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The House of Riddles 



{Afadanu Longard de Ltmsgarde) 

IAUTHOft or 





Unv.X':- ATul. ^^ WL 


' . 1 










IX A CLUE ? - 






"ILKA" ... - 















''Our sights?" said the large and placid Professor 
Annicker to the small and spasmodic Professor 
Merritt, as, arm-in-arm, they strolled through the 
sleepily picturesque streets of St Damian — "they 
can be summed up in two words : Links and Ruina 
Plenty of decayed diurches and cloisters on the one 
hand, and any amount of bunkers and caddies on 
the other. It's a place only to be satisfactorily 
inhabited by antiquarians or golfers. No use for 
the ordinary mortal here — unless he wears a cap 
and gown. Ha, ha I " 

"Which means that he isn't an ordinary mortal. 
Hi, hil'' 

Professor Merritt gleefully pressed his friend's 
arm. It was to take possession of the Chair of 
Mineralogy that this little wizened person had but 
yesterday entered the Scottish coast town, which, 
eternally dripping with the salt breath of the North 
Sea, squatted around its ancient university. His 


6 jsbe Donse of IttbMes 

former schoolfellow and present colleague was well 
entitled to do the honours of the place, seeing that 
it was now quite fifteen years that Professor 
Annicker had, very literally, " filled " the Chair of 
Philosophy at the chief of the colleges. 

They had passed by various broken towers soaring 
against the grey sky, sea-gull haunted, and many 
a stretch of crumbling ivy- infested wall, when the 
mentor stood still before a small house placed a 
little back from the street, behind a n^lected front 

" Since you're on the look-out for sights, you may 
as well include that" 

The Professor of Mineralogy blinked his small 
but keen eyes at the object indicated 

^ That funny little house ? It looks rather quaint, 
certainly, but — is there anything particular the 
matter with it?" 

** That's what nobody seems able to make up their 
minds about Officially, it is described as ' Fifty-two 
Bower Street' But the natives have got another 
name for it They call it the House of Riddles." 

" Ah— ^nd that means—? " 

''That a few queer things have happened in it 
In fact, if you believe the native, nothing except 
queer things ever happen there. It's almost super- 
fluous to remark that it is richly credited with ghosts. 
Considering that it is a remnant of the former 
Capuchin Monastery, it is perhaps equally superfluous 
to say that it is bound to have a walled -up monk 

prolodne 7 

somewhere on the premises. In the popular beh'ef, 
it has been inhabited in turn by an escaped criminal 
and by a Master of the Black Arts. But its bad 
reputation has more modern grounds than these 
l^ends, for not twenty years ago it was used as a 
den of forgers. Thousands of pounds in counterfeit 
bank-notes are supposed to have been smuggled out 
of it with a secrecy which baffled all detective arts. 
And Justice too was baffled, for when the house was 
broken into, the birds were found to have flown, 
traceless. People talk of secret exits, of underground 
passages — what do I know ? There's no limit to the 
imagination of St. Damian's; and small wonder 
either, fed as it is on the suggestions of the past 
In a place that positively stinks of medievalism, it 
is sometimes hard to draw the line between the 
possible and the impossible/' 

They stood on the pavement, peering over the 
mildewed paling, and across the tiny, weedy garden, 
half choked with shrubs, and in which a few remnants 
of boxwood borders alone spoke of paths which had 
ceased to exist The grey, one-storeyed mansion 
looked absurdly massive in proportion to its size, 
and utterly out of place between its two modern and 
respectably bow - windowed neighbours. Out of 
place, too, looked the squat little tower which jutted 
out, all but windowless, from the right-hand comer 
of the building. A broad, iron - studded door 
occupied the centre of the front wall ; three small 
windows, closely blinded, were ranged above. 

8 zbc l^ottse of Itt^Mes 

''Looks like a place where things might happen, 
eh ? That door leads right through the body of the 
house and into a small courtyard within." 

" It's uninhabitated, I suppose? " 

" No, it isn't That's the funny part of it It was 
so for years, but just about a year ago it changed 
hands. The new possessor — an old lady of the 
name of Wilson, or Simpson, I foi^et which — was 
seen only quite en passant on the day she crossed 
its threshold. She has never been seen since, and 
as far as can be ascertained, she has never re-crossed 
the threshold." 

" An invalid, I suppose ? " 

"Nobody quite knows. But seeing that she 
apparently waits on herself, she can't be much of an 

" But she must have servants ? " 

*^ That's just what she hasn't got No mortal soul 
went in with her, and no mortal soul is known to 
have gone in since." 

" She doesn't live on air, I suppose? " 

''Her food is supplied all right by the local 
tradesmen, but to an invisible client It's quite a 
simple arrangement : A basket placed on the door- 
step in the inner yard— or a can, as the case may be 
— and a slip of paper containing the orders for the 
day. The coalman gets his orders by the post, and 
finds the coal-house unlocked and ready ; but neither 
butcher, baker nor candlestick-maker — and it's only 
they who penetrate into the yard — have ever seen 

so much as a face at a vrindow. The House of 
Riddles is hVing up to its reputation, as you see." 

" And the latest riddle remains unsolved ? '* 

"Unsolved. A miser, some people say — a mere 
oddity, say others — but it's guess-work, at best." 

" Well, I hope you have something more cheerful 
to show me than this mouldy mansion," grinned the 
Professor of Mineralogy, as they resumed their walk. 

" Here is something more cheerful," announced 
the man of Philosophy, as a few minutes later they 
emerged upon the links. ''Madame de Logez at 
her first hole," he added sotio voce. " I say, you're 
in luck, old man. She's one of our sights too, in a 
way, though a rather recent one. Wait till she turns, 
and then tell me whether in all your world- 
wanderings you've seen many faces like that" 

At about twenty paces off Professor Merritt 
became aware of a well-to-do-looking couple. The 
rapt attitude of the small and exquisitely slender 
woman's figure, the earnest bend of the dark head, 
made it clear that the unseen eyes were fixed on 
the ball she was preparing to drive off. Two paces 
from her stood a large, pale, black-haired young 
man, of a striking and vaguely repellent appearance. 
His attitude too was rapt, but it was not at the ball 
he was looking, it was at his companion's face. 

It was only when the great moment was over 
that she turned sufficiently to satisfy Professor 
Merritt's awakened curiosity. 

"Well?*' queried his companion. "I promised 

lo xsbc Donse of IRf^Mes 

you a treat Why don't you say anything ? You're 
not disappointed, are you ? " 

The small Professor was following the dark- 
haired woman with his eyes, in which a certain 
surprise, bordering on perplexity, stood written. 

" No, I'm not disappointed ; but I've a notion, in 
fact I'm almost certain, that I've seen that face before, 
but can't place her, somehow." 

** Not as easily as you could place a new ore, eh ? 
With your nose perpetually poking into the bowels of 
the earth, it's rather a wonder that any woman's face 
should stick in your memory. Get along. Professor, 
I believe you're a sham, after all ! " 

And the man of Philosophy poked the man of 
Minerals jocosely in the ribs. 


'' A Californian widow, they say ; but the fact is, 
that she's a bit of a riddle too. Appeared quite 
abruptly at St. Damian's last year, and rented Craig 
Manor. She seems to have money, but not the 
shadow of a connection in the country, and St 
Damian's hasn't yet done breaking its head as to the 
reason why a rich and apparently gay outlandish 
widow should bury herself here, of all places." 

"Perhaps it was the links that formed the 

" Scarcely, since she didn't know how to take hold 
of a club a year ago. It's only since she put herself 
into the hands of her present instructor that her 
ardour for the game seems to have awakened." 

prolofine n 

'' His ardour seems to be pretty lively, I should 
say. Hi, hi I" 

'* Ah, he's hooked, and no mistake. St. Damian 
is getting rather impatient for the inevitable 
"A native?" 

" Yes ; of the name of Kennedy— came into the 
property rather une^^pectedly about eighteen months 
aga Married brother suddenly died childless (the 
Kennedys have got a very pronounced family 
* heart') This man had to be fetched from the ends 
of the earth, where he had been fortune-hunting at 
all sorts of places : Cape Town, Klondyke, what do 
I know? Always counted as the black sheep of 
the family." 

The small Professor suddenly stood still, and 
pounded his stick upon a clump of unoffending 

"I've got it now!" he said decisively. "I've 
placed her. Klondyke! That word has done it" 

And he proceeded to recount how, between two 
and three years s^o, when engaged on a professional 
excursion to the Northern gold-fields whose com- 
position he was anxious to study, he had noted 
among his fellow-passengers on the river steamer a 
singularly attractive brunette, whom he had found 
some difficulty in classifying. 

** She gave herself out as a lady-journalist on the 
track of *copy,' but somehow I didn't believe her, 
though I pretended to, and got the most awful snub 

Z2 xoic tyovisc of iRWblcs 

in reward for my pains. * Ifs the details of the 
lynching case you are collecting for yoilr paper, I 
suppose? ' I said to her, in the most harmless manner 
in the world, for this was just after that kick-up 
at one of the settlements, when two cousins of the 
name of Cameron, working on one claim, struck gold, 
and one promptly put the other out of the way by 
means of a pocket-knife, and was as promptly strung 
up by the community at large. You must have 
heard of the affair." 

'*I should think so. Why, Cameron was an 
Aberdeenshire man. His portrait was in all the 

** Could a lady-journalist wish for a richer harvest 
of horrors ? And yet, at my harmless suggestion the 
little beauty almost jumped into my face. How 
could I imagine that she would ever pander to the 
taste for vulgar sensation? The whole affair had 
been disgraceful, and the less said about it the 
better. For some reason or other, the subject seemed 
to irritate her quite unaccountably ; and she flounced 
off into her cabin without giving me the chance of 
an apology." 

"And when she got to the gold-fields, did she 
collect details?" 

" I haveo't a notion what she did, being far too 
busy with my ores to have any attention over for 
unmannerly young women. In fact, from the 
moment of disembarkation, I never set eyes upon 
her s^ain until to-day." 

prolodne z3 

" And you're positive if s the same person ? " 


"H'm! Your experience doesn't seem to throw 
much hght on the riddle, does it?" 

" Can't say it doea A rich Califomian widow, you 
say? Maybe; but she certainly didn't convey the 
impression of wealth two years ago. The money 
must have turned up since. Funny to have run 
across her here. It's but a poky place, after all, 
this world of ours. I wonder if she'd snub me 
again if I claimed acquaintance?" 



The " Star of Hope " saloon was full to overflowing 
— of men, of smoke, of glaring kerosene lamps, of 
certain noises that passed for music, and other noises 
that did their best to beat them, while the smell 
of gin in the air could, in miner's language, be '' cut 
with a knife." It was the Star of Hope's chronic 
condition at this midnight hour, but to-day, owing 
to an abnormal " find " on one of the claims, and to 
a consequent standing of drinks '* all round " by the 
lucky finders, the condition had become acute. 

There were two of them, both young and both 
good-looking, though with little resemblance between 
them, despite their cousinship— Dick Cameron being 
square-shouldered and fair-haired, while Johnnie was 
a slight, rather fragile-looking youth, with dark hair 
and eyes. They had been working in partnership 
for a year, hoping against hope, having staked their 
little all — and it was very little indeed — upon their 
luck in this Northern gold-field, Dick eating out his 
lover's heart the while — for this boy had a girl-wife 
waiting for him in New York — for him and for the 
good fortune that was to make their future possible ; 


since, having recovered from the first intoxication of 
the dream in which, against the advice of all their 
friends, they had united their lots, even the wisdom 
of twenty and of twenty-two agreed on the present 
impossibility of the outlook. 

It was at the time of the first Klondyke fever; 
and for the Klondyke gold - fields Dick finally 
decided. It meant a separation, of course ; but with 
the optimism of their years, the couple felt certain 
that it would not be for long. New York was the 
spot of earth on which they had met, and in New 
York it was that Elvira remained absolutely alone, 
but quite confident in her powers of taking care of 
herself, and of keeping clear of want by means of 
her needle, which she plied with an address that had 
done her good service ere now. 

So Dick had gone, but not alone, being at the 
eleventh hour joined by his youthful cousin, to whom 
he had always been more elder brother than cousin, 
and who, having shared most of Dick's ventures 
since the days of tame guinea - pigs and illicit 
fishing-tackle, had elected to share this one. 

And now, after a year of hope deferred, the good 
thing had come true. To-day the " find " had been 
verified beyond all doubt The event seemed to 
have gone to both young heads, though more 
conspicuously to that of the elder Cameron. As 
he moved about the smoke - thickened room, exu- 
berantly replying to the universal felicitations, there 
was a brilliancy in his eye which spoke of an 

i6 tn>e Douse of IRiDMes 

intoxication that was by no means exclusively 
physical And no wonder either, seeing what vision 
he fed upon in spirit 

•* So you've done it, Dick, you've done it I And 
now we shall always be together, won't we — ? " He 
could almost have sworn to the words that would 
greet him. 

Always togetlier I He should rather think so, nor 
need she ever again prick her sweet fingers over that 
detestable sewing. What a princess he would mfke 
of her— ha, ha!" 

Excited though he was himself, Johnnie's ex- 
citement struck him as exaggerated ; for Johnnie 
had been working only for himself— had (beyond 
his cousin) no kit or cat in the world that belonged 
to him — while he, the lucky Dick, had been 
working for a woman — and such a woman, tool" 

" Another tipple ? " suggested a semi-drunken and 
wholly ecstatic voice. 

Though some of the company were sober, all 
of them were in ecstasies. The day was being 
celebrated as one glorious in the annals of the 
settlement Not a trace of envy or grudge. Was 
not the incident big with hope for everybody, and 
more especially for the fortunates whose claims 
adjoined the Camerons? Never had the Star of 
Hope more completely justified its name. The 
most sceptical had to admit that the character of 
the district had once more been richly vindicated. 

"Gin or whisky?" asked the siren at the bar. 


trbe ^'fin^" 17 

as Johnnie held out his glass for something like a 
seventh helping. 

The tone was professional, but not so the glance, 
as over the top of the counter against which the 
youth was blissfully sprawling they exchanged a 
long look. 

" Wax-doll Bella," as she was popularly described, 
was anything but the typical goddess of such places. 
It was to her silky yellow hair, improbably long eye- 
lashes, and genuinely pink cheeks that she owed her 
appellation. But if she suggested a wax doll, it was 
one of so superior a sort as to seem incongruous 
in these surroundings, which was perhaps the very 
reason why she so infallibly went to the head of 
every new-comer with disengaged affections. To 
have so expensive - looking a plaything at their 
disposal could not but flatter the vanity of the 
rough community. Even the personal neatness, 
almost primness of her appearance, had its part in 
raising them in their own estimation. "^ 

While Johnnie still lounged against the bar, the 
door of the saloon opened once more. Several 
glances of surprise turned towards the new-comer, 
for the surly-looking Kennedy, a countryman of 
the Camerons, ranged as a misanthrope. He was 
black -haired and well-set-up, but with something 
in his pale face which repulsed, though few people 
took the trouble to analyse the cause of the repulsion. 

Without looking to the right or to the left, he 
went straight up to the bar. 

i8 XTbe Donse of IRf^Mes 

" A gin and bitters /' he said gruffly to the girl. 

As he spoke his ill-humoured eyes fell upon the 
hand with which Johnnie was clutching his glass, 
and instantly became riveted. On the fourth finger 
of that hand there stuck a curious, rather clumsy 
ring, adorned with an irregularly square -cut opal 
set in small, dull turquoises. It was upon this ring 
that Kennedy's eyes had fastened with a sav£^e 
fixity, to shoot back to the girl's face, full of 
things unspoken. 

The superior wax doll seemed to understand them, 
nevertheless, for the pink in her cheeks spread 
suddenly to her forehead, nor could her hand have 
been as steady as usual, for she actually upset 
some of the liquor with which she was serving the 
new customer. 

When he had moved off without a word, anyone 
with disengaged attention might have seen Bella 
bend forward and say something to Johnnie in what 
looked like an earnest whisper, whereupon the 
elated youth only shook his head, and then pro- 
ceeded to chuck her under the chin. But nobody's 
attention was disengaged, so that the incident passed 

It was about an hour later that the two Camerons, 
neither of them unimpeachably steady on their legs, 
set out for their primitive abode about two miles off. 
Kennedy, whose claim lay in the same direction, 
after sulking for a space in a comer of the saloon, 
had withdrawn some time ago. 

The Camerons were little more than half-way to 
their temporary home, steering with comparative 
ease in the merciful transparency of the arctic night, 
when Dick, feeling in his pockets for his pipe, missed 
that, to a miner, most indispensable of all instruments: 
his pocket-knife. 

"Must have left it at the Star," he ruefully 
remarked. " I had it out to cut tobacco, if I r'clect 
Go ahead, Johnnie, and I'll follow. The saloon 
mayn't be shut up yet I wouldn't lose that knife 
for a good deal. Sharpest knife in the place." 

He had retraced his path for a hundred paces or 
so, when it suddenly struck him that this was 
nonsense. He had remembered that he was a 
millionaire — in embryo, anyway — and that the 
relative value of things had changed since yesterday. 

It was absurd for a millionaire to walk two miles 
for a knife that cost half-a-dollar. He would catch 
up Johnnie, or no, perhaps he would take a rest first. 
There was a certain heaviness in his limbs and a 
certain whirliness in his head which made a 
momentary halt appear advisablo^ — for the drinks 
dispensed by Wax-doll Bella were powerful, and the 
occasion had proved too much for his habitual 

It was on a cushion of feathery moss that he 
happened to alight, a cushion large enough to be 
a mattress, to which use, within about a minute, it 
was actually put The combination of its enticing 
texture and of the drowsiness that was beginning 

20 JSbc fMUse of IRi^Mes 

to clog the wheels in his brain could result in only 
one thing. 

Hours later he was awakened by a rough hand on 
his shoulder. There were voices too, in his ear — 
unfriendly voices, it seemed to him before even he 
was well awake. Dazed, but with gradually clearing 
faculties, he sat up. Several men stood beside him, 
most of whom he knew by sight, and all of whom 
seemed to be labouring under some common 

" Here he is 1 " were the first words that completely 
penetrated to his faculties, upon which an echoing 
chorus of: 
" Here he is ! " rose ominously around him. 
In the half-dozen pairs of eyes fixed upon his 
face, the same eyes that had beamed upon him in 
the saloon last night — there was menace, and there 
was also something very like horror. 
" What is the matter ? " he asked, bewildered. 
"That's what we want you to tell us. Where's 
your partner, eh ? What have you done with him ? " 
"My partner? Johnnie? I haven't seen him 
since — let me see — since last night on the way 

'•Ah, you haven't, have you? Then come along 
and look at him now." 

And several hands helped him rather violently 
to his feet. 
'^ I don't understand," he stammered. 
"You'll understand fast enough when you get to 

your claim. Are you coming on your own legs, or 
have you got to be carried ? " 

He was being hustled along already before the 
question was done asking. 

The pace at which the mile which separated him 
from his tent was traversed was not favourable to the 
gathering of information, and to the few questions 
he managed to gasp out, all the answer Dick got was 
an encouragement to " come on/' and the assurance 
that he would soon know all about it — more, perhaps, 
than he would care to. 

There were more miners standing around the log 
hut which he had shared all summer with Johnnie, 
and they too appeared excited, and cast upon him 
the same looks of mingled menace and horror which 
had puzzled him in his captors. 

The door stood open, and through it he felt him- 
self pushed with a vigour which would have rendered 
resistance vain, had he thought of resisting. 

"Is that your partner, or is it not?" shouted a 
furious giant at his side, pointing a huge finger at 
something on the floor. 

--JLooking where he was bid, Dick saw his young 
cousin lying flat upon his back with horribly up- 
turned eyeballs, with his blood-stained shirt torn 
wide, and a deep gash upon his chest 

" Is he dead ? " he asked, beneath his breath. 

The furious giant turned to the scarcely calmer 

^ Hear that, mates ? Is he dead ? That's the kind 

28 jsbc Donse of IRibMes 

o' brass he's made of. Maybe he's afraid of not 
having done the job clean enough, and of the lad 
coming round/to claim his share of the gold. Dead 
as a door-nail — that's what he is : and these gentle- 
men are waiting to hear what light you may be good 
enough to throw upon the siiooashun. Happen, 
you've something to say — if so, speak out 1 " 

But instead of speaking out, Dick stood staring 
stupidly at the body on the floor, oblivious of the 
circle of threatening eyes. He was quite sober 
now, but the recent carouse had left a certain 
emptiness in his brain which made it difficult, upon 
so short a notice, to deal with so crucial a moment 
as this. 



'' Doesn't look as if he had overmuch to say for 
himself, does he?" asked the triumphant giant 

A man who had once been a London barrister, and 
in whose degenerate soul there still lingered some 
traces of professional respect for the law, gripped 
Dick by the shoulder. 

" Wake up, man I Give an account of yourselC 
We all of us saw you setting out with your partner 
last night, and nobody has seen your partner alive 
since then. Give an account of yourself! To start 
with : When did you reach home ? " 

''I didn't reach home at all," said Dick slowly, 
struggling to collect his thoughts, and noticing mean- 
while, in a dull, unreasoning sort of way, which did 
not rise to the drawing of conclusions, that the earth- 
floor of the cabin was badly trampled, and that one 
of the stools that served as chairs had been upset 

" Oh, you didn't reach home at all, eh ? " 

The ex-barrister folded his ragged arms in one of 

the favourite attitudes of the profession, and eyed 

Dick with as icy a politeness as ever prisoner in the 

dock was eyed by the counsel for the prosecution. 


34 tTbe Douse of IRiODles 

"How are we to understand that, pray? Would 
you mind telling us where you spent the night ? " 

" I spent it on the hill-side." 

•• Oh ! And what made you prefer the hill-side to 
your cabin, if I may ask ? " 

*' Didn't like the company of the corpse," 
suggested a bystander, and was immediately 
reproved by a glance from the individual who 
seemed bent on carrying through the cross - 
questioning of the accused with as close an approach 
to "correctness" as the circumstances permitted. 

" I missed my knife," began Dick ; and at the word 
^' knife " there was a general movement of attention 
among the crowd, pressing in to the hut and growing 
with every minute — for it had been ascertained some 
time ago by an ex-doctor (almost every second of 
these gold -seekers was an ex -something or other) 
that the wound which had caused the victim's death 
proceeded undoubtedly from a knife. 

'*I missed my knife when we were on the road 
and turned back to fetch it from the saloon." 

" Did anyone see him at the saloon after 2 a.m. ? " 
asked the cross-questioner, sweeping his eyes round 
the circle of faces. 

'^ I never got there ; I changed my mind about 
fetching the knife. It didn't seem worth while after^ 
yesterday's find. I sat down instead to take a rest, 
and — I suppose I must have gone to sleep." 

Even as he spoke, the improbability of his own 
story struck Dick so forcibly that with the last words 

Ctrcnmstantfal Evidence ^s 

his voice wavered, as though under the weight of 
some sudden doubt 

The dull murmur around him was only too well 
calculated to feed his alarm, and yet he was not 
really frightened yet It could not be that his own 
guiltlessness should not come to light 

" Then when do you want us to believe that you 
saw your partner last ? " 

" I saw him last when I turned back towards the 

** And can you suggest any explanation of the way 
he came to his end ? " 

" I can suggest nothing," said Dick despondently, 
" and I understand nothing." 

" So it would seem. You are not aware of his 
having had any enemy?" 


The majority of the crowd listened respectfully, 
slightly awed, and at the same time raised in its 
own self-esteem by seeing things done in this almost 
professional manner. But the giant was growing 

" What's the sense of all this blamed parley ? " he 
vociferated, ''when the affair's as plain as the nose 
on your faca He's stuck him, and he's got to swing 
for it— that's all." 

" Not so fast, my friend ! " 

The ex-barrister was growing blander and blander 
in measure as the net closed around the victim. 

" It is only fair to give him the opportunity of 


36 xTbe Donee ot IRi^Mes 

creating an alibi, more especially as the counsel for 
the defence is awanting. Once again" — and he 
again gave that circular sweep of his eyes — "has 
anyone seen this man since he left the Star of 
Hope in the company of his partner — in the sole 
company of his partner, mind ! *' 

Nobody had seen him. 

"I don't care for your allerbees — whatever out- 
landish invention that may be," growled the giant, 
who had once followed the profession of a butcher, 
and whose blood-thirstiness was therefore rather 
more highly developed than that of the average 
gold-worker. *' I say the thing is plain as mud." 

" No alibi to be established," noted the barrister, 
unheeding. " Now, as to the probable motive of the 
crime : — who is it who would profit by this death 1 " 

" Nobody but himself!" came an answering 
chorus — whereupon a thin voice above the crowd: 

" It's not three months since that Johnnie Cameron 
told me himself that if he should go off the hooks his 
Cousin Dick would fall heir to his share of the claim." 

" Make way for the witness ! " sternly commanded 
the person who had developed into a mixture of 
counsel for the prosecution and judge on the 

A small, sickly individual was pushed to the front 

" What do you know about this ? " 

He piped out a story of how when Johnnie was 
lying very bad with fever in the spring, and quite 
thought he was going to turn up his toes for good, 

Cfrcnmstantial £vi^ence 37 

he, Samuel Fox, had lent him some of his quinine, 
and had generally played the sick-nurse, Dick being 
too clumsy with his hands. On one of these 
occasions, when his temperature was particularly 
high, Johnnie had said: "It will be all the better 
for Dick if I go. I'm only a burden on him as it is, 
and if he should strike gold, there'll be all the more 
for him and his girl, and he's just wild to make her 
rich, you know " — or words to that effect. 

"I asked him," explained the witness, "whether 
he had no other heir, and he replied: *I haven't 
another soul in the world that belongs to me.'" 

"Is that so?" questioned the barrister - judge, 
turning his eyes upon the accused. 

" Yes," said the wretched Dick. 

The murmur around him was swelling to a 

The case was one exactly calculated to stir the 
audience. In a community of as mixed elements as 
these, all straining after one unmixed end — gold, the 
most scrupulous honesty of dealings becomes almost 
a condition of existence. It is in the gold-fields 
only that theft stands for a greater crime than murder. 
When, then, the murder in itself constitutes a theft, 
what mercy was to be hoped for from these men, 
each jealously watchful of his own rights, each 
trembling for his own share? 

As far as stood Dick's present chances of escape, 
the audience all consisted of " hanging " judges — not 
so much because he had killed Johnnie, but because 

28 JSbc Douse of 1Ri^Me0 

by killing him he had defrauded him of his rightful 
share of the spoil. 

"The motive exists, then," proclaimed the cross- 
questioner, beginning, in the character of judge, to 
sum up upon his broken-nailed fingers; "also that 
the man last seen in the victim's company is the 
same who would profit by the death. Is that so ? " 

" It is so 1 " roared the crowd, swaying ominously 

The ex-barrister raised his hand. 

"One minute, my friends! Have you anything 
more to say for yourself?" came the question, still 
blandly, to the accused. 

" Nothing, except that I did not do it." 

" Well, we scarcely expected you to say that you 
had. What is this?" 

For at that moment the sickly witness still 
standing in the clear space around the couple — a 
space that was rapidly growing smaller — caught his 
foot— owing to the pressure from behind — in a piece 
of loose sacking on the floor, jerking; it inadvertently 
to one side. 

Instantly someone had pounced forward upon an 
object thus disclosed to view, and stood up in the 
same instant with a blood-stained knife in his hand« 

" I've seen that knife upon him I " shrieked a half 
hysterical youth alongside. 

"Hand over the corpus delicti I ^^ commanded the 
leader of the proceedings. 

He turned it over in his hand, almost knocked 

Citcumstantfal Evidence 39 

down the while by the men peering over his 
shoulder. It was a pocket-knife of rather superior 
make, the largest of whose blades was open, and dark 
with congealed blood. 

*" If s his I It's his ! There's his mark on the 
hilt I" 

Upon the bone of the shaft, scratched in with some 
blunt instrument, the letters " R. C. " were plainly 

The ex -barrister held it towards Dick. 

" Is that your knife ? " he asked curtly, the 
blandness abruptly gone from his tone. 

Dick took it and stared at it as dully as he had 
stared at the body on the floor. 

"Yes; it's my knife." 

^ A cord I " roared the giant, looking wildly around 
him — " a cord to tie his hands with 1 " 

" The knife which you pretended you had left in 
the saloon ? " questioned the barrister ; but already 
he had to raise his voice in order to be heard above 
the crowd, for the growl had risen to a howl. 

Upon Dick's brow there stood a cold sweat 
Until now the consciousness of his own innocence 
had kept him comparatively strong, but he had 
remembered suddenly that even in regular Courts of 
Justice innocent men have been ere this condemned. 

** I did leave it in the saloon," he stammered, 
feeling how his knees began to loosen under him. 
" I know nothing about how it got here. I did not 
do it, I tell you." 

30 XCbe Douse of 1{i^^Ie0 

"The circumstantial evidence seems complete. 
To sum up," began the amateur judge, once more 
bringing his fingers into play — ^but the audience 
had got beyond the stage of " correct " proceedings. 
There was no question even of the elementary 
formalities usually observed on these occasions — in 
so plain a case they would be superfluous. The 
identification of the knife had extinguished the last 
doubt, quieted the last thing in the shape of a 
scruple, A dozen hands were already upon the 
now desperately struggling Dick — the same hands 
that had pressed his so warmly last night. 
Inevitably overpowered, he found himself within 
the next minute with arms pinioned on his back, 
in the heart of a howling mob and being hurried 
over the broken ground towards the nearest group 
of alder trees — all too far still for the vindictive fury 
which now possessed every man, young and old, 
"lettered" or illiterate. At his side, keeping a 
firm grip of his helpless right arm, strode the 
ex-butcher, who had constituted himself executioner 
with as little opposition as the ex-barrister had 
constituted himself judge. 

Within five minutes of the discovery of the knife, 
poor Johnnie's dead body was lying alone and 
deserted in the open cabin, with the morning 
sunshine streaming full upon his upturned face. 



"Wax-doll Bella" was combing out her silky 
yellow hair before a dim mirror which hung on the 
wall of the tiny corrugated iron hut which served her 
as private residence, when Black Milly, one of her 
minor rivals, burst excitedly into the room. 

"Had the news?" she shrieked, at the top of a 
shrill voice. " Know what they've done to Johnnie 
—your Johnnie? You'll get no more rings from 
that quarter, anyway." 

"Why?" asked Bella, wheeling round from the 

"Because they've stuck him — that's to say, h^s 
stuck him — that big cousin of his. Nicky Bray, 
going to borrow a kettle from the Camerons, found 
Johnnie on his back as cold as a stone and with a 
hole in his chest." 

Bella sat down abruptly. She was staggered. To 
say that she was heart-broken would be overstating 
the case. To her Johnnie was only one among a 
host of more or less ardent admirers, though just 
lately he had happened to stand foremost in her 


32 Ube Douse of 1{i^Me0 

" And it's the cousin who did it, you say ? " 
" Well, who else could it have been ? Yesterday 
the gold is found, and to-day one of the partners is 
cleared away, and the other pockets the whole. 
Surely that's plain I" 

Bella reflected for a minute, her wax-doll cheeks 
still pale from the fright 

" Yes ; that's plain enough," she agreed, with 
conviction. "What have they done to him?" 

" I don't think they've done anything to him yet 
Had only just found him when I started off here — 
lying about somewhere upon the hill-side." 

" And he was found in his hut ? — Johnnie, I 
mean ? " 
" Yes ; in his hut — all alone." 
Bella got up and rapidly twisted her hair into a 

"Where are you going to?" asked Black Milly, 
as she saw her turn swiftly towards the door. 

"Fm going to look at him before they put him 
under the earth," said Bella, and passed out without 
another word, while her companion, whose nerves 
were not quite as robust as her own, looked after her 
with a mixture of scorn and admiration. 

Along the rough track which wound like an earth- 
coloured snake upon the flank of the hill, Bella ran, 
light-footed. No doubt as to the identity of the 
murderer had yet crossed her mind. The theory 
put forward sounded too entirely plausible not to 
be instantly accepted. It was no curiosity as to 

Zbc Opal Ittno 33 

the doer of the deed that was drawing her towards 
that distant hut, and yet it was curiosity of a 
morbid sort that was at work. She wanted to see 
what the face, which had been so close to hers last 
night across the bar, looked like with life gone from 
it At this moment she actually told herself that 
she would treasure the memory for ever in her heart; 
for now that Johnnie was dead she almost persuaded 
herself that she had loved him. 

As she approached the claim her pace relaxed. 
She began to feel a little frightened, though she had 
seen dead faces ere now. At the thought of the 
crowd through which she would probably have to 
force her way, a little paradoxical shyness even 
stirred in her wax-doll bosom. 

But there was no crowd around the cabin — open 
and deserted it stood upon the bare ground, while 
over there to the right, a moving mass, whose 
clamorous voices were growing fainter every 
instant, were rolling in a compact body towards 
the distant wood. What there must be in the 
heart of that compact body Bella easily guessed. 
Though she was not yet thirty, this was not the first 
lynching case in her experience, since most of her 
adolescent years had been spent in the gold-fields. 

With a slight shudder she turned and resolutely 
entered the hut. And now for a space she forgot 
all about the condemned man, for here before her lay 
the boy into whose eyes she had so lately gazed, 
rigidly outstretched, deathly white. 

34 TTbe Douse of IRibMed 

With a little cry, half of horror and half of pity, 
Bella sank upon her knees. He looked so young, 
lying there, that a little of that motherliness which 
slumbers even in depraved hearts was awakened. 
With a tender gesture she pulled together the blood- 
stained shirt in order to hide the ugly wound, then 
stooped to stroke back his hair, and place a kiss 
upon his forehead — very lightly, because of the 
repulsive coldness. She wished now that she had 
come here earlier. He looked so helpless and frail, 
and those men were so rough. 

Then Bella, still stooping over him, began to 
wonder sentimentally whether the thought of her 
had been the last in his mind. It ought to have 
been, with the ring to remind him. And now the 
ring should be buried with him — she would see to 
that It would create a sort of link between them, 
the thought of which quite pleased her excited fancy. 
Instinctively her eyes went to Johnnie's right 
hand, seeking the ring where she had seen it last : 
upon the fourth finger. But there was nothing there, 
and the finger itself presented a strange appearance, 
for it had blue marks upon it, and appeared 
unusually lengthened, as though having been half 
wrenched from its socket 

Bella looked at the left hand — she might have 
been mistaken; but no — there was nothing there 
either. This was strange, certainly. 

Sitting back upon her heels, Bella began to reflect 
Why should Dick Cameron have stolen the dead 

tCbe 9pal IRino 55 

man's ring? What could he have wanted with it? 
Sentimental value it had none for him, of that she 
was somewhat scornfully sure, since upon him too, as 
upon all new-comers, she had wasted a few smiles; 
and as for the monetary value it was but small, after 
all, too small anyway, to tempt a man who had just 
turned up the promise of millions. And yet it was 
quite certain that the ring had been taken — violently 
taken from Johnnie. 

Suddenly Bella sat up straight, her eyes fixed now 
upon the dislocated finger, with a new horror dawn- 
ing within their shallow blueness. She had remem- 
bered that though the ring could have no value for 
Dick Cameron there yet was a man for whom this 
value existed. It was the man from whose hand she 
had received it less than a week ago. Light-heartedly, 
partly because it sat too loosely on her finger, partly 
because Johnnie's eyes were so very dark and 
languishing, she had passed it on to her latest 
admirer. A sordid regard for money-value had 
never been Bella's especial failing. "Lightly come 
and lightly gone," ever stood as her motto. Had she 
been a little more calculating she would surely have 
hesitated to set one of her adorers against the other 
by so flagrant an act as had been the transfer of the 
ring, but her light-hearted optimism had failed to 
foresee the inevitable consequences. The fact that 
no one in the camp suspected her conquest of the 
apparent woman-hater gave her an illogical feeling 
of security. There would, at least, be no one to 

36 tCbe Donse of 1tf^^Ie0 

betray her to him, and in the unfriendly isolation in 
which he lived, the chances of his seeing it upon 
Johnnie's finger had seemed to her not worth 

But yesterday he had seen it It was this recollec- 
tion which had come over her now with the force of 
a revelation. The brief incident in the saloon — 
unnoticed by all else — stood out again vividly before 
her alarmed memory. The look which he had g^ven 
her across the bar — she had read it well, and — ^yes, 
there had been things as bad as murder written 
there. It was that consciousness which had made 
her whisper to Johnnie in a panic to give her back 
the ring, but the foolish boy had been too elated to 
comply. She alone in all the camp had seen the 
real Kennedy close ; and even she had been startled 
by the glimpses of violence in his nature, and had 
more than once caught sight of the brute beneath the 
man. It was because of this violence, even in his 
love-making, and which ill suited the doll within her, 
that his homage had always more frightened than 
flattered her. Though she could not reason it out, 
her woman's intuition told her that he would be 
capable even of this. 

With her two hands pressed flat to her throbbing 
temples, she tried to think out the matter. 

This lad before her had been murdered because of 
the ring — this much stood already firm within her 
mind, and there was only one man to whom the ring 
was worth bloodshed. And in this very moment, 

Jibe 9pal Vino 37 

while the conclusion took shape in her mind, Dick 
Cameron was being dragged towards the alder trees 
— had peiiiaps reached them already. 

Horror-stricken she had sprung to her feet; and 
without another look at the dead boy, without 
another thought but that of saving the innocent 
man from his horrible fate, she was speeding over 
the uneven ground, in the direction in which she had 
seen the mob disappear. 

An elementary, but not the less sincere sting of 
remorse, chased her as though with whips over the 
stones which bruised her feet without her feeling it, 
past the thorn-bushes which caught her skirts without 
her taking time to free the frail texture. She knew 
herself now to be the cause of the crime, and every- 
thing within her that could stand for a conscience 
cried out against being the cause of yet another 
crime. It was a popular saying that Wax-doll 
Bella always looked as though she had come 
straight out of a box; but if she at all recalled a 
doll just now, it could only have been one that has 
been sadly knocked about. 

As she topped the last wave of ground which 
separated her from the wilderness of alders and 
willows, a cry escaped her lips. 

The crowd she had lately seen so compact and 
close was now broken up into groups, all streaming 
away in one direction, their backs to the wood, 
their faces to the river. A few minutes ago there 
had come a shrill whistle from somewhere up-stream. 

58 TTbe Douse of IRidMes 

but Bella's breath had been too loud in her own ears 
to let her hear it 

She paused for a moment, her hands clasped over 
her hammering heart, her horrified eyes upon the 
dispersing crowd. Could this mean that the deed 
was done already? 



Upon the long grass that rioted among the shoots 
of the rioting willows, Bella was once more upon her 
knees, bending breathless over what, to all appear- 
ances, was a lifeless body. When with her own 
hand she had cut it down, not ten minutes ago, 
it had been more from the mere horror of seeing it 
there than because of any coherent thought of rescue 
in her mind. It was only as she touched him that 
hope came to her. He was so utterly different in 
contact to poor Johnnie over there that she could 
not believe him dead. She had heard of suicides 
who had chosen this horrible mode of death being 
rescued after life was apparently extinct; and she 
dimly guessed that, under the influence of some 
rival attraction, the execution had been bungled 
over. When, a little later, she heard of the arrival 
of the steamer, whose shrill whistle had been laden, 
for one man at least, with consequences unguessed 
at, Bella understood more easily. Considering the 
eventfulness of a "boat-day," the stampede to the 
landing-stage was a foregone conclusion ; for in 
every crowd, even of grown-up men, there is 


40 Zbe Douse of 1^i^Me0 

always an element of the baby. Mankind en masse 
seems ever to revert to mankind in petticoats. 

She did not know for how long she had been 
feverishly chafing his hands, rubbing his chest — 
doing everything that her limited knowledge sug- 
gested — when her ear against his side was able to 
discern the beating of his heart 

" Brandy ! Brandy ! If only I had brandy ! " she 
kept saying to herself in senseless repetition, thinking, 
with impatient yearning, of the many unattainable 
bottles ranged on the shelves of the Star of Hope. 

Presently, at a sound, she turned her head. 

Were the executioners returning to make sure of 
their work ? 

No ; they were sure of it already, it would seem. 

Bending aside the twigs of the willow -bush 
behind which she knelt, she had caught sight of 
an individual whom she knew well as, taken all 
round, the most fervent habitat of the saloon. It 
was Job Dow, a small, spare old man, with a long 
and unpleasantly skinny neck, on the top of which 
sat a very small face, which apparently was too 
large still for his taste, since he seemed bent upon 
reducing it yet further by pursing up his chin as 
high as it would go, and pulling his tattered hat on 
to his brow in such a fashion that under its shadow 
a mere fragment of a physiognomy remained visible. 
He was advancing slowly and unsteadily, dragging 
behind him a small hand -cart, upon which lay 
something covered with a piece of sacking. 

Job TDOVO 41 

Along Bella's back there ran a shiver — she knew 
what that something was; for Job Dow had long 
held the office of gravedigger to the community at 
large, the only one for which this weak-minded 
creature, whom drink was sinking ever nearer to the 
level of an idiot, had been pronounced fit 

Bella understood at once : he was bringing along 
the remains of the murdered man, in order to bury 
them alongside of those of his murderer, in this very 
wood which served not only as hall of execution, but 
likewise as cemetery to the settlement 

The sight of Job Dow awoke in Bella both a hope 
and a fear. 

" He will have brandy! " had been her first thought, 
" he is never without it ! " But immediately had 
followed the fear of betrayal Without having yet 
formed any definite plan of action, she felt only that 
until she could see her way clearly, any sort of 
confidant might be dangerous. 

She became aware that Job Dow, standing still 
under the first alder tree, was staring upwards with 
his blear eyes from under his hat-rim, as though in 
search of something upon the branches. 

Quickly making up her mind, she rose and went 
towards him. 

" Momin', Job ! " she greeted him in her very best 
Star of Hope manner. "At work already, I see. 
A busy day for a man of your profession, isn't it ? " 

" Means two doUas, anyway," remarked Job, giving 
an uncertain touch to his hat, for Wax-doll Bella, 

42 tn>e Douse of IRiDMes 

even when not behind the bar, stood in his mind for 
the dispenser of all earthly felicity. " I've got one o' 
them here all right; but happen you can tell me, 
Miss Beller " (he was the only man in the camp who 
gave her the " Miss ") "where they've put t'other 'un ? 
I wuz told az how I should find him upon one o' 
them trees ; but devil a copse can I make out any- 
where round. Happen az my eyes are a bit below 
par thish mominV 

" He's drunker than usual," noted Bella ; for the 
traces of yesterday's carouse, whose opportunities had 
been generously made use of by Job, were plainly 
visible both in gait and eye ; and, sure enough, there 
was the nose of the inevitable bottle poking out of 
his capacious pocket. 

" Oh, he's all right, never fear ! " she reassured him 
in that same tone of artificial flippancy which she had 
adopted as the most serviceable for the occasion. 
" Somebody has saved you the trouble of taking him 
down, that's all. He's over there behind the willows. 
Time enough to fetch him when you've done your 
work. You've got your spade, I see ; but aren't you 
too boozled to hold it ? Job, Job, you're a bad dog, 
I fear!" and she playfully shook a pink finger at him. 

Job straightened himself, with an attempt at 
professional dignity. 

•*In course I'm able to hould it, Miss Beller! Be 
I ever so full, I never yet bungled a grave. Show me 
the place, and I'll show you how straight I can stick 
the spade into the ground." 

Job ©OW 43 

"Come along, then/' 

And Bella swiftly led the way in a direction from 
which there was no danger of Job catching sight 
of that which lay behind the willow-bush. 

" What do you say to this ? " she asked, standing 
still and indicating a clear stretch of turf between 
the alders. 

" Ver' good — ver* good ! " quavered Job, eyeing it 
from under his hat-brim with an approving eye. 
"Ye'U see fer yourself what a couple o' grand 
graves Pll turn out here!" 

"But not with that bottle in your pocket!" 
laughed Bella, and with a quick gesture she whipped 
it out 

" No, no, Job ! " She was holding it behind her 
back now and resolutely shaking her head. "You 
shall get it when you've done your work ; but if I 
leave it to you now you'll be requiring too much 
refreshment — I know you — and those two poor 
wretches won't get to rest to-day." 

"But you'll give it me when I've done. Miss 
Beller?" abjectly pleaded Job. 

" Honour bright ! And now, go ahead ! I shall 
take a walk meanwhile in the wood to see if there 
are any daisies remaining — it's only Christian-like, 
you know, to put a handful of flowers on the 
top of a new grave-hill, and if both the holes are 
ready when I come back, you shall have your bottle." 

" You're an angel. Miss Beller ! " hiccupped Job, as 
he bent to his task. 

44 XTbe ftotise ot Htf^Mea 

With the bottle tightly clutched Bella sped back 
to the willow- bush. No change had come there 
during the few minutes of her absence. But though 
he was not visibly alive, Dick Cameron was 
undoubtedly not dead ; of this she began to feel 
more and more certain as the minutes passed. The 
brandy poured between his lips soon began to do 
its work. A faint flutter of the eyelids, followed by 
a slight convulsion passing over the inert body, were 
the first signs of painfully and laboriously returning 
life. As she became aware of it, it was all that Bella 
could do to repress a shout of triumph. 

An hour later she still knelt beside him, gazing 
eagerly into his expressionless eyes. Full conscious- 
ness was not yet returned, but all doubts as to the 
possibility of restoring him were at an end. 

During that hour, while Job, over there, bent over 
his spade, Bella's plan had matured. Up to the 
moment of securing the brandy-bottle she had acted 
on mere impulse, without any coherent thought of 
what was to follow. It was the peculiar circum- 
stances of the case which had hatched in her brain 
an idea as cunning as it was daring. At this 
moment Dick Cameron was dead to the world ; it 
would be safer to let him remain dead — even to 
John Dow — and she thought she knew how she 
could do it. 

From between the willow branches she had kept 
a watchful eye upon the gravedigger, so that the 
right moment for interference could not escape her. 

Sot "Bow 45 

Job had been as good as his word — ^in fact, rather 
better; for when presently Bella reappeared upon 
the scene he had not only finished the two " holes," 
he had also put Johnnie into his own private hole, 
and heaped the earth upon him into a rough mound. 
In his turbid brain he discovered the fact that this 
would be a surprise for " Miss Beller," and calculated 
to restore the precious bottle all the more rapidly to 
his own pocket 

And, sure enough, here she came along, all smiles 
and fair glances. 

" I've done it, ain't I ? " panted Job, who by this 
time was both desperately and legitimately thirsty. 

*' Yes, you've done it — and since I always keep my 
promises, here goes ! " 

" And how about t'other 'un ? " asked Job, but not 
until he had taken a long, ecstatic pull at the black 

"There's no hurry about him, is there? You've 
earned a rest first, strikes me." 

" Strikes me as I have ! " murmured Job, already 
sitting upon the mound he had just constructed. 

It was not many minutes later that he had 
rolled off it into the grass, and Bella knew that 
the first move in the game had been successfully 

The second move was that she plunged into the 
willow thicket, presently to return, her arms laden 
with branches, which she threw into the empty 
grave. Then, lifting Job's spade from the ground 

46 utyc fwuse ot VtfbMe^ 

beside him she set about filling back the earth into 
the hole with a vigour of which her shapely arms 
scarcely appeared capable. 

When two hours later Job awoke, it was to purse 
up his chin higher than ever, and rub his eyes 
perplexedly. If he remembered right — though his 
memory didn't seem quite in working order to-day — 
there had been one grave-hill here when he went to 
sleep, while now there undoubtedly were two — and 
one quite as neatly heaped as the other, and with 
daises strewn impartially upon both. How did this 

Counsel, of course, was sought where Job always 
sought it, and apparently also was found. 

" Not that I r*c/ect puttin' the second 'un in," he 
soliloquised, with the bottle's mouth against his 
own ; *' but it's plain I did it, since there it is ! 
I'll ask Miss Beller ; she's bound to know all about 
it. Happen she was right when she said az how I 
was a bit boozled this mornin'." 

That afternoon there came a -knock at Bella's 
door. She opened in person. 

"Plaze, Miss Beller," began Job, squinting up at 
her rather sheepishly from under his hat-brim, for 
the question was a delicate one, " happen az how 
you can tell me about the other grave-'ill — the 
second 'un, I mean ? " 

"What about it?" asked Bella, unmoved. 

" It's a fact that I can't r'clect makin' it up ; yet 
I s'pose it can only have been I az did it ? " 

Job Bow 47 

** Who else should it have been ? Why, I saw you 
at work." 

" And you saw me put in the second 'un ? It's a 
fact that I've only got the r*clection of the first 'un." 

" Yes ; I saw you." 

" With your own eyes ? " 

' With my own eyes," said Bella unwaveringly. 

" That's all right, then," breathed Job, with a sigh 
of sincere relief. " Then I s'pose az how I can go 
and fetch my two dollars with a dare conshuns, 
can't I ? Yer see. Miss Seller, I'm kind o' respon- 
serble to the commoonity for the copses, ain't I? 
and it 'ud be mighty arkard fur me if one o' them 
had gone astray." 

"You can fetch your dollars with a perfectly 
clear conscience. You've done your duty, I tell 
you. Really, Job," and she laughed a trifle hysteri- 
cally, " I've heard of people in your condition seeing 
double, but you're the first case I've come across of 
seeing only half of what there is to see." 

"Well, well, I'm not for disputin* as how I'm a 
bit muddled to-day," murmured Job, as, with his 
chin in the air and his face reduced to a scrap, 
he tramped off to claim his wages from the person 
who acted as cashier of the public funds. 

A two-dollar day was a somewhat rare occurrence, 
and it was quite a pleasant discovery to find that 
they had been so easily earned. 

"Happen as how I kind o' did it in my sleep," 
was the conclusion in which he rested content. 



That night the presiding goddess of the Star of 
Hope made so late an appearance at her post as 
to call for a severe reprimand from the proprietor 
of the saloon. 

" Call these business hours ? " he greeted her with 
a sottO'Voce snarl, when somewhere about i a.m. 
she took up her place behind the bar. " And on a 
boat-day too, with our hands as full as they'll hold 1 
Need as much beauty-sleep as all that, eh ? " 

""And if I did?" said Bella, her unabashed blue 
eyes full upon his fat face; whereupon the pro- 
prietor grunted and held his peace, as irritably aware 
of her market- value as was Wax-doll Bella herself. 

But she did not look as though she had been 

asleep. Never had the pink in her cheeks approached 

so nearly to pure carmine, and never had her round, 

shining eyes appeared more wide-awake, nor moved 

more rapidly round the room. Within five minutes 

of her entrance she had taken complete stock of the 

company, and had ascertained that Kennedy's dark 

physiognomy was not among the many faces that 

lined the walls and pressed around the tables. 


Bn tbe Uln fent 49 

It was agreed on all hands that never had Wax- 
&0II Bella been in such ^* good form '* as during the 
two or three hours that followed. If the excitement 
under whose influence the customary primness of her 
demeanour melted like snow in the sunshine bore 
any relation to hysteria, it remained unguessed at by 
her audience. She talked, she laughed, she danced, 
she even sang, as the astonished proprietor and the 
delighted guests had never heard or seen her do. 
One and all were as pleasantly taken aback as might 
be a child who unexpectedly discovers that its play- 
thing has got in in a hitherto unexpected clockwork, 
producing both movement and sound. 

And yet, when 'in the early morning hours the 
chief barmaid closed the door of the saloon behind 
her, it was all she could do not to lie straight down 
upon the bare ground, from sheer, overpowering 

What a day it had been! The most closely 
packed both with mental emotions and physical 
labour in all her chequered existence. 

The filling in of the sham grave had been the 
least part of it. But oh, the work of getting the 
only half-recovered man more effectively hidden 
than he could be behind the frail screen of the 
willow-bush I To walk he was far too weak, and 
she not strong enough to carry him. A slow and 
halting crawl was all he could achieve ; and in this 
fashion it was that, not having yet recovered a 
complete grasp of events, yet docile as a child to 

so tCbe Douse of VtfdMes 

her peremptory orders, he had gained the heart of the 
willow-thicket, where he was to lie concealed until 
such time as it would appear safe to convey him to 
her own hut. 

There she had left him, half prepared on her 
return to find that he had either been discovered, or 
had succumbed to sheer weakness. 

But Fortune was with her to-day. Not only did 
the immortal interests of a "boat-day" keep the 
community most happily occupied, but when, with a 
beating heart and a basket of refreshments, she s^ain 
reached the spot, Cameron had so far revived that he 
was able to eat 

Then, when darkness had fallen, and the moment 
seemed propitious, had come the hardest work of the 
day ; for by the roundabout way perforce chosen, it 
was dose upon a three-mile walk to her hut ; and 
Cameron, even under the influence of repeated doses 
of brandy, could not walk more than fifty paces 
without sitting down to rest ; and even this he only 
achieved by leaning heavily upon her aching shoulder. 
And with every step the terror of a chance meeting, — 
the constant expectation of a final breakdown. 
Twice he fainted straight away, almost dragging her 
down in his fall, and at least fifty times Bella gave up 
the cause as lost. 

When at length she stood at her own door, with 
Cameron's hand still clutching her shoulder, the 
thing seemed too unreal to be true. Even among 
the houses they had met but a few stragglers, all 

?n tbe TTiti Itot s^ 

hurrying towards the flaring saloon, and too pre- 
occupied with its promises to throw more than a 
passing glance at the dimly seen couple. 

She had scarcely got him on to the top of her own 
bed when once more he swooned away ; but the 
worst of her terrors were at an end. She waited only 
to see that the brandy put between his lips was 
swallowed, before, having with deft fingers rearranged 
her attire, and with the key of the little tin cabin 
safely in her pocket, she turned her face towards the 
Star of Hope. 

When the key again grated in the lock she was 
too tired almost to wonder what her patient would 
be doing. Having carefully fastened the door 
behind her, she went slowly to the bed. His eyes 
were closed, and his face of a startling pallor, to 
which the light filtering through the closely-drawn 
baize curtain of the little window gave a greenish 
tint About his throat, too, exposed by the open 
shirt, there were some hideously suggestive marks: 
but the rise and fall of his chest said enough. He 
was in a deep sleep. 

Almost indifferently Bella turned from him, and, 
going into the tiny kitchen alongside, threw herself 
down upon a piece of carpet, and with another piece 
rolled up under her head, almost instantaneously fell 
into oblivion. 

When she awoke the sun stood high already. With 
physical refreshment mental anxiety had returned. 
Springing up, she hastened into the adjoining room. 

52 TTbe HouBC of VtfbMea 

Cameron lay almost as she had left him ; but as 
she stooped over him, his eyes — no longer the dazed 
eyes of yesterday — opened full to meet hers. 

Feebly he put out one hand towards hers. 

"Bella — I haven't thanked you. Yesterday I 
didn't seem to understand, but to'- day I do. I 
never knew you were so good!" 

The hoarse whisper was plain enough. 

Bella snatched back her hand. 

" I am not good at all ! " she said, almost sharply. 
« I Aad to do it— that is all." 

He looked at her with a little painful surprise 
upon his colourless face. 

"You Aave done it, at any rate. And I must tell 
you this too : it is the life of an innocent man you 
have saved. Upon my soul and honour, Bella — and 
I speak as one coming back from the dead — I did 
not do it 1 " 

" I knew you did not do it," said Bella, as sharply 
as before, and turning away to busy herself with the 
cups upon the table. 

"You knew it? You knew that it was not a 
murderer whom you were cutting down?" 

" If I had thought it was you who put the knife 
into Johnnie," said Bella, between her teeth, " then I 
should have let you hang." 

" But, Bella " — he raised himself laboriously upon 
his elbow — " if you are so sure of that, then perhaps 
you know who it was who did it ? — and if so, you 
could clear me?" 

?n tbe TCfn tnt S3 

** I know nothing at all/' said Bella sullenly, ready 
to bite her tongue out. " I only know that you and 
Johnnie were more like brothers than cousins, and 
though you've never been over-civil to me, I can't 
say I've yet deciphered the mark of Cain upon 

" Ah, yes ; poor Johnnie ! " 

Dick sank back upon the pillow. 

" I don't know how I shall do without him. And 
you too, Bella — it must have been a shock to you. 
He had nothing but you in his head, poor boy 1 
Even that last night on the way home he spoke 
only of your hair and eyes." 

*' Did he indeed ? " asked Bella, irresistibly 
flattered. Then, after a pause: "And the ring — 
the one I gave him with the opal, he — he liked it, 
didn't he? He didn't ever take it off?" 

The question was put with a purpose. She 
wanted to know whether, by any chance, Dick too 
had been aware of the disappearance of the ring. 

"Never! I believe he would have died sooner 
than part with it." 

"That's about what he didl" reflected Bella 
bitterly, and yet relieved. Obviously Dick had no 
suspicion; it was better so. Yesterday her first 
impulse had been to denounce Kennedy; — to-day, 
believing Dick safe, she shrank from the step. She 
had not seen her dark-faced wooer since the crime, 
nor had she tried to see him; the thought of a 
meeting filled her with horror ; but to speak would 

54 TTbe ftotise ot HfbMea 

mean his death, and she had had enough of death — 
for the present, anyway. 

There was a pause, during which she put the 
kettle on to the fire, for tea had obviously become 
the first necessity. 

" I wonder who it could have been ? " commented 
Dick, addressing the ceiling. " Such a good-natured 
chap as Johnnie was, too. I shouldn't have thought 
there was a man in the camp who had a grudge 
against him. It's what people call a 'dark affair,' 
isn't it?" 

*' It was as clear as day to the people who took 
you to the alder wood ; and it would seem as clear 
as day to any court of justice you took it to. Have 
you forgotten about the knife ? " 

'' That knife beats me. I can swear that I left it 
at the saloon." 

" / believe you ; but nobody else will." 

" Does that mean that I shall have to remain dead 
— for the present? " 

*« It is your only chance of remaining alive." 

Dick laughed feebly. "But how is it to be 

**By lying low here until you are able to travel. 
You'll have to walk to the next boat-station. It 
wouldn't be safe to embark here, even disguised." 

" I haven't got a disguise." 

** I'll procure you one." 

" And I've got no money, either." 

"I'll lend you monqr." 

?n tbe XCiti feut 55 

** You're a stunner ! " murmured Dick, over- 
whelmed with so much generosity. 

"You'd better not be as grateful as all that/' 
said Bella, with a sharp laugh. '* Your wife mightn't 
like it" 

" My wife I " Dick started up with a new terror 
upon his face. " She will hear of this, perhaps — she 
will think I am dead. It will kill her, Bella, I tell 
you ! I shall send her a wire from the first station I 
come to." 

" You will do nothing of the sort ! " said Bella, 
turning upon him. ''Remember that to the world 
you are dead, and telegraph clerks are human, after 

'' She is very keen to keep me dead," was Dick's 
passing reflection, as once more he sank against the 



In a tiny compartment of one of those human bee- 
hives in which hundreds of existences wear them- 
selves out, side by side, without more knowledge 
of each other than the staircase affords, Elvira 
Cameron sat alone, fighting with despair. 

At first sight it would indeed appear as though 
she had a companion. Over there, in the corner, 
there stood a form, which in the falling dusk could 
well be taken for another woman, though a closer 
look gave the gruesome impression that she had 
been recently decapitated. But, despite her faultless 
bust and haunches, she was only a wickerwork 
woman, stiffly wearing the last garment upon which 
Elvira's needle had been busy. In another comer 
stood the sewing machine — idle likewise, and not 
even protected from the dust that lay thick upon 
the half- finished blouses and skirts littering the 
table and even the floor. 

As she sat thus in a shabby rocking-chair, whose 
motion soothed her unrest, wrapped in a shabbier 
dressing-gown, Elvira was principally surprised at 
one thing : to find herself still alive, and apparently 


''Obv. Brown'' s? 

in her right senses. During the two days of high 
fever that were past, the end had seemed so comfort- 
ingly near : and yet here she sat, her wide eyes fixed 
upon the bare wall opposite, her mind trying to 
gauge the height and the depth of the ruin that 
had come upon her. 

Even thus, with no advantages of attire to frame 
her beauty, with her undressed hair hanging loose 
about her shoulders, she was a woman to kneel 
down and worship. 

It was difficult to range her as a type : for while 
the intense darkness of hair and eyes spoke of a 
Southern origin, there was about her complexion 
that peculiar delicacy of grain, and even in this 
moment of physical exhaustion, that bloom which 
is characteristic of the North. Never had the 
mixture of races — for her Californian mother had 
been of Spanish descent, her father a pure blood 
Yankee — brought about a more fortunate result, 
physically, and a more curious one morally. 
Andalusian heat and American coolness had 
rarely been mixed with such bewildering results. 

The passion with which she had responded to 
the handsome young Scotchman's passionate wooing 
had left her no time to think of the future. It was 
only when the first rapture was spent that the 
American side of her nature came sufficiently to 
the fore to let her acquiesce in the inevitable 
separation. It would not be for long — it could not 
be for long — so her twenty-year-old heart had 

5^ XTbe ftonse of HfbMea 

argued ; and to-day, as she sat in the old rocking- 
chair, she was trying to understand that it was to 
be for ever! 

With a shiver she stretched out her hand towards 
a crumpled sheet of newspaper upon the table. The 
date was of more than three weeks back, and yet it 
was only two days ago that it had come into her 
hands; and the way it had come was in itself a 

In the voluntary isolation in which, for prudence 
sake, she lived, she had exchanged words with only 
one of her fellow-lodgers. This exception was her 
immediate neighbour, whose door opened opposite 
hers straight across this last landing — an old, lame 
individual, whom she had passed by at least a 
hundred times on the staircase before an acquaint- 
ance was begun. Nor would it ever have been begun 
but for a chance discovery. 

She had b^un by noticing him for his peculiar 
appearance; for this strange person had about him 
all the characteristics of a dwarf: the large head, 
the high shoulders, the big extremities, the ungainly 
features — and yet he was of quite an average height. 
" A dwarf looked at through a magnifying-glass," was 
the definition Elvira arrived at. 

By degrees she noticed him also for his loneliness. 
Like herself he seemed cut off from his surroundings, 
like herself he never received a visitor nor appeared 
to have a friend. His occupations seemed doubtful 
and various. Once, after a heavy snowfall, she 

recognised him among the workmen on the pave- 
ment ; another time she caught sight of his grotesque 
face in a procession of sandwich-men, above the flar- 
ing praises of the latest thing in infants' food. It was 
generally after dark, when bringing back fresh orders 
from the big shop for which she worked, that these 
staircase meetings took place; but one day, being 
short of thread, and forced into a midday excursion, 
she came upon him in full daylight, and as he stogd 
humbly aside to make way, she felt struck by some- 
thing new and poignant in his horribly gaunt face. 

She puzzled over it, vaguely haunted ; and when 
several days passed without another meeting, her 
generous young heart began to feel uneasy. 

One evening, coming home with her supper in her 
hand — a few pieces of cold meat wrapped in paper, 
and a fresh roll bought at the baker opposite — she 
stopped to listen before her neighbour's door, for the 
sound of a dull moan came from behind it Timidly 
she knocked. The sound broke off, but there was 
no invitation to enter. 

She knocked again, and then, despite the silence, 
entered boldly. 

In the precarious light of the street-lamp, she 
caught sight of the old man cowered together upon 
a bed that was bare of everything but a straw 
mattress. A table with an empty plate upon it, a 
rush-bottomed chair badly frayed, and an outlandish- 
looking trunk in the corner, formed the rest of the 
appointments of the attic 

6o TCbe Dottse of itfbMes 

From out of his horribly contracted face his small 
eyes looked at her dully. 

*' You are ill ? " asked Elvira, approaching the bed 
with some nervousness. 

He shook his large head 

" But you must be in pain — I heard you groaning." 

He said nothing, though she noticed a convulsive 
movement of the lips. 

Suddenly she became aware that something had 
leaped into his eyes. They had left her face, and 
were fastened upon her hands with -an almost savage 

Then in a moment she understood, for it was the 
roll in her hand he was glaring at with eyes become 
like those of an animal, while his very nostrils 
widened as though to drink in the perfume of its 

" You are hungry?'' she cried, as she held the roll 
towards him. 

He seized it, and tried to put his teeth into it, but 
failed, falling back again with a groan. 

Elvira flew across to her own attic. 

She had remembered that she still possessed half 
a bottle of wine, treasured for the days of extra work. 

Gradually he revived ; and as she watched him 
slowly eat, a feeling of intolerable pity came over her. 
The thought that a fellow-creature had so nearly 
perished so close to her, for want of a bit of bread, 
was to her warm heart a bitter reproach. She 
blamed herself for not having understood sooner. 

Her own contact with misery was close enough by 
this time to have opened her eyes, — so much closer 
than Dick had any idea of ! — Dick, who had left her 
in a two-roomed apartment, and would find her 
again in this hive, with a street - sweeper for 
neighbour ! 

Gradually as he ate the glare left his eyes, and 
something awestruck came into them. He gazed at 
the small, slender figure beside his bed as though at 
an apparition. 

"Ye're not the Blaissed Vairgin, are ye?" he 
whispered at last, and from the words as well as the 
accent Elvira knew him to be an Irishman. 

" I'm Mrs. Cameron, your neighbour." 

" Are ye, indade ? Well, ye're the first o' them." 

"The first of whom?" 

" The first of the women that haven't run away 
from me. They don't find me ower pretty, the 

The faint gleam in the comers of his small eyes 
made him still more unmistakably Irish. 

This was the b^inning of the friendship between 
the young grass-widow and the lame Irishman: 
Poorly furnished though her own larder was, there 
was henceforward no danger of starvation for " Mr. 
Brown," the strangely unceltic but non-committal 
name under which he had introduced himself to his 
benefactress, for Elvira had that ''sympathy of 
experience" which only the poor can feel for the 
poor. His grey hairs, his loneliness, his very 

6a TCbe Donee ot ittDMeB 

ugliness, they all appealed to her pity. And he 
accepted her small bounties as much as a matter of 
course as though th^r had come straight from the 
hand of that ^'Blaissed Vairgin" to whom he had 
begun by likening her. 

His gratitude took various practical shapes, such 
as the humble request for permission to blacken her 
boots, or oil her machine. The only time that he 
attempted to put it into words the effect was rather 

" If at any toime ye should want any leetle thing 
done for you, Missy " — he observed on this occasion 
— '^sich as knockin' dhown a fellow, for instance, 
don't ye be for forgettin' that Tm the man 
for ye.'* 

And he opened and closed his large hands 

''But I don't want anyone knocked down, Mr. 

'' I'm only mentionin' it, in case. Knocked down, 
mhind you, and sthrangled too, if nades bcf." 

Elvira laughed like a child, for in spite of the 
hard tussle with Life, she was not much more than 
a child 

"Goodness, Mr. Brown, don't you know that it's 
wrong to strangle people?" 

''Ro^ht and wrong are a matter of opeenion," 
said Mr. Brown sententiously. "You can take my 
word for it, Missy, for I'm a man of exparience." 

If seeing the world constituted experience, Mr. 

Brown could not be said to lack it He seemed 
to be personally acquainted, not only with every 
continent, but likewise with every country therein. 
It was scarcely possible to name a town without 
some casual remark betraying that, at some moment 
of his wandering existence, he had been there ; but 
as to what his occupations had been under these 
different hemispheres, Elvira found him persistently 

It was not in her own attic, it was in that of her 
queer neighbour, that the blow fell which she believed 
to be her death-blow. 

Newspapers did not, as a rule, exist for her ; she 
was too busy by day, too tired at night, to care for 
either politics or scandal. 

On this evening she had brought back a sausage 
for supper — a sausage which she meant to divide 
with her protigi across the landing. 

'^Mr. Brown," she gaily announced, entering the 
tiny space with the parcel in her hand, '*give me 
your knife! I am going to divide this fairly 
between us." 

In the very act of unwrapping the sausage from 
the half-sheet of newspaper in which it was packed, 
she became silent Her eye had been caught by her 
own name in print 

" A Cameron murdered— a Cameron murderer " — 
ran the heading. *' Lynching case in the gold-fields." 

She had read to the end of the paragraph, which, 
in stilted phrases, recorded the story of Johnnie and 

64 XTbe Hovse of itfbMeB 

Dick, such as it was known to newspaper reporters, 
before it even dawned upon her that it could in any 
way concern herself. Cameron was, after all, not a 
very uncommon name. Strangle that one of them 
should have been called Johnnie, and the other — but 
no, it could not be. That such a monstrosity should 
happen to Dick and herself seemed so unthinkable 
that she almost smiled. It was only with a second 
readings that the possibility of the thing came over 
her with an icy rush. 

An attack of sudden faintness forced her to sit down 
upon the one chair in the room, turning the while so 
frightfully pale that Mr. Brown started forward as 
though to save her from falling. She tried to speak, 
but, not succeeding, pushed the paper into his hand, 
pointing dumbly to the paragraph. While he read 
she watched him breathlessly: she wanted to see 
whether a second human brain could form the same 
horrible thought which had begun to shape itself in 
hers, for Mr. Brown had been made acquainted with 
the chief facts of her life. 

It was clear that it could ; for, having read to the 
end, he shot a bewildered glance at her face, and she 
could see how his large hand began to tremble. 

Suddenly a sort of fury came over her. 

" It is not true 1 It is not true ! " she cried, rising 
passionately to her feet. " He did not do it — Dick 
never hurt a fly. But they can't have killed him, I 
don't believe it. No, no ; it isn't possible ! Such 
things don't happen, do they ? — You must know." 

He rubbed his stubbly chin, his eyes glued to the 
paper. To a man of his " exparience " it was known 
that almost anything can happen in a gold-field. He 
looked at the date— it was of three weeks back. Just 
as little as she had he kept abreast of the news. 

''Maybe ifs a pack o' lies I" he said at last 
vehemently. "Oi'U go out and inquire. And 
meanwhile, Missy, thiy and kape your senses 

When, an hour later, he limped up to her door, 
it was opened in his face. 

" Quick 1" she panted, with madness in her eyes. 
"Tell me quickly!" 

But instead of telling her, he knelt down before 
her and clasped his hands as though in prayer. 

" By the Holy Vairgin," he said in a whisper that 
shook, " kape your senses thegither ! " 

"It is true, then?" 

He buried his big face in his enormous hands, 
without speaking. 

After that she had had no coherent thought for 
two dreadful nights and days, during which a 
horrible phantom danced and dangled before her 
eyes, and while the Irishman watched like a dog 
on the threshold, for fear that any of her raviiig 
words should meet uncalled-for ears; for in the 
human bee -hive no one but himself had got the 
clue to her identity, nor did he mean that they 
should get it 

To-day, exhaustion having brought a little calm, 

66 ube tK)tise of HfDMee 

he had retired, from his post — ^while in the dark 
Elvira sat alone, looking at her lost happiness, 
through the first tears that she had been able to 

Three weeks ago ! Why, the grass on those two 
lonely graves, so graphically described by the 
newspaper reporter, must be green already ! 

She dashed her hand across her eyes, and 
managed to say ^'Come in!" for there had been 
a knock, a very low knock, at her door. Her 
watch-dog back again, no doubt, though she had 
not heard his door open. 


The door opened and closed again behind her. 

"Well?" she said wearily, without turning her 

Silence for a moment ; then, in a hoarse whisper, 
she heard her name spoken. 


With a start, she faced round. A man stood 
before her — a stranger with a black beard and the 
collar of his overcoat turned up to his ears, though 
the evening was mild. 

"You have mistaken the door," she began 
haughtily; and in that moment the stranger put 
up his hand to his face, and before her incredulous 
eyes the black beard dropped to the ground ; and 
through the veil of the falling dusk, she found 
herself looking into a face which could only be 
that of a spectre — a face which she had been 
thinking of as having lain under the earth for three 

To her overwrought nerves the shock was too 

great Cowering away from him, with one scream 

of terror, she fell back swooning in her chair. 


68 XLbc Donse ot Wbblcs 

-Elvira! Elvira! My love! It is I ! Oh, 
blockhead— I have killed her!" 

He was on his knees, covering her cold hands 
with kisses, when the door burst open and there 
entered precipitately one of the most fantastically 
ugly old men he had ever seen, whose big head 
was shaking with indignation between his high 
shoulders, and whose huge hands opened and 
closed ominously. 

-Hands off I" hissed this alarming individual, as 
he threateningly limped forward. " How dare ye 
touch Missy ? Lord above, how did ye get in here, 
altogether ? Sames as tho' I'd been dozin' a bit ! " 

'* Fm not hurting her — I'm her husband," groaned 
Dick. " Oh, help me to bring her round ! I'm her 
husband, man ! " , 

** It's a loier that ye ,are ! Her husband is dhead, 
I tell ye. Hands off, I say!" 

"To be sure — I am dead — I had foi^otten," 
stammered Dick, losing his head by another degree. 
" But I'm her husband all the same. There — she's 
coming round — she'll tell you so herself Elvira, 
my love, it is I — it is Dick. Don't look at me like 
that ! I'm alive, I tell you ; feel me, kiss me — I'm 

Slowly the panic in her eyes turned to an in- 
credulous rapture. It wanted but the warm touch of 
his lips upon hers to perfect the conviction. 

- Dick ! " she murmured, as with a deep, deep 
breath her head sank upon his breast 

Vbe (fttticft and tbe Z>eab 69 

Mr. Brown, having for a minute stood rigid and 
quite unattended to, limped out again, rubbing his 
chin very hard ; and for the rest of the evening kept 
watch in the passage. He was not quite as surprised 
as a man of less varied experience might have been, 
but, all the same, he was considerably perplexed ; 
and had reached the conclusion that, until matters 
were cleared up a bit, there was no need for the 
rest of the lodging-house being taken into Missy's 
' confidence. 

• • • a t . t 

Hours later husband and wife were still looking 
into each other's eyes, still going over each detail of 
the last month's incredible history. 

At the first mention of a " woman-saviour " a cloud 
had rufHed Elvira's brow : a cloud quickly smoothed 

"As though that doll could ever have a chance 
beside your memory, my queen ! " he laughed 
exultingly. " Why, before the fire of your eyes she 
would melt as though in truth she were nothing but 
wax. Toys of that sort are all very well for boys 
like poor Johnnie." 

" And Johnnie cared for her ? " 

*' He had lost his head over her, at any rate." 

*'Poor Johnnie! It is only now that I am able 
to feel sorry for him. Have you formed any guess 
as to the murderer?" 

"None whatever. He had no enemy that I 
know of." 

70 Jibe Donse ot ltt&5Ie0 

•* But he might have had a rival, might he not ? " 

"In Bella's affections, you mean? Oh, for the 
matter of that, about three quarters of the camp 
were his rivals. But they don't kill each other for 
that sort of thing : it isn't taken seriously enough." 

" Did she care for Johnnie ? " 

" Well, she did seem rather taken with him. Two 
days before the catastrophe she made him a present 
of quite a handsome ring." 

"A ring?" / 

There was a new note of interest in Elvira's 
voice. A ring rarely fails to appeal to the female 

" That looks as though she took it rather seriously. 
It is strange, certainly, that even caring for him a 
little she should have tried so hard to save his 

" I am no murderer to her. She told me that she 
knew I had not done it" 

" Ah ? Does that mean that she knows who did 

" That was my own question ; but she absolutely 
denied knowing." 

Elvira did not seem to hear. She sat lost in 

" Why did she work so hard — why did she plan so 
cleverly to save you ? " 

"She said she could not help it ; it Aad to be done 
— those were her words." 

Elvira got up, almost pushing him from her. 

JEbc (Utifcft ant) tbe DeaD 71 

" That girl knows ! " she said decisively. " I will 
stake my soul that that girl knows — and ^e is 
trying to shield the real criminal. She did not 
want to see an innocent man punished, but she 
does not want to see the guilty one punished either, 
because she feels that the guilt is really hers. She 
can't be quite bad." 

" But she said most emphatically that she did not 

Elvira laughed aloud, shaking back the dark 
masses of her hair. 

" Oh, you men ! Why, that is exactly the reason 
why I feel sure that she does know. It is quite 

She stood before him with delicate brows knit in 
collected and business-like thought 

"This thing, on the face, looks like a money- 
murder; but we know that it isn't that What 
remains? A love-murder, of course — there never 
are any but those two motives. That wax-doll 
creature is the woman, of course ; our device has to 
bet Cherchez rhomnut Now think, Dick; think 
hard ! There must be some clue lying about" 

"She certainly was very keen about keeping me 
dark ! " said Dick slowly, his unwieldy masculine 
mind struggling to turn new lights upon the past 

" What else did she say besides that about having 
to do it?" 

Dick plunged into his memory. " Well, she asked 
me about the ring." 

73 JCbc Honse of IttdMes 

Elvira's frown of attention deepened. That ring 
again I " What did she ask ? " 

•* Whether Johnnie ever took it off. I told her he 
never did." 

" Then I suppose he had the ring on when he was 
murdered ? Was it a valuable ring ? " 

''More curious than valuable, I think. A funny, 
square opal with blue stones round it A sort of 
antiquarian business, with a crest and motto engraved 
on the inside." 

" Not Aer crest and motto, of course? " 

** Of course not A present she got, no doubt" 

" Do you remember what they were ? " 

" Yes — they struck me as curious : an eagle's claw 
clutching a dagger, and the motto : ' Gae ye claw me, 
I'll claw ye.'" 

" * Gae ' is Scotch, surely ? " 

" Undoubtedly." 

" Were there many Scotchmen in the camp ? " 

" Quantities." 

" There are two things I should like to know," said 
Elvira, after a pause — " one is, to which Scotch family 
that motto belongs ; and the other is, whether Johnnie 
had that ring on his finger when he was buried." 

Dick smiled indulgently. 

" That ring has run away with your fancy, Elvira ! 
I can't think what has made you fasten on it" 

" I can't say either, but it pursues me. You're 
quite sure you never saw it before you saw it on 
Johnnie ? " 

JOk (ftnicft anb tbe S)eab 73 

** Well, the funny thing is that I'm not sure about 
that Even when Johnnie showed it me it somehow 
seemed famihar." 

"Oh, Dick— try and think ! " 

" It's no use — I've tried to. All I feel sure of is 
that it wasn't on a finger. I've got a kind of 
photc^aph of it in my mind dangling from a 
watch-chain — but wAose watch - chain the deuce 
alone knows." 

" If you could remember, it might settle the matter 
with one blow." 

"Which matter?" 

* But the matter of proving your innocence, Dick ! 
You don't suppose, do you, that I am going to sit 
still till that is done!" 

She stood before him, her eyes flooded with light, 
her cheeks with colour, her small figure gaining the 
illusion of height from the determination of her look. 

" What are you going to do?" asked Dick, gazing 
up at her in a trance of admiration. 

" I am going to make that girl speak. I start for 
the gold-fields to-morrow." 

" Nonsense ! " he said, almost angrily. " And 
besides, you will never make her speak. Her last 
words to me were : ' Mind, it is not I that will clear 

" I shall pay her — I shall have money now. Have 
you forgotten about the gold-find ? It is mine now, 
since before the law you are dead. I shall sell it, of 
course, and we shall be rich." 

74 Ubc DotiBe of 1^i^Me9 

It was the cool business tone again. She was her 
father's daughter all over. 

Dick had almost forgotten about the gold — but it 
did not silence him. Even the proof of his innocence 
did not seem worth the price. 

He would have done better to yield at once, as 
no doubt he would have done had he better known 
the woman he had married. Silenced by her argu- 
ments, swept off his feet by her ardour^ he had from 
the first no chance against her. 

It was midnight before, grudgingly, he had 
consented to remain hidden in New York, awaiting 

" But not in this house," she decided. " Mr. Brown 
will find you a safe place." 

"Is Mr. Brown the old man who attacked me 


" I am afraid I betrayed myself before him." 

"That can't matter. Mr. Brown would much 
rather be cut into little pieces than do anything I 
don't want him to do. He will be as dumb as a fish, 
until— oh, Dick, how long will it take, I wonder? 
Just see if I don't succeed 1 Ah, you thought, did 
you, that I was going to let my happiness be buried in 
poor Johnnie's grave ? Just wait and see, just wait ! " 

The cool business tone was gone. The woman 
with flaming black eyes, with clenched white teeth, 
who stood before Dick was her mother's daughter, 
rather than her father's. 



When the proprietor of the Star of Hope was told 
that a lady-journah'st wished to interview him in his 
private parlour he took the announcement without 
" turning a hair." Lady- journalists in the fine season 
had become, a commonplace of the gold-fields, and 
he was used to serving as a sort of information-bureau 
to travellers generally. 

But when he saw this particular lady-journalist he 
was a little taken aback, all the same, so different 
was she from the " unattached female/' with cropped 
locks and peaky nose, whom he had instinctively 
expected. Such "stunners" as this usually found 
other more congenial occupations than reporting. 
But if the fat proprietor had any notion of airing this 
opinion, the desire was expeditiously crushed in the 
bud by the prodigiously self-possessed, the ostenta- 
tiously business-like tone in which he was greeted I 

She seemed to understand her mitier^ too. It was 
in that semi-gracious, semi-impudent tone so dear to 
the profession, that she informed him of the fact that, 
having travelled thus far in order to collect a series 
of gold-field kodaks for an influential New York 


76 TOie Dottse of 1^i^^Ie0 

paper, she intended to honour his establishment by 
including it in the series. Would he be so good as 
to have a few suitable groups arranged? Yes, he 
might change his dress if he liked, and perhaps he 
would be so kind as to summon the personnel 

Before the commanding glance of her eyes, as 
much as before the flattering prospect, the proprietor 
)delded without a struggle. 

While the barmaids collected, giggling, the 
journalist - photographer might have been seen to 
scan their appearance with an attention which spoke 
volumes for her devotion to her paper. Yet the 
result of the inspection did not seem to satisfy her 

" Are they all here ? " she asked incisively. 

'* All there are at present We're short of a pair 
of hands just now." 

" Are you really ? " 

*<Yes — ^had to part with my head-barmaid quite 
lately — or perhaps I ought to say that she parted 
with me, almost without warning, so to say. Put me 
out a lot, I can tell you. A dab-hand at the drinks 
she was. It's a pity for your group too, Miss — 

" Mrs. White," finished the journalist 

''She'd have made a grand splash in the middle 
of the picture, anyway." 

" What was she called ? " asked Mrs. White, rather 

" Bella Hobson, she called herself in full, but we 

never knew her as anything but Bella — * Wax-doll 
Bella,' the boys used to call her." 

The journalist stooped a little lower over her 
apparatus, struggling with the focus apparently. 

** And she's gone away ? " 

" Been gone for a matter of four weeks now." 

"And whereto?" 

"To the devil, as likely as not She's an out-and- 
outer, Bella is, but Pd give a night's takings to see 
her again behind the bar." 

There was nothing more said for the moment, nor 
was the proprietor an acute enough observer to notice 
that the hand which held the kodak had become 
rather unsteady. In a vague sort of way it did 
indeed strike him that the lady-journalist seemed 
rather abruptly to have lost her interest in the group. 
It was not until its components had dispersed that 
the abstraction which had fallen upon her appeared 
to lift 

" It's a pity, certainly, that your head-barmaid should 
not have awaited my arrival," she said, in a new and 
lighter tone, and with the most gracious smile she 
had yet accorded him. " I am sure she would have 
improved the group. I have heard of Wax-doll 
Bella before as having been a leading feature of your 
brilliant saloon." 

The proprietor positively blushed as he bowed over 
his flowered waistcoat ; but the counter-compliment, 
momentarily meditated, did not reach utterance. 

" To tell the truth, I had rather set my heart upon 

78 XTbe Douse of VidMes 

having her portrait in my collection. But I daresay 
she is not very far oflT-— perhaps in another of the 
settlements ? " 

The proprietor was not surprised — no amount 
of inquisitiveness on the part of a lady-journalist 
was capable of surprising him — ^but he was obviously 

" Maybe, madam, and I should be happy to serve 
you if I could ; but if you want my own opinion in 
the matter, to look for Bella on this here continent 
would be about as hopeful as looking for a needle 
in a haystack." 

" Is there anyone here likely to know her where- 

" Well, you might ask Milly — though it isn't likely 
she's left an address there, considerin' how little love 
there was lost between the two." 

"Who is Milly?" 

"The big black girl who stood to the right Til 
call her back, if you like." 

" Never mind ; tell me only where she lives," said 
Mrs White quickly. " There is no hurry." 

With the camera in her hand, and the directions 
for finding Milly's lodging stored in her memory, 
Elvira left the saloon. She was biting her lip 
somewhat hard as she did so. 

Till now all had gone smoothly. The sale of the 
few trinkets she possessed promised fairly well to 
cover the cost of the excursion. Nor had she found 
it difficult to shake down into her new rdle. Once 

only had she fallen out of it, when much annoyed by 
one of her fellow-passengers on the boat, a stupid 
old professor who had insisted on talking of the 
lynching case. On that occasion she was aware of 
having betrayed a petulance which she regretted as 

Otherwise there had been no contretemps until 
to-day. The Star of Hope had proved anything but 
hopeful. In the very first step of her investigations 
she found herself brought up against an obstacle 
which she had failed to foresee — the disappearance of 
the chief witness. And yet she might have foreseen 
it The very fact of the disappearance strengthened 
Elvira's belief in the weight of the testimony thus 
withheld. If Bella had something to say, and did 
not want to say it, the simplest thing certainly was 
to withdraw from the scene. 

Yet she could not vanish into thin air, and there 
was still Milly to be tried. It was upon Milly now, 
and the possible clues to be extracted from the 
coarse-looking, black-haired girl, that Elvira's hopes 
now began to concentrate. From the proprietor's 
words she had gathered that the two had been rivals, 
and what eyes are as sharp as those of a rival ? 

This impression gained strength during the first 
few minutes of the tite-d-tite which she managed to 
secure on the afternoon of this day, in the very same 
tin hut in which Bella had housed, and into which 
Milly had moved on her disappearance from the 
scene, just as inevitably as she had stepped into her 

8o XTbe Donee of 1Rt^^Ie9 

place behind the bar. Both berths had been equally 
coveted for long, since Milly's own hut leaked badly, 
and her talents had, in her own opinion, been kept in 
the shade unduly long. 

The same deal table and chairs, the same green 
baize curtains to the window which had been there 
while Dick Cameron lay in hiding, still furnished the 
room ; for Bella had been either in too great a hurry, 
or too improvident, to move the bulk of her 
belongings. In the space that still reeked of her 
rival's presence, Black Milly, her elbows on the table, 
her coarse hair tumbled about her rubicund face, now 
basked in the sunshine of her own rising prosperity. 

"Do I know where Bella is?" she scornfully 
echoed the question addressed to her. "Whatever 
do you want with that gimcrack creature? Never 
could see anything in her yellow hair myself. Fancy 
puttin' a starched doll like that behind a bar ! " 

Milly said it with as deep an indignation as 
though it lay with her to defend the outraged 
traditions of the trade. 

"Mrs. White" here dished up some judicious 
explanation — something about " types " to be 

" Call her a type ? I call her a cat Never could 
abide her smooth looks. It's with those milk-and- 
water airs that she ruined the men. To look at her, 
you would think she couldn't say ' Bo ' to a goose, 
and yet do you suppose she could view a man 
without wantin' to drag him at her skirt-tails ? Not 

she. And she'll be playin' the same game on every 
spot of earth she gets to." 

" But you haven't told me yet where she has got 
to for the present ? " mildly interrupted the inquirer. 

" Do you think I care ? We're not over likely to 
correspond, are we, lovin' each other as we do ? " 

Milly laughed a brutally frank laugh. 

"Look here, Mrs. What's -your- name ! Take my 
advice, and don't trouble about that kind o' type. 
She's a snake, I tell you. Not one o' them did she 
leave alone — not a blessed one. Look here" — and 
she sat up in order to speak more emphatically — 
"do you see that stove over there?" 

Elvira looked across at the small iron stove that 
blocked a comer. 

"When I cleared it out, what do you suppose I 
found among the ashes? Why, whole bushels of 
letter-scraps, half-burnt and otherwise. Of course I 
had a look at them — why shouldn't I? — and it 
fairly bowled me over to see the number of sweet- 
hearts she had been foolin' at one and the same 
time. Why, the most unlikely men, even that bear 
Kennedy was among them. I read his name quite 
plainly at the bottom of a note." 

"And why is he a bear?" asked Elvira ab- 
stractedly, her thoughts still running on the 
possibility of extracting an address. 

"Because he never spoke to a woman, or to a 
man either, if he could help it One of those shut-up 
Scotchmen who always look as though they wanted 

83 ube feonse ot 1^i^^Ie0 

to bite you, don't you know — ^but he didn't bite A^r 
—that's dear I" 

There was an extra dose of spite in the words. 
Bella's conquest of the "bear," or rather the proof 
of virtuosity thereby given, was evidently hard to 

'' A Scotchman ? " said Elvira, with a momentary 
movement of interest, since in a general sort of way 
all Scotchmen had become to her suspicious because 
of that ring and the motto it bore. 

And here she became abruptly thoughtful, 
wondering how she was to lead up to the next 
subject to be approached ; for there was something 
else which she hoped to find out from Milly besides 
Bella's possible whereabouts. 

All unwittingly Milly helped her. 

*' Yes ; we've plenty of Scotchmen here, and they're 
the hardiest of the lot Stand the cold like blazes ! " 

From this dexterously the journalist turned the 
talk to the health conditions of the district and the 
usual rate of mortality. 

** Tell me," she presently threw in, " when anyone 
dies here, either suddenly or otherwise, what happens 
with his things ? — I mean, if there are no relations. 
I am writing an article upon the habits of the 
gold-fields," she thought it prudent to throw in. 

** His claim, you mean ? His nuggets ? " 
'* No ; not that — ^but any valuables he might have 
— a watch, for instance, or a ring. Would that be 
buried with him ? " 

Milly laughed boisterously, tossing her hair out of 
her eyes. 

•'Buried with him? Rather not! We're not so 
sinfully wasteful as that" 

" What happens with them, then ? " 

"Well, that depends partly ujion who gets there 
first But they generally haven't got more than a 
watch, and it's considered decent to leave that to the 
fellow who grubs him under, don't you see." 

"The gravedi^er? Ah, yes, of course," said 
Mrs. White, to whom this point of mining etiquette 
seemed to appeal rather strongly. 

" And is there a r^ular, appointed gravedigger ? " 

" Well, it's been Job Dow for a good while now, 
and I don't think anyone is just pinin' to take the 
work off his hands." 

Shortly after this the sham journalist was success- 
fully conducting a second tete-d-tSte^ but it was not 
as a journalist that she posed this time. 

" I am collecting antiquities — old things, you 
know," she explained to Job, whose intellectual 
measure she had taken within two minutes, and 
found conveniently low. " Old jewellery is my especial 
hobby. The Mr. Cameron who was killed lately 
possessed a curious old ring, as I happen to know — 
a ring with a square-cut opal in it You probably 
know what has become of it, since he was wearing 
it at the time of his death. If you can procure 

84 TCbe feonse of 1^i^^Ie0 

it for me I shall be ready to pay you well. What do 
you say to five dollars?" 

Job, who, owing to an improbable combination 
of circumstances, happened to be sober, screwed up 
his chin to a vanishing point 

•*A ring, you're sayin'? How should I never 
have seen it when I put him under the airth?" 

'' Ten dollars," said Elvira, not allowing his eyes 
to escape from under hers. 

Job was becoming visibly agitated. Instinctively 
his fingers felt for the bottle in his pocket, as though 
in search of support 

"But there never was no ring!" he protested. 
Then, as though struck by a happy thought: 
** Happen the watch'U do as well ? If s old eno' to 
suit ennybod/s taste, and it's sartainly a cooriosity, 
seeing as how it never goes." 

"Fifteen dollars." 

Job hopped as high as though they had been 
fifteen pin-pricks. 

"Rats!" he blubbered— " ni/:^ / To think o* my 
missin' fifteen dollars, and all through the poor 
gen'lman forgettin' to put on his rings!" 

"You are quite sure there was no ring on his 

Job shut one eye in the shadow of his hat 

" Not likely I should miss it if it were ! Haven't I 
been overhaulin' 'em for two years an' more? But 
fifteen dollars— ah, bust me!" 

His emotion was too obviously genuine to be 

**BUlcli Obittv" 85 


mistrusted. Elvira left him, baffled for the moment, 
yet more triumphant than disappointed, since the 
disappearance of the ring as distinctly enhanced its 
value as Bella's own value had been enhanced by a 
similar process. If the square-cut opal were in any 
way implicated in the murder — as in the theory 
cloudily forming in her mind it was implicated — then 
almost necessarily it would have to disappear. 



That evening, in a private apartment of a log-house 
that called itself a hotel, Elvira took stock of the 
situation, and pushed her conclusions forward by yet 
another step. 

"Taking the probabilities/' she mused, as she 
paced the narrow space, " it is far more likely than 
not that the murderer is no longer in the camp. 
Even though the culprit is supposed to be discovered, 
nine men out of ten would fear after-revelations. 
And if he has only an atom of a conscience, or 
nerves not quite of iron, those two graves in the 
forest must be to him an intolerable neighbourhood. 
The next thing, therefore, is to find out what men 
have left since the date of the catastrophe — and, 
if possible, to ascertain the reasons of these 

As a result of this conclusion, and of various 
others, the proprietor of the Star of Hope was 
favoured by another visit next morning. 

'•Departures from the camp within the last 

month?" he repeated, with as little surprise as 

yesterday, having been informed that the numbers 


B Clue? 87 

were wanted for statistical purposes. "Well, for 
the lateness of the season they've been uncommonly 
few. Camp's lookin' up, you see. Fellows don't 
mind winterin' here for the sake of bein' first in 
the iield in spring. Not above thirty departures 
within the month, I should say." 

"And were these all men who had made their pile?" 
"Not quite — not quite," admitted the proprietor; 
''put them down at a third of the number, 
perhaps. There were those who chucked the hope 
of makin' it — another third, Icf s say." 
" And the remaining third ? " 
" Went off for a mixed lot o' reasons." 
Pressed for greater accuracy, the proprietor began 
to check off these " mixed " departures upon his fat 

" There's Long Tom now— it was a bad lung that 
made him move ; and Small-pox Jim, who came into 
a bit o' money, quite unexpected like, and said he 
didn't see the fun of grubbin' for the same stuff that 
was lyin' ready at the bank." 

He counted up nine or ten names and as many 
circumstantial motives. 

''And then there was that big Scotchman," he 
added, as a sort of postcript "We none of us 
quite knew what made him go, but then, we none 
of us knew anything about him except that he 
wasn't good company. Haven't seen him a dozen 
times in my saloon altogether," remarked the 
proprietor, with justifiable scorn. 

88 xcbe Douse of VibMes 

" What was this Scotchman's name ? " 

" Kennedy, he called himself." 

The name somehow seemed familiar to Elvira's 
ears, though she could not say why. 

" Perhaps he was one of those who chucked the 
hopes ofa' find'?" 

" Very short-sighted of him if he did, considerin* 
that his claim was the next one to that of the 
Camerons, in which the biggest find of the season 
had just been turned up. Maybe it was the good 
price for it that tempted him, since, of course, the 
whole hill -side had hopped straight up in the 
market. Still, it wasn't a sportin' thing to do, and 
I don't know another miner in the camp who would 
have been so poor-spirited as to do it There's 
bucketfuls of gold comin' out o' that hill, I tell 
you. Makes one feel quite queer-like to think that 
the two chaps who first put their finger on it will 
never see it made into coin." 

There were traces of flabby sentimentality in the 
creases of the proprietor's broad face. 

"And all because of bein' too keen to grab it. 
It's the widder who will get it all. The lawyers 
are huntin' for her high and low, I'm told." 

" Are they really ? " said Mrs. White demurely. 

Then, after a short pause : 

" Were there other Scotchmen besides this 
Kennedy among the recent departures? I re- 
quire some more details as to nationalities, you 


a cine? 89 

It appeared that there had been three other 

Having carefully noted their names, Elvira 
graciously thanked the obliging proprietor and 

The rest of the information which she required 
would be more conveniently extracted from Milly. 

And Milly did not fail to come up to the 
expectations placed upon her. 

Called upon for a personal description of the four 
Scotchmen on the list — for it was to these that the 
investigator was at present confining her attention — 
she readily and volubly defined David Macpherson 
as a "sick monkey," Willy Greig as a "blubberin' 
baby/' while Donald Leith turned out to be a "white- 
haired patriarch " whom increasing rheumatism had 
driven from the gold-fields. The circle seemed to be 
shrinking precipitately. Having eliminated all the 
non-Scotch deserters, Elvira felt now justified in 
eliminating both the sick monkey and the blubbering 
baby, besides, of course, the rheumatic patriarch. 

There remained only one name on the list, that 
of Kennedy, whose moral description she had partly 
had from the proprietor. The physical one, supplied 
by Milly, was distinctly more favourable. His face 
might be ill-humoured, but it was evidently not ill- 
favoured, his figure manly and even powerful, his 
probable age just that at which men are generally 
deepest in the toils of women. 

Elvira began to be aware of a certain acceleration 

90 TOe 1>onsc of IRf DMes 

of her heart-beats. Groping about thus half in the 
dark, was it possible that her hand had chanced upon 
a clue ? 

But there were other tests to be applied, for, after 
all, the Scotch theory was but a theory as yet 

The man from whom came that ring would need 
not only to be a Scotchman and young, and to have 
left the gold-fields without apparent motive, he 
would also need to be a gentleman, since family 
crests and mottoes are confined to such. 

In another minute that point too was decided. 
Though Milly herself was several social continents 
removed from a lady, her kind seldom mix up the 
line of demarcation between a gentleman and a 
** man " ; nor had she any hesitation in according the 
higher title to the self-same individual whom she had 
designed as a "bear." 

So this, too, tallied. Elvira was forced to bend 
over her note-book in order to mask the glowing 
exultation, and doing so, her eyes fell on the name 
"William .Kennedy," which she had written down 
there to the dictation of the proprietor. With the 
sight of the plain letters a sudden recollection visited 

" Listen!" she said, raising her head quickly ; " what 
was that you told me yesterday about some torn 
letters in the stove, and a name you found signed 
there? Was it— " 

" That was him too, Kennedy — whom that cat of 
a Bella, etc." 

H Cine? 91 

But the sham journalist was no longer listening. 
The repetition of that same name had given her a 
thrill that was almost a shock. It was something 
like testing an arithmetical problem in all the known 
ways, and always coming upon the same sum-total. 
It was all she could do not to exclaim aloud. Even 
as it was, she almost bit off the end of her pencil in 
an access of exultation that verged on savageness. 

So afraid was she of betraying herself that, while 
Milly still chattered, she rose hastily, quivering to be 

Beside the window she checked herself, throwing a 
glance into the street, which was unusually full. 

"What is it? Why are there so many people?" 
she asked, a little nervously. 

Milly looked out 

** Ah, it's those magistrates come down to inquire 
into the lynching affair. It's as like as not that 
some of them will have to sit for it Butcher Bob, 
for instance, since it's he that did the stringin' up. 
They're goin' back by the next boat — ^the magistrates 
are, — so no doubt the boys are takin' their last looks 
at 'em. It isn't every day we see live magistrates in 
the camp, you know." 

Elvira drew back sharply from the window. 

'* I shall wait till the crowd is passed," she said, 
as with an instinctive movement she pulled down 
her veil. 



"Well?" said Dick. "Well?" and there were 
at least ten points of interrogation after the 
monosyllable, though it was but his second word. 
The first had been " Thank God ! " as he drew his 
wife impetuously towards him, in order to press upon 
hor lips the kiss of greeting. Now he was holding 
her back from him, eagerly reading her face. 


The word brimmed over with the torture of 
curiosity, the impatience of the innocent man who 
is beginning to fret under the burden of the supposed 
guilt Until lately it had been enough merely to be 
alive, but now this had ceased to suffice. 

" Did you succeed ? Will she speak ? What are 
the prospects ? " 

" I do not know whether she will speak ; I did not 
find her." 

"Not find her?" 

« No ; she has left the settlement" 

" And where is she now ? " 

"That has still to be ascertained. I could not 

procure her address." 


JCbc Cbaftt 93 

The eagerness on Dick's face died out into 

" Then you have procured nothing ? brought back 
nothing ? And yon say that so quietly ? You don't 
even look disappointed ? " 

" Yes ; I have brought back something." 


« A name." 

" A name ? What name ? " 

''William Kennedy," said Elvira, with emphatic 
distinctness, and carefully watching the effect upon 
Dick's face. 

There was no particular effect to be seen. 

" Kennedy ? Our neighbour on the claim ? What 
about him ? " ^ 

" Only that I am b^inning to believe that he is 
the murderer." 

He looked at her for a moment, as though to 
make sure that she was serious, and then broke 
into a despondent laugh. 

" My poor Elvira ! This horrid affair is evidently 
getting on to your brain. I should not have let you 
take that journey. It's because he's a Scotchman, 
I suppose, that you have fixed upon him. As 
though there were any lack of Scotchmen in the 

^ Of those upon whom the probabilities fit, there is 
a lack. It is by a process of elimination that I have 
reached Kennedy." 

" What do you call the probabilities ? " 

94 xn>e Donsc of IRf dMes 

^ The) most plausible assumptions ; the first of 
which is that the murder was a love murder." 

" That knocks it on the head at once. Kennedy 
never looked at a woman." 

'* Not in public, perhaps ; but it's not those who 
woo by broad daylight who woo the most desperately. 
Can you deny that ? " 

*^ There's no need to deny it But this is negative 
evidence. Because he didn't make up to Bella in 
public, you jump to the conclusion that he did so 
in private. Oh, Logic, thy name is not Woman ! " 

"I don't jump to conclusions. I have got the 

And she told him of Milly's discovery among 
the ashes. 

The effect upon him was even greater than she 
had looked for. With the memory of the man 
still alive within him, his impression of astonish- 
ment could scarcely fail to be far more vivid than 

"If that is true," he said slowly — ^"then almost 
anything else may be." 

There was no further reference made to the logic of 
woman. Obviously, the infection of suspicion was 
b^inning to spread to him. 

*' This point, then, is established : Kennedy was 
among Bella's unsuspected slaves ; and, from what 
I hear of him, he cannot have been an easy slave 
to deal with. A bad-tempered man, I gather?" 

'' He certainly looked it" 

XCbe Cbaiti 95 

" The sort of man to whom it would be possible 
to attribute violent passions of various sorts ? " 

« Yes ! " Dick admitted. " There was rather an 
ugly look about his mouth; and I have seen him 
kicking a coolie to within an inch of perdition." 

'' And this violent man, who was after Bella, would 
certainly be jealous of Johnnie, who was after her 
too, and apparently favoured?" 

'* I suppose he would.'' 

'* And Johnnie, if he were attacked, would have 
no chance against this violent man, whom I also 
understand to be powerfully built — ^would he?" 

"Hardly. But the attack is rather a big con- 
clusion. After all, Kennedy was a gentleman, and 
even come-down gentlemen don't usually settle their 
love-affairs in quite so elementary a fashion as 

''Will you contend that no gentleman has ever 
stabbed his rival?" 

" Under momentary provocation, yes." 

'' And supposing the momentary provocation was 

" In what shape ? " 

" In the shape of that ring. No — don't smile, 
Dick ; the ring is looming larger and larger upon 
the horizon of my vision. You have just said your- 
self that Kennedy was a gentleman — a Scotch 
gentleman. Don't foi^et that the original possessor 
of the ring must have been that toa If it was he 
who gave it to Bella, and if he saw it again on 

96 TTbe Dottse of IRfdMes 

Johnnie's finger, would not that be provocation 
enough ? " 

"He would not be likely to see it He never 
associated with us." 

" When did you see him last before the murder ? " 

'* Oh, not for days. Stop a moment, though/' and 
a gleam sprang to Dick's eyes. " It's a fact that I 
did see him only a few hours before — ^in the saloon. 
He used to appear there about once a mon^. I 
remember that it rather took us by surprise." 

"Ah! and Johnnie was there too — with the ring 
on his finger? Will you call it jumping to con- 
clusions if I say he saw it then ? " 

" There's no doubt he may have seen it." 

^ And was he in the saloon still when you started 
home with Johnnie ? " 

''Lord, no! His appearances were never more 
than glimpses. Just the time to empty a few glasses. 
He had cleared out ages before we left" 

" Good ! And his claim lay next to yours, as you 
say, and Johnnie reached the hut alone and con- 
siderably boozled? Is the chain complete enough 
yet? But it's not all; I can put in another link, 
for I have found out that there wasn't the shadow 
of a ring on Johnnie's finger when he was buried — 
none when Job Dow put him on to the hand-cart" 

Dick rose from his chair, excitedly pushing back 
the curly hair from his forehead. 

** But the knife, Elvira, the knife? How can you 
explain that?" 

TTbe Cbaftt 97 

" I can't explain, but I can guess. You left your 
knife in the saloon, you say, and Kennedy was in 
the .saloon that evening, and went away before you 
did^ There is nothing to prevent his having taken 
the knife with him, either by mistake, or possibly 
with a purpose. You always said your knife was 
the sharpest in the camp, and he wanted a sharp 
instrument for the work he had to do. Ah, be sure 
of it, it was full of murderous thoughts that he set 
out homewards. And another thing I had almost 
forgotten — perhaps the most important of all: he 
has left the gold-fields." 

"Kennedy left?" 

" Yes — sold his claim, without any apparent reason, 
and vanished from the district — like Bella. I have 
no doubt that goose Milly thinks he has gone after 
her, but we know better." 

Dick brought his fist down upon the table in 
sledge-hammer fashion. 

"You're right, Elvira! The chain is complete. 
Let us drag it to the light of day. Why should I 
hide any longer ? They must give me the justice I 
ask for!" 

On Elvira's glowing face there fell a sudden, chill 

"Not that, Dick! Not yet that! We must 
secure our witness first The proofs suffice for us, 
but would they suffice for others? What can we 
prove as yet ? Only that Kennedy wrote a letter to 
Bella, and that he has left the country. Even if we 

93 TTbe Douse of Utt^Mes 

can trace the ring to him, it would not be enough ; 
for no doubt Bella got plenty of other presents, and 
there are hundreds of ways of explaining its dis- 
appearance. While Johnnie lay dead in the hut, it 
could have been stolen a dozen times over, could it 
not ? I fed that it wasn't ; but those cold lawyers 
don't feel, they only argue. Oh, you don't know 
what a fright I got upon the boat There were two 
magistrates among the passengers, returning from 
the camp. They had been sent to inquire into poor 
Johnnie's case, you know. I kept out of their way, 
of course, but once I could not help hearing their 
talk. They were discussing the affair from their 
own private point of view, and do you know what 
one of them said to the other ? He remarked that, 
after all, there was something to be said for popular 
justice, and that Judge Lynch seldom makes a 
mistake. In this case — in your case, Dick — there 
certainly had been no mistake. It was as clear as 
daylight, they agreed. Quite a vulgar money 
murder, very naively executed — possibly under the 
influence of drink. No jury could have found 
another verdict than the one found by the mob; 
and, on the whole, you had come off better than you 
deserved, since you had been spared the long torture 
of waiting for the end. Oh, Dick, it made me quite 
cold to hear them ! " 

Her arms were round his neck now, clasping him 
convulsively, as though to make sure that she still 
held him. 

tCbe Cbaftt 99 

For a moment husband and wife looked iiito each 
other's terror-stricken eyes, for over Dick too there 
had run a shiver, awakened by ghastly recollections. 
The glow of hope and of defiance was extinguished. 
The man who had once before felt the cord round 
his neck, who, to all intents and purposes, had 
once already drained the cup of death, abruptly 
lost courage to face the world, bitterly aware that 
innocence alone is no safe ground beneath the 

" No, no ; it is true, Elvira," he said hoarsely. " I 
cannot show myself. I thust lie hidden — but till 

" Till further steps are taken." 

"And these are?" 

** They are quite plain to me," said Elvira, unclasping 
her hands from his neck, and becoming in one instant 
the collected business woman. " I made my pro- 
gramme during the voyage. The first thing to be 
done is to get money — the gold claim will do that. 
To-morrow I go to a solicitor with my papers, and 
put that part of the matter into his hands. The 
second thing to do is to set the detectives to work. 
There are such things as secret agencies, I know. I 
shall make my pick of them, and then I shall set 
them three tasks: 

" Firstly : The discovery of Bella Hobson's present 

" Secondly : Of Kennedy's whereabouts. 

" Thirdly : To which Scotch family the crest with 


TOO • TTbe Douse of iRfdMes 

the fes^le's claw and the dagger and that strange 
motto belongs. 

" With money none of these points ought to be 
hard to clear up, and that claim will bring in mountains 
of money — I found that out too. We shall have to 
wait, of course, and meanwhile I shall go on living as 
before — it will attract less attention — only that I shall 
change my name — White will do very well for the 
present — which entails my changing my lodging." 

"We can stay together now, Elvira," said Dick, 
catching at her hand. 

But she shook her head decisively. 

"No, Dick; we cannot. It will be safer not, in 
case I am recognised. Even in this ant-hill, recogni- 
tions are possible. We can meet, that is all; and 
Mr. Brown can be our go-between. We can't keep 
him out of the secret now, since he has put himself 
into it, and I have a notion that he is going to be 
extremely useful." 

" So be it ! " said Dick, with a sigh. " Oh, Johnnie, 
Johnnie — how long shall I have to skulk like a rat in 
a hole, because of you and your philandering, my 



It was less than two months after this complaint 
had been uttered that Elvira, somewhat breathlessly, 
entered the obscure lodging which served as a hole 
to the poor human rat in question, and where Dick 
passed his uneasy days waiting for something that 
would not come, venturing out only either in the 
thickest of the crowd or under the cover of darkness. 

The first look on the occasion of these clandestine 
visits was invariably a question — answered, until 
to-day, by a dumb headshake. To-day, however, 
there was something different in her face. 

*' Something has come ? " he asked, rising in eager 
expectation. " They have found Bella ? " 

** No. But something has come, all the same — 
something that I knew would come. Read that ! " 

She held towards him a paper which she had 
taken from her hand-bag. 

** Madam, — We have the honour of informing you 
that according to instructions received, the eagle's 
claw, dexter, proper, grasping a dagger, or, and 
subscribed with the motto : ' Gae ye claw me, FU 


I02 xcbe Dense of IRfdMes 

daw theel has for two centuries past been used as a 
crest by the Kennedys of Exclesrigg, which property 
is situated in the county of Firthshire in Scotland 
(Great Britain), and in the close neighbourhood of 
the town of St Damian. 

" The other inquiries, touching the present place 
of residence of William Kennedy, formerly of th^ 
Meekon settlement in the Klondyke district, and of 
Arabella Hobson from same place, are on foot, 
and we trust to be able shortly to report progress. 
— Always at your service, faithfully, 

" Spinker & Bash, 
" Private Information Agency." ' 

Thus ran the type-written sheet. 

" Have you any further doubt now that the ring 
came from Kennedy?" asked Elvira, with, in her 
voice, a quiver of triumph. 

She was feeling a little of that which the blood- 
hound feels when he gets his nose full upon the 

Dick grasped his forehead with one hand, as 
though to hold fast some thought 

" No, I have no doubt. But, Elvira, something has 
happened to my memory ; this paper has somehow 
prodded it awake. I know now that it was upon 
Kennedy's watch-chain that I saw the ring with the 
opal dangling. I told you that I had the photograph 
in ray mind, only that I could not place it Even 
the details come back to me now, I had gone over 
to Kennedy's claim to borrow a diamond for cutting 

fovmb and Xost 103 

a pane of glass ; somebody had told me that he had 
one in a ring. He was very churiish about it, but he 
could not well refuse. There were two rings on his 
watch-chain. I suppose they bothered him while at 
work — one was the ring with the diamond, and 
beside it the one with the opal. Why could I not 
remember it before ? " 

" Because nothing is as tricky as human memory. 
But it's all right now. The detectives have absolved 
one of their tasks." 

" But the others ? " said Dick, relapsing into 
despondency. ''Supposing they never find Bella?" 

" They will find her — they must ; and they will 
find him too — ^the cowardly murderer who stabbed 
in the dark — the base wretch who allowed an 
innocent man to suffer in his place! Oh, how I 
long to stand opposite to William Kennedy, and 
to hurl my contempt into his crabbed face I Yes ; 
the chase is going to be hot now!" 

Her eyes were shining with an almost savage 
brilliancy, as she closed her small hands beside her. 
At this moment she did not look like a woman from 
whom mercy was to be expected. Thus may the 
Spanish donnas, who were her ancestresses, have 
looked; thus may their eyes have flashed as they 
bent over their balconies the better to follow the 
death-struggle of the bull in the arena. 

But in an instant her vindictive rapture had 
turned to the practical considerations of the 

104 XOyc fMUse of IRt^Mes 

" County of Firthshire— town of St Damian," she 
re-read, taking up the letter again to scan it keenly. 
"I shall set them now to gather details of the 
family : what members it consists of — ^why this one 
has gone fortune-hunting — a younger son, no doubt. 
Oh, there will be quantities of things to find out. 
St Damian — St Damian — ^let me see — ^surely I have 
heard that name before? — and not long ago either. 
I have it — yes ! It was when Mr. Brown was 
mending my twine bag, and I asked him where he 
had learnt to make such beautiful sailor's knots. He 
told me on the East Coast of Scotland. I couldn't 
help laughing. 'Have you been there too?' I 
inquired. * Will I ever hear of a spot of earth where 
you haven't been?' And he replied rather curtly 
that he had been for a matter of two years at the 
Scottish University town of St Damian's. *As 
professor or student ? ' I asked, for he looked so 
pretematurally solemn. ' As quite as useful a 
member of society as any professor I ever haird 
of,' was his reply. But if he really has been two 
years at St Damian's, he can't help knowing some- 
thing of the neighbourhood. I shall question him 
at once. 'Maybe I can get some of my curiosity 
satisfied without waiting for the detective's report" 

Full of the new idea, she sought out her watch- 
dog ; nor was he far to seek, for Mr. Brown had 
unavoidably followed his benefactress into her new 
lodging. " Who was to clean * Missy's ' boots or oil 
her machine, if he were not at hand ? " he indignantly 

f onn& axib Xost 105 

asked ; for Elvira, nqsv with money at her disposal, — 
and much more money than she had dared to hope 
for, the sale of the gold claim having, in one day, 
transformed her into a capitalist, — had altered nothing 
about her outward manner of living. To spend even 
a penny on her own comforts would have seemed to 
her a crime, so long as the proof of Dick's innocence 
was not purchased — and who could say whether that 
proof might not cost all she had ! 

Almost the only luxury she allowed herself was 
that of feeding the funny old Irishman, who had 
developed into a very useful sort of maid-of-all-work, 
and whom circumstances had forced upon her as a 

But on this occasion he did not seem to be in a 
particularly obliging humour. 

'' St. Daymian ?" he repeated, shooting a somewhat 
suspicious glance from out of the corners of his small 
eyes. " Whatever do ye want to know about such a 
foozled playce as St Daymain's ? " 

She brought up the name of Kennedy. 

" Kaynedy ? Kaynedy ? I know nothin' about no 
Kaynedy," said Mr. Brown, almost roughly. 

"" But you must have heard the name, surely, in two 
years," Elvira insisted. "Their property is in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the town." 

" I'm no' sayin' it isn't ; but my occupaytions were 
not such as brought me greatly in touch with the 
genthry," observed Mr. Brown, with a slightly 
sardonic twitch of his thin lips, as he worked away 

io6 XTbe fMtise of KttbMes 

vigorously at Elvira's small hand-mirrori which he 
was carefully polishing. 

" What were your occupations, Mr, Brown. You 
have never told me that?" 

"They were of a mixed natur', so to say," he 
replied, shooting her another glance, in which she 
was astonished to note an element of defiance. 

** Whatever they were, they can't have put cotton- 
wool in your ears, and* in small towns people always 
chatter. Do you mean to say that in two years you 
never heard the name of Kennedy mentioned ? " 

" Not to my re'clection. Missy." 

"Mr. Brown, you're a fraud!" she exclaimed 
petulantly. **I don't believe you were ever there 
at all ! " 

The old man's high shoulders heaved with 
suppressed merriment 

" Some folks would say. Missy, that it would be 
just as well for me if I hadn't It's there I broke my 
leg, to be sure — just to take one thing. And there 
were others. I'm no the man to boast of my 
expayriences. Missy, but it's just on the cards, you 
see, that I know St Daymian as well as its oldest 
inhabitant ; aye, and maybe a bit better," he 
chuckled, "though I don't happen to be able to 
tell ye about these Kaynedy folks." 

Clearly there was nothing for it but to wait for 
the detective's report 

It came in due time, and from it Elvira learnt 
that the Kennedys had, for close upon two centuries, 

fovm^ anb Xost 107 

been settled at Ecclesrigg, a fairish property, two 
miles from St Damian — that the present head of 
the family was Geoffrey Kennedy, aged thirty-two, 
married one year back, as yet without issue, having 
been in possession of the family property since his 
father's death, two years ago ; furthermore, that the 
laird's younger brother, William, aged twenty-eight, 
was reported as being of a turbulent and quarrelsome 
character, that he had left the country after his 
father's death, having broken with his brother, and 
had since held no communication with him. 

The efforts of the Agency to ascertain the where- 
abouts of this same William Kennedy, as well as of 
the missing barmaid, were reported as being diligently 

Having noted the facts and approved of them, as 
fitting unimpeachably into her theory, Elvira began 
again to wait, possessing her soul with what patience 
she could. 

The winter passed wearily ; but with the first stir 
of the sap in the branches came a change in the 
stagnation of the inquiry. 

" Important news. Verbal report desirabk^ Thus 
ran the wire message which she read with beating 
heart and reviving courage. 

Half an hour later, she was at the Agency. 

She was received ^ by a paternal personage, 
whose marvellously cultivated side-whiskers slightly 
suggested the "heavy father." 

" The delay has been rather protracted," he blandly 

io8 xoyc f)on0e of IRi^Mes 

explained ; '' but to-day I am in the position to give 
you two pieces of information which have reached 
us almost simultaneously. These things often do 
come in bunches." 

"You have found the woman?" asked Elvira, 
trembling with impatience. 

"We have found her — exactly. This document 
will instruct you." 

Elvira almost snatched the paper from him. 

Here, in a highly legible clerk's hand, it stood 
recorded that Arabella Hobson, serving as barmaid 
in the Silver Lynx Hotel in Melbourne, Australia, 
had, on the 7th day of February, succumbed to the 
prevailing epidemic of typhoid fever. 

" But this is a certificate of death ! " exclaimed 
Elvira, turning white. 

" Exactly." 

"At Melbourne! But can it be her? Why, this 
would undo us completely ! " 

"It is undoubtedly the person we have been 
tracking," affirmed the "heavy father," as blandly 
as ever. 

It was nothing to him who was done or undone. 
Arabella Hobson had to be traced, alive or dead. 
She had been traced, and the reputation of the 
Agency was vindicated. That was all that touched 

While he summed up the proofs of Bella's identity, 
Elvira sat like one annihilated. 

"And your second piece of news?" she asked dully. 

f onn& anb Xost 109 

"The second piece of news is likewise of an 
obituary nature." 

''What! He is dead too? William Kennedy is 

"No, not William Kennedy. It is his brother 
Geoffrey, who, according to a cable just received, 
died two days ago\ of a heart attack." 

"Ah!" said Elvira, almost indifferently. "But 
that doesn't interest me at alL" 

"If you are still anxious to trace William 
Kennedy, I think it ought to interest you. Our 
researches haye hitherto been baffled ; but, Consider- 
ing that his brother has died childless, this event 
is almost bound to bring about his reappearance — 
for the estate is entailed." 

" Are you sure of that ? " she asked quickly. 

"Madam, we never make assertions of which we 
are not sure," replied the agent, in his very heaviest 
father style. 

In deep perturbation, Elvira hurried to Dick's 

"Found and lost — all at one blow!" she bitterly 
commented. "And at Melbourne! How deter- 
mined she must hav^ been not to speak ! Well, 
her mouth is stopped now — for ever!" 

"It is all up, then?" 

Elvira had been sitting with her head between 
her hands, but at the sound of the tone in 
which the words were spoken she sprang to her 
feet, trembling with compassion and tenderness, 

no Ubc Douee or IRt^Mes 

for it had been the quietly flat tone of a broken 

" Up ? No ; it is not up ! It never will be up, so 
long as I breathe ! " 

" But since we have lost our only witness ? " 

'' She is not the only one ; there is another." 

"Which other?" 

** Kennedy himself He shall testify against him- 
self—I swear that he shall ! I shall track him down ; 
I shall fling the accusation in his face so suddenly, so 
surely, that he will stagger under the assault Yes, 
yes ; let me find him only, and I shall tear his secret 
from him. Unless — " 

The fixed intensity of her pale and passionate face 
relaxed abruptly. A new thought seemed to have 
dawned uncertainly In the black depths of her 
wonderful eyes. 

"Unless I find that there is a better way than 
tearing it." 



" Unless I should discover that there is a better way 
than tearing it" 

Her own words pursued Elvira long after she had 
returned to her lodging. Already she had caught a 
glimpse of that " better way." Was not the process 
of luring far safer than that of tearing, as well as 
infinitely more feasible? Just as wile belonged to 
the most intimate weapons of her sex, in contra- 
distinction to violence, even though it were but a 
moral violence? 

But in order to lure in accordance with that sex's 
best traditions, it would be necessary to face the fact 
that she was a young woman, and that her intended 
victim was a young tnan, and she had faced it already. 
It was exactly the lightning-like grasping of this fact 
which was responsible for the birth of the idea. 

Having reached this point in her reflections, 

Elvira unavoidably drew her mirror into the 

argument There was nothing to be seen there 

which could discourage the wild project beginning 

to shape itself in her brain ; there was much, on the 

contrary, to spur her audacity. The marvellous 


ri2 tCbe tMttse of 1lf&MeB 

contrast between the darkness of her hair and the 
fairness of her complexion was in itself a trump- 
card — for Elvira's skin was free of even that sug- 
gestion of sallowness which marks the average 
brunette — of a freshness that was as fine as 
porcelain in its grain, a gift laid in her cradle by 
the dead hands of Anglo-Saxon forefathers. And 
set in this perfect face, her mother's eyes — two black 
worlds of velvet shadows and golden lights, and 
with youth and passion and the very intensity 
of life looking out of them — was it likely that any 
man could resist ? 

True, having never yet put out her full powers 
(in Dick's case a ridiculously superfluous proceed- 
ing), she might be supposed ignorant of their 
extent ; but no doubt disturbed her on a subject in 
which instinct is ever a safer guide than experience. 

Of herself she felt serenely sure. And of 
Kennedy ? 

Of him she knew only that he was not unsus- 
ceptible to feminine allurements ; but that was 
enough. Nor did she give a second thought to 
Bella's memory — of her she was not afraid — nor 
of any other woman either. How should she be 
with her mirror before her? 

And yet so much was there of distasteful in the 
project, that for days and weeks she carried it about 
with her not able either to drop it or to take it up. 
And all this time her eyes — through those of the 
Agency — remained fixed across the ocean upon one 

9ael 113 

spot in Scotland. Until something happened there, 
there was no need to come to a final resolution. 
And how easily nothing might happen ! Might he 
not have disappeared for ever in some wild adven- 
ture? or else be too conscience-stricken to claim 
his own? 

It was the impetus given by the next communica- 
tion from Messrs. Spinker & Bash which ended by 
weighing down the balance. 

The news met her one summer evening on her 
return from Dick's lodging. She had found him 
more desperate than usual, beginning to ail even 
physically under the pressure of his unnatural 
position, and half resolved to reveal himself at all 
hazards — a suggestion which never failed to strike 
new terror to her heart. Was this to go on for ever ? 
At home she found the letter from the Agency 
informing her that William Kennedy had returned to 
take possession of his estate. 

'' At last ! " she said aloud, while in an instant her 
wavering resolution leaped up, armed to the teeth, 
like a warrior prepared for battle. 

No, it was not going to go on like. that for ever; 
she knew now what she . was going to do, what 
nothing more should turn her from until her purpose 
was accomplished. The appaHing newness of the 
idea was gone by this time ; in three weeks of latent 
reflection she had grown familiar enough with it no 
Ioniser to shrink from its audacity. 
And again she went to her mirror. 

114 xnoe HoviBc of IRi^Mes 

"Thank Heaven for my face!" she murmured. 
" Thank Heaven for my eyes — for my skin ! " 

Never before had she felt so vivid a gratefulness 
for the gift of her beauty, as now when she saw 
therein the instrument that was to work the salvation 
of the innocent man and the confounding of the 
guilty one. 

But there was still the innocent man himself to be 
reckoned with ; and although she did not doubt her 
ability to gain his consent, the sooner it was done 
the better it would be. 

How best to do it was what occupied her wakeful 
hours that night Before she slept she thought she 
had found it 

Next evening, at the hour of her usual visit to Dick, 
she put two rather strange and incongruous things 
into the basket of provisions which usually accom- 
panied her — one of them was a bottle of champagne 
which she had caused Mr. Brown to purchase that 
morning — the other a miniature and much-worn 
family Bible, hunted up from the bottom of her trunk. 

As she entered the room Dick was struck by a new 
expression on her face — a sort of suppressed excite- 
ment, veiled by a gravity that was almost solemnity. 

" I have brought you something, Dick," she 
explained ; ** something which I think you need. 
You struck me yesterday as dangerously depressed. 
Perhaps this will serve as a fillip." 

And she drew the champagne-bottle from its 

Bad fi5 

Dick laughed, kissing her tenderly. 

"What a child you are, Elvira, in spite of 
everything! Do you think you can cure my low 
spirits with champagne?" 

''Not with champagne alone. I have something 
else too. But tell me first whether I have chosen 
the right brand ? " 

The brand was unimpeachable : even the tumbler 
in which perforce it was drunk could not conceal 
that fact ; and as he sipped the foaming liquid and 
felt the blood beginning to quicken in his veins — in 
spite of all logic, in defiance of his better judgment, 
the future proceeded to take upon itself something 
of the rosy tinge of the wine. 

"That will do for the body," reflected Elvira, observ- 
ing him. "Now, let's have a go at the mind." 

"Here is the other thing I brought you, Dick," 
she said, producing the little old Bible which 
had belonged to her father. "Lots of people find 
consolation in this Book, do they not? and why 
should you not find it too? I mean to read you 
aloud a chapter to-day. Do you mind?" 

" As if I could mind anything coming from you ! " 
said Dick, in a tone in which, nevertheless, a little 
resignation pierced beside the surprise. "But isn't 
champagne and Scripture rather a queer combina- 

" Not at all. There's a lot about wine, and more 
about drinking-bouts, in the Scriptures themselves. 
Now listen I " 

ii6 XTbe f)oti0e Of Kf dMee 

Opening the Book somewhere about the middle 
at a page carefully marked by a slip of paper, 
Elvira began to read very slowly and distinctly. 

It was the story of the oppression of Israel by the 
Canaanites, and of Sisera's tragic end in Jael's tent 

Only when she had finished she raised her eyes to 
his face. ' 

"Not much consolation to be got out of that 
lady's doings/' said Dick, more puzzled than ever. 
*' I wonder you should care to dwell upon a person 
who stands as a disgrace to her sex." 

" I don't consider her a disgrace ; I consider her an 
honour. Did she not save the chosen people at the 
risk of her own life ? And is not all fair in love and 

** H-m. But it was a shabby trick to play him, all 
the same, after luring him on in that way." 

" What other way had she ? Against brute force 
what other weapons have we women but our wits — 
and our charms?" 

He looked at her earnest face more attentively. 

" Elvira, why are you telling me this to-day? " 

Getting up quickly, she came over to his side of 
the table, and nestling upon his knee, laid her arms 
around his neck and whispered in his ear : 

" Because you need not call me Elvira any longer, 
but only Jael — because I am going to do what Jael 

*' Drive a nail through my head, eh?" he laughed, 
gazing bewildered into the eyes so close to his. 

Satl ti7 

"No, not into yours — into that of William Kennedy, 
And it won't be a nail either, it will be an arrow, and 
it is not his head I will aim at, but his heart" 


He would have pushed her from him in an impulse 
of anger, but her hands still clung about his neck. 

" Listen to me first ! Ever since the news of Bella's 
death, I have been trying to find another way, but I 
know now that there is no other. Kennedy has got 
to be brought to confession, since we have no more 
witnesses, and the only way of bringing him to con- 
fession is by laying a trap. There is only one sort 
of trap that a woman can lay for a man ; you know it 
That is the trap I mean to lay for Kennedy. I shall 
place myself in his path, and I shall conquer him. I 
shall take possession of his senses and of what heart 
he possesses ; and when I have him at my feet, I shall 
draw from him — lure from him— coax from him the 
proof I need — the proof of your innocence and of his 

Dick had listened in a sort of stupor. Even when 
she ceased, be still sat wordless for a minute. 

** If that is your plan," he said at last slowly, " then 
it will be best if Kennedy is never found." 

" He is found already." 

" Found ? Kennedy found ? " he exclaimed, in a 
tone whose eagerness belied the words just spoken. 
"Where? When?" 

" He has returned to Scotland to claim his 

iis XTbe Donse of KfdMee 


As Dick leant forward to take another sip of the 
champagne, the animation of his eyes made it clear 
that the news had moved him deeply, 

" But no I " he burst out, after another moment, as 
though in answer to his own thoughts. "It is 
unthinkable ! " 

" Do you doubt my success ? " 

" On the contrary, I am afraid of it I know you 
could turn the head of a devil or an archangel, if 
once you set yourself to it. Yes — the plan is perfect, 
so far. But the thought of your being within a mile 
of that scoundrel — of having to smile at him, to let 
him touch even your hand — and all that would have 
to be — ah, it is unbearable ! " 

" I believe you're going to say next that you're 
jealous ! " she smiled, taking him softly by the chin 
in order to look into his rebellious blue eyes. 

There was no choice but to gaze back, and, gazing, 
he was undone. The fire, of which a spark had flown 
over to him from the eyes opposite, seemed to be 
running a race in his veins with that other fire which 
the wine had kindled there, and in their combined 
glow all things seemed possible. 

" But how far would you go ? " he asked, faltering. 

" As far as seems necessary. As far, at any rate, 
as to bring me into possession of the opal ring. And 
even though it should have to play the part of an 
engagement ring — no, don't start, Dick — whafs 
the odds? Once the ring has been found in his 

Bacl 119 

possession our point is gained. We can bring our 
accusation to the light of day, for witnesses for having 
seen the ring on Johnnie's finger the day before his 
death there are plenty. In the light of this proof all 
our other proofs will grow strong — strong enough 
even for a court of justice." • 

'* That is true," said Dick, in deep disturbance. 

" And, Dick, it is everything that is at stake for us 
— remember that ! — all our future, which may be long. 
Are we to grow old with this weight upon us ? You 
can easily live for fifty years more ; do you want to 
be the rat in the hole for all that time ? As for me, 
I shall be gone long before ; I cannot exist like this, 
it is not in me, I must either fight for my happiness 
and my love, or I must die — and since human 
justice fails us, let us have recourse to other human 
means. What good is my beauty to me, what good 
is my wit, if with it I cannot reconquer that which 
the cruelty of life has robbed us of?" 

Her lips were upon his as she ended, and his could 
murmur only : " My love I My love ! " as he held 
her tight within his arms. 

Though he had not consented in words, she knew 
that he was gained. 

" There is one thing only that weighs on me,*' she 
said presently ; " that is the separation. I shall have 
to establish myself at St. Damian's, of course, on 
some pretext or other ; but in a small place like that, 
and in Scotland too, you could never be kept con- 
cealed. Nothing nearer than London would be 

ISO xcbe Donse of VtDMes 

quite safe, I fear — and that is awful to think of, Dick. 
The rest is fairly easy. I shall make my dibut as a 
rich yovLXig widow — I have thought that part put 
already — a Califomian widow, it had better be, which 
will explain my appearance. I shall have to take a 
house, perhaps to buy one — oh, how glad I am that I 
have squandered none of the money ! And as for 
pretexts, I won't bother about that; if a rich 
young widow isn't to have caprices, then who is? 
It's really going to be rather amusing, I believe!" 

She had sprung from his knee and was lightly 
pacing the room. It was another element in her 
nature that had now come to the fore. She was 
beginning to scent the excitement of the adventure. 

" Do you know what I am thinking ? " asked Dick, 
as he watched her. 


" I am wondering whether there is more of the 
child in you or more of the tiger." 

She laughed gaily. 

" When you speak of Kennedy you look positively 
bloodthirsty; and yet you are able to talk of this 
enterprise as though you were planning a picnic." 

She waved him off. 

"Never mind that now; those are irrelevant 
remarks. There are other things to think of. What 
/ am wondering is whether Mr. Brown can't tell me 
anything about houses, and whom I had better apply 
to. His knowledge of St Damian seems to be so 
strangely unequal" 


Mr. Brown, put to the test that same evening, 
proved to be better informed on the subject of houses 
than he had showed himself upon that of county 

" It's a house at St Daymian's ye're after ? " he 
repeated, with the absence of surprise which became 
a man of his experience. '* Vm thinkin' there'll be 
no great difficulty about that A power of houses 
to be had round about the place, and in it too, for 
the matter of that Is it a big one ye'll be wantin' ? " 

"A good-sized one, certainly, since I'm going to 
play the ric^h lady at last Just what a well-off single 
woman woulii need." 

" A seengU woman ? " repeated Mr. Brown. 

<' Yes, of course. I could not let my husband be 
seen there, you know, until everything is cleared up." 

" And where will ye lave him manewhile ? " 

" That's the bad part of it — in London, I suppose. 
He couldn't be safe from recognition in a place like 
St Damian's." 

" Are ye goin' to lave him there lang ? " 


121 xcbe Donee of VtDMes 

" That depends ; until — a plan of mine has succeeded 
— or else failed." 

" Ah, it's a plan ye're after — I've been thinkin' it 
would be. Maybe, Missy, ye'll be wantin* that 
Kaynedy ooian sthrangled?" he asked, with a new 
interest, laying down the shoe he was cleaning, as 
though in preparation for immediate action. 

"No, no," laughed Elvira. "I don't want him 
strangled at all — not for the present, at any rate," 
she said, under her breath. '' I have another plan — a 
much better one." 

Mr. Brown took up the shoe again resignedly. 

" If it's your plan. Missy, it's sure to be a graand 
one," he observed, blindly confident. 

" It is grand. Oh, but I do hope it won't take too 
long ! It will be horrible having Dick out of sight" 

"H-m," said Mr. Brown; "that idea sames to 
disthurb you powerful, Missy." 

" Of course, it does. I shall dream every moment 
that he is being recognised and arrested." 

" You'd be aisier, no doubt, if ye could have him 

"I should think so! But that's impossible, I 
know," she concluded despondently. 

For that day Mr. Brown made no further remark 
on the subject, though there was a certain pensive- 
ness in the way in which he continued to lay on 
the blacking, and which could not well be ascribed 
to the occupation itself 

He interrupted it, in fact, the moment that he 

Ar« Brown's pocRet^SooR 123 

was left alone, and although the second shoe was 
still awaiting its turn. Bringing up a key from the 
depths of a waistcoat pocket, he went to the trunk 
in a comer, whose painted wood betrayed an Oriental 
origin, and which represented his entire baggage. 
Unlocking it, he rummaged for a while, and came 
back to the table with a large, much dilapidated 
pocket-book in his hand. Out of an inner flap he 
drew a paper, limp with age and barely holding 
together at the creases. With gingerly care, he 
unfolded it and spread it on the table below the 
shade of the small petroleum lamp. The yellowish 
paper showed black lines, a series of irregular 
squares hanging tc^ether and suggesting the 
ground - plan of some building. There were 
numbers and strange, hieroglyphical-looking marks 
put in at places in red ink. These Mr. Brown, 
as he hung over the table, compared carefully with 
some notes in the pocket-book, nodding his large 
head from time to time, and softly grunting to 
himself the while. 

Next morning he was at " Missy's " door, to take 
the orders for the day. This was normal. Having 
talked them over, he did not depart at once, but 
stood before her, rubbing his stubbly chin, which, 
with him, was invariably a symptom of embarrass- 
ment And this was not entirely normal. 

" If ye wud allow me in for ten minutes, Missy," 
he observed diffidently, " maybe we could talk a bit." 

There was something so significant about the set 

»4 tCbe tKmse of KfDMes 

of his ungainly features that Elvira, for all answer, 
beckoned him in peremptorily. 

** I've been thinkin' over what you said consaimin' 
that house at St Daymian's/' he began guardedly, 
*'and I've been tumin' over in my mind whether 
there mightn't be a way of givin' you your 

"About what?" 

" About havin' your man beside you, and yet not 
beside you, so to say." 

"You are thinking of a disguise? But we could 
not risk that" 

" It's no disguise I'm thinkin' of, though a bit of 
a wig might come in useful. Maybe there's another 
way. If things at St Daymian's are as they were 
eighteen years ago, there ought to be another way. 
But a power o' things change in eighteen years." 

'' I don't understand you in the least," said Elvira, 

** It's no so very hard to undhersthand. It's only 
that there's a certain house come into my mind 
which might happen t04»6uit yer pairposes — takin' 
things to hava remainedr as they were.'^ 

'* Do speak plain Ei^li|h." ,, 

" It's Aindish I'm spakin', to be sure, and maybe 
it'll get plainer. But tell me this fust, Missy : would 
yer thrust me with a big thing? Would ye put 
money into my hands and send me off to Scotland 
to see with my own eyes whether anything has 
changed there in these eighteen years, ind to judge 

Ar« Brown's DocftetiBooR t>5 

on the spot whether it's a possible thing Tm thinkin' 
of or not?" 

" I would trust you, certainly. But please explain." 

"It's an explanation that's no just convanient," 
remarked Mr. Brown, rubbing his chin with 
increased intensity. ''It's got some resaimblance 
to puttin' one's ain head in a noose. Missy — but 
it'll no be your ain hand, will it, that would dhmw 
the noose thight?" 

His small eyes scanned her with a quite new 

"I would never do an}^hing to harm you, Mr. 
Brown. You must know that." 

'' Bless your gholden heart I I knew it, sure 1 But 
there's just anaither question : you've heard me say 
a power of times that roight and wrong is a mayter 
of opaynion. Do ye hold with me there ? " 

" Right and wrong. Surely the line is quite clear 
between them— oh, no, but it isn't ! " 

She interrupted herself at a sudden recollection, for 
was not her own action towards Kennedy a case in 
point ? 4 

" I knew you'd see it, Missy. Thit is the way I 
look at it Before H^ la^ a^roime's a croime, of 
course ; but before one's priyate judgment there are 
two sorts of croimes, so to §ay : the respaictable ones 
and the not respaictable, or maybe the clane ones 
and the dhirty ones. To stab a man in the back 
or to pick his pocket is a dhirty croime, in my 
opaynioa" ^, i 

136 xcbe Donse of VtDMes 

*' And the clean crimes ? '' asked Elvira, in high 

" The clane crimes are such things as smugglin' or 
poaching or" — ^he paused, with his eyes furtively 
watching her face — "or printhin' bank-notes on 
your own account," he added, with a drop in his 

** Money-forging ! " repeated Elvira. " But that's a 
crime ! " 

•* A respaictable one," corrected Mr. Brown ; " but 
why is it any worse than smugglin', I ask ye ? and 
do not the most respaictable gintlemen bring their 
cigars into the counthry inside their top-hats, and the 
most lovely ladies sew up their laces in their sthays, 
God bless thim ! It's not as though any poor people 
were harmed by it, and can't the Sthate look after 
itself? Why, it's proud the Sthate ought to be to 
have such handy subjects within its borders! for it 
takes a power of cleverness, I can tell ye, to printh a 

" Well, that's certainly a new view of the case, but 
surely we're wandering from the point? You wanted 
to tell me something about a house ? " 

*' This is the point, Missy ; and it's now I'm goin' 
to put my head into the noose." 

Pulling out a rag of a handkerchief, he passed it 
across his shining forehead. 

"You've asked me, times enough, consamin' my 
occupaytions, and I've told you they were vayrious. 
The one that took me to St Daymian's is the very 

Ar« Brown's pocRet^Sooft 137 

one we're speakin* of: these ^ame bank-notes, to be 

" Mr. Brown ! " ejaculated Elvira, with wide eyes. 

" Don't look at me like that, Missy, or Til dhrap 
down dead at your feet ! I've told you my opaynion 
of the thrade. It's a mighty fascinatin' one, I can tell 
ye — though I never was more than an apprentice, so 
to say. There were four o' them that worked the 
press — a company, they called themselves — and they 
took me on as a kind of attendant They needed 
someone to do the cookin', you see, and they 
wouldn't thrust a woman. Then, when they found 
me handy, they taught me to use the press too. For 
two years all went as gay as a song, for we had got 
into a place which had many advantaiges — oh, very 
grate advantaiges. Then the police got on the scent, 
but we cleared out in toime, though rather in a hurry, 
and in that hurry I got my broken laig." 

" Why do you tell me all this ? " 

" Because it's the only way to explain how I came 
to know a certain little circumstance about the house 
I'm spakin' of — the one which I've a notion moight 
suit your purpose, Missy. Have I your lave to 
spake ? " 

At an impatient sign from her he first went to the 
door and took a look up and down the passage. 
Then, pulling the old pocket-book from his coat 
pocket, he slowly and cautiously approached the 



It was only around exclusively feminine tea-tables 
that an}^hing except golf and university courses had 
a chance of ar proper airing at St Damian's; and even 
here you would be liable to catch (he word *' bunker " 
or '' exam " almost as often as that of " bonnet " or 
even of " spring sale." 

But to-day it was different The four ladies 
assembled around Mrs. Annicker's tea-table had 
no attention over for anything but the topic in 

** Has anyone seen her yet? " inquired the hostess, 
a tall, scraggy woman, who, despite her height, gave 
the impression of having been fashioned out of 
insufficient materials — ^having too little flesh on her 
bones, too few teeth in her mouth, and on her head 
a thin crop of hair, which, moreover, appeared to 
have been vigorously scratched among by an 
energetic hen. 

" / have," answered a large, ruddy, spectacled and 

beaming spinster, of anything between thirty and 

fifty. " I've seen her ; and all I say is : St Damian 

can lick all its ten fingers 1 " 


AaOame &e Xoges 1 39 

" Someone said she was good-looking." 

It was a young, insignificantly pretty woman in 
widow's weeds who made the remark, in a tone which 
seemed to imply that the stranger's good looks were 
somehow a personal aggrievement 

She had one of those mouths that have not been 
made to close, and which, by leaving two tiny, white 
teeth chronically exposed, vaguely suggested some 
small rodent animal. 

" Good-looking ? She's a beauty, I tell you ! As 
black as coal and as white as milk, and knows how 
to dress too. A fine show she'll make at our 
town ball next winter ! " 

"But does anybody know anything about her?" 
inquired a tired, lady-like person with a cough. 

*' Nothing, except that she pays cash down for 
everything she gets. What better introduction than 

" I wonder if we shall have to call ? " observed the 
scraggy hostess, with pensive caution. 

Miss M'Dill laughed robustly. 

*' I don't know if you'll have to call, but I'm quite 
sure you will call, even if it were only to see how she 
has done up the house. I believe it's a dream of 

"That looks as if she meant to entertain," 
remarked the lady-like woman, her tired tyts 
brightening at the prospect. 

" No doubt about that. She's having new floorings 
put into the big drawing-room, and two tennis 

I30 Tii)e Donse of VtOMes 

courts laid out What else can that mean but 
dances and garden parties?" 

** Yes ; I suppose we shall have to call/' said Mrs. 
Annicker, with a gently resigned sigh. 

** It's very strange that so young a widow should 
be so gay/' complained the other widow present, 
shaking out her own weeds more effectively. 
''Her husband can't be dead so very long, after 

'' The whole thing is a little abnormal/' admitted 
the scraggy hostess. ''It's the first time I can 
recollect anyone settling here for anything except 
golf, not to speak of the colleges, of course; and 
from such a way off, too, as California is I However 
will she stand our east winds ? " 

" And the idea of spending all that money upon 
that damp old Craig Manor!" said Mrs. Filips, 
between two coughs; "a house that nobody ever 
stays in for two years running. I'm told she paid 
quite a ridiculous price for it ; and when there are so 
many nice new villas to be had." 

"Oh, well, millionaires have got th^se sort of 
fancies ; and it's notorious that people from the New 
World always hate new things. For my part, I'm 
not going to inquire too closely into her motives or 
her antecedents, but am just going to take the gifts 
of the gods thankfully. It's high time someone 
came to stir up this musty old place. And what 
do I care whether she's been too easily consoled? 
Mr. de Lc^ez may have been a horror, for anything 

Aadante de Xoqcs 131 

we know — men usually are," added the fearless 
spinster, with a quite unabashed look at the three 
other women. 

** And yet it would seem that she is looking out i 

for a successor," observed Mrs. Filips, ** else why all 'i 

these social preparations ? " 

** We shall have all our bachelors at her heels 
presently, Mrs. Kennedy," and with rather a wooden 
attempt of playfulness, the hostess looked across at 
the young widow. " You had better keep your eyes 
upon that brother-in-law of yours, in case he's a 
marrying man." 

"William? Oh, he's not that at all I don't 
think there can be any danger for William. Oh, 
no ; surely he will not marry 1 " 

She said it with an anxiety that almost bordered 
on agitation, and looking more than ever like a 
rodent animal, as she displayed her small teeth. 

" Oh, yes ; he'll marry some day," said Miss M'Dill 
serenely ; " in fact, if s his duty to. You don't want 
the family to die out, do you ? " 

" But William never goes into society," persisted 
the widow, with more animation than she had yet 
shown. " He is so farauche — you cannot imagine 
how farauche he is. I have only spoken to him a 
few times — about business, but I really don't want 
to speak to him again. Even from his look it is 
easy to understand that Geoffrey couldn't get on 
with him. And as for marriage — well, I should like 
to see the woman brave enough for it" 

133 xn>e Donee of VtbMes 

" I fancy St Damian contains various such 
heroines/' said Miss M'Dill drily. "When you 
talk of courage, you forget to reckon with the 
acreage of the place." 

And meanwhile there was a mental rider added, 
which ran somewhat as follows: 

** Can't bear the idea of another woman reigning 
at Ecclesrigg. I always said she was the dog in 
the manger." 

The party was breaking up when Mrs. Annicker 
observed : 

" Oh, and have you heard the other piece of news ? 
Fifty-two Bower Street has got another inhabitant 
at last." 

'' The House of Riddles ? I tkou^^Ai I saw a light 
in it the other night" 

"Really/' said Miss M'Dill, with her vigorous 
laugh, " it would appear that St Damian is looking 
up in the world. Another rich widow, I hope ? " 

"A widow, very likely, but scarcely a rich one, 
since she doesn't keep a single servant A Mrs. 
Wilson, I think, or something like that, and she's 
bought the hpuse, so Susie heard. My information 
all came from Susie, I must explain. She was coming 
back with the fresh cakes for tea, and happened to be 
passing the house at the very moment when a fly 
stopped at the door. Naturally, Susie couldn't pass 
without seeing who got out of it ; a fly at the door of 
the House of Riddles was not a thing to be resisted. 
But neither she nor the other idlers collected got 

Aadame de Ixodes 133 

much satisfaction, for it was dusk already, and all 
they saw was a very big old woman in an 
extraordinary poke-bonnet which quite screened oflF 
her face, and with quite a heap of shawls about her, 
with which she seemed to be getting continually 

"'Big enough to show herself for money,' was 
Susie's verdict But she hasn't shown herself at all 
since, either for money or otherwise, so I am told." 

" Ah, well ; no garden parties to be looked for there, 
anyway," commented Miss M*Dill, as she buttoned 
her jacket " I'll have to stick to my Califomian 
beauty, I see. Upon my word, I think I shall call 
there to-morrow." 

When next day Miss M'Dill carried out this 
intention, she was received at the door of Craig 
Manor by the strangest and most uncouth -looking 
butler she had ever seen, a species of magnified 
dwarf, upon whose high shoulders the carefully cut 
black coat tried in vain to lie smoothly, and who 
seemed rather painfully aware of the size of the 
hand with which he took her card. 

" Mr. de Logez seems to have been a sportsman," 
was her reflection, as she was ushered through a 
hall tapestried with skins and bristling with horns. 
'' And Madame owns artistic tastes, presumably," was 
her comment upon the drawing-room, down the 
length of which the uncouth butler still limped on 

134 TTbe Dense of ftf^^Ie0 , 

ahead. No trace of the nouveau riche anywhere. 
The stamp of long-established wealth could not well 
have been more successfully imitated. 

" Fancy keeping a lame butler — ^he must be a vety 
old family retainer, surely ! " she reflected, as she 
stepped into a dimly lighted boudoir, | all amber 
brocade and ebony tables. 

From a chaise longue before the fireplace the new 
proprietress rose with alacrity and in a creamy- 
coloured tea -gown, which could not possibly be 
looked at indifferently by female eyes. 

Miss M'Dill, while she wrung the small hand 
held towards her almost to the verge of pain, 
explained that to welcome the new-comer had 
seemed to her to be her pleasant neighbourly 

'' It is too good of you ! " murmured Madame de 
Logez, whose black eyes were dancing in quite 
undisguised delight. ** I was beginning to think that 
Scotch friendliness had been greatly over-rated, and 
that I was going to be obliged to be a hermit against 
my will. In foreign countries it's the new-comer who 
takes the first step, you know ; and once or twice 
during these lonely weeks — for they have been lonely 
— I was half tempted to try the foreign plan ; but 
that would have shocked Scotch propriety horribly, 
would it not ? " 

" It would," confirmed Miss M'Dill, with pleasant 
bluntness. "Our Scotch propriety is an awful 
thing, and so is our Scotch caution. Unless we 

Aa^ame ^e Xo(]e3 135 

know a person's great-grandfather, or at the very 
least his first cousin, we're always in a funk about 
compromising ourselves." 

" Ah, I see. I ought to have brought my testi- 
monials with me, as cooks do. How stupid of me 
not to think of it ! — and will I have to go on playing 
the hermit until I have procured some, what did you 
call them ? — references ? " 

She looked at her visitor with the face of a 
rueful child. 

" No — certainly you won't ! " beamed Miss M*Dill, 
hopelessly conquered. "Now that I've made the 
breach in the wall, they'll all follow like sheep— see 
if they don't 1 and once they've seen you and your 
rooms" and your gowns — bless you! — they'll forget 
all about references, and so on. Why, that tea-gown 
in itself is an acquisition to St. Damian's 1 " 

The stranger stretched out her hand again 

^* How kind you are, and how grateful I am I If 
you knew how very little I have had of life yet you 
would not wonder at this thirst for distractions — for 
I do thirst for them, I don't deny it" 

She sank her eyeSf as she spoke, to the wonderfully 
embroidered little shoe which peeped from below the 
hem of her dress. 

" But isn't St Damian a funny place to look for 
them?" Miss M*Dill could not keep herself from 

" It is — a very funny place. But if you had lived 

13^ tibe tK>tt0e of IRlbMes 

as long as I have among New York sky-scrapers you 
would understand my passion for ruins." 

" I thought you came from California ? " 

** Oh yes, I do ; but my husband had business in 
the North. He had Scotch ancestors too — on his 
mother's side — that is one of the reasons why I 
wanted to see Scotland ; and as I wanted to see ruins 
too, I simply picked out the Scotch town which is 
the fullest of them. I am doing a regime of old 
walls and ivy, so to say." 

" Craig Manor ought to suit you, then. Its walls 
are quite among the oldest — and also the thickest — 
in the place. It also figures honourably on our 
rather ample list of haunted houses." 

Madame de Logez clapped her hands. 

"A ghost? Have I actually got a ghost all of 
my own? What does it do?" 

'' It only makes noises, so far as I know — noises in 
the walls, which some people are blasphemous enough 
to attribute to rats. It's the room next this one 
which is the haunted room, I believe." 

" Why, that's the very room I have chosen for my 

" Is it ? I wonder you care to sleep on the 
ground-floor in such a damp place as this. There 
are plenty of rooms upstairs." 

" Yes, there are, but I hate stairs, and the room is 
panelled, and I love panels. In fact, it just happens 
to suit me ! " she laughed, looking her visitor straight 
in the eyes. 

Aa^ame &e %oec$ 137 

" In spite of the ghost ? " 

" Because of the ghost ! I tell you that I adore 

"Well, personally, I hope that your regime will 
agree with you for a good while; but whether the rest 
of the womenkind will second my wish, I somewhat 

" Why should they not ? " 

"Because you're too good-looking not to make 
enemies," blurted out Miss M'Dill. " They'll all be 
trembling for their admirers." 

Madame de Logez broke into a peal of tinkling 

"Ah, Amv awfully amusing! Oh, dear Miss 
M'Dill, please reassure them 1 Tell them that I am 
as harmless as a babe — that all I want is to amuse 
myself— to dance, to sing, to live ! And as for their 
admirers — let them make their minds easy ! I'm 
not dreaming — not dreaming of marrying ! " 

" She must have been very unfortunate in her first 
experience," said Miss M*Dill to herself, noting the 
energy with which the words were spoken. But 
aloud she playfully remarked: 

" Ah, come, you mustn't say that. This would be 
a little too hard upon all our promising bachelors, 
and we've got quite a fair show of them too." 

"Of boys, you mean. I'm told that the strong 
sex is here represented by professors whose hair 
has stopped growing, and by undergraduates whose 
moustaches have not yet begun to do so." 

i3» - TTbe Douse of 1Rf^^Ie0 

*" What a calumny ! And all the golf-players that 
come flocking to our links ? " 

'* But those aren't natives, usually." 

"We've got natives too. There are plenty of 
country-houses within easy reach, and some of them 
own sons." 

" Who are either in London or the colonies ? " 

'* Not all. There are the two Margisons at home, 
and always ready for any fun that's up; and then 
there's Mr. Kennedy of Ecclesrigg, a man whose 
clear duty it is to marry," 

" Who is Mr. Kennedy ? " asked Madame de Logez, 
playing with the lace upon her gown. 

Miss M'Dill concisely gave the desired informa- 

" And he, too, is ready for any fun that is 

" No ; that he is not. He has spent years in the 
gold-fields, and came back a perfect bear — in fact, he 
was that before he went But bears can be tamed, 
after all, and we're all rather hoping that someone 
will take him in hand. It's hard upon us, you see, 
having the chief house of the neighbourhood as good 
as shut up. Geoffrey used to have such nice luncheon 
parties during the shooting season, and the old men's 
dinners were renowned." 

"Oh, I see. And have you selected the young 
lady who is to act as bear-tamer, and re-open the 
doors of Eccles — Eccles — " 

" Ecclesrigg. There are half a dozen willing for 

il>a^ame &e Xoges 139 

the office, but they don't get a chance, since he never 
shows anywhere, not. even on the golf-links, though 
he used to be a great golfer in old days." 

"And is he anything else besides a golfer? A 
sportsman, perhaps ? " 

**Yes; a keen sportsman, and a still keener 
boatsman. Ecclesrigg is as close to the beach as 
this house is, right on the other side of the bay — 
I believe you ought to see it from the upper windows 
here — and it seems that he spends half his time out 
at sea, in a double-oar boat, quite alone. Sometimes 
he gets home so late at night that the servants have 
begun to look for his corpse on the strand — for 
hardly any weather stops him. William Kennedy 
always was queer, even as a boy." 

'' He sounds quite terrible," said Madame de Logez, 
with a slight grimace. 

"He is a little terrible. But Ecclesrigg is a 
delightful place, all the same. And," added Miss 
M'Dill, rather more reflectively, and with her eyes 
upon the beautiful stranger's face, "anyone who 
succeeded in paring his claws would earn the eternal 
gratitude of St. Damian's." 

"Why shouldn't she be the one to re-open 
Ecclesrigg?" the spinster was inwardly debating. 
"Her money and his house ought to combine into 
a quite ripping social centre. And she looks, too, as 
though she would be good at paring claws ! " 

Left alone, Madame de Logez lay down again 
upon her chaise longue and reflected deeply for some 

MO TTbe tkmse of iRlbMes 

minutes. Then she touched the electric bell by her 

"Brown/* she said to the grotesque butler who 

almost instantaneously appeared upon the threshold, 

" is there a boat in the boat-house? " 
" There is, Missy, but it's in an awfu' condaytion." 
" You are not to call me Missy, Brown, I have told 

you so before. I am Madame de Logez. Order a 

new boat at once, a light sort of boat, you know — 

suitable for a lady. I am going to learn to row." 



It was .a busy day upon the shore. Two days back ^ 

an apple-boat had foundered at the mouth of the 

bay, and all along the strand the red-cheeked fruit 

lay as thick among the sea-weed wreaths as though 

they were the natural products of their glistening 

sprays ; and still they came riding in upon the top 

of the gentle swell, to which the storm had subsided. 

Half the female and all the infant population seemed 

to have turned out, and both baskets and aprons, and 

even sacks, had been put into requisition, in order to 

bring the unlooked-for harvest under cover. Several 

hundredweights of apples in April, even slightly 

" salted *' apples, were not a thing to be despised, by 

either careful housewives or greedy infants. Even 

the stronger sex — to judge from various bearded 

persons in blue jerseys, whose boats drifted about 

the bay, while they sprawled over the sides, armed 

with hand-nets, whose normal employment was the 

capture of shrimps, but which now came up bending 

under much heavier ware — were not quite above the 

temptation of this feast spread upon the waters. 

But among the clumsy fishing-craft there stood 

143 TCbe Dense of lUOMes 

out conspicuously one skifT of lighter make — the 
elegantly-built and dazzlingly white boat in which 
the new proprietress of Craig Manor indulged her 
passion for the sea. It must be a new-born passion, 
St Damian decided, watching the way in which she 
handled her oars. But under the tuition of the lame 
butler, who seemed to be a person of the most many- 
sided accomplishments — this changed so rapidly that 
at the end of a week already she was seen to venture 
out alone, weather permitting, though never beyond 
the precincts of the sheltering bay. 

She was beginning to know it by heart already : 
the crescent of sand melting into the links behind 
the rocky headlands pushed out to sea — the gulls 
wheeling against the grey sky — to know it, and also 
to be a little tired of it Did not her arms ache with 
the number of strokes she had rowed upon its grey- 
green surface — which for two weeks she had been 
haunting, with no result except blistered hands? 

To achieve the beginning of an acquaintance was 
almost too much to be hoped for, but to get her boat 
within what she defined to herself as ''scouting" 
distance of the Ecclesrigg boat, had not appeared to 
Madame de Logez, otherwise Elvira Cameron, to be 
"unfeasible." Before opening the actual campaign, 
she felt the need of first reconnoitring the enemy — of 
getting familiar with the features of the man with 
whom she was going to struggle. There seemed no 
other meeting-ground but the bay — ^and yet the bay 
had failed her so far. 

Salte^ apples 143 

From the upper windows of Craig Manor it was 
quite possible, with a good field-glass, to distinguish 
not only the red walls of Ecclesrigg upon the rocks, 
but even to pick out the landing-stage below, and 
follow the movements of the boat which was 
tethered there — rarely idle for two days running. 
The habits and hours of the Master of Ecclesrigg 
were familiar to her by this time, and yet, calculate 
as she would, she had never obtained more than a 
distant glimpse of that boat, and of the dark figure 
that bent over the oars — all the more assiduously, it 
would seem, when any other craft was in the 
neighbourhood. Surely he must be the least 
inquisitive of men, since it was impossible that he 
should not have seen her, and since the mere sight of 
a woman alone in a boat — and such a conspicuous 
boat too — should be enough to arouse curiosity. 
Upon curiosity she had counted a good deal — 
apparently in vain. 

To-day again he had escaped her. She knew it, 
having seen the boat with the solitary figure run out 
into the open, whither she dared not follow. 

These solitary cruises could not but strengthen 
her convictions. It was almost the typical mode of 
action of the undetected yet remorse - stricken 
criminal — but, for all that, it was very incon- 

" I shall have to try some other way," she decided. 
" There's no sense in ruining my hands for nothing. 
What shall it be ? Shall I get a motor, and make it 

144 TTbe Douse of 1Rf^^Ie0 

run into his front door ? I had better go home and 
think about it Oh, what a beauty ! " 

The beauty was a particularly big and particularly 
red-cheeked apple, which at that very moment came 
bump against the side of the boat. In an instant 
Elvira's bare hand had clutched it As she sat up 
again her eyes fell upon a second apple, a third and 
fourth — upon dozens of them, dancing cheerfully 
along, like a shoal of some strange kind of fish. 

" So that is what those men are fishing for — and 
the children on the shore too, I suppose. Oh, what 
a lot! This w fun!" 

Having hastily shipped her oars, Elvira stretched 
eager hands towards the tantalising apples, most of 
which were bobbing past with what looked like 
mocking curtseys, just out of reach. 

A minute ago she had been a manoeuvring woman ; 
abruptly she had been transformed into a child as 
young as any of those on the shore, whose grimy 
fingers were picking the apples out of the wet sand. 
The idea of an immediate return home was tacitly 
dropped. For an hour the mistress of Craig Manor 
catered as assiduously for the salted apples as though 
she meant to make her living by selling them in the 

When at length she paused to take breath, she 
was no longer quite the same decorous person who 
had left Craig Manor that afternoon. The sleeves of 
her perfectly-cut tailor's gown were drenched, in 
spite of having been, for convenience' sake, rolled 

Salted apples ms 

up to the elbow, and her black hair, so carefully 
dressed this morning, now tumbled wildl)^ about her 
shoulders, owing to the loss of most of her hair-pins. 

But her ardour was not yet damped. 

" If only I had a hand-net," she earnestly con- 
sidered. "A few inches would make all the 
difference. I wonder if I couldn't get one of those 
men to lend me one? Where are they all gone to? 
Dear me, how far out I am already. I suppose the 
tide has turned. Ah, there is one of them." 

Yes ; there undoubtedly was one of them, not 
fifty yards off, but rowing hard and in an opposite 
direction. Even through the first veil of dusk she 
could plainly see how the coarse jersey upon his 
broad back strained with each one of his vigorous 

" Ho ! " she shouted. " Ho I Lend a hand here 1 " 

But the strokes continued regularly, and the boat 
drew away. 

She improvised a speaking-trumpet with her hands, 
and repeated her call. Then, as he did not even 
turn his head, she grew angry and sprang to her feet. 

" Here, you boor I " she cried, in a voice whose 
imperiousness pierced the air — "you great Scotch 
boor ! Don't you hear that I want you ? " 

At this at last he turned his head, and then, very 
slowly, his boat Almost imperceptibly the distance 
between them diminished — he was no longer rowing 
with the vigorous strokes of a minute ago. A big, 
black-bearded man, in a blue jersey and a fisherman's 

146 TTbe twuBe of lUDMes 

cap, and with what she mentally put down as a 
" hang-dog " look. 

'* What do you want ? " he asked gruffly, as soon 
as speaking distance was reached. 

"You might have been a little quicker about 
asking that, I think," she said, with the red of anger 
still flaming in her cheeks, for to be disr^arded by 
the strong sex — to whichever class it might belong 
— was a new and distasteful experience. ''You're 
either deaf, or else you're quite the most disobliging 
man I've come across yet" 
** I'm not deaf," he curtly stated. 
" Then you're the other thing." 
She glanced at him with a trifle of surprise as she 
said it, for he did not speak with the broad Scotch 
accent which she had instinctively expected. It was 
also rather astonishing that he had not touched his 
cap with a red forefinger, in the fashion she had 
grown familiar with. 

" I require a hand-net — one of those little landing- 
nets," you know," she loftily explained. " You have 
probably got one in your boat Will you lend it 
me, please ? — hire it to me, I meao ? — for, of course, 
I shall pay you for it" 

He had not given her a single straight look }ret, being 

one of those people to whom straight looks always seem 

to cost an eflbrt, but now he stared, and the stare was 

followed by the fragment of a laugh,quicklysuppressed. 

" I don't hire out nets," he said, as roughly as before. 

" I'll pay you well — I really will," she persisted. 

SaIte^ apples m7 

" I haven't got a net" 

" But haven't you been after the apples ? " 

"Which apples?" 

'* Why, those that are all about Look what a lot 
I've got, even without a net And you ? " 

The boats were close enough now for Elvira, by 
craning her neck, to peer over into the neighbouring 
craft. Not a single apple met her eye there. Instead, 
they fell upon the fisherman's boots, and remained 
riveted there in a mixture of wonder and alarm. 
From these they moved rapidly to the hands that 
grasped the oars — it is always in the extremities 
that class differences betray themselves — then back 
again to the feet The boots were in themselves a 
revelation. That a gentleman should wear a blue 
jersey was much more thinkable than that a 
fisherman should wear boots of that make. 

She was still telling herself so when the boats 
bumped against each other and then drew apart 
with the recoil of the shock. As they did so, 
some big, glaringly white letters painted upon the 
bow of the boat alongside came directly under her 
eye. E-C-C-L-E- she was able to make out, the 
rest of the designation disappearing round the bow. 
She threw one swift glance at his face, mentally 
comparing him with some picture in her mind, and 
then she only just stopped short of slapping herself 
on the forehead with the flat of her hand. 

" What a bat I am I " ran the inner apostrophe. 
"Why, it's Ae,BM the time!" 



Her first feeling— contrary to her own expectations 
— was neither triumph nor pleasure, but rather a 
momentary terror. 

"Johnnie's murderer! This, then, is Johnnie's 
murderer!" was all she could coherently think 
for a moment, as she scanned the heavy lines and 
somewhat unwholesome pallor of his face. Nervously 
she glanced about her, as though to see whether no 
one else were within call. 

There was no one. She was alone with the 
dreaded man, whom she had so yearned to meet. 
And in less than a minute the terror was past, and 
another feeling succeeded : a feeling of sharp annoy- 
ance as she angrily became aware of her disordered 
appearance. So long as she had seen a St. Damian 
fisherman before her, the defects of her toilet had 
not disturbed her; but to be caught drenched and 
untidy by the man whom she had intended to 
dazzle at the very first meeting, for whose benefit 
she had intended to enlist all the resources of the 
dressing-room — this was a little past endurance. 

Impatiently she began to pluck at her wet sleeves, 

TCbe ffsberman 149 

in the endeavour to pull them into place. But it was 
no easy proceeding, seeing that they had been rolled 
up as tight as they would go ; and while she was so 
occupied, she could not but be aware of the sidelong 
look of his ill-humoured eyes. He was not blind, 
then — that was evident He would have almost 
needed to be that to be looking in any other direction 
at that moment, since arms of this perfection of shape 
and of whiteness are not generally to be seen by broad 

In a flash she realised this, and began simul- 
taneously to wonder whether her tumbled hair was 
really more unbecoming than a carefully-dressed 
coiffure could have been. To anything but triumphant 
beauty it would probably be fatal, but Elvira knew 
her beauty to be independent of such smallness of 

With the thought all her coolness returned. So 
rapid had been the passage of emotions that the man 
in the boat alongside had not had time to wonder at 
her momentary silence. 

" If they won't come down they must just stay up," 
she laughed, and calmly taking off her cap, raised her 
arms, still bare to the elbow, towards her head, and 
began by deliberately shaking out the masses of her 
magnificent hair, preparatory to twisting it into a knot. 

Her companion, resting upon his oars, sat with 
brows down-drawn, his face towards her, his eyes not 
visible, but the immobility of his attitude betraying 
that sort of attention that borders on astonishment. 

ISO XTbe Douse of 1Rf^Me0 

"If you haven't been after the apples, then, I 
wonder what you have been after?" remarked 
Elvira airily, having already formed her plan of 
action. " Herrings, perhaps, or — or mackerel ? I'm 
very badly up in fishing-lore, I'm afraid. But you 
haven't got any fishing-tackle at all that I can see. 
I do believe you've been idling away the whole 
afternoon. Is this fair upon your wife and children, 
whose bread, of course, you've got to earn ? " 

She shook her head at him with mock severity, as 
she commenced to make a rope of her hair. 

At that he stirred out of his immobility, like a 
man who has suddenly remembered something, and 
without a word bent again to his oars. 

" Wait a moment ! " cried Elvira sharply. " I've got 
something else to say." 

" Well ? " he ungraciously inquired. 

** Even though you won't or can't hire me a net, 
you might hire me something else." 


" Your two arms." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" Nothing so dreadful that you need glower at me 
so, my good man. Only that I've discovered that 
my own arms are aching horribly from the apple 
hunt, and that I am altogether far too tired to row 
myself home. Do it for me, and I will pay you so 
well that your wife won't need to reproach you for 

" I don't want any money," he growled. 

^e f fsberman 151 

" Well, we'll settle about that later ; meanwhile, I 
certainly do want your services." 

** I don't believe you do ; you're quite a good oar 

"Ah, then he has noticed me," was her exultant 
thought, as aloud she said indifferently: 

" When I'm not tired, yes ; but I can't row 
another stroke to-day. If you've got only the 
shadow of a conscience in you, you cannot leave 
me to my fate. The tide is going out, and as you 
see, I shall never be able to make way against it 
If s your duty as a fellow-man to help me." 

" I can't row two boats," he said, plainly wavering. 

" But you can row one and tow the other, can't 
you ? It will be a slow process, of course, but I have 
time to spare," she added sweetly. 

He shifted on his seat, casting one glance to the 
right and another to the left, as though in search of 
some means of escape. 

" Where do you live ? " he asked at last, as though 
speaking against his will. 

" At Craig Manor ; over there, to the right of the 

Without any further word of acquiescence he 
began, with the same expression of ill-humour, to 
look about him for a rope. In another minute the 
little white boat was securely fastened to the big 
brown one. In yet another Elvira was watching 
the straining blue jersey upon the broad back before 
her, and counting the regular fall of the dripping 

152 XTbe Dense of 1{f^Me0 

oars. If he had hoped by his position to crush all 
further attempt at conversation he had made a mis- 
take. Elvira's interest in fishing statistics, as well as 
in the habits of the sea-board population generally, 
proved so great that in order to give even the 
curtest answers to the questions put to him, the 
rower had no choice but to glance back over his 
shoulder at least once in a minute. Whether this 
glance comprised a vision of the slim figure in the 
grey tweed, whose hair was now back in its place, and 
the whiteness of whose arms were discreetly covered 
by the damp sleeves — (it would not do to be too 
lavish in such treats as this, Elvira decided) — it would 
have been hard to say; but nothing, at any rate, 
could save him from the consciousness of its 
presence, nor from the sound of the bell-clear voice 
in which the questions were put. 

The ungraciousness of the answers seemed power- 
less to discourage her thirst for knowledge ; nor did 
the rather glaring ignorance of the supposed fisher- 
man appear to disturb her in the least. He had at 
last grasped his r61e, and aware, doubtless, of its 
convenience, was playing it to the best of his 

" It is all so new to me," she explained, with 
charming apology. " I am quite a stranger here." 

" How long have you been ? " he inquired, with 
that same obvious reluctance of speech which had 
struck her before. 

" Only about two months ; and I love studying 

XTbe ffsberman 153 

the habits of a place, but the language is the usual 
difficulty. You're the first of the St. Damian people 
whose accent hasn't beat me." 

He said nothing, but jerked his head back, and 
rowed on more vigorously than ever. 

The outline of the bay was beginning to melt into 
the shadows and vapours of evening, while every few 
minutes a new light twinkled up along the shore-line. 
The dip of the oars, the lapping of the water against 
the sides of the tethered boats, the wail of the now 
invisible gulls, filled the ever-growing pauses. 

"If he has any imagination at all, this ought to 
appeal to it," reflected Elvira, with her hands clasped 
about her knees, and a confident smile playing 
around her lips. " It's a pity I couldn't get him to 
face me; but it's no great matter either, since I'm 
sure he sees me quite plainly with the back of his 

In spite of the dusk the Craig Manor landing-stage 
was very neatly made; but just before it was made 
Elvira had another idea For the last few minutes 
she had been gazing down pensively at the thin gold 
chain bracelet which she wore on her right wrist 
They were close to land when she touched the clasp, 
and bending forward, tossed the little chain neatly 
over into the front boat, where it fell with no 
perceptible sound upon the rough boards, behind 
the unconscious rower's back. 

Within the same minute the foremost boat touched 
the pilots of the landing-stage. 

'54 Ubc Donse of 1^i^Me0 

" Wait a moment. I will call someone to help you 
with the chains," she said, rising quickly. " Give me 
your hand." 

"I don't want any help," he said, with some 

" Give me your hand ! " she imperiously repeated, 
and he obeyed, as sullenly as ever. 

A very slight shudder ran over her as their fingers 
touched — ^was this the hand that had put the knife 
into Johnnie's heart? — but she steadied herself 
immediately, and stepped deftly from one boat to 
the other. 

"And you are sure you will take no payment?" 
she asked, turning again as soon as her foot had 
touched firm ground. 

"Quite sure!" 

"Are all St. Damian people as proud as that?" 
she asked, forcing him to meet her innocently 
questioning gaze. "And is hiring oneself out as a 
boatman worse than selling fish?" 

Without a word he turned back to the boat. 

" Then all I can do for to-day is to thank you, I 
suppose. But," she laughed gaily, *' I will find out 
where you live, see if I don't — and Pll tip your 
children, if you've got any. TAey won't be above 
taking sixpences, I'm sure! Now just wait till I 
send someone to help you I " 

By the^ time someone came he was gone already, 
as she knew he would be ; but on Elvira's face there 
was no disappointment as she regained her own 

XCbe fiBhctman 155 

apartments. The lights, both in the big drawing- 
room and in her own boudoir, were turned on already, 
but she walked straight through them to the bedroom 
alongside. Her eyes were shining brilliantly as she 
stopped before the tall, narrow mirror which, in the 
centre of a stretch of wall between two windows, 
replaced the oak panelling of the rest of the apart- 
ment, being in itself a panel embedded in the wood. 
It was a long and critical look she gave herself, 
before turning away, first to lock both the doors of 
her room and then to unlock a small cupboard in a 
comer. From here she produced an object which, 
considering the brilliancy of the incandescent gas, 
looked ridiculously superfluous : a small, dark lantern 
carefully trimmed, which she proceeded to light with 
a touch of impatient haste. With the lantern in her 
hand, she again approached the mirror. 

That evening the mistress of Craig Manor was 
unusually late of appearance. 

"She must have gone to sleep," said the newly 
engaged maid, in some distress, to the butler. " Tve 
been twice to the door with the hot water; but I 
can't get her to hear. What shall I. do, Mr. 
Brown ? " 

** Leave her alone, bedad ! " ordered Brown, turning 
angrily upon the girl. " As though the pore lady 
hadn't a roight to slape when it plazes her ! And if 
Missy — if Madame Dellorgus chooses to take her 
victuals at midnight, what business is that of yours 
or mine, indade?" 

156 JSbc Donse of 1^i^Me0 

It was not midnight, but only nine o'clock when 
Madame de Logez sailed into her dining-room, with 
eyes that had lost tiothing of their brilliancy, perhaps 
in consequence of the refreshing slumber. 

For two days Elvira waited quietly ; on the third 
she sat down deliberately to her writing-table and 
wrote the following note: 

" Craig Manor, i6/A ApH/, 189—. 

"Dear Mr. Kennedy,— I am horrified at my 
mistake, and cannot rest until I have made the 
apology which I feel to be your due. I cannot 
remember every word I said, but I am afraid I have 
been very rude, and I have a dim recollection of 
having called you a boor. I'm sure I deserve a much 
worse appellation. It'^ the fault of the blue jersey, 
of course — but it's also a little your own fault. If 
people like to masquerade as fishermen, they ought 
not really to complain of being treated as fishermen. 
Your accent did puzzle me ; but my ignorance of the 
country must plead for me. Subsequent inquiries 
have cleared up the matter beyond doubt I to/d 
you, you will remember, that I would find out 
where you live — and I have done so — with a 
vengeance I 

"Hoping you will forgive my stupid mistake. — 
Yours sincerely, " ELVIRA DE LoGEZ. 

*'P.S. — I miss a small gold chain bracelet I was 
wearing on Wednesday. It is not in my boat. 
Please have it looked for in yours. It may haye 
slipped off as you handed me over." 

xnoe f f0berman 157 

" Now/' commented Elvira as she sealed the note, 
** if he wants a pretext, he has got one." 

The ''subsequent inquiries" were genuine. Not 
the shadow of a doubt remained as to the identity 
of the man in the blue jersey and the London-mafle 

During the next few days there was no rowing in 
the bay, and no excursions beyond the garden for 
the mistress of Craig Manor. The wet weather 
which had set in may have had something to do with 
this, but a strained and nervous expectation evidently 
had more. A great deal of time was spent at the 
upper windows with a field-glass. But after two 
days this was abandoned. 

"Qan I have failed?" she asked herself, on the 
fourth and wettest of the days since her last 
excursion, as she cowered shiveringly in a deep 
chair before a roaring fire. The depressing atmos- 
phere had for the moment extinguished her habitual 
optimism. " Can I have failed, after all ? Until he 
sends back the bracelet I won't believe it. The way 
he looked, and even the way he avoided looking I " 

She sat up suddenly, the thought cut short by a 
peal of the door-bell. A visitor on such a day as 
this? — was it likely? 

Already the halting step of the butler was crossing 
the drawing-room, with another step behind it 

"Mr. Kaynedy," announced Brown upon the 
threshold, in a voice admirably void of expression. 



Between the day on which the lame butler made 
this momentous announcement and that other day on 
which Professor Annicker pointed out the Califomian 
widow to his colleague as one of the " sights " of St. 
Damian, there lay a year and more — a year of tacit 
but intense struggle between two wills — ^that of a 
determined and high-strung woman, and that of a 
strong and stubborn man, who, even vanquished by 
passion, still presented a front of dogged, though 
passive, resistance. 

Up to a certain point, Elvira's plan had worked 
admirably ; beyond that point there had come a 
check. The wet afternoon on which he had brought 
her back her bracelet had proved decisive. He had 
expressly said that he would not return, but she 
knew that he would, and he did, against his own 
express resolve, it would seem, yet ever mprc 
frequently and irresistibly. Almost immediately she 
had gauged the man she had to deal with, and 
became the more sanguine of success. But though 
very soon she was aware of having awakened in him 
one of those violent attachments in which his hot- 


Zbc Campatgn 159 

headed nature evidently inclined — (where was Bella's 
doll-like picture now beside this glowing reality ?) — 
she simultaneously became conscious of an equally 
violent opposition. Dumb adoration, however 
obvious, would never serve her purpose. If she 
was ever to obtain possession of the ring upon which 
hung the proof she required, something more definite 
must be reached. She had told Dick long ago 
that it might have to play t^e part of an en- 
gagement ring, and she knew now that it was the 
only possible part for it to play. A hundred times 
during the year that was past she had seen the 
declaration she coveted trembling upon her enemy's 
lips, only to be forcibly thrust back and once 
more tightly locked behind his obstinately closed 

Once, early in their acquaintance, she had heard 
him put his own point of view into words whose 
plainness was unimpeachable. It was Miss M'Dill, 
who, quite against her own desire, had provoked 
their utterance. 

She had stumbled upon Kennedy alone in Elvira's 
boudoir, and on the point of accompanying her to 
the golf-links. In the elation produced by what she 
considered to be the promising development of 
events, the optimistic spinster had not been able to 
resist one little remark of a vaguely congratulatory 

" You're getting more like other people, William," 
she beamed upon the man she had known since 

t6o TLbc Honac of IRf^Mes 

boyhood. '^ We'll be seeing the gates of Ecclesrigg 
swing back presently, will we not?" 

Miss M'Dill was not easily stagge^'ed, but even 
she felt a slight shock as Kennedy turned upon her 
with a white, angry face. 

" I know what you mean — but that's all madness," 
he said, with an almost savage emphasis. ''In my 
lifetime that gate will not swing back, for I mean 
to die single— do you hear ? You're welcome to tell 
all your inquisitive friends so, if you like." 

And he laughed derisively. 

Elvira, dressed for the links, was just pushing 
aside the heavy curtain over the doorway as the 
last words were spoken, but she came forward as 
unconcernedly as though she had heard nothing — 
while poor Miss M'Dill went home dumbfoundered, 
and with her visions of social gatherings all tumbling 
about her ears. 

" That dog-in-the-manger little widow is going to 
have it her own way after all, it would seem," she 
angrily reflected. " If I was William, I would marry 
for the mere sake of spiting her. And how white he 
gets when he is angry, to be sure ! Looks almost as 
if he had got the family heart" 

Elvira's review of the situation was very much 
calmer. She had guessed something of this, and 
it tallied, too, with her estimate of things. A man 
with blood-guilt upon him generally shrinks from 
founding a family. The mere fact of this reluctance, 
expressed with a vehemence which, to the uninitiated 

JSbc Campafon i6i 

Miss M'Dill, had appeared superfluous, was to her a 
fresh proof**-had she required such — of the existence 
of that guilt This attitude meant that the struggle 
was going to be harder than she had supposed. 
Well, then, she would put out more of her powers, 
that was all. And with this thought in her mind she 
had set her teeth and so vigorously driven off her 
golf-ball, that for the first time in her experience she 
successfully cleared a certain deceitful bunker which 
played the part of trap to all beginners. 

The links supplied a large proportion of the 
battle-field To appeal to a man's superior 
knowledge of anything is infallibly to appeal to his 
vanity, as she could not help knowing, and vanity 
is a mighty ally of passion, as she more guessed than 
knew. The boudoir tite-d-tites required to be 
diversified, were it only for decorum's sake, and the 
bay was not available in all weathers. Hence the 
inevitable development of a craving for golf in 
" Madame de Logez." Her craving for society was 
not, for that, neglected. Dinner parties and garden 
parties, dances and picnics, succeeded each other 
almost as regularly as the beads upon a rosaty. 
They could not bring her neafer her object, since 
Kennedy steadily shunned all social gatherings, but 
they served partly as sops thrown to the curiosity of 
St. Damian — since it was safer to have them 
chattering about her gowns and her decorations than 
about herself-— partly as bribes for sympathies which 
might yet prove useful. 

i62 ube Douse of 1^f^Me8 

It had been a strenuous year; and despite the 
intensity of her vitality, the strain was beginning to 
tell. Until now the excitement of the chase had 
kept her callous to all considerations but the sole 
one of success — the very resistance she encountered 
seeming but to stimulate her energy. But reaction 
was not far off. A distasteful task, in order to be 
bearable, should be rushed through, with no leisure 
for reflection, no space for nice analysis — and this 
one was beginning to drag. And another element, 
too, had entered into the matter : an element of 
repulsion — for the more she saw of the man with 
whom she had to deal, the more was she repelled by 
the evidence of a gross and low-toned nature, devoid 
of all true tenderness, of all higher aspirations. His 
glances were as hard to bear as the touch of his 
hand. To smile at him in such moments was only 
made possible by thinking hard — ah, so hard ! — of 
another face, and a future delivered of intrigue. 

Even her nerves were beginning to suffer. If they 
were not to break down, the crisis would have to be 
precipitated — ^the tacit struggle be brought to an end 
one way or the other. 

This point had never been so clear to her as on 
the day when the Professor of Mineralogy re- 
cognised her on the links. Yet, as presently she 
came sauntering back with a caddy behind her and 
her companion by her side, her face betrayed nothing 
beyond a rather feverish brilliancy of the eye. 

Just beside the little wooden shanty where soda- 

TCbe Campafon 163 

water, besides other things, was dispensed, she 
caught sight of a familiar face and nodded smilingly 
to Professor Annicker. He came forward with 
another person beside him, who, somewhat to her 
astonishment, likewise lifted his hat 

'^ I scarcely venture to claim acquaintance," jerked 
out this small and spasmodic personage ; ** indeed, it 
was scarcely to be called an acquaintance*; but 
perhaps you remember — on board the Benaia^ 
nearly three years ago. We were table neighbours ; 
1 had the pleasure of some conversation with you." 

Elvira was scanning his wizened countenance with 
blank eyes. Y^ty slowly something like recognition 
dawned in their deepest depth, and at the same time 
she coloured violently all over her face. 

"Of course you can scarcely be expected to 
remember," Professor Merritt hastily and apolo- 
getically explained, as she still stood dumb before 
him. " A lapse of memory on my part would have 
been unpardonable, but on yours, madame — *' 

He drew up his shoulders and spread out his hands 
in a gesture evidently meant to be complimentary. 

" Yes ; I remember quite well," said Elvira, having 
by a violent effort regained her self-control, and 
speaking with a deliberate slowness which gave 
her time further to collect her thoughts. She 
had done no more than throw one instinctive 
glance at her companion, and now kept her eyes 
steadily upon the Professor's face. "You were to 
investigate the composition of the gold-fields, were 

i64 tTbe tKmse or Itf^Mes 

you not? and I was going to satisfy my curiosity. 
It was the fashionable thing to do then, you know." 

''And was it satisfied? Or did the Klondyke 
disappoint you ? ** 

Elvira was conscious of a movement beside her, 
but her eyes never moved from the Professor's face. 

" It was a horrible disappointment/' she said, with 
a sort of airy ruefulness. " I had expected to find 
lumps of gold lying about, whereas there wasn't even 
gold dust upon my clothes when I brushed them out 
The only amusing part was the masquerading. I 
gave myself out as a lady-journalist — it's only lady- 
journalists who aren't considered to be mad on such 
occasions, you know." 

"You played the part very well," remarked the 
Professor, a little watchfully. 

•* Did I ? I'm so glad to hear it You must come 
and see me, and tell me how you flourished with your 
ores. I'm dying to know, but my time is up." 

She walked away with her companion beside her, 
leaving the small Professor still tingling with delight 
at the warmth of the pressure which his hand had 



During several minutes Kennedy walked in 
silence beside Elvira. His face, so far as she could 
see it without turning full towards him, had taken 
on another shade of that unpleasant pallor which 
characterised it, more especially in moments of 

" I think I have had enough of golf for to-day," 
she said presently, carelessly swinging the club she 
still held. " It's lunch-time, as it is." 

She handed the club to the caddy, at the same 
time changing her direction. 

Kennedy followed her, making no comment It 
was only a minute later that he said, with his 
habitual abruptness of utterance : 

"You never told me that you had been to 
the Klondyke." 

"Didn't 1? Very likely not I've been to lots 
of places that I may not have spoken of." 

"An awfully rough place for a woman. Was 
your husband alive at the time?" 

**Yes," said Elvira, gazing straight out to sea; 
"he was alive." 


i66 tTbe twoBeloT ttf^Ues; 

" I wonder he allowed it" 

She laughed with an assumption of flippancy which 
had done her good service ere now. 

" How do you know he did allow it ? On the 
other side of the Atlantic wives have a habit of 
taking their own way. Tm fond of experiences, as 
you know. Would I be at St. Damian if I was not?" 

" When were you there ? " 

^ That old gentleman said it was three years ago, 
didn't he? I accept his dates, mine being always 

He fell back just perceptibly, and did not speak 
again immediately. When he did, it was still on 
the same subject that he harped 

" It must have been a very — unpleasant experience, 
surely," he said, in forced accents, which rendered 
his harsh voice ^en harsher than usual. " Miners 
are a rough ttt — and such — strange things happen 
in gold-fields. You must have heard queer things 
talked about ? " he persisted, his eyes hanging side- 
ways on her face. 

There was enough of suspicion in the glance to 
make her heart stand still for a moment — but only 
for a moment The mere suggestion of a danger to 
her secret suddenly braced all her strength. 

" Ah, yes^ I heard plenty of horrors talked about ; 
and if I had been the journalist I pretended to be, 
no doubt I would have gloated over them. But my 
curiosity was quite of another sort I was very young 
still, you see, and a gold-field was to me really 

XTbe Sattle 167 

something golden — a thing out of a fairy-tale, in 
fact ; that was why I wanted to see it Fairy-tales 
are so rare nowadays." 

He said nothing more for the present, and during 
the rest of the walk Elvira was free to choose her 
own topics, which she did with an appearance of 
insouciance which successfully masked her own 
agitation, and seemingly untroubled by the absence 
of response. 

" You will come in to luncheon, will you not ? " she 
asked, at the door of Craig Manor. 

He appeared on the point of refusing, but meeting 
her eyes, in which invitation stood written broad, 
silently acquiesced. ^ 

The meal itself, taken in the presence of the lame 
butler, was flavoured by conve^ation as conventional 
as could be desired. It was not lyitil the coffee had 
been brought into the amber boudgir that Elvira 
begaiv to foresee a crisis of some sort. 

Kennedy had been moodily stirring his coffee for 
far more time than a lump of sugar can possibly 
take to dissolve, before, looking up suddenly, he 

" Why did you keep this thing from me ? " 

"What thing?" she asked, quickly overcoming 
the spasm of alarm which had touched her. 

" That about having been at the Klondyke. It is 
not like you to make secrets." 

" Secrets ! " She gazed at him with a marvellous 
counterfeit of blank wonder on her face. " Do you 

i68 tok twnse ot VibMes 

call a secret everything which I don't happen to 
mention? Then Fm afraid that I'm compact of 

And she laughed with a strain, which only his 
own disturbance kept him from marking. 

^ Yes ; but so unusual an incident — for it is most 
strange and unusual/' he insisted. "That you should 
not have mentioned this — " 

" If the talk had ever turned to the gold-fields, 
no doubt I should have mentioned it; but I can't 
remember that it ever so turned." 

" Between friends — such friends as we have become 
— all should be open." 

"Should it indeed?" 

With her elbows vesting upon the cushioned sides 
of the deep chair in which she reclined, Elvira idly 
clasped and unclasped her small, be-ringed hands. 
Before sitting down to luncheon, she had exchanged 
her tweed costume for a flowing gown of brown 
velvet, upon which, at throat and waist, a more fiery 
tint flamed boldly. She knew better than most 
women that even a perfect gown in incongruous 
surroundings will never work its full effect The 
tailor-made costume, so harmonious with the links, 
would in this ultra- feminine space have proved a 
square peg in a round hole. 

From beneath her thick lashes she was reading 
Kennedy's face as carefully as though she hoped to 
discover there how much she might dare. And he, 
too, was examining her covertly, with a certain 

XTbe Sattle 169 

mistrustful glance which she had seen ere now, 
but had always succeeded in charming away by 
an intensified call upon her powers. 

"You have never told me your history/* he said, 
after a moment of silence, and speaking with a sort 
of reckless resolve. " It must be interesting, surely, 
if it embraces many such incidents as this." 

She met his eyes without flinching, feeling that 
the battle was engaged, and quite mistress of her 
nerves now. 

"My history? Would it interest you? I can tell 
it you in a few words. I loved my husband, and I 
lost him. With him I lost my happiness. I live 
only to conquer back that happiness. That is my 
whole history." 

Kennedy rose, with a restless movement, and, 
going to the fireplace, stood there, with his elbow 
on the chimney-piece, his hand supporting bis dark 

"Does that mean that, though you loved your 
husband, you would be capable of forgetting him ? " 
he asked, in a deeply troubled voice. 

"It means whatever you prefer to read into my 
words," she said, with a laugh which was meant to 
be provoking, and which visibly provoked. 

" Then I prefer to believe that you did not really 
love him." 

ThQ look which went with the words sent the blood 
to Elvira's face. For a moment her self-control was 
in danger. 

I70 XTbe feottse of IRtdMes 

** Am I in a confessional ? " she asked innpatiently. 
" Am I answerable to you for my antecedents ? " 

" Not if you do not trust me," muttered Kennedy, 
his eyes hanging passionately upon the face whose 
seduction was so vividly heightened by anger. 

All at once the irritation left her, turning to cool 

''And you?" she asked, meeting his glance 
full '*Do you trust me? Have you ever told 
me your history? — or have I ever pressed you 
to do so?" 

She saw him shrink as though at the touch of some 
sharp point, while his pallor intensified in the usual 
significant way. 

It was after a pause that he said hastily : 

" It could not interest you. My history is like that 
of other men." 

The very whiteness of his lips would have betrayed 
to her that he was lying, even if she had not known 
what his history was. 

" Is it, indeed ? " she asked, still holding him with 
her eyes. " Then I suppose I am mistaken." 

"In what?" 

" In fancying that you ha\K had other experiences 
than most men — that you have gone through worse 
things-— darker moments. At times I have imagined 
that you have the face of a man with a secret, and 
that if you could throw off the burden of that secret 
you would become another man." 

She said it without a catch in her voice, though 

tok Sattle 171 

her heart was beating fast at the audacity of her 

He broke into a grating laugh, shifting his position 
at the same time, so as to avoid her eyes. 

"What an imagination you Southerners have! 
Evidently sun-heat is the thing for breeding fancies/' 

Elvira continued to clasp and unclasp her hands 
in the same idle fashion, seemingly absorbed by the 
sparkle of her rings. 

" What was that you said just now ? That between 
friends all should be open? Were not those your 
words ? " 

" They may have been/' he muttered. 

" But you have changed your mind about it, have 
you not ? and perhaps you are right. I think I agree 
with you. Being friends does not mean being each 
other's confessors, does it ? In my opinion, there is 
only one relation in life which calls for the knocking 
down of all screens, the pulling aside of all curtains. 
And yet how few husbands and wives forego that 
* secret garden,' of which we have heard so much ! " 

She said it in the most superficial of tones, still 
making playthings of her hands. But the words 
alone were enough. 

For a minute he stood frowning at one of the 
vases on the chimney-piece, his eyes clinging to it 
as though to an anchor of safety, then slowly, 
reluctantly, they moved until they rested on the 
perfect lines of the figure that lay so deep back in 
the arm-chair, with the heavy velvet folds flowing 

17^ tTbe twnse of l{f^^Ie9 

to the ground, the waist, bound by« the flaming 
ribbon, girded as though with fire. 

" Elvira," he said hoarsely. 

She thrilled— or was it perhaps that she shivered ? 
but her half-averted face gave no sign. 

One step he made towards, her, then checked 
himself violently, and turning with precipitation, 
left the room. 



After Kennedy had left her Elvira sat still for a 
little time, looking hard at the door through which 
he had disappeared. But in the moment that she 
roused herself she did so effectually. 

Having touched the bell, she first gave an order 
to the lame butler, and then almost ran into her 
bedroom alongside. The first thing she here did, 
as on a former occasion, was to turn the keys in 
the locks of both doors. The next was to go to 
the corner cupboard and to take from it a key> as 
well as the little dark lantern, whose feeble flame, 
quickly kindled, looked, if possible, yet more point- 
less by broad daylight than it had done beneath the 
glare of incandescent gas. 

With the lantern in her hand she walked straight 
to the tall mirror between the windows, which 
replaced the centre panel of the three covering this 
stretch of wall. But this time she did not stop to 
look at her own reflection. Passing the lantern into 
her left hand, she groped with impatient fingers 
along the raised edge in which the glass was set. 
After a moment they reached something which 


174 XTbe tmnse or l{f^^Ie0 

appeared to be no more than a knot in the wood — 
one of those knots which mark the spot from which 
a branch has once sprung — ^sitting a trifle loose in 
its socket, perhaps owing to the shrinkage of the 
wood, but not in any way conspicuous. It yielded 
to the pressure of her finger. The sheet of glass 
first shivered, and then very slowly, with a muffled 
grating that might have been a groan, moved, 
sliding away gently behind the neighbouring panel, 
its progress hastened by Elvira's active assistance. 
To all intents and purposes it was a door, masking 
another quite unmistakable door, of rusty iron, this 
one, and studded with clump-headed nails. This 
she unlocked with the key in her hand, shivering 
a little at the whiff of tomb-like air which immedi- 
ately met her. The lantern, thrust forward, revealed 
several steps, standing sharply at right angles to the 
door, cut in the thickness of the wall, and leading 
downwards into blackness. Gathering together her 
velvet skirts, Elvira, with an assurance which spoke 
of long practice, turned down these steps. 

There were ten of them altogether. She counted 
then aloud, while her arms brushed sharply against 
the damp stones on each side, for even for her 
slight figure the space was only just passable. 
Having reached the last, the pressure on both 
sides abruptly ceased. She was no longer moving 
within the thickness of the wall, but had reached 
a low vaulted passage, which the rays of her lantern 
could not illuminate for more than a yard or so in 

XTbe Afrrot panel 175 

advance. Here she walked faster, and with perfect 
confidence, despite the mouldy atmosphere reeking 
with wet, and the threatening blackness which 
stretched before her, despite even an occasional 
rat scuttling away before the approaching light 
Every now and then the passage turned, some- 
times abruptly, but Elvira seemed so familiar with 
each change of direction that the lantern was 
almost superfluous. 

She might have been walking for about fifteen 
minutes when the feeble rays disclosed another set of 
steps, only four of them this time, and leading 
apparently straight into a blank wall. Having 
mounted them, she held up the lantern so as to 
illuminate the ceiling ; instead of the stone vault, its 
light now revealed rough boards, and upon one of 
the boards something that looked quite remarkably 
like the knob of an electric bell. Nor did it belie its 
appearance, as was testified by the shrill tinkle 
which followed upon the touch of her finger. Upon 
this improbable spot mediaevalism and modernity 
appeared to touch hands. Could the dead monks 
who — with motives now as buried as they were 
themselves — ^had burrowed this tunnel, have heard 
the tinkle of that bell, it is possible that 
even in their graves they would have crossed 

Not two minutes had passed before the trap-door 
above her ponderously lifted, and an anxious face 
peered over the edge. 

176 Vbe Donee of l{f^Me9 

'^Elvira! at last! I was beginning to feel mad. 
Your hands, my love ! " 

In another moment she leaned against him, with 
his strong arms still around her. 

It was under a doorway that they stood, the 
entrance to a very small space whose completely 
circular shape proclaimed a turret-chamber. The 
trap«door still gaping at their feet was exactly as 
circular and exactly as large as the turret itself, 
being, in fact, no more than the movable floor of the 
tiny, quaint apartment. Carrying the lantern before 
her — for the space was windowless — Dick Cameron 
led his wife first through several more nondescript 
spaces, then up some steps into the daylight of a 
kitchen whose windows looked on to a small enclosed 
yard. Here, obviously, some sort of meal was being 
prepared upon rather a primitive kitchen-range, and 
still more obviously, it wais Dick Cameron in person 
who had been preparing it. With shirt-sleeves rolled 
up to his elbows, and drops of perspiration beading 
his brow, his golden curls powdered with flour, he 
stood before his wife a striking, if not an absolutely 
imposing, figure. The very hands with which he had 
lifted her through the trap-door had only very 
recently left the flour-bin, as the marks on the 
ill-used brown velvet clearly proved. 

" Mercy, Dick, what are you after ? " asked Elvira, 
hovering, despite her trouble of mind, on the verge of 

''Scones," said Dick doggedly. He had aged 

XTbe asittov panel 177 

somewhat during the last year, and he had lost 
much of his fresh colour ; but his shoulders still 
looked broad enough to carry a good deal of trouble. 
** I am making scones for tea. Surely that's an 
innocent amusement enough? Tm trying to get 
into Mrs. Wilson's skin, since apparently I can't get 
back into Dick Cameron's. I'm sure Mrs. Wilson 
would make golumptious scones ; and unless I'm to 
go crazy, I've got to do something, don't you see ? 
And the fishing-tackle and the poker-work, and all 
the rest of it, are played out Why, if half of the 
flies I've mounted are taken, I should depopulate all 
the trout streams in Scotland ; and I'm blest if I 
know what further article of furniture I'm to operate 
upon. The kitchen dresser itself is a picture 
gallery by this time." This with a tragical gesture 
towards the object in question, upon whose deal 
surfaces birds of wonderful plumage, and with 
apparently dislocated limbs, disported themselves 
among plants of hitherto unclassified species. '' All 
these are sterile efforts — breadless art," explained 
Dick, returning resolutely to the flour-bin. ** I've 
decided to go in for cooking instead — ^scienti^c 
cooking, I mean — not the mere miner's fare that I've 
been content with till now. In this way, at least, I 
shall have my meals to look forward to, if nothing 
else — at least, I hope that I shall be able to look 
forward to them," he added, with a questioning glance 
towards the dough which he had been kneading into 
rags. *' In default of the spirit, which is condemned 

178 XTbe Donse ot mbblcB 

to chafe, I mean to pamper the flesh. Ha! my 
purveyors will change their minds about Mrs. 
Wilson's supposed avarice when they find orders 
for goose-livers and fresh lobsters lying in the basket 
on the steps ! '* 

" And are you quite sure you never let them catch 
a glimpse of you 'at the windows?" asked Elvira 

" Quite sure, my love. When Dick Cameron does 

a thing, he does it whole. But, d it, Elvira— is 

this farce to go on for much longer ? " 

He looked at her with a haggard appeal, which sat 
comically upon his richly floured face. 

It was the very question which Elvira had been 
putting to herself all day. 

That it should have gone on even as long as this 
was almost a miracle. 

That day in New York on which Brown had laid 
before her the plan of the underground passage 
connecting Fifty -two Bower Street with Craig 
Manor, unsuspected even by the present owners, and 
known only to the scattered remnants of the band 
of forgers, had proved the turning-point of Elvira's 
scheme. The passage alone would have been enough 
to fire her imagination. She had read of under- 
ground passages without quite believing in them — 
chiefly in penny dreadfuls. To discover one existing, 
and in full working-order, at the end of the nineteenth 
century was an anachronism which appealed alike to 
her sense of the picturesque and to the immortal 

tCbe Airror panel 179 

child within her, who, at the mere mention of sliding 
panels and disguised trap-doors, instantly scented a> 
sort of magnified game of hide-and-seek. 

Since that day Chance had worked into Elvira's 
hands in that particular way which Chance has of 
doing with regard to people who, in addition to a 
strong purpose, also happen to possess money. The 
purchase of the two houses, effected under two 
separate names, had been a question of money alone 
— and not even of overmuch money, since neither 
stood in good repute as dwelling-places. Neither 
had the smuggling of Dick into the House of Riddles 
been fraught with insuperable difficulties. But the 
keeping him quiet when once he was there 1 

The discovery of new and harmless occupations 
for the prisoner was one of the things that kept 
Elvira awake at night — generally to np purpose; 
since a musical instrument, even of the harmonica 
tribe, had been condemned as too dangerously apt 
to attract attention, and since the suggestion made 
by the incorrigible Brown, who more than once 
assured his master that nothing in the " whorld " was 
so absorbing as a good printing-press capable of 
turning out so-and-so many dozen of bank-notes in an 
hour, had been met with an indignation which the 
Irishman was constitutionally unable to appreciate. 

It would, therefore, have only been natural if the 
new-bom culinary passion had been greeted by 
Elvira with delight But to-day preoccupation had 
the upper hand. 

i8o xsbc ^nse of IRfdMes 

" I don't believe it can go on for much longer," she 
said now. " Oh, Dick — I don't know what is going 
to happen. I got such a fright to-day." 

And rapidly she told him of her meeting with 
Professor Merritt, and the recognition that had 

*" I staved it off as well as I could, but I can'see 
that he is suspicious. There has always been a spice 
of mistrust in his attitude, and to-day's incident has 
of course heightened it incalculably. Sometimes he 
looks at me as though he were on the point of asking : 
' Who are you ? What do you want with me ? ' He 
is afraid of me, and yet he cannot keep away from 
me. Dick, tell me, do you believe in hypnotism ? " 

"Never troubled my head about it," said Dick, 
grimly stamping out the scones with the lid of a 
tin canister. 

" At times I feel as though there were a touch of 
that in the way my will works upon his. It is a 
little like a person walking open-eyed into a net 
Of course he never dreams that I am // but he seems 
occasionally to be visited by the thought that I 
suspect his awful secret It is rather sickening to 
watch. I must hurry up the end — I must J Jael's 
job was nothing to mine, I tell you. To run a nail 
through a man's brain would be child's play in com- 
parison to this constant spinning of threads. Besides, 
he might escape us yet, now that he suspects me, 
and with him would escape all our future, all our 
happiness I No ; no, he shall not escape me I " 

tCbe Airtor panel iSi 

Springing up, she b^an to pace the kitchen floor, 
her hands clenched by her sides, and upon her face 
that almost savage resolve before which Dick himself 
had quailed on a certain day in New York. 

'* I have thought of hurrying on matters by making 
him jealous. I would only have to choose among 
all the undergraduates of all the colleges, but I am 
afraid. There is so much of elementary violence in 
his nature that I should almost fear to provoke a 
second crime. His impulses seem all but irresis- 
tible. To-day, not an hour ago, he had very nearly 
yielded to one of them. I thought I held him fast 
already. He was coming towards me ready to fall at 
my feet, when with a wrench he stopped himself and 
left me." 

Dick dashed down the girdle upon the fireplace 
with a recklessness which sent several scones flying. 

" Elvira, I can't stand this any longer ! He shall 
not fall at your feet — I will not suffer it The 
thought of each hour yoq pass in that man's society 
is burning my heart out of me. Rather than let it 
continue, I shall walk out into the light of day and 
take my chance of human justice." 

It was not the first similar crisis which Elvira had 
had to smother, but perhaps it was the most violent 
Many minutes, and more caresses, than was quite 
favourable to the turning of the scones, were required 
to calm the latest outburst of rebellion, and to extract 
the promise of a little more patience. 

" Only a very little, Dick ; I feel myself that it 


iSs XTbe l^onse of 1tf^^Ies 

cannot last I shall find a way — ^be sure of that — 
but I am not going to think about it now, I am think- 
ing about something quite else. Do you know what ? 
I am thinking that it is very long since we had a 
walk, and that the moon is full to-night" 

These nightly excursions had been the brightest 
spots in the year that was past Horribly imprudent, 
of course, and fraught with innumerable risks of 
discovery, and perhaps for this vjcry reason irresistible 
to two young people whom circumstances had 
forcibly kept at the honeymoon stage of feeling. 
Dick's health alone imperiously demanded an occa- 
sional outing, as Elvira, in self-justification, told her- 
self; and since he could not show himself by daylight, 
what alternative was there but moonlight walks, 
sometimes along the strand, which they would reach 
unobserved through the Craig Manor gardens; at 
others, among the ruins with which the very streets 
of St Damian abounded, each escapade being spiced 
with the half-fearful glee of a couple of youthful 
truants. These )vere the brief moments during which 
Elvira was able to throw off the burden of the task 
she had taken on herself, and to become young again 
among such toys as sea-weeds and shells, or such 
exciting surroundings as Gothic pillars and tottering 

The prospect of a breath of liberty never failed to 
raise Dick's spirits, and it did not fail to-day. 

" It's going to be just a perfect night," she assured 
him, and but for the impediment of her velvet train. 

Zbc Airror panel 183 

would have danced across the kitchen as she said it 
*' I shall have a headache, and go to bed very early, 
of course. And if after that anybody hears a rum- 
bling in the walls, why, it's the ghost, of course, or 
the rats. What shall it be? The ruins, I think— 
they will be delightfully exciting by this light Oh, 
Dick, w6're going to forget everything to-night and 
only be happy, aren't we? Of course, you will be 
Mrs. Wilson — ^it is safer, though we are not likely to 
meet anything but some other moonstruck couple. 
And we'll take sandwiches with us and pretend we're 
picnicking. I declare the prospect makes me feel 
quite hungry. I shall have tea with you, I think. I 
told Brown to deny me to everybody. Are those 
scones ready, Dick?" 

They were rather more than ready, burnt, in fact, 
to quite genuine cinders, as is reported of another set 
of more historical scones— a circumstance which was, 
however, powerless to affect the spirits of the two 
grown-up children, who presently sat down to drink 
tea out of two penny mugs which stood upon a 
much poker-marked deal table. 



•* It's like something in a play, isn't it ? " said a very 
small person in a dark dress, and with a black lace 
scarf over her head, to a very large person in a shawl 
and an obsolete form of poke -bonnet, somewhere 
between eleven and twelve that night 

There was truth in the remark, thanks to the 
unavoidably theatrical effect to which moonlight 
and ruins invariably combine — a cheap effect, one 
is almost tempted to say, and as the stage-carpenter 
knows better than anybody, but one that never fails 
to ''draw." . If shafted oriels and broken arches are 
suggestive even in the " gay beams of lightsome day," 
they are apt to become oppressively so under the 
"ebon" and "ivory" touch of a clear full moon. 

The couple, ensconced within a deep niche and 

with a miniature provision basket, pillaged already, 

upon the slab of stone beside them, had, during an 

hour and more, successfully resisted the suggestions 

of the spot The little lady in the lace scarf (which 

almost looked like a mantilla) had clambered over 

the big stones and hopped over the small ones, and 

cleared fallen pillars with the nimbleness of a kitten 


"^Ars* xnouiflon** 135 

and the indefatigableness of a bank holiday tripper ; 
while her bonneted companion, much more awkward 
of movement, plunged after her, occasionally swearing 
in a remarkably deep voice, but more frequently 
laughing. If at any moment the little lady's spirits 
had been in danger of being overcast by the 
shadows around her, she had only to look into her 
companion's face, or stand still to watch the way in 
which the voluminous skirts were being desperately 
gathered together by a pair of huge hands and 
the trailing shawl rescued from the latest of its 
emergencies, in order to feel completely cheered up. 
Until now the determination to make a ** lark " of the 
occasion had triumphantly carried the day ; but with 
physical weariness came a slight reaction. Having 
eaten their sandwiches, and counted the strokes of a 
distant clock, which, through the silence of the 
transparent air, proclaimed the last hour before 
midnight, they sobered down enough to realise that 
the vast aisles among which they found themselves 
were the walls of an erstwhile cathedral, and that 
even the stone they sat upon was a tombstone. 
"Just like something in a play, isn't it ? " 
" I'm sure / feel very like something in a play,' 
said Dick Cameron ruefully, as he impatiently jerked 
the fringes of the shawl free from the branches of a 
bramble which rioted upon the broken floor ; '' but 
not the sort of play that would be played among this 
sort of scenery. It's traitors and murderers that 
ought to meet in spots like this, not good old ladies 

1 86 xEbe Donee of ItfbMes 

like me. I don't quite see where I^ould be in place, 
unless it were as*^ Charlie's ^knt Oh, bother that 
shawl ! How can life be worth living to wearers of 
such garments ! " 

Elvira laughed again until the wreath on her head 
shook, she having irreverently crowned herself with 
a trail of the ivy which at places hung from the walls 
with the density of tapestry. 

" Mrs. Wilson ! Mrs. Wilson ! you'll be the death of 
me yet! I don't know how it is that you seem to grow 
about half a yard the moment you get into those 
clothes. Beside Dick Cameron I feel only like a 
sparrow, but beside Mrs. Wilson I shrink to a fly. No 
wonder St Damian believes in a giantess. It is 
rather a wonder that the house holds you at all. 
Ah, Dick, what would all those dear, good, inquisitive 
people say if they knew that the House of Riddles 
is empty at this moment, and that the mistress of 
Craig Manor is not in her bed I We have been clever 
about keeping our secret, haven't we ? " 

"Too clever for my own private taste," growled 
Dick. ** I've sometimes been tempted to wish for an 
accident It would put an end to the rat-in-the-hole 
business, anyway." 

Elvira slipped her hand over his mouth and her 
head upon his strangly clad shoulder. 

"No tempting of Providence, Dick! You've 
promised patience, mind 1 I won't hear an accident 
even talked of, and the only accident likely to happen 
here would be a ghost If ever there was a spot 

which had a moral right to be haunted, it is surely 
this one. Really, now that I come to think of it, 
those black shadows are a little shivery — Was that 
a bat?" 

With a tiny shudder, semi-luxurious and semi- 
nervous, she crept yet closer to her travestied 

"Thafs right!' whispered the supposed Mrs. 
Wilson, with quite unmistakable satisfaction, while 
a strong arm was laid round the supple waist 

During the minute that followed the poke-bonnet 
inclined downwards, and for the same space of time 
a smiling, if tremulous, face remained lifted upwards, 
while any acute listener who might have happened 
to be lingering within the aisle might have gathered 
from aural evidence that two pairs of lips had met, 
and found some difficulty in parting. 

"Strikes me that ruins and moonlight have got 
their uses, after all," remarked Dick Cameron, after 
that pause, and in a much milder tone of voice. " It's 
not only for traitors and brigands that they furnish 
good backgrounds — seems to me that they do pretty 
well for lovers too— eh, Elvira?" 

But this time Elvira did not answer. She had 
raised her head sharply from his shoulder and was 
listening to a confused sound which was beginning 
to detach itself from the breathless stillness of the 
night The ruined cathedral stood just clear of the 
town, and beyond a straggling street which an hour 
ago they had passed in its usual state of desertion, 

i88 XTbe twnse of VtbMes 

but down whose length now hilarious voices appeared 
to be drawing nearer. Soon they were close enough 
for the chorus of one of those boisterous songs, 
familiar to the inhabitants of every university town, 
to become distinguishable. 

" Surely they can't be coming here," said Elvira, 
below her breath, unconsciously clutching the arm 
beside her. 

" They couldn't possibly be so regardless of the 
fitness of things," laughed the reckless Dick. ** What 
can undergraduates on the spree have in common 
with these mouldering walls ? They are much more 
likely bound for the open country." 

She was still anxiously lending an ear. 

" Dick, they are coming ! " she murmured, after a 
long, breathless minute, during which the unseen 
roysterers still continued to assure the night echoes 
that there was only " one more river to cross." 

" What if they are ? The cathedral doesn't belong 
to them, does it ? And depend upon it, even if they 
shouldn't break their shins over the stones at the 
entrance — they'll be far too tipsy to see us." 

Already the rollicking assurance concerning the 
piece of water which still remained to be traversed was 
sounding weirdly hollow between the walls of the old 
church, intersected by shrill exclamations of pain, as 
unsteady limbs came in contact with sharp corners. 

Elvira looked at her companion in dumb inquiry, 
not venturing to speak, and was answered by a 
reassuring glance. 

"We're in the shadow," he whispered. "Don't 
move, and very likely they will pass us by." 

He had scarcely said it When a figure in the 
familiar cap and gown, to which the moonlight gave 
a fantastically unfamiliar appearance, surged round 
the side of a pillar. 

" A pulpit I " the youth shouted to someone in the 
rear. " As I live I more than half a pulpit sticking 
up there ! Say, friends, how would it be if I gave 
you a piece of my mind from that very appropriate 
elevation ? Your condition, both moral and physical, 
seems to me to be crying out for a rattling good 

"How do you propose to reach the elevation?" 
chuckled a second specimen of academic youth, 
appearing beside him. ''You're not a bat, though 
in this light you might be taken for one ; and, if I 
mistake not, that nettle-grown mound represents the 
erstwhile staircase." 

" Lend me your shoulders, and the thing is done. 
Here, Baxter, I say, don't be an ass, but play the 
ladder first, and then proceed to summon the 

They came forward arm-in-arm, tittering, in 
that first, light-hearted stage of intoxication which, 
as a rule, is innocuously imbecile — their caps sitting 
almost upon their ears, their glowing pipes hanging 
loosely from the corners of their mouths. All the 
attention of which they were capable being absorbed 
by the ruined pulpit in the corner, which clung there 

I90 XOk t)onsc of IRiDUes 

like the remains of a last year's swallow's nest, they 
came within a yard of the niche in which sat Dick 
and Elvira, without paying them more regard than 
though they had been effigies cut in stone. The first 
brunt of the danger might have been successfully 
weathered but for one of those loosely gripped pipes, 
which, dropping to the ground at a critical moment, 
sent a shower of sparks flying up to the very hem of 
Elvira's dress. As she instinctively drew back her 
feet, the youth, groping for his pipe, caught the 

'^ A rat 1 " he murmured ; and making a tipsy lunge 
forward, was astonished to find himself grasping a 
shoe with a very small foot inside it, which instantly 
jerked itself free. 

'' A woman I Two women 1 " shrieked his com- 
panion, with a caper of delight '' Ah, come, this is 
rich 1 I say, Whitley, it isn't a sermon we want to 
listen to, it's a waltz tune. Ladies to hand — ^what 
luck ! Never mind that rotten old pulpit — we'll give 
a ball instead I I say, fellows, hurry up ! We've run 
two women to earth — an old 'un and a young 'un, 
blooming like violets in the shade. Madam-— or is it 
miss? — your hand, pray! I have the honour of 
requesting the favour of a — " 

But to which especial form of exercise he intended 
to invite Elvira was never precisely known, his speech 
being at that same moment cut short by a remark- 
ably square blow, planted neatly in the middle of the 
face, and proceeding apparently from the larger of 

the two " ladies " run to earth, who, at his first words, 
had sprung up into a posture of defence. 

"The devil you will!" came in startling accents 
from this awe-inspiring person; while, after one 
preliminary stagger, the frolicsome youth first swayed 
and then came down with a thud, produced by the 
contact of his head with the stone floor, upon which 
he now measured his length with an immobility that 
was alarming. 

An exclamation veiling upon a shriek escaped 
from Elvira's lips, while simultaneously she saw her 
husband turning, with ominously squared shoulders, 
towards the second reveller, as much as to say : " I 
can oblige you too, if desired." 

But this young man was evidently far too overcome 
with astonishment to do anything but stare open- 
mouthed into the face inside the poke-bonnet 

While they still faced each other, glaring, some 
black shapes, attracted by the shriek, began to swarm 
among the pillars. 

Then, before the eyes of the half-paralysed youth, 
a most fantastically improbable thing happened. 
For first the larger of the two " ladies " tucked up 
her skirts to a quite unconventional height, revealing 
most unlooked-for nether garments, upon which, 
turning to her trembling companion, she snatched 
her up bodily, and, roughly dispersing the startled 
revellers who were pressing around the prostrate 
form of their comrade, dashed away over the broken 
ground and out into the night 



Next morning^ St Damian, or at any rate its higher 
social levels, awoke to a sensation. 

Not that it was possible clearly to fix the incident 
which had taken place within the precincts of the old 
cathedral ; but about there having been an incident, 
of a both startling and mysterious nature, there could 
be no reasonable doubt 

To begin with, there was the plain and palpable 
proof of poor Baxter, who had been brought back 
to his lodgings unconscious by his abruptly sobered 
companions. But even he, when restored to his 
senses and questioned as to his assailant, gave an 
account calculated rather to deepen the mystery 
than to dissipate it, and which, if anything, was 
surpassed by that of Whitley, who was the one 
of the company having enjoyed the longest look 
at the wearer of the poke-bonnet 

" IVe never heard of such a female in my life," 

the revived victim somewhat hysterically assured his 

comrades. ** A nightmare, I tell you. And as for 

her fist, a sledge-hammer is nothing to it" 

" I don't believe she was a female at all," decided 

Giant or (giantess? 193 

Whitley. "If you had seen the revelations beneath 
that skirt, you would agree with me. I can swear to 
the tweed trousers." 

"A man in petticoats?" Baxter visibly cheered 
up, restored to at least a portion of his self-respect 
" That's better than having been knocked down by a 
woman, anyway." 

"Well, moonlight is a tricky sort of thing, of 
course, but all I know is that the very pattern of 
the check seemed plain." 

"As plain, I suppose, as that rat you wanted to 
catch," commented a supercilious youth, who not 
having been of the party, preferred to minimise the 
importance of the incident " Strikes me you were 
all in a most favourable condition for seeing visions 
last night I suppose it's quite certain that it was a 
human fist which knocked Baxter down, and not 
possibly a loose stone falling on his head ? " 

Then, this suggestion having been indignantly 
repudiated : 

" Oh, well, you know best, of course. But if you 
were all in such complete possession of your senses 
as you assert, then why, in the name of marvel, did 
you let this sexless monster go unscathed ? " 

To this it was not easy to find an answer; the 
scene, blurred at the moment of enactment in pro- 
portion to their own blurred consciousness, having 
become more incomprehensible yet by retrospection. 
The paralysing effects of surprise, and the alarm of 
seeing Baxter extended apparently lifeless upon the 

194 XTbe tyovac of Kf^Mes 

floor, was all which the academic youths could bring 
forward in justification of the seeming laxity in 

Such being the vagueness of the very witnesses of 
the scene, small wonder if, in the versions which 
reached the general public, extravagance ran riot 
By ten o'clock already Baxter's assailant had 
become a Russian giantess, escaped from a caravan 
then making its prc^ess through Scotland; while 
by lunch-time, he or she was indiflferently accepted 
as a ghosts and as a genuine Sicilian brigand, flying 
from international justice. 

Yes ; but her (or his) companion ? 

This was the point around which — owing to an 
indiscreet remark made by one of the academic 
youths, who during the past year happened to have 
greatly patronised the Craig Manor garden parties — 
the most burning interest now began to centre. By 
tea-time this second identity was being quite as 
warmly discussed as the first ; and most warmly of 
all in Mrs. Annicker's drawing-room, where the same 
four ladies who last year had debated upon the 
advent of the stranger, happened to be again 

"Faterson is quite positive about it," explained 
Mrs. Philips, so electrified by her topic that she quite 
forgot either to cough or to look tired. " He says he 
is ready to swear to her identity." 

"To whose identity?" inquired Mrs. Kennedy, 
who at that moment crossed the threshold, looking 


6fant or Giantess ? 195 

as much the widow as ever, and equally much the 
rodent animal 

^' To that of Madame de Logez. You have heard 
about the scene in the ruins, of course, but perhaps 
you have not heard that one of the two enigmatical 
apparitions is supposed to have been our fair 
neighbour, the Califomian." 

The widow made a movement with her head, which 
was equivalent to pricking up her ears. 

" Good gracious ! And the other ? " 

'' The other," broke in Mrs. Annicker, ^ is assumed 
quite as positively to have been the mysterious 
giantess who inhabits the House of Riddles. Even 
my Susie, when she heard the personal description, 
screamed out that the wearer of the poke-bonnet and 
the shawl could only be the same she had seen 
entering the door of Number Fifty-three." 

" Ah I but there is more said than that" It was 
Mrs. FI\ilips who had again secured the leading word. 
"There are people who declare that the giantess 
isn't a giantess at all, but a — *' 

" A what ? " asked the three auditors, in one single 
breath, as she paused,^ the better to taste the delights 
of superior information. 

« A giant" 

The three ladies looked at each other, and the lips 
of the widow dropped as far apart as to disclose her 
small teeth almost to the roots. 

" But how can that be ? I thought it was a Mrs. 
Wilson who had bought — " 

196 xOk iMttse of VidOles 

"Nobody knows yet how it can be, or even 
whether it really is. But meanwhile, Baxter swears 
that it was not a woman's fist that knocked him 
down, while Whitley is equally positive that it was 
not a woman's face which he saw at the bottom of 
the poke-bonnet." 

During the silence that followed, the company, 
with a luxurious shiver of excitement, drew a little 
closer to the tea-table. 

It was Mrs. Kennedy who broke the pause, 
speaking excitedly. 

''But that would mean that Madame de Logez takes 
moonlight walks with men, dressed up as women." 

" And has probably been in the habit of doing so 
all along. Several of our young men now distinctly 
remember having caught sight of a big woman and 
a small woman at different times, both on the links 
and on the strand, but they have never managed to 
get near them before." 

"I don't believe a word of it!" exclaimed Miss 
M'Dill, who, until now, had been a fascinated but 
incredulous listener. " She's not that sort of person 
at all." 

"Well, but what sort of a person is she? 
Remember that we really know nothing at all 
about her. Of course, she knows how to entertain ; 
but that proves nothing. I always felt a little 
doubtful about calling, you know, and after what 
my husband told me yesterday, I begin to r^ret 
that I yielded." 

Oiant or Giantess ? 197 

It was now Mrs. Annicker*s turn to make an 
eflfective pause, drawing all eyes upon her. 

'* It is the new professor of Mineralogy who is my 
authority. It seems that three years ago he met 
her somewhere in the Klondyke district, on her way 
to the gold-fields. She called herself a lady-journalist 
then, and seemed to be quite poor. Yesterday, when 
Professor Merritt claimed acquaintance on the links, 
she laughed the thing off, and declared that she 
had only been masquerading as a journalist But 
the whole affair is a little queer, certainly, and 
joined to these moonlight walks — " 

Mrs. Annicker broke off, raising her scraggy 
shoulders, and significantly closing her bloodless lips. 

Matters at this moment looked so black for the 
Califomian widow that not even Miss M'Dill found 
anything to say. 

" Dear me," mused Mrs. Philips ; "who would have 
thought of such a turn of affairs ? And when things, 
too, seemed to be developing in such a very different 
and so much more satisfactory direction 1 " 

She finished, with her eyes fixed speculatively 
upon the widow's face. 

Mrs. Kennedy made no feint of misunderstanding. 

"Dear William!" she sighed, spasmodically 
clasping her black-gloved hands. "To think that 
he is on the point of throwing himself away upon 
such a — such a — problematical person ! " 

" This report may make him pause," Mrs. Annicker 
consolingly suggested. 

198 Vbe tyouBC of Vi^Mes 

^ It may — if it reaches his ears. But he lives as 
on a desert island." 

Having made which remark, Mrs. Kennedy fell 
abruptly into a restless silence. 

It was afterwards remembered that, though she 
had been the latest arrival, she was the first to 

When she reached the street, her faded cheeks 
were flushed with an excitement which, for several 
minutes, had been growing within her, and her 
insignificantly blue eyes shining with an unwonted 
light She began by hesitating for long upon the 
pavement, and ended by timidly yet resolutely 
signalling to a passing fly. 

On the step of the fly she hesitated again, but 
finally, though very nervously, gave the order, 
" Ecclesrigg," after which she hid herself carefully 
in the depths of the vehicle. 

It was by far the boldest resolution she had been 
guilty of in her lifetime, and even half-way to 
Ecclesr^g she found it hard to believe that it was 
actually she who had taken it Needless to say, that 
nothing but a sense of family duty could have nerved 
her to face her dreaded brother-in-law. How could 
she reconcile it with her conscience to Ist him 
walk blindfolded into the clutches of a woman of 
such suspiciously dark antecedents? A touch of 
diplomacy in approaching the subject would be 
desirable, she supposed ; and the three miles' drive 
was occupied by a feeble groping about for the 

Giant or Ofantess? 199 

means. She had not found them yet when the fly 
turned in at the gates which had once been her own. 
Looking about her at the familiar surroundings — ^the 
fine firs of the avenue, the flash of hot-house glass 
beyond the garden walls — ^she felt her wavering 
determination strengthened. To ward ofl" the 
threatening danger of a new mistress to Ecclesrigg 
was, after all, an inspiriting undertaking to her 
particular " dog-in-the-manger " cast of character, as 
epitomised by Miss M'Dill. 

It was in the smoking-room that Kennedy, with a 
displeased astonishment which scorned concealment, 
received his sister-in-law — the drawing-room being 
in a chronic state of rolled-up carpets and linen- 
shrouded furniture. 

" Want anything from me ? " he inquired, having 
pointed to a chair with the stem of a briar pipe, 
quickly returned to his mouth. He still wore the 
fisherman's jersey in which he had lately returned 
from a cruise in the bay, and his thick hair showed 
the damp of fallen spray. 

'* Only to see how you are getting on, William. I 
heard — at least, I thought I heard — at St Damian's 
that you had not been well," faltered the widow, 
struck by the feebleness of her owa little fiction. 

'' I'm as well as usual," said Kennedy, not sitting 
down, as though in advance to mark the interview as 
a brief one, and continuing to pull at his pipe without 
any reference to the views of his relative on the 
subject. '* Perhaps if s business you've come upon ? " 

200 XTbe 1)on0e of IRfftdles 

he added curtl)^ with a cool incredulity as to 
the motive alleged, which was admirable of its 

" Oh, no ; it has nothing to do with business. But 
I thought you might be a little lonely ; and besides, 
I had a sort of wish to see the place again," 
floundered on the widow, growing more and more 
visibly agitated. 

" Come to the point, please,'* remarked Kennedy, 
viewing her from under his down-drawn brows. 

Here Mrs. Kennedy's diplomacy abruptly ran dry. 
As she made the plunge she closed her eyes. 

" The fact is, William, that there are such strange 
stories abroad in the town, and as you — ^you — know 
the person rather well, I thought they might interest 

"What person are you talking of? " he asked, still 

" That stranger, you know, the mistress of Craig 

Instantly the indifference left his face. 

"Eh? What's that?" he inquired, frowning so 
fiercely at his sister-in-law that her purpose almost 
failed her. 

••They could not help talking, after last night. It 
seems that she was seen somewhere about midnight 
among the ruins of the cathedral, and in the company 
of a person dressed up like a woman, but whom all 
the witnesses declare to have been a man." 

Kennedy, pipe in hand, remained for so long 

Ofant or Ofantess? ^oi 

staring blankly at his visitor that she began to 
wonder whether he had heard. 

"This is lunacy," he observed at last, but in a 
voice which betrayed a growing agitation. "Who 
has set this preposterous story afloat?" 

There followed an eager but rambling account of 
last night's events, in so far as they were known to 
Mrs. Kennedy. 

" And they say that this is not the first time, and 
that all along she has been having secret meetings 
with the person who lives at Fifty-two Bower Street, 
and who isn't a woman at all, but a disguised man." 

Again he stood motionless for some moments, 
having first flushed violently and then as abruptly 
paled. Finally, he stepped up so close to the chair in 
which the widow sat, that she uttered a half scream 
of terror, and towered there above her, spilling the 
ashes from his pipe over her black draperies and 
evidently, struggling to speak. 

" It's a lie ! " he ground out at last, from between 
his closed teeth. " It's a hideous lie, and I'll prove it 
so. Another man ? No— no I There cannot be 
another man. Those boys were drunk, as usual, 
and because they see visions, you run to me with 
these insane stories. Why have you told me this ? 
Eh?" he inquired, glaring down savagely at the 
terrified woman. 

"I thought — that — that as you seemed to be 
rather struck with her — ^it seemed only fair to warn 
you — " 

303 XTbe tyovac of ittbMes 

He stepped back, laughing deep down in his 

" Rather struck I That's good !— Thank you for 
your kind warning. I'll make use of it yet — never 
fear I And now, perhaps you would not mind leaving 
me. I have a visit to pay before night" 

" William 1 Where are you going to ? What are 
you going to do ? " she inquired, in fresh alarm, as 
he turned to the bell. 

" Only to clear up this little affair. Nothing like 
expedition in these things. I am going to ask 
Madame de Logez for an account of her moonlight 
walk ; and when I have it, I shall hurl back the lie 
in the face of St Damian — and in your face before 
all others* madam." 

As Mrs. Kennedy, trembling and flurried, was 
being led back to her conveyance — not by her 
host — there was dawning in her mind the question 
as to whether it might not have been wiser, after all, 
to leave matters alone. 



For Elvira a day of mental anguish had followed 
upon the dissipation of the night. Ever since the 
nK>ment when Dick, with huge steps, had borne her 
from the ruins, the terror of discovery had been upon 
her. If the man felled by his fist were dead — as, 
with the recollection of that thud in her ears, seemed 
not at all improbable — then she might as well throw 
up the game at once, since police interference of a 
premature sort would have become inevitable; and 
even if he were not dead, what chances were there 
of preserving her secret after the esclandre of last 
night ? 

That the worst of these contingencies was averted, 
she now knew by the result of the information 
collected by Brown ; but other items of this informa- 
tion were far from reassuring. Upon two points, the 
contradictory rumours seemed to agree most dis- 
tressingly: her own identity, and the grave doubts 
as to the sex of her companion. 

Shut up in her favourite boudoir, and half hidden 

in the depths of the deepest of. the chairs it contained, 

she turned and re-tiu:ned the possibilities of the case 


204 XTbe iMnse of ViftMes 

from morning till afternoon, inwardly cursing her 
own mad imprudence^ and in spirit seeing Dick 
dragged from the House of Riddles to tlie town 
jail, thence to be transferred to the hands of 
transatlantic justice. 

She was in the midst of one of these visions when 
Brown, surging up suddenly upon the threshold, 
pronounced the name of Kennedy. 

So unprepared did the moment find her, that 
during the flash of a second she feared to succumb 
to the first fainting-fit of her life. With her eyes on 
the open doorway, she sat rigid. It was far less than 
a quarter of a minute that passed before Kennedy's 
figure filled it,* yet that quarter of a minute was 
enough, since it gave her time to remember that 
he probably knew nothing of the reports — and before 
he got to know them, might not her end be gained ? 
At thought of the possibility so close, the blood 
which had left her face streamed back hotly. 

But in the moment that he entered, she saw that 
he knew. The recognition might well have dashed 
the new-born resolve ; instead, it worked upon it with 
the lash of despair. If ever the thing was to be done, 
it could only be done to-day. 

From his look, she had expected him to break 
into passionate speech — an accusation, no doubt, in 
the moment that the door closed ; the very way he 
had crossed the threshold had been an aggression ; 
but within her presence, a sudden shyness, some 
abrupt reluctance, seemed to come over him. 

XTbe Snrren^er 305 

With a muttered greeting he sat down, half 
abashed, and for a few minutes it appeared as though 
the visit were not going to be more strikingly 
unconventional than his former apparitions in this 
same room. 

It was, indeed, Elvira alone who spoke, of what, 
exactly, she could not herself have said, bracing 
herself, under the superficial carelessness, for the 
struggle which she knew must come. 

It came within two minutes, while she was 
vaunting to him the achievements of her latest 
carriage horses, which, in her abstraction, she con- 
trived to mix up with the new terrier, referring 
to them as "wire-haired," without her listener 
appearing to be aware of the fact 

" Do you know what St. Damian is talking about 
to-day ? '* he asked suddenly. 

^t the same moment he rose, and making his usual 
two restless steps towards the fireplace, turned round 
and faced her. 

'' About the usual things, I suppose : golf and the 
summer bonnets." 

" They are talking about you." 

" Very much Battered, I am sure. I should have 
thought they had talked me out by this time." 

She still kept upon her lips the smile of her 
first greeting, and only a person in close proximity 
could have seen that the lips were far from 

"* Some undergraduates have spread a preposterous 

2o6 xok tyovac of ittbMes 

stoiy. They pretend that they saw you in the old 
cathedral, late last night" 

"Were they sober?" asked Elvira, with guileless 
Uack eyes uplifted. 

** They can't have been ; for they also declare that 
you were not alone, but in the company of a man 
disguised as a woman." 

At the b^inning of the interview, Elvira had 
taken from the table beside her a paper-cutter of 
Scotch pebble, with which the more eflfectually to 
occupy her fingers. As Kennedy paused, she 
continued slowly to draw it backwards and forwards 
between the closed fingers of her left hand. 

** Well ? " he said impatiently, after a moment 

She looked across at him in apparent surprise. 

" Well ? are you waiting for anything ? " 

'' I am waiting for your version of this ridiculous 

'* My version ? You don't mean to say that you 
expect me to enter the arena with the whole tribe 
of St Damian gossips?" 

'^ But they have got to be silenced. Such chatter 
cannot be allowed. Tell me to contradict the story, 
and I will do so." 

Elvira's reclining figure straightened itself just 
perceptibly, while the flickering smile on her lips 
gave way to haughtier curves. 

"You? I can't say I understand Have I ever 
given you the right to fight my battles for me?" 

He shifted the elbow with which he was leaning 

XTbe Snrren^er 907 

on the mantelpiece, pushing his fingers nervously 
through his disordered hair. 

'* It is all a pack of lies, isn't it ? " he urged un- 
steadily, devouring her the while with eyes in the 
turbulence of whose passion there pierced a point 
of suspicion. " Never mind St. Damian — it is / 
who want to hear you justified. They are talking 
madness, are they not, Elvira?" 

She rapped her own fingers petulantly with the 
paper-cutter she held, while another smile, one of a 
more distinctly provoking nature, reappeared upon 
her lips. 

*^ I have once before given yon my opinion of 
amateur confessionals. If you have come here to 
put me through an examination of conscience, then 
you have wasted your afternoon." 

"But your own good name — reflect a little! It 
is for your own sake that I am asking you to justify 

"Very obliging of you, really. But supposing I 
don't feel called upon to justify myself to you ? " 

" Am I not your friend ? " 

" I told you yesterday what I thought of uncalled- 
for confidences between friends." 

" And if I was — more than a friend ? " 

Her cyeSf fixed on the paper-cutter, were effectually 
veiled by her black lashes, and her lips were silent, but 
the provoking smile flickered out again. 

"Tell me only one thing: tell me only that the 
man seen in the ruins last night is not your lover." 

ao8 vbe iMuee of HtftUes 

"I thought we had not even agreed about my 
having been to the ruins last night" 

"Elvira, I implore of you: is he your lover?" 

"Well, sir, he is not my lover," said Elvira slowly; 
" certainly not in the sense you mean." 

"Ah, then you were there? Who is he? Was 
it actually a man ? " 

She tossed aside the paper-cutter, throwing him 
a glance of open defiance. 

"Think what you like I I will tell you nothing 
more. What right have you to question me?" 

And her lips closed obstinately. 

At the sight, his growing excitement reached high- 
water-mark. During the space of a second, he turned 
from her, pressing his two hands over his eyes, as 
though to shut out the picture of her face, then his 
arms sank heavily to his sides, like those of a man 
who is at the end of resistance. 

" It's over, Elvira," he said hoarsely, and with that 
abrupt calmness bom of surrender. "I cannot 
fight any more. I must have your confidence — 
I must have yourself. Give me the right you 
speak of. I want to be more than a mere friend. 
Will you have me, Elvira — ^such as I am 1 Say it 
quickly : will you have me ? " 

Two fever spots burnt in her cheeks, and some- 
thing strange and ominous jerked about her lips 
as she answered: 

"Yes — I will have you ; I believe that I have got 
you already." 

TTbe Surrenber 209 

There was no shadow of tenderness in the voice, 
rather a clean-cut clearness as of steel ; but the words 
alone sufficed him. 

With arms outstretched and eyes on fire, he made 
a step towards her, but she was ready for him. 
Foreseeing the movement, she had sprung up, and, 
before he could cross the crowded space, had put the 
table between them. She laughed as she did so, as 
though to soften the effect of her action. 

'^ Not so fast, my friend ! " she said, relapsing into 
that tone of banter which had done such good 
service already. " I have a fancy for doing things 

He stopped disconcerted, with hungry eyes. 

** What do you mean ? " 

She held out her hands before her, allowing her 
rings to sparkle in the light 

"There are certain accessories belonging to a 
well-conducted betrothal, are there not?" 

He only gazed at her inquiringly. 

" Well — let us say one accessory, which I consider 
quite indispensable." 

She was still waving about her hands, so that the 
stones would catch the almost level rays which the 
setting sun shot through the window behind her. 

"A ring?" 

She nodded. 

"I once heard a most delightful little song — ^it 
was Russian, I think; and it was called 'The 
Ring.' He offered her laces and ribbons and all 

2IO jLbc f)ou0e ot 1Ri^^Ie0 

manner of baubles, and she spumed them all, and 
asked only for the little gold ring he wore, as a 
pledge of his good faith. Well, I am of the opinion 
of that young lady. Until this empty place upon 
my fourth finger is filled up, I shall not consider 
that— that anything has happened." 

''You do not trust me?" he asked, with angry 

" How can I trust you, when I have heard you, 
with my own ears, declaring that you will die single ? " 

'* I meant to, but my fate is too strong for me." 

*' Give me the tangible proof that it is so." 

He laughed, almost gaily for him. 

" Shall I go and buy a ring on the spot ? What 
shall it be ? Diamond ? Ruby ? Emerald ? You 
seem to have them all already." 

*' No ; I don't want anything bought. I hate new 
things — you might know that by this time. My 
tastes lean towards the antique, as you are aware. 
Among your family jewels, is there no heirloom that 
would suit the occasion ? " 

" I don't remember any." 

'' Think again I I am sure there must be. Oh, 
stop ! — now I know there is. It was quite lately that 
Miss M'Dill was telling me of a curious ring your 
mother used to wear : a square opal, set round with 
turquoises. That sounds very much to my taste." 

To herself her voice was almost inaudible, because 
of the beating of her pulses in her ears, like that of a 
person speaking beside a rush of water, yet to him 

Vbe Surten^er 211 

the words were plain enough. The sudden, stony 
stiffening of all his features, the dreadful pallor 
spreading slowly over them, was proof enough of 

" No, no ; not that ring ! " he said, with a break of 
terror in his voice. Then, quickly correcting himself : 
" It would not do at all ; it is much too clumsy, and 
would be much too large for you." ' 

'*But since it is just that ring that I have set 
my heart upon?" 

"Opals are said to bring misfortune — ^surely you 
know that ? " he said, with a strange new hurry in his 
lowered voice. 
" I am not superstitious. Are you ? " 
"No — at least, I cannot say. There have been 
such strange stories- about opals." 

He was glancing furtively about, his whole bearing 
betraying that dread of the supernatural to which the 
most coarse-grained natures are the most easily 
subject I 

" Well, have you made up your mind ? " 
" I cannot give it you. No ; I will not betroth you 
with that ring." 

" As you like." With apparent calmness, she put 
her hands behind her. "Then that place on my 
finger will remain empty, for I will have no other." 
" But, Elvira, this is childish— a mere caprice ! " 
"And supposing it were? Is not caprice the 
privilege of my sex ? " 
She looked at him with the audacious mutiny of a 

212 Vbc Douse of 1tt&Me0 

spoiled child, her eyes, owing to the nervous disten- 
tion of the pupils, more profoundly black than ever. 
There, was no more than the breadth of the table 
between them now ; by leaning across he could have 
touched her, but something in her face curbed his 
hot passion; 

*'You say quite truly that I have all the other 
things already. I want something unique, and this 
sounds unique." 

He gazed at her in a kind of despair, feeling his 
senses reeling under the impression of her beauty — 
deaf and blind to everything but the promptings of 
his passion. 

" And if I bring you that ring ? " 

'* I shall believe that you are in earnest" 

'' And you will speak ? You will knock down all 
the screens — tear aside all the curtains ? " 

She made a dumb show of assent 

"Elvira, don't torture me! your consent I have 
already. Tell me only who was your companion of 
last night — I cannot rest until I know." 

'* I will tell you nothing until the ring is on my 

" That will be to-morrow. And then you will tell 
me everything ? " 

"Yes," said Elvira slowly, with eyes that flashed 
like daggers, and like daggers seemed to pierce him. 
" I will tell you everything to-morrow." 



Left alone, Elvira threw herself into a chair with 

her hands to her burning cheeks, and for a few 

moments it seemed a toss-up whether, from pure 

nervous excitement, she was going to laugh or to 

cry. She ended by doing neither, but instead, 

sprang to her feet The necessity of action was 

upon her. This was not the moment to stop and 

think of what had been done, and what still remained 

to do. That way only doubts could lie, and possibly 

remorse. If the goal was to be reached, it could only 

be by keeping her eyes fixed steadily upon it, with 

never a glance to the right or the left 

''One more river to cross!" she said aloud, ^d the 

chorus of the undergraduates' tipsy song rangf^igain 

through her head, as it had been ringing all day, in a 

stupid, mechanical fashion. *^ Ah, but it is a swollen 

river, and very tearing; shall I get across safely, or 

will I lose my footing in the current ? Well, at any 

rate, I don't mean to stop shivering on the shore — 

and with liberty for Dick beckoning on the other 

side, and love and happiness for us both ! " 

Going quickly to the writing-table, she pulled 

SI4 TLbc Donse of ittbMes 

towards her a telegraph form, and after a brief 
moment of reflection, wrote out a long and detailed 
message. Having re-read it, and found it to her 
satisfaction, she touched the bell. 

To the entering Brown, she said : '' Take this to 
the post at once — ^yourself." 

The Irishman read the direction deliberately, and 
a little laboriously, and as he read, his features were 
distorted by a grimace of delight The message was 
addressed to the head of Edinburgh detective police. 

** Have you got him, Missy ? Do you hold him at 
last?" he croaked. ^'Bedad, I thought I should never 
have done ushering that gentleman into the bodoor!" 

*^ You shall usher him in once more — ^to-morrow ; 
and after that no more — whichever way the fortune 

Brown's face took on a shade of gloom, not 
beautifying in its effects. 

" And when the fortune has turned the right way, 
you'll be having no further use for me, I'm thinking ? 
Mr. Cameron will be for preferring a sairvent with 
two straight legs, for sure." 

'' Instead of talking rubbish, you had better make 
haste with that message, and return as fast as you 
can. I have a good many uses for you for to-morrow, 
anyway, and they will require discussion." 

• ...•• . 

Next morning there came a slight surprise, a 
detail she had not foreseen, but which, far from 
disturbing her plans, rather favoured them. 

''®ne Aote Vtt^er to Cross!" 215 

She was at breakfast when a messenger from 
Ecclesrig^ brbught her a note from Kennedy, 
together with a small, sealed parcel. The former 
announced his visit for that afternoon. To the latter 
she turned with a beating heart, knowing well what 
it should contain. Her eyes began by fixing them- 
selves on the seal, upon which the eagle's claw 
clutching the dagger, and surrounded by the motto 
she knew by heart, stood plainly out : " Gae ye claw 
me, ril claw ye." How often, since making the 
personal acquaintance of Johnnie's murderer, had she 
conned it in her mind — how often told herself that 
nothing in the range of heraldry could have better 
fitted the man than this ruthless sentence. He had 
acted up to it too — in poor Johnnie's case. 

Elvira's fingers trembled a little as she broke the 
seal. Inside was a small cardboard box, and lifting 
its lid with something of a cat(:h in her throat, she 
found herself staring hard at the square opal, of 
which she had heard so often, and thought about so 
intensely, set in a beautifully engraved and evidently 
antique ring. It was bound to be different from her 
idea of it ; the opal was smaller, the turquoises 
greener than she had pictured them, but the 
essential^ tallied unmistakably. Lifting it from its 
bed of cotton-wool, she looked within. Sure enough: 
the eagle's claw again, and the grim words, worn 
with the friction of many fingers, but still legible. 
One of the fingers had belonged to the luckless 
Johnnie, so fast asleep in his distant grave. With 

2i6 Vbe Douse of VtOMes 

the ring in her hand, Elvira fell into a brief day- 
dream, in which the momentous scene seemed to rise 
up before her mind's eye : the open hut, the motion- 
less body, the rough crowd, the man with bound 
hands being hurried towards the alderwood. 

With a start of terror she came back to the 

Leaving her breakfast unfinished, she retired to 
shut herself into her bedroom, and a few minutes 
later, the lantern in one hand, the ring tightly 
clutched in the other, was hurrying along the dark 
passage. Arrived at the other end, and lifted 
through the trap-door, she could do no more than 
dumbly hold out the ring to her husband — breath- 
lessness and emotion having combined to strangle 
her voice in her throat 

He took it with a questioning look and held it 
close to the lantern, for they had not got further 
than the cellar. 

"Yes; that's it," he said, with the brevity of 
suppressed excitement. 

At that she found her voice. 

" Ah, Dick I " — and already her arms clasped his 
neck — ** I knew it could only be it ; but I wanted to 
hear the words from your lips. We are saved, Dick 
— we are saved ! Liberty is close at hand, at last ! " 

She paused, as though to sober her own exaltation, 
then said, rather lower : 

" And this, too, is another proof. He felt it easier 
to send the ring than to bring it. He shrank before 

''^e Aote Hfver to QxossV ai? 

the idea of putting it on to my finger himself, 
probably with some superstitious dread, for he is 
superstitious — I discovered that sresterday, and I am 
glad of it" 

She was silent for another moment, before adding : 
" He is coming to me at three this afternoon." 

Dick looked at her with anxious interrc^tion. 

'^ Before four o'clock, I think the play will be 
played out" 

''But surely it is played out already, since we 
have the ring?" 

** Yes, we have the ring ; but I want more than the 

"What more?" 

''An avowal. Only then our case will be quite 

"And how do you imagine that you will get 

"By a coup de main. There is no other way, of 

"There is no way at all. The thing is 
impossible ! " 

" Maybe — I don't think so. I believe that before the 
sun is set I shall have heard from William Kennedy's 
own lips the confession of his being John Cameron's 
murderer. And others will have heard it too, though 
he will not know it He will speak before witnesses 
— have I not draperies enough in my drawing-room ? 
— witnesses who are on their way already, for I have 
had an answer from Edinburgh ; and if things go as 

3i8 xcbe Douse ot 1tt&Me0 

I mean them to go, he will indeed enter the house as 
a free man, but he will not leave it as one." 

**God have pity on him I" said Dick, below bis 

''Yes ; perhaps God will have pity on him — I hope 
He will. He can afford' it; I cannot Johnnie's 
murderer, Dick, and your own betrayer ; the coward 
who let you suffer his own deserved penalty I Think 
of that! I dare think of nothing else. Only one 
more river to cross ! Oh, that I were on the other 
side already 1 I must lose no time in preparing for 
the plunge. It was only to have the ring identified 
that I came. Good-bye, Dick ! — no, Mrs. Wilson — 
for the last time. After to-day, so please God, there 
will be no more Mrs. Wilson." 

And she managed to command a tremulous smile 
as she kissed hinu 

When Elvira regained her own apartments, she 
was met by Brown with a calling-card in his hand. 

'' The gentleman has been waiting for ten minutes 
in the drawing-room," he remarked, in a stage 

Elvira took the slip of cardboard. 

"Thomas Peck, Chief Constable's Office, Edin- 
burgh " — she read ; and below, in smaller characters : 
" Criminal Investigation Department*' 

'' It is well," she said, while a flash leaped to her 
eyes. " Show him into the boudoir." 



'*Pree.CISELy!" said Mr. Thomas Peck, towards 

the close of an interview which had taken place 

behind carefully closed doors. 

The gentleman, fresh from the Chief Constable's 

Office, betrayed in nothing the importance of his 

office. If he appeared to be fresh from anywhere, 

it was rather from the golf-links. At St Damian, 

in especial, nothing could be more t^nconspicuous, 

nothing less likely to attract attention, than the 

exterior of this stranger in the tweed breeches and 

deer-stalker. He was a small, well-groomed person, 

with a limited quantity of very tidily kept iron-grey 

hair, a pair of quiet but by no means dull eyes, and 

a delightfully unprofessional manner. Also, he had 

a habit of preluding his most searching questions 

by a conciliating smile, which fulfilled some of the 

conditions of a flag of truce held up. Before 

members of the fair sex the flag was waved more 

conspicuously, though solely for professional reasons. 

During the interview just terminating, it had been 

much in requisition ; perhaps because a long career 

of successful criminal-hunting rather sharpens than 


330 XEbe tyovac of ttibdles 

blunts a man's appreciation of ^the sex/' Cherckiz 
lafemme is a motto which, if it had not been invented 
by a politician, would certainly have been invented 
by a defective. 

'' Pree-cisely, madam I I think I can say that I 
have grasped the case, or as much of the case as you 
choose to lay before me at this juncture," he added, 
with a steady side-glance, and an increase of the 
conciliating smile. ** I am of course acquainted with 
the facts of the Klondyke lynching case; a mis- 
carriage of popular justice is quite thinkable ; but 
you will understand that I will require strong proofs 
before proceeding to the arrest of — ^the person we are 
speaking of, and whom you suspect to be the real 

'' It is more than a suspicion, it is a certainty." 

Mr. Peck smiled radiantly. 

** Pree-cisely I But unless you are able to convey 
some of that certainty to my mind — ^" 

''Would an explicit avowal from his own lips 
convey it?" 

'' An avowal ? You have serious hopes of obtaining 

"I have; and you shall be witness to it — an 
unseen witness, of course." 


Mr. Peck gazed at his interlocutor with undis- 
guised and purely professional admiration. ''What 
an addition that woman would be to the Force!" 
was the thought which went through his mind. 

Vbe Spectre 221 

From her face, bis eyes moved round the room 
with the glance of a connoisseur. Nothing was 
more noticeable about the man than the deliberate 
inanity of his smile, and the business-like directness 
of his glance. 

*' The interview is to take place here ? " 


'* H — m t and the drawing-room has to be traversed 
— and there are various very conveniently - placed 
screens in that apartment Yes — that will do. 
Are your doors well oiled? Locks and hinges 
working noiselessly? Well, well; time enough 
to see to that It will be better if the servant 
closes the door behind him, as audibly as possible — 
that sort of thing gives a wonderful idea of security ; 
and at a judiciously chosen moment I think I can 
— er — produce a chink without your visitor becoming 
aware of the fact There is a good heavy portiire^ I 
see ; I much approve of such things — ^and my tennis 
shoes make no noise at all. Tennis shoes are another 
thing I much approve of." 

•* And when you have heard the avowal, you will 
feel empowered to arrest him ? " 

" I have no warrant with me, but my powers will 
suffice for the occasion, in the case of the avowal. 
I presume you would rather not have it done in 
your presence ? These little details are best settled 

"Much rather not You will be close at hand, 
of course; but unless I should call, do not enter the 

222 vbe Donse of 1lf&Mes 

room. You could stop him as he goes out, could 
you not? — ^though I fancy his exit may be rather 

** Hardly too precipitate for my purposes/' sweetly 
smiled the detective, " The moment for — er — aban- 
doning the chink will have to be carefully chosen, 
of course. I observed a screen somewhere about the 
middle of the room, which would be a very con- 
venient spot for an ambush. I suppose he is bound 
to go out by the drawing-room ? How about other 

*• There is none other except through my bedroom." 

"Perhaps you would condescend to lead me 

through your bedroom? To have a picture of 

the premises in one's mind simplifies matters 


Elvira rose and led the way to the bedroom 
alongside. Beyond lay a dressing-room, giving into 
a passage. 

*' And this passage leads to ? " 
" To a back door opening into the yard." 
" Pree-cisely ! There will be no harm in placing 
a — ^gentleman of the Force in the neighbourhood of 
the back door, just in case he gets wind of his 
danger and makes a dash for it But I think that 
I shall more likely have the pleasure of meeting him 
in the drawing-room." 

Elvira measured the small, dapper figure before 
her, and felt a fresh alarm. 
" But if he resists ? . He is very big and strong." 

XCbe Spectre 323 

*'He will be too surprised to resist — and in any 
case, he is not likely to carry as handy a revolver 
as' mine. Besides, if he should by any chance get 
past me, there will be a friend of mine at the front 
door — a remarkably muscular young man, who has 
given me his company on the journey, and who 
will be delighted to make this gentleman's 
acquaintance. This passage is the only exit from 

** The only one except the windows." 

They returned slowly to the boudoir, where Mr. 
Peck took up his cap, exhibiting a particularly 
deprecating smile before his next words. 

" It will be a sensational arrest, if it comes off, and 
a rare triumph of justice. I suppose you wish me to 
understand, do you not, madam, that zeal of justice is 
your sole motive of action ? " 

Elvira flushed hotly. 

" Ah, do not trouble to answer me, pray 1 Only a 
passing thought of mine, since a thirst for justice for 
its own sake is a rather unusual attribute of your 
charming sex. It just crossed my mind that you 
may possibly have known the unfortunate Mr. 
Cameron, and may be conceived to find some 
satisfaction in avenging his memory." 

"Well, and suppose I have some interest in 
avenging him ? " she asked, defiantly and unsteadily ; 
" how can that alter the justice of the case ? " 

" Pree-cisely ! " agreed Mr. Peck, who immediately 
after discreetly withdrew in order to consult with his 

324 xnoe Ixmse of 1lfM>le0 

professional friend, and having fixed the very minute 
of his reappearance at Craig Manor. 

"Wasn't there a story about the lynched man 
having been married ? " mused the criminal detective 
on his way back to his hoteL ** She's a little tigress, 
evidently, with the usual touch of the serpent — ^but 
no doubt she began by being a turtle-dove. A most 
interesting case of evolution, evidently." 

It was a little before three o'clock that Brown, with 
a quite unusual nimbleness, bom of a furious inner 
excitement, limped across the big, seemingly empty 
drawing-room, and having ushered in the visitor, 
closed the door with something veiging on a bang. 

Within the boudoir Elvira was not sitting in her 
usual deep chair. Clad in an unbroken black which 
enhanced the unusual pallor of her clear skin, she 
faced the visitor as he entered, the heavy brocade 
portiire making an amber background to her slight 
and motionless figure; for, unable to foresee what 
dangers the interview might bring, she had elected to 
remain in the close neighbourhood of her bedroom 
door. With small hands clasped tightly behind her, 
and nerves strained almost to breaking-point, she had 
stood thus for the last two minutes— ever since the 
door-bell had given to her the signal of approaching 
action. This time there was to be no attempt at 
conventionality ; what was to be done must be done 
quickly, under the shock of surprise and without 
breathing space for the culprit Nothing had been 

Xtbc Spectre 22S 

neglected that could work upon his nerves ; even the 
black dress had been carefully chosen. 

In the moment that the door closed upon him, 
Kennedy seemed to read her attitude, if not aright, 
yet with a sort of confused alarm, born of the chronic 
terror of the past three years. The interview, on the 
thought of which he had been living since yesterday, 
was not going to bear that rapturous character which 
had been heating his fancy all night — that much, at 
least, was clear to him. 

He had entered hurriedly, with shining eyes, and 
the haggard look of one who has not slept ; but at 
sight of the motionless figure in black, he stopped 
short, disconcerted. 

" Elvira 1 Is this your greeting — ^after yesterday ? 
Your hand, Elvira ! why do you keep it from me ? " 

A moment ago nothing but her lips would have 
contented him ; but his audacity was abashed by the 
rigidity of her white face. 

She drew her right hand from behind her back, 
and held it up before him, not towards him. Her 
eyes, fixed upon the fourth finger, drew his along 
with them. 

"That place— still empty?" he faltered. "Did 
you not get the ring?" 

"Yes; I got it." 

" And why have you not put it on ? You said 
yesterday — " 

" I said yesterday that I was not superstitious ; 
but I believe that you are right, after all, and that 

326 xOic Douse of IRfbMes 

opals are unlucky stones. They carry misfortune 
with them." 

" Is that the reason you will not wear it ? " 

" No ; I have another reasoa" 

"What other reason? Why will you not wear 
it ? " he persbted, quailing before the answer to his 
own question, and yet pushed to the words by some 
force outside himself. 

She hid her hand behind her/and raising her head, 
flashed the words straight into his face : 

" Because there is blood upon it" 

For a minute after she had spoken there was so 
complete a silence in the room that the cry of a pair 
of gulls circling above the house seemed to swell to 
a shriek. Kennedy's eyes had not fallen — ^held by 
the mere power of her will they looked straight into 
hers — but about his nostrils streaks of a chalk-like 
pallor had appeared, slowly spreading to the rest of 
his face. 

She spoke again quickly, giving him no time to 
find words. 

** Shall I tell you where that ring was taken from ? 
From the hand of a murdered man." 

"You know?" he said, his tongue stumbling 
over the word and scarcely aware of having 

"Yes, I know; and if I was to you what you 
pretend that I am, I should have known long ago. 
Everything open ! You speak of the sweeping aside 
of screens and curtains, you reproach me with my 

Zbc Spectre 227 

reticence, and all the time you hide from me the 
black secret of your life." 

The face into which he stood gazing with a sort of 
tragic helplessness was the face rather of a stem 
judge than of a tender woman; the eyes were not 
pleading for confidence, they coldly and masterfully 
demanded it For a moment longer he bore their 
gaze; then, with a gesture which seemed to say 
that he was at the end of his force, he almost fell 
at her feet. 

" I will hide nothing from you — nothing ! I will 
put my fate in your hands — it seems that you hold 
it already. There shall be no more curtain between 
us. You shall know ! " 

Then in a voice broken by the excess of excite- 
ment, and with all that elaborateness of accusation 
which usually accompanies the long-missed luxury 
of disburdening an over-loaded conscience, he poured 
out his confession. 

He had loved another woman before her, he did 
not deny it ; and seeing in Johnnie Cameron his rival, 
he had yielded to an impulse of furious jealousy. 
The knife had lain handy on the table of the saloon ; 
seeing it, he remembered that his own had been 
broken that very day. Trying its blade, and finding 
it good beyond the average, he had been seized by 
the mad desire to plunge it into Johnnie's heart. 
Chance had helped him — or undone him — since the 
younger Cameron had reached his hut alone, and the 
rest had been easy. It had been but a brief space of 

328 XTbe Douse of iRfM^les 

madness, he assured her, and because of those few 
unguarded minutes he had ever since been pursued 
by a ghost 

** By one ghost only ? " asked Elvira, in a strangely 
measured voice. 

She had listened intently, the colour burning high 
in her face, and in her eyes a flashing light of 
triumph. So keenly was she tasting her victory that 
the thought of the other pair of listening ears along- 
side was swept from her mind. She was the wife of 
the injured man only, and the one who had injured 
him lay at her feet For the moment nobody else 
existed. Mr, Peck was as completely forgotten as 
though he had never been. 

" Is it only Johnnie Cameron's ghost that pursues 
you, and not also Richard Cameron's ? " 

He had been speaking with his face half hidden in 
the folds of her dress, his hands unconsciously clutch- 
ing at her skirt Now he looked up abruptly, and at 
sight of the merciless smile on her lips, rose to his 
feet in a sudden, formless panic. 

" Elvira I Why do you speak like that ? " 

'' You must not call me Elvira ; my name is Mrs. 

His eyes widened senselessly. 

" You ? How ? You are— ? " 

'' I am the wife of Richard Cameron, whose life 
you have ruined." 

He kept quite still for a moment longer, as though 
the better to take in the sense of the words. 


XTbe Spectre 3^9 

" I suppose that means that I am lost," he said at 
last, very slowly, and, as it were, still struggling with 
the conception of the thing. 

He staggered to a chair, and lay there with his face 
in his hands. After a terribly silent moment he 
looked up, a last flickering return of defiance upon 
his face. 

" And if I deny everything ? You have no 

With his words there flashed back upon Elvira the 
recollection of the pair of ears alongside, and with 
the recollection she smiled disdainfully. He could 
not mistake the meaning of that smile. 

" You have witnesses ? A trap, then ? " 

" Yes ; and one that closes well . I have worked 
long enough at it, God knows I " 

His eyes, haggard with terror, shot her one help- 
lessly reproachful look, before moving vaguely round 
the room, and when he spoke next his voice had sunk 
to a rough, uneven whisper. 

" They are waiting for me outside ? There is no 
escape? Ah, you have caught me well, Elvira! 
Ah, that opal ! that opal ! How right I was to 
mistrust it 1 " 

Then suddenly, at a movement she madjs, the 
panic intensified. 

" Don't go I Don't leave me ! " he entreated 
hoarsely, springing up and towards her. "They 
will come when you are gone ; I have dreamed so 
often that they were coming I I have dreamed of 


330 JOic Douse of iRfbMes 

that dreadful cord 1 Ah, Elvira, be generous — ^save 
me from that coid ! Is there no way ? No way at 

He was once more crouching at her feet, the last 
vestige of his self-control gone, his lips loose with 
terror — all the weakness of this seemingly so brutally 
strong nature pitilessly laid bare by the threatening 
horror of his fate. It was an abject spectacle ; and 
perhaps because it was an abject spectacle, Elvira, 
looking down into the convulsion of that upturned 
face, felt a change come over her mood. To see 
her enemy grovelling at her feet had for three years 
past been her one desire. Seeing him there, her 
revenge was not only satisfied, it felt abruptly gorged 
with the fulness of its own wish. Until now she 
had been far too strenuously occupied, fighting tooth 
and nail for her happiness and for her love, to be able 
to allow herself the luxury of pity. Whatever com- 
passionate feelings, whatever scruples had dared to 
stir, had been kept down violently, like rebels under 
hatchways. Now that the end was gained, the guard 
over the rebels unconsciously relaxed, and breaking 
loose, they flooded her soul, as mutineers do a ship. 
For the first time she dared to look her own act in 
the face, and looking, was touched with shame even 
on the pinnacle of her victory — with shame and with 
a sort of contemptuous compassion for the man who, 
after all, loved her as well as he knew how to love, 
and who, had he not loved her, could not have been 

XCbe Spectre 231 

During no more than the portion of a minute, and 
while she still gazed into the upturned face, all this 
passed like lightning through her brain. With the 
same flash of thought she saw the guards at the 
front and at the back door, and mentally echoed his 
own words : " No escape I " 

Then still within the same minute, a thought 
seemed to dawn in her eyes. Bending down quickly, 
she said in his ear : 

" Yes; there is a way. Be silent; come quickly." 

She turned to the doorway behind her, purposely 
left ajar in order to facilitate her own retreat, beckon- 
ing to him peremptorily to follow. Without a sound 
the heavy portiire fell together behind them. 

Kennedy, staring vacantly, understood that they 
were inside her bedroom. He saw her take some- 
thing from a cupboard, then still stupidly watching, 
he saw her approach a big mirror in the panelled wall 
and go through some process which he did not 
attempt to understand, whereupon the mirror slid 
away and out of sight, disclosing a nail-studded door. 
He heard a key grate in the lock, and then became 
aware of a gaping opening in the wall. 

" Quick now ! " whispered Elvira, pointing towards 
the spot '' There is not a moment to lose. Sharp 
to the left, ten steps down, then on as far as it takes 
you — four steps up at the other end, and an electric 
bell straight above your head — that will open the 

And, without asking for an explanation, without 

2i2 xcbe Douse of 1tt^Me0 

time even to harbour a doubt, the bewildered man 
obeyed mechanically, stepping gladly into the friendly 

As Elvira, with tingling pulses, regained her 
boudoir, she became aware of the point of a nose 
protruding from between the curtains which draped 
the opposite doorway. The nose belonged to Mr. 
Thomas Peck. 

" And your visitor ? " he asked, disclosing the rest 
of his countenance, which showed a blankness of 
expression very rarely seen upon those intelligent 
features. •' Has he got out the other way, after all? '* 

" Yes ; he has got out the other way," stammered 
Elvira, in an uncontrollable flurry. 

"By the back door?" 

" I suppose by the back door." 

" Pree-cisely ! " remarked Mr. Peck, from mere 
force of habit, as, without further comment or 
ceremony, he dashed across the boudoir, through the 
bedroom and dressing-room beyond, and down the 
passage he had seen in the morning — in order, if 
necessary, to lend a hand to the *' gentleman " 
posted there. 

For minute upon minute William Kennedy groped 
forward, feeling his way by the wall, for there had 
been no time to think of the lantern. How there 
came to be any place wherein to grope, and whither 
this strange tunnel might eventually lead him, he 
never stopped to reflect — was, in fact, quite unable 

TTbc Spectre 333 

to consider. His mind, at this moment, could not 
work beyond the closest circle of impressions. For 
the time being, it was as disconnected with everything 
outside the existence of this unsuspected refuge as 
might be a dismounted telegraphic apparatus. All 
he was aware of was a sort of rapture of safety, 
coming upon a moment of mortal danger. It was 
damp and cold all around him, and the darkness 
was as pitch; but he could not feel the cold, and 
the shadows had no terrors for him which could 
approach these held for him by the light of day. 

The time during which he thus groped along, 
turning corners occasionally, and once or twice 
feeling the scuttle of a rat over his feet, seemed to 
him at once very long and very short; but on the 
whole, more short than long, since the further the 
passage led him from the spot of imminent danger the 
greater seemed the chances of security — so that when 
his feet struck sharply against an ascending step he 
was almost disappointed. 

" Four steps, and an electric bell above my head," 
he repeated aloud, having learnt his lesson well. 

He counted the steps carefully, and, having first 
assured himself that nothing but a blank wall faced 
him, as carefully felt about for the bell. It was not 
hard to find. Within a moment his finger was upon 
the knob. 

The sound of the shrill tinkle which followed was 
the first thing which awoke some vague misgivings ; 
for the first time he began to wonder who it was 

S34 XTbe Douse of IRfbMes 

that would answer that bell. All the questions for 
which there had been no time at the other end of 
the passage now began to stir. 

He had not long to wait Very soon a heavy foot- 
fall sounded overhead, and, as the trap-door lifted 
with a measured slowness, which spoke of some 
hidden lever at work, a circle of light fell upon 

" Elvira 1 Is it done ? What has happened ? " 
asked a man's tortured voice. 

'* Let me up I " gasped Kennedy, clutching at the 
side of the opening. ''She has sent me. I am 

With a great muscular effort he hoisted himself to 
the level of the floor above, where for a moment he 
remained straggling for breath upon his knees, at the 
very feet of the man who had raised the trap-door, 
blinking his darkness-blinded eyes in the rays of the 

In his ears an exclamation sounded. It drew his 
eyes from the lantern to the face of the person who 
held it Instantly his jaw dropped, and his eyes 
stai;ted horribly, ready, it would seem, to burst their 

For in that moment it seemed to the pursued man 
that it was no creature of flesh and blood who had 
answered that bell, that the trap-door had been lifted 
by the unreal hands of a spectre, since these were 
the features and these the limbs of that same 
Richard Cameron who, three years ago, had been 

XEbc Spectre 235 

hung in that distant alderwood among the gold- 
fields, upon the branch which should have borne his 
own guilty weight 

With the roar of a hunted animal he rose to his 
feet, but in the very act, staggered and clutched 
at his heart 

Before Dick Cameron had time to put out a 
staying hand, he had stepped backwards into the 
open trap-door, and falling with a heavy thud upon 
the steps, rolled down into the darkness below. 

Though St Damian should stand for a thousand 
years longer, it is not likely that the day will be 
forgotten on which, in broad daylight, the door of 
^ the House of Riddles was burst open, and an 
unknown man, in shirt -sleeves, rushed bareheaded 
into the street, shouting for a doctor. 

With that day all the riddles ended; since the 
same passers-by who had procured the nearest 
available medical attendance felt themselves justified 
In invading the premises, even in pouring down the 
staircase into the cellars below, and to the entrance 
of that circular chamber at the base of the turret^ 
where the open trap-door still gaped. At the foot of 
the steps thus disclosed, Kennedy lay upon his back, 
stone-dead, his stiff hands still clutching at his left 

" Death from heart-failure " had been the pro- 
. fessional verdict, pronounced by the same man 

2z6 jsbt ibottse of lUbMes 

who, not two years ago, had stood beside Geoflfrey 
Kennedy's death- bed. The "family heart" had 
saved the murderer from the ignominious penalty 
of his crime. 

From that day onward Dick Cameron walked 
openly in the light of day — but not in that of St 
Damian, upon which, for fear of becoming one of the 
sights of the place, he rapidly turned his back. The 
conglomeration of so many sensational discoveries : 
of a secret passage ; of a murderer in their midst ; of 
the survival of a lynched man, was almost too 
overwhelming even for the very considerable powers 
of St Damian tea-table talk, and promised to furnish 
conversational feasts to all Scotland as well. 

In the midst of this orgie of gossip there was one 
person disappointed, that person being Mr. Thomas 
Peck ; for the sensational arrest had not come off, 
and sensational arrests were the salt of his life. But 
with his disappointment there fought an admiration 
which he was at no pains to conceal. 

" What an acquisition that woman would be to the 
Force I " he repeatedly remarked to his professional 
friend on his way back to Edinburgh. " I could not 
have done it better myself. But that's the worst of 
having to do with women. You never can tell when 
their feelings will come into play. They are tigers at 
one moment, and in the next, fuy presto I they turn 
into Sisters of Charity. But for all that, she's wasted 
— y^Sy wasted — in ordinary domestic life. ' 

There were not awanting some particularly 

XCbc Spectre 337 

wag^gish tongues which affirmed that the real dis- 
appointment for Mr. Peck had been the discovery 
of a live husband in ) the background ; and who 
hinted that, without this slight impediment, the 
eminent detective would have been ready to secure 
to "the Force" those valuable talents, even at the 
sacrifice of his own bachelorhood. 

And now there is an end, not only to the riddles, 
but to the House of Riddles itself ; since before re- 
crossing the ocean, in order to enjoy wealth and 
liberty in sunnier climes, the young couple decided 
not only to close up the secret tunnel, but also to 
demolish the walls about which so many sinister 
legends had gathered, and below whose roof William 
Kennedy had found his death. The underground 
passage had served Elvira's ends well, but it should 
not survive in order to serve other, possibly bad ends. 
Its day was over. High time indeed that this 
anachronism should cease to disturb modem nerves. 

Number Fifty-two Bower Street is now repre- 
sented by an unimpeachably conventional, bow- 
windowed structure, inhabited by a perfectly prosaic 
family ; while at Craig Manor — likewise passed into 
other hands — the mirror panel is now a fixture, and 
the iron door behind replaced by quite commonplace 

The stories about the House of Riddles are still 
told, but its place is to be found no more. 



It was on a dull October day of a year somewhere 
in the "forties" that, in a small Croatian town, a 
Pandur (member of the mounted police force) 
descended precipitately from his horse at the door 
of the chief official of the district. 

There was a crowd around him in a moment. 

" The post-cart again ? Is it possible ? " 

" Another robbery ? " 

The Pandur^ who was very red in the face and 
very much mud-bespattered, vouchsafing no reply, 
hastened in to give his report — anxiously expected, 
it would seem, for he was met on the threshold by 
the magistrate in person. 

" Again ? " he asked quickly. 

The Pandur saluted before replying. 

" Again ; and as badly as ever. The post-bag clean 
gone, and most of the parcels too. Our bare lives 
and the horses — that is about all we carried away 
with us. It is by the mercy of God alone that 
murder was not committed last night" 

" And at the same place again ? " 

"Almost the same; the top of the long hill 
between Byptyk and Luma.^They seemed to grow 

«4o XLbc f>ou0e of IRf^Mes 

out of the forest, just as though the trees had got 
legs, and to close around us in a moment" 

•' How many of them ? " 

^'I should put them at between ten and twelve. 
What could two of us do against a dozen ? " 

"And all mounted?" 

<' All that I could see ; and with faces as black as 

''And could you not see anything of their dress? 
Was it the costume of the country ? " 

The Pandur rubbed his red ear perplexedly. 

" It was a costume, certainly, but none that I could 
put a name to. The fellow who fired at me seemed 
all fluttering with red ribbons, and I could almost 
swear that the leader had a lady's hat upon his 
head. Rigged out for a fancy-ball, that's what they 
appeared to be." 

The magistrate sat down in a discouraged 

"This grows more and more mysterious. We 
shall have to ask for military assistance. I suppose 
that Colonel Nagy would have no objection to 
lending us some of his hussars. There's a troop of 
them quartered at Luma, and hussars would, at 
any rate, be a match for brigands. Really, one 
would suppose we were living in the Middle Ages 
or in Sicily." 

He spoke with obvious irritation, and no wonder. 
It was close upon three months now that these 
unexplained and apparently inexplicable highway 

robberies had been weighing upon his official con- 
science, and keeping the country-side in a state 
of chronic terror. Brigands of any sort were bad 
enough, but brigands who possessed horses as well 
as fire-arms were doubly difficult to deal with. Out 
of the ground they seemed to have started over- 
night in this rustic district, overgrown indeed with 
vast tracts of forest, but peaceable for decades past 
under the beneficent Austrian rule, nor devoid 
either of natural protectors, since within twenty miles 
around an extremely smart and efficacious hussar 
regiment had been quartered for about a year past 
Scarcely a village that had not its handful of 
troopers, black-eyed, fierce-looking magyars^ liable 
to be called out on any emergency. And yet, 
despite the presence of these mightily mustachioed 
warriors, highway robbery flourished, and seemed to 
defy detection ! 

Theories to explain the startling phenomena were, 
of course, not awanting. The brigands were gypsies, 
Turks — some men, arguing from the fantastic details 
of their attire, asserted them to be women — while 
others were equally convinced of their being evil 
spirits. Rewards for their detection had 1t)een 
offered in vain, the country scoured for miles 
around, with the same, results. That they should 
find hiding-places for themselves by daylight seemed 
conceivable enough, but where could they find 
hiding-places for their horses without exciting 
suspicion? It was to this circumstance that the 


242 m)e f>on0e ot 1Rf^Me0 

sustainers of the evil-spirit theory were accustomed 
triumphantly to point 

Things had come to such a pass that, despite 
mounted escorts, it was becoming hard to find a 
driver for the mail-cart One of these unfortunates 
had been killed in a nightly encounter, several more 
or less wounded, a few had had to run for their 
lives, and candidates for the post of danger were 
ever more thinly forthcoming. It was to this 
special point in the situation that part of the 
Panduf^s report referred. 

''Nothing will induce Kovac to drive again,*' he 
wound up his explanations. ''He's not hurt, but 
he's scared out of his wits. He swears that the man 
who stopped the horses had a pink silk sleeve on his 
arm, and he concludes that it can only have been the 
devil. Plain, honest robbers don't dress up like 
actresses, he declares." 

"Well, you must just find another," said the 
magistrate sharply. "The mail service can't be 
interrupted, even if a few more drivers are knocked 
down. And the chances speak for a pause in the 
operations. They never try it two nights running. 
You can double the pay, if necessary, and we shall 
ask for a military escort" 

"I will do my best," said the Pandur^ as, not 
over-hopefully, he withdrew. 

In the course of the afternoon he was back 
again, bringing with him a powerfully-built man 
of about thirty-five, with a pair of small but very 

lively black eyes in a face as brown as a ripe 

"This is the only one I can find," reported the 
Pandur. " Every other man to whom I have offered 
the post only crosses himself in reply. This one says 
he is not afraid, and he oughtn't to be either, seeing 
that he's an old soldier.** 

The magistrate bent a gracious eye upon the man 
who bid fair to extricate him from his present 

"When did you leave the service?" he quite 
gently inquired. 

" Only last week, Excellency. My time was up on 
the 1st" 

" And you were serving?" 

•' In the Eighteenth Hussars." 

" Ah, our own hussars, under Colonel Nagy ! So, 
of course, you know your way about with horses ? " 

" That I do, your Excellency. The horses are like 
brothers to me." 

''That is good. But Tm afraid the mounted 
gentlemen on the road will not behave exactly like 
brothers to you — in case they catch you. You have 
heard of the — accidents to the mail-cart, haven't 
you ? " 

" I have heard." 

" And you are not afraid ? " 

"It's because of the accidents, please your 
Excellency, that I want to have the post, more still 
than for the money. A real battle would be better. 

244 TOk Douse of Vi^Mes 

of course ; but since it seems that we are to have 
no war, what other chance can one have of 
shooting at a man, without being hung for it ? To 
sit in one's village and plough one's fields is a little 
dull, after all. That's why I haven't gone home yet 
We like something more exciting, we magyars,'* 

His small eyes sparkled in his brown face as he 

" Oh, that's the way it strikes you, is it ? So much 
the better, perhaps. Well, I only trust you won't 
get more excitement than you bai^ain for." 

In the stables where the post-horses were feeding, 
the nut-brown man presently made acquaintance 
with his new charger. 

" They look well enough," he said to the Pandur, 
who watched him with a critical eye as he affection- 
ately stroked their rough necks ; " but they are not 
groomed in the way our horses are groomed, and 
their tails are too long. I will crop them to 
regulation length, if I may. Ah, if you had seen 
Ilka's tail ! That was a tail, if you like — ^and her 
mane I I used to comb it every day, as though it 
had been the hair of a lady. I would have put red 
ribbons into the plaits, if they had let me, but that 
would have been against the regulations. Red 
ribbons would have looked beautiful in her black 
plaits. She was as black as a coal, you know, and 
with only one little white patch between her ears. 
Ah, I loved her like a sister 1 If they had left her to 
me I should still be with the regiment" 

**5lRa" 245 

"And why did they not leave her to you?** 
inquired the Pandur, mildly amused. 

''Because she was found to be too good for a 
plain hussar. The under - officer who commands 
the third troop required another horse, and they 
took away Ilka, and gave me instead an old white 
brute with the temperament of a cow. I could not 
live with that beast, after Ilka, and so I took my 
leave when my time was up — When do we start 
to-night? And do you think there will be any 
shooting ? " 

There was no shooting that night, nor for many 
other subsequent nights. After this last successful 
raid the highwaymen seemed to be resting upon 
their laurels, or perhaps they were shy of the eight 
sturdy hussars requisitioned from Luma, of whom 
four rode nightly ahead and four to the rear of the 
mail-cart The votary of excitement began almost 
to despond. This driving backwards and forwards 
upon a road apparently as safe as a street, and despite 
the suggestive presence of his former comrades, was 
almost as dull as ploughing one's fields. Although 
every night, at the darkest places of the forest, 
there was an agreeable thrill of expectation, the 
driver soon forgot even to feel for his pistol. 
Unless he were to fire it off at the unoffending 
tree-trunks there seemed small chance of using his 
fire-arm. While the driver desponded the magis- 
trate '* perked up." It almost seemed as though the 
enigmatical brigands had sought another field, melting 

«46 ITbe Honsc ot mvtleB 

away out of the neighbourhood as mysteriously as 
they had come. Soon Colonel Nagy began to 
grumble at the useless employment of his men, 
upon which the eight hussars were reduced to six, 
from that to four, and finally yielded their places to 
the Pandurs^ who were the normal protectors of the 

Christmas was approaching before anything more 

The bored driver actually dozed upon his seat, and 
the Pandurs rode leisurely in the rear, quite unmind- 
ful of the shadows, when the scene described to the 
magistrate repeated itself in an aggravated form. 

They had just topped a long hill, running between 
two black walls of forest, when to-day, as then, it 
seemed as though the trunks on each side were 
growing alive. From off the immovable shadows 
other movable shadows appeared to detach them- 
selves, from among the perpendicular forms four-footed 
shapes to be evolved. Together with the rush of horses' 
hoofs, there came wild, barbarous-sounding cries, fit to 
strike terror even into bold hearts — ^the clanking of 
chain-bits, the ring of a shot In one instant the 
sleeping forest had turned into a miniature battle-field, 
but a battle of which, considering the numerical 
difference, the issue could not be doubtful If there 
had been a dozen highwaymen last time, their number 
seemed nearer two dozens to-night 

The driver, starting awake, grasped with one hand 
at his pistol, while with the other he instinctively 

'^Jlfta'' 247 

lashed out at the horses. But there were hands at 
theu- heads already, and with his weapon still held 
fast, he felt himself dragged from his seat As he 
touched the ground the shot went off) and for a 
moment he lay glaring up at the mounted man 
above him, whose head was covered by a cap of 
ermine, while on his coat gold lace gleamed brilliantly, 
then a blow over the head knodked away everything 
from before his eyes. 

When several hours later assistance reached the 
spot, the driver still lay unconscious, and one of the 
Pandurs nursed a wounded leg beside the sacked 
cart Soon after the two injured men had been 
conveyed to the nearest hut, the nut-brown driver 
opened his small, black eyes, which immediately 
began to glisten, as was their habit in moments of 

" Is there a Pandur here ? " he asked vivaciously. 
'' I want to make a statement" 

The same individual who had procured him his 
post promptly appeared by the side of the primitive 

"What is it, my friend? You must not excite 
yourself, unless you want to get the fever." 

The man raised himself upon his elbow. 

" I want to tell you something. I know now who 
the robbers are." 

" Ah ! You recognised a face ? " 

" Yes ; but not the face of a man." 

'•What then?" 

248 JSbc Donee or vxbbics 

*' Of a horse. Do you know who are the robbers ? 
They are the hussars of the third troop." 

The Pandur laughed good-naturedly. 

" I told you you would get the fever if you excite 
yourself. It seems you have it already." 

"I have got no fever. I tell you that the man 
who knocked me down was mounted upon Ilka — as 
if I did not know the patch between her ears, and 
every line of her face ! His face was all smeared, of 
course, but it can only have been the under-officer, 
Burkas, since Ilka is his horse." 

''This must be the delirium setting in," thought 
the Pandur^ but all the same, he stopped laughing. 

The driver caught at his sleeve. 

'* Send to Luma, and have the black mare 
examined. She must have a ball in her right 
shoulder ; the shot went off in my hand before I 
had time to take aim. If you find that ball perhaps 
you will see that I speak true." 

"And you want me seriously to believe that the 
soldiers of his Majesty, the Kaiser^ could ever be 
criminal enough to — Why, man, it was from the 
third troop that the escort was taken for the cart ! " 

" Exactly ; and as long as they rode with us there 
were no robberies. I suppose those of the escort did 
not want to disgrace themselves by appearing to be 
beaten by brigands. But, Lord 1 how they must have 
laughed in their sleeves 1 " 

The Pandur began to get a little flurried. 

" But it is impossible, surely ; they are here to 

catch robbers, not to play the robbers. No, no; 
there is no sense in it What could possibly have 
moved them ? " 

"I don't know; perhaps they found it dull at 
Luma. They are magyars^ you know. When there 
is no wqlr, one has to do something for passing the 
time. Yes; I think I can understand. And they 
have been clever, too. But they would have been 
cleverer still if they had done something to the 
horses' faces, instead of only to the men's." 
■ •••••• 

Within twenty-four hours the bubble was burst 

The bullet found in Ilka's shoulder proved to 
be the key of the riddle which had caused the 
chief magistrate's hair almost to grow grey before 
its time. The investigation, guided by this clue, led 
to perhaps the most surprising result that did ever 

The explanation of how, during three months, 
these gallant defenders of their country had, under 
cover of their uniform, so successfully played the 
highwaymen, was, after all, very simple. Given 
thirty men, isolated by their position from outward 
observation, given a villageful of terrorised peasants, 
tongue-tied by the threats of the ruthless magyars^ 
and partly also bribed by a share of the spoil — the 
wonder of the achievement was not really so great 
as at first sight appeared. These spoils were con- 
siderable, for on the road through the forest lay the 
chief communication with the capital. It was from 

350 ubc tovac of 1tt&Mes 

theie that came the pink silk jackets and the braided 
coats which, while their rightful owners sighed for 
them in vain, had furnished so convenient a disguise 
to the amateur brigands. 

As an examination of outhouses proved, the last 
haul had been a particularly abundant one, as such 
hauls are apt to be on the eve of Christmas, Many 
were the dainties, and many the objects of dress and 
of jewellery, destined, no doubt, to figure upon the 
Christmas table, and now dragged to light from out 
of earth cellars. 

Yet is it not too much to say that sordid gain 
was not the only, and not even the chief motive, 
which had lured these men to the wild, unrightful 
adventure, with their rightful leader at their head. 
It was, as the brown-faced driver had rightly con- 
jectured, the excitement of the undertaking which 
had most to answer for. Peace times are too slow 
for the quick - flowing Hungarian blood. The 
instincts of the great robber-nation had successfully 
demanded their rights. 


I AM an Austrian hussar lieutenant, but I think that 
by rights I ought to have been a diplomat- It was 
the affair of the six duels which caused me to 
discover my unsuspected talents in this direction. 
Without it I might never have known what 
diplomacy in general has lost by not counting 
me in its ranks. 

Before coming to the affair itself I must first say 
a word about the man — I mean the man who was 
to have fought the six duels, for I am not the 
" principal " in this story, I am only the " second " — 
quite literally th^ '' second," as will soon appear. 

My friend and comrade was likewise a lieutenant. 
Our uniforms, down to the single star on our collars, 
were alike, but our dispositions were different He 
was an unmixed Hungarian, with, to judge from his 
general demeanour, something like an air-balloon in 
his head, and something like a decoction of gun- 
powder in his veins ; while in mine there flowed both 
German and Bohemian blood, a combination which 
enables me to take a somewhat calmer view of life 
than did most of my magyar comrades. 

Our garrison town, situated upon a sandy plain, 

25> xn)e i^n^e of navtics 

consisted principally of a few gorgeous buildings 
standing at great distances from each other, and 
with a wilderness of low, straggly houses, and of 
bottomless mud between. As soon as a Hungarian 
provincial town has attained a theatre, a church, a 
synagogue, and a town-hall, it considers itself con- 
stituted, and proceeds to rest on its laurels, without 
troubling about further developments. A feature of 
the place — ^as of all places in Hungary — ^was the 
gypsy bands. I don't refer to what English people 
understand by gypsies, but to the musical performers 
who swarm all over Hungary, gaining their living 
by fiddling away — ^sometimes in wonderful fashion — 
at weddings and dances, or simply in any pot-house 
where men are drinking the strong, cheap wines of 
the country. The Hungarian adores his wine-glass, 
but he also adores the fiddle. The combination of 
the two spells for him paradise. 

On the evening I am thinking of, I was visiting 
one of the said pot-houses, in company with Farkas, 
the fiery lieutenant aforementioned. But Farkas 
was not only fiery, he was also rather aggressively 
musical. Neither his finances nor the size of his 
quarters in the barracks permitted the possession of 
a piano, but he did what he could to fill this blank 
in his life by an instrument called, I believe, a comei 
a pistons^ and whose use, between walls, ought, in my 
opinion, to be prohibited by law. Mercifully for the 
peace of Farkas's comrades regimental duties were so 
strenuous as to leave little leisure for cultivating the 

XTbe Stors of Sis S)uel5 253 

gentler arts. The times we suflered most were when 
in consequence of some escapade — not infrequently 
connected with midnight brawls — he was under 
sentence of Zimmer Arrest (confinement to his 
room). The nature of the tones which on those 
occasions issued from his quarters quite sufficiently 
explained the rather tender solicitude with which his 
more immediate neighbours in the barracks were 
wont to w^tch over his general conduct And yet 
the fearful instrument had its uses. Thus the Captain 
was known only once, on a rather blacker occasion 
than usual, to have extended the Zimmer Arrest to 
a whole week. His windows were straight opposite 
to those of Farkas, you see, and there was no rule 
which forbade the prisoner to practise at his open 
windows all day, and all night too, if he so chose. 
The Captain said nothing, being a silent man, but 
from that time on a suspicious sort of indulgence 
was to be noted in his bearing towards the musical 
lieutenant — a certain "winking at" offences which, 
taken notice of, must infallibly have led to more 
Zimmer Arrest, 

As a matter of course, Farkas vi^sfrire cochon with 
all the musical performers of the town, and con- 
sequently with all the gypsies. This evening, as we 
took our places in the eating-room, in the centre of 
which one of the usual bands was at work, the 
Primas (leader), spying him out through the smoke- 
thickened atmosphere of the place, first grinned in 
dazzling fashion, and then, closely followed by all 

954 Vbe fionse or mvblcB 

the other instruments, jumped straight from the 
long-drawn melody he had been playing into a 
particularly rattling Czardas^ known to stand high on 
the list of Farkas's favourite airs. The delighted 
lieutenant smiled back again at his musical chum, 
and all seemed benevolence and goodwill until 
suddenly an unexplained commotion became notice- 
able at one of the more distant tables. The half- 
dozen or so of civilians who sat there did not belong 
to our personal acquaintances, and to judge from the 
array of bottles before them, they meant to make an 
evening of it But that was no reason why they 
should all be frowning and staring indignantly in 
our direction. Presently one of them beckoned 
peremptorily to the Primas, upon which the CsanUu 
broke off rather abruptly. 

A minute later the little, dark-faced man 
approached us, crestfallen. 

"I cannot play for you to-night," he explained, 
with a suspicion of '^ cringe" in his attitude, and 
looking ruefully at Farkas, ''It is the gentlemen 
at the other table who have engaged me. I had 
forgotten that When you came into the room now 
the lUona Czardas seemed to fly straight into my 
head. But I will play it to you another time." 

" Thank you ! I can do without both you and the 
Czardas^* snapped Farkas. 

He had plunged abruptly into the worst of 
humours, but was, of course, far too familiar with 
the customs of his country to make any attempt at 

tn>e Stors of Sfs SmelB 255 

persuasion. To have '^ engaged" the gypsies is 
practically to have bought them, body and soul, for 
the space of one night It is your favourite airs, not 
the favourite airs of anyone else, which they are bound 
to play — a hundred times on end, if it so lists you ; 
and if you choose to have them fiddled straight into 
your ear, as tipsy men seem to find some strange 
enjoyment in doing, not even the haughiest of 
Primas will dare to refuse. 

Farkas's reply was, therefore, a foregone con- 
clusion ; but noticing his look as he gave it, as well 
as the other looks being shot in our direction from 
over there, I began to scent danger. As far as I 
could make out across the crowded room the 
company around that distant table were all young 
and athletic, while the darkness of their complexions 
sufficiently showed them to be of the same nationality 
as my excitable friend. Either my German or my 
Bohemian blood it must have been which prompted 
me to separate the explosives before a collision took 
place, or which, in other words, led me to suggest 
that we should raise the sitting, and seek out another 
pot-house, and possibly another Pritnas^ whose 
services might still be on the market Farkas 
agreed with suspicious alacrity, but scarcely had I 
reached the door when I perceived that he had given 
me the slip. Walking straight over to the inimical 
table, he planted himself before it — as I afterwards 
learnt — remarking to everyone in general that he 
much regretted the mistake that had occurred, but 

3S6 UDe Douse ot iRfdMes 

that he could not be expected to know that ''this 
sort of gentlemen " had engaged the gypsies. Upon 
which, with an ironical bow, he retired, followed 
by the entire table-round, loudly demanding an 
explanation of the ambiguous words. 

Fortunately I had remained at the door. Putting 
the snorting Farkas behind me, I received the charge 
in a body. 

If any of the gentlemen wished to have anything 
whatever explained, I politely informed them, it was 
to me that they would be so good as to come, since 
from this moment onward I became my friend's 
representative. Perhaps my German "heaviness" 
acted as a breakwater, for in spite of their obviously 
burning indignation, and the number of glasses of wine 
which,still more obviously, they had already consumed, 
they actually made no attempt to come to immediate 
blows, and having thrust my card into the hand of 
the foremost of my assailants, I was enabled to take 
Farkas by the arm and march him off unmolested, 
though spluttering. 

"You will act for me?" he asked, savagely 
twirling his moustache as we stepped into the street 

" Of course I will ; but only on condition that you 
leave the matter entirely in my hands." 

" All right ; but no patching up, mind ! Of course 
rU fight them all 1 " 

And he rattled his sword against his boot, as 
though inclined already to pluck it from the 

Vbe StovB ot Six 2)uel0 257 

" Of course I " I said ; " unless they apologise." 

Farkas laughed scornfully and joyfully. Evidently 
he thought there was no danger of an apology. 

Next momingy on my return from an arduous two 
hours in the riding school, I found four unknown 
young men waiting for me at my quarters. They all 
looked preternaturally grave, and all bowed to me with 
a punctiliousness which could mean only one thing. I 
was not surprised, of course, and during a rather 
broken night, had laid ready the arguments that were 
to help avert a catastrophe — for that the idiotic affair 
of last night must not be allowed to end in bloodshed 
had been resolved in my mind from the first It is 
all very well to bleed, or to let one's friend bleed, 
for either a good, rattling insult or for a pair of 
very blue or very black eyes, but because of a 
bungling Prtmas or an interrupted Czardas i Not 
if my name was Hans Willner ! 

After a preliminary of introductions, in which four 
names were mentioned, not one of which I had ever 
heard before : 

^ We are here in the name of Bela Kubinny, medical 
student," a fat but sallow youth explained to me, in 
what I took to be a purposely funereal tone of voice. 
'\ . • He considers himself insulted in his honour by 
the extraordinary remark made by Lieutenant Farkas 
last night, and accordingly demands satisfaction. We 
wish to consult with you upon the form which that 
satisfaction is to take. I myself should say that 
it is unquestionably a case for pistols." 


25S JOyc Dovac ot iRfdMes 

^ So should I/' chimed in a ferocioas-looldr^ young 
man, whose black eyes positively rolled in his head, 
and who glared at me as though prepared at any 
moment to jump straight at my throat 

*" The insult being given in a public place greatly 
aggravates the offence. Nothing but blood can wash 
out the words that were spoken." 

"And whom do you represent, sir?" I inquired, 
with intensified politeness, as I turned in his direction. 

** Geza Szappanyas, notary." 

" And Mr. Szappanyas, too, considers himself 

''Deeply. You are not aware, perhaps, that 
Lieutenant Farkas called him 'a sort of gentle- 
man.' A nice sort of gentleman he would be 
indeed if he could sit still under such an insinuation ! 
No, no ; there must be blood — very much blood ! " 

And he licked his rather thick lips, as though he 
tasted it already. 

" Hadasy is quite of my opinion ; are you not, 

Here he rather forcibly nudged a scraggy and 
nervous-looking individual at his side. 

"Yes; I am of that opinion," this person said 
hurriedly and jerkily, after having twice audibly 
swallowed before he could get out his voice. 

" The affair is, no doubt, a serious one," I began, 
when there came another knock at the door. 

Two more civilians; one of them red -cheeked and 
ridiculously young, the other elderly and pompous. 

Vbe Stors of Sis S)nels 259 

*'You will have no difficulty in divining my 
errand," the latter began, a little breathless still 
from the staircase, " when I tell you that I come 
on the part of Mr. Feketebatar." 

I nearly said, " Who on earth is Mr. Feketebatar? " 
but stopping myself in time, bowed silently instead. 

He then named himself elaborately, and, having 
cleared his throat, began to get under way. 

" The conduct which Lieutenant Farkas considered 
fit to — ah, to display last night, has unavoidably 
given rise to much comment. Such conduct I cannot 
otherwise define as — as — " 

"Cheeky," put in the boy behind him, and was 
immediately quelled by a glance full of unspeakable 

*' Such conduct, I repeat, can only be defined as 
highly detrimental to that nice sense of honour, 
which— " 

'' Come in ! " I here said, for my door had again 

Another pair of total strangers, which signified two 
more introductions and another initial speech. I 
began to wonder, with a sinking heart, how many 
wine-drinkers had sat round the supper -table last 

Soon I was to know. The next ten minutes 
brought two more couples of seconds, for, as it 
turned out, yesterday's company had consisted of a 
round half-dozen of men, each of whom considered 
himself personally and specially insulted by Farkas's 

96o Vbe Donse of Uttftbles 

ironical remark. This meant that six hot-blooded 
Hungarians were burning to avenge the supposed 
slight to their honour. At first sight the matter 
certainly appeared hopeless, and oceans of blood 
unavoidable. Of the six furious men represented 
by twelve scarcely less furious seconds, surely tme 
was bound to have Farkas's life I As I lent a 
distracted ear to the sounds issuing from the 
neighbouring room — for the comet d pistons was 
just now working at high pressure — I wondered 
whether I should ever hear it again, after to-morrow. 
Nor was my anxiety lessened by the obviously 
irritating effect which the music had upon the nerves 
of the ^ seconds/' and no wonder either, seeing that 
it was the Illona Czardas which Farkas had selected 
for performance. By the way their eyes rolled and 
their moustaches bristled, it was clear that they were 
acquainted with the part which the fateful melody 
had played in last night's incident 

^ Gentlemen," I began, a little uncertainly, " since 
your grievance is common, I suppose I may address 
myself to you all collectively. It would take rather 
long, I fear, to talk over matters separately with each 
pair of representatives. At this rate we should never 
get to the—" 

"To the shooting," finished the blood-thirsty youth. 
« Just so. Decidedly there is no time to lose." 

" Go ahead, please," remarked the red-cheeked boy, 
with all the frivolity of extreme youth. " What's the 
objection ? " 

Vbe StovB of Six 2)ttel0 261 

Upon which his pompous companion first 
annihilated him with another of his tremendous 
glances, and then deliberately opened his mouth. 

"I am not sure that objection cannot be raised 
s^ainst the correctness of the arrangement This 
course is certainly not the one usually — ** 

"There is one question I should like to ask/* I 
interrupted. "Which of you gentleman were present 
at the unfortunate incident of last night ? " 

They had none of them been present, it appeared. 

I breathed more freely, even while hypocritically 
observing : 

"That is unfortunate. It would have simplified 
matters, I think, if there had been more witnesses 
than myself. Things sometimes sound so very 
different when described, you know." 

I singled out, as I spoke, the only comparatively 
stolid young man of the party, whose pacific exterior 
had raised hopes of finding an ally. 

But the stolid young man disappointed me by 
stolidly remarking that things generally are worse 
than they are described. 

" I do not deny that Lieutenant Farkas has been 
guilty of an indiscretion," I quickly went on, " nor 
will I attempt to explain the words he used." 

" Perhaps Lieutenant Farkas would himself explain 
what exactly he meant by a * sort of gentleman ' ? " put 
in the scraggy and serious man, visibly brightening. 
" Must his meaning necessarily have been offensive? " 

I looked hopefully towards the new speaker. 

962 xox Donee or IRtdMes 

Evidently he would do better than the stolid young 
man, whom I had already mentally dropped as a bad 

** He's not going to apologise, surely ? " asked the 
Blood-thirsty One quickly, his jaw falling. 

" Nothing but the fullest and most correct apology 
could be accepted under the circumstances," was the 
Pompous One's verdict 

'' I quite agree with you. The only question is 
from which side the apology ought to come." 

For about half a minute they glared at me ; then 
for another half minute I thought that they were 
going to fall upon me, all twelve of them, and rend 
me limb from limb. 

" Let me explain," I hastily pursued. '' You must 
remember that I am judging from my own eyesight, 
while you are forced to do so from hearsay. How 
did the difference arise ? The Primas was the real 
offender, of course — but did it not aggravate matters 
to use this same offender as a spokesman, instead of 
personally explaining matters to Lieutenant Farkas, 
as surely would have been the correct course?" 
(Here I took the Pompous One steadily under 
my eye.) "Are not such things better settled 
between gentleman and gentleman than through the 
intervention of an unwashed gypsy ? " 

''It does sound as though it would have been 
more correct/' remarked the Pompous One, abruptly 

" And more tactful, perhaps," I put in. " Are any 

XTbe Stors of Sis B)uels 263 

of these gentlemen prepared to deny that there was 
a certain want of savoir faire shown in sending 
the message through the Primas? It stands to 
reason, surely, that the words used by Lieutenant 
Farkas can only have been meant to apply to who* 
ever it was who committed this tactless act. It is 
that person alone who can possibly feel ofTeqded — 
even if occasion for offence be granted. Therefore, 
it is with the representatives of that person alone 
that I have to da Let them kindly name themselves." 

In the stage-pause which I made, they all looked at 
each other so foolishly that my heart felt considerably 
lightened. Perhaps because they are the people 
most conspicuously devoid of tact, Hungarians in 
general ardently covet the reputation of this quality. 
A Magyar would much rather be called a murderer 
any day than a social bungler. It would take a good 
deal, as I knew, to induce any of the six principals to 
" give himself up " as the detected offender in this 

'' Not that I have any desire at all," I quickly went 
on — **to exaggerate the importance of an act to 
which the gentleman in question would probably not 
have stooped before his first bottle of wine." (Here 
their faces might have been seen unanimously to 
expand. To accuse a Hungarian of hard drinking is 
to pay him a compliment) 

*' I maintain only that the act was committed, and 
my friend's irritation thereby sufficiently explained ; 
he, be it remembered, having acted in perfect good 

a64 TCbe Donse of ItXbVUB 

faith, unaware as he was of the Frimas^s engagement 
But he does not wish to shelter himself behind that 
fact, and is ready to give the fullest satisfaction to 
the gentleman who sent the message." 

I made a second stage-pause, filled only by the 
notes of the Instrument alongside. But no one 
stepped forward, though the Blood-thirsty One was 
fiercely twirling his moustache. 

*' Whether a mere lapse of tact is a sufficient cause 
for bloodshed is a question which I must leave to 
your consciences," I observed, straight at the 
scra^^ young man, on whose nerves I was 
deliberately attempting to play, and with some 
success too, as I could see by the shiver that ran 
over his narrow frame. But even he showed 
no direct signs of yielding. Obviously, though 
staggered by this new view of the case, they were 
passionately reluctant to retreat from their position. 

All now depended upon pressing home my 
advantage before they had time to discover that 
the wrongs were about equal on either side. 

This I proceeded to do with all the wiliness at 
my command, but of course it couldn't be accom- 
plished in half an hour, nor in one sitting. It was 
an arduous day for us alL I ate little, and I think 
they ate nothing at all, for the pourparlers lasted till 
well into the dark. From morning until night all 
the hired vehicles of the place were engaged in 
putting down serious and preoccupied young men 
before the barrack gates, then — another conference 

Vbe Stovs of Sis 2)nels 965 

being over— driving back to the tow^ in the nearest 
thing they could achieve to a gallop, in order to 
consult with their ** principals." Taken thus 
separately or in pairs, they were not much easier 
to deal with than they had been en masse^ my chief 
difficulty being in disentangling the different sets of 
seconds, and remembering which of them belonged 
together, and of whom they were the representatives. 
I knew that the Pompous and the Frivolous Ones, the 
Blood-thirsty and the Nervous Ones ran in couples, 
because the first was always annihilating the second 
(to whom the whole affair was obviously a " lark "), 
while the third-mentioned lost no opportunity of 
stirring up the blood of his unworthy companion ; 
but which of the two couples represented the 
offended notary, and which the aggrieved medical 
student — or was it perhaps the landed proprietor, 
or the budding lawyer? — and whether it was a 
principal or a "second" who answered to the 
melodious names of Feketebatar and Szappanyas, 
were points upon which my overworked memory 
flatly refused to react, a circumstance which was all 
the more critical, as any vagueness touching identity 
would undoubtedly have meant a new and deadly 
offence — bound to lead to a fresh set of challenges 
and a quite incalculable amount of bloodshed. 
There were short ones and long ones among them, 
fat ones and thin ones, young ones and elderly ones, 
but all I could do was to make a guess at their 
individualities, and proceed accordingly, humouring 

966 vbe Dovac of IRibUes 

the fanatic for '' corectness " to the top of his bent, 
and drawing for the obviously nervous man the most 
appalling pictures possible of the probable results of 
the dueL (Subsequently I found out that he was 
accustomed to faint at the sight of blood, which 
explained much.) Needless to say that the 
conferences were of very different length and 
frequency, correspondfaig to the different tem- 
peraments of the different principals and to the 
susceptibility of their respective senses of honour. It 
was the notary's honour, strangely enough, which 
requhred the most careful handling — ^notaries being, 
in other countries at least, more generally associated 
with the shedding of ink than of blood. Both my 
eloquence and my diplomacy were well-nigh 
exhausted by the time I had succeeded in soothing 
the ruffled pride of the man of pen-and-paper. 

To cut a long story short, the end of the four- 
parUrSf and of the reckless expenditure in cabs, was 
that the six principals, not one of whom would 
name himself as the perpetrator of the '* tactlessness " 
afore-mentioned, elected to apologise in a body to 
Lieutenant Farkas (to the deep disappointment of 
the Blood-thirsty One, and scarcely less of the 
Lieutenant himself), after which effort, Hungarian 
fury being nearly allied to straw-fire, and the 
national good -nature gaining the upper hand, 
everyone proceeded to swear eternal friendship all 
round, the event being celebrated by booking the 
same gipsy band which had begun by being the 

Vbe StovB of Sii Buels 367 

bone of contention, and drinking hard until dawn, to 
the music of innumerable Czardas ! 

At that bouty at which not one of the six 
principals or of the twelve seconds was awanting, 
and at which the Blood-thirsty One drowned his 
disappointment so successfully as to have to be 
carried home on a shutter, I am not too modest to 
admit that I played a conspicuous part — was, in fact, 
celebrated as something of a hero, being universally 
congratulated upon the success of my negotiations, 
and even honoured by a felicitation from the 
Pompous One upon the ''correct" way in which I 
had conducted this '' delicate affair." 

Whenever nowadays any civilian, of whose identity 
I am not sure, takes off his hat to me in the street, 
I am always perfectly safe to conclude that he is one 
of the dozen seconds whose visiting-cards I have 
lying at home. Really, it would seem that in that 
one day I had made acquaintance with about half 
the town. 

''Where on earth have you picked up so many 
civilian friends?" my comrades ask me sometimes, 
to which I airily reply : 

" Seconds, my boy — all second&" 

" In duels you have fought ? Why, there must have 
been about fifty?" 

"No; they were only six — and they were not 
fought at all, for the matter of that." 

>68 tCbe Donse of 1lf^Me8 

It is the one grand diplomatic achievement of my 
life. I cannot think of it without feeling that I am 
wasted in a cavalry raiment 

Clearly, an embassy — the richer in international 
complications the better — would be the proper field 
for my talents. 


''And what is the new mademoiselle like?" inquired 
Mrs. Main of Mrs. Fattington as she stirred her tea. 

Mrs. Fattington first gave a look round to make 
sure that neither of the boys was within hearing, and 
then bent confidentially nearer. 

"A monster, my dear — ^simply a monster! Not 
only as ugly as sin, but with the worst put-in glass 
eye I've ever met The first sight of her quite gave 
me a turn." 

"You seem to deal in monsters/' laughed the 
pretty Mrs. Main. "That German master I met 
the other day on the staircase would almost do for 
a show. I can't think where you pick up these 
oddities. And aren't you afraid of the dear 
children's aesthetic sensibilities getting blunted by 
the sight of too many horrors ? " 

" They haven't got any aesthetic sensibilities," said 
Mrs. Fattington serenely. "If they were girls it 
might matter, perhaps — ^but boys! It won't keep 
them from discovering the pretty faces when their 
time comes. I'm sure I wish it would." 

Mrs. Main departed, smiling indulgently. She 

knew that in this house economy was cultivated 


970 tTbe Douse of VfDMes 

quite as carefully as languages. That Jack and Bob 
should talk '' in divers tongues " appeared as desir- 
able to Mrs. Pattington as that these tongues should 
be cheaply acquired Doubtless this French teacher 
had been secured below market value^ simply because 
it is not everybody who can stand the sight of a glass 
eye; just as Mrs. Main knew for certain that the 
Teutonic dwarf who gave the German lessons had 
been dropped out of ever so many houses for the 
reason that it was impossible to get the children to 
take seriously a teacher who stood four feet in his 

It was rather nervously that the '' monster " made 
her entry into the schoolroom next day. The first 
meeting with new pupils had grown to be an ordeal 
whose terrors increased with time, instead of 
diminishing. She knew by heart the stare of 
astonishment, followed by the ill-disguised grin. 
What came after that depended entirely upon the 
good nature or good breeding of the children 

This was to be one of the bad cases, as she quickly 
perceived. Boys usually were worse than girls ; and 
these boys seemed to be picked specimens of that 
gamin class that lives only for "larks/' and has 
never even heard mention made of the ^ quality of 
mercy." The bare fact of her being a French 
teacher would, quite independently of her looks, 
have made her position sufficiently unenviable, 
seeing that both Jack and Bob strenuously resisted 

Xi;be XTwo Aonsters 271 

the maternal plan of education, which struck them as 
an encroachment on the rights of the British Human 
Boy. The last mademoiselle, whose nerves were 
weak, had been satisfactorily disposed by means of 
a blindworm which the nine-year-old Jack had 
secreted in his pocket, and let loose upon the table 
at the psychological moment It was this incident — 
for Mademoiselle Leblanc, having flown in hysterics, 
had flatly refused ever again to set foot within the 
Pattington house — which had led to the engagement 
of Mademoiselle Jardin. Even a Greek profile would 
scarcely have been of much assistance to her in the 
administration of French grammar ; what then was 
to be expected from the combination of the grammar 
and the glass eye ? 

The intermittent presence of Mr. Spencer, the 
tutor, a very long-drawn-out and very "exquisite" 
young man, did not mend matters much — aggravated 
them rather. The frowns with which, when passing 
through the schoolroom, he by way of punished 
Bob's aggressive giggles, were visibly a hollow 
mockery, and more than once the poor monster 
thought with her one eye to catch a glimpse of a 
mutual smile exchanged between Jack and the super- 
fine youth, who unmistakably belonged to that class 
of lady-killers who seem to consider the mere sight 
of a plain woman to be a sort of personal affront to 
their finer sensibilities. 

During the dictation, which, for economical reasons, 
was made upon slates, the new teacher felt an intimate 

>7« tTbe Donee of UttdMes 

conviction that it was not only U ckkn and U dud 
which figured on the dark surface. Jack's pencil 
was too busy, and his blue eyes travelled back to 
her face too frequently, not to awake other sug^^es- 
tions. When she caught the movement of a nudge, 
she knew as well as though she saw it that there was 
a monster portrayed upon the slate — ^perhaps not 
even a much worse monster than the one now giving 
the dictatioa The facilities she offered for caricature 
were too well known to her to let her be surprised at 
the breadth of Bob's grin. But for all that, her one 
eye filled suddenly with tears. Both boys, golden- 
locked and blue-eyed, had a misleading cherubic air 
about them, and she felt that she could have loved 
them, if only they would let her. 

She was furtively using her handkerchief when 
there came a knock at the door, and both slates were 
promptly thrown down, not without a discreet sleeve 
having been passed over one of them, while Bob 
said almost joyfully : 

"That's Tom Thumb." 

It meant another " language," of course, but even a 
change of evils is sometimes welcome. 

Mademoiselle rose almost as gladly as her pupils, 
and immediately opened her one eye about as wide 
as they had opened theirs at the first sight of her, 
finding herself confronted by quite the smallest 
specimen of grown-up humanity which she had ydi 
seen outside of a circus. Besides the characteristi- 
cally high shoulders and deep -set head of the 

XTbe XTwo abowtcxs 273 

genuine dwarf, Herr Wurzler had an enormous 
beard, which, spreading over his disproportionately 
broad chest and flowing to his waist (not that it had 
far to flow), put the seal of the gnome-like upon his 
appearance. ' 

For a moment the two monsters looked at each 
other, then, before Mademoiselle Jardin had recovered 
from her surprise, Herr Wurzler executed a bow 
almost beautiful enough to have come from one of 
her own countrymen, murmuring his name the while 
in a deeply guttural voice. 

She smiled — that is, she uncovered her teeth — and 
introduced herself; upon which the two again looked 
at each other, this time with the astonishment gone, 
and in its place a sort of interest, as though each 
had abruptly become aware of some ground of 
mutual sympathy. 

'' Mademoiselle is the new French teacher ? " said 
Herr Wurzler, with an interest as warm as his French 
was execrable. 

^'Ak out — I am that; JawoMr added Mademoiselle 
Jardin, producing one of her few German words, a 
return, as it were, of his linguistic readiness. 

"Your difficulties will not be small," said the 
German, as he glanced significantly across the 
room. ''But perhaps you will allow me to wish 
you success?" 

Mademoiselle Jardin came as near to blushing as 
the leathery nature of her complexion would allow. 
After the mockery of the boys, the thinly veiled 

274 XTbe 1)on0e of KUdMes 

impertinence of Mr. Spencer, this politeness came 
like balm upon a wounded spirit She was actually 
being treated like any average woman instead of like 
an oddity ; and though the man who so treated her 
might himself be an oddity, she had for the moment 
lost sight of this fact 

It was, therefore, with a pleasant, rather than an 
unpleasant, impression that the first lesson ended. 

The trials of the second were much lightened by 
the thought of the knock at the door to follow. 
Both the boys and the tutor were almost harder to 
bear than last time, but in the prospect of a few 
friendly words from a fellow-sufferer — ^the "Tom 
Thumb" had been enough to tell her that he was 
that — of another little taste of ordinary politeness, 
there lay a comfort which kept her brave during the 
ordeal, so brave, in fact, that when, together with 
the sound of a footstep on the stairs, the words 
''Tom Thumb" again met her ears, she actually 
achieved a reproach. 

^^Cest trh impoli de parler de la sorted' she 
remarked, as judicially as she was able, and fixing 
Jack with her one eye, while the other, glass one, 
remained turned upon Bob, being, as Mrs. Pattington 
had observed, so badly put in that, except at rare 
moments, the real eye and the sham one could not 
agree as to direction. This was a circumstance 
much appreciated by her pupils, who could always, 
with some show of plausibility, decline to Igiow 
who was being looked at and addressed. 

Ube XCwo Aonsters 375 

Mr. Spencer, in the act of fetching a book, raised 
his eyebrows in cold surprise. 

^ Be so kind as to look after their French, if you 
please," he pointedly observed. " I'll look after their 
manners, thank you." 

^Mais tnonsieur** she began, when already Herr 
Wurzler was in the room. 

The thought of what had just passed put a touch 
of effusiveness into her greeting. She wanted to 
show that she, at least, did not see in him a figure 
of fun, just as she wanted that odious young man 
to understand that she was not ashamed of her 

" Quel monsire I " she repeated to herself, as she 
descended the stairs. But it was no physical 
monster she thought of; it was a moral one. 

It was not long before, to her agreeable astonish- 
ment, she became aware that she too had gained a 

There had been another slate dictation, and Herr 
Wurzler had come in before it was quite done — a 
few minutes ahead of his time. Passing behind 
Jack's chair, he had abruptly stood still, while that 
heedless young gentleman still bent over his slate. 
Suddenly the German master said ^^ Donnerwetter f'^ 
and snatching the slate from the boy's hands, first 
spat upon it and then vehemently erased something 
with his handkerchief. What his beard left visible 
of his face was distorted with anger, and his small 
eyes gleamed with as sinister a light as those of 

a76 TSbc Douse of ItidMes 

any gnome in a faity-tale. So malignant a dwarf 
did he look at the moment, that Jack only gasped, 
instead of rebelling. 

A few days later, Mademoiselle Jardin, looking 
out French reading-books at the book-shop round 
the corner, found herself unexpectedly close to Herr 
Wurzler, whose object, apparently, was German 
grammars. As soon as he could feel sure of 
having met her eye, he executed one of his 
elaborate bows, and then looked at her inquir* 
ingly, as though uncertain as to how far, in their 
first meeting upon neutral ground, the pursuit of 
the acquaintance was desired. 

"C^mrn^ il est dilicat!^ was her thought, as she 
read the question in his tiny eyes, and simultane- 
ously showed her irregular teeth in a smile that was 
distinctly a smile of encouragement. Herr Wurzler 
read it aright, for, in spite of having the German 
grammar already under his arm, he lingered on 
while she selected the French reading-books, and 
at her departure from the shop asked leave 
elaborately to accompany her down the street 

^^ Mais urtainement^ Monsieur— Jawchl I ^^ was the 
flurried but ready leply. 

When they haa walked a little bit, he carrying 
the French books, of which he had insisted on 
relieving her, and both of them talking assiduously 
of the weather — ^^shop" being avoided, as though 
by mutual consent — mademoiselle made a plunge. 

''What was that Monsieur Jacques had drawn 

tTbe XTwo Aonstere 277 

upon his slate the other day — ^the day you were 
so angry. I much wish that you would tell me." 

There was a certain insinuation in the tone as she 
turned her eye down upon him (having previously 
taken care to get him on the side of the real eye). 

For a moment Herr Wurzler looked as though he 
were going to get angry all over again. His very 
beard quivered visibly. 

*' It was something very abominable/' he said, with 
suppressed fierceness. " Let us not talk of it" 

" But I wish to know— iVA bitte sie I " 

'' I will not tell you/' said the obstinate dwarf. 

•' Then I will tell you ! " she burst out " It was a 
picture of me, a caricature, perhaps drawn in the 
semblance of a toad, of a cat, qut sais jet Ah ! I 
have seen them heXoT^,Jawohl!*' 

" But, mademoiselle/' he attempted to put in, but 
she was not to be stopped. 

"Ah, leave me! It is not the first time, and it 
won't be the last time either. Those children have 
no mercy — ^nor their parents either/' she added, under 
her breath. 

The dwarf laughed defiantly. 

"Mdrcy! who wants their mercy? Because one 
happens to be dilFTerent from what they are, is that 
a reason to hang one's peace on their judgment? 
Do you think I care whether they wag their heads 
at me because I am a few inches shorter than they 
are? Not a bit of it I They think to be cruel— ah, 
yes ; but I snap my finger at their cruelty/' 

978 tTbe lionse of IRidUes 

In an impartial observer the bluster of the tone 
might have awakened suspicions, but mademoiselle 
was not an impartial observer. To her it was all 
genuine bravery and disdain. 

*' I wish I too could snap my fingers," she said, 
with a farewell gesture, for alas ! the door of the 
Pattingtons' abode was already reached. '* But it 
was good of you, to reprove the boy," she added 
fervently, " though the tutor really is worse than the 

She went upstairs almost light-heartedly, feeling 
able to smile at boys and tutor alike. It was not 
only that she had found an ally, it was also that 
she had caught a new light upon the situation. 

From the first she had looked forward to the end 
of the lesson, and to the few words exchanged with 
her successor. Now she began to yearn for it. His 
gratifying punctuality — a punctuality which often 
anticipated its time — seemed to show that for him, 
too, those few minutes of talk had a value. On the 
rare occasions when he was late, mademoiselle would 
lingeringly descend the stairs, with a sense of dis« 
appointment upon her. To tarry beyond her own 
hour struck her as unseemly, despite her forty 

It was on the occasion of their second meeting at 
the book-shop close by, for the consumption in 
grammars was considerable — that Herr Wurzler 
electrified Mademoiselle Jardin by asking her where 
she spent her Sunday afternoons, following up the 

Vbe XTwo Aonsters 279 

question by suggesting that they should meet in the 
public gardens next Sunday, and enjoy themselves 
by looking at the people coming back from church. 
Mademoiselle agreed in a fluster. As a rule, she 
avoided the public gardens as she would a pillory, 
but with Herr Wurzler by her side, she felt quite 
strong enough to face their terrors. Although, with 
true French instinct, she carefully cultivated incon- 
spicuousness in dress, she allowed herself this time 
to be tempted to a dark red bow at the throat. 
Anxiously she tried the "touch of colour" before 
the glass. It was due to her companion, she felt, to 
look, if not exactly her best, yet her least repulsive. 

They, did not walk about much when the time 
came. As though by a tacit understanding they 
sought out a seat in a comparatively retired walk, 
perhaps with the unspoken thought that the difference 
of height was less conspicuous when sitting. Here 
the church-goers came by in single Hie, affording 
sufficient entertainment without becoming over- 
whelming. Side by side upon their comfortable 
bench the two monsters basked in the autumn 
sunshine, and although they espied many smiles and 
many stares upon the faces of the passers-by, and 
guessed at the remarks of which they were the subject, 
they felt to-day quite equal to staring back again, 
as they made their own remarks. 

" Does it not strike you how tiresomely alike most 
people are?" had been one of Herr Wurzler's first 
observations. ''AH made by the dozen, or the 

28o jok iMnse of Iti^Mes 

hundred, just as though they were turned out of 
some cheap factory. Nothing individual or strikit^ ; 
no unique specimens to speak of. And how frightened 
they are of exceptions! If any man or woman 
diverges ever so sh'ghtly from the standing rule, these 
poor slaves of convention almost go into fits from 
pure astonishment." 

Mademoiselle laughed quite gaily. The remark 
struck her as both humorous and true. 

*' It is true that most people are very fade to look 
at," she almost simpered. 

**As though there was only one way of being 
agreeable to the eye I Such are the prejudices of 
the narrow human mind I " 

At that very moment Herr Wurzler visibly winced, 
having caught the word '* pigmy " on the lips of a 
passer-by, but upon his companion the incident was 

"/awoAI/" she murmured, in deep conviction, 
while he continued to expound his theories. 

By-and-by the mutual remarks b^an to take on a 
more personal character. 

"It's a mystery to me how anyone can admire 
those pink and white girls with the was{ilike waists," 
said Herr Wurzler presently, with ever- deepening 
disdain. "Ridiculous dolls that they are! I like 
something more solid, t)oth about the figure and the 

Upon which Mademoiselle Jardin could not refrain 
from glancing down with a certain satisfaction at her 

XTbe XTwo Obonstcxs aSi 

own ample girth, which quite undoubtedly came up 
to the description of solid. 

*' I can't stand these big men," she hastened to 
remark, with a feeling as though she were returning 
a compliment; ''the long, thin ones^ for instance, 
like that Monsieur Spencaire, they give one a feeling 
as though they would topple over. Oh, no ; I cannot 
stand them — Keine Spur I ^^ laughed mademoiselle, 
bringing out another of her scanty German phrases, 
which was likewise meant as a compliment An 
assertion and a n^ation formed about the whole of 
her German stock-in-trade. 

And thus the grotesque couple sat on upon the 
bench, well-nigh contemptuously sampling the stream 
of normal mortals that flowed past them — awarp of 
being in another camp from that terribly *' average " 
majority, yet feeling able by joining forces to defy 

That night Mademoiselle Jardin did not close her 
one eye until late. Before attempting to close it at 
all she had scrutinised it carefully in her little • 
cracked mirror. Though it had no living companion, 
she came to the conclusion that it was not such a 
bad colour, after all ; and did it not almost seem as 
though Herr Wurzler thought so too ? Could it be 
his innate politeness alone— so unusual in a German 
— whtch^ad moved him to accompany her up to the 
very threshold of her attic room, under pretence that 
she might stumble upon the dark staircase ? 

And he was more than merely polite. Lately she 

tSi jok Douae of IttdMes 

bad been coming to the conclusion that his appear- 
ance was — ^well, certainly not fade. It would be 
impossible to describe him as having been made by 
the hundred, or even by the dozen. Almost he 
deserved his own epithet of unique. Surely such a 
beard as his was worth the stature of many men 1 
And how courageous he was — how independent! 
What fiery words came over his lips, and how his 
eyes had gleamed as he tore away that slate ! They 
could not have gleamed more intrepidly had he been 
six feet high. 

It was with visions of heroes in her mind that 
mademoiselle went to sleep at last 

The months that followed were probably the 
happiest that had yet come to either of the 
monsters' lives. Hitherto, though only half 
acknowledged to themselves, they had lived as 
outcasts. It was not only because they were both 
strangers, and both toilers for daily bread, that they 
felt pushed towards each other, it was yet more 
because each felt shut out from the gentler amenities 
of life. Bitterly they had been aware of not fitting 
into the world. Now, unconsciously, they had set 
about founding a world of their own, a world which 
was to be ruled by quite new laws of aesthetics. Just 
as a certain wicked personage once called upon Evil 
to be his Good, so might the two monsters, had 
they put their whole thought into words, have cried 
out : 

*' Ugliness, be thou my Beauty \ " 

XTbe XTwo Aonsters 283 

In this new world mademoiselle soon discovered 
that her appearance was not only to be tolerated, but 
celebrated, and in something higher than mere prose. 

There came a day when she found in her exercise- 
book a sheet of paper covered with verses in which 
bonU was made to rhyme with beauU ; and wherein 
there was much talk of someone's lady-love, whose 
soul dwelt in her eye" — the form used {ses asuils) 
leaving it pleasingly doubtful whether the plural or 
the singular was being aimed at 

At sight of the first thing in the way of a love- 
message which had yet come her way, Mademoiselle 
Jardin grew a little dizzy. She did not even smile 
over the thickly sown faults of orthography, although 
from force of habit she put in the pencil corrections. 
For the first time in her. life she felt that she did not 
want to change her looks. If, such as they were, 
they had found favour in his eyes, what more could 
she require ? 

Presently she set about wondering as to the most 
suitable response to the effusion. After much 
reflection and hesitation she placed, with trembling 
fingers, a picture of Bertrand du Guesclin in the 
same book which had harboured the verses, having 
written at the foot : '* What has size to do with 
greatness ? " 

For a moment she thought of signing her name : 
"Valentine Jardin," but modestly refrained. 

There followed an interval of anguish of soul, 
caused by the fear lest he should take the reference 

s84 Zbc tonsc 01 1fti^^le^ 

to his stature as too offensively personal — and 
speedily relieved by the discovery of a second set of 
verses in the same place. 

Despite the exchange of veiled messages, despite 
even her blushing encouragement — for about this 
time the one eye began to do work for two — ^it is 
doubtful whether, without the help of external 
circumstances, her hero would ever have found the 
courage plainly to declare himself. Fifty is rather 
late for learning the tricks of love-making, and Herr 
Wurzler never had had the chance of learning them 
before, no woman hitherto having ever treated him 
as anything but a laughing-stock. 

The fortunate accident which occurred was due in 
about equal parts to those sham cherubs, Jack and 
Bob, whom the approach of Valentine's Day had 
rendered more than ever alert to 'Marks." 

" We'll send 'em each a valentine, and each will 
believe it's from t'other" — thus ran the outline of the 
plan, prepared by Jack to Bob, the two curly heads 
having been seriously put together. That ''Tom 
Thumb" and "Glass Gt^gle" were quite ridiculously 
polite to each other (not that politeness was not 
always ridiculous) had not escaped their youthful 
eyes, though neither had it entered their youthful 
brains that this politeness could possibly mean that 
which, between normal people, is called courting. 
Of match-making intentions both were immaculately 
innocent It was to be a "lark," nothing more— the 
14th of February always having appeared to them 

XCbe tCwo Aonsters 385 

as a sort of happy cross breed between valentines 
and April fools. 

Presently the idea of sending the valentines — ^half- 
pennies for stamps not being plentiful — ^was dropped. 
After all, there were much simpler and more 
economical ways of conveying the offerings. 

Jack, who represented the artistic element of the 
family, was soon busy with the drawing of a scarlet 
heart pierced by an arrow that might have been a 
pitchfork, to which Bob, standing for the literary 
element, contributed the following charming verse : 

" My heart is thine. 
Sweet Valentine ! " 

A second composition of equal merit followed 
promptly, indulgently winked at by Mr. Spencer, 
who excelled in not seeing things which it amused 
him to ignore. 

The French lesson on 14th February was a rest* 
less one on all sides. Not only were the boys 
waiting feverishly for the moment of putting the 
.crown upon their work, but also there was a half- 
holiday impending, unexpectedly granted in honour 
of the day. Neither was the teacher to be called 
calm. She knew that Herr Wurzler, not having been 
warned of the half-holiday, would appear at his usual 
hour. This meant that, unavoidably, they would 
descend the staircase together. Might it not mean 
another walk taken in common ? And on her own 
ftie day too I What good fortune ! 

s86 JOic Donse of IRfbMes 

When the moment came she was far too busy 
explaining to him the reason of the eliminated 
German lesson, to notice how closely the two pupils 
prowled around them. And yet, owing to the 
clumsiness of boyish fingers, the plan was only half 
successful, after all. It was Herr Wurzler alone who 
left the room with decorated coat-tails. 

As, side by side, they descended the staircase, 
mademoiselle thought to hear titters from over the 
balustrades, but heeded them not until, just as they 
reached the landing, something fluttered down from 
above, to fall at her feet Instinctively the polite 
German stooped to pick it up, and in the same 
instant the Frenchwoman uttered a horror-stricken 

*'0h, monsieur! what have they done to you? 
Ces gamins I " 

He looked at her in astonished inquiry, a daubed 
piece of paper in his hand. 

*'On your coat — ah, you must not go into the 
street like this ! If you would permit me — "* 

She put our her hand, and then drew it sharply 
back, dark-red in the face. Below the scarlet, pitch- 
forked heart she had caught sight of her own name : 

'' Ah, no ; it is not me ! " she protested. '' QueUe 
ind/Ucafesse I — to use my name." 

By this time Herr Wurzler had managed to get 
hold of the decoration on his coat-tails and was 
glaring at it fiercely. 

Zbe XIwo Aonsters ^87 

" It is not from you, you say ? " 

Her reply came vehemently. 

^^ Jamais de la vie I I would never do such a 
thing! Keine Spur!*' 

''Because you require a bigger valentine?" he 
asked, as he grimly crushed both the scarlet heart 
and its flowery companion in his hand. 

•* A valentine ? What is that ? That is my name." 

The first 14th of February spent in England was 
to Mademoiselle Jardin no more than just her own 
fite day. 

*' Ah ! I was not aware — but the day has also got 
another significance — in this country. A valentine 
is what in Germany we should call a — a Schais, 
that is, a 'heart's treasure,'" blurted out Herr 
Wurzler, to whose cours^e the necessary fillip had 
been given by that daubed rag of paper. "A 
'valentine' is the sweetheart you select— only for 
that one day. But it is a bigger valentine you 
require, as I see," finished the aggrieved dwarf. 

"A bigger? Grand del! But I hate the big 
men! They go upon my nerves." 

He darted his eyes around, and seeing the 
staircase deserted, edged a little closer. 

" Is it so ? Say, Mademoiselle Valentine, will you 
take me for your valentine ? " 

"Only for this one day?" she inquired, with a 
residue of caution, her eye well upon him and 
working at high pressure. 

" For my life ! " protested the dwarf, feeling for his 

a88 tCbe tonsc of tttOMes 

heart under his beard; upon which, she stormily 
gave him both her hands, and what more m^ht 
have happened had not a door on the landing 
above opened, it is hard to say. 

Their solitude was at an end, but so were all 
doubts as to their future relations. So much was 
clear to Mademoiselle Jardin as she blushingly took 
the arm which he gallantly offered her. 

They were scarcely in the sunshiny street when a 
bunch of the very first primroses was thrust under 
their very noses. With a mien which struck his 
admiring companion as lordly, Herr Wurzler took 
out his purse, and with his best bow he handed 
her the purchased bunch. No betrothal ring could 
have spoken plainer language. 

Among the various couples turned out in the 
spring sunshine, there were probably few that felt 
happier than the two hitherto isolated monsters, of 
whom Jack and Bob had, all unknowingly, helped 
to make a pair. 


The Vienna Prater was at the height of its autumn 
glory on the September day on which Mali Plha 
and Pepi Weiss visited it together. At the height 
of their glory too — their Sunday afternoon glory — 
were these two young persons ; only that Pepi, who 
had poppies in her hat and a good deal of cotton 
lace upon her pink barege, was far more glorious 
than Mali in a flat "Girardi" and a brown stuff 
frock. Pepi was small, dark, and as lively as a 
sparrow, with frizzled hair bunched recklessly almost 
into her rather beady black ey^s^ which seemed to be 
everywhere at once. Mali belonged to the class of 
women usually described as '* elephantine." She 
had a flat, drab-coloured face, neutral tinted hair 
braided flat to her head, and huge extremities. As 
a domestic beast of burden she would probably 
count double ; as a woman, she scarcely counted at 
all. Both of these young persons wore thread 
gloves, and both had obtained a ''day out" from 
their respective mistresses, Mali having had to beg 
the hardest of the two, since being only a " general," 
she was proportionately more indispensable, while 
Pepi, occupying the more exalted position of house- 
maid, was able to take her Sundays turn about with 

the cook. 

289 T 

ago ube Douse of itf^Mes 

This was Mali's first glimpse of the great Vienna 
play-ground, for it was not yet a month since she 
had come to the capital in the wake of a Bohemian 
family settling here, and during that month a 
Sunday out had proved unattainable. Now that 
it was attained, Mali's eyes did not seem big enough 
to take in all the wonders around her. 

" Oh, Pepi 1 " came over her lips almost every 
second minute, as she turned her head from the 
painted representation of a green-tailed mermaid to 
that of a calf with two heads, and then back again 
to the fluttering flags of a Kegelbahn behind whose 
wooden walls the balls were merrily rolling. "Oh, 
Pepi, how perfectly beautiful ! " 

At which the Viennese girl would laugh shrilly, 
and tell her to come on, as she believed there was 
someone waiting for her beside the merry-go-round. 
In this surmise Pepi was right It was a jaunty 
young man with a foxy moustache curling up to his 
eyes who joined them at the spot named. At sight 
of Pepi he grinned, but at sight of her companion 
the grin turned to a grimace. 

"Where on earth have you picked up that 
dromedary?" he inquired, at the first possible 
moment, which occurred while Mali was standing 
lost in an ecstasy before one of the monsters of the 
merry-go-round. " And is she going to stick to you 
the whole time ? " 

" I hope not," said Pepi, with a flippant shrug. 
" But I had no choice in the matter. Her mistress 

Zbc lRo0>CoIoure& patcb 291 

asked my mistress to let me take her out, since she 
doesn't know her way from Adam. If I shake her 
off, she'll go astray, and that means a row, of 

" Has she got no one else to walk about with ? " 

** She doesn't look as though she would have, does 
she ? " asked Pepi, tossing her hair out of her eyes, 
and with a merciless twitch ajbout her impertinently 
red lips. 

^ Th^t she does not," emphatically agreed the foxy 
young man. 

" And she isn't acquainted with another girl besides 
myself She's quite new, straight from Bohemia." 

''Bohemia? Oh, I've just been talking to a 
Bohemian over there in the shooting-booth." 

*• F^tch him ! " said Pepi, with prompt decision. 
" He may do. They could talk about their country, 
you know, and so on. Off, Gustl; and catch him 
if you can." 

" Oh, Pepi, I never knew that wooden horses could 
have real hair upon them," exclaimed Mali, returning 
radiant to her friend's side. 

Within a few minutes Pepi's cavalier was back 
again, having in tow a big, mildly sheepish-looking 
youth, with fair hair and a green and purple necktie 
displayed upon his ample chest. 

" This is a countryman of yours, I believe, Fraulein 
Mali," explained the foxy young man glibly. " He is 
taking his last look at Vienna before joining his 
regiment to-morrow. The poor unfortunate hasn't 

999 XCbe Donse of IRfbMes 

done his three years' service yet Perhaps you will 
undertake to console him for the prospect" 

" A countryman ? Oh, where does he come from ? " 
asked Mali, flurried and delighted. 

** He will tell you all about it himself/' laughed 
Gustl, as the couple moved off. 

** At seven o'clock, mind ! " Pepi called back gaily 
over her shoulder, * before the Blauer Krug—]\xst in 
case you lose sight of us meanwhile." 

*^ You are really a Bohemian ? " asked Mali, ti^rn- 
ing to her new acquaintance, with far more than her 
usual animation. ** Perhaps you come from Terbitz?" 

'* No ; but I have been there. I had an aunt who 
lived there once." 

" Oh, I wonder if I know her ? " 

The aunt was named, and found to be a mutual 
acquaintance, upon which several other mutual 
acquaintances were unearthed and various patriotic 
reminiscences exchanged. In the interest of the 
subject, Mali quite forgot to look about her. Her 
companion had very blue ey^s^ as she could not help 
discovering, and his amiable sheepishness seemed to 
her the height of good manners. Also, it struck her 
that the green and purple necktie became him most 
wonderfully. Altogether, he seemed to Mali quite as 
well worth looking at as the picture of the mermaid, 
or even of the double-headed calf. 

"And where are you going to do your three 
years?" she presently asked, in deep sympathy. 
" Is it far away ? " 

Ube IRosoKloloure^ patcb 393 

" Oh, yes. The regiment is at Witten — quite six 
hours from Vienna " — (at which piece of information 
Mali, without quite knowing why, felt vaguely 

Soon, his shyness yielding to her friendliness, he 
went on to tell her that he had a good place in a 
coal store, and hoped to get back again there when 
his service was done. 

Time passed so quickly that Mali was quite 
astonished to find herself before the Blauer Krug 
at the appointed time. 

" Beer, of course ! " said Pepi, as to the sounds 
of a mixed band playing madly in the adjoining 
apartment, she took her place before the wooden 
table. " And sausages, of course. Pm dying of 
hunger and thirst" 

" A sausage — yes," agreed Mali ; " but I will do 
without the beer — it costs too much." 

"If you would allow me to treat you," put in her 
neighbour, with awkward good-nature. 

" Of course he will pay for you," decided Pepi 
shrilly; "same as Gustl here pays for me. Nice 
cavaliers they indeed if they didn't pay ! " 

Mali demurred, but it being explained to her 
that the arrangement was strictly etiquette^ she 
submitted with a pleasant feeling of novelty. 

" We've got to drink Herr Miiller's health, you 
see," explained the foxy youth, as the foaming 
glasses were put down before them. "The poor 
wretch won't see Vienna for three years, unless he 

>94 tCbe Donse of IRfbUes 

has the pocket-money for Urlaub. How about that, 
MUller ? Shall we see you here at Christmas ? " 

Muller mildly shook his big head. 

" I haven't any pocket-money — not a single brass 

" Ah, so you're not of the scraping sort," said Pepi 
approvingly. " You spend your earnings as you get 
them ; that's the way I do." 

The big youth merely grinned, while Pepi chattered 

" I can't stand the scraping sort When is one to 
have a good time, if it is not while one's young? 
Time for pinching later on. Perhaps I'll learn it 
then. Anyway, I wouldn't have the ghost of an idea 
how to set about it now." 

"Oh, it isn't really difficult," said Mali eagerly, 
''when once one has b^un. There are so many 
things one can do without, really, and every kreutzer 
helps. At first I thought I should never get any 
money together, but it seems to grow on to each 
other, somehow." 

''Oh, then, you are the scraping sort, are you? And 
have you scraped together much, if I may ask ? " 

The question was most obviously derisive. 

" It will soon be four hundred florins." 

Pepi's beady eyes dilated like those of some small, 
startled animal, and even the two men put down 
their beer-glasses rather suddenly, in order to look at 
Mall To all of them four hundred florins meant 
a capital. The person who possessed them was 

Xlbe IRos&KCoIonreb patcb 295 

certainly worth a more careful scrutiny than had yet 
been vouchsafed her. 

" You see, I began when I was twelve," said Mali 
simply, ** and I am twenty-six now, so I have been 
saving for fourteen years. And I have never been 
out of place for more than a few days ; I have been 
very lucky," she modestly added. "So, by being 
careful, I was able to put by between twenty and 
thirty florins every year — and that is how it comes." 

** How stupid of her to tell her age ! " was Pepi's 
thought, as she burst into a scream of laughter. 

'' And with all that money you won't afford your- 
self a glass of beer ? Really, by rights, it's you who 
ought to be treating us all, instead of the other way 
round, since you seem to be the only one with full 

" I can't do that," said Mali imperturbably, 
" because, you see, it's all my future. If anything 
should happen to me I've got nobody at all in all the 
world to go to, and no relations, not one, who could 
take me in when I get old. So long as I can work, it 
seems to me that I ought to save." 

" And as long as I can stand, it seems to me that I 
ought to dance," cried Pepi, springing to her feet 
"Come along, Gustl! I can't sit still any longer. 
Doesn't that waltz just tickle your soles ? And you 
two, just order more beer meanwhile, will you ? " with 
a nod towards the other couple. " And another sausage 
too ; somebody or other will pay for it, I suppose." 

And she went off laughing upon Gustl's arm. 

296 Ube Donee of 1tf&Me8 

Next morniog at dawn Mali found it harder than 
usual to rub the sleep from her eyes, and no wonder 
either, after the perfectly beautiful dream she had 
enjoyed, ir which the glories of the Prater had 
melted into the glories of dreamland, constituting 
together a sort of paradise, through whose centre 
there stalked a broad-shouldered figure with a boyish 
face and mild blue eyes. It was the first figure 
which had ever played this part for her either in 
waking or sleeping visions, as, considering her 
exterior, was scarcely astonishing. Lovers do not 
come spontaneously to such as she, and leisure for 
seeking them out there had been none in her hard- 
worked existence. Sometimes at odd moments 
indeed, when she watched the whispering couples 
strolling about on Sunday afternoons, a momentary 
wistfulness would come over her, and a sort of revela- 
tion of the bliss of having someone to be very fond of 
one, and whom to be very fond of; for, unknown to 
herself, Mali possessed a deep capacity for happiness, 
and as deep a capacity for self-sacrifice, but she did 
not linger over these thoughts, having no illusions as 
to her own looks, and understanding humbly that 
these delights are only for the good-looking people. 
Both her digestion and her conscience being in 
excellent order, and her work amply sufficing to fill 
her narrow horizon, she could not be described as 
unhappy ; but hitherto her life had been exactly as 
drab-coloured as her face. 



XCbe 1^ose^Cotoure^ patcb 297 

Yesterday for the first time, that spark of imagina- 
tion which slumbers in the most unlikely natures 
seemed to have been fired, and the hand that fired 
it was that of the mild-eyed, sheepish youth just 
starting for his three years' term. The mere fact of 
his having 'been nice to her during a whole evening 
would probably have been enough to gain her heart, 
for Mali was not used to civility from young men. 
How good that beer had tasted, paid for by him I — 
the first glass of beer which she had ever in her life 
been treated to by a member of the other sex. 

So full were her thoughts of him, that when she met 
Pepi in the market-place (they were almost neigh- 
bours in the street) she could not keep her secret. 

" Oh, Pepi, do you know what I dreamed of last 
night ? " she whispered confidentially, in an interval 
which occurred between the purchase of a cabbage 
and the bargaining for a hen. " That friend of your 
friend — I mean Herr Miiller. Didn't you too find 
him very good-looking?" 

''A lump of a man," said Pepi contemptuously. 

Mali almost fired up. 

" Oh, no— not a lump— only big ; and surely a man 
ought to be big. What a beautiful soldier he will 
make ! I suppose he has started already." 

She could not suppress a sigh as she returned to 
the question of the hen, while Pepi grinned behind her 
back. The idea of the ** dromedary " having a heart 
— and so inflammable a one too, as it would appear. 

All that week Mali's thoughts were at Witten, 

29^ Vbe Douse ot 1tt&Me0 

following in the steps of the new recruit. Was he 
having a very bard time of it ? she wondered — and 
would she ever see him again ? 

On the Saturday something quite unusual occurred. 
Her mistress, having sorted out the letters, handed 
one of them back to her with the words : " That's for 
you, Mali.'* She looked at her a little suspiciously 
as she said it, for during the six years that Mali had 
been in the house she had never been known to 
receive a letter. 

Mali herself was almost annihilated by surprise, 
and hastening to the kitchen proceeded carefully to 
open the envelope with a table-knife. Inside there 
was half a sheet of letter-paper, covered with a very 
stiff and cramped sort of writing, which, alas I did not 
leave her much wiser than it found her, for Mali had 
never learnt to read. She could manage the capital 
letters, however, and by the aid of this knowledge was 
able to make out that of the two names which formed 
the signature, one began with R and the other with M. 
Having made this discovery, she sat down rather 
suddenly upon the wooden chair beside her. She 
knew that his name was Rudi, having heard Pepi's 
friend address him so during the final and more 
hilarious stages of the supper. 

Her big hands trembled as she took up the 

envelope again to scrutinise it more closely. There 

were two printed names there, of which one began with 

a big W. Just supposing that were to mean Witten ! 

The impossibility of slipping away to Pepi, in 

TLbc IRosc^Colovivcb patcb 299 

order to get the riddle solved, turned the forenoon 
into an eternity. Also, it is to be feared that the 
severe reprimand for singeing the Kraut which fell 
to Mali's lot that day was not entirely unmerited. 

It was when she went for the afternoon rolls that 
her chance came. She ran all the way, in order to 
gain time, and with the letter crushed into her hot 
hand, burst in upon Pepi in Number Fifty-two. 

Pepi was ironing in the kitchen, and the cook, a 
stout, grey-haired woman, was helping to damp the 
linen, but by this time Mali was beyond minding an 
auditor more or less. 

^' There, tell me quick! Is it from him — really 
from him?" she panted, throwing down the letter 
before her friend. 

" Gracious goodness ! " said Pepi irritably. " How 
you do rush at one, to be sure ! I've got no time to 
read letters now. Give it to Frau Haldan, she can 
read as well as I." 

Frau Haldan, who was half blind, but would 
rather have died than admit it — and quite rightly 
too, seeing that her very bread depended upon 
keeping up the fiction of good sight — hurriedly 
professed her willingness to serve, and elaborately 
produced her spectacles. 

" Is that Witten on the postmark ? " inquired the 
quivering Mali, in an awestruck voice. 

" W-i-," spelled out the old woman. " Yes, to be 
sure : Witten. Now, let us see ! " 

Despite the spectacles, it was a laborious task, yet 


300 ZTbe Douse of Kf^Mes 

the two pages got deciphered in time, for though 
they were cramped, they were almost as distinct as 

printed letters. 

u wiTTEN, 5M October. 

•* My dear Fraulein Mali, — You will be 
astonished to get this, but I hope you will not be 
angry. All the week I have been thinking of our 
evening in the Prater. It is my last and my best 
recollection of Vienna. Fraulein Mali, I can no 
longer keep silence ; I am obliged to tell you that 
you have gained my heart — I will not say by your 
beauty, for I wish to be sincere, but by your good- 
nature and kindness. What a happy home we 
could have in future, if you also would give me your 
heart I Tell me if this can be. I expect your letter 
with impatience. I swear to you that as soon as my 
three years are over I am ready to lead you to the 
altar — if only you will have me ! The thought of 
that moment will keep up my strength during the 
terrible years that lie before me, for it is a dog's life 
this life of a soldier. We are treated like the scum 
of the earth, and fed worse than the Vienna street- 
sweepers. If you could see how thin is the soup we 
get for breakfast — ^and no supper at all ! Of course 
there are some who buy themselves a supper with 
the money they get from home, but those are the 
lucky ones. I and the other poor ones have only 
the pleasure of looking on while they eat But I 
can bear it all if only you will promise to be mine, 
for I can then think of the suppers which my sweet 
wife" — (Herr Miiller had begun by using the adjective 
'* little," but had then erased it, probably at a more 
vivid recollection of his beloved's stature, which 
could not be much less than his own) — ^* will one day 
cook for me. 

* Let me know only whether I may be happy or not, 
and whether I may leave out the FrduUin next time 
I write.— Your devoted " RUDOLF MULLER." 

Ube llosei-Colonred patcb 301 

''Dear heavens, she's taken bad!" said Trau 
Haldan as she put down the letter, for Mali's drab- 
coloured face had turned almost white, and she was 
holding her two large hands to her side, as though 
in physical pain. Even for her robust constitution 
the joy was too overwhelming. She had indeed 
hoped that he might think of her sometimes, and of 
the pleasant evening together — ^but this! She had 
but aspired to peep into Paradise, when behold I the 
portals were flung wide. Would she have the 
courage to enter? 

"Well, I never!" commented Pepi, as she put 
down her iron to stare at her friend. "The idea 
of taking on so because of a proposal of marriage ! 
If I'd wanted to faint at everyone I'd got, I'd have 
been on the floor most of the time." 

" Then you think he means it seriously ? " faltered 
Mali, beginning to recover, and acting with a remnant 
of peasant caution. " He isn't laughing at me ? " 

" He seems serious enough," commented Frau 
Haldan, as she pocketed her spectacles. " He's not 
taken long over it; but some men are like that; and it 
is a fact that all men are not caught by pretty faces." 

She looked a little defiantly at Pepi as she said it, 
for she had been a plain won^an herself, and had yet 
managed to become a widow. 

Mali turned impulsively towards her. 

" Ah, Frau Haldan, will you write the answer for 
me — if Pepi has no time ? You know, I never went 
to school — I had to go into service so early." 

302 TOe Donee of 1tt^Me0 

^Very well/' said Frau Haldan, with a sigh of 
wheezy resignation. ** And what's there to be in the 
answer, my dear ? " 

*' Oh, that I too have been thinking of the Prater 
all week, and that of course I will be his wife — 
nothing could make me happier." 

" I wouldn't give myself away quite so cheaply," 
remarked Pepi over her shoulder, with the expert's 
disdain for the beginner. 

But the remark only angered Mali, in whom a 
certain mild pig-headedness existed. 

" If I give myself away, I don't care how cheaply I 
do it My heart belonged to him from the first — 
I know it now," she said, with tears of earnestness 
in her honest ^yt:&, 

*' And then," she went on more diffidently, ^ I will 
give you a florin to put into the letter. I want him 
to be able to buy himself supper. It hurts me to 
think of him hungpy. He can't be offended, you 
know, if we are betrothed. Do you think he would 
be offended, Pepi ? " she anxiously inquired. 

*' Oh no, he won't be offended ; but it's funny that 
a man should whine about being hungry." 

" He doesn't whine ! " flared up Mali, for the second 
time. " He only tells me ; and of course I want him 
to tell me everything — now. I think I will send him 
two florins instead of one." 

*< Oh, as you like I" said Pepi airily, as she went on 
operating on her sheets. 

"You will tell him all that, will you not, Frau 

Ube 1Ro0ei<^oIonre^ patcb 303 

Haldan, and sign my name for me ? And of course 
he is not to say Fraulein any more. And — ^for the 
b^inning of the letter — I suppose I can call him 
Rudi now?" 

She looked breathlessly from one face to the other, 
her 9wn flushed crimson by the suggestions contained 
in those two syllables. 

" Unless you find ' Herr Miiller ' prettier," remarked 
the pert Pepi, while Frau Haldan nodded comfortably. 

" I can't stop to dictate the letter, but you know 
what I want to say, and I have just got two florins in 
my purse here, which my mistress gave me to change. 
I will give you these meanwhile, and here are five 
kreutzers for the stamp." 

And Mali put down two greasy notes on the kitchen 
table, for those were the times of paper florins. 

"Very well," agreed the good-natured widow. "Til 
say it all as beautifully as I can, and Pepi will take the 
letter to the post, when she takes the other letters." 

This was the beginning of Mali's dream — a dream 
that was to last for three whole happy years. 

It was not long before a second letter came, a letter 
full of misspelled but overflowing jubilation. *' Rudi " 
seemed so transported with joy at the prospect of 
calling Mali his own that she began to take counsel 
seriously with her mirror, wondering whether, after 
all, she had not hitherto been doing herself injustice. 
But search as she would, she was too honest to 
discover in her face anything that explained this 
ardour of passion. But had he not himself said that 

304 XCbe Douse of 1tt^^Ies 

it was her goodness that had gained him, and not her 

In this second letter Rudi thankfully acknowledged 
the two florins received, and described the good things 
he had purchased therewith for supper ; adding that 
the memory of ther: would sweeten the empty days 
coming, since, unfortunately, the two florins were 
already at an end. 

Mali, without a moment's hesitation, went back 
to her store. She was to go back to it very often 
in the days to come. The correspondence, once 
started, never flagged for a week, though condifcted 
under certain difliculties. Without the help of Frau 
Haldan — for Pepi never had time to write, though 
she undertook to post the letters — the thing would 
not have gone at all. In time Number Fifty-two 
came even partly to replace the post oflice, since it 
was found advisable to have the letters directed 
there, for fear of arousing the suspicions of Mali's 
ultra-strict mistress. Pepi indeed aflected to turn 
up her nose at the "lump of a soldier/' a taunt 
which, however, served only to make Mali grow 
hotter in his defence ; but Frau Haldan's motherly 
interest was intense, though soon it began to be 
clouded by doubts; for the amorous soldier, while 
full of promises for the future, was equally full of 
wants for the present. Once it was a uniform which 
he had damaged and would have to replace, another 
time he had been ill, and required feeding up, and 
then there was the chronic need of the supper-money, 

Ube llO0e<>Coloureb l^atcb 305 

which it would have been cruel to stop when once 
begun. By the third or fourth letter the demands 
for money were as plain as anyone could wish — 
hints having evidently been recognised as superfluous. 
Sometimes it came in a postscript, and sometimes 
in the body of the letter, but the financial request 
figured as regularly as does the Amen in the '* Our 
Father." Frau Haldan shook her grey head. 

" He seems a very spending sort of young man," 
she remarked to Mali, but Pepi laughed, and said 
she liked him the better for it. 

" It will be quite enough if one of you two does 
the scraping later on," she pronounced. 

And Mali almost agreed, although at moments 
it would occur to her that it might be advisable to 
keep some of the savings for setting up house with 
later on. Once, urged by Frau Haldan, she said 
something of the sort in a letter, but Rudi seemed 
so hurt by her hint and reproached her so tenderly 
with her want of confidence in him, that Mali, deeply 
remorseful, sent him five florins, instead of the two 
which she had got ready. 

After a year the savings had shrunk considerably, 
but Mali did not really mind. She went about her 
work as though in a dream. The weekly letter had 
become the star of her life. The last was carried 
next to her heart, and kissed so frequently that the 
cramped writing regularly got blurred, a special kiss 
being devoted to the capital W which stood for 

Witten — that happy place which had the honour 


3o6 tCbe fMtise of 1Ri^Me0 

of harbouring Rudi. No longer did she feel a pang 
at sight of the Sunday couples — what cause had she 
for envying them? All the monotony had gone 
from her life. Whether she was peeling potatoes, or 
cleaning windows, or beating carpets, she could 
neither feel dull nor tired, with so bright a future 
beckoning her on. Even the hardest work had 
become child's play to her, since every day of it 
brought her a little nearer to that future. To her, 
the loveless one, love had come ; to her, the homeless 
one, who had thought to grow old sweeping the 
hearthstones of others, the promise of a home. In 
the fervent prayers which nightly rose from beside 
her hard bed, and with the hot petitions for Rudi's 
welfare, there mingled as hot words of gratitude to 
the God who had been so good to her. 

She never went to any of the places of amusement 
where Pepi spent her Sunday afternoons in hats 
and frocks that seemed to grow more and more 
marvellous, and in the company of young men with 
every conceivable colour of moustache, for Pepi liked 
variety in her admirers. Those places cost money, 
ks Mali knew, and it was all the more necessary for 
her to economise, since Rudi, as she told herself with 
a smile of almost motherly indulgence, evidently had 
no economy in his nature. 

Once, in the course of the three years, so hot a 
longing came over her to see her hero face to face that 
she dictated to her reluctant secretary an imploring 
letter, b^^ing him to take three days' leave at 

iCbe IRosCi-CoIoureb patcb 307 

Christmas. The answer, as might perhaps have been 
expected, came to the effect that nothing could 
make him happier than to clasp his Mali to his 
heart, but that to come to Vienna for three days 
would be an affair of at least twenty florins — which, 
alas! he did not possess. Frau Haldan protested 
vehemently, and Mali herself felt a little staggered 
by the sum, but the longing triumphed in the end, 
and the twenty florins were sent All the bitterer 
was it when Christmas Eve brought only another 
letter. He was desperate, heart-broken, fit to hang 
himself, but he could not get away. A comrade had 
fallen ill, and he had to take his place at the 
barracks. A nice Christmas Eve that would be 
indeed! Was he to send back the money? 

Mali cried with vexation, but of course the 
money was not to be sent back. He was told to 
keep it in order to get for himself a belated 
Christmas tree, and make merry with his comrades. 

Another time she begged him for a lock of hair, 
and got it by return of post 

" It's grown darker than it was two years ago," she 
said, with a tender sigh, as she held it up to the light 

''That comes from the amount he has been 
perspiring during the summer manoeuvres, no doubt," 
giggled Pepi. 

The three years came to an end at last, as all 
things do, and so did the four hundred florins. Even 
now it seemed that the happy moment was not quite 
reached, for Rudi wrote despondently that, though 

3o8 tCbe tense of Itt^Mes 

he was finee, 'the joamey to Vienna was as yet a 
financial impossibility. He was looking for a 
situation, and hoped it would not be too long before 
he earned what he required. 

For a moment Mali's courage failed her, for alas I 
she could not answer this appeal as she had 
answered the others. Then she set her teeth and 
went to work again, putting aside every kreutzer she 
could spare, and very many that by rights she could 
not During these tnonths she performed marvels of 
economy. Not one of the ten kreutzer pieces due to 
her '* supper-money " was converted into food, and, 
rather than go to a cobbler, she stitched up her own 
shoes as well as she could with blackened twine. When 
at Christmas her mistress gave her six yards of cotton 
print for a dress, she sold it at once to Pepi for a florin, 
though she had not had a new dress for three years. 

And yet it was spring before the necessary sum 
was got together, and before it was quite got 
together something else was to happen. 

During all these years Mali had never again pene- 
trated to that gayest portion of the Prater where her 
dream had begun. She had no clothes decent enough 
to bear the brunt of so glaring a publicity ; but 
occasionally on Sunday afternoons she would linger 
alone in some of the more deserted walks, lending a 
delighted ear to the sounds of merriment which came 
from over there — for the Wurstel Prater had remained 
her paradise, and she hoped to tread its enchanted 
ground again by the side of her hero. 

Ube IRose^Colonveb patch 309 

On one such occasion it was that the blow fell. 

The April sunshine was pouring down upon the 
glistening horse-chestnut buds when, at a turn of a 
walk, Mali found herself face to face with a big, 
square - shouldered young man whom she instantly 
recognised, and who was coming towards her with an 
auburn-haired girl by his side. For a moment all 
the blood seemed to thicken in Mali's veins ; in the 
next it rushed to her head. Regardless of possible 
spectators, she chained straight at him, and all but 
threw herself upon his neck, laughing and sobbing 
all at once. 

''Rudil Rudi! Oh, how could I know? Oh, 
why did you not come to me at once? Oh, how 
happy I am 1" 

To the auburn -haired girl she paid no attention 
whatever. If she gave her a thought, it was only to 
suppose hazily that she must be his sister. How 
could she be an3rthing else ? 

Suddenly the want of response seemed to 
penetrate to her consciousness. She raised her head 
quickly and looked into his eyes, and a sort of shiver 
ran over her, for those eyes were blank. Both he and 
the auburn-haired girl, who was rather fat but very 
pretty, were staring at her open-mouthed, in the way 
one stares at people who are not quite in their right 
senses. One or two passers-by who had stood still 
seemed to share the same impression. 

" Don't you know me, Rudi ? " she asked, with a 
vague feeling of pain. 

3IO tCbe Dottse of IRlbMes 

''I have never seen you before," came the 
unhesitating answer. 

Mali grew cold 

" But, Rudi, look at me well — ^you must remember 
met Think of that evening in the Prater — more than 
three years ago — ^before you went to your regiment" 

A gleam of enlightenment came over his sunburnt 
face, which had grown a good deal broader and more 
self-reliant during these three years, though the blue 
eyes were as mild as ever. 

" Ah, yes — I do remember now. We had supper 
together. You are Fraulein Kathi, are you not?— or 
was it Fanny?" 

" Not Kathi, and not Fanny, and no Fraulein at 
all, but just Mali — your Mali, whom you wrote all 
those letters to." 

Here the auburn-haired girl began to show signs 
of restlessness, plucking nervously at Miiller's sleeve. 

"I never wrote you any letters," said Miiller, 
admirably stolid. 

For a moment Mali stared at him with an absence of 
expression on her face which bordered on idiotcy ; then 
she began to tear wildly at the buttons of her dress. 

" But I will show you — I have one here. Would 
you deny me before all these people?" And with 
shaking fingers she plucked out a crumpled and limp 
piece of paper, still warm from the contact with her 
skin. ''There! Look at the signature! Is that 
your name, or is it not?" 

Speechless, with an obviously genuine astonishment. 

Ube llosei<Eotoure^ patcb 311 

he took it and stood staring at the signature, while 
three or four people, attracted by the prospect of a 
" scene," peered over his shoulder. 

"It's my name right enough; but it's not my 

" A disguised hand, evidently," said the acutest of 
the lookers-on. 

•' But no ! but no ! " almost screamed MalL " Of 
course they are from you. Why, there's the 
postmark on it Who else would write to me from 

Muller, aided by the lookers-on, scrutinised the 

" W-i-e-," he spelled out 

"Wieden," completed the acute bystander. 
" There's a district ' Wieden ' in Vienna, you know. 
Witten is spelled differently — with two t's. Someone 
has played you a trick, my girl." 

The man was not susceptible, but he never forgot 
the look which Mali gave him as he said it " I have 
once seen despair in a human face," he would say 
to his children in after-days, " and I never want to 
see it again." 

From him Mali looked back at Muller, with a 
sudden fierce intensity. 

" You swear that you are not lying to me ? " 

" Upon my soul I swear it," said the young man, 
with an earnestness which carried conviction. " I 
have never heard of you since that evening in the 
Prater ^^ — "and never thought of you, either," he 

si« XCbe feonse ot IRlbMes 

might truthfully have added, had he not been too 
good-natured to do so. 

The auburn-haired girl, visibly quieted, had again 
put her plump arm through that of Mtiller. 

"I might have known that it could only be a 
mistake,'' she said complacently. "You have better 
taste than that, Rudi." 

It was the word that was wanting to lash Mali to 
madness. With dangerously shining eyes she turned 
upon her rival. What she would have said, or 
possibly done, would be hard to surmise, but at 
that moment someone said : " Die Polizei^ and, 
rather hastily, the group broke up. 

With the letter crumpled up in her hand, Mali 
almost ran back to the town and burst dishevelled 
and untidy — for she had not even taken the time to 
re-button her dress — into the kitchen of Number 

^ It's a fraud I " she gasped, sinking on to a chair. 
" Someone has played me a trick — they said so. He 
never wrote me any letters ; he knew nothing about 
me. I have been cheated, but by whom ? by whom ? 
Frau Haldan, help me to find out I " 

There was a crash of crockery behind her. Pepi, 
only just in from her own "outing," and still re- 
splendent in sky-blue alpaca, had inadvertently 
knocked over a cup on the dresser beside her. 
"You haven't met him, surely?" she quickly asked. 
Then Mali told her tale, wildly, incoherently, and 
yet comprehensively enough. During its course 

XTbe 1Ro0e<Colonteb patcb 313 

Frau Haldan began to cry so bitterly that Mali 
looked at her in astonishment She herself was not 
at all inclined to cry. There were red spots upon 
her drab-coloured cheeks, and her small eyes were 
still shining like points of polished metal. 

** I have been cheated I I have been cheated I " 
she feverishly repeated; "but by whom?" 

" Poor soul I Poor soul I " moaned the old woman, 
rocking her body from side to side. 

" By whom ? " echoed Pepi, who had done picking 
up the pieces of the broken cup. "Why, by the 
man, of course! He has found someone he likes 
better, and wants to shake you off now — that's clear. 
I should advise you to keep quiet about it, unless 
you want to make yourself ridiculous." 
Mali laughed savagely. 

" Keep quiet ? Not 1 1 I will have my revenge I " 
The large, meek creature seemed transformed. It 
was clear that she meant to fight for her paradise. 
Thrown out of it she might be — but walk out of it 
of her own free will ? Not while she had breath in 
her body ! 

" And it is not he who cheated me — I saw that 
in his eyes. It is someone else." 

" Of course it can only have been somebody who 
knew about the money, and wanted to have it," said 
Frau Haldan, with an uneasy quaver in her voice, and 
beginning suddenly to tremble all over her bulky form. 
Mali saw her eyes travel over to the sky-blue 
figure near the dresser, half guessing the while at the 

314 Vbt Douse of IRibMes 

dawn of a terrified idea in the dim pupils. Her own 
eyes, moving in the same direction, fell with a sense 
of revelation upon the flutter of ribbons, the 
goi^eousness of the feathers that decked the brand- 
new hat— only one in a row of brand-new hats which 
Pepi had been lately sporting — fell also upon a face 
which struggled audaciously but vainly to appear 
composed. In a flash she understood. 

"It's you! It's you!" she screamed, springing 
upon the other girl like an animal upon its prey. 
*' It's you who have taken my money from me, and 
my happiness I Ah ! you shall pay for it 1 " 
• •••■•• 

The court was thronged on the day the case came 
on for hearing. There was something so screamingly 
funny about the idea of the servant-girl who had 
corresponded with another servant-girl under the 
impression that it was a lover, that the public simply 
fought for places. Everyone wanted to see the faces 
of the heroines of this preposterous drama, as well 
as of the man who had been so successfully used as 
a man of straw. 

Pepi sat alone in the dock ; for although Frau 
Haldan had been arrested along with her, she had 
soon been released — only to exchange her cell for the 
hospital, since the discovery of the villainy to which 
she had unwittingly lent a hand had proved too 
much for her elderly nerves. 

The sole culprit had found herself too completely 
unmasked to attempt a denial, atid, to judge from 

XTbe IRose^CoIonreb patcb 3^5 

her ornate appearance, counted chiefly upon personal 
charms for softening the hearts of the jury. If she 
had written the letters, she explained almost airily, 
it was only because she had required the money so 
very badly. Her own wages always melted away 
in such an uncontrollable manner. And besides, 
the money was doing nobody any good, shut up as 
it was in a box. Of course she knew that it was 
wrong, but the temptation had been too great, 
and it had been so ridiculously easy to do — where- 
upon she turned her eyes upon the jury-box in an 
exceedingly telling fashion. 

When questioned as to how she had managed 
to escape detection during three years, her answer 
proved once more that what appears a marvel of 
ingenuity is just as frequently a marvel of audacity. 

The convenient resemblance between "Wieden" 
and "Witten" had much to answer for; so had 
Frau Haldan's jealously masked blindness, which 
had made of her so handy a cat's-paw — while her 
mere interference had served to spread a sort of 
mantle of respectability over the whole affair. By 
going down a couple of streets the desired postmark 
was obtained, and by keeping the posting of the letters 
in her own hands, Fepi practically ruled the situation. 

" Once or twice she wanted to post them herself," 
the culprit explained brazenly; "but I told her it was, 
better not, as her mistress might catch her at it I knew 
she was stupid enough to believe anything," added 
Fepi, with a contemptuous toss of her frizzled fringe. 

3i6 TTbe Douse of Vi^Mes 

The witnesses having been heard, the public 
prosecutor made a speech quite worthy of his great 
reputation. The picture which this venerable-looking 
personage drew of the lot of the unfortunate, who 
had been defrauded not only of her happiness but 
also of her hard-earned savings, drew tears from 
many eyes present, and visibly affected even the 
innocent man of straw, who, with an auburn-haired 
girl at his side, now stood among the spectators. 
When this functionary went on to paint a word- 
picture of the false friend whose greed and heartless 
cunning had encompassed this sad result, and called 
upon the jury for a unanimous verdict, and upon the 
judge for the severest sentence admissible, things 
began to look black for Pepi. Her crestfallen look 
made it clear that she thought so herself. Anxiously 
she scanned the broad red face of the judge. At 
the beginning of the proceedings it had struck her 
hopefully as a jolly face, but now all its joUiness 
was crumpled up into a severely judicial frown. 

When the Staatsanwalt sat down again, Pepi in 
spirit saw herself sentenced to at least five years 
prison, and began to think that the four hundred 
florins had, after all, been a bad bargain. 

It was then that, amid the expectant silence of the 
court, her own advocate rose. 

This was a very different personage from the 
venerable prosecutor — well under middle-age, tall 
and elegantly slender, wearing his talar with the 
nonchalant grace of a drawing-room man. He was 

XTbe Vosei<Eoloute& |>atcb 3x7 

almost as well known as an orator as a connoisseur in 
female beauty ; and the fact of so critical a personage 
having undertaken so very unprofitable a case was 
generally taken as a high compliment to Fepi's looks. 

The eyes now turned upon him burned with curiosity. 
Would he actually attempt to whitewash his client ? 
What could he possibly say in her defence ? 

The speech started very modestly, and rather 
colourlessly. There was no attempt at white- 
washing. Almost humbly, and to Pepi's own 
profound disgust, he admitted the full guilt of the 
unhappy girl who sat in the dock. It had been a 
villainous act, at the thought of which every person 
with a spark of honesty in his composition must 
inevitably recoil In this point he completely agreed 
with his honoured colleague. But there was another 
point on which their opinions obviously differed 

Here, having re -fixed his monocle in his eye, he 
raised his voice by one tone. 

" My learned and honoured colleague has told you 
that by her deceit the faithless friend has robbed this 
woman of her happiness as well as of her money. In 
this I cannot agree. How could she be robbed of 
something which she never possessed ? I would ask 
the gentlemen of the jury to look at the facts of the 
case a little more closely, and also to look a little 
more closely at the chief witness for the Crown. 
Here is a girl of the lowest classes, and standing on 
the lowest plane of education. By her own showing, 
she had reached her twenty - seventh year without 

3i8 tlbe Douse of iRfbdles 

ever hearing a whisper of love ; whether she would 
be likely to hear one in future I leave to your 
judgment to decide." 

With the delicately disdainful smile of the 
connoisseur playing about his fine-cut lips, he paused 
just long enough for all eyes to turn upon the 
unfortunate Mali, who, with a face of stone, still kept 
her place in the witness-box. 

" Here is a life that is all drudgery — all duty. She 
stands alone in the world. She carries coal. She 
lights fires. She sweeps floors. She hears her well- 
favoured companions boasting of their sweethearts, 
and stands by silent. It is a life painted grey in grey. 

^ Suddenly into this grey life there falls a ray of 
light — a rose-coloured patch which transforms it. 
She too has found a lover, though as yet only on 
paper; her moment of happiness has come to her, 
as to the others. . She dreams a dream which gilds 
the world, and though it be only a dream, has it not 
made beautiful three years of this dreary life? 
Without the illusion of that dream, would the life 
not have been more dreary still?" 

Then, after another well-calculated pause, and 
raising his voice by another tone: 

" Has she really lost as much as one would have 
you believe ? and gained so little ? True, she has lost 
her savings ; but savings are only money, while the 
happiness she gained — for three years — belongs to 
those things that money cannot buy. Who can say 
whether they were not worth the price ? 

XTbe 1tose«<£oIonreb patcb 319 

** Though the friend was heartless, she has yet done 
for her what nothing else conceivable could have done. 
Far from having stolen her happiness, as has been 
asserted, she has procured her the one real taste of 
happiness she has ever known. She has had her 
dream ; and in this she is luckier than hundreds of 
her sisters, that the hero of her dream has not cheated 
her. Her lover was a creature of her fancy; but 
for this very reason he can never prove faithless, as 
lovers of flesh and blood too often do. And her 
savings will accumulate again. She is not yet thirty ; 
and," pursued the elegant advocate, with another of 
his suggestive smiles, *^ you have only to look at her 
to see that she has the constitution of a horse, and 
will therefore not easily lack employment I will 
confess that her lot appears to me less black than 
that of the unfortuate girl who sits in the dock, and 
whose giddy vanity, fed large by the poisonous 
influences of the capital, has succumbed before an 
occasion too easily enticing to be resisted by such 
as she. Surely Aer future looms darker than that of 
the woman who accuses her I 

"That woman is indignant, and justly so; but 
would she herself give up the memory of that blissful 
illusion, in order to gain her four hundred florins ? I 
put it to everyone who has lived through one of those 
happy illusions himself. And this memory nothing 
can take from her. The rose-coloured patch will 
serve to illuminate all the rest of the grey life." 

When he sat down again Mali was weeping copiously. 

320 tCbe tMtise of VMbMes 

and so were several other people in the audience, only 
that now they did not quite know whether their tears 
were meant for Mali or for Pepi. The judge's red face 
had visibly relaxed, but Pepi herself looked frankly 
bewildered. There are things that thjs head alone is 
not sufficient to grasp ; it requires a heart as well. 

The jurymen did not consult for long, and though 
they brought in a verdict of guilt, it was so strenu- 
ously modified by " extenuating circumstances," that 
the judge, whose jolliness had by this time come again 
to the fore, could, without exciting comment, pass a 
merely nominal sentence. Half an hour ago nobody 
would have believed that the accused would be let off 
with less than three years prison ; now three months, 
if anything, was considered rather severe. 

At the side-door through which the prisoner, with 
jauntiness almost recovered, was being led to the 
cells, a woman in a grey dress and a battered sailor- 
hat was waiting. Before the attending policeman 
could interfere she had stepped forward and seized 
the girl's two hands. To the spectators who had 
recognised the chief witness for the Crown, it did 
not seem quite clear whether she was forgiving her 
or whether she was thanking her. 

'' After all," she whispered, in a voice still shaken 
with recent sobs, '' it was a beautiful time ; and yes, he 
is right — ^nothing can ever take it away 1 " 

tjjftf R5?^^ the end 

34, 35 & 36, PATBRNOSTBR ROW, 

LONDON, August, 1905. 

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The Russian Court 

in the Eighteenth Century 


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Tunis and Carthage 



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African towns, the life of which is described in vivid language. A 
remarkable contrast is obtained in dealing with the ruined wonders of 
the ancient city. The book is profusely illustrated. 

The Aft Crafts for Beginners 


With over aoo working drawings and photographs 
Squats erowH dvot cloth. 3s, od« net 

This ▼olume is intended for those who feel the need of some art 
expression but who cannot attend an art school, and to those who wish 
to follow the art of a craftsman. 

The craftworlc in this book, which is of such a nature as will appeal 
especially to amateurs, is arranged in progressive lessons of increasing 
dimculty, so that it may easily be adapted to school conditions. 

The subjects dealt with are Design, Thin Woodworking, Pyro- 
graphy. Sheet Metal Work, Bookbinding, Simple Pottery, Basket Work, 
and Bead Work. 

Bach subject is treated from its earliest stage. Clear diagrams 
are given of all the necessary tools, and methods of using them, so 
that no reader, be he ever so inexperienced, can fail to follow the 

A charmlni: Art Book at a popular price 

The Paintings of the Louvre 


Edited by Dr. ARTHUR MAHLER. 

With 166 muipatioBs. 

In crown 8vo, cloth gilt and gilt top. 6b, net. 

A compact and handy guide to the old masters at the Louvre has 
long been a desideratum. The present work is from the pen of a 
clever writer on art subjects, and is illustrated with eveiy picture of 
first importance in the Italian and Spanish schools of paintmg. The 
book forms a useful volume of reference. 

My Travels in China, 
Japan and Java, 1903 

of Kapurthala 

With 66 illustrations, a photogravure frontispiece^ and a map 

In small 4/0, cloth gilt and gilt lop, las. 6d. net 


The Tree of Life 


Author of "TIm Myitlo Rom." 

In demy SvOt cloth gilt, 

Mr. Crawley*! earlier book "The Mystic Rose,*' was a study of the evolution of 
Marriage. The present woric is a thoughtful study of Religion. The author contends 
that religion, both in the race and the individual, is a normal psychical development 
from the primal instinct of human nature. Prom this he infers that it Is permanent, 
that it exists and will always exist, and that its essential concern is with the 
elemental side of life . . . Christianity has preserved the original characteristics 
of religion in an unique degree. He also regards religious decay as a symptom of 
a lowering of the vital forces. Religion is one of the eternal facts of life. 

A remarkable Book 

The Trial of Jesus 

From the Italian of QlOVANNl ROSADl 

Bdttei, witk BzpUoatory N«Cm aai with «■ lotrodactlM by Dr. Ball Reich 

In large crown 8vo, cloth gilt and gUt top, with frontispiece, 63. net 

Daily Chroniou layt: **Thii is a work of absorbing interest, of unfailing 
reverence, and of remarkable skill in the collation of authorities ... It Is well 

Dr. Donald MoLbod says : '* I have found It most Interesting and instructive. 
It is full of information and casts a vivid and. in some respects, fresh light on the 
events which led to the Crucifixion, on the illegiality of the trial, and especially on 
the character of Pilate. It is a scholarly book and written In a most reverent spirit. 
I heartily recommend it.** 

Rbvibw of Rbvibws am: "A remarkable book, and may justly olalm to be ao 
Important contribution to Christian literature.** 

Dr. John Cufpord says : "A most able treatise. It is an original study of the 
Life of Jesus from a new point of view, and gives a new setting to many of the facts 
In His Ministry and Ideas In His teaching. It supplies a unique picture of the 
methods, tricks, falsehoods, subtleties, violence, and cruelty of the persecutors of 
Jesus Christ, and makes more manifest than ever the fine patience and serene 
heroism and wonderful greatness of the crucified Nazarene. It is brimful of 
knowledge. Details often ignored are fully explained; and yet the capital faots 
always appear in their true proportions and right perspective. The style is enriched 
by a rare choice of terms, striking antithesis, clear and cogent phrase, and real 
eloquence. It is a great book.'* 

Thb TiMBSsasrs: **The book has great inherent interest: the subject has been 
Investigated before in England, but hardly ever treated In so vMd a style.** 

Dr. HoRTONsays: *' I have read it through with much pleasure, and think It 
extremely valuable, and I will recommend its study.** 

Christian World says : *' This is a noteworthy book, full of profound learning and 
the most acute investigation. The actual Trial and Condemnation of Jesus KM 
dealt with in masterly style. The book wUl be widely read In England.*' 


Classic Novels 

Each with fnll-pagt lUnstnitloiM by 



S52-525 pag4M^ in foolscap Svo, cloth gtlit is, 6d. net per volume 
Limp lambskin Isather, gilt and gilt top, as. 6d. net per volume 

The Pall Mall Oasbitb lays of this Scries ^-- 
''TIm publlsiMn deccrve the thanks of a new generation of readen for pladntf 
within reach some of the best exampies of Georgian fiction in so attractive a form 
as this series has. The print is eaoeUent. the Ulastrations are faithfully reproduced, 
and the format is not to be surpassed even by more expensive editions. This series 
ought to have a warm weloeme wherever the English tongue is spolcen.** 

Henry Fielding in Six Volumes 




TO THE NEXT, x vol. 

Tobias Smollett in Six Volumes 





AN ATOM. xvol. 

The Great Composers 


In crown Svo, cloth gilt and gilt top, 35. 6d. 
Fully illustrated. 

A popular account of the great classical composers, namely — 

Auber—Bach^Beethoven— Chopin— Glucli—Hiindel— Haydn— lieadels8olui~> 
Meyerbeer— Mossrt— Rossini— Schubert— Schumann— Warner. 

The Library of Standard Biographies 

Bach with frontispiece portrait, newly edited with notes, 
chronological table, and full index. 

320— 540 pp, in foolscap 8vo, cloth gilt, is. net Per volume 
Limp leather, richly gilt and gilt top, as. net per volume 

Th* Pall Mall Oazbttb says : ** Messrs. Hutchinson's * Llbnuy of Standard 
Biographies * Is the cheapest and best venture at popularising good biographies that 
has yet been attempted. The publishers, printers, and binders are all to be 
congratulated on an excellent enterprise." 

** An argument against free Ilbraries.**-->SPHBRB. 

French of P. DB Bourribnnb. With a portrait after Paul 
Delaroche. Edited by Eooar Sanderson, M.A. (5th impression,) 

"A work of high reputation, which it is a great gain to have brought within easy 
reach."— SPBCTAToa. 

THE LIFE OF JOHN WESLEY. By Robert Southbt. With a 
portrait after George Romney. Abridged and edited by Arthur 
Reynolds, M.A. (3rd impression.) 

**Thc editorial work has been done with consummate skill."— Mbthodist RscoRDBa. 

THE LIFE OF OLITER eOLDSMITH. By John Porstbr. With a 
portrait after Sir Joshua Reynolds. Abridged and edited by Roobr 
Inopbn. (2nd impression,) 

** It would be difficult to accomplish the task of abridgment more judiciously 
than in the neat little volume before us. The editor contributes a convenient 
chronology and index, besides some useful notes and a brief biography of the 
author." — Ouaroian. 

THE LIFE OF EELSOE. By Robert Southby. With a portrait 
after John Hoppner. Edited by A. D. Power. (2nd impression.) 

*' Readers ars Indebted to Mr. A. D. Power for having so zealously interpreted his 
editorial duties in relation to the work.'*— Olasoow Hbrald. 

added Jared Sparks* continuation (abridged). With a portrait 
after J. A. Duplessis. Edited by Edoar Sanderson, M.A. 

"An excellent cheap reprint of this singularly facile autobiography of the father of 
the American constitution."— Daily Nbws. 

Stanley. With a portrait after Thomas Phillips. Abridged and 
edited by Arthur Reynolds, M.A. 

**The abridgment leaves the charm and the practical value of the biography un- 
aifccted : the editing is judicious and useful.'*— Church Tiass. 


The Library of Standard Biographies 


THE Lira or ROBERT BUREB. By John Gibson Lockhabt. Witii 
a portrait after Alexander Nasmyth. EEdited by J. M. Sloan. 

" Mr. Btoan hat done his work in th* most c o mm >o4abto fashioo.**— Hbtrooist 

THE Lira or QUEEN ELIZUETH. By Agnbs Stbicklamd. 
With a portrait after Nicboiaa HiUiard. Abridged and edited by 
Ida a. Taylor. 

**Afi admirably condensed edition of a famous boolc It is one of the best and 
cheapest of historical worlcs of the ' Library of Standard Biographies.* '*— Thb 


THE LirE or SIR WJLLTER SCOTT. By John Gibson Lockhast. 
With a portrait after Sir Thomas Lawrence. Abridged and edited 
by J. M. Sloan. 

" One of the finest biographies la the language.**— T. P.'s Wbbklv. 

THE LirS or WELLIEOTOE. By W. H. Maxwbll. With a 
portrait after Sir Thomas Lawrence. Abridged and edited by 
Hew. L. T. Dodo. 

" Mr. Dodd*s notes add considerably to the value of the book." 

THE BIRLT LIRE Or OOETHE (Books I.— IX. of the Autobiography). 

With a portrait after G. O. May. Edited by W. von Knoblauch. 
** Usefully annoUted and carefully edited.** 

THE Lira OF OLITER CROEWELL. By Thohas Caklylb. With 
a portrait. Abridged and edited by Eooab Sandbbson, M.A. 

'* It prsserves everything that is really material in that famous vindication of the 
character of the grsat Protector.**— Taum. 

[In ths Press. 

THE LIFE OF BlEniEL JOHEME. By Jahbs Boswbll. With 

two portraits and facsimiles. Abridged and edited by Roobr 


(Other ▼olumes in preparation.) 

** Considering the qualities of the paper, the printing, and the binding, the oUim that 
this is * the best value ever offered te the public * is foUy maintained.**— Truth. 

"A most admirable series. In this age of marvellously eheap reprints, this series 
stands out as an illustration of compaetaess, neatness, good printing, good 
paper, and excellent binding. The * Library of Standard Biographies * was an 
excellent Idea, and has been exeeUently well executsd."~-To-DAT. 

Books for the Young 

In large crown 8vo, 400-500 pp. t cloth huoelUd hoards ^ richly 
gilif gilt edges* Well illustrated, 58. each 

Thtt saitt of tho Volumes In this sspUs has 
reaohed a total of over 400|000 copies 


The Fifty-Two Library 

Edited by ALFRED H. MILES 

*' The PIftv-Two Series ** forms an ezcelieot library of fiction 
for young people. The stories are by the best writers for boys and 
girls, including : — 





And rnnny othtr well-known 

The new volumes in this series are : — 

45 Fifty -two Stories of Head and Heart for Boys 

46 Fifty-two Stories of Head and Heart for Qlrls 

47 Fifty-two Thrilling Stories of Life at Home and Abroad 

Volumes already published :«> 

1 Fiffcy-two Btoriei fdr Boys. 

3 Fifty-two Btoriei for Girls. 

3 Fifty-two More Btoriei for Boys. 

4 Fifty-two More Btoriei for Girls. 

6 Fifty-two Further Bteriei for Boys. 

6 Fifty-two Further Stories for Girls. 

7 Flfly-two Other Btoriei for Boyi. 


The Fifty-Two Library 


8 Tlftytwo Other Btoriei for Girli. 

9 Flflytwo Fairy TaIm. 

10 Fifty-two Btorioi for Boyhood and Toath. 

11 Fiftytwo Btorioi for Sirlhood and Toath. 
IS Fifty-two Btorioi for Chlldroa. 

18 Fifty-two Btoriei of Boy Life at Home and JLbroad. 

li Fiftytwo Btoriei of Birl Life at Home aad JLbroad. 

15 Fifty-two Btoriei of Life and JLdTontiire for Boyi. 

16 Fiftytwo Btoriei of Life and JLdTentnre for Sirii. 

17 Fifty two Btoriei of the Indlaa Mutiny. 

18 Fifty-two Btoriei of Plnek and Peril Ibr Boyi. 

19 Fifty-two Btoriei of Piaok and Peril for Birli. 

90 Fifty-two Btoriei of the Britiih Havy. 

91 Fifty-two Btoriei of Dnty and Daring for Boyi. 
99 Fifty-two Btoriei of Dnty and Daring for Oirli. 
93 Fifty-two Btoriei of the Britiih Army. 

9i Fifty-two Holiday Btoriei for Boyi. 

9i Fifty-two HoUday Btoriei for Oirli. 

96 Fifty-two Bonday Btoriei. 

97 Fifty-two Btoriei of Heroiim for Boyi. 

98 Fifty-two Btoriei of Heroiim for Girli. 

99 Fifty-two Btoriei of the Wide, Wide World. 

80 Fifty-two Btirring Btoriei for Boyi. 

81 Fifty-two Btirring Btoriei for Girli. 

89 Fifty-two Btoriei of the Britiih Empire. 

88 Fifty-two Btoriei of Courage aad BndeaTonr for Boyi. 

8i Fifty-two Btoriei of Oonraf e and BndeaToor for Girli. 

85 Fifty-two Btoriei of Greater Britain. 

86 Fifty-two Btoriei of the BraTe and Trae for Boyi. 

87 Fifty-two Btoriei of the Brave and Trae for Girli. 

88 Fifty-two Btoriei for the Little Onei. 

89 Fifty-two Btoriei of Bohool Life and After for Boyi. 

40 Fifty-two Btoriei of Bchool Life and After for Girii. 

41 Fifty-two Btoriei of Animal Life and AdTontare. 
43 Fifty-two Btoriei of Grit and Character for Boyi. 

43 Fifty-two Btoriei of Grit and Charaotor for Girli. 

44 Fifty-two Btoriei of Wild Life Eait aad Weit 


Natural History for the Youns: 

Adventures in Pondland 


Author of ** Adventures in Hivdand,'* '* Bye-Paths in Nature,** eta. 

With about 70 llliiitnktloiu by Frank Pbrcy Smith 

In crown d/vo, cloth gilt. 58. 

The fict that this book is written by the author of *' Adventures in 
Hiyelaod," which was so well received on its first publication two years 
ago, is sufficient guarantee that it is both interesting and instructive. 
Mr. Stevens has succeeded in writing for children on most engrossing 
Nature topics without in anyway dealing with the ever present question 
of the sexes. There are no long scientific names to puzzle young 
minds ; every word is in simple English. The child is led from one 
step to another, unconsciously storing up knowledge without weariness 
or dry detail. Mr. Stevens' acquaintance with children and child life is 
almost as extensive as his knowledge of insects. As in his previous 
volume, every piece of information about natural history contained in 
** Pondland *' may be absolutely relied upon as accurate ; the illustra- 
tions, too, have all been drawn under the author's directions. 

Nature's Nursery 



P.R. Met. Soo., P.Z.8.. P.B.8.. etc. 
Author of " Nature's Riddles '* 

With 210 illaitratlons from photographs 
In crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 58. 

Encouraged by the reception which was accorded to the author's 
previous book he has been led to write this record of the nursery days 
of several branches of animal fife ; besides having penetrated, to some 
considerable extent, into the mysteries of Flora's nurseiy. Although 
the book is intended for both old and young it especially appeals to 
younger people. The illustrations, which are a feature of the volume, 
are almost entirely from the author's photographs. 


The Bravest Deed I ever saw 

Edited by ALFRED H. MILES 

In Grown Svo, cloth giU and giU edges. With illustrations. 58. 

Among the many contributors to this volume may be mentioned the 
following : — 

Pield-Marahftl BARL ROBERTS, 
M^or-Oeneral BADBN POWBLL 
Captain WBLL8(MetropoUtaD PIra 



Rev. W. CARLILB (Chui«h Army) 


C. B. PRY 







Makers of England Series 


Bach in cloth gilt and gilt edges. 3s. 6d. 
on plate paper. 

With illustrations 





Miss Tappan's historical works are certain to become classics for 
the young, and they well deserve such distinction. The absorbing 
interest of the volumes, good English and historical accuracy, render 
them among the best that can be placed in the hands of the young. 
The author has studied her authorities intelligently and selected her 
material wisely, always having her young audience well in mind. 
She has a clear idea of the requirements for interesting and stimu- 
lating young readers, and arousing in them a desire for further research. 
The entire series are admirably adapted to this end, and are warmly 
recommended to the attention of parents, teachers, and librarians. 


Oriental Fairy Tales 


With 8 illustrmtitts by R. C. Armour. 
In crown 8vo, hands9m4 oUih gilt, as, 6d. 

The Bast is rich in Folk-lore, and the leriat is not trouUerf to diseorcr material, 
but to select only that which is best worth his whlLt to preoenre. The eoaditions 
under which the people live are most f avotirabte to the n ise t i s i i sa of the aadent 
legends, and the cultivation of the powers of nanadioa ilo the Oriental to present 
his stories in a more polished style than is usual in Western countries. The Tales of 
the Bast are unique, lighted up as they are by a gorgeous eactravagance of imaginatioo 
which never fails to attract and delight. 


English Fairy Tales 

With 17 illustrations by Gbofprey Strahan. 

Scottish Fairy Tales 

With 17 Illustrations by Gbofprby Strahan. 

Irish Fairy Tales 

With 8 illustrations by Gboffrby Strahan. 

North American Indian Fairy Tales 

With 8 illustrations by R. C. Armour. 

In these yolumeo of Boglish, ScoUish, Irish and American folk-lore tales f6r the 
young, the author has endeavoured to provide a selection of the very best stories 
from among the hundreds in which each of the eouatries is so rioh. furnishing a 
healthy entertainment for its sons and daughters through the centuries. 


SMond BdMoa-Now RM4y 

The Truth about Man 

By a SP1N8TBR 

Th« writer is « weU-lcnown Novelist who desires to reoisla snooymoos 

In crown 8vo, oloih giU and gilt tof. $b. 

"Who to this spinster » Ws ImI ssow surissilr sbsut ter. for sbs hss writtsB 

"'A Bplnstsr* hss sttsitthtr tss ooarliidai a osss. tss bsrrlitir Hts a i 
sotf tss ohannlas s strte to bs Iftughsd St or isaorad. Thsrt to la 'Tho Tmth about 
Haa * much s b s si t aU o n , much truo kaoivlsdit of lift, so4 auioh ssas stfrlos.**— 

''no f«al truth about hiai has asTSr bssa Biors plalair sst dsara thsa It to la m 
aaw bosh, which to wrw satir ealtod *Tho Truth about Msa.* aatf shsuld hs slsosd 
hi ths hsads sf STScy gifl oi saarrlsisabto ags."— Wobld. 

Twoatj-Seveoth Ansaal Ii 

Consldcrabij Balargod 

The Year's Art, 1906 

A Concise Epitome of all mattere reUtinf to the Arte of 
paintin|^» ecttlpture* engravlni^ aad architecture^ and to schools of 
desifn, which ha^e occurred durln|^ the year 1905, together with 
information respectinf the events of the year 1905. 

Compiled by A. C. R. CARTER 

In crown 8vo, cloth, 550 pages of Utterpress with futt-pagc 
illustrtUion*. 3s. 6d. nt$ 

PUNCH tayt: " Life it thort, books to be reviewed are multi- 
tudinoui, and available space in Mr. Punch's columns is exceedingly 
small. But my Baronite rarely resists the temptation to talce up a 
novel bearing the brand HUTCHINSON. They mutt have a 
taster of uncommonly quioit, true instinct." 

Messrs. HUTCHINSON & Co. have pleasure 
in announcing that in addition to those detailed 
on the following pages they have secured Novels 
for publication by the folloxeing xeell-knoum 
Authors : — 














(Author of " John Chilcote, M.P." 

New 6s. Novels 

Bach in croum 9oo, cloth giU 

Cloth versus Silk 


Author of *"rh« haw. Some HonM, and the Oirl.** " PMcr^s PidlgrM." ete. 

This is a sporting norel, tbe scene of which is laid in Ireland. 
There is a good deal <n banting in it and the plot turns on m certain 
Lewis Stopford's determinatioo to win the Grand National. His 
daughter becomes engaged to the son of a clergyman, who has promised 
never to marry her if she has anything to do with her father's races. 
Mr. Stopford is called away and lost at se^, and the girl is obliged 
to keep up the stables until she wins the NatiooaL 

Confessions of a Ladies Man 

Being the Ad^sntiires of Cnthhert Croom, of His Majesty's 
Diplomatic Service 

Recounted by WILUAM LB QUBUX 

Author of **Tho Oamblcrs,** elo. 

In the adTcntures related in the present book Mr. Le Queuz 
displays his woU-known gifts of presenting intricate plots, the solutioa 
of which invariably appear quite impossible. The book is a kind of 
modem Arabian Nights, and like that work it exercises a fascination 
over the reader which is absolutely impossible to resist. It is no 
exaggeration to say that the volume does not contain a single dull page. 

Dufferin's Keep 


Author of "The Secret of Wold HaU.** ** The SUver Axt." 
"Where There's a Will." eto. 

The charming Lady Alys Lorraine buys DufFerin's Keep. This 
wilftil heiress has many suitors, and the story describes them. There 
Is Anthony Lowder, the pushing unscrupulous owner of iron-worlcs near 
by, who wants her, not for love, but to further his own ambitions. 
He is the rival of the quixotic Max Dufferin, who owns a foundry 
worked on honest, auiet methods. The Duflerins once owned the Keep 
and much land. The rivalry of the two men is well worked out, but 
the issue of the story must be reserved for the reader. 

New 68. Novels 

Stafvecfow Farm 


Author of **A Oentleinan of Pnuioe,'* eta. 

With 8 illustrations from original drawings by Cyrus Cuneo, 

In Mr. Stanley Weyman'a new novel, *' Starvecrow Farm,*' the 
popular novelist enters upon a new field, or touches upon events that, 
though full of interest, have been almost totally neglected by novelists. 
The scene is laid in the North Country in the year 1819, when the 
working classes, impoverished by the prolonged struggle against 
Napoleon, were seething with discontent and latent rebellton. It is a 
spirited tale of which the escapades and adventures of the heroine in 
her love affairs form a very material part. 

The Man who Won 


Author of "Phcsbe In Fetters'* 

Those who enjoyed Mrs. Baillie Reynolds* earlier novel, ** Phoebe 
in Fetters," which met with considerable success, will probably expect 
to be entertained in a similar fashion by the present book, nor are they 
likely to be disappointed. The ** Man who Won " is a powerful story, 
the scene of which is partly laid in Africa before the late war, and 
partly in England. The book contains a strong love-interest. 

Meg the Lady 


This is, in all probability, the most remarkable and the most 
moving story that Mr. Tom Gallon has yet given to the public. It 
concerns two women — both young and both beautiful — yet placed 
apparently as far asunder as the poles, alike in regard to environment 
and birth and social status. Indeed, the one is placed in a position 
of the greatest ease and luxury ; the other is one of that great army 
of the submerj^ed and the lost. Yet, strangely enough, the one is 
forced, by curious circumstances, to take the place of the other; 
and the story concerns the way in which, fighting against desperate 
odds, she contrives to get back into her old secure life again. The 
author has dived deep into London for his characters, as usual ; but the 
very remarkable dedication of the book would seem to point to the fact 
that the story really is a transcript from life. 


New 6s. Novels 

A New Important Novel 


Author of **The Silence of Dean Maitbuid." 
** Sir Richard Calmady," etc. 

[Early in 1906 

John Henry Smith, a Golfing Romance 


Author of "The Kidnapped BUUioaaircs." 
With 43 Illustrations **for Mr. Smith " by A. B. Frost 

'* Mr. Adams has a genuine sense of fun, and keeps one constantly 
upon the grin. As to the golf enthusiast, he ought thoroughly to eiyoy 
this book, except that it may take him away from his golf.*' — Daily 

** The story is jolly, brisk and gay from first to last. Its many 
auietly funny e£fects are well helped out by the illustrations of Mr. 
A. B. Frost, pictures that add much to the attractiveness of as desirable 
a book for a golfing holiday as any man could wish for."— Scotsman, 

** The best golfing novel written for years, interesting even to non- 
golfers. It is full of humour — refined and amusing—exceedingly bright 
and readable." — Standard. 

** Mr. Frederick Upham Adams keeps his eye closely on human 
nature all throueh a heartily diverting book, which may be cordisdly 
commended to the attention of all in search of healthy laughter."— 
Daily Telegraph. 

The Idol of the King 


One of the great merits of this interesting "historical romance** 
is that the author has the gift of making his narrative appear as if it 
was historically correct. The story is supposed to have been written 
by a gentleman in waiting to Prince George of Wales, afterwards 
George III, who contracts a secret marriage with the heroine of the 
tale. It is a romance in which the king plays a finely human and 
naturally kingly part. 

New 68. Novels 

The Gambler 


Author of "John Chilcote M.P." 
With 8 full-page Illustrations from drawings by John Cameron, 

**The Gambler'* is a powerful gtory in which hereditary instinct 
tari^ely influences the action of the heroine. It deals in a dramatic and 
exciting manner with an impoverished Irish family of the better class, 
and the love interest is strong. The book shows the author's exceptional 
ability to write a fascinating story, and is a worthy successor to her 
last book. •* John Chilcote, M.P." [Early in 1906. 

The Breath of the Gods 


Author of "Truth Dexter.** 
With full-page Illustrations. 

With an original plot replete with striking situations, with its 
vividly painted scenes laid in Japan, and its strongly-contrasted types 
of character, the author displays a remarkable knowledge of Japanese 
life and manners, and presents what promises to be one of the most 
popular novels of the year. 

Green Cliffs 


Author of "By Virtue of his Offioe.** "The Unexpected.** etc.. etc. 

A charming story of French and English life. The scene is laid 
upon the encroached coast of Brittany, and contains some vivid 
descriptions of Dinard in the height of the season. Saint Malo, and 
other pleasure resorts. There is comedy in the person of a small 
P^sienne of ten — ^there is pathos in the silent love of a deformed 
Frenchman for an English girl. The chief interest centres round a 
famous French novelist. There is plenty of lively dialogue, yet the 
conventional ** happy ending " does not come quite without tears. The 
book is best descnbed as an international episode. 


New 68. Novels 

The Devirs Due a romance 


Author of "TlM Marbto City." "TIm Shutters of Sileaee/* ets. 

The ■oene of the preecat ttory U laid in the little <' one-horse '* 
Canadian village, known as '* Pour Comera,'* 

Mr. Burgin*8 stories are always welcome, and are too well-kno^ra 
to need any introduction. We can quite believe that many people 
must owe their knowledge of life in Canada entirely to his novels 
(which now number more than two dosen), and there are few better 
sources of information on the subject. 



Author of "Tbo Harrlase of Lydia lUdnwarlng.* 
"Tbo Sbcth 800M- 

This is the latest novel of a popular writer whose work for many 
years prior to her recent death, delighted a large section of the fiction- 
loving public^ and whose posthumous work is finding even greater 

A Quaker Wooing 


Author of " A Tangled Oardco.** "The Man with the Woodea Face." etc. 

Audrey Holte is a beautiful, bright girl, the only daughter of the 
house. Her mother, Lady Holte, is a worldly, artificial fine lady ; 
her father, like the men of his time, drinks hard, hunts, and enjoys 
cock-fighting, but is an ardent supporter of the Church and State. 
Audrey has many suitors among her people*s friends, but she will have 
none of them. She is, however, wooed by John Ackroyd, a young 
Quaker, and they fall deeply in love with one another ; the wooing is 
not smooth, and the ending — ^must be sought for in the book. 


New 6s. Novels 

A New Important Novel 


Author of " King Solomon's Mines." etc. 

This new book is one of the mogt poweiful stories that has ever 
come from the pen of Mr. Rider Haggard. It is a novel of mingled 
character and romance : the story of a man who having by nature the 
best instincts, on the occasion of a tragic event, vows that he will 
renounce his habits of life and endeavour to live a lifie of duty, from 
which resolution he never swerves. [/n March 1906, 

The Marrying of Gwendoline Jane 


** The Marrying of Gwendoline Jane '* it a tight comedy, amusingly 
told, and eminently readable. The heroine lives with her two grand- 
mothers — one is a charming, dainty Marquise, theothera stiff, determined 
English gentlewoman of countiy family. The latter, Mrs. Vint-Hussey, 
has decided that Gwendoline shall marry Sir Sidney, a spruce, elderly 
suitor, who is rich, quite well-preserved, and eligible. When Gwendoline 
becomes engaged to Sir Sidney, the Marquise, who is romantic, is not 
at all pleased with the arrangement. The heroine, however, falls in 
love with a younger and more suitable man ; but who she ultimately 
marries mutt not be disclosed here. 

The Mother-Light 

With a froniispieo0. 


A graphic story In which Christisui Science plays an important 
part, by a well known novelist who prefiers in the present instance to 
remain anonvmous. It deals with a body of bslievers in the wonder- 
ful power of its chosen head, but underneath the story is a revelation of 
the false pretences which enables the sect to be deluded. The circum- 
stances in which the heroine — **The Mother Light" is elected, her 
assumption of the character, and her ultimate weakness against the 
power of love make most absorbing reading. 


New 6s. Novels 

Flies, in Amber 


of * KCTBOtM," * DiMOrds." cto. 

A number of quite new stories written with all the power and 
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picture of middle-class Irish life, and is one of the best written tales 
that have come from the pen of this ▼ersatile writer. 

Love the Tyrant 


Author o( "Love Decides.** "Just a Olrl." etc 

There are few writers of fiction who have a larger following than 
Mr. Charles Oanrice. The demand for his books in this country is 
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popularity, is even greater than in England. His new story is written 
on the same lines as his previous works, and is certain to please his 
already large public and to win lor him many new readers. 

The Mortgage on the Brain 


With illustrations 

A most uncommon and absorbing novel of ** multiple personality," 
dealing with the case of the beautiful Lady Torbeth, who is by hypnotic 
suggestion restored to her normsd individuality, after many struige 



767,250 Copies 

(over three-quarters of a million) of 



ALLEN RAINE'S new Romance 

Hearts of Wales 

InoloihgiH, 6s. 

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A WELSH SINGER 164,000 printed. 



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Love Decides 


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" * Love Decides * is a most interesting stonr which, once begun, it 
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— Church Family Newspaper, 

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'* Mr. Charles Oarrice comes near to filling the place left Taciuit 
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One Thousand Poems for Children 



With illustrations aftsr Sib Joshua Rbtnolds. 
In large crown dvo, cloth gilt, gilt edges, 5s. 

The 088KIIVKR ealls It *' s eoUeetion in which the claims both of the chlldret 
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suitable lor yoang peop le that we haTe eter aeea . . . it la a rich and Tsluable 
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Clearly and well printed from new type 
on good paper 



Th« ia« OiroiunBpeot <'RITA" 

Rotftf Yanbratfh'B Wif« .. ADELINE SERGEANT 


Th« BplMidid Poraanna ..Mrs. HUQH FRA8ER 

Mom«'B Prinoa .. ROSA N. OAR EY 

TlM fltoTMi SeoMts WM. LE QUEUX 


Alain Tantftf'B Wif« J. H. YOKALL, M.P. 

ThaPikeman Dr. 8. R: KEISHTLEY 

Th« Btomal Qnaat J. A. 8TEUART 

Th« YUlatf* Blaoksmlth .. DARLEY DALE 

The Last Tenant B. L FARJEON 

The Beovet of the Goart .. F. FRANKFORT MOORE 

A Life's Assize Mra. J. H. RIDDELL 


Bitter Sweets JOSEPH HATTON 

A Singer firam the Sea .. AMELIA E. BARR 

On the Vintfs of the Vind . . . . ALLEN RAINE 

A Woman of Samaria .. " RITA" 

The Dead Intfleby TOM GALLON 

Phyllis of PhiUstia F. FRANKFORT MOORE 

The Lost Continent CUTCLIFFE HYNE 


In the Tsar*s Dominions .. .. LE VOLEUR 

Sylvia's Lovers Mrs. QA8KELL 

Above Suspicion Mrs. RIDDELL 


Our Lady of DeUversuioe JOHN OXENHAM 





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** Its excellence as a practical instructor is manifest from beginning 

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New Vol. (a) now ready. Sa« 6d. net Copiously illustrated, in cloth 
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