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PANDORA'S BOX 



VCR* 



*T 



* 




•■**■ ■"■_ 



E VARIOUS TOWERS. GREY WITH AGE-' 



'-.*•- 



PANDORA'S BOX 



By 
JOHN AMES MITCHELL 

AUTHOR OF 

AMOS JUDD. THE PINES OF LORY. 

VILLA CLAUDIA. ETC. 



WITH POUR ILLUSTRATIONS 
BY THE AUTHOR 



Wfmr 



NEW YORK 



« 



i • 



GROSS ET & DUNLAP 

PUBLISHERS 



L 






THE PEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

32 4395a 

ASTOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 
1927 r 



Copyright, 1911, 
By John Ames Mitchell 

Att rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign 
languages, including the Scandinavian 



.-•/. 






«. •• 



• w * 




• « •  



TSI ! M 






«. * • • « 



v * V «. » 



CONTENTS 



I. A Boatman's Fee I 

II. His Ladyship II 

III. Lady Octavia's Discovery 22 

IV. An Idol Totters 38 

V. More Uneducating 46 

VI. A Dog and a Tale 62 

VII. A Woman's Face 82 

VIII. Americana ioe 

IX. A Father is Reassured 113 

X. Two Tempers 118 

XL A Change of Mind 132 

XII. In the Old Garden 145 

XIII. Among the Roses # 155 

XIV. Another Visit 168 

XV. From a Trew Lovir j[8o 

XVI. A Lady Thinks 191 

XVII. Various Emotions 209 

XVIIL The Pearly Gates 220 

^ XIX. A Pair of Eyes 231 

•^ XX. Out of the Past 242 



CHAPTER 

XXI. 

XXII. 
XXIII. 
XXIV. 

XXV. 
XXVI. 

XXVII. 

XXVIII. 

XXIX. 

XXX. 

XXXI. 

XXXII. 

XXXIII. 



Contents 

PACK 

Suppressed History 250 

If 265 

Another June Morning 278 

A Diplomatic Incident 288 

"Science Demands It" 296 

The Crazy Gentleman Gets 
Worse 306 

Sentence of Death 314 

Under the Greenwood Tree. . . 323 

Darkening Skies 338 

From Father to Son? 349 

A Touch of Fate. 356 

Inspiration 370 

Above the Clouds 384 



PANDORA'S BOX 



PANDORA'S BOX 



I 



A BOATMAN S FEE 



AT the foot of Drumworth Castle flows a river. 
It flows at leisure, in no haste to meet the 
ocean. 

In a clumsy boat upon this river a young man was 
gazing upward, in a rapturous study of the castle 
towers. 

These various towers, grey with age or green with 
ivy, but glistening now in the light of spring, rose 
high above the river's bank, all reflected upon the 
waters beneath, as in a mirror. 

A restful harmony, this vast abode — a harmony 
in stone, of ancient battlements, of Elizabethan 
gables and great mullioned windows ; of terraces and 
gardens — a palace with the strength of a citadel. 
And the young man's eyes lingered here and there 
upon an oriel window of feathery grace, upon the 
outlines of a warlike turret high against the sky, or 
wandered leisurely along the balustrade of the great 
terrace with its shrubs of fantastic pattern. 



•Pandora's Box 



Yes, it might well be a castle in fairy land. 

And the more he looked, more beauties he discov- 
ered. For this was a structure of many epochs ; a 
record of many reigns and wars: also of several 
styles of architecture harmoniously reconciled by the 
hand of time. It was, moreover, a famous monu- 
ment here in the south of England, with a stirring 
history. The young man knew its history. More- 
over, as an architect, he was making a thorough 
study of the castle itself — from early fortress to 
modern mansion. On the seat beside him lay a 
sketch book, between its covers many sketches of this 
imposing pile. 

The boat, a flat-bottomed thing, too wide and far 
too heavy for a single pair of oars, would have 
smiled at thoughts of speed. Its usual function was 
that of a ferry, to and fro across the river. But the 
ferryman was now at his noonday dinner, and the 
present occupant, for the idle hour, had borrowed his 
craft. To mistake him for the usual navigator 
would be a pardonable error. The brim of a soft, 
felt hat of a common type was lowered to shade his 
eyes, and his shirt of faded blue flannel, rolled up to 
the elbow showed arms as brown and muscular as 
those of the genuine pilot. 

From his day dreams this present occupant was 
awakened, gently, by voices behind him on the river's 
bank. Turning, he saw an open carriage coming 
from the village, a driver and footman on the box. 
In the carriage were two ladies, one an elderly 



A Boatman's Fel 3 

woman with white hair, recognized by the dreamer 
as the Duchess of Linsmere. She had been pointed 
out to him on the previous day, as she wits driving to 
church. And close beside the carriage, on a chestnut 
hunter, rode the Duchess's son, Lord Heps ford. 
The other woman, whom the dreamer had never seen 
before, was younger. 

As the equipage stopped, the footman jumped to 
the ground, opened the door, and the younger woman 
descended. At the same moment Lord Hepsford 
dismounted, handing the reins of the bridle to the 
footman. In the still air, with no sounds from the 
neighboring fields to disturb the silence, their con- 
versation came distinctly to the dreamer in the boat. 
After a few words with the Duchess — a handsome 
personage with benevolent aspect — the younger 
woman, with Lord Hepsford beside her, came 
through the little gateway, down the grassy path 
toward the river. Her white dress and crimson 
parasol enlivened the immediate landscape — already 
radiant in the spring sunshine. Bending slightly 
forward, his face toward hers, the young man was 
speaking with some earnestness. 

"Do come tomorrow. Please do. I will call for 
you at any hour you say." 

"No. Not tomorrow." 

"Thursday, then?" 

"I shall be too busy Thursday." 

"Friday?" 

"No. Friday I must work." 



1 random's Box 



"Work ! Oh, I say ! What are you going to work 
at?" 

"At finding an excuse for not going Saturday." 

"Oh, come now! You must call it Saturday. 
Really. Why be so disobliging? Let's call it Sat- 
urday." 

"No, not Saturday, I've a lot of engagements for 
Saturday." 

"I don't believe it f 9 And in the gentleman's voice 
came a note of irritation. 

The lady laughed. "Well, I hope you are happier 
for not believing it. I want you to be happy, you 
'know." 

"That's a whopper!" 

To this no reply was given. 

"Come Saturday," he persisted. "Why be so hor- 
ribly exasperating? I am getting it up wholly on 
your account. The thing will fail without you. No 
fun at all unless you are there." 

With the hand that was not holding the parasol 
she made a gesture, quietly and with an easy grace, 
but with authority — for the boatman to approach. 
Then the dreamer remembered what for a moment 
he had forgotten — that he had borrowed the ferry- 
man's craft. Quickly he picked up the oars and 
obeyed the summons. As the boat touched the 
shore the gentleman was still protesting. "Then I 
will put it off till Monday. But it's nearly a week 
away." 

"Don't do it on my account. I am going away 
Monday." 



A Boatman's Fee 5 

"Going away ! Where ?" 

Without replying she stepped lightly into the boat 
and seated herself in the stern. 

"You are not really going away?" And in the 
gentleman's tone there was both incredulity and 
protestation. 

She nodded. 

"For how long?" 

"A week — or less." 

"Really?" 

Again she nodded and with a slight gesture di- 
rected the boatman to start. As the boatman pulled 
away Lord Heps ford again demanded : 

"Where ? Where are you going ?" 

With a slight gesture she pointed across the 
river, toward the castle and looked up at him with 
a smile. 

•Where the Hepsfords cease from troubling, 
And the Drumworths are at rest" 

After a melancholy attempt at a smile Lord Heps- 
ford shrugged his shoulders, raised his hat, then 
turned away to rejoin his mother. 

Out into the stream, toward the castle, the boat- 
man pulled. With furtive glances he drank in this 
welcome passenger — this dainty, radiant, unexpected 
thing. By her placid consciousness of superiority, 
by her superlatively patrician air, he was subdued, 
discomfited and bewitched. Indeed, this creature 



6 Pandora's Box 

from an upper world, in her white ethereal raiment, 
seemed suddenly to transform the shabby old scow 
into a fairy barge. As to her identity he had little 
doubt. She was the Daughter of the Castle — the 
fairy princess. • A stranger in this southwest of 
England, having come from London only three days 
before, he had never seen the Lady Octavia Henri- 
etta Louise, only child of the Earl of Drumworth, 
but he knew she was that exalted person. He found 
pleasant study in the graceful head and slender, girl- 
ish neck, the hands carelessly crossed upon the folded 
sunshade in her lap, the eyes half closed in thought 
— and her thoughts, apparently were up the river, far 
away. While an object of absorbing interest she 
was exasperatingly unconscious of the existence of 
the present boatman. But the present boatman soon 
learned that surreptitious glances were a waste of 
caution. After one careless look in his direction, 
when entering the boat, she became, so far as he 
could judge, unaware of his presence. Had he 
been a fly upon the seat she could not have given 
him less attention. He excited no curiosity. Now 
and then the far away eyes — gray they seemed to 
be, with dark lashes — would look up, but never 
at him. This neglect, while humiliating, did not 
lessen his interest. On a closer study he detected 
— or thought he did — a look of weariness in the 
face — signs of lassitude, or habitual ennui. 

As he pulled at his oars — not with too much 
haste, for he had no desire to abbreviate this voy- 



A Boatman's Fee 7 

age — his imagination kindled. If only, oh! if only 
this soulless craft could, like the enchanted rug in 
the Arabian Nights, float heavenward and remain 
forever suspended in the white clouds above! Or, 
why should not this river, now unreasonably narrow, 
widen as they sailed until all the world was water — 
except a nice little island, say a year or two ahead? 
But since no hope was promised by changes in 
geography, why not endow the passenger with a 
change of spirit — with a livelier interest for the 
person in her vicinity? How gratifying if this ex- 
alted, lovely creature should lean toward him with 
transfigured face, and murmur, "I love you, Boat- 
man!" 

But, alas ! how far the dream from reality ! 

So complete was her indifference to the ferryman 
that it seemed, at first, intentional, — and elaborate- 
ly perfected. Even this consolation, however, was 
denied him; for it soon became clear that her 
thoughts were far away, and far above him. He 
was, apparently, too commonplace or unimportant 
to merit even that effort. Perhaps she was simply 
bored by the voyage across the river. And he 
wondered as to the cause of the very serious ex- 
pression that had come into her face. Were these 
solemn thoughts for the man she had left behind? 
Of his devotion there seemed — to the boatman at 
least — no doubt whatever. Perhaps she liked him 
fairly well — but not enough. These speculations 
were unavoidable, but speculations of this kind, the 



8 Pandora's Box 

boatman knew, might be erroneous. Sometimes, 
however, idle guesses by strangers are surprisingly 
accurate. x 

Absorbed in the contemplation of her many points 
of interest, — her eyes, her hair, her youthful figure 
and patrician manner, and the gentle melancholy 
he would have loved to dispel — he failed to make 
allowance for the river's current. She reminded 
him of his error by a slight movement of a hand, 
gracious but commanding. Even this gesture to- 
ward the proper landing was made without seeing 
him, the far away eyes merely resting, for a mo- 
ment, in the direction the boat should go. In his 
humble role of motive power — of animal force — he 
hastened to rectify the error and headed the boat 
as the hand directed. 

But this man's pride was destined to be further 
outraged. 

When he had brought his boat alongside the land- 
ing the Daughter of the Castle stood up and held 
forth a hand as if — it seemed to the ferryman-*— 
she wished assistance in stepping ashore. Happy in- 
deed to render this service he sprang to his feet and 
stepped forward with outstretched arm. He real- 
ized with a thrill of pleasure that he was to re- 
ceive her hand in his — to come in contact with her, 
to hear a word of thanks, perhaps, for performing 
a trivial deed — to bring him at last within the sacred 
circle of her vision. 

But, in another instant, briefer than sudden death 



A Boatman's Fee 9 

—and sharper — he and his ambition were flung to a 
fathomless obscurity. Into his extended palm a 
coin was dropped. Not with a glance of recognition 
but with calm eyes far away — eyes that barely re- 
garded the piece of money as it fell. Moreover, her 
own fingers in parting with the metal retreated in 
a dainty upward motion, calmly but sufficiently 
rapid to avoid contact with his own. 

As he lowered his eyes to the shining thing — 
which seemed to return the glance like a mocking, 
triumphant, silver eye — the color flew to his face. 
His lips moved. As he turned swiftly up with a look, 
which, had the lady seen it, might have held her at- 
tention for an instant, she was stepping lightly to 
the shore, already forgetting him ! 

For a moment the young man, with no change of 
position, held forth his hand with its shilling. Then 
his cheeks grew hotter still as he remembered the 
regular price was sixpence and. she had given him an 
extra sixpence for himself! 

In the profundity of his humiliation he closed his 
eyes. By this acceptance of a few pennies he was 
made to realize the abysmal social gulf — in the 
giver's mind — between her and himself. For a 
brief period he looked upon the metal disk as he 
might have studied a venomous reptile, or any other 
thing whose close acquaintance was unthinkable. 
Then, his look of hostility gave place to the faintest 
of smiles, and he put the shilling in his pocket. Not 
in a pocket with other change, but in a pocket by 



10 



Pandora's Box 



itself, that it might not be lost among ordinary 
coins. 

Pulling the brim of his hat still further over his 
eyes he again sat down, took up the oars and rowed 
out upon the river. 



II 



HIS LADYSHIP 

THIS adventure of the shilling disturbed the 
boatman. For several hours it supplied him 
with a variety of emotions; swift changes 
from a spurious joy to a hot and helpless exaspera- 
tion. His efforts to despise the lady for her lack 
of perception were constant failures. He was aware 
that her personal appearance added to her offense. 
Had she been old and ugly he could have overlooked 
her amazing insensibility to his own presence. But 
her youth, her beauty, her personal charm, her 
voice, her exalted manner, he could neither forgive 
nor forget. 

This victim of the unintentional snub was a tall 
young man of angular figure. While never accused 
of beauty he bore a face in which intelligence, hon- 
esty, and a sense of humor were clearly written. 
This afternoon he smiled at intervals. It was mere- 
ly done, however, to show himself that, after all, he 
was only amused by the adventure. His customary 
smile bore the same relation to these mechanical 
efforts as honey to crab apples. Humiliation and 
resentment were his present companions. And he 

ii 



J 2 Pandora's Box 

found little consolation in the thought that he might 
never see the Lady Octavia again, and if he did see 
her she would not see him. So, while outwardly 
active with his camera and his sketches, inwardly he 
chewed the cud of defeat, of helplessness, and — 
worst of all — oblivion. 

Earlier than usual he walked back to the vil- 
lage of Drumworth, about a mile from the castle. 
He remembered, in the midst of his mortifications, 
that Mrs. Pindar, at whose cottage he was lodg- 
ing, had once been a maid to this Lady Octavia's 
mother ; and although poor Mrs. Pindar's mind was 
now a blank, Sally Pindar, the daughter, might be 
tempted to talk about the exasperating passenger 
who had ruined his afternoon. Mrs. Pindar, as he 
approached, stood leaning upon the wooden gate 
of the little garden in front of her cottage. On the 
doorstep her ten-year-old son was mending a 
cricket bat. Mrs. Pindar, pleasantly stout, had a 
wide, cheerful face that gave no indication whatever 
of the mental confusion behind it. Unlike many 
persons thus afflicted she was never depressed. She 
suffered, apparently, small loss of memory. But 
her mind, like a humming bird in a sunny garden, 
was everywhere at once. 

When this lodger now commented on the weather, 
Mrs. Pindar replied, with her friendly smile, that she 
never wore such things in summer. And when he 
asked if her daughter was in the house she laid a 
hand upon his arm and advised him, in a motherly 



His Ladyship 13 

way, to avoid dangerous encounters, saying they 
were not only bad for the nerves but had prevented 
many another lady of quality from coming to life 
again. 

Then she opened the little gate for him, and 
after looking intently into his eyes an instant, backed 
away, curtsied and said, "Your ladyship is always 
welcome." 

He raised his hat. "Thank you, Mrs. Pindar." 

Again Mrs. Pindar curtsied. "Your ladyship 
knows best. But I have been so sorry all these 
years; so very sorry! Yes, indeed! But then, it 
is not for me to blame your ladyship." 

The lodger bowed, and with a sober face. These 
inconsequent speeches moved him to pity, never to 
mirth. He saw Sally Pindar in the living room 
near the open door at the back of the cottage. She 
was sewing. In the doorway itself, looking out 
into the garden beyond, sat a large, buff cat, Toby 
by name. From the western sun a flood of light il- 
luminated that portion of a room otherwise in 
shadow, for the low casement windows with their 
little diamond shaped panes of antique glass merely 
enlivened the general obscurity. In the center of 
this bar of light sat Sally Pindar, absorbed in her 
work. The flood of light also illuminated Toby, 
touching him up with an edge of gold. 

Sally Pindar herself was favored neither by art 
nor nature. She seemed one of those creatures 
whom Providence had chosen to forget. Thin, short, 



*4 Pandora's Box 

angular, round shouldered, pale, with colorless eyes 
and hair, she possessed a kind heart, a tender con- 
science and a timid soul. Her weak voice and hesi- 
tating manner invited deprecation and neglect. Cer- 
tain laws of heredity had completed the work of 
the careless Providence by endowing her with a 
fragile constitution and poor health. But Sally 
herself had triumphed over these laws of heredity 
and the forgetful Providence. For, although unat- 
tractive, undesired by men, weak and a constant 
sufferer, she was always cheerful. 

The lodger drew up a chair and seated himself 
before the maiden. 

"What are you doing? Sewing the buttons on 
my waistcoat!" 

With an embarrassed smile she looked up, then 
down again. "The tailor you mentioned has gone 
to Taunton for a day or two and — and it is so very 
easy to tighten these buttons that I thought you — 
perhaps might not object if I did it myself." 

"Object! Well, I wish there was some way in 
which I could show my gratitude. Can't you fall 
into the river and let me pull you out, or give 
me some sort of a chance to do something in 
return ?" 

But Sally Pindar merely smiled, shook her head 
and kept on with the buttons. 

"That makes four debts of gratitude." Holding 
up a hand he began to count on his fingers. "Talk- 
ing with that insufferable Mrs. Trent for an hour 



His Ladyship J 5 

yesterday just to save me from being bored to 
death ; finding my collar stud under the washstand ; 
not cursing me when I spilled ink on your best 
carpet, and now — those buttons." 

Again the girl protested 

But he interrupted, "Let angels kiss the hem of 
your garment. I am unworthy. Have you discov- 
ered yet why your mother always calls me a lady- 
ship r 

Sally shook her head. "No. Poor mother! It 
would be useless to ask her/' 

"Do you really think she takes me for some fe- 
male of quality?" 

"It is possible." 

"Perhaps I am a fairy princess and she is the 
first to discover it." 

This idea seemed to interest Toby, for he turned 
and approached the speaker. Toby was an excep- 
tional cat, well nourished and dignified, whose color, 
a buffish brown along the back, grew fainter in de- 
scending until, at the stomach, it became a delicate 
ecru. This ecru stomach was inviting. And its 
owner knew it. To lie upon a piece of furniture, 
extend his limbs and display to its utmost dimen- 
sion this witchery of golden fur was a tempting 
invitation to the average beholder. To pass your 
hand along this stomach was a sensuous joy. To 
its owner, as a means of gaining attention and ca- 
resses, it was a talisman. As a means of procuring 
food, however, it proved a mirth inspiring failure; 



16 Pandora's Box 

for a fuller, more exuberant and a more prosperous 
pouch one rarely encountered. 

After rubbing against the lodger's shins he rolled 
over on his back. The lodger accepted the invita- 
tion and stroked the ecru stomach. While so en- 
gaged he remembered that he desired certain in- 
formation from Sally Pindar. "As to ladies of 
quality, do you believe, if this Lady Octavia, for 
instance, and I were standing side by side, a sharp 
observer would find difficulty in knowing which 
was which?" 

Sally Pindar smiled, but gave no answer. The 
question was too silly. 

"I should hate to change places with her, all 
the same. She is probably a fearful snob, self satis- 
fied, indifferent to others, too cold and narrow to be 
of much pleasure either to herself or to anybody 
else/' 

In amazement the girl looked up. She was clearly 
shocked. "Why, Mr. Lovejoy! How can you say 
such a thing ? Lady Octavia is a charming woman, 
kind, gentle and most unselfish. Everybody will 
tell you so." 

"But you will admit she is everlastingly proud." 

"Oh, no, sir! And even if she is you couldn't 
blame her. One should remember her bringing up 
— and the influence of Lady Georgiana." 

"Poor thing!" sighed the lodger. "So it would 
be no fault of her own if she were obnoxious. But 
why waste our pity? Snobs are always happy." 



His Ladyship x 7 

Had Sally Pindar known this man better she 
would have taken his remarks less seriously. 

"A snob!" she exclaimed. "Oh, no! She is not 
a snob! In fact if her mother had lived and she 
not been so much with Lady Georgiana she would be 
quite different, I think. Although the Drumworths 
have always had good opinions of themselves they 
are no worse than you or I would be in their posi- 
tion." 

"That's a humiliating thought. But who is Lady 
Georgiana ?' 

Then, from Sally Pindar's lips, came the infor- 
mation he desired. The Lady Octavia, when four 
years old, had lost her mother, a gentle, highly cul- 
tivated and most lovable woman. Upon this moth- 
er's death a sister of the Earl of Drumworth, the 
Lady Georgiana, a most exclusive person, came to 
the castle and took the mother's place. And Oc- 
tavia, being an only child, received a most exclusive 
education. Persistent effort bore its fruit. The 
child realized at an early age that a benevolent 
Creator, while peopling the earth, had established 
two classes of humans, distinct and far asunder; 
people of birth and others. Of these others not 
much was expected. But of those well born, of 
whom too much could never be said, the child Oc- 
tavia was amply informed. And then, of course, in 
her thirsting, childish mind became imbedded the 
fixed conviction — and from reliable sources — that be- 
tween these people of gentle birth and the others ex- 



18 Pandora's Box 

isted a bottomless gulf, unbridgable and everlasting. 

"And although Lady Octavia," said Sally Pin- 
dar, "is now a person with her own opinions, she has 
had so much attention, being the only child of a 
great house, that her pride is quite natural." 

The lodger heaved a sigh. Crossing one of his 
long legs over the other he sank lower in his 
chair. "She is probably her own worst enemy. But 
why is she not married, with all her beauty and shin- 
ing ancestry? Are the gods beneath her?" 

Sally Pindar stopped sewing, and resting her 
hands in her lap, looked out through the open 
door toward the western sky. 

"I really think, and so do many others, that 
Lady Georgiana's ideas are so — so very — " 

"Fantastic." 

"No, sir, not that, but so very lofty and kind of 
superior that Lady Octavia may never marry at all. 
And it is too bad, for she is a most interesting 
woman ; generous, unselfish — and a lovable nature." 

'And more bumptious than a million peacocks." 
'Oh, never! never! You don't know her at all! 
Her pride is not a bad kind." 

"She has a domineering little nose." 

Sally smiled, without looking up from her work. 

"And insolent eyes." 

This time she looked up. "Insolent eyes ! What 
an idea!" 

"And a hard, cruel mouth." 

"Why, Mr. Lovejoy! What do you mean? 






<iT_J 1 T J- — ^a. I>* 



His Ladyship J 9 

Why, hers is a beautiful, a lovely mouth, — refined, 
sensitive, exceptionally pretty." 

"Well, perhaps — but you must admit that her 
manners are snubby. 1 

"Indeed, I do not Y 

"Well, anyway, she has a harsh voice. 3 

"A harsh voice! Surely, you have never heard 
her speak! Her voice is particularly soft and gen- 
tle. It is really musical." 

"Now, Miss Pindar, either your affection for the 
lady misleads you or those acres of family portraits 
at Drumworth Castle are persistent liars." 

"What do you mean ?" 

"I went through the castle yesterday with the 
usual weekly visitors, and if there is one dominat- 
ing trait in those generations of portraits it is pride 
— an unreasoning, cast iron, inextinguishable pride ; 
the pride that fattens on itself ; the splendid, thor- 
oughly enjoyable, witless pride of ancestry and 
money." 

Sally Pindar's eyebrows had risen in surprise. 
"One would think you were quite stirred up about 
itr 

The lodger recrossed his legs. "I am. I should 
like to drop in on the Drumworth family and just 
tell Mr. and Mrs. Earl and their granddaughter, 
niece, or whatever she may be, how stupid a thing 
pride is — and how ridiculous are its victims." 

"Why don't you?" 

"It would be a waste of time. That is, of my 



. + 



20 Pandora's Box 

tkne. Their time is probably of little value. Be- 
sides, the humbling of the haughty is an arduous 
task." 

Sally Pindar was never quite sure as to how seri- 
ously this man's speeches were to be taken. Al- 
though his face in repose was more grave than 
gay, there appeared, at times, contradictory lines 
about his eyes and mouth that told of inward mirth. 
As she glanced at him now she found him studying 
her own face, from the corners of his eyes, as if 
amused by her loyalty. But she made no reply, as 
her mother, at this moment, came slowly into the 
room. The lodger rose from his chair. He always 
treated this woman with as much deference as if 
she were his own mother. For a moment she stood 
behind her daughter, then, drawn toward the young 
man by something she saw— or imagined she saw 
— in his face, approached him and went through 
with what had now become a habit. After gazing 
intently into his eyes for a moment, she backed 
away and curtsied. He, as usual, acknowledged 
the curtsy by a bow. Then Mrs. Pindar said: 
"Yes, indeed, your ladyship is very brave to face 
such a temper. A strange world, isn't it? Full 
of wonderful things. Yes, indeed !" 

Again she curtsied, moved toward the doorway, 
there hesitated a moment, then passed out into the 
garden. 

Some hours later, in the small hours of the morn- 
ing, this unforgetting boatman arose from his bed 



His Ladyship 2 * 

and stood for a time at his chamber window. In 
the western sky a round, resplendent moon was 
partly hidden by the towers of Drumworth Castle. 
These shadowy towers loomed high above the earth, 
in grim, serene indifference to things below. Even 
at night they seemed engaged in their usual occupa- 
tion of despising the surrounding country. And 
somewhere within those walls slumbered the most 
exasperating woman in the world. 

His own pride was further harrowed by the cor- 
roding consciousness that a gulf existed in this lady's 
mind between herself and him — a vast, unmeasured 
gulf, as between beings on separate planets. 

After gazing for a time on this discouraging 
scene he went to his coat and took from a pocket 
the portrait of a woman — a photograph not much 
larger than a visiting card. In the moonlight, at 
the window, he studied the face. Then, on a sudden 
impulse, he tore the picture across the middle, tossed 
the two pieces into a waste basket and went back 
to bed. 

Half an hour later he arose from his bed, lit a 
candle, gathered up the two pieces of the portrait 
and, by pasting paper on the back, carefully joined 
them together. 



Ill 



LADY OCTAVIA'S DISCOVERY 

MANY times during the next twenty-four 
hours the ferryman recalled the sixpenny 
"tip" and the kind lady who bestowed it 

The kind lady, on the contrary, did not once 
recall either the gift or the recipient. 

The following morning, it being customary to 
work an hour or so in her own little garden, train- 
ing and trimming plants and gathering flowers, she 
put on, as usual, an old straw hat, a blue gingham 
apron and her working gloves. But the gingham 
apron, the soiled gloves and the trowel were not 
deceptive. They added no humility to the lady's 
bearing; no meekness to her spirit. As a child she 
had shown democratic tastes that alarmed her aunt ; 
tastes pardonable perhaps in a person of ordinary 
clay but not befitting a Drumworth. While Auntie 
George realized that a proper pride of birth might 
not be expected in a child of six, she fully realized 
that a girl of ten should be ashamed of certain com- 
panions. And when Lady Octavia, at the age of 
ten, made no concealment of a friendship with the 

daughter of the second gardener, there was cause 

22 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 2 3 

for action. And then began, on the part of Auntie 
George, a vigilant, systematic and unceasing in- 
struction in family pride. In the unfolding, sensi- 
tive nature of her niece she imbedded, with all the 
force of experience and religious conviction, a 
sterner realization of the abysmal gulf between blue 
and common blood; of the degradation, social and 
moral, that inevitably resulted from violations of 
this heaven-born truth. 

The task was easy. Counteracting influences were; 
not at hand. The vine grew as it was trained. 
Born and reared in a castle, every stone of which 
bore record of the glories of her race, surrounded 
by portraits of noble progenitors, receiving ever, 
from the outer world, the deference due to exalted 
position, Lady Octavia, at the age of twenty, enjoyed 
a consciousness of superiority that needed no sup- 
port. 

And this morning, while at work among her flow- 
ers, the very walls of the castle that towered above 
were a silent but impressive tribute to the honor 
of her name. The splendid terrace, the ancient oaks 
beneath, the broad acres that stretched away toward 
the village, the fields and forests, all were Drum- 
worth — and always had been, since English history 
began. 

Straightening up after a time, she closed her 
eyes and inhaled, with a deep breath, the flower 
scented air of her garden. This garden, at the 
east end of the long terrace, was separated from 



24 Pandora's Box 

it and hidden by an ancient row of yew trees, cut 
down to a hedge. 

After standing a moment and looking idly around, 
her eyes rested upon a narrow door near the corner 
of the eastern wall. There was nothing remarkable 
or unusually inviting about this narrow archway at 
this present moment, but, obeying an impulse, pos- 
sibly the idle curiosity of an idle moment, she 
moved in that direction. To be sure the door had 
always been there. But it had always been closed. 
Now it was ajar. Being a solid little door, very 
ancient, with massive iron hinges and a rusty lock, 
the temptation to open it had been easily resisted. 
Besides, she knew what lay behind it. She won- 
dered, also in an idle way, why it was open. As 
many months had passed since she had visited that 
portion — the older and disused portion— of the 
castle, she strolled beneath the narrow archway and 
entered a court. This court was surrounded on two 
sides by the most ancient buildings of the castle. 

Along a cloistered passage she continued, still 
guided by the idle impulse, through another arch- 
way beneath the old baronial hall until she came out 
into a garden. This garden was the original terrace 
of the castle and dated from William the Con- 
queror. Now, long neglected, it seemed an orgie 
of shrubs and weeds and flowers. Vines not 
trimmed in years covered the old stones of the castle 
wall, and hung in heavy festoons from windows, 
cornices and from vases on the balustrade. 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 2 5 

With half closed eyes Lady Octavia stood for 
a moment, breathing the fragrance of this almost 
forgotten garden. Then, looking over the tops of 
the oaks, her eyes followed the shining river until 
it disappeared among the far away woods and hills. 
And she gazed reverently — as she had always done 
— upon the stupendous ruins, close beside her, of 
the round tower of Norman days, now almost hid- 
den beneath its ivy. 

Whenever she came to this garden — a favorite 
resort in her childhood — it had always stirred her 
imagination. It impressed her as a spot for roman- 
tic happenings — of legendary deeds, long since for- 
gotten. She had likened it to the Garden of the 
Sleeping Beauty. A nearby statue of a dancing 
cupid seemed trying vainly to recall the triumphs of 
his earlier days. The old fountain with its stone 
basin almost hidden in a tangle of neglected roses 
gave, in its waterless silence, the final touch of 
melancholy. 

But now, of course, all was smiling beneath the 
morning sun. Strolling along a weed grown path, 
between rows of untrimmed box, Lady Octavia 
heard a sound in her vicinity that was not in har- 
mony with the forgotten stories of the little garden, 
nor with her own thoughts. She stopped — and 
frowned. A man was whistling. Very nea^ it 
sounded, yet no man was visible. The whistling 
seemed to come from the wall itself. Looking up 
at a great mullioned window just above her she no- 



26 , Pandora's Box 

ticed that one of the swinging casements was open. 
And as she stood there the whistling ceased, sud- 
denly, in the middle of a note. It was followed, a 
moment later, by a very low singing, or rather hum- 
ming, as of a man absorbed in his work and who 
paid little attention to the kind of sound he pro- 
duced. This, also, was of brief duration ; then fol- 
lowed another silence. 

She felt a gentle curiosity to know the kind of 
mental or mechanical effort these fitful utterances 
were assisting. 

So, Lady Octavia, in her gingham apron, her old 
straw hat and soiled gloves, with her trowel in one 
hand, a little flower basket in the other, entered a 
passage, ascended a few stone steps to her left and 
stood at the doorway of the old Baronial Hall. 

As she paused for a moment in this doorway, she 
saw a man standing on a chair, before a table, his 
back toward her. Lady Octavia had a sense of 
humor, and a smile came to her lips. For on this 
workman's blouse — a grey linen blouse such as 
French mechanics wear — were two enormous letters, 
E. L. painted in black paint, and so large as to cover 
the entire back of the garment. She smiled because 
the liberal dimensions and conspicuousness of the 
two initials seemed to indicate a needless anxiety on 
the part of the wearer lest this treasure might be 
claimed by others. 

The room at whose doorway she now stood, the 
primitive Baronial Hall of the Castle, was built in 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 27 

the twelfth century by Richard of Drumworth. It 
was long and wide and high, with an open timbered 
roof, high mullioned windows with deep recesses, 
and no furniture save a massive oaken table and a 
few ancient, high-backed chairs. Along the sides 
ran a high wainscot of oak, now black with age. 
Against its walls, discolored by time, hung arms and 
armor with portraits of many Drumwcjrths, long 
since departed. The heavy table at which this 
stranger worked had been drawn, for better light, 
near the alcove of the great window. 

While she was pausing for a moment in the door- 
way the man jumped down from the chair — or 
stool — and went on with his work. Large sheets of 
white paper were before hinu He seemed to be 
drawing something. 

The Daughter of the Castle entered. She had ap- 
proached within a very few feet of the draughtsman 
before he became aware of her presence. Then he 
turned his head. His visitor, with a careless glance 
at his face, approached the table and stood beside 
him, looking down at his drawing. 

After rising and acknowledging her presence by 
a slight bow, which she returned with a condescend- 
ing movement of her own head, the workman re- 
sumed his seat. 

"Why," she exclaimed in mild surprise, "that is 
the outside of this castle !" 

"Yes." 

"It is the old ruined tower, rebuilt !" 



28 Pandora's Box 

"Yes." 

"Very interesting. Is that the way it looked, 
originally ?" 

"Well, possibly, as near as one can tell." 

"But how do you know it had a top like that, 
with those battlements?" 

He reached over, took up an old woodcut and laid 
it on the table before hen It was a view of Drum- 
worth Castle, made many years ago, evidently torn 
from a book. In the foreground was an attacking 
army, with tents, scaling-ladders, catapults, batter- 
ing-rams and all the medieval implements of as- 
sault. It showed the fortress as it was, or might 
have been, five centuries ago. 

Lady Octavia took up the picture and studied 
it. "I never saw this before. How very interest- 
ing! Is it from some old book?" 

"Probably. It was picked up in a print shop." 

As she studied the picture in silence he went on 
with his work. The action seemed to imply a cer- 
tain indifference to — or failure to realize — the qual- 
ity of his visitor. This apparent indifference to her 
presence was something new for Lady Octavia, and, 
silently, she resented it At the same moment, how- 
ever, she remembered her present attire, the old 
hat, the soiled garden gloves and the gingham 
apron. A faint smile, unobserved by the workman, 
came to her lips; and with it came an entertaining 
idea. Why not continue the deception? Perhaps 
he took her for the gardener's daughter. Being an 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 2 9 

ignorant man — a common person — he would natu- 
rally be deceived by superficial things. 

"How long have you been here?" 

"Three days." 

"Do you come from London ?" 

"Yes, I came here from London." 

"You are an architect, I suppose." 

"Well, I try to think so." 

"For whom are you doing this ?" she asked. 

"For an architectural firm." 

"It is they who hire you?" 

"Yes." 

"Not the Earl of Drumworth nor his son ?" 

"No." 

"But they know you are here, of course?" 

"Oyes! It is with their permission." 

After standing beside this man a moment she 
became deeply interested in his work. Her affection 
for the castle was so deep and so sincere that what- 
ever related to it was of supreme importance. As 
a child she had played in every court and garden, 
among all its stairs and corridors, through all its 
halls and towers. Now, to see its dismantled walls 
come forth, on paper, and rise again in their departed 
majesty — their forgotten beauty — brought a thrill 
of pleasure and of pride. The crumbling ivy-covered 
ruins on the eastern corner had risen in this man's 
hands— on paper — to a stately height. On the 
crowning parapet of this tower he was now at work. 
Is that the way the old tower looked originally ?" 



«i 



30 Pandora's Box 

He stood a little to one side, that she might see it 
better. 

"Why, yes; as near as I can restore it." 

"But how do you know? That tower does not 
9how in this picture." 

"No. But one goes by a general knowledge of 
how such a tower of that period, of these dimen- 
sions and in such a position, was likely to appear." 

"Then it is not absolutely correct, after all." 

"Possibly not, in the sense of being an absolute- 
ly faithful reproduction of the original. But it is 
safe to believe, from the towers already standing, 
that it resembled one of these." 

He took up four other drawings on tracing 
paper, of the same tower, and laid them before her. 

"Yes, that is true," she murmured, "they all seem 
probable." 

"Which do you like the best?" he asked. 

"I like them all." 

"But which do you prefer?" 

"I am no judge. I know too little of architec- 
ture." 

However, she laid a finger — in the soiled garden 
glove — upon one of the tracings. 

"I think I prefer that one." 

"So do I !" 

And in his voice, as he spoke, there was a slight 
note of enthusiasm, almost boyish; and a suggestion 
of a friendly appreciation of her good judgment — 
as if glad to receive her approval of his own de- 
cision. 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 3* 

"It is simpler and more imposing/' he exclaimed. 
"There is more dignity in the plain walls and heavy 
cornice." 

She smiled, and nodded assent. She began to 
like this man. 

"I will show you," he said, "how it looks with 
the rest of the castle." 

And laying a piece of tracing paper over this 
drawing he proceeded to sketch the tower of their 
choice. He drew it rapidly and with what seemed 
to her a marvelous facility and precision; and all 
with picturesque effect. 

She looked on in surprise — and admiration — as 
this new tower took shape beneath his pencil. She 
herself could sketch in an amateurish way; but it 
bore no resemblance to this man's work. His artis- 
tic sense and architectural knowledge inspired her 
with a sincere respect. 

After looking on in silent admiration she mur- 
mured at last, involuntarily: 

"How well you do it !" 

He made a little bow of acknowledgment, slight- 
ly exaggerated and half in jest. 

"Thank you." 

Again Lady Octavia resented, in silence, this fa- 
miliar manner, and again she remembered that she 
was being treated as the gardener's daughter. But 
she began to find pleasure in the situation. It was 
a new experience. She resolved to regard it as an 
amusing adventure. 



32 Pandora's Box 

"You must enjoy your work." 

"Indeed I do! Life is worth living when one' 
labor is more absorbing than one's amusements." 

As he spoke, he raised his head, and their eye 
met. This was her first real knowledge of his face 
for, being a workman in a blouse, he had receive 
but a thoughtless glance. The eyes into which sh 
now found herself looking brought a mild sur 
prise — not so much from anything startling in thei 
appearance as from elusive memories they aroused 
These memories, shadowy and indefinable, seeme 
related to a far away period — to her childhoo 
days. For an instant she struggled to reunite th 
broken threads, but in vain. They were strangel 
familiar, these eyes. They were a light gray — o 
blue, perhaps — with lashes almost black, and a pc 
culiar upward turn to the eyebrows. Their e* 
pression, too, serene and very friendly, caused 
mild bewilderment. She seemed looking into th 
face of an old friend, some intimate companion c 
her childhood whom she had known — and liked. 

Failing in her involuntary effort to connect thes 
eyes with that other pair of eyes of which thes 
were the counterpart, she lowered her glance to tl 
drawings of the castle. And a slightly warmc 
color came into her cheeks as she realized the ver 
earnest manner in which she had stared at him. 

Merely to break the silence, and to relieve In 
own embarrassment she said: 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 33 

"I see you have a man in armor over the gateway 
in one drawing but not in this last one." 

"Yes. I copied it from that old chap up there." 
And he pointed across the room to a suit of four- 
teenth-century armor, standing beside the old chim- 
ney. Lady Octavia frowned. To hear a sainted 
ancestor, a hero of historic battles, the renowned 
Richard of Drumworth called "that old chap/' sent 
a thrill of resentment through every nerve of her 
patrician being. But calmly she replied: 

"He is believed by those familiar with English 
history to have brought more glory to the house 
of Drumworth than any other soldier." 

"But such easy glory, and so cheap !" 

Lady Octavia almost gasped. 

"Cheap I" 

The workman, without looking up from his 
drawings repeated quietly: 

"Cheap and easy. Yes. I rubbed him out. It 
was doing him too much honor." 

"Indeed ! It might be interesting to know why." 

"Well, that suit of armor is a wonderful piece 
of work. I have been examining it. From crown 
to toe there is not a weak place in it. Not an open 
joint— no crack for foe to enter." 

"I fail to see how the merit of a soldier's armor 
detracts from the merit of the man himself." 

"But don't you see that in such a get up he was 
*s safe in the thick of battle as at home in his own 



; 






34 Pandora's Box 

bed? Wasn't it Gustavus Adolphus who was cap- 
tured in a fight and his enemies had him on the 
ground for half an hour trying to find a place in 
his armor to stab him?" 

"I know nothing about it." 

"Well, whoever it was — they worked in vain 
until he was rescued by his friends. War in those 
days, for a well equipped gentleman, was like sit- 
ting at a window and shooting peasants as they 
hammer the walls of your house." 

The lady tried hard to suppress her indignation. 
Those he fought against wore armor just as good." 
Yes, a few of them. The great mass, however, 
the rank and file he had the fun with, were clad in 
homespun — or leather, with possibly a casque or a 
breast-plate. It was they who took chances, and 
who, incidentally, got very little credit. Perhaps 
there was very little credit to go round and the 
ironclads needed all." 

Lady Octavia's chin had risen a little higher. 
There was anger in her eyes. But the draughtsman 
was unobservant. 

"That armor," she replied, "was worn by Richard 
of Drumworth at the battle of Agincourt. He was 
a distinguished soldier of his time, and considered 
the right hand in battle of Henry the Fifth. It is 
somewhat novel to hear him called a coward, and by 
a—by a—" 

The draughtsman caught her eye and laughed. 
" — By a thing like me ? Oh, well, I didn't really call 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 35 



him a coward. A man is not a coward because he 
goes a hunting. And this Richard chap was not 
necessarily a coward because he slashed around in 
safety among the unarmored soldiers. It was his 
idea of sport. We must blame the times more than 
J the individual." 

} Lady Octavia made no reply. Her face, however, 

\ was expressing as much severity as she could sum- 
mon. 

But the draughtsman went on. "Perhaps you 
remember, or don't remember, or never read, Mr. 
William Shakespeare's play of Henry the Fifth." 
"I have read it." 

"In describing the night before that battle of 
Agincourt he says : 

And from the tents, 
The armourers, accomplishing the knights, 
With busy hammers closing rivets up, 
Give dreadful note of preparation. 

Really now, there is a humorous side to it, isn't 
there? Why, just imagine yourself a common sol- 
dier and encountering one of these knights in a 
battle. Every time he struck you he would draw 
blood. And you — well, you might as well be ham- 
mering a kitchen boiler." 

Lady Octavia's breath came a little quicker, and 
another flush was in her cheeks. , 

"Of course, there was always the chance," he 
went on, "of a horse falling under all that weight 
of junk. The only real danger, however, was for 



i 



i 
i 



/ 



36 Pandora's Box 

the horse, who must have found mighty little fun 
in rolling over on a cluster of irpn cylinders with 
spurs at one end and a sort of teakettle at the 
other." 

As for the daughter of the castle, she had re- 
ceived a shock. This new light so suddenly turned 
upon a glorified ancestor had kindled a sudden, al- 
most solemn, indignation. There was a brief si- 
lence, in which her eyes moved haughtily from the 
head of the workman to the suit of armor, out of 
which the spirit of the invincible Richard of Drum- 
worth, right hand in battle of Henry V, seemed 
regarding her with silent but portentous anger. 
Was he rebuking her as a traitor to her own blood ? 

"Perhaps you would not have said these things 
to the man himself." 

"Not when he had his armor on. It would be 
like quarreling with a lamp-post." 

Looking up into the maiden's face the draughts- 
man was confronted by two outraged eyes. 

He returned this look with the calmest of smiles — 
amiable and frank. "Please do not think I wish 
to disparage this famous killer. I am only saying 
that he is not my own idea of a hero. If I were a 
Drumworth I should never give his effigy that place 
of honor." 

But the feelings of Lady Octavia had been griev- 
ously wounded. She resented this profanation of 
the memory of a splendid soldier. Family idols, 
heroes of childhood, may not be slurred with im- 



Lady Octavia's Discovery 37 

punity. If great founders of historic houses are to 
be maligned and belittled by common people — such 
as this man — then, what next? 

With a smile, such as one old friend might bestow 
upon another, he inquired : 

"Is he a hero of yours?" 

"Who?" 

"Our metallic friend." 

Lady Octavia made another effort to conceal her 
anger. Calmly she answered: 

"Yes — in a way." 

"Then allow me to apologize for my comments. 
I am afraid I have offended you." 

"It doesn't matter." 

"Oh, indeed it does! I am very sorry. Please 
forgive me." 

"Certainly, There is nothing to forgive." 

But, too proud to argue, she turned in silence and 
walked slowly away. And she moved with the grace 
and the easy disdain that became the descendant of a 
hundred earls. ; 



IV 



AN IDOL TOTTERS 

SLOWLY, under the cloistered arches, through 
her own garden and then along the great ter- 
race, walked Lady Octavia, with puzzled brow 
and absent look. At intervals she closed her eyes as a 
help to concentration. She was striving vainly to 
recall the forgotten person to whom this architect 
bore so strange a resemblance. It seemed, at mo- 
ments, as if the face of some old time friend was 
returning at her summons. By closing her eyes 
she could almost see it. Within her vision, however, 
it refused to come. 

While interestecjr in this draughtsman's work she 
was, at the samf»'*°time, indignant — and shocked. 
Shocked that a jyorkman in a blouse should doubt 
the quality of tfie greatest warrior of her house; 
angry with hersetf for being influenced by his words. 
Yet, after all, it was incontestable that the great 
Richard of Drumworth, with other ironclad heroes, 
was safer in his armor than out of it. Or why 
should they have worn it ? And surely, as this im- 
pertinent draughtsman had asserted, the common 
men on foot, in homespun and in leather, had shown, 

33 



An Idol Totters 39 

at least, an equal courage. Moreover, her irrita- 
tion was not diminished by the consciousness that 
the great Richard, as an embodiment of reckless 
heroism, had dropped a peg or two in her esteem. 
She realized, with sorrow, that the fine edge of her 
idolatry was dulled. And to her dismay she found 
that the more she pondered the more she doubted. 
And doubts concerning this sainted ancestor were 
so distressing that at lunch this day, feeling the need 
of support for her wavering adoration, she re- 
marked carelessly: 

"Wouldn't it be dreadful if our great Richard 
was something of a humbug, like so many others?" 

At the table was her great-aunt, the Lady Georgi- 
ana, and her father, Lord Aylesden. Her grand- 
father, the Earl of Drumworth, was absent. 

Auntie George followed her niece's glance to- 
ward the full length portrait of the man in armor 
that hung against the wall, then raised her eye- 
brows. 

"Something of a what?" 

"Of a humbug." 

Auntie George straightened up. Always erect, 
with a spine that never bent — she now stiffened yet 
a little more. Her face also stiffened. Although 
Lady Georgiana's features were faultless, she had 
never been a beauty. Perhaps a superabundant, un- 
quenchable confidence in herself, together with her 
pride of birth, and certain dominant qualities, had 
hardened her expression. But, whatever the rea- 






40 Pandora's Box 

son, no man had pursued her. She had frightened 
the timid; and those braver men who might have 
won her had reconsidered and had wedded else- 
where. 

'What do you mean, Octavia?" 

'Why, I mean by going into battle so well pro- 
tected in his iron clothes that nobody could hurt 
him. And then killing common soldiers who had 
no protection in the way of armor." 

Auntie George, for an instant, seemed dazed by 
the novelty — or the sacrilege — of the suggestion. 
She stopped eating and regarded her niece in si- 
lence. With eyebrows still elevated she blinked as 
one who slowly recovers consciousness after a shock. 
Lord Aylesden leaned back in his chair and re- 
garded his daughter with a look of surprise. This 
look was followed by a frown, then, slowly, by a 
smile. Lord Aylesden's face had never been ad- 
dicted to rapid changes of expression. 

"Well, by Jove, Octavia! There's an idea in 
that !" 

"An idea indeed I" exclaimed Auntie George. "A 
most extraordinary idea 1" 

Lord Aylesden turned and also regarded the an- 
cestral portrait. "I never thought of that before." 

"I should hope not," said Auntie George. "And 
I am sorry, Octavia, that a Drum worth should try 
to belittle the glory and tarnish the memory of a 
great ancestor — the heroic founder of a splendid 
house." 



An Idol Totters 4* 

"But I don't Auntie George. I felt just that way 
myself." 

"Felt that way ! When ? Why not always ?" 

Octavia showed a slight embarrassment. "I do 
feel that way now/' 

"Then why say such things?" 

"Oh, it just came into my head, I suppose." 

"Well, don't harbor such thoughts. It is the 
kind of sentiment one might expect from a labor 
agitator, an anarchist, or some destructive, envious, 
common person." 

On the face of Octavia's father, however, the 
smile still remained. "But you must admit, Auntie 
George, that the idea is — er — original." 

"Original ! Yes. And ridiculous." 

"Well, now, really it seems to me, you know* 
there is some truth in it." 

"Not a particle of truth or sense in it ! Many of 
those against whom he fought were also in armor." 

"And were also quite safe." 

"Not at all. At Agincourt, for instance, where 
Richard of Drumworth covered himself with glory, 
many gentlemen in armor on both sides were 
killed." 

"You mean," and Octavia kept a serious face, 
"that each gentleman had armor on both sides ?" 

"I do not. I mean a great many noblemen in 
armor, both French and English, were slain." 

"No, Auntie George, excuse me. Very few gen- 
tlemen in armor were killed. I have just been look- 



4* Pandora's Box 

ing it up. I mean, of course, compared with the 

common soldiers." 

A short silence followed, broken by Lady Georgi- 

ana, who regarded her niece with half closed eyes. 

"Why should you look it up, Octavia?" 
"To see if there was any truth in it." 
"And was this a belief of your own that you 

wished to verify?" 

"Why, no. I did not wish to believe it." 
"Then who put such an idea into your head?" 
For an instant Octavia hesitated. As her eyes, 

however, in her uncertainty turned again toward the 

painting, Richard of Drumworth himself came to 

the rescue- "It might occur to anybody, don't you 

think, just from looking at the portrait? The man 

inside was so very, very safe." 
"Most certainly I do not." 
"But he wore his armor for protection, didn't 

Tier 

"Of course." 

"And he was well protected or he would not have 

lx>thered with such a clumsy thing." 

"Certainly. And he was wise to do it." 

"Oh, yes! No one doubts his wisdom, Auntie 

George-" 

"Octavia, I am really ashamed of you." 
Again Lord Aylesden smiled, then frowned and 

shook his head. "So am I, Octavia. You must not 

upset our enjoyable beliefs by such wicked 

thoughts." 



An Idol Totters 43 

"But I have another thought that is wickeder 
still." 

Lady Georgiana elevated her chin and studied 
her niece with renewed suspicion. "What have you 
been reading, Octavia? Or with whom have you 
been talking ?" 

"Why, Auntie George, cannot one have ideas 
without getting them from books or other people ¥' 

"Not such ideas as you seem to be indulging in at 
present. At least I should hope not." 

"Well, give us the wickeder thought," said her 
father. "You probably will not be happy until it is 
out." 

"Well, everybody that looks at that portrait is 
impressed by his having fought at Agincourt. And 
we — all the family — are proud of it." 

"Naturally," from Auntie George. 

"But none of our peasantry have portraits of 
their ancestors, who also fought at Agincourt. And 
those ancestors, who fought without armor, may 
have shown, perhaps, more courage than ours." 

Lord Aylesden lowered a glass of wine which was 
approaching his lips. "I say, Octavia, aren't you 
rather rubbing it in ?" 

For an instant Lady Georgiana was dumb. 
Quickly recovering herself, however, and with a 
frown of severest disapproval, she was about to re- 
ply. Instead, she turned a cautionary glance toward 
an approaching butler and the subject was dropped. 

When Octavia, on the following morning, entered 



44 Pandora's Box 

her own little garden for an hour's work, her re- 
sentment toward the invading draughtsman and his 
impertinence was still active — so active, in fact, that 
she puttered among her flowers for several minutes 
in the sincere belief that she was not to encourage 
him by another visit. As the moments passed, how- 
ever, her thoughts continually and with mortifying 
persistence reverted to the welcome excitement of 
his startling utterances and to the unsolved mystery 
of his curiously familiar eyes. At last she drew a 
long and resolute breath of the delicious June morn- 
ing and again passed beneath the narrow arch. 

Still at work in his ridiculous blouse, with his 
back and its enormous initials toward the door, he 
was, nevertheless, aware of her presence as soon as 
she entered the room. He arose, turned about and 
greeted her with a smiling "good morning." 

She returned the greeting more formally, and ap- 
proached the table. He stood aside that she might 
better survey his work. 

"Why, you have put the man in armor over the 
entrance !" 

"Yes. How do you like him?" 

"I don't like him. Please take him out." 

Raising his eyebrows he regarded her in sur- 
prise. "But I put him there because you liked 
him." 

"I have changed my mind." 

"Well, women do beat the Dutch !" 

"Do what?" 

"Beat the Dutch." 



tt 

44' 



An Idol Totters 45 

"What do you mean by that Y' 

"That is a way of saying that women — that 
women — " 

'Are fickle ?" 

'No ; not at all ! That women are — superior even 
to the Dutch. That they — women— are full of sur- 
prises." 

"Very likely. But I have changed my mind about 
men in armor. You are entirely right. They do 
not stand for the highest courage." 

"But yesterday you were angry with me for say- 
ing so." 

"Not really angry," and Lady Octavia smiled 
without raising her eyes from the drawing. 

"That is good news. In the meantime I have 
repented, reformed, and given him the place of 
honor." 

"And I, in the meantime, have grown wiser. You 
must take him out." 

"Perhaps, after all, it is a matter for others to 
decide. Neither you nor I own the castle, Miss 
Gardener." 

At this name, which seemed a liberty, yet certainly 
was appropriate, she involuntarily gave him a look 
of surprise. Then she lowered her eyes to the draw- 
ing and replied, quite soberly : 

"Very true. But I think it a question the archi- 
tect should decide. So please take him out." 

And in the manner of one who is accustomed to 
being obeyed she turned away and seated herself 
in the great Elizabethan window. 



V 



MORE UNEDUCATING 

THROUGH the open casement of this window 
there came, with the morning sunshine, the 
perfume of flowers from the old garden be- 
neath — the Garden of the Sleeping Beauty. 

Closing her eyes, Lady Octavia inhaled this fra- 
grance. Upon her head and shoulders, upon the 
wall beside her, upon the seat and the old stone floor, 
fell a splendor of many tints from the little diamond 
shaped panes of the ancient window. The colors of 
this window, mostly yellow and purple, had been 
softened by two centuries of storm and sunshine. 

Lady Octavia's girlish face, the old straw hat, 
the graceful head, the closed eyes, were more than 
enough to stir a young man's fancy. Besides, it was 
a poet's day in June. The morning air that floated 
lazily in through the open casement, a languorous, 
tempting zephyr, laden with unconventional mes- 
sages was, in itself, an invitation to lovers' dreams. 

With an elbow on the drawing of the castle, 
his chin in his hand, his eyes upon this glowing 
creature in the window, so near yet so very — so 
very far away, the draughtsman indulged, uncon- 

46 



More Uneducating 47 

sciously, in a sigh that might have stirred an iceberg. 
It barely reached the lady's ears; but her eyes 
opened. And although they opened slowly, they 
caught him unawares. He blushed like a schoolboy, 
lowered his glance, and resumed his work. In the 
hope of diverting attention from this embarrass- 
ment, he inquired: 

"Who shall replace the dishonored man in ar- 
mor?" 

She turned away and again closed her eyes a mo- 
ment before replying. "Why not put in a common 
soldier— one of those who bore the brunt of battle?" 

"Oh, desecrate a feudal castle by the effigy of a 
plebeian! There is no record in history of a self 
respecting lordship putting an humble follower 
in such a place of honor. The Earl of Drumworth 
would never consent ; nor Lord Aylesden ; nor Lady 
Georgiana, nor Lady Octavia." 

"I am not so sure about Lady Octavia." 

"I should never dare ask her." 

"She is not so unreasonable as you think, per- 
haps." 

Solemnly the draughtsman shook his head, "Well, 
it is mightily to her credit if she is not, with every- 
thing against her." 

"Everything against her ?" 

"Yes. All the traditions of her family. To say 
nothing of her bringing up." 

"Ah, indeed ! Was she so badly brought up ?" 



48 Pandora's Box 

"Perhaps not for so important an only 'child. 
But for a nice, enjoyable human woman, yes." 

"Indeed !" 

He nodded, still bending over his work. "Of 
course, as a stranger in these parts I can only judge 
from what I hear. But we all know how an only 
child is apt to turn out — and especially an only 
daughter with a lot of obsequious friends." 

Octavia frowned. Furtively she studied the 
speaker. Was he simply impertinent — and enter- 
taining himself at her expense? After a rapid but 
searching study of his serenely serious countenance 
she decided he was in earnest. 

Placidly he continued : "In spite of all temptations 
she has developed, I understand, into a surprisingly 
fine woman — thoughtful, generous, lovable, adored 
by the surrounding country. Should anyone treat 
her with disrespect, or even harbor the intent, I 
believe that 

Twenty thousand Cornishmen would know the reason why.* 

Then, straightening up and turning toward her 
with a smile, yet with a tone of conviction: 

"She elevates the tone of the whole community. 
When people in the village speak of her a different 
expression comes into their faces. They lower their 
voices. The very mention of her name seems to 
purify the atmosphere." 

Lady Octavia, hoping that her heightened color 
would escape his notice, acknowledged this tribute — 



More Uneducating 49 

as to an absent person — with a slight movement of 
the head, and again turned her eyes toward the gar- 
den. But the draughtsman, his own eyes again upon 
his work, inquired carelessly : 

"Do you think she is going to marry Lord what's- 
his-name — Slaps ford — Baps ford — Heps ford ?' ' 

This unexpected question brought another flush 
into the lady's cheeks. "Did you hear that, too, in 
the village?" 

"No." 

"Then why do you ask ?" 

*Oh, just for the fun of it." 

*Then it's your own idea?" 

"Arid his too, I fancy." 

She frowned, straightened up, but still looked 
away through the open casement. Carelessly he 
added: "If he never had that idea he is duller than 
I thought him. He should imitate the 

young man of Detroit 
Who knew a good thing when he saw it 

However, she is not much to look at, is she?" 

Again the color flew to Octavia's cheeks. She 
was mortified at being the subject of this man's 
conversation. 

Frigidly she answered : "I am no judge." 

"You are familiar with her face?" 

"Yes." 

"Also a great admirer ?" 



50 Pandora's Box 

"Never !" 

"Then I can tell you what I think. The people 
hereabouts being humble minded and dazzled by her 
exalted station, have endowed a warlike spinster 
with the fascinations of a turtle dove. That is, un- 
less appearances are deceptive. I met her face to 
face yesterday afternoon in the village. She was 
getting out of a Drumworth motor." 

Now, as it happened, Octavia was not in the vil- 
lage yesterday afternoon. 

"She is short but fierce of aspect," continued the 
draughtsman, going on with his work, "very erect, 
very determined, and I should hate to meet her alone 
on a dark night. Beauty, they say, is only skin deep, 
but this Lady Octavia's beauty is so far inside that 
it fails to reach the eye." 

Repressing a mild resentment at this unmistakable 
picture of her Aunt Georgiana, she remembered 
with an effort that this man believed himself chat- 
ting with a gardener's daughter. To avoid further 
talk on the subject she arose, again stood at his 
shoulder and appeared interested in his work. "We 
must replace that knight in armor. You could not 
do better than honor a common soldier, one of those 
who really risked their lives." 

But he shook his head. "That would be an un- 
solicited tribute to obscurity — a wilful encourage- 
ment to modest merit. All the lords of Drum- 
worth would rise from their graves and curse us 
both." 



More Uneducating 5* 

"You seem to have very little respect for the 
justice of the lords of Drumworth." 

"They are no worse than the other greedy lords. 
But, really, you know, after all, it is not to a man's 
discredit that he has a title/' 

"Indeed!" 

"Certainly not. The title comes from no act of 
his own. It is mighty awkward to have it decreed, 
before your birth, that you shall be a superior per- 



son. 



He turned about, and the gray eyes smiled fa- 
miliarly into her own. "You agree with me, I 
know." 

Her own eyes, with a frown, were lowered to the 
drawing. "I do not agree with you." 

"Don't you see that I am apologizing for the 
nobility? Would you blame a caterpillar, for in- 
stance, for not being a bishop?" 

"I should not blame the poor thing." 

"Then why praise the bishop for not being a cater- 
pillar?" 

"I happen to have more respect for bishops than 
for caterpillars." 

"Do you prefer a bad bishop to a good cater- 
pillar r 

"For a companion, yes." 

With a despairing sigh he turned and went on 
with his drawing. "Verily, in the words of the 
poet: 

Bitterness his reward 

Who seeketh sense in maidens." 



52 Pandora's Box 

'Who said that?" 

"One of the minor poets." 

"Who?" 

"How do you like it?" 

"Tell me who said it. What is his name?" 

"But perhaps he never said it." 

"Who?" 

"Longfellow." 

"Longfellow! Did Longfellow say that?" 

"Not to my knowledge. I merely answered that 
perhaps it was he who never said it." 

Again she forgot her old straw hat, her ging- 
ham apron and the soiled gloves. She forgot the 
gardener's daughter. Her dignity was affronted. In 
silence she walked away. Hastily he arose and with 
a few long strides overtook her and stood before the 
door, directly in her path. As she halted and 
looked coldly up into the light gray eyes, whose inde- 
finable influence she seemed always unable to resist — 
or to explain — they smiled pleasantly into her own. 

"Don't go away angry, again. I am really sorry 
if my manner was unpleasant." 

"Then cultivate a better manner ; and answer my 
question." 

"Well, if you must know. His name is Lovejoy." 

"Lovejoy? I do not recall that poet." 

"I said he was a minor poet." 

She turned about and was returning in majestic 
silence toward the window when she suddenly 
stopped and faced him. 



More Uneducating 53 

"What is your name ?" 

"Ethan." 

"Ethan what?" 
1 He hesitated, and placed a hand before his mouth 

in the vain hope of repressing a smile. 

"Ethan what ?" she repeated. 
J "Ethan Lovejoy." 

"Then that gallant witticism is an inspiration of 
your own ?" 

"I withdraw it, and I apologize. Maidens are full 
of sense. Too f till of it It is their only fault. You 
must have misunderstood me. I said, or should have 



Victory his reward 

Who seeketh sense in maidens." 

'Too late. Your offense is not to be atoned by 
hasty afterthoughts." And she walked slowly to 
the further end of the room, as if interested in the 
various objects that hung upon its walls — the old 
portraits, the arms and armor, the banners, the 
antlers and other trophies of the chase. 

Now this wise young man knew a thing regarding 
his visitor that she herself did not suspect. He 
knew that if he treated her as a titled guest, def- 
erentially, with the obsequious attention she would 
naturally receive under present conditions, she might 
never come again. He knew that if she found pleas- 
ure in these visits it would be chiefly from their 
novelty, and from whatever surprises might enliven 
the routine of a very conventional existence. For 



/ 



54 Pandora's Box 

he had not been slow in discovering that a gentle 
excitement was more welcome to this lady than 
even she herself, perhaps, was ready to admit. He 
had heard, with the rest of us, that kings and princes, 
shahs, sultans, and all creatures, in fact, whose 
daily food was adulation, were merriest when in- 
cognito. He reasoned therefrom that for his pres- 
ent visitor — she being absolute queen in her own 
little kingdom — a change of diet might be 
refreshing. 

During her brief promenade along the Baronial 
Hall she had recovered her equanimity. Pausing be- 
fore a portrait she said, merely as further proof of 
being the gardener's daughter, and not easily of- 
fended : 

"You might put that old general in if he were not 
so modern. He has a warlike head, and must have 
been a great fighter, judging from his medals." 

"They stand for nothing." 

"They stand for distinguished service ; for battles 
and victory." 

"Oh, not a bit! No more than if so many tin 
whistles were hung across his front." 

So deep was Octavia's indignation that she dared 
not trust herself to speak. While she was framing 
a suitable reply the draughtsman came and stood 
beside her, also in front of the red coated ancestor. 

"There is a prevailing idea," she said calmly, 
"that the Victoria Cross is a reward for bravery, or 
distinguished service." 

/ 
/ 



More Uneducating 55 

"True. But that is only one of nine. The others 
are the order of the Garter, the Bath, St Michael, 
and St. George, and similar donations. And not one 
of them was ever given to a private soldier or to a 
person of humble birth." 
She made no reply. 
"That is true, is it not?" 
"Possibly/' 

"If, for instance, people born on Thursdays 
should institute an order and distribute medals ex- 
dusively among themselves, their medals as re- 
wards of merit would have the same significance 
as this old general's ornaments. They are purely a 
reward for good luck in being born of influential 
parents. Nobody is fooled. One must confess, 
however, that any man with a sense of humor who 
can wear those things and keep a sober face, deserves 
a reward." 

She moved away a few steps, and stood facing 
him. '"What is your mission in life, Mr. Lovejoy? 
Crushing reverence? Destroying innocent beliefs? 
Tarnishing reputations? Making people of gentle 
birth ridiculous? Jeering at opinions of your — of 



your — " 



"Betters." 

"Well, yes,— betters." 

As she spoke he looked calmly into her face, a 
little surprised perhaps — and amused — at her ear- 
nestness. 

"Why, no, that is not my mission. My real mis- 



56 Pandora's Box 

sion in life, as a caterpillar, is rescuing lovely woman 
from the clutches of Delusion. Just at present, 
however, it seems to consist in offending her and 
apologizing." 

With his head to one side he extended his hands, 
sideways, as if inviting pardon. Being tall and 
rather lank of figure he was almost comic in his 
shapeless, wide spreading, ink-spattered, linen blouse. 
While he spoke, a bee, loud buzzing and of huge 
proportions — for a bee— -came floating in through 
the open casement, and encircled the speakers. At- 
tracted perhaps by the vivid red of the old general's 
coat, and by the ray of sunlight that fell upon it 
from an upper window, he approached as if to in- 
vestigate. Then he reeled away toward the window, 
his buzzing, in the silent hall, reverberating from 
end to end. 

"Even he," said the draughtsman, "has a sense of 
humor, and he is laughing still." 

This appeared, in truth, so natural an explanation 
of the bee's behavior that Octavia could not help 
smiling. But with an air of disapproval she re- 
turned to the drawing table. The young man fol- 
lowed and went on with his work. 

Again standing beside him she became, as usual, 
seriously interested in the drawing. He certainly 
was clever. She envied his facility of hand, his 
knowledge of architectural detail, and his enthusi- 
asm. She found a certain excitement in the 



More Uneducating 57 

and rapidity with which, on sheets of tracing paper, 
he made tentative sketches of doors, windows, cor- 
nices, chimneys, turrets and corner towers. And 
she noticed, incidentally, that his hands, while long 
and muscular, were surprisingly light of touch. 
Again she murmured : 
"How well you do it !" 
"Thanks." 

Then came a silence, interrupted by the draughts- 
man, who began, of a sudden, to whistle, then to 
sing — in a low voice to be sure, and out of tune, but 
in a lively and enthusiastic manner — a triumphant 
rendering of the march in "Aida," accompanied by 
the tapping of a triangle upon the drawing board. 
Still humming, and apparently forgetful of his vis- 
itor, he climbed upon his high seat and stood look- 
ing down upon his work. Stopping in the middle of 
a note, as suddenly as he had begun, he exclaimed : 
"There! I've got it this time!" 
Octavia looked up at the towering figure in 
the linen blouse. She returned, involuntarily, the 
draughtsman's smile as the friendly grey eyes 
looked dpwn into her own. 
"What is it?" she inquired. 
"That window in the wall between the corner 
towers. I have taken out the little windows and put 
in that big one; and it pulls the whole thing to- 
gether. Doesn't it?" 
"Yes, it is certainly better: very much better!" 



58 Pandora's Box 

His enthusiasm was contagious. 

Jumping down from his perch he exclaimed, "Get 
up there yourself." 

"No." 

"Yes, get up ! It is the only way to see the whole 
effect. I will hold you." 

Somewhat to her own surprise Octavia put a hand 
in one of his, then found herself standing upon the 
high, stool, surveying the western elevation of the 
restored castle. 

"Why, yes, one does get the whole effect. It is 
really impressive." 

Then, while she was up there, he laid other draw- 
ings before her, and she saw for the first time the 
effect, as a whole, of the various elevations — her 
castle in its transformation. And she now realized 
more fully the importance of the undertaking, this 
rebuilding of walls and towers and terraces. She 
also realized, for the first time, that all these restora- 
tions, on such a scale, implied an expenditure of 
money that neither her father nor grandfather could 
afford. For, while the Drumworth revenues were 
princely, so also was the Drumworth cost of living. 
So also were the Drumworth debts. And in the 
stately struggle between the present Earl and his 
expenses the Earl was not always the victor. 

When all the drawings had been placed in review 
the visitor remarked, in her most gracious manner: 

"But you have not told me why these drawings 
are being made." 



More Uneducating 59 

"For some London architects." 

"So you said : but why are they being made ?" 

With a slight shrug of the shoulders, as if pro- 
testing ignorance, he answered : 

"Perhaps for some historical society— or archi- 
tectural publication. I am merely employed, you 
know, by those architects." 

"But why are these drawings being made? For 
whom, and for what purpose? You surely must 
know." 

"No, I really do not." 

From her high position, looking down upon the 
top of his head, she could not see his face as this 
reply was given. But it failed to satisfy her. 

Again forgetting, for the moment, her old straw 
hat, her gingham apron and soiled gloves — forget- 
ting, in fact, the gardener's daughter, she said, 
curtly: 

"Then help me down. I have seen enough." 

He helped her to alight, gently and deferentially, 
but with a firm, steadying hand. 

"Angry again?" And in the familiar grey eyes 
had come a troubled expression. His manner be- 
came more serious. "I would like to tell you every- 
thing, to keep nothing from you. This making a 
mystery of it is detestable, but really, I am bound 
to secrecy." 

"Then whoever employs these architects is con- 
cealing the purpose of the restorations ?" 

"Just for the present, yes." 



*o Pandora's Box 

"How soon is this awful secret to be divulged?" 

"I really don't know." 

"Do the owners of the castle know about it?" 

"I think so. They know that I am making the 
drawings." 

"And you know all about it yourself?" 

Reluctantly he nodded assent. "But I do not 
know who is employing the architects." 

"And you, you say, have promised not to divulge 
the plot?" 

"Yes, but please do not blame me for that. And 
don't call it a plot. Secrecy is often required in 
building projects and for perfectly honorable rea- 
sons. I would gladly tell you whatever I know, but 
you surely understand my position." 

She made no reply. 

"Don't you?" 

"I suppose so." But she spoke with no sympathy. 
Disturbing suspicions were crowding into her brain. 
She was moving slowly away when she stopped, 
and turned partly toward him. 

"Are the reasons in this case perfectly honor- 
able?" 

Perfectly honorable, yes." 
'But somebody might be ashamed, perhaps, if 
the real purpose were known?" 

"No, he would not be ashamed. He merely pre- 
fers that it be not made public." 

"Who?" 

At this he smiled. "On my honor, I do not know. 



«1 



More Uneducating 



61 



But, really, Miss Gardener, one has to keep his wits 
about him when you are in earnest." 

Thus recalled to herself — or rather to the person 
she was representing — she smiled, but with an effort. 

"Well, perhaps it is none of my affair. But I 
know the castle so well, and am so fond of it, that 
you must pardon my curiosity." 

"Pardon it ! I should not blame you for having all 
sorts of suspicions — of myself included." 

"No, hardly that. But do you prefer that I shall 
not divulge this awful secret? That I shall not 
speak of having seen these drawings?" 

"I should be very grateful if you would so be- 
have." 

"Very well, I will so behave." 

"Thank you." 

"Good morning." 

"Good morning." 

And she departed. 



VI 



A DOG AND A TALE 

ENTERING her own garden Octavia sat upon 
a bench and did some thinking. It was a 
pleasant spot, this flower garden in the June 
sunshine, with a fragrance of old box in the air. 
But full enjoyment of this environment was marred 
by certain questions which persistently intruded 
themselves. 

Why should her father make a secret of this arch- 
itect and his work? And who of her family so rich 
as to undertake these prodigal restorations? If un- 
dertaken by some society or institution, why any 
secrecy? And, above all, why should her father 
conceal from his own daughter, from the sole heir 
of the castle itself, such a supremely important — 
almost public — undertaking ? These unanswered 
questions simply deepened the mystery. But they 
strengthened her resolve to learn the truth. Her 
first thought was to question Auntie George. But 
were Auntie George not bound to secrecy she would 
already have imparted the desired knowledge. Per- 
haps she, too, was in ignorance. For a brief moment 
Octavia entertained the idea— or tried to— that per- 

62 



A Dog and a Tale 6 3 

haps her father was doing it as a surprise to his 
daughter. But this idea, unfortunately, was too 
good to last — a dream too beautiful to bear the light 
of day — too cruelly out of harmony with her 
father's financial condition. For, while having no 
precise knowledge of the business matters of her 
family, she knew certain things. She knew of the 
reckless expenditures of her grandfather, the pres- 
ent Earl. And her father, Lord Aylesden, good in- 
tentioned but also with a mind on pleasure bent, had 
not proved successful as a redeemer of shrunken 
fortunes. But there was one question more disturb- 
ing than all the others, and it recurred more persist- 
ently. What was, what could be, the reason for this 
secrecy? 

That day, however, brought no chance for en- 
lightenment. Being an educated person, Octavia 
realized the importance of architecture as a fine art. 
She remembered that noble families had encouraged 
its disciples. Therefore, on the following morning* 
in the gingham apron and old straw hat, she again 
wended her way toward the Baronial Hall. 

The architect, when she arrived, was standing on 
the stool looking down at his work, unaware of her 
presence. But he had a companion this morning, 
and as this companion advanced to greet Octavia she 
uttered an exclamation. It was not a cry of joy or 
admiration. That Ethan Lovejoy should have a 
dog — even a mongrel bulldog — did not surprise 
her; but she was surprised that a person of any kind, 



64 Pandora's Box 

architect or otherwise, should select for companion- 
ship a creature so triumphantly vulgar as this pres- 
ent animal. v 

The beast came toward her with wagging tail 
and other manifestations of cordiality. Her in- 
voluntary exclamation caused Lovejoy to look be- 
hind him. Then he turned about and jumped down 
from his elevation. 

, "Good morning. Don't mind him. He isn't half 
so bad as he looks." 

Moving around the dog in a semicircle, to avoid 
any possible contact, Octavia stood before the draw- 
ings. 

"Is that what you call a section ?" 
^ "Yes. It shows the interior along a given line." 
"What is that hole that looks like an open cellar 
just outside there?" 

"The old moat. It is there now, but all filled up 
and overgrown with bushes. If cleaned out it would 
look as it does here." 

"Yes, I suppose it would. And you have re- 
stored the drawbridge." 

He then explained certain things about the draw- 
bridge. After further questions had been answered, 
Octavia moved away and took her usual seat in the 
great window. 

Then after a brief silence, broken by a long- 
drawn sigh from Octavia, the draughtsman looked 
up. "I hope you are not tired of life this morning." 
"I am." 



i 


< 


i 


> 


i 


i 


i 
/ 






/ 



A Dog and a Tale 6 5 

"What! Already?" 

"My age is not measured by years." 

"Gracious ! Why, you must be the oldest woman 
in the world!" 

"No. There may be older ones. But after twenty 
years of life one has seen it all." 

The draughtsman studied her face to see if a joke 
were intended. But the face was more than serious ; 
it was sad. She continued, wearily : "There are no 
surprises ; nothing new. We do the same old things. 
We think the same old thoughts. And as for people, 
they are more and more alike as they get older; 
duller, flatter, more selfish; and more deadly tire- 
some." 

These words were uttered in a tone of mingled 
annoyance and despair. 

The draughtsman raised his eyebrows, whistled, 
then went on with his work. "If this is your condi- 
tion at twenty what an inspiriting old thing you 
will be at fifty. Your husband will seek the refrig- 
erator for warmth." 

"There will be no husband." 

"You mean he will have run away?" 

She smiled. "Very likely." 

"Small blame to him !" 

"What I mean is that I shall never marry." 

"Ah! so soon? Of course you know when a girl 
makes that remark she has selected the man." 

With decision she repeated, "I shall never marry." 

Ethan Lovejoy looked down at the dog "Old 



66 Pandora's Box 

man, did you ever hear such twaddle ?" Then, after 
rubbing out a line and redrawing it, "You may not 
suspect it, but the man who marries you will be the 
bravest thing yet" 

"Indeed !" 

"I am sorry to break your heart, but personally, 
I would as soon think of offering myself to — to— 
the Parthenon." 

"Am I so passee as that?" 

"Not passee, although you may feel the same 
age; but because you are both so everlastingly supe- 
rior; so much better and more altitudinous than 
anything in your own neighborhoods." 

Octavia frowned, then smiled, opened her lips to 
say something but changed her mind. Instead, she 
studied the dog, who had followed her to the win- 
dow. He was now sitting upon the floor in front 
of her looking up into her face in silent admiration. 
Octavia returned this look with one of freezing con- 
tempt. Had the dog been familiar with his own 
appearance he would have expected nothing else. 
Grace and beauty did not abide with him. His gen- 
eral dimensions were those of a large fox terrier, 
but he was heavily built, and had thicker legs. With 
the exception of a dark brown patch over the left 
eye and another one about the size of your hand in 
the middle of his back, he was white. That is, the 
prevailing tint may have been white in his early 
youth, but a prolonged intimacy with back alleys, 
gutters and all kinds of weather had resulted in a 



A Dog and a Tale 6 7 

brownish, miscellaneous color that no single word 
could express. The black patch over the left eye 
gave him a devil-may-care look that caused par- 
donable misgivings as to his moral character. The 
general impression was not of a conservative, law- 
abiding dog. This unfavorable impression was en- 
hanced by one or two ancient but still visible scars 
upon his person. 

Ethan Lovejoy, looking up from his drawing, 
observed the open adoration of the animal and the 
visitor's failure to respond. Going on with his work 
he remarked: 

"You seem to have made another conquest." 

Octavia frowned. "He is simply hideous. Haven't 
I seen him about the village ?" 

"Very likely. He was there when I came, a week 
ago. I bought him yesterday." 

"Who owned him?" 

'Nobody." 

'Nobody would — if they could help it. But if 
nobody owned him how could you buy him?" 

"I bought him of himself. Three chops was the 
price. And he has stuck to me like a brother ever 



"] 



since." 



After regarding him in silence for a moment 
Octavia murmured, "Poor thing! How unneces- 
sarily ugly he is!" 

"Well, yes," said Ethan. "But then, you know, it 
is not always fair to judge by appearances. He may 
have the heart of a poet." 



68 Pandora's Box 

"More likely of a burglar, or a highwayman. 
What sort of dog do you call him?" 

"I had not presumed to call him anything, yet. 
I should think his father might be a fox terrier, 
his mother a bulldog, and his remoter ancestors al- 
most anything. If he has uncles and aunts who are 
pugs, great danes, or even short-eared rabbits, I 
should not be surprised." 

For a moment or two Octavia studied this new- 
comer, looking down into his adoring eyes with 
a disdainful indifference that would have chilled the 
heart of one of her own species. "You surely are 
not going to keep him." 

"I am afraid I am. You see, I made the first ad- 
vances, so I am bound in honor, as it were. The 
village of Drumworth has never appreciated him. 
And he is so very happy at finding a fellow who ap- 
pears to like him, even a little bit, that I — well, I 
really haven't the heart to drive him off. Are you 
sure you don't want him? He likes you. Any- 
body can see that." 

The only reply to this was a slight curl of the 
lip as she turned her head toward the window. 

"If a dog loves you," said Lovejoy, "and he 
always loves somebody — he asks nothing but the 
pleasure of your company. He demands no sacri- 
fice, but is glad to risk his own life to save yours." 

The truth of this Octavia conceded by a move- 
ment of the head, and glanced down at the dog. 
But, with a sigh, she again looked out the window. 



A Dog and a Tale 69 

Her attempts at admiration were failures. Verily 
this dog, in the perfection of his ugliness, surpassed 
all other dogs ! 

"I must think of a good name for him," said 
Ethan Lovejoy. 

"What is his present name?" 

"He is only known in the village as Jim Pollack's 
pup." 

"That horrid Jim Pollack!" exclaimed Octavia. 
"He went to prison last winter for killing his wife." 
And she regarded her four legged admirer with in- 
creasing horror. This new horror, however, caused 
a gleam of compassion. "I suppose the bad name 
of his master has clung to the poor brute and made 
him an outcast." 

"Probably. He certainly is an outcast — among 
humans. But I have noticed he has friends among 
dogs. Dogs are far less critical than humans : also 
broader minded." 

"I believe they are." 

"Of course they are : more honest, more forgiving 
and devoted. There is an awful chasm, morally, 
between men and dogs. Imagine this dog — or any 
other dog — killing his wife! By the way," and he 
got up and went to his coat at the further end of the 
long table, and took a paper from a pocket, "did you 
ever see this?" 

But, as Octavia extended a hand to take the paper 
he scowled, and withdrew it. "Tell me first, are you 
fond of dogs? Otherwise it would be wasted on 
you." 



7° Pandora's Box 

She smiled. "Indeed I am!" 

Then he gave it to her. And while she was read- 
ing it he strolled slowly across the hall, and back 
again. 

This was the verse : 

MY DOG 

The curate thinks you have no soul; 

I know that he has none. But you, 
Dear friend, whose solemn self-control 

In our four-square, familiar pew, 

Was pattern to my youth — whose bark 
Called me in summer dawns to rove — 

Have you gone down into the dark 
Where none is welcome, none may love? 

I will not think those good brown eyes 
Have spent their light of truth so soon, 

But in some canine Paradise 
Your wraith, I know, rebukes the moon, 

And quarters every plain and hill, 
Seeking its master. * * * As for me, 

This prayer at least the gods fulfil: 
That when I pass the flood, and see 

Old Charon by the Stygian coast 
Take toll of all the shades who land, 

Your little, faithful barking ghost 
May leap to lick my phantom hand. 

"Perfect!" she murmured. "And I believe the 
dog will be there. Who wrote it ?" 

"I don't know. I found it in a magazine. I am 
sorry dogs cannot read it." He replaced it in the 
coat pocket and returned to his drawing. "But 



A Dog and a Tale 7* 

what shall I call this chap? Can't you suggest a 
good name — something appropriate, and rather 
pretty ?" 

"Pretty ! Why not call him Msop ? He was the 
plainest man in history." 

"Msop? Well, iEsop was honest so far as we 
know ; but it doesn't abbreviate well. People might 
call him 'Soppy/ And 'Soppy' doesn't fit this per- 
son. His name should be more suggestive of 
beauty, or gentle blood. What do you say to Prince, 
or Narcissus?" 

A faint but derisive smile curled Octavia's lip as 
she murmured, "Gentle blood! He is the living 
emblem of all that is ugly and baseborn." 

The architect straightened up and wheeled about 
on his stool. "Baseborn! Why not? Just the 
name for him. Let's call him Baseborn." 

"You pretended to be his friend, yet you give him 
a ridiculous name." 

"Ridiculous? Baseborn ridiculous? Oh, you 
don't mean that! It merely puts him in the same 
class, socially, with some excellent people ; Matthew, 
Mark, Luke and John, for instance. What a terrible 
snob you must be, way down in your horticultural 
heart!" 

Octavia flushed, and in her reply was a note of 
anger. "I am not a snob. Call him Baseborn if 
you like. No earthly name can be more absurd 
than the dog himself." 

The architect whistled, gently ; then, without look- 



7 2 Pandora's Box 

ing up, "When I spoke of your being a snob I 
meant it in a complimentary sense." 

"Then your language was unfortunate." 

"Well — I don't know. The moon, for instance, 
the distant, haughty, celestial moon to whom dogs 
bark in vain and whom we all love and respect is 
an offish thing, and might be called a snob." 

"You implied a contempt on my part for the 
twelve apostles." 

"Well, now, be honest Imagine Matthew, Mark, 
Luke and John in modern garb entering the Drum- 
worth pew — you have seen it probably, the great 
square pew just in front of the pulpit, with the 
coat of arms carved on it?" 

There was no answer. 

He repeated, "You have seen it?" 

"Yes." 

"If instead of being a gardener's daughter you 
were the Lady of Drumworth would you not con- 
sider it an impertinence if those four persons were 
shown into your pew ?" 

"I should not." 

"Remember, they were workingmen, and social- 
ists." 

"It would make no difference." 

"Excuse me, but I don't believe you. You have 
a very scornful nose for a horticultural person and 
at times a rather snifty expression about the mouth. 
I am pop sure you could be quite nasty to those 
apostles." 



A Dog and a Tale 73 

Octavia remained silent. She was wondering if 
there was truth in this remark about her mouth. The 
possibility troubled her. Among her acquaintances 
were several persons with "snifty" mouths or man- 
ners ; and it was a thing that offended her. Now, to 
suspect that this man, in friendly, playful innocence 
had given her the truth was distressful and morti- 
fying. 

With eyes still upon his work the architect went 
on, in a reflective tone: "Curious, isn't it, how 
people take the greatest pride in the wrong things? 
They never become arrogant or supercilious because 
they are modest, kind-hearted or unselfish. But if 
they happen to inherit good luck they can be quite 
unpleasant. In fact they are pretty sure to develop 
foolish traits." 

Octavia turned toward him and in a low voice 
but with some earnestness said, "I never thought of 
that before. It is really quite true, isn't it?" 

"Nothing truer. The dog that saves a child is 
never so well pleased with himself as the peacock 
who inherits feathers." 

Octavia nodded approval. "Yes, it is perfectly 
true — perfectly true." Extending a foot until the 
toe of her shoe was beneath Baseborn's chin she 
gently raised his head. As his eyes, always adoring, 
gazed up into her own, she inquired, "Would you 
save a person, Baseborn, at the risk of your life?" 

Baseborn's real answer comes later in this his- 
tory. At present he merely wagged his tail. 



74 Pandora's Box 

The architect went on with his work. 

Baseborn, who had shown little interest in his 
own christening, continued to regard the lady with 
upturned face and enchanted eyes. Occasionally 
he turned a brief glance toward the architect. But 
these glances were merely from a passing curiosity 
as to his benefactor's movements. 

Nothing was heard in the old hall for a few 
moments, except the hummings of operatic airs and 
the suppressed whistling of an enthusiast, absorbed 
— apparently — in his drawing. 

Octavia, with hands folded in her lap, gazed 
dreamily through the open casement, over the quiet 
sunlit garden. Through this open window came 
floating in, with the soft June air, the odor of box 
and roses. It was a soothing atmosphere, inviting 
to repose and meditation. 

At last the worker straightened up. Then he 
turned upon his seat and faced the lady at the win- 
dow. Tapping his chin with his pencil, he said : 

"Speaking of ghosts, do you — " 

"We have not spoken of ghosts/' 

"I should say 'speaking of ghosts for the first 
time,' do you happen to know why there are so many 
more of them in castles than in cottages ?" 

"Because artistic harmonies require a castle. A 
ghost needs shadowy places to emerge from, and 
vanish into. He would not appear to advantage 
in a little cottage." 



ear it, " 



A Dog and a Tale 75 

"No, that is not the real reason. But I will tell 
you if you want to hear it. 5 

"Is it very silly? 1 

"Reasonably silly. But enlightening. 1 

"Then you may begin*" 

"It is a long story." 

"Never mind" 

He laid down his pencil, came over to the win- 
dow and sat on the opposite seat. As he crossed 
one leg over the other Baseborn placed himself in 
contact with the foot that remained upon the floor — 
as dogs do — and remained in this position, never 
moving his eyes from Octavia's face. And the 
look was of adoration — whole souled and self for- 
getting. 

Octavia, in turn, as she met this enraptured gaze, 
felt a deeper sympathy for Baseborn's extraordi- 
nary ugliness. His battered features, his disrepu- 
table patch over one eye, his square, pugnacious head 
and parti-colored face, all formed, to her, a com- 
bination painfully repulsive. It seemed needlessly 
cruel that any one creature should, through no fault 
of his own, be so forbidding of aspect, so odiously 
vulgar. 

But Baseborn, if he suspected this antipathy, had 
no resentment. And oh, how different his opinion 
of herself! 

Octavia, after enduring for a moment the sight 
of Baseborn's countenance, closed her eyes, and 
sighed. 



76 Pandora's Box 

"As I have just been reading the Arabian Nights," 
said Ethan Lovejoy, "we will play that you are the 
Khali fs daughter, and that Baseborn is a beautiful 
princess." 

With an involuntary glance at the dog, Octavia 
laughed. "No! My imagination fails!" 

Baseborn, however, kept a serious face. 

"And I," said the draughtsman, "as Lovebad the 
sailor— or Sinjoy the barber — will now narrate the 
tale of 

Why There Are More Ghosts in Castles 
Than in Cottages 

One morning, in answer to a commanding knock, 
St. Peter threw open the golden gate. Before him 
stood a lady of ancient lineage. 

"This is heaven?" 

"Yes, madam." 

"You are St. Peter?" 

He bowed. "At your service." 

Then she gave her own name and title. Again 
he bowed. 

Then she gave the titles of her father, her hus- 
band and of some remote ancestors. 

St. Peter bowed again. 

"These names," she said, "are perhaps familiar 
to you." 

Regretfully he shook his head. "We hear so 
many names it is impossible to remember them all." 

"No one would ask you to remember them all. I 



A Dog and a Tale 77 

should suppose, however, that certain names, having 
stood for generations high above the common herd, 
might fix themselves upon the dullest memory." 

"You must pardon my forgetfulness, but names 
up here shine not from hereditary honors, but from 
individual merit. This is a pure democracy." 

The lady frowned, and raised her chin. "What 
did you say?" 

The Keeper of the Gate repeated his remark. 

She seemed incredulous, "Is it possible? Are 
you telling me the truth?" 

"Yes, madam." 

"Do you mean to say that in heaven there are no 
social distinctions, no upper classes?" 

"No, madam." 

"Outrageous !" 

"Let us understand each other, dear friend. It 



iir-" 



<<i 



'Do not call me dear friend, if you please. I 
am not here to be patronized — by a fisherman." 

"As you prefer, madam. I was merely going 
to ask if you anticipated an aristocracy with such 
social conditions as flourish upon the earth you have 
just quitted?" 

"I did." 

St. Peter raised his eyebrows and stroked his 
beard. "You hoped to find here a class that takes 
the best of everything as a natural right ?" 

"That is exactly what I mean." 



78 Pandora's Box 

"You must prepare for disappointment. We have 
no such class." 

"How unjust!" And the lady bit her lips in an 
effort to repress her indignation. 

St. Peter appeared surprised. "Unjust? The 
absence of such privileges unjust?" 

"Of course it's unjust. Grossly unjust, uncivil- 
ized, barbaric — and dishonorable !" 

"Oh, my dear madam ! Not dishonorable !" 

"It's unjust anyway." 

"Unjust to whom?" 

"To us who are accustomed to it — and expect it." 

"Your point of view is interesting. But console 
yourself, madam, with this knowledge, that if you 
had been consigned to that Other Place instead of 
here you would have found class distinctions of the 
most aggravated form." 

"I should much prefer it." 

"I hardly think so. Those who were at the top 
while on earth are the humblest workers in the 
lower regions. Moreover, a humiliating and most 
obsequious deference to their betters is perpetually 
exacted." 

"And who are their betters?" 

"The meanest and most vindictive spirits from 
among those you patronized on earth." 

The lady, with a look of horror, gasped, and took 
a backward step. 

"Awful! Awful! Incredible!" 

"There is a German princess, for instance, a 



A Dog and a Tale 79 

haughty person, who took her ancestry very serious- 
ly. Some people do, you know." 

"Which is perfectly right and proper." 

"So she thought. For the last eight months she 
has been in Purgatory as scullery maid to a cook 
she once discharged for impertinence." 

"Abominable !" exclaimed the lady of ancient lin- 
eage. "Shameful! Perfectly outrageous I" 

"But you must remember, madam, that a great 
variety of similar conditions is what constitutes 
heU." 

Then with a frown, but speaking in a regretful 
tone, he added, "Pride, you know, is severely pun- 
ished." 

The lady grew pale. "But what am I to do ? I 
really could never be happy here on equal terms with 
everybody." 

"There is a third course. You can return to 
earth and still inhabit your ancestral mansions." 

"Return to life? Oh, by all means ! That is per- 
fectly satisfactory." 

"Excuse me. Not return to life exactly, but as a 
disembodied spirit." 

"A ghost?" And the lady shuddered. 

St. Peter nodded. 

The lady closed her eyes, and reflected. "If I 
choose that course must I remain a ghost forever?" 
'The usual term is a year." 
'Then, if I preferred, I could enter here?" 

"Yes." 






80 Pandora's Box 



"And if I did not prefer it I should still remain 

ghost?" 



"You would not prefer it" 

"I might." 

"Such a thing has never happened/' 

"What! Not once?" 

"Not once during the twenty centuries this heav- 
en has been established." 

"This heaven! Then there are other heavens?" 

"Oh, yes! Ours is comparatively new. There 
are the heavens of Buddha, of Mohammed, and sev- 
eral other Oriental places: also the seven heavens 
of Swedenborg, to say nothing of the happy hunt- 
ing grounds of the North American Indian, and of 
sundry deserving heathen." 

The lady's face brightened. "But I might pre- 
fer one of those, Buddha's, for instance — a para- 
dise of Caste !" 

"No Christians are admitted." 

The lady bowed her head, and closed her eyes. 
She felt like weeping. Pride, however — and pride 
was her ruling attribute — sustained her. When she 
raised her head she looked St. Peter calmly in the 
eyes. "I will go back to earth for a year." 

Which she did. And this tale accounts for so 
many ghosts in castles and so few in the dwellings 
of the poor. 

When the tale ended there was a silence. Octavia, 
after a suspicious glance at the speaker, looked out 



A Dog and a Tale 



81 



the window with an expression which may have 
meant weariness, or disapproval. 

"I am afraid you don't like it," he said. 

"I consider it sacrilegious — and impertinent/' 

"Why impertinent?" 

Then Octavia remembered that she was a garden- 
er's daughter, and inquired, carelessly, "What is 
the moral?" 

"The moral? Oh, well, if there must be a moral 
I suppose it is, that— er — pride is dangerous bag- 
gage. When you and I are resting quietly in our 
graves, or sporting in celestial fields, the shivering 
shades of Lady Georgiana — or even Lady Octavia 
—may be gliding at stroke of midnight through the 
corridors of Drumworth Castle." 



VII 



a woman's face 



A SILLY tale," said Octavia, "with a foolii 
moral." 

"A foolish moral! Marry! Just listen t 
that!" and he raised his eyes to heaven and slowl 
shook his head. 

"Have you never heard," she inquired gentl; 
"that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow 
ear?" 

He nodded, and smiled. "Nor a camel's ha: 
shawl out of a king's whiskers." 

After a pause he added, "I suppose Voltaire w< 
right when he said England is like a hogshead c 
its own beer ; the top is froth, the bottom dregs, tt 
middle excellent." 

Octavia frowned. She felt a rising anger. A 
her self-control was needed to suppress a hot repl 
to this amazing insolence. But her swift, involui 
tary glance at his face met an expression of serenit 
and cheerful innocence. Without noticing her ow 
expression he went on, in a reflective tone: "Bi 
if we selected our own ancestors as carefully as v 
do those of our horses we might have an aristocrac 

82 



A Woman's Face 8 3 

that stood for something. If, for instance, Ben 
Franklin had married Sapho, you would expect in- 
teresting descendants." 

As- this was too silly for serious consideration 
Octavia merely closed her eyes and, leaning back, 
rested her head against the old wainscoting of the 
window. 

"But when Lord Drinkmore marries Lady 
Featherbrain the results are — well, they are — what 
we see about us." 

Octavia made no answer. But on her face, as she 
opened her eyes and regarded the draughtsman, 
there was a look of displeasure and suspicion. 

"But we cannot blame the Drinkmores and 
Featherbrains," he continued, "for they would be 
traitors to their class if they married beneath them. 
Drinlcmore's family would surely have discouraged 
Ws attentions to Sapho. And just imagine how 
Lady Featherbrain's social position would have suf- 
fered if she married Ben Franklin. He was of com- 
mon origin, as of course you know." 
"Very amusing." 

He smiled — a smile of encouragement, as from 
an adult to a child. "I am glad you find it amus- 
ing. When you find wisdom amusing you have 
opened the door to knowledge." 

Octavia concealed her annoyance by turning her 
face toward the garden. She remembered that 
these remarks were being addressed to a gardener's 
daughter, and she tried to behave accordingly. It 



84 Pandora's Box 

required, however, considerable forbearance to re- 
main silent in the face of such patronizing imperti- 
nence. But the architect went on quietly with his 
drawing. After a moment he added, in a serious 
tone: 

"Perhaps we could do better than many Frank- 
lin to Sapho. What do you think?" 

There was no reply. 

"It might be a better match for the purpose if 
Solomon married George Eliot." 

Indifferently, after a contemptuous pause, the 
lady inquired: "Was George Eliot so very wise?" 

"No, not wise : but intellectual. There's an awful 
gulf, you know, between wisdom and learning." 

"For my own personal companions," said Octavia, 
"I should prefer the more simple children of Drink- 
more." 

"Probably : if you are not easily bored." 

"But I am easily bored." And she spoke emphati- 
cally, ending with a sigh. 

"Then you would be bored stiff by his average 
lordship. For when his average lordship weds the 
corresponding female and keeps it up for genera- 
tions the descendants are — well, they are not ex- 
hilarating." 

Now, as it happened, Octavia was often wearied 
by the conversation of her male acquaintance. And 
her acquaintance consisted largely of the "average 
lordship." 

In fact, the reason of these present visits lay in 



A Woman's Face 8 5 

the unwonted agitations — the shocks, resentments 
and constant surprises in this man's ideas. His 
points of view were a novelty. To her conven- 
tional training and habits of thought they came as 
flashes of light through obscuring clouds. Some- 
what painfully — yet with an unacknowledged plea- 
sure — her horizon was suddenly enlarged. Both 
him and his opinions she regarded with a certain 
fear — a sort of guilty fascination. 

His last remark was followed by a silence longer 
than usual. Lady Octavia was reflecting. She had 
learned that this man often presented his ideas, 
whatever their nature or the strength of his convic- 
tions, in playful language, or, as amusing nonsense. 
With him, apparently, a serious thought, or even a 
solemn truth, lost nothing by a touch of humor. 

As she reflected she began to wonder if she was 
to go through life meeting only the intellectual ref- 
use of the world. This discovery, or suspicion, was 
disturbing. At last, in a meditative tone, more to 
herself than to him, "It is certainly a new idea that 
noble birth should be an obstacle in life." 

"An obstacle? Well, I should say not! Do you 
happen to have read Pascal?" 

"No." 

"He says that good birth gives a man, at eighteen, 
the distinction and respect an ordinary man would 
acquire, on his merits, at fifty. A gain of thirty 
years at one stroke." 

"I suppose that is true." 



86 Pandora's Box 

"If ever I have children," said the draughtsman, 
"I shall impress upon them the advantages of noble 
birth and advise them to inherit titles/' 

Then, after a stolen glance at the back of her 
head, which was still toward him, "Take, for in- 
stance, these Drumworths. They occupy a front seat 
wherever they go. And I suppose they have a sense 
of importance that would paralyze humble workers 
in the vineyard like you or me. And to think that 
Shakespeare, Galileo or Columbus, in the presence 
of an earl, or even a Fatacres, would have stood hat 
in hand ! Verily, the Human Comedy is a wondrous 
thing." 

As his listener continued to look, in silence, out 
the window, he inquired : 

"What is your opinion?" 

"Perhaps these Drumworths are not so conceited 
as you think." 

"Oh, the Drumworths may be all right. I was 
speaking more of the Human Comedy as a play, and 
casting no aspersions upon the actors. But apropos 
of Drumworths and belted earls, why is it one never 
hears of belted architects or belted barbers? Are 
there especially sanctifying properties in a belt? And 
what kind of a belt is it?" 

No reply was given. 

Then he recited, in a maner suited to heroic verse : 

Shall honest housewife longer brook 
The tyranny of belted cook? 

What do you think of that?" 



A Woman's Face 87 

Octavia, regarding him with a look of disdainful 
pity, breathed a long drawn, weary sigh : "I wonder 
if you ever realize how very silly you are at times?" 

"Yes, indeed! It is the unbending of a great 
mind." 

"Really!" and with a contemptuous shrug she 
again turned away. Then, still looking toward the 
garden, "Are all architects silly ?" 

"All the best ones." 

For a few moments the architect seemed absorbed 
in his work. Occasional fragments of operas, 
marches, waltzes and popular songs were whistled 
and hummed as he bent earnestly over his drawing 
or stood aloft on his stool. 

The lady in the window, after languidly watching 
him for a time, inquired, "Where did you get that 
extraordinary garment you have on?" 

"Paris. The students in the ateliers all wear 
them." 

"Why such large initials on the back ? Were you 
afraid the treasure might be stolen ?" 

"That was exactly the reason. The blouses are 
all alike. But if another student took this one I 
could recognize it." 

"I should think so — and from any distance !" 

Then it so happened that Ethan Lovejoy, for a 
longer time than usual, refrained from all attempts 
at music. 

So silent was the Old Hall, so peaceful the gar- 
den beneath the open window, that no sounds 



88 Pandora's Box 

reached Octavia's ears except those from the archi- 
tect's table — from his pencil as it moved along the 
drawing, from the faint click of his wooden triangle 
against the T square, and the occasional rustle of a 
sheet of tracing-paper. The subdued and measured 
snore of Baseborn's siesta was no disturber of the 
peace. It merely served as a soothing accompani- 
ment to the prevailing silence. This silence was rest- 
ful. It invited one to reverie, and to easy thoughts. 
Octavia, in a day dream, sat looking through the 
open window over the sunny fields, to the grey, 
square tower of the village church, a mile away. 

As the cessation of an accustomed noise often at- 
tracts our notice, so Octavia, after a time, awakened 
to the fact that no sounds were coming from the 
neighboring table. Idly she turned her head in that 
direction. Her eyes opened a trifle wider as she 
discovered that Ethan Lovejoy, his chin in his hand, 
was gazing intently toward her in what seemed a 
very earnest and absorbing study of herself. As the 
familiar grey eyes encountered her disapproving 
glance their owner showed a slight embarrassment. 
He straightened up, made as if to go on with his 
work, then changed his mind. 

"Excuse my staring at you, but there are moments 
when you bear a strong resemblance to a friend of 



mine." 



Octavia nodded, but in a barely perceptible man- 
ner, as if the statement, while possibly correct, was 
not of surpassing interest. 



A Woman's Face 8 9 

From beneath his blouse he drew forth, out of a 
waistcoat pocket, a card case. From this case he 
took a photograph, about the size of a visiting 
card, and brought it over and held it before the 
lady's face. Then it was that Octavia's indifference 
vanished; so suddenly, so swiftly and with so un- 
expected a shock that she caught her breath. She 
suppressed an exclamation — almost doubting her 
own eyes. Her lips parted. Her eyebrows went up 
— then down, and for an instant her breathing 
ceased. She was looking at her own portrait ! 

Into her neck and cheeks, and even to the roots 
of her hair, came a tingling — of shock, and indig- 
nation. She straightened up, drew back, frowned, 
blinked and looked again. Yes, her own portrait ! — 
the one taken a month ago, at Windsor, with other 
guests at the Queen's luncheon. And as she realized 
that this man must have cut it out, and was carrying 
it in his pocket, she experienced yet another tingling 
along her spine and through the roots of her hair; 
this time of outraged dignity — and hot anger. Con- 
trolling herself, however, she merely frowned, then 
closed her eyes, not daring, on the instant, to trust 
herself to speak. 

Lovejoy withdrew the photograph. "You don't 
seem pleased." 

"I am not." 

"Well, but good heavens ! She is a mighty hand- 
some girl, / think." 

Octavia made no reply. Still with an angry color 



9° Pandora's Box 

in her cheeks, she looked away, through the open 
casement. She knew this portrait was for sale, but 
she had only considered it as one of a group. That 
a man should carry it about, alone by itself in his 
pocket, was a thing she had never thought of, and 
could not bear to think of now. She felt vulgarized, 
cheapened, inexpressibly mortified. She was likely 
to become, according to this experience in publicity, 
the pocket companion, the apparent sweetheart, the 
"best girl" of any man, of any kind, who chose to 
buy her! Her impulse was to snatch the picture. 
Tightly she clenched her fingers, and tightly she 
shut her eyes to keep back tears of anger and hu- 
miliation. 

"But don't you think she is pretty?" he persisted. 

There was no answer. Octavia was biting her 
lips and was frowning, in suppressed anger, over 
the smiling landscape. 

He withdrew the photograph and studied it him- 
self. "There's no telling a woman's taste. Now, to 
me that's an exceptionally interesting face. And 
she's a howling swell, too." 

Still receiving no attention he breathed a sigh — a 
somewhat ostentatious sigh — and returned to his 
work. 

Octavia, for a moment, dared not trust herself 
to speak. Any display of feeling might lead him 
to suspect that it was her own portrait. And she 
desired, for many reasons, to preserve her incog- 
nito of the gardener's daughter. Yet, she tingled 



A Woman's Face 9* 

with shame as she saw her portrait return to his 
pocket as an intimate and personal treasure. While 
striving to control her anger, and frowning upon the 
most conspicuous object in the foreground, which 
happened to be the guiltless Baseborn, she heard the 
architect's voice, reciting these lines : 

*Abou Ben Lovejoy, may his tribe increase, 
Awoke one morning from an architectural dream. 
And saw within the sunlight of his room 
An angel, exceeding cross — and sulking." 

She turned toward him, but with her eyes still 
upon Baseborn. "You say the original of that pic- 
ture is a friend of yours." 

"Oh, yes!" 

She merely closed her eyes, sincerely regretting 
that this man should so clearly prove himself a liar. 

"That is," he went on, "I am a good friend of 
hers. I know her well. But she, poor thing! has 
not the pleasure of my acquaintance." 

"Who is she?" 

"Why ask such embarrassing questions? The 
shopkeeper could not tell me. And, perhaps, after 
all, it is just as well I should never know. If I dis- 
covered that she was an awful snob, or a crazy 
princess, or some nose-in-the-air begum, all the 
charm would be gone. A happy dream would end." 

"How did you happen to get the picture?" 

Ethan Lovejoy laid down his pencil, wheeled 
slowly about on his stool, placed one leg over the 



9 2 Pandora's Box 

other and clasped his hands around a knee. With 
his head inclined to one side as if to aid his memory 
—or his language — he thus replied: "It happened 
in London ; a week ago Thursday. I was on my way 
to the station in a gentle but searching rain ; my first 
journey to Drumworth. Having lots of time I 
stopped to look at a photograph in a shop window. 
But it proved to be the inevitable group of royalties 
and their usual playmates, so I turned away. Then, 
as an object of peculiar interest caught my eye, I 
stopped and looked again. At one end of the group, 
between the King and the Kaiser stood a young 
lady, this young lady; and her face — well — from 
that instant I was a goner. No use describing her 
face, for we have it here, but it was — and is — such 
an extraordinary, unprecedented, irresistible mix- 
ture of contradictory human traits that I was liter- 
ally spellbound." 

His listener turned her face for a moment still 
more toward the window as if for a better view of 
something in the old garden. 

The architect continued: "At the moment the 
photo was taken, the King, the Kaiser and this girl 
were having, evidently, some little joke between 
them. All three were trying to repress a smile. 
And as I stood in the rain and looked into this girl's 
face, for I had lowered my umbrella to get my nose 
nearer the glass, I also began to smile — just from 
friendliness. I don't know how long I stood there, 
but one or two other people who also wanted to see 



A Woman's Face 93 

the picture began to crowd me gently as if they 
thought I must have had my fill. So I backed away, 
still smiling, and departed. But after I had gone 
about a block I began to feel strange yearnings. I 
realized, with shame, that I must go back and look 
some more. So, having time to burn, I did go back. 
For several minutes I again drank her in. Once 
more I smiled with her, as Baseborn here, might 
smile with the moon. Then I made a wild resolve. 
You must know that I was already carrying a fat 
valise, two rolls of drawings and an open umbrella, 
so I could not possibly manage that big photograph. 
But into the shop I went, and bought the thing. In a 
careless way, as if nobody cared much, I asked the 
shopkeeper who the person was, standing between 
the two monarchs. He said he didn't know. Being 
— presumably — a snob, he seemed ashamed of his 
ignorance. Then I took a pair of shears that were 
lying on the counter and proceeded to cut her out, 
that I might carry her in my pocket. But the shop- 
keeper, a most respectable and loyal patriot with 
gray side whiskers, put forth a hand in horror. 
*You are cutting right through the King!' he ex- 
claimed. 'Kings/ I said, 'are like the waves of the 
sea. When one disappears another takes his place. 
But a face like this is a thing apart, a pearl in the 
millionth oyster, and is worth any sacrifice/ When 
the next cut destroyed the Kaiser he muttered : 'If 
I had known, sir, that you were going to spoil the 
picture I would not have sold it to you/ But I 



94 Pandora's Box 

smiled upon him, a happy and perhaps imbecile 
smile. I told him that a beautiful woman was far 
above Kaisers. He seemed in doubt. But I put the 
lady in my safest pocket and sped away." 

Octavia lowered her eyes. She seemed interested 
in Baseborn, who acknowledged the attention by 
raising his ears and wagging his tail. 

"That shopkeeper," she said in a tone intended to 
express indifference, "must have thought you crazy." 

Love joy nodded. "And if he had watched me in 
the train on the way down here that afternoon, he 
would have been sure of it. In order that others in 
the compartment should not suspect my folly I laid 
the portrait between the leaves of a book, where I 
could enjoy it, and I pretended to be reading." 

Octavia said nothing. But the silence was mis- 
leading. It merely served, at the present moment, 
as a shield to an inward revolt. And it must be re- 
membered, in justice to Octavia, that by her own 
family, and by all the countryside, she had been re- 
garded, from birth, as a being of peculiar merit and 
importance. This perpetual worship had given its 
victim an exalted conception of her own personal 
sanctity. Now, to discover suddenly that she had 
become, in a sense, the property of a stranger, of 
the first man who happened to like her face, was to 
her the grossest profanation. She had become, it 
seemed, a public thing ; her face a purchasable toy. 
And the thought was unbearable that this portrait of 
herself, which no earthly power could have induced 



A Woman's Face 95 

her to present to men of her acquaintance — even to 
those whom she best knew — had become the prop- 
erty of whosoever chose to carry it in his pocket. 
Her cheeks burned, and her fingers within the gar- 
den gloves were pinching one another. But her 
martyrdom was not yet complete. With this affront 
to all her finer feelings another and severer shock 
was yet to come. 

As Ethan Love joy finished he had wheeled around 
as if to go on with his work. But, with an elbow 
on the table, his cheek against his hand as in a 
reverie, he went on, in a lower tone, his eyes upon 
the little portrait that he had again taken from his 
pocket and laid before him : 

"Oh, but the happy hours we have passed to- 
gether, this girl and 1 1" 

He then repeated these lines : 

"And on her lover's arm she leant, 

And round her waist she felt it fold, 
And far across the hills they went 
In that new world which is the old. 

We have walked through flowery fields, reclined 
in shady groves and danced together in palaces. 
Although I have known her but a week we have 
been wrecked in southern seas and lived for years, 
we two alone, upon a coral island. She is a splen- 
did girl — a sacred thing. I shall frame this picture 
and keep her entirely to myself. I only showed it 
to you, you know, because of a certain resemblance. 



96 Pandora's Box 

But I shall keep her hidden away in some desk or 
drawer. No one shall ever see or know anything 
about her. Her real character I myself shall never 
know, although I have endowed her with every con- 
ceivable virtue. But there's a shadow to these sunny 
memories. For it's a melancholy thought that she 
herself, poor thing ! has had none of these joys. Her 
own life, during these celestial years, may have been 
as commonplace and stupidly conventional as her 
companions in the photograph." 

He paused, but without changing his position. His 
outraged listener dared not trust herself to speak. 
All her powers of will were needed to preserve an 
outward calm. 

"Are you familiar," he inquired after a pause, 
"with those silent, moonlit, heavenly nights on Ital- 
ian lakes ?" 

The lady at the window made no reply. 

"Well, we have floated for hours in a narrow lit- 
tle skiff, so very close together, she and I, both in 
body and in spirit, that our souls were one. But per- 
haps you have never been in love and don't know 
what all that means." 

Still silence at the window. No signs of atten- 
tion from the averted face. He took up his pencil 
and went on with his work. Several moments 
passed before Octavia spoke, and then her voice, 
despite all efforts at control, was constrained and 
uneven. 

"Do you think the lady would be pleased if she 



/': 



\ 



A Woman's Face 97 

knew her portrait was being carried about in your 
pocket?" 

"She will never know. We are too far apart. Be- 
tween this girl and such trash as you and me there 
is a bottomless gulf. Why, Kings and Kaisers bow 
down before her. She is miles and miles above the 
earth we tread. But her face, for me, has the fasci- 
nation an evening star might have for any crawling 
thing, or any earth bound beast of burden — a don- 
key, for instance." 

Octavia, still struggling to control her emotions, 
sat erect, and silent. 

"I think," he went on, "what makes her so infer- -., \ 
nally seductive, perhaps, is the combination in her 
face of "a certain girlish sensibility with an infini- 
tude of unreasoning pride — and overwhelming and 
sincere conviction of her own superiority. Now 
that nose, for instance, is loftiness itself. And by 
the way, it is exactly like your own, isn't it?" and 
again he came over and held the picture before her. 
"If you will excuse my saying so, yours is a stately 
little nose. If you were a duchess you would have 
a perfect face to snub with, and to look offensively 
superior." 

For an instant Octavia's eyes rested frigidly upon 
the picture. Then again she looked out the window. 
Ethan Lovejoy replaced the photograph in his pocket 
and went back to his table. He whistled gently as 
he tore off a piece of tracing paper and laid it over 
a portion of the castle. 



9 s Pandora's Box 



"You do not appear to realize/' said Octavia, 
"your own impertinence." 

"Impertinence !" and he turned toward her with a 
look of amazement. 

"Most emphatically." 

"What an ideal Could I pay her a higher com- 
pliment? Why, in that group there were nearly 
twenty people — all the cream of the earth — and she 
was the only one I wanted. Moreover, it is my only 
experience of the kind. I am not given to collecting 
faces." 

"Very likely, but she would be angry, mortified, 
disgusted if she knew it." 

"Never r 

"If you had a sister would you like to have her 
portrait, under similar conditions, carried about by 
men who were strangers to her?" 

Ethan Lovejoy stopped in his work, lowered his 
chin, and tapped his forehead with his pencil. "Why 
— er — I don't think I should object — if my sister 
didn't" 

"But if your sister knew nothing about it." 

"It would make all the difference who the man 



was." 



"No, it would not. You know very well that this 
lady would be justly angry. So would her father 
and her brothers — if she had any." 

He smiled. "Why do you mention father and 
brothers instead of mother and sisters? You are 
trying to scare me." 



A Woman's Face 99 

"I merely mentioned them because you are a man 
yourself and can better understand. I am appealing 
to your sense of honor." 

"So bad as that?" 

Octavia took her basket and stood up. "Then 
keep the picture and carry it about with you — and 
show it to your friends, and laugh and joke about 
it." And a pair of contemptuous, angry eyes looked 
down upon him. 

"Now wait a minute, Miss Gardener. You 
travel too fast. Your sympathy for the victim car- 
ries you away. You are the only person to whom 
I have shown it, or might ever show it." 

Octavia merely turned her glance severely upon 
Baseborn, who stood at her feet, gazing up. Then a 
clever idea came to her. With a more amiable ex- 
pression she extended her hand. "Let me look at it 
again, for a moment." 

He shook his head. "No you don't." 

"What do you mean?" 

"I mean you are too good a friend of hers. I 
don't trust you. You might keep it, or do some 
other awful thing." 

"I will return it." 

"Honest injun?" 

This was a new expression to the lady, but she 
guessed at its meaning, and nodded. From the 
pocket beneath his blouse he produced the picture 
and laid it in her hand. She appeared to study it 
and to consider it more seriously. "I think, on the 



aaftsas* 



ioo Pandora's Box 

whole, I had better keep it, as you are not treating 
her fairly." 

"But I only lent it to you for a moment." 

"As my duty to another woman I must keep it." 

Slowly and solemnly he shook his head. "And 
after you promised to return it !" 

"I did not say when I would return it." 

"Really, I blush for you. Such a dishonest little 
trick!" 

Then it was Octavia who blushed. "It is not a 
dishonest trick! In keeping it I am merely doing 
what I should like another woman to do for me." 

"Ah, but you know very well you secured it by a 
trick ! I did not give it to you." 

"Well, I may return it. Consider it a loan, if you 
prefer. Good morning." And she walked away. 

Out into the Garden of the Sleeping Beauty she 
passed. There, from above her, from the great 
window where she had been sitting a moment ago, 
came the architect's voice. 

"Miss Gardener!" 

She stopped, involuntarily, turned and looked up. 
Ethan Lovejoy was leaning out. Also at the open 
window was Baseborn standing on the wide, stone 
sill. And he also was looking down at her, his head 
cocked to one side, with ears alert, as if pleasantly 
excited by the situation. It was for a second only 
that Octavia paused. But before she could turn 
away the man cried out : 



A Woman's Face 



IOI 



"If you have a spark of honor you will be 
ashamed of yourself before the sun goes down." 

The lady's only reply, as she continued her walk, 
was a very slight but disdainful movement of the 
lips and eyebrows. Without looking back she knew 
that Ethan Love joy and Baseborn were still watch- 
ing her as she moved, with outward indifference, 
along the garden path between the rows of over- 
grown box, until she disappeared beneath the ancient 
archway. 



VIII 

AMERICANA 

BENEATH the cloistered arches and through 
her own garden Octavia walked, the victim 
of riotous emotions. Angry with this man 
for his liberties with her portrait, insulted by the 
freedom of his imaginings,' she was, however, vic- 
torious in the possession of the photograph. Never- 
theless, her manner of acquiring it had already 
brought a sense of shame. And this, in the nature 
of things, intensified her anger. 

Marching slowly along the great terrace she tried 
to compose herself. She tried to banish the intruder 
from her thoughts before encountering the watchful 
glances of her family. But these efforts were 
brought to a sudden end by the exclamation of a ser- 
vant who was hastening to meet her. 

"Your ladyship! Mr. Rutherton is here." 

"Oh, I forgot!" and Octavia quickened her steps. 

Mr. Edward St. George Rutherton was not in the 

habit of being forgotten; never by the parents of 

marriageable daughters. One of the richest men in 

England, connected with the highest families, a 

bachelor of thirty-five, with a sound head, a kind 

heart and charming manner — and more than good- 

102 



Americana I0 3 

looking — he was, upon all occasions, in every home, 
in every club, at any function, public or private, not 
only a welcome but a much desired guest. As 
traveler, scholar, philanthropist, wit, social luminary 
and "all around good fellow'* he would have been a 
success without his millions. 

Hastening through the great hall Octavia stopped 
for a moment and looked over the letters of the last 
mail as they lay upon the table. One of these letters 
was addressed to Mr. Ethan Lovejoy. As it bore a 
foreign stamp she gratified her curiosity and de- 
ciphered the postmark. The letter was from the 
Qty of New York in the United States of America. 
Whereupon a wise look came into her face. So her 
draughtsman was an American ! Certain unfamiliar 
expressions he had used were now explained: also 
his absurd name of Ethan. Of course she had heard 
the name of Ethan, even in England, but it was rare. 
Whereas, in America, presumably nearly all the men 
were named Ethan. And, anyway, she did not like 
the name. While it was not so bad a name as Bare- 
bones, for instance, it was bad enough. Surely no 
man could be a hero with such a name as Ethan ! In 
Drumworth village there was one Ethan Slopps, a 
harness maker whose name had always affected her 
unpleasantly. 

As she held this letter Lord Aylesden entered. He 
was a tall, well built man whose features — with the 
exception of a somewhat heavy jaw and chin — 
were perfect. 



104 Pandora's Box 

"Father, who is Ethan Lovejoy?" 

"Who?— oh — Ethan Lovejoy? That is a man I 
am having some business with. You know Ruther- 
ton is here ?" 

"Yes. I will be down in a moment. This is a 
curious stamp. Is your Lovejoy man an Ameri- 
can ?" 

"I believe he is." 

While descending the monumental staircase — re- 
built in the seventeenth century — she made two re- 
solves. First: that she would now retaliate upon 
Mr. Ethan Lovejoy, the Yankee, for some of his 
freely expressed opinions on herself and her family. 
Whereby she might enjoy, perhaps, a little enter- 
tainment at his expense. 

Second : as it was now clear that her father was 
deliberately and in cold blood keeping from his 
daughter the knowledge of these vast alterations of 
her own home, that daughter could now proceed 
with a clear conscience, and as a duty to herself, to 
unravel the mystery if it lay in her power. And 
she had confidence in her ability. 

It was in accordance with the first of these re- 
solves that the conversation at lunch, half an hour 
later, seemed to drift quite naturally in a trans- 
atlantic direction, particularly as Mr. Rutherton 
had recently returned from "the States." And 
their guest soon found himself enlightening his hosts 
as to the manner and customs of the Americans. Mr. 
Rutherton wore a close trimmed, pointed beard and 



Americana IC 5 

mustaches that were slightly assertive. He habit- 
ually raised his eyebrows when speaking, which 
gave additional animation to an already animated 
face. He liked to talk, and he talked well. More- 
over, he was an attentive and patient listener. He 
had lived five years in the United States — "And 
although I have many warm friends among our 
cousins, five years is enough." 

"Cousins !" exclaimed Lady Georgiana. "Suppose 
they were really our cousins! What an awful 
thought !" 

"Tell me about the American women, Mr. Ruther- 
ton. They are very pretty, are they not?" And 
Octavia leaned slightly forward with an obvious 
yearning for knowledge that would have drawn 
fountains of information from much sterner stuff 
than Mr. Edward St. George Rutherton. 

"Yes, pretty. But their voices — " and Mr. Ruth- 
erton raised his eyebrows and slowly shook his head. 

"I have always heard," said Aunt George, "that 
they are noisy and unattractive." 

"Hardly unattractive, I should say," interposed 
the Earl, "considering how they are gobbled up by 
various English dukes." 

"By dukes in distress," said Mr. Rutherton. "Few 
women who offer a dowry of a million dollars are 
unattractive to an embarrassed nobleman." 

"And did you find the men," Lady Octavia in- 
quired, "even less attractive than the women ?" 

"No, not all I The men are far quieter than the 



io6 Pandora's Box 

women. Less noisy and less pretentious. I like 
the men; they talk less and say more. The trouble 
with American women is that they are extremists; 
either frankly frivolous, or intellectual. And the 
intellectual American woman is an appalling thing." 

"But why worse than other nationalities ?" 

"Because she talks a good deal more, a great deal 
faster and in a thinner voice. And her intellectual- 
ity is a pose. It never accomplishes anything. She 
merely absorbs a lot of useless knowledge — useless 
to her — and pumps it into others." 

"But American women, as a rule, are very lively 
are they not? — very animated, quick witted and 
clever ?" 

"Yes. But so are American mosquitoes." 

Lady Octavia's interest was gratifying, and the 
guest continued: 

"An American dinner, for instance, to an English- 
man before he gets hardened, is an exhausting ex- 
perience. They have an idea, over there, that un- 
less somebody is talking you are bored. So either 
you or the woman beside you is talking all the 
time." 

"But when do you eat ?" inquired Lord Aylesden. 

"Between words." 

"Fancy!" said Lady Georgiana. "That must be 
exceedingly tiresome; and quite wearing, after a 
while." 

"It is. But after you once 'catch on/ as they say 
over there, you can make out a dinner by eating 



Americana io 7 

faster than usual. The woman on either side of you 
asks nothing better than to do most of the talking.** 

"Fancy !" said Lady Georgiana. 

Then followed a silence in which the four people 
partook leisurely of the food before them. And 
this food was deliriously cooked and daintily pre- 
sented. For the Drumworth cook was an imported 
artist 

"You know the Duchess of Fanesbury?" Mr. 
Rutherton inquired of Lady Octavia. 

"Yes. She came from the States." 

"Well, she would not be considered especially 
nervous or chattery in her own country." 

"Really!" 

"Imagine living in such a country," said Lady 
Georgiana. "Dishonest men — for that is certainly 
their reputation — and such women !" 

Into Octavia's sensitive face came a mixture of 
distress and wonder. "But surely, all the men are 
not dishonest." 

"No, indeed! I knew some very honest ones. 
Collectively, however, I am afraid their reputation 
is deserved. You see, they are all in such a hurry to 
get on — to make money in the quickest way that 
they have no time to be too punctilious about it." 

"It is all very inexcusable," said Lady Georgiana, 
"as some of them are descended from good English 
families. They certainly must have a sense of 
shame." 

"Shame! Why, Lady Georgiana, their pride in 



io8 Pandora's Box 

themselves is so stupendous, so solid, so laughable, 
that it ceases to offend. It is the one case in which 
their famous sense of humor fails." 

"But the beggars must suspect," said Lord Ayles- 
den, "how they are regarded by the rest of the 
world." 

"Not a bit I As for the rest of the world, it has 
their contemptuous pity." 

"Fancy!" said Auntie George. 

"They consider us English slow and dull, the 
French frivolous and unreliable, the Germans stupid, 
the Italians behind the age and the Russians bar- 
barians. They honestly believe themselves the un- 
paralleled people. They take their high-pressure life 
in all seriousness." 

"But Mr. Rutherton," protested Octavia, "you say 
they are dishonest, and yet you like them." 

"Because they are often agreeable and entertain- 
ing companions, fair minded and generous. You 
might take many of them for cultivated English- 



men." 



"Just fancy !" And Auntie George merely raised 
her eyebrows although she fully realized the absurd- 
ity of the statement. 

"And they do not mean," continued Mr. Ruther- 
ton, "to be dishonest. In fact, they do not realize it. 
Although corrupt themselves, they despise a thief 
— unless the theft is big enough, when they respect 
it. For instance, a friend of mine, a most cultivated 
gentleman — several times a millionaire — is known 



Americana I0 9 

to have juggled with the funds of an insurance com- 
pany, and to have pocketed, with a few of his 
friends, hundreds of thousands of dollars of the 
policy holders' money. 

"What did they do to him?" inquired Lord 
Aylesden. 

"Nothing whatever. Moreover, it was also dis- 
covered, in the course of an investigation, that he 
had robbed the stockholders of a railroad of several 
millions of dollars." 

"Fancy!" 

"Outrageous!" exclaimed Octavia. 

"That," said Lord Aylesden, "is what Southworth 
and Hatfield did over here." 

"Yes, but Southworth is in prison, and Hatfield 
will never return to England ; whereas my American 
holds his head as high as ever and his social position 
has not suffered." 

"Nice country," said the Earl. 

"Just fancy!" 

"But, in that country," inquired Octavia, "are 
there no laws for such crimes? Is there no punish- 
ment ?" 

"Yes, punishment for the minnows but not for the 
sharks. Nobody cares, however, so long as busi- 
ness is good." 

Octavia made no further comment, but looked in 
pensive reverie through the great window of the 
dining room, out over the smooth, green level of 
Drumworth Park where a herd of deer were graz- 



no Pandora's Box 

ing. At this point came another of those restful, 
nerve restoring silences which occur at British 
meals. 

Later on, the repast finished, the four persons en- 
tered the long drawing-room. Here they paused 
before a large photograph of the King. This por- 
trait had been recently presented by His Majesty to 
Octavia's father. Framed in silver, it rested in a 
prominent position upon one of the tables. The 
King in this picture was in full regalia. Much im- 
pressed by this portrait, the guest congratulated his 
host upon being the recipient of so personal a gift. 

"But do you not think," and Octavia's tone im- 
plied an amiable regret, "that it loses something of 
its dignity by all those trinkets across the breast ?" 

Auntie George looked more closely at the portrait, 
"What trinkets, Octavia?" 

"Those medals. They seem to cheapen the ef- 
fect." 

"Why, dear child!" exclaimed Auntie George, 
looking still more closely, "those, I think, are the 
orders of the Garter, the Bath, St. Patrick and the 
Imperial order of the Crown of India. The others 
are the highest and most exclusive foreign orders 
presented by other monarchs." 

"I know they are, but monarchs are in the habit 
of exchanging those things just as they would ex- 
change visiting cards. And they signify even less." 

"Octavia !" 

"Now if King George," Octavia went on in the 



Americana 11T 

same tone of amiable regret, "should wear a string 
of visiting cards or empty watchcases across his 
front it would bear the same relation to his own 
personal exploits." 

Autie George's eyes opened wider and her lips 
parted. Had her niece cursed the Church of Eng- 
land the shock could hardly have been more severe. 
Lord Aylesden frowned. But Mr. Rutherton, with 
elevated eyebrows, regarded the speaker in amused 
astonishment — and admiration. More color had 
come into Octavia's cheeks as she spoke these irrev- 
erent words, and it was evident that in the eyes of 
the guest, whatever his own opinion of the King's 
medals, the Lady Octavia was a fascinating study. 

Auntie George could only exclaim in a whisper — 
and the whisper was hollow and sepulchral, "How 
can you, Octavia!" 

"That is certainly a fresh view," said Mr. Ruther- 
ton. "I never thought of it before. We must ad- 
mit those medals are not, in the strictest sense, re- 
wards of merit, or records of achievement." 

With a smile of recognition toward Mr. Ruther- 
ton, such as a Queen of Paradise might bestow upon 
any deserving angel, Octavia remarked, "But if such 
ornaments can afford any satisfaction to our sov- 
ereign I am sure it is not for us to object." 

She turned away, still with the charming — but 
impersonal — smile, and moved gracefully through 
the drawing room toward the terrace. The others 
followed. 



112 



Pandora's Box 



While Rutherton was enjoying one of his host's 
choicest cigars upon the terrace, Octavia, by a 
careless question, again started the guest upon the 
subject in which she had so suddenly taken an in- 
terest. And he depicted, in few words, the inevitable 
conditions in a new and purely commercial country 
where the people were, of necessity, imitative in 
social matters and backward in intellectual develop- 
ment, yet happy and self satisfied. And in so doing 
he innocently furnished Lady Octavia with ammu- 
nition for her attack upon the Yankee invader. 



IX 



4 FATHER IS REASSURED 

WHEN tea was served that afternoon in the 
library — a spacious, wide windowed room 
with a heavily timbered ceiling — Lady 
Georgiana, sitting alone with her nephew, spoke of 
the surprising change in Octavia's appearance during 
the last day or two — the new color in her cheeks, 
less weariness of manner with a livelier and more 
cheerful expression. 

"Yes, I have noticed it. She looks better than 
she has for a year. More animation. More like 
her old self. How do you account for it?" 

"I really can't say. I thought at lunch today it 
might be Mr. Rutherton's presence, but I remem- 
bered that yesterday also she had a better color." 

"Glad of it. Hope it isn't temporary. I have al- 
ways said, you know, that the poor child needs 
change and stirring up." 

"But she won't take it. She always refuses to go 
away." 

"Yes, worse luck. Even refuses to go to town 
for the season. But just at present she is certainly 
less languid. Takes more interest in things. May 
be the good weather." 

Into Auntie George's face, which, with its perfect 

113 



H4 Pandora's Box 

features, should by rights have been beautiful — but 
was not — came an expression of emphatic denial. 
"This new color in her cheeks is too sudden. Good 
weather does not act with such rapidity. The change 
has all come within a day or two." 

Lord Aylesden leaned forward and spoke in a 
lower tone. "Do you think there's a fighting chance 
of her taking either Hepsford or Rutherton? She 
would be happy with either. No better men in Eng- 
land. It would be horrible if she should fall in love 
with some impecunious chap." 

With a slow, wise nod Lady Georgiana regarded 
her nephew. "Octavia does not suspect it herself, 
but I have taken excellent care that she meets no 
undesirable suitors. Her men friends are few. 
There is nobody in the field to interest her." 

"You are sure of that?" 

"Absolutely." 

Into the father's face came a look of relief, im- 
mediately followed, however, by one of doubt. He 
laid down his cup, arose and began to move about 
the room. At last, standing before Auntie George 
and looking down with a serious face, he spoke in a 
subdued voice. 

"I must say that it seemed to me at lunch that she 
did not behave at all like a — er — like a woman in 
love, don't you know — or even over much impressed 
by Rutherton himself." 

Lady Georgiana closed her eyes, opened them 
slowly, and looked up with a faint smile ; such as a 



A Father is Reassured "5 

forgiving mother might bestow upon an idiot child. 

"You men, Robert, are really very dull where 
women are concerned. Did you not observe her ani- 
mation at moments ? How attentively, almost eagerly 
she listened? You surely observed the contrast to 
her usual indifference when similar subjects are dis- 
cussed ?" 

"Yes, but that is just what I fail to comprehend. 
I do not believe that a dainty, sensitive, romantic 
creature like Octavia can be entranced by such a 
subject. Americans! Gad! Do you think it was 
Rutherton's picture of the vulgarity of that half 
baked people and their screaming women to which 
she listened with transfigured face, with glistening 
eyes and changing color? No. I cannot believe it." 

With a patient smile Auntie George again slowly 
closed and opened her eyes. "But if they were an 
interesting people you would believe it and under- 
stand it?" 

"Naturally." 

"Very well, then. Pray how do you account for 
her sudden interest in such an uncongenial subject?" 

"Just the thing that bothered me. And it must 
have bored her." 

"Listen, Robert. It was merely the cleverest way 
of entertaining Rutherton. He had been to America, 
so she drew him out and made him talk. The subtlest 
form of compliment. His vanity was fed. He en- 
joyed every moment of his visit." 

"Yes, I saw that — but — er — I can't explain just 



116 Pandora's Box 

what I mean. To me, don't you know, she seemed 
more interested in Americans than in Rutherton." 

"Coquetry. Just a woman's coquetry. And it is 
better, perhaps, that men are as blind as they are. 
What conceivable reason, what other motive could 
our Octavia have for listening to an essay on those 
impossible people?" 

"I suppose you are right." 

"And if you will recall the conversation, Robert, 
you will see that Rutherton was telling her nothing 
new. The inhabitants of the United States are not a 
newly discovered race — their sudden wealth, their 
voices, their assurance and vulgarity are known to 
everybody. And yet she listened, apparently, with 
eager interest." 

"Yes, by Jove ! And with a flush on her cheeks 
and eyes that glistened! She fooled me, too!" 

After a silence, however, he added : "But hang it, 
Auntie George, there's this about it, and it — er — it 
— er — discouraged me. Several times, and when 
Rutherton was talking his best, Octavia just looked 
out the window in an absent-minded way — a kind of 
ecstatic reverie that was not a bit flattering to him, 
you know." 

"Listen, Robert. A girl — and especially a girl 
that all men desire — must not fall into a man's arms 
as soon as he beckons, must she ?" 

"Of course not." 

"Had she hung on every word of Rutherton's to- 
day and drunk him in with thirsty eyes he might 
despise a victory so cheaply won. He would feel, 



A Father is Reassured IJ 7 

and with reason, that she was his for the asking — 
even before the asking." 

"Possibly." 

"But if he goes away with the idea that Octavia 
has other thoughts than of him, and with some un- 
certainty as to the amount of interest he inspires, 
that very uncertainty will create a healthful anxi- 
ety, touch his pride, enliven his ambition and stir 
him to greater effort." 

"You are quite right. Quite right." 

"At the present moment he is not at all sure 
whether she cares for him or not; whether it was 
himself or his subject that interested her." 

"Yes. You are right." 

"But are you quite sure, Robert, that Rutherton 
wants to marry Octavia ?" 

After a glance toward the door, Lord Aylesden 
lowered his voice. "I am. He has been talking to 
me about it. He is dead in love with her. Clean 
gone." 

Lady Georgiana's face brightened. "Then I can 
assure you there is not the slightest cause for anxi- 
ety. We may consider it un fait accompli** 

"Rough on Hepsford !" 

Then, with another glance toward the door : "Do 
all you possibly can to hasten matters without excit- 
ing her suspicions. You know the financial situation. 
You realize how much depends on it." 

"I shall do my best." 

"Then the country is safe." 

And he lit a cigar. 



X 



TWO TEMPERS 

THE smile was lukewarm with which Octavia 
returned Ethan Lovejoy's friendly "good 
morning" as she entered the Old Hall on the 
following day. Her own intentions were not amia- 
ble. Moreover, her plan of battle had been carefully 
rehearsed. 

Should this American prove to have no patriot- 
ism, then her efforts would avail nothing as her main 
object was to make him angry. And she realized 
the improbability of a man of his intelligence having 
any serious love or admiration for so lamentable a 
country as America, even if that country were his 
own. 

Baseborn arose from a recumbent position in a bar 
of sunshine and advanced to meet her. He cocked 
his head to one side, pricked up his ears, and, with 
his big brown eyes fixed earnestly on her face, 
wagged his tail in a hearty welcome. The tail thus 
wagged by Baseborn was a strange affair. Too long 
for style, too short for nature, it took an unexpected 
bend — twist or deviation — about the middle of its 
present length. This aberration of the main line, 
accentuated by a local growth of parti-colored hair, 

118 



Two Tempers IJ 9 

seemed to signify a former calamity; as if the tail 
had been shortened bv some hostile force, an earth- 
quake or a stroke of lightning — possibly both. 

Ignoring Baseborn, Octavia approached the draw- 
ings. Whereupon the architect took a little bunch of 
Johnny- jump-ups from a tumbler of water that 
stood on his table. Unfolding a clean handker- 
chief he wiped the stem of the flowers, then with 
a ceremonious bow, presented them. 

"Will the goddess of flowers, and of sunshine in 
dark places, accept this offering from an ordinary 
mortal ?" 

She took it, and acknowledged the gift with a 
pleasanter smile than was in her morning's program. 

It was then she wavered, for a moment, in her 
purpose. A slight flush, almost of shame, came into 
her cheeks, for surely it was ungracious, in return 
for this gift, to disparage the country of the giver, 
to ridicule the manners and morals of his com- 
patriots. 

When once resolved upon a deed of which we are 
secretly ashamed, it is disconcerting to have the vic- 
tim anticipate the blow by an act of kindness. Her 
hesitation, however, was brief. She braced herself 
for the attack by recalling his facetious and dispar- 
aging comments on her own ancestors, his ridicule 
of her own people, his exasperating contempt for 
her own class and its traditions. 

After the usual inspection of his work, with the 
usual display of interest in its progress, she tossed 



120 Pandora's Box 

upon his drawing the little photograph of herself. 
"Your prophecy was correct. I am ashamed of the 
manner in which I acquired the picture." 

He picked it up and held it toward her. "I also am 
ashamed of not giving it to you when you asked for 
it. Please take it." 

For an instant she hesitated. Then she took the 
picture, thanked him briefly, and moved away to- 
ward her usual seat in the window. It was evident, 
even to Baseborn, that in the atmosphere this morn- 
ing there was a new element — something foreign, 
mysterious and threatening. The tail stopped wag- 
ging. With head at an angle he studied her as if 
trying to guess the riddle. 

Octavia now discovered that to introduce her sub- 
ject in the natural course of conversation, and with- 
out arousing suspicion of her intent, seemed almost 
impossible. But Fortune, in an unexpected way, 
came promptly to her aid. 

On the seat beside her lay a pocket kodak of 
peculiar fashion. She took it up and examined it* 
"What a nice little camera 1 I never saw one just 
like it!" 

"Yes, it is very convenient. It came from Amer- 
ica." 

"Was it made in the United States?" 

"Yes." 

"Impossible." 

"Why impossible?" And in mild surprise he 
looked up from his work. 



Two Tempers I21 

"Because it is so well made." 

"You mean — they never do things well in Amer- 
ica?" 

"That is what I meant. But even an American 
might do honest work perhaps if he saw immediate 
pecuniary profit." 

"Are Americans so bad as that?" 

"They certainly have achieved that reputation, 
poor things ! Personally I have met few specimens. 
But I have found them crude, ill bred, self satisfied 
and hideously commercial. Nobody seems to re- 
spect them. But while mistrusted here in Europe 
they possess, I am told, a value from the money 
they bring. But of course you know all that as well 
as I." 

Here the lady paused; not for his reply, as she 
had no intention of allowing him to proclaim his 
nationality and so spoil the fun. She noticed with 
pleasure an involuntary contraction of his eyebrows, 
and a compressing of the lips. But he hesitated be- 
fore replying, and she admired his self control. She 
knew how angry she herself would be had a for- 
eigner so spoken of her own people. 

Slowly, in a constrained voice, and without look- 
ing up from his work, he began: 

"As I myself am — " 

"Yes, of course you are aware of all that. But 
while those Yankees are personally offensive, unre- 
liable, tricky, astonishingly smart and without busi- 
ness honor, they do try hard, I understand, poor 



122 Pandora's Box 

things, to make up in extravagance what they lack in 
good breeding. Their sudden, unmerited wealth, 
their whole condition, in fact, socially and morally, 
suggests a stupendous, gilded mushroom/' 

"Yes, but—" 

"Think of living in a land where clever inventions 
take the place of art, literature and manners ! Where 
they joke at crime, and where wholesale robbery 
is never punished; where thieving politicians and 
tricky financiers are held in high respect." 

"Just pause one second, if you please. I — " 

But she did not pause. After a seemingly careless 
glance in his direction — for he had straightened up 
and faced about — she continued serenely, as if his 
voice had not reached her: 

"And you may think it impossible, but Yankee 
women are even more vulgar than the men; more 
nervous, with higher, thinner, louder voices, and al- 
ways — always — always talking. And the wealthiest 
women gladly sell themselves for any sort of a 
title." 

At last there was a pause. Octavia, at the mo- 
ment, could think of nothing more. She had — 
roughly at least — covered the ground. Had he a 
spark of loyalty or patriotism he must be consumed 
with anger. But as he made no immediate reply she 
allowed her eyes to move in his direction. He was 
at work. The frown had left his brow; the flush 
had departed from his cheeks. He seemed to have 
recovered his usual — and exasperating — placidity of 
mind. 



Two Tempers I2 3 

Without looking up he inquired, gently : 

"How did you know I was an American ?" 

Octavia, with a slight frown, turned her head 
toward the open window, and inquired, indifferently : 

"Are you an American?" 

"No. I am partly Ethiopian, partly Jew, but 
mostly Chinese and Hottentot." 

Gently, also, she replied : 

"I might have guessed it from some of the opin- 
ions you have expressed. But you are a very clever 
person." 

"Do you really think so?" 

"No." 

The draughtsman, going on with his work, began 
to whistle, gently, a slow and dirge-like air. This 
lasted but a moment. "You must remember," he 
said, "that even if I do seem clever to you — " 

"But you do not." 

" — it is only by contrast. A dull American might 
appear to an English person exceedingly bright." 

Then, with the obvious purpose of drowning her 
reply, he whistled louder, beating time upon the table 
with his triangle. The lady frowned. But, as he kept 
his eyes upon the drawing she gave up the frown — 
which was clearly wasted — and leaned back with an 
air of resignation. Then a silence came, and he said, 
without looking up, "How do you like my manners ?" 

"Unusually good — for an American." And in 
silent disdain she turned her face toward the win- 
dow. 



124 Pandora's Box 

While in this position she heard him climb up and 
stand upon his chair. He was humming in the lowest 
of tones an unfamiliar air; something solemn and 
slow. Then, in the gentlest of voices he said, from 
his high perch : 

"Of course, American men have not the nimble 
wit, the ready perception nor the quick sympathy and 
charm of manner for which the Briton is so justly 
famous and so universally beloved. Neither has 
he that indifference to money which is, perhaps, 
the most obtrusive characteristic in this unselfish 
island." 

Octavia's figure stiffened, but her face was still 
toward the window. 

She heard him say, 

"There is, of course, some resemblance between 
Englishmen and Americans, yet there is a striking 
difference — as British soldiers and sailors have dis- 
covered on sundry occasions." 

"Indeed!" 

"Did you ever hear of the fight at Lexington, the 
Yorktown affair or the battle of New Orleans ?" 

"Never." 

Ethan Lovejoy sighed. "Well, I am not surprised. 
They are events on which the British historian 
would hardly be apt to linger." 

Octavia answered serenely: 

"Matters not worth recording, for a serious his- 
torian, might be of huge importance to some far 
away, ridiculous little colony." 



Two Tempers I2 5 

"That's a good shot," replied the victim, and he 
climbed down and went on with his drawing. 

"Of course you will admit/' he said, "the gen- 
erally accepted fact that while one American equals 
only two English soldiers, one Yankee, in a sea 
fight, is a match for three and one-half English 
sailors." 

At these words Octavia, who was the staunchest 
of patriots, thrilled with a hot anger. But she re- 
plied, quietly: 

"It might possibly be in better taste and show a 
different kind of courage — but un-American per- 
haps — if you made such speeches to the men of this 
country instead of to the women." 

"You are right. I retract and apologize. How 
can I atone? Allow me to confess that American 
men are a lying, thieving, cowardly lot." 

"I did not say they are cowards." 

"You forgot to mention it." 

Although his tone was conciliatory, Octavia had 
the gratification of seeing a distinct effort to main- 
tain a smiling front. This promise of victory en- 
couraged her to remark, in a soothing tone : 

"I have no doubt the men have courage— of a 
certain kind. It is chiefly the women I object to, 
although their intentions may be good. It is pos- 
sibly not their own fault, poor things, that they are 
noisy, pretentious and so depressingly vulgar." 

After this speech there was a silence, or rather a 
stillness — the unnatural stillness before a summer 
tempest when the atmosphere, overladen with elec- 



126 Pandora's Box 

tricity, precedes the final, climacteric crash. Slowly 
and calmly, but in a constrained voice, he replied : 

"I might repeat a rude remark made by an ill 
mannered American — for they are all ill mannered 
you know — " 

"How can they be otherwise ?" 

" — to a tactful Briton who was very considerate 
of others' feelings — for how can they be other- 
wise ? 

Octavia's cheeks tingled, but she merely drummed 
with her fingers upon the old stone window silL 

"This Yankee admitted — mind you, he admitted 
— that there is about as much resemblance between 
the women of the two countries as between peaches 
and potatoes." 

Octavia straightened up. Her chin rose and she 
turned her eyes, in hot anger, upon the speaker. 
For the briefest moment she looked into the famil- 
iar grey eyes and she felt — mingling with her in- 
dignation — a certain pleasure in the discovery that 
the owner of those eyes, although he returned her 
look with a smile, was also angry and was controll- 
ing himself with a mighty effort. 

Prompted by this knowledge — and by a keen de- 
sire to accomplish her purpose — the abasement of 
his exasperating, almost triumphant serenity — she 
tossed the Johnny- jump-ups through the open win- 
dow, saying: 

"Do not pick any more of those flowers. The 
owner of the castle might object." 



Two Tempers I2 7 

She read in his eyes that she had succeeded. It 
was the look that might have come had he been 
struck in the face. For an instant they regarded 
each other, he evidently taken by surprise, humili- 
ated, wrathful, but struggling to conceal his feel- 
ings. His lips tightened, but he made no imme- 
diate reply. Raising a hand under his blouse he 
took from some inner pocket a shilling; and he 
tossed it out the window through which his flowers 
had just departed. 

'That," he said, "is your gift to me. It should 
follow mine to you." 

This action had no meaning to Octavia. Sur- 
prised, but too disdainful to ask an explanation, she 
moved haughtily toward the door. 

"You paid me," he added, "the regular fare the 
other day for rowing you across the ferry, and yoa 
gave me an extra sixpence for myself. That was; 
the shilling." 

She stopped, turned about and, for a short mo* 
ment, regarded him with a new expression. When 
she spoke it was in a lower tone, and with her chin 
again in the air. 

"Then you knew — " 

"Yes. I knew. And I have known all along that 
you are not the gardener's daughter." 

This reply — the unexpected knowledge that she 
was the deceived and he the deceiver — kindled in 
Octavia a more serious indignation. She was, for 
the moment, the spoiled child who must not be 



128 Pandora's Box 

thwarted or opposed. With the sense of defeat, of 
outraged pride, with the shame of being so easily 
tricked, came mortification at the undignified role 
she had been playing in this man's eyes. All the 
pride in her nature, and there was more than 
enough, suddenly revolted. She was writhing in- 
wardly under an exaggerated sense of degradation, 
as if the Drumworth honor and her own dignity 
in these frequent, unchaperoned visits had been 
dragged in the mire. With swift memories of these 
violations of propriety came the unbearable con- 
sciousness of having cheapened herself. 

She bit her lip. The color rushed to her face — a 
flush of shame and vexation. And the shame and 
yexation were fine food for anger. All extenuating 
details were forgotten — or ignored. She obeyed a 
reprehensible but very human desire to put her ad- 
versary in the wrong and herself in the right. 

Surveying him with flashing eyes, and showing 
in tone and manner all the frigidity she could mus- 
ter, she said, in uneven tones : 

"And your very free comments on my ancestors* 
my family and myself have been deliberate, inten- 
tional, and with the fullest knowledge of whom you 
were insulting." 

"Insulting!" 

Paying no attention to his protesting word she 
merely murmured, as she turned haughtily away : 

"My congratulations." 



Two Tempers I2 9 

Then down the hall and out through the door- 
way she passed, head erect and without haste. 

Octavia's anger, although alive and hot, was the 
passing anger of a maiden unaccustomed to con- 
tradiction, or to defeat in any form. It was the 
short lived, half enjoyable anger easily dispelled by 
a word of apology or by a sense of triumph. But 
when, after descending the steps from the Old 
Hall, she entered the ancient garden — the Garden 
of the Sleeping Beauty — there came a sound to her 
ears that transformed this superficial anger into 
something deeper and more lasting. Through the 
window, at whose open casement she had been sit- 
ting a moment ago, came the voice of the draughts- 
man as she had heard it on the morning when it first 
led to their acquaintance. He was humming, just 
loud enough to be heard, the march in "Aida," 
poorly rendered, but now, under present conditions, 
an impertinent, uncalled for manifestation of indif- 
ference, as if th£ episode was finished — the incident 
closed: their brief acquaintance already forgotten. 
And this, a thoughtless note of victory— or congrat- 
ulation — over its happy ending! 

In this heartless humming there was something 
so insulting, so humiliating to Octavia's dignity, so 
belittling to all sense of her own importance, that 
her spirit flamed with a deeper indignation. 

If it be true that 

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, 



i3o Pandora's Box 

then Octavia's state of mind needs no describing. 
Again the hot blood rushed to her face, then left 
it, leaving her whiter than before. Never in her 
short life, as the adored and only child of an ex- 
alted house, had she felt so humbled, so blind and 
dumb with mortification and anger — as from a blow 
in her patrician face. 

And from this draughtsman, this unknown man 
whose acquaintance she had courted ! And she, a 
Drumworth, had made the advances ! 

For an instant she closed her eyes and literally 
choked with shame. As she trod the cloistered 
arches she saw nothing. Through her own garden 
and the length of the great terrace she moved with 
dry, bright eyes and quickened breath, but seeing 
neither sky nor trees nor flowers. Into her cheeks 
the color came and went — and came, and went 
again. 

She forgot, in her anger, that men in misery 
have sung to lighten sorrow. 

At the door of the castle she was met by Auntie 
George, in a state of nervous excitement. This 
also was unobserved by the niece. 

"O, Octavia ! I was just going to send for you. 
The King is coming! He stops for lunch on his 
way to town." 

The next instant Auntie George, with wide open 
eyes and parted lips, took a backward step as she 
received Octavia's reply : 



Two Tempers 



131 



"I don't care a button for the King I" 
And Auntie George did not fully recover herself 
before Octavia had flown up the grand staircase, 
rushed into her own chamber and slammed the 
ioor with a resounding bang. 



XI 



A CHANGE OF MIND 

DURING the twenty years of Lady Oc- 
tavia's life her relations with other people 
had seldom existed on a purely democratic 
basis — on personal merit without prejudice or ' 
favor. 

Indulged from infancy in every wish, adored by 
her family, treated as a divinity by humbler habi- 
tants of the castle and the village, eagerly sought 
by youths of her own class, it was small wonder 
that the give-and-take speech of Ethan Love joy 
should come to her as a shock. It seemed almost 
unbelievable- But her subsequent reflections brought 
more of pained surprise than of serious anger. Her 
own good sense was now telling her that success in 
the role of a gardener's daughter demanded, at 
moments, sudden mental readjustments for which 
she was not prepared by any past experience. Never- 
theless, out of respect to her birth and quality, to 
the ordinary conventionalities of life and to her 
dignity as a woman she resolved to make no further 
visits to this draughtsman. Already she had gone 

too far. 

132 



A Change of Mind *33 

As usual, however, she visited her garden the 
next morning, and, as usual, began to work there- 
in. The work was interesting, for she loved her 
flowers. But the care of flowers, just now, was 
not absorbing. Possibly horticulture, as a regu- 
lar pursuit, was less diverting than architecture. 
She recognized, of course, that this want of interest 
was due to her own state of mind. Certainly she 
was restless. Her labors in the garden were brief. 
Returning to the castle she busied herself with 
other matters. And she found, whatever the occu- 
pation, that the amazingly impertinent words of 
the draughtsman came persistently to her mind, and 
above all other words, "peaches and potatoes," But 
more unbearable than any words was the recollec- 
tion — which she tried in vain to put behind her — 
of his song of indifference — or relief — after she had 
left him. With every recollection of it came a flush 
of anger. And the recollections were frequent. 

She fully realized how great would be her fall in 
Auntie George's esteem should that rigorous lady 
ever learn of this affair. And Octavia recalled this 
aunt's unspeakable contempt for a relative of theirs 
who had accepted the attentions — she had not mar- 
ried, but merely accepted the attentions— of a man 
of obscure family. His was some mortifying occu- 
pation, not unlike, perhaps, that of an architect. He 
was a good man, but in no way related or connected 
with any family of position. So far as concerned 
Auntie George his individual character — under such 



*34 Pandora's Box 

conditions — mattered little. He might be an im- 
becile or the wisest of his race. Thug, thief or saint, 
his proper place was in a lower world. Such "per- 
sons" bore the same relation to "nice people" as 
crawling creatures of the mud to birds of paradise 
in the clean air above. And Octavia turned hot and 
cold when she recalled the manner in which the 
Duchess of Linsmere had once commented on the 
clandestine meetings of two otherwise reputable 
persons. 

"Clandestine meetings 1" 

Yes, surely her own meetings with this draughts- 
man were "clandestine." "Clandestine" was evi- 
dently equivalent in such affairs to vicious, immoral 
and compromising. And what would her father 
think of these clandestine meetings with an utter 
stranger? She was astounded, now, at her own 
want of pride. Inexpressible was her gratitude that 
this disgraceful episode was her own secret, and a 
thing of the past. 

"Clandestine !" 

And again she shuddered at the word. 

Then, while in this valley of shame and repent- 
ance, she made a splendid effort to believe the worst 
of the American. And she succeeded — partially. 

So severe was her self criticism, so profound her 
repentance and so frequent her moments of gloomy 
meditation, that at lunch Auntie George inquired, 
with some anxiety, if she had a headache. No, she 
had no headache ; she felt perfectly well ; a little dull 



A Change of Mind *35 

perhaps, and needing exercise. She would walk to 
the village in the afternoon. 

The walk along the river's bank from Drumworth 
Castle to the village was a pleasant little journey. 
Octavia, that afternoon, invented among other 
things an errand at the library. This library, a 
picturesque affair of Tudor design, had been given 
by her great-grandfather to the townspeople. 

The librarian, a tall, sharp-faced spinster of com- 
placent manners, was the sole relic of a once wor- 
shipful family; for which reason she had been se- 
lected by Lady Georgiana. Possessing neither tact, 
memory, administrative ability nor business sense, 
she was, of course, not just the person for the 
{dace. But to Lady Georgiana education and liter- 
ature were frothy trifles compared with noble birth. 
However, certain compensations existed, as the lady, 
in turn, sincerely believed the Drumworth family to 
be of divine origin. 

While Octavia and this futile librarian were dis- 
cussing the purchase of certain books, they heard 
an unwonted commotion in the usually peaceful 
street. As the commotion rapidly increased they 
moved to the window. There they understood, at 
once, the meaning of the gathering crowd and the 
excited voices. 

The library stood in the very center of the village 
where the main street widened out into a kind of 
open square, with an ancient stone watering trough 



136 Pandora's Box 

in the center. Directly opposite the library, on the 
opposite side of this little square, stood an old, four 
storied structure. From its lower windows, at the 
present moment, came clouds of smoke, not large 
in volume, but lurid and ominous. Octavia hastened 
from the room and stood upon the library steps, 
the complacent librarian at her side. From these 
steps, a few feet above the level of the sidewalk, 
she commanded a perfect view of the scene that 
followed. And it was a scene she was not to for- 
get. Certain villagers, male and female, who had 
already clustered about the doorway, deferentially 
saluted her, and moved down to the lower step. 
The flames had already gained dangerous headway 
before the primitive fire extinguisher of the village 
could arrive. The apothecary and haberdasher 
who occupied the two shops on the lower floor 
were hastily removing their most valued articles. 
Lodgers in the upper floors, realizing their peril, 
were either fleeing or had already fled, with such 
property as could be saved. 

The absence of the chief of the unprofessional 
fire brigade — he being away in Taunton for the 
day — left his well meaning but undisciplined asso- 
ciates with no directing head. The result was a 
scene of uncertainty and confusion in front of the 
burning building. Many voices were heard, and 
with much advice; but there was no concerted ac- 
tion. The stream of water from the feverish en- 
gine was directed with nervous haste first in one 



A Change of Mind *37 

place, then another, but with little discouragement 
to the flames. Eager helpers pushed in among the 
firemen. Those nominally in authority tried vainly 
to bring order out of this increasing chaos. 

On one side of the burning building was a gar- 
den; on the other, with only a narrow alley be- 
tween, stood the village inn. Should the inn take 
fire several other structures, close beside and around 
it, would surely go. So rapidly and so easily were 
the flames devouring the interior of the building 
now ablaze — all the more combustible from age — 
that the inn seemed doomed. Octavia, in silent dis- 
tress, stood watching this scene of vain activity. 
She loved her village, and above all its ancient build- 
ings. This sudden calamity, this threatened de- 
struction of so much that she had known from 
childhood, filled her with acutest sorrow. And with 
this sorrow came a sense of anger with the incom- 
petence of those persons in control. But as a wo- 
man, she could only stand with other women, in 
helpless terror, and look on. 

While thus absorbed, deaf to the voices about — 
and to the comments of the elderly spinster at her 
side — she noticed, casually, a tall figure in grey 
clothes approach a group of agitated firemen, hold 
their attention by his words, point upward to the 
flames now eating through the roof, then to the 
upper story of the inn, alongside. She also no- 
ticed, a moment later, that the men were following 
his suggestions. Moreover, she saw the deputy in 



138 Pandora's Box 

charge — the hardware merchant of the villaj 
turn to this stranger for further counsel. Lool 
more carefully at this man in grey she recogn 
her surreptitious acquaintance of the baronial ! 
— the architect, Ethan Lovejoy. 

And Octavia realized — together with many otl 
among the spectators — that as she watched 1 
hope revived. Calmly and without apparent hs 
and with no undue assumption of authority 
moved here and there, directing, among o 
things, the stream of water away from the doo: 
building to the roof and walls of the threatc 
inn. The two inadequate ladders he placed in 
ter positions. A few men he detailed to keep 1 
the crowd — all quietly done, and with the i 
command which, to certain persons, comes n 
rally in crises. He was acting, efficiently, as 1 
of the fire department and as chief of police, 
suggestions were gladly received and promptly 
ecuted. Even the crowd of spectators had bee- 
quieter. They had fallen back, leaving a la: 
space for the firemen. And they spoke in lo 
voices. 

From this quieter mass of people — intently wa 
ing a man astride the ridge pole of the inn throv 
water upon its roof — suddenly a cry went up, sh 
piercing, in a child's voice. 

"Oh! Sally! Oh! Oh!" 

It was a startling cry. To some it was ludicn 
and they laughed. But a second later there 



A Change of Mind J 39 

upon the crowd a silence. Eyes, moving from the 
inn to the burning building, beheld a woman at one 
of the windows of the highest floor, beckoning for 
help. She leaned far out the window to escape 
the smoke and heat behind. A murmur, a gasp of 
horror when a name was spoken — hardly more than 
a whisper — swept over the crowd, as a ripple on a 
lake. 

"Sally Pindar !" 

And again came the shrill voice of the child, a 
wild cry of grief, of anger and protest — a despair- 
ing call for help. And this boy of ten ran out from 
the crowd to the man in grey, and pulled fiercely at 
his sleeve. 

"That's my sister! Save her! Oh! Save her 
quick!" 

Octavia saw Ethan Lovejoy look down into the 
upturned face, then up toward the victim in the 
fated building. Gently he shook off the boy. Then 
with a few strides of his long legs he reached one 
of the ladders resting against the inn. With swift 
directions to other men, and with his own hands, he 
spliced the ladders together — making one long one 
out of the two. Quickly placed in position this long 
ladder came to Sally Pindar's window, easily within 
her reach. And Sally Pindar, faint from fright and 
shock, clutched it with quivering fingers. But her 
strength was gone. She lacked the physical power 
to climb out upon it. After an hysterical effort she 
collapsed, and lay unconscious across the window 



14° Pandora's Box 

sill. Octavia uttered a wail of horror; of unutter- 
able, helpless pity. For it seemed the will of God 
that this poor girl — whom she had known from 
childhood — should sink into the raging furnace be- 
hind her. 

About to turn away from a tragedy she had not 
the heart to witness, she saw Ethan Lovejoy throw 
off his coat and waistcoat, and grip the ladder with 
both hands. Either to test its strength or to ad- 
just it more firmly in position, he shook it. For it 
seemed an uncertain affair, even under favorable 
conditions, these two ladders tied hastily together. 

Then he started up. So silent was the crowd that 
no sound was heard except the roar and crackling 
of the flames. And as he climbed on and up, 
through smoke and a shower of sparks, Octavia no- 
ticed in the sunlight — as we are impressed by trivial 
things at tragic moments — the striking whiteness 
of his shirt. And so acutely sensitive were her 
nerves with the promised rescue of Sally Pindar, 
that she could have laughed aloud. 

When Ethan Lovejoy, in his ascent, reached that 
point where the two ladders were spliced together 
they sagged and yielded in an ominous way. But 
on and up he climbed. At times he was almost 
hidden from view, for this ladder, to reach the 
dormer above, was of necessity placed directly in 
front of the lower windows. And through these 
windows, where glass was already broken, smoke 
poured in fitful clouds, dense, somber, lit up at 



A Change of Mind ^4* 

times by tongues of flame. But he reached the top. 
There, with his feet upon the second rung he 
straightened up, slowly, not to lose his balance, and 
took a firm grip on the old stone cornice. This 
cornice, fortunately, projected but a few inches 
from the wall. Bending far over, with his weight 
upon the cornice, he put an arm about the fainting 
woman and slowly lifted her from the window. 
And it was clearly a feat that required not only the 
coolest head but extraordinary physical strength. 
Then it was that Octavia held her breath. And on 
the crowd beneath lay a deathlike silence. For it 
seemed impossible that a man with such a weight 
could balance himself, and cling close enough to 
the wall to regain his hold upon the ladder. But 
this man did it And as he did it, slowly, with ex- 
ceeding caution, but absolutely without fear, excla- 
mations, involuntary and half suppressed, went up 
from below. 

Calmly with his burden he began the descent. 
Again the quaking ladders bent and swayed, far 
more than when bearing but a single person. More, 
and yet more they yielded as he approached that 
portion where the two were joined. But on and 
downward he continued. Octavia wondered if he 
knew his peril. And she realized that whether he 
did or did not it now could make no difference. It 
was his only course. 

As his foot came cautiously, but with his whole 
weight, upon one of the lower rungs of the upper 



142 Pandora's Box 

ladder the dreaded thing occurred. The ladder gave 
way beneath him. Down and in it bent, toward the 
building, first slowly, then with a sudden movement. 
Ethan Lovejoy with his burden went crashing 
against the window, to what seemed an awful death. 
With a cry of horror from the gazing crowd came a 
sound of shivering glass. And out through the 
broken casement poured sheets of pent up flame. 

On the library steps, near Octavia, a woman 
fainted. 

Octavia herself, with a cry of terror, clutched the 
arm of the librarian beside her. With the other 
hand she covered her eyes. 

Cries of astonishment caused her to raise her 
head. As a cloud of smoke cleared away, for an 
instant, she saw Ethan Lovejoy hanging with one 
arm over the sill of the window, his toes just reach- 
ing the projecting cap of the window below. And 
he was not alone. His other arm still held, securely, 
the fainting woman. From the crowd below came 
a sound — a great gasp — of awe, of amazement — an 
involuntary cheer. From Octavia came a whispered 
prayer. A lump was in her throat. Verily, this 
man was faithful to his trust ! 

As he maintained himself thus, by one arm, with 
scarcely a bearing for the tips of his toes, a floor 
within the window fell, and new sheets of flame 
shot out and up. Enveloped in smoke and sparks, 
still he hung. And still he held the woman. But 
no human lungs could long survive such an atmos- 



A Change of Mind J 43 

phere. Men below, meantime, had placed one of the 
shorter ladders against the wall. And Ethan Love- 
joy, his brain unclouded, his nerves unshaken, his 
strength unfailing, descended slowly, with Sally 
Pindar in his arms, again to earth. 

Waiting hands took the unconscious figure from 
his arms. He himself stood for an instant near the 
foot of the ladder, pressing his hands against his 
eyes. Two men led him farther from the burning 
walls. A moment later, however, he was moving 
about, directing the firemen as if nothing of im- 
portance had occurred. Octavia found relief for 
overstrung nerves in listening to the comments of 
the more placid librarian beside her. And she 
found relief, to her own amazement, in commenting 
upon Ethan Lovejoy's shirt, whose whiteness had 
been so conspicuous as he ascended the ladder ; now, 
alas ! grimy and disreputable, one sleeve hanging in 
rags from the shoulder. 

Less than an hour later, when the safety of the 
inn had been assured, Octavia was walking home- 
ward. Although with head erect and with the light 
step of youth, there had come in her eyes a more 
serious, almost solemn expression. She acknowl- 
edged, in an absent manner, the deferential saluta- 
tions of the various persons she encountered. 

Of heroic deeds she had often read. In history 
and in fiction she had found inspiring records. Many 
tales were told wherein heroes had offered their 
lives for others; in battle and in peace; on water 



144 



Pandora's Box 



and on land. These things had moved her, and she 
had regretted, in a girlish way, that she was not 
a man. But those heroes, however splendid, were 
impersonal figures. They were names. 

Today, however, the man was real and her own 
eyes had seen the deed. She had seen him, in the 
ordinary light of an English day, freely and with 
no thought of himself, offer his life to save a most 
obscure and unimportant woman. With his phys- 
ical strength he had shown a courage that had filled 
her with a kind of awe. This feeling grew, the 
more she thought of it. For today there had been 
no music for incentive; no brilliant audience, and 
no applause. But in case of failure there was mu- 
tilation, or death; and no reward in case of victory. 
He had looked for no reward. His recompense was 
within himself ; a recompense so immeasurably finer 
and higher than all human applause, that as Octavia 
walked homeward along the river's bank, there was 
moisture in her eyes. 

And in her soul there was a new light. 




'VERILY, THIS MAN WAS FAITHFUL TO HIS TRUST-' 



XII 

IN THE OLD GARDEN 

IN the darkness of Octavia's chamber, that night, 
the courage of her own convictions, as she lay 
awake, grew stronger with the silent hours. 
Also, some of her previous opinions were modi- 
fied. Her more youthful heroes became victims to 
a different standard. With the newer heroes of her 
imagination there was less of the military — fewer 
uni forms and music; less shouting and powder. And 
ever prominent in these scenes moved the figure of 
Ethan Lovejoy, calm, silent and self-forgetting — 
and of surprising strength. The more she reflected 
upon the scene at the fire the more deeply she 
regretted the contemptible quarrel of the morning. 
And more ashamed of it she became. It was she 
who began it; she who had deliberately, in cold 
blood, with premeditated malice, goaded the unwill- 
ing victim to the fray. What man with a spark 
of patriotism could have remained silent in face of 
her revilings? He could have but one opinion of 
her behavior; of her insulting, malicious words. 
Looking back upon the conflict, she appreciated, now, 
his self control beneath her preliminary taunts; his 

145 



146 Pandora's Box 

obvious struggle to refrain from retaliation. Never- 
theless, despite all efforts, she could not forget the 
remark about peaches and potatoes. Although un- 
able to forget it she found, since the rescue of Sally 
Pindar, that it was easily forgiven. Such a rescue 
was ample atonement for even a blacker crime than 
defending his own country. It should, in her opin- 
ion, reinstate the vilest sinner. More difficult to 
forgive was his deceit and his lack of consideration 
in treating her as a gardener's daughter. She was 
fair enough to admit, however, that her own deceit 
in assuming the role was partial justification for the 
offense. 

So, when she started the next morning — osten- 
sibly for her own garden — in the gingham apron 
with scissors and Bower basket, there was not only 
forgiveness in her heart but some anxiety as to his 
opinion of herself. She was ready to make fullest 
apologies for her words of yesterday. 

From the old archway Octavia stepped into the 
garden, then halted and stood in silence. The Gar- 
den of the Sleeping Beauty this morning truly de- 
served its name. Although alive, joyous and all 
aquiver in the May sunshine, it seemed the partial 
awakening of forgotten things, of drowsy memories 
long asleep., The birds that twittered about the 
untrimmed box and overgrown, shapeless yew trees 
seemed impertinent intruders. Neglected flowers 
gave spots of color here and there, still holding their 
heads above the ever crowding weeds. And the pink 



In the Old Garden . *47 

roses against the grey walls of the Old Hall opened 
their petals to the morning sun more slowly than 
other roses — still dreaming, perhaps. 

Along the central path, amid this wild luxuriance 
of neglect, strode Ethan Lovejoy, one hand behind 
him, the other against his chest. To and fro he 
marched, as far as the basin of the silent fountain, 
then back to the statue of the dancing cupid, his eyes 
to the ground, unaware of Octavia's presence. 
When he turned about and walked away the great 
initials E. L. stood out with startling clearness upon 
the ridiculous blouse, now, in the bright sunlight, 
more absurd than ever. But there was nothing 
comic or humorous in the man himself. He was the 
moving image of dejection. He wore no hat. He 
was indifferent to the glare of any sun — unconscious 
of the world about him. 

Octavia stood silent until he again approached 
the dancing statue. 

"Good morning." 

He stopped and raised his head. All fears re- 
garding his resentment at her slurs upon his coun- 
try and its people were at once dispelled. Into his 
face, after the briefest instant of surprise, came a 
look of pleasure; of boyish delight. With a joyful 
exclamation — as he read the look in her own face — 
he advanced with a hand outstretched. 

"Oh, good, good ! You have come !" 

With a joy so real and so unrestrained that it 
became contagious, he grasped the hand she involun- 



148 Pandora's Box 

tarily held forth. This joy, sincere and uncontrolled, 
with which he looked into her eyes, still holding her 
hand, caused Octavia to feel, for a moment, that 
never in her life had any one been so glad to see 
her. It brought the color to her cheeks. 

Very young when her mother died, Octavia had 
missed much of that affection so precious to every 
human being. Her father, although a loving parent, 
was not demonstrative. And while Auntie George 
was dutifully affectionate — sufficient for all practi- 
cal purposes — she did not believe in "petting" chil- 
dren. Moreover, as Octavia belonged to a people 
who instinctively repress all joy dispensing emotions 
— and to a class who consider such repression "good 
form" — her share of love expressed was less than 
she herself had realized. So, like an unexpected 
sunbeam in some long shaded corner of her own 
castle came to Octavia this hearty greeting, this un- 
qualified joy at her presence, and in her forgiveness. 
Gently withdrawing her hand she murmured some- 
thing about herself being the offender. 

"Never, never!" he exclaimed. "You are an 
angel of rescue, straight from heaven. Why, I had 
no hope of being forgiven." 

And as she looked into his grey eyes, always 
mysteriously familiar — as if friends of childhood — 
she sought again, but vainly, as usual, for aid from 
her own memory. And as usual in this connection, 
her own memory seemed wilfully and maliciously to 
desert her when on the very edge of enlightenment. 



In the Old Garden J 49 

As he took a backward step, and stood regarding 
her, she noticed that his right hand was bandaged. 

"You have hurt your hand." 

"Merely physical. Nothing compared with my 
spiritual damage." Then, with a smile, "If you will 
promise not to laugh or despise me in any way I 
will tell you something." 

"That is asking a great deal. However, I prom- 



ise. 

u 



Well, I have not slept a wink since that woeful 
interview yesterday morning." 

"Then you certainly took it seriously. But how 
did you hurt your hand?" 

Burned a little. Nothing serious. Merely over- 
done on one side. 3 



"t>uriieu a 11 hi 

b siae, " 
"How?" 

it 



'At a fire yesterday in the village. Didn't you 
know that the old building opposite the library was a 
thing of the past ?" 

Now Octavia wished to hear of the exploit from 
his own lips; a partly mischievous curiosity as to 
what extent — being an American — he would make 
himself appear to the best advantage. So, with a 
slight frown of impatience, she demanded : 

"Yes, yes. I know that; but how, in what way 
did you burn your hand?" 

"By holding it too long against a hot window- 
sill." 

"Why did you do it ?" 

"My other hand was busy, and if I had let go I 



15° Pandora's Box 

should have fallen to the ground, twenty or thirty 
feet. And that would have been foolisher yet." 

"Then your other hand is not hurt?" 

"Oh, no ! chat hand was having a very comfortable 
time." 

"Holding Sally Pindar." 

He raised his eyebrows. "So you heard about 
our — our unconventional goings on?" 

"I was there. I saw it all." 

"I am thankful I did not see you' 9 

"Am I so terrifying?" 

"You were yesterday. I was so ashamed of that 
scene in the morning I might have fled if I had seen 
you, and let Miss Pindar and the whole town burn." 

"Please be serious." 

"I am. Is not a man serious when his remorse is 
so bitter that he promenades all night in front of a 
castle ?" 

"Absurd!" 

"But it is true." 

Now, Octavia was enjoying another mild sur- 
prise. She had anticipated, their relative positions 
being acknowledged, a perceptible change in his at- 
titude. Not the customary deference, perhaps, 
which in this unique acquaintance she neither ex- 
pected nor desired, but some recognition, however 
faint, of the consideration shown by ordinary peo- 
ple, such as draughtsmen, to the first ladies of the 
land. It was clear, however, that this American was 
not embarrassed by class distinctions. His democ- 



In the Old Garden *5i 

racy was sincere. His present manner toward her 
showed no change. There was, as usual, the clearest 
manifestation of a very real — almost boyish — pleas- 
ure in her company. A more respectful, intelligent 
and thoroughly enjoyable appreciation of her society 
she could not expect upon this earth. And the 
knowledge that it was inspired by herself alone came 
almost as a new experience. This knowledge af- 
forded her a gratification — a quality of happiness — 
which, although discreetly veiled, was no less real 
than his own. 

For a moment she looked away, beyond the ivy 
covered balustrade of the old garden across the fields 
to the distant village. "I did not realize at the time 
how dreadfully, unbearably hot that window sill 
must have been." 

"No reason why you should. Let's think of some- 
thing cooler. The treatment I deserve, for instance. 
As for my brutal speech of yesterday regard- 
mg — 

"If you had dropped Sally Pindar," she inter- 
rupted, "you could have used both hands and not 
burnt this one." 

"Drop Sally Pindar! Had I done that I should 
never again have faced you, or anybody else. 
Heavens! I am bad enough now! Really, truly, 
seriously, I cannot tell you how grateful, how happy 
I am that you have forgiven that business of yester- 
day morning." 

He spoke earnestly. As they looked into each 



*52 Pandora's Box 

other's eyes she smiled. "To tell you the truth/' 
she said, "although the chief offender I was quite 
angry and unforgiving until I saw you at that burn- 
ing building. It was splendid ; the bravest deed I 
ever saw— or ever shall see, probably. You are a 
real hero, Mr. Lovejoy. And whatever you may do, 
however bad you are hereafter, that shall not be for- 
gotten." 

"Those are pleasant words to hear, but — but I 
er — you are putting me on too high a pedestal. The 
role of a hero is hard to maintain. We men are 
fearfully human, you know." 

"You are up there now, and must not come down 
until I tell you. When you had climbed to the mid- 
dle of that ladder, and it threatened to give way, did 
you believe it would bear the double weight of you 
and Sally Pindar?" 

Partially turning his face away, he studied her 
from the corners of his eyes. And in doing so he 
seemed — in his shapeless blouse — an overgrown 
schoolboy, caught in an evil deed, inventing some 
convincing falsehood to clear himself. After a mo- 
ment's hesitation he asked: 

"What is the Glory of the Morning driving at?" 

"Answer the question." 

"Why do you ask?" 

"Answer the question." 

"Well, in the first place I enjoy climbing ladders; 
most boys do. Secondly, I am fond of Miss Pin- 
dar. Thirdly, she has been very kind to me. f I told 



In the Old Garden *53 

her that if I could ever be of service to her, in any 
way whatever, she might count on me." 

Octavia drew a long breath, looked away over 
the distant meadows, but made no comment. Turn- 
ing into one of the neglected paths of the garden she 
moved slowly along between the high rows of un- 
trimmed box, he close behind. And she wondered, 
incidentally, in what manner Sally Pindar had been 
kind to him. 

"I have noticed/' he said, as they walked along, 
"that when women place us on pedestals our fall is 
painful. I would much prefer to begin now, if I 
may, and climb down by easy stages. It will be far 
better for me in the end." 

For reply she merely smiled, and shook her head. 

'Then for my own protection," he added, "and 
for a more leisurely descent, allow me to state that 
the American police are waiting for me. A lifelong 
friend trusted me with his money and I ran away 
with it. I also took his wife." 

The lady's face was turned away, toward the 
meadows to the south, so the effect of these remarks 
was not visible. 

"Moreover, being a Yankee, I chew tobacco, 
smoke bad cigars in church and always eat with my 
knife." 

Still receiving no reply from the averted face, 
he continued : "I ought also to tell you that I have 
spent a long term in prison — being an anarchist--* 
for trying to blow up Windsor Castle and the House 
of Lords." 



154 Pandora's Box 

If a smile had been on her face it was repressed. 
With a slight frown she turned and looked up at 
him. "And I am learning that a man can shine at 
fires and yet be disappointing in his conversation. 
Do you take nothing seriously ? Do Americans joke 
about everything?" 

"Everything jokeable. Why not?" 

"I see I must take you down from the pedestal. 
You are not sufficiently serious minded for a real 
hero. You are too fond of nonsense." 

"Thanks. Now I feel safer. You may not know 
— being a woman — that good nonsense purifies the 
mind, fortifies philosophy and keeps the spirit 
young." 

"I confess I have often suspected it." 

"You know a sensible man can be very silly at 
times if he really puts his mind on it." 

"So I see." 

They had now reached the balustrade that en- 
closed the two open sides of the garden, the other 
two sides, north and west, being enclosed by the 
high gray walls of the castle. Bending forward, 
Octavia leaned upon this old stone balustrade, look- 
ing down upon the fields below. Ethan Lovejoy 
followed her example. Together they surveyed the 
sunny landscape. And the landscape, like all else 
this June morning, was entrancing. Shoulder to 
shoulder, in silence, they breathed that celestial air 
that warms the heart and awakens feelings that are 
more than friendly. 



XIII 

AMONG THE ROSES 

AFTER a long silence — a somewhat intimate 
silence — they spoke in lower tones. Pos- 
sibly the atmosphere of the ancient garden 
may have worked its charm. Whatever the cause, 
both Ethan Lovejoy and Lady Octavia were in the 
mood for further knowledge of each other. And 
this knowledge was so easily acquired! Not so 
much from bald statements of fact as from a lively 
but unuttered personal interest. For the conver- 
sation was, ostensibly on impersonal subjects: 
life, death and astronomy; literature, bees, cook- 
ing, psychic phenomena, England and America; 
Rome, exercise, architecture and various human 
things, but with illustrative anecdotes from the 
speakers' own lives. The two adventurers, in this 
voyage of discovery, drifted rapidly together. 

Ethan Lovejoy learned, among other things, that 
this girl's feeling for the old castle was a deep and 
serious affection. Every room and passage, every 
tower and court, every vine and flower upon its 
historic walls was a part of her life. He also dis- 
covered that beneath the medievally aristocratic 

155 



*5 6 . Pandora's Box 

ideas of which he now believed her the irresponsible 
victim, her nature was simple and direct; and her 
instincts, unsuspected by herself, were surprisingly 
democratic. Her exalted ideas of the glories of the 
house of Drumworth, and of the sanctity of other 
noble families, were to him fantastic ; incomprehen- 
sible almost in a woman otherwise so reasonable 
and well poised. But these ideas were easily ex- 
plained by certain tales he had heard in the village 
of her early education. In this educational diet, 
as administered by a watchful aunt, Burke's Peer- 
age had been the flavoring substance. 

For a long time they talked, this morning, both 
leaning forward upon the stone balustrade. At 
last, after a silent study of her folded hands he 
said: 

"Those gloves of yours really look as if you 
worked in a garden." 

"I do. Every morning I work an hour or two. 
The last few days, however, I have been wasting 
time in your vicinity. I must reform/' And she 
straightened up, and took her basket. 

"Oh no ! Please don't reform ! These visits have 
been my inspiration. You have duties as the patron 
saint of architecture. If you desert me now the 
restorations of the castle will be a failure/' 

She smiled and gently shook her head, then 
moved away, he following, along the narrow path 
between overgrown shrubs and flowers. In her 
quaint garden hat and blue gingham apron, with her 



Among the Roses *57 

girlish figure, her sloping shoulders and erect car- 
riage, she reminded him of the women in certain 
old prints of an earlier generation. While absorbed 
in a profound study of the back of her head and 
neck, and the many tints in her warm brown, sun- 
lit hair, she suddenly stopped with a half suppressed 
exclamation. An arm was caught and held by the 
thorns of a projecting rose bush. And on the arm, 
held involuntarily toward him, he saw, along the 
white, smooth flesh between the old glove and the 
sleeve, a scratch. It was a little scratch, neither 
long nor wide, nor deep enough to bleed. 

"Can you loosen the sleeve ?" she asked. 

But he, before loosening the sleeve, placed his 
bandaged hand beneath her wrist for support, then 
picked with the good hand a petal from one of the 
white roses of the offending bush. This petal he 
laid tenderly upon the small red line, pressing gently 
with his fingers as if upon a mortal wound. 

"A cruel gash!" he murmured. "But doesn't 
that rose leaf feel nice and cool? It is the court 
plaster fairies use, and it cures everything. 

With one of her characteristic movements when 
either displeased or embarrassed, she raised her 
chin and regarded him with lowered eyelids. But 
as she encountered his own eyes — always unac- 
countably familiar — a faint smile moved the sen- 
sitive lips. Quickly he loosened the restraining 
thorns, and she started on. At the end of the path 
near the wall of the castle, she halted and studied a 



i5 8 Pandora's Box 

rose vine that was clambering, high above their 
heads, around the great window of the Baronial 
Hall — the window in which she had been wasting 
time. 

"There is a rose that might truly sympathize 
with cruel gashes. It was planted by Anne Boleyn 
— with her own hands." 

"By Anne Boleyn I" And in silence, obviously im- 
pressed, he regarded the vine. 

"On one of her visits at Drumworth, in June, 
1530, she planted this rose, about a year before her 
marriage. We have an account of it, written at the 
time in an old diary, kept by one of the family." 

"By one of your family ?" 

Octavia nodded. "A great aunt of mine, in look- 
ing over a journal kept by an ancestor who was a 
cousin of Anne Boleyn, came across the reference 
to planting the rose, telling just where it was placed 
and describing the kind of rose. It came from 
France." 

For a moment or two both stood in silence, gazing 
up at the vine. It had twined itself around an old 
balcony, then along projecting moldings and edges 
of the great window. 

"All the roses, unfortunately, are out of reach," 
and Octavia sighed. "They are quite unusual, and 
their perfume is exquisite." 

"Nothing you desire should be out of reach." 

In front of them, against the wall, stood an old 
seat with a high arm at each end, all cut in stone. 



Among the Roses *59 

Stepping first upon the seat, then upon one of the 
ends, he climbed higher yet, seeking a foothold upon 
projecting moldings. At last, he reached slowly 
up until his hand — the uninjured hand — grasped 
one of the lower branches. This he pulled cautious- 
ly toward him, and secured a rose. It was a hazard- 
ous deed, Octavia watching in anxious silence. Re- 
turning to earth he placed the flower in her hand. 
She thanked him, held it to her nostrils and closed 
her eyes. 

"Tis a faint little perfume," she murmured ; "but 
very sweet" ; then returned it to him. 

He also inhaled its fragrance. "Yes ; just a mem- 
ory of its youth." 

He studied it with a sort of reverence. "Its very 
tints are tragic, aren't they? The crimson heart, 
then fading pink to its whiter edges. It has not for- 
gotten, I think, the girl who planted it." 

And as he placed it again in her hand Octavia 
looked up at him with a grateful smile. "That is 
just what / think ! That is just how I have always 
felt about these pale, sad roses; as if pity for that 
unhappy woman had entered their own pure souls.'' 

She moved slowly past him and seated herself 
upon the old stone bench. This bench stood back 
a few inches in a sort of niche, or arched recess, in 
the outer masonry of the old hall. As the seat was 
just about long enough for two people, rather close 
together, he asked: 

"May I also sit — without crowding?" 



ifio Pandora's Box 

"Yes; being a hero/' 

He leaned back and closed his eyes. "My Mum- 
sey used to teH me, when I was a little boy, that all 
the flowers and good animals had souls and there 
was a place for them in heaven : but that bad people 
had no souls and were far inferior to well behaved 
animals." 

"And you believed it?" 

"Yes indeed! And I still believe it. There 
would be no charm for me in any heaven if cer- 
tain dogs I have known were not admitted; where 
partially reformed thieves and drunkards were 
substitutes for singing birds and flowers." 

To this conception of a hereafter no reply was 
made. The lady seemed absorbed in a reverie over 
the rose in her hand. Without lifting her eyes she 
asked: "Who is the 'Mumsey' you speak of — a 



nurse r 



?" 



My mother. I wish you could meet her; but 
she is in America. You would like her. She is 
as short as I am tall. She has the secret of per- 
petual youth. She is perfect; just perfect. Not a 
fault. I am the worst thing she ever did." 

"And I suppose she thinks you are perfect." 

"No. She is too wise for that." 

Running a hand inside his blouse he drew forth 
a letter from a waistcoat pocket. "By the way, 
speaking of Mumsey, I heard from her this morn- 
ing and there is a mystery. Perhaps you can solve 
the riddle." 



Among the Roses l61 

In the gentlest of tones, without looking up, Oc- 
tavia asked : "Can the potato interpret the peach ?" 

Slowly he shook his head. "So you did not tell 
the truth when you said you had forgiven that re- 
mark." And he folded the letter and replaced it in 
his pocket. 

As he did so she extended a protesting hand. "I 
am ashamed of myself for recalling it ; and I did tell 
the truth. Please read the letter." 

As he looked into her face, with its look of half- 
serious appeal, he could have forgiven anything. 
But he frowned, looked away, and shook his head. 
"No, your vengeance is revolting. In my book on 
the British Isles I shall say that you, like all other 
English women, never forgive an injury and are 
bitterly vindictive." 

"Oh no, I am not!" she laughed. "Really I am 
not. Go on with the letter." 

Still he frowned, solemnly shook his head and 
looked over the garden. 

"Remember," she went on, "you are not perfect 
yourself. Your own mother knows it." 

"She is prejudiced. However, being an Ameri- 
can, I will set an example of humility and grace;" 
and he drew forth the letter. "This is the riddle." 
Then reading from the paper in his hand : 

"So that statue of Pandora you mention is still in the old 
hall. And she still holds the casket, I suppose, as if there. 
aught be something in it for you. Tell me if the old stone 
bench with the inscription is still in the little garden along- 
side." 



162 Pandora's Box 

"That seems very natural," said Octavia. "I sec 
no riddle in it. She refers to that statue in a cor- 
ner by the great chimney. But why is it remarkable 
that she should mention it?" 

"How could she know it was Pandora?" 

"Visitors are often shown over the castle, and she 
might have been told it was Pandora." 

"Yes, but I never mentioned Pandora in my let- 
ter. I did not know of its existence until she spoke 
of it. And she has never seen Drumworth Castle. 
Listen to this," and he turned back the page and 
read: 

"Drumworth is a famous castle and must be interesting to 
visit It is one of the grandest in all England. 19 

Octavia reflected a moment. "Your mother is 
not frank with you." 

"You mean she has been here ?" 

"It seems to me she meant to give you the im- 
pression of not having been here and without telling 
an untruth. She does not really say she was never 
here." 

Ethan frowned, and again studied the letter. "I 
believe you are right. And that was very clever of 
Mumsey. But what possible object could she have 
in deceiving me?" 

"No special purpose perhaps," Octavia answered 
with a smile, "except that men being so dull it is 
often a pleasure to deceive them." 



Among the Roses l6 3 

But Ethan Lovejoy was thoughtful. "It is not 
like Mumsey." 

"The writer of that letter," said Octavia, "is cer- 
tainly familiar with our Pandora. There is no 
doubt of that." 

"None whatever." He folded the letter and re- 
placed it in his pocket. 

Observing his still serious face she inquired : 

"You are not angry because I suggested a doubt 
of her sincerity?" 

"Angry? Never! I can say to you in truth, 
as you have said to me in jest : 'Whatever you may 
do, now or hereafter, you are forgiven in ad- 



vance.' " 



Then, for a time both sat in silence. In the June 
sunshine the old garden, the flowers and shrubs, the 
sky, all things — even the old gray stones of the 
castle — seemed warm and living. Gently through 
the old yew trees and the box breathed the soft air 
from the south, scarcely moving the flowers upon 
their stems — a soothing zephyr, blending with the 
hum of bees and with the perfume of roses. 

"It is really very surprising," and Ethan's voice 
was dreamy, "my unaccountable feeling that the 
present moment is a repetition of some previous ex- 
perience. Did you ever have it?" 

"Yes, more than once." 

"I am having it now," he murmured. **I could 
easily believe that you and I have sat together on 
this bench in years gone by." He spoke seriously 



164 Pandora's Box 

— with a certain solemnity — and as she turned to- 
ward him she saw he had placed the bandaged hand 
across his eyes. 

"Perhaps," she suggested, "you have been here 
other years, and with other gardeners' daughters." 

"No such luck ! Until five days ago I never was in 
this part of England. It may strike you as very 
silly," he said, removing his hand, his eyes wan- 
dering slowly over the scene about them, "but the 
feeling is so strong, the sensation so very real, that 
I surely must have dreamed it, imagined it or been 
through it in some form— or fancy." 

Octavia made no reply. She was trying to re- 
member an explanation she had once read of this 
not uncommon and gently disturbing delusion, 
when he continued: 

"I believe the wise men account for it as some 
subconscious action of the brain that bears no re- 
lation to actual events. But that is not quite satis- 
fying." 

"A spaniel puppy of mine," said Octavia, 
"plunged into a duck pond yesterday and swam 
about, never having seen water before. He certain- 
ly was doing it with a sense of acquaintance. Other- 
wise he would never have dared. Perhaps," she 
added with a smile, "you have inherited from your 
mother your memories of this seat." 

"Possibly. And not only of the seat but the old 
hall in there, too. More than once, when you have 
been sitting in the window, I have been startled by 



Among the Roses l6 5 

a clear and vivid impression of repeating some past 
experience." 

"Are you addicted to those impressions ?" 

"No." 

"Then you must be as gifted — in some directions 
— as my spaniel." 

"If you care for your spaniel I am grateful for 
any resemblance. But why should not we fellows 
— your spaniel and myself — inherit from our par- 
ents, or from any ancestor, the impression of an 
experience? Each event of a life leaves its record 
on the brain. It is easy to believe that those rec- 
ords, awakened by similar surroundings, might pro- 
duce a seeming recurrence of the original event." 

"It is interesting — at least." 

"And not half so incredible as the positive knowl- 
edge of the water your puppy has inherited." 

"But my puppy's parents really knew the water, 
whereas your mother had no knowledge of Pandora, 
nor of this bench. Her bench had an inscription." 

He stood up. "We are not sure this one has no 
inscription," and he examined the ends. "Nothing 
there." Then, with a knee upon the seat he drew 
aside some of the vines that covered the wall. 

"Here it is !" he exclaimed. "Mumsey was right !" 

Octavia also stood up, and faced about. To- 
gether they began to draw aside the vines. Word 
by word the inscription was revealed. 

"Curious spelling," said Ethan as he loosened 
tendrils and cleaned out the letters with his knife. 



166 Pandora's Box 

"Must be mighty old. About Chaucer's time, I 
should think." 

"Here is K.O.S.Y.I.E." said Octavia, who was 
also at work. "What on earth can that mean?" 

"The next word may help us," and Ethan dug 
away at the letters. "Benche. Kosyie Benche." 

"A cosy bench," said Octavia. 

"Why, of course! That accounts for its being 
too narrow for three. And here is something that 
'speedeth trew/ whatever that may tell us." 

A few moments later both stood back and Ethan 
read aloud the whole inscription: 

TW kosyte Bcnclie *** opoit ronde 
Hoone speedctfo trew Lovirj 

Octavia, with some color in her cheeks, took a 
backward step. 

He smiled. 

"The charm only works when there is a good, 
round moon. It must be perfectly safe in the day- 



time." 



She made no reply. 

"And as 'trew lovirs' sat on the bench, facing 
east," he continued, "the goode ronde Moone rose 
directly in front of them. That early Drumworth 
who wrote the lines and built the bench was a wise 
and skilful lover. He knew his business. Also, he 
had a sense of humor; and, presumably, some ex- 
perience." 



Among the Roses l6 7 

After a quick glance at her face he turned again 
to the inscription. "Those vines have grown up 
since Mumsey saw it." 

"Evidently." 

"Thirty years ago, at least, as she has not been 
in England since I was born." 

"Quite interesting," Octavia answered, but with- 
out enthusiasm. "I never knew it was there." 

"Mumsey was right — as usual. So my theory of 
heredity holds good." 

"Yes. Your theory still holds good," and she 
turned away. 

At that moment, from the distant village, came 
faintly to their ears the slow striking of a bell. 

"Twelve o'clock!" she exclaimed with a look of 
surprise. "How long have I been here?" 

"About twenty minutes." 

"Twenty minutes ? Two hours ! They will think 
I am lost." And she walked rapidly away. 

"But you have not seen the drawings. I have 
changes to show you." 

"They must wait." 

"You will come tomorrow ?" 

"Perhaps." 

And in another moment Ethan Lovejoy stood 
alone in the old garden. 



XIV 

ANOTHER VISIT 

OF all solitaire games the soonest learned is 
self-deception. The dullest mind can grasp 
it. The wisest have ever enjoyed it. We 
all find solace in its blandishments. No sweeter sub- 
stitute for courage, conscience and self denial is yet 
discovered. 

Octavia, just at present, was enjoying it to the 
utmost. She believed — or encouraged the belief 
that she believed — that these visits to the Baronial 
Hall were of an architectural nature ; that her Amer- 
ican was simply an architect, and nothing 
more. So, the next morning, while aware that 
yesterday's visit to this draughtsman was of a dif- 
ferent character from its predecessors, she decided 
that it was still her duty, by cheering him in his soli- 
tude, to encourage him in his work. 

As she started for her garden, wearing the faded 
straw hat and the calico apron, her grandfather, the 
Earl of Drumworth, stood watching her from a 
library window. Tall, erect, of athletic build, he 
could easily be mistaken — had you failed to see his 
face — for a man of fifty. His face, however, with 

168 



Another Visit l6 9 

stiff, white eyebrows and deep furrows along the 
cheeks and mouth, was less deceptive. Barring the 
mouth and jaw his features were more than good; 
they were strong, clean cut, of a martial type. To 
describe this mouth as "firm" or "determined" 
would give a faint idea of its character. It was 
believed by various persons to be the hardest mouth 
in England — or anywhere else. A slit, it seemed, 
across the iron face; an uncompromising line, des- 
potic and mirthless. No smile had been there in 
thirty-three years. Nor in thirty-three years had it 
pronounced a word. The chin beneath resembled 
the chin of Philip the Second; square, ponderous, 
bony and aggressive, with no mitigating curves. His 
light blue eyes were also hard, and they were search- 
ing and suspicious. But their expression may have 
been damaged by thirty-three years of silent rage. 
Nevertheless, when a younger man he had been 
considered handsome — something of a lady killer, 
in fact 

Turning to Auntie George seated by another win- 
dow, and reading the Times, he came and stood over 
her, moving his fingers to this effect : 

'Octavia is looking better. More color." 

' Yes indeed ! she never looked better. The dear 
girl seems brighter and happier, too." 

'And all of a sudden," remarked the fingers. 

'Yes, surprisingly sudden." 

"What is the cause?" 

Auntie George shook her head. 



ti- 



lt 



17° Pandora's Box 

"May be the good weather," suggested the fin- 
gers. 

"Yes, that may have much to do with it — together 
with her work in the garden." 

The fierce, gray eyebrows of the old Earl came 
together in thought. He turned and walked across 
the library, then back, and again stood before the 
Times. The fingers moved. "It is not the weather. 
Effect is too sudden." 

"Then what is it?" 

"She may be in love." 

With a contemptuous movement of one shoulder 
Auntie George slowly shook her head. "Absurd! 
In the first place there is no one for her to fall in 
love with — surreptitiously at least; and secondly, 
she is not that kind of girl." 

"Any girl," jerked the fingers, "is all kinds of 
a girl. I believe she is in love. Nothing else ex- 
plains it." 

Now this old gentleman had, in his youth, given 
much of his time to the other sex. Auntie George, 
remembering this, looked up with a smile. "I sup- 
pose you consider yourself an authority on women." 

Solemnly he nodded. 

Auntie George straightened up, laid the Times 
upon her lap and addressed her uncle as she might 
speak to a child who was either slow of comprehen- 
sion or perverse. 

"Why is it that men always think a woman must 
be in love? Masculine vanity, I suppose. It hap- 



Another Visit J 7* 

pens in this case that Octavia, the last few days, 
instead of spending a few moments in her garden, 
trimming and gathering flowers, has gone seriously 
to work for an hour or two at a time. She has even 
sent away old Benson, saying that she preferred to 
do all the gardening with her own hands. He told 
me that himself. Now you know as well as I do 
how a new interest, a fresh enthusiasm, affects the 
spirits." 

He nodded; and the fingers inquired, "You say 
she sends the gardener away, preferring to be 
alone ?" 

"Yes. And it's quite natural. I can understand 
it." 

Slowly up and down the Earl moved his head in 
sign of approval. His sunless countenance became 
less gloomy for an instant — its nearest approach to 
a smile. He elevated the beetling eyebrows, then 
turned away. When a face has abstained from 
smiling for thirty-three years its lines of mirth are 
not easily renewed. 

Over the Garden of the Sleeping Beauty that 
morning, when Octavia entered, the usual silence 
reigned — the melancholy silence of deserted places. 
But this deserted place was all aglow with sunshine. 
When she had fairly entered and paused a moment 
to breathe the fragrance of its neglected flowers, 
she heard, from the great window above, the voice 
of Ethan Lovejoy. It was bursting forth, of a sud- 



172 Pandora's Box 

den, into song. The song, a wordless thing, was 
unmusically rendered, but delivered with enthusi- 
asm. When, a moment later, she stood in the door- 
way of the old hall, he abruptly ended his song, 
faced about and greeted her with a ceremonious 
bow. 

In front of him, also facing her, stood — or rather 
moved — Baseborn. And it was evident that Base- 
born intended his movements to express an equally 
cordial greeting. While agitating his crooked tail 
with joyous excitement he was laboring in front, 
up and down, plunging like a ship at sea — or like 
a rocking horse. For Baseborn, heavily built about 
the neck and shoulders and clumsy behind, was not 
designed for airy grace. This present behavior was 
clearly the involuntary manifestation of an irre- 
pressible glee. In executing these movements he 
slowly backed away, as she advanced, but always 
facing her. 

Octavia acknowledged the welcome of these two 
beings by curtsies, one for the man and one for the 
dog. Then, as she approached the drawfng table, 
inquired : 

"What is that song you were trying to sing?" 

Lovejoy without replying turned to the dog. 
"Baseborn, did you hear that? Trying to sing!" 

Octavia smiled. "You tried and succeeded. It 
was splendidly rendered. But what is it? I have 
heard it before but cannot recall its name." 

"The name of that piece of music," said Ethan, 
"is 'See the Conquering Hero Comes.' " 



Another Visit *73 

"Thank you. I am very much honored. And 
perhaps you would not mind telling me how you 
happened to know just the moment I entered 
the garden, to time the greeting with such pre- 
cision. 

"That was very simple. I made Baseborn sit on 
the window seat, for I knew his joy at your ap- 
proach would, like my own, be hard to repress. So, 
when his tail began to thump against the casement 
and there came a great effulgence in the garden, 
then I knew the soul of an honest dog was bursting 
with rapture ; that the old yew trees were trying to 
clap their hands; that the roses of Anne Boleyn 
were blushing and smiling and nodding their 
heads/' 

Octavia reddened slightly, then lowered her eyes 
to the drawing. "So you knew all that ?" 

"Oh, yes, I knew all that ! Which is why, at the 
proper moment — the psychological second — a splen- 
did chorus of ten thousand male voices burst upon 
the air in a song of praise and thanksgiving. And 
perhaps you noticed, or rather felt, the accompani- 
ment ?" 

"No." 

"What! Not the silent symphony of Baseborn's 
expanding soul?" 

She shook her head, still studying the drawing. 
In a reflective tone he added, also looking at the 
drawing : 

"Two dogs with but a single thought." 



Hi 



*74 Pandora's Box 

"Your voice and method," said Octavia, "are 
both remarkable. But less astonishing perhaps than 
your courage in trying to sing." 

"More thanks. I would rather you considered 
me brave than — melodious." 

Octavia expressed surprise at the progress he had 
made since her last inspection of the drawings. 
'How can you work with that bandaged hand?" 
'Oh, that hand doesn't really work. It merely 
moves the T square and triangle." 

Then followed questions and answers, criticisms 
and suggestions. Her interest in this work was 
serious, and intelligent. At last, taking up a little 
catalogue of engravings that lay beside the drawing, 
she studied the portrait upon its cover. 

"Whose head is that?" 

"Abraham Lincoln's." 

"Not handsome, was he?" 

"No, very homely — and unpretending and strong 
and wise and gentle. He was also self-sacrificing, 
and absolutely honest. And his sense of humor was 
unquenchable." 

She raised her face and regarded him with a pe- 
culiar expression. "That is a perfect description 
of your own character!" 

Ethan Love joy, as his eyes met hers, saw that she 
was in earnest. Into his face came a sudden color 
that resembled a blush. He looked down at his work 
and shook his head. 

"No ! no ! I wish it were." 



Another Visit *75 

"But it is I" persisted Octavia, enjoying his em- 
barrassment. "Was Lincoln tall and thin?" 

"Yes, very tall and very thin." 

"But strong, physically?" 

"Indeed he was ! Exceptionally strong." 

"Then you are like him physically too ! iAnd I am 
not sure that even your faces are not alike. That 
is, you look as he may have looked when he was 
younger and before he became, quite so— so notice- 
ably plain." 

He smiled. "You could not pay me a higher 
compliment. He was as sublime a hero as ever 
lived and died for his country." 

"So would you live and die for your country. 
And for even less than your country." With a 
smile she added : "I have seen you at a fire." 

He also smiled, but lowered his eyes to the draw- 
ing. "Seriously, I tremble for this high opinion of 
me you seem resolved to maintain. It was merely 
physical courage you witnessed at that fire — the very 
commonest form of the article. My tumble will 
be of corresponding distance. I feel it in my bones. 
One more display of my agility at a fire and you will 
have me in the same class with Regulus, the Cheva- 
lier Bayard, and George Washington." 

"Agility!" she repeated, turning again to the 
drawing. "You certainly have chosen a modest 
word. But what is that figure on the terrace? It 
seems a very poor place for a statue." 

"It's not a statue, merely a man I drew to show 



x 76 Pandora's Box 

the scale.' ' And as he spoke, he began to rub the 
figure out. 

"Now," said Octavia, "he looks like a ghost — the 
ghost of some American tourist." 

"American tourists," said Ethan, "seldom wear 
armor. And they never haunt castles — that is, not 
after death. Besides, he has a British aspect. He 
lacks the beauty and fine distinction of the American 
millionaire tourist. Still, he might be an American 
millionaire come over to marry his daughter to a 
British nobleman." 

After a pause Octavia looked up. "Tell me, for 
which of the two, in that case, have you most sym- 
pathy, the bride or the groom?" 

"The groom. He needs the money and has to 
marry whatever will bring it. Whereas the woman 
has no pinching need of a title. With the man it is 
good business. With the woman it is neither busi- 
ness nor sentiment. He marries a woman who is 
for sale." 

"So is he for sale." 

"Yes, but for a price that saves himself and his 
family. Whereas the woman has not that excuse. 
If I were Lord Heps ford, for instance, and in love 
with the English woman that he is in love with, and 
the family required — " 

"But perhaps he is not." 

"He is! He must be! He couldn't help it !" 

Octavia turned away as he spoke, and moved 
toward the window. And he thought, from a rapid 



Another Visit x 77 

glance at what he could see of one cheek, that more 
color had come into it. 

"You seem to know a great deal about it — Lord 
Hepsford and his feelings." 

"I do. Not so much about Lord Hepsford as 
about his inevitable feelings. And if the family 
finances required that I should give her up, why — I 
—oh, I just wouldn't !" 

Octavia laughed, involuntarily. But the laugh 
was low and barely reached his ears. It ended in a 
little exclamation of amusement. On the seat be- 
fore her rested a queer little vase, gaudily colored 
and over decorated ; in it a flower. 

'One of Anne Boleyn's roses!" she exclaimed. 
Thank you. But you should not pick them. It 
is really too dangerous. And what an amazing little 
vase! Where on earth did you find it?" 

"In the village, at Simeon Blake's." 

She took it up and studied it. "Well, I should 
think so! It looks like Simeon's taste. Isn't it 
hideous !" 

"It is a present for you, and I paid threepence for 
it I can't say I like your language when receiving 
gifts/' 

Octavia laughed. It was a quiet little laugh, but 
spontaneous, involuntary, and from a happy heart. 
Had her grandfather or Auntie George been present 
they would have been surprised. For several 
months had passed since they had heard a similar 
sound from Octavia's lips. 



it* 



*7 8 Pandora's Box 

"Is it really for me? Then I beg your pardon. 
It is lovely. But you must admit the rose is even 
more beautiful. Not more beautiful, perhaps, but — 
but in a different style." 

"Yes, I will admit that; but nothing more." 

Comfortably settled in her usual corner at the 
window Octavia took the rose from the ridiculous 
vase, and after breathing its perfume a moment 
tucked it in the front of her dress. Lovejoy went 
on with his work. The silence, for a time, was 
broken only by the singing of one or two birds in 
the old garden. 

Through the open window came the voice of a 
dog barking in a neighboring field. Baseborn sprang 
to his feet as if receiving a challenge from a foe — 
as is the manner of dogs. He jumped upon the 
vacant window-seat, the one opposite Octavia. 
Standing upon his hind legs, his front feet upon the 
sill, he also barked, projecting his message through 
the open casement, out over the peaceful landscape. 
This sudden rending of the air, warlike and harsh, 
startled the birds and disturbed the slumbering mem- 
ories of the Garden of the Sleeping Beauty. It also 
disturbed Octavia. She frowned. "Stop it, you 
horrid dog !" 

But Baseborn barked again. 

"Baseborn," said Lovejoy, "shut up. Mind that 
lady. She owns this castle and everybody in it, and 
if we don't behave, you and I, we shall be forcibly 
ejected, and bundled off to America." 



Another Visit J 79 

Baseborn, without moving his feet, turned his 
head and regarded Octavia in surprise, as if to say, 
"Really! Is that truer 

The inquiring look was so very human that Oc- 
tavia leaned her head against the wall, and again 
she laughed 

Then another silence. 

In the soft air this June morning, coming gently 
through the open casement, Octavia felt the serene, 
unquestioning joy of a perfect contentment. For- 
gotten, at present, were certain former unsatisfied 
yearnings, the result of disappointed hopes; of un- 
realized dreams. Now, the first time in a year or 
more, she was really happy. And there was no de- 
sire to learn the cause. She merely closed her eyes, 
took long, deep breaths of the perfumes of the an- 
cient garden, and enjoyed the passing hour. With 
such experiences of perfect happiness there often 
comes the consciousness — or fear — that these un- 
wonted moments are too good to last — that pay- 
ment in corresponding degree may be exacted later. 
So it was with Octavia. These moments of perfect 
contentment, while long remembered, are seldom 
realized, at the time, in their fullest value. To those 
two people, taking a deeper joy in each other's pres- 
ence than either realized — or than Octavia would 
have admitted even to herself — there seemed no rea- 
son, this perfect June morning, why this visit, or 
others like it, should not continue indefinitely. 



XV 

FROM A TREW LOVIR 

DURING this eloquent silence — eloquent be- 
cause it proclaimed the significant truth that 
words were no longer necessary — Ethan 
Lovejoy, with occasional stealthy glances toward 
the lady at the window, tore off a piece of tracing 
paper and wrote upon it. Folding to a small di- 
mension and concealing it in the palm of his hand, 
he arose carelessly, as for relief from work. Hum- 
ming any old tune, he strolled with crafty indif- 
ference down the hall, behind his visiter. 

In a corner of the chimney stood a marble statue 
of Pandora. This figure, the size of life, was 
mounted on a pedestal which brought the casket 
in one of her hands about on a level with Ethan's 
head. Pandora's other hand was pressed against 
her cheek as she gazed, with startled eyes, at the 
open box. Into this box, after assuring himself 
that he was not observed, Ethan hastily dropped his 
note. On the way back to his drawing, he paused 
before a portrait and inquired, carelessly, merely to 
divert any possible suspicion from a serious purpose 
in his journey, "Whose portrait is this, full length, 

1 80 



From a Trew Lovir lSl 

all in brown with a gun in his hand ?" There being 
no reply he added : 

"The tough-looking chap with the jaw." 

"That is my grandfather." 

"Not the present earl?" 

"Yes." 

Ethan, with a contrite face, came and stood be- 
fore her. "I beg your pardon. He is so much 
younger — and — I — from his costume — " 

"You are forgiven. We all know that his expres- 
sion is not amiable — and that he has a jaw." 

"But I am ashamed: heartily ashamed. I sup- 
posed it the portrait of a dead and gone ancestor. 
But that does not excuse me." 

"Oh yes it does! Poor grandfather's expression 
is not amiable. That is common knowledge. But 
he has good reason to be grim and embittered." 

Ethan drew his unbandaged hand across his fore- 
head as if to stimulate his memory. "Please shut 
me up if it is none of my business; but he lost the 
power of speech very suddenly, did he not ?" 

"Very suddenly." 

"Marvelous tales are told in the village, all of 
which you have probably heard." 

"Yes, a great many. But what have you heard ?" 

Ethan seated himself on the opposite seat in the 
window. "Well, they are too silly to repeat. But 
one is that, on a summer's night, long ago, he lost 
his temper, which was a bad one, and so hot was his 
rage that it withered all power of speech. Another 



*82 Pandora's Box 

tale is that he shook his fist at heaven and was 
cursing his Maker when his Maker cursed back and 
rendered him forever dumb. Another that he hurled 
his young bride from a high tower and — " 

Octavia moved impatiently ; then straightened up 
and frowned. "Those tales I have heard. They 
are interesting samples of what ignorant people can 
believe. And too ridiculous, one would think, for 
other people to enjoy." 

"I did not enjoy them. But please be fair. You 
asked what I had heard. I merely referred to them 
as curiosities; not as history. Again I beg your 
pardon. Not because I am guilty, but because you 
are offended/' 

"I am not offended/' 

"Then you are favoring Baseborn and me with 
an excellent imitation. But perhaps your kindness 
of heart persuades you to the contrary/' 

Octavia raised her eyebrows, and tilted her chin. 
She also made a feeble attempt at a smile. But the 
attempt was a failure. 

"Don't you think," said Ethan, "that a certain ig- 
norance of civilized manners might be forgiven the 
untutored, western savage?" 

"There is a difference, even in savages." 

"Have you known many ?" 

"Only one." 

Other silent seconds passed, Octavia looking idly 
out the window: Ethan, with a half suppressed 
smile, studying the lady's face. At last her eyes 



From a Trew Lovir I& 3 

turned slowly toward him. "You believe my grand- 
father has a frightful temper/ 9 

"I believe nothing without your approval." 

"He did have a temper when he was younger. 
And he has tried hard to conquer it. Such a temper 
is a hideous misfortune — a curse." 

"Do you inherit?" 

She smiled, faintly, leaned back and resumed her 
old position, turning her face toward the garden. 
"Yes ; you saw it the other day when I insulted you 
and your country, and threw your flowers out the 
window." 

"Oh, well, it's a weak inheritance if that's the 
worst you can do !" 

Folding her hands in her lap and leaning forward, 
Octavia spoke in a more serious tone. "All that we 
really know is this. Years ago, grandfather's sec- 
ond wife, a mere girl of eighteen, was sitting one 
evening with the rest of the family in the library 
here at the castle, when she laid down her needle- 
work and walked out on the terrace — the long gar- 
den terrace that overlooks the river. My two great 
aunts who were sitting in the room with her saw 
my grandfather pass through the hall, a moment 
afterwards, as if following her. She never returned. 
She was never seen again by any of the family : nor 
by anybody we know." 

Ethan Lovejoy raised his eyebrows. He also 
puckered his lips as if about to whistle. But no 
sound came forth. 



l8 4 Pandora's Box 

Octavia continued. "When my grandfather re- 
turned, two or three hours later, he seemed a differ- 
ent man. He had lost all power of speech. And 
during the thirty years and more that have followed 
he has never been seen to smile." 

"Well, that is mysterious. But, was there no sus- 
picion of — of — " 

"Murder? No, not for a moment. My grand- 
father said she was alive and well. Beyond that he 
tells nothing. The subject is never alluded to in the 
family." 

"But you surely have some theory abcut it." 

"There is a story of a letter coming to the castle, 
months afterwards, directed in her handwriting; but 
it was seen only by the postman. My grandfather 
never spoke of it." 

"Most mysterious!" murmured Ethan. "But 
somebody must know something about it." 

"We think it may have been a sudden impulse, as 
she took nothing with her ; not even a wrap, or hat." 

"Was she an erratic lady, and given to surprising 
deeds?" 

"Not at all. She was a most well behaved, sen- 
sible person, and rather domestic. Not at all ad- 
venturous." 

"She was your grandmother?" 

"Oh, no! She was grandfather's second wife — 
and much younger than himself." 

Ethan looked down at Baseborn, then out over 
the garden, gently tapping the window-sill with his 



From a Trew Lovir l8 5 

fingers. "Well, combined with the Earl of Drum- 
worth's loss of speech, it beats anything I have 
heard in the way of a mystery. I don't quite see how 
the rest of the family could resist clearing it up." 

"You would easily understand if you knew my 
grandfather. Nobody in the family or in the vil- 
lage, nor anywhere else for that matter, dares refer 
to it in his presence. It has embittered his whole 
life." 

"Was it literally during the hour or two of his 
absence, the time of her disappearance, that he lost 
his speech?" 

"Yes." 

"They seem to believe in the village there was — " 

"What?" 

"Oh, the usual gossip. Nothing in particular." 

"What were you going to say ?" 

"I am afraid." 

She smiled. "I will protect you. Finish the sen- 
tence." 

"Another man in the case." 

An affirmative movement of Octavia's head. 

Ethan reflected a moment. "I have no reverence 
for the proprieties. Respectability bores me and I 
know conventionality to be the refuge of the timid 
and the dull. So I should always do the wrong 
thing in social emergencies. But had I a wife whom 
I loved more than I loved myself, and she ran away 
with a better man in her opinion than Ethan Love- 
joy, I think I should behave badly. There could 



186 Pandora's Box 

be no middle course. I should either be grateful 
for the relief or — overtake him/' 

"My grandfather could not overtake him. They 
sailed for South America and we heard the ship was 
wrecked." 

"Was she pretty, this runaway lady ?" 

"Oh, remarkably pretty ! Her portrait, for years, 
hung over the mantel in my chamber. It was a gen- 
tle, lovable face." 

Ethan smiled. "One can easily understand its 
removal to a shadowy corner." 

"But the portrait and I were best of friends. I 
must find it." 

"Perhaps it's up in that gallery there, at the end 
of the Hall. Seems a mysterious place. It might 
be hiding a lot of secrets; missing documents, deeds 
and blood stained wills. Do you know what is 
really up there?" 

"Yes, the very things you mention; discarded 
furniture, portraits, old papers, all kinds of rub- 
bish." 

The architect and his visitor, both in pensive 
mood at their opposite corners of the old window, 
looked out over the drowsy garden. At last Octa- 
via, her head still resting against the paneling, 
slowly turned her eyes in Ethan's direction, and in- 
quired the hour. 

Putting his good hand up under the ridiculous 
blouse he drew forth his watch. "According to this 
timepiece, which is absolutely reliable, it is now a 



From a Trew Lovir l8 7 

lovely morning in the month of June. It says the 
hour is of no importance." 

Baseborn, either attracted by the glitter of the 
gold or impelled by a desire for closer knowledge 
of the passing time, arose and put his nose to the 
watch. Ethan tinned the face so that he could see 
it better. "Am I right, old man? Is further in- 
formation superfluous ?" 

It so happened, that as he finished speaking Base- 
born bowed his head and sneezed. The two human 
beings laughed, involuntarily. Ethan replaced his 
watch. "The majority is against the lady. Further 
questions on that subject will be considered an im- 
pertinence." 

But Octavia rose, as if to go. 

"Oh !" he exclaimed with a frown. "Not already ! 
And after what Baseborn said ?" 
That depends upon the hour," 
It is twenty minutes past eleven." 
Then I must go." 

"Please tarry — just a little. I have something of 
great importance to say to you." 

"About what?" 

"About — about — er — what are you most inter- 
ested in?" 

With a contemptuous motion of the head Octavia 
took up her basket. Ethan Lovejoy also stood up. 
"Please give me three minutes more. For this is a 
vital matter." 



a* 



188 Pandora's Box 

She paused, but without regarding him, as if pa- 
tiently waiting. 

"Is your correspondence," he asked, "especially 
interesting as a rule ?" 

She turned toward him in mild surprise. 

"I mean, do you receive many letters that com- 
bine, in the highest degree, entertainment with in- 
struction ?' 

The only reply to this question was a suspicious 
glance. Being familiar with this American's ten- 
dency to promiscuous nonsense, she murmured, in- 
differently, "And if I do? And if I don't?" 

"Because I have a strange presentiment, an unac- 
countable, overmastering conviction, that Pandora 
over there has a precious communication for you, 
and is waiting for you to take it." 

"She can wait." 

"Oh, how can you be so snubby to Pandora — 
and so cruel to the writer of the letter?" 

"Who is the writer?" 

"How should I know ? Would I presume to read 
your letters ?** 

After a moment's hesitation Octavia replaced her 
basket on the seat and moved, in a somewhat dis- 
dainful manner, toward Pandora. In front of the 
statue she stopped and turned about. "I give you 
fair warning, were you all the Keroes of history, 
I shall not forgive you if I am deceived." 

But Ethan, with a sober face, had seated himself 
before his drawings, and appeared hard at work. 



From a Trew Lovir l8 9 

Octavia, reaching up a hand, inserted her fingers 
cautiously in the marble box. Encountering a piece 
of folded note paper she brought it forth. There 
was dust upon it. With a little snap of a finger to 
remove this dust she returned to the window and 
took her usual seat. Ethan Lovejoy did not look 
up from his work. The little note was yellow 
with age ; the ink seemed faded. Octavia smiled at 
what she considered an excellent imitation of an- 
tiquity, and at the pains he had evidently bestowed 
upon it. But the smile departed as, in silence, she 
read these lines : 

To My Own 

Nothing, dearest, us shall sever, 
Heart to heart, and parting never. 
Of all earthly hopes and blisses, 
Of all dreams the sweetest this is, 
Just our Kosyie Benche with moonlight 
And a garden breathing kisses. 

From her False Poet but 

"Trew Lovir," 

E. L. 

With burning cheeks she rose from her seat. 
The paper dropped from her fingers. Instead of 
reaching the floor it fluttered into the garden basket 
on the bench beside her. She stood for an instant, 
erect, uncertain. All the pride of a reserved and 
sensitive spirit was in high revolt. Yet, while 
seriously offended, she felt, even at the moment, less 
of anger than of grief. Had Ethan Lovejoy looked 



19° Pandora's Box 

up at that moment, and seen her face, this interview 
might have ended differently. In a low voice, with 
a slight tremor, she asked, still hoping there was 
some mistake : 

"Did you write it?" 

Straightening up, with his head to one side, but 
with eyes ever on his drawing he replied, "Does not 
the signature tell who wrote it?" 

And with a wave of his pencil, as if in acknowl- 
edgment of praise, "We greater poets, when our 
souls are free, can work just such wonders. How 
does it strike you?" 

In silence Octavia took up her basket. Her sor- 
row — her disappointment in this man — was even 
deeper than her anger. She suffered — keenly suf- 
fered — under the sudden realization that, after all, 
he was not a gentleman, that he knew no better, and 
that she herself was to blame in permitting such 
advances. Without further words she walked away. 
And when Ethan Lovejoy at last wheeled about and 
exclaimed, "But you are not off like that !" she still 
continued without turning, passed out through the 
doorway — and was gone. 



XVI 



A LADY THINKS 



BENEATH the cloistered arches, through her 
own little garden and along the great ter- 
race, Octavia marched with burning cheeks. 
Her anger, kept alive by the memory of the odious 
verse, was more endurable, however, than her sense 
of shame at having allowed this — or any other — 
man to believe that he could take such liberty. The 
very fact of his doing it signified small belief in her 
dignity, her womanly pride, or even in her self re- 
spect. 

Hastening to her chamber she dropped into the 
nearest chair. Then, with an elbow on the table, her 
chin in a hand, she thought — and thought — and 
thought, with swift alternations of sorrow, anger, 
and contempt. The more she thought, however, 
the calmer she became, until, at last, she almost 
pitied the man for his folly. 

This room of Octavia's, in one of the great, cor- 
ner towers of the castle, was of peculiar shape, being 
almost round. A spacious chamber paneled to the 
ceiling, richly furnished and with many pictures — 
mostly family portraits — it contained also a multi- 

191 



*9 2 Pandora's Box 

plicity of personal treasures; feminine things, photo- 
graphs of friends, favors — and was never without 
flowers. Although a large room it had but one win- 
dow. That window, however, was wide and high, 
with stone mullions. 

Octavia gazed sadly through this window, over 
the meadows to the south and the woods to the 
west, but seeing nothing. She was suffering a bit- 
ter disappointment. And spoiled children are not, 
as a rule, equipped for disappointment. Between 
spasms of indignation at the astounding imperti- 
nence of this American's verse she had, for the man 
himself, a feeling of commiseration. Deep was her 
regret that so interesting a person — and otherwise 
so enjoyable — should be guilty of such an offense. 
As a display of bad taste, and of ill breeding, she 
could not forget it. 

So, in sorrowing silence, with moist and blink- 
ing eyes, Octavia gazed out into the joyous sun- 
shine of this perfect day. The tear that started 
slowly down a cheek was more of mourning than 
of anger. The anger came only at intervals, when 
she recalled the verse. 

In those other and more merciful intervals she 
made allowance for the nationality of the offender, 
which was, of course, more his misfortune than his 
fault. His instincts, she believed, were good. But, 
born of ordinary parents, reared in a raw commu- 
nity where a gentleman was seldom seen, where finer 
feelings were unknown, or despised, where his par- 



A Lady Thinks i93 

ents and himself were inevitable results of a purely 
commercial country, where people of refinement did 
not — and probably could not— exist, it was, per- 
haps, unjust to blame him for his ignorance of the 
manners and customs of good society. His parents 
were probably common people, and while his resi- 
dence abroad had given him a certain knowledge of 
external deportment he would prove wanting at the 
real test, as she had just discovered. 

No, he was not a gentleman. 

And yet, looking back upon her hours in his com- 
pany, his manners, his language, always of a culti- 
vated person, and, above all, his splendid courage at 
the fire, his quiet heroism, — she closed her eyes and 
pressed both hands against her temples. 

Con fusion racked her brain. The more she 
thought, the more she wavered. Then, like an imp 
of evil came dancing through her head, 

" — breathing kisses." 

With the recollection of these words Octavia's 
cheeks never failed to tingle. In a flurry of anger 
she stood up. Wheeling about, impelled by an im- 
pulse she could not explain, her eyes turned as if 
for enlightenment to an empty space upon the wall, 
between two portraits. This space, years ago, had 
been filled by a family portrait, but of whom or why 
removed she had forgotten. The same impulse, 
whatever its origin or significance, had caused her, 
more than once since her acquaintance with this 



194 Pandora's Box 

American, to look inquiringly in that direction. This 
unexplained prompting, with her unreasoning obe- 
dience, always brought the same result, a sense of 
being deceived. Yet, she could not resist the suspi- 
cion, however absurd, of some remote connection 
between Ethan Lovejoy and this forgotten por- 
trait. 

The suspicion, whether wise or foolish, seemed 
stronger at the present moment than ever before. 
She closed her eyes, then looked again at the vacant 
place as ; if for a solution of this enigma; this puz- 
zling, unfortunate trick — of her imagination, per- 
haps. 

But, even if a trick of her imagination she felt 
there must be some origin, or cause. And why, un- 
failingly, this particular spot, this vacant bit of 
wall? She began to wonder if the impression of a 
face might linger in the brain when all memory of 
the face itself had faded. Even if that were possible 
who was the sitter for this portrait? — a portrait 
not seen since childhood yet still exerting such an 
influence. And what the mystic power that her 
eyes, with no volition of her own, should be drawn 
unerringly to this vacant space? And why was it 
that her curiosity was never excited, that her eyes 
never sought this empty space except when the 
American was in her thoughts? What conceivable 
relation, ancestral, personal or pictorial could pos- 
sibly exist between the forgotten relative and this 
absolute stranger from a far away land? 



A Lady Thinks ^95 



With a frown of vexation she moved impatient- 
ly away and gave herself to other matters. 

So sensitive was Octavia's face, so responsive to 
her own emotions, that even her grandfather, as 
they sat at lunch that day, took notice. He tapped 
upon the table, his usual method of gaining atten- 
tion; and when her eyes, from restless wanderings 
over the sunny lawn, came back and met his own, he 
moved his fingers. 

"Not feeling well?" they inquired. 

She nodded and smiled. "Oh, yes! very well. 
Why do you ask ?" 

He made no answer, merely a slight shrug of 
the shoulders. Had he a voice this movement 
might have been expressed by a word or two of 
doubt. 

"You do seem a bit out of sorts," said Auntie. 
George. "Has anything gone wrong ?" 

"No, indeed ! Nothing whatever." 

And to prove the truth of her words Octavia 
brightened up and talked of anything. An hour 
later, however, when the old Earl was alone with 
Auntie Geoi^e, his fingers referred to Octavia, and 
they added, "Same old look under eyes. Has come 
all of a sudden." 

Auntie George moved her head with solemn as- 
sent. "Yes, and I cannot account for it. She seems 
very well, otherwise, and I am sure nothing has oc- 
curred to disturb her. She has no secrets, you 
know." 



196 Pandora's Box 

"Don't like to see it," said the fingers. And they 
went up stairs. 

Octavia made serious efforts during the day to 
think no more of this depreciated American, this 
hero of common clay. Such efforts were unsuccess- 
ful. He was continually in her mind, and to the ex- 
clusion of other things. 

In the afternoon, she walked to the village to at- 
tend a little meeting of the library committee, and 
as she walked she despised herself for allowing the 
memory of this tactless foreigner to absorb her 
thoughts. 

From these self reproaches she was suddenly 
awakened, on the main street of the village, by the 
unexpected appearance of the invader himself. 
Emerging somewhat hastily from the little station- 
er's shop he turned in her direction. Both he and 
Octavia, in their surprise, stopped short, and only 
a few feet apart. 

For an instant they confronted each other in 
silence. Then the lady, with a perfunctory smile and 
a polite but formal word of greeting, started for- 
ward. He took a backward step, still standing in her 
way. Octavia, raising her eyebrows as if in mild 
surprise, looked calmly into his face — such a look 
as the queen of Sheba might bestow upon a puddle 
in the street, or any other obstacle of similar im- 
portance. But the tactless American stood undis- 
mayed. He looked as calmly into her own eyes as 
she into his — and spoke. 



"] 



A Lady Thinks *97 

Octavia lowered her eyes to Baseborn, who stood 
looking up into her face, wagging his tail as if 
he, at least, acknowledged no strained relations 
and believed in peace and love. But, unluckily, 
Baseborn was not arbiter in this affair. 

"It surely is not impertinent, Lady Octavia, to ask 
what I have done to offend you. Even the worst 
law-breakers, the most desperate criminals, are per- 
mitted to know of what they are accused." 

Raising her eyes from Baseborn, and looking at 
a child across the street playing with a doll in a 
doorway, she hesitated, then replied : 
f I think you know." 
'On my honor I do not ! What is it Y 9 

There was earnestness in his manner, sincerity in 
his voice. With his hands he made, unconsciously, 
a slight gesture of protestation and appeal. 

Octavia wavered. Involutarily her glance came 
back to his face and she felt, in meeting his eyes — 
those strangely familiar grey eyes — the old spell. 
She was on the verge of smiling and saying some- 
thing pleasant but noncommittal, to bring an end to 
this awkward meeting, when again, and it seemed 
for the hundredth time that day, came dancing into 
her head, 

"—breathing kisses." 

She frowned, drew back with blushing cheeks and 
lowered her eyes. In a voice hardly more than a 
whisper, but distinctly heard, she said, "Then you 
never will know." 



i9 8 Pandora's Box 

And stepping off the narrow little sidewalk into 
the street, she passed around him and walked rapidly 
away. 

But, even before she had reached the Library, 
less than five minutes' walk, she half repented. The 
sudden anger, always created by the memory of that 
detested verse, yielded to a mild reaction. On the 
steps of the building she paused and looked back, 
hoping to see the offender, and, by look or word, 
mitigate the severity of his punishment But no 
American was in sight. 

During the meeting of the Library committee re- 
pentance flourished. And with it came the now 
familiar sense of shame at the manner in which her 
thoughts today were ever wandering from the 
business in hand. Present at this meeting were 
Octavia, Mrs. Wherry, the doctor's wife, the Futile 
Librarian of noble birth and the wife of the rector. 
Mrs. Wherry was a gentle old lady of lethargic 
habit whose attention, when directed for any length 
of time upon one subject, floated quietly away into 
the land of Nod. Not so the rector's wife. She was 
a stout, middle-aged matron with a rugged, benev- 
olent face, iron-grey hair and a positive but not 
unpleasant manner. Next to Octavia and Auntie 
George she was the most influential woman in the 
village. Business relating to the Library had never 
been shirked by Octavia. Her interest never flagged. 
Today there was question of rearrangement of cer- 
tain shelves and of the purchase of new volumes. 



A Lady Thinks ^99 

As these four ladies sat at one end of a large 
table in the librarian's room, pencils in hand with 
a list of books and other papers before them, Oc- 
tavia found difficulty in concealing from her three 
companions the mortifying vagrancy of her 
thoughts. Although the voices of these women had 
a soothing effect she could not forget the look in 
Ethan Love joy's eyes a few moments ago; his evi- 
dent honesty in protesting ignorance of his offense, 
his — 

"What do you think, Lady Octavia?" and the 
rector's wife leaned back and removed her eye- 
glasses. "It seems to me it would be a mistake." 

Octavia blinked and returned to the meeting. 
With a presence of mind that surprised herself she 
answered, reflectively, "Yes, possibly." 

"Although published long ago the work is still 
inquired for," admitted the Futile Librarian. 

Octavia nodded a hesitating approval, then made 
a venture. "What is the exact title of the book, in 
full?" 

The rector's wife looked inquiringly at the Futile 
Librarian, who frowned and tapped her forehead 
with a pencil. 

"Dear me ! How annoying ! I really forget, but 
it is the one that made such a stir years ago — that 
ignores religion in explaining the origin of man. 
The book is distinctly sacrilegious, in my opinion. 
But readers of Huxley's other works often ask for 
it." 



200 Pandora's Box 

The word Huxley came to Octavia as the sight of 
land to Columbus. 

"I should be exceedingly sorry," said the rector's 
wife, "to be in any way instrumental toward the de- 
velopment of atheism in this community/' 

Octavia nodded approval. "So should I. But 
let us look it over. If it seems really dangerous, we 
can act accordingly." 

The rector's wife, who would sooner oppose the 
British Army than the Lady of Drumworth Castle, 
expressed her approval of the idea. Mrs. Wherry, 
being asleep, offered no remonstrance. When other 
questions arose relating to the rearrangement of the 
fiction alcove, to a new catalogue, what books to 
weed out, etc., Octavia's fancy again spread its 
wings and again, to her shame, kept floating away 
to the great sunlit window in the Baronial Hall. 

Again the most offensive line of that offensive 
verse forced itself upon her memory ; but now — per- 
haps from having achieved its malign purpose — 
little anger was aroused. And as she recalled the 
architect's unobjectionable behavior through their 
various meetings, his unfailing tact, and, in spite of 
continual bantering and nonsense, his perfect cour- 
tesy with never a moment of indiscretion or famil- 
iarity, she felt that she had been unjust. Perhaps 
those detestable lines were written in a hurry, or 
thoughtlessly copied from another's poem. And then 
— -even if really guilty of this transgression, this sin, 
this misdemeanor, lapse, slip, or whatever it was — 



^\ 



A Lady Thinks 201 

even then, in view of his splendid action at the fire, 
his splendid courage, his quiet heroism, even then — 

"Do you recall any, Lady Octavia?" 

It was the voice of the rector's wife. And the 
eyes of the rector's wife were regarding her. More- 
over, she leaned forward and looked over her 
glasses, evidently attaching importance to the com- 
ing reply. 

Once more Octavia pulled herself together. But 
this time there came no accidental word of rescue, 
no aid from the Futile Librarian. The question 
itself, which might apply to almost anything in the 
solar system, offered no assistance, not the faintest 
clue to any previous utterance. And not for worlds 
would Octavia hurt the feelings of the rector's wife 
whose present earnest look showed clearly that she 
had been speaking with all the seriousness of a very 
serious nature. In this crisis, however, no human 
tact was of much avail. So, Octavia, with an angel 
smile, inquired, 

"Any what?" 

"Any who do it." 

"Do what?" 

"Spell properly." 

"Any people who spell properly?" 

"Yes, of that nation." 

"Of what nation?" 

The vicar's wife raised, then lowered her eye- 
brows. She compressed her lips and leaned back 
in her chair. Once more, but late in the day, the 



202 Pandora's Box 

Futile Librarian came unwittingly to the rescue. 

"There must be some Americans who do it." 

Then Octavia understood. And she addressed 
the rector's wife with irresistible charm: "After all, 
it is chiefly in omitting the u from certain words." 

"Yes, but Lady Octavia, that is a very grave mat- 
ter. The rector feels as I do that the purity of the 
English tongue should be respected and preserved. 
Careless and ignorant spelling in a literary person 
is inexcusable. The rector has often said so. And 
besides, as we all agreed the other day, there are 
no American authors of value; none whose books 
are needed in the Library." 

"Did I say that?" and Octavia's face showed in- 
credulity. 

"Yes," said the rector's wife. 

"Yes," said the Futile Librarian. 

"Oh! did I? Well— if I did, I— I think— per- 
haps — I have changed my mind." 

With pained surprise the rector's wife inquired, 
"Have you been reading American literature ?" 

Now, as it happened, the only American literature 
recently read by Octavia was that calamitous verse 
which had aroused such anger and contempt. Nev- 
ertheless, she answered pleasantly, with a little more 
color in her cheeks, 

"No ; that is, what little I have read of their litera- 
ture is unimportant. But I believe that occasional 
Americans are quite well educated." 



A Lady Thinks 203 

The rector's wife hesitated. "Yes, there must be 
some education among them, of course. But the 
influence of American literature is certainly most 
pernicious. Their authors are always trying to be 
funny — merely comic writers." 

"But Hawthorne, Emerson and Longfellow," ven- 
tured the Futile Librarian, "are not always funny !" 

The rector's wife heaved a sigh, wearily, as of a 
serious-minded but very patient person annoyed by 
foolish questions. "I am not familiar with their 
more obscure writers, but the other day I bought a 
book quite famous, in America, Tnnocents Abroad/ 
I naturally supposed from the title it was the trdvels 
of children for instruction. After presenting it to 
my little daughters I found it to be a most offensive 
book, showing extraordinary ignorance; very silly, 
and sacrilegious." 

"Oh, fancy !" and the Futile Librarian closed her 
eyes in heartfelt sympathy. "Who wrote it ?" 

"I am not absolutely sure," replied the rector's 
wife. Then, frowning in a mental effort, "Could it 
have been Abraham Lincoln? He was a humorous 
person." 

"If it's a bad book," said Octavia, "he did not 
write it." 

"I am not so sure. He was a most contemptible 
character." 

"Abraham Lincoln ?" 

"Yes. I was reading about him quite recently — 
a perfectly impartial account written by a Charles- 



204 Pandora's Box 

ton lady during their Civil War. She certainly 
knew, and she says repeatedly that he was a most 
offensive person of the lowest origin ; vulgar, boor- 
ish, silly and ignorant. He became despotic and 
bloodthirsty. And he was ribald in conversation." 

Octavia straightened up. Color flew to her cheeks. 
In her eyes was the light of battle. "Abraham 
Lincoln was a splendid man. He was gentle, kind 
and brave. He died for his country. No greater 
hero ever lived. I know all about him." 

The rector's wife, with lips apart and eyes wide 
open, stared at Lady Octavia. She stared in silence, 
a silence that was literally breathless; for, in her 
surprise, she forgot to breathe. Never had she— or 
the Futile Librarian — seen their president display 
so much warmth in quite so sudden a manner. Mrs. 
Wherry, aroused by the speaker's decisive tone, 
opened her eyes. She had not heard the names of 
the person they were discussing but she smiled and 
nodded approval. 

"Yes, yes, indeed! A real hero. An honor to 
England." 

There was an awkward silence. Then, Octavia, 
somewhat ashamed by her sudden outburst, smiled 
upon the rector's wife and added, in a most pacific 
manner, "Please do not think I wish to contradict 
you. I cannot help believing the lady you mention 
was — was perhaps mistaken. I beg your pardon." 

The rector's wife hastily nodded forgiveness. 
"Oh, please don't think of it again, dear Lady 



A Lady Thinks 205 

Octaviaf Your defense was certainly right and 
proper. It is much to his credit that he turned out 
as well as he did." 

So the incident was closed. And the committee 
went on with its other business. 

Half an hour later Octavia entered the shop of 
Simeon Blake, the most ancient structure in Drum- 
worth village. Less than twenty feet in width, only 
two low stories in height, it bore, in wrought iron 
figures beneath its pointed gable, its date of birth, 
1492 — the year of a fateful discovery. Over the 
door, across the front of the building ran a faded 
sign, 

SIMEON BLAKE, 

REPAIRING NEATLY DONE. 

Through the thick little Tudor glass window panes 
in the shop's front was dimly visible a unique as- 
sortment of ancient cakes. These cakes were faded, 
sunburnt and fly blown. From the contents of 
this window, and the sign above, a stranger might 
infer that jumbles, buns and Shrewsbury cakes were 
neatly repaired; that ancient gingerbread and other 
weather beaten dainties from the baker's oven were 
restored to youth by Simeon Blake. But these cakes 
were not for repair. They were made by the owner's 
wife, now dead a year or more, and were treasured 
with affection by her faithful husband. 

Octavia found nobody in the little shop. From 



206 Pandora's Box 

the back room, however, came the gentle voice of 
Simeon Blake, talking with a customer. So, being in 
no haste, and knowing that Simeon would neglect all 
mortal customers to wait upon herself — a thing she 
always detested — she seated herself in a chair 
against the wall, partly in the shadow of a project- 
ing bookcase. In this venerable shop the light was 
always dim, even in brightest weather. 

Although familiar with the varied collection that 
now surrounded her, Octavia never failed of enter- 
tainment in the study of Simeon's possessions. For 
to Simeon's stock in trade there were no limitations. 
His line of goods was modest, but he dealt in any- 
thing: in glassware and clothing, in cutlery and 
books, in toys and bric-a-brac, in barometers and um- 
brellas; from pins to furniture, from banjos to 
coffins. 

As Octavia's glance moved idly along the shelf 
she saw the twin brother — or sister— of the gaudy 
little vase presented to her that morning by Ethan 
Lovejoy. And before she had recovered from the 
softening influence of this vulgar, over decorated 
little object — for it recalled a pleasant episode — the 
American himself, preceded by Baseborn, walked 
into the shop. 

Baseborn came straight to Octavia, wagging his 
crooked tail, and clearly showing his delight at the 
unexpected meeting. Dogs have better eyes than hu- 
mans for seeing in the dark. Ethan Lovejoy, who 
was not observing Baseborn's movements, stood 



A Lady Thinks 207 

for an instant, as Octavia herself had done on en- 
tering, and listened to the voices in the farther room. 
Also, like her, he decided to remain until Simeon 
Blake came out. He leaned against the counter as 
one who expects to wait. 

That he thought himself alone in the shop was 
evident Octavia, in her dusky corner, realized, of 
course, that a person coming in from the outer day- 
light might fail to see her. As he stood with his 
back against a show case, he folded his arms and 
frowned into space. His head drooped forward. To 
the person who happened to be watching him it was 
clear that his thoughts were of a most absorbing 
nature — and depressing. A sadder, more melan- 
choly figure she had rarely seen. 

To relieve the situation and make known her 
presence, Octavia moved a foot upon the floor, and 
slightly changed her attitude. Ethan's eyes, as they 
opened calmly and turned in her direction, showed 
no surprise. They could discern a face in the shad- 
owy corner; but that was all. Octavia suspected 
this, and to save further embarrassment for both, 
she spoke. And in choosing her words she remem- 
bered that too hasty a forgiveness would merely 
cheapen her in his eyes. Besides, she was by no 
means sure that he deserved forgiveness. So, po- 
litely, but in the same tone and manner as she would 
have addressed any stranger in the village, she said : 

"Mr. Blake will return in a few minutes." 

Ethan Lovejoy raised his hat, and replied with 



208 



Pandora's Box 



equal politeness and in much the same manner: 
"Thank you. I will call again/' 

Replacing his hat he turned and passed out of the 
shop. Through the thick little diamonds of Tudor 
glass she saw him cross the street and disappear 
along the opposite sidewalk. 

But Baseborn, after a glance of surprise at his 
departing benefactor, stood for a moment looking 
up into Octavia's face. He seemed to be demanding 
some explanation for this surprisingly brief and un- 
finished interview. Receiving no enlightenment from 
the eyes — already repenting — that were looking 
through the open door, he slowly turned about, and 
with obvious disapproval. 

Then he also walked away. 



XVII 

VARIOUS EMOTIONS 

FROM the village to Drumworth Castle there 
are two roads. One follows the south bank 
of the river, and the ferryman rows you 
across. The other, on the north side, is farther 
from the river, and from this road you approach the 
castle by a perfectly straight avenue half a mile in 
length, between rows of ancient trees, tall and wide 
spreading. 

Returning by this avenue, after the unexpected 
meeting at Simeon Blake's, Octavia's mind was still 
busy, at intervals, in deciding on a suitable punish- 
ment for the offending American. The decision 
Mas not easy. Such punishment required tact and a 
delicate touch, for there was just a possibility of his 
being innocent. It also required firmness and a rea- 
sonable severity— otherwise the offense might be re- 
peated. 

While struggling with this problem Octavia heard, 
behind her, the feet of a cantering horse. As she 
turned her head the pursuer raised his hat. A mo- 
ment later Lord Heps ford came alongside, dis- 
mounted, and with the rein over his arm walked 
beside her, toward the castle. 

209 



2io Pandora's Box 

"What's the matter with you, Octavia? You 
are really just no good at all." 

She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. Then 
she smiled on him. "You don't mean that, Hepsey. 
What have I done now ?" 

"It's what you haven't done. You promised to 
meet us at Ritten's this morning." 

Octavia halted. "I declare I forgot all about it! 
Oh, that's too bad ! Really, honestly, I forgot it com- 
pletely." 

Closing her eyes for a moment to shut out the 
reproving face of the man before her, she saw her- 
self comfortably seated in the embrasure of the great 
window, contented and happy, with a Western 
barbarian not far away, at work on his drawings. 
Opening her eyes and walking on, "I am very sorry. 
But it couldn't have made much difference with so 
large a party." 

"Oh, rot! What's the use of talking that way? 
It just spoiled the whole thing — for me. And you 
know it." 

"But Hepsey, you are not everybody." 

"I am a thing to keep a promise with ; unless your 
word is of no value." 

"Oh, come now, that is very unkind ! You know 
I always keep my word. On my honor I forgot it. 
Did you never forget an appointment ?" 

"Never when you were in it." 

"Thanks ! That's really very gallant." 

"Gallant ! Stuff ! You know you are all the world 



Various Emotions 2I1 

to me, and more, too ; that I would do anything for 
you — and yet you are always treating me in some 
shabby way, as if I were a — a — " 

"A what, Hepsey?" 

"And don't call me Hepsey — at least before 
others." 

"Why not, pray?" 

"Because it sounds like Betsey, and that is why 
you do it." 

Octavia laughed. "Well, perhaps it does. But 
Betsey is a good name." 

"For a man ?" 

"Don't your men friends call you Hepsey?" 

"Never." 

"What do they call you ?" 

"Ned, of course. You know very well." 

"Yes, but when you came into the title, and it's a 
fine old title, you know, and such a splendid estate, 
I thought Ned was too commonplace ; that Hepsey 
was more dignified and impressive." 

"Impressive ! Why don't you call me 'Sally' and 
have done with it?" 

"If you really object to Hepsey I must not use it. 
Perhaps Hepsford is more dignified." 

"The name is yours, and whatever goes with it, if 
you will only take it." 

"Yes, I know. You are very kind and I appre- 
ciate the compliment. But the price is too high." 

"You have said that before." 

"But you know I don't really mean it." 



2i2 Pandora's Box 



u* 



Then why not take it ? Think how happy it will 
make me and all our people, both yours and mine. 
And then, besides, you know, really, Octavia, I am 
not such an awful price. You have known me all 
your life. My one ambition would be to make you 
happy/' 

"Yes, I know that, Hepsey — I beg your pardon — 
I mean Ned. Suppose I call you Ned Hepsey." 

"Oh, be serious I" And Lord Hepsford slapped 
the side of his leg impatiently with his stick. 
"You are a heartless brute, and that's all there is 
to it." 

Octavia laid a hand on his arm and they stopped 
and stood facing each other. Although with a faint 
smile on her lips as she looked up at him, she said, 
in a more serious tone : 

"I am sure you would try your best to make me 
happy, Ned. We know each other too well for any 
doubts on that score. That is, I know you! But 
you don't know me." 

"Stuff and rubbish !" 

"No, not stuff and rubbish. A man never knows 
a woman. We do not know ourselves. But I am 
reasonably sure you are not the kind of man I ought 
to marry." 

"Really? Am I too stupid, or vicious, or gener- 
ally beastly, or what?" 

"Not at all. There will be no better husband in 
England. And if your wife is not a happy woman 
it will be no fault of yours." 



Various Emotions 2 *3 

"Then stop your foolish talk, Octavia, and be the 
liappy woman." 

"No. Listen a moment. You think — or seem to 
think — that I am very clever and good — " 

"I know it." 

" — and a most perfect and desirable person in 
every way." 

He nodded. "Indeed I do !" 

"And you would look up to me and admire me — " 

"I would." 

" — and do whatever I said, and ask nothing better, 
as you always have done, since we were children." 

"I would continue to do so as long as I lived." 

"Well, do you know, dear Ned, that I am not at 
all clever, nor superior in any way? I have been 
making discoveries regarding myself. I am an ig- 
norant, snobbish, prejudiced, narrow-minded, insular 
person, with a stupid British mind." 

"Well, by Jove, your stupid British mind is good 
enough for me!" 

"And I realize now — " 

"Since when?" 

"Well, it has come rather suddenly — during the 
last week or two. But I do realize, now, that the 
man I marry must be quite different. He must be 
much wiser than I am. He must have a broader, 
bigger mind than mine. More intellectual, Neddy, 
than either you or me ; with fresher points of view. 
And he must be far more original, and quicker 
witted." 



2i4 Pandora's Box 



"Well, I'll be blowed! Where are you going to 
get this chap?" 

"Instead of depending upon my wits dnd deferring 
to my judgment he must despise my mentality — po- 
litely of course — and ridicule all my silly ideas and 
erroneous beliefs. Moreover, he must have a live- 
lier imagination than any of my present suitors, 
and quite a different sense of humor. Also, and 
this is important, he must not be a gentleman of 
leisure." 

"Oh, let him be a gentleman!" 

To Lord Heps ford she seemed more exalted and 
farther off than ever as she continued, with a new 
look in her eyes : 

"He must have ambition and enthusiasm. He 
must be a worker; with a sincere contempt for all 
injustice and deceit, and for all social humbug; in- 
cluding the idle, pretentious classes who subsist on 
others and make no return." 

"Hold on, Octavia! Just go slow for a minute. 
Are you an anarchist?" 

She smiled. "No, nor even a socialist. I am 
merely developing." 

"You never talked this way before. Where did 
you get all this stuff?" 

A little color came into the lady's cheeks as 
she murmured. "Perhaps my mind is expanding." 

"Don't let it — if it's going to make you despise 
all your old friends." 

"Oh no! Never that!" and for a moment she 
laid a hand on his arm. 



Various Emotions 2I 5 

As they started on again toward the castle, Lord 
Heps ford remarked, after a pause, "I would like 
"to give you a bit of advice." 

"What is it?" 

"When you find this thing you have just de- 
scribed, wash him and have his hair cut before you 
marry him. Even then he will be the most offensive 
prig in England." 

Octavia laughed. "Very likely. Women's heroes 
are apt to be abnormities. I have probably over- 
done this one." 

With an exclamation of disgust Lord Heps ford 
stopped short. 

Octavia also stopped. "What is it ?" 

"There's that beast of a Mowbray. What in 
blankety is he doing here ?" 

"That is probably just what he is saying of you." 

The subject of these remarks — a man in riding 
togs — had been leaning against one of the columns 
of the central porch of the castle. He now started 
forward to meet them. This person was the Hon. 
James Evelyn Mowbray, a clever young man with 
political aspirations. His wealth and family con- 
nections, together with his own talents, gave prom- 
ise of an unusual future. It may have been the 
thought of these things that caused Lord Heps ford 
to mutter with a frown : 

"Gad! It can't be Mowbray you have been 
describing !" 

"No. Don't worry over Mr. Mowbray. Besides, 



2i6 Pandora's Box 

he could never develop into a nice, reliable anar- 
chist." 

During the next hour, Octavia, on the terrace 
with her two callers, became, at moments, gently 
astonished by her own state of mind. She made the 
curious discovery that these two men, instead of di- 
verting her were merely creating a desire for an- 
other kind of conversation. And she realized, with 
a touch of mortification, that their earnest efforts 
to entertain her and to anticipate her wishes, were 
far less satisfying than the dissenting opinions and 
the friendly ridicule of the busy American in the 
far away corner of the castle. And, worst of all, 
this stranger had ended by addressing her in verse 
whose impertinent familiarity she would never have 
pardoned in either of the two gentlemen now pres- 
ent. And she knew that neither of these two gentle- 
men would dream of such presumption. 
Yet she missed the presence of the sinner I 
But Octavia was wise enough to suspect, in jus- 
tice to the two gentlemen now present, that she was 
principally indebted to the American for what she 
had always needed and rarely enjoyed, a frank and 
unconventional intercourse with the outer world, 
with honest opinions from those who— apparently 
at least — had nothing to ask and nothing to fear. 
Nevertheless, she clearly recognized the necessity of 
discipline for the offending barbarian. 



Various Emotions 217 

While at work among her flowers, the next morn- 
ing, she looked occasionally toward the little door- 
way that led to the Garden of the Sleeping Beauty, 
But she resisted all temptation to enter. A morn- 
ing to himself might do an architect good. It would 
be a lesson; and give him time to reflect. Even an 
American could not fail to perceive the meaning of 
her absence. 

So during the next twenty- four hours she shunned 
the invader. 

The following morning, however, she opened the 
little gate— or door — passed along the cloistered 
archway and stepped out into the neglected garden. 
The usual silence reigned. Before entering the Old 
Hall she stood for a moment surveying the weedy 
paths, the untrimmed box and the overgrown yew 
trees. It was, by rights, a melancholy little garden, 
but — how pleasant its memories 1 

Now, she must be severe and distant— even cruel 
perhaps — to maintain a decent dignity. This archi- 
tect was to understand clearly that the present visit 
was purely architectural — merely to inspect the 
drawings of the castle. 

Thus braced with firm resolve, she passed be- 
neath the ancient portal. As she placed a foot upon 
the lowest of the five steps that led up to the door of 
the Old Hall she stopped, in surprise. The door was 
closed. Was this a hint ? Had he the impertinence 
to be angry? Was he within? Was this door, in 



218 Pandora's Box 

her own castle, shut against her ? In her cheeks she 
felt the tingling of a sudden indignation. While 
standing, for a brief moment, irresolute, her eyes 
were drawn to the one spot of light in the massive 
door. It was the key-hole, a yawning, ancient key- 
hole of three centuries ago. Between pride and cu- 
riosity she hesitated, then silently ascended the few 
stone steps, and peered within. 

Such were the liberal dimensions of this orifice 
that nearly the whole interior of the Hall could be 
seen. And what she saw caused Octavia a peculiar 
sensation; unfamiliar, and disheartening. 

The heavy table was still there, but nothing was 
on it. All the drawings were gone. And, as she 
listened, there was perfect silence. 

Gently she tried the door, and found it locked. 
Then, after another look, she straightened up, and 
for a time, in this dimly lighted place, Octavia stood 
— and reflected. 

Yes. He was gone. She had already guessed 
from the state of his drawings, together with a care- 
less remark during her last visit, that he was linger- 
ing over work that was practically finished. 

As she descended the steps and re-entered the old 
garden a frown had come into her face, with a 
tightening of the lips. And she walked more slowly 
than usual. This Ethan Lovejoy had come into her 
life — and gone out of it. The episode was finished. 
And it was a proper ending. If any man after com- 
mitting such an impertinence — such an inexcusable 



Various Emotions 



219 



display of ill breeding— could run away when re- 
buked — why, then, his absence was not to be re- 
gretted. 

And so, with a face of unwonted severity, she 
left the garden. 



XVIII 

THE PEARLY GATES 

WHEN Auntie George, at lunch that day, 
asked Octavia if she were not feeling 
well, the niece replied less amiably than 
usual : "Of course I am ! Why should you ask such 
a question ?" 

"Why, my dear, I merely noticed that you seemed 
to have no appetite." 

"One cannot be always hungry." But a moment 
later Octavia apologized for her manner. 

She dropped in upon Simeon Blake during the 
afternoon, to get the parasol whose handle he had 
been repairing. During their brief discourse she 
seemed to Simeon somewhat absent minded ; partic- 
ularly when she left the parasol and her purse upon 
his counter and started to walk away with Captain 
Hartley's briarwood pipe. And upon his calling at- 
tention to the error her ladyship seemed quite em- 
barrassed. 

From Simeon Blake Octavia returned to the 
motor and took therefrom a basket of hothouse 
grapes; then she walked down a side street, to the 
little house of Sally Pindar. Sally Pindar's mother, 

220 



The Pearly Gates 2 *i 

sixteen years ago, was maid to Octavia's mother. 

Sally, this afternoon, was lying upon a couch, 
with bandages around her neck and hands, suffering 
more from shock than from very serious burns. 
That the conversation should turn to her rescuer 
was not surprising. 

"He lodged with us, as your ladyship knows, 
perhaps. He was always joking, and so very amus- 
ing in his exaggerated gratitude for any little ser- 
vice I rendered. He said, one day, 'If there is any- 
thing on earth I can do for you, tell me. If you are 
in fire or water just beckon, and I will come if I 
am alive.' " 

Octavia smiled. "It was almost prophetic, wasn't 
it?" 

"Yes, was it not! And after the fire, as I was 
lying here, he said to me in his joking way, 'Of 
course I climbed up. If you had not fainted you 
would surely have beckoned.' " 

And Sally Pindar drew a long breath and laughed, 
a hysterical little laugh ; and there were tears in her 
eyes. 

Octavia also laughed, sympathetically. 

After a pause Sally murmured, "Of course one 
can never repay such a deed. But I shall never for- 
get. Already we miss him — very much." 

"Has he left you?" 

"Yes, very suddenly. He must have received bad 
news from home, for he packed up last night. And 
this morning he — he went." 



222 Pandora's Box 

Octavia stood up, then moved across the room 
and back again. Seating herself once more by the 
couch there was further conversation : but on other 
subjects. Then the visitor departed. 

It seemed Fate had resolved that Octavia should 
be pursued that day — and overtaken — by memories 
of Ethan Lovejoy. After leaving Sally Pindar she 
discovered, on the main street of the village, the un- 
mistakable little figure of Dr. Wherry, standing 
with folded arms in front of the ruins of the recent 
fire. This diminutive gentleman was somewhat pe- 
culiar in appearance. His large, square, well shaped 
head rested — with no neck to speak of — upon a pair 
of narrow shoulders. In former days his hair and 
eyebrows were a lively red. Now they were of 
varied tints, brown grey and a faded red with the 
grey predominating. A more benevolent face one 
seldom met, nor one wiser or more cheerful. Upon 
the blackened walls he was gazing in a brown study, 
so absorbed in his own thoughts that he failed to 
notice Octavia until she stood beside him. Then 
his face lit up and he shook her hand. 

"How do you do? How do you do? Sorry to 
see you looking so well. Bad business for doctors." 

"It's your own fault. You hardly ever come to 
see us." 

"I like that ! Lunched with you a week ago." 

"Yes, but a week is a long absence from one's 
best friends." 

True, true! Right you are, Octavia. Your 



«' 



The Pearly Gates 223 

heart's in the right place — so is mine. If we were 
alone in a dark corner, instead of out here in the 
street, I would let you embrace me. Ton my soul 
I would r 

From the very hour of Octavia's birth she and 
this little man had been warmest friends. As for 
comradeship and intimate knowledge of each other, 
Dr. Wherry was closer than her own father. Be- 
tween them, forms and ceremony had never existed. 

With a gesture toward the scene of disaster, he 
said, "I was trying to decide when you came along 
whether to be glad or sorry/' 

"Oh I You horrid man ! Of course you are sorry ! 
Didn't you love that old building?" 

"I did. But when you interrupted us, Dr. Wherry 
and the horrid man were discussing whether the 
moral gain did not outweigh the material damage." 

"What do you mean?" 

"I mean that the inhabitants of this village en- 
joyed an exhibition of moral and physical courage, 
of real heroism, such as they are not likely to see 
again. And I believe, that as an uplifter of stand- 
ards it has done this little community more good 
than the further existence of the rickety old build- 
mg. 

"You mean the— the— " 

"The rescue of Sally Pindar. Did you see it?" 

Octavia nodded. 

"Did you ever see anything finer?" 

"No." 



224 Pandora's Box 

"Did you ever hear of a more quietly heroic deed, 
with no prospect of recompense ?" 

Octavia shook her head. "No, never." 

"And when you saw him roasting at that burning 
window, still holding the burden — which one would 
naturally drop to save himself— didn't it make you 
a little thumpy about the heart ?" 

Again Octavia nodded. 

"It was live or die together. And he meant to do 
it. That's what brought a lump in my throat. And 
I am gulping yet." The little figure straightened up 
and drew a long breath. "Gad ! I have wanted to 
climb ladders ever since and do big things myself." 

Octavia twined an arm in one of his. "You 
needn't feel badly about it You have saved more 
lives than he has." 

"Yes, but I haven't flung away my own life 
every time. That's the point. And the immortal 
glory of the whole business was that he didn't want 
to do it. Just before he went up he came and 
handed me his coat; asked me to answer a letter 
in the pocket if the ladder collapsed, and shook his 
head in a solemn way and said : 'The fool thing will 
never hold us both.' " And Dr. Wherry added, with 
an emphatic gesture, "As to courage, I consider that 
the real article." 

"And he is such a modest chap too!" the little 
doctor went on. "Used to come to the house. Quite 
a character. Full of wisdom — also truth and non- 
sense. You would have liked him. But he has gone 
away, you know, for good." 



The Pearly Gates 225 

"Yes — I — I — so Sally Pindar just said." 

"Left very suddenly, poor boy ! Some trouble, I 
fancy." 

Then, as Dr. Wherry chanced to look up into 
Octavia's eyes he experienced a mild surprise. As 
these eyes now looked down into his own, earnest- 
ly as if demanding more, they spoke so plainly of 
distress, of something the lips refused to utter, that 
Dr. Wherry, who was not born yesterday — being 
sixty-nine years old — received a sudden illumina- 
tion. 

He backed away a step and frowned, as a stern 
parent "Well, what is it ? No secrets, now." 

Octavia's eyebrows went up as in surprise. But 
color had come into her cheeks. "Secrets? Why, 
what do you mean?" 

Dr. Wherry's frown grew sterner. After a mo- 
ment's pause, he said : "I know something else about 
him too. Can you keep a secret?" 

"Yes." 

As he studied her face, his frown vanished, his 
eyes twinkled through his crooked — always crooked 
— spectacles. Then, tapping her arm with a fore- 
finger he whispered: "So can I"; and he wheeled 
about and hurried away. After a dozen steps, 
however, he looked around over his shoulder, 
without stopping, and caught Octavia's offended 
eyes. With a wave of a hand and something 
that resembled a wink he raised his hat and was 
gone. 



226 Pandora's Box 

On reaching the castle Octavia went directly to 
her own chamber. Instead of removing her hat 
with the usual respect shown for that creation, she 
tossed it recklessly toward the bed. Missing the bed 
it fell to the floor. But she had already turned 
away and was confronting herself, unintentionally, 
in the cheval mirror. The face that returned her 
frown was evidently not inviting, for she wheeled 
about and moved toward the window. After stand- 
ing for a moment looking out over the pleasant 
landscape — but seeing nothing — she obeyed, invol- 
untarily, the mysterious impulse that so often moved 
her when the architect was in her thoughts. She 
turned her eyes to the empty wall space where the 
forgotten portrait once had hung. For a moment 
she tried, as she had tried many times before, to 
recall the departed face. At present, however, she 
was not in the mood to waste time on psychological 
puzzles. Turning impatiently away she threw her- 
self into a chair. 

Octavia believed that were she really the garden- 
er's daughter, Ethan Love joy would still be here. 
She knew, and she struggled in vain to escape the 
knowledge, that his pride — of its kind — was as 
great as her own; that a fateful gulf existed be- 
tween a snub, on equal terms, from a gardener's 
daughter and a snub from a daughter of the Earl 
of Drumworth. 

In a colorless sunset the day was slowly fading. 
During the next hour, in the gathering gloom of her 



The Pearly Gates 227 

chamber, Octavia, with folded hands, gazed out into 
the west. 



At last, when the day was ended, with Octavia's 
head upon the pillow, her brain so persisted in vivid 
rehearsals of those mornings in the Baronial Hall 
that sleep was driven away. The clock upon her 
mantel struck one o'clock — and two o'clock — and 
her mind, now tired and feverish, was wandering, at 
intervals, to other worlds and spheres — everywhere 
except the land of Nod. Even the wind outside, as 
it moaned about the castle walls, seemed an element 
of her own spirit, as if wafting her away. 

To rise in the air by a mere effort of will, and 
float like a bird high above the earth is enjoyable. 
And there is exaltation of spirit in feeling that you 
can soar to any height, and remain there, if desired. 
But to discover that you are soaring against your 
will, upward and forever upward, through clouds 
and mist and sunshine, turns joy to apprehension. 
And when Octavia, after a swift ascent, found her- 
self before the gates of heaven, she was seriously 
displeased — and somewhat nervous. There sat St 
Peter beside the entrance, with keys in his hand 
exactly as represented in a painting at the Vatican. 
In the lines of his mantle — as in the Vatican paint- 
ing — there was dignity and repose. 

As Octavia's arrival produced no impression she 
spoke, and told him politely she would like to enter. 
Turning his head and looking up, he raised his 



228 Pandora's Box 

bushy grey eyebrows as if in surprise. He inquired 
her name, which she gave him. Then he arose, 
and as he did so, his mantle seemed to shrink in an 
unnatural manner, and left him standing in a linen 
blouse such as French workmen wear, reaching 
nearly to his knees, and standing away from his 
body, like the skirt of a ballet-girl. His grey 
trousers were turned up at the ankles, showing dark 
blue socks dotted with yellow fleurs-de-lis. His 
shoes were of russet leather. "You cannot enter 
here," he said, "this heaven is only for Americans." 

"Then where is the English heaven?" she asked: 
and to her surprise St. Peter shook his head, and* 
told her, in a sneering manner, there was no English 
heaven. Octavia was indignant. And she protest- 
ed. "It cannot be possible that only Americans have 
a heaven; that all other people are ignored, or for- 
gotten !" 

As she tried to speak rapidly and with emphasis 
she began to jumble her words — her voice growing 
fainter and fainter until she could say nothing, 
merely opening and shutting her mouth, no sound 
coming forth. She realized that she was a ridicu- 
lous spectacle. Her mortification increased when 
St. Peter, with a contemptuous smile, merely turned 
away. As he resumed his seat, his former mantle 
with its lines of dignity and repose, returned and 
folded naturally about him. 

Again he resembled his portrait in the Vatican 
paintings. Octavia, in her voiceless agony, strug- 



The Pearly Gates 229 

gling for speech, noticed the great wall before her 
had suddenly become transparent, as if built of 
glass; and she saw within, on the other side, long 
rows of draughtsmen reaching far away into space, 
all standing on stools, all whistling and beating 
time with T squares to their own music, which re- 
sembled the moaning of the wind. These figures 
were all alike, and every head was Abraham Lin- 
coln's. Then, as she looked, they all straightened up, 
like one man. All turned toward her, and every face 
became the face of Ethan Lovejoy. Again and again 
she tried to call out to them, but in vain. The faces, 
for a moment, stared coldly at her, then with con- 
temptuous indifference turned away and continued 
their whistling. But the whistling was low — and 
melancholy. 

Again she approached St. Peter, and she saw 
that he also was at work on a drawing, a drawing 
of Drumworth Castle. But he motioned her away 
without even looking up. 

At that moment came a ray of hope. Not two 
yards distant, passing before her as he approached 
the pearly gates, walked Baseborn ! He walked with 
an air of confidence, head up, wagging his distorted 
tail. 

Then Octavia, remembering his fidelity and his 
persistent, irrepressible adoration of herself, made 
a superhuman effort to recover her voice. This 
time she succeeded, and she cried aloud to Baseborn. 
But her heart became numb when, instead of a de- 



230 Pandora's Box 

lighted greeting, Baseborn, with the slightest turn 
of his head, regarded her for the briefest moment 
with unqualified disdain, and continued his prog- 
ress. Then indeed she felt herself an isolated 
being, a thing apart, ignored, despised of all — to 
remain forever outside the walls, a wanderer in 
empty space. 

Baseborn, after his one disdainful glance in 
which he clearly repudiated all acquaintance with 
her, approached the pearly gates. By unseen hands 
the gates were opened wide. And Baseborn in a 
flood of light, as an important personage, passed 
within. Strains of distant music, for a moment, 
reached Octavia's ears. This music bore a strange 
resemblance to the moaning of a tempest. The 
pearly gates again were closed, coming together 
with a startling noise. 

So loud was this noise, so very real, that Octavia 
sat up in bed. Through the open window came a 
gust of wind. The casement, suddenly unfastened, 
had slammed against the wall. 



XIX 

A PAIR OF EYES 

THE month of June and a part of July Oc- 
tavia spent in London. During this visit, in 
the height of the season, a letter from her 
father came to Drumworth Castle. 

My dear Aunt: Your questions regarding Octavia are 
easily answered. She is in the best of spirits, having the 
gayest sort of a time. In fact I have never seen her soo full 
of life. Jolly, no end. Always on the go and can't get too 
much of it I don't pretend to keep up with her. As to men, 
she has her pick of them. Should say the two slaves who had 
the inside track were Rutherton and a German prince. But 
she mustn't marry out of England. You needn't worry over 
that Tell Dad the Admiral accepts his invitation and will 
turn up at Drum in August 

Yours affectionately, 

Robert. 

Late in July, about a week after Octavia's re- 
turn, a conversation occurred in the library between 
Lady Georgiana and the old earl's fingers. 

Said the lady, "I have never seen Octavia so 
vivacious and light hearted." 

"Only at times," said the fingers. "There arc 

231 



2 3 2 Pandora's Box 

other moments when she is — different. Dull, silent. 
Something on her mind." 

Auntie George shook her head. "That means 
nothing. Hers is a mercurial nature. She was al- 
ways that way." 

"But she doesn't look well," moved the fingers. 
"Hollow under the eyes. Color too delicate. Not 
so well as she ought to be." 

"That's only fatigue after all her gaieties. She 
will pick up again, here in the country." 

But the fingers disappeared into the earl's coat 
pocket, unconvinced. 

Again, in August, also in October, conversations, 
substantially the same, were repeated, the grand- 
father still in doubt. For, Octavia being a change- 
able person by nature, habit and preference, was be- 
coming more than ever a puzzle to her family. 
"What I don't understand," said the fingers, "is 
why, with such good spirits, she should get thin and 



nervous." 



Although Auntie George still thought the grand- 
father overanxious she suggested that unless there 
was a change for the better they consult Dr. 
Wherry. There did come a change, but not for the 
better. It came early in November, and suddenly. 
It also came — so far as concerned the earl and 
Auntie George — mysteriously. 

Great crises in life, those decisive moments that 
prove turning points in our careers, seem to prefer, 
as a rule, to meet us in a casual way when least ex- 



A Pair of Eyes 233 

pected. So it was with Octavia on a certain Novem- 
ber afternoon when, with absent mind and languid 
step, she entered a familiar little room near the main 
hall of the castle. 

During recent generations it had served as a coat- 
room. In earlier times her fighting ancestors had 
used it as an armory, for their axes, maces, swords 
and spears. And even at this late day one cross- 
bow, sole remnant of its departed brothers, still 
hangs upon the wall. In one corner is a small 
stone oven built for boiling water, melting lead or 
other deterrents for dropping on besiegers' heads. 
Three windows in a row, each just too narrow for 
an invader's entrance, look out upon the terrace. 
These windows existed a few centuries before the 
terrace was built. At present, however, in place of 
swords and spears and battle axes were less hostile 
weapons; canes, hats, umbrellas, caps and overcoats; 
waterproofs, overshoes, and various motor gar- 
ments. It was here that Octavia had always kept 
her garden hat and basket, and the blue checked 
apron. As she was looking, this afternoon, in a 
dim corner for a certain mantle, her eyes were 
drawn to a piece of paper lying at the bottom of 
the garden basket. This basket had not been used 
since her last visit to the Old Hall, that final morn- 
ing in the month of June. She took out the paper 
and unfolded it, then moved to the window for bet- 
ter light. When she saw its contents she started 
slightly, and the color came to her cheeks — then left 



234 Pandora's Box 

them, a trifle paler. She was reading Ethan Lov 
joy's letter — the wretched verse from Pandora's 
box; the fateful lines that had put an end to her 
architectural mornings. Again she read them, slowly 
and in calmer spirit Again, however, came a feel- 
ing of resentment at the words, 



n 



Just our Kosyie Benche with moonlight 
And a garden breathing kisses." 



But now, six months later, the resentment at their 
familiarity was mingled with other emotions. 

As her eyes rested upon the written words she 
began to notice, after the first surprise of her dis- 
covery, that the sheet of note-paper between her 
fingers was yellow with age : also that the ink had 
faded. She remembered now that when unfolding 
the note, months ago, she was struck by its appar- 
ent antiquity. Then, however, she believed this 
effect of age to be a part of Ethan Love joy's- joke. 
But now, examining it more carefully, she found 
that one folding of the note still showed the stain 
and dust of long exposure ; that certain portions of 
the paper were yellower than others, and that the 
ink was the peculiar color she had seen only in very 
old documents. And why should Ethan Lovejoy, 
she reasoned, even if he had found this ancient 
scrap of paper, why should he take such trouble 
with his ink? And even if his joke succeeded, what 
purpose in this imitation of an ancient writing? It 



A Pair of Eyes 23^ 

a-dded nothing to the wit of the effusion. When, 
however, she read again these last words, 

From her False Poet but 

Trew Lovir, 

E.L. 

there seemed a possibility that he wished to create 
an atmosphere in harmony with the old inscription 
of the lovers' bench. 

Yet, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, she 
could not avoid the belief that in these words some 
mystery was hidden. She recalled the condition 
of a letter she had recently discovered, on the top of 
a picture frame in a disused chamber of the castle. 
This letter — from the Duke of Wellington to her 
great-grandfather — had lain there sixty years. Its 
yellow tinge and faded ink, its odor, its discolored 
edges and dusty top were exactly like this piece of 
paper in her hand. But Ethan Lovejoy's own ini- 
tials at the end seemed to fix the authorship. To 
Octavia, in her present mood, even this was not con- 
clusive. E and L might stand for many names be- 
sides Ethan Lovejoy. 

Having doubts, she acted upon a sudden resolve. 
She would investigate Pandora's box. Important 
discoveries might result. Stranger things had hap- 
pened. 

Five minutes later, with the clumsy key of the 
Baronial Hall in her hand, she entered the Garden 
of the Sleeping Beauty. There, to her surprise, 



2 36 Pandora's Box 

she found the door of the Old Hall wide open. But 
the surprise was brief, for she remembered that this> 
was Wednesday, the day when tourists were ad- 
mitted to the castle. 

Pausing in the doorway she surveyed, with melan- 
choly eyes, the spacious, silent room, and she drifted 
back, in spirit, to those June mornings — the sunniest 
in her memory. For the morning sunshine could, as 
we know, flood the Old Hall through the lofty 
eastern window. But in the afternoon, when sun- 
shine had departed for the day, there was a soberer 
light. The place became less radiant. The gloom 
in remoter corners and high up among the trusses 
of the open timbered roof grew solemn and mys- 
terious. The armor and the weapons, the portraits 
and the banners, all assumed a graver, more serious 
air ; more frowning and impressively historic. 

Slowly along the Hall Octavia moved to the great 
window and dropped into her old seat. Then, 
with a sigh, she leaned back against the wall and 
closed her eyes. The silence invited dreams. Gone 
were the roses, the sunshine, the perfume from the 
old garden. There was no whistling, nor the hum- 
ming of familiar airs; nor the click of a triangle 
against a T square. The drawings and the draughts- 
man, all had vanished. But, with closed eyes, she 
dreamed them back again. Even Baseborn she re- 
called, in spirit, and imagined him sitting on the 
floor in a bar of sunshine, staring up at her with 
his ugly, disreputable, adoring face. But these were 



A Pair of Eyes 237 

dreams. The silent Hall seemed a deserted play- 
house, long after the play was finished; with the 
hero and the heroine but fading memories. And 
Octavia realized in the silence of this deserted place 
— this tomb of perfect days — the enduring influence 
in her own life of those hours with the vanished 
draughtsman. She could see, now, they had opened 
to her girlish vision a new horizon. 

When she opened her eyes there were tears. And 
through the tears her eyes saw an unexpected thing. 
They encountered at her feet, and apparently in the 
flesh, what she had just been seeing in fancy — the 
figure of Baseborn ! Surely it was the living Base- 
born, with the same ugly visage, and the same ador- 
ing gaze. As their eyes met his tail began to wag. 
That he had followed her unobserved was, of 
course, the only explanation of his presence. Oc- 
tavia might have reasoned that to a creature 
so supernaturally plain as Baseborn supernatural 
methods might be in order. With ears pricked up 
and head to one side, inquiringly, he ventured 
nearer. Her first impulse, stirred by memories he 
awakened, was to pat him, and be cordial. But 
with a second look into his shocking face she realized 
that he was too utterly plebeian for closer friendship. 
Anything like intimacy with a dog of such exterior 
Was simply unthinkable. Baseborn himself seemed 
to read her thoughts. ' He paused. Anxiously he 
studied her face. If one could judge from the 
slower movement of his tail he divined her antipa- 



238 Pandora's Box 

thy. Into his honest, inquiring eyes came a look 
that went straight to Octavia's heart. She blushed 
— with shame. Then she stroked his vulgar head 
and spoke pleasant words. Had angels from 
heaven suddenly descended and crowned him with 
immortal glory his delight could not have been 
greater — nor so great, perhaps. Forward and back 
he bounced, emitting peculiar but ecstatic grunts. It 
seemed to Octavia that he might explode with grati- 
tude. 

But suddenly her attention was taken from the 
bouncing Baseborn. She straightened up and 
frowned. Voices from the garden reached her ears. 
She had forgotten the tourists. In another moment 
the unwelcome intruders would be here. At thought 
of meeting them she shuddered. Glancing swiftly 
about her in the forlorn hope of escape she made a 
decision. This decision, as it turned out, proved 
of some importance in Octavia's life. Had she de- 
cided otherwise — to return and meet the tourists — 
any further continuance of this history would be 
superfluous. 

Along the length of the Hall she hurried. To- 
ward the statue of Pandora, still holding her fate- 
ful, marble casket, she gave a passing glance. 

Across the farther end of the Baronial Hall ran 
a heavily paneled oak partition. The upper panels 
in this partition were open, like a church screen, 
giving outlook from the gallery behind. Although 
Octavia had not visited this gallery in recent years 



A Pair of Eyes 239 

she remembered well the secret door that opened 
upon the narrow stairs. This door, the fourth 
panel from the left, was, in appearance, like all 
the others. Straight to this panel she hurried. She 
pushed a little iron button, partly hidden between 
two moldings. Easily the door opened. Base- 
born was, of course, close at her heels. With a 
rapid gesture she motioned him to enter. For a 
second he hesitated. Then, after a swift glance at 
her face to be sure that she was in earnest, he en- 
tered and bounded up the narrow stairs. She fol- 
lowed, but more slowly. 

Since her last visit, a dozen years ago, this gallery, 
lighted by a row of narrow, Saxon windows, had 
become a refuge for discarded things. Scattered 
about were odd pieces of furniture : medieval chairs, 
a cabinet that had been in a fire, the remains of a 
chandelier, and an old spinet with shattered key- 
board and tottery limbs. On the wall hung various 
paintings considered unworthy of a better position. 
Glancing carelessly at these banished works, gen- 
erally portraits of discreditable ancestors— or of 
creditable ancestors badly done — Octavia's eyes, 
of a sudden, opened wider in astonishment. She 
stopped, and held her breath. Into her face came a 
startled look. A queer sensation, as if her brain 
were playing tricks, brought a tingling to the roots 
of her hair. For an instant — the briefest second — 
she thought she was looking into the living eyes of 
Ethan Love joy. Upon the wall in front of her, 



240 Pandora's Box 

on a level with her own face, hung a once familiar 
portrait. It was the portrait of a woman. But the 
eyes were exactly the eyes of the absent architect 
No human resemblance could be closer — in color, 
in shape and in character : the same light grey with 
dark brows and lashes, the same friendly, sym- 
pathetic, kind expression. And even the curious 
little curves to the finely drawn eyebrows — an up- 
ward and then downward twist — even that was pre- 
cisely similar: and it gave to both the faces — the 
living man and the canvas woman — an expression 
absolutely the same. This portrait in its oval frame 
had hung in Octavia's chamber until Auntie George 
came to live at the castle. It was one of the friends 
of her childhood. She had loved the face — the 
sympathizing grey eyes and the half suppressed 
smile. It was the missing portrait, and she had 
found it! 

She remembered her grief at its departure. And 
she now recalled her incredulity when told by A'untie 
George that the person represented in the picture 
was of ignoble origin and unworthy a place among 
Drumworths. 

But the face had remained in Octavia's memory 
as that of an intimate friend. Her faith had never 
wavered. Of all the canvas faces in Drumworth 
Castle — and there were hundreds — this had always 
been her favorite. So, it was now revealed to her 
why Ethan Lovejoy's eyes, from their first glance, 
had inspired her with confidence, with a sense of 



A Pair of Eyes 2 4* 

friendship and of old acquaintance. Also, she knew 
now why her own eyes had been drawn so mys- 
teriously and with such persistence toward the 
empty space upon her chamber wall. 

From that empty space these eyes — his eyes — had 
for years looked serenely into her own, always with 
love and sympathy. 

In silence Octavia stood, and gazed — and won- 
dered. The lady's history she had never known, 
being too young to care. 

Was this astonishing resemblance merely chance? 



XX 

OUT OF THE PAST 

MEANWHILE, about a dozen tourists, guid- 
ed by Bayliss, an old servant of the castle, 
had entered the Hall. After listening to a 
brief history of the room itself they turned from 
one spot to another, standing in attentive groups 
before a portrait, a banner or a man in armor, while 
Bayliss, stately, clean shaven, with impressive voice, 
poured forth a wondrous tale. 

As for Bayliss, all history not connected with 
the House of Drum worth were as well unwritten. 
He had never bothered with it. He knew, of course, 
such chronicles might be of interest to certain for- 
eigners. But serious history, that is, the celestial 
story of the House of Drumworth, flowed exultant 
from his lips, recounted with a reverent tongue. 

Octavia looked absently through the screen, down 
upon the tourists. Her thoughts were with the 
portrait and the memories it had suddenly awakened. 
But she discovered, gradually, that her eyes were 
following, first carelessly, then with a livelier in- 
terest, the movements of one of the visitors. This 

visitor was a woman whose thin veil seemed to have 

242 



Out of the Past 2 43 

fallen as if by accident over her face. She was 
plump in figure — not stout, but pleasantly plump— 
and dressed in a dark blue traveling suit, of simple 
but stylish cut. She appeared to take little interest 
in what Bayliss had to say. From the other tourists 
she kept aloof, giving Octavia the impression of 
being either bored, or nervously impatient — or both. 
This visitor was to bring several surprises to Oc- 
tavia that afternoon. The first was not long in 
coming. 

When Bayliss, followed by his audience, moved 
away from this end of the hall, the lady in dark 
blue remained behind. And when all backs were 
turned she quietly pressed the hidden bolt and opened 
the panel through which Octavia herself had entered 
the gallery. Silently the little door was closed. Oc- 
tavia, in amazement, held her breath. None of the 
tourists, nor Bayliss, had witnessed this sudden dis- 
appearance. From them the woman with the veil 
had quietly vanished, and none had missed her. 

As for Octavia, so great was her wonder that she 
felt a sudden fear — a fear as of some suspicious 
action still to come, yet more amazing and improb- 
ble. Who could this stranger be — this casual tour- 
ist — familiar with the panel and its secret bolt? 
And for what conceivable purpose was she now 
hiding at the foot of the stair? Octavia's first im- 
pulse was to call out to Bayliss to return and open 
the door. But a glance at Baseborn restored her 
confidence. He, also, understood the situation. With 



2 44 Pandora's Box 

the faintest of growls he looked up into her face 
for orders. She laid a restraining hand on his 
plebeian but reassuring head, and waited. Bayliss 
and his followers passed out through the farther 
door. For a moment, in the great hall, there was 
silence: a silence so exciting to Octavia that it be- 
came almost unbearable. She heard, from the foot 
of the stair, the little door open, then the rustle of 
a skirt, then the gentle closing of the door. Looking 
through the screen she saw the woman walk rapidly 
across the hall to the statue of Pandora. And Oc- 
tavia's eyes opened yet wider in astonishment as she 
saw the woman reach up and insert a hand in the 
marble casket. For an instant the fingers groped 
about as if in search of something. Then they drew 
forth a folded piece of paper. And it seemed to 
Octavia's straining, scarce believing eyes, like the 
note she herself had taken from the same casket six 
months before. 

Across these incredulous eyes Octavia drew a 
hand as if to rouse herself from a dream. But her 
bewilderment was brief. When the lady walked 
rapidly to the great window, opened with quivering 
fingers this bit of paper and bent eagerly over it, 
then Octavia made a swift decision. She ran down 
the stairs, pushed open the panel and advanced to- 
ward this enigmatic being. The woman looked up 
in surprise, and took a backward step. 

It was now late in the afternoon. The fading 
light from the great window fell softly upon the 



Out of the Past 245 

visitor. Mysteriously she blended with the shadowy 
background of old portraits and suits of armor. 
Octavia found herself gazing into a face she had 
never seen before. It was an attractive face, sensi- 
tive, gentle, of peculiar beauty, wide across the fore- 
head, and with a pointed chin. There were youth- 
ful contours of face and figure. But these might be 
deceptive. She could pass for either forty or sixty 
years of age. 

As for Baseborn, he sniffed about the lady's 
skirts, tactfully, to give no offense. He found her 
more than satisfactory. Backing away a step or two 
he stood looking up into her face, wagging welcomes 
with his devious tail. But the lady ignored him. 
Baseborn was accustomed to being ignored — or 
worse — by respectable people, so he was neither 
surprised nor resentful. 

Octavia, self forgetting, stood in silence. She 
looked earnestly into the lady's face as one who 
struggles with confusing thoughts. For, with dis- 
turbing power, came the consciousness of something 
surprisingly familiar in the peculiar, light grey eyes 
that met her own. The lady, with a slight tilting 
of the pointed, youthful chin, demanded quietly, but 
as one who politely resents an impertinence, 

"Do you wish to speak with me?" 

It was an unusual voice, smooth, low and most 
agreeable to the ear. 

But even then Octavia did not answer. The 
more she studied this stranger's face, the more puz- 



246 Pandora's Box 

zling her memories, until, at last, she exclaimed in 
suppressed excitement, 

"Ah, how stupid! I know you now! I know 
who you are !" 

But the visitor was less elated. Politely but with 
obvious caution she inquired, "Do you? Who do 
you think I am?" 

"I think you were my grandfather's second wife 
— the Countess of Drumworth." 

The lady was plainly startled. She frowned in- 
voluntarily, and drew her lips together. Then, re- 
garding her questioner with a certain reserve, yet 
not unamiably, 

"Why do you think so?" 

"Because your portrait and I were intimate 
friends — the very best of friends — for many years. 
It used to hang in my chamber, just opposite my 
bed." 

She was about to mention its present unhonored 
exile, but refrained. Into the face of the older 
woman came a mirthless smile, a smile more sad 
than bitter, as she murmured, 

"But that was years ago. It is not there now, I 
fancy." 

"No ; I just discovered it, up in that gallery. It 
disappeared when Auntie George came to live with 
us — after my mother's death." 

"Your Auntie George ! Yes, I can easily believe 
it!" 

The tone in which this was uttered showed little 
enthusiasm for the person mentioned. 



Out of the Past 2 47 

Octavia held forth a hand. "But you and I are 
friends, are we not?" 

For an instant the visitor hesitated. Then she 
took the hand. 

"And now," said Octavia, "you must forgive me 
if I ask an impertinent question." 

The ex-Countess of Drumworth smiled. "If not 
too impertinent." 

"Have you read the note you just took from 
Pandora's box ?" 

This question evidently caused surprise. "Yes, 
I have read it." 

"Was it the one you expected?" 

"How did — why should you suppose that I ex- 
pected — anything ?" 

"Because I happened to be in that gallery up there 
and saw you walk straight to the box and take 
out the note as if you knew it was waiting for 
you." 

There was a faint smile and a gentle shake of the 
head. "If I should consider your question imperti- 
nent what am I to do?" 

"Oh, please don't think me impertinent! I am 
not asking what is in the note — merely if it is what 
you expected. For I, too, took a note from that 
box some months ago, and I can't help thinking 
there has been a mistake— of some kind." 

"You took a note from Pandora's box !" 

Octavia nodded and drew forth the fateful verse. 
The ex-countess bent eagerly forward looking 



248 Pandora's Box 

quickly from the paper in Octavia's fingers to the 
one in her own, then back again. 
"May I read it?" she whispered. 
Octavia smiled. "How impertinent we both are !" 
"I beg your pardon. Here." And she unfolded 
her paper and gave it up. 

Octavia, in exchange, delivered her own* 
The two women, both turning slightly away — 
their backs to each other — read their respective 
notes. The one now in Octavia's possession proved 
whiter and fresher than the one she had relin- 
quished. It was written in pencil. What she read 
was this : 

To a Supercilious Angel, Sitting in a Window. 

Dbax Saint: 

See the mountains kiss high heaven* 

And the waves clasp one another ; 
No sister flower would be forgiven 

If it disdained its brother; 
And the sunlight clasps the earth. 

And the moonbeams kiss the sea, 
What are all these kissings worth 
If thou kiss not me? 

Yours truly, 
Basebosn. 

When Octavia had read this letter — this prepos- 
terous use of her beloved Shelley — she laughed. The 
laugh was hysterical, half-suppressed, but of joy 
at the knowledge of Ethan Lovejoy's escape from 
the charge against him. The laugh quickly ended, 
however, by a tightening of the throat as she recalled 
his punishment. With a hand pressed hard against 



Out of the Past 



249 



a cheek, her eyes staring blindly at the lines, came 
the bitter realization of his own inevitable opinion 
of herself, of her sudden change of manner — with 
his heartless dismissal. And all for this innocent 
bit of nonsense! 

Looking down at Baseborn, whose counterfeit 
signature was on the note, she met the ever adoring 
eyes, gazing solemnly into her own. They offered 
sympathy, and were seeking truth. As usual, when 
honored by a glance, the ears moved up and the 
scrubby tail waved grateful recognition. She smiled 
and touched his head. Yes, at that moment she 
could have answered his poem with one of the 
kisses so glowingly invited — were he only a trifle 
less ugly. We all know individuals whose complete 
ugliness, from its very perfection, renders them ob- 
jects of interest ; an interest not enjoyed by persons 
more comely and more commonplace. Such an 
individual was Baseborn. However, it should be 
clearly understood, in justice to Octavia, that no 
discriminating person— even if well aware of Base- 
born's moral worth — had ever been impelled to 
kiss him. 



XXI 

SUPPRESSED HISTORY 

A SOUND from the window awakened Oc- 
tavia from her dismal reflections. It was 
the sound of a sob, restrained, but distinct. 
She saw the visitor reading, over and over again, 
the missive between her fingers. And the present 
effect was far different from its effect upon the first 
recipient. 

Octavia came over and stood beside the reader. 
A few words of tactful sympathy produced their 
inevitable effect upon a fellow-creature overwrought 
by emotion, unconsciously craving that very sym- 
pathy. The story of the note was briefly told by 
Octavia; of inserting her fingers in Pandora's box 
and drawing forth a communication quite different 
— as now divulged — from that intended by the send- 
er. "But how does it happen," she asked, "that the 
initials E. L. on your note are the initials of the 
man who wrote this other note thirty years later and 
signed it Baseborn?" 

"These are the initials of my husband, Ethan 
Lovejoy. And perhaps you can imagine my be- 
wilderment just now when I opened the note I had 

250 



Suppressed History 251 

taken from Pandora's box and recognized my son's 
handwriting, written — so I believed — thirty-three 
years ago, before he was born. Yet it is clearly his 
handwriting." 

"Oh, indeed you had cause. for astonishment! 
And the surprise would have been greater still had 
you known Baseborn." 

At this mention of his name Baseborn waved his 
tail. He looked earnestly from one face to the other 
with a dog's humble effort at comprehension. 

The afternoon light in the Old Hall was now fad- 
ing. When Octavia suggested that they go out into 
the garden the visitor at once consented. "Yes, 
there is a bench out there where we can sit." 

"A cosy bench — for true lovers," and in saying 
it Octavia blushed — to her own mortification. The 
visitor raised her eyebrows, then smiled. "Ah, you 
know that inscription ! Although hidden by vines." 

"And you, too, seem to have found it," said Oc- 
tavia. 

Again they both smiled— discreetly. 

Before the old stone seat they stood, for a mo- 
ment, each reading the quaint inscription. 

Thif Vojyie Btrieve w* ooo&t ronde 
Moone speedetli trew Lcvir$ 

After a silence the older woman spoke. "But 
this bench, with the pale roses above, has fore- 
shadowed tragedy — for certain lovers. Anne 



252 Pandora's Box 

Boleyn sat here with her bloodthirsty Henry. And 
as perhaps you know, there is a letter of hers in the 
British Museum, written to the same gentleman, in 
which she mentions it." 

"Mentions this very bench? Why, I never knew 
that!" 

"This very bench ; and the inscription, too." 

"But why," exclaimed Octavia, "was I never told 
of that letter? I thought I knew every bit of Drum- 
worth history." 

"Because I discovered it myself, and never told 
the family." 

"Why not?" 

"I knew it would interest them. So I kept it to 
myself." 

Octavia's face showed surprise, and reproach. 
But the honest eyes of her new acquaintance looked 
smilingly into her own. "That needs explanation, 
doesn't it? The Drumworth family at that time 
consisted of my husband, who was working hard 
to render me the most wretched wife in England, 
and of two sisters who gave him splendid support." 

"Oh, no !" 

"Oh, yes!" And Mrs. Lovejoy's smile grew 
fainter. "Incidentally they made it a principle to 
doubt whatever I said. So you see, as a matter of 
fact, there was no temptation to be talkative." 

Although the lady spoke habitually in a some- 
what playful manner, her speech was none the less 
convincing. For Octavia was discovering that this 



Suppressed History 2 53 

mother, like her son, could hide inward grief by 
outward mirth. 

They seated themselves upon the bench. It being 
a Kosyie Benche, especially constructed for "trew 
lovirs," the two ladies were somewhat close to- 
gether. For a time they sat in silence. 

The old garden, like the Hall, was less seductive 
of an afternoon. It missed the morning sunshine. 
But, unlike the Old Hall, it had, just at present, a 
rosy sky for roof. All about the place, among its 
dusky masses of box and yew, hovered the gentle 
melancholy that lingers in ancient gardens. More- 
over, for both women, this garden had undying 
memories. And both women, for a time, found 
pleasure in its silence. ^ 

Mrs. Lovejoy, leaning back with hands folded in 
her lap, the long delayed note between her fingers, 
surveyed, with clouded eyes, the once familiar 
scene. At last she straightened up. "Of course I 
can guess at the sort of reputation I enjoy at Drum- 
worth; that of a frivolous woman who ran away 
from a better husband than she deserved. To be 
expected, of course, when a gentleman of noble 
birth so far forgets himself as to marry a farmer's 
daughter. But there were circumstances which the 
husband's family have not shouted from the house- 
tops : which you, probably, have never heard." 

"I have heard very little," said Octavia. "And 
had I heard anything against you I should not have 
believed it. I loved your portrait. After my 



254 Pandora's Box 

mother's death your face became very dear to me." 

Mrs. Lovejoy laid a plump, well gloved hand on 
one of Octavia's. "Thank you. You are a loyal 
friend — a true hearted, generous girl, as I have al- 
ready heard. Our reputations, you see, are some- 
what different. But to go on with my story, which 
must be short. Knowing your own people you can 
imagine with what joy and with what a hearty wel- 
come a farmer's daughter was received into the 
Drumworth family, and especially by your two 
great aunts." 

"Which aunts?" 

"Your great aunts, Frances and Georgiana. Both 
were living at the castle when I came — and both 
kindly remained. Do you remember your Aunt 
Frances?" 

"Yes, but not distinctly." 

"Fortunate girl! Compared with Aunt Frances 
your Aunt Georgiana is a broad-minded, sympa- 
thetic, self-sacrificing democrat." 

Octavia, knowing Auntie George, could not help 
smiling. 

"So you can imagine the happy hours I passed 
here. Especially after your grandfather tired of me 
— within a year — and spent most of his time in 
London — with other ladies. And such ladies !" 

"Really?" 

"Such creatures were a revelation to me, being 
literally a village girl. I was fond of gaiety my- 
self and inclined to be lively, but compared with 



Suppressed History 2 55 

those ladies I was sanctimony itself. His behavior 
disgusted certain of his friends who told him what 
they thought. He became, among other things, so 
insanely jealous that I really feared for my safety." 

"Oh!" And in this exclamation was a shade of 
doubt. 

The visitor raised a finger to her face. "Do you 
see a scar just above the eye? That was made by 
the knuckles of your grandfather, my gentle hus- 
band." 

Now Octavia was not ignorant of her grand- 
father's temper. And even had she been ignorant 
there was unmistakable truth in this woman's voice 
and tone and manner of speech. It was an honest 
tale, sincerely told, of a woman defending her own 
good name. 

"Well, I will not bore you with any details of 
my year of married life here at the castle. I was 
young, simple and sensitive. The two aunts were 
older, more experienced and absolutely unfeeling. 
I know now, looking back upon it all, that it was 
their wish to drive me to some compromising act. 
No two women ever had an easier victim. What I 
endured in the way of snubs, humiliations and un- 
disguised contempt — well, the wonder is that, hav- 
ing some pride of my own, I endured it at all. In 
the presence of visitors and before the servants I 
was cleverly and persistently mortified. For years 
afterward I would wake up in the night from a 
horrid dream in which I tried in vain to flee from 



256 Pandora's Box 

the faded, slow moving, contemptuous eyes of Aunt 
Frances, from her square, firm jaw — like your 
grandfather's — and the sneering mouth. And when 
this undisguised contempt of the aunts finally so 
affected my husband himself that he began to be 
ashamed of me and my origin I was really too un- 
happy to care what happened." 

There was a pause. Octavia, as she looked into 
the speaker's gentle, cheerful face, could see traces 
of trouble and of suffering not entirely hidden by 
the present plumpness. 

"I don't see how you bore it. And I will confess, 
as we are all in the family, that I can easily imagine 
what those aunts could do. Also, I know my grand- 
father." 

Gently the visitor shook her head. "No. You 
only know him as a grandfather. And there can be 
a frightful difference between a grandfather and a 
husband: the difference between watching a ship- 
wreck from the shore and being aboard. As a hus- 
band he was simply unspeakable. But I must get 
on with my story — my defense, I might say. One 
morning I went off to a corner of a garden merely to 
escape the aunts. I happened to notice in the wall 
a door that was new to me. I opened it, passed 
along the cloisters and came out into this garden. 
From that window above us, which was open, I 
heard the voice of a man, humming fragments of 
songs. I went in and found a man at a long table 
making drawings of the castle." 






Suppressed History *57 

Octavia, in amazement, rose from her seat Stand- 
ing before Mrs. Lovejoy she looked down into her 
face with an expression that lady failed to com- 
prehend. Somewhat taken aback by the suddenness 
of the movement she gazed inquiringly into Oc- 
tavia's startled eyes. "What is it?" 

"Why — you — what you have just told is my own 
experience — precisely ! It is the way I came to know 
your son P 

'•Really!' 

"Yes; exactly the same. It seemed, when you 
were speaking, as if I were listening to an account 
o£ my own adventure." 

"A curious coincidence, surely/' murmured Mrs. 
Lovejoy. "But then, you know, we are told that 
history repeats itself. However, not very often in 
just that manner, I should say." 

Octavia again took her seat upon the bench. "Ex- 
cuse my interruption. It did seem so surprising 
and mysterious ; almost unnatural. But please con- 
tinue." 

"Well, this draughtsman proved to be interest- 
ing; wise and witty, frank, cheerful, kind, sym- 
pathetic, full of fun, straightforward, high minded, 
in fact with all the qualities that I most love in a 
man. I came again the next day — and the next, and 
for several days. I used to sit in the window and 
watch him as he worked." 

Again, involuntarily, Octavia straightened up. 
But with a smile and a nervous little laugh she 



258 Pandora's Box 

apologized. "I didn't mean to interrupt you. But 
I also used to sit in the window and watch your son 
as he worked." 

"Indeed! The repetition does seem singular. 
However, there is really nothing astonishing, per- 
haps. One might call it the natural order of events 
from like conditions. But from this point our ex- 
periences probably bear no resemblance. After 
spending several mornings in this manner, and be- 
coming more and more intimate, and with intoxicat- 
ing speed — well — you can perhaps guess the result 
even if the little god has spared you." 

As Octavia nodded assent there came a tingling 
in her cheeks. But Mrs. Lovejoy was unobservant. 
With a faint smile she gazed absently toward the 
tower of Drumworth church, now in the golden 
light from a setting sun. 

"I found my draughtsman was an American — 
which, of course, was a blow. I had never seen an 
American and could hardly believe it when he told 
me. As a child I supposed all Americans wore 
feathers in their hair, waved hatchets, and uttered 
frightful war whoops. I learned better than that, of 
course, as I grew up. But I did know that they 
were all dyspeptic, flat chested and pale, and lived on 
nutmegs and green tea : that they were dishonest and 
terribly nervous — most of them with St. Vitus's 
dance. So you can imagine my surprise on finding 
that one of them, at least, was calm, deep-chested, 
full of fun, had a pleasant voice and not a single 
feather growing from his head." 



Suppressed History 2 59 

Octavia smiled. "But not honest." 

"Absurdly honest. So much honester than my- 
self that I felt ashamed of my own instincts. Well, 
one summer evening I was sitting in the draw- 
ing room with the two sisters-in-law — Frances and 
Gcorgiana — both old enough to be my mother. 
My husband, you know, was more than twenty years 
older than I, and his sisters older than he. That 
evening I pretended to read, but was listening, as 
they knew I must, to their conversation. They were 
deploring the humiliation of a certain noble family 
whose son had become engaged to a person of ig- 
noble birth — like mine. The comments, of course, 
were intended for me. My husband was alone in the 
library. After a while, with burning cheeks, I laid 
down my book and went out into the garden to cry 
by myself. I did not wish the two ladies to have 
the gratification of seeing my tears. Entirely by 
accident, and from an impulse of the moment, I kept 
on, through the cloisters into this old garden. To 
ray surprise I found here — dreaming of myself he 
said — my draughtsman." 

Mrs..Lovejoy leaned back and folded her hands in 
her lap. After a short silence she went on, but in a 
lower voice : 

"Hopeless, helpless, weary of the struggle, crushed 
in spirit, I walked into his arms. The rest of the 
story you have probably heard." 

"No, not a word of it. It has all been the dark- 
est mystery. We know nothing whatever except 



26 ° Pandora's Box 

that my grandfather followed you out into the 
garden, returned alone an hour or so later and 
has been speechless ever since; that you disap- 
peared completely and were never heard of after- 
wards." 

Mrs. Lovejoy seemed surprised. "Has he never 
told his side of the story?" 

"Not a word. And no one has dared ask him." 

Mrs. Lovejoy smiled — somewhat scornfully. 
"His pride. Yes — his pride has kept him silent." 

"Then you think he could speak if he wished?" 

"Oh no! I did not mean that I think he is 
voiceless — without the power of speech. The in- 
jury to his head accounts for that." 

"Injury to his head?" 

"Yes. I will tell you. After our meeting, after 
walking into a pair of arms — as I have said — 
Ethan Lovejoy and I sat upon this bench. It was 
paradise — after purgatory. The moon, that even- 
ing, and I shall never forget it — a great, round lu- 
minous ball — rose slowly from behind that church 
tower." 

Baseborn, during this interview, had been lying 
a few feet away, near the basin of the waterless 
fountain. With chin on his front paws he as- 
sumed, according to the habit of dogs, a sleepy in- 
difference to other people's doings. One eye, how- 
ever, had now and then opened — also the custom of 
dogs — and had kept him informed as to the situa- 
tion. Now he arose, slowly, and did a surprising 



Suppressed History 261 

thing for so tactful a dog ; a dog habitually consid- 
erate of other people's feelings. He approached the 
two ladies, stretched himself, and yawned. He 
yawned elaborately, making a peculiar noise in his 
throat. The noise had a human sound. Then he 
shook himself, sat down on his haunches and looked 
into the two faces, first of one lady then the other, 
with an expression which said clearer than words, 
"How much longer are you two things going to sit 
here?" 

So unmistakable was this look that Mrs. Lovejoy 
responded: "Have patience, Mr. Baseborn. It is 
nearly finished." 

Baseborn, by a movement of the tail, acknowl- 
edged the explanation. 

"As we sat here, I happy, yet with a breaking 
heart, Ethan Lovejoy asked if I had taken my let- 
ter that afternoon from Pandora's box. You see, 
we used Pandora's box as a post office. I wished 
to run in and get the letter, but he held me back, say- 
ing it would keep until tomorrow." 

Raising the paper in her hand, she added, "This 
is the letter. It has waited for me thirty-three 
years." 

Octavia regarded this fateful bit of paper with a 
certain fear — and fascination. Innocent in itself, it 
had worked amazing evil before the final fulfilment 
of its mission. 

"As we sat here, on this bench, watching the 
slowly rising moon we were, of course, very near 



262 Pandora's Box 

together — for that is the purpose of the bench. But 
brief indeed was our dream. A sudden sound 
on the gravel walk, of a footstep near us, brought 
a cruel awakening. Can I ever forget it ? There, in 
the moonlight, stood my legal owner. Towering 
above us, he seemed a mile in height. My architect 
jumped to his feet. The two men faced each other. 
I also stood up. And I remember my knees could 
scarcely hold me as I leaned against the arm of the 
seat. For a moment there was a silence. Then the 
earl, his voice hoarse with rage, pointing back to- 
ward the archway said to me, 'Go !' But I did not 
move. My blood was frozen; my limbs too weak. 
He had nearly killed me once, and I could guess at 
my future. 'Go/ he repeated. But I could only 
shrink back, closer against the wall. Then, in his 
fury— did you ever see him, by the way, on one of 
those occasions — in one of his rages?" 

Octavia closed her eyes, tightened her lips, and 
nodded. 

"Then you can understand my terror." 

"Indeed lean!" 

"Well, he brought his hand down upon my head 
with awful force and clutched my hair. After that 
things happened as in a dream. With all his strength 
he dragged me toward him and I fell to the ground, 
on my face. For a moment I lay there, stunned. 
It was only for an instant. But during that instant 
things had happened to the earl. As I tried to get 
up I saw him lying on the ground, his head against 



Suppressed History 263 

the pedestal of that dancing cupid. I can see him 
now, when I close my eyes — his white face in the 
moonlight. 

"As Ethan Lovejoy picked me up and asked 
if I were hurt I could not take my eyes from the 
figure on the ground, at the foot of the statue. He 
lay as if dead. We helped him to his feet, then 
onto this bench. He sat staring from one of us to 
the other, his lips moving as if cursing us. But 
there was no sound. He was trying, in a crazy way, 
to talk. With the moon shining full in his face 
he had a ghastly pallor. His white lips worked and 
quivered in that horrid silence — oh! I can see him 
now! I shall never forget it!" 

Mrs. Lovejoy put a hand to her face and leaned 
back for a moment. 

Octavia's eyes, during this story, never left the 
speaker. So this was the explanation of her grand- 
father's eternal silence! 

"I suppose you know/' she said gently, "that he 
has never spoken since." 

"Yes. I heard so, years afterward. How long 
he sat on the bench here I don't know. It might 
have been an hour. At last he was able to stand, 
still working his lips — and his clenched fist. I think 
his mind was wandering. He seemed almost para- 
lyzed with rage. It was terrible — horrible ! — and all 
the more terrifying from the unaccountable silence. 

"At last, when he found he could stand alone, 
he backed away, through the arch, his walk un- 



264 



Pandora's Box 



steady, like a man who had been drinking. Then 
came, for us, a sudden resolve. Most emphatic, and 
to me convincing, were Ethan Lovejoy's protesta- 
tions against my remaining with such a husband. 
Of course he was not disinterested, but he spoke 
truly when he said my life would not be safe. And 
you know the rest." 



XXII 



IF 



NO. I do not know the rest. Please go on." 
"The rest is commonplace. We were 
married as soon as I could get a divorce 
from your grandfather, and we lived happily ever 
after." 

"Oh, I am so glad! So glad Mr, Lovejoy was 
good to you !" 

"Good to me! He was an angel. He never did 
an unkind thing in his life. Had he tried I am sure 
he would have failed." 

She pointed to the door in the wall at the end 
of the garden. "We went out by that passage, 
floated down the river in the little ferry boat, then 
took a steamer for America, the land of sunshine. 
For me it was a new life, of peace and harmony, 
of love and devotion : with a home really my own. 
Instead of a splendid castle it was a little wooden 
house— commonplace and modest. But, oh, the 
difference! And you see for yourself, my dear, in 
this fat old woman, how well it has agreed with 



me. 



44 



Fat ! You are just right in every way. For me 

265 



266 Pandora's Box 

you will always remain the dearest friend of my 
childhood. Never shall I forget the kind eyes that 
used to look down from my chamber wall! And 
I am so glad, so very glad, that your life has been 
happy." Then, after a pause, she added, "And 
being a mother you think your son is also perfect" 

"Yes. Being absolutely impartial I am sure of it. 
He is just like his father, only more so." 

"Then he is more than perfect 1" 

Mrs. Lovejoy smiled. "Well, not offensively per- 
fect But he is honest and brave. He is clever, and 
strong, and modest, and generous and reliable; and 
always cheerful. No human being could have a 
kinder heart." 

Octavia shook her head. "What splendid things 
men are — if mothers tell the truth !" 

"Did you see much of my boy when he was 
here?" 

"Er — yes — several times." 

"Do you know him well ?" 

"I don't know. Why — yes — I knew him pretty 
well." 

"And don't you like him, just a little?" 

Octavia lowered her eyes, and gently scraped the 
gravel with a foot. "Yes — perhaps — just a little. 
But he has his faults, you know." 

"No. Not a fault !" 

"Oh yes ! Quite a number. He can be very im- 
pertinent and irritating. He is too socialistic, and 
lacks respect for — for a great many — excellent 



c oaa." 
"\jn 9 never; 



If 267 

things. And he whistles. In fact his manners are 
quite bad. 3 

Oh, never !" 

"Yes, quite bad, at times. 3 

The mother laughed, and rose from the seat. 
"Well, I should like to tell him what you say, al- 
though of course I don't believe it. But men are 
apt to be conceited and it might do him good/' 

"And I wish," said Octavia, her eyes still on the 
ground, "that you would also tell him about this 
mistake in the two notes. And that — that — I, of 
course, should not have been at all offended had I 
known the truth. I was really quite rude to him 
and very unjust — as I now realize." 

There being no reply to this request Octavia 
looked up. She saw Mrs. Lovejoy with a more 
serious face looking far away, beyond the garden, 
over the distant meadows. 

Octavia spoke again. "Would you mind telling 
him this ?" 

With eyes still over the meadows Mrs. Lovejoy 
answered, "Is it important?" 

"Why — no: perhaps not." And Octavia, em- 
barrassed and somewhat surprised, also stood up. 
Whereupon her companion turned and laid a hand 
upon her arm. 

"Forgive me if I seem disobliging. But I do not 
wish him to know that I have been here. He knows 
nothing of my running away from that first hus- 
band. His father and I decided, years ago, that it 



268 Pandora's Box 

might be better for the child, and for us, if he were 
never told." 

"But why not? If he knew the reasons he would 
surely understand, and think no less of you." 

"Possibly. But a scandal's a scandal. And it's 
a difficult thing to explain to a son who believes his 
mother above reproach." 

"He would still think so. He is not a fool." 

"No; not a fool. But men are peculiar. One 
never can tell what a man will do next; nor what 
he may think. But tell me the truth. Let us 
be frank with each other. You can trust me, 
as I am trusting you. Is it important — that I 
explain to him about the notes? Do you seriously 
wish it?" 

This time, as Octavia met the earnest, searching 
but friendly gaze of the familiar eyes, her effort to 
hide embarrassment was an open failure. Her 
blushes betrayed her. With a frown of vexation 
she drew back a step, mortified at her own con- 
fusion. 

Gently Mrs. Lovejoy laughed. "You have an- 
swered. I shall give your message. I will tell him 
that I came here among other tourists to visit the 
castle and that I met you incidentally — which is, of 
course, the simple truth. And I give you my word 
of honor that I will say nothing which you would 
not approve. And I may trust you, may I not, to 
keep my own secret?" 

"Yes. I promise." 

"Then let us be happy again and forget certain 



If 269 

husbands — and grandfathers, and other unpleasant 
things. Come. I must be going." 

So saying, she put an arm around Octavia's waist 
and they started along the weed grown, gravel path 
toward the little door at the end of the garden. Five 
minutes later the two women stood in the narrow 
archway, hand in hand, with final words of parting. 

"Won't you change your mind," said Octavia, 
"and let me take you to the station in the motor?" 

"Not for worlds! What a jolly meeting it would 
be if I encountered the Earl of Drumworth on the 
terrace, in the hall, or at the front door — or any- 
where else! It would be deliberate murder on my 
part, for he would die of rage." 

"But the station is a mile away, as of course you 
know." 

"What's a mile to a young thing of fifty- four? 
And besides, walking reduces weight." 

A few more parting words; then Octavia stood 
for a moment watching this new friend who went 
her way with a quick, firm step, as one familiar 
with the path. 

In front of the Pindar cottage Mrs. Lovejoy 
looked at her watch. Then, along the narrow brick 
path, she crossed the garden and knocked at the 
open door. Nobody answered. She went in. 
Through the cottage she saw a woman in the garden 
beyond. It was Mrs. Pindar, who turned about at 
the visitor's approach. 

Mrs. Pindar, in thirty-three years, had grown 



270 Pandora's Box 

stouter. So also had the visitor. And Time, rarely 
considerate, had wrought other changes. 

"Pindar ! I am so glad to see you !" And Mrs. 
Lovejoy held out a hand. 

Mrs. Pindar took the hand. After an earnest 
look into the visitor's eyes her face brightened, and 
she curtsied. 

"Most welcome, your ladyship ! It's many weeks 
since you left us." 

"Many weeks! I should say so!" 

"But your room is all ready." 

"My room? What do you mean, Pindar?" 

"The same room you had before. Upstairs." 

"Here?" 

"Of course! Where else? And the razors are 
there: all safe." 

"Razors !" 

"Yes indeed! The razors you forgot when you 
left so suddenly." 

Mrs. Lovejoy frowned. There was no doubt 
that she had left Drumworth suddenly — nothing 
could be more sudden — but this manner of recalling 
it was not tactful; especially in the presence of 
others. For behind Mrs. Pindar, on a circular 
bench around a tree, sat a woman, sewing. Mrs. 
Pindar noticed the look of annoyance. 

"Never mind ! Never mind ! We have not used 
them. Besides, we don't mind tobacco." Then she 
suddenly whispered, "Clothes matter little — man or 
woman. Your secret is safe." 



If 271 

Mrs. Lovejoy, sorely puzzled, took a step or two 
backward. But Mrs. Pindar, with a friendly smile, 
and in a playful manner, shook a finger. 

"'Tis not your ladyship that carries your shoes 
in your hand to save wearing them out. No, no! 
I remember now. It's the Beechwood sisters. The 
two old maids who cheat the grocer." 

At this point Sally Pindar laid down her sewing, 
and came forward. She touched her own fore- 
head in a manner to indicate that Mrs. Pindar's 
mind was not in perfect order. 

"Mamma is misled, I think, by a resemblance. 
We had a lodger, a year ago, whose eyes were — 
something like yours." 

"Exactly the same," said Mrs. Pindar. "Same 
eyes. Same man or woman. But the clothes are 
better. Yes, yes ! More ladylike. But not coffee in 
church. Never that!" And with another curtsy 
she walked away into the cottage. 

"Then you are Mrs. Pindar's daughter?" 

"Yes." 

"I am sorry, so very sorry, that her mind is 
affected." 

"It has been this way for a dozen years. Did 
you wish to see her about anything in which I could 
take her place?" 

"No, no. Nothing important. Just a friendly 
call. I used to know her, years ago." 

''Would you mind telling me your name?" 

Believing the name could have no significance to 
this girl she answered : 



*7 2 Pandora's Box 



"Merely an old acquaintance; Mrs. Lovejoy." 

"Lovejoy !" And Sally Pindar's face shone with 
a new light. "Oh, I know now from your eyes! 
Ethan Lovejoy is your brother." 

"Brother! Oh, you flatterer! He is my son, 
such as he is. ,, 

"Such as he is! Why, he is perfect. So kind, 
and honest, and brave! He saved my life — at the 
risk of his own!" 

"Did he ? I don't know your name — " 

"Sally Pindar." 

"He did a good deed, Sally Pindar. The time was 
well spent. Whoever feels that way about my son 
has a permanent place in my heart." As she spoke 
she took the girl's hand. 

Sally's eyes had become moist, and she seemed 
to swallow something before she could speak. "Will 
you please give him a message from me?" 

Mrs. Lovejoy's eyebrows went up. "What ! An- 
other woman with a message? Yes, of course. 
What is the message? I will give it with pleas- 



ure." 



"When he went away — and he went quite unex- 
pectedly, in a great hurry — he left money to a dog." 

"To a dog!" 

"Yes. A homeless dog he had adopted. And he 
gave the money to me. But I never see the dog. 
He lives at the castle stables, where they like him 
and treat him well. So, will you please ask him 
what I shall do with the money? Or shall I give 
it to you?" 



If 273 

"How much was it?" 

"Five pounds." 

"Better keep it. The beneficiary might need it 
later. Are you speaking of Baseborn?" 

"Yes. Do you know Baseborn ?" 

"I met the gentleman this afternoon. He may be 
good, but — " and Mrs. Lovejoy with a solemn face 
slowly shook her head. 

Sally Pindar laughed. "No, he is not beautiful. 
But your son liked him." 

"My son could like almost anything on four legs. 
This Baseborn may be a scheming villain— iome 
devil thinly disguised. He certainly has the appear- 
ance of a perfect ruffian." 

Again Sally Pindar laughed. "But he is really 
very amiable, and honest." 

Mrs. Lovejoy took out her watch. "Dear me! 
I've not a minute to lose I Good-bye, Sally Pindar. 
And say good-bye for me to your mother." 

Sally grasped the extended hand. "And please 
tell your son that I shall never forget what he did 
for me. And also please tell him about Baseborn. 
They were very close friends." 

Mrs. Lovejoy promised, then hurried away. With- 
in the doorway of the cottage she stopped, turned 
about and said : 

"You may see me again." 

Then, the next moment, Sally heard the little 
front gate as it closed. 

And the unexpected visitor was gone. 



274 Pandora's Box 

When the daughter of the castle had closed the 
creaking old door behind the departing visitor she 
moved slowly, in deepest meditation, through the 
silent garden, and along the cloistered arches — still 
thinking. Midway along these cloistered arches she 
stopped abruptly. With a chilling thought came a 
sudden pallor, followed by burning cheeks. Fierce- 
ly against the burning cheeks she pressed her hands. 
What if this mother — and what more natural than 
for a mother to do it? — what if this mother should 
deliver the message with a warmer coloring, and 
to a son whose interest had waned ! 

Hot with shame, angry with herself, all her 
Drumworth pride in passionate revolt, affronted yet 
helpless, it seemed as if she were drinking to its 
very dregs, the cup of humiliation. All that a sen- 
sitive being may suffer beneath a blow that crushes 
pride — in this case the extravagant, over-cultivated 
pride of an exalted spirit — Octavia was now en- 
during. And Ethan Lovejoy might, perhaps, ex- 
plain the trivial episode to his mother — and also, 
perhaps, feel a gentle pity for the sender of the 
message! Never before had her sense of shame 
been so unbearable — so bitterly mortifying. For a 
moment she almost hated the man and his mother. 

When she started on again her brain seemed dull, 
— a trifle dizzy. And her limbs were weaker. More 
mindful of her steps than usual she moved slowly 
along the terrace, into the castle, and up the great 
staircase.' On the landing she met her grandfather, 



If 275 

who was starting for London, With Mrs. Lovejoy's 
story fresh in her mind, she drew back, a very 
little, and looked into the old gentleman's face with 
a new but less confiding interest. The cold blue 
eyes seemed colder than before she heard his second 
wife's story. She noticed now, for the first time in 
her life, that the white mustache failed to hide the 
straight, hard line of the mouth; an idle mouth the 
last thirty-three years, save when eating and drink- 
ing. She also noticed, but not for the first time, 
the pugnacity and iron will of his bony, heavy chin. 
And she recalled Ethan Lovejoy's question in the 
Old Hall when he discovered the portrait: "Who 
is the tough looking chap with the jaw?" 

The grandfather in turn seemed struck by some- 
thing unusual in her own face. As he stopped be- 
fore her on the landing, the chilling eyes looked 
searchingly into her own. His right hand came up, 
and the fingers inquired: 

'Not feeling well?" 

'Yes, well enough." 

'Very tired? 5 



"Very tired?" 

"Just a little tired." 

"Rest. Don't go down to dinner." 



Octavia obeyed, willingly. 

Entering the library the earl tapped Auntie 
George's arm to secure attention. 

"Dark lines again under Octavia's eyes. Seemed 
really weak as she climbed upstairs." 

"I don't understand it. She has been at home 



276 Pandora's Box 

long enough to rest up after the season's fatigue." 

The fingers moved more nervously. "You real- 
ize what it means if she isn't well enough to marry, 
and marry well." 

"Yes. Indeed I do!" And the lady's chin rose 
slightly as she added, "It must be an old title." 

"Or new money — if plenty of it," jerked the 
fingers. 

"You don't mean that you or Robert would ever 
allow Octavia to marry beneath her!" 

The old fingers almost laughed. "If he's rich 
enough." And while Auntie George was trying to 
frame a sentence that might convey some idea of her 
abhorrence the fingers added: "As soon as she is 
well enough I shall have a serious talk with her." 

Then they moved away. Five minutes later they 
were on their way to the station. 

In the train to London, that afternoon, the Earl 
of Drumworth had a singular experience. Between 
Reading and Windsor he was dozing peacefully 
when a woman's voice from the seat directly oppo- 
site, her knees almost touching his own, awakened 
with a sudden shock his slumbering senses. The 
voice, to him, was unlike all other voices. Not heard 
in thirty years it came as from the grave. But it 
was unchanged ; smooth, melodious, pleasant to the 
ear. Now, it had merely answered, in the fewest 
words, a commonplace question from another trav- 
eler. But the memories it aroused were memories 



If 277 

of hated things, deep buried and accursed. For an 
instant the Earl of Drumworth, startled as in a 
ghostly dream, dared not look in that direction. His 
heart beat faster, his hands trembled. When his 
eyes opened he was prepared to see — yet not believ- 
ing it possible — the girl as he remembered her; a 
timid, slender bride. 

What he really saw, however, was a woman in 
dark blue, middle aged, and plump. Through the 
veil that covered her face he could distinguish noth- 
ing. But he pictured in his mind the features — fat 
and commonplace. With a frown and a twitching 
of the lips he sank lower in his corner, and closed 
his eyes. 

But the businesslike talk with Octavia never took 
place. A week went by, and it was evident, even to 
the grandfather, that she was in no condition for 
that sort of interview. Then a month went by, fol- 
lowed by other months in which even Dr. Wherry 
was unable to explain things. 

When a patient loses strength and color, without 
an ache or pain ; eats little and complains less ; laughs 
and jokes, refusing to be serious, then, indeed, the 
wisest doctor is no better than an engineer, a lawyer 
or an architect. 



XXIII 

ANOTHER JUNE MORNING 

IN the Garden of the Sleeping Beauty, now long 
deserted, there is silence. Above the old stone 
seat the ivy reaches forth its tendrils as if to 
hide again the inscription proclaiming in time- 
stained letters, 

Tfoif kojyic. Bench e w* ooodfe rondc 
Moone speedctli trew Lovtrs 

And higher up, near the great window, the roses 
of Anne Boleyn, pale, disconsolate, saddened by 
tragic memories, yield their timid fragrance. 

Upon the walls of Drumworth Castle one passing 
year makes faint impression. The vines, in places, 
creep a foot or two higher. Certain stones of a ne- 
glected tower may become, perhaps, imperceptibly 
looser. But from one June to another these changes 
are unnoticed. Its foundations are as solid, its walls 
as high, as they were five centuries ago. And it 
smiles in sunshine or frowns in storm, with all its 
youthful disdain, upon the surrounding country. 
Judging from appearances it ignores Father Time. 

278 



Another June Morning 2 79 

Not so its perishable owners. With this coming 
of another June a change was visible. In Octavia's 
chamber the eyes that were gazing through the mul- 
lioned window over the meadows to the south, shone 
from an altered face — a face with paler cheeks. And 
the face showed even greater weariness than the 
fragile figure in the easy chair. 

Octavia was alone. Her maid had gone to the 
distant kitchen to carry out the doctors' orders. The 
doctors themselves had just departed. Outside her 
door, but so far away their voices could not reach 
her, they were holding, with serious faces and in 
lowered tones, a consultation. One of these physi- 
cians was Dr. Wherry ; the other an eminent author- 
ity in nervous diseases. He had arrived this morn- 
ing — two hours ago — from London. There was 
some difference of opinion as to the causes of the 
patient's decline, but they agreed in this, that their 
diagnosis was a guess. These physicians — both 
elderly men — had met similar cases. And the re- 
sults, with rare exceptions, had always been the 
same. Their present duty was merely to render 
their verdict to the family without causing alarm. 

As they stood at the head of the great staircase 
they noticed, carelessly, a girl who tiptoed past them. 
She was moving toward the chamber they had just 
left. After a timid knock she entered, timidly, and 
as timidly closed the door. Then she advanced, al- 
ways timidly, toward the invalid. 

Octavia, without moving her head from the high 



280 Pandora's Box 

backed chair, slowly turned her eyes — eyes which 
nothing seemed to interest — toward this visitor. 

"Good morning, Lucy." 

"Good morning, your ladyship." 

Lucy Lake, the daughter of the laundress, w"^ 
seventeen years of age. Her cheeks were round ar^* 
red. Her mouth, also round and red, was very sho*^* 
But her eyes, wide open, brown eyes, were larg^^ r 
than her mouth and surpassingly honest. So wic^^ c 
was the face and so thin the girlish neck that tl^^ c 
effect was almost comical. 

In the middle of the chamber the maiden haltec^^- 

In sincerest sorrow she gazed upon the lady in th ^ 
chair. This manner of administering sympathy i 
always trying for the victim. But this victim smiled 
and inquired, in the gentlest of voices: 

"What is it, Lucy?" 

Then into the pale face of the invalid came a look: 
of surprise as the hand at Lucy's back moved for- 
ward from its hiding and held forth a rose— one of 
the rare, unattainable, pink and white, melancholy 
roses of Anne Boleyn! 

Octavia blinked — and looked again. Lucy Lake 
stepped nearer and presented it. Octavia took the 
rose and inhaled its faint perfume — the sad little 
fragrance of the saddest of flowers. And it seemed 
to Lucy Lake that the pink of the rose was reflected 
in the lady's cheeks. 

After a silence came a question, but in a voice so 
low that it barely carried. "Where did you get it?" 



Another June Morning 28x 

"Does your ladyship remember the old garden 
away at the end of — " 

"Yes, I remember." 

"A gentleman out there just gave it to me." 

"What gentleman?" 

"I don't know." 

With a faint movement of impatience, "How does 
lie look?" 

"He is tall, your ladyship. In grey clothes. Not 
very handsome." 

"He didn't give his name?" 

"No, your ladyship." 

For a moment the invalid, with half shut eyes, 
seemed lost in reflection as she breathed the fra- 
grance of the rose. At last, with an effort, she 
turned in her chair and pointed to a portrait on the 
wall. It was the portrait of the Countess of Drum- 
worth that had been occupying this, its original posi- 
tion, since last November — since Octavia discovered 
it among other exiles in the gallery of the Old Hall. 

"Do you see that lady — in the oval frame ¥' 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"Does she resemble, in any way, this man in the 
old garden? Step nearer/' 

Lucy stepped nearer. "No, your ladyship. I 
should not — why, yes! The eyes may be alike, 
mayn't they?" 

"Is he short and rather fat ?" 

"No, your ladyship. He is tall and bony like." 

The pale lady sank back among her cushions. 'As 



282 Pandora's Box 

she turned her eyes toward the window, she inquire** 
carelessly, 

"How did you happen to meet him? Were yo** 
in the old garden when he came there ?" 

"No, your ladyship. I came over in the ferr^ 
boat, and he was in the boat, too." 

"Well, go on." 

Lucy Lake cleared her throat. "As I was walk — 
ing up the path to the castle, he was walking 
hind and he stopped me and asked if I belonged 
the castle. I said I did. Then he asked me if 
saw your ladyship sometimes. I said I did. The 
he took a card from his pocket and felt in anothe 
pocket for a pencil. Then in all his pockets. Bu 
he couldn't find one. He asked me if I had a pencil 
I said no. Then he seemed angry." 

"Angry with you?" 

"Oh, no ! Not angry with me. Angry with him 
self, I should think. He said things." 

"What did he say?" 

"I didn't hear, your ladyship. They were mut- 
terings. Just a word or two. But very cross." 

"Go on." 

"But I think an idea came to him. He seemed 
pleasanter, of a sudden. He told me to follow him, 
and he started up the little path toward the east 
end of the castle, toward that old garden. Does 
your ladyship remember the heavy door that leads 
into that garden from the riverside? Where the 
stone step 



Another June Morning 28 3 

"Yes, I remember." 

"Well, he — he did a suspicious thing." 

"Suspicious ?" 

"Yes, your ladyship. He picked up a thin strip 
:>f iron hidden in the bushes beside the step, and 
stuck it in the key-hole and opened the door — just 
is a thief would !" 

Lucy waited a moment, expecting some comment 
Dn an act of this nature. But her ladyship, leaning 
back among the cushions of the easy chair, held the 
rose to her nostrils and said nothing. In her eyes 
was an expression that Lucy Lake did not quite 
understand. It seemed almost mirthful. 

"Go on. He's an American. Perhaps they all 
pick locks." 

"But I didn't quite fancy it. If he could open 
that door he might open any door in the whole 
castle." 

"Has he a thievish face?" 

"Oh, no! He is not handsome, but I liked his 
face — until he picked the lock." 

"If he is really a thief, Lucy, he would not pick 
the lock when others are watching. What did he do 
next ?" 

"When the door was opened he motioned for me 
to go in. I was a bit frightened, he being a strange 
man. But I thought there was no more danger in 
the castle than out. So I went in." 

"Yes. And then what?" 

"When I was in he shut the door. Then I was 



284 Pandora's Box 

really frightened, for he did a crazy thing, 
thought he must be demented. Against the wall o 
the Old Hall is a stone bench with an arm a 
each—" 

"Yes, I know the bench." 

"As he walked toward that bench he took off his*- 
hat and coat and laid them on one of the arms. 
Then he stepped up onto the seat, then onto the 
other arm. Then he reached up to a molding 
that—" 

"Yes, I know." 

"He put one foot, higher up, on a carved stone, 
that sticks out just — " 

"Yes, I remember." 

"Then he reached way up, higher still, and pulled 
himself up and up until he could almost reach a rose. 
Those roses, like the one in your ladyship's hand 
only grow high up on the wall above the — " 

"Yes, I know. He finally picked one ?" 

"Yes, your ladyship. The one in your hand. I 
was afraid he would fall and hurt himself. But he 
got down safely. I think he is out of his head a 
little." 

"Why do you think that, Lucy?" 

"Because the old garden has lots of flowers all 
prettier than this one, and much safer to pick." 

Octavia closed her eyes and answered softly, 
"Perhaps he had some reason of his own for pre- 
ferring one of these." 

"What reason could he have, your ladyship?" 



Another June Morning 2 ^5 



"I couldn't say. Then he handed you the rose?" 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"What did he say?" 

"He asked me to give it to you." 

"Tell me just what he said." 

"He said — " Lucy Lake spoke slowly, with evi- 
dent desire to tell nothing but the truth — " 'Give 
this to Lady Octavia and ask her — if I can — if it is 
possible for me to speak to her— or with her — I 
forget which.' " 

"Then you came away ?" 

"No, your ladyship. He gave me this." And 
Lucy held up a golden coin. "He said, 'Come back 
here and tell me just what she says and does and 
how she looks and everything that happens.' " 

The lady's eyebrows went up. "He said that, 
did he?" 

Lucy Lake nodded. "And he also said for me to 
come back to him at once." 

"There is no hurry." 

"But, your ladyship, he thinks there is." 

"He is mistaken." 

"But he is waiting in the old garden. He is walk- 
ing up and down, most impatient and anxious like." 

"How do you know ?" 

"I looked back as I left the garden, and saw him. 
He had begun already to walk up and down, doing 
his hands." 

"Doing his hands?" 

"I mean striking the inside of one hand with the 



386 Pandora's Box 

fist of the other. He was — he was — fussed up like- 
I am sure he is in a hurry." 

"He can wait. And when you go back to him 
you must not tell him of all my questions." 

"But he may ask me." And Lucy looked down 
upon the gold piece in her hand. Octavia realized,, 
with a sudden fear, that the girl felt it her duty to 
give him his money's worth. 

For a moment she studied the ambassadress. The 
illuminating quality of this almost comic face was 
honesty — unswerving and incorruptible. Even as 
a child Lucy had enjoyed the reputation of being 
needlessly veracious. She was startlingly truthful. 
So astonishingly frank that she had always been a 
source of embarrassment — sometimes of danger — 
to her more diplomatic friends. She was a victim to 
that misdirected sense of duty known in America 
as a New England conscience. Octavia had known 
her from infancy, and now into the lady's voice 
came a note of alarm. "Of course you must tell 
him the truth, Lucy, but it is needless to tell him 
everything. Now take this rose and hand it to me 
again." 

Lucy obeyed. 

"Tell him I took it, held it to my face an instant, 
like this, inquired who sent it, then laid it in my 
lap— as you see I do— and that I told you to thank 
him for it. Also tell him that I say he may call 
tomorrow afternoon at five o'clock; that I will see 
him if I am strong enough. You can tell him mere- 



Another June Morning 28 7 

ly that and nothing more, yet still be perfectly truth- 
ful. Can you not?" 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"Hand me a book." And Octavia pointed to a 
neighboring table. 

Lucy took up a book, read the title, then laid it 
down again. 

"Oh, any book will do," said Octavia. 

Lucy brought the book and placed it in the out- 
stretched hand. 

"Tell him," continued the invalid, "that I then 
took my book — as I do — and went on with my read- 
mg. 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"Now, you are sure you understand?" 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"Very well. Now go to him, and be sure and 
tell him only this last part of our interview." 

As the ambassadress turned away Octavia added, 
as an unimportant afterthought, "You might come 
back and let me know what happens." 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"But don't tell him I told you to." 

"No, your ladyship." 

The envoy curtsied, solemnly, and departed. 



XXIV 

A DIPLOMATIC INCIDENT 

ANOTHER five minutes; and Lucy Lake en- 
tered the old garden. 
The deranged person was still pacing the 
gravel walk, to and fro in front of the stone seat, 
as she had left him half an hour ago. 

The brown leather cap, pushed back on his head, 
allowed a clearer view of his mud stained face. 
And such a face was one more proof, in Lucy's 
eyes, of a disordered brain within. For this person 
seemed strangely unconventional: and to be un- 
conventional was, with Lucy Lake, the clearest in- 
dication of an unsound mind. Moreover, although 
his face and his clothes were wet, he seemed uncon- 
scious of the drizzling rain. Any stranger who with 
muddy clothes and dirty face could wish to make a 
formal call on such a person as the Lady Octavia 
must indeed be flighty. 

The prospect of an interview with this crack- 
brained gentleman off here in the deserted garden 
was disquieting. But Lucy was ready to face any 
danger for her idolized mistress. Besides, the Lady 
Octavia herself did not consider him unsafe. 

288 



A Diplomatic Incident 28 9 

5\s the ambassadress appeared, the face of the 
lunatic brightened. He came rapidly forward. 

"Did you see her?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And you gave her the flower?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Did she seem surprised or — anything?" 

Lucy hesitated. "I couldn't say, sir." 

"But didn't you notice ?" 

"Yes, sir. I noticed whatever there was." 

"And you could not see the slightest surprise, or 
pleasure or displeasure, or any expression whatever 
on her face ?" 

"No, sir." 

He took a backward step, and regarded her as if 
suspecting falsehood. She understood the look. A 
blush came into her honest face. "I am trying to 
tell you the truth, sir — and do my duty." 

He smiled. "I hope your truth and duty are not 
opposing forces." 

"No, sir." 

"They can work together sometimes. But did- 
n't she say anything at all, or ask a question?" 

"She asked what your name was and I said I 
didn't know, which was the truth, sir." 

"Of course! Of course! But didn't she appear 
to know who sent it ?" 

Lucy said nothing. 

"Didn't she ask for any sort of description?" 



so 
tr 



290 Pandora's Box 

Still hampered by the unrelenting conscience 
made no reply. 

More impatiently he inquired, "Then she took 1 
as a matter of course, just as an everyday occur- 
rence ?" 

Lucy's silence and her look of indecision clearly 
indicated an inward struggle. 

"Did she receive it as she would a — an old news- 
paper for instance?" 

"No, sir." 

"Did she toss it out of the window?" 
'Oh no, sir! She took it twice." 
Took it twice?" 

'Yes, sir. She handed it back to me and then 
took it again. I was to be sure and tell you." 

He frowned, as if bewildered. "You say she told 
you to tell me that she took it twice ?" 

"No, sir. That she only took it the second time." 

"Then she took it twice, but not the first time." 

"Yes, sir." 

As he closed his eyes and drew a hand across his 
forehead, obviously in some mental confusion, Lucy 
felt surer than ever of his disordered reason. But 
there was something in his personality that she 
liked. Instead of fearing, she began to pity him. 

"But why — " he murmured — "why could — how 
— why did she say— or do — that?" 

"I don't know, sir." 

It was now the daft man's turn to study the coun- 
tenance of the ambassadress for signs of wandering 



A Diplomatic Incident 2 9i 

wits. But the big, round, honest eyes looked calmly 
into his own with an inert but stable sanity. The 
brain behind those eyes was unimaginative perhaps, 
slow moving and incapable of sudden readjustment, 
but it was normal. 

Gently, but somewhat wearily, he asked, "Was 
that all she said— or did — or did not?" 

"No, sir. She said to thank you for the rose, and 
that she would see you tomorrow at five o'clock/' 

"Tomorrow! Why not today?" 

"She did not say, sir." 

"Are you sure it was tomorrow*, and not today ?" 

"Yes, sir. Very sure. I think she is not up to 
it" 

"Not up to it?" 

"Yes, sir. No, sir. Not up to seeing you today, 
sir. She said she would see you tomorrow at five 
o'clock if she was well enough." 

"Oh !" and the lunatic's face became more grave 
and he looked away, over the meadows. So melan- 
choly, indeed, was his expression that Lucy, whose 
heart was tender, felt yet more pity for him. But. 
the uncompromising conscience permitted no wan- 
derings from the path of duty; and she added: 

"After she said that, and had smelled the rose, 
she took up a book and went on with her reading." 

Whereupon the eyes of the demented gentleman 
came back from the meadows and met her own with 
a look that told plainly of an unexpected blow ; of 
a sharp distress. 






2 92 Pandora's Box 

Deep was Lucy's sympathy. But as she could 
think of nothing more encouraging on the instant 
she remarked, merely to break the silence, 

"The book was a dictionary." 

The demented one nodded, as acknowledgment 
of unimportant news. "She was reading French or 
German, perhaps." 

"No, sir. It was an English dictionary." 
Then she had another book, too ?" 
No, sir. Only the dictionary." 

Then he — himself suspected of dementia — began 
to wonder if some mysterious malady had disturbed 
Lady Octavia's brain. 

From the corners of his eyes he regarded the am- 
bassadress. "When you entered the room she was 
reading an English dictionary?" 

Lucy frowned, and again showed embarrassment. 
"I did not say that, sir." 

"You said she took up her book and went on 
with the reading." 

Lucy looked away. 

"Didn't you?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"You must excuse me if I seem fussy or impa- 
tient. But I landed at Portsmouth last night and 
have been steering my motor through mud and rain 
in the dark, ever since. Possibly I am unreasonably 
nervous. I may be slow of comprehension, and I 
confess with shame that, in spite of your report, I 
have not a clear understanding of just what hap- 



A Diplomatic Incident 2 93 

pened. But when you presented the rose she showed 
no surprise or interest. She simply took it without 
really taking it and inquired the name of the sender, 
which you could not give. Then she handed it back 
to you but took it again, the second time, which you 
say was the first time, and told you to be sure and 
mention that fact." 

Lucy's cheeks became redder, and she looked 
away. "No, sir, not that exactly." 

"Then she told you to thank me for it. Said 
I might call tomorrow at five o'clock if she were 
well enough. Then she laid the rose in her lap, 
and took up the English dictionary, the perusal of 
which you and the rose had interrupted." 

Lucy remained silent, her troubled eyes on the 
distant church tower. 

Again he smiled. "Well, that's all right. Peo- 
ple when desperately ill do not, as a rule, seek con- 
solation in the dictionary. However, I respect your 
sense of duty. Would you mind telling me your 
name?" 

"Lucy Lake." 

"Mine is Ethan Lovejoy. And as we are two 
honest people who never betray our friends — that 
is, intentionally — we can understand and respect 
each other. But there is one thing you can tell me, 
Lucy, and still be faithful to Lady Octavia — you 
can tell me just how she looks. Is she pale and 
thin?" 

"Oh yes, sir!" 



2 94 Pandora's Box 

"Much changed since a year ago?" 

"Oh, yes, indeed, sir! It's terrible." And the 
large, round eyes suddenly filled with tears. The 
demented one's face also became more serious. 

"She has always been so good !" Lucy added with 
a quivering lip, "so good !" 

"Yes, we all know that," he murmured. 

"She never forgot my birthday. From Paris, two 
years ago, she sent me a locket." And drawing from 
her sleeve a little white handkerchief with yellow 
dots Lucy wiped two tears from her cheeks. "And 
she gave me this waterproof I have on. And now 
there are two doctors." 

"Two doctors besides Dr. Wherry?" 

"No, sir. Dr. Wherry and one other; a nervous 
doctor." 

"A nervous doctor?" 

"Yes, sir. He came down specially from London, 
this morning." 

Then he of disordered reason hazarded a guess. 
You mean, perhaps, a doctor in nervous diseases?" 
I couldn't say, sir, but it's something dreadful. 
She may die." 

"Die ! Nonsense ! Why do you say that ?" 

"Because nobody knows what is the matter with 
her." 

Somewhat impatiently he retorted: "That's no 
proof that she is going to die." 

But in a plesanter tone he said: "Cheer up. 
Don't cry," and he patted her arm. "She may get 
well." 






«n 



«€' 



A Diplomatic Incident 2 95 

He took some coins from a pocket. "And I am 
much obliged to you for what you have done." 

Lucy backed away. "No, sir, don't give me any 
more money!" 

'Why not ? You have earned it." 
f No, sir, I have not." 

Returning the coins to his pocket, he held out his 
hand. She seemed surprised. 

"Shake hands," he insisted. 

Hesitatingly she laid her hand in his. The strong 
fingers closed over it in a friendly pressure. "You 
are a good girl, Lucy Lake, and you have qualities 
that are worth more than all the money in the world. 
You have done your best to keep faith with both of 
us. Please count me among your friends. Good 
bye." 

Into her moist eyes came a brighter look. She 
could only stammer, "Thank you, sir — very much." 
And, with a curtsy, she turned and hurried from 
the garden. 



XXV 



<€ 



SCIENCE DEMANDS IT" 



WHILE Lucy Lake, with good intentions, 
was trying to mingle truth with diplomacy 
at the far end of the castle, the two doc- 
tors still consulted at the head of the great stair- 
case. This long drawn conference was not the re- 
sult of any difference of opinion. It resulted from 
a careful revision of the case, and from some dif- 
ficulty in deciding the best manner of announcing 
the verdict. The verdict was unfavorable. To 
dress up Ignorance in the shining robes of Wisdom 
requires, at times, consideration. This was one of 
those occasions. Both doctors, however, were men 
of experience. At last, fully prepared, they de- 
scended to the waiting family. 

The old earl, Lady Georgiana and Lord Aylesden 
were seated in the library near one of the windows. 
In front of this anxious group the two physicians 
placed themselves, the Eminent Specialist in a chair, 
Dr. Wherry standing near. After a brief but pain- 
ful silence the Eminent Specialist began. He was 
a heavy man with a fine head, intelligent eyes and 
a full, untrimmed, reddish beard. While not sloven- 

296 



Science Demands It 2 97 

ly he was somewhat indifferent as to his appear- 
ance. 

In a firm, steady, yet sympathetic voice he in- 
formed his listeners, that in nervous afflictions of 
this nature no two cases were ever absolutely simi- 
lar ; that symptoms definite and conclusive with one 
patient were misleading in another; that each case 
demanded its own study, a fresh diagnosis on in- 
dependent lines; that in these cases — so called ner- 
vous — there existed an interweaving of mental and 
physical disturbances that often contradicted all 
previous observation; that with Lady Octavia 
the absence of guiding symptoms of any physi- 
cal disease, combined with excessive waste of 
tissue and exhaustion of vitality from no explain- 
able mental or emotional shock, constituted the 
uncertainty of the present disorder. This, and 
something more, with an occasional introduction 
of technical terms, formed the substance of his 
remarks. 

"But surely, Doctor van Home," exclaimed 
Auntie George, "you think she will soon recover!" 

With a slight shrug of the shoulders he an- 
swered, "My dear Lady Georgiana, there is of 
course that possibility. There is always hope." 

"Do you really mean to tell us," said Lord Ayles- 
den, "that she is — is really — going to be, indefinite- 
ly, an invalid?" 

"I do not say that. I feel it my duty, however, 
to be frank with you. In the various cases, some- 



298 Pandora's Box 

what similar, which have come under my observa- 
tion the recoveries have been very slow." 

Auntie George, in silence, closed her eyes, leaned 
back and pressed her handkerchief to her face. Lord 
Aylesden got up from his chair, moved away and 
stood before a window. The Earl of Drumworth's 
head sank forward. He tapped the arm of his 
chair with nervous, uncertain fingers. 

And then it was that the impossible happened. 
The Eminent Specialist, who sat with his back to 
the door, had begun a speech of consoling intent, 
though he promised little hope. "If I can be of any 
service at any hour, Dr. Wherry is to write me 
and — " He went no further. 

Auntie George with a sudden exclamation had 
risen to her feet. And after the sudden exclamation 
her mouth remained open. Her eyes, also wide 
open, were staring, in amazement — joy or horror — 
toward the door of the hall. The four men, all 
startled by her voice, turned their eyes in the same 
direction. And what they saw brought a similar 
look into their own faces. Dr. van Home, who 
was sitting back to the door, rose somewhat hastily 
and faced about. In so doing he knocked over his 
chair. 

In the doorway stood Octavia. Not pale and lean- 
ing upon a nurse's arm, but erect, firm on her feet, 
with color in her cheeks and a smile on her lips. 
Moreover, from crown to toe she was carefully and 
daintily attired. In recognition of the general as- 



Science Demands It 2 99 

tonishment she nodded gayly to those present. In 
a voice equally gay she exclaimed, 

"I am feeling better I" 

Passing close to Dr. Wherry she tapped his arm. 
His only acknowledgment of this attention was a 
scowl and a shake of the head. Still she smiled. "It 
came all of a sudden 1" 

"I should say it did," he muttered. 

Then followed a confusion of voices : queries and 
answers; expressions of delight, surprise, almost 
of unbelief. Auntie George and Octavia's father 
had hastened forward as if doubting their senses 
of sight and of hearing until verified by the sense 
of touch. 

Dr. Van Home had not recognized, at once, this 
new arrival. But the members of the family were 
too deeply occupied by their own happiness to take 
note of other people. Dr. Wherry, however, in 
looking toward his famous colleague to discover how 
this seeming miracle had affected him, saw that he 
was regarding Octavia in frank astonishment. 

And why not ? This radiant creature of blooming 
color and joyful spirits bore little resemblance to 
the pale and listless invalid whom he had visited an 
hour ago. At a word from Dr. Wherry, however, 
he understood. Then, after adding his own con- 
gratulations to those of her overjoyed family, he 
addressed the maiden. 

"And I am sincerely glad that you have received 
such welcome news." 

Octavia raised her eyebrows. "What news ?" 



300 Pandora's Box 

Dr. van Home smiled. "Ah, my lady, that is 
your own secret." 

"But I have received no news." 

"No letter, no telegram? No unexpected mes- 
sage of any kind?" 

"No." 

This brief falsehood was delivered with calm 
eyes, and in a voice of protesting innocence. But 
she could not prevent a sudden tingling in her 
cheeks. 

In a fatherly manner he patted her arm. 

"Keep your secret, my dear lady. It may move 
in a mysterious way its wonders to perform, but it 
is surely beneficial." 

"Oh! You think I am keeping something from 
you!" 

Dr. van Home smiled. "I am sure of it." Oc- 
tavia frowned. But Dr. van Home maintained the 
doubting smile. "Truth is often exhausting; and 
now you need strength. By the way, aren't you 
hungry ?" 

"Yes, indeed I am!" 

"Good ! Eat at once. Something nourishing but 
not too heavy. Something that will assimilate with 
that life-giving secret." 

"But there is no secret." And she laughed, a care- 
less little laugh, but with a shade of embarrassment 

Entering the dining room a few minutes later, in 
obedience to the suddenly acquired appetite, she 
heard footsteps behind her and turned about Dr. 



Science Demands It 3 01 

!Wherry was just closing the door. Then, against 
the closed door he stood and scowled. 

"What is it ?" she asked, and moved toward him. 
But he waved her away. 

"What is it, indeed! Impudence — and ingrati- 
tude; that's what it is." 

"Why, Dockey, what do you mean?" 

"You have no shame and no pride : nor honor nor 
conscience. That's what I mean." 

Octavia shook her head reprovingly. "Oh, what 
things to say !" 

Dr. Wherry also shook his head, but up and down 
solemnly, with the threatening scowl. "Even Dr. 
van Home could not help guessing your degrading 
secret." 

"Really !" And Octavia's eyebrows soared aloft. 
"Then he is wiser than I am." 

"And I shall give him further particulars. Sci- 
ence, duty, gratitude, common civility, all demand 
that he shall know." 

"That he shall know what?" 

The little man paused a moment before answer- 
ing, and his frown deepened. 

"That your lover has come back to you." 

As if receiving a blow Octavia took a backward 
step, her eyes fixed in alarm on the scowling man. 
Could he — was it possible that he knew? No— it 
was merely his guess. And she smiled. But her 
hand trembled as she raised it to her hair, as if a 
careless movement. And the voice was uncertain 
in which she retorted, 



302 Pandora's Box 



"Which lover do you mean? There are several, 
you know." 

Dr. Wherry straightened his spectacles with one 
hand, at the same time blinking his eyes as if angry 
— or laughing at her ; it was hard to know which. 

"I mean — " and again the head moved slowly up 
and down — "I mean — the American. His name is 
Lovejoy." 

This time Octavia caught her breath, closed her 
eyes, and pressed a hand against her face. She 
leaned upon the table for support. Had the in- 
nermost secret of her soul become common prop- 
erty? No, she could not believe it. But she re- 
membered Dr. van Home's words : and these other 
words, now from Dr. Wherry, were piercing her 
brain. 

"Oh yes! A love-sick maid. Just pining away. 
A nice trick to play upon your friends! You cer- 
tainly deceived us, and frightened us — for many 
months — and with perfect success!" 

She knew that Dr. Wherry was laughing at her, 
but this laying bare the sacred privacy of her heart 
came with a shock. Although her limbs were weak, 
her pride did not desert her. Still leaning upon 
the table she raised her head. "What are you in- 
venting, Dockey ? What crazy idea is in your mis- 
chief making head?" 

She came toward him to lay her hands on his 
shoulders. But he took her two wrists and pushed 
her gently away, with a warlike frown. "How 
many kinds of a fool do you think I am?" 



Science Demands It 3<>3 

"All kinds." 

"You are mistaken. Last summer when we were 
standing before the ruins of the fire and I was prais- 
ing this man's deed, I happened to look up into your 
face. And you looked into mine." 

"Yes. I have often done that, because I like 
your face, bad as it is." 

"And your eyes gave you away. They were 
brimming over with pride, as if you owned him. 
Your whole soul was in them. They were moist, 
and tender, and glad. Oh, I can read ! I have seen 
women in love. I know the symptoms." 

"What nonsense! Outrageous, disgusting non- 
sense !" 

"And I read your silly secret as clearly as if you 
had shouted it from the housetops. As clearly as if 
you had waved your arms and screamed, 'I love that 
American !' " 

"Stop, stop! Oh, how can you? What a hateful 
malicious old man!" And she pressed both hands 
against her burning cheeks. "And you told every- 
body you met, of course !" 

"No. I told nobody. I kept the mortifying 
knowledge to myself." 

Octavia, with a flushed, appealing face, came to- 
ward him with extended arms. Again he pushed 
away the hands. "Don't touch me, you shameless 
woman !" 

"Oh, Dockey ! How can you !" 



3^4 Pandora's Box 

"But I shall keep the sickening secret no longer. 
I shall tell everything to Dr. van Home. It is only 
right that he should know. Besides, science de- 
mands it." 

"Oh! You wouldn't really?" 

"Indeed I would! It is no more than my duty. 
He not only has a right to know the condition of 
his patients but it is absolutely necessary, to be of 
service in his profession, that he should not be kept 
in ignorance. As I said before, science demands 
it" 

Dr. Wherry was not prepared for Octavia's re- 
ception of this speech. In silence she turned away, 
dropped into a chair, leaned forward on the dining 
table, and wept. He hurried to her side. An arm 
around her shoulders, his cheek against hers, he 
exclaimed : 

"Don't cry! Oh, don't cry, Octavia. I am a 
brute. I forgot that you are ill and weak. There, 
there ! Now brace up. You must eat something. I 
take it all back — everything, everything." 

Still she wept. "You cannot. It — it — is too 
late." 

"It is never too late. You know it was all in 
joke. And after all, when you come to think about 
it, your case is not so very shocking. I once knew 
an excellent woman who cared for a man. She 
even married him. Besides — " 

He straightened up, and listened. "What's that? 



Science Demands It 3<>5 

They are in the hall. I must head 'em off." Knd 
he started for the door. 

Looking back into two tearful eyes, he heard, be- 
tween sobs : 

"But you — will — tell them everything." 

"I shall tell them nothing. Not a word. It's 
none of their business." 

"But — but — " here she looked up and tried to 
smile — "science — demands it." 

"Science to the devil !" 

Then the door closed behind him. 



XXVI 

THE CRAZY GENTLEMAN GETS WORSE 

WHEN the clock in the laundry struck four 
Lucy Lake put aside a linen garment she 
was mending and slipped on her water- 
proof. Her mother looked up from her ironing. 

"Where are your going, Lucy?" 

"Into the old garden to see if the strange gentle- 
man fastened the gate when he went out." 

The mother nodded, and went on with her work. 

It may be well to explain that one of Lucy's attri- 
butes was an overwhelming — but enjoyable — sense 
of responsibility. She had always preferred tend- 
ing a baby to playing with other girls. Tending two 
babies gave her twice as much pleasure as tending 
one baby. She had thoroughly enjoyed, almost 
from infancy, a solemn responsibility for all that 
happened in her neighborhood. 

A drizzling rain was still falling as she entered 
the Garden of the Sleeping Beauty. The statue of 
Cupid, although dripping with water, bespoke a joy- 
ful dancer. In the obscuring mist the quaintly 
trimmed shrubbery stood dimly forth, grey and wet. 
As she was passing the stone seat, she stopped, sud- 

306 



The Crazy Gentleman Gets Worse 307 

denly, with an exclamation of surprise. There sat 
a man ; silent, motionless, his chin in his hand. At 
the sound of her voice he looked up; and he seemed 
as surprised as herself. 

"Why, sir, you still here !" 

Smiling faintly, he straightened up and drew a 
long breath. "I believe I am." 

Lucy's motherly heart was touched by the changes 
in his face. He appeared many years older than 
when she had left him there, six hours ago. There 
was weariness in the eyes. Lines had formed be- 
side the mouth. 

"But, sir, it is after four o'clock." 

"Really?" 

"Yes, sir." 

Her eyes rested on his leather overcoat. It seemed 
very wet, and it looked, in places, especially about 
the shoulders, as if soaked with rain. A question 
which might appear impertinent and inhospitable 
was on her lips, and she hesitated. But she mustered 
courage. "Have you been here, sir, ever since?" 

"I think so. What time do you say it is?" 

"Four o'clock." 

He raised his eyebrows and puckered his lips, but 
said nothing. Then Lucy Lake's motherly instincts, 
abetted by her sense of responsibility, all came into 
action. 

"You must be hungry." 

He arose slowly as if stiff from being long in 
one position. "Oh, I don't know." 



3<>8 Pandora's Box 






'Have you eaten nothing since morning?" 

Why no ; so I haven't ! Nor this morning either, 
come to think." 

"You must be very hungry, sir." 

He looked down into her face and smiled, the 
friendly smile that dispelled all fear of him as a 
crazy person. "You are a good friend, Lucy Lake. 
Very kind and thoughtful." 

Embarrassed, she took a backward step. "Oh no, 
sir! But I can get you a sandwich or something, 
and a cup of tea." 

"Thank you. You are very good — and I appre- 
ciate it. But I — " turning partly away, and in a 
lower tone — "I don't feel like eating." 

Again the motherly heart was stirred by the joy- 
less, despondent face. Her little, round mouth ex- 
panded slightly, into a smile. 

"Would you feel more hungry, sir, if you hearcj 
good news?" 

Quickly he turned, and his eyes looked eagerly 
into her own. "Is there good news?" 

Lucy nodded. 

"Of Lady Octavia?' 
'Yes, sir." 



ui j-aay v^ciavia: 1 " 

"What is it? Is she better ?" 

"Yes, sir. She is very much better." 



"Good ! Good ! And the doctors say it is noth- 
ing serious?" 
"Yes, sir." 
"Oh, that is news worth hearing !" 



The Crazy Gentleman Gets Worse 309 

"Yes, sir. She is up and dressed, and this fore- 
noon she came downstairs/ ' 

"Well, that is good news I" And he laid a hand 
on each of her shoulders and gave her a gentle 
shake. 

"Why, Lucy, that is the best news in the world !" 
And the smile that lit up his face seemed to trans- 
form him into a boy again. He had become, in an 
instant, several years younger. The lines of care and 
gloom had vanished. A more joyful face she had 
never seen; and she smiled — from sympathy. 

"That is splendid !" he exclaimed. "I feel like 
dancing. You may kiss me for a quarter 1" 

Lucy frowned, and drew back. He removed the 
hands from her shoulders and laughed. "Well, that 
was only a suggestion. I could think of no better 
way of celebrating the event. Do you know what 
a quarter is?" 

"Yes, sir ; a fourth." 

"Of what?" 
'Of anything." 

'Gad, so it is ! But in this case it's money ; about 
a shilling. I merely had in mind the old proverb, 
'A kiss in time is the best policy.' " 

Again Lucy frowned. "I never heard it before/' 

Raising both hands to his forehead, elbows out, 
as for light and air, he pushed back his cap, and it 
fell to earth. But his thoughts were elsewhere 
and he observed it not. With face upturned, eyes 
closed and a smile on his lips, he seemed to be 



"< 

at 



3io Pandora's Box 

inhaling happiness. The drizzling rain fell gently on 
him, as ff to cool a fever. Also, it seemed — to him 
— like felicitations from above. 

Then, with upturned eyes he moved his arms, like 
a bird about to fly. This performance, evidently an 
expression of excessive joy, did not surprise Lucy 
Lake. She knew it was the nature of crazy people 
to do unusual things. Besides, his happiness was a 
pleasant thing to see. He was behaving like a boy 
of ten. With eyes still upturned he exclaimed : 

"There is always sunshine behind the clouds, isn't 
there?" 

"Yes, sir. Very likely." 

"You remember the old proverb, 'The course of 
true love has a silver lining.' " 

"That's not the way it runs, sir. You have got 
two proverbs mixed." 

His smiling eyes came down from heaven and 
gazed into her serious face. 

"Have I ? Well, there's one thing we are sure of, 
and that is, the course of true love is the shortest 
way home." 

"Oh no. sir !" 

"Then it's the longest way round — which I re- 
fuse to believe." 

Still Lucy frowned, not in anger, but in a mental 
effort to rectify an error. "I am not contradicting 
you, sir, but you get the proverbs jumbled." 

"Well, even if I do, the fact remains that the 
course of true love is the biggest and most import- 



The Crazy Gentleman Gets Worse 3* i 

ant thing in creation. It is bigger than astronomy. 
Isn't it ?" 

This was so clearly the working of a disordered 
brain that Lucy remained silent. She knew that in- 
sane persons were sometimes violent when opposed. 
This gentleman, however, had thus far shown no 
signs of anger. 

"Were you ever in love?" he asked. 

Lucy blushed. "Not to speak of, sir." 

"Not to speak of! Good heavens! Why, earth- 
quakes are nothing to it! It's a conflagration and 
a stormy sea, all in one. You are like a cork on 
a raging ocean. Incidentally it lifts you up to 
heaven then flings you down again, deeper than a 
million fathoms. And does it several times a day. 
That, roughly speaking, is the course of true love." 

Lucy smiled. "I don't think I should like it." 

"Oh, yes you would ! Everybody likes it. After 
once tasting, life is dull without it. But I must be 
off. Now that I am alive again I do feel empty. 
So I'll trot away to the inn. How can I show my 
gratitude for all you have done for me ?" 
I have done nothing, sir." 
'On the contrary, you have brought me the best 
news I ever heard in my life. Suppose some old 
aunt were to make you a present, what would you 
choose ?" 

"Oh, I couldn't say, sir." 

"Have you a watch?" 

"No, sir." 






3" Pandora's Box 



"Have you a middle name?" 

"No, sir." 

"Just Lucy Lake?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Well, good bye, Lucy Lake. And we shall meet 
hereafter, either many times or not at all." 

"What do you mean by that, sir?" 

"Oh, it's the way of the world. Good bye." 

And they shook hands. Then he bowed, as re- 
spectfully as if she were the lady of the castle, 
turned and walked away — bareheaded, without his 
cap. 

But no act of this poor gentleman, however ec- 
centric, would have surprised Lucy Lake. She 
called after him, pioked up the cap and presented it 
He thanked her, adding with a smile, "This is a 
momentous day, and rather upsetting. I am not 
always quite so giddy." Which seemed, to the 
maiden, an acknowledgment that he realized his af- 
fliction. 

Then he left the old garden as he had entered it, 
by the little door toward the river. 

From Drumworth Castle the crazy gentleman 
went straight to the shop of the village jeweler. It 
was a small shop, and its choice of watches not con- 
fusing. But he selected the best of them all — a 
little watch of good design, pronounced by Mr. 
James Thorp, the proprietor, "a most genteel gift 
for any lady, the works guaranteed." The giver 



Le Crazy Gentleman Gets Worse 3*3 



[ for it — £j i os. — and wrote out carefully the 
ription to be engraved inside the case : 

To 

LUCY LAKE 

From her Grateful 

Friend 

E.JL 



XXVII 

SENTENCE OF DEATH 

DURING the night the rain ceased. Then, 
between masses of scudding mist, the moon 
appeared. Later on, from a radiant sky- 
deep blue with great white clouds — the sun pro- 
claimed a perfect day. 

In the afternoon an equipage, also perfect, stood 
glistening before a door of Drumworth Castle. The 
Lady Georgiana came forth. About to enter the 
carriage her glance fell upon a nearby object. She 
frowned. Still frowning she addressed the foot- 
man who stood beside her. 

"Miles, there is that awful dog again." 

Miles also looked at the dog, who stood just be- 
hind the carriage. Baseborn acknowledged the at- 
tention of these two imposing people by a cocking 
of the ears and a rapid, horizontal, friendly move- 
ment of his tail. He seemed to have no suspicion of 
his shocking contrast with the equipage, which was 
thoroughly patrician. 

"I have told you once before," said the lady, "to 
see that this did not occur again. We cannot have 
such a creature on the premises." 

314 



Sentence of Death 3*5 

"I am very sorry, your ladyship. I did not know 
he was here." 

Lady Georgiana transferred her frown upward 
to the coachman on the box. 

"Send that dog off, Basset, and see that he does 
not return. Give him away." 

Basset turned his face toward Lady Georgiana 
so far as his stiff collar would permit. "We can't 
give him away, your ladyship. Nobody wants him." 

"Have you tried?" 

"All through the village." 

"Then take him far away and leave him some- 
where." 

"We have already tried that, your ladyship." 

"And he still returns?" 

"He gets home first." 

Lady Georgiana's frown deepened. It seemed 
to include her nose and mouth. Was she to be 
triumphantly circumvented by a thing like this pres- 
ent cur? Again her glance rested on Baseborn. 
For a moment they studied each other. In the cold 
eyes of the lady were contempt and hostility. In 
Baseborn's admiration and cordiality. The dog's 
eyes and tail told clearly his desire for a better un- 
derstanding between the lady and himself. But the 
lady went no further than externals. And in the 
matter of externals Baseborn was a blunder. For 
a brief moment Lady Georgiana gazed upon his 
rugged outlines and dingy coloring. Unless ap- 
pearances were incredibly mendacious he was a poor 



3*6 Pandora's Box 

specimen of his kind ; and the kind was cheap. From 
the tip of his nose to the end of his gnarled ex- 
tremity there was not a suggestion of gentle birth. 
He was surprisingly plebeian. 

In a tone of unspeakable contempt — and of loath- 
ing — the lady inquired, "What sort of dog is he, 
Basset?" 

For a moment Basset hesitated. "I should say, 
your ladyship, that his father was a bulldog and 
his mother was miscellaneous." 

"If he were a man," said the lady, "he would be 
in jail. You say it is impossible to get rid of him?" 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"Then have him put out of the way. Kindly, of 
course, with chloroform. You understand ?" 

"Yes, your ladyship." 

"Now let there be no mistake about it. See that 
it is done tonight." 

"Yes, your ladyship. I will attend to it." 

Had Baseborn understood these fateful words he 
might have protested. He might have argued that 
for the sin of plainness death was too severe a pun- 
ishment. As it was, his honest, inquiring eyes re- 
mained fixed on the lady's face, doubting, yet hop- 
ing for the best. But she merely said, still frown- 
ing: 

"Take the whip, Miles, and drive him off." 

This was done ; and Baseborn, depressed but not 
surprised, retreated toward the stables. 

At that instant a voice came from the hall. 



Sentence of Death 3*7 

"Oh, Auntie George! It is such a lovely after- 
noon I think I will go too, just for the drive. " 

" Do come, Octavia. The air will do you good." 

"They can bring me back, then return again for 
you." 

This plan being approved the victoria with the 
two ladies was soon rolling beneath the overhanging 
trees, along the straight, wide avenue of Drum- 
worth park. 

About two miles from home Auntie George sud- 
denly straightened up. 

"Basset ! Stop !" 

Octavia was alarmed. "What's the matter, 
Auntie George? Are you ill?" 

"No. It's that awful dog!" 

And lo! Beside the carriage stood Baseborn, 
looking joyfully up, breathing hard, his tongue out, 
his tail wagging. Were it possible to appear more 
vulgar and disreputable than usual, he was doing it 
now. Covered with dust from running close behind 
the vehicle he certainly appeared — compared with 
the glistening equipage — a disgraceful thing. When 
ordered back he merely stood and gazed up into 
Octavia's face with a look of unquenchable admira- 
tion. A sharp word from Basset and a yet sharper 
cut from the whip, aimed at random, across the up- 
turned head, brought a cry of protest from Octavia. 
And when she looked back, at a turning of the road 
nearly a quarter of a mile beyond, she saw Baseborn 
still standing where they had left him. 



3*8 Pandora's Box 

Auntie George frowned. "Is he following ?" 

"No," Octavia answered. "But it was a shame to 
strike him. Never do that again, Basset." 

In the apologetic acknowledgment of this com- 
mand by Basset, and in the silence of Auntie George, 
was hidden a somber secret unsuspected by Oc- 
tavia. They had good reason to believe that before 
the rising of another sun that dog would be far be- 
yond the pain of earthly \yhips. 

After depositing Auntie George for her bridge 
party — not three miles from the castle — Octavia 
started homeward. At a turning of the road, where 
the tall trees of Drumworth forest lined the high- 
way on either side, she stopped the carriage, and 
alighted. 

"I think I will walk home, Basset, through the 
woods." 

"Don't do it, your ladyship!" Basset was sixty 
years old and had been in the family all his life. 

"Why not?" 

"You are not strong enough yet. And it is near- 
ly a mile by that path." 

Octavia smiled, and shook her head. "I am 
stronger than you think. And that path and I are 
old friends." 

Basset still protested. "Then, Miles, you follow 
her ladyship." 

"No, no ! I prefer to be alone." And climbing 
three rough stone steps she passed through a narrow 
opening in the wall, and disappeared. Miles clam- 



Sentence of Death 3*9 

bered to his seat and the carriage returned for 
Auntie George. 

Two years had gone by since Octavia had used 
this path. Now, once again in the silent wood she 
drew a deep breath of that many-scented, myste- 
rious, sunless atmosphere which recalls, more than 
all else, the fairy land of our childhood. For this 
air of the woods is the air once breathed by gnomes 
and elfs and sprites and witches, by enchanted ani- 
mals, by dwarfs and giants, by knights and fairy 
princes. As she inhaled this air and penetrated 
farther into the shadowy depths she seemed to have 
left the world behind, the everyday world of ordi- 
nary people, and was entering, once again, a world 
of her childhood; a world where nothing was im- 
possible. The silence, to be sure, the breathless, 
solemn, living silence — as of a host of invisible 
creatures — broken only by a falling twig or the 
sound of an overhead woodpecker, was mildly ter- 
rifying. Could Octavia have seen herself as she ap- 
peared to the denizens of this wood — notably cer- 
tain birds and squirrels — she would have under- 
stood their astonishment and why they gave her so 
wide a berth. With her white dress and crimson 
sunshade she was a startling object in the surround- 
ing gloom. 

The narrow, winding path was a little rougher 
than formerly, as if less traveled. Two squirrels 
in the heat of a family quarrel caused her to stop 
for a moment, and look up. As she started forward, 



320 Pandora's Box 

still looking up, she tripped against a root, and near- 
ly fell. Being still a convalescent, and weaker than 
she realized, this trifling accident with its mild shock, 
created a vague uneasiness, intensified perhaps by 
the silence and the solitude. Her uneasiness was 
increased by the sight of a huge boulder around 
which the path made a sudden turn. For this boul- 
der, she remembered, was only half-way through 
the wood. She knew, now, that she had overesti- 
mated her strength. As she turned the corner made 
by the angle of the great rock she stopped short 
with a smothered cry. In the path, and almost 
touching her, stood a figure that drove the color 
from her cheeks. It was the figure of a professional 
tramp of the most offensive type. His besotted 
eyes, unshaven chin, and the filthy discolored gar- 
ments that hung upon his limbs were all repugnant. 
As she shrunk back, a hand against her cheek, and 
loathing in her face, the man smiled. He lifted 
from his head a filthy rag that was once a cap, and 
made the mockery of a bow. 

"You needn't be afraid of me, miss. I'm a great 
friend of the ladies." 

From his voice and manner she knew he had been 
drinking. Gazing upon her with a smile of ad- 
miration he continued, "You are the prettiest of 'em 
all — the whole lot — and I'm just givin' it to yer 
straight." 

With as much severity as fright permitted, but in 
a trembling voice, she said, "Please let me pass." 



Sentence of Death 3 2 * 

He smiled, in enjoyment of her terror. "No, you 
ain't in any hurry. There's nobody with yer, or 
you wouldn't be so scared. And there ain't anybody 
the way I come. So we needn't hurry. See?" 

Her knees threatened to give way beneath her. 
She stepped — or rather tottered — backward, and 
leaned against the rock. "Please let me go on, sir ; 
I'm — I'm in a hurry." 

"No, you ain't in any hurry whatever. But I'll 
tell yer what I'll do. You give me one kiss — just 
one nice little kiss — and then we'll talk it over. 
Come now, that's fair." 

He came a step nearer. Octavia, growing weaker 
with every second, moved backward, still resting a 
hand against the rock. Without support she felt 
she might fall. 

He enjoyed her agony. 

"Say now," and his voice was lowered to a still 
huskier tone, "good friends like to be alone. We'll 
just step aside to a more secluded spot, hey?" 

On the verge of collapse, she tried to cry for help, 
but even her voice had forsaken her. Her cry was 
hardly more than a whisper. As he came closer yet, 
and laid hold on both her shoulders, she threw up 
her hands between her face and his, and made a des- 
perate effort to wrench herself from the polluting 
touch. As well might a doe struggle in the claws of 
a hungry lion. Close to her face came the loose- 
lipped, unclean mouth, and the gloating eyes. Faint 
and dizzy, exhausted by the violent effort, her head 



322 



Pandora's Box 



was beginning to swim in a hideous, unutterable 
despair, when, from the foul, hot lips came a cry 
of rage — and of pain. With a curse, and a spas- 
modic jerk of his whole body, that nearly threw Oc- 
tavia to the ground, he released his hold and wheeled 
about. She saw him aiming blows at some object 
behind him. That object was a dog. And his teeth 
were locked with an iron grip in one of the ankles 
of the man. Octavia rallied with a sudden strength, 
of joy and hope — when she recognized Baseborn. 
As the man wheeled about, in helpless fury, the 
eyes of Baseborn and Octavia met. And Baseborn's 
eyes, in an upturned, sidelong glance, said clearly 
as in spoken words, 

"Run! Quick !" 

And Octavia ran. 



XXVII 

UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE 

TOWARD the castle she ran. 
And she ran as only those can run with 
death— or worse — behind. 

To her it seemed an hour, this flight — and a 
measureless distance. In reality it was less than 
half a mile. As she neared the edge of the wood, 
catching glimpses between the trees of the distant, 
sunlit castle, she saw a man in grey clothes — not a 
tramp — leaning against an ancient oak. His back 
was toward her. In terror of things behind — per- 
haps close behind — she called, involuntarily, for 
help. Quickly he wheeled about, then with a cry of 
joy came forward to the running figure. And the 
running figure, exhausted, hysterical, but safe! — 
fluttered into his arms. The arms closed around her. 
Between his exclamations of surprise he kissed her, 
on mouth, cheeks, forehead — anywhere. Then, at 
arms' length he supported the panting, blushing, 
feebly protesting, almost fainting girl, and drank in 
— as a thirsty lover — the burning cheeks, the tum- 
bling hair, the moist eyes, the quivering lips. 

Her hat was dangling behind her head ; a lock of 

323 



3 2 4 Pandora's Box 

the gold-brown hair had fallen across her cheek. 
The evading eyes, the face of changing color, all 
told for him a thrilling tale of wild emotions — an 
entrancing betrayal of surprise, joy, shame; and 
then — a sudden resentment. She frowned, and with 
protesting hands against his chest tried to push her- 
self away. 

"You don't think I — I ran into your arms be- 
cause — because — " 

"Because you love me? Yes, indeed I do! Why 
not, when you are mine, mine, and you know I love 
you more than — " 

"No! No! I did not— " 

"Yes, yes ! I listen to nothing but yes !' ' 

But still smiling from a happiness too perfect for 
doubts or fears, he released her ; and she, retreating 
a step or two, stood with her back against a tree, 
breathing hard, and ready to sink from exhaus- 
tion. 

"I was running from that man — that thing — " 
she shuddered, and closed her eyes — "who held me 
back there — and — and tried to — kiss me." 

"Held you ! And tried to kiss you !" 

In a broken voice, barely audible, a quivering 
hand before her eyes, she murmured, "Oh, I must 
try— not— think of it !" 

Then she was startled by a sudden change in his 
voice. In a rougher tone he demanded, 

"Where? When? Just now?" 

Uncovering her eyes she looked into a face whose 



Under the Greenwood Tree 3^5 

expression was completely transformed. The fa- 
miliar grey eyes, now harder and with no trace of 
mirth, were frowning into her own. The joyous 
smile of a moment ago was supplanted by a tighten- 
ing of the lips. 

She nodded. "Back there. Baseborn is — holding 
him." 

Ethan Lovejoy said nothing, but he turned away. 
In three long strides he reached a pile of staves. 
They were a little thicker than hoe handles, and were 
intended for a wire fence. Calmly, but with no loss 
of time, he selected one. 

Again the color left Octavia's cheeks. "What 
are you going to do?" 

"Find him." 

"No, no! Listen. Don't go there. He is — a — 
a desperate character; and very strong." 

Ethan smiled. "Is he? So am I." 

He added, and it was more a command than a re- 
quest : "Sit down. I will be back in a minute." 

Then he hurried away. Running with an easy, 
rapid gait along the fateful path he disappeared 
among the trees. 

Judging time by Octavia's hopes and fears he was 
absent many hours. At last — thirty minutes per- 
haps — her straining eyes caught glimpses, between 
tree trunks, of an approaching spot of crimson. Her 
forgotten sunshade! Next appeared Baseborn; 
then the man. In Baseborn's varied career he had 
never received so warm a welcome. She stroked 



3^6 Pandora's Box 

him, and caressed him. Holding his face with both 
hands she tried to express her gratitude. Words 
failed, but Baseborn understood. So great was his 
joy that Ethan, who had thrown himself full length 
upon the ground beside them, remarked, "With one 
exception he is the happiest dog in England." Then 
he took the hand that was nearest and touched it 
with his lips. Octavia looked down into the fa- 
miliar grey eyes, that again were smiling. Again 
they were gentle, with lines of mirth — and more 
than friendly! 

"What did you do to that man ?" 

"Oh, not much, considering. I found Baseborn 
standing guard over him." 

Again Octavia patted the silent hero. "Dear 
Baseborn, I used to think you ugly. Now you are 
more than beautiful. Nothing shall ever part us. 
But tell me, what happened ?" 

"Our interview was short. He is now mov- 
ing toward the village, on his way to the hos- 
pital." 

"Well, go on." 

"When I discovered him he was trying to bandage 
an ankle that Baseborn had crippled. I mentioned, 
in few words, the business that brought me to him. 
He protested innocence, ignorance, all the good 
things. Then he picked up his own stick with one 
hand, and waved a vicious looking knife with the 
other; a knife with which he had been trying to get 
at Baseborn. But Baseborn is a wise fighter and he 



Under the Greenwood Tree 327 

outgeneraled him. Having weakened the enemy he 
used Fabian tactics/' 

Octavia, a hand on Baseborn's head, looked down 
into his eyes and murmured words that any cham- 
pion, dog or human, would love to hear. 

"Then the human brute and ydur humble servant 
came down to business. It really was not a fight — 
merely punishment. He was slow, and scared. When 
the thing was over and he lay on the ground I real- 
ized that one of his arms was broken, among other 
troubles, and I told him how to find the hospital. 
So there you have all the details. This evening I 
will see Dr. Wherry about him. Dr. Wherry will 
tell the town officers and it will be a long time before 
he insults another woman.'' 

Lazily across the far-reaching lawn of Drum- 
worth Castle came the south wind. Lazily it en- 
tered the wood. Lazily and gently it touched the 
faces of these contented persons. Three creatures 
more contented never sat beneath a tree. Being a 
dog, and denied — unjustly we believe — the gift of 
speech, Baseborn's unutterable contentment was 
freely expressed by his eyes, tail, and general de- 
meanor. Pressing close to Octavia he received fre- 
quent tokens of the warmest appreciation. And he 
displayed, after a time, that jealousy characteristic of 
dogs by resenting, amiably, the more than friendly 
understanding which had suddenly developed be- 
tween his benefactor and this adorable lady. He 
forcibly inserted himself between Octavia, who was 



328 Pandora's Box 

sitting with her back against the old oak, and Ethan 
Lovejoy reclining beside her. While these earnest 
efforts caused a certain merriment, he was treated, 
nevertheless, with the honor, the gratitude and the 
gentle consideration that belonged to the hero of the 
day. The lady was amused. But the man glowered 
upon the hero. "Look here, you Perseus Chevalier 
Bayard Horatius Launcelot Baseborn, aren't you 
presuming on your laurels? I, too, am this lady's 
property." 

"Yes, but your position is secondary. He shall 
always be first in my affections." 

"Well, did you ever! And it was I who offered 
him to you, and you, in your soulless pride, sneered 
at the offer." 

"But all that was a year ago. I have outgrown 
certain kinds of pride, thanks to you and him. I 
have learned within an hour that base born things 
are not to be despised. Are they, angel Baseborn ?" 

Being a modest dog this savior of maidens made 
no reply, other than a gentle movement of the plebe- 
ian tail. 

"I am ashamed to confess that once I thought 
otherwise. But I have reformed : and oh, so thor- 
oughly! And to think that I began by despising 
Baseborn because appearances were against him!" 

"We bear no malice for that early contempt. Our 
love for the lady of our choice is dependable and un- 
dying." 

Baseborn's eyes moved solemnly from the speaker 



Under the Greenwood Tree 329 

to the lady's face, and he made it clear by look and 
caudal agitation that these sentiments were his own. 

"Thanks," said Octavia. "You are an honest 
couple. But how you do stare at me, you two ! It's 
dreadfully embarrassing. You behaved better in 
the Old Hall. You dared not be so rude. ,, 

"Stare at you ! Why, I am drinking you in as a 
thirsty soul drinks life and light. Why shouldn't I ?" 

With the handle of her parasol against his cheek 
she tried to turn his head away. "You drink too 
much." 

"But such a happy drunkard! May I never be 
sober!" 

"A drunkard!" she exclaimed. "That would, 
indeed, be too much! For Americans, I am told, 
are already thieves and liars." 

"But good husbands. The best in the world." 

"So I hear. Is it really true?" 

"Try one." 

Octavia laughed. "Very well ; since you ask it." 

Then followed other business: explanations, con- 
fidences and confessions. He confessed that after 
his intoxication over the photograph his love had 
suddenly turned to loathing when she snubbed him, 
that first day, in the ferryboat. Moreover, he tried 
to forget her as something far beyond his reach. 
He also confessed to a year of misery. His mother, 
after her interview with Octavia, had gone to Italy 
and he, without meeting her, had been called to 
America. And so Octavia's message, in a wander- 



330 Pandora's Box 

ing letter, had never reached him until he saw his 
mother four days ago. "And during all those 
months," he said, "I made a gallant effort to forget 
and despise you." 

"No, no, darling boy ! Please don't say that." 

"But I did ! And so deep was my hate, so bitter 
my contempt, that on getting from Mumsey even 
that frigid little message I started off at once and 
traveled day and night to get here." 

Octavia laughed. 

And Baseborn, in obvious approval, wagged his 
tail. 

Octavia's smile, however, was followed by a 
frown. She began to readjust her tumbling hair, 
much disordered by her flight through the woods. "I 
am ashamed, humiliated, when I think of the morti- 
fying way I ran into your arms." 

"Mortifying! It was heavenly." 

"No! It was horrible! And how differently I 
had planned our meeting !" 

"Never was earthly meeting happier ! Let's do it 
again !" 

When she frowned and shook her head he asked, 
"But how had you planned it?" 

"In a dignified and proper way, of course." 

"Disgusting idea!" he exclaimed. "Cold-blooded 
and commonplace." 

"I intended to reach home about half an hour 
before you called. That would give me time to prink 
a little. When you were announced I should let you 



Under the Greenwood Tree 33 1 

wait a few minutes — not too long, but just long 
enough for you to realize that your visit was of no 
special importance; no more remarkable than any 
other visit" 

"What a mean woman !" 

"I should, of course, express regret for the in- 
justice I did you regarding the note in Pandora's 
box. But I should have done it discreetly; in a 
friendly way but not — not too encouraging." 

Ethan closed his eyes. "It makes me cold and 
weak to think of it." 

"And you would have gone away in doubt." 

He groaned, and rolled over on his back. "What 
fiendish cruelty!" 

"And whether you returned or not would depend 
entirely on your own courage and perseverance." 

"An all wise Providence and the god of love were 
both against you." And he moved from his reclining 
position and sat beside her, both resting against the 
tree. 

Time flies quickly in the month of June when you 
are sitting under the greenwood tree beside the only 
woman in the world. An hour later, when shadows 
from the wood reached far across the lawn, even to 
the castle walls, still were they sitting, 

One soul abiding in two bodies. 

But all things end — except time and space — and 
so, after enjoyment all too brief of this celestial 
intimacy, they returned to earth. The reluctant 



332 Pandora's Box 

American climbed slowly to his feet, then helped the 
lady. 

As she stood before him — a radiant figure against 
the somber depths of the forest — replacing her 
hat and struggling with loose locks of the gold 
brown hair, he stared in boyish rapture: and he 
proclaimed her the daintiest and most patrician, 
the most piquante, entrancing, delectable, the most 
bewildering and soul stirring of all created things. 
This statement she received with outward scorn, 
but with changing color in her cheeks. He insisted 
on its truth. And his admiration was so sincere, so 
enthusiastic, that Octavia became embarrassed. 

"It is so true," he said, "so very true that it 
frightens me." 

She laughed. "What frightens you? Is it I?" 

"Yes, you. I am afraid it is all a dream." 

In reply to an inquiring look he pointed to the 
castle whose taller towers were touched by a rosy 
light. The high, far reaching walls, the ivy clad 
battlements, the terraces and Elizabethan gables, all 
stood forth in shadowy, mysterious grandeur — a 
castle in fairyland. 

"It is hard to believe that you should be willing 
to exchange such a home for — for me." • 

"For you ! Why, darling boy, for you I would 
leave the world behind! But tell me, in America 
shall we live in one of those little houses I have read 
about, made of wood and painted white?" 

"Only the richest Americans live in those houses. 



Under the Greenwood Tree 333 

Ours will be a log cabin, with Indians shooting 
arrows at us through the chinks." 

"However rough the cabin or wide the chinks or 
many the arrows, I shall be contented." 

Still looking into each other's eyes, he laid his 
hands behind her shoulders and drew her — 

But why describe it? Why describe a custom 
more ancient than prehistoric man? 

So near together were they standing, so very 
near, that Baseborn found difficulty in wedging him- 
self between. He succeeded, however, and stood 
slapping his tail against the lady's skirts. A moment 
later, as Octavia again adjusted a fugitive lock, she 
looked down at Baseborn. "I go to America on one 
condition." 

"Already granted, O Earth's Delight! And any 
others that you care to mention. What is this par- 
ticular one?" 

"That Baseborn go with us." 

"Of course! And more than that: he shall be 
best man at the wedding." 

Octavia smiled. But the smile died quickly away 
and her eyes rested sadly on the castle. "That wed- 
ding ! I tremble for it." 

"Oh, don't say my dream is ended — that you are 
repenting already !" 

"No, I shall never do that ! But you don't know 
my grandfather." 

Uncertain as to how much Mrs. Lovejoy had told 
her son of this grandfather's history, Octavia merely 



334 Pandora's Box 

added, discreetly, "He is an iron-hearted despot, and 
he may object." 

Ethan smiled, as if relieved. "Oh, is that all? I 
breathe again ; for 

If you love me as I love you, 
No iron hearted despot 
Shall cut our love in two." 

Still, her eyes were anxious. "But he has always 
had his own way. And his temper ! No one faces 
him in his anger." 

"Face him! With you at stake I would face a 
platoon of grandfathers." 

Brave words were these. Signs of trouble still 
lingered, however, on OctaviVs brow. "But worst 
of all is my father. Do you know him?" 

"I have seen him once, when I presented my letter 
of introduction from the architects." 

"How did he impress you?" 

"Well, I am not likely to revile him in the presence 
of my newly acquired girl." 

"Be serious." 

Ethan hesitated. "He was very polite — courtesy 
itself. His manners, I fancy, are always perfect." 

'Always." 

He did strike me, however, as a man who might 
be a good fighter. Also, I should say, that while a 
somewhat easy going man of the world, he would, if 
once resolved on a thing, be a trifle firmer than the 
rock of ages." 

"Yes, and the one thing on which he is more 



€( 



Under the Greenwood Tree 335 

firmly resolved than all others is that I shall marry 
a man of exalted title, of great wealth and position, 
and that he shall be an Englishman/' 

Ethan closed his eyes and drew a long breath. 
"Are there any such among the present suitors ?" 

"Three. There are four, really, but the prince 
is a German and dad told me to discourage him." 

As her eyes looked sadly into his he inquired, 
cheerfully, "And what do you propose to do ?" 

"Oh, I don't know ! I fear all kinds of trouble." 

"Fear nothing. Neither your father nor anyone 
else has the slightest right, legal, moral, financial, 
or parental, to sell you at auction to pay their own 
debts. You are now my property. If I am too fee- 
ble to hold you I shall deserve whatever comes. 
Your father and your grandfather are not the only 
men who can hold their own. Moreover, as my 
cause is just and theirs is mercenary, I am three 
times stronger than the two together." 

"Are all Americans such boasters?" 

"Possibly. We may be barbaric, but we are not 
collapsible." 

He looked into her troubled eyes with a smile so 
serenely confident that in spite of her misgivings she 
shared, for the moment, his irrepressible courage. 
Then, more earnestly, and with a quiet force that 
carried conviction, he said, "My love for you is so 
far above what others think or say or do, so much 
stronger than any human opposition, that if your 
love for me is one tenth of mine — " 



336 Pandora's Box 



"Oh, you know it is !" 

"Then no human power shall part us. I am yours 
and you are mine, and what is mine I hold. Have no 
fears. To make you happy will be from this day my 
first ambition, my sacred duty, my greatest joy. 
And when I undertake a thing, that is humanly pos- 
sible, I see it through." 

Remembering his rescue — seemingly impossible — 
of Sally Pindar, she made no reply save a quiet 
smile of faith. 

Baseborn, meanwhile, with a singular want of 
delicacy — for a dog — stood staring up into their 
faces. And when he expressed his disapproval by a 
half suppressed but not unfriendly growl, both 
lovers laughed aloud ; and Octavia stooped and pat- 
ted him. "You are a good chaperon, dear hero, and 
I am ashamed of myself." 

Slowly and sadly Ethan wagged his head. "Dear 
hero! Baseborn, you have my sympathy. Even I 
was a hero once, and my fall was sudden, and far — 
as I had predicted." 

"But Baseborn is not presuming and impertinent. 
He is not American." 



Meanwhile, the rosy light that touched the towers 
of Drumworth Castle was slowly fading. The hour 
of parting was at hand. This painful ceremony, 
needlessly prolonged, was accompanied by clasping 
of hands with further gazing into each other's faces, 
possibly for future identification. A stranger wit- 



Under the Greenwood Tree 337 

nessing this scene might have supposed the lady 
about starting for the Sandwich Islands, the man 
for Siberia. Whereas, the ceremony finished, they 
walked off together, across the lawn. 

At the door of the castle occurred another fare- 
well, but more formal — merely a pressure of the 
hand and a final look into each other's faces. And 
in Octavia's eyes Ethan Lovejoy found what his 
own declared, and what he most desired — an un- 
wavering faith. 



XXIX 

DARKENING SKIES 

WHEN a sensitive woman, not yet recovered 
from an illness, indulges in a paralyzing 
terror, an hysterical flight through treach- 
erous woods, all to conclude with a mortifying en- 
counter for which she is unprepared, then surely 
there is cause for fatigue; and reason for repose. 

So, on the following day, Octavia remained in her 
own chamber. The ordeal for which she was brac- 
ing herself demanded not only all her courage but 
more strength, perhaps, than she possessed. It was, 
in truth, a serious thing to announce a degrading 
misalliance to such a person as Auntie George. No 
dragon ever watched a treasure with sharper eye 
than Auntie George had watched Octavia. All un- 
befitting suitors had been crushed at the outer wall. 
But this dread of Auntie George, itself unnerving, 
seemed a trivial thing beside the fury of a vindictive 
grandfather whose hatred of the name of Ethan 
Lovejoy was so bitter, so relentless and undying that 
none dared whisper it in his presence. More 
dreaded than all, and not to be avoided, was the 
authority of an ambitious and determined parent. 

As the Duchess of Linsmere was to dine with 

338 



Darkening Skies 339 

them that evening Octavia decided to defer th$ 
dreaded interview. On second thoughts, however, 
she changed her mind. For the Duchess of Lins- 
mere, although mother of the suitor favored by both 
families, was kinder, gentler and more forgiving 
than her own iron-hearted relatives. To her father 
she had despatched a letter the previous afternoon. 
Letters are less nerve destroying in certain emergen- 
cies than personal interviews. 

After dinner the old earl went off for his smoke, 
leaving the three ladies in the library. Baseborn re- 
mained with the ladies. Sentence of death had been 
hastily cancelled after his exploit of yesterday. His 
heroism on the field of battle, together with his gen- 
eralship in covering Octavia's retreat, had aroused 
the liveliest admiration throughout the entire Drum- 
worth household. Even Auntie George did not con- 
ceal her gratitude. 

Octavia fired the opening gun. Reclining uncon- 
cernedly in an easy chair, stroking with the toe of 
Tier slipper the recumbent Baseborn, she remarked 
carelessly, in much the same tone as she would have 
commented on the weather ; 

"I am engaged to be married." 

Auntie George, always erect — even in repose — 
leaned forward, a sudden joy in her mirthless eyes. 
The face of the duchess also brightened, for noth- 
ing was dearer to this mother than her son's happi- 
ness. Yet, in the girl's manner was a faint sug- 
gestion of bravado, an air of almost tragic indif- 



34° Pandora's Box 

ference not habitual with bearers of joyful tidings. 
In a low voice, almost tremulous with hope, the 
duchess murmured, "Is it Ned ?" 

"No. It is Ethan Lovejoy." 

This name, for the briefest moment, had no sig- 
nificance to Octavia's audience. So seldom had it 
been whispered since a long ago, fateful night that 
now it struck on unexpecting ears as the resurrec- 
tion of a buried evil. Auntie George's eyes rested 
on Octavia in a doubting stare. And these cold, un- 
winking eyes were saying that if this was a joke it 
was in hideous taste. The Duchess of Linsmere, 
unable to comprehend, looked searchingly and sadly 
into Octavia's face. 

For a moment there was silence; so strained, so 
ill-omened and unendurable, that Octavia began to 
speak. She gave the outlines of her story. And 
as she spoke, and looked into the listening faces, 
she fully realized that to these two friends she was 
dealing the cruellest blow that it was in her power 
to give. When she ceased speaking there was an- 
other silence, even more disheartening. The Duch- 
ess of Linsmere had sunk back in her chair, motion- 
less, with closed eyes. Auntie George tried to speak, 
but her voice failed her. She cleared her throat and 
tried again. 

"Of course you are aware, Octavia, that, should 
you do this incredible thing you would be throwing 
into the gutter, as it were, your birth and position; 
all that make you what you are." 



Darkening Skies 34 1 

"No. Those things, Auntie George, do not make 
me what I am." 

"You would give up your country, your own peo- 
ple — for — for — such a person?" 

"Yes." 

"And live in poverty?" 

"I will live in poverty." 

"And work, perhaps, with your own hands." 

"Yes, and cheerfully — with him." 

Auntie George drew a deep breath. She stared at 
Octavia in silent wonder. This matter was beyond 
her comprehension. She was astounded, shocked, 
mortified — too sick at heart to be angry. She 
hoped— or almost hoped — that Octavia might be in- 
sane; legally unsound in mind, and so avert this 
shame. Better insanity, or death, than dishonor. 
But these thoughts were not expressed. When again 
she spoke her voice was low, and calm. 

'You know your father has very ambitious plans 
for you.' 

"Yes, I know. 1 



xuu 

II 

i 

"He will forbid it, of course." 
"Of course." 



"You will be very courageous if you try to dis- 
obey him." 

Octavia made no answer. 

"You will be the first woman of your family to 
stoop— quite so low." 

"So low ! Are not architects respectable ?" 

"Yes. So are barbers and policemen, but women 
of your station do not marry them. 5 



99 



34 2 Pandora's Box 

Then the duchess spoke, more gently than Auntie 
George. "It is hard to imagine you, dear child, liv- 
ing in a land where your only companions are 
Americans, whose restless wives we see swarming 
over Europe, leaving their husbands at home. The 
only women who stay quietly at home, I am told, 
are those who cannot afford to travel." 

This was old news to Octavia and she made no 
denial. However, she answered, with a smile; 

"If those women are so obnoxious I shall be all 
the happier when they go to other countries." 

Slowly and sadly the duchess shook her head. 
"You remember, perhaps, what our own ambassa- 
dor says of society in the States. Like dust in a 
workshop : what is down today is up tomorrow." 
Yes. I remember." 

And I am afraid, my dear child, that you are 
too young to realize what it means to live among 
those people : to forego all the refinements of good 
society; to have for your daily associates persons 
whose highest ambition is money, and what it buys. 
I know several Americans. The only reason for 
their presence among people of our class is their 
monstrous wealth. But this architect, I presume, 
is far from rich, or he would not be an archi- 
tect." 

"I am willing, as I say, to live simply." 

"Simply, yes, but are you prepared for a life- 
long struggle against humiliating economies — and 
obscurity?" 

"If I love my husband." 



a- 



Darkening Skies 343 

Of this crazy speech Auntie George had an opin- 
ion, but she refrained from uttering it. A faint, 
patrician snort, almost wholly suppressed, was her 
only comment. After a moment's pause, she said, 
with more than usual sweetness, "I have always 
understood that Americans are much addicted to 
catarrh, dyspepsia and nervous prostration. Is this 
architect healthy ?" 

"He seems to be." 

Then Auntie George, whose spine never relaxed, 
became a trifle more erect, her nose a trifle more 
pinched, her lips a trifle tighter. "You will pardon 
the question, under the circumstances, but is this — 
this Mr. Lovejoy a gentleman?" 

A flush came to Octavia's cheeks. Quietly, how- 
ever, she answered: 

"No. His manners are brutish. To women they 
are insulting. He chews tobacco. He has no educa- 
tion, talks through his nose and cannot speak gram- 
matically. He eats with his fingers. No gentleman 
could associate with him. No honest family would 
admit him to its home." 

Auntie George raised her chin. "You are pleased, 
Octavia, to be facetious in a matter that is more 
than regrettable. It is tragic." 

"Yes, my child," murmured the duchess, sadly. 
"It is tragic. My heart bleeds for you." 

Impulsively Octavia stood up, then she went over 
and dropped on her knees before the duchess and 
pressed one of that lady's hands against her cheek. 



344 Pandora's Box 

"It needn't bleed for me, Auntie Laura. He is as 
fine and true a gentleman as there is in England, or 
anywhere else. And he is high minded, strong, am- 
bitious, kind and — oh, so much wiser than I am! 
You will like him, Auntie Laura. You can't help 
it." 

"I hope you are not deceived." 

"I have had a year to think it over." 

"And you have no misgivings ? Be truthful." 

"Not one. You think I should marry a richer 
man to keep the castle; but other girls marry the 
men they love. Why should not I? Why should 
I, because I am an only child, pay the debts of the 
family, and sell myself to do it?" 

"A woman in your position," said Auntie George, 
her chin well in the air, "is expected to make certain 
sacrifices. One cannot enjoy the privileges of noble 
birth and ignore its duties. To a person of honor 
there are solemn obligations." 

To the weary, kneeling girl— exhausted and spent 
with emotion — these words of "honor" and "sol- 
emn obligations" fell with torturing force. Utter- 
ing a moan of despair she bowed her face in her 
hands, on the Duchess of Linsmere's knees. Then, 
with convulsive sobs came a flood of tears. 

This exhibition of misery was welcomed by Aun- 
tie George as a sign of promise. It brought into 
her face a look — not tender, but less flinty — as she 
gazed upon the weeping girl. While consoled by the 
knowledge that both father and grandfather would 



Darkening Skies 345 

never tolerate the possibility of such a degrading 
marriage she sincerely pitied Octavia in her sor- 
row and disappointment. Although indignant at 
the girl's shameless abasement, her affection was 
sincere and unselfish. But no affection of which 
Auntie George was capable could ever cope with 
the dominating interest of her life — a reverence 
deep and holy for persons of gentle birth — herself 
included. She enjoyed, of course, a corresponding 
aversion to the lower orders of humanity. And 
of these was Ethan Lovejoy. The Duchess of Lins- 
mere, although enjoying similar opinions, was less 
positive. Being of a gentler nature and with broader 
sympathies she had mastered a few simple human 
truths that were forbidden to trespass on Auntie 
George's mental reservations. And now she stroked 
with caressing fingers the bowed head upon her 
knees, and murmured consolation. 

Her words of consolation, however, abruptly 
ceased. The caressing fingers, as if caught in a 
guilty acf, became motionless. The eyes of the two 
ladies had moved, in sudden consternation, to the 
doorway, where stood the tall, grim figure of the 
Earl of Drumworth. He advanced a few steps, 
then raised the bushy grey eyebrows in surprise as 
he looked down upon the kneeling figure. 

"What is it?" demanded his fingers. 

Auntie George looked toward the duchess, hoping 
to escape the explanation. But the duchess, in turn, 
looked toward Auntie George ; for this man's anger, 



34 6 Pandora's Box 

well known through all the countryside, was a thing 
to be avoided. Auntie George cleared her throat 
Her voice, when it came, was lower than usual, and 
wavering : 

"Octavia is engaged to be married." 

At these words Octavia, divining the situation, 
rose suddenly to her feet, took a backward step be- 
hind the chair of the duchess, and faced her grand- 
father. 

On the earl's lips came the faint resemblance to 
a smile. But it was thirty-three years since a smile 
had visited these lips, and smiles are rarely success- 
ful in unfamiliar territory. So, this present expres- 
sion, although an indication of welcome news, was 
merely the outward sign of a relapse from habitual 
gloom. Even promised rescue from financial ruin 
could bring no brighter display. 

"To whom ?" inquired the fingers. 

Auntie George hesitated. The courage to utter 
the forbidden name was the kind of courage she did 
not possess. Nervously she glanced toward Octavia. 
In that young woman's tear stained face she saw a 
look that filled her with a new dismay. The girl, 
erect and rigid, her chin up, her eyes resting stead- 
ily on her grandfather, seemed a living statue of 
reckless courage and defiance. In a voice more 
choked by recent tears than by fear, she answered 
calmly ; 

"His name is Ethan Lovejoy." 

For an instant the Earl of Drumworth seemed 



Darkening Skies 347 

not to understand. Then, beneath the contracting 
brows the cold eyes blinked- His jaw moved, 
spasmodically, as if uttering words. It was evident 
that he did not believe; that he doubted his own 
ears. The fingers repeated, this time confusedly, 
with jerks almost beyond control ; 

"To whom?" 

"Ethan Lovejoy. An American — an architect 
who was working here — in the old hall — last year." 

The earl's eyes as they glared upon Octavia were 
blinking slowly with an overwhelming astonishment ; 
with incredulity; then anger. His face, in the un- 
certain light from the various lamps about the room, 
seemed to lose its color. More slowly, now, the 
fingers moved, shaking with a rising passion. 

"Not the — you do not mean — " 

"Yes," and Octavia was startled by her own 
courage — "the son of — the one you knew." 

Then occurred a thing so unexpected, so mirac- 
ulous, so beyond belief, that the three women opened 
wide their eyes in wonder. From those ever silent 
lips through which no sound had issued in many 
years, came a voice. It was an unnatural sound, an 
unknown voice ; a voice completely forgotten by the 
speaker, and by his hearers. Although prolonged, 
as if words were in his brain, no definite word was 
uttered. It was the outburst of an ungoverned rage 
that broke its barriers. 

Baseborn, now promoted from condemned crimi- 
nal to guardian angel, and from whom the power 



34 8 Pandora's Box 

of speech was also withheld, said nothing. But he 
seemed to understand, and he trotted over to Oc- 
tavia's side. He could read no message from the 
angry fingers, but the sound was ominous. 

Toward Octavia the earl advanced, and in his 
face there was a look these women had seen before. 
It brought Auntie George to her feet, and she 
stepped in front of him with outstretched, pro- 
testing hands. He stopped. Again his jaw moved — 
or rather twitched — as if striving for speech. But 
Fate had otherwise decreed. No further sound ever 
issued from his lips. Moving backward a step, to 
allow Octavia free passage from the room, he point- 
ed to the door. 

"To your chamber/' said the fingers of the other 
hand. 

From beside the duchess's chair Octavia stepped 
forward; not hurriedly* as a frightened child, but 
leisurely, with dignity and self possession, as if en- 
tering a ball room. Out of the library she passed, 
without regarding her grandfather. 

At her heels walked Baseborn. 



XXX 

FROM FATHER TO SON ? 

BUT Octavia did not go to her chamber. 
Through the hall she walked, out into the 
night. There, on the terrace, she stood for a 
moment, looking up at the heavens. 

From the east, beyond the Old Hall, came the 
soft, far reaching glow from a rising moon. The 
tranquil beauty of this night, while bringing no en- 
couragement, seemed, by its peace and splendor, 
to glorify her own misery. For a moment she 
closed her eyes. She sought comfort by inhaling 
the dewy, sweet smelling air. But the air of night 
is never joyous: the greater its beauty, the sadder 
your thoughts. So found Octavia. In this beauty 
of a perfect night she breathed only a soothing 
sadness. 

Descending the broad steps she moved along the 
terrace, then through her own garden. Pushing 
open the little door she passed on to the cloistered 
arches. Through the silent darkness of these arches, 
she walked with throbbing heart, but unafraid. It 
seemed, however, a longer journey than ever before. 
The presence of Baseborn, close behind, gave cour- 
age. In yesterday's crisis he had shown the quality 

349 



350 Pandora's Box 

of his devotion: also his ability to defend. Now. 
the patter of his feet behind her upon the stone 
floor of the cloisters, cheered flagging muscles and 
a weary heart. 

At last, from beneath the yet darker archway, 
she stepped forth into the Garden of the Sleeping 
Beauty, now illumined by a large, round moon, just 
appearing above the balustrade. She seemed enter- 
ing another world — a world of peace and security: 
as a frail, weary, storm-driven craft when it reaches 
harbor. 

Ethan Lovejoy, with a cry of welcome, sprang up 
from the Kosyie Benche and came toward her. Into 
his arms she walked. Then, as they closed about 
her, the storm-driven craft felt safe at last — snug 
harbored. 

With that fine consideration which often sur- 
prises us in untitled persons, Baseborn stole silently 
away, and vanished in the surrounding gloom. 

When, after a reasonable lapse of time, Octavia 
began gently to disengage herself, there followed, 
leisurely, in no haste, a touching of lips; he with 
both hands holding the moonlit face. It was that 
time honored rite of measureless antiquity, that 
breathing of two souls in one, where the gentler 
yields, and the other, with overflowing heart, re- 
ceives from the lips of the woman he most desires 
the silent avowal of surrender. 

And this ecstatic rite, this consecration, was all 
in harmony with the calm, soft light from the 



From Father to Son 35 1 

rising moon — a moonlight heavy with the perfume 
of old box and roses. Among the mysterious 
shadows of the neglected garden, in this fragrance 
of forgotten flowers, might well be hovering the 
souls of other lovers, long since departed. 

Gently, by a supporting arm, Octavia was led to 
the Kosyie Benche. Upon this bench — too wide 
for one, but for two a perfect fit — the lovers sat. 
And when they were comfortably adjusted there en- 
sued a silence of perfect content. This silence was 
broken at last by Ethan; and there was anxiety in 
his tone. 

"You poor girl ! How you tremble ! Your hands 
are cold and your cheeks are hot." 

Then Octavia's nerves, upheld by force of will, 
gave way. Her head fell against his shoulder. And 
again, the second time that evening, she wept. 

But the marble cupid, lit up by the rising moon, 
still danced in wanton joy, regardless of anxious 
lovers in his vicinity. 

With overwrought nerves and breaking voice 
Octavia began the story of the ill omened iqjterview 
in the library between Auntie George, the Duchess 
of Linsmere, and herself. As she went on, however, 
she found strength and comfort in the compassion- 
ate but ever hopeful Ethan. 

"Do you never lose courage?" she exclaimed. 
"Does nothing depress you? Have you no misgiv- 
ings, ever — about anything?" 

He laughed. "If I had I should hide them from 
myself." 



352 Pandora's Box 

"How can you laugh ! It is like laughing at a 
funeral." 

"Well, it's mine, if anybody's. A man may laugh 
at his own funeral." 

"And mine, too, darling boy, as much as yours!" 

In a more serious tone he said: "Now listen, 
Heavenly Thing. If there's a funeral it will be a 
funeral of blasted hopes; the hopes of a selfish fam- 
ily that failed to sell its daughter to the highest bid- 
der. But go on with the story, and don't omit any- 
thing on my account. My feelings are far beyond 
the reach of Auntie George— or the loving grand- 
father." 

"Yes, he is horrible/' murmured Octavia with a 
shudder. "But I fear him far less than my father; 
for dad is saner, and a stronger man. And he too 
has an awful will; and he is so — so — determined I 
shall make a brilliant match. Oh, I have no idea 
how it will all end!" 

"Don't worry. It will all end well. You are not 
a child to be—" 

A sound not far away brought Ethan to his feet. 
The tall, grim figure of that grandfather whose 
name had just passed Octavia's lips was coming to- 
ward them. And his walk was of one in haste. 
Octavia also rose, and clutched Ethan's sleeve. The 
approaching man, hard visaged and grimmer than 
ever in the moonlight, was more threatening, more 
savagely vindictive than Octavia had known him. 
There was something startling in the glitter of his 



From Father to Son 353 

eyes, partly, perhaps, from the colorless light of the 
moon. From the twitching of the overhanging eye- 
brows and his jaw he seemed insane with rage. 
Within arm's length of the lovers he came, stopped, 
and with a swift, peremptory gesture beckoned his 
granddaughter to his side. But the old earl's face 
at this moment would have sent dismay to a bolder 
heart than Octavia's. Instead of obeying the com- 
mand she shrunk back, instinctively, and clung yet 
tighter to Ethan's arm. This defiance of his au- 
thority so inflamed a passion already beyond con- 
trol, that he raised his arm, took a forward step 
and with a sudden, unexpected movement brought 
down his fist, well aimed for Octavia's head. So 
quickly was it done that it reached its mark ; but its 
force was weakened by another blow, equally rapid, 
that landed on his own chest. And it came with 
a vigor that sent the Earl of Drum worth reeling 
backward, backward — and still further backward. 
Back among the flowers he staggered, always striv- 
ing, but in vain, to recover his equilibrium. At last 
a rose bush caught a foot, and held it. Then he 
tumbled, always backward, his head, as he fell, 
striking the pedestal of the dancing cupid. 

As consciousness faded he stared with straining 
eyes at the woman — and at the man who struck him. 
With his vanishing senses, years also vanished. 
Was he living again — here in the same garden, with 
the same tranquil, mocking moon? Was he living 
again that fateful evening, long ago, when this — 



354 Pandora's Box 

or another — Ethan Lovejoy— defended — a — Drum- 
worth woman? 

But this moment's illusions of the Earl of Drum- 
worth were never reported. The sensations of 
the other man were yet more bewildering, and not 
so easily explained. In silence, as if spellbound, he 
stood gazing at the face of the fallen man as it 
rested, in startling relief, against the base of the 
sportive god. 

Octavia laid a trembling hand on Ethan's arm, 
peered up into his eyes and whispered : 

"Are you hurt?" 

He made no answer, still staring, as if dazed, at 
the pallid face against the pedestal. 

"Are you hurt?" she repeated. "Did he strike 
you?" 

"No. But I have that — that unaccountable feel- 
ing we spoke of last year, in the old hall, and on this 
bench, of passing through the same experience at 
some other period of my life. Only now — " 

And he closed his eyes as if to collect his thoughts. 
"Only now it is so strong, so astoundingly real ! an 
almost positive knowledge that I have done this thing 
before, here, in the moonlight, in this very garden. 
I seem to be living it all over again — a second time." 

He spoke in a low tone, as if in awe. For yonder 
white face, with its slowly closing eyes, seemed a 
link between himself and some shadowy past, too 
remote for memory's call. Through Octavia's brain 
flashed the memory of his mother's — and his fatlv 



From Father to Son 



355 



er's — adventure on this very spot, an adventure ab- 
solutely similar in every detail. 

For a moment she also stood silent. Could it be 
that this mental record of a scene was inherited? 
That a profound impression on the father's brain 
was transmitted to the son and registered in his 
own brain as his own experience, now awakened 
into life by the event itself? 

But she could not divulge these thoughts without 
violating her promise to his mother. Startled by 
what appeared an almost supernatural coincidence 
she stood closer yet to Ethan's side. And she, too, 
gazed in wonder at the dancing cupid and the ghost* 
ly figure at its base. 



XXXI 

A TOUCH OF FATE 

AFTER the departure of Octavia and her 
grandfather there was solemn conversation 
in the library between Auntie George and the 
Duchess of Linsmere. The duchess had been crushed 
by Octavia's announcement. Her sorrow was deep, 
as if the disgrace had befallen her own daughter. 
Auntie George's grief was relieved by anger. It was 
also alleviated by hope, as she had confidence in the 
unbending will of Octavia's father. He would ar- 
rive this evening — at any moment. And Lady 
Georgiana knew that few daughters of human clay 
would oppose the will of such a father as Lord 
Aylesden when he was once in earnest. 

There came to this lady's lips a smile — not a 
tender smile — as she looked forward to the ap- 
proaching exhibition of this parent's feelings. For 
his most serious ambition, in fact the one serious 
purpose of his life, was a splendid alliance for Oc- 
tavia. So, while mortified by Octavia's delusion, 
Auntie George found solace in the prospect of the 
coming victory. 

356 



A Touch of Fate 357 

The two ladies had been sitting a half-hour or 
more in subdued but excited communion when a 
sound in the hall brought silence. 

Octavia, whom they believed in her chamber, 
came running into the castle from the terrace and 
went straight to the telephone. The telephone was 
in a far corner, near the stairs ; but they heard her 
message to Dr. Wherry. 

"Come as quickly as you can. Grandfather has 
fallen and struck his head against a stone in the 
garden. He is unconscious. Oh, do hurry !" 

Out into the hall hastened the two ladies. They 
saw the Earl of Drumworth, supported by another 
man, entering slowly from the terrace. Upon this 
man he was leaning heavily, with half closed eyes. 
Into the library they led him, and placed him in his 
own arm chair. Then, slowly, he raised his head 
until it rested against the high back of the chair. 
Slowly, also, the eyes opened and he looked about, 
still dazed, and not fully comprehending. 

With these signs of recovery the Duchess of 
Linsmere and Auntie George found a moment to 
study the invader. It was not the moment for for- 
mal introductions, nor were they needed. Both 
women suspected who the stranger was, and their 
suspicions were correct. 

They found him a tall and lean young man, rather 
muscular and "bony," dressed in grey, like many 
other men ; not handsome, but not quite so impossi- 
bly vulgar as they expected. He seemed more con- 



35 8 Pandora's Box 

cerned about the injured man than any impression 
he was making upon the ladies present. 

The old earl's eyes, with returning senses, moved 
drowsily over the group about him until they rested 
on Ethan's face. Then, a lowering of the eyebrows 
and a twitching of the mouth. From the lips came 
no words, but if it is possible for eyes to bestow 
a curse, then the look from this much punished man 
delivered whatever message the dumb lips failed to 
utter. This hostile glance, overflowing with hate 
and vindictive promise, was followed by rapid mo- 
tions of his fingers. 

Octavia, the deepest distress in her face, looked 
up at Ethan who was standing beside her. He re- 
turned the look with a smile. The smile, while hard- 
ly perceptible, was calmly confident. 

"Was he addressing me?" he inquired. 

Octavia nodded. 

"What does he say?" 

The girl's lips parted, but her voice failed. The 
words seemed to choke her. Tears came to her eyes 
and she pressed a tremulous hand against a cheek. 

"Never mind," said Ethan, gently. "It didn't 
look very friendly and I can get along nicely with- 
out it." 

But Auntie George's nerves were firmer than 
those of her niece. Moreover, her heart was not 
torn by needless sympathy. Looking the intruder 
steadily in the eye she spoke in the clearest of tones : 

"He tells you, sir, that the son of such a mother 
has no place in this house." 



A Touch of Fate 359 



"My mother?" 

"You certainly can comprehend why any remind- 
• of your mother in this family is— offensive." 
"Offensive ! I have not the slightest comprehcn- 
on, madam, of what is in your mind!" 
Auntie George's glance rested for an instant upon 
le Duchess of Linsmere as if for aid in replying to 
lis brazen assurance. But the Duchess of Lins- 
ere was gazing at Ethan more in pity than in 
lger. Auntie George half closed her eyes as if 
earied by the invader's mendacity. 
"Do you wish us to believe that you know nothing 
f your own mother?" 

"On the contrary I know much about my own 
lother. I know there is no better woman in the 
orld." 

At these words Auntie George actually quivered 
ith anger. "Indeed ! Then it is your opinion that 
ives who desert their lawful husbands to run away 
ith their lovers are the best of women?" 
These words awakened a memory in Ethan, 
.fter his father's death he had found, among some 
usiness papers, a letter from Bridgewater, England. 
Tie writer had alluded to some man — the name not 
iven — from whom his mother had fled because of 
brutal act. Ethan had never mentioned this letter 
) his mother as he suspected she wished something 
1 her past forgotten. But, since reading that letter, 
whenever he saw a certain scar on his mother's face 
lere came a strong desire for a meeting, in a fair 
eld, with the man who had given it 



3&> Pandora's Box 

Although Auntie George's manner was even more 
stinging than her words Ethan answered calmly : 

"Your opinion of my mother was neither asked 
nor desired. I happen to know that she escaped 
from a murderous brute, obtained a divorce in 
America and married a good man." 

"A murderous brute !" repeated Auntie George. 

The Earl of Drumworth brought down a fist upon 
the table. But Ethan observed him not. His eyes 
were on Auntie George as he inquired : 

"If a man who can strike a woman to the floor, 
then kick her face as she lies at his feet — if he is not 
a murderous brute, what is he ? What better name 
can you — or anybody else — suggest ?" 

Auntie George's face was white as she answered : 

"Bravely spoken, sir! I like your courage; the 
courage to insult a man much older than yourself 
in his own home, in the presence of his family." 

"When have I ever done so?" 

"Perhaps you will tell us next — " with a gesture 
toward the Earl of Drumworth — "that you do not 
know who this gentleman is?" 

"Certainly I do." 

"Quite a confession ! But you had no suspicion, 
of course, that your mother was once his wife." 

The surprise that came into Ethan's face was real, 
— far too real for possibility of doubt. In incredu- 
lous wonder his eyes remained, an instant, on the 
speaker's face. Astounded and in silence he stared 
blankly at the old earl. Then, still doubting, his 



A Touch of Fate 361 

eyes moved slowly to the Duchess of Linsmere ; and 
finally to Octavia. From Octavia came an answer- 
ing look with a slight movement of the head — con- 
firming the words. Into Ethan's eyes and in the 
tightening of his mouth, Octavia saw, with dismay, 
the same look that had come into his face when he 
left her yesterday, to meet the man in the woods. 
He took one step forward, nearer the earl. In a 
tone of suppressed anger, bitterly contemptuous, he 
said, slowly, with trenchant emphasis on the final 
word : 

"So, you — are the — gentleman!" 

The words were few ; but the manner of their ut- 
terance, vibrant with unspeakable contempt, more 
insulting far than volumes of abuse, seemed to fur- 
nish a sudden strength that lifted the proud old man 
to his feet. He leaned upon the table at his side, 
shaking with passion. Had the Earl of Drumworth 
even his usual strength there would have followed 
yet another personal encounter. That the son of 
that pair, a pair forever damned, instead of apolo- 
gizing for his existence should take the role of ac- 
cuser, was a thing monstrous and unbearable. One 
hand upon the table to steady the swaying frame, 
the fingers of the other hand shot forth a message. 
The message was ignored. For an appealing ges- 
ture from Octavia, at his side, caused Ethan to re- 
treat a step and turn toward her. The gesture and 
Octavia's anxious face ended the scene between the 
two men. Forgetting apparently the other persons 



362 Pandora's Box 

present, Ethan took the protesting hand, and held it. 
Looking down into her frightened face he tried to 
smile. But the recent anger was too strong to be so 
easily suppressed. 

Octavia saw the effort, understood the struggle 
and she too, almost smiled. These defeated smiles, 
however, served to emphasize the blessed truth, that 
so long as there was peace and perfect understand- 
ing between Ethan and Octavia all else was unim- 
portant. 

From this brief oblivion to a hostile neighborhood 
they were swiftly recalled. The earl's fist again 
upon the table — a blow that rattled the porcelain 
shades of a heavy lamp — drew their eyes to the 
moving fingers of his other hand. These fingers of 
an outstretched arm were dancing with infuriate 
haste. The Earl of Drumworth was not in the 
habit of being ignored, and the fingers were now de- 
livering a message that was more than emphatic. 
It was also clear to Ethan that the message was for 
himself. It was so abusive of himself and his mo- 
tives, so insulting to his father and his mother, that 
the Duchess of Linsmere lowered her eyes to avoid 
it; and Octavia, anguish in her face, shrank back 
with a moan of horror. When the fingers ceased — 
clenched in a shaking fist, still extended toward the 
victim — Ethan turned to Octavia, inquiring, by a 
look, the meaning of it all. But while Octavia hesi- 
tated, Auntie George again took up the burden. But 



A Touch of Fate 363 

even Auntie George appeared to shrink from a full 
translation. 

"He tells you, sir, among other things, to leave 
this house and never enter it again." 

As she delivered this cordial message, Auntie 
George made little effort to conceal a triumphant 
satisfaction. And her eyes, as they rested frigidly 
on those of the recipient, expressed the natural con- 
tempt of a lady of quality for a person of the lowest 
origin, thwarted in his villainy. 

Ethan's eyebrows moved slightly upwards as he 
looked down upon the erect, rigid little figure. With 
an inclination of his head, ceremoniously polite, he 
murmured : 

"Thank you." 

Then, moving yet closer to Octavia, he spoke in a 
voice too low for others to hear: "Don't worry. 
Take a rest tomorrow. When you are ready to see 
me leave a note in Pandora's box." 

With a pressure of her nearest hand he backed 
away a step, toward the door. With a bow that in- 
cluded the entire battle front of the enemy — the two 
dames and the glowering earl — he was about to de- 
part when Auntie George spoke again. 

"Kindly wait a moment, sir. There is a gentle- 
man in the hall who desires a word with you." 

This lady's expectant ears had been the first to 
hear an approaching motor and the closing of an 
outer door. Her words were followed by a silence 



364 Pandora's Box 

— a silence almost unbearable to Octavia; solemn 
and portentous to Ethan. 

This silence was broken by approaching footsteps 
in the hall. These footsteps, firm, decisive, rapid, 
were those of a man wasting no time before accom- 
plishing his purpose. To Octavia it seemed the 
tread of the executioner. With every footfall her 
heart beat fainter. Vainly she tried to control a 
sudden weakness of her limbs. Dreading a collapse 
of nerves already overstrained, she sank into the 
nearest chair. Upon Ethan Lovejoy Auntie George's 
slowly winking eyes rested in pious enjoyment of 
Virtue's triumph over Knavery. 

When Lord Aylesden stepped into the room he 
found himself the center of a surprising group. His 
reception, also, was surprising. There were no 
words of welcome. Even his daughter had no greet- 
ing for him. He stood for a moment in a funereal 
silence — the very silence of the tomb. After a brief 
survey of the semi circle of faces — five pairs of eyes 
all watching him with solemn earnestness — his own 
expression became graver yet. To Octavia, his jaw, 
always too heavy, seemed more than ever like her 
grandfather's. 

"What's the matter?" he inquired. "Is there a 
death in the family?" 

Auntie George at this hour of triumph, while in- 
wardly jubilant, felt a touch of pity for Octavia. 
And her voice became a trifle — just a trifle — less 
metallic as she asked : 



A Touch of Fate 3$5 

"Did you not receive my telegram ?" 
"Yes. Also Octavia's letter. And here I am." 
His father, at this point, rapped sharply on the 
table for attention, then pointed a quivering finger at 
Ethan Lovejoy. For Ethan, in stepping backward 
from the doorway, was now standing almost behind 
the new arrival. 

Lord Aylesden, in obedience to the finger, turned 
his head. Then followed an act frequently wit- 
nessed, and usually of small importance. But on 
this occasion it drove the color from Auntie George's 
cheeks. It brought to her face a look of horror, 
then of incredulity. She gasped, and seemed to ut- 
ter an exclamation. But it died in a whisper. The 
eyes of the Duchess of Linsmere opened wide in 
wonder. And the act imparted a sudden galvanic 
power to the legs of the Earl of Drumworth that 
almost raised him from the floor. As for Octavia, 
she doubted her own ears — and eyes. 

The deed that caused these mad emotions was a 
simple thing and calmly done. When the avenging 
parent turned and saw the man behind him, his face 
lit up with the smile that often redeemed a rather 
cold and unresponsive face. And he extended a 
hand in friendly greeting toward the astonished 
suitor. 

"Mr. Lovejoy! Pardon me. I did not see you. 
So you and Octavia have been stealing a march on 
us." 



366 Pandora's Box 

As Ethan took the proffered hand, too amazed to 
speak, Auntie George recovered her voice. "Robert !" 
she exclaimed. "Are you crazy ?" 

Lord Aylesden smiled : "No, I hope not." 

The Earl of Drumworth, to draw his son's atten- 
tion, brought down upon the table at his side, and 
with all his energy, a heavy paper cutter, shattering 
the ivory handle as it struck. Then, in vehement 
rage, his fingers twitched. When their action ceased 
the son moved his head as if agreeing with the 
fingers. 

"Yes, I know who he is. And I have looked him 
up. According to all accounts he is the most su- 
perior person — after George Washington — that 
America has produced. And, after all, we had better 
forget the past. Moreover, he is well able to—" 

With both hands uplifted the father stopped him. 
Again began the fingers. And again Ethan divined 
the question from its answer. 

"I know," said Lord Aylesden, and his manner 
became more serious. "I know all. Your feelings 
are respected. But I am sure we prefer having the 
Drumworth acres and the castle belong to the 
mother of Octavia's husband, rather than to Mr. 
Levi Goldberg." 

Auntie George swallowed — to recover her voice — 
and when it came it seemed hoarse, and weak. 
"Kindly tell us what you mean." 

Lord Aylesden joined his hands behind him, 
fixed his eyes upon Baseborn — to avoid seeing his 



A Touch of Fate 367 

father's face, a face eloquent with rage, although 
the lips were dumb — and he spoke slowly. "I mean 
that Mr. Lovejoy's mother now holds the mort- 
gage. In other words, she has practically purchased 
the Drumworth estate." 

At these words four pairs of wondering eyes 
were turned upon Ethan Love joy. His own eyes, 
also in wonder, rested on the speaker. 

"Moreover," said Lord Aylesden, "I suspect that 
she intends giving it to her son." 

The sudden strength which had lifted the old earl 
to his feet seemed as suddenly to depart. His knees 
bent, and he sank down into his seat. With both 
hands clutching the arms of the chair, his head 
dropped forward. But the hostile eyes beneath the 
overhanging brows remained fixed on Ethan's face 
—on the face of this woman-stealer ; the thieving 
son of a thieving father. 

Octavia, radiant with surprise and joy, had moved 
to Ethan's side. In her eyes, however, was a shade 
of reproof as she murmured : "You never told me 
of your mother being so dreadfully rich." 

He made a gesture of apology. "You never 
asked me. But I had no idea she was up to such 
mischief." 

Lord Aylesden smiled. "Good mischief that gives 
you Drumworth castle for a home !" 

Octavia, with glistening eyes, came up to her 
father and twined her arms around his neck. "Oh, 
dad, you have made me so happy — so happy!" 



368 Pandora's Box 

His only reply was to press his lips to her fore- 
head. Then Ethan gulped. And being unable to 
conceal his joy he forgot his environment for an 
instant and looked about him with an involuntary 
smile. Entirely by accident this smile extended to 
the Earl of Drumworth. The sinister glare from 
beneath those frowning brows would have driven 
any ordinary smile to a sunless death. But this 
smile was far from ordinary. It was a message of 
unlimited rapture to the world at large, silent but 
inextinguishable. From the hating earl Ethan's eyes 
moved amiably toward Auntie George and rested, 
still smiling, upon that lady's polar countenance. Her 
stiff, erect little figure had become yet stiffer and 
yet more erect. Her thin lips were so tightly com- 
pressed as to be invisible. Her face seemed to be 
growing smaller, whiter and more determined. 
For, in whatever concerned Octavia, Auntie George 
was unselfish — unselfish to the full capacity of her 
highly respectable soul. And it was better for Oc- 
tavia that Drumworth Castle should be owned and 
occupied by a stranger than the family honor 
dragged in the mud by an alliance with this offspring 
of a shameless, runaway mother. So, she returned 
the lover's impersonal smile with a stare of measure- 
less disdain. But Ethan, at this moment, was im- 
pervious to any human snub. He lowered his eyes, 
still smiling, to Baseborn's less patrician but more 
responsive face. And so far as a dog can return a 
smile Baseborn did it. 



A Touch of Fate 



369 



Moreover, he arose, in front, and rested his 
forepaws against Ethan's legs, thus making it clearly 
understood that he shared the feelings of his friend, 
whatever their nature and whatever the occasion. 

The old earl closed his eyes. Lower still he bent 
his head beneath the Fate that jeers at human hopes. 
In his brain were thoughts unuttered — and unutter- 
able. Had his curses come home to roost? Was 
this the harvest? — the harvest of thirty years of 
unrelenting hate that had followed, day and night, 
over distant seas and unknown lands, one Ethan 
Lovejoy and his stolen bride? Could the jeering 
Fate devise a sharper blow ? 

The answer was standing before him in the son 
of that execrated pair. 

And this second Ethan Lovejoy — the owner of 
Drumworth Castle ! 

And his bride — Octavia ! 



XXXII 

INSPIRATION 

AUNTIE GEORGE was not fond of reptiles. 
Her loathing for ignoble things was pos- 
itive and unchangeable. So, the next 
morning, when forced to greet Ethan Lovejoy in 
the library, to smile and to shake hands with him, 
there was call for heroism — but she did it. Her 
smile, rightly interpreted by Ethan, was a maledic- 
tion. Her cold fingers were swiftly withdrawn as 
from contact with a crocodile, a toad or a snake. A 
guest with a duller sense of humor might have been 
discomposed. But Ethan, this morning was in the 
highest heaven; far above earthly troubles. His 
own big heart had so expanded as to comprise the 
universe entire — at least the Drumworth universe. 
Little snubs from Auntie George were as snow-flakes 
beneath a July sun. Unlike the lady, he could have 
shaken hands with toads and crocodiles, and em- 
braced Auntie George herself. But there came a 
surprise in the greeting from the Duchess of Lins- 
mere. She, the greatest loser, whose only son had 
missed his one desire, could forgive the offender. 
She met him with a cordial smile, a warm pressure 

370 



Inspiration 37* 

of the hand, and an invitation to her own home. 

The Earl of Drumworth did not appear. To con- 
front with calmness or with self-possession this son 
of those impossible parents was beyond his powers. 
He remained in his own rooms. And he regaled 
himself in his solitude by chewing, with considerable 
violence, the cud of hate. 

The two lovers motored to the station with Oc- 
tavia's father. After returning to the castle, they 
started along the terrace, toward the Garden of the 
Sleeping Beauty. There was much to be said. And 
they said it. 

Baseborn was along. And the joy of life was in 
him. To the limit of his capacity, which was great, 
he shared the happiness of his friends. He circled 
about them with reckless speed. At intervals, from 
the fulness of a bursting heart, he lifted up his 
voice. Ethan was far too happy this morning for 
any display of dignity. He picked flowers and gave 
them to Octavia with foolish speeches, not for pub- 
lication here. His conversations with Baseborn — 
mostly about his fiancee — would have caused no 
astonishment to Lucy Lake, as coming from a kind 
but crazy gentleman. Octavia herself rebuked him 
with as much severity as is possible with a mirthful 
face: "How silly you are this morning! You be- 
have like an overgrown boy." 

Behind a hedge in Octavia's little garden he put 
an arm about her waist. With an upward glance 
toward the castle she drew away. 



372 Pandora's Box 



"i 

Hi 



'Only angels can see us," said Ethan. 
What better reason for behaving ourselves ?" 
'Oh, come now! Are British angels prigs?" 

She made no reply save a movement of the head, 
then walked on in front of him. 

"Have lovers any rights ?" he demanded. 

Still she heeded him not, and he took her gently 
by the shoulders and turned her about. Looking 
gravely into her eyes he inquired : 

"Do you forget the words of the Reverend Barley 
Koppsitt?" 

"I never heard of him nor his words, and I don't 
care to hear about him now." 

Still holding her shoulders, he repeated impress- 
ively : 

If a sni fifty woman snubs you, 
Said the Reverend Barley Koppsitt, 

The nicest way to treat her is 
To kiss her till she stops it 

Octavia smiled, but with another cautious glance 
toward the castle walls. Then, looking down into 
the eyes that were watching this tete-a-tete with 
lively interest : 

"Baseborn, are you no longer my protector? 
Won't you bite this American ?" 

But Baseborn, for once, ignored her request. And 
he, with his two followers, passed on through the 
little gate, along the cloistered arches. 

When, from beneath the old archway, they 



Inspiration 373 

stepped forth into the Garden of the Sleeping 
Beauty, they stood silent for a moment in a mild 
enchantment: — as if re-entering Arcadia. For the 
old garden, and all that was in it, seemed greet- 
ing them this morning with a smile of welcome. 
The sky seemed bluer, the flowers gayer, the birds 
more joyous than ever before. There was a general 
air of rejoicing. The dancing cupid had forgotten 
the drama of the night before. Now, he was 
capering in the morning sunshine, reckless, devil- 
may-care, impudent as ever, exulting in wanton glee 
over the uncounted centuries of rapture and of 
sorrow he had brought upon the human race. 

A bumble-bee, descendant perhaps of the intruder 
in the old hall a year ago, came reeling by in sonor- 
ous intoxication. And it was natural that the pale 
roses of Anne Boleyn, looking down from the castle 
wall, should quicken with a warmer color when 
Ethan looked up with a grateful smile and raised his 
cap. Octavia tossed them a kiss. 

"Also my blessing," said Ethan, "upon Lucy 
Lake. ,, 

Octavia closed her eyes, and with upturned face 
drew a long, slow breath and murmured, "What a 
perfect day!" And as she spoke Ethan drew her 
toward him, approaching his face to hers, intent 
upon that quaint performance so unavoidable, ap- 
parently, with persons in their relation. But Octa- 
via, from a willing co-operator with smiling face 



374 Pandora's Box 

and yielding body suddenly became a dissenter, stif- 
fened, frowned, and drew back. "No, never again I 
I am forgetting something." 

"Forgetting what ?" 

"Forgetting that I had decided we can never 
marry." 

Ethan's eyebrows went up. "Really?" 

"Yes, really." 

"What have I done?" 

"You have deceived me: a deliberate, long con- 
tinued deception. And if you did it once you would 
do it again. All through life, perhaps." 

"Oh, what a thought ! But tell me, lovely person, 
in what way have I deceived you ?" 

"In not telling me of your wealth. In passing 
yourself off as a poor draughtsman working for a 
living." 

"But if I had announced myself as a Yankee mil- 
lionaire you would have shrieked and run away." 

"So, then, it was a cold blooded scheme, calmly 
carried out ?" 

"Yes. And how well I did it!" 

"To your everlasting shame! Is your mother so 
very rich ?" 

"Yes." 

"Even for America ?" 

"Even for America." 

"Horrid!" said Octavia, with a gesture of de- 
spair. "Just horrid! All the romance is gone. I 
am making no sacrifice. I give nothing." 



Inspiration 375 



"Nothing! Gods of Olympus! You give your- 
self, and that's a million times more than I or any 
other man deserves !" 

But she shook her head. "No, it's horrid — a 
dreadful disappointment." 

He took one of her hands in both of his. "A 
newly married couple starting out in life must ex- 
pect some disappointments. And there are even 
harder blows than unexpected wealth." 

She withdrew her hand and backed away a step. 
"Then your ignorance about the plans was all a 
lie." 

"No. On my honor I knew nothing about it. 
Mumsey was very sly. She evidently meant to 
surprise me." 

But Octavia turned away, walked to the Kosyie 
Benche, and sat down. He followed, and sat beside 
her. As the Kosyie Benche was barely wide enough 
for two, no space was wasted. She folded her hands 
and leaned back with an air of weariness and resig- 
nation. "Being Americans, I suppose you acquired 
this wealth dishonestly." 

"On the contrary, my father was cheated into 
it." 

"Cheated into it! I have heard of people being 
cheated out of a fortune, but never into one." 

"Well, 'tis a wondrous tale, and if you care to 
listen I will tell it." 

"Go on." 

"In the first place," said Ethan, "to begin at the 



37 6 Pandora's Box 

beginning, when you try to be cross you are even 
more delectable than when you — " 

"Go on with your story." 

He began. "My father, recently married, had 
started out for himself as an architect. Being young 
and unknown, clients were scarce. He had one 
draughtsman, but not enough work to keep him 
busy. So he dismissed the draughtsman. This 
condition lasted about a year, until he and Mumsey 
moved to a cheaper boarding house." 

"Oh, your poor mother ! What a come down !" 

"Yes. It was certainly a change from Drum- 
worth Castle. I knew Mumsey came from Eng- 
land, but she never talked about it. And the ques- 
tions I asked when a little boy were answered in 
such a way that I knew there was a secret she 
wished to keep to herself. But as nothing she 
could do or had done could lessen my respect and 
affection, I never bothered her about it. 

Well, to continue. My father had about decided 
to take in his sign and look for a position as 
draughtsman when Fortune one morning walked 
right into his office without knocking. She was 
disguised as a real estate man, short and stout. 
She wore a diamond ring and a chin beard and 
was smoking a strong cigar, which she kept in her 
mouth as she talked. This man was "booming" a 
new town in Colorado and wanted designs for a 
wooden hotel, and a wooden opera house. Father 
made the drawings. And when the work was 



Inspiration 377 

done he sent his bill for the price agreed on, fif- 
teen hundred dollars." 

"How much is that in civilized money?" 

"I couldn't say. But in the coin of this island — 
to which I am indebted for something dearer than 
life — it would be three hundred pounds. Instead 
3i sending the money the man wrote that things 
had gone against him and he could not pay all his 
:reditors. But he would deed to my father a farm 
in payment of his bill. This farm, he wrote, was 
r>f forty acres and easily worth one hundred dollars 
an acre. As it was clear from the letter that if 
father refused the farm he would probably get 
nothing, he sent a receipt in full for the fifteen hun- 
dred dollars and received a deed of the land." 

"So he got four thousand dollars instead of fifteen 
hundred." 

"Well, it had that appearance — for a few months. 
But when he tried to sell this four thousand dollar 
farm at auction he couldn't get a bid on it. Nobody 
wanted it. He learned that this farm was no farm 
at all ; merely a treeless, waterless, grassless tract on 
the side of a barren mountain. Then he realized 
how completely he had been fooled." 

"Outrageous! I do hope the hoi/rid brute was 
punished." 

"He was. Plentifully and most elaborately pun- 
ished. Retribution was camping on his trail. But 
that did not help my father at the time. The failure 
to get his fifteen hundred dollars forced him to give 



37« Pandora's Box 

up his office and seek a position as draughtsman. 
Then he and Mumsey took smaller rooms in a still 
cheaper boarding-house." 

"And your poor mother! How hard for her!" 

"Yes, it was hard on Mumsey; and I, always 
tactless, chose that period of failure and starvation 
to come into the world." 

Octavia smiled. "No, never tactless. But go on." 

"Well, to make a long story short, my father sold, 
within two years, a half interest in two of those 
forty acres for more than a million dollars. The 
worthless farm was lined with silver." 

"Really? Was it a mine? — a truly silver mine?" 

"A 1 really, truly mine. And not only one but 
several mines. And so, all the rest of his days he 
was odiously, shockingly rich." 

"Splendid !" exclaimed Octavia. "And there was 
no more poverty for your mother." 

"I should say not ! Mumsey moved from the back 
rooms of a boarding-house to a corner mansion; 
from street cars to victorias ; from worn-out dresses 
to the newest Paris creations. In short, from dark- 
ness to light, from the bottom of the ladder to the 
very top." 

"And cheated into it ! Oh, it was lovely !" 
• "Yes, just lovely !" 

Octavia leaned back and closed her eyes. "What 
a fairy tale! And to end so well! But there is a 
bad side to it, I suppose, as you, instead of the 
ambitious hardworking man I imagined, were 
brought up like other gilded youths." 



Inspiration 379 



"Not a bit ! Father loved his work and stuck to 
architecture. And he brought me up in the same 
way. Ask Mumsey if I am a loafer." 

"Ask her, indeed 1 A mother's opinion of an 
only child !" 

Baseborn, at this point, suddenly conscious of 
being too long ignored, rushed to Octavia, barked, 
bounced, then rose up and placed his front paws 
against her knees. Gently she pushed him away, 
then dusted off the dirt. "Excuse me, Baseborn, but 
this is a clean dress. Forgive me, won't you?" 

Ethan glowered upon the dog. "Shame on you, 
Baseborn ! Never forget that you and I have mar- 
ried into the most exalted family of this island. It 
is for us to make up in deportment what we lack in 
beauty." 

"Lack in beauty !" exclaimed Octavia. "You are 
the two handsomest things in England !" 

Ethan looked down into Baseborn's honest face — 
honest, but of surpassing ugliness — and he whistled 
softly. "That, of course, cannot be denied. How- 
ever, if good intentions count at a beauty contest 
we are in it." 

On this subject was further discourse, friendly 
and informal as befitted a Kosyie Benche in sun- 
shine, with the perfume of flowers and old box. 
During the discourse Ethan took her nearest hand 
and seemed to be counting the fingers. She, in an 
idle way, was watching Baseborn, as he dug for 
treasure, a few feet away. And he was displaying 
the enthusiasm customary with dogs in similar en- 



3&> Pandora's Box 

terprises. She happened to notice, indifferently at 
first, that something near his nose caused Baseborn 
to stop work for a moment, take a step forward and 
investigate. This thing, a small, whitish grey object, 
failed to sustain his interest, and he returned to 
his labors. But it interested Octavia. She withdrew 
the hand whose fingers were being counted, arose, 
walked over and picked up the object. She accom- 
plished the deed in such a way that the man on the 
bench could not see what she was doing. She 
.studied the article — a silver coin — brushed off the 
dirt, then, with it hidden in her hand, faced about. 
Instead of returning to her place on the Kosyie 
Benche she walked away, suggesting they enter the 
Old Hall. And Ethan followed. 

As they stood in the embrasure of the great win- 
dow — the window of pleasant memories — she told 
Ethan to keep his eyes, for a moment, on the dis- 
tant landscape. He obeyed. What she did behind 
him, off near Pandora's box, was not then divulged. 
When permitted to look around he saw nothing un- 
unsual. His eyes came back to hers for informa- 
tion. She smiled, and had begun to speak, when the 
smile departed. Terror took its place and she 
looked toward the door. 

"Horrors! Listen!" 

He listened. Distinctly to their ears, from the 
cloistered arches, came voices of approaching tour- 
ists. Octavia frowned in vexation, and pressed her 
hand against a cheek. 



Inspiration 381 

"Oh dear! I forgot it was their day." 
Now Ethan cared little for the visitors, but he 
sympathized with Octavia. After a glance in the 
direction of the coming voices he did an unaccount- 
able thing — a thing never explained. Yielding to 
a sudden impulse he started toward the gallery at 
the end of the Hall. Octavia and Baseborn followed 
close behind. He knew nothing of the secret door. 
He had never heard it mentioned, nor dreamed of 
its existence. Yet, with no hesitation, without the 
slightest wavering or uncertainty, he walked di- 
rectly to it, to the fourth panel from the left. And 
there were many panels in the partition, all precisely 
alike. He was conscious, once again, of a sensation 
more or less familiar to everybody, the sudden, 
evanescent but vivid impression of passing through 
an experience already known to us. This sensa- 
tion had surprised him more than once while at 
Drumworth Castle. Especially had he known it 
those mornings in the Old Hall when working at his 
drawings, with Octavia at the window — also on the 
Kosyie Benche. This time, however, it was strong- 
er and yet more vivid; even stronger and more vivid 
than the night before, when the moonlit face of the 
Earl of Drumworth stared back at him, with glazing 
eyes, from the pedestal of the dancing cupid. Now, 
guided by this flash of a mysterious knowledge — 
a sudden sense of things unknown — he walked 
straight to the secret door, a door, as such, invisible 
to all who knew it not. And he pressed his thumb 



382 Pandora's Box 

upon the hidden spring. This spring, a bit of metal 
no larger than a finger tip, was so well concealed 
between the moldings of the panel that even per- 
sons familiar with it had to pause and search. 
Moreover, he did it rapidly and with precision, as 
if it were a habit. And he failed to realize the sin- 
gularity of his act until a moment later, when he, 
Octavia and Baseborn were sitting on a lower step 
of the narrow stair, huddled close together in the 
dark. All three were listening to the voices of the 
tourists as they entered the Hall. 

Octavia whispered, "Who told you of the secret 
panel?" 

"Nobody. I didn't know there was one." 
In solemn undertones they discussed the marvel. 
Answering Octavia's questions, Ethan explained 
that he walked to the secret door with eyes open 
and wits about him, and pressed the hidden spring 
instinctively, feeling no surprise until the thing was 
done and the door had closed behind them. Now 
that he knew the story of his parents, he could better 
understand, or at least divine a cause for those sud- 
den flashes of familiarity that had often come to 
him in the Old Hall, in the deserted garden and on 
the Kosyie Benche. A year ago, before he knew 
their story, these sensations puzzled him. He rarely 
had such experiences before coming to Drumworth 
Castle. The explanation that seemed to them the 
least improbable was that some lasting impression 
on a parent's brain — of one or both — might have 



Inspiration 



383 



descended to the son; that in this emergency, al- 
though unimportant, he had obeyed an impulse of 
his subconscious mind. And what more probable, 
than that Ethan's mother, on sudden warning of a 
husband's visit, had fled in terror to this door ? And 
for the wife who knew that husband the terror 
would never be forgotten. Octavia could testify 
from her own experience that the Countess of 
Drumworth knew well the panel and its secret 
spring. 

This whispering in the darkness lasted until the 
voices of Bayliss and his followers died away. 

Again there was silence in the Old Hall. 



XXXIII 

ABOVE THE CLOUDS 

BASEBORN, for one, was glad to get out. He 
had been restive during the dark imprison- 
ment. And when, at last, he and his two 
friends stepped forth into the light he was dissuaded 
with difficulty from pursuing the intruders and 
voicing his opinion. 

All aglow with sunshine was the Old Hall; and 
Ethan, with Octavia, stood for a moment blinking 
at the light. As they neared the great window, 
where the thousand perfumes from the old garden 
floated in through the open casement, a bird alighted 
on the sill, at the lady's usual seat. He was small, 
and grey in color, with a white breast and a touch 
of pink at the throat. At once he began to sing. 
Sweet were his notes, and musical his song. But, 
if one could judge from the singer's manner, the 
song was a protest. He made it clear that he re- 
garded these two persons with suspicion. So frank 
and so emphatic was his disapproval that it excited 
comment. 

"What an interesting little chap 1" said Ethan. "I 
am afraid we don't have him in my country. What 
is he, anyway?" 

384 



Above the Clouds 385 

"A chaffinch. He knows you are a Yankee and is 
telling you to go home. ,, 

Ethan laughed. "There's no doubt about that — 
ill mannered little Britisher !" 

For a moment they stood watching him and listen- 
ing to what he had to say. He said it in a cheery 
voice, in an off hand, jolly way, and it was more like 
a laugh than a song. But he studied this man and 
woman first with one eye then the other, and seemed 
to sing because he couldn't help it. He gave the 
impression of one appointed by himself — and possi- 
bly other birds in the garden — to order trespassers 
away. 

"An officious, impudent little snob!" said Ethan, 
"but how merry and optimistic. Why don't we have 
him in America?" 

"America!" Octavia repeated the word with os- 
tentatious contempt. "He is far too wise! But 
tell me, speaking of birds, are American husbands 
expensive?" 

"Expensive? You mean, are they extravagant?" 

"No. I mean, are they expensive." 

"To purchase?" 

"Yes, to purchase." 

"American husbands are dearer than American 
wives. You can buy an American heiress with any 
old title." 

"But if one wished to buy an American husband 
of fairly good quality what would be the price?" 

Ethan closed his eyes in solemn thought "Much 



386 Pandora's Box 

depends on the purchaser. If a repulsive old woman 
wanted to buy a nice young man the price might be 
a million dollars. 3 

"And what would be your price?' 

To a repulsive old woman ?' 

'No, to me. 1 



99 

ice?" 

"To a repulsi 1J v> 

"No, to me." 
"Five or ten cents." 
"How much is ten cents?" 
'About five pence. 5 
Then I surely could buy you for sixpence." 



«ai j. n » 

"Oh, anytime!" 

"Go to Pandora's box, and keep what you find 
there." 

Ethan frowned and shook his head. He spoke of 
that maiden's heartless joke a year ago, and the 
tragedy it nearly caused. "The mission of Pan- 
dora's box, you know, is to bring trouble to mor- 
tals." 

"Some troubles," said Octavia, "are blessings in 
disguise." 

Ethan walked over to the statue, put his hand in 
the marble casket and drew forth a coin. He 
studied it, then looked up in surprise. 

"Well, did you ever! It's the shilling you gave 
me for rowing you across the river the first time I 
ever saw you! There's the dent I made near the 
edge. Is this what you picked up in the garden a 
little while ago ?" 

She nodded. "And once again I give it; six- 
pence, the price I pay for you: and the rest, as 
before, a tip. 5 



99 



Above the Clouds 387 

"I accept the tip with thanks, but you must take 
back the other sixpence. I was yours already. Be- 
sides, you may find it a useful talisman. If I ever 
become too independent just show me this shilling. 
It will remind me that I was bought for sixpence." 

"But I have always heard that American hus- 
bands are never too independent; that they are 
humble minded and obedient." 

"Always. There are no exceptions." 

"And obey their wives in all things ?" 

"In all things." 

"Shall you do everything I tell you?" 

"Yes, oh, Joy of the Present, Hope of the 
Future !" 

"Always and forever?" 

"So long as I live." 

"Do all my errands ?" 

"Certainly." 

"Never contradict?" 

"Never." 

Octavia drew back a little, and regarded him from 
the corners of her eyes. "Will you think as I do- 
in all matters?" 

"That will be my duty." 

"Change your religion?" 

"At once." 

"Be a gentleman of leisure? Give up your pro- 
fession?" 

"Yes." 

"And your mother, too, if I am jealous?" 

"Of course!" 



388 Pandora's Box 

"Live here at Drumworth all the year round ?" 

"Yes." 

"Never go to America, even for a visit?" 

"Never." 

"Forget your country and become a British sub- 
ject?" 

"Yes." 

"Do you mean to keep all those promises?" 

"No." 

Octavia laughed. "Thank heaven ! I should de- 
spise you if you did !" 

The chaffinch at the window was stepping side- 
ways, to and fro, silent now, but suspicious ; uncer- 
tain apparently how to express his disapproval. For 
these intruders were impervious to censure. In their 
designs he had no confidence. 

Baseborn with his nose to the floor was sniffing 
about the room in the tracks of the departed tour- 
ists, uttering low growls. But these growls were 
partly for show. They were merely the usual canine 
expressions of doubt as to the intentions of stran- 
gers. And who had a better right to responsibility 
for the safety of Octavia than the present dog? 

The two lovers stood smiling into each other's 
faces, like happy children. Through the stained 
glass of the great window the sunlight lay gently 
upon them, as in friendly approval. 

"This morning in the garden," said Ethan, "you 
were shocked at hearing of Mumsey's descent from 
Drumworth castle to a cheap American boarding- 



Above the Clouds 389 

house. Yet you must have been prepared, until last 
night, for a similar experience. Or, at best, to 
struggle along in a modest wooden cottage." 

"Yes ; painted white, with green shutters." 

"And that we should live on whatever income I 
might earn from my profession ?" 

"Yes, little Ethan." 

"And to pass the rest of your days among the far- 
away Yankees, whom you despised ?" 

Octavia's cheeks grew a trifle redder. "Oh, why 
do you recall it?" 

"Please tell me honestly. It is true, isn't it?" 

"Yes — I am ashamed to confess it." 

"The confession is to your everlasting glory. And 
you were ready to leave your old friends, your so- 
cial life and all that binds you to England, and to 
follow me — anywhere?" 

"Anywhere." And with this word there was a 
little outward gesture of the hands, signifying many 
things. 

"You were going to do all this for love of me — 
just Ethan Lovejoy?" 

"Life for me did not begin until you, just Ethan 
Lovejoy, came into it." 

Ethan closed his eyes, straightened up and drew 
a long breath. When his eyes opened there was a 
blinking — that familiar but ever useless effort to 
conceal a moisture between the lids. 

"Well, I can only say" — his unsteady voice told 
of a deeper feeling than words disclosed — "it is 



390 



Pandora's Box 



for me to make you happy, Octavia, and — my love 
for you — if ever — " 

A final quaver ended his speech. His tongue 
failed. This little breakdown called for no reply, 
and no reply was spoken. But in Octavia's face 
there was an answer — in her eyes, in the warmer 
color that came into her cheeks, and on the lips that 
murmured something — something nobody heard 
However, to make the answer clearer still, she 
stepped forward into his arms. 

As they closed around her, the chaffinch at the 
window began to sing, and rose upon his wings. 
He sailed away over the old garden, proclaiming 
to the world, in a melody of mirth, that all was 
going well. 



The Master's Violin 

MYRTLE REED 

A Love Story* with a musical at- 
mosphere. A picturesque, old 
German virtuoso is the rever- 
ent possessor of a genuine Cre- 
mona. He consents to take as 
his pupil a handsome youth who 
proves to have an aptitude for 
technique, but not the soul of 
the artist The youth has led the 
happy, careless life of a modern, 
well-to-do young American, and 
he cannot, with his meagre past, 
express the love, the longing, the passion and the trage- 
dies of life and its happy phases as can the master who 
has lived life in all its fulness. But a girl comes into 
his existence, a beautiful bit of human driftwood that 
his aunt had taken into her heart and home; and through 
his passionate love for her, he learns the lessons that life 
has to give — and his soul awakens. 

Founded on a fact well known among artists, but not 
often recognized or discussed .* 




If you have not read "Lavender and Old Lack" by the 
same author, you have a double pleasure in store — for 
these two books show Myrtle Reed in her most delightful, 
fascinating vein — indeed they may be considered as mas- 
terpieces of compelling interest 



AAfor 



mfkMfr-lUtofG.&D. A^JUr Ctfyrifkud F«™ 



GROSSET & DUNLAP, Publishers, NEW YORK 



The Prodigal Judge 



By VAUGHAN KESTER 

f 

This great novel — probably the most popular book in 
khis country to-day — is as human as a story from the pen 
of that great master of " immortal laughter and immortal 
tears," Charles Dickens. 

The Prodigal Judge is a shabby outcast, a tavern hang- 
er-on, a genial wayfarer who tarries longest where the inn 
is most hospitable, yet with that suavity, that distinctive 
politeness and that saving grace of humor peculiar to the 
American man. He has his own code of morals— very 
exalted ones — but honors them in the breach rather than 
in the observance. 

Clinging to the Judge closer than a brother, is Solomon 
Mahaffy — fallible and failing like the rest of us, but with 
a sublime capacity for friendship; and closer still, perhaps, 
clings little Hannibal, a boy about whose parentage 
nothing is known until the end of the story. Hannibal 
is charmed into tolerance of the Judge's picturesque 
vices, while Miss Betty, lovely and capricious, is charmed 
into placing all her affairs, both material and sentimental, 
in the hands of this delightful old vagabond. 

The Judge will be a fixed star in the firmament of 
fictional characters as surely as David Harum or Col. 
Sellers. He is a source of infinite delight, while this story 
of Mr. Kester's is one of the finest examples of Ameri- 
can literary craftmanship. 



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