
intense bitterness. 

"He won't," I said. 

" But IVe seen it," said Mary, " often. As 
the husband is so is the wife^ and the corrupt- 
ing influence to be brought on a girl, malle- 
able, ductile, to the will of a bad man, is not 
to be calculated . . . and to think," she went 
on impatiently, " of how a clean, manly fellow 
might have improved her ! A man can help 
a woman up, or give her a shove down, so 
much more than a woman can help a man, or 
demoralise him. She is a poor crock at best, 
probably the original of the china pipkin that 
tried to sail down the river with that iron pot 
— -Man ; and of course she got broken." 

" And clearly you never went sailing, Mary," 
I said. 

" But poor Honey is sailing now," she said 
sadly, " and Holford bears her a grudge, and 
will sink her later." 

" What has she done ? " 

" What hasrCt she ? Planked down youth. 



92 "HONEY" 

looks, money, and heart and loyalty all in one 
lumping heap at his feet, and the very pro- 
fusion of her sacrifice stodges him ; it be- 
comes cheapy not giving him as much pleasure 
as he would feel in giving a penny bunch of 
violets to another woman." 

" Or a bottle of gin," I muttered under my 
breath, and looked searchingly at Mary, but 
she seemed quite innocent of any innuendo. 

" I hope it's not so bad as that," I said. 
" I know it requires a noble nature to support 
great favours." 

" Gratitude," said Mary calmly, " is civilisa- 
tion's own bastard, for Nature won't have her ; 
and what Nature doesn't own, or know any- 
thing about is not worth knowing. She gives 
and takes freely ; she smiles and forgets, or 
how could she do her work properly ? To 
be grateful, presupposes one's, dependence on 
another, and Nature revolts at such tyranny. 
It is with those who never have done, and 
never will do, anything for us, that we are 
at our very best, our very happiest, and most 
at ease." 

I thought of the woman with the broken 
finger, for whom somehow he had always 



"HONEY" 93 

managed to find alms. He was of the type 
that loves constituting itself a woman's earthly 
providence, to feed and kick her at will. 

" The sorry fellow ! '' burst out Mary 
suddenly. ** A disagreeable incident happened 
yesterday, but there will be plenty more of 
them. I was reading here — overlooked in 
a deep chair — when he and Honey came in 
together. He was flushed, and at his worst. 
He has grown careless lately, you know. Sud- 
denly he put his hand in his pocket, and pulled 
out a handful of letters, and put them into 

her hand. * From that silly Mrs. ,' and 

he mentioned a name. Honey looked at him ; 
I could almost feel the prickles of horror that 
were running up her spine. Then she said— 

"* Would you give my letters to another 
woman to read ? Let me tell you that if you 
had written love-letters to someone else 
before you knew me, and she sent them to 
me, I would burn them unread. And if — 
she paused a moment — * you have answered 
these or any others, I hope you will tell me 
now, for if you died, and I found it out, I 
should hate, I should despise, your memory * ; 
and she turned away. 



V 



94 " HONEY " 

"He followed her out to the balcony, and 
I effaced myself; but if that will not open 
her eyes, will anything ever ? He is used to 
coarser women, whom such letters might make 
jealous. But Honey! I know he is the sort 
of man who likes a woman that he can talk 
vulgarity to. He calls it nature — it sounds 
prettier." 

"Give him rope enough, and he will hang 
himself yet," I said. 

She walked absently to the awned-in balcony, 
and looked out. 

" Here come the lovers," she said. " Hol- 
ford has his most devoted air — Honey's hat 
suits her. A woman is a fool who tries a 
new one on in a becoming light — let her 
put it boldly on, and go out into the street, 
and the first man's eyes she meets will tell her 
if it is all right I By the way, I have a little 
cat story for you." 

Now I always enjoyed Mary's observations 
of animals ; she had especially a half-ironic, 
wholly-detached way of looking at cats — 
observed them closely, and declared that while 
dogs were so transparently honest and truthful 
as to be read at a glance, cats were so full of 



* HONEY" 95 

whimsies and subtleties that you found some- 
thing new in their characters every day, and 
in the end were harder to unriddle than the 
sphinx, 

"Well " she stopped as the lovers 

came in, and I got up to greet Honey. I 
had long ago dropped the clumsy hand- 
shaking with Holford that we should reserve 
only for our friends, and Honey and I met 
coldly. I don't think that we had been really 
at home with each other since that night she 
had pleaded with me for Holford, and in 
vain, on the river. 

" I was just telling Mr. Cassilis " (I was Ben 
to everybody but him) " about Mahomet," said 
Mary. " You know what a sleek, magnificent 
creature he is, and his amazing dignity. Well, 
this morning, as he was sunning himself on 
the window-ledge of the conservatory, a poor, 
wretched, white-and-tan she-cat stole timidly 
towards him, her eyes fixed on him like a 
slave's upon her sultan. As she came within 
his line of vision, he slowly averted his head 
as at some disagreeable sight — it was precisely 
the attitude of a person up in the world, 
turning his back on some chance gutter 



96 ** HONEY" 

acquaintance. He knew perfectly well I was 
there, and when the poor she-thing encroached 
still nearer, he gave her such a look as sent 
her slinking away out of sight ; then his eyes 
met mine, saying as plain as cat's eyes could — 

" I'm really very sorry, ma'am ; her mistake, 
not mine, I never encouraged her^H can't 
abide low company ! " ^ . 

^^SnobV^ said Honey, with energy, while 
Holford looked quickly at Mary, as if he 
suspected a personal significance in the story; 
and was telepathy at work — telepathy, that 
great natural force which we shall some day 
develop and use as we now use wireless 
telegraphy — for Honey exclaimed — 

"It makes me think of that poor creature who 
put her hand on your arm that morning, but you 
shook her off, Lawrence ! " she added, with a 
reproachful gentleness she never showed to me. 

"Begging, probably," he said carelessly. 
"She mistook me for some other poor devil 
coming out at the same time." But I knew 
that the man's mind was working on the 
danger of a coalition between Mary and my- 
self, that he mistrusted the cat story, and 
believed it to have been prompted by me. 



^ . -_^ 



" HONEY " 97 

Suddenly he looked up at Honey, and gave 
her a sunny nod and smile. When I knew 
him better, I understood that he had been 
making a mental calculation, and decided that 
I, being the fool that I was, with some notion 
of honour, had not told Mary anything, so 
he had only two fools to deal with. Honey 
and myself, unassisted by the wits of an astute 
woman of the world. 

As it was, he gloried in the ease with which 
he deceived us ; it was mere child's play, as 
he said later. Past-master in the art of de- 
ceiving everyone with whom he came in 
contact, his candid air hid a deeply secretive 
nature, a relentless determination to pursue 
at all costs his own pleasure unchecked. 
From the depths of the blackguardism of his 
heart he mocked at honest men, having a 
greater contempt for them than they for him, 
since all their moves were aboveboard, his out 
of sight. What is it like — this secret exulta- 
tion, this pride at having "bested" all those 
who make for honour and clean living ? Only 
the crooked in mind have it ; yet they gloat 
over, and would not exchange it for a king- 
dom. 

H 



i( 



CHAPTER VIII 

Le pass^ n'est pour vous qu'une triste souvenir, 
Le pr&ent est afTreuz, s'il n'est point d'avenir. 
Si la nuit du tombeau ddtruit P^tre qui pense." 



POSSIBLY the reason for Holford's choice 
of rooms was, that the only rule of the 
Albany is that of the monks of the Abbey of 
Thelema. 

Most people know the old traditions of the 
place and its celebrated residents : Canning, 
Macaulay (who wrote his history there), 
Thackeray (who there indited Vanity Fair)y 
and among others, Bulwer and Broughton, 
Lady Lytton was so touched at the picture 
her husband drew (when he was supposed to 
be interviewing publishers) of the dreary time 
he was having in his old bachelor quarters, 
nursing solitude, that she posted to town 
and discovered him nursing "solitude" (the 

baggage) on his f^ee ! 

98 



- HONEY " 99 

The Albany is indeed the veritable home of 
freedom, and there is no such liberty to be 
found on the face of God's earth ; you may 
live there for years and years, without your 
neighbour on the next floor evincing the 
slightest curiosity as to your doings, however 
extraordinary — indeed, criticism or scandal are 
unknown. I remember staying a few days 
with a man in the Albany (he is married now, 
God rest his soul 1) who had a lady visitor late 
one night, and presently there were indications 
of serious discord, and I was tumbled out of 
bed, and called in to arbitrate. Nothing ap- 
parently would alter the dear child's deliberate 
intention of smashing all the ornaments, and 
personally interested in them as my friend 
was, he exerted all his persuasive powers in 
favour of an honourable peace. After con- 
siderable discussion, and no slight amount of 
refreshment, a treaty was concluded, subject 
to the one condition that our visitor should 
smash something. I watched with considerable 
anxiety the selection of the doomed chattel, 
and ultimately had to consent to the sacrifice 
of one of Bob's best bits of blue. However, 
all ended well. The appeased maiden, accom- 

113868B 



loo "HONEY" 

panied by us both, adjourned solemnly to the 
courtyard, and there, on the cobble-stones, the 
blue was duly smashed to smithereens, and we 
all parted friends. Now the night porters 
witnessed the whole incident from their lodge, 
but, believe me, they never moved a muscle, 
or turned a hair ; they simply regarded the 
whole matter as if it were the most natural 
occurrence in the world. 

Brook Street accounted for pretty well every 
hour of Holford's day — his nights appeared 
equally innocent ; but there was at times a 
quiet malice in his eye, a silent luxury of 
triumph that plainly said no detectives should 
catch him tripping ; indeed, he knew their 
faces as well as they knew his ; he even 
jeered at them without words, so that they 
grew to hate him heartily, weary of the lack 
of kudos in the job, and at last got as tired 
of making their reports to me, as I of hearing 
them. 

Yet I knew there was nothing else to be 
done. Perhaps if he got over the first few 
weeks without visiting the woman, he might 
break the chain of habit, and give himself a 
chance, but on the morning after Mary's long 



"HONEY" loi 

conversation with me, for the first time one 
of the detectives brought me news, brought 
it more eagerly perhaps than if he had found 
a fortune. 

" Sometimes by ten-thirty — seldom later 
than one," said Dawson, " Mr. Holford re- 
turns to his rooms, and appears not to leave 
them again till between ten and eleven next 
morning, when he goes straight to Brook 
Street. I say ^ appears,' because I have reason 
to believe that for three or four nights every 
week, he has left the Albany disguised, and 
another man has personated him at his 
chambers." 

I uttered an exclamation, and waited for 
more. 

"A tall, seedy, shabby man, carrying a 
violin case — evidently a musician, is in the 
habit of visiting Mr. Holford at his chambers 
— always after dark — or quite early in the 
morning. He usually arrives about a quarter- 
past ten o'clock, waits for Mr. Holford, and 
leaves again about half an hour after the 
gentleman's arrival. At first they both played 
the violin — and very fine music it was — then 
one only — but whenever the musician has 



I02 "HONEY" 

been there overnight, he comes early next 
morning — not unless." 

" What is he like ? " 

"Apparently Mr. Holford's double — a 
broken-down, shabby double — tall, very dark 
where he isn't dirty, walks with his head 
down, and gets past you like a flash of 
greased lightning/* 

« Well ? " 

"It is Mr. Holford who goes out dis- 
guised as his disreputable double — it is the 
musician who stays all night in the Albany as 
Mr. Holford." 

I started up, my pulses racing. At last, at 
last, it looked as if my apparently hopeless 
scheme might save Honey. " Go on," I said. 

"The disguise is the most perfect thing I 
ever saw. His own hair, some dirt rubbed 
in, a few rags, a slouch, and the prosperous 
gentleman is the outcast. There are several 
points of difference between them — in short, 
it's a faked resemblance, not one of feature, 
but the make-up is simply marvellous, and 
deceived both Jones and myself. Sometimes 
the man went out at one end of the Albany, 
sometimes at the other." 



*' HONEY" 103 

" But surely in broad daylight, when Hol- 
ford came back as the musician, you could 
tell the difference ? " I exclaimed. 

*^Yes — once we were looking for it — not 
before." 

" You followed him, of course ? ** 

"Or I should not be here this morning. 
I traced him to a house off the Euston Road, 
to the company of a woman of low character, 
where he was laughed at as " the old fiddler " 
by the landlady's slut of a servant, yet that 
fiddler sets the tune, and what is not usual in 
a fiddler, pays the reckoning." 

" Out of Honey's money," I thought, with 
sick disgust. 

" He did not suspect that he was followed," 
said the detective. " He has hoodwinked us 
for a whole month, and despised us thoroughly. 
I can never forgive myself that I did not 
from the first detect the fraud." 

"You have followed him more than once?" 

" In all, on six occasions. I was going to 
suggest that you should accompany me next 
time." 

"For what reason? He would recognise 



me. 



104 ''HONEY" 

^^One disguise is as good as another. I 
thought — ** the detective paused — "that you 
might be going to take action in the matter. 
He did not go last night, so he will go to- 
morrow. He returns home early from Brook 
Street, on the evenings he visits the — ^lady." 

There was something in the tone that 
brought the bestial woman up before my eyes, 
it was for this he had left Honey early on 
certain evenings to get his beauty-sleep, as he 
said, and hastened so early away. 

"Yes, I will come," I said, and then we 
arranged the preliminaries, and I was left alone 
with my triumph — if a triumph it were, that 
meant the broken heart of a passionately 
loving, trusting woman. 

For, after all, she was to be saved ; she was 
not to walk the burning ploughshares that 
every woman must, who throws in her lot 
with a man who lives a double life, and under 
such circumstances of treachery and wicked- 
ness, as removed Holford altogether from 
the category of weak men who sin on the 
moment's impulse, not from deliberate pur- 
pose, and who bitterly repent it, even if it 
do not hinder them from sinning again. 



'HONEY" 105 

Appeal to him was worse than useless, but 
cunning and clever as he was, I realised then 
that the overpowering attraction of vice was 
stronger in him even than cunning, so that 
even at the risk of missing the one great 
chance of his life, he must fall before it. 

I dined with Mary the following night, and 
had never seen Holford in higher spirits. 
Extraordinarily sweet to Honey, with me he 
displayed an ease of manner, a sureness of 
touch in conversation that he had never 
shown before. It was as if for the first time 
since our conversation that night in Berkeley 
Square we met as men and equals, with on 
my side no superiority of character or posi- 
tion to back me ; and Honey, so resolute to 
shut her eyes to much in him that went 
against the grain, was quick to note the 
greater manliness of his attitude towards 
me. 

As usual, she showed what she felt, and was 
happy, and being happy was beautiful, with 
a beauty that left Holford cold, for no inner 
manifestation of a woman*s soul jor mind in 
the least attracted him. Individuality in a 
woman he hated, and that power of centralis- 



io6 " HONEY 



>» 



ing which makes her the pivot of every 
company she may find herself in ; he must 
have something upon which he could stamp 
himself all over, as a brutal navvy marks his 
wife's body with his hob-nailed boots, to be 
quite at ease with her. 

But as a means to an end, Honey did very 
well. It is significant of these straw-men that 
they always fly at the highest game, annex the 
smartest, brightest, and richest women ; they 
never dream of marrying the creatures whose 
society satisfies them. And Holford valued 
Honey solely as a fancy article that conferred 
dignity on its possessor, most valued when 
most publicly displayed. 

Mary looked from one to the other of us, 
puzzled by some subtle change in the atmo- 
sphere ; but other people were dining there 
that night, and as usual, when he was one 
of many, Holford shone at his gayest and 
brightest. And when the women had gone, 
he moved up close to me, at the foot of the 
table, and began at once about some altera- 
tions in the Piccadilly house that Honey 
thought necessary, but he did not. And 
since he stood in the position of prince 



•^ HONEY " 107 

consort only to a reigning sovereign, would 
I use my influence with her not to be ex- 
travagant ? 

" Honey won't hear of pupils," he added, 
with a touch of well-simulated shame on his 
face, ^^but I shall work hard at music, and 
some day hope to produce an opera worthy 
of her husband." 

I listened grimly. I knew that he had not, 
never would have, the power of drudgery — 
of beginning from the very bottom, and 
climbing slowly and painfully, step by step, 
the ladder to solid achievement. Something 
not unlike genius in his own line he had, 
but the grit to perfect it, the self-control to 
put aside all enjoyment, to toil while others 
played — never. 

Upstairs later, he played divinely, looking 
straight before him, Honey and the woman 
with the broken finger alike forgotten, his 
face ennobled, made beautiful by his theme, 
so that he seemed more angel than man as 
he stood with his back to a great group of 
palms in the dim, green drawing-room, and 
it was half-past ten before he was allowed to 
cease, a quarter to eleven when he and the 



io8 "HONEY" 

other guests left the house, leaving me still 
there, for I was in no hurry. 

I was not due at a certain place for another 
hour and a half, and when all the guests had 
gone, Honey came, and sat down beside me, 
and looked earnestly in my face. 

Have you ever kneeled down to look in 
a dog's eyes when first he comes, a stranger, 
to your house ? Wistful, earnest, they will 
search yours, probing your very soul to see 
what you really are, what your meaning to- 
wards him is, and kneel there as long as you 
will, that vigilant question will not relax, and 
only by his after-conduct will you be able to 
tell if you have answered his inquiry satis- 
factorily. 

Some such look Honey gave me as she 
said timidly — 

"You like Lawrence better, now that you 
know him better, don't you, Mr. Cassilis ? " 

" I think celestial spirits must look like him 
when they play," I said, and her face changed ; 
she drew back with the gesture of one who, 
asking bread, is oflTered a stone. 

« There is no one with whom I so much 
wish him to stand well as you," she said 



''HONEY" 109 

proudly, " but now I will not speak of him 
to you again" — yet she did, the next day. 

As she rose, and left me and the room, 
Mary came over, and looked at me with raised 
brows. 

"There is dynamite in the air," she said. 
" That fellow overdid his camaraderie with 
you ; if I were a man, Fd watch him — he is 
up to mischief. So you are going ? Well, 
good night," she concluded crossly, for the 
whole situation told on her nerves badly. 

But going out I paused a moment, and 
glanced round at the familiar rooms with their 
air of graceful existence. How would they look 
the next night, when the blow had fallen, and 
Jekyll, the beast, took the place of Hyde, the 
spirit-man ? 

When my disguise had been effected, with 
a rapidity and effectiveness that astonished me, 
and we had driven through some shabby, but 
brightly lit streets, for the first time I asked 
myself what I was going to say to Holford 
when my hand fell on his shoulder, and he 
knew that his game was up. 

I had hitherto only considered what he 
might do, and came armed, as had the other 



I lo " HONEY 



t> 



men, though as events turned out, only the 
weapons of ridicule were brought into play. 

" I have had some difficulty in bribing the 
servant," said Dawson, as he rode beside me, 
the two other men following in a hansom. " I 
got into the kitchen disguised as a seller of 
trinkets ; if she backs out at the last moment, 
and has not left the door ajar, we're done. As 
a rule, the mistress has her own fish to fry, 
and is out of evenings." 

I moved restlessly. It all sounded too 
simple, too easy. Holford would surely not 
let vital stakes go thus unsafeguarded • • . but 
now the cab stopped, and in a few moments 
we were at the door of a small, shabby house, 
precisely like all the others in that dismal 
street. 

The door appeared closed, but yielded to 
Dawson's touch. He beckoned the two men, 
and left them outside, then signed to me to 
follow him. 

The passage was dimly lit, the stairs were 
roughly carpeted ; we passed noiselessly up, 
past the first floor to the second, where light 
showed under the crack of a door, and voices 
could be heard within, the low murmur of a 



*• HONEY " III 

man's, the carneying tones of a woman — the 
woman with the broken finger. 

Then came the chink of glass against glass, 
partial silence, and motioning Dawson to re- 
main without, I opened the door, shut it 
behind me, and advanced to the table where 
the man and woman were sitting with a gin 
bottle and glasses between them, both staring 
aghast and speechless at the sight of me. 

Suddenly the man clapped on his head the 
hat that lay on the table beside him, but I 
went up close, and putting my hand on his 
shoulder, stooped down, and looked in his 
eyes. 

I looked in his eyes . . • and some- 
thing, that yet was not fear, ran through my 
body from head to heel ; the man's eyes were 
brown, not blue ; the man was not Lawrence 
Holford. 

A peal of half-tipsy laughter broke from the 
woman's lips that seemed to have no meaning, 
but the man jumped up, a sorry figure of rags 
and dirt, and said humbly — 

" Were you wanting me, sir, that you have 
followed me here ? " 

Clearly he thought I was a constable, after 



112 -HONEY" 

him for some minor offence, and he looked so 
abject and frightened, that whether Holford's 
tool or no, I could have found it in my heart 
to pity him. 

"This is my place,** said the woman 
coarsely, " clear out ! " and she got unsteadily 
to her feet, and pointed to the door. 

" My mistake," I said, in a high, staccato 
voice — " wrong house — front door open — 
good evening ! " and I let myself out. 

Dawson followed me in silence downstairs, 
and into the street, where the others waited, 
and it was not until we had found a hansom, 
and were seated in it, that I spoke. 

"The face was Holford's," I said briefly, 
"the eyes, the dirt, the rags were the 



musician's." 



I spoke harshly, bitterly. Was he in the 
swim with Holford ? Had Holford with 
Honey's money bought over the man to let 
me into this humiliating trap, so that I was 
doubly sold ? Yet with these detectives a 
neat coup has a price far above money. 

" Come to me to-morrow morning," I said. 
"I don't feel disposed to spend any more 
money over this business." 



•HONEY" 113 

" If you don't mind," said Dawson quietly, 
"I will go on with this job on my own 
account. <jood night, sir," and he stopped 
the cab, called up his subordinates, and I went 
on my way alone. 

Well, Holford and I had tried our first 

real " fall," and he had beaten me ; and if 

hitherto he had seemed to me a sorry fellow, 

with only the amazing courage of the man who 

preys on women, knowing they cannot hit 

back, he showed now as a lusty rogue with a 

sense of humour, and a power of grappling 

with unexpected circumstances that almost 

commanded my respect, certainly my earnest 
attention. 

Honey must be saved by other measures, 

but for the present I could not see what those 

measures might be. 



CHAPTER IX 

" Only — ^but this is rare — 
When a beloved hand is laid in ours, 
When, jaded with the rush and glare 
Of the interminable hours, 
Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear. 
When our world-deafen *d ear 
Is by the tones of a loved voice caress'd — 
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast, 
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again. 
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain. 
And what we mean we say, and what we would we 
know." 

EARLY the following morning I got a note 
from Holford — " Don't forget that you 
have promised to take Honey round to our 
new house to-morrow morning, and do, my 
dear fellow, persuade her out of spending a 
great deal of money on a person who really 
is not worth it." 

He signed himself " Yours sincerely," and 
I knew then that he did not mean to tell 

Honey of my attempt to trap him the preced- 

114 



"HONEY" 115 

ing night ; that he meant to affect total ignor- 
ance of it, and confidently reckoned on my 
playing my part with as much histrionic skill 
as he did himself. 

Now a month ago, I should have refused to 
leave my patients for a morning's saunter over 
an empty house, but lately my routine work 
had failed to grip me. Life palpitant, urgent, 
claimed my attention ; the marionettes of the 
world were forked wood and springs no longer, 
but real flesh and blood, and all my care, all 
my thoughts, converged on Honey's fate. 

My appointment with Dawson was for one 
o'clock. Eleven found me at Brook Street, 
and Honey waiting, exquisitely dainty, as usual ; 
but that fresh morning look with which she 
had greeted me on the morning of Holford's 
release had vanished — a shadow seemed to 
have passed over her, dimming even that lus- 
trous eye of youth which, in its very untired- 
ness, its thoughtlessness, so draws our eager 
gaze. On the road, for we went by way of 
the Park, I found that she had points of view, 
was a practical idealist in her way. 

"Oh, if I were king," she cried, as we 
came to Hyde Park Corner, " I would throw 



ii6 '* HONEY" 

open those triangular spaces of pavement 
yonder, cover them with little tables, provide 
them with refreshments, have a band to play 
just inside the Park ; and how the public 
would throng there of summer nights ! I 
would illuminate and serve certain parts of 
the Park the same. Last of all, I would make 
our grand Embankment an open-air house for 
the poor, and every man should have his 
* Bock,' and every woman should knit, or sew, 
or sit idle, and be happy ; and wherever the 
streets are wide enough to put chairs and a 
table outside a shop, I would put them. Oh, it's 
the having no choice between the public-house 
and the squalid home, it's the human con- 
tagion that brings about so many murders, 
so much crime, that would be lost in the open 
air ! " 

When I found that she would take away 
early strawberries from pampered gluttons, 
and feed poor children and struggling women 
with the proceeds of them, I accused her of 
being a Socialist ; but she only laughed, the 
colour rising in her clear brown cheek till all 
faces turned to her as she passed, some because 
they knew her and her story, others for sheer 



it 



HONEY" 117 



pleasure ; and by the time we reached the 
house looking on the Green Park, all her late 
coolness to me had vanished. 

She cried out to me not to pass under a 
ladder, for she was superstitious, and I liked 
her for it — it is the women who have no 
scruples, and no fears, of whom we men are 
afraid — and we passed into that most im- 
portant thing of all in a great house, a 
beautiful square hall with galleries running 
round, and excusing herself to me. Honey 
was at once plunged into confabulation with 
the foreman. It was one of Honey's charms, 
that she never felt herself misunderstood ; she 
talked to everybody precisely alike — shop girl, 
great lady, servant — she did not differentiate 
their modes of life or habitat ; they were just 
men and women — no more, no less, to her. 
We cannot take our houses about on our 
backs, or our money-bags, or our power, but 
we can be gracious, we can contribute our mite 
to the happiness of the chance acquaintance of 
the moment, or we can add our stone to the 
vast cairn of weariness in the world ; and 
Honey never contributed that stone. 

Presently we climbed by wide, shallow stairs 



ii8 "HONEY" 

to the galleries, and passed through empty, 
echoing rooms/ others in which workmen 
swarmed ; but the farther we went, the slower 
grew her steps, and at last she stopped short. 

"Mr. Cassilis," she said, "did you ever 
receive an anonymous letter?" 

" Never." 

" I got one," she shivered, and I knew that 
her blithe looks had been all a pretence that 
morning. 

" Tell me," I said, and for answer she drew 
it out of her white frock, and gave it me. 

I had never seen the writing of the woman 
with the broken finger, but I knew her mind ; 
and the language, the matter, and the spelling 
of the letter were worse — not a word, not 
an expression in it, but would have suited 
herself, but never Honey. For that infamous 
epistle bridged the two extremes of woman- 
hood, just as in person, outside the prison, the 
woman and Honey had stood at opposite poles 
of human society, and the blood rose to my 
brow as I read it. 

Silently I gave it back, and Honey said — 

" It is someone who loves Lawrence. Per- 
haps the very woman whose letters I would 



(< 



HONEY" 119 



not " she stopped abruptly, and coloured 

warmly. 

"He can't help it," she went on quietly, 
and it struck me then that the woman who 
covers a man's contemptibleness up, is like the 
Spartan boy who allowed the fox to devour 
his vitals, thinking that he alone knew ; but, 
alas ! all the world saw his torn body, and 
his sacrifice showed for what it was — sheer 
stupidity, otherwise loyalty to his gods. 

Bravery may sometimes become a mislead- 
ing trick, and honesty itself droop, when a 
woman holds a shield up between herself and 
the thing she will not see in the man she 
loves ; but the screen is only between her 
and him, the lookers-on laugh, and see the 
game. 

"Burn it," I said curtly. "Put it where 
the vile creature should be who wrote it ; or, 
stay, perhaps Holford might be able to trace 
it by the handwriting." 

This was a maladroit and cruel thrust. For 
a moment she winced under it, then pulled 
herself together, and it struck me then that 
Honey's character was like one of those in- 
distinct handwritings that you have to look 



1 20 '• HONEY ' 

past, not at; but once you have grasped its 
chief characteristics, you can always read its 
message, and I read it now. 

By d^ees she had emerged to me out of 
the obscurity in which I first saw her, so, 
etched in litde by little, she came to fill out 
the masterly strokes of the most human type of 
woman — Gloving, wilful, forgiving, passionate, 
good, but not too good ; and for the lovely 
weakness of her mouth, that so contradicted 
the width of brow, I, for one, could forgive 
her. 

As in a vision, I seemed to see her Hoi- 
ford's wife, with the inevitable soil and smirch 
left on her that he brought from degraded 
women. I saw her first tarnished, then defiant, 
then taking one of the hundred byways by 
which good women go to destruction, so that 
the man is able to shout out to the world, 
" Look ! see what a beast she is 1 Isn't she 
excuse for anything ? " 

And the world does not know, or care, of 
the thousand offences against her that have 
made her what she is ; it shudders, passes on, 
and the man's phlegm enables him to look 
calm and handsome, with all, even the good 



"HONEY" 121 

women, pitying him, for a man never comes 
to the end of his tether ; a woman reaches 
hers in a single false step, and even if the 
good and pure reach down to her, she is — 
broken. 

Up to now, any harm Holford might have 
done Honey had been instinctively thrown 
back by her. But would this always be so ? 

"I would not insult Lawrence by showing 
him such a thing," she said. "Nor shall I 
let Mary see it. But you are big and kind " 
— she hesitated — "and it hurt me so, I felt 
Imust cry out to somebody." 

"Whenever you want to cry out, send for 
me, and I'll come," I said, and then we drew 
near to one of the windows, and looked out. 

"Mary says the Green Park is lovely in 
late May," said Honey ; "that she never saw 
redder fires kindled in the country than among 
these trees in spring. But I want Burghfield 
in spring," she broke out. " And in August, 
too. Couldn't you persuade Mary not to go 
to Marienbad this year ? It's all a whim, and 
vanity," added the girl, smiling, " because she 
is so thin, and looks so nice among those 
human mountains of adipose tissue ! " 



^ 

X 



122 "HONEY" 

"Everything is a matter of comparison," 
I said ; " fat, beauty, worth, money — brains 
even." 

"I should like to make this into a music- 
room," she said, as we came to a lofty, wide 
apartment at the back of the house ; " but 
Lawrence won't let me." 

" There are so many other rooms," I said. 

" Yes, but they have no acoustic properties. 
He might write his great opera there if — if he 
were encouraged, and made comfortable." 

How was I to tell her that she based every- 
thing on a miscalculation of the man, that, 
granted his vices, he had not the qualities, the 
grit, that made for success ? I think that 
already she knew it, that every day brought 
them spiritually more out of touch, and only 
the physical attraction remained ; but Nature 
has her own reasons, drawing with cords 
where man's laws are useless as ropes of sand, 
and the cords held yet. 

" Lawrence wants me to hold a salon here," 
she said, as we retraced our steps. "But I 
tell him that no one — not even the wife of a 
great political leader — could do it nowadays." 

I shook my head, and told her of a great 



* HONEY" 123 

lady's house only a few doors away, where at 
night the roar of conversation (the floors being 
uncarpeted) sounded like an animals' tea-party 
in the Zoo. 

" But it isn't a salon at all," I said ; " it's a 
place to bawl, and enjoy oneself in. If Mme. 
R^camier came to life, no one would attend 
her evenings." 

"It will have to be music," she said, and 
I wondered if music, played to a crowd of 
adoring women, ever filled the poor heart of 
a musician's wife yet. 

I looked at my watch. Time had passed 
quickly — Dawson must be waiting for me at that 
moment. I took Honey back in a hansom, 
and on the way we passed Holford in another, 
he looked handsome as usual, and kissed and 
waved his hand to her. 



CHAPTER X 

"The shallowest water makes maist din. 

The blackest pool the deepest linn." 

DAWSON was used to eyes — he studied 
them oftener than men's disguises, so 
he read my mistrust, and resented it so deeply, 
that I began to doubt if he had stood in with 
my quarry over the business of last night. 
But anyway, the combination of the man, the 
woman, and the musician against me was 
strong enough without the detective, and in 
view of the fact that Holford was leaving 
town almost immediately with Honey and 
Mary Cassilis, I paid off Dawson and his 
satellites, who, after all, had done their part. 
For if by superb cunning Holford had worsted 
me, and I could not bring his guilt home to 
him, still I knew what I knew, and he knew 
that I knew it, and I regarded my money as 
well spent, and did not regret it. 



** HONEY" 125 

Well, I must fight him with other weapons, 
or resume the use of the old ones later. 
Meanwhile, Dawson repeated his intention of 
not losing sight of Mr. Holford, and went 
away, feeling that to be tricked by an amateur 
was one of the bitterest moments of his life. 

When he had gone, I sat for a long while 
reviewing the situation. After all, was the 
woman as stout a foe to reckon with as I 
thought ? 

That anonymous letter — that savage striking 
in the dark at the whiteness it loathed, and 
was jealous of, argued either fear of Honey's 
influence as a wife over Holford, or the malig- 
nant shout of triumph with which the letter 
concluded, " Why, you are no better than 
I am ! " revealed new depths of baseness in 
Holford that I had not adequately gauged. 

For what if this letter were but a horrible 
shadow cast before of his intention, if the 
woman's mind had been a slide upon which 
he had projected his thoughts as acts accom- 
plished ? What if all the proof in the world 
of his infidelity and worthlessness would not 
untie the knot that bound him to Honey 
now ? 



126 "HONEY" 

No — a thousand times no ! She sprang 
before my eyes, a slim, brown creature, who 
did not physically attract him — a woman at 
once pure and passionate, who did not appeal 
to his taste. Hitherto it had been easy to 
him to let her alone. Her changeful face, 
her supple grace, were beyond him, yet she 
had the line of beauty from head to heel, 
and to me, always suggested those lovely 
bronzes of long -limbed, graceful creatures 
who poise themselves on a bough, or swing 
on the edge of a crescent moon, that we buy 
and place eagerly in our homes to remind 
us that the wild, untamable joyousness of 
youth and life still exist. 

I paced the room restlessly, debating whether 
I would trust Mary — but no, we could not 
keep the knowledge out of our feces ; we 
should exchange glances, and nothing escaped 
Holford. It was better far that he should 
believe her to remain strictly neutral, as she 
had appeared to be from the first, making the 
best of a bad business. Neither could I 
reveal to Honey the whole truth ; the girl 
still loved him, the time was not yet ripe for 
her detachment ; she would only hate me, and 



'HONEY" 127 

believe his story, for I had no proof. More, 
I had overnight proved conclusively that my 
doubts of him were mistaken. 

Indeed, had he played then the strong card 
he held in his hand against me, and boldly 
denounced me a spy, he would have cleared 
me from his path for ever ; but cunning and 
strategy were his forte, for open warfare he 
had neither stomach nor skill. Moreover, 
knowing his own base heart, he mistrusted 
Honey's. This is the one great disadvantage 
of the knave, and often proves his ruin, that 
he never reckons on the fidelity and worth in 
others, that he does not find in himself. 

I went round to Mary when I had made 
a pretence of lunching, and found her alone. 
It was only when she spoke of the cool pine 
forests of Hungary, to which she was going, 
of her longing for them, that I realised how 
hard on her my errand would have been, even 
if Honey were her daughter. 

" Mary," I said, without preamble, " I want 
to keep Holford and Honey under my own 
personal observation. I am going to ask you 
to give up Marienbad." 

" Ben ! My frocks ! " And Mary's en- 



1 28 " HONEY " 

larging and horror-struck blue eyes unroUed 
vistas of fresh cambric gowns, that the outdoor 
life abroad demanded in dozens. 

" I can't come with you," I said ; " and 
you will know half the people there. Honey 
and Holford will inevitably be thrown much 
in each other's society — alone. They must 
not be alone." 

For a while she looked at me silently, for 
she was great in her way. When the last 
of her frocks had trailed out of sight, she 
said — 

" Then we will go to Burghfield." 

" Thank you." 

" Honey loathes going abroad — it was only 
to please me." Mary sighed. "Now I am 
glad to do something to please her — and you. 
But. let me tell you, you are an old-fashioned 
man, at heart a sultan, and crassly unprogres- 
sive. Yet I believe in safeguarding our 
women — not against honest men, but against 
scoundrels. Nature fights the girl, and Nature 
mostly wins in the long run." 

She searched my eyes again, then said 
vexedly — 

" So you won't trust me. Some man's idea 



-HONEY'' 129 

of honour, I suppose. But how can I help 
you if I am kept in the dark ? " 

"You can help me very much — and her," 
I said. " You have been a strict duenna ; 
there has been no careering about together, 
after the fashion of modern maid and man. 
Well, in the country be stricter still — till I 
come." 

Her eyes flashed, she raised her delicate 
brows, then smiled delightedly. 

"After all ? " she said. " Oh, I am quite 
at your service." 

I shook my head. 

"It is for Honey, not myself," I said. 
" The day I see her free of Holford, will be 
the happiest in my life." 

"And the hour in which she becomes your 
sweetheart will please me far better," said 
Mary quickly. 

"You understand," I said, "that you are 
to keep them somehow in sight ? I mean 
no aflfront to Honey, but I have reasons." 

The door opened, and Holford came in, 
wearing his sunniest and most charming air, 
and he greeted me cordially, kissed Mary*s 
hand — an attention singularly disagreeable to 






I30 'HONEY" 

her, as the face she made indicated— looked 
round for Honey, then suggested that he 
should fetch her from where she had been 
lunching. 

"No, no,** exclaimed Mary quickly, then 
added — 

"I am giving up Marienbad, we go to 
Burghfield instead." 

He started, would have looked at me had 
he not checked the intention, then said easily — 

"That will be delightful. When do you 
gof 

" To-morrow." 

" I may come too ? " 

" Of course." 

" And you," he said, turning to me, " when 
do you join us ? " 

"Almost immediately," I said, "if Miss 
Bury honours me with an invitation." 

He smiled. As I turned away we ex- 
changed glances. 



CHAPTER XI 

** A little while upon this grassy steep, 
A little while, and under it we sleep ; 
And though we live, and love, and sink to rest, 
The burning stars their circling vigils keep." 

BURGHFIELD was no show place, only 
a long, low, irregular, many-windowed 
white house half hidden in ivy and creepers, 
facing south, and it was perhaps because many 
generations of the Burys had lived there so 
quietly, that Honey, the last of the line, was 
rich. She had clearly inherited their simple 
tastes, and for the last two years, since the 
death of her mother, she had lived there alone 
with her old servants about her, and it was 
perhaps on account of this independence of 
attitude that in the neighbourhood she was 
called " the Young Squire," just as her father 
had always been the Squire. 

In the drawing-room, over the fireplace, 
was a superbly painted picture of her, mounted 

131 



132 "HONEY" 

on a jet-black horse in the midst of her pack, 
her scarlet coat striking a vivid note of colour 
in the white room, her eyes lovely and eager 
under the black velvet of her huntsman's cap 
— this, this was Honey's true self. 

I thought of those gloomy, echoing Picca- 
dilly rooms, of her rage in Mary's ballroom, of 
how impossible it was that any life but the out- 
door one, could long claim this brown gipsy, 
and knew that it was as I had told Mary, and 
that I should come to know the girl here, as 
I had never done in town — here in her home, 
where you met traces of her childhood and 
early youth in every room of the quaint, old- 
fashioned dwelling ; any other place would be 
a house to her only. 

She inherited all the tastes of the Squire, 
her father, who had been a handsome fellow, 
and rattling good sportsman, quick-tempered, 
I gathered, and kind-hearted, a great contrast 
to the brown shred of a wife whom he called 
"Gipsy," and from whom Honey inherited 
her brown skin, and suppleness of limb. He 
had died, as he wished to die, of a broken 
neck in the midst of a glorious run in the 
hunting-field, carried over the one awful 



-HONEY" 133 

moment in a full riotous tide of life that 
hardly recked of the break between one ex- 
istence and another, and Gipsy had died will- 
ingly enough a year later upstairs, while the 
surgeons quarrelled over her case below. 

And the longer I stayed at Burghfield, the 
more I realised the solidity of Honey's position 
as a landed proprietor, the less I coveted Hol- 
ford's role of prince consort. A man must 
love Honey very much, or very little, to accept 
the position — and she would require a beating 
at least once a week (to begin with) to establish 
the proper relation between husband and wife, 
and Holford would deceive, but he would not 
beat her. 

Holford frankly hated the place, reviled 
the soft, humid air that brings such roses to 
Devonshire women's cheeks, that fills an 
Exeter ballroom with beauty, but, alas ! 
crumples them all too easily; but it was part 
of the price he had to pay for what he wanted, 
and all grudgingly he paid it, for in country 
life he did not shine. 

Honey's neighbours were mostly people who 
lived happily in their beautiful country houses, 
had the bad taste to dislike city life, and 



134 ••HONEY" 

managed to exist without the greedy, gam- 
bling, screaming, half-dressed, half-drugged, 
half-drunk crew that represents a certain 
section of town society. 

If these poor local people were never wildly, 
inordinately gay, at least they were never dull ; 
the men had their fishing, hunting, and shoot- 
ing, the women their graceful occupations and 
hobbies; and Mary delighted in the simple, 
honest country people, with clean faces and 
honest tongues, who had quite easily simplified 
their lives, and curtailed their wrinkles, by 
never pretending, and pretending is like 
bandaging a limb out of its true proportions — 
it makes a warp — you feel it later, when you 
want the habitual use of it. 

Sometimes they had grey hair like her own, 
sometimes brown like Honey's, or black like 
Holford's, but the sun never discovered red, 
green, and blue tints in them, and their detach- 
ment from outside interests was so profound 
that often (and these were the happiest homes) 
they had not read the morning's newspaper. 
These people lived their lives, did not break 
the drums of their ears trying to hear about 
other people's, and smashing themselves up 



•HONEY" 135 

imitating them, and I admired them for it. 
On the other hand, Holford heartily disliked 
and despised them, and as the mistress of the 
one fast house in the neighbourhood, where 
he had met Honey, and who spent most 
of her time in town, was now at Homburg, 
there was no Bohemian company to be had, 
and he literally pined for that society with a 
"flavour " about it, not to be had at any 
other place near by. 

There was, indeed, metal more attractive than 
Honey within the gates of Burghfield at that 
moment, but having made one big mistake, 
escaping its consequences by a miracle, he 
meant to run no further risks till after he was 
married — or so I judged. 

And the neighbours did not like him. He 
did not take the trouble to exert here the 
surface charm that carried him so far in town, 
and even if the women tolerated him, the men 
did not. 

When he denounced hunting as a wilful 
attempt at suicide, pitied the fox, and sug- 
gested a red-herring trailed across the country 
for the field to ride after, as equally efficacious, 
he went near to being murdered on the spot. 



^ 



136 -HONEY" 

and this total indifference to sport, to hardy 
effort, or endurance of any kind, cut Honey 
deeper than anything he had yet done; when 
a girl begins to blush for her lover, blushing 
for her own bad taste in choosing him, is within 
appreciable distance. 

So the country hated him as one man, but 
this dislike had nothing to do with his im- 
prisonment for the manslaughter of Ham- 
mersley. Snobs there may be in the country, 
but there is also more human nature than in 
that bleak fortress of Town, where every 
man's hand is against his neighbour, and no 
one cares what he does, or is, or is not, or 
what becomes of him ; and these Devonians 
were kindly enough to regard Holford as a 
man who had met with an unfortunate 
accident that might have occurred to better 
men than himself. 

What they did resent was the carelessness of 
his attitude towards her, and the men who had 
honestly loved and wooed her — the " beef and 
beer" men, as Mary had unkindly called them, 
— ^longed to kick Holford, if their faces were 
any index to their feelings. 

Now I admit that Holford, as a penniless 



"HONEY" 137 

man marrying a great heiress, who was sur- 
rounded by her own attached and critical 
court, was in a galling position, but instead of 
pitying him, we men at least pitied the courage 
of the man who tried to support the intoler- 
able situation. 

Only a great, an unselfish love could carry a 
man with dignity through such an ordeal, but 
Holford was so sure of Honey, he had won 
and kept her so easily, that he did not take the 
trouble to conciliate her friends, the more 
especially as he said openly he did not mean to 
come to Burghfield for more than a few weeks 
out of the year. 

And Honey could not be indifferent to the 
fact that her servants — as had Mary's — dis- 
liked him heartily. They bore him no malice 
for his "accident" with Hammersley, but 
these clear-eyed rustics cut through the frosted 
sugar, and finding no cake beyond, resented it. 
Honey saw it all, her pride instandy ranging 
itself on the side of Holford ; but it was his 
lack of real tenderness towards her, that took 
the spring out of her step, and the light out of 
her eyes, and her beauty depended very much 
on her mood. If unhappy, all her charm was 



138 "HONEY" 

dimmed, even her grace of body affected, and 
the bubbling-over quality of youth in her 
arrested. Out of the whole world, Holford 
could not have found a human instrument out 
of which so many notes of pain, as of joy, 
could be drawn as Honey. Brave she was, 
and only those who knew her well, suspected 
the effort beneath the gay word and glance, the 
gaminerie that made her so popular, and so 
sought after as a companion; but by now I 
knew her character pretty well, and I thought 
that very gradually, as one who, starving inch 
by inch, ceases at last to have any desire for 
food, her desire that Holford should love her 
as she wished to be loved, as her own love had 
at first demanded, was leaving her. 

I don't think Holford had ever given 
Honey's looks a thought — certainly their 
eclipse escaped him. Beauty is what a man 
of his type does not exact in his wife, but 
insists on as a right in the wife of his neigh- 
bour. A still larger class of men, usually 
good-looking, concern themselves chiefly with 
a woman's powers of pleasing, and with her 
looks not at all. Her very plainness has 
an attraction, if reserved solely for the man 



" HONEY' 139 

she loves ; but if Honey had been able 
to thoroughly please Holford, she would 
have displeased herself very much indeed. 
He openly rebelled at accompanying us to 
what he disrespectfully called "local hen- 
fights," for it was the time of garden-parties, 
when at least fifty women foregathered to 
every man, some of them so pretty, and 
young, and fresh, that it made one really sorry 
to reflect that their bloom would pass, their 
charming little faces widen and wrinkle, yet 
that they would never have one single chance 
of marriage, 

Mary remarked one day that if George 
Sand lived nowadays, she would have to adver- 
tise for her lovers, while Catherine of Russia 
might have sent her chamberlains to scour the 
country in vain for handsome young men! 
She also congratulated herself on the fact that 
when she was young, there were enough men 
to go round, and some of the girls looked 
eagerly, almost enviously, at Honey, then at 
Holford, who invariably made a bee-line for 
the most pronounced woman present, and 
allowed her to make love to him in a way that 
curled Mary's nose in disgust, and sometimes 



I40 * HONEY" 

brought a shadow to Honey's mobile, expres- 
sive face. At the last of the parties, the one 
given at Burghfield, this behaviour of Hol- 
ford's was especially marked, and I felt certain 
that he loved to make her look small before 
people — it was part of the brutal breaking-in 
process he had practised so successfully with 
other women, for the human, like the other 
animals, never forget where the whip has 
scored deep into the quick of them, or the 
hand that wielded it so relentlessly. 

" I always punish one woman by going off 
to another," I overheard him say once ; and 
it gave the man's character in a nutshell. 

But I think that one cause of his ill-humour, 
apart from knowing himself watched by me 
(that annoyed him most), was that his music 
had no real power over these people ; they 
listened to him politely, feeling as if they were 
in a concert -room, and that presently the 
artist would depart with his violin to his 
own Bohemian, spasmodic life, that could never 
infringe on theirs, or become in any sense a 
part of it. The persons who laboured with 
pen, or brush, or voice, or musical instru- 
ment, were very interesting, no doubt ; but 



"HONEY" 141 

these well-born landed proprietors, too sure 
of themselves to be proud, or to have an 
undue regard for wealth, admired artistes 
most at a distance, and, unlike town hostesses, 
desired no nearer acquaintance with them. I 
think that in some vague way they felt that 
genius of any kind must be naughty ; that 
like the great physician who, after an exhaust- 
ing day or difficult consultation, always ordered 
his butler to bring up a bottle of his best port, 
so the great orator, or violinist, or poet, or 
rainbow spinner, having been carried by his 
art to heaven, must, when he feels virtue gone 
out of him, demand the best port for. the 
satisfaction of the animal. 

Now this is radically wrong. The manner 
of your life affects your life and health, no 
doubt ; but morals have nothing to do with 
an artiste's results, that are born of great 
moments of clarity and insight, of a power 
beyond and above itself. I do not agree with 
someone who said that "all intellectual ac- 
quirements are poison which are not consistent 
with, or even the direct outcome of, moral 
worth. Moral worth is the very source of 
life ; it is, so to speak, the grass, whilst intel- 



142 "HONEY" 

lectual attainments are the birds and flowers in 
God's meadows/* 

I hold that a man as a man, should be com- 
pletely dissociated from his work, and in 
his public capacity not be made to suffer for 
his private faults. Bad geniuses we have had, 
and good ones, but the very worst, or the 
very best, of a great man scarcely touches his 
great work ; and if he have bequeathed ever 
so little to the intellectual treasure-house of 
the world his sins should be ignored — they 
are not ours, but his own private business. 
Only Holford was not great ; his faults were 
greater than he. 



CHAPTER XII 

" I think the vessel that with fugitive 
Articulation answer'd, once did live 
And drink." 

SOMETIMES I got Mary to myself for 
a pow-wow — and I always enjoyed it, for 
occasionally she said the things I wanted to say 
for myself— only a woman has so many words 
for everything, and a man only two or three. 

One afternoon, when she felt no inclination 
to sleep, we sat in two deep chairs beneath the 
shade of the copper beech ; the long, white 
house stretched far behind, and before us the 
lawns, and beyond them that gently shimmer- 
ing sea of mjrriad-tinted summer leaves that 
meant the woods. 

" It*s so nice to smell green things, and be 
rid of musk-cats," said Mary, who all her life, 
purely as a matter of taste, had kept clear of 
ladies of easy virtue, and uneasy husbands. 
" The line dividing the belle pecheresse of town 

143 



144 "HONEY" 

society from the demi-mondaine is nowadays 
so slight that the thread dividing them is in- 
visible. Each gets current coin, and the Society 
woman a great deal more than the other, with 
which to pay her gambling debts (her gigantic 
and swindling dressmaking bill is paid by the 
man as a matter of course), and it is not strange 
that many men infinitely prefer the other 
world, finding it less expensive, and to their 
minds more honest than the woman received 
at Court, who goes on her way with all the 
insolence of the true cocote^ heedless of men's 
contempt so long as she can rouse women's 
jealousy — 

" *' Dans les draps d'un Agent de Change.* 

The only shame she knows, is not to be all 
through alike, and a thirty-five-guinea frock 
hides silken, or fine batiste, or gossamer 
underwear, of which the camisole may have 
cost from six to eight guineas, the knickers 
two-thirds as much, and the petticoat a third as 
much as the dress itself. Add to this a corset 
costing five guineas, garters at two guineas, 
a lace petticoat at eight guineas, stockings at 
a guinea a pair, shoes at thirty shillings, and 



"HONEY" 145 

one becomes aware that a really well-dressed 
woman is an expensive luxury. Even if one 
is * rationally' inclined (as few really dainty 
women are) and dispense with the lingerie and 
the lace petticoat, the result is not so materially 
different." 

" Spare me," I murmured, ^* you often mis- 
take me for an old woman." 

" I shouldn't talk to you if you were. If 
it's bad with men, it's worse without 'em ! 
Some intrepid female said the other day 
that women's clubs resembled a great *Zoo,' 
where all sorts of disagreeable types were on 
view. Most of the * types ' jumped on her, 
of course, but a good many of us admired 
her sincerity. For, you know, most of us 
are terribly insincere. We show our teeth 
in a smile when we meet each other, and if 
the other's frock is all wrong, or her face 
sallow, we grin again, but heartily, to our- 
selves, as delighted as we would be enraged if 
she looked charming ! 

"In time," I said grumblingly, "this 
hypocrisy and pretence will become real, and 
the actual honesty and truth of character now 
merely dormant in women, will become extinct. 

L 



146 "HONEY" 

Chivalry is nof dead in men, it only slumbers ; 
but there must be truth in women's voices to 
awaken it — not a slipshod murmur of double^ 
entendre and innuendoes that we laugh at, 
while privately resolving never to marry the 
girl who makes them. Now, thank God, 
Holford never succeeded in inoculating Honey 
with his love for restaurant and midnight- 
supper life, where the worst women, the most 
careless men, are to be found nightly — taking 
us back to the days of the Corinthians and 
their disreputable female companions." 

" History repeats itself," said Mary. " When 
Society has swung to its extremest limit of 
licence and immorality, there will be a sharp 
rebound ; they will go out of fashion. We 
shall be Puritans all for a time ; then gradu- 
ally, very gradually, enlarge our borders, and 
become again as we are now. Sin's as catch- 
ing as murder ; only advertise it enough, 
and it'll be copied, and written about, and 
fashion -plated till we begin to think the 
whole world is composed of sinners — which 
it isn't. In the suburbs you will find the 
truest men, the best wives, and the most 
devoted family life in the kingdom — in fact. 



-HONEY" 147 

the upper and lower middle - class are the 
saving of the country. We don*t always 
believe in them, because we don't see them in 
print." 

" And a good job too," I said. 

" Still," said Mary, with one of her quick 
changes of mood, "those other women are 
wise in their generation ; they get movement — 
do not sit down and stagnate. If you don't 
want love, or disease, or worry to catch on to 
you, keep moving, always moving — you may 
be tired, but you won't be ill of it ! " 

" Is that why Honey is so restless ? " I said. 

"Ah ! Poor Honey !" said Mary in an un- 
concerned tone, for which I could have beaten 
her. " I almost think Marienbad would have 
done as well as Burghfield," she said rather 
plaintively. "Our duties as gooseberries are 
nil. I heard from a friend there this morn- 
ing. She says Ann SutclifF, who is eighty- 
two, is there, taking the baths and waters — 
she must be having a final wash up before the 
resurrection ! Did I tell you they put old 
Cissy Oxshott, who weighs sixteen stone, into 
a bath of almost boiling water last year at 
Homburg ? The man who told me looked 



148 " HONEY 



f> 



quite cross when he saw me laughing, and 
asked what I found amusing in the poor soul's 
being par-boiled. * Fm so sorry,' I said, ^ but 
I was thinking what a lot of water it would 
take to boil her 1 ' " 

"So that's how you earn your reputation 
for being a hard-hearted woman," I said. 

" Yes," said Mary complacently, " any re- 
putation but your real one, you know. Elsie 
Tufton has gone in for sun-baths — hired a 
moor in Devon, and walks about for hours 
*mid nodings on' ! Of course, there's a picket 
out of sight somewhere — to keep people off." 

"Rattling good thing for her," I said. "If 
I had to change my religion, I'd be a sun- 
worshipper." 

" And I," cried Mary eagerly. ** The sun 
in the heavens is like love upon earth ; when 
you Ve got both, it's a case of 

" ' God's in His sky, 
All's tveil with the world.* 

But it doesn't last. The Final Cause is econ- 
omical in this way, that it makes you happy 
at one period, ornamental at another, useful at 
a third — but it doesn't give you the whole 
bun all at once." 



(< 



HONEY' 149 



" The sun," I said doubtfully, and frowned. 
" Yes, perhaps it's a good simile. From all 
I've heard, love is like that, the cold dawn, the 
preparation, the warmth — the warmth that be- 
comes too great, perchance, and we throw aside 
our wraps ; then gradually it blows chill again 
— how glad we are then of our wraps, other- 
wise our philosophy, our courage ! for now the 
sun has gone to warm the other side of the 
world ; it cannot remain with us, even if it 
would, always. I have made up my mind to 
stay at the cold sunrise stage, and hold on to 
my wrap tooth and claw, not to perish of cold, 
soul and body, as I have seen so many other 
misguided men do, and all for love of a 
girl." 

Mary looked pityingly at me, then quoted — 

" * And tell me how Love cometh ? 
He comes unsought, uhsent. 
And tell me how Love goeth ? 
That was not Love that went ! * 

What a splosh in love you'll go one of these 
days, you silly old Ben 1 " 

I said that I always admired the courage 
of a man who thought he had only got to 
marry a woman to make her happy, poubts 



ISO "HONEY" 

on that point didn't seem to incommode him 
in the least. / should have qualms. 

"I don't know," said Mary slowly, with 
eyes turned inward on some vital memory of 
which Ernest probably never knew. " In real 
love one scarcely thinks of the object as a 
possible sharer in it ; the knowledge of it 
goes through you like fire, and you tingle 
with its strength, are thrilled with its ecstasy, 
you love, and your love is your own." 

I was silent, stroking her hand, and thinking 
of my shadowy dead brother. Well I knew 
that for her, there never had been a glowing 
heart-fire warming her, bone and body and 
spirit — only embers to sit by, in which a little 
life yet lingered. Never before had Mary 
lifted even a corner of the veil that hid her 
heart, and I wondered what cause had broken 
down the barriers, made her even for a 
moment desire that sympathy which is the 
motive power of life, for which every one of 
us more or less hunger, from the millionaire 
down to the beggar in the street. 

" If ever you marry, Ben," she said, " keep 
up the illusion ; it is the only thing we women 
really want of you. But you won't. You see, 



<< 



HONEY " 151 



Ben, illusions are at once the rest and unrest 
of life — as life is the greatest illusion of all ; 
and the man who grips life fast, because he 
realises that it is an illusive thing, to be lived 
as much for others as himself, is not only- 
noble, but great. For oh, my boy, the fairies 
and bogies of our childhood were very real ! 
We meet 'em all again as we go through life ; 
and they can make things very beautiful for 
us, or very ugly, just as our luck goes. All 
the things we fight for — fame, position, in- 
fluence — are not real, they are only part of 
the illusion of life ; they don't hinder the 
scythe of death, they don't buy love, or 
anything worth having." 

" What a value you set on love ! " I said. 
"And to hear you talk in town, one would 
imagine the word had never found a place 
in your dictionary." 

" My dear boy, love in young people is a 
lovely thing ; in the old it's indecent. I don't 
want to be indecent. But depend on this, 
that every true woman, however tortured, 
however she revolves like a squirrel in a 
cage, in ceaseless revolt, in continual forgive- 
ness, comes back to this — that she wants her 



152 "HONEY" 

own man, only one, but he must be all her 
own. And how infinitely she prefers that 
man to be her husband, and not her unlawful 
lover 1 A certain amount of enjoyment, one 
way or another, is necessary to a perfectly 
healthy human animal, and Nature has a way 
of levelling up things by helping herself when 
unjustly defrauded of her rights, and not 
always from the right quarters. Honey must 
love, and be loved, or she will deteriorate 
frightfully, as other women have done before 
her. Ben, don't you think that the fatally 
hurt in life's battlefield are those who won't 
go down under it, or seek aid ? They go 
about their work stricken, and are vain- 
gloriously proud. But they die — they die; 
and he who lives longest, laughs longest. 
Fighting sometimes costs too much." 

Her voice opened a gate. Turning sud- 
denly, I saw in her face something that had 
been there that night Holford played his love- 
music in Brook Street. 

" He is dead ? " I said abruptly. 

" Yes. 

" * He has outsoared the shadow of our night — 
£nv7) and calumny, and hate, and pain ; 
And that unrest which men miscall delight 
Can touch him not, nor torture him again.' " 



"HONEY" 153 

" He died before Ernest ? " 

"A week after. But we might not have 
been happy. Most of you men are inconsis- 
tent, and this is the sort of woman you want," 
said Mary, talking fast and flippantly, to regain 
self-control. " She must be essentially domestic 
— keep house exquisitely, know every wrinkle 
of good housekeeping — ^yet extremely brilliant 
in conversation ; and cut out every woman 
who comes along, thus gratifying her hus- 
band's proprietorial instinct. She must be 
shy and pure as a dove, yet as splendid a 
lover as Cleopatra's self when he is in the 
mood for love ; beautiful, and she doesn't 
even know it ; adorned with every seducing 
lure, yet a vestal virgin. Helpless and de- 
pendent, strong and self-reliant, no advanced 
woman, but strikingly up to date ; silent, yet 
eloquent ; amazingly practical, and the soul 
of sentiment. Can you wonder that in trying 
to catch her, man wanders through devious 
and forbidden paths .'^" 

"He may make her the excuse for his 
divagations," I said, **but no sane man ex- 
pects to find her. A man wants a good pal — 
good temper, sincerity, and pluck are the 



154 ''HONEY* 

main things he insists on. And she mustn't 
nag — there's always another woman who 
doesn't." 

"And what she insists on most, is that she 
gets the companionship for which she married. 
*He gave her his time,' said someone once, 
speaking of a real lover. Eloquent words ! 
He gave her the very best out of the whole 
world that a man can give." 

" But how is he to work hard to provide her 
with the luxuries she loves, and yet spend most 
of his time beside her } " I said. " Believe 
me, Mary, you women are unreasonable." 

"No," said Mary, "because love is the 
prologue that leads up to the great role of 
motherhood. Supposing you men had to 
prepare and pass for the one great vital 
examination on which your happiness, your 
success in life, your very health depended, 
would you not attach enormous importance 
to it? But where is Honey?" she added, 
with an abrupt change of conversation. 

" Holford is asleep," I said laconically. 

She laughed. Her mask was well adjusted 
now ; probably she would never allow me 
another peep behind it. 



(( 



HONEY" 155 



"Faith has its drawbacks," she said, and 
frowned. "Honey simply worCt see evil in 
anybody. What is that Annette woman doing 
here ? I'm convinced she is Holford's crea- 
ture, brought to do any dirty work for him 
he wants done, and form a combination against 
us. But my maid keeps her eye on the jade, 
who has already set the servants' hall in a 



roar." 



I heard a laugh, very faint, but spiced 
with mischief, at a distance, and turning, saw 
Annette's face at an upper window — saucy, 
round, and young, with the perennial youth 
of women born without consciences, and an 
enormous appetite for pleasure, that their 
good looks allow them amply to gratify. 
" And she has her eye on us at this moment," 
I said. " It's a hateful state of things, each 
one of us spying on the other — Honey ex- 
cepted ; it almost spoils this place. But I 
don't see how it is to be bettered, at least 
for the present, and every day, every hour, 
helps. Insensibly she is finding him out all 
along the way — his essential cheapness, his 
limitations ; and when the moment to apply 
that knowledge comes, it will merely be the 



1 56 •• HONEY " 

light that flashes out from a long-smoiildering 
fire." 

"Ben," said Mary, putting her thin hand 
on mine — and I was startled to see how thin 
it had grown — " don't go away." 

" Mary, my dear," I cried, " are you well — 
quite well ? " 

In her delicate summer gown she seemed 
to look frailer than ever, and I wondered 
if her ceaseless watchfulness over Honey were 
beginning to wear her out. 

" Confound these tiresome girls ! " I said 
angrily. " If you get any thinner I shall 
take you away, and leave Honey to her fate." 

" Honey is my joy," said Mary, " and will 
never fail me. She declares there are un- 
explored depths of villainy in her character, 
but I never saw 'em — and I should love her 
just the same if I did. It is the heat that is 
trying me " 

" Who said * Honey ' ? " sang out a gay 
voice in the distance. 

"Come out and take your own part," said 
Mary, " Ben is pitching into you." 

" I call that mean," I said angrily. " What 
holes you feni^ale fripons do let a man into 1 " 



\ 



«< 



HONEY" 157 



"That*s a good word — -fripon^^ said Mary. 
" Why will the French annex every word that 
exactly expresses what miles of English ones 
won't ? To describe one's sins wittily almost 
excuses them, but to describe them in French, 
absolves you entirely." 

But I had moved away to a distance, and 
lit my pipe before Honey came out. She 
wore a muslin gown the colour of an apricot 
on its under side, and her cheeks were the 
colour of the fruit on its riper one — she 
looked well. Her nerves were now com- 
pletely under control, and, no longer swept 
on a wave of emotionalism beyond all the 
boundaries of everyday life, her real nature 
had passed from under eclipse. 

She did not come easily to Holford's beck 
and call, or wait upon his moods as she had 
done in town ; and shyly as she had wooed 
him there, now she did not woo at all. Also, 
she made Mary's duties and mine easy by 
never seeming to wish to be alone with him ; 
and he being of the same mind, there was no 
friction, no apparent strain in the relations of 
any of us. 

Snatches of the women's talk came to me 



158 '* HONEY" 

while I sat apart, but presently Honey's voice 
rose — she was hotly taking up the cudgels for 
a poor girl in the village who had come to 
grief, and was being stoned by family and 
friends alike for her fault. 

" They say," cried Honey, " that it is women 
who hound down women, will not give them 
a chance — only shout to them through a stone 
wall ; but oftener men denounce women to 
their wives, and mothers, and sisters, when 
they find the unhallowed creature near them. 
The most vindictive enemies of women are 
the men who have made them what they are. 
Oh, it is not fair, not fair ! We should not 
blame her, but be kind to her ; no woman 
should be punished for a first fault. Why 
should this natural love to one only, represent 
deadly sin ? Were not Nature's laws made 
before man's ? I would give that girl exactly 
the same start in life as the pure ones. If she 
did wrong afterwards, knowing the penalty, 
then I would punish her, but not before. 
And if women tempt men, punish themy not 
the men. No natural instinct can be wrong, 
any more than hunger and thirst, or the 
instinct of self-preservation ; it is only when 



"HONEY'* 159 

deliberately abused that it is wrong" — she 
stopped abruptly, a little discouraged by 
Mary's face. 

" My dear," said Mary, " the laws were 
made by men for men, but also iox us women ; 
they work out for our good in the long run." 

" I don't know," said Honey. " The bud 
swells, effloresces, fructifies, ceases, yet we 
forbid a woman to do the same. We call 
such fructification a crime . . . will not allow 
her to remain, in good and in evil, part and 
parcel of the natural life, for it is Nature ! 
Love, love excuses all ; it is the sun of hearts, 
as the sun in the sky awakens Nature, and 
every woman should be forgiven who has 
sinned, not from greed, or out of wickedness, 
but because she loved unselfishly. *To her 
that loved much, much shall be forgiven.' " 

" Hear, hear ! " said Holford, who, unob- 
served, had come up behind them. " If I 
had my way, all women should have equal 
rights, equal liberty, in matters of love, with 



men." 



"And the children, what is to become of 
them } " cried Mary, white with disgust as she 
sprang to her feet. 



i6o -HONEY" 

" They should be brought up bjr the State," 
he said. j 

" You dare to say that " — she cried passion- 
ately — " and before Honey ? " 

"Love is all you women think about," he 
began sullenly, then stopped, starded at some- 
thing he saw in Honey's face, and of which 
I believe the girl was quite unconscious as she 
turned, and walked slowly into the house. 



CHAPTER XIII 

" But often in the world's most crowded streets, 

But often in the din of strife, 
There rises an unspeakable desire . . . 

A longing to inquire 
Into the mystery of this heart which beats 

So wild, so deep in us — to know 

Whence our lives come and where they go. 
And many a man in his own breast then delves, 

But deep enough, alas ! none ever mines ..." 

THERE came a burst of extraordinarily 
hot weather, and as we let the neigh- 
bours, and they let us, severely alone, we got 
into the habit of all going different ways after 
luncheon till tea-time — Mary to her boudoir, 
where she pretended to read, but really dozed. 
Honey straight to her own suite of rooms, 
whither I sometimes saw her steward wending 
his way, and Holford to a deep slumber on 
a Chesterfield in the library. 

I sometimes thought it accounted for the 
man's outward easy serenity of temper, and 

M i6l 



I 

I 

162 "HONEY" i 

I 

Inward callousness of heart, that he could 
sleep at any hour, and for any length of time 
— ^round the clock, if let alone — and that he 
wakened with difficulty ; and this argued a 
phlegm, a coolness that made him an awkward 
adversary. It is the wear and tear of nerves, 
and restless nights, that play a man false, 
and often deliver him into the hand of his 
enemy. 

Thus Holford, who slept and ate half his 
life away, and never made any strenuous 
effort at honest work from one week's end 
to another, who was calloused through and 
through to the needs and sufferings of others, 
might conserve himself to a hundred if acci- 
dent did not take him off — or a jealous rival. 

There was an extraordinary strength of in- 
dolence, of waiting power, about the man, 
his silent circumventions, his reserves, gave 
one at last an uncanny sense of fear of him, 
and I knew how one day it would come upon 
Honey that she really knew him as little, 
perhaps less, as in the first hour that they met ; 
that he was a perfect stranger in mind and 
heart, would be to the end, as the man who 
never trusts his fellows always must be. 



"HONEY" 163 

There is a pride, at once the noblest and 
the falsest, that makes a woman hide her 
wounds, and swear there are none. It is 
noble in its conception, it is false in nature, 
where all is frank, aboveboard, and you take 
your punishment standing; you have only 
made a little mistake, there is nO real harm 
done. Nature wipes the slate clean, and 
begins again ; often she makes huge blunders, 
over-producing one year, absolutely barren the 
next ; but she goes serenely about her business 
all the same, and prospers. 

Now the glory of Burghfield was its woods ; 
mile upon mile they spread, spread even to a 
forest, and I am at one with Ruskin in his love 
of trees, and many charmed hours I spent in 
the shade of these, or wandering through dim 
green alleys, where nothing stirred save the 
tiny forest animals, who shrank away at my 
approach. The loneliness, the vastness of it 
all, the freedom from impinging human 
bodies as in the city life, gave me an intense 
pleasure, and I shut my eyes to the cruelty of 
the under-side of all this beauty, to the minor 
tragedies that went on here, as in every other 
part of creation. 



1 64 "HONEY" 

Strangely human are these beasts and birds 
in their antipathies, their fancies ; you will see 
the weasel stalk some particular rabbit out of 
a host of others, just as some men will grimly 
pursue an especial enemy to ruin and death, all 
the others looking on, and rendering no assist- 
ance, aware that they themselves are in no 
danger, and with the trades-unionism of 
animals, affording no sanctuary to the hunted 
stranger, while protecting vigilantly their own 
tribe. 

Rooks will savagely chase a stranger couple 
out of their settlement, and destroy their nest ; 
or if one of their own kind brings home a 
bride from another rookery, the pair are 
ostracised, and forced to build in an outlying 
tree. A hawk will pass with disdain birds 
that are in easy reach, to seize those that he 
fancies. But it is the crow who is the real 
murderer of the wood ; with his long, stout, 
pointed beak he splits open skulls as with 
a chisel, and fledgling partridge, rabbit, leveret, 
chicken, all are one to fierce Jem Crow. 
Corsican in his vengeance is he too, for having 
tasted one member of a brood, he remains in 
the same place till he has polished off the lot. 



(( 



HONEY" 165 



and everywhere his presence is regarded as 
sinister — an omen of ill luck. 

But one day I found that the solitude, the 
loveliness of these woods, was no longer my 
own, for suddenly I chanced on a boy, swinging 
along in tanned brown leather breeches and 
gaiters that had seen much hard wear, and made 
no attempt at smartness ; only the limbs in 
them were supple, and full of a fleeting, airy 
grace that startled me, and made me think of a 
greyhound just slipped from his leash, flash- 
ing in the sunlight to his goal. The boy's 
cap, pulled well over his eyes, concealed his 
features, but did not hide the reddish hair that 
straggled from under it; there was a curious 
lack of breeding, of race, about his head that 
flatly contradicted his classic line of body, and 
soon I found him deficient in manners, for 
when we both diverged on a certain point of 
those green aisles, he looked at me, scowled, 
and turned about as if to flee. 

" Stay ! " I cried, and put my hand on his 
arm, firm and slender under its white cambric 
shirt, the only touch of daintiness about him, 
"I love these woods, and you love them 
too. I often lose my way in them ; I may 



1 66 "HONEY" 

want you to guide me out ; let us enjoy them 
together/* 

The boy turned unwillingly, and showed 
an inharmonious face, set in a grimace — red 
brows, dark eyes, a tanned skin ; and putting a 
finger to his lips, signed himself dumb. 

"Deaf?" 

He shook his head — ^almost with a look of 
pity. One does not want a tongue in the 
woods — only eyes and ears, and a soul into 
which to translate the messages of the senses ; 
so much I had long ago learned for myself, 
before I went to the city at sixteen. 

" But / can talk," I said, « and will be glad 
of a listener." 

He had recovered himself, and walked be- 
side me with an assurance and swagger that 
travestied the lithe, unconscious grace with 
which he had moved when he believed himself 
alone. 

" You know these woods well," I said, and 
the boy nodded his shaggy thatch in a way 
that said how much preferable they were with- 
out my company, than with it. 

The colour of his hair, the way it grew, 
interested me. I smiled as I said — 



"HONEY" 167 

" The Squire has given you leave ? " 

An indignant sound — a hand smacked sud- 
denly on his lips, and a toss of the red head, 
was my only answer. 

" Don't let's quarrel," I said. " You may 
know some better bits than I do, but I doubt 
it. I wonder how many miles there are 
of it ? " 

He shrugged his shoulders, with head 
averted ; to grimace every time he looked at 
me was clearly too much trouble. I knew 
that he was only waiting the first opportunity 
that presented itself to elude me, and it came 
quicker than I thought. Pointing so suddenly 
in an opposite direction that involuntarily I 
turned my head, he resolved himself into a 
tree, or hid behind one, but though I beat 
the ground for some time, I found no trace of 
him. 

I lay down at last, and fell asleep, dreaming 
that the youth had come back to pelt me with 
nuts, and was late for tea, at which Honey 
presided, more feminine and more frilled than 
I had ever seen her. 

Holford, too, was more awake than usual, 
and on his best behaviour, and under the 



1 68 "HONEY" 

copper beech tree, on a lawn where all the 
other trees made deep curtsies with their 
long skirts, we drank tea, and talked amicably 
as we rested at peace in our long deck-chairs. 

I saw that through half-shut eyes Holford 
was watching us, and in his cheap way label- 
ling me as his unsuccessful rival, for he did 
not in the least understand the frank camarad- 
erie between Honey and me ; what a man 
is incapable of himself, he seldom or never 
credits others with. Yet there must be some- 
thing queer about a man who does not, when 
with a young girl, feel the wrong he does her 
in being what he is. All her young graces, 
her budding perfections, her shyness, all her 
hopes and illusions, the eagerness with which 
she makes her one throw for happiness in love 
— oh, may God strike us dead if we defile 
it all ! 

Holford and I were both too old for Honey, 
watch two young lovers together, and you 
will know what 1 mean. There is no strain, 
there are no heroics ; it is just the instinctive 
flower of love in all its grace and abandon, 
and all the matchless purity, and passion, and 
loveliness of it are caught and limned by one 



f 



•HONEY" 169 

masterhand in the immortal Eros and Psyche, 
and gazing upon it, we say, " when Love was 
young," with wry lips and aching hearts. If 
only some bright, handsome youngster would 
come along. Honey might be saved from 
Holford and happy yet, but neither in town 
nor country had I seen a fitting mate for her 
up to now. 

Presently Honey began to " rag " me about 
my clothes, just as Mary often did. I never 
saw two women more fastidious about such 
matters, and Holford's extreme good taste 
stood him in good stead with at least one of 
them. 

" Did you get them ready-made ? " in- 
quired Honey impertinently. "Rolling on 
the grass may mellow them, but can't possibly 
alter their atrocious cut ! " 

" They are very good clothes," I said con- 
tentedly. "And what is the use of my 
friends having nice grass if I mayn't roll on 
it ? A very odd thing happened in connection 

with these clothes " I stopped abruptly. 

I had formed the habit of making only im- 
personal remarks before Holford, so I got 
no further, though Honey was curious, and 



1 70 " HONEY " 

begged in vain for the end of the story, which 
was this. 

Coming from town but ill-equipped for 
the country, I had gone into Exeter a day 
or two after my arrival, and ordered a suit 
of grey clothes from a local tailor, but saw such 
surprised glances exchanged by the assistants 
that I inquired the reason, and was told that 
a gentleman who bore an extraordinary re- 
semblance to myself had just ordered a suit 
precisely like mine, and barely left the shop 
before I entered it. In short, when they saw 
me, they thought he had returned. 

Now this seemed a case of real resemblance, 
quite unlike the faked one between Holford 
and the musician ; but the Norse type is always 
cropping up, and one big, blue-eyed, bearded 
man is very like another, so there was nothing 
surprising at my having a double in Exeter, 
probably I had hundreds knocking about the 
world at that moment. 

We talked of other things, with that absence 
of zest peculiar to us when Holford was 
present, but I saw that he suspected some- 
thing, was watching me closely, and I began 
to suspect Jew blood in him, in his baffling 



''HONEY" 171 

silences, in his brilliant capacity, that began 
but had not patience to finish, that, in a word, 
was not creative ; above all, in the spirit of 
revenge, the burning fire of vindictiveness, 
the deadly policy of *^ an eye for an eye," the 
tardiness of forgiveness, to be found so long 
as the world endures in all men and women 
whose veins contain one drop of Eastern 
blood. 

I knew that he hated me, and brooded over 
the injury I had done him by finding him 
out — he would be even with me yet if he 
got the chance. But if he had all the con- 
tempt oi finesse for honesty, and underrated 
me from every point of view, since I wore 
no women's scalps at my girdle, and had no 
following, not even in my own profession — 
yet I saw that my refusal to divulge the " odd 
incident " of the grey clothes worried him ; 
possibly the devil had warned his own, given 
Holford some instinct of the part those 
despised clothes were afterwards to play in 
his destiny. 

Meanwhile 1 was thinking of the brown 
boy of the woods, who knew them better 
than I did, and would certainly elude me, or 



172 ^* HONEY" 

stay awajr ; but the following day, by sheer 
good luck, I happed upon him, sitting lonely 
and disconsolate under an oak, nursing his 
chin on one knee. I affected not to notice 
his melancholy, and throwing myself down 
on the grass, talked to him of Nature, of 
birds, of beasts, of men, of all, God wot, that 
I had never dared to tell since childhood, 
without fear of interruption and ridicvde. 

We lamented that Richard Jefferies had died 
before introducing a fresh system of colour- 
language by means of natural objects. Pine- 
wood green, larch green, spruce green, wasp 
yellow, humble-bee amber, butterfly blue — 
these were a few of the colours he was to give 
in the new dictionary that he alone, not the 
men who write scientific books about Nature, 
leaving Nature out, could have compiled. 

Like him, we had failed to find the inner 
meaning, the soul of the wild flowers in the 
meadow ; what their message was from God to 
us, they as eager to tell, as we to hear. We 
had puzzled over the screed written on birds' 
and butterflies' wings, and in the sky colours ; 
and we agreed that the rune of the running 
brook, the great diapason of the ocean, some- 



" HONEY " 1 73 

times spoke to us in a way we thought we 
understood, but could not be sure. 

On one point we were certain, that if in 
some particulars, sport is cruel, it is not the 
quarry men love, so much as its surroundings, 
the exhilarating sights and sounds, the scents, 
the health and vigour they breathe in during 
those long tramps; and no man ever learned 
from books what the least clever, but apprecia- 
tive man learns from Nature. That is why 
good sportsmen are rarely morbid or immoral 
men ; they have too just a sense of proportion, 
are too strong and clean of mind and body to 
seek for, or find happiness in, false conditions 
of life. 

The boy listened with his nods, his shakes 
of the head, his frowns, and eloquent brown 
hands, more poignant of meaning than most 
fools* speech, and so we came to a tacit under- 
standing there, under the greenwood tree, and 
thither I hastened daily as to refreshment, to 
that mute comprehension of gesture, of glance, 
of heart communing and understanding, till 
at last I began to wonder why speech had been 
ever invented. For surely Eve was dumb, 
and spoke in glances, signs, tremors, gestures. 



1 74 " HONEY " 

by the grace of the young slim body, not 
yet choked by gluttony and lusts of the 
flesh. 

Would dogs be half so dear if they could 
talk to — ^argue with us ? It is their dumb 
afl^ectionateness we love — and their letting us 
talk. But oftener the boy and I sat silent 
and listened to the long susurrus of sound, 
among the trees, soothing as sound of ocean 
on a summer's night. 

We could never have enough of it — never, 
of the sun and the shadows that touched us so 
lovingly, creeping from knee to shoulder, from 
shoulder to chin, warning us that it was time 
to go ; and gradually it came to pass that only 
the perfunctory part of me dwelled in the 
house, and talked with the inmates of it — all 
the soul and the heart of me lived in the 
woods, companioned by one dumb, graceful 
boy. 

We talked — he in his own way — wc talked 
of the odour of the earth and the trees ; of 
the balsam of health that is in every green 
leaf; of how the smell of the oaks is every 
whit as good as those pine forests abroad to 
which invalids hurry when ill ; of the habits 



<c 



HONEY" 175 



of the birds, the forest animals, even of fish ; 
of all the things, in short, that made the un- 
written education of hardy man when he was 
a migratory animal, and moved with the sea- 
sons, not the weakling, dry-nursed and pushed 
by the law in a perambulator, that he is to-day. 

One day the boy sprang up, and, with a gesture 
of defiance towards Burghfield, beckoned me 
to follow him, leading me out of the forest by 
ways unfamiliar to me, till abruptly the scenery 
changed, and instead of the mystic green sunlight 
of the woods, we were out on the moor, in the 
midst of racing cloud-shadows, with our feet on 
the ling, that rolled up to meet us in great billows 
and waves of purple like a sea. And there we 
cast ourselves down, and let the sunlight and 
the savour of the distant sea do its work upon 
us, and in that elastic couch, with the hum 
of the bees all about us, I fell asleep, and 
when I wakened out of that heavenly, dream- 
less slumber, the boy was gone, and close be- 
side me a tiny bunch of white heather for gift. 

I told them at dinner where I had been, and 
asked Honey and Mary to come with me next 
day ; but Mary begged oflF, the walk was too 
long for her, and there was no carriage-way. 



176 ** HONEY" 

Honey looked at Holford, who declined, look- 
ing intently at me, and it ended in a flat 
silence in which I vowed to go alone, not 
once, but again and again, though I doubted 
if, like the thrush and his song, I could 



" Recapture 
That first fine careless rapture 



of the boy and I, as we walked over the ling 
together. 



CHAPTER XIV 

" Under the greenwood tree 
Who loves to lie with me." 

THE boy grew impertinent. Apparently 
familiarity with my mind, that over- 
flowed to so ideal a listener, had bred con- 
tempt. He took to contradicting me in his 
own way, while the mischief in his eye be- 
spoke a nature essentially unruly and uncon- 
trolled ; and I longed to shake him, and ask 
how he dared treat my thirty years with such 
scant respect. 

"I wish you would dye your hair," I said 
one day, and whistled softly. "You are so 
entirely in tune with the woods — all but your 
hair — of course, in autumn " 

The boy gave an indignant little flounce of 
the shoulder towards me, but otherwise vouch- 
safed no sign. 

\ " Red-haired people have such dreadful 

N 177 



178 "HONEY" 

tempers/' I said. " Now the young Squire — 
did you ever meet her ? — has the temper of 
an angel." 

The shoulder turned towards me shook so 
ominously, it might have betokened a body 
shaken by weeping, but I knew better, and 
laughed ; for, as a sensible comrade (no 
Rosalind), this brown boy of the woods 
appealed to me as no frilled woman ever had 
done, ever could, and I jealously counted 
every moment of a companionship that before 
long must come to an end ; and, for all his 
impertinences, I think the boy counted them 
too, though I could not get him to again 
take me to the ling. 

I judged that he was not happy at home, 
that he only lived his real life, was his real 
self in these woods, for he was nearly always 
sad when we met, gay when we parted, though 
not a moment did he linger after a certain 
hour. But it is always the unexpected that 
happens, and, long before it should have done, 
our happy time came to an end. 

Holford, who had retired to the library as 
usual to sleep, woke early, and wandering into 
the forest, found its coolness grateful, and, 



ti 



HONEY" 179 



perhaps guided by my voice, approached us. 
Ourselves unseen, we saw him coming, and 
instantly the boy sprang up, fleeing for dear 
life, and in a second Holford was after him, 
the boy's habiliments did not deceive him, 
his eye, trained to the observance of such 
matters, caught a womanish curve in the gaiters 
and breeches, and pink with sleep, a thoroughly 
refreshed human animal ready for any female 
sport that presented itself, instinctively he pur- 
sued it. 

I saw it all from where I lay, and the boy 
overtaken, there was a quick, fierce struggle, a 
ringing smack on the cheek — then Holford 
stood alone, the red wig in his hand that had 
always excited my ire. 

Then I laughed, so silently that even the 
forest things (whose hearing is as a great 
sounding-board on which even a breath is 
registered) alone heard me. But Holford 
presently saw me, and came over, throwing 
away the wig as he did so. 

He laughed softly. 

" Really," he said, " for a man of such high 
moral character to take advantage of me while 
I sleep, to '* 



i8o "HONEY" 

"Improve my acquaintance with Honey/* 
I said calmly. 

" I know that petticoats never attracted you," 
and he laughed again. " Of course, I saw it 
was Honey at a glance " 

" That's a lie," I said ; " you thought it was 
a woman — not the woman. And what is more, 
she knows it." 

"I haven't molested her much," he said, 
with a sneer that almost made me knock him 
down where he stood. 

"No, thank God, she never attracted you. 
The man who loves garlic has no taste for 
delicate fare. A gentleman takes care of a 
woman — shields her even against herself; the 
where, or the how, or the when of being with 
her alone, doesn't matter a jot, or if she wears 
breeches or petticoats ; potential wife and 
mother — that is his way of looking at her, 
and she is to be trusted with him. But to 
a hound like you, every moment with a 
woman, from a lady down to a poor girl, is 
apparendy lost, if not used for your own plea- 
sure — God pity you such wretched conquests I 
You think that you, and you alone, can teach 
love ; some day you will find out that there 



"HONEY" i8i 

are millions better than you, who by self- 
control have reaped women's love and honour/* 

" Curse you I " he cried savagely. " You 
have been following me about. I saw you 
yesterday — in Exeter " 

For a moment I was silent ; evidently he 
had met my double, and I would let him 
believe that I had followed him, for evidently 
he had been up to no good. 

" You mean when you called on Miss " 

I paused, and looked him straight in the eyes, 
then turned on my heel, and left him there ; 
and if he had sped after me, and given me 
a coward's blow in the back, I would have 
preferred it to the guilty silence that followed 
my departure. 

But I felt it a physical impossibility to sit 
down to table with him that night, (and surely 
the afternoon's adventure had opened Honey's 
eyes to his true character, and she would break 
off the engagement,) so I dined at the village 
inn, only returning to Burghfield when ap- 
parently all but the servant who admitted me, 
had retired to rest. 

" Take care of the morning, and the evening 
will care for itself," says the proverb, though 



1 82 "HONEY" 

the people who enjoy the splendid early-morn- 
ing hours, rarely display of evenings the morbid 
liveliness that distinguishes the persons who 
are seldom thoroughly awake till luncheon. 
Honey was at her best in the morning, Hol- 
ford at his worst, and at breakfast especially, 
he was either sulky and silent, or actively 
contradictory, laying down the law and the 
prophets (and to allow intelligence to no one 
but oneself is the surest proof of mediocrity 
in man or woman), and sometimes when he 
unloaded his second-hand trash on Honey, she 
had much ado not to catch my eye. 

On the morning following the adventure in 
the wood, it was particularly noticeable that 
she would not look me in the face, and as 
Holford did not look at her, I concluded his 
explanations overnight had not been wholly 
to her satisfaction. 

He was particularly funny on this occasion, 
instructing us all about the science of war, of 
which he knew absolutely nothing, save what 
he read — not in the least realising that books 
and newspapers are the dissemination of lies. 
Practical men know how different a thing looks 
on paper to a thing actually done — i.e. wor^- 



c< 



HONEY" 183 



able — and they never read ; they go and do 
it, or get someone who knows the ropes, to 
show them the way. 

Superficially book-learned he was, and the 
knowledge acquired was something like what 
women get from cookery books — nothing at 
all, unless they have a practical ground-know- 
ledge of the culinary art. 

^^JVe mean to carry this war through, no 
matter at what sacrifice of blood and money,'^ 
he remarked, while Mary's eyes twinkled en- 
joyingly ; and I understood why men cordially 
disliked Holford, he did so give away the 
whole male show. His egregious vanity 
blinded him to the fact that when a woman 
does begin to laugh at you, you must prove 
you have more fine than ridiculous qualities 
if you mean to keep the whip-hand over 
her, but Honey rarely let him see what was 
in her mind, and she did not let him see 
now. 

" Try a blockhouse for a month, Mr. Hol- 
ford," said Mary, with that subacid in her 
voice that she kept exclusively for the people 
she disliked. "Hear what Edgar Wallace 
says." 



1 84 "HONEY" 

She reached for a newspaper, and read 
out, " * To-night a commando may attempt to 
rush the little post. To-night rockets may 
rush skywards from a dozen blockhouses as 
a commando changes its direction, and the 
man with the gun and his friends who are 
catching flies inside, may be fighting for their 
very lives. Perhaps not to-night — to-morrow, 
or the next night — or never. That is the 
horror of it all, the constant watching for the 
enemy who will not come — everlastingly on 
the alert for events that will not happen. 
Waiting, waiting, waiting, with a white-hot 
bowl of a sky overhead, and a sizzling, shim- 
mering, blistering desert around. 

" ^Blockhouse Street is a street to remember 
in your prayers — ^ deadly, soul-destroying, 
damnably dull street of galvanised iron 
prisons, in each of which are six prisoners 
waiting for execution.*" 

"A man should have resources in himself," 
said Holford. Then catching something 
similar in Mary's and my expressions, his 
mood changed, for he was quick to feel any 
wound to his self-conceit, and he turned 
sulkily away, and Honey's face fell. One of 



'HONEY" 185 

the saddest sights in the world is a bright 
creature under the eclipse of a bad man's 
influence, and the petty power of a scoundrel 
over a noble nature, is surely a sight to make 
angels weep. 






CHAPTER XV 

"Self-interest is but the survival of the animal in us. 
Humanity only begins for man with self-surrender." 

HOLFORD disappeared after breakfast, 
and the atmosphere at once lightened, 
and our spirits rose. Later I was attracted 
by shouts of laughter to Mary*s morning- 
room, where Honey was reading out from a 
newspaper what she called a Berliner's bill 
for repairing the frescoes of a church. 

When the bill was disputed, he produced 
in court the following items : — 

Dollars 

"I. Corrected the Ten Commandments . .3.02 

2. Embellished Pontius Pilate & put new ribbons 

in his hat . . . .5.12 

3. Put new tail on rooster of St. Peter and 

mended his comb . . . 3.20 

4. Replumed Sc gilded left wing of Guardian 

Angel . . ... 4.18 

5. Washed servant of High Priest & put carmine 

on his cheek . . • . 5.12 

6. Renewed Heaven, adj usted the stars & cleaned 

the moon . • . • 7.10 

186 



(< 



HONEY " 



187 



7. Reanimated flames of Purgatory & restored Dollars 

lost souls . • • • 3*05 

8. Rebordered the robe of Herod & readjusted 

his wig • ... 4.00 

9. Put new spotted dashes on son of Tobias 8c 

dressing on his socks • . • 2.00 

10* Shoeing Balaam's Ass . • .3.02 

II* Mended shirt of the Prodigal Son & cleaned 

his ears . . • • 4.00 

12. Put earrings into the ears of Sarah . . 2.04 

13. Put new stone in David's sling, enlarged the 

head of Goliath, & extended his legs . 3.00 

14. Decorated Noah*s Ark . . .3.00 



Total 



SI.85" 



" Of course, he won his case hand over fist. 
Think of the moderation of charging only 
three dollars two cents for correcting the 
commandments, and only twice that paltry sum 
for adjusting the stars and cleaning the moon ! 
Now here's something cheerful. A man died, 
and over him they wrote : * Here lies Thorp 
Corp.* When his wife died, they added a 
letter or two, and it ran : * Here lies Thorp's 
Corpses.' " 

Mary laughed, then quoted softly : — 



(( 



* She came with her garland all in the May morning, 
Her face shining fair as the milk in the pail, 
But Death walked behind her with yew and with cypress 
And Death turned her away to his house in the vale.' " 



1 88 "HONEY" 



U 



Can*t you see her," cried Honey, " in her 
fresh cotton gown? And I like the brevity, 
the enormous field of love covered in the 
exclamation — 

" • O Aprille month ! ' 

with no name, no date on the black vault. 

" * Here lies the body of Andrew Haste 
Now in the ground doth go to waste ; 
If Mr. Haste you ever did see, 
Ye'll know what a terrible waste it be !' " 

continued Honey. "He had a great body, you 
know, and wanted an intolerable amount of 
slumber ! '* 

" Here's a poem-picture for you," said Mary. 

" * Here lies the body of Madeline 

Wrapped to the throat in a shroud of green : 
Daisies her jewels here and there, 
A bud at her foot, a bud in her hair. 

Her eyelids closing, her hands laid down, 
Her sweet mouth silent, her tresses brown 
On either side her placid face ; 

Christ of His mercy send her grace !' " 

" We don't write them like that nowadays," 
said Honey, " or thus — 

" ' Here lies a miller : 
Each working day 
He went as white, 
As blossoming May : 
A goodly thing enough to be 
If thy soul doth keep thee company.' " 



(( 



HONEY" 189 



Her voice trailed off on the last words, her 
eyes were fixed. I wondered if she were 
thinking of Holford, and of the discrepancy 
between his outward and inward man. 

Then she hummed a tune, and cried — 

" * Mistress Mellor hemmed a shroud 
For this stranger beggar-man ; 
Peter Sexton digs his grave 
Comforting as e'er he can. 
Just rags and bones and greenish 'ee 
Were all this beggar was, pardee ! * " 

She brought out the "pardee!" with a 
rousing emphasis, and looked me very im- 
pudently in the face, as if the epitaph were 
intended for me. 

" No rags," I murmured ; " I plead guilty 
to the * greenish 'ee ' and the rest." 

" By the way. Honey," said Mary, " you've 
forgotten to provide us with a ghost — you've 
done everything else very well indeed." 

" We never had but one," said Honey, " a 
housemaid who walked in her sleep." 

" Talking of sleep-walking," said Mary, " I 
read somewhere the other day, that this is an 
age of Somnambulism and Blood — the latter 
in our delight to murder and destroy, the 



I90 -HONEY" 

former because we are walking, as it were, in 
our sleep, apparently unaware of the life we 
lead, and the spectacle we present. And I can 
quite imagine," she added reflectively, "that 
some of us would cut a very poor figure 
indeed — taking a stroll without our * transfor- 
mations,' and wiggies, and so on. If anything, 
I mean to be a spirit — the natural enemy of 
the hairdresser. But talking of spirits," and 
she chuckled, " here is an experience intended 
for the Psychical Research Company, that was 
never read ! Sarah (my cousin, you know) was 
outside an omnibus in Bond Street, and when 
it stopped at the corner, she saw her spouse 
standing below on the pavement. She called 
out, * Thomas ! Thomas ! ' and he heard the 
voice, but thought it was a spirit, and sat 
soberly and sadly inside the 'bus, picturing her 
with angel's wings, while her fat form nearly 
brought the roof in upon him! As he got 
miserably out, her fairy footfall was heard on 
the stair, and looking up, he saw her — 
tableau ! " 

Honey laughed, yet I saw that she hardly 
listened — her thoughts were far away. 

"You know, my dear, if you call spirits 



(( 



HONEY" 191 



when you want 'em, they'll come when you 
don't want 'em. Ben, do you remember my 
dear old Admiral, who at seventy, told me he 
was keeping spirits for his old age ? But, 
oddly enough, he went in for the other kind, 
and asked me to go with him to a spiritualistic 
seance, where his dead wife was to be rung up 
for a chat. But I flatly refused. *My dear 
man,' I said, * supposing you got married 
again, and your first wife was always turning 
up — so very awkward, you know — don't be a 
silly.' And three months after, he married a 
pretty girl of twenty ! But she water-chuted, 
and switchbacked, and raced the poor old 
darling about so, that he died quite suddenly, 
before he had time to begin brandy and 
whisky ! Now, my dear child, I have letters 
to write, and must turn you and Ben out." 

Honey rose unwillingly, and would have 
escaped me in the hall, but I caught her hand, 
and said — 

" Come to the woods, I want you." 

Once away from the house, her mood 
changed, and stufling her little fist into her 
mouth, she said — 

" Ben — you ^ew — all along ? " 



192 -HONEY" 

" Yes, I knew. You couldn't disguise your 
hands, you know, and the turn of your head." 

" rU tell you something," she said, nodding. 
" If you found me^ you also found yourself in 
these woods. I was turning you all the time 
inside out." 

For a while we walked in silence, then sud- 
denly she cried out — 

« Oh, how dared he 1 " 

" Love hath eyes," I said drily. 

" For other women 1 " she flashed out. 
" He did not know that it was I — though he 
pretended last night that he did. Ben, Fm 
not sure but that what we call pluck — refusing 
to own up to a hurt to our heart and pride — 
isn't a form of untruth ; and even if I lied 
to the rest of the world, I couldn't lie to 
you — if I never knew before, I know now what 
truth is — but I won't go back — I won't — think 
how the County, and all his enemies, would 
rejoice ! Think of all he went through for meT 

I was silent, but my brain worked like 
lightning. Should I tell her the whole truth, 
now, this moment ? Was my influence with her 
stronger than his ? I knew that it was not ; 
that did he choose to put out his whole 



(< 



HONEY" 193 



strength to keep her, I should be swept aside 
like tow, and I dared not risk anything that 
took her from under my own personal 
observation. 

" Ben " — she paused, and looked at me 
eagerly — ^*^ I suppose it's our fault — the women's, 
I mean — and you men can't help it. It's — it's 
a sort of universal love on your part, isn't 
it ? " 

I had not the heart to laugh, so said 
gravely, 

" You may carry it too far. Honey — to find 
excuses for" — I hesitated — "men. We all 
want discipline. Once we fall out of the 
ranks, do not obey our invisible colonel, we 
mostly go to the wall." 

" What colonel ? " said Honey instantly. 

"Some call him Conscience, some Prin- 
ciple, some Self-Control, others Humanity," 
I said slowly ; " but when we have tiptoed up 
to his height, we have achieved moral great- 
ness." She nodded. I think love, and the 
partial falling out of love, had taught her 
many things during the past few weeks. 

She breathed a sigh of relief as we went 
further into the green coolness, and presently 



194 "HONEY" 

we sat down with our backs to a giant beech, 
and gazed before us. 

"Now you are in tune with the forest," I 
said quietly. " You were out of the picture 
before." 

She shook her head. 

" I did not want any of you to know," she 
said. " But I must belong to myself, have a 
little time to myself, as I did before Lawrence 
came into my life. The older servants in the 
house, and the gamekeepers knew, but I 
never wore a wig," she added, with a resentful 
glance at me, " till all of you came here ! " 
Then she coloured, as the rank inhospitality of 
her words struck her. 

"Couldn't you trust me just the same, 
whether you were dressed as a boy or a girl ? " 
I said. 

" Yes — you^^ she said. " Oh 1 it is you 
bears who look so grumpy and rough, who 
really handle us so gendy," she added, very 
shyly. " It is the cruelties of the tender from 
which we shrink." 

Abruptly I turned the conversation into 
those grooves that we had lately followed, 
when as silent, listening boy, and I as eager 



-HONEY" 195 

lover of Nature, we had sat under this very 
tree, and I had been happier then than at any 
time of my life before. But now she spoke, 
and I realised that she had forgotten all I 
knew of Nature. I never met anyone so 
wise in country lore, and I have my own idea 
that on some minds. Nature inscribes all she 
has of truth and loveliness ; and I knew that 
town life, and all that was written on her mind 
and memory there, must fade almost imme- 
diately, and this woodland, earth-soil life be 
once again the heart and soul of her. 

It struck me then, that Honey had no hobby ; 
that either she was acutely miserable in uncon- 
genial surroundings, or supremely nappy in 
just being alive, in drinking in all the beauty 
of the wodd ; and I thought she was wise 
not to try and do things she could not do 
but ill, and that there was sound sense in a 
famous man's exclamation on reading some 
masterpiece, " I could not have done it better 
myself! "and who admiringly wrote his own 
initials over the author's. 

Honey had all Nature for her pleasure- 
ground, would never be a strutting, conceited 
human wretch, stung by the gadfly of re- 



196 "HONEY" I 

production. She would never smart under 
the scorn of Sappho, addressed to one born 
and reared outside the royal purple of Fame. 

^^ Thou wilt lie dead, and there will be no memory left 
behind 
Of thee and thine in all the earth — for never didst 

thou bind 
The roses of Pierian streams upon thy brow ; thy doom 
Is writ to flit with unknown ghosts, in cold and name- 
less gloom." 

She seemed to guess my thoughts, as in- 
deed she often did, and said — 

" I am glad I wore that red wig, and met 
you here, for I know you now. I used to 
blame your lack of ambition — your silent, dis- 
contented plodding between the shafts of your 
profession ; but I see now that the making of 
an indoor man is not in you ; you must lie 
close to the earth, toil and reap on it, or you 
will die unfulfilled." 

"It is true," I said. "Don't tell Mary, 
but in the autumn I cut the whole thing, and 
depart with my few pounds and a knapsack 
for Canada. It was Mary who had all the 
money, you know, Ernest had next to none." 

"I am sorry," she said, and there was a 
sound in her voice that I have heard in the 



"HONEY" 197 

voice of the homeless, who, walking far in 
search of a night's shelter, find the friend 
absent who would have taken them in. 

" Will you be happy in that Piccadilly 
house ? " I said. " If for a time the town 
takes you, your heart will always be here." 

She fell silent at that, then said presently — 

"Lawrence has promised that I shall be 
here frequently during half the year ; but it 
will be the summer half, as he hates the 
country in winter, and I am giving up the 
hounds," she added in a lower key. 

"You have already done so ?" 

" Not yet." 

" Wait," I said, and for a while we did not 
speak. Our eyes and ears were filled by the 
multitudinous shades of green, the subtle 
wandering airs, the undercurrent of life in the 
forest. 

" How dull, how tame all pictures are after 
this ! " she said presently ; " and yet Art must 
find a place in our life. Who was it said that 
*Art is not the fancy or caprice of an in- 
dividual. It is the mighty voice of God and 
the universe, as heard by tne chosen spirit, and 
repeated in tones of harmony to mankind. 



198 "HONEY" 

Should that omnipotent voice strike too 
directly upon the mortal ear, it would stun 
and suspend all human action, even as Pan- 
theism crushed the ancient oriental world/ " 

" And I thank God," I cried heartily, " that 
I am not one of those unhappy chosen spirits 
— a mere medium for painfully passing on to 
others what the normal man absorbs in sensa- 
tions of pure joy — but I suppose the poor 
beggars can't help it Something snatches the 
pen out of the writer's hand, inscribes words 
that are immortal ; the artist's brush moves 
without his volition, and accomplishes some- 
thing great ; an orator thrills his hearers with 
words that startle him as not his own ; and 
we J{now these voices are inspired, but we 
don't envy them. Even with music, that 

snarer of men's souls " I paused abruptly, 

then slurred on — 

" And as to books — ^you read a good deal ? 
Your bookshelves are well filled." 

"Yes, but not indiscriminately. Apart 
from the classics, there are books that are 
interesting, yet you can never for one moment 
feel that you are in the company of a gentle- 
woman or a gentleman — there are others that 



<( 



HONEY" 199 



please you intensely, though the matter may 
not be extraordinary, because the suave com- 
pany of the writer delights you ; and no 
matter what his characters say, it is he himself 
who is talking to you all the while. Do you 
remember Matthew Arnold on the making of 
a book ? " 

*^ I think so. Didn't he say * there are three 
things to be learned of the ancients — three 
things which it is notably important for an 
author to know : the all - importance of the 
choice of a subject, the necessity for accurate 
construction, and the subordinate character of 
expression,* Well, the ancients' recipe is not 
often followed nowadays." We slid into dis- 
cussions of our favourite books, of a thousand 
things of interest to us, and thus we spent a 
couple of happy hours ; and I would not hurry 
or spoil them by telling Honey that, hidden 
by a distant tree, Holford was watching us 
during the latter part of the time. 



CHAPTER XVI 

^* Hid in the silver clouds 
The sworded legions move, 
What shall his hate 
'Gainst legions prove ? " 

HOLFORD'S was that base quality of 
love (and by it you may know the 
false from the true lover) that is only excited 
by another man wanting, or stealing what he 
happens to desire ; in a word, he genuinely 
admired the bad woman who deceived him, 
despised the one of whose loyalty he was 
assured, and Honey had made a distinct leap 
up in his estimation by her unorthodox meet- 
ings with me in the forest, by her cold accept- 
ance of his apologies for chasing her. He 
changed his tactics, became the ardent, devoted 
lover of those earliest days when he had 
stormed, and carried her heart by assault, 
neglected his sleep of afternoons, and was for 
ever scheming to get her alone with him, a 

200 



(( 



HONEY" 20 1 



scheme that Honey only faintly seconded, and 
that Mary and I perpetually defeated. 

Did his warmth, his simulated passion come 
too late ? 

Had he for one hour even, been unselfish, 
loved her better than himself, he yet might 
have won ; but the man of cold heart, of 
many passions, is true to no one, and to him 
there may come a time when he cannot starve 
a woman any longer, or hurt her any more, 
for her power of loving is gone, and where 
there is no demand, supply is wasted. But 
no one knew what Honey felt and thought in 
those days, though I knew afterwards that it 
was just touch-and-go with her. For he put 
out his whole strength, called forth all his 
vast experience with women, to bind her to 
him, to make her forget everything on earth 
but that he loved her, that she loved him, 
that heaven was to be found alone in each 
other's arms ; and he had that deadly " knack " 
with a woman, equivalent to a bad woman's 
"way" with a man — ^long practice had given 
him a sure efficiency, and ruthless Nature, that 
takes no heed of human wills, or even moral 
antipathies, works on her own lines, and when 



202 " HONEY " 

the man in the man called to the woman in 
the woman, would Honey go ? 

Closely I watched the contest, growing 
keener each day between the flesh and the 
spirit in her, and Holford in love was a man 
transformed ; he even transformed Honey, so 
that in his eyes she became lovely, alluring; 
up to now her safety had lain in the fact 
that she did not tempt, had no bodily attraction 
for him, but now his senses were stirred — if 
she too caught fire, who should come between 
them ? 

He had never realised, as I had done, 
the mingling of good and recklessness in 
Honey's character, of strength and weakness ; 
he had been blind to that occasional look in 
her eyes of which Pope was aware, when he 
made his famous remark about a female rake ; 
and though the poet put the blame on her 
heart, it was upon her glance, I feel sure, 
that he really based his opinion. 

Mary groaned now and then at the constant 
use of her as gooseberry, but I showed myself 
rudely indifferent to Holford's hint that my 
room was better than my company. Roughly 
speaking, Mary mounted guard over Honey 



"HONEY" 203 

in the house, and I out of it, yet with such a 
past-master of subterfuge and treachery, I could 
never feel that the girl was safe, and my 
vigilance never slackened by night or by day. 

If I went with Honey to the woods, Hol- 
ford would come too, for now the man was 
jealous, less sure of Honey, and certain that 
I was his rival ; but there he was wrong, the 
truth being that I loved Honey, but was not 
in love with her. With all his heart and 
soul he hated me, and perhaps women can 
never realise the savage joy men take in 
cutting each other out, the possession of the 
quarry being infinitely less to them, than the 
indulgence of a fierce primal instinct. 

I encouraged him in the idea that I was try- 
ing my hardest to win Honey from him, and 
she saw exactly what I was doing, and wickedly 
played into my hands, revenging herself in a 
purely womanish way for the many slights he 
had shown her in his flirtations with other 
women. 

And once I had got into the swing of the 
game, I played it with zest, omitting no smallest 
opportunity of scoring over him, playing on 
all his weak points, making him look ridicu- 



204 " HONEY " 

lous as often as possible ; and when a man is 
a mass of self-conceit you are sure to hit him 
somewhere, no matter what stick you may take 
to beat him with. 

Honey and I would sit and talk, and talk 
of the subjects that interested us, and Holford 
would lie on the grass beside us, looking sulky 
and handsome ; oftener still, go fast asleep, so 
that he counted for nothing at all with us. 

And now time and the days alike drew in. 
We were almost at the end of August, and 
after a few days among the partridges, I must 
go back to my patients and hospital, leaving 
Holford, who could not shoot, to the derision 
of the neighbours. I seemed to have done 
nothing here ; I had been merely happy. 
Honey's position towards Holford was prac- 
tically unaltered, but one night something 
happened. 

We had had the usual music, and were stroll- 
ing in the garden, when suddenly I missed the 
girl's white gown and Holford, and stood still, 
looking about for them. 

It was a night for love — a night of perfume, 
of moonlight, of every potent influence that 
sets heart swaying towards heart ; and suddenly 



- HONEY " 205 

in the distance I heard a muffled cry, a half- 
sob • • ,. in that moment I realised that 
Honey was in danger . . . perhaps the fine 
defences she had kept between them were 
down . . . and he had been drinking — the 
hour, the music, the night — all were against 
her. Loudly and imperatively I called out on 
her, not moving a step, for she must free 
herself of her own will, not mine . • . and 
for a moment my heart stood still, my pulses 
thundered ; then she came running to me — 
breathless, lovely, a torch on fire, kindled by 
a base man*s passions, and almost fell at my 
feet in the greatness of her trembling. 

" Ben I '* she moaned in a stammering 
whisper ; " Ben, you called me. Oh, thank 
God that you called me I " And with that 
was gone, and Holford was beside me, his 
face black in the moonlight. 

"Curse you," he said, "for your interfer- 
ence ! Are you going to marry Miss Bury, 
or am I ? " 

" Neither of us, I should say." 

He gave a falsetto laugh that had every 
quality of ofiFensive caddishness in it, and 
said, 



2o6 " HONEY " 

"Only, you see, she happens to love me^ 
not you." 

" Don't call it love," I said, and left him, for 
I could not trust myself. Nor could I face 
Honey that night. 

I must give up the shooting, and Mary and 
I would take the girl to town the following 
day. But if her own heart had turned traitor 
at the last, not I, or any other could save her. 

Hardly noticing where I went, I presently 
came full upon the French maid, Annette, in a 
shrubbery. She turned quickly at sound of 
my footstep, and smiled as at one expected ; 
then, seeing my face, uttered an exclamation, 
and ran back to the house. 

For whom was she waiting — one of the men- 
servants or Holford ? I disliked the woman, 
any coalition between the two, boded harm 
to Honey ; but though I lingered, hoping 
Holford would appear, I saw no one ; and 
presently, through the open window of the 
smoking-room, I saw him sitting half asleep, 
his cigar out, and brandy and soda on a table 
beside him. 

Looking closer, his attitude did not strike 
me as a natural one. He was pretending 



" HONEY " 207 

sleepiness, and why but to put me ofF my 
guard ? Annette and he were concocting 
some scheme of villainy that night, to which 
the scene in the garden with Honey may have 
been only a prelude, and for a moment I 
thought of taking Mary into my confidence, 
but abandoned the idea ; and before returning 
to the house, I had made my plans for the 
night. 

Honey had so far escaped him, but I began 
to see where Annette came in, and the mean- 
ing of her presence there ; for if Holford 
once succeeded in compromising Honey with 
Annette's knowledge, no earthly power could 
save the girl from becoming his wife. 

The corridor upon which the principal 
chambers at Burghfield gave, had at one end 
an oriel window with fitted seat, and heavy 
velvet curtains, partly drawn. Behind these 
latter I sat down, and presently saw Honey 
and Mary Cassilis approach, linger awhile at 
Mary's door, then kiss and part, Honey 
coming on alone to her room, the long, 
supple lines of her arms and bosom showing 
like pale bronze against the darker shade of 
her gauzy gown. Nymph of the woods, not 



2o8 - HONEY " 

brown boy, was she then, and in her eyes a 
look of shame, as if sin, not Nature, had 
lately touched her • • • yet glad withal, as at 
a danger narrowly escaped, a danger that she 
had never realised, till brought face to face 
with it that night. 

She passed me close on going into her 
room, and I heard her shut the door, but no 
key was turned ; keys had never before been 
needed at Burghfield. 

Gradually all sound in the house ceased. 
The servants had gone to their own wing, 
Holford remained below ; thus passed an 
hour. Then the light of his candle struck 
the wall at the head of the staircase, and soon 
he came into sight. 



Looking back on that night, I see its events 
flung like black shadows on a clear blind, for 
it was all dumb -show ; the few whispered 
words did not affect the movement of the 
play, either to forward, or to hinder it. 

Stretch the curtain — watch the shadows. 
First, Holford's handsome figure, a little un- 
steadily, crosses the blind. He seems to 



" HONEY " 209 

peer downward here and there, really at the 
doors ; pauses at one, then disappears into 
his own room, and the blind is dark — there 
is an interval of time. 

Once again the blind is clear, and Holford's 
furtive shadow is stealing very gradually, 
stealthily as a forest animal who braves 
danger at every step, towards something in 
the distance. He lays his hand on a door 
handle, and as he turns it, another hand closes 
over his. • • • I see the figures of two men 
mingle in silent, breathless combat ; one wins, 
and thrusts the other before him down the 
corridor into a room • • . and locks him in. 
Hardly has he disappeared when a graceful 
Parisian shadow appears, that holds up its 
hands, protests, would advance, but is driven 
back, hands to ears, shuddering and terrified. 

Once more all is dark. The next silhou- 
ette is of a maiden, peacefully sleeping. It 
vanishes, to show a man without, watching ; 
then all clears away . . . the shadow-play is 
at an end. 



CHAPTER XVII 

'' Blossom of hawthorne whitens in May ; 
Never an end to love's true sway ! 

** Blossom of hawthorne fades in June ; 
I shall be tired of my true love soon ! 

" Blossom of hawthorne's gone in July ; 
Sweetheart, I must be off — ^good-bye ! " 

" T T strikes me," said Mary at breakfast 
X next morning, " that we are conjugating 
the verb * to girn.* I girn, thou girnest " — she 
nodded at Honey — ^^he girns" — looking at 
me — " and if we are all going to girn together. 
Heaven save us from Bedlam I Because that 
jade Annette has run away in the night, and 
Mr. Holford has urgent business that takes 
him to Exeter, pray, are we all to behave as if 
we were conducting our own funerals ? " 

I protested against the verb as applied to 
Honey, who was quiet indeed, but by no 
means cast down. 

210 



I( 



HONEY " 211 



" Where did you get the woman ? " said 
Mary. " I always knew there was something 
wrong about her — her linen was far better 
than mine ! " 

"You know that Lawrence asked me to 
take her," said Honey coldly. " She had lived 
with one of his friends ; and she did my hair 
beautifully in town." 

" And her own," said Mary. " I fancy she 
has been more mistress than maid." Here 
Mary jumped to conclusions, and a woman's 
jumps (when mounted on fancy) easily include 
the whole world, while in the rock of the 
saddle, truth is jerked out of her. *^ I wonder 
if she and Holford have eloped together ? " 

" Oh I " cried Honey, with heaving breast, 
"because he killed a man — for me — because 
he has been in prison, you are all down on 
him, you all have a kick at him ; and I — I 
love him all the more for being down in the 
world I Faults he has, but I wish he had 
more, that I might forgive them all ! Soon 
he will be the master of this house, and, mean- 
while, not a word shall be said against him 
in it ! " 

Wilder words trembled on her lips, but 



212 ''HONEY" 

choking them down, she rose, and left the 
room. 

I had never before seen Mary look so badly. 
For a moment I thought she was going to 
faint. 

" What can we do ? " she cried. " The first 
thing he will do is to clear us out ; if an angel 
came down from heaven, he would not con- 
vince her. Even if she knew of last night, 
the scoundrel, she would forgive him. Ben, 
all our work and his carelessness is undone — 
he has got her back." 

So Mary knew — had known all along. I 
felt cold with the thought that but for an 
accident — for Mary's and my care — Honey 
might have gone down, down in the swirl 
of passion that closes round maidens' hearts 
and lives. Their bodies may afterwards come 
to the surface, indeed, but they are dead in 
all that life holds dear, and of good repute. 

" You wouldn't trust me," said Mary, " so 
I played my own game. Annette is one of the 
women who adored Holford before the bother 
with Hammersley. She intrigued to come 
here as Honey's maid, to do any devil's work 
he wanted ; and I pretended blindness, and 



-HONEY" 213 

helped her, while you went blundering on, 
trying to trick him of some other woman. 
Silly Billy ! don't you see what her share in 
last night's business was ? To find him with 
Honey. It was timed to a moment, as Honey 
would have made short work of him ; but her 
reputation would have been ruined, and she 
would have been forced to marry Holford." 

I sat staring, amazed at Mary's duplicity, 
her cleverness, though she took my idiocy as 
a matter of course. 

" His influence over women is simply 
enormous," said Mary. "Look at Honey — 
she thoroughly despises, yet loves him 1 Now 
in the garden last night " 

" Oh, do you know that too ? " I exclaimed. 

Mary smiled pityingly. 

"My dear Ben, I've had my finger on 
Honey's pulse the whole time. When he 
has had melting moments towards her, she 
has not known it, or been annoyed at one of 
his betises. When she has melted, he has not 
been in the mood — last night both melted at 
the same moment. * Brethren, if our hearts 
betray us ' — it should have been * sisters.' 
Well, you cut in and spoiled that game, and 



214 "HONEY" 

then he played his last black, dishonourable 
card ; but now I think he is gone for good." 

" You were watching last night ? " I said. 

Mary nodded. 

"I have seen too many of those tricks 
played at the expense of my sex — especially 
in country houses — not to keep my eyes and 
ears open," she said. "I saw and heard 
everything that passed." 

"His game is not up," I said. *^You 
forget that she is absolutely ignorant of last 
night*s occurrences, and she is angry with us 
both. She will believe Aiw." 

"It's all your fault," said Mary irritably. 
" You never put any real back into the affair ; 
you could have got her away from him by 
just lifting up your finger, and you wouldn't. 
Don't you suppose she has found out that 
one can do almost anything with a gentleman, 
but is always pulling up against a blank wall 
with a man who isn't ? " 

"Only she happens to love Holford," I 
said. 

"You like the girl more than you think," 
said Mary sharply, "or why didn't you go 
abroad, as usual, instead of coming here ? 



"HONEY" 215 

When a man's happy, he won't stir. He only 
travels when he is wretched." 

I shook my head in a way flatly discourag- 
ing to her suspicions. 

" You suit each other. After all, is happi- 
ness in marriage a question, not of love, but 
suitability ? Honey is at her best when you 
are by, you are at yours when she is there ; 
you stimulate one another, and in the right 
way. Ah, my boy, most of us have at least 
once in our lives said *no* in our pride to 
the thing we most passionately coveted ! " 

"I might just as well have stayed away," 
I said angrily, and got up and walked to the 
window, where I uttered a sharp exclamation 
that made Mary turn in her chair to see what 
had startled me, and there, through the open 
window, we saw Holford walking in the 
garden with Honey, who, pausing to pluck 
a rose, fixed it in his button-hole, smiling up 
in his face the while. 

The room in which we sat, the scene with- 
out, were essentially English and homelike, 
and I thought of all the happiness missed, of 
all that might have been theirs had Holford 
been a true man, as it was, the scene jarred. 



2i6 'HONEY" 

Mary shrugged her shoulders. 

" What are we to do ? " she said. " There's 
no power on earth will part a man and 
woman when they are in the mind to be 
together, and just now Honey's mood is one 
of especial tenderness towards him^ and anger 
against me. If she had not given her word 
to me not to marry him secretly, he would 
be taking her to a registrar in Exeter this 
very day." 

"I had thought of that," I said, greatly 
relieved ; " but Honey's word is her bond." 

"Nothing will separate them," said Mary, 
"but some proof of his badness, so over- 
whelming, so flagrant, that she could not 
overlook it ; and he is much too clever to 
give her that chance. I watched him pretty 
closely with Annette, but all the love-making 
was on her side, not his." 

A servant entered with a telegram for me. 
In real life, as in love, it is only the im- 
possible that happens, and when we supposed 
Holford gone it was written that he should 
return, and I depart. 

" Come at once — Dawson." 

" No answer," I said. 



-HONEY" 217 

" More secrets ? " said Mary, and raised 
ironical brows. "You had better tell me — it 
saves time." 

"When I have something to tell, I will," 
I said, and walked in a brown study out of 
the room, and into the drawing-room, its 
many windows giving on enchanting views, 
and stood staring at her portrait. 

Freshness, purity, simplicity, culture — these 
struck the keynote of Honey's home, as 
loyalty of her character, were all to be laid 
waste by the man into whose eyes she was at 
that moment looking in the garden ? 

"I must go," I said aloud. I did not 
shrink from the scene inevitable with Holford 
if I remained, but my soul did sicken at the 
futility of it. "When I come back I may 
have something to tell you," I said. " Mean- 
while guard Honey well." 

" When didn't I ? " snapped Mary. " Set 
a man to catch a man, and — but I won't 
waste breath on you. When do you re- 
turn ? " 

I shook my head. After events proved 
that I did well not to fix a date. 

"There is a train in three-quarters of an 



2i8 "HONEY" 

hour," I said. "Will you ask Honey if I 
may have the dog-cart to take me to Exeter ? 
I shall only take a handbag." 

Honey came running at the news, all anger 
forgotten, and begged me to hurry back as 
quickly as I could. 

"To-night, if possible," I said, knowing 
that she would tell Holford. Then I wished 
her good-bye, kissed Mary, and was off. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

" Work thou within, we'll work without. 
And I'll be sworn we'll set thee free." 

BUT though I drove fast, I barely caught 
my train. As I ran along the platform 
the stationmaster, holding open a carriage door, 
uttered a sharp ejaculation as I sprang in, and, 
rooted to the spot, stared after me literally as 
if he had seen a ghost. 

I had brought nothing to read. There were 
three other people in my compartment, two 
men and a nondescript. As far as the waist 
it was a man, then it sacrificed itself to a petti- 
coat. One felt that with those features, that 
short hair and moustache, it would have been 
more honourable to wear breeches. And yet 
this mistake of Nature — and Nature is con- 
stantly making these mistakes — changing the 
sex at the last moment, when she has formed 
the character for the sex that isn't, was to 

render me yeoman's service later in the day. 

219 



220 "HONEY" 

We were going at a tremendous rate of 
speed, when I sprang up with an impulse to 
stop the train, just as if I were touching an 
electric button to summon a servant, for 
suddenly I saw the truth, that Dawson 
had not wired to me at all — Holford had 
got me out of the way by a trick. 

Meanwhile I landed in the lap of Nature's 
mistake, and she shot me cleverly, and with- 
out spleen, back into my own seat. 

" I had forgotten something," I said, for the 
eyes over her moustache were honest, and she 
nodded comprehendingly, and returned to her 
flask and sandwiches. 

Suddenly there came a g-r-r-r, a tremendous 
vibration, as the brakes were applied to the 
length of the train — a breathless sensation, as 
of being shot from a catapult to destruction, 
then a crashing and splintering, a furious earth- 
quake in which for a moment I saw the blue 
sky above me, then — nothing. 

It might have been a matter of eternity, or 
only a few moments between ; but what I saw 
next, was a black moustache hovering anxiously 
above me, and, glancing round, found myself 
in a cottage bedroom plastered with coloured 



ti 



HONEY" 221 



prints, while a lamp in the distance informed 
me that the time was night. 

"That's right," said my neighbour of the 
' train, and then I saw that her head was ban- 
daged, and became aware that mine was aching 
badly. 

" The doctor has just gone," she said. " He 
wasn't sure you would wake up — here." 

" There was a smash, I suppose," I said ; 
"but I can't remember." 

An expression of pain — pure womanish — 
crossed her manly features as she said, " Axle 
broke. It was very bad ; I never saw any- 
thing worse. My name's Jebb, Sarah Jebb. 
We somersaulted through the roof together, 
and fell into a field, clear of the wreck, and 
they brought us in here." 

" Your head ? " I said, looking at the 
bandages. 

"Only gashed — no fracture. But you* II 
have to be careful." 

" I must let them know at Exeter," I said, 
struggling to get up. 

" Man alive ! " she said, " it's midnight, and 
we are on the outskirts of a village, with 
probably no telegraph office for miles. Now, 



222 'HONEY" 

when you have taken this sleeping-draught, 
I'm going down to the living-room > knock 
on the floor with this stick if you want any- 
thing, but I think you'll sleep." 

I drank it down, noting the shakiness of my 
hand, and again there was an interval of un- 
consciousness that seemed to me much longer 
than the first one, though it was only a matter 
of hours. 

I came out of it to see Sarah Jebb sitting 
beside me, spectacles on nose, reading a news- 
paper with great interest ; but the moment I 
opened my eyes, she knew it, and felt my pulse 
as my hand lay on the patchwork counterpane. 

" Good ! " she said. " Now you shall have 
some breakfast." And she went to the door, 
and called to someone below ; and the sound 
of clinking cups and saucers, and the smell of 
food rose up to me so gratefully, that I knew 
I was not going to die just yet. 

" I'm as right as a trivet," I said. " I hope 
you are in less pain, and slept well." 

She nodded in a casual way, as if scalp 
wounds came all in the day's work. 

**It seems a special correspondent was in 
the train," she said. ** More extraordinary 



"HONEY" 223 

still, the yokel here takes in a newspaper, and 
it's actually delivered by twelve o'clock. The 
disaster was worse than I thought," and she 
shook her head. "Twelve killed, forty 
severely injured. I will read you the list 
of the killed. *Mr. Ben Cassilis — 



> >» 



« What ! " I shouted ; « but I'm herer 

Sarah Jebb looked puzzled, and read further 
down the paper — 

" * He had not a scrap of anything on him 
by which he could be identified,'" she said, 
"*but a servant who had waited on him at 
Burghfield, and was in the same train, 
swore to him as Mr. Cassilis.' Have you a 
double ? " 

I nodded. By this time Mary Cassilis 
would have heard of my supposed death ; so 
would Honey, so would Holford, and the 
thought of him gave me pause. If he had 
summoned me to town on a fool's errand, 
it was because he had an especial reason for 
getting me out of the way ; if he believed 
me dead, he would be oflT-guard, and I would 
have a better chance of defeating him ; and as 
he did not know of the existence of my 
double, he would suspect nothing. Even if 



224 "HONEY" 

the JExeter man had friends there, it would 
take some little time to prove his identity, 
therefore town, not Exeter, must be my 
destination. 

I had barely formed a rapid plan of 
campaign, when an apple-cheeked old woman 
brought in my breakfast of home-cured 
bacon and new-laid eggs, served on delft, but 
both that and the pewter were spotlessly clean 
and bright, and I ate with appetite. 

Her accent told me that I was in my own 
county, and as a matter of fact, we were only 
a few miles from Salisbury. When I ascer- 
tained from her that the next fast train would 
leave for town in about an hour, I told her to 
get a conveyance of some kind to take me into 
the town, and she went to see about it ; but 
Sarah Jebb looked grave, and begged me to 
see the doctor before I left." 

"I am a surgeon myself," I said. "Why 
not travel up with me ? — and I can give an eye 
to your bandages if necessary." 

She laughed at the tables being thus turned 
upon her, and after a hasty toilette, and a 
recompense to my hostess, I climbed beside 
Miss Jebb to the spring-board of a jolting- 



"HONEY" 225 

cart, and away we bumped and banged into 
Salisbury. 

I was weaker than I thought, and glad when 
the train came up, getting into a carriage as 
quickly as possible. There was a wait of 
some minutes there, and a rush of people to 
the refreshment buffet ; and as I idly watched 
them returning to the train, suddenly Hol- 
ford's figure emerged with startling distinct- 
ness, seeming to advance right upon me. 

I drew back, but he passed on ; it had been 
sheer luck that he was not looking in my 
direction, and my chances of getting even with 
him ruined, and I felt myself trembling with 
excitement at my narrow escape. 

He lookeH eager, alert, like a man full of 
good tidings, also like one about to do some- 
thing he especially desired ; and I said to 
myself, " Going to the woman with the broken 
finger — he loses no time." 

Well, I was going too. 

We had a quick run up, almost silent as 
regarded my kind friend and myself, but 
before we got to Waterloo, I begged the loan 
from her of a large square of black silk she had 
in her bag, and in promising to return it, gave 
Q 



\ 



226 "HONEY" 

her my name and address, and asked her some 
day to come and see me. 

She started at the name, but made no com- 
ment ; lent me the square, and watched me tie 
it over my head, and under my chin, in such a 
way that only the tip of my nose was visible, 
yet still she expressed no surprise. In short, I 
found her of quite consistent manliness and 
reticence throughout, and the grip of her hand 
at parting was manly too. 

I remained in the carriage till Holford had 
passed, then, guessing correctly that he had no 
luggage, got into a hansom not far behind his, 
and telling the driver to keep the other in 
sight, followed him to the house off the Euston 
Road where Dawson and I had been so fooled 
by him a few weeks previously. 

He must have wired from Salisbury, for I 
saw a coarse hct look out from an upper 
window as he approached; and as he sprang 
out, with my stick I signalled my driver to go 
on, and left the street by the other end, know- 
ing well enough what I wished to do next — 
only time was against it. 

For only one thing could cure Honey now — 
to bring her face to face with the woman and 



-HONEY" 227 

Holford together, and Honey was in Devon- 
shire. Even if I wired immediately it was 
utterly impossible for her to catch the 6 train, 
arriving at 10.30, and on the morrow he would 
probably return to Burghfield, and so the 
opportunity would be for ever lost. 

All the luck had been on Holford's side up 
to now, but, for once, the stars in their courses 
fought with me, and strange and unexpected 
was the news that awaited me in Harley Street, 
where I was taken for my own ghost. I 
could not but think then, that the dead show 
their wisdom in not returning to earth, once 
they have departed, for my housekeeper alone 
visibly rejoiced at my appearance, and handed 
me a telegram received by her from Mary 
Cassilis only a few minutes before I arrived. 
It said that she and Miss Bury were returning 
to Brook Street by the 4. 1 5 train from Exeter, 
as though Mr. Holford had gone by an early 
train to Salisbury to identify the body, and 
thence to town, she preferred to make all 
arrangements for the funeral herself. 

Now it was unlikely that Holford, alighting 
at Salisbury, and continuing his journey by the 
12.5 (the very train in which I was), knew of 



I 



\ 

I 



228 "HONEY" 

this sudden resolve of Mary's to come up, so 
with any sort of luck I should find him where 
I had left him, and thought that I had my 
quarry safe at last. He was not likely to take 
the woman out to dinner — for one reason she 
reflected no credit on his taste, for another, he 
was too crafty to do anything to endanger his 
position with Honey; and he might easily be 
recognised. 

I partook of some food, for I was still 
shaky, and my head none of the clearest ; 
then I wired for Dawson, hardly expecting to 
find him in town, but he came at once, being 
a genius in the matter of self-control, and the 
taking of no holidays. He was a little distant 
— he had not forgiven me for mistrusting him 
— ^and it gave me a shock to find that he had 
been watching Holford on his own account in 
Exeter. He knew all about Annette, and he 
had at first misunderstood her presence at 
Burghfield, but later on he had suspected a 
plot against Miss Bury, in which Annette was 
to assist. Holford was very unpopular in the 
county, and it was perfectly well known that 
he did not in the least care about Honey, 
only her fortune. He had kept up a corre- 



"HONEY" 229 

spondence with the lady of the broken finger, 
but after his scare in the Albany ran no risks, 
and had not since visited her. Dawson had 
seen the account of my death in the railway 
accident, and regretted it as a point scored to 
Holford. 

I laughed at this ; the depth of the man's 
animosity to me showed how the wound still 
rankled of my doubts of him, and I frankly 
begged his forgiveness, upon which he met 
me handsomely, and we quickly made our 
plans for the night. 

"The woman is in the same place," said 
Dawson. " He prefers to keep her under his 
thumb, knowing that all he gives her goes in 
drink, or on her bullies. But he pays her 
landlady regularly — and the same servant is 
there, and will admit me. I will be at the 
house from nine till ten to-night. And if 
this case," he said in departing, "which has 
been one of the most baffling and unsatis- 
factory ones I've ever had the handling of, is 
cleared up through your supposed death, sir, 
then you'll have reason to bless that double of 
yours aU your life." 

" Poor chap ! " I said to myself, as I took a 



230 "HONEY" 

turn or b¥0 up and down the room. But my 
spirits had risen, and suddenly I thought of 
pretty, witty Nell Gwynne, who, when the 
manager came to carry her off the stage after 
she had stabbed herself, jumped up, and ex- 
claimed angrily, " Hold ! are you mad ? You 
damned, confounded dog, I am to rise and 
speak the epilogue 1 " 

Well, I was dead — apparently, yet I was 
going to speak an epilogue, the epilogue of 
Holford's play that night ; Honey was saved, 
and my heart sang. 

I took Mrs. Mistley with me to Waterloo, 
that I might not startle Mary by a sudden 
appearance before her. It was just possible 
that from the stationmaster at Exeter she 
might learn of the case of mistaken identity, 
for I understood now the meaning of that 
official's scared look when, having seen my 
double get into one part of the train, he saw, 
as he supposed, the same person boarding it 
from another direction. 

But when Mary's train came in, and from a 
distance I saw her get out, so shrunken, so 
grief-stricken, that I barely recognised her, I 
knew that she had heard nothing ; then I 



f 



''HONEY" 231 

looked at Honey, and saw that her brown face 
was all disfigured with weeping, and tears of 
gladness came into my own eyes that I had 
two such women to care so deeply whether 
I lived or died. 

1 saw Mrs. Mistley make her way to them, 
and Mary turn towards her in silent recogni- 
tion ; then, at the light that broke on their 
faces as the woman spoke, I ran to them, and 
in a moment both were in my arms. 

" Ben — my boy, my boy 1 " cried Mary. 

She had utterly lost self-control, sobbed 
and stammered helplessly ; the shock, the 
boundless relief, had followed each other too 
swiftly to enable her to pretend, and I got 
them into a cab, leaving Mrs. Mistley to 
follow with maid and luggage, and we drove 
away holding each other's hands, one of us 
too deeply moved to speak, the others dizzy 
with that most stupendous miracle earth 
affords — the return to us living, of what we 
passionately mourned as dead. 

" We saw it in this morning's paper," said 
Mary disjointedly. " Then came a wire from 
James, who was taking a holiday, to a fellow- 
servant corroborating it. Holford offered to 



232 "HONEY" 

identify body, and arrange everything, but 
Honey and I could not rest, and followed." 

"My double was in the train," I said, 
"actually wore clothes of the same pattern, 
made by the same Exeter tailor. Honey, do 
you remember your insults to those grey 
clothes ? James saw his body, and leaped to 
conclusions — the special correspondent did the 
rest." 

When we had calmed down somewhat, and 
were nearing home, but still Honey's and 
Mary's little hands were holding my great fists 
fast, I said, 

"Holford does not know you have come 
up ?. " 

« No." 

Honey spoke, coldly, curtly, producing that 
effect of harshness to those present, while in- 
tending it for the absent, that is one of women's 
ways all the world over, and I saw that she 
was angry with Holford. Perhaps he had re- 
joiced too openly over my supposed hurried 
exit from life, and afterwards I knew that this 
had been the case, his malignant ^cultation 
had for once made him act truth, and she had 
hated him heartily for it. 



"HONEY" 233 

We fell silent after that, driving through 
the half-deserted town in the hot August 
night, for by now it was close on nine o'clock, 
and time pressed. But Honey was ex- 
hausted with emotion and travel, and must 
eat before I took her through the night's 
ordeal. 

"Little girl," I said, drawing her aside 
when we had got into the house, and the 
servants were pressing round their mistress, 
" there is work to be done to-night, and you 
must ask no questions, but put yourself en- 
tirely in my hands, and do it, will you ? " 

She was very pale as she looked steadfastly 
at me. 

" Yes," she said. 

" Then you will at once wash away this dust, 
get something to eat, then come with me." 

She nodded. Her lips were very white ; 
her eyes very steady — all spelled Holford. 

To me the issues of that night seemed 
tremendous as those of a great battle, a battle 
in which she was bound to lose all, yet in cold 
blood I was leading her to nameless shame 
and defeat, and my heart failed me as I looked 
in her brave eyes, and turned away. 



CHAPTER XIX 

** But now I only hear 
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar 

Retreating to the breath 
Of the night-wind down the edges drear 

And naked shingles of the world.*' 

I SOUGHT Mary, who alarmed me by her 
pallor and look of collapse, and for a 
brief moment she leaned her head against 
my shoulder, and I felt her body trembling 
violently. 

Now I am a dense person, but somehow 
I felt then that a woman must always stand 
alone, save for such fugitive touches ; that her 
father leans on his wife, her brother on his 
wife, her son will look to his sweetheart for 
his happiness, and all she can hope to win, to 
keep her happy, is the stranger-husband she 
has beckoned to her side, though if he die, 
or fail her, what has she of love, or joy, or 

comfort ? 

234 



n 



HONEY" 235 



"I think one must die to learn how rich 
in love one is," I said, as I kissed her, and 
then, very quickly, for time pressed, I told 
her where Holford was, and that I was taking 
Honey to the place where he and the other 
woman were ; also that if Dawson did not 
effect for us a silent entry, I would force my 
way in openly. 

Mary shuddered. , 

"It's savage, it's incredible," she said in 
a convulsion of horror, "Honey in such a 
scene as that . . . some women would die, 
but she will not — only be scarred cruelly to 
her dying day. And men don't like women 
scarred by their fellow wild beasts," she 
added in her old discursive way, then re- 
membered, and kissed my hand tenderly. 

"Better be honourably scarred than dead 
spiritually," I said. " Here she comes. Kiss 
her, Mary, and pray for her ; she will want 
all your prayers." 

Honey had removed all signs of travel, 
and her frock of brown cambric and chocolate 
lace, her hat, the bunch of deep orange 
roses tucked in her belt were all fresh as her 
own young womanhood, and I knew that her 



236 * HONEY" 

indefinable air of race and breeding would 
exasperate to the point of madness, the gutter- 
bred woman to whom we went. 

The girl was too brave to wince when 
Mary's tears fell on her face ; she had herself 
completely in hand as we drove swiftly away, 
but as we went, I could not but think of that 
other drive we had taken together, when, all 
exalted with love, and joy, and pride in Holford, 
we had gone to meet him . . . and now what 
were we doing but track a mean hound to his 
lair ? For it came to this : I was taking her 
in cold blood to behold her degradation, to 
see her love put violently to the death, nor 
knew I if it were so deep in her heart's fibres, 
but in killing it, she killed herself. 

It was impossible that she should know 
what lay at the end of our journey, but her 
imagination was keen, and perhaps she fancied 
worse things, for once she said quietly — 

" He is dead ? " Then, as I shook my 
head, she made no further question, and all 
too quickly we were there — Dawson stood by 
the door, and a touch from him set it wide. 
When I had paid the cabman, I took Honey's 
hand, and said — " Come ! " 



" HONEY " 237 

As we climbed the dingy stairs, I heard 
voices above, louder this time than on the 
last occasion, coarser too, as Holford's voice 
was more unconstrained even than the woman's, 
for he had let himself go. 

The door stood partly open. Whom had 
they to fear ? For Ben Cassilis was dead. 
Honey in Devon, Dawson's claws were cut, 
the woman of the house a paid dependant, 
and Holford's whole base nature broke out, 
and revelled, and wallowed in the triumph of 
the orgy of that hour. 

Through the aperture (ourselves in dark- 
ness) we saw the woman sitting on Holford's 
knee, with the easy comfort of long habit, 
and the mark of the beast was on both their 
faces. Gross she was, and bland ; the great 
coarse nostrils, the upturned nose, reeked of 
the pavement. The remains of a vulgar feast 
were on the table, a black bottle and glasses 
were at his elbow. 

" Now rU have no nonsense, mind," he was 
saying. "FU put you into a decent place, 
but the first time I find you out, you'll 
clear." 

The woman laughed. 



238 '* HONEY" 

"Then you'll have to come often," she 
said. 

"I will," he said, savagely and thickly, 
" She talks too much ; it is a relief to get to 
you. I hate a clever woman." 

She purred over him in her own feline, 
sensual way, and for a while they discussed 
the extent of Honey's fortune. 

"I wonder what she is doing now?" she 
said. A low woman always loves to talk 
familiarly and impudently of the clean one. 

"Howling for that dead fat-head, very 
likely," he said. "They were as alike as 
two peas in a pod — green, confiding idiots. 
Neither of them had ever seen life. He 
looked no different dead, to when he was a 
live, overgrown vegetable." 

" Curse him ! " said the woman impartially, 
and freed an arm to pour herself out some 
more gin. "Lor', his face, when he found old 
Willie instead of you ! But a fine man," and 
she nodded approvingly and tipsily. 

She appeared to me quite consistent in 
her methods of dealing with Holford. Her 
atrocious blandness, her complaisance, her 
habit of always agreeing with him, of en- 



c< 



HONEY " 239 



couraging the very worst in him, alternated 
with fits that roused the brutal, possessive 
instinct in the man, as now. 

" Well, he's dead^"' said Holford exultantly. 
"And ril come here, or to the new place, 
when I like, and how I like. She won't listen 
to anybody, and once we're married, it doesn't 
matter if she does." 

"She's a silly, conceited fool," jeered the 
woman. "She actually swallowed it when 
you told her you killed Hammersley for 
her — not me." 

"The brute had no right to sneak round 
after you when my back was turned," said 
Holford in a sullen fury. " The Bury woman 
may have as many men after her as she likes ; 
a wife's one thing, a mistress is another." 

The woman laughed again. She had him 
fast in the mortice of habit ; she would loose 
her hold of him when death broke it, or to 
please herself — not before. 

" And if you have a kid ? " she said, with 
a kind of spurious jealousy, for it was so 
clear — and perhaps this was the most galling 
to Honey — that she felt none. 

It was in her infidelity that she had the 



/ 



240 *' HONEY " 

surest hold on Holford — just as frequently, 
not a woman's faithfulness to him, but his 
infidelities to her, constitute a wife's strongest 
claim on a man. 

"And if you have a kid," repeated the 
woman, "can't you hear?" 

" All the better — I'll be out with you every 
night." 

"Good job both ours died," said the woman 
gloomily, for she was fast reaching the tipsily 
lachrymose stage. 

"Awful good luck, especially as they weren't 



mme. 



The woman laughed. For sheer brutality 
Zola himself could not have beaten the scene, 
if Honey had been an angel from heaven, she 
would not have had a chance with this man 
and this woman, with their violent passions, 
and completely dehumanised hearts. 

"I'll send her down to Burghfield for half 
the year," he said. "And you can always 
come to Exeter when I am forced to be at the 
cursed place." 

And then — then they talked Honey, and 
in their talk, all their black grudge against 
her came out, for they felt for her all the 



"HONEY" 241 

hatred that fine qualities arouse in the base ; 
and she saw herself through the lens of two 
coarse minds, all that was most precious in 
her derided, her every action travestied, 
muddied, exaggerated, out of focus ; and she 
went through the double shame of seeing 
herself thus, and my seeing her also. 

Looks, character, temperament — they took 
her over every inch of the ground, devastated 
and laid bare the very holy of holies of her 
thoughts, to which a woman admits the man 
she loves. And if Honey blenched, it was 
with the sheer physical horror of the thing 
— her spirit, the hand that held my hand 
never faltered ; beyond the whiteness of her 
cheek she gave no sign. 

"It was child's play deceiving the idiot. 
IVe been more than a match for her I '* Hol- 
ford concluded in triumph ; and then Honey 
let my hand go, and stepped forward into the 
room, and faced them. 

" You are right," she said ; " you have been 
more than a match for me." 

She had the look, the clear address, the 
pure voice and intonation that marked the 
gulf between her and the creature clutching 

R 



242 " HONEY " 

Holford's neck, and he made an efFort to rise, 
but Honey held her hand up — never had I 
seen her look so proud and beautiful — and 
silenced him. 

" Do not move. You are worthy of each 
other, and you " — she addressed the unspeak- 
able woman — "are more than welcome to 

him ! Ben " I came to her side, and at 

sight of me, the blood, and bone, and muscle 
of the man seemed to dissolve — he thought 
me dead — he had seen me dead, and he 
suddenly buckled up, his head fell over on 
the woman's shoulder, and I dragged Honey 
out, and pulled the door sharply to, before a 
heavy fall shook the house. 

I think Honey was blind ; even with my 
arm to hold her up, she groped her way out 
. . . but when we were half-way home, she 
spoke. 

" Oh ! my God," she said in a strange, 
cracked voice (would the youth pver come 
back to it ?), " how many poor girls are drifting, 
have drifted to the fate from which you have 
saved me ! ... I saw it all in a flash, like a 
play in which scene rapidly succeeds scene, 
with no waits between. ... I seemed to hold 



-HONEY" 243 

my litde baby in my arms — and I love children 
— and he off with her, the pair jeering at me, 
talking me over . . . what did she do with those 
poor children — kill them ? I saw my home 
smirched and soiled, he coming from her to 
me. • . . Oh ! he would have taken me to 
church — I might have been the mother of 
his child, but I would never have been wife, 
I should never have had a husband ; whatever 
I did, would have been wrong. . . . Ben, if 
it had been you that died, my life must have 
been a foul, living hell ! " 

It was true. I had seen it so often. Ripple 
after ripple, wave upon wave, I had seen joyous 
girlhood, glorious womanhood, advance gaily 
on the rock of manhood, only to be dashed 
back broken. 

Ignorance, Nature, love, flung these women 
on that rock ; the corrupt, the subtle, never 
braved it. Honey was only one of millions, 
and I had seen many lives beaten out in that 
way, therefore had I tried to save her. 

I had never known a woman but I had 
found some good in her ; I had never known 
a man who was not partly brute, and more or 
less unfair in his dealings with women, who 



244 " HONEY " 

was not, according to his mood, too tender, or 
too hard upon her. 

"Mary is ill," I said, as we neared Brook 
Street, and I held Honey's hand fast. " For 
her sake, try and think, not of what you are 
suffering to-night, but of what you have 
escaped — that all men are not blackguards 
because you have had the misfortune to come 
across one." 

Her hand tightened on mine. She did not 
speak again, and when we arrived, she got out 
quickly, and walked without assistance into 
the house, where confusion reigned, for in our 
absence Mary had been, and was, very ill, and 
her doctor was now in attendance on her. 

They would not admit me, but when I saw 
him, he, after the manner of doctors, flouted 
me in a case that was not surgical, and merely 
said there was no further danger, and left. 
But when I saw Mary, the colour of her lips, 
the smell of certain drugs, told me that it had 
been a seizure of the heart ; yet she refused 
to be tragic, or admit that anything was really 
amiss, inquiring eagerly as to how Honey and 
I had fared, and of all that had happened that 
night, growing visibly stronger as she listened. 



<< 



HONEY " 245 



At the end of the story she nodded her head 
with intense triumph and satisfaction, as if I 
had brought her the very best news in the 
world. 

"Let her come to me," she said presently, 
and I went away as Honey entered, not daring 
to look in her face. 



I 
/ 



CHAPTER XX 

" A spirit intense and rare, with trace on trace 

Of passion, impudence, and energy. 

Valiant in velvet, light in ragged luck. 
• • • t • 

A deal of Ariel, just a streak of Puck.*' 

HONEY came out of that awful experi- 
ence cured, and took up a workable, 
everyday life where she had laid it down ; was 
once more the Squire, and, looking the County 
squarely in the face, declined to listen to its 
rejoicings at her escape, though I knew that 
she thanked God for it without ceasing. 

The sordid, hateful page of Holford, that 
intrusion of another world on hers, was torn 
abruptly out of her life, and with it, the 
cessation of that struggle between physical 
attraction, and mental disgust that had dis- 
tracted her throughout the brief period of her 
engagement to him, though the terror of 
knowing what she had so narrowly missed 

would remain with her to her dying day. 

246 



it 



HONEY " 247 



If her vanity had been equal to Holford's, 
which was like a great wound that embraced 
him from head to heel, so that he would com- 
pass heaven and earth to be revenged on the 
enemy who bruised it, she must have suffered 
much more keenly, but she had always been 
too busy fulfilling herself to look in a mirror, 
and see how she looked while doing it, and a 
nature so elastic was bound to recover itself 
quickly. 

It was as though her mind were a palimp- 
sest, on which was inscribed a touching and 
beautiful story, noble too, if very human, 
and Holford had rubbed those characters out, 
writing himself all over the page ; but lo I he 
had ceased to write, and the original screed 
came up clear and vivid, and the later inscrip- 
tion faded away as if it had never been. 

Moreover the strong- souled, the stout- 
hearted, who are aware of the dignity of life, 
the value of time, who have their part as good 
citizens to play in the game, do not pause for 
useless lamentations ; and I admired the way 
Honey took up her burden, and carried it 
lightly, affecting there was none. 

Mary, who rapidly recovered from an ill- 



248 *' HONEY" 

ness that she angrily called a betise^ went back 
with Honey to Devon, where the girl's fears 
for her were a smart stimulant to rid her of 
humiliating thoughts ; and when I went down 
for a few days late in September, I not only 
enjoyed excellent sport, but also the cheery 
evenings when we three sat together after 
dinner by the fireside, with no dissonant 
presence to disturb our happiness. 

Since last I had been there, my anger, or 
perhaps only a sense of the futility of things, 
had left me. Complete serenity had returned, 
and I walked as to a marching tune, though 
I saw no victory for myself, ahead — that 
Honey's battle had been won, contented me. 

The whole place breathed a different atmo- 
sphere now Holford was out of it, and Mary 
became once more her old diverting, incon- 
sequent self, or at least the self she had shown 
before the mask had been pulled aside, and 
her unexpectedly great affection for me re- 
vealed, as well as her great delicacy of health. 

Fat women have to be as careful in their 
conversation as their clothes (I once heard 
Mary say they've got to be casual in their 
lovers), a risque speech from them is coarse- 



(( 



HONEY " 249 



ness unadulterated ; but a slender, graceful 
woman may say appalling things without turn- 
ing a hair, or making you turn one either — 
and Mary always amused, never shocked even 
the " unco guid." 

Voice, manner, dress — all carried out the 
witty, impersonal attitude, yet at the back of 
it all, you knew the woman was good, felt 
that a deep swirl or undercurrent of life was 
always at work, for the most outwardly candid 
women are always the most reserved of heart, 
and like most people who seem to say every- 
thing, she really said nothing at all. 

Now this is baffling and irritating to ordi- 
nary man, who is obviously sulky or glad, but 
seldom pretends to what he does not feel ; yet 
for all her gaiety, I noted a change in Mary. 
Was the tired spirit in her growing clearer — 
the spirit at first too full of life and individ- 
uality, that for ever "came out by the same 
door where in it went ? '* Now it seemed to 
me, that other doors were opening to her 
that had been closed before, and one day a 
mighty travailler in souls had remarked to me 
of her — 

"Thank God, she's on the right platform !" 



250 "HONEY" 

just as if she were catching an excursion train 
to heaven. 

One night, as we sat before the great re- 
cessed fireplace, the blazing logs piled high 
in the dog-grate, and illuminating our faces, 
leaving the oak-panelled hall in shadow, she 
held forth on a variety of topics, and in the 
first place declared she found human nature 
pretty much the same all the world over — 
furtively contumacious. 

" We are all, more or less, like the bhoys of 
Slattery's Mounted Foot, fond of 

" * Playing rebel tunes 

Cautiously on the dhrum. ' 

Sometimes we forget, and play too loud ; then 
we are found out, and punished," she said. 

*^ But if you do a thing that is wrong, and 
you know it, it doesn't matter how many 
other people know," said Honey. 

"My dear child, don't we all frankly de- 
spise our neighbours — criticise the shape of 
their double chins and stomachs, their choice 
of wives, and children, and pictures, yet lay 
out our lives to please 'em ? " 

"That you never did," cried Honey in- 



"HONEY" 251 

dignandy. " Nor do I. Nevertheless, if one- 
half the things we regret and fear in sleepless 
hours of the night, were printed for our friends 
to read, there's hardly one would survive the 
shock to his friendship. Most people's lives 
are remorse for yesterday, fear for to-morrow. 
What a rest death must be ! " 

"One would think to hear you talk that you 
have lived a life of undetected crime," I said. 

" I've been selfish ; perhaps that's the worst 
crime of all. And I haven't put my share of 
love into the general pool ; I mean I have 
only loved to please myself, not others." 

"Love is good," I said slowly, "but is it 
the whole of life ? Someone has said that as 
it now stands, love is the thread of interest 
upon which we string the beads of life — some 
dark, some glittering. Surely the new genius 
will discover that life itself is the thread, and 
love only one, though perhaps the most beauti- 
ful, of the beads." 

"Ben," said Mary,"you are just like a shaggy, 
blundering Newfoundland, and when you do 
think of anything, it's sure to be wrong. And 
the man who said that, was even more wrong 
than you are." 



252 "HONEY" 

"We are all," I said, "self-conscious indi- 
vidualists, who hear in the busy mart no voices 
stronger, more melodious, than our own. 
This overbearing, tyrannic self-consciousness 
refuses to allow us to absorb life, and the 
things of life, from some higher ground than 
that which we ourselves occupy. And why 
should you try to grab the whole necklace ? " 
I added grumblingly. "A woman's always 
wanting something she hasn't got." 

" But that's a woman I " cried Mary. 
" What you said is all right for a man, 
but where do the woman's other beads come 
in ? That one bead to her means home — the 
family life, the little high chair close by the 
mother's side, the young things growing up, 
the old growing down to them. All the other 
beads are of glass, slip through her hands, and 
are broken." 

Honey's eyes were shining. I seemed to 
hear the passion of her voice as she cried out 
on that dreadful night, " I love little children." 

" When her youth, and the lost gold of her 
hair, oh, magic I come back in her children," 
said Mary, " how can you reckon that a woman 
has lost everything } None of the other beads 



(( 



HONEY" 253 



give you back these. After all, is the life 
eternal for us here on earth — in our children ? 
If so, I shall have none." 

" Now you are wandering from the point, as 
usual," I said, sticking to my text. " I still 
maintain that love is all very well in its right 
place — a part of life, not the whole. Let a 
man for the time abandon himself entirely to it, 
just as to fighting, or money-making, but 
don't ask him to surrender the inmost recesses 
of his heart. There must be a wise reserve, 
and a woman will grow to love it, to respect 
it. Entire nakedness of soul is no more attrac- 
tive than that of body ; it requires a veil 
between to satisfy our sense of beauty, and for 
my part, I don't want beauty and luxuries of 
that sort — they make one * soft,' unfit for the 
struggle of life." I spoke roughly, brutally 
even, but there should be no mistake about it, 
that when I passed out of Honey's life, as I 
shortly would, she should have no delusions 
about my entire indifference — save as friends 
— to all the women I had ever known. 

" Man is not meant to be happy," I con- 
tinued, "but if he have progressed one single 
step up, instead of down, he has done his work 



254 *• HONEY" 

well — he has left his mark on posterity; for 
he has not only contributed his one perfect 
fragment to the mosaic of life, but his supreme 
effort towards the right will reappear from 
time to time in countless generations." 

"He won't if he doesn't marry the right 
woman," said Mary crossly. "The whole 
question resolves itself into whether he and 
she suit each other — ^are complete contrasts in 

colouring and disposition " she stopped 

abruptly, but looked neither at Honey nor 
at me. "Also," said Mary, "the woman who 
reduces her worries to adjectives, not com- 
mentaries on the vices of her husband, is a 
jewel, and undoubtedly the original person 
named in the Bible whose price was* far above 
rubies. Though, after all," she added dis- 
cursively, "the Book of Lamentations was 
written by a man I " 

"And when Job described himself as being 
poured out like water, he certainly had the 
Flu," cried Honey, eager to divert the con- 
versation into safer channels. 

But Mary was not to be switched off in 
this fashion, she always followed her mood. 
"The fatal honeymoon should be abolished," 



*' HONEY" 255 

she said. " The word is derived from the old 
Teutonic custom of drinking honey wine, 
^hydomel,' for thirty days after a marriage. 
Attila the Hun is said to have died from 
drinking an inordinate quantity of this very 
intoxicating liquor at a wedding-feast — and I 
wonder how many romances have been killed 
by the moon without the wine since ? " 

Honey did not try to guess, nor did I, and 
Mary went on — 

"But, after all, the wives of Attila and 
his crew, got a grasp of their husbands' 
characters at the very beginning, that they 
must have been fools indeed if they did 
not utilise afterwards — for most men are only 
natural when they are drunk I Drink up to 
a certain point abstracts a man's mind, he 
becomes his real self. That is why some of 
the finest literary work has been done under 
influence of drink or opium — if the man's 
mind were essentially great, be it understood, 
not unless." 

Instinctively I thought of Holford, of how 
it is in the way a man takes his wine that 
you may know him. At a certain point, a 
gentleman is at his best and mellowest ; 



256 -HONEY" 

a glass too much or too little, and his full 
flavour is missed. But Holford never 
reached that point of perfection ; he became 
first affectionate, then morose, after that his 
manners failed entirely, and the breed of the 
man came out. Then my mind reverted to 
something in Mary's last speech, and I said — 

"Why do you women always crow over 
anything in a man that puts him in your 
power ? Are we always to assume the atti- 
tude of adversaries to each other, with only 
brief truces for real or pretended love ? " 

"Oh, women are all right," said Mary 
unkindly. "Her attitude is always one of 
tenderness towards you wretches — it's man 
who makes all the trouble. It's my belief 
the great Protagonist has long ago declined 
the responsibility of the strutting biped by 
which He spoiled, hoping to complete creation. 
The creature has got clean beyond Him, and 
is amenable to no will but his own — as it is, 
he is the misshapen product of his own laws. 
Undoubtedly he had a place in the original 
scheme, but has deliberately lost the way, or 
doesn't even try to find it again." 

" Mary J Mary ! " cried Honey in horror, 



i 



"HONEY" 257 

"I never knew you really spiteful before — 
and at Ben's expense, too I " 

" Ben's a fool," said Mary sharply, and her 
tone would have really vexed me, but that 
I held the key to her exasperation ; " and 
what's worse, some day he'll marry one, for 
no woman of taste and sensibility will ever 
look at him." 

" Thank God 1 " I said heartily. " Long 
ago I made my choice of the two heroines in 
Jane Austen's book. Sense will cook my 
dinner, and make my shirts in the back- 
woods." 

Mary turned white. She faltered out — 

" Backwoods ? " 

Honey flashed me an indignant glance, and 
I said, 

" Some day, Mary, perhaps." 

" Is there no hope that you'll ever like, or 
be a success in your profession, Ben?" said 
Mary wistfully, for the dear woman had 
cherished ambitions for me, as women will 
for their nearest male belongings. 

"None," I said. «I don't believe in 

medicine — I hate surgery, having nerves and 

— a heart. It is only the butcher who will kill 
s 



258 •• HONEY" 

patient after patient on the hospital table, and 
shout * Next, please,* with perfect indifference, 
who has a chance of acquiring skill as he goes, 
and becoming a successful, we will not say a 
great surgeon. Then the jealousy, the radi- 
cally opposite opinions of any two doctors or 
more on any one case — ^all are disheartening 
features of a really noble profession, and I 
have more than once thought of chucking the 
whole thing, and trying my luck abroad." 

"So that is where the cooking and shirt- 
making wife comes in," said Mary, making 
a plucky stand against the shock my slip of 
the tongue had given her. "She won't be 
good to look at ; the working hand is not 
the boudoir one, and lots of daintinesses will 
go by the board till you won't even miss 
them — God help you ! Still, the woman pro- 
vided with frills and soaps and scents has to 
pay. We all pay in the long run." 

For a while we were all silent, then Mary 
broke out — 

" There's a lot in luck, or why does every- 
thing fall into the lap of one man, and a 
better than he, become a bone that Fate 
gnaws at till his dying day?" 



p 



•HONEY" 259 

"But I don't mean to be gnawed at," I 
said, and kissed her thin hand. ^^ I mean to 
be a rattling good animal. Honestly, I've 
tried to be clever, and I can't." 

" If you were my son," said Mary, retaining 
my hand, " you would not leave me, but stay 
to tuck me safely up in my last little bed." 

"My dear," I said, "if I were your 
husband, I should stay. If I were your son, 
I should have to go." 

" Do you remember Buchanan's lines on his 
mother's death ?" she said, and repeated them — 

" * When the life-thread was spun 
From the blood in her breast, 
She look'd on her son, 

Smiled, and rocked him to rest. 

*' ' How swift the hours run 

From the east to the west ! 
Erect stood the son. 
And the mother was blest. 

« * Yet, lo ! all is done ! 

(•Twas, God, Thy behest !) 
In his turn the grey son 
Rocks the mother to rest ! 

** ' All is o'er, ere begun ! 

Oh, my dearest and best. 
Sleep in peace till thy ion 

Creepeth down to the breast ! ' " 



26o " HONEY " 

I heard a low sound, but before I could tell 
if It were the sound of Honey weeping, the 
girl had crossed over, and hidden her face 
on Mary's shoulder. 

" The two most beautiful things on earth," 
said Mary dreamily, "are the baby's smile 
to its mother, and, in second childhood, the 
mother's smile to her child. The dawning 
recognition, the exquisite content, there is 
nothing to touch them." 

For a while she smoothed Honey's brown 
head, looking over it at a picture of " Gipsy," 
dimly seen on the wall. 

" How happy she looks ! ... It must be 
nice to go before the wine in the cup sinks 
low. Yet it's humiliating to reflect that we 
may go through the supremest spiritual suffer- 
ing — die a thousand deaths from unsupport- 
able anguish — ^yet recover, while a slight acci- 
dent to our physical machinery will hurry us 
out of the world, often without pain, at a 
moment's notice. That is the ideal death. 
But those who go slowly — I have my own 
theory about them : that when we say they 
wander, we lie. The barriers are down ; what 
they once loved and lost is near . . . the 



"HONEY" 261 

hand beckoning to the shadows in the room, 
calls to itself real people in the old likeness 
that they knew, more and more real as death 
brings them closer. Else why that look of 
joy on the faces of those who go conscious, 
as at a face that we do not see, but they 
f^now? How could they look like that for 
strangers ? " 

For a while the silence was unbroken save 
for the little flame-sounds in the burning logs, 
then Mary said — 

" Why should not the gates of the spiritual 
world be thrown wide, and a flood of light 
from scientific investigation illuminate the dim 
obscurity which now surrounds our future 
life ? We take by faith nowadays what some 
day may be verified by exact knowledge." 

" I'd rather take it on faith," I said. 

" And the idiotic thing is to think that we 
matter when we go," said Mary briskly. 
" We don't — everything goes on just the 
same as before. After all, what is life ? — 

" ' A little rule, a little sway, 
A sunbeam in a winter's day, 
Is all the proud and mighty have 
Between the cradle and the grave.' " 



it 



HONEY •' 



But I knew she mattered a great deal to 
Honey when I saw the girFs averted face, as, 
without wishing us good night, she hastened 
away. 



CHAPTER XXI 

" Say not ' a small event ' ! Why small ? 
Costs it more pain than this ye call 
A ' great event ' should come to pass 
From that ? Untwine me from the mass 
Of deeds which make up life, one deed 
Power shall fall short in, or exceed ! " 

1IFE may be a mission, or it may not, but 
^ God and Nature never intended it to be 
a martyrdom, and when Honey came up to 
Mary early in November, I found her an 
infinitely more lovable girl than when I 
knew her first. She fiiced the music in town 
with apparently as gay an unconcern as she 
had faced the country ; she was at her best, 
and her original bent of character showed 
itself, now that the paralysis of her will in the 
struggle between her better and lower nature 
were over. 

There is a spiritual beauty, a beauty of 
sufiFering, of a struggle through pain to a 

higher one, that will shine through the clay 

263 



264 "HONEY" 

and glorify it, until, as one of the greatest 
painters long ago said, often such spiritual 
grace becomes the only form of loveliness 
that satisfies our eyes, making mere beauty of 
form and colour distasteful to us. 

Some such charm had come to poor Honey 
lately, together with a keener sensibility to the 
suffering of others. It is when we have lost 
the selfish serenity of perfect health, when we 
are nervous, trembling to each suggestion of 
pity, of kindness, that we feel for others, 
because we feel for them through ourselves ; 
but when we are well and happy, often our 
nerves are of steel, and our sympathies are 
calloused through and through. 

The best men in Mary's set, shy of the 
house in Holford's time, closed round Honey, 
and quarrelled over her, not for her wealth, as 
many of them were far richer than she, but 
because they had the wit to see her worth and 
naturalness — it was the disposition, the heart 
of her, that shone through her body, and 
gladdened every soul with whom she came in 
contact, for men will always prefer a woman 
who feels deeply, to one who carries a cherry- 
stone in her breast 



it 



HONEY " 265 



I was a great deal in Brook Street during 
those November and December days that her 
brightness, and the company she brought 
about her, made to pass so cheerily ; and it 
amused me to watch the play, observe the 
humours of her court, and Mary delighted in 
doing so also, and never felt out of it ; she 
did not speak of age, or growing old, she was 
young inside all the way along. 

" You see," as she remarked one day, " I'm 
not like Sarah, who was lamenting the other 
day, that she could not go to the furrier's, and 
come up perfectly fresh and new, as her sables 
do under the rattan ; and I don't, like so many 
people, feel that the excessive exuberance of 
youth exasperates me by its waste, because, 
you know, I started with such a lot myself, 
and it has lasted well out." 

If she grew frailer daily, her spirit but 
burned the brighter, and brave Honey would 
never by look or word, even to me, admit 
that Mary was not very well indeed, only 
I saw how jealously she guarded her against 
fatigue, how vigilantly she watched her. I 
could not believe that this was the belligerent, 
passionate girl, at odds with the whole world. 



266 " HONEY " 

I had first met in that very house, a wreath 
of green leaves above her wilful brow, her 
red mouth curved into scornful anger with 
the world, and every thing and person in it, 
save Holford. 

And jret — ^and jret— did Honey ever come 
to love me, I knew that with her temper 
and mine, we would have to come to close 
grips at last, before we settled down into good 
lovers and working comrades. 

And if Mary's eyes sometimes asked me 
an earnest, even pathetic question, I had no 
answer to give . her, though I would have 
given much to comfort her, for to her had 
come the time when, no longer measuring her 
powers by her desires, and over-estimating 
them, she said, "I will do this and that," 
she became as a little phild, depending on the 
love and pity of others, knowing that she* 
would not depend in vain. 

But her intellect burned bright and clear, and 
there was no outward sign of disease upon 
her. She wanted light and laughter up to the 
very end, and, as she confided to me, antici- 
pated death with that same eager curiosity 
which had distinguished her life, her only 



V 



" HONEY " 267 

fear being lest blindness fell on her, so that 
she might miss the actual moment of passing, 
that she might not be able to see. 

And if Honey watched Mary, Mary watched 
the girl in those brief eclipses when the sun 
did not shine, nor love, and life was horrible, 
for Honey had that eerie possession — call it a 
gift, or a curse, as you will— of mental vision, 
of being able to call up before her, vivid as 
life, the scenes through which she had passed ; 
and often her eyes were blank, the girl gone, 
the seer living over again the agony of one 
shameful hour. 

Then the blood would mount hotly to her 
face, her hands would clench, and I knew that 
the bitterness of her mortification was in- 
destructible, unassuaged ; that she found it 
impossible to drink the cup of humiliation 
*to the dregs, and be in her proud, careless 
self-respect, as sure of herself as she had been 
before. ^ 

Holford's name was never mentioned in 
Brook Street. Personally we never saw, never 
heard of him ; but Dawson kept him in sight 
on his own account, and from time to time 
enlightened me as to that gentleman's pro- 



268 " HONEY ' 

ceedings. Incidentally I heard that the woman 
with the broken finger had deserted him to 
set up house with her favourite bully, that 
Holford made no pretence of resuming music 
lessons, but was to be seen about with an 
^blouissante and richly gemmed Jewess (she 
wore no gloves) of fifty-five, who kept him 
too short of pocket-money to enable him to 
stray far from her side. The most decent 
members of the massed battalions of his 
female friends regarded him coldly, for he 
not only had no money, but it was felt that 
his losing Honey, and, incidentally, a perfect 
house in which to entertain them, was due to 
some especial piece of stupid villainy on his 
part, and while they admired him as knave, 
no one pities the mistakes of a fool. He had 
been clever up to a certain point, then bungled, 
obeying some universal law that mostly evens 
things up between rascals and honest men. 
Still, he yet might have pulled round, righted 
himself (for men are not as leopards with 
their spots : they can, and do, change their 
moral ones if they will to do it) ; but a man's 
up-bringings tell in later life — it takes strong 
wings to cleave the murk out into the open, 



V 



it 



HONEY" 269 



and Holford did not even try. He had 
always done the things that he liked to do 
first, and those that he had to do last, and 
there was not time for both, so the costly 
game had spelled ruin in the long run. 

Honey had found a purchaser for the Picca- 
dilly house — everything seemed to be just 
as before Holford came into her life, save that 
she was equipped with a band of new lovers, 
and if she had been only a little less true, less 
straight, she would have had all these men by 
the ears in a trice. I think that sometimes the 
temptation was great in her to play with their 
affections — perhaps because the love of the 
many, will sometimes drive out the rankling 
shame of the desertion of the one — but she 
always pulled up in time. 

I teased her one night before Mary had 
come down to dinner about her adorers, but 
Honey asked me indignantly, did I think 
there could be any danger in men who re- 
mained in town during the hunting and 
shooting season ? 

"You forget the autumn Session," I said, 
" and that several of your poor sheep are in 
the House, and forced to remain here." 



270 "HONEY" 

**Then they should pair,'* said Honey 
crossly; "silly creatures, rung in and out of 
lobbies like schoolboys, and wasting immortal 
timel" 

Then I realised how great a sacrifice the 
girl had made in giving up all her winter 
delights to come and take care of Mary ; but I 
believe she always felt responsible for her 
friend's break-up, since it was through Hoi- 
ford I took that fatal journey to town. And 
certainly no child of her own could have been 
more tender and devoted than was this child of 
a stranger to Mary, who, if she went no longer 
into Society, still received quietly, and rejoiced 
in drawing a crowd about Honey, and dressing 
her most beautifully on all occasions. 

Sometimes the two women would come 
round and dine with me, and Honey would go 
on investigating tours, peeping into my books ; 
on one occasion returning to tell me confiden- 
tially that she had found out the reason I had 
not made a success of my profession — it was 
because I sported a beard, and all the heads of it 
wore naked chins I 

I told her I had known it all along, but 
could never be quite clear whether laziness or 



"HONEY" 271 

atavism — all my forefathers had worn beards — 
were answerable for mjr sticking to it, but I 
meant to stick. 

" Gigantic creature ! " she cried, swinging 
her slender foot as she perched high on the 
arm of Mary's chair, "you frighten your 
patients. I always get out of the way when I 
see you coming, for fear you will walk over 
me." 

"And you," I said, " some day, earth will 
relinquish its slight hold of you, and you will 
ride away on a broomstick, or swing into the 
sky, curved in the sickle of the moon ; or be 
blown like thistle-down over the rim of this 
world into the next, and there will be no more 
Honey for town and country bees." 

"But you would be a country bee," she 
cried eagerly, " if you could, wouldn't you ? " 

I nodded. The Burghfield life had bitten 
deep into me, confirming old tastes, and mak- 
ing more intolerable than ever this city life, 
where your hand is against every man's, and 
every man's hand against you. The miles of 
closed and shuttered houses at night, with here 
and there the hovering, terrified shapes of the 
homeless, bring home to you, perhaps more 



272 " HONEY " 

forcibly than anything else, the cruelty of those 
laws within which the prosperous safely dwell. 
Not a day but I longed for the soft Devon- 
shire air, the round as man, of such an active 
existence as Honey lived among her neigh- 
bours and dependants, fulfilling herself all the 
way along. 

" Tm afraid I am very selfish," said Mary, 
" But I don't like country doctors ; my own 
is used to me, you know ; and damp — the 
country is always damp in November — kills 
me. 

Honey twined an arm round Mary's neck, 
and stooped down to look deep in her eyes ; 
her own were true, true and tender then, as no 
other eyes I ever saw ; then she fell to stroking 
Mary's face softly, and Mary closed her eyes, 
smiling as one secure and happy under the 
touch of those gentle fingers. 

"It's just like stroking little young birds' 
feathers," said the girl softly, and then we saw 
that Mary had suddenly fallen asleep ; but 
Honey went on with those birdlike touches, 
her face sad, yet beautiful, as the faces of 
ministering women aire. Very white and 
shadowy looked Mary, with her blue eyes 



'* HONEY " 273 

closed, hair and dress exquisitely dainty as 
usual ; but I dared not meet Honey's eyes, 
and so for a while the room was silent as the 
grave. 

Mary presently awoke as quickly as she had 
fallen asleep, and vowed that Honey, by her 
passes and incantations, had bewitched her. 
Presently she sent the girl for a book out of 
my library that I knew had never been in it, 
and turning suddenly to me, said, 

" Ben, you love Honey, why will you not 
speak ? " 

" Honey is rich. I am poor," I said. " If 
it were the other way round " 

I paused. 

" But you do love her," insisted Mary. 

" For her bravery, for her unselfishness, for 
the way she has faced the world, flung tiie 
dead past behind her — but Honey the woman ? 
Even if we were equal in fortune, even if she 
loved me — and I have no information on that 
point — I am not sure that I would dare let a 
woman come into my life." 

" Cold - blooded - monster ! " cried Mary, 
addressing the ceiling. ^* While you're decid- 
ing the amount of genuflexion she is to go 



274 " HONEY " 

through to win you, another man will cut in, 
and carry her oifF." 

"She will not be in a hurry," I said 
equably, and just then Honey peeped in, re- 
marking that having been sent out of the 
room on a fool's errand, she would be glad 
to know if we had quite concluded our 
conversation about herself. 

"Mary," I said, "is anxious that you 
should marry. Now you have dancing after 
you a sample of pretty well every profes- 
sion, or way of killing time — which do you 
prefer ? " 

Honey laughed, standing tall and slim be- 
fore us, her hands lightly clasped behind her 
back. 

" I will have men to make love to me," she 
said, " men to make wretched, men to put me 
through every pleasant thing I want to do ; 
but I will not spoil it all by marrying any one 
of them. I will live my life on the lines of a 
man as much as I can, but I will not be as 
wicked as a man, though, to tell you a secret, 
I have only just missed being very bad indeed ! 
If I make a face " — she suited the word to the 
deed — " I've got half a dimple in my chin ; if 



'HONEY" 275 

it had been a whole one, I should have gone 
helter-skelter to the dogs ! " 

There was a fine colour in her brown cheek, 
she carried her head high, then she suddenly 
exclaimed— 

" Oh I I would never dare to begin to be 
bad, for if I did, I should never stop ! " 



CHAPTER XXII 

" Came the relief : * What, sentry, ho ! 

How passed the night thro* thy long waking ? ' 
' Cold, cheerless, dark — as may befit 
The hour before the dawn is breaking.* 

" * No sight ? No sound ? * ' No ; nothing save 
The flower from the marshes calling ; 
And in your western sky above 
An hour ago a star was falling.' 

^* *A star ? There's nothing strange in that.' 
^ No, nothing ; but, above the thicket. 
Somehow it seemed to me that God 
Somewhere had just relieved a picket." 

THUS waned November and December, 
and on Christmas night, after the 
happiest of evenings with Honey and myself, 
Mary died in her sleep. 

It was Honey who found her, lying with 
face peacefully framed in the hollow of the 
arm curved over her head, her blue eyes 
closed, and a smile on her lips, lovely, 

elusive, that seemed to mock us with its 

276 



''HONEY" 277 

exceeding happiness, to pity us even that we 
were living, to forbid our tears as a wrong 
done to that shining immortality which she 
had put on in such glad haste. • • • 

Yet as we stood beside her, Honey wept 
like a forlorn child, for she was young, and 
she had lost her friend and counsellor, and 
there were none to replace her, I, least of all, 
and when Mary lay like a little white ivory 
saint in her snowy casket, with the flowers 
she loved scattered sparsely about her, and 
violets in her waxen hands. Honey sat beside 
her for hours together, " learning lessons," as 
she called them. 

Cold, cold, were Mary*s lips and little chin, 
but Honey never shrank from them. She 
could not have enough of that silent com- 
pany, and came away unwillingly to eat a 
little, to sleep less, and at early morning, at 
darkest night, she was found beside her friend, 
with no tears in her eyes — rather a glad 
shining, so eloquent was Mary*s face of a 
joy she had never known on earth — Mary, 
who had been so careless, so flippant of 
speech, but — who had kept her ideals. 

Many, many things Mary taught her in 



278 "HONEY" 

those quiet hours ; many a film was brushed 
away from Honey's mind, many a snare from 
her feet. Words she had spoken, deeds she 
had done, did not ring true to her then ; and 
in this close companionship with death, life 
showed clearer to her, and the meaning of 
true love, and many other matters to which 
she had been purblind, thinking she saw. Of 
the good that came to her then, of the right 
influence it was to exercise on her after-life, 
who shall measure its strength and value ? 
Wayward she might be, and often passionate, 
but the real worth of her would be founded 
henceforward as on a rock. 

Sometimes I came, and sat beside her ; we 
rarely spoke, only looked at our beloved, and 
almost smiled with her for company — it was 
as though she wanted us to share her happi- 
ness, to tell us her curiosity was satisfied, 
and she knew. And as we sat there together, 
perhaps, like Honey, I too " learned lessons " 
from Mary. 

But once Honey spoke. 

" You see," she said very softly, " she pre- 
tended, dear Mary, she was ashamed to let 
people know how good she was, and how 



"HONEY" 279 

tender her heart, so she sharpened her tongue, 
and often said bitter things, when she must have 
wept if she had said kind ones. She preferred 
that she should be thought worldly, heartless, 
anything but her true self — as she is now." 

We looked for a while at Mary's face, and 
I knew that Honey spoke truth. 

"And I must not pretend," said the girl. 
"Any good that is in me must shine out to 
the world, to those I love ; and the bad that is 
in me, I must not try to cover it up, or call 
it by other names. I must not pose — to pose 
means to try and appear something that one is 
not, something intended to confuse and deceive. 
You never posed, Ben ; you never will — you 
are too true. That is why Mary leaned on 
you, and loved you." 

To both of us the pang was great when the 
moment of parting came, and hidden away was 
the face upon which no shadow of change had 
come, and only the peace had deepened. And 
presently we took her to where her last bed 
was made, and sorrowfully we left her there, 
and went back to the house that seemed one 
eager, hushed waiting for the sound of her 
step and voice. 



28o "HONEY" 

Her will was read by the lawyer in the 
library, and though many of Mary's relations 
were present, no one seemed surprised or 
angry when it became known that she had left 
me the whole of her large fortune, with the 
exception of legacies to her poorer relatives 
and servants. 

I looked across at Honey, who sat with wan 
cheeks, and downcast eyes, too absorbed in her 
grief to even notice or rejoice at my good 
fortune ; and with a thunderous rush of pulses 
I suddenly realised all that she had become to 
me — all that I had not dared to let her become 
to me till now. 

Perhaps the end of the story was clear 
then to all the others present, for warmth 
and good wishes were in their eyes and hand- 
clasps as they departed ; and with the last of 
them went Honey, and I saw her no more 
that day, nor did I wish it, so short a time had 
our friend departed in stealth, never to return 
to us. 

" O Death I O Time ! — the wicket and the 
approach." Gently indeed had the wicket 
been unlatched for our Mary. 

I did not see Honey again, as she left early 



** HONEY" 281 

next morning for Burghfield. Yet I did not 
hold her guilty of discourtesy in leaving me 
with no word of farewell, nor did I write to 
her. In the wood, where she had found her 
true self, where I had found mine, where we 
had talked out our hearts, and revealed our- 
selves the one to the other, I would seek her 
when the right time came, and we would plan 
out our lives together. 

All my life I had shirked love, denied the 
necessity of it. Well, one woman will bring 
home to you what a million others cannot, and 
it seemed to me that my first real falling in love 
with her had been when she stood up to her 
sorrow, and faced it open-eyed, without drugs 
or sedatives, coming out of the ordeal a better 
woman than she was before. 

In my own room later, I read the sealed 
letter from Mary that the solicitor had given 
me, and as if I were already used to calling 
Honey mine, wished that she were with me to 
read it too. 

"Ben," it said, "I never would say that 
prayer in church about sudden death, because 
I always hoped it would be mine. When you 
read this, I trust I shall have had my wish. 



282 "HONEY" 

I I^ow that I shall be happier than you ever 
knew me — ^and better. I am not one to hedge, 
but I have always felt that when everything 
else had failed me (as it has not) I should 
come to this peace, this blind reliance on an 
invisible friend who will never leave me. . . . 
* And we are one day nearer Thee * sometimes 
haunts me ... if only it may be so. ... I 
have always found something wanting— does 
not this longing point to another and fuller 
existence, of which we all dream, yet no human 
eye hath seen } 

" I have been happy, Ben, and I have loved, 
but I have not known that supreme joy when 
body, heart, and soul leap all together to the 
one man in the fulfilment of perfect love. 
Sometimes the body is drawn through the 
senses ; sometimes the heart, through pity ; 
often the mind, through keen intellectual sym- 
pathy ; but seldom indeed do they fuse in one 
supreme consummation, yet so I dare to 
think it may be with you and Honey. You 
loved her all the time, and did not know it, 
and she loved you most of the time, and did 
know it — that was the only difference. And 
don't forget to tell her every day that you love 



'' HONEY " 283 

her ; you men vnever realise that it is a miracle 
recreated to the happy woman each time you 
tell it. And fight selfishness — less in you than 
most men, but what you have, you must un- 
learn, lest you teach it to Honey, who never 
knew it. You have been a happiness and a 
comfort to me for many years — I have leaned 
on, and trusted, and loved you, and so good 
night, dear Ben, and may God keep you and 
our Hbney safe till we meet again. 

" Mary." 



CHAPTER XXIII 

«*And then • 
A man becomes aware of his life's flow. 
And hears its winding murmur ; and he sees 
The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze. 
And there arrives a lull in the hot race 
Wherein he doth for ever chase 
That flying and elusive shadow, rest. 
An air of coolness plays upon his face. 
And an unwonted calm pervades his breast. 
And then he thinks he knows 
The hills where his life rose. 
And the sea where it goes." 

LONG before Honey saw me I saw her, 
^ a vivid spot of scarlet in the dazzle of 
the whiteness of the woods, and I smiled at 
the vanity that had made her, when no hunt- 
ing was possible, decide to look her most 
audacious and fetching in my eyes, in the 
garb that she knew became her best. 

It was three o'clock, hour of brightest sun- 
shine in the short winter's day, as it was the 

happiest I had ever known in my life, and 

284 



(( 



HONEY " 285 



light as my heart fell my footfall on the 
crystal carpet of the woods. The long vistas 
of trees were of fretted white lace, diamond 
spangled ; the thin pure air acted on my 
blood like wine, strengthening each fibre of 
my body, making the keener my joy, and 
though her back was turned towards me, I 
saw her tremble, knew that she knew I was 
nigh. 

She stood by the tree where as boy she 
had averted her face, but drunk in each word 
of my discourse, and I passed round it, then 
put my hands on her shoulders, and looked 
in her eyes. 

"Ben," she stammered, "Ben" . . . and 
then I took her close in my arms, and there, 
where we had come to a true understanding 
of each other's hearts, we entered into our 
kingdom of love. 

"And Time was not, 
And all the world stood still." 

Did I say I had forgotten women and their 
ways ? I had never known them, till Honey's 
arms clasped my neck, till her soft cheek 
pressed my bearded one, flower-soft lips and 
cheeks striking the vivid note of her scarlet 



L 



286 'HONEY" 

coat, while the tove in her dark eyes was too 
lovely, too deep for any words. 

"It is a fine hunting morning," I said 
presently, and we laughed, and came out of 
heaven, and hand in hand paced the woods 
that had put on gala robes solely for this 
wondrous occasion. 

We fell at once into Love's usual cross- 
examination — of how Love first came to us, of 
where ; of all the torments and joy« the tricky 
little rascal had cost us, while at the same 
moment Father Time, waggling his head, 
calculated how long our happiness might last. 

" I leaned on you ; I admired you all the 
way along," said Honey slowly. "Insensibly 
you taught me what a true gentleman should 
be — what a man who is not a gentleman never 
can be ; but I did not love you till I heard you 
were dead. And you ? " 

"I believe I never forgot you," I said, 
" from the moment you expressed an ardent 
desire to smash crockery, to the one when I 
knew Mary had left me her fortune. Anyway, 
out leaped the imprisoned giant, and I don't 
think he has done growing yet." 

She put up her hand to smooth my cheek. 



(( 



HONEY " 287 



"You did that to Mary," I said, "and 
looked higher than the trees. God bless 
her!" And Honey's lips moved, and for 
a while she rested very still, with her face 
hidden on my shoulder. 

" Somehow it seems as if we had stepped 
over her grave to our happiness," she said, 
but there were ho tears in her eyes, nor in 
mine; no minor note could quench the glory 
of our exceeding happiness in that hour. 

" What is joy ? " I said. " Seize it — cherish 
it — ^guard it jealously, lest it escape you. 
Sweet, I have been snatched out of prison, 
out of a groove that would have completely 
demoralised me in the long run, for a sur- 
geon's work makes him either very human, or 
very inhuman — and I was fast becoming in- 
human. I am set a free man on this green 
earth that I love — I have everything — best of 
all, you. But, Honey," and I took her little 
face in my big hands, and kissed the brown 
and scarlet oval of it, the wicked, true eyes, 
"I shall be often away, shooting, hunting, 
fishing, coursing — there are both our estates to 
look after — you will be long hours alone, but 
you'll always know I'll come back." 



288 " HONEY " 

''And that is the gist of it all, that you w^iU 
come back," said Honey softly. "A woman 
will endure all else, but for the man she loves 
not to come back — that's her ruin. And JT 
hunt, too ! Only you must be Master of 
Hounds now, instead of me." 

I shook my head. 

" At Garstan, perhaps, not here " ; and I*d 
never make half such a dashing one, for she 
was a radiant figure in the scarlet and white 
and black of her hunting livery. 

" But, Honey," I said, and held her at arm's 
length, ''for you and I to shake down well 
together, to be real pals, some things are 
essential." 

I paused, and Honey's eyes danced. 

"Life is very much like the crowded 
London streets, orderly so long as man and 
beast keep their tempers, make way for one 
another ; but individuality, temper, selfishness, 
mean a smash. So it is with life. When 
the invisible policeman within us holds up 
his hand, we must obey him, or smash some- 
body, or ourselves. So if we are to be 
comrades, dear, we must make room for one 
another all along the way." 



*' HONEY " 289 

" Go on," said Honey, her eyes still full of 
diablerie. 

I floundered a litde. 

" I shall love you," I said, " but you must 
not expect me to tell you so every hour and 
every day of the year. If I may suggest it, 
you will practise a little faith in these matters, 
because you may be sure that my acts will be 
all right." 

" Anything more ? " 

Honey's little white teeth showed in a way 
reminiscent of a certain brown gamin I re- 
membered, and for a moment I lost the thread 
of my discourse to shut her lips down on 
those impertinent mockers of my threnody. 

" You must never open my letters," I said, 
" and I shall never open yours." 

" Marriage," said Honey demurely, " seems 
to be a succession of * dont's * for a woman, 
and *what he ought to do, and doesn't,' for 
a man. Still, woman," and she murmured 
softly — 

" * Oh, the gladness of her gladness when she's glad ; 
Oh, the sadness of her sadness when she's sad ! 
But the gladness of her gladness 
And the sadness of her sadness 
Are nothing to her badness when she's bad ! ' 
U 



290 " HONEY " 

So perhaps it's just as well to try and make 
me behave ! " 

I pinched the frustrated dimple in her chin, 
and said — 

"And you mustn't nag, and you mustn't 
argue." 

" I won't ; rU do it," cried Honey instantly. 

"And I won't have you love the children 
better than you do me," I said, determined to 
punish her for her impudence ; and I did, for 
the velvet peak of her huntsman's cap came 
down swiftly as the dark curtains of her eyes, 
to hide her blushes, and she meekly remarked 
that she thought she would like to go home. 

Arm in arm we stepped blithely out, and I 
supposed her reduced to a proper frame of 
mind, but presently I discovered her with 
head turned away, shaking violently. 

*'I — I was thinking," she said, "how — 
how handy that great beard of yours will 
come in when I am angry, and have a mind 
to pull it ! " 



THE END } 

I 

f 



MUDlE-8 SELECT LIBRARY, 

l.lMlTeo. 



C&i 



FUi^nct^ 



"^ "^Cii.^^ 



^imu-^ 



* 



r.«l 



A CATALOGUE OF BOOKS 

AND ANNOUNCEMENTS OF 

METHUEN AND COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS : LONDON 

36 ESSEX STREET 

W.C 



CONTENTS 







PAGE 


- 




PAGE 


ANNQUKCBMBNTSy . » 


• i 


2 


LEADERS OP RELIGION, 




30 


GENERAL LITERATURE, 


» 


. 8-27 


SOCIAL QUESTIONS OF TO-DAY, 




30 


METHUEN's standard LinRARY, 


27 


UNIVERSITY EXTENSION SERIES, 




31 


BYZANTINE TEXTS, 




27 


COMMERCIAL SERIES, . 




31 


little LIBRARY, . 




. 28 


CLASSICAL TRANSLATIONS, . 




31 


LITTLE GUIDES, , 




28 


SCHOOL EXAMINATION SERIES, 




3» 


LITTLE BIOGRAPHIES, . 




28 


methuen's junior school«books, 32 


LI'ITLB BLUB BOOKS 




29 


TEXTBOOKS OF TECHNOLOGY, 




3a 


LIBRARY OF DEVOTION, 




29 


FICTION, .... 




3a-38 


OXFORD COMMENTARIES, 




29 


THE FLEUR DE LIS NOVELS, . 




39 


HANDBOOKS OF THEOLOGY, 




29 


BOOKS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, 




40 


churchman's LIBRARY, 


• • 


89 


THE NOVELIST, 




40 


churchman's BIBI.R, , 


« 


30 


METHUBN*S SIXPENNY LIBRARY, 




40 



JULY 1902 



July 1902 



Messrs. Methuen's 

ANNOUNCEMENTS 



THE COMPLETE WORKS OF CHARLES LAMB. Edited 

by E. V. Lucas. With numerous Illustrations. In Seven Vo/umes. 

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an ideal of thoroughness far superior to any that previous editors have set before 
themselves. A Life of Lamb by Mr. Lucas vrill follow next year. 

THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF OLIVER CROMWELL. 

By Thomas Carlyle. With an Introduction by C H. Firth, 

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I 



Messrs. Methuen's Announcements 7 
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A CATALOGUE OF 



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sixap\Katy,*^PallMallGasette, 



General Literature 



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A2 



lO 



Messrs. Methuen's Catalogue 



C. F. BastaU*. M.A., Professor of Econ- 
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34 



Messrs. Methuisn's Catalogue 



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Fiction 



35 



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J. 



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36 



Messrs. Methubn's Catalogue 



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W.W.Jacobs. See page 33. 



Fiction 



37 



Henry Jamei* Author of 'What Maisie 
Kacw.* THE SACRED FOUNT. 
CtvumSxw. 6*. 

THE SOFT SIDE. Seccnd EdUUn, 
Cr9vm 8fV. 6s, 



C. F. Xeax7. THE 



JOURNALIST. 



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tUCasHalet See page 33. 

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B. PhlUipe Oppenheim. master of 

MEN. Second Edition, Crown 8cv. 6s. 

Qill)ert ParKer. See page 34. 

James Blythe Fatten, bijli, the 

DANCER. CiywnZvo, 6s. 

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I CROWN THEE KING. With lUus- 
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EdenPllillpottS. See page 34. 

Walter Ragnnond, Author of ' Love and 
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Crown Zvo, 6s. 

Edith RiCkert. OUT OF THE CYPRESS 
SWAMP. Crown Zvo. 6s. 

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^Spectator, 

' The whole story )s admirably told. Not 
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thing more exciting than the bloodhound 
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W. Pett Bidge. LOST PROPERTY. 
Second Edition. Crown Zvo. 6s. 
* The story is an interesting and animated 



38 



Messrs. Methuen*^ Catalogue 



pietim of tlM straggle foy lUSi In lioadoii, 
with a natnnl hnaovr and tendernaw of iu 

'A sSnpk, delioaca bit of work, which 
will giva plaasura to waMny, Much study of 
the nasses has made hun, not auikd, out 
strong, and— wonder of wonders— cheeifttl.' 

«A really delightful Ufe history of a 
London foundling. Once more we have to 
thank Mr. Pett Ridge for an admirable 
study of London lik,*'-^/€ciatpr, 

Mn. K. H. BolMtUm. A GALLANT 
QUAKER. Illustrated. CroumBv^ 6s, 

' It is a strong ttory of love and hate, of 
religious excitement and calm faith.* — Z^eds 
Mertuty, 

W. Clark BQgMlL MY DANISH SWEET. 
HEART. Illustrated. Fourth EdUi^n, 
Crcwn %vfi, 6s, 

Grace Eliyg. THE WOOING OF 

SHEILA. Second Edition, Crown^vo, 6s. 
' A really fine boek. A book that deserves 
to live. Sheila is the sweetest heroine who 
has lived in a novelist's pages for many a 
day. Every scene and every incident has 
the impress of truth. It is a masterly ro' 
mance, and one that should be widely read 
and supgittcvsxtidu-^Mcrmini^ leader, 

W.SatohdL THELANDOFTHELOST. 
Crown Svo, 6s, 

'An exciting story • . . the plot and 
passion are managed with skill, and the 
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— Glasgow //orald, 

AdeUne Serfeaat. Author of * The Story of 
a Penitent SouL' A GREAT LADY. 
Crown Zvo. 6s, 

THE MASTER OF BEECHWOOD. 
Crown Svo, 6s. 

*A pleasant and excellently told story, 
' natural and fresh.' — Glasgow Hortdd, 

'A wholesome novel, with plenty of 
vaaAvDX*—^^ctaior. 

W. F. Shannon, the mess deck. 

Crown 8v0 . 3 j. 6d, 

Helen SMpton. THE STRONG GOD 
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Annie Swan. LOVE GROWN COLD. 

Second Edition, Crown 8va 5;. 
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Benjamin Swift, Author of ^ Siren City.' 
SORDON. Crown%vb, 6s, 

'Handled tnth a skill and a power 



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foree of its imagination.'— ^cm^^mt^. 

'The author tells his story with great 
dramatic inteataess, with simpHdty, and 
strength.'— Z>m// ifews, 

' A remarkable, venturesome. painAiL and 
interesting book. The story u beautifully 
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so simple, finely balanced, graceful, refined, 
yet forcible. '—ff^4w^. 

PaniVafaeman. a heroine from 

FINLAND. Crown Zvo. 6s. 

* Fresh in subject and treatment,' 

— Academy, 
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* This Ule of Rumiaa and Finnish life is a 
most readable and enthralling one. The 
story is simple vet strong, and reveals 
intimate knowledge of Finnish life and 
aunners.' — Scotsman. 

* A delightful itoirv,*^ Daily Express, 
•ThU lovely tale.' 

— Manchester Guetrdiass. 
'A vivid picture of pastoral life in a 
beautiful and too little known country.* 

—Pall Mall Gazette. 

R. B. TownBhend. lone pine : a Ro- 
mance of Mexican Life. Crown 8«v. 6s. 

YL B. Karrlotl Wat8<nt the skirts 

OF happy chance. lUustiated. 
Second Edition, Crown ^o. 6s. 

'Mr. Watson's light touch, his genmne 
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all, his polished and clear-cut style will |>ra* 
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H. O. Wens. THE STOLEN BACrLLUS, 
and other Stories. Second Edition, Crown 
%oo, 6s. 

THE PLATTNER STORY and Othbrs. 
Second Edition Crown i/vo, 6s. 

Stanley Wejrman, Author of ' A Gentlenun 
of France.' UNDER THE RED ROBE. 
With lUustratious by R. C Woodvillb. 
Seventeenth Edition, Crown Bvo. 6s, 

' Everyone who reads books at all must 
read this thrilling romance, from the first 
page of which to the last the breathless 
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manliness and courage.'— 'Z^ox^ ChoonfcU, 

Zaek. Author of * Life Is Life.* TALES OF 
DUNSTABLE WEIR. Crown ^0,, 6s. 

"'Zack" draws her pictures with gteat 
detail; they are indeed Dutdi interiors in 
their fidelity to the small things cS lifo'— . 
U^estminster Geuefte, 



Fiction 



39 



Zbc jpleut &e Xte "novels 

Crown Sv0. $s, 6<i 
Messrs. Methuen are now publishing popular Novels in a new and most 
charming style of binding. Ultimately, this Scries will contain the following 
books: — 



Andrew Balfour. 

To ARMSI 

Vbngeancb Id Mine. 

M. 0. Balfour. 

The Fall of the Sparrow. 

Jaii8 Barlow. 

The Land of the shamrock. 
A Creel of Irish Stories. 
From the East Unto the West. 

X A. Barry. 

IN THE Great Deep. 

E. F. BeUBOB. 

The Capsina. 

Dodo : A Detail of the Dav. 

The Vintage. 

J. Blonndelle-Burton. 

In the Day of adversity. 

denounced. 

The Clash of Arms. 

Across the salt seas. 

servants of Sin. 

Mrs. CaStyn (lotaX 

ANNE MAULEVBREK. 

Ada Cambridge. 

fath and Goal. 

Kn. W. K COifford. 

A WOitAN ALONE. 

A Flash of Summer. 

J. Blaclaren Cobban. 

The Angel of the covenant. 

Julian Corbett. 
A BUSINESS IN Great Waters. 

L. Cope Comford. 

Sons of Adversity. 

Stephen Crane. 

Wounds in the Rain. 

B. 91 Croker. 

A State Secret. 

PEGGY OF THE BARTONS. 

Hope Bawlish. 

A Secretary of Legation. 

A. X Dawson. 

Daniel White. 

Evelyn Bickinson. 

A Vicar's Wife. 
The Sin of Angels. 

Harris Dickson. 

The Black wolf's breed. 

Menie Muriel Dowie. 

The Crook of the Bough. 

BITS. Dudeney. 

The Third Floor. 

Sara Jeannette Duncan. 

A Voyage op COiVSoLATioN. 
THE Path of a Star. 

0. Manville Fenn. 

An Electric Spark. 
The Star Gazers. 
Eli's Children. 
A Double Knot. 

Jane H. Findlater. 

A Daughter of Strife. 
Rachel. 

y 1 \ 



Mary Findlater. 
Betty Musgrave. 

Jane H. and Mary Findlater. 

Tales that are Told. 

J. 8. Fletcber. 

The Paths of the Prudent. 
The Builders. 

M. B. Francis. 

Miss Erin. 

Mary Gaunt 

Kirkham's Find. 

Deadman's. 

The Moving Finger. 

Dorothea Gerard. 

Things that have Happened. 

R. Murray Gilchrist 

Willowbrake. 

George Gissing. 

The crown of life. 

Charles Gleig. 

Bunter's Cruise. 

S. Gordon. 

A Handful of Exotics. 

C. F. Gobs. 

The Redemption of David Corson. 

„ ^ R M'Queen Gray. 

MY Stewardship^ 
elsa. 

Robert fiichena. 

Byeways. 

_ „ I. Hooper. 

the Singer of Marly. 

Emily-Lawless. 

hurrish. 
Maelcho. 

Norma Lorimer. 

Mirry-Ann. 
josiah's wife. 

EdnaLyalL 

DERRICK VaUGHAN, NOVELIST. 

AN Odd Experiment. 

Richard Marsh. 

The Seen and the Unseen. 
Marvels and Mysteries. 

W. E. Norris. 

MATTHteW AUSTIN. 

HIS Grace. 

THE DESPOTIC LADY. 

CLARISSA FURIOSA. 

(ULBS INGILBY. 

A.V OCTAVE. 

JACK'S FATHER. 

A DEPLORABLE AFFAIR. 

Mrs. Oliphant 

Sir Robert's Fortune, 
the two marys, 
the lady's walk. 
the prodigals. 

Mary A. Owen. 

The Daughter of Alouettk. 

Mary L. Pend«red« 

AN ENGLISHMAN. 



40 



Messrs. Methuen*s Catalogue 



A FORBST OFFtCBK. 

THB FoisoN OP Asps. 

Biduurd Piyos* 

TIMB AND THB WOMAN. 

THB QuiBT MRS. Fleming. 

W. P«U Sldge. 

A Son op THB STATB. 
SBCBBTABY TO Bayne, M.P. 

]IOrl«7 BolMrti. 

THB PLUMDBRBRS. 

Manhall Banndtn . 

Rosb a Charutte. 

W. 0. fkmlly. 

THB White Hecatomb. 

BETWEEN SUN AND SAND. 

A VENDETTA OP THE DESERT. 

B. K. St6pliena. 

An Enbmy to the king. 
A Gbntlbman Player. 



B. H. Btntn. 

ELMSLIB'8 Drag>Net. 

Htmi Stuart 

A Woman op Forty. 
Christalla. 

DuclwM of BnttMrlaad. 

Onb Hour and the Next. 

BsBjunln thrift. 

SiRBN City. 

Victor Walte. 

CROSS Trails. 

Mrs. Walford. 

Successors to thb title. 

Percy WUte. 

A Passionatb Pilgrim. 

Mn. C H. WUliamaoxL 

Thb Adventure op Princess Sylvia. 

Z.L. 

AUT DIABOLUS AUT NIHIL. 



The Icelander's Sword. Bt S. Barine^Gottld. 
Two Little Children and ching. By Edith b. 

CttthelL 
TODDLBBEN'8 HERO. By M. M. Blake. 
ONLY a Guard-Room ix>g. By Edith E. Cuthell. 
Thb Doctor op thb juuet. By Hany Colling- 

•rood. 
Master Rockapbllar's Voyage. By W. dark 

RhsscH. 



JSoofid tot JSoi?0 mb ^ivls 

Crown Svo. y. 6d, 



Syd Belton ! Or, the Boy who would not go to Sea 

By G. ManTille Fem. 
The Red Grange. By Mrs. Molesworth. 
Thb Secret op Madame db Monluc. By the 

Author of Mdle. Mori.' 
DUMPS. By Mri. Parr. 
A Girl op the People. By L. T. Meade. 
IIEPSY Gipsy. By L. T. Meade, ar. 6d. 
The Honourable miss. By L. T. Meade. 



Vbe tioveliet 

Messrs. Methuen are issuing under the above general title a Monthly Series 
of Novels bv popular authors at the price of Sixpence. Some of these Novels 
have never been published before. Each number is as long as the average Six 
Shilling Novel. The first numbers of ' The Novelist ' are as follows :— 



L Dead Men Tell no Tales. By E. W. 

Homnnff. 
IL JENNIBBAXTBR. JOURNAUST. By Robert 

Barr. 
HL The INCA'S TrBASURE. By Ernest GlanvlUe. 
IV. A Son op the State. By W. Pett Ridge. 
V. FURZ8 Bloom. By S. Barinf-GoukL 
VI. BUNTBR'S CRUISB. By C. Gleig. 
VII. THE Gay Deceivers. By Arthur Moore. 
VIII. Prisoners op War. By a. Boyson Weekes. 
IX. Out sprint. 
X. Veldt and Laagbr : Tales of the TransraaL 

By E. S. Valentine. 
XL THB Nigger knights. By F. Norreys 

ConneL 
XII. A Marriage at Sea. By W. Clark Russell. 
XIII. Thb pomp op the lavilettes. By 
Gilbert Paricer. 

XIV. A Man op Mark. By Anthony Hope. 

XV. THE Carissima. By Lucas Malet. 
XVL THB Lady's Walk. By Mrs. OUphaat. 



XVII. Derrick Vaughan. By Edna LyalL. 

XVIIL IN THB MmST OP ALARMS. By Rbbert 
Barr. , 

XIX. His Grace. By W. E. Norris. 
XX. DODOi By E. F. Benson. 
XXI. Cheap Jack Zita. By S. Barinir.Gott!d. 
XXIL WHEN VALMOND CAME TO PONTIAC. By 

Gilbert Parker. 
xxilL Thb Human boy. By Eden PhiUpotts. 
XXIV. The Chronicles op Count ANTONia 

By Anthony Hope. 
XXV. By Strokb op Sword. By Andrew 

Balfour. 
XXVI. Kitty Alone. E^ S. Barlne-Gould, 
XXVI L Giles Ingilby. By W. E. Norris. 
XXVIIL URITH. By S. Baring-Gould. 
XXIX. The town Traveller. By Geonre 
Gissing. 

XXX. Mr. SMfTH. By Mrs. Walibrd. 

XXXL A CHANGE OP AlR. By Anthony Hope. 



Aetbuen'd Sispenns Xibrans 

A New Series af Copyright Books 

THB MATABELB CAMPAIGN. By MaJoT^iyenenl 



Baden*PowdL 
The Downpall op Prempbh. By M^Jor-General 

Baden-PowelL 
MY DANISH SWBBTHEART. By W. Clark Russell. 
IN THB Roar op the sea. By S. Baring<H>uld. 
PEGGY OP THB BARTONS. By B. M. Croker. 
BADBN-POWELL OF MAPBKING I A Biography. 

By J. S. Fletcher. 
Roberts op Pretoria. By J. S. Fletcher. 

THE GREEN GRAVBS OP BALCOWRIE. 
H. Findlater. 



THE Stolbn Bacillus. By H. G. Wells. 

Matthew Austin. By W. E. Norris. 

Thb Conquest op London. By Dorothea 

Gerard. 
A VOYAGB OP consolation. By Sara J. Duncan. 
THB MUTABLE MANY. By Robert Barr. 
Sir Robert's Fortunb. By Mrs. Oliphant 
Clarissa Furiosa. By W. E. Norris. 
NOEML By S. Baring-Gould. 
ACROSS THB Salt Sbas. By J. Blounddle 

David. By J. H. Ingraham.