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A COUPLE of years ago, on the very verge of the ill- 
ness that subsequently overwhelmed me, I took a 
small furnished house in Pineland. I made no in- 
spection of the place, but signed the agreement at 
the instance of the local house-agent, who proved 
little less inventive than the majority of his con- 

Three months of neuritis, only kept within 
bounds by drugs, had made me comparatively indif- 
ferent to my surroundings. It was necessary for 
me to move because I had become intolerant of the 
friends who exclaimed at my ill looks, and the 
acquaintances who failed to notice any alteration 
in me. One sister whom I really loved, and who 
really loved me, exasperated me by constant visits 
and ill-concealed anxiety. Another irritated me 
little less by making light of my ailment and speak- 
ing of neuritis in an easy familiar manner as one 
might of toothache or a corn. I had no natural 
sleep, and if I were not on the borderland of in- 
sanity, I was at least within sight of the home park 
of inconsequence. Reasoned behaviour was no 
longer possible, and I knew it was necessary for me 
to be alone. 


I do not wish to recall this bad time nor the 
worse that ante-dated my departure, when I was 
at the mercy of venal doctors and indifferent 
nurses, dependent on grudged bad service and over- 
paid inattention, taking a so-called rest cure. But 
I do wish to relate a most curious circumstance, or 
set of circumstances, that made my stay in Pine- 
land memorable, and left me, after my sojourn 
there, obsessed with the story of which I found the 
beginning on the first night of my arrival, and the 
end in the long fevered nights that followed. I 
myself hardly know how much is true and 
how much is fiction in this story; for what the 
cache of letters is responsible, and for what the 

The house at Pineland was called Carbies, and it 
was haunted for me from the first by Margaret 
Capel and Gabriel Stanton. Quite early in my stay 
I must have contemplated writing about them, 
knowing that there was no better way of ridding 
myself of their phantoms, than by trying to make 
them substantial in pen and ink. I had their letters 
and some scraps of an unfinished diary to help me, 
a notebook with many blank pages, the garrulous 
reticence of the village apothecary, and the evidence 
of the sun-washed God's Acre by the old church. 

To begin at the beginning. 

It was a long drive from Pineland station to 
Carbies. I had sent my maid in advance, but there 


was no sign of her when my ricketty one-horse 
fly pulled up at the garden gate of a suburban villa 
of a house " standing high " it is true, and with 
" creeper climbing about its white-painted walls." 
But otherwise with no more resemblance to the ex- 
quisite and secluded cottage ornee I had in my mind, 
and that the house-agent had portrayed in his let- 
ters, than a landscape by Matise to one by Ruysdael. 
I was too tired then to be greatly disappointed. 
Two servants had been sent in by my instructions, 
and the one who opened the door to me proved to 
be a cheerful-looking young person of the golly wog 
type, with a corresponding cap, who relieved 
me of my hand luggage and preceded me to the 
drawing-room, where wide windows and a bright 
fire made me oblivious for the moment of the 
shabby furniture, worn carpet, and mildewed wall- 
paper. Tea was brought to me in a cracked pot 
on a veneered tray. The literary supplement of 
The Times and an American magazine were all I 
had with which to occupy myself. And they proved 
insufficient. I began to look about me; and 
became curiously and almost immediately conscious 
that my new abode must have been inhabited by a 
sister or brother of the pen. The feeling was not 
psychic. The immense writing-table stood side- 
ways in the bow-window as only " we " know how 
to place it. The writing-chair looked sufficiently 
luxurious to tempt me to an immediate trial ; there 


were a footstool and a big waste-paper basket; all 
incongruous with the cheap and shabby drawing- 
room furniture. Had only my MS. paper been 
to hand, ink in the substantial glass pot, and my 
twin enamel pens available, I think I should then 
and there have abjured all my vows of rest and 
called upon inspiration to guide me to a fresh 

" Work whilst ye have the light " had been my 
text for months; driving me on continually. It 
seemed possible, even then, that the time before 
me was short. I left the fire and my unfinished 
tea. Instinctively I found the words rising to my 
lips, " I could write here." That was the way a 
place always struck me. Whether I could or could 
not write there? Seated in that convenient easy- 
chair I felt at once that my shabby new surround- 
ings were sympathetic to me, that I fitted in and 
was at home in them. 

I had come straight from a narrow London 
house where my bedroom overlooked a mews, and 
my sitting-room other narrow houses with a road- 
way between. Here, early in March, from the 
wide low window I saw yellow gorse overgrowing 
a rough and unkempt garden. Beyond the garden 
more flaming gorse on undulating common land, 
then hills, and between them, unmistakable, the 
sombre darkness of the sea. Up here the air was 
very still, but the smell of the gorse was strong with 


the wind from that distant sea. I wished for pens 
and paper at first; then drifted beyond wishes, 
dreaming I knew not of what, but happier and more 
content than I had been for some time past. The 
air was healing, so were the solitude and silence. My 
silence and solitude were interrupted, my content 
came abruptly to an end. 

"Dr. Kennedy!" 

I did not rise. In those bad neuritis days rising 
was not easy. I stared at the intruder, and he at 
me. But I guessed in a minute to what his unwel- 
come presence was due. My anxious, dearly 
beloved, and fidgetty sister had found out the name 
of the most noted ^sculapius of the neighbourhood 
and had notified him of my arrival, probably had 
given him a misleading and completely erroneous 
account of my illness, certainly asked him to call. 
I found out afterwards I was right in all my 
guesses save one. This was not the most noted 
^Esculapius of the neighbourhood, but his more 
youthful partner. Dr. Lansdowne was on his 
holiday. Dr. Kennedy had read my sister's letter 
and was now bent upon carrying out her instruc- 
tions. As I said, we stared at each other in the 
advancing dusk. 

"You have only just come?" he ventured then. 

" I've been here about an hour," I replied " a 
quiet hour." 

" I had your sister's letter," he said apologetic- 


ally, if a little awkwardly, as he advanced into the 

" She wrote you, then ? " 

" Oh yes ! I've got the letter somewhere." He 
felt in his pocket and failed to find it. 

" Won't you sit down? " 

There was no chair near the writing-table save 
the one upon which I sat. A further reason why I 
knew my predecessor here had been a writer ! Dr. 
Kennedy had to fetch one, and I took shallow 
stock of him meanwhile. A tall and not ill-look- 
ing man in the late thirties or early forties, he had 
on the worst suit of country tweeds I had ever 
seen and incongruously well-made boots. Now he 
sprawled silently in the selected chair, and I waited 
for his opening. Already I was nauseated with 
doctors and their methods. In town I had seen 
everybody's favourite nostrum-dispenser, and none 
of them had relieved me of anything but my hardly 
earned cash. I mean to present a study of them 
one day, to get something back from what I have 
given. Dr. Kennedy did not accord with the black- 
coated London brigade, and his opening was 
certainly different. 

" How long have you been feeling unwell ? " 
That was what I expected, this was the common 
gambit. Dr. Kennedy sat a few minutes without 
speaking at all. Then he asked me abruptly : 

" Did you know Mrs. Capel ? " 



" Margaret Capel. You knew she lived here, 
didn't you ? That it was here it all happened ? " 

"What happened?" 

" Then you don't know ? " He got up from his 
chair in a fidgetty sort of way and went over to the 
other window. " I hoped you knew her, that she 
had been a friend of yours. I hoped so ever since 
I had your sister's letter. Carbies! It seemed so 
strange to be coming here again. I can't believe 
it is ten years ago ; it is all so vivid ! " He came 
back and sat down again. " I ought not to talk 
about her, but the whole room and house are so 
full of memories. She used to sit, just as you are 
sitting now, for hours at a time, dreaming. Some- 
times she would not speak to me at all. I had to 
go away; I could see I was intruding." 

The cynical words on my lips remained unut- 
tered. He was tall, and if his clothes had fitted 
him he might have presented a better figure. I 
hate a morning coat in tweed material. The adjec- 
tive " uncouth " stuck. I saw it was a clever head 
under the thick mane of black hair, and wondered 
at his tactlessness and provincial garrulity. I 
nevertheless found myself not entirely uninterested 
in him. 

" Do you mind my talking about her ? Incan- 
descent! I think that word describes her best. 
She burned from the inside, was strung on wires, 


and they were all alight. She was always sitting 
just where you are now, or upstairs at the piano. 
She was a wonderful pianist. Have you been 
upstairs, into the room she turned into a music 
room ? " 

" As I told you, I have only been here an hour. 
This is the only room I have seen." 

My tone must have struck him as wanting in 
cordiality, or interest. 

" You didn't want me to come up to-night ? " He 
looked through his pocketbook for Ella's let- 
ter, found it, and began to read, half aloud. 
How well I knew what Ella would have said to 

" She has taken ' Carbies ' ; call upon her at 
once ... let me know what you think . . . 
don't be misled by her high spirits . . ." He 
read it half aloud and half to himself. He seemed 
to expect my sympathy. " I used to come here so 
often, two or three times a day sometimes." 

"Was she ill?" The question was involuntary. 
Margaret Capel was nothing to me. 

" Part of the time. Most of the time." 

" Did you do her any good ? " 

Apparently he had no great sense or sensitive- 
ness of professional dignity. There was a strange 
light in his eyes, brilliant yet fitful, conjured up by 
the question. It was the first time he seemed to 
recognize my existence as a separate entity. He 


looked directly at me, instead of gazing about him 

" I don't know. I did my best. When she was in 
pain I stopped it ... sometimes. She did 
not always like the medicines I prescribed. And 
you? You are suffering from neuritis, your sister 
says. That may mean anything. Where is it ? " 

" In my legs." 

I did not mean him to attend me; I had come 
away to rid myself of doctors. And anyway I 
liked an older man in a professional capacity. But 
his eccentricity of manner or deportment, his want 
of interest in me and absorption in his former 
patient, his ill-cut clothes and unlikeness to his 
brother professionals, were a little variety, and I 
found myself answering his questions. 

" Have you tried Kasemol ? It is a Japanese 
cure very efficacious; or any other paint? " 

" I am no artist." 

He smiled. He had a good set of teeth, and his 
smile was pleasant. 

" You've got a nurse, or a maid ? " 

" A maid. I'm not ill enough for nurses." 

" Good. Did you know this was once a nursing- 
home? After she found that out she could never 
bear the place . . ." 

He was talking again about the former occupant 
of the house. My ailment had not held his atten- 
tion long. 


" She said she smelt ether and heard groaning in 
the night. I suppose it seems strange to you I 
should talk so much about her? But Carbies with- 
out Margaret Capel . . . You do mind ? " 

" No, I don't. I daresay I shall be glad to hear 
all about her one day, and the story. I see you have 
a story to tell. Of course I remember her now. 
She wrote a play or two, and some novels that had 
quite a little vogue at one time. But I'm tired 

" So short a journey ought not to tire you." He 
was observing me more closely. " You look over- 
driven, too fine-drawn. We must find out all 
about it. Not to-night of course. You must not 
look upon this as a professional visit at all, but 
I could not resist coming. You would understand, 
if you had known her. And then to see you sitting 
at her table, and in the same attitude . . ." 
He left off abruptly. So the regard I had flattered 
myself to be personal was merely reminiscent. 
" You don't write too, by any chance, do you ? That 
would be an extraordinary coincidence." 

He might as well have asked Melba if she sang. 
Blundering fool! I was better known than 
Margaret Capel had ever been. Not proud of my 
position because I have always known my limita- 
tions, but irritated nevertheless by his ignorance, 
and wishful now to get rid of him. 

" Oh, yes ! I write a little sometimes. Sorry my 


position at the table annoys you. But I don't play 
the piano." He seemed a little surprised or hurt 
at my tone, as he well might, and rose to go. I 
rose, too, and held out my hand. After all I did 
not write under my own name, so how could he 
have known unless Ella had told him? When he 
shook hands with me he made no pretence of feel- 
ing my pulse, a trick of the trade which I particu- 
larly dislike. So I smiled at him. " I am a little 

" Irritability is characteristic of the complaint. 
And I have bored you horribly, I fear. But it was 
such an excitement coming up here again. May I 
come in the morning and overhaul you? My 
partner, Dr. Lansdowne, for whom your sister's 
letter was really intended, is away. Does that 
matter ? " 

" I shouldn't think so." 

" He is a very able man," he said seriously. 

" And are you not ? " By this time my legs were 
aching badly and I wanted to get rid of him. 

" In the morning, then." 

He seemed as if he would have spoken again, 
but thought better of it. He had certainly a per- 
sonality, but one that I was not sure I liked. He 
took an inconceivable time winding up or starting 
his machine, the buzz of it was in my ears long 
after he went off, blowing an unnecessary whistle, 
making my pain unbearable. 


I dined in bed and treated myself to an extra 
dose of nepenthe on the excuse of the fatigue of my 
journey. The prescription had been given to me by 
one of those eminent London physicians of whom 
I hope one day to make a pen-and-ink drawing. It 
is an insidious drug with varying effects. That 
night I remember the pain was soon under weigh 
and the strange half-wakeful dreams began early. 
It was good to be out of pain even if one knew it to 
be only a temporary deliverance. The happiness of a 
recovered amiability soon became mine, after which 
conscience began to worry me because I had been 
ungrateful to my sister and had run away from her, 
and been rude to her doctor, that strange doctor. I 
smiled in my drowsiness when I thought of him and 
his beloved Margaret Capel, a strange devotee at a 
forgotten shrine, in his cutaway checked coat and 
the baggy trousers. But the boots might have come 
from Lobb. His hands were smooth, of the right 
texture. Evidently the romance of his life had been 
this Margaret Capel. 

So this place had been a nursing-home, and when 
she knew it she heard groans and smelt ether. Her 
books were like that : fanciful, frothy. She had 
never a straightforward story to tell. It was years 
since I had heard her name, and I had forgotten 
what little I knew, except that I had once been 
resentful of the fuss the critics had made over her. 
I believed she was dead, but could not be sure. 


Then I thought of Death, and was glad it had no 
terrors for me. No one could go on living as I 
had been doing, never out of pain, without seeing 
Death as a release. 

A burning point of pain struck me again, and 
because I was drugged I found it unbearable. Be- 
fore it was too late and I became drowsier I roused 
myself for another dose. To pour out the medicine 
and put the glass down without spilling it was 
difficult, the table seemed uneven. Later my 
brain became confused, and my body comfort- 

It was then I saw Margaret Capel for the first 
time, not knowing who she was, but glad of her 
appearance, because it heralded sleep. Always 
before the drug assumed its fullest powers, I saw 
kaleidoscopic changes, unsubstantial shapes, things 
and people that were not there. Wonderful things 
sometimes. This was only a young woman in a 
grey silk dress, of old-fashioned cut, with puffed 
sleeves and wide skirts. She had a mass of fair 
hair, blonde cendre, and with a blue ribbon snooded 
through it. At first her face was nebulous, after- 
wards it appeared with a little more colour in it, 
and she had thin and tremulous pink lips. She 
looked plaintive, and when our eyes met she 
seemed a little startled at seeing me in her bed. 
The last thing I saw of her was a wavering smile, 
rather wonderful and alluring. I knew at once 


that she was Margaret Capel. But she was quickly 
replaced by two Chinese vases and a conventional 
design in black and gold. I had been too liberal 
with that last dose of nepenthe, and the result was 
the deep sleep or unconsciousness I liked the least 
of its effects, a blank passing of time. 

The next morning, as usual after such a debauch, 
I was heavy and depressed, still drowsy but without 
any happiness or content. I had often wondered I 
could keep a maid, for latterly I was always either 
irritable or silent. Not mean, however. That has 
never been one of my faults, and may have been the 
explanation. Suzanne asked how I had slept and 
hoped I was better, perfunctorily, without waiting 
for an answer. She was a great fat heavy French- 
woman, totally without sympathetic quality. I told 
her not to pull up the blinds nor bring coffee until 
I rang. 

" I am quite well, but I don't want to be bothered. 
The servants must do the housekeeping. If Dr. 
Kennedy calls say I am too ill to see him." 

I often wish one could have dumb servants. But 
Suzanne was happily lethargic and not argumenta- 
tive. I heard afterwards that she gave my message 
verbatim to the doctor : " Madame was not well 
enough to see him," but softened it by a sugges- 
tion that I would perhaps be better tomorrow and 
perhaps he would come again. His noisy machine 
and unnecessary horn spoiled the morning and 


angered me against Ella for having brought him 
over me. 

I felt better after lunch and got up, making a 
desultory exploration of the house and finding my 
last night's impression confirmed. The position 
was lonely without being secluded. All round the 
house was the rough garden, newly made, un- 
finished, planted with trees not yet grown and 
kitchen stuff. Everywhere was the stiff and 
prickly gorse. On the front there were many 
bedrooms; some, like my own, had broad balconies 
whereon a bed could be wheeled. The place had 
probably at one time been used as an open-air 
cure. Then Margaret Capel must have taken it, 
altered this that and the other, but failed to make 
a home out of what had been designed for a 
hospital. By removing a partition two of these 
bedrooms had been turned into one. This one was 
large, oak-floored, and a Steinway grand upon a 
platform dominated one corner. There was a big 
music stand. I opened it and found no clearance of 
music had been made. It was full and deplorably 
untidy. The rest of the furniture consisted of 
tapestry-covered small and easy-chairs, a round 
table, a great sofa drawn under one of the windows, 
and some amateur water colours. 

On the ground floor the dining-room looked 
unused and the library smelt musty. It was lined 
with open cupboards or bookcases, the top shelves 


fitted with depressing-looking tomes and the lower 
one bulging with yellow-backed novels, old- 
fashioned three-volume novels, magazines dated ten 
years back, and an " olla podrida " of broken-backed 
missing-leaved works by Hawley Smart, Mrs. 
Lovett Cameron, and Charles Lever. Nothing in 
either of these rooms was reminiscent of Margaret 
Capel. I was glad to get back to the drawing- 
room, on the same floor, but well-proportioned and 
agreeable. Today, with the sun out and my fatigue 
partly gone, its shabbiness looked homely and even 
attractive. The position of the writing-table again 
made its appeal. Suzanne had unpacked my writ- 
ing-things and they stood ready for arrangement, 
heaped up together on the green leather top. I saw 
with satisfaction that there were many drawers 
and that the table was both roomy and convenient. 
The view from the window was altered by the 
sunlight. The yellow gorse was still the most 
prominent feature, but beyond it today one saw 
the sea more plainly, a little dim and hazy in the 
distance but unmistakable ; melting into the horizon. 
Today the sky was of a summer blue although it 
was barely spring. I felt my courage revive. 
Again I said to myself that I could write here, and 
silently rescinded my intention of resting. " Work 
whilst ye have the light." I had not a great light, 
but another than myself to work for, and perhaps 
not much time. 


The gollywog put a smiling face and a clean cap 
halfway into the room and said: 

" Please, ma'am, cook wishes to know if she can 
speak to you, and if you please there is no . . ." 

There tumbled out a list of household necessities, 
which vexed me absurdly. But the writing-chair 
was comfortable and helped me through the nar- 
rative. The table was alluring, and I wanted to 
be alone. Cook arrived before Mary had finished, 
and then the monologue became a duet. 

"There's not more than half a dozen glasses 
altogether, and I'm sure I don't know what to do 
about the teapot. There's only one tray . . ." 

"And as for the cooking utensils, well, I never 
see such a lot. And that dirty! The kitchen 
dresser has never been cleaned out since the flood, 
I should think. Stuffed up with dirty cloths and 
broken crockery. As for the kitchen table, there's 
knives without handles and forks without prongs; 
not a shape that isn't dented; the big fish kettle's 
got a hole in it as big as your 'and, and the others 
ain't fit to use. The pastry board's broke . . ." 

I wanted to stop my ears and tell them to get 
out. I had asked for competent servants, and 
understood that competent servants bought or hired 
whatever was necessary for their work. That was 
the way things were managed at home. But then 
my cook had been with me for eight years and my 
housemaid for eleven. They knew my ways, and 


that I was never to be bothered with household 
details, only the bills were my affair. And those 
my secretary paid. 

" It was one of them there writing women as had 
the place last, with no more idea of order than the 
kitchen cat," cook said indignantly, or perhaps 
suspiciously, eyeing the writing-table. I had come 
here for rest and change, to lead the simple life, 
with two servants instead of five and everything in 
proportion. Now I found myself giving reckless 

" Buy everything you want ; there is sure to be 
a shop in the village. If not, make out a list, and 
one of you go up to the Stores or Harrod's. If 
the place is dirty get in a charwoman. Some one 
will recommend you a charwoman, the house-agent 
or the doctor." I reminded cook that she was a 
cook-housekeeper, but failed to subdue her. 

" You can't be cook-housekeeper in a desert 
island. I call it no better than a desert island. I'd 
get hold of that there house-agent that engaged us 
if I was you. He said the 'ouse was well-found. 
Him with his well-found 'ouse! They're bound 
to give you what you need, but if you don't mind 
expense ..." 

Of course I minded expense, never more so than 
now when I saw the possibility before me of a 
long period of inaction. . . . But I minded 
other things more. Household detail for instance, 


and uneducated voices. I compromised and sanc- 
tioned the appeal to the house-agent, confirming that 
the irreducible minimum was to be purchased, 
explaining I was ill, not to be troubled about this 
sort of thing. I brushed aside a few " buts " and 
finally rid myself of them. I caught myself yearn- 
ing for Ella, who would have saved me this and 
every trouble. Then scorned my desire to send for 
her and determined to be glad of my solitude, to 
rejoice in my freedom. I could look as ill as I 
liked without comment. I could sit where I was 
without attempting to tidy my belongings, and no 
one would ask me if I felt seedy, if the pain was 
coming on, if they could do anything for me. And 
then, fool that I was, I remember tears coming to 
my eyes because I was lonely, and sure that I had 
tired out even Ella's patience. I wondered how 
any one could face a long illness, least of all any 
one like me who loved work, and above all independ- 
ence, freedom. I knew, I knew even then that 
the time was coming when I could neither work nor 
be independent ; the shadow was upon me that very 
first afternoon at Carbies. When I could see to 
write I dashed off a postcard to Ella telling her I 
was quite well and she was not to bother about me. 

" I like the place, I'm sure I shall be able to write 
here. Don't think of coming down, and keep the 
rest of the family off me if you can . . ." 

I spent the remainder of the evening weakly 


longing for her, and feeling that she need not have 
taken me at my word, that she might have come 
with me although I urged her not, that she should 
have understood me better. 

That night I took less nepenthe, yet saw 
Margaret Capel more vividly. She stayed a long 
time too. This time she wore a blue peignoir, her 
hair down, and she looked very young and girlish. 
There were gnomes and fairies when she went, and 
after that the sea, swish and awash as if I had been 
upon a yacht. Unconsciousness only came to me 
when the yacht was submerged in a great wave 
. . . semiconsciousness. 

But I am not telling the story of my illness. I 
should like to, but I fear it would have no interest 
for the general public, or for the young people 
amongst whom one looks for readers. I have some- 
times thought nevertheless, both then and after- 
wards, that there must be a public who would like 
to hear what one does and thinks and suffers when 
illness catches one unawares ; and all life's interests 
alter and narrow down to temperatures and medi- 
cine-time, to fighting or submitting to nurses and 
weakness, to hatred and contempt of doctors, and 
a dumb blind rage against fate; to pain and the 
soporifics behind which its hold tightens. 

Pineland did not cure me, although I spent hours 
in the open air and let my pens lie resting in their 
case. Under continual pains I grew sullen and 


resentful, always more ill-tempered and desirous of 
solitude. Dr. Kennedy called frequently. Some- 
times I saw him and sometimes not, as the mood 
took me. He never came without speaking of the 
former occupant of the house, of Margaret Capel. 
He seemed to take very little personal interest in 
me or my condition. And I was too proud (or 
stupid) to force it on his notice. I asked him once, 
crudely enough, if he had been in love with 
Margaret Capel. He answered quite simply, as if 
he had been a child: 

" One had no chance. From the first I knew 
there was no chance." 

" There was some one else ? " 

" He came up and down. I seldom met him. 
Then there were the circumstances. She was 
between the Nisi and the Absolute, the nether and 
the upper stone . . ." 

" Oh, yes, I remember now. She was divorced." 

" No, she was not. She divorced her husband," 
he answered quite sharply and a little distressed. 
" Courts of Justice they are called, but Courts of 
Injustice would be a better name. They put her to 
the question, on the rack ; no inquisition could have 
been worse. And she was broken by it . . ." 

" But there was some one else, you said yourself 
there was some one else. Probably these probing 
questions, this rack, were her deserts. Personally 
I am a monogamist," I retorted. Not that I was 


really narrow or a Pharisee, only in contentious 
mood and cruel under the pressure of my own 
harrow. " Probably anything she suffered served 
her right," I added indifferently. 

" It all happened afterwards. I thought you 
knew," he said incoherently. 

" I know nothing except that you are always 
talking of Margaret Capel, and I am a little tired 
of the subject," I answered pettishly. " Who was 
the man?" 

"The man!" 

" Yes, the man who came up and down to see 

"Gabriel Stanton." 

" Gabriel Stanton ! " I sat upright in my chair ; 
that really startled me. " Gabriel Stanton," I 
repeated, and then, stupidly enough : " Are you 

" Quite sure. But I won't talk about it any more 
since it bores you. The house is so haunted for me, 
and you seemed so sympathetic, so interested. You 
won't let me doctor you." 

"You haven't tried very hard, have you?" 

" You put me off whenever I try to ask you how 
you are, or any questions." 

" What is the good ? I've seen twelve London 

" London has not the monopoly of talent." He 
took up his hat, and then my hand. 


"Offended?" I asked him. 

" No. But my partner will be home tomorrow, 
and I'm relinquishing my place to him. It is really 
his case." 

" I refuse to be anybody's case. I've heard from 
the best authorities that no one knows anything 
about neuritis and that it is practically incurable. 
One has to suffer and suffer. Even Almroth 
Wright has not found the anti-bacilli. Nepenthe 
gives me ease; that is all the doctoring I want 
ease ! " 

" It is doing you a lot of harm. And what makes 
you think you've got neuritis ? " 

" What ailed your Margaret ? " I answered 
mockingly. " Did you ever find that out? " 

" No . . . yes. Of course I knew." 

"Did you ever examine her?" I was curious 
to know that ; suddenly and inconsequently curious. 

" Why do you ask? " But his face changed, and 
I knew the question had been cruel or impertinent. 
He let go my hand abruptly, he had been holding 
it all this time. " I did all that any doctor could." 
He was obviously distressed and I ashamed. 

" Don't go yet. Sit down and have a cup of tea 
with me. I've been here three weeks and every 
meal has been solitary. Your Margaret" I 
smiled at him then, knowing he would not under- 
stand " comes to me sometimes at night with my 
nepenthe, but all day I am alone." 


" By your own desire then, I swear. You are 
not a woman to be left alone if you wanted com- 
pany." He dropped into a chair, seemed glad to 
stay. Presently over tea and crumpets, we were 
really talking of my illness, and if I had permitted 
it I have no doubt he would have gone into the 
matter more closely. As it was he warned me 
solemnly against the nepenthe and suggested I 
should try codein as an alternative, a suggestion I 
ignored completely, unfortunately for myself. 

" Tell me about your partner," I said, drinking 
my tea slowly. 

" Oh ! you'll like him, all the ladies like him. He 
is very spruce and rather handsome ; dapper, band- 
boxy. Not tall, turning grey ..." 

" Did she like him? " I persisted. 

" She would not have him near her. After his 
first visit she denied herself to him all the time. 
He used to talk to me about her, he could never 
understand it, he was not used to that sort of treat- 
ment, he is a tremendous favourite about here." 

" What did she say of him? " 

" That he grinned like a Cheshire cat, talked in 
cliches, rubbed his hands and seemed glad when 
she suffered. He has a very cheerful bedside 
manner; most people like it." 

" I quite understand. I won't have him. Mind 
that; don't send him to see me, because I won't see 
him. I'd rather put up with you." I have explained 


I was beyond convention. He really tried hard to 
persuade me, urged Dr. Lansdowne's degrees and 
qualifications, his seniority. I grew angry in the 

" Surely I need not have either of you if I don't 
want to. I suppose there are other doctors in the 

He gave me a list of the medical men practising 
in and about Pineland ; it was not at all badly done, 
he praised everybody yet made me see them clearly. 
In the end I told him I would choose my own medi- 
cal attendant when I wanted one. 

" Am I dismissed, then ? " he asked. 

"Have you ever been summoned?" I answered 
in the same tone. 

" Seriously now, I'd like to be of use to you if 
you'd let me." 

" In order to retain the entree to the house where 
the wonderful Margaret moved and had her 

" No ! Well, perhaps yes, partly. And you are 
a very attractive woman yourself." 

" Don't be ridiculous." 

" It is quite true. I expect you know it." 

" I'm over forty and ill. I suppose that is what 
you find attractive, that I am ill ? " 

" I don't think so. I hate hysterical women as 
a rule." 



" With any form of nerve disease." 

" Do you really think I am suffering from nerve 
disease? From the vapours?" I asked scornfully, 
thinking for the thousand and first time what a 
fool the man was. 

" You don't occupy yourself? " 

" I'm one of the busiest women on God's earth." 

" I've never seen you doing anything, except 
sitting at her writing-table with two bone-dry pens 
set out and some blank paper. And you object to 
be questioned about your illness, or examined." 

" I hate scientific doctoring. And then you have 
not inspired me with confidence, you are obsessed 
with one idea." 

" I can't help that. From the first you've 
reminded me of Margaret." 

" Oh ! damn Margaret Capel, and your infatua- 
tion for her! I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel 
just now. I can't escape from her, the whole place 
is full of her. And yet she hasn't written a thing 
that will live. I sent to the London Library soon 
after I came and got all her books. I waded through 
the lot. Just epigram and paradox, a weak Bernard 
Shaw in petticoats." 

" I never read a word she wrote," he answered 
indifferently. "It was the woman herself . . ." 

" I am sure. Well, gocd-bye ! I can't talk any 
more tonight, I'm tired. Don't send Dr. 
Lansdowne. If I want any one I'll let you know/' 


Margaret came to me again that night when the 
house was quite silent and all the lights out except 
the red one from the fire. She sat in the easy-chair 
on the hearthrug, and for the first time I heard her 
speak. She was very young and feeble-looking, 
and I told her I was sorry I had been impatient and 
said " damn " about her. 

" But you are all over the place, you know. And 
I can't write unless I am alone. I'm always 
solitary and never alone here ; you haunt and obsess 
me. Can't you go away? I don't mean now. I 
am glad you are here now, and talking. Tell me 
about Dr. Kennedy. Did you care for him at all? 
Did you know he was in love with you? " 

" Peter Kennedy ! No, I never thought about 
him at all, not until the end. Then he was very 
kind, or cruel. He did what I asked him. You 
know why I obsess you, don't you? It used to be 
just the same with me when a subject was evolving. 
You are going to write my story; you will do it 
better in a way than I could have done it myself, 
although worse in another. I have left you all the 

" Not a word." 

" You haven't found it yet. I put it together 
myself, the day Gabriel sent back my letters. You 
will have my diary and a few notes ..." 


" In a drawer in the writing-table. But it is 


only half there. . . . You will have to add to 

" I see you quite well when I keep my eyes shut. 
If I open them the room sways and you are not 
there. Why should I write your life? I am no 
historian, only a novelist." 

" I know, but you are on the spot, with all the 
material and local colour. You know Gabriel too; 
we used to speak about you." 

" He is no admirer of mine." 

" No. He is a great stylist, and you have no 
sense of style." 

" Nor you of anything else," I put in rudely, 

" A harsh judgment, characteristic. You are a 
blunt realist, I should say, hard and a little un- 
womanly, calling a spade by its ugliest name; 
but sentimental with pen in hand you really do 
write abominably sometimes. But you will remind 
the world of me again. I don't want to be forgotten. 
I would rather be misrepresented than forgotten. 
There are so few geniuses! Keats and I ... 
Don't go to sleep." 

I could not help it, however. Several times after 
that, whenever I remembered something I wished 
to ask her, and opened dulled eyes, she was not 
there at all. The chair where she had sat was 
empty, and the fire had died down to dull ash. 
I drowsed and dreamed. In my dreams I achieved 


style, an ambient, exquisite style, and wrote about 
Margaret Capel and Gabriel Stanton so glowingly 
and convincingly that all the world wept for them 
and wondered, and my sales ran into hundreds of 

" We have always expected great things of this 
author, but she has transcended our highest expecta- 
tions . . ." The reviews were all on this scale. 
For the remainder of that night no writer in 
England was as famous as I. Publishers and 
literary agents hung round my doorsteps and I 
rejected marvellous offers. If I had not been so 
thirsty and my mouth dry, no one could have been 
happier, but the dryness and thirst woke me contin- 
uously, and I execrated Suzanne for having put 
the water bottle out of my reach, and forgotten to 
supply me with acid drops. I remember grumbling 
about it to Margaret. 


I BEGAN the search for those letters the very next 
day, knowing how absurd it was, as if one were 
still a child who expected to find the pot of gold 
at the end of the rainbow. I made Suzanne telephone 
to Dr. Kennedy that I was much better and would 
prefer he did not call. I really wanted to be alone, 
to make my search complete, not to be interrupted. 
If it were not true that I was better, at least I was 
no worse, only heavy and dull in body and mind, 
every movement an almost unbearable fatigue. 
Nevertheless I sat down with determination at the 
writing-table, intent on opening every drawer and 
cupboard, calling to Suzanne to help me, on the 
pretence of wanting white paper to line the drawers, 
and a duster to clean them. In reality, that 
she should do the stooping instead of me. But 
everywhere was emptiness or dust. I crawled to 
the music room after lunch and tried my luck 
there, amid the heaped disorderly music, but there 
too the search proved unavailing. It was no use 
going downstairs again, so I went to bed, before 
dinner, passing a white night with red pain points, 
beyond the reach even of nepenthe. I had counted 



on seeing Margaret Capel again, getting fuller 
instructions, but was disappointed in that also. 

The next day and many others were equally full 
and equally empty. I looked in unlikely places until 
I was tired out; dragging about my worn-out body 
that had been whipped into a pretence of activity 
by my driving brain. Dr. Kennedy came and 
went, talking spasmodically of Margaret Capel, 
watching me, I thought sometimes, with puzzled 
enquiring eyes. My family in London was duly 
informed how well I was, and the good that the 
rest and solitude were doing me. I felt horribly 
ill, and towards the end of my second week gave 
up seeking for Margaret Capel's letters or papers. 
I was still intent upon writing her story, but had 
made up my mind now to compile it from the facts 
I could persuade or force from Dr. Kennedy, from 
old newspaper reports, and other sources. It was 
borne in upon me that to go on with, my work was 
the only way to save myself from what I now 
thought was mental as well as physical breakdown. 
I saw Margaret elusively, was never quite free from 
the sense that I was not alone. The chills that 
ran through me meant that she was behind me; 
the hot flushes that she was about to materialise. 
In normal times I was the most dogmatic disbeliever 
in the occult; but now I believed Carbies to be 

When I was able to think soundly and consecu- 


tively, I began to piece together what little I knew 
of these two people by whom I was obsessed. For 
it was not only Margaret, but Gabriel Stanton 
whom I felt, or suspected, about the house. Stanton 
& Co. were my own publishers. I had not known 
them as Margaret Capel's. Gabriel was not the 
member of the firm I saw when I made my rare 
calls in Greyfriars' Square. He was understood 
to be occupied only with the classical works issued by 
the well-known house. Somewhere or other I had 
heard that he had achieved a great reputation at 
Oxford and knew more about Greek roots than 
any living authority. On the few occasions we 
met I had felt him antagonistic or contemptuous. 
He would come into the room where I was talking 
to Sir George and back out again quickly, saying he 
was sorry, or that he did not know his cousin was 
engaged. Sir George introduced us more than 
once, but Mr. Gabriel Stanton always seemed to 
have forgotten the circumstance. I remembered 
him as a tall thin man, with deep-set eyes and 
sunken mouth, a gentleman, as all the Stantons 
were, but as different as possible from his genial 
partner. I had, I have, a soft spot in my heart for 
Sir George Stanton, and had met with much kind- 
ness from him. Gabriel, too, may have had a charm 
they were notoriously a charming family, but 
he had not exerted it for my benefit. He and all of 
them were so respectable, so traditionally and 


inalienably respectable, that it was difficult to 
readjust my slowly working mind and think of him 
as any woman's lover; illegitimate lover, as he 
seemed to be in this case. I wrote to my secretary 
in London to look up everything that was known 
about Margaret Capel. Before her reply came I 
had another attack of pleurisy I had had several 
in London, and this brought Ella to me, to say 
nothing of various hungry and impotent London 

As I said before, this is not a history of my 
illness, nor of my sister's encompassing love that 
ultimately enabled me to weather it, that forced 
me again and again from the arms of Death, that 
friend for whom at times my weakness yearned. 
The fight was all from the outside. As for me, I 
laid down my weapons early. I dreaded pain more 
than death, and do still, the passing through and 
not the arrival, writhing under the shame of my 
beaten body, wanting to hide. Yet publicity beat 
upon me, streamed into the room like midday sun. 
There were bulletins in the papers and the Press 
Association rang up and asked for late and early 
news. Obituary notices were probably being pre- 
pared. Everybody knew that at which I was still 
only guessing. It irked me sometimes to know they 
would be only paragraphs and not columns, and I 
knew Ella would be vexed. 

When the acuteness of this particular attack 


subsided I thought again of Margaret Capel and 
Gabriel Stanton, yet could not talk of them. For 
Ella knew nothing of the former occupants of the 
house, and for some inexplicable reason Dr. 
Kennedy had left off coming. His partner, or sub- 
stitute, whose Cheshire-cat grin I easily recognised, 
made no secret, notwithstanding his cheerfulness, 
of the desperate view he took of my condition. I 
hated his futile fruitless examinations, the consulta- 
tions whereat I was sure he aired his provincial 
self-importance, his great cool hands on my 
pulse and smug dogmatic ignorance. " The pain is 
just here," he would announce, but not even by 
accident did he ever once hit upon the right 

Fortunately Ella was there. She must have 
arrived many days before I recognised her. The 
household was moving on oiled wheels, my meals 
were brought me now on trays with delicate napery 
and a flower or two. Scent sprays and early straw- 
berries, down pillows and Jaegar sheets, a water 
bed presently, and all the luxuries, told me undeni- 
ably she was in the vicinity. I had always known 
how it would be. That once I admitted to helpless- 
ness she would give up her home life and all the joys 
of her well-filled days, and would live for me only. 
Because her tenderness for me met mine for her and 
was too poignant for my growing weakness, I had 
denied us both. Her the joy of giving and myself 


of taking. Now, without acknowledgment or word 
of gratitude, I accepted all. 

" Don't go away," were the first words I said 
to her. I ! who had begged her so hard not to 
come, repudiated her anxiety so violently. 

"Of course not. Why should I ? I always like 
the country in the early spring," she answered 
coolly. " Do you want anything ? " She came 
nearer to the bed. 

" What has become of Dr. Kennedy ? " I 

" I thought you did not like him. Suzanne told 
me that often you would not see him when he called. 
And you were quite right. It was evident he did 
not know what was the matter with you." 

" No one does." 

" You have not helped us." Her eyelids were 
pink, but otherwise she did not reproach me. 

" And now I am going to die, I suppose." 

" Die ! You are not going to die ; don't be so 
absurd. I wouldn't let you, for one thing. And 
why should you? People don't die of pleurisy, or 
neuritis. You are better today than you were yes- 
terday, and you will be better still tomorrow. I 

Outside the room she may have wept, for, as I 
said, her eyelids were pink. Inside it she was all 
quiet confidence and courage. 

" I want Dr. Kennedy. Get him back to me." I 


did not argue with her whether I would live or 
die, it was too futile. 

"This man Lansdowne is F.R.C.S. and M.D. 
London," she reminded me. 

" I don't care if he's all the letters of the alphabet. 
He grins at me, talks smugly, patronises me, pats 
my shoulder. He will send his carriage to follow 
the funeral. I see in his face that he has made up 
his mind to it." 

Nurse interfered and said that Dr. Lansdowne 
was most able. 

" Send her out of the room." I was impatient 
at her interference. 

" All right, nurse, I'll sit with Mrs. Vevaseur 
until you've had your dinner. You won't talk too 
much ? " she said to me imploringly. 

" Perhaps," I answered, and smiled. It was 
good to have Ella sitting with me again. 

" The doctor did not wish her to speak at all, nor 
to see visitors." 

I don't know how Ella managed to get that 
authoritative white-capped female out of the 
room, but she did ; she had infinite tact and re- 

" Shall I get my needlework ? Or would you 
rather I read to you ? You really mustn't talk." 

" Neither. You are not going away ? " 

" I am staying as long as you want me." 

Not a word about the times when I had told her 


brutally to let me alone, when I had almost turned 
her out of the house in London, finally fled from 
her here. That was Ella all over, and characteristic 
of me that I could not even thank her. When she 
said she would stay it seemed too good to be true. 
I questioned her about her responsibilities. 

" What about Violet and Tommy, the paper ? " 
For Ella, too, was bound on the Ixion wheel of the 
weekly press. 

" It's all right ; everything has been arranged, in 
the best possible way. I am quite free. I shan't go 
away until you ask me to go." 

Then I began to cry, in my great weakness, but 
hid my eyes, for I knew my tears would hurt her. 
I gave way only for a moment. It was such a relief 
to know her there, to feel I was being cared for. 
Paid service is only for the sound. 

Ella pretended not to notice my little breakdown, 
although she was not far off it herself. She began 
to talk of indifferent things. Who had telegraphed, 
or rung up ; she told me that the news of my illness 
had been in the papers. All my good friends whom 
I had avoided during those dreary months had for- 
gotten they had been snubbed and came forward with 
genuine sympathy and offers of help. I soon 
stopped her from telling me about them. It made 
me feel ashamed and unworthy. I could not recol- 
lect ever having done anything for anybody. 

"About getting Dr. Kennedy back?" 


" He neglected you disgracefully ; wrote me 
lightly. I don't wonder you told him not to call." 

" I want him back." 

" Then you shall have him back. You shall have 
everything you want, only go on getting better." 
She turned her face away from me. 

"Have I begun?" 

She made no answer, and I knew it was because 
she could not at the moment command her voice. 

So I stayed quiet a little while. Then I began 
again to beg her to rid me of Lansdowne. 

" After all, he is independent of his profession," 
she said at length thoughtfully, thinking of his 
feelings and how not to hurt them. " He married 
a rich woman." 

" He would. And I am sure he has no children," 
I answered. 

" Good heavens ! How did you know ? You are 
cleverer when you are ill than other people when 
they are well." 

That is like Ella, too, she has an exaggerated and 
absurd opinion of my talent. Just because I write 
novels which are paid for beyond their deserts ! 

I don't know how she did it, I don't know how 
she accomplished half of the magical wonderful 
things she did for my comfort all that sad time. 
But I was not even surprised, a few days later, 
when I really was better and sitting up in bed; 
propped up by pillows, I admit, but still actually 


sitting up; that Dr. Kennedy, tall and unaltered, 
with the same light in his eye, even the same dread- 
ful country suit, lounged in and sat on the chair 
by my side. Ella went away when he came in, she 
always had an idea that patients like to see their 
doctors alone. She flirts with hers, I think. She 
is incurably flirtatious in her leisure hours. 

" You've had a bad time," he said abruptly. 

" You didn't try to make it any better," I 
answered weakly. 

" Oh ! I ! I was dismissed. Your sister turned 
me out. She said I hadn't recognised how ill you 
were. I told her she was quite right. I didn't tell 
her how often you had refused to see me." 

" Did you know how ill I was ? " 

" I'm not sure." He smiled, and so did I. 
"Were you so ill?" 

" I know now what Margaret Capel felt about 
Dr. Lansdowne." 

" He is a very able fellow. And you've had 
Felton, Shorter, Lawson." 

"Don't remind me." 

" Anyway you are getting better now." 

" Am I ? I am so hideously weak." 

" Not beginning to write again yet ! You see, I 
know all about you now. I've taken a course of 
your novels." 

' Thinking all the time how much better 
Margaret Capel wrote ? " 


"You haven't forgotten Margaret, then?" 

" Have you? " He became quite grave and 

" I ! I shall never forget Margaret Capel." 

Up till then he had been light and airy in manner, 
as if this visit and circumstance and poor me, who 
had been so near the Gates, were of little conse- 

" Did you think how much worse I wrote than 
she did, that I was no stylist? " 

"Why do you say that?" 

I was glad to see him and wished to keep him by 
my side. I thought what I was going to tell him 
would secure my object. 

" She told me so herself " I shot at him, and 
watched to see how he would take it. " The last 
time I saw you, the night the pleurisy started, she 
sat over there by the fireside. We talked together 
confidentially, she said she knew I would write her 
story, and was sorry because I had no style." There 
was a flush on his forehead, he looked to where I 
said she sat. 

" What else did she say? " He did not seem to 
doubt me or to be surprised. 

" You believe I saw her, that it was not a 
dream ? " 

" There is an unexplored borderland between 
dreams and reality. Fever often bridges it. Your 
temperature was probably high. And I, and you, 


were so full of her. Go on. Tell me what she 

" She was dressed in grey, a white fichu over 
her shoulders." 

" And a pink rose." 

"Her hair ..." 

" Was snooded with a blue ribbon." He finished 
my sentences excitedly. 

" No. It was hanging in plaits." 

" Oh, no ! Not when she wore the grey dress." 
He had risen and was standing by the bed now, 
he seemed anxious, almost imploring. " Think 
again. Shut your eyes and think again. Surely she 
had the blue ribbon." 

I shut my eyes as he bade me. Then opened 
them and stared at him. 

" But how did you know ? " 

" Go on. There was a blue ribbon in her hair? " 

" The first time I saw her. The next time her 
hair was hanging down her back, two great plaits 
of fair hair, and she had on a blue dressing- 

" With a white collar like a fine handkerchief, 
showing her slender throat." 

" How well you knew her clothes." 

"There was a sense of fitness about her, an 
exquisite sense of fitness. She would not have worn 
her hair down with that grey dress." 

" You know I really did see her." 


"Of course. Go on. Tell me exactly what she 
said, word for word." 

" About my bad style." 

" About your good sense of comradeship with 

" She said I would write the story. Hers and 
Gabriel Stanton's." 

I told him all she had said, word for word as well 
as I could remember it, keeping my eyes shut, 
speaking slowly, remembering well. 

" She told me of the letters and diary, the notes, 
chapter headings, all she had prepared. ..." 

I turned my head away, sank down amongst the 
pillows, and turned my head away. I didn't want 
him to see my disappointment, to know that I had 
found nothing. Now I recognised my weakness, 
that I was spent with feverish nights and pain. 

" I can't talk any more." He put his hand upon 
my pulse. 

" Your pulse is quite strong." 

" I am not," I said shortly. I wished Ella would 
come back. 

" You looked for them? " I did not answer. 

" I am so sorry. Blundering fool that I am. You 
looked, and looked . . . that is why you kept 
me at arm's length, would not see me, wanted to 
be alone. You were searching. Why didn't I think 
of it before ? . But how did I know she would come 
to you, confide in you ? " 


He was talking to himself now, seemed to forget 
me and my grave illness. " I might have thought 
of it though. From the first I pictured you two 
together. I have them. I took them . . . didn't 
you guess ? " I forgot the extreme weakness of 
which I had complained, and caught hold of his 
coat sleeve, a little breathless. 

"You took them . . . stole them?" 

" Yes. If you put it that way. Who had a 
better right ? I knew everything. Her father, her 
people, nothing, or very little. And she had not 
wished them to know." 

" She was going to write the story, whatever it 
was; to publish it." 

" No ! not immediately, not until long afterwards, 
not until it would hurt no one. They were in the 
writing-table drawer, the letters, in an elastic band. 
She was not tidy as a rule with papers, but these 
were tidy. The diary was bound in soft grey leather, 
and there were a few rough notes; loose, on MS. 
paper. You know all that happened there; the 
excitement was intense. How could I bear her 
papers, his letters, her notes to fall into strange 
hands. I was doing what she would wish, I knew 
I was carrying out her wishes. The day she . . . 
she died I gathered them all together, slipped them 
into my greatcoat pocket ; the car was at the door. 
I hurried away as if I had been a thief, the thief 
you are thinking me." 


" Got home quickly, gloated over them all that 

" I swear to you, I swear to you I have never 
opened the packet. I have never looked at them. 
I made one parcel of them all, of the letters, diary, 
notes; wrapped them all together in brown paper, 
tied it up with string, sealed it. 

" You've got it still ! " I was in high excitement, 
all my pulses throbbing, face flushed, hands hot, 

"' In the safe at my bank. I took it there the 
next morning." 

" You are going to give me the packet? " 

" But of course." He seemed suddenly to 
recollect that I was an invalid, that he was supposed 
to be my doctor. " I say, all this excitement is very 
bad for you. Your sister will turn me out again. 
Can't you lie down, get quiet, you've jumped from 
90 to 112." His hand was on my pulse again. I 
knew I was going beyond my tether and cursed my 

" You won't change your mind ! " I was lying 
on my back now, quite still, trying to quiet myself 
as he had told me. " Promise ! " 

" I'll get the packet in the morning, as soon as 
the bank is open, and come straight on here with 
it. You must find some place to put it. Where you 
can see it, know it's there all the time. But you 


mustn't open it, you must get stronger first. You 
know you can't use it yet." 

" Yes, I can." 

" It would be very wrong. You wouldn't do 
it well." 

" I'm sick of being ordered about." But I could 
barely move and breathing was becoming difficult 
to me, I had a sense of faintness, suffocation, the 
room grew dark. He opened the door and called 
nurse. Ella came in with her. I was conscious 
of that. 

" What does she have when she is like this ? 
Smelling salts, brandy ? " Nurse began to fan me ; 
my cheeks were very flushed. 

Ella opened the windows, wide, quietly ; the scent 
of the gorse came in. I did not want to speak, only 
to be able to breathe. 

Nurse telegraphed him an enquiring glance. 
Strychnine? her dumb lips asked. He shook his 

" Oxygen. Have you got a cylinder of oxygen 
in the house?" He took the pillows from under 
my head. 

I don't know what they tried or left untried. 
Whenever I opened my eyes I sought for Ella's. I 
knew she would not let them do anything to me that 
might bring the pain back. I was only overtired. 
I managed to say so presently. When I was really 
better and Dr. Kennedy gone, Ella said a bitter word 


or two about him. Nurse too thought she should 
have been called sooner. A good nurse, but dissatis- 
fied up to now with all my treatment, with my 
change of doctors, with my resistance to authority, 
and Ella's interference. 

" Ella." She had been sitting by the fire but 
came over to me at once. 

" What is it ? I am only going to stop a minute. 
Then I shall leave you to nurse. That man stopped 
too long, over-excited you. We mustn't have him 
again, he doesn't understand you." 

"Yes he does; perfectly." My voice may have 
been faint, but I succeeded in making it urgent. 
" Ella, I want to see him again in the morning, 
nothing must prevent it, nothing. Don't talk against 
him, I want him." 

" Then you snail have him," she decided promptly. 
Notwithstanding my terrible weakness and want of 
breath I smiled at her. 

" I suppose you've fallen in love with him," she 
said. Love and love-making were half her life, the 
game she found most fascinating. They were noth- 
ing to do with mine. 

" See that he comes. That's all. However ill 
I am, whether I'm ill or not, he is to come." 

" You noticed his clothes ? " 

"Oh, yes!" 

Nurse I suppose thought we had both gone mad. 
But she came over to me and lifted me into a more 


comfortable position, fanned me again, and when 
the fanning had done its work brought eau de 
Cologne and water and sponged my face, my hot 
hands. She told Ella that she ought to go, that I 
ought to be alone, that I should have a bad night if 
I were not left to myself. Ella only wanted to do 
what was best for me. 

" I am sure you are right, nurse. I shan't come 
in again. Sleep well." 

" You are sure? " 

" Quite sure that Dr. Kennedy shall come in the 
morning, if I have to drag him here. It's a pity 
you will have an executioner instead of a, doctor; 
he seems to do you harm every time he comes. You 
had your worst attack when he was here before. 
Good-night. I do wish you had better taste." 

She kept her light tone up to the last, although I 
saw she was pale with anxiety and sympathy. Days 
ago she had asked me if the nurses were good and 
kind to me, and if I liked them, and had received 
my assurance that this one at least was the best 
I had ever had, clever and untiring. If only she had 
not been so sure of herself and that she knew better 
than I did what was good for me, I should have 
thought her perfect. She had a delightful voice, 
never touched me unnecessarily, nor brushed against 
the bed. But she was younger than I, and I resented 
her authority. We were often in antagonism, for 
I was a bad invalid, in resistance all the time. I had 


not learnt yet how to be ill ! The lesson was taught 
me slowly, cruelly, but I recognised Benham's 
quality long before I gave in to her. Now I was 
glad that Ella should go, that nurse should minister 
to me alone. I wanted the night to come . . . and 
go. But my exhaustion was so complete that I had 
forgotten why. 


I SEEM to be a long time coming to the story, but 
my own will intervene, my own dreadful tale of 
dependence and deepening illness. Benham was my 
day nurse. At ten o'clock that night she left me, 
considerably better and calm. Then Lakeby came 
on duty, a very inferior person who always talked 
to me as if I were a child to be humoured : " Now 
then be a dear good girl and drink it up " represents 
her fairly well. Then she would yawn in my face 
without apology or attempt to hide her fatigue or 
boredom. Nepenthe and I were no longer friends. 
It gave me no ease, yet I drank it to save argument. 
Lakeby took away the glass and then lay down at 
the foot of the bed. I thought again, as I had 
thought so many times, that no one ever sleeps so 
soundly as a night nurse. I could indulge my rest- 
lessness without any fear of disturbing her. To- 
morrow's promised excitement would not let me 
sleep. Their letters, the very letters they had written 
to each other! I did not care so much about the 
diary. I had once kept a diary myself and knew 
how one leaves out all the essentials. I suppose I 
drowsed a little. Nepenthe was no longer my 
friend, but we were not enemies, only disappointed 



lovers, without reliance on each other. As I 
approached the borderland I wished Margaret were 
in her easy-chair by the fireside. I did not care 
whether she was in her grey, or with her plaits and 
peignoir. I watched for her in vain. I knew she 
would not come whilst nurse snored on the sofa. 
Ella would have to get rid of the nurse from my 
room. Surely now that I was better I could sleep 
alone, a bell could be fixed up. Two nurses were 
unnecessary, extravagant. I woke to cough and was 
conscious of a strange sensation. I turned on the 
light by my side, but then only roused the nurse 
(she had slept all day) with difficulty. I knew what 
had happened, although this was the first time it 
had happened to me, and wanted to reassure her or 
myself. Also to tell her what to do. 

" Get ice. Call Benham ; ring up the doctor." This 
was my first haemorrhage, very profuse and alarm- 
ing, and Lakeby although she was inferior was not 
inefficient. When she was really roused she carried 
out my instructions to the letter. Once Benham 
was in the room I knew at least I was in good hands. 
I begged them not to rouse the house more than 
necessary, not to call Ella. 

" Don't you speak a word. Lie quite still. We 
know exactly what is to be done. Mrs. Lovegrove 
won't be disturbed, nor anybody if you will only do 
what you are told." 

Benham's voice changed in an emergency; it 


was always a beautiful voice if a little hard; now 
it was gentle, soft, and her whole manner altered. 
She had me and the situation completely under her 
control, and that, of course, was what she always 
wanted. That night she was the perfect nurse. 
Lakeby obeyed her as if she had been a probationer. 
I often wonder I am not more grateful to Benham, 
failed to become quickly attached to her. I don't 
think perhaps that mine is a grateful nature, but I 
surely recognised already to-night, in this bad hour, 
her complete and wonderful competence. I was in 
high fever, very agitated, yet striving to keep com- 
mand of my nerves. 

" It looks bad, you know, but it is not really 
serious, it is only a symptom, not a disease. All you 
have to do is to keep very quiet. The doctor will 
soon be here." 

" I'm not frightened." 

" Hush ! I'm sure you are not." 

A hot bottle to my feet, little lumps of ice to 
suck; loose warm covering adjusted round me 
quickly, the blinds pulled up, and the window 
opened, there was nothing of which she did not 
think. And the little she said was all in the right key, 
not making light of my trouble, but explaining, 
minimizing it, helping me to calm my disordered 

" I would give you a morphia injection only that 
Dr. Kennedy will be here any moment now." 


I don't think it could have been long after that 
before he was in the room. In the meantime I was 
hating the sight of my own blood and kept begging 
the nurses or signing to them to remove basins and 
stained clothes. 

Nurse Benham told him very quietly what had 
happened. He was looking at me and said encour- 
agingly : 

" You will soon be all right." 

I was still coughing up blood and did not feel 
reassured. I heard him ask for hot water. Nurse 
and he were at the chest of drawers, whispering 
over something that might be cooking operations. 
Then nurse came back to the bed. 

" Dr. Kennedy is going to give you a morphia 
injection that will stop the haemorrhage at once." 

She rolled up the sleeve of my nightgown, and 
I saw he was beside her. 

"How much?" I got out. 

" A quarter of a grain," he answered quietly. 
" You'll find it will be quite enough. If not, you 
can have another." 

I resented the prick of the needle, and that having 
hurt me he should rub the place with his finger, 
making it worse, I thought. I got reconciled to 
it however, and his presence there, very soon. He 
was still in tweeds and they smelt of gorse or peat, 
of something pleasant. 

"Getting better?" 


There was no doubt the haemorrhage was coming 
to an end, and I was no longer shivering and appre- 
hensive. He felt my pulse and said it was " very 

" The usual cackle ! " I was able to smile. 

" I shouldn't talk if I were you." He smiled too. 
" You will be quite comfortable in half an hour." 

" I am not uncomfortable now." He laughed, a 
low and pleasant laugh. 

" She is wonderful, isn't she ? " he said to 
Benham. Benham was clearing away every evidence 
of what had occurred, and I felt how competent 
they both were, and again that I was in good hands. 
I was glad Ella was asleep and knew nothing of 
what was happening. 

Dr. Kennedy was over at the chest of drawers 

" I'll leave you another dose," he said, and they 
talked together. Then he came to say " good-bye " 
to me. 

"Can't I sleep by myself? I hate any one in 
the room with me." I wanted to add, " it spoils my 
dreams," but am not sure if I actually said the 

' You'll find you will be all right, as right as rain. 
Nurse will fix you up. All you have to do is to go 
to sleep. If not she will give you another dose. I've 
left it measured out. You are not afraid, are you ? " 

" No." 


" The good dreams will come. I am willing them 
to you." I found it difficult to concentrate. 

" What did you promise me before? " 

" Nothing I shan't perform. Good-night ..." 

He went away quickly. 

I was wider awake than I wished to be, and soon 
a desire for action was racing in my disordered 
mind. I thought the haemorrhage meant death, and 
I had left so many things undone. I could not recol- 
lect the provisions of my will, and felt sure it was 
unjust. I could have been kinder to so many people, 
the dead as well as the living. It is so easy to say 
sharp, clever things; so difficult to unsay them. I 
remembered one particular act of unkindness . . . 
even now I cannot bear to recall it. Alas ! it was to 
one now dead. And Ella, Ella did not know I 
returned her love, full measure, pressed down, 
brimming over. Once, very many years ago, when 
she was in need and I supposed to be rich, she asked 
me to lend her five hundred pounds. Because I 
hadn't it, and was too proud to say so, I was ruder 
to her than seems possible now, asking why I should 
work to supply her extravagances. But she was 
never extravagant, except in giving. Oh, God! 
That five hundred pounds! How many times I 
have thought of it. What would I not give not to 
have said no, to have humbled my pride, admitted I 
could not put my hands on so large a sum? Now 
she lavishes her all on me. And if it were true 


that I was dying, already I was not sure, she would 
be lonely in her world. Without each other we were 
always lonely. Love of sisters is unlike all other 
love. We had slept in each other's bed from baby- 
hood onward, told each other all our little secrets, 
been banded together against nurses and govern- 
esses, maintained our intimacy in changed and 
changing circumstances, through long and varied 
years. Ella would be lonely when I was dead. A 
hot tear or two oozed through my closed lids when 
I thought of Ella's loneliness without me. I wiped 
those tears away feebly with the sheet. The room 
was very strange and quiet, not quite steady when 
I opened my eyes. So I shut them. The morphia 
was beginning to act. 

"Why are you crying?" 

" How could you see me over there ? " But I no 
longer wanted to cry and I had forgotten Ella. I 
opened my eyes when she spoke. The fire was low 
and the room dark, quite steady and ordinary. 
Margaret was sitting by the fireside, and I saw her 
more clearly than I had ever seen her before, a 
pale, clever, whimsical face, thin-featured and mo- 
bile, with grey eyes. 

"It is absurd to cry," she said. "When I 
finished crying there were no tears in the world to 
shed. All the grief, all the unhappiness died with 

" Why were you so unhappy? " I asked. 


" Because I was a fool," she answered. " When 
you tell my story you must do it as sympathetically 
as possible, make people sorry for me. But that 
is the truth. I was unhappy because I was a 

" You still think I shall write your story. The 
critics will be pleased ..." I began to remember 
all they would say, the flattering notices. 

" Why were you crying? " she persisted. " Are 
you a fool too? " 

" No. Only on Ella's account I don't want to 

" You need not fear. Is Ella some one who loves 
you? If so she will keep you here. Gabriel did 
not love me enough. If some one needs us desper- 
ately and loves us completely, we don't die." 

" Did no one love you like that ? " 

" I died," she answered concisely, and then gazed 
into the fire. 

My limbs relaxed, I felt drowsy and convinced of 
great talent. I had never done myself justice, but 
with this story of Margaret Capel's I should come 
into my own. I wrote the opening sentence, a 
splendid sentence, arresting. And then I went on 
easily. I, who always wrote with infinite difficulty, 
slowly, and trying each phrase over again, weighing 
and appraising it, now found an amazing fluency 
come to me. I wrote and wrote. 

De Quincey has not spoken the last word on 


morphia dreams. It is only a pity he spoke so 
well that lesser writers are chary of giving their 
experiences. The next few days, as I heard after- 
wards, I lay between life and death, the temperature 
never below 102 and the haemorrhage recurring. I 
only know that they were calm and happy days. 
Ella was there and we understood each other per- 
fectly, without words. The nurses came and went, 
and when it was Benham I was glad and she knew 
my needs, when I was thirsty, or wanted this or 
that. But when Lakeby replaced her she would 
talk and say silly soothing things, shake up my 
pillows when I wanted to be left alone, touch the 
bed when she passed it, coax me to what I would 
do willingly, intrude on my comfortable time. I 
liked best to be alone, for then I saw Margaret. She 
never spoke of anything but herself and the letters 
and diary she had left me, the rough notes. We 
had strange little absurd arguments. I told her not 
to doubt that I would write her story, because I loved 
writing, I lived to write, every day was empty that 
held no written word, that I only lived my fullest, 
my completest when I was at my desk, when there 
was wide horizon for my eyes and I saw the real 
true imagined people with whom I was more 
intimate than with any I met at receptions and 
crowded dinner-parties. 

" The absurdity is that any one who feels what 
you describe should write so badly. It is incredible 


that you should have the temperament of the writer 
without the talent," she said to me once. 

" What makes you say I write badly ? I sell 
well ! " I told her what I got for my books, and 
about my dear American public. 

" Sell ! sell ! " She was quite contemptuous. 
" Hall Caine sells better than you do, and Marie 
Corelli, and Mrs. Barclay." 

" Would you rather I gave one of them your 
MS. ? " I asked pettishly. I was vexed with her 
now, but I did not want her to go. She used to 
vanish suddenly like a light blown out. I think 
that was when I fell asleep, but I did not want to 
keep awake always, or hear her talking. She was 
inclined to be melancholy, or cynical, and so jarred 
my mood, my sense of well-being. 

Night and morning they gave me my injections 
of morphia, until the morning when I refused it, to 
Dr. Kennedy's surprise and against Benham's 

" It is good for you, you are not going to set 
yourself against it?" 

" I can have it again tonight. I don't need it 
in the daytime. The haemorrhage has left off." 
Dr. Kennedy supported me in my refusal. I will 
admit the next few days were dreadful. I found 
myself utterly ill and helpless, and horribly conscious 
of all that was going on. The detail of desperate 


illness is almost unbearable to a thinking person of 
decent and reticent physical habits. The feeding 
cup and gurgling water bed, the lack of privacy, are 
hourly humiliations. All one's modesties are out- 
raged. I improved, although as I heard afterwards 
it had not been expected that I would live. The 
consultants gave me up, and the nurses. Only Dr. 
Kennedy and Ella refused to admit the condition 
hopeless. When I continued to improve Ella was 
boastful and Benham contradictory. The one 
dressed me up, making pretty lace and ribbon caps, 
sending to London for wonderful dressing- jackets 
and nightgowns, pretending I was out of danger 
and on the road to convalescence, long before I 
even had a normal temperature. Benham fought 
against all the indulgences that Ella and I ordered 
and Dr. Kennedy never opposed. Seeing visitors, 
sitting up in bed, reading the newspapers, abandon- 
ing invalid diet in favour of caviare and foie gras, 
strange rich dishes. Benham despised Dr. Kennedy 
and said we could always get round him, make him 
say whatever we wished. More than once she 
threatened to throw up the case. I did not want 
her to go. I knew, if I did not admit it, that my 
convalescence was not established. I had no real 
confidence in myself, was much weaker than any- 
body but myself knew, with disquieting symptoms. 
It exhausted me to fight with her continually, one 
day I told her so, and that she was retarding my 


recovery. " I am older than you, and I hate to be 
ordered about or contradicted." 

" But I am so much more experienced in illness. 
You know I only want to do what is best for you. 
You are not strong enough to do half the things you 
are doing. You turn Dr. Kennedy round your 
little finger, you and Mrs. Lovegrove. He knows 
well enough you ought not to be getting up and 
seeing people. You will want to go down next. 
And as for the things you eat ! " 

" I shall go down next week. I suppose I shall 
be exhausted before I get there, arguing with you 
whether I ought or ought not to go." 

By this time I had got rid of the night nurse, 
Benham looked after me night and day devotedly. 
I was no longer indifferent to her. She angered me 
nevertheless, and we quarrelled bitterly. The least 
drawback, however, and I could not bear her out 
of the room. She did not reproach me, I must say 
that for her. When a horrible bilious attack 
followed an invalid dinner of melon and homard a 
I'americaine she stood by my side for hours trying 
every conceivable remedy. And without a word of 

After my haemorrhage I had a few weeks' rest 
from the neuritis and then it started again. I cried 
out for my forsaken nepenthe, but Peter Kennedy 
and Nurse Benham for once agreed, persuaded or 
forced me to codein. Dear half-sister to my beloved 


morphia, we became friends at once. Three or four 
days later the neuritis went suddenly, and has never 
returned. One night I took the nepenthe as well, 
and that night I saw Margaret Capel again. 

" When are you going to begin ? " she asked me 
at once. 

" The very moment I can hold a pen. Now my 
hand shakes. And Ella or nurse is always here 
I am never alone." 

" You've forgotten all about me," she said with 
indescribable sadness. " You won't write it at 

" No, I haven't. I shall. But when one has been 
so ill . . . " I pleaded. 

" Other people write when they are ill. You 
remember Green, and Robert Louis Stevenson. As 
for me, I never felt well." 

The next day, before Dr. Kennedy came, I asked 
Benham to leave us alone together. He still came 
daily, but she disapproved of his methods and told 
me that she only stayed in the room and gave him 
her report because she thought it her duty. They 
were temperamentally opposed. She had the 
scientific mind and believed in authority. His was 
imaginative, desultory, doubtful, but wide and 
enquiring. Both of them were interested in me, so 
at least Ella told me. She was satisfied now with my 
doctoring and nursing. At least a week had passed 
since she suggested a substitute for either, 


Dr. Kennedy, when we were alone, said, as he did 
when nurse was standing there : 

" Well! how are you getting on?" 

" Splendidly." And then, without any circumlo- 
cution, although we had not spoken of the matter 
for weeks, and so much had occurred in the mean- 
time, I asked him.: " What did you do about that 
packet? I want it now. I am quite well enough." 

" You have not seen her since? " 

" Over and over again. She thinks I am shirking 
my responsibilities." 

" Are you well enough to write ? " 

" I am well enough to read. When will you bring 
me the letters?" 

" I brought them when I said I would, the day 
you were taken ill." 

"Where are they?" 

" In the first drawer, the right-hand drawer of the 
chest of drawers." He turned round to it. " That 
is, if they have not been moved. I put the packet 
there myself, told nurse it was something that was 
not to be touched. The morphia things are in the 
same place. I don't know what she thinks it is, some 
new and useless drug or apparatus; she has no 
opinion of me, you know. I used to see it night 
and morning, as long as you were having the injec- 

" See if it is there now." 

He went over and opened the drawer : 


" It is there right enough." 

" Oh ! don't be like nurse," I said impatiently. " I 
am strong enough to look at the packet." 

He gave it to me, into my hands, an ordinary 
brown paper parcel, tied with string and heavily, 
awkwardly, splotched and protected with sealing- 
wax. I could have sworn to his handiwork. 

" Why are you smiling? " he asked. 

" Only at the neatness of your parcel." He smiled 

" I tied it up in a hurry. I didn't want to be 
tempted to look inside." 

" So you make me guardian and executrix ..." 

" Margaret herself said you were to have them," 
he answered seriously. 

" She didn't tell you so. You have only my word 
for it," I retorted. 

" Better evidence than that, although that would 
have been enough. How else did you know they 
were in existence? Why were you looking for 

The parcel lay on the quilt, and all sorts of 
difficulties rose in my mind. I would not open it 
unless I was alone, and I was never alone ; literally 
never alone unless I was supposed to be asleep. And, 
thanks to codein, when I was supposed to be asleep 
the supposition was generally correct! Thinking 
aloud, I asked Dr. Kennedy: 

"Am I out of danger?" 


He answered lightly and evasively : 

" No one is ever really out of danger. I take my 
life in my hands every time I go in my motor." 

" Oh, yes ! I've heard about your driving," I 
answered drily. 

He laughed. 

" I am supposed to be reckless, but really I am 
only unlucky. With luck now ..." 

"Yes, with luck?" 

" You might go on for any time. I shouldn't 
worry about that if I were you. You are getting 

" I am not worrying, only thinking about Mrs. 
Lovegrove. She has two children, a large house, 
literary and other engagements. Will you tell her 
I am well enough to be left alone ? " He answered 
quickly and surprised : 

" She does not want to go, she likes being with 
you. Not that I wonder at that." 

He was a strange person. Sometimes I had an 
idea he was not " all there." He said whatever 
came into his mind, and had other divergencies from 
the ordinary type. I had to explain to him my 
need of solitude. If Ella went back to town, 
Benham would soon, I hoped, with a little encourage- 
ment, fall into the way of ordinary nurses. I had 
had them in London and knew their habits. Two 
or three hours in the morning for their so-called 
" constitutionals," two or three hours in the after- 


noon for sleep, whether they had been disturbed in 
the night or not; in the intervals there were the 
meals over which they lingered. Solitude would 
be easily secured if Ella went away and there was 
no one to watch or comment on the amount of atten- 
tion purchased or purchasable for two guineas a 
week. I misread Benham, by the way, but that is 
a detail. She was not like the average nurse, and 
never behaved in the same way. 

My first objective, once that brown paper parcel 
lay on the bed, was to persuade Ella to go back to 
home and children. Without hurting her feelings. 
She would not have left the house for five minutes 
before I should be longing for her back again. I 
knew that, but one cannot work and play. I have 
never had any other companion but Ella. Still . . . 
Work whilst ye have the light. One more book I 
must do, and here was one to my hand. 

I made Dr. Kennedy put the parcel back in the 
drawer. Then I lay and made plans. I must talk 
to Ella of Violet and Tommy, make her homesick 
for them. Unfortunately Ella knew me so well. I 
started that very afternoon. 

" How does Violet get on without you ? " 

" She is all right." 

But soon afterwards Ella asked me quietly 
whether there was any one else I would like down. 

" God forbid ! " I answered in alarm, and she 
understood, understood without showing pang or 


offence, that I wanted to be alone. One thing Ella 
never quite realised, my wretched inability to live in 
two worlds at once, the real and the unreal. When 
I want to write there is no use giving me certain 
hours or times to myself. I want all the days and 
all the nights. I don't wish to be spoken to, nor 
torn away from my story and new friends. For this 
reason I have always had to leave London many 
months in the year, for the seaside or abroad. 
London meant Ella, almost daily, at the telephone if 
not personally. 

"You don't write all day, do you? What are 
you pretending? Don't be so absurd, you must go 
out sometimes. I am fetching you in the car 
at . . ." 

And then I was lured by her to theatres, dinners, 
lunches. She thought people liked to meet me, but 
I have rarely noticed any interest taken in a female 
novelist, however many editions she may run 
through. My strength was returning, if slowly. 
Ella of course had duties to those children of hers 
that sometimes I resented so unreasonably. I 
always wished her early widowhood had left her 
without ties. However, the call of them came in 
usefully now ; it was not necessary for me to press 
it. I came first with her, I exulted in it. But since 
I was getting better . . . 

I wished to be alone with that parcel. I did 
make a tentative effort before Ella left. 


" I don't want to settle off to sleep just yet, nurse, 
I should like to read a little. There is a packet of 
letters . . ." 

" No ! No ! I wouldn't hear of such a thing. 
Starting reading at ten o'clock. What will you be 
wanting to do next ? " 

" It would not do me any harm," I answered 
irritably. " I've told you before it does me more 
harm to be contradicted every time I make a sugges- 

" Well, you won't get me to help you to commit 
suicide. Night is the time for sleep, and you've had 
your codein." 

" The codein does not send me to sleep, it only 
soothes and quiets me." 

" All the more reason you should not wake your- 
self up by any old letters." She argued, and I ... 
At the end I was too tired and out of humour to 
insist. I made up my mind to do without a nurse 
as soon as possible, and in the meantime not to 
argue but to circumvent her. At this time, before 
Ella went, I was getting up every day for a few 
hours, lying on the couch by the window. I tested 
my strength and found I could walk from bed to 
sofa, from sofa to easy-chair without nurse's arm, 
if I made the effort. 

"You will take care of yourself?" were Ella's 
last words, and I promised impatiently. 

" I don't so much mind leaving you alone now, 


you have your Peter, and nurse won't let you overdo 

" You have your Peter." Can one imagine any- 
thing more ridiculous! My incurably frivolous 
sister imagined I had fallen in love, with that lout ! 
I was unable to persuade her to the contrary. She 
argued, that at my worst and before, I would have 
no other attendant. And she pointed out that it 
could not possibly be Peter Kennedy's skill that 
attracted me. I defended him, feebly perhaps, for 
it was true that he had not shown any special apti- 
tude or ability. I said he was quite as good as any of 
the others, and certainly less depressing. 

"There is no good humbugging me, or trying 
to. You are in love with the man. Don't trouble 
to contradict it. And I am not a bit jealous. I 
only hope he will make you happy. Nurse told me 
you do not even like her to come into the room 
when he is here." 

" Don't you know how old I am ? It is really 
undignified, humiliating, to be talked to or of in 
that way ..." 

" Age has nothing to do with it. A woman is 
never too old to fall in love. And besides, what is 
thirty-nine ? " 

" In this case it is forty-two," I put in drily, 
my sense of humour not being entirely in abeyance. 

" Well ! or forty-two. Anyway you will admit 


I took a hint very quickly. I am going to leave you 
alone with your Corydon." 


" He is not bad-looking really, it is only his 
clothes. And if anything comes of it you will send 
him to Poole's. Anyway his feet and hands are 
all right, and there is a certain grace about his 

" Really, Ella, I can't bear any more. Love runs 
in your head ; feeds your activities, agrees with you. 
But as for me, I've long outgrown it. I am tired, 
old, ill. Peter Kennedy is just not objectionable. 
Other doctors are. He is honest, simple . . ." 

" I will hear all about his qualities next time I 
come. Only don't think you are deceiving me. God 
bless you, dear." She turned suddenly serious. 
' You know I would not go if you wanted me to 
stop or if I were uneasy about you any more. You 
know I will come down again at any moment you 
want me. I shall miss my train if I don't rush. 
Can I send you anything? I won't forget the sofa 
rug, and if you think of anything else . . ." 
Her maid knocked at the door and said the flyman 
had called up to say she must come at once. Her 
last words were : " Well, good-bye again, and tell 
him I give my consent. Tell him he gave the show 
away himself. I have known about it ever since 
the first night I was here when he told me what an 
interesting woman you were ..." 


" Good-bye . . thanks for everything. I'm 
sorry you've got that mad idea in your silly 
head. . ." She was gone. I heard her voice outside 
the window giving directions to the man and then 
the crunch of the fly wheels on the gravel as she was 
driven away. 


THAT night, the very night after Ella had gone, I 
tested my slowly returning strength. Benham gave 
me my codein, and saw that I was well provided 
with all I might need for the night; the lemonade 
and glycerine lozenges, a second codein on the table 
by my side, the electric bell to my hand. This bell 
had been put up since the night nurse left; it rang 
into Benham's bedroom. I waited for a quarter of 
an hour after she had gone, she had a habit of 
coming back to see if I had forgotten anything, 
or to show me how thick and abundant her hair was 
without the uniform cap. I should have felt like a 
criminal when I stole out of bed. But I did not, 
I felt like an invalid, and a feeble one at that. It 
was only a couple of steps from the bed to the chest 
of drawers and I accomplished it without mishap, 
then was back again in bed, only to remember the 
seals were still unbroken and the string firm. A 
pair of nail scissors were on the dressing-table. I 
was disinclined for the journey, but managed it 
all the same. I was then so exhausted I had to 
wait for a quarter of an hour before I was able to 
use them. Only then was my curiosity rewarded. 



A small number of letters, not more than fifteen 
or sixteen in all, a bound diary, a very cursory 
glance at which showed me the disingenuousness, 
and half a dozen pages of MS. notes or chapter 
headings with several trial titles, " Between the 
Nisi and the Absolute," " Publisher and Sinner," 
headed two separate pages. " The Story of an 
Unhappy Woman " the third. The notes were all 
in the first person, and I should have known them 
anywhere for Margaret Capel's. 

Small as the whole cache was, I did not think it 
possible I could get through it all that night. 
Neither did it seem possible to get out of bed again. 
The papers must remain where they were, or under- 
neath my pillow. I should be strong enough, I 
hoped, by the morning to put up with or con- 
front any wrath or argument Benham would 

I had got up because I chose. That was the 
beginning and end of it. She must learn to put up 
with my ways, or I with a change of nurse. 

The letters were in an elastic band, without 
envelopes, labelled and numbered. Margaret's were 
on paper of a light mauve, with lines, like foreign 
paper. Her handwriting, masculine and square, 
was not very readable. She rarely dotted an i or 
crossed a t, used the Greek e and many ellipses. 
Gabriel's letters were as easy to read as print. It 
was a pity therefore that hers were so much longer 


than his. Still, once I began I was sorry to leave 
off, and should not have done so if I could have 
kept my eyes open or my attention from wandering. 
I am printing them just as they stand, those that I 
read that night, at least. Here they are: 

No. i. 211 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W., 

January 29th, 1902. 
Dear Sirs: 

Would you care to publish a book by me on 
Staffordshire Pottery? What I have in my mind 
is a limited edition de luxe, illustrated in colours, 
highly priced. I may say I have a collection which 
I believe to be unique, if not complete, upon which 
I propose to draw largely. Of course the matter 
would have to be discussed both from your point 
of view and, mine. This is merely to ask if you 
are open. 

My name is probably not unknown to you, or 
rather my pseudonym. 

The critics have been kind to my novels, and I see 
no reason why they should be less so to a 
monograph on a subject I thoroughly understand. 
Although perhaps that will be hard for them to 
forgive. For it will be reviewed, if at all, by critics 
less well informed. 

Yours sincerely, 

MARGARET CAPEL ("Simon Dare"}. 
Author of " The Immoralists," 

" Love and the Lutist," etc. 
Messrs. Stanton & Co. 


No. 2. 117-118 Greyfriars' Square, E.G., 

January 3Oth, 1902. 

Dear Madam: 

I have to thank you for your letter of yesterday 
with its suggestion for a book on Staffordshire 

The subject is outside my own knowledge, but 
I find there is no comprehensive work dealing with 
it, a small elementary booklet published in the Mid- 
lands some three years ago being the only volume 

In any case there can hardly be a large public for 
so special an interest, and it will probably be best, 
as you indicate, to issue a limited edition at a high 
price and appeal direct by prospectus to collectors. 
The success of the publication would be then largely 
dependent on the beauty of the illustrations and 
the general " get up " of the volume, for although I 
have no doubt your text will be excellent and 
accurate it must be properly " dressed " to secure 

Indeed I have the privilege of knowing your 
novels well. They have always appealed to me as 
having the cardinal qualities of courage and actual- 
ity. Complete frankness combined with delicacy 
and literary skill is so rare with modern-day writers 
that your work stands out. 

Could you very kindly make it convenient to call 
here so that we may discuss the details and plan 
for the Staffordshire book? This would save a 
good deal of correspondence. 

I will gladly keep any appointment you make 
please avoid Saturday, as I try to take that day 


off at this time of year to go to a little fishing I 
have in Hampshire. 

Your faithfully, 


Mrs. Capel. 

No. 3. 211 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W., 

February ist, 1902. 
Dear Sir: 

I am obliged by your courteous letter, and will 
be with you at four o'clock whichever day suits you. 
I propose to bring with me a short synopsis of " The 
Staffordshire Potters, Their Inspiration and 
Results," and also a couple of specimens from which 
you might make experiments for illustrations. I 
want to place the book definitely before writing it. 

Domestic circumstances with which I need not 
trouble you, they are I fear already public 
property, make it advisable I should remain, if not 
sequestered, at least practically in retreat for the 
next few months. I find I cannot concentrate my 
mind on a novel at this juncture. But my cottages 
and quaint figures, groups and animals, jugs and 
plates, retain their attraction, and I shall do a better 
book about them now, when I am dependent on 
things and isolated from people, than I should at 
any other time. 

It is good of you to say what you do about my 
novels, but I doubt if I shall ever write another. 
My courage has turned to cowardice, and under 
cross-examination I found my frankness was no 
longer complete. I have taken a dislike to humanity. 
Yours sincerely, 



No. 4. 211 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W., 

February 6th, 1902. 
Dear Mr, Stanton: 

The agreement promised has not yet arrived ; nor 
your photographer ; but I have made a first selection 
for him, and I think you will find it sufficiently 
varied according to your suggestion. Thirty illustra- 
tions in colour and seventy in monochrome will 
give the cream of my collection, and be representa- 
tive, although of course not exhaustive. I have 
375 specimens, no two alike ! Ten groups, with the 
dancing dogs for the half-title, six cottages, six 
single figures, and the rest animal pieces will all 
look well in the process you showed me. I propose 
the large so-called classical examples in mono- 
chrome; their undoubted coarseness will then be 
toned down in black or brown and none of their 
interest destroyed. Julia, Lady Tweeddale, has one 
piece of which I have never been able to secure a 
duplicate, and so has Mr. Montague Guest. Do you 
think it advisable to ask permission to photograph 
these for inclusion, or would it be better to use only 
my own collection, and keep to the personal note 
in the letterpress? 

Our brief interview gave me the feeling that I 
may ask you for help in any difficulty or perplexity 
that occurs in the preparation of a work so new to 
me. You were very kind to me. I daresay I seemed 
to you nervous and uncertain of how I meant to 
proceed. I felt like a trembling amateur in that big 
office of yours. I have never interviewed a 
publisher before ; my novels always went by post 
and came back that way too, at first ! I had a false 
conception of publishers, based on but I must not 


tell you upon whom it was based. Although why 
not? Perhaps you will recognise the portrait. A 
little pot-bellied person, Jewish or German, with a 
cough, or a sniff, or a sneeze, a suggestion of a 
coming expectoration, speaking many languages 
badly and apparently all at once ; impressed with his 
own importance, talking Turgenieff and looking 
Abimelech. Why Abimelech I don't know ; but that 
is the hero of whom he reminds me. I met him at 
a literary garden party to which I was bidden after 
" The Immoralists " had been so favourably 
reviewed. It was given by a lady who seemed to 
know everybody and like no one, a keen two-bladed 
tongue leapt out among her guests, scarifying them. 
She told me Mr. Rosenstein was not only a publisher 
but an amorist. He looked curiously unlike it; but 
an introduction and a short interview turned me 
sceptic of my own impression, inclined me to the 
belief in hers. 

I have wandered from my theme your kindness, 
my nervousness. I shall try to do credit to your 
penetration. You said that you were sure I should 
make a success of anything I undertook ! I wonder 
if you were right. And if my Staffordshire book 
will prove you so? I am going to try and make it 
interesting, not too technical! But my intentions 
vary all the time. A preliminary chapter on clays 
was in my first scheme, I now want instead to tell 
of the family history of half a dozen potters. From 
this I begin to dream of stories of the figures ; the 
short- waisted husband and wife a-marketing with 
their basket of fruit and vegetables, the clergyman 
in the tithe piece, a benignant villain this, with a 
chucking-his-parishioners-under-the-chin expression. 


Dear Mr. Stanton, what will happen if it turns out 
that I cannot write a monograph, but am only a 
novelist? You said I could trust you to act as 
Editor and blue-pencil my redundancies. But what 
if it should be all redundancy? Put something 
about this in the agreement, will you? I want to 
make money, but not at your expense. I am 
nervous. I fear that instead of a book on Stafford- 
shire Pottery I shall give you an illustrated volume 
of short stories published at five guineas!! What 
an outcry from the press! Already I have been 
called " precious." Now they will talk of " preten- 
tiousness " ; the " grand manner " without the grand 
brain behind it! Will you really help and advise 
me? I have never felt less self-confident. 
Yours sincerely, 


No. 5. 118 Greyfriars' Square, E.G., 

February 6th, 1902. 
Dear Mrs. Cap el: 

As we arranged at our interview yesterday I now 
enclose a draft contract for the book. 

If there is any point not entirely clear to you 
please do not hesitate to tell me, and I shall be glad 
also of any suggestion or criticism that may occur 
to you in regard to possible alteration of the various 
clauses, and will do my best to meet your wishes. 
For I am more than anxious that we shall begin 
what I hope will prove a long and successful 
" partnership " with complete understanding and 

Further enquiry makes me sanguine that the 


scheme is a good one, and we will do everything we 
can to produce a beautiful book. 

May I say that it was a great pleasure and 
privilege to me to meet you here yesterday ? I hope 
the interest you will find in this present work will 
afford you some relief during this time of trouble 
and anxiety you are passing through ; and counteract 
to some extent at least the pettiness and publicity 
of litigation. I only refer to this with the greatest 
respect and sympathy. 

There are many details, not only of the contract, 
but for the plan of the book, which we could 
certainly best arrange if we discussed them, rather 
than by writing. 

Could you make it convenient to lunch with me 
one day next week ? I shall be in the West End on 
Wednesday, and suggest the Cafe Royal at two 

It would be good of you to meet me there. 
Yours sincerely, 


No. 6. 211 Queen Anne's Gate, 

February yth, 1902. 
Dear Mr. Stanton: 

Our letters crossed. Thanks for yours with 
agreement. The greater part seems to me to be 
merely technical, and I have no observations to 
make about it. 

Par. 2 : guaranteeing that the work is in no way 
" a violation of any existing copyright," etc. I 
think this is your concern rather than mine. You 
say there is a book existing on Staffordshire Pottery, 


perhaps you can get me a copy, and then I can see 
that ours shall be entirely different. 

Par. 7 : beginning " accounts to be made up 
annually," etc., seems to give you an exceptionally 
long time to pay me anything that may be due. But 
perhaps I misunderstand it. 

Therefore, and perhaps for other reasons, I very 
gladly accept your kind invitation to lunch with you 
on Wednesday at the Cafe Royal, and will be there 
at two, bringing the agreement with me. 

With kind regards, 

Yours very truly, 


No. 7. 118 Greyfriars' Square, E.G., 

February i3th, 1902. 
Dear Mrs. Cap el: 

I am breaking into the commonplace routine of a 
particularly tiresome business day, to give myself 
the pleasure of writing to you, and you will forgive 
me if I purposely avoid business for indeed it 
seems to me today that life might be so pleasant 
without work. That little grumble has done me 
good. I want to say what I fear I did not express 
to you yesterday how greatly I enjoyed our talk. 
It was good of you to come and more good of you 
to tell me something of your present difficulties. I 
wish I could have been more helpful but please 
believe I am more sympathetic than I was able to 
let you know, and I do understand much of what 
must be trying and unhappy for you during these 
weeks. Counsels of perfection are poor comfort, 
but perhaps that some one is most genuinely in 


accord with you and anxious to help in any way 
possible may be of some little value. 

I beg you to believe that this is so, and I should 
welcome the chance of being of any service to you. 
This all reads very formal I fear, but your kindness 
must interpret the spirit rather than the letter. 

Last evening I went into an old curiosity shop 
to try and find a wedding-present for a niece who 
is also my god-daughter, and I secured six beautiful 
Chippendale chairs. Curiously enough the man 
showed me what he said was the best specimen of 
Staffordshire he had ever had. A group of musi- 
cians seeming to my inexperienced eye good in 
colour and design. I know not what impulse per- 
suaded me to buy the piece. To-day I am fearing 
that my purchase is not genuine. May I bring it 
to you on Sunday for approval or condemnation? 
Don't trouble to answer if you will be at home 
I will call at five o'clock. 

Now I must return to less pleasant business 
affairs the telephone is insistent. 

Yours very sincerely, 


No. 8. 211 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W., 

I4th February, 1902. 
Dear Mr. Stanton: 

Thank you so much for your kind letter, it made 
a charming savoury to that little luncheon you 
ordered. Did I tell you how much I enjoyed it? If 
not, please understand I am doing so now. The 
mousse was a dream of delight, the roses were very 
helpful. I have a theory about flowers and food, 


and how to blend them. Which reminds me that 
my father wants to share with me in the pleasure of 
your acquaintance and bids me ask if you will dine 
with us on the 24th at eight o'clock. This of course 
must not prevent your coming Sunday afternoon 
with your pottery " find." I am more than curious, 
I am devoured with curiosity to see it. I don't know 
a Staffordshire " group of musicians," it sounds like 
Chelsea ! Bring it by all means, but if it is Stafford- 
shire and not in my collection, I warn you I shall at 
once begin bargaining with you, spending my royal- 
ties in advance ! Yes ! I think I hate business too, 
as you say, and should like to avoid it. We were 
fairly successful, by the way, in the Cafe Royal! 
Our talk ranged over a large field, became rather 
personal I think I spoke too freely; it must have 
been the Steinberger! or because I am really very 
worried and depressed. Depression is the old age 
of the emotions, and garrulousness its distressing 

Yours sincerely, 


No. 9. 118 Greyfriars' Square, E.C., 

1 5th February, 1902. 
Dear Mrs. Capel: 

I am so glad to have your letter and look forward 
to Sunday. Should my little pottery " find " prove 
authentic* I have no doubt we can arrange for its 
transfer to you, on business or even unbusiness 
lines ! 

I accept with pleasure your invitation to dinner 
on the 24th. I have heard often of your father 


from my friend Wilfrid Henning, who attends to 
what little investments I make and who meets 
your father in connection with that big Newfound- 
land scheme for connecting the traffic from the 
Eastern ports to Lake Ontario. I should value the 
opportunity to hear of it, first hand. 
Yours most sincerely, 


No. 10. 211 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W., 

1 6th February, 1902. 
Dear Mr. Stanton: 

I am no longer puzzled about the " musicians " ; 
it is Staffordshire, I was convinced of that from the 
first but had to confirm my impression. I will tell 
you all about it when we meet again (on the 24th), 
I am sure you will be interested. I want you to let 
me have it. Whatever you paid for it I will give 
you, and any profit you like. I won't bargain with 
you, but I really feel I can never part with it again. 
It was a wonderful chance that you should find 
it. Wasn't Sunday altogether strange? Such a 
crowd, and so difficult to talk. I shall have to get 
out of London, I have a sense of fatigue all the 
time, of restless incoherent fear. I dread sympathy, 
and scent curiosity as if it were carrion. In that 
little talk I had among the tea-things I said none of 
the things I meant. I believe you understood this, 
although you only said yes, and yes again to my 
wildest suggestions. I am only epigrammatic when 
I am shy; it is the form taken by my mental stam- 
mer. Epigrams come to me too, when I have a 
scene in my head too big to write. I find my hand 


shaking, heart beating, tremulous. Then my queer 
brain relieves the pressure on my feelings and 
stammers out my scene in short cryptic sentences. 
That is why, although I am an emotional thinker, 
I am what you are pleased to call an intellectual 

And now for the agreement, in which I have 
ventured to make alterations, and even additions. 
Will you return it to me with comments if you think 
I have been too difficult or exacting. My father tells 
me I have inherited his business ability. He means 
to pay me a compliment, but I gather your point of 
view is that business ability is but deformity in an 
intellectual woman? I'm sorry for this deformity 
of mine, realising the unfavourable impression it 
may create. Try and forgive me for it, won't you ? 
You need not even remember it when you are telling 
me what I am to give you for the Staffordshire 
piece ! 

With kind regards, 

Yours very sincerely, 


No. n. 118 Greyfriars' Square, E.G., 

1 7th February, 1902. 
Dear Mrs. Capel: 

What good news about the little " Staffordshire " 
piece ! I am really delighted. Please don't mar my 
pleasure in thinking of it happily housed with you 
by questions of price or bargaining. Rather add 
to my pride in my " find " by accepting it as a 
small recognition of my great good fortune in 
having made your acquaintance. 

Out of the chatter and clatter of the tea on 


Sunday the things you said remain with me; if they 
were epigrams they were vivid and to me very real. 

I hated everything that interrupted and hated 
going away. Quite humbly I say that I think I did 
understand, and was longing to tell you so. But I 
have never had the tongue of a ready speaker, and 
as I left your beautiful home I was choked with 
unspoken words a cleverer man would have found 
more quickly. 

How much I wished I could have expressed my- 
self. I wanted to say that I had no hateful curiosity, 
but only an overwhelming sympathy and desire for 
your confidence, a bedrock craving for your friend- 
ship. May I be your friend? May I? Or am I 
presuming on your kindness and too short an 
acquaintanceship ? 

Anyhow, I can't write on business, the contract 
is to go through with all your alterations. 

Looking forward to the 24th, I need only sign, 
Au revoir, 

Yours very truly, 


No. 12. 211 Queen Anne's Gate, S.W., 

1 8th February, 1902. 
Dear Mr. Stanton: 

I don't know what to say about " The Musicians," 
that is why I have not already written to say it ! I 
have not put the group into my collection, it is on 
my bedroom mantelpiece. I see it when I first wake 
in the morning, it is the last thing upon which my 
tired eyes rest before I turn off the light at night. 
Sometimes I think those musicians are playing the 
prelude to the friendship of which you speak. 


I wonder why you are so curiously sympathetic to 
me, and why I mind so little admitting it. Friend- 
ship has been rare in my life. You offer me yours, 
and I am on the point of accepting it; thinking all 
the time what it may mean, what I can give you in 
return. An hour now and again of detached talk, a 
great deal of trouble with my literary affairs . . . 
there is not much in that for you; is there? Are 
the Musicians really a gift? They must go on play- 
ing to me softly then, and the prelude be slow and 
long-drawn-out. I am afraid even of friendship, 
that is the truth. I'm disillusioned, disappointed, 
tired. Nothing has ever happened to me as I meant 
it. When I first came from America with my 
father, I was full of the wildest hopes, and now I 
have outlived them all. It is not an affectation, it is 
a profound truth, and at twenty-eight I find myself 
worn out, dimmed, exhausted. I have had fame 
(a small measure of it, but enough for comparison), 
wealth, and that horrid nightmare, love. 

My father spoiled me when I was small, believed 
too much in me. He thought me a genius, and I 
. . . perhaps I thought so too. I puzzled and per- 
plexed him, and he felt overweighted with his 
responsibilities, with character-studying an egotistic 
girl of sixteen. The result was a stepmother. Can 
you imagine what I suffered! She began almost 
immediately to suffocate me with her kindness. She 
too admitted I was a genius. Do you know we had 
the idea, these besotted parents of mine and I, that 
I was to be a great pianist ! I practised many hours 
a day, sustained by jellies, and beef-tea and encour- 
agement. I had the best teachers, a few weeks in 
Dresden with Lentheric, my father poured out his 


money like water. The end of that period was a 
prolonged fainting fit, the first of many, the 
discovery I had a weak heart, that the exertion of 
piano-playing affected it unfavourably. I came back 
from Dresden at eighteen, was presented the same 
year, the papers said I was beautiful; father put 
himself out of the way to be nice to pressmen; he 
had acquired the habit in America whilst he was 
building up his fortune. That I was accounted 
beautiful and could play Chopin and was to have a 
fortune, made me appear also brilliant. My father 
paid for the printing of my first book. My first 
one-act play was performed at a West End theatre. 
Then I met James Capel. Mr. Justice Jeune knows 
the story of my married life better than any one 
else. I was high-spirited before it began. At the 
end of a year I was physically, mentally, morally 
a wreck. I don't know which of us hated the other 
more, my husband or I. Anyway, he made no 
objection to my returning to my father. My step- 
mother's suffocating kindness descended upon me 
again, and now I found it healing. When I was 
healed I wrote " The Immoralists." Then my 
father's pride in me revived. He and my step- 
mother kept open house and collected celebrities to 
show the dimness of their light as a background for 
my supposed more brilliant shining! Society was 
pleased to come, my father growing always richer. 
... I wrote "The Farce of Fearlessness" and 
"Love and the Lutist " about this time, and my 
other play. When my husband made it imperative 
by his proved and public blackguardism I resorted to 
the law, and acting under advice, fought him in the 
arena he chose, and have now won my freedom, but 


at an incredible, hardly yet to be realised cost, all 
my wounds exposed in the market-place. 

I wonder why I am recapitulating all this. I think 
it is to show you I am in no mood for friendship. 
There are times when I am savage with pain, and 
times when I am exhausted from it, times when I 
feel bruised all over, so tender that the touch of 
a word brings tears, times when my overwhelming 
pity for myself leaves me incapable of realizing 
anything beyond my wrongs. I say I have won my 
freedom, but even this is untrue : at present I have 
only won six months of probation, during which I 
am still James Capel's wife. Sometimes I think 
I shall never live through them, the stain of my 
connection with him is like mortification. 

The prelude played by the Musicians is a prelude 
to a dream. 

And still I am grateful you gave them to me. 
Your very truly, 


When I had read as far as this the codein exerted 
its influence. My eyelids drooped, I slept and re- 
covered myself. The sense of what I was reading 
began to escape, I knew it was time to put the bundle 
away. There were not very many more letters. I 
put all the papers on the table by my side, then 
dropped off. Margaret betrayed herself completely 
in her letters. Gabriel Stanton was still a strange 
unrealisable figure. 


THE few words I had with Nurse Benham the next 
morning cleared the air and the situation between 
us. The strange thing was that at first she did not 
notice the parcel at all, still loose and untidy in the 
paper in which Dr. Kennedy had enwrapped it. Not 
until I told her to be careful not to spill the tea 
over it did it strike her to wonder how it came there. 

" Did Suzanne give you that ? " she asked suspi- 

" She has not been in my room since you left 

" That's the very parcel you asked for the other 
night. How ever did you get hold of it ? " 

" After you left me I got out of bed and fetched 

" You got out of bed ! " She grew red in the 
face with rage or incredulity. 

" Yes, twice. Once for the parcel and once for 
the scissors ! " 

She did not speak at once, standing there with her 
flushed face. So I went on : 

" It is absurd for you to insist on me doing this 
or that, or leaving it undone. You are here to take 
care of me, not to bully and tyrannise over me." 



" I am no good to you at all. I'd better go. You 
will take matters into your own hands. I never 
knew such a patient, never. One would think you'd 
no sense at all, that you didn't know how ill you 

" That is no reason why I should not be allowed 
to get better. Believe me, the only way for that 
to come about is that I should be allowed to lead my 
own life in my own way." 

" To get up in the middle of the night with the 
window wide open, to walk about the room in your 
nightgown ! " 

" I should not have done so, you know, if you had 
passed me the things when I asked you for them." 

" You don't want a nurse at all," she repeated. 

" Yes, I do. What I don't want is a gaoler." 

I was on the sofa when Dr. Kennedy called, the 
papers on the table beside me. He asked eagerly 
what I thought of them : 

" I see you have got at them. Are you disap- 
pointed, exhilarated? Are they illuminative? Tell 
me about them ; I want so much to hear." 

He had forgotten to ask how I was. 

" I will tell you about them presently. I haven't 
read them all. Up to now they are certainly 
disappointing, if not dull ! They are business letters, 
to begin with. But it is obvious she is trying to get 
up something like a flirtation with him." 

"Oh, no!" 


" Oh, yes ! I have watched Ella, my sister Mrs. 
Lovegrove, for years. She is past mistress of the 
art of flirtation. Sentiment and the appeal of her 
femininity, a note of unhappiness and the suggestion 
the man's friendship may assuage it ..." 

" Mrs. Lovegrove is a very charming woman. 
But Margaret Capel was not in the least like her." 

" Or any other woman? " 

" No." 

" You have put yourself out of court. No woman 
is unlike any other. Your ' pale fair Margaret ' 
admits, from the first, that Gabriel Stanton attracts 
her. And this at a moment when she should allow 
herself to be attracted by no man. When she has 
just gone through the horrors of the Divorce Court." 

" You are not bringing that up against her ? " 

" I am not bringing anything up against her. 
But you asked me about the letters. I have only 
read a dozen of them, and that is how they strike 
me. A little dull and, on her part, flirtatious." 

" I hope you won't do the book at all if you don't 
feel sympathetic." 

" Believe me I shall be sympathetic if there is 
anything with which to sympathise. Do you know 
her early life, or history? It is hinted at, partly 
revealed here, but I should like to see it clearly." 

"Won't she tell you herself?" He smiled. I 
answered his smile. 

" She has left off coming since I have begun to 


get well. I shall have to write the book, if I write 
it at all, without further help. By the way, talking 
about getting better, I know that doctoring bores 
you, but I want to know how much better I am 
going to get ? I am as weak as a rat ; my legs refuse 
to carry me, my hand shakes when I get a pen in it. 
I shall get the story into my head from these 
papers," I added, with something of the depression 
that I was feeling : " But I don't see how I am to get 
it out again. I don't see how I shall ever have the 
strength to put it on paper." 

" That will come. There is no hurry about that. 
As a matter of fact I believe letters are copyright 
for fourteen years. It isn't twelve yet." 

It was not worth while to put him right on the 
t pyright acts. 

" You'll be going downstairs next week, you'll be 
at your writing-table, her writing-table in the draw- 
ing-room. You ask me about her early life. I only 
know her father was a wealthy American absolutely 
devoted to her. He married for the second time 
when she was fifteen or sixteen and they both 
concentrated on her. She was remarkable even as a 
child, obviously a genius, very beautiful." 

" She outgrew that," I said emphatically. 

" She was a very beautiful woman," he insisted. 
And then said more lightly, " You must remember 
you have only seen her ghost." The retort pleased 
me and I let the subject of Margaret Capel's beauty 


drop. She interested me less when I felt well, and 
notwithstanding my active night I felt compara- 
tively well this morning. Since I could not get him 
to take my weakness seriously I told him my griev- 
ance against nurse. 

" When she hears I am to go down next week she 
will have a fit. I wish for once you would use your 
medical authority and tell her I am on no account 
to be contradicted or thwarted." 

" I'll tell her so if you like, but I never see her. 
She runs like a rabbit when I come near." 

" You are not professional enough for her taste, 
there are too few examinations and prescriptions. 
How is my unsatisfactory lung, by the way? Give 
a guess, something scientific to retail. I must keep 
Ella informed." 

" There has not been time for the physical signs 
to have cleared up yet. I'll listen if you like, but 
after seeing all those specialists I should have 
thought you were tired of saying ' 99 '." 

" They varied it sometimes. ' 999 ' seems to be 
the latest wheeze." 

" I wish you had not left off seeing Margaret," 
he sighed. 

" It is a pity," I laughed at him. " You should 
not have dropped giving me the morphia so soon." 

" You wouldn't have it." 

" It was dulling my brain. I felt myself growing 
stupid and more stupid." 


" You only had one-quarter grain twice a day for 
the inside of a week, and there was atropin in it. If 
it had really had a deadening effect upon you you 
would not have refused it, but just gone on. Not 
that I believe anything would ever dull your brain." 

I wished Ella could have heard him, it would have 
confirmed her in her folly and made for my amuse- 
ment. He left shortly after paying me that remark- 
able compliment, but stopped on his way out to speak 
to Benham. The immediate effect of his words was 
to make her silent and perhaps sullen for a few 
hours. After which, but still under protest, she 
gave me whatever I asked for, and began to be 
more like other nurses in the time she took off duty 
for exercise, sleep, and meals. She even yawned in 
my face on the rare occasions when I summoned 
her in the night. I tried to chaff her back into good 
humour, but without much success. 

" Do you find me any worse for having got out of 
leading strings? " I asked her. " Have pencils and 
MS. paper sent up my temperature ? " 

" You are not out of the wood yet," she retorted 

" No, but I am enjoying its unbrageous rest," I 
returned. " Reading my papers in the shadows." 

" Shadow enough ! " 

" That's right. Mind you go on keeping up my 
spirits." She did smile then, but she was obviously 
dissatisfied, both with me and Dr. Kennedy. I was 


taking no drugs, doing a little more each day, in the 
way of moving about. And yet I could not call 
myself convalescent. My legs were stiff and my 
back heavy. I had no feeling of returning vigour. 
What little I did I forced myself to do. I had 
hardly the energy to finish the letters. Had it not 
been for Dr. Kennedy I don't believe, at this stage, 
I should have finished them! Although the next 
two or three set me thinking, and I was again 
visualising the writers. Not that Gabriel Stanton 
betrayed himself in his letters, as Margaret did in 
hers. I had to reconcile him with the donnish master 
of Greek roots, whom I had met and been ignored 
by, in Greyfriars' Square. This was his answer to 
her last effusion. 

No. 13. 1 1 8 Greyfriars' Square, 

1 9th February, 1902. 
Dear Mrs. Capel: 

I have read your letter ten twenty times; my 
business day was filled and transformed by it. Now 
it is midnight and I am alone in the stillness of my 
room, the routine of the day and the evening over, 
and my brain, not always very quick, alight with 
the wonderment of your words, and my restless 
anxiety to respond. Don't, I implore you, belittle 
the possibility of friendship! 

Surely the value of it is only proved by its needs? 

May I not say that in this crisis in your life 
friendship may be much to you. Can I hope that my 
privilege may be to fill the need ? 


Fowhave been so splendidly frank and outspoken. 
7 have suffered all my life from a sort of stupid 
reticence, probably cowardly. But to-night, and 
to you, I want to throw off the habit of years and 
not miss, before it is too late, the luxury of being 

Well, I am hot with hatred that you should have 
been hurt, and yet I am happy that you have told 
me of your wounds. To-night I pray that it may 
be given to me to heal them. 

I am writing this because I must though conven- 
tionally the shortness of our acquaintance does not 
justify me. But I have been conventional so long 
circumstance has ruled and limited my doings. And 
tonight it comes to me that chance and fate are, or 
should be, greater than environment. The Gods 
only rarely offer gifts, and the blackness and blank- 
ness of despair follow their refusal. So I cling to 
the hope that they have now offered me a precious 
gift, and that in spite of all your pain all the past 
which now so embitters you, to me may come the 
chance in some small way of proving to you that 
in friendship there is healing, and in sympathy and 
understanding, at least the hope of forgetfulness. 

I shall hardly dare to read over what I have 
written, for I should either be conscious that it is 
inadequate to express what I have wanted to say 
to you or that I have presumed too much in writing 
what is in my mind. 

Look upon those Musicians as playing a prelude, 
not to a dream but to a happier future, and then 
my pleasure in the little gift will be enormously 

It has been a sort of joke in my family that I am 


over-cautious and too deliberate, but for to-night 
at least in these still quiet hours I mean to conquer 
this, and go out to post this letter myself ; just as I 
have written it, with no alteration; yet with confi- 
dence in the kindness you have already shown me. 
And I shall see you at dinner on Thursday. 
Yours very sincerely, 


A little over a fortnight passed before there was 
any further correspondence. Meanwhile the two 
must have met frequently. Her letters were often 
undated, and her figures even more difficult to read 
than her handwriting generally. The hieroglyphic 
over the following looks like 5, but I could not be 
sure. The intimacy between them must have grown 
apace, and yet the running away could have been 
nothing but a ruse. There could have been little 
fear of so sedate a lover as Gabriel Stanton. I 
found something artificial in the next letter of hers, 
recapitulative, as if already she had publication in 
her mind. Of course it is more difficult for a novel- 
ist or a playwright to be genuine and simple with a 
pen than it is for a person of a different avocation, 
but I could not help thinking how much better than 
Margaret Ella would have acted her part, and my 
sympathy began to flow more definitely toward the 
inexperienced gentleman, no longer young, to whom 
she was introducing the game of flirtation under the 
old name of Platonic friendship. 


No. 14. Carbies, 

March 5th, 1902. 

I have run away, you realise this, don't you, 
simply turned tail and run. That long dinner which 
seemed so short ; the British Museum the next day, 
and your illuminating lecture so abruptly ended 
that dreadful lunch . . . boiled fish and ginger 
beer ! Ye Gods ! Greek or Roman, how could you 
appear satisfied, eat with appetite? I sickened in 
the atmosphere. Thursday at the National Gallery 
was better. Our taste in pictures is the same if our 
taste in food differs. But perhaps you did not know 
what you were given in the refreshment room of the 
British Museum ? I throw out this suggestion as an 
extenuating circumstance, for I find it difficult to 
forgive you that languid cod and its egg sauce. Our 
other two meals together were so different. That 
first lunch at the Cafe Royal was perfect in its way. 
As for our dinner, did I not myself superintend the 
menu, curb the exuberance of the chef and my 
stepmother; dock the unfashionable sorbet; change 
Mayonnaise sauce into Hollandaise ; duck and green 
peas into an idealised animal of the same variety, 
stuffed with foie gras, enriched and decorated with 
cherries? For you I devoted myself to the decora- 
tion of the table, interested myself in the wine list 
my father produced, discussed vintages with our 
pompous and absurd butler. I must tell you a story 
about that butler. You said he looked like an 
Archdeacon. Can you imagine an Archdeacon in 
the Divorce Court ? No ! No ! No ! Nothing to do 
with mine. Had it been I could not have written 
of it, the very thought sets me writhing again. 


Poor Burden was with the Sylvestres, you remember 
the case. Everybody defended and it was fought 
for five interminable days. The papers devoted 
columns to it, nothing else was discussed in the 
Clubs, the whole air of London Mayfair end 
was foetid and foul with it. Burden was a witness, 
he had seen too much, and his evidence sent poor 
silly Ann Sylvestre to hide her divorced and dis- 
graced head in Monte Carlo. And can a head 
properly ondule be said to be divorced? Heavens! 
how my pen runs on, or away, like me. And I 
haven't come to the story, which now I come to 
think of it is not so very good. I will tell you 
it in Burden's own words. He applied for our 
situation through a registry office, and stood before 
my stepmother and me, hat in hand, sorrowful, but 
always dignified, as he answered questions. 

" My last situation was with a Mrs. Solomon. 
I'm sorry, milady, to have to ask you to take up a 
character from such people. I'd always been in the 
best service before that ... I was hallboy with 
the Jutes, third and then second with His Grace the 
Duke of Richland, first footman under the Countess 
Foreglass. I was five years with the Sylvestres; 
you know, Ma'am, he was first cousin to the Duke 
of Trent, near to the Throne itself, as one might 
say. I'd never lowered myself to an untitled family 
before. But after the divorce I couldn't get nothing. 
Ma'am, I hope you'll believe me, but from the 
moment I accepted Mr. Solomon's place all I was 
planning to do was to get out of it. They was 
Jews, if I may mention such a thing to you. I took 
ten pounds a year less than I'd had at his Lordship's, 
but Mr. Solomon, he said in his facetious way that 


being in the witness box 'ad knocked at least ten 
pounds off my value, an' he ground me down. But 
I'll have to ask you to take up my character from 
him. That's the worst of it, Ma'am, milady." 

We had to break it to him that we were without 
titles, but he said sorrowfully that having been in a 
witness box in the divorce court made it impossible 
for him to stand out. 

Burden and I have always been on good terms. 
I understand him, you see, his point of view, and 
his descent in the social scale when he went to live 
with Jews. What I was going to tell you was, that 
notwithstanding our friendship he resented my inter- 
ference in his department when I insisted on select- 
ing the wine for your our dinner party. I am 
almost sorry I quarrelled with him on your account. 
He looks at me coldly now, he is remembering my 
American blood, despising it. And to think I have 
lost the priceless regard of Burden for a man who 
can eat boiled and tired cod, masked with egg sauce, 
washed down with ginger beer ! 

Where was I? The sculpture at the British 
Museum ; then the next day at the National Gallery. 
Our spirits kneeled there; we grew small. No, we 
didn't, I'm disingenuous. We said so, not meaning 
it in the least. After twenty minutes we forgot all 
about the pictures. Rumpelmayer's, St. James's 
Park, out to Coombe. 

Did you realise we were seeing each other every 
day, how much time we spent together? 

Am I eighteen or twenty-eight ? You've a reputa- 
tion for knowing more about Greek roots than any 
other Englishman. Should I have run away down 
here if you had talked about Greek roots? I'm 


excited, exhausted, bewildered. For three nights 
sleep failed me. Nothing is so wonderful as a 
perfect friendship between a man of your age and a 
woman of mine. Why did you change your mind, 
or your note, so quickly yesterday? / knew all the 
time what was happening to us. I think there is 
-something arrogant in your humility. I am natur- 
ally so much more outspoken than you, although my 
troubles have made me more fearful. You are a 
strange man. I think you may send me a portrait. 
When I try to recall you, you don't always come 
whole, only bits of you, inconsistent bits, a gleam 
of humour in your eyes, your stoop, the height that 
makes us so incongruous together. I like you, 
Gabriel Stanton, and I've run away from you ; that's 
the truth. That disingenuous aggressive humility 
of yours is a subtle appeal to my sympathies. I 
don't want to sympathise with you overmuch, with 
the loneliness of your life, or anything about you. 
We were meeting too often, talking too freely. I 
curl up and want to hide when I think of some of 
the things we have said (7 have said!!!). I know 
I am too impulsive. 

I'm going to settle down here and start seriously 
on my Staffordshire Potters. I've taken the house 
for three months. If I had not already written the 
longest letter ever penned I'd describe it to you. 
Perhaps I'll write again if you encourage me. Think 
of me as a novelist out of work, using up my MS. 
paper. Down here everything has become unreal. 
You and I, but especially " us"\ I want every- 
thing to be unreal, I'm not strong enough for more 
reality. Keep unsubstantial. I don't suppose you 
will understand me (I am not sure that I under- 


stand myself). But you begged me to " let myself 
go," " pour myself out on you." Can I take your 
strength and lean upon it, the tenderness you promise 
me and revel in it, all that I believe you are offering 
me, and give you nothing? I am mean, afraid of 
giving. It all came so quickly, so unexpectedly. I 
have never had a real companion. Never, never, 
never even as a child been wholly natural with any- 
body, posing always. The only daughter of a 
millionaire with more talent than she ought to have, 
a shy soul behind a brazen forehead, is in a difficult 
position. To undrape that shy soul of mine as you 
so nearly make me do, unwillingly but it might 
happen makes me shiver. That's why I ran away, 
I want to be isolated, to stand alone. Here is the 
truth again, not at the bottom of a well, but at the 
end of an interminable letter. I am afraid of pain, 
and this intimacy presages it. You cannot be all I 
think you. I don't want to be near enough to see 
your clay feet. 

I am going to get some picture postcards with 
small space for writing; this MS. paper demoralises 



No. 15. 

Will you ever know what your dear wonderful 
letter has given me? I passed through moments 
of doubt, of bewildered unbelief into a golden trance 
of joy and hope. And as again and again I read it 
some of your far braver personality fills me, and 
I refuse to think this new spring of hope is a mere 


dream, and take courage and tell myself I am some- 
thing to you something in your life, and that to 
me, Gabriel Stanton, has come at last the chance of 
helping, tending, caring for against all the world 
if need be, such a woman as Margaret Capel. 

Let me revel in this new strange happiness. You 
are too kind, too generous to destroy it ! For it is 
all strange and marvellous to me I've lived so 
much alone have missed so much by circumstance 
and the fault of what you call my " aggressive 
humility." I can help you ! As I write I feel I want 
nothing else in life. Oh! my wonderful friend, 
don't let us miss a relationship which on my part 
I swear to you shall be consecrated to your service, 
to your happiness in any and every way you decide 
or will ask. Let me come into your life, give me 
the chance of healing those wounds which have 
bruised you grievously, but can never conquer your 
brave spirit. You must let me help. 

You have gone away, but your dear letter is with 
me it is so much your letter so much you that 
I am not even lonely any more. And yet I long to 
see you hear you talk, be near you. Thoughts 
hopes ideas, crowd upon me tonight, things to 

tell you It is like having a new sense I've 

wakened up in a new and so beautiful country. Do 
you wish for those weeks of solitude? Only what 
you wish matters. But I confess I've looked up 
the trains to Pineland. I will come on any day at 
any moment you say. There is no duty that could 
keep me should you say " come." Give me at least 
one chance of seeing you in your new home. Then 
I will keep away and respect your solitude if you 
wish it. 


The joy of your letter and the golden castles I am 
building help the hours until I hear from you. 

G. S. 

It is my opinion still that she only ran away in 
order to bring him after her, to secure a greater soli- 
tude than they could enjoy in places of public resort, 
or in her father's house. I don't mean that she 
deliberately planned what followed, but had that 
been her intention she could have devised no better 
strategy than to leave him at the point at which they 
had arrived without a word of farewell other than 
that letter. As for me, when I had finished reading 
it and the answer, I had recourse to the diary and 
MS. notes. They would, however, have been of but 
little use had not a second dose of codein that night 
brought me again in closer relation with the writer. 


As I said, I took two codein pills instead of one 
that night, and in an hour or so was conscious of 
the comfort and phantasmagoria of morphia. I 
was no longer in the bedroom of which I had tired, 
nor in the rough garden without trees or shade. I 
had escaped from these and in returning health was 
beside the sea, happily listening to the little waves 
breaking on the stones, no soul in sight but those 
two, Margaret Capel and Gabriel Stanton, in earnest 
talk that came to me as I sat with my back against a 
rock, the salt wind in my face. How it was they did 
not see me and moderate their voices I do not 
know, morphia gives one these little lapses and sur- 

Margaret looked extraordinarily sedate and yet 
perverse, her thin lips pink and eyes dancing. I 
saw the incandescent effect of which Peter Kennedy 
had told me. It was not only her eyes that were 
alight but the woman herself, the luminous fair 
skin and the fairness of her hair stirred and bright- 
ened by the sun and the sea-wind. She talked vividly, 
whilst he sat at her feet listening intently, offering 
her the homage of his softened angularities, his 
abandoned scholarship, his adoring eyes. 



" Why did you come ? I told you not to come. 
Of course I meant to wire in answer to your letter 
that you were to stay in London. What was the 
use of my running away ? " 

I saw that he fingered the hem of her skirt, and 
watched her all the time she spoke. 

" Tomorrow I shall have no expectation in the 
post. I hate not to care whether my letters come or 
not. And Monday too. You have spoiled two 
mornings for me." 

" I am not as satisfying as my letters to you." 
Even his voice was changed, the musical charming 
Stanton voice. His had deepened and there was 
the note of an organ in it. She looked at him 
critically or caressingly. 

" Not quite, not yet. I understand your letters 
better than I do you. And you are never twice 
alike, not quite alike. We part as friends, intimates. 
Then we come together again and you are almost a 
stranger; we have to begin all over again." 

" I am sorry." He looked perplexed. " How do 
I change or vary? I cannot bear to think that you 
should look upon me as a stranger." 

" Only for a few moments." 

" When you met me at the station today? " 

" I was at the station early, and then was vexed 
I had come, looking about me to see if there were 
any one I knew or who knew me. I took refuge at 
the bookstall, found ' The Immoralists ' among 


the two-shilling soiled." She left off abruptly, and 
her face clouded. 

" Don't ! " he whispered. 

" How quick you are ! " Now their hands ,met. 
She smiled and went on talking. " I heard a click 
and saw that the signals were down. The train 
rounded the curve and came in slowly. People 
descended ; I was conscious of half a dozen, although 
I saw but one. No, I didn't see you, only your 
covert coat and felt hat. I felt a pang of disappoint- 
ment." Their hands fell apart. I saw he was hurt. 
She may have seen it too, but made no sign. 

" It was not your fault, you had done nothing 
. . . you just were not as I expected you. You had 
cut yourself shaving, for one thing." He put 
his hand to his chin involuntarily, there was barely 
a scratch. " As we walked back from the station 
my heart felt quite dead and cold. I hated the 
scratch on your cheek, the shape of your hat, every- 
thing." He turned pale. " I wondered how I was 
going to bear two whole days, what I should say to 

"We talked!" 

" I know, but it was outside talk, forced, laboured. 
You remember, ' How warm the weather was in 
London ' ; and that the train was not too full for 
comfort. You had papers in your hand, the 
Saturday Review, the Spectator. You spoke of an 
article by Runciman in the first." 


" You seemed interested." 

" I was thinking how we were going to get 
through the two days. What I had ever seen in 
you, why I thought I liked you so much." 

He was quite dumb by now, the sunken eyes were 
full of pain, the straight austere mouth was only 
a line; he no longer touched the hem of her dress. 

" You left me in the garden of the hotel when you 
went to book a room, to leave your bag. I sat on a 
seat in the garden and looked at the sea, the blue 
wonder of the sea, the jagged coast-line, and one 
rock that stood out, then hills and always more hills, 
the sky so blue, spring in the air. Gabriel ..." 
she leaned forward, touched him lightly on the 
shoulder. A deep flush came over his face, but 
he did not move nor put up his hand to take hers. 
'' You were only gone ten minutes. I could not 
have borne for you to have been away longer. 
There were a thousand things I wanted to say to 
you, that I knew I could say to no one but you. 
About the spring and my heart hunger, what it 

" And when I came out I suppose all you remem- 
bered was that I had cut myself shaving?" 

She seemed astonished at the bitterness of his 

" You are not angry with me, are you ? " 

" No! Not angry. How could I be? " 

" When you came out and I felt rather than saw 


you were moving toward me across the grass I 
thought of nothing but that you were coming; that 
we were going io have tea together, on the ricketty 
iron table, that I should pour it out for you. That 
after that we should walk here together, and then 
you would go home with me, dine together at 
Carbies, talk and talk and talk. ..." 

He could not help taking her hand again, because 
she gave it to him, but his face was set and serious. 

"Tell me, is it the same with you as it is with 
me ? Am I a stranger to you sometimes ? Different 
from what you expect? Do I disappoint you, and 
leave you cold, almost as if you disliked me? Don't 
answer. I expect, I know it is the same with you. 
You find me plain, gone off, you wonder what you 
ever saw in me." 

He answered with a quiet yet passionate sincerity : 

" When I see you after an interval my heart 
rushes out to you, my pulses leap. I feel myself 
growing pale. I am paralysed and devoid of words. 
Margaret! My very soul breathes Margaret, my 
wonderful Margaret. I cannot get my breath." 
Her eyes shone and exulted. 

"It is not like that always?" she whispered, 
leaning towards him. 

" It is like that always. But today it was more 
than that. I had not seen you for a week, a whole 
long week. Sometimes in that week I had not 
dared look forward." 


" And then you saw me." She was hanging upon 
his words. He got up abruptly and walked a few 
paces away from her, to the edge of the sea. She 
smiled quietly to herself when he left her like that. 
He was suffering, he could not bear the contrast 
between what she had thought of him and he of her. 

" Gabriel ! " she called him back presently, called 
softly and he came swiftly. 

" I had better go back to town by the next train. 
I disappoint you." 

" Silly ! " She was amazingly, alluringly smiling 
into his dour eyes, not satisfied until he smiled too. 
" It is my sense of style. I am like grammar ; all 
moods and tenses. You want me to tell you every- 
thing, don't you ? " 

" Am I the man for you ? that is what I want you 
to tell me. I don't know what you mean by that 
sense of strangeness I cannot bear it." 

" Don't you vary ? wonder, doubt ? " 

" I always knew from the first afternoon when 
you were shown into my room in Grey friars', your 
black fur framing your exquisite porcelain face, 
your eyes like wavering stars, that you were the only 
woman in the world. Since then the conviction of 
it grows deeper and deeper, more certain. You are 
never out of my mind. I know I am not good 
enough for you, too old and grave. But you have 
let me hope. Oh ! you wonderful child." For still 
she was smiling at him in that dazzling alluring 


way. He was at her feet and the hem of her dress 
again against his lips. " Don't you understand, 
can't I make you understand ? I adore you, I wor- 
ship you. I want nothing from you except that you 
let me tell you so sometimes." 

" It is so much nicer when you write it," she 

" Don't." She cajoled him. 

" I can't take it lightly," he burst out. " Pity me, 
forgive me, but don't laugh at me." 

" I am not laughing." 

" I know. You are an angel of sweetness, good- 
ness. Margaret, let me love you ! " 

I was back again in bed, very drowsy and com- 
fortable, wondering how I had got there, what had 
happened, what time it was. I took a drink of 
lemonade and thought what a bad night I was 
having. I remembered my dream ; it had been very 
vivid, and I was sorry for Gabriel Stanton and tried 
to remember what had become of him, when I had 
heard of or seen him last ; it must have been a long 
time ago. Margaret was a minx. If ever I wrote 
about them it would be to tell the truth, to analyse 
and expose the spirit and soul of a woman flirt. And 
again when I lay down I thought of what the critics 
would say of this fine and intimate study, this 
human document that I was to give the world. 
Phrases came to me, vivid lightning touches . . . 


I hoped I should be able to remember them, but 
hardly doubted it, for others came, even better than 
these, and then in consequence, sleep. . . . 

Benham said in the morning : 

" Whatever did you take another pill for ? Was 
anything the matter with you? You could have 
called me up." 

" But you might have argued with me." 

" I am sure I don't know what good a nurse is 
to you at all ! " 

" You would be invaluable if you would only get 
it into your head that I am not a mental case. Don't 
you realise that I am a very clever woman, quite as 
clever as you ? " 

" I don't call it clever to retard your own 

" Am I going to recover? " I asked quickly. 

" Your beloved Dr. Kennedy says you are." 

" By the way, is he coming to-day ? " 

" It isn't many days he misses." 

" He comes to protect me from you, to see I have 
some few privileges and ameliorations of my condi- 
tion, that my confinement is not too close, my gaoler 
too vigilant." 

We understood each other better now, and I could 
chaff her without provoking anything but a difficult 
smile. I, of course, was a bad patient. I found it 
difficult to believe that I ought not to try and over- 


come my weakness and inertia, that it was my duty 
to leave off fighting and sink into invalidism as if 
it were a feather bed. 

That afternoon she helped me to the writing-table 
in the drawing-room, and I sat there trying to recap- 
ture the conversation I had heard. But although I 
could remember every word I found it hard to write. 
I could lie back in the chair and look at the gorse, 
the distant hills, the sea, the dim wide horizon, but 
to lean forward, take pen in hand, dip it in the ink, 
write, was almost beyond that still slowly ebbing 
strength. I whipped myself with the thought of 
what weak women had done, and dying men. " My 
head is bloody but unbowed ..." Mine was 
bowed then, quickly over the writing-table ; tears of 
self-pity welled hot, but I would not let them fall. 
It was not because Death was coming to me. I 
swear that then nor ever have I feared Death. But 
I was leaving so much undone. I had a place, and 
it was to know me no more. And the world was so 
lovely, the promise of spring in the air. When I 
lifted my bowed head Peter Kennedy was there, 
very pitiful as I could see by his eyes, and with a 
new gift of silence. Silence as to essentials, at least. 
He did not ask what ailed me, but spoke of a break- 
down to the motor, of the wonder of the April 
weather. I soon regained my self-possession. 

" How soon after Margaret Capel came here did 
you make her acquaintance ? " I asked him sud- 


denly, and a propos of nothing either of us had 

" It must have been a week or two, not more. I 
knew the house had been taken, but not by whom. 
And at first the name meant nothing to me. I am 
not a reading man ; at least I don't read novels." 

" Don't apologise. I have heard of the Sporting 
Times, Bell's Life" 

" Go on, gibe away, I like it. She was just the 
same only kinder, much kinder." 

I laughed. 

" I knew she would be kind, and soft, and wom- 
anly. Didn't she say she was lonely? " 

" Yes." 

" And then say quickly : ' But of course you are 
quite right. Reading is a waste of time, living 
everything, and you are doing a fine work, a man's 
work in the world.' She said she envied you. I 
can hear her saying it." He looked ecstatic. 

" So can I. Ella says the same thing." 

" Why are you so bitter ? " 

I could not tell him it was because I had heard 
other women, many women, who were all things to 
all men, and that I despised, or perhaps envied them, 
lacking their gift and so having lived lonely save for 
Ella and Ella's love. Until now, when it was too 
late. And then I looked at him, at Dr. Kennedy, 
and laughed. 

" Why do you laugh ? You are so like and so 


unlike her. She would laugh for nothing, cry for 
nothing ..." 

" Tell me all about her from the beginning." It 
was an excuse to rest on the cushions in the easy- 
chair, to cease whipping my tired conscience. 

' " There is little or nothing to tell. It was about 
a week after she came here we had the first call. 
Urgent, the message said. So I got on my bicycle 
and spun away up here. I did not even wait to 
get out the car." 

" What day of the week was it ? " I asked, inter- 
rupting him. 

"What day of the week?" he repeated in sur- 

"Yes, what day?" 

" As a matter of fact it was on a Monday. 
What's the point? I remember because it happens 
to have been my Infirmary day. I had just come 
home, dog-tired, but of course when the call came 
I had to go. I actually thought what a bore it was 
as I pedalled up. It's nearly all uphill from our house 
to Carbies. The maid looked frightened when she 
opened the door." 

" Oh, sir, I am so glad you are here. Will you 
please come into the drawing-room? Mrs. Capel, 
she fainted right away. Miss Stevens has tried 
hartshorn an' burnt feathers, everything we could 
think of." 

" Everything that had a smell ? " 


" Yes, sir. I perceived it as I approached the 
drawing-room this room. She was on the sofa," 
he looked over to it, " very pale and dishevelled, only 
partly conscious." 

" Who was Miss Stevens? " 

" Her maid. Quite a character. Something like 
your nurse, only more so." 

"What did you do?" 

" I felt her pulse, her heart, thought of strych- 

" You are not a great doctor, are you ? " I scoffed 

" Oh ! I know my work all right ; it's simple 
enough. You try this drug or the other ..." 

" Or none, as in my case." 

" That's right." 

" And then if the patient does not get better or 
her relatives get restive, you call in some one else, 
who makes another shot." There was a twinkle in 
his eye. I always thought he knew more about 
medicine than he pretended. " And what did you 
do for Margaret ? " I went on. 

" Opened the window, and her dress ; waited. 
The first thing she said was, ' Has he gone ? ' I did 
not know to whom she referred, but the maid told 
me primly : ' Mrs. Capel's publisher has been down 
for the week-end. He left this morning. She don't 
know what she's saying.' Margaret opened her 
eyes, her sweet eyes, dark-irised, the light in them 


wavered and grew strong. She seemed to recall 
herself with difficulty and slowly. 'Did I faint? 
I'm all right now. Is that you, Stevens? What 
happened ? ' 

" ' I came in to bring your afternoon tea and you 
were in a dead faint, at the writing-table, all in a 
heap. I rang for cook and we carried you to the 
sofa, and tried to bring you round. Then cook tele- 
phoned for Dr. Lansdowne.' 

" ' Are you Dr. Lansdowne ? ' 

" * He was out. I'm his partner, Dr. Kennedy. 
How are you feeling ? ' I asked her. 

' Better. Stevens, you can go away. Bring me 
some more tea. Dr. Kennedy will have a cup with 
me.' She struggled into a sitting position and I 
helped her. Then she told me she had always been 
subject to these attacks, ever since she was a child, 
that she was to have been a pianist, had studied 
seriously. But the doctors forbade her practising. 
Now she wrote. She admitted that her own emo- 
tional scenes overcame her. Then we talked of the 
emotions. ..." 

Dr. Kennedy looked at me as if enquiringly. 

" Do you want to hear any more? " 

" You saw her often after that? " 

" Nearly every day, all the time she was here." 

" And talked about the emotions? " 

"Sometimes. What are you implying? What 
are you trying to get at? Whatever it is, you are 


wrong. I was in her confidence, she liked talking 
to me. I did her good." 

" With drugs or dogma ? " I asked. 

" With sympathy. She had suffered terribly, 
more than any woman should be allowed to suffer. 
And she was ultra-sensitive, her nerves were all 
exposed, inflamed. You have sometimes that elu- 
sive, strange resemblance to her. But she had 
neither strength nor courage and as for hardness 
. . . she did not know the meaning of the word." 

" You are wrong. Last night I heard her talk 
to Gabriel Stanton." 

"Did you?" His eyes lightened. "Tell me. 
But he was not the man for her, never the man for 
her. Not sufficiently flexible. He took her too 

" Can a man take a woman too seriously? " 

" An emotional, nervous, delicate woman. Yes. 
You've been through all the letters ? " 

" No. There are a few more." 

They were on the table, and I put my hand on 
them. I was sure that no one but I must see them. 

" The first two or three times that Gabriel Stanton 
came down he stayed at ' The King's Arms.' She 
was always ill after he left, always. She made a 
brave effort, poor girl. Day after day I have come 
in and seen her sitting as you are, paper before her, 
and ink. I don't think anything ever came of it. 
She would play too, for hours." 


" You stayed away when he was here, I sup- 

" No ! Not always. I was sent for once or 
twice. She had those heart attacks." 


" Heart attacks. He did not know how to treat 
or calm her." 

" Poor Gabriel Stanton ! " 

"Poor Margaret Capel!" he retorted. "I 
wouldn't try to write the story if I were you. You 
misjudge her, I am sure you do. She was delicate- 

" Why did she have him down here at all ? She 
knew the risk she ran. Why did she not wait until 
the decree was made absolute?" For by now, of 
course, I knew how the trouble came about. 

" She was in love with him." 

" She did not know the meaning of the word. 
She was philandering with you at the time." He 
grew red. 

" She was not. I was her doctor." 

" And are not doctors men ? " 

"Not with their patients." 

I looked at him thoughtfully and remembered 
Ella. He answered as if he read my thoughts. 

'* You are not my patient, you are Lansdowne's." 
He gave a short uncertain laugh when he had said 
that. That seemed amusing to me, for I did not 
care whether he was a man or not, feeling ill and 


superlatively old and sexless, also that he lacked 
something, had played this game with Margaret, the 
game she had taught him, until his withers were all 
unwrung, until she had bereft him of reason, leav- 
ing him empty, as it were hollow, filled up with 
words, meaningless words that were part of the 
fine game, of which he had forgotten or never 
known the rules. 

After he left I read her next letter, the one written 
after Gabriel Stanton had been to Pineland for the 
first time, and she had told him how she felt about 

Carbies, Pineland. 

I have been writing to you and tearing up the 
letters ever since you left. I look back and cannot 
believe you were here only two days. The two days 
passed like two hours, but now it seems as if we 
must have been together for weeks. You told me 
so much and I ... I exposed myself to you com- 
pletely. You know everything about me, it is in- 
credible but nevertheless true that I tried all I 
knew to show you the real woman on whom you 
are basing such high hopes. What are you thinking 
of me now, I wonder. That I am a little mad, 
not quite human? What is this genius that sep- 
arates me from the world, from all my kind? My 
books, my little plays, my piano-playing! There 
is a little of it in all of them, is there not, my friend, 
my companion, the first person to whom I have 
ever spoken so frankly. Is it not true that I have 
a wider vision, intenser emotions than other wo- 
men? Love me therefore better, and differently 


than any man has ever loved a woman. You 
say that you will, you do, that I am to pour myself 
out on you. I like that phrase of yours you need 
never use it again, you have already used it twice. 

" I shall remember while the light is yet, 
And when the darkness comes I shall not forget." 

It went through me, there is nowhere it has not 
permeated. And see, I obey you. I no longer feel 
a pariah and an outcast, with all the world pointing 
at me. The degradation of my marriage is only a 
nightmare, something, as you say, that never hap- 
pened. I look out on the garden and the sea be- 
yond, on the jagged coast-line and the green tree- 
clad hills, all bathed in sunshine, and forget that I 
have suffered. I am glad to know you so inti- 
mately that I can picture each hour what you are 
doing. You are not happy, and I am almost glad. 
What could I give you if you were happy? But as 
it is when you are bored and wearied, with your 
office work, depressed in your uncongenial home, I 
can send you my thoughts and they will flow in upon 
you like fresh water to a stagnant pool. I have at 
times so great a sense of strength and power. At 
others, as you know, I am faint and fearful. No- 
body but you has ever understood that I am not 
inconsistent, only a different woman at different 
times. I know I see things that are hidden from 
other people, not mystic things, but the great Scheme 
unfolded, the scheme of the world, why some suffer 
and some enjoy, what God means by it all. In my 
visions it is blindingly brilliant and clear, and I 
understand God as no human being has ever under- 
stood Him before. I want to be His messenger, 


to show the interblending marvel. I know it is for 
that I am here. Then I write a short story that says 
nothing at all, or I sit at the piano and try to ex- 
press, all alone by myself, that for which I cannot 
find words. Afterwards I go to bed and know I 
am a fool, and lie awake all night, miserable enough 
at my futility. I have always lived like this save 
during those frenzied months when I thought love 
was the expression for which I had waited, and with 
my eyes on the stars, blundered into a morass. Not- 
withstanding we have hardly spoken of it, you know 
the love I ask from you has nothing in common 
with the love ordinary men and women have for 
each other, nothing at all in common. The very 
thought of physical love makes me sick and ill. 
That is still a nightmare, nothing more nor less. 
I want my thoughts held, not my hands. How 
intimate we must be for me to write you like this, 
and the weeks we have known each other so few. 

You won't read this in the office, you will 
take it home with you to the bookish and precise 
flat in Hampstead, and hoard it up until the little 
round-backed sister with her claim and her queru- 
lousness has left you in peace. She is part of that 
great scheme of things which evades me when I try 
to write it. Why should you sacrifice your free- 
dom to make a home for her? Poor cripple, with 
her cramped small brain ; your companion to whom 
you are tied like a sound man to a leper, and with 
whom you cannot converse and yet must some- 
times talk. You cannot read or write very well in 
the atmosphere she creates for you, but must 
listen to gossip and answer fittingly, wasting the 
precious hours. Nevertheless you will find time 


to answer this letter. I shall not watch for the 
coming of the post and be disappointed. She does 
not care for you overmuch I fear, this poor sister 
of yours, only for herself. I am sorry she is 
hunchbacked and ailing. But I am sorrier still that 
she is your sister and burdens you. Life has given 
you so little. Your dreary orphaned childhood in 
your uncle's large hospitable family, of which you 
were always the one apart, you and that same suffer- 
ing sister ; your strenuous schooldays. You say you 
were happy at Oxford, but for the cramping cer- 
tainty that there was no choice of a career; only 
the stool at Stanton's, and so repayment for all your 
uncle had done for you. My poor Gabriel, it seems 
to me your boyhood and your manhood have been 
spent. And now you have only me. Me! with 
hands without gifts and arid lips, an absorbing 
egotism, and only my passionate desire for expres- 
sion. I don't want to live; I want to write, and 
even for that I am not strong enough! My mes- 
sage is too big for me. Hold me and enfold me, 
I want to rest in you ; you are unlike all other men 
because you want to give and give and give, asking 
nothing. And therefore you are my mate, because 
I am unlike all other women, being a genius. You 
alone of all men or women I have ever known will 
not doubt that I have a message, although I may 
never prove it. You don't want to be proud of me, 
only to rest me. 

Which reminds me that book on Staffordshire 
Pottery will never be written. How will you ex- 
plain it to your partners, and the wasted expense 
of the illustrations? I shall send you a business 
letter withdrawing; then I suppose you will say 


that you had better run down and discuss the matter 
with me. But, oh! it's so wonderful to know that 
you, you yourself will know without any explaining 
that I cannot write about pottery just now. I have 
written a few verses. I will send them to you when 
they are polished and the rhythm is perfect. There 
will .be little else left by 'then ! 

Write and tell me that one day you will come 
again to Pineland. One day, but not yet. I could 
not bear it, not to think of you concretely here with 
me again, this week or next. I want you as a light 
in the distance, my eyes are too weak to see you 
more closely ... I won't even erase that, although 
it will hurt you. Sometimes I feel I am not going 
to bring you happiness, only drain you of sympathy. 


Church Row, Hampstead. 

My dear, dear love, you wonderful, wonderful 

I wish I could tell you, I wish I could begin to 
tell you all you mean to me, what our two days 
together meant to me. You ask me what I am 
thinking of you. If only I could let you know that, 
you would know everything. For your sufferings 
I love you, for your crucified gift and agonies. You 
say I am to love you better and differently than any 
man has ever loved woman. My angel child, I do. 
Can't you feel it? Tell me you do. That is all I 
want, that you tell me you do know how I worship 
you, that it means something to you, helps you a 

What am I to answer to your next sentence? 
You say you ask of me a love that has nothing 


in common with the love ordinary men and women 
have for each other, that physical love makes you 
sick and ill. Beloved, everything shall be as you 
wish between us. I would not so much as kiss the 
hem of your dress if you forbade it by a look, nor 
your delicate white hands. I love your hands. You 
let me hold them, you must let me hold them some- 
times. Dear generous one, I will never trouble you. 
I am for you to use as you will, that you use 
me at all is gift enough. This time will pass 
this trying dreadful time. Until then, and 
afterwards if you wish it, I will be only 
your comrade your very faithful knight. I love 
your delicacy and reserve, all you withhold from 
me. I yearn to be your lover, your husband; all 
and everything to you. Don't hate and despise me. 
You say when radiant love came to you, your eyes 
were on the stars, and you blundered into a morass. 
But, sweetheart, darling, if I had been your lover 
husband, do you think this would have happened? 
Think, think. I cannot bear that you should con- 
fuse any love with mine. I want to hold you in 
my arms, teach you. I can't write any more, not 
now. Thank you for your letter, for my sleepless 
nights, for my dreams, for everything. You are 
my whole world. 



I fear I wrote you a stupid letter last night. I 
had had a long evening with my sister. She in- 
sisted on reading to me from a wonderful book 
she has just bought. It was on some new craze 
with the high-sounding name of Christian Science. 


The book was called " Science and Health." More 
utter piffle and balderdash I have never heard. 
There were whole sentences without meaning, and 
many calling themselves sentences were without 
verbs. I swallowed yawn after yawn. Then she 
left off reading and asked my opinion. I suggested 
the stuff might have emanated from Earlswood. 
She made me a dreadful scene. It seemed she had 
already consulted a prophetess of this new religion 
and had been promised she should be made whole 
if only she had sufficient faith ! Now I was trying 
to " shake her faith and so retard her cure " ; she 
sobbed. Poor woman ! I tried reasoning with her, 
went over a few passages and asked her to note in- 
consistency after inconsistency, stupidity after 
stupidity, blasphemy and irrelevance. She cried 
more. Then my own unkindness struck me. She 
too had had a vision, seen the marvellous sun rise. 
To be made whole ! She who had been thirty years 
a cripple and in pain always. I tried to withdraw 
all I had said, to find a strange and mystic sense 
and meaning in the stuff. I think I comforted her 
a little. I insisted she should go on with her in- 
duction, or initiation, or whatever they call it. 
There are paid healers ; the prophets play the game 
for cash. I gave her money. I could not bear her 
thanks or to remember I had been unkind, I, with 
my own overwhelming happiness. If I were able 
I would make happiness for all the world. When 
at last I was alone I sat a long time with your letter 
in my hand, your dear, dear letter. I don't know 
what I wrote; dare not recall my words. Forgive 
me, whatever it was. If there was a word in my 
letter that should not have been there forgive me. 


Bear with me, dear. You don't know what you 
are to me, I am bewildered with the mystery. 

About the book on Staffordshire Pottery. Don't 
give it another thought. I can arrange everything 
here without any trouble. You need not write. But 
if you do, and suggest, as you say, that I shall come 
down and discuss the matter with you, why then, 
then will you write? I want to come. I promise 
not to cut myself shaving this time. Although is 
it not natural my hand should have been unsteady? 
It shakes now. I must come and discuss the pottery 
book or anything. Let me. It is much to ask, but 
I won't be in your way. I've some manuscripts to 
go through. I'll never leave the hotel. But I want 
to be in the same place. 

For ever and ever, 



OF course she let him come. Not only that week- 
end but many others, until the early spring deepened 
into the late, the yellow gorse grew more golden, 
and the birds sang as they mated. It was the same 
time of year with me now, and I saw Margaret 
Capel and Gabriel Stanton often together in the 
house or garden, lying on the stones by the sea, 
walking toward the hills. My strength was always 
ebbing and I was glad to be alone, drowsily listening 
to or dreaming of the lovers, drugging myself with 
codein, seeing visions. I fancy Benham began to 
suspect me, counted the little silver pills that held 
my ease and entertainment. I circumvented her 
easily. Copied the prescription and sent it to my 
secretary in London to be made up, replaced each 
extra one I took. I was not getting better, although 
I wrote Ella in every letter of returning strength, 
and told her that I was again at work. My con- 
science had loosened a little, and I almost believed 
it to be true. Anyway I had the letters, and knew 
that when the time came it would be easy to 
transcribe them. Meanwhile I told myself disin- 
genuously that I hoped to become better acquainted 
with my hero and heroine. I was wooing their 



confidence, learning their hearts. Now Gabriel's was 
clear, but Margaret's less distinct. I saw them 
sometimes as in a magic-lantern show, when the 
house was quiet, and I in the darkness of my bed- 
room. On the circle in the white sheet that hung 
then against the wall, I saw them walk and talk, he 
pleading, she coquetting. Whilst the slide was being 
changed Peter Kennedy acted as spokesman: 

" Week-end after week-end Gabriel Stanton came 
down, and all the hours of the day they passed to- 
gether. Four months of the waiting time had gone 
by and her freedom was in sight. Her nerves were 
taut and fretted. She often had fainting attacks. 
He never questioned me about her but once. I told 
him the truth, that she had suffered, was suffering 
more than any woman can endure, any young and 
delicate woman. And her love for him grew ..." 

I did not want to stop the show, the moving 
figures and changing slides, yet I called out from my 
swaying bed : 

" No, no, she never loved him." And Peter 
Kennedy turned his eyes upon me, his surprised and 
questioning eyes. 

" Why do you say that? Do you know a better 
way of loving ? " 

" Yes, many better ways." 

" You have loved, then ? " 

" Read my books." 

"The love-making in your novels? Is that all 


you know?" A coal fell from the fire; I frowned 
and said something sharply. He did not go on, and 
I may have slept a little. When I looked up again 
there was no more sheet nor Peter. Instead 
Margaret herself sat in the easy-chair and asked 
me how I was getting on with her story. 

" Not very well. I don't understand why you 
took pleasure in making Gabriel miserable by your 
scenes and vapours. That first day now. What did 
you mean by telling him of your reaction on seeing 
him, that it might have been because he had cut 
himself shaving, or because of the shape of his 
hat ; the hang of his coat disappointed you. Either 
you loved the man or you did not. Why hurt his 
feelings, deliberately, unnecessarily? Why did you 
tell him not to come and then telegraph him ? Why 
should I write your story? I don't know the end of 
it, but already I am out of sympathy with you." 

" You were that from the first," she answered 
unhappily. " Don't think I am ignorant of that. In 
a way, I suppose you are still jealous of me." 

" I ! jealous ! And of you ? " 

" Why did you pretend you did not know my 
books, and send for them to the London Library? 
You knew them well enough and resented my repu- 
tation. The Spectator, the Saturday Review, the 
Quarterly; you were dismissed in a paragraph where 
I had a column and a turn." 

" At least you never sold as well as I did." 


" That is where the trouble comes in, as you 
would say although you are a little better in that 
way than you used to be. You wanted to ' serve 
God and Mammon,' to be applauded in the literary 
reviews whilst working up sentimental situations 
with which to draw tears from shopgirls ..." 

" I am conscious of being unfairly treated by the 
so-called literary papers," I argued. " I write of 
human beings, men and women; loving, suffering, 
living. You wrote of abstractions, making phrases. 
The sentences of one of your characters could have 
been put in the mouths of any of the others. Life, 
it was of life I wrote. Now that I am dying . . ." 

" You are not dying, only drugged. And you are 
jealous again all the time. Jealous of Gabriel 
Stanton, who despised your work and could not 
recall your personality, however often he met you. 
Jealous of the literary critics who ignored you and 
praised me. And jealous of Peter, Peter Kennedy, 
who from the first would have laid down his great 
awkward body for me to tread upon." 

I half woke up, raised myself on my arm, and 
drank a little water, looked over to where Margaret 
sat, but she was no longer there. I did not want to 
go to sleep again, and lay on my back thinking of 
what had been told me. " Jealous! " Why should 
I be jealous of Margaret Capel's dead fame, of her 
dying memory? But perhaps it was true. I had a 


large public, made a large income, but had no recog- 
nition, no real reputation, was never in the "Literary 
Review of the Year," was not jeered at as other 
popular writers, but only ignored. Well, I did not 
overrate my work. I never succeeded in pleasing 
myself. I began every book with unextinguishable 
hope, and every one fell short of my expectations. 
People wrote to me and told me I had made them 
laugh or cry, helped them through convalescence, 
cheered their toilsome day. 

" I love your ' Flash of the Footlights.' " 
To repletion I had had such letters, requests for 
autographs, praise, and always : " I love your 'Flash 
of the Footlights.' ' Fifty-eight thousand copies 
had been sold in the six-shilling edition. I wonder 
what were the figures of Margaret Capel's biggest 
seller. Under four thousand I knew. Little Billie 
Black told me, cherubic Billie, the publisher, with 
his girlish complexion and his bald head, who knew 
everybody and everything and told us even more. 

I was getting drowsy again, figures, confused and 
confusing, passing over the surface of my mind. 
Billie Black and Sir George Stanton, Gabriel, then 
Ella, a dim glance of my long-lost husband, Dennis, 
a smiling flash in the foreground; my eyes were 
hot with tears because of this short glad sight of 
him. Then Peter Kennedy again; awkward in his 
tweed cutaway morning coat. What did she mean 
by saying I was jealous of Peter Kennedy ? I smiled 


in my deepening somnolence. Then there was an 
organ and children dancing, a monkey, a policeman, 
and the end of a string of absurdities in a long 
narrow vista. Sleep and unconsciousness at the 

I observed Dr. Kennedy with more interest the 
next few times he came to see me. A personable 
man without self -consciousness, some few years 
younger than myself, the light in his eyes was 
strange and fitful, and he talked abruptly. He was 
not well-read, ignorant of many things familiar to 
me, yet there was nothing of the village idiot about 
him such as I have found in many country apothe- 
caries. He looked at me too long and too often, but 
at these times I knew he was thinking of Margaret 
Capel, comparing me with her. And I did not resent 
it, she was at least fourteen years younger than I, 
and I never had any pretensions to beauty. Dr. 
Kennedy had good hands, long-fingered, muscular; 
dark hair interspersed with grey covered his big 

" What are you thinking about me ? " he asked. 

" What sort of doctor you are ! " I answered with 
a fair amount of candour. " Here have I been with- 
out any one else for three or is it five weeks ? You 
don't write me prescriptions, nor tell me how I shall 
live, what to eat, drink, or avoid. You call con- 

" Not as often as I should like," he put in 


promptly. Then he smiled at me. " You don't mind 
my coming? " 

" Have you found out what is the matter with 

" I know what is the matter with you ! " 

" Do you know I get weaker instead of 
stronger ? " 

" I thought you would." 

" Tell me the truth. Is there no hope for me ? " 

" Patients ask so often for the truth. But they 
never want it." 

" I am not like other patients. Haven't I got 
a dog's chance ? " He shook his head. 

"How long?" 

" Months. Very likely years. No one can tell. 
You are full of vitality. If you live in the right 
way ..." 

"Like this?" 

" More or less." 

" And nothing more can be done for me? " 

" Rest, open air, occupation for the mind." I 
thought over what he had just told me. I had known 
or guessed it before, but put into words it seemed 
different, more definite. " Not a dog's chance." 

" You think Margaret Capel and Gabriel Stanton 
will do me good? They are part of your treat- 
ment ? " I asked him. 

" They and I," he said. I was silent after that, 
silent for quite a long time. He was sitting beside 


me and put his shapely hand on mine. I did not 
withdraw it, my thoughts were fully occupied. 
" You know I shall do everything I can for you ; 
you are a reincarnation." He spoke with some 
emotion. " Some day I shall want to ask you some- 
thing ; you will know more about me soon. You are 
in touch with her." 

"Do you really believe it?" I asked him. We 
were in the upstairs room. Today I had not adven- 
tured the stairs. 

" May I play ? " he asked. It was not the first time 
he had played to me. I rather think he played well, 
but I know nothing of music. If he were talking to 
me through the keys he was talking to a deaf mute. 
I lay on the sofa and thought how tired I was, may 
even have slept. I was taking six grains of codein 
in the twenty-four hours when the prescription said 
two, and often fell asleep in the daytime without 
preparation or expectation. 

" I will tell you why I would do anything on earth 
for you," he said, turning round abruptly on the 
piano stool. " If you want to know." I was wide- 
awake now and surprised, for I had forgotten of 
what we had talked before I went off. " It is 
because you are so brave and uncomplaining." 

" It isn't true. Ask Ella. She has had an 
awful time with me, grumbling and ungrateful." 

" Your sister adores you, thinks there is no one 
like you." 


" That is merely her idiosyncrasy." 

" Well ! there is another reason. You asked for 
it and you are going to be told. The love of my 
life was Margaret Capel." He stared at me when 
he said it. " You remind me of her all the time." 
I shut my eyes. When I opened them again his 
back was all I saw and he was again playing softly ; 
talking at the same time. " When I came here, the 
first time, the first day, and saw you sitting in her 
chair, at her table, in her attitude, as I said, it was a 
reincarnation." He got up from the music stool and 
came over to me. He said, without preliminary or 
excuse, " You are taking opium in some form or 

" I am taking my medicine." 

" I am not blaming you. You've read De 
Quincey, haven't you ? You know his theory ? " 

" Some of it." 

" Never mind ; perhaps you've missed it, better if 
you have. In those days it was often thought that 
opium cured consumption." 

" Then it is consumption ? " 

" What does it matter what we call it ? Pleurisy, 
as you have had it, generally means tubercle. But 
you will hang on a long time. The life of Margaret 
Capel must be written and by you. She always 
wanted it written. From what you tell me she still 
wants it. I poured my life at her feet those few 
months she was here, but she never gave me a 


thought, not until the end. Then, then at the last, 
I held her eyes, her thoughts, her bewildered ques- 
tioning eyes. Bewildered or grateful? Shall I ever 
know ? Will you tell me, I wonder, hear it from her, 
reassure me . . ." He stopped. "I suppose you 
think I am mad? " 

" I have never thought you quite sane. But," I 
added consolingly, " that is better than being merely 
stupid, like most doctors. So you regard me," I 
could not help my tone being bitter, " as a clairvoy- 
ante, expectantly ..." 

" Does any man ever care for a woman except 
expectantly, or retrospectively ? " 

" How should I know ? " He sat down by my 

" No one should know better. Tell me more 
about yourself, I have only heard from Mrs. Love- 

" She told you, I suppose, that I had a great 
and growing reputation, had faithful lovers sighing 
for me, that I was thirty-eight ..." 

" She told me a great deal more than that." 

" I have no doubt. Well ! in the first place I am 
not thirty-eight, but forty-two. My books sell, but 
the literary papers ignore them. I make enough for 
myself and Dennis." 

" Denis ? " His tone was surprised. 

" Ella never mentioned Dennis to you ? " 

" No." 


I did not want to talk about Dennis. Since he had 
left me I never wanted to talk of him. His long 
absence had meant pain from the first, then agony. 
Afterwards the agony became physical, and they 
called it neuritis. Now it has pierced some vital 
part and I don't even know what they call it. De- 
cline, consumption, tuberculosis? What does it 
matter? In the two years he had been away my 
heart had bled to death. That was the truth and the 
whole truth. No one knew my trouble and I had 
spoken of it to nobody save once, in early days, to 
Ella. Ella indignantly had said the boy was selfish 
to leave me, and so closed my confidence. It is 
natural our children should wish to leave us, they 
make their trial flights, like the birds, joyously. 
My son wanted to see the world, escape from thral- 
dom, try his wings. But I had only this one. And 
it seemed to me from his letters that he was never 
out of danger, now with malaria, and in Australia 
with smallpox. The last time I heard he had been 
caught in a typhoon. After that my health declined 
rapidly. But it was not his fault. 

"And Dennis?" 

" Since you know so much you can hear the rest. 
I married at eighteen. I forget what my husband 
was like. I've no recollection of his ever having 
interested me particularly. Married life itself I 
abhorred, I abhor. But it gave me Dennis. My 
husband died when I was two-and-twenty. Ever 


since Ella has been trying to remarry me. But when 

one writes, and has a son " I could talk no 


" You are tired now." 

" I am always tired. Why do you say years ? 
You mean months, surely?" 

" You will write one more book." 

" Still harping on Margaret ? " 

" Let me carry you into your room ; I have so 
often carried her." 

" Physically at least I am a bigger woman than 
she was." 

" A little heavier, not much." 

" Well, give me your arm, help me. I don't need 
to be carried." I leaned on his arm. " We will 
talk more about your Margaret another day. I dare- 
say I shall write her story. Not using all the 
letters, people are bored with letters. I am myself. 
And I am not sure about the copyright acts ! " 

" You will give them back to me when you have 
done with them ? " 

"Why not?" 

Benham bullied him for having let me sit up so 
late. My illness was deepening upon me so quietly, 
so imperceptibly that I had forgotten I once resented 
her overbearing ways. Now I depended on her for 
many things. Suzanne had gone, finding the house 
too triste, and seeing no possibility of further emolu- 
ment from my neglected wardrobe. Benham did 


everything for me; yawningly at night, but will- 
ingly in the day. 

I was desperately homesick for Ella this evening. 
I wondered what she would say when she knew what 
Dr. Kennedy had told me. I cried again a little 
because he said I had not a dog's chance, but was 
quickly ashamed. Why should I cry? I was so 
hopelessly tired. The restfulness of Death began to 
appeal to me. Not to have to get up and go to bed, 
dress and undress daily, drag myself from room to 
room. I had not done all my work, but like an 
idle child I wanted to be excused from doing any 
more. I was in bed and my mind wandered a little. 
Why was not Ella here ? It seemed cruel she should 
have left me at such a time. But of course she did 
not know that I was going to die. Well ! I would 
tell her, then she would come, would stay with me 
to the end. I forgot Margaret and Gabriel Stanton, 
two ghosts who walked at night. No extra codein 
for me any more. I no longer wanted to dream, 
only to face what was before me with courage. My 
writing-block was by my side and pencils, one of 
Ella's last gifts, and I drew them toward me. I had 
to break to her that if she would be lonely in the 
world without me, then it was time for her to pre- 
pare for loneliness. I wanted to break it to her 
gently, but for the life of me I could not think, with 
pencil in my hand and writing-block before me, of 
any other way than that of the man who, bidden to 


break gently to a woman that her husband was dead, 
had called up to the window from the garden: 
" Good-morning, Widow Brown." So I started my 
farewell letter to Ella : 

" Good-morning, Widow Lovegrove." 

I never got any further. The haemorrhage broke 
out again and I rang for Benham. She came yawn- 
ing, buttoning up her dressing-gown, pushing back 
her undressed hair, but when she saw what was 
happening her whole note changed. This time I 
was neither alarmed nor confused, even watching 
her with interest. She rang for more help, got ice, 
gave rapid instructions about telephoning for a 

" Will you wait for an injection until he comes, 
or would you like me to give it to you? " 

" You." 

" Very well, lie quite quiet, I shan't be a minute." 

I lay as quietly as circumstances would allow 
whilst she brewed her witches' broth. 

" What dreams may come." 

" Hush, do keep quiet." 

" Mind you give me enough." 

" I shall give you the same dose he does, a quarter 
of a grain." 

" It won't stop it this time." 

"Oh, yes! it will." 

She gave the injection as well, or better than Dr. 
Kennedy. I hardly felt the prick, and when she 


rubbed the place, so cleverly and gently, she almost 
made a suffragist of me. Women who did things 
so well deserved the vote. 

" Do you want the vote ? " I asked her feebly. 

" I want you to lie quite still," was her inappro- 
priate answer. I seemed to be wasting words. The 
room was slowly filling with the scent of flowers. 
When I shut my eyes I saw growing pots of 
hyacinth, then lilies, floating in deep glass bowls, 
afterwards Suzanne came in, and began folding up 
my clothes, in her fat lethargic way. 

" I thought Suzanne went away." 

" So she did." 

" Who is in the room, then ? " 

" No one. Only you and I." 

"And Dr. Kennedy?" 

" No." 

" You have sent for him ? " 

" I thought you wouldn't care for me to give you 
a morphia injection." 

" Why not ? You give it better than he does. I 
want to see him when he comes." 

" You may be asleep." 

" No ! I shan't. Morphia keeps me awake, com- 
fortably awake. De Quincey used to go to the 
opera when he was full up with it." 

Peter Kennedy came in, and I followed the line 
of my own thoughts. I was feeling drowsy. 

" I don't want you to play for me," I said, a 


little pettishly perhaps. " I should never have gone 
to the opera." 

" All right, I won't." He asked nurse in a 
low voice, " How much did you give her? " 

" A quarter of a.grain, the same as before." The 
bleeding had not left off. Benham straightened 
me amongst the pillows and fed me with ice. 

" I shall give her another quarter," he said 
abruptly after watching for a few minutes. I smiled 
gratefully at him. Benham made no comment, but 
got more hot water. He made the injection care- 
fully enough, but I preferred nurse's manipulation. 

" For Margaret ? " I asked him. 

" Partly," he answered. " You will dream to- 

" I shall die tonight. I want to die tonight. Give 
me something to hurry things, be kind. I don't 
mind dying, but all this ! " 

" Don't. I can't. Not again. For God's sake 
don't ask me ! " There was more than sympathy in 
his voice. There was agitation, even tears. " You 
will get better from this." 

" And then worse again, always worse. I want 
it ended. Give me something." 

" Oh ! God ! I can't bear this. Margaret ! " 

" Don't call me Margaret. My name is Jane. 
What is that stuff that criminals take in the dock? 
Italian poisoners keep it in a ring. I see one now, 
with pointed beard, melancholy eyes, a great ruby 


in the ring. Is anything the matter with my eyes? 
I can't see." 

" Shut them. Be perfectly quiet. The Italian 
poisoner will pass." 

" You will give me something? " 

" Not this time." 

I must have slept. When I woke he was still 
there. I was very comfortable and pleased to see 
him. " Why am I not asleep? " 

" You are, but you don't know it." 

"You won't tell Ella?" 

" Not unless you wish it." 

" I've written to her. See it goes." I heard 
afterwards he searched for a letter, but could only 
find four words " Good-morning, Widow Love- 
grove ..." which held no meaning for him. 

" Don't let me wake again. I want to go." 

"Not yet, not yet ..." 

There followed another week of morphia dreams 
and complete content. I was roused with difficulty, 
and reluctantly, to drink milk from a feeding-cup, 
to have my temperature taken, my hands and face 
washed, my sheets changed. There was neither 
morning nor evening, only these disturbances and 
Ella's eyes and voice in the clouded distance, vague 
yet comforting. 

" You will soon be better, your temperature is 
going down. Don't speak. Only nod your head. 
Shall I cable for Dennis?" 


I shook it, went on slowly shaking it, I liked the 
motion, turning from side to side on the pillow, 
continuing it. Ella, frightened, begged me to leave 
off, summoned nurse, who took my cheeks gently 
between her hands. That did not stop it, at least 
I recollect being angry at the slight compulsion and 
making up my mind, my poor lost feeble mind 
that I should do what I liked, that I would never 
leave off moving my head from side to side. 

That night I dreamed of water, great masses of 
black water, heaving; too deep for sound or foam. 
Upon them I was borne backwards and forwards 
until I turned giddy and sick, very cold. The Gates 
of Silence were beyond, but I was too weak to get 
there, the bar was between us. I saw the Gates, but 
could not reach them. The waters were cold and 
ever rising. Sometimes, submerged, my lips tasted 
their dank saltness and I knew that my strength was 
all spent. Soon I should sink deeper. I wished it 
was over. 

Then One came, when I was past help, or hope, 
drowning in the dark waters, and said : 

" Now I will take you with me." We were going 
rapidly through air currents, soft warm air-currents 
and amazing space, a swift journey, over plains and 
mountains. At last to the North, and there I saw 
snow-mountains and at the foot the cold sea, frozen 
and blue, heaving slowly. Swimming in that slow 
frozen sea, I saw a seal, brown and beautiful, swim- 


ming calmly, with happy handsome eyes. They 
met mine. One who was beside me said : 

"That is your sister Julia. See how happy she 
looks, and content ..." 

Then everything was gone and I woke up in my 
quiet bedroom, the fire burning low and Ella in the 
chair by my side. 

" Do you want anything? " She leaned over me 
for the answer. 

" I have just seen Julia." 

She hushed me, tears were in her reddened eyes. 
Our sister Julia had been dead two years, to our 
unextinguishable sorrow. 

" Don't cry, she is very happy." 

I told her my dream. She said it was a beautiful 
dream, and I was to try and sleep again. 

" Why are you sitting up ? " I asked her. 

" It is not late," was her evasive reply. 

Many nights after that I saw her sitting there, I 
forgot even to ask her why, I was too far gone, or 
perhaps only selfish. I did not know for a long time 
whether it was night or day. I always asked the 
time when I woke, but forgot or did not hear the 
answer, drank obediently through the feeding-cup, 
the feeding-cup was always there; enormously 
large, unnaturally white, holding little or nothing, 
unsatisfactory. Once I remember I decided upon 
remaining awake to tell poor Ella how much better 
I felt. 


I told it to Margaret instead, and she had no 
interest in the news, none at all. 

" I knew you were not going to die yet. Not 
until you had written my story." 

" It seems not to matter," I answered feebly, " to 
be small and trivial." 

" Work whilst ye have the light" she quoted. 
The words were in the room, in the air. 

" It is not light, not very light," I pleaded. 

" There has been no biography of me. How 
would you like it if it had been you? And all the 
critics said I would live ..." 

"Must I stay for that?" 

" You promised, you know." 

"Did I? I had forgotten." 

" No, no. You could not forget, not even you. 
And you will make your readers cry." 

" But if I make myself cry too? " 

" Write." 

And I wrote, sick with exhaustion, without con- 
scious volition or the power to stop. I wonder 
whether any other writer has ever had this experi- 
ence. I could not stop writing although my arm 
swelled to an unnatural size and my side ached. I 
covered ream after ream of paper. I never stopped 
nor halted for word or thought. I was wearied, 
aching from head to foot, shaking and even crying 
with fatigue and the pain in my swollen arm or 
side, but never ceasing to write, like a galley slave 


at his oar. Sometimes in swimming semi-conscious- 
ness I thought this was my eternal punishment, that 
because I had swept so much aside that I might 
write, and yet had written badly, now I must write 
for ever and for ever, words and scenes and sen- 
tences that would be obliterated, that would not 
stand. I knew in these semi-conscious moments that 
I was writing in water and not in ink. But I was 
driven on, and on, relentlessly. 


HERE is the story I wrote under morphia and in 
that strange driving stress, set down as well as I can 
recall it, but seeming now so much less real and 
distinct. I have not tried to polish, only to remem- 
ber. There was then no effort after composition, no 
correction, transposition nor alteration, and neither 
is there now; nor conscious psychology nor senti- 
ment. The scenes were all set in the house where I 
lay, and there was no pause in the continuity of the 
drama. I saw every gesture and heard every word 
spoken. The letters were and are before me as 
confirmatory evidence. My own intrusive illness 
minimised the interest of the circumstances to my 
immediate surroundings. But to me it seems that 
the consecutive actuality of the morphia dream or 
dreams is unusual if not unique, and gives value to 
the narrative. 

I refer to the MS. notes and diary for the begin- 
ning of the story, but have had to make several 
emendations and additions. There were too many 
epigrams, and the impression the writer wished to 
convey was only in the intention, and not in the 
execution. What she left out I have put in. It 

should be easy to separate my work from hers. And 



she carried her story very little way. From the 
beginning of the letters the autobiography stopped. 
It started abruptly, and ended in the same way. 

There were trial titles in the MS. notes. " Be- 
tween the Nisi and the Absolute " competed in 
favour with " The Love Story of a Woman of 

Margaret Belinda Rysam was the daughter of 
a New Yorker on the up-grade. Her father began 
to make money when she was a baby and never left 
off, even to take breath, until she was between thir- 
teen and fourteen. Then his wife died, not of a 
broken heart, but of her appetites fed to repletion, 
and an overwhelming desire for further provender. 
Her poor mouth, so much larger than her stom- 
ach, was always open. He piled a great house 
on Fifth Avenue into it and a bewilderment of 
furniture, modern old Masters and antiquities, also 
pearls and other jewellery. She never shut it, 
although later there were a country house to digest 
and some freak entertainments, a multiplicity of 
reporters and a few disappointments. The really 
" right people " were difficult to secure, the nearly 
" right people " were dust and ashes. A con- 
tinental tour was to follow and a London season. 
. . . Before they started she died of a surfeit which 
the doctors called by some other name and operated 
upon, expensively. 

In the pause of the hushed house and the funeral 


Edgar B. Rysam began to think that perhaps he had 
made sufficient money. He really grieved for that 
poor open mouth and those upturned grasping 
hands, realising that it was to overfill them that he 
had worked. He gave up his office and found the 
days empty, discovered his young daughter, and, 
nearly to her undoing, filled them with her. During 
her mother's life she had been left to the happy 
seclusion of nursery or schoolroom; subsidiary to 
the maelstrom of gold-dispensing. Now she had 
more governesses and tutors than could be fitted into 
the hurrying hours, and became easily aware of 
her importance, that she was the adored and only 
child of a widowed millionaire. Forced into con- 
centrating her entire attention upon herself she 
discovered a remarkable personality. Bent at first 
on astonishing her surroundings she succeeded in 
astonishing herself. She found that she acquired 
knowledge with infinite ease and had a multiplicity 
of minor talents. She wrote verses and essays, sang, 
and played on various instruments. Highly paid 
governesses and tutors exclaimed and proclaimed. 
The words prodigy, and genius, pursued and illumi- 
nated her. At the age of sixteen no subject seemed 
to her so interesting as the consideration of her own 

Nothing could have saved her at this juncture but 
what actually occurred. For she had no incen- 
tive to concentration, and every battle was won 


before it was fought. To be was almost sufficient. 
To do, superfluous, almost arrogant. 

Edgar B. Rysam had, however, forgotten to safe- 
guard his resources. That is to say, his fortune was 
invested in railroad bonds and stocks. In the great 
railway panic of 1893 prices came tumbling down 
and public confidence fell with them. Edgar B. in 
alarm, for he had forgotten the ways of railway 
magnates and financiers, sold out and lost half his 
capital. He reopened his office, and by dint of 
buying and selling at the wrong time, rid himself of 
another quarter. When he woke to his position, 
and retired for the second time, he had only suffi- 
cient means to be considered a rich man away from 
his native land. The sale of the mansion in Fifth 
Avenue, the country house, and the yacht damned 
him in the sight of his fellow-citizens. He found 
himself with a bare fifty thousand dollars a year, 
and no friends. Under the circumstances there was 
nothing for it but emigration, and he finally decided 
upon England as being the most hospitable as well 
as the most congenial of abiding-places. His 
linguistic attainments consisted of a fair fluency in 
" Americanese." 

During the year he had spent in ruining himself, 
his young daughter became conscious of a pause in 
the astonished admiration she excited. She bore it 
better than might have been expected, because it 
synchronised with her first love affair. She had 


become passionately enamoured of the " cold white 
keys " and practised the piano innumerable hours 
in every day. 

When Edgar B. remembered her existence again 
she had grown pale and remote, enwrapped in her 
gift and in her egotism, not doubting at all she would 
be the greatest pianist the world had ever seen, and 
that all those friends and acquaintances who had 
ignored or cold-shouldered her during the last year 
would wither with self-disdain at not having per- 
ceived it earlier. Not by her father's millions would 
she shine, but by reason of her unparalleled powers. 
The decision to visit Europe and settle in England, 
for a time was not unconnected with these visions. 
She insisted she required more and better lessons. 
Edgar B. was awed by her decision, by her playing, 
by her astonishingly perverse and burdened youth. 
He was grateful to her for not reproaching him for 
his failure to grapple with a new position, and con- 
trasted her, favourably, notwithstanding an uneasy 
fear of disloyalty, with her mother. 

" What do we want of wealth? " she asked in her 
young scorn. And spoke of the vulgarity of money 
and their scampered friends of the Four Hundred. 
In those early days, when she hoped to become a 
pianist, she had many of the faults of inferior 
novelists or writers. She used, for instance, other 
people's words instead of her own, and said she 
wished to " scorn delight and live laborious days." 


Edgar B., who knew no vision but money against a 
background of rapacious domestic affection, gaped 
at and tried to understand her. It was not until 
they were on board the " Minotaur " and he had 
come across an amiable English widow, that he 
learnt his daughter was indeed a genius, ethereal, a 
wonder-child. But one who needed mothering ! 

Even genius must eat, sleep for reasonable hours, 
wear warm clothes in cold weather. Margaret's 
absorbed self -consciousness left her no weapons 
to fight Mrs. Merrill-Cotton's kindness. She 
accepted it without surprise. It seemed quite natural 
to her ; the only wonder was that the whole shipload 
had eyes or ears for any one else once they had heard 
her play the piano! Mrs. Merrill-Cotton brought 
her port wine and milk, shawls and rugs, volubly 
admiring her reticence, her unlikeness to other girls, 
her dawning delicate beauty. In truth Margaret at 
that period was girlishly angular and emaciated, 
from midnight and other labours, too much intro- 
spection and too little exercise, other than digital. 
She was desultorily interested in her appearance 
and a little uncertain as to whether the mass of 
her fair hair accorded with her pallid complexion. 
Her eyes were hazel and seemed to her lacking 
in expression. She did not think herself beautiful, 
but admitted she was " mystic " and of an unusual 

Mrs. Merrill-Cotton found the more appropriate 


words. " Dawning delicate beauty." They led her 
to the looking-glass so often that she had no time 
nor thought for what was happening elsewhere. 
Meanwhile Mrs. Merrill-Cotton and Mr. Rysam 
foregathered on deck, and at mealtimes, at the 
bridge table and in the saloon. Margaret was 
assured of a stepmother long before she realised the 
possibility of her father having a thought for any- 
body but herself. And then she was told that it 
was only for her sake that the engagement had 
been entered into ! Mrs. Merrill-Cotton, it appeared, 
was the centre of English society, had a large income 
and a larger heart. She, Margaret, would be the 
chief interest of the two of them. 

Margaret's indifference to mundane things was 
sufficient to make her presently accept the position, 
if not enthusiastically, yet agreeably. And, strangely 
enough, Mrs. Merrill-Cotton proved to be as 
alleged. She had never had a daughter, and wished 
to mother Margaret: she had no other ulterior 
motive in marrying the American. Her income 
was at least as much as she had said, and she knew 
a great many people. That they were city people of 
greater wealth than distinction made no difference 
to her future husband. He wanted a domestic 
hearth and some one to share the embarrassment of 
his exceptional daughter. 

The first thing they did after the wedding was to 
take Margaret to Dresden for those piano lessons 


she craved. She broke down quickly, had not the 
health, so the doctors said, for her chosen profession. 
They said her heart was weak, and that she was 
anaemic. So father and stepmother brought her 
back to England, and installed her as the centre of 
interest in the big house in Queen Anne's Gate. 

At eighteen she published her first novel, at her 
father's expense. It was new in method and tone. 
Word was sent round by the publisher that the 
authoress was a young and beautiful American 
heiress, and the result was quite an extraordinary 
little success. 

The Lady Mayoress presented her to her 
Sovereign, after which the social atmosphere of the 
house quickly changed. Margaret began to under- 
stand, and act. Into the thick coagulated stream of 
city folk for whom the new Mrs. Rysam had an 
indefinable respect there meandered journalists, 
actors, painters, musicians. The whole tone of the 
house unconsciously but quickly altered. Culture 
was now the watchword. Money, no longer a topic 
of conversation, was nevertheless permitted to min- 
ister to the creature comfort of men and women of 
distinction in art and letters. The two elderly 
people accustomed themselves easily to the change, 
they were of the non-resistant type, and Margaret 
led them. When in her twentieth year her first 
play was produced at a West End theatre, and she 
came before the curtain to bow her acknowledgment 


of the applause, their pride was overwhelming. The 
next book was praised by all the critics who had been 
entertained and the journalists who hoped for fur- 
ther entertainment. Another and another followed. 
Open house was kept in Queen Anne's Gate, and 
there was an idea afloat in lower Bohemia that here 
was the counterpart of the Eighteenth-century salon. 

This was the high-water tide of Margaret's good 
fortune. She had (as she told Gabriel Stanton in 
one of her letters) everything that a young woman 
could desire. The disposition of wealth, a measure 
of fame, the reputation of beauty, lovers and ad- 
mirers galore. Why, out of the multiplicity of these, 
she should have selected James Capel, is one of 
those mysteries that always remain inexplicable. It 
is possible that he wooed her perfunctorily, and set 
her aflame by his comparative indifference ! She 
imbued him with diffidence and a hundred chivalrous 
qualities to which he had no claim. 

James Capel, at the piano, his head flung back, 
his dark and too long locks flowing, his dark eyes 
full of slumbrous passions, singing mid^Victorian 
love songs in a voluptuous manner and rich vibrat- 
ing voice, was irresistible to many women, although 
his lips were thick and his nose not classic. A 
woman like Margaret should have been immune 
from his virus. Alas ! she proved ultra-susceptible, 
and the resultant fever exacted from her nearly the 
extremest penalty. 


James Capel accepted all his tributes and seemed to 
dispense his favours equally, kissing this one's hands 
and casting languorous glances on the others. He 
made love to Margaret with the rest, knowing no 
other language nor approach. Probably he liked the 
Rysams' establishment, their big Steinway Grand 
and the fine dinners, the riot of wealth and the 
unlimited hospitality ! 

He said afterwards, and every one believed it, all 
the women at least, that the last thing in the world he 
contemplated was marriage, that the whole situation 
and final elopement were of Margaret's contriving. 
Be that as it may, one cannot but pity her. She was 
only twenty, ignorant of evil, with the defects of her 
qualities, emotional, highly strung. She contracted 
a secret marriage with the musician. What she 
suffered in her quick disillusionment can easily be 
realised. James Capel was ill-bred, and of a vanity 
at least as great as hers. But hers had justification 
and his none. 

Margaret may have been inadequate as a wife, 
she had been used to every consideration and found 
herself without any. James Capel was beneath her 
in everything, in culture and education, refinement. 
He said openly that men like himself were not des- 
tined for one woman. Their short married life was 
tragedy, a crucifixion of her young womanhood. 
She had, with all her faults, delicacy, physical 
reserve, a subtlety of charm and brilliant intellect. 


She had given herself to a man who could appreciate 
none of these, who was coarse from his thick lips 
to his language, from his large spatulate hands to 
his lascivious small brain. He burned her with his 
taunts of how she had pursued him, torn him from 
other women, forced her love upon him. There was 
just enough truth in it to make her writhe in her 
desecrated soul and modesties. Of course she 
thought he had feared to aspire. Now he made it 
evident he considered it was she who had aspired ! ! ! 
He told her of duchesses who had sought his songs 
and his caresses, and gloatingly of unimaginable 
incidents. He tortured her beyond endurance. 

She left him for the shelter of her father's home 
within a few months of their marriage. There she 
was nursed back into moral and physical health, 
welcomed, comforted, pitied, and she slowly emerged 
from this mud bath of matrimony. Her press, 
theatrical and lettered friends rallied round her; 
wealth and foreign travel ameliorated the position. 
She wrote again and with greater success than 
before. Suffering had deepened her note, she was 
still without sentiment, but had acquired something 
of sympathy. 

Years passed. She had almost forgotten the deg- 
radation and humiliation of her marriage, when an 
escapade of her husband's, brazenly public, forced 
her to take definite steps for legal freedom. She was 
now sufficiently famous for the papers to treat 


the news as a cause celebre. James Capel unex- 
pectedly defended himself, and fought her with 
every weapon malice and an unscrupulous solicitor 
could forge. Part of the evidence was heard in 
camera, the rest should have been relegated to the 
same obscurity. All the bitterness and misery of 
those terrible months were revived. Now it seemed 
there was nothing for her but obliteration. She 
thought it impossible she could ever again come 
before the public, for her story to be recalled. She 
was all unnerved and shaken, refusing to go out or 
to see people. She thought she desired nothing but 

Yet she had to write. 

The book on pottery was a sudden inspiration. It 
would be something entirely new and unassociated 
with her in the public mind. There were dreadful 
months to be got through, the waiting months during 
which, in law at least, she was still James Capel's 
wife, a condition more intolerable now than it had 
ever been. 

Whatever she may have thought about herself it 
is obvious that in essentials she was unaltered. Her 
egotism had re-established itself under her father 
and good stepmother's care, and her amazing self- 
consciousness. To her it seemed as if all the world 
were talking about her. There was some founda- 
tion for her belief, of course. In so much as she was 
a public character, she was a favourite of that small 


eclectic public. She may have overrated her posi- 
tion, taken as due to herself alone that which was 
equally if not more essentially owing to her father's 
wealth and habit of keeping open house. Her letters 
are eminently characteristic. Her self is more 
prominent in them than her lover. She seems to 
have bewildered Gabriel Stanton, who knew little or 
nothing of women, and carried him off his feet. He 
may have begun by pitying her, she appealed to his 
pity, to his chivalry. As she said herself, she " ex- 
posed herself entirely to him." Young, rich, beauti- 
ful, famous, she was, nevertheless, at the time she 
first met Gabriel Stanton as a bird in flight, shot on 
the wing and falling; blood-stained, shrinking, ter- 
rified, the stain spreading. Into Gabriel Stanton's 
pitiful powerless hands, set on healing, she fell 
almost without a struggle. This at least is her own 
phrasing, and the way she wished the matter to 
appear. As it did appear to him, and perhaps some- 
times to herself. To others of course it might 
seem she was the fowler, he the bird ! 

Certainly after the first visit to Greyfriars', when 
she opened the matter of the ill-fated book on Staf- 
fordshire Pottery there were constant letters, inter- 
views and meetings, conventional and unconven- 
tional. Perhaps it was only her dramatic brain, 
working for copy behind its enforced and 
vowed inactivity, that made her act as she did. 
Her letters all read as if they were intended for pub- 


lication. In her disingenuous diary and short MS. 
notes, there were trial titles, without a date, and 
forced epigrammatic phrases. " Publisher and 
Sinner " occurred once. There is a note that 
" Between the Nisi and the Absolute " met the posi- 
tion more accurately. 

She told Gabriel Stanton, she must have convinced 
Peter Kennedy and herself, that she never knew the 
danger she ran until it was too late. But the papers 
she left disproved the tale. 


THE early letters have already been transcribed. 
Also the description of when and how I first saw 
Margaret and Gabriel Stanton together, on the 
beach when she told him that his coming had been a 

Recalling the swift and painful writing of the 
story it would seem I saw them again two days later, 
and that she was occupied in making amends. They 
had talked and grown in intimacy, and now it was 
Sunday evening. They were in the music room at 
Carbies, and she had been playing to him while 
he sat spellbound, listening to and adoring her. She 
was in that grey silk dress with the white muslin 
fichu finished with a pink rose, her pale hair was 
parted in the middle and she wore her Saint Cecilia 
expression. She left off playing presently, came 
over to him with swift grace and sank on the foot- 
stool at his feet. 

" What are you thinking about ? You are not 
vexed with me still ? " 

" Was I ever vexed with you ? " 

" Yesterday afternoon, when I said I was disap- 
pointed in you." 



" Not vexed, surely not vexed, only infinitely 
grieved, startled." 

" Have you enjoyed your visit, notwithstanding 
that strange slow beginning? Tell me, have you 
been happy ? " 

"Have you?" 

" I don't know. I don't quite know. I have been 
so excited, restless. I have not wanted any one else. 
It is difficult for me to know myself. Are you still 
sorry for me, like you were in London ? " 

" My heart goes out to you. You have suffered, 
but you have great compensations; great gifts. I 
would sympathise with you, but you make me feel 
my own limitations. I fear to fail you. You have 
the happier nature, the wider vision ..." 

"Then you have not been happy?" 

" Yes, I have, inexpressibly happy. I wish I could 
tell you. But I matter so little in comparison with 

" I don't want you to be humble." 

" I am not humble, I am proud." 


" Because you have taken me for your friend." 

He never touched her whilst she sat there at his 
feet, but his eyes never left her and his voice was 
deep and tender. They talked of friendship, all the 
time, they only spoke of friendship. And he was 
unsure of himself, or of her, more deeply shy than 
she, and moved, though less able to express it. 


" Next week you will come again. Will it be the 
same between us ? " 

" I will come whenever you let me. With me it 
will always be the same, or more. Sometimes I 
cannot believe that it is to me this is happening. To 
me, Gabriel Stanton! What is it you find in me? 
Sometimes I think it is only your own sweet good- 
ness; that what you expressed in seeing me this 
time you will find again and again disappointment ; 
that I am not the man you think me, the man you 

" Am I what you thought I would be? Are you 
satisfied with me ? " 

" I am overpowered with you." 

She stole a look at him. His close and thin- 
lipped mouth had curves that were wholly new, his 
sunken eyes were lit up. She was secretly enrap- 
tured with him. 

" I thought you very grave and severe when I 
first came to the office. What did you think of 

"What I do now, that you were wonderful. 
After you left I could not settle to work . . . but 
I have told you this." 

" Tell me again. Why didn't you say something 
nice to me then ? You were short, sharp, non-com- 
mittal. I went away quite downcast, I made sure 
you did not want my poor little book, that you would 
write and refuse it, in set businesslike terms." 


" I knew I would not. If George had said no, I 
should have fought him. I was determined upon 
that book of Staffordshire Pottery. Were you dis- 
appointed with my letter when it came?" 

" I loved it. I have always loved your letters. 
You never disappoint me then." 

Because they had grown more intimate he was 
able to say to her gently, but with unmistakable 
feeling : 

" Dear, it hurts me so when you say that. I know 
I shall think of it when I am alone, wonder in what 
way I fail you, how I can alter or change. Can you 
help me, tell me? I came down with such con- 

" But you had cut yourself shaving." 

" Be a little serious, beloved. Tell me." 

" You thought I cared for you . . . that we 
should begin in Pineland where we left off in 

"I hoped ..." 

" But I had run away from you ! " 

They smiled at each other. 

" You will come again next week ? " she asked 
him inconsistently. 

" And if I should again disappoint you? " 

" Then you must be patient with me, good to me 
until it is all right again. I am a strange creature, 
a woman of moods." She was silent a moment. 
" I have been through so much." He bent toward 


her. She rose abruptly, there had been little or no 
caressing between them. Now she spoke quickly : 

" Don't hope too much ... or ... or expect 
anything. I am a megalomaniac: everything that 
happens to me seems larger, grander, finer, more 
wonderful than that which happens to any one 

She paused a moment. " This . . . then, between 
us is friendship ? " she went on tentatively. 
He answered her very steadily : 
" This, between us, is what you will." 
"You know how it has been with me?" Her 
voice was broken. He was deeply moved and 
answered : 

" God gave it to me to comfort you." 
There was a long pause after that. It was getting 
late, and they must soon part. He kissed her hands 
when he went away, first one and then the other. 
" Until next week." 

" Until next week, or any time you need me." 
Then there were letters between them, letters that 
have already been transcribed. 

He came the next week and the next. A man of 
infinite culture, widely read and with a very real 
knowledge of every subject of which he spoke, it 
was not perhaps strange that she fell under the 
spell of his companionship, and found it ever more 

Her own education was American and superficial, 


but her intelligence was really of a high order and 
browsed eagerly upon his. The only other she 
was seeing at this time was Dr. Peter Kennedy, a 
man of very different calibre. Peter Kennedy, 
country born and bred, of a coarsening profession 
and provincial experience. 

Margaret was not made to live alone, for all her 
talk of resources, her piano and her books, her 
writing materials. The house, Carbies, was soon 
obnoxious to her. She had taken it for three months 
against the advice of her people, who feared solitude 
for her. She could not give in so soon, tell them 
they were right. But it was and remains ugly, 
ill-furnished, with its rough garden. She had some 
sort of heart attack the Monday after Gabriel Stan- 
ton's first visit, and it was then Dr. Kennedy told 
her about her house, wondered at her having taken 

After he told her that it had been a nursing-home 
she began to dislike the place actively, said the rooms 
were haunted with the groans of people who had 
been operated upon, that she smelt ether and disin- 
fectants. She did not tell Gabriel Stanton these 
things. To Gabriel, Carbies was enchanted ground, 
he came here as to a shrine, worshipping. He used 
to talk to her of the golden bloom of the gorse, and 
the purple of the distant sea, of the way the sun 
shone on his coming. When with him she made no 
mention of distaste. For five successive weeks that 


spring the weather held, and each week-end was 
lovelier than the last. From Friday to Monday she 
may have felt the charm of which he spoke. From 
Monday to Friday she lamented to her doctor about 
the groans and the smell of disinfectants, and he con- 
soled her in his own way, which was not hers, and 
would not have been Gabriel's, but was the best he 

Peter Kennedy at this time was recently qualified, 
not very learned in his profession, nor in anything 
else for that matter. He became quickly infatuated 
with his new patient. She told him she had heart 
disease, and he looked up " Diseases of the Heart " 
in Ouain's " Dictionary of Medicine " and gave her 
all the prescribed remedies, one after another. 

He heard of her reputation ; chiefly from herself, 
probably. And that she was rich. Mr. and Mrs. 
Rysam came down once, with motors and maids, 
and made it clear; they told him what a precious 
charge he had. He took Edgar Rysam out golfing, 
golfing had been Peter Kennedy's chief interest in 
life until he met Margaret Capel. And Edgar found 
him very companionable and most considerate to a 
beginner. Edgar Rysam had taken to golf because 
he was putting on flesh, because his London doctor 
and some few stock-broking friends advised it. He 
had practised assiduously with a professional, learnt 
how to stand, but forgotten the lessons in approach 
and drive an4 putt. 


He had succeeded in acquiring a bag of fine clubs 
and some golfing jargon. He never knew there 
was any enjoyment in the game until Peter Kennedy 
walked round the Pineland course with him and 
handicapped him into winning a match. After that 
he wanted to play every day and always, talked of 
prolonging his stay, of coming down again. Mar- 
garet reproached Peter for what he had done. 

" I did it to please you ... I thought you 
wanted them to be amused." 

"If that was all I wanted I would have stayed in 
London," she retorted. She was extraordinarily 
and almost contemptuously straightforward with 
Peter Kennedy. She knew that with a man of his 
limited experience it was unnecessary to be subtle. 
She may have sometimes encouraged his approaches, 
but the greater part of the time snubbed him unmer- 

" You don't put yourself on the same level as 
Gabriel Stanton, do you? " she asked him scornfully 
one day when he was gloomily complaining that " a 
fellow never had a chance." 

" If I were not more of a man than that I'd kick 

" More of a man ! " 

" You wouldn't get me to stay at the hotel." She 
flushed and said : 

" Well, you can go now. I've had enough of you, 
you tire me." 


" You'll send for me to come back directly you are 

" Very likely. That only means I like your drugs 
better than you." 

He seized her hand, her waist, not for the first 
time, swore that he would kill himself if she despised 
and flouted him. Probably she liked the scenes he 
made her, for she often provoked them. They were 
mere rough animal scenes, acutely different from 
those she was able to bring about with Gabriel. But 
she did not do the only obvious and correct thing, 
which was to dismiss him and find another doctor. 

In these strange days, waiting for her freedom, 
seeing Gabriel Stanton from Saturday to Monday 
and only Peter Kennedy all the long intervening 
week, she may have liked the excitement of being 
attended by a doctor who was madly in love with 
her. She excused herself to me on the ground that 
she was a novelist and he a strange and primitive 
creature of whom she was making a study. Also, 
curiously enough, he was genuinely musical. Some- 
thing of an executant and an enthralled listener. 

He himself suggested more than once that she 
should have other advice about her heart and he 
brought his partner to see her. But never repeated 
the experiment. Dr. Lansdowne purred and 
prodded her, talking all the time he used his stetho- 
scope, smiling between whiles in a superior way as 
if he knew everything. Particularly when she tried 


to tell him her symptoms, or what other doctors 
had diagnosed. 

" You have a nurse ? " he asked her. " I had 
better see her nurse, Kennedy." 

" A nurse, why should I have a nurse ? I have 
a maid." 

" You ought never to be without a nurse. You 
ought never to be alone," he told her solemnly. 
" Now do, my dear child, be guided by me." He 
smiled and patted her. " I will tell Dr. Kennedy 
all about it, give him full instructions. I will see 
you again in a few days. Come, Kennedy, I can 
give you a lift; we will decide what is to be done." 
He smiled his farewell. 

" See me again in a day or two ! Not if I know 
it. Not in a day or two, or a week or two, or a 
month or two." 

She was furious with him, and with Dr. Kennedy 
for having brought him. Peter Kennedy had acted 
well, according to his lights. He did not wish to 
turn his beloved patient over to his all-conquering 
partner, but the more infatuated he became about 
her the less he trusted his own knowledge. 

" A bad case of angina, extensive valvular disease. 
Keep her as quiet as possible, she ought not to be 
contradicted. Get a nurse or a couple of nurses 
for her. Daughter of Edgar Rysam, the American 
millionaire, isn't she? Seems to have taken quite 
a fancy to you. Extraordinary creatures these so- 


called clever women! You ought to make a good 
thing out of the case." 

Kennedy went back to Carbies after Dr. Lans- 
downe dropped him, made his way back as quickly 
as possible. Margaret had bidden him return to tell 
her what had been said. 

" Not that I believe in him or in anything he may 
have told you. He did not even listen to my heart, 
he was so busy talking and grinning and reassuring 
me. What did he tell you? That he heard a mur- 
mur? I am so sick of that murmur. I have been 
hearing of it ever since I was a child." 

Peter slurred over everything Lansdowne had 
said to him, except that she must be kept quiet ; she 
must not allow herself to get excited. He implored 
her to keep very quiet. She laughed and asked 
whether he thought he had a calmative influence? 
He put his arms about her for all that she resisted 
him and blubbered over her like the great baby he 

" I adore you, I want to take care of you, and you 
won't look at anybody but him." 

She pushed him away, told him she could not 
bear to be touched. 

" If it hadn't been for him? Tell me, if it hadn't 
been for Gabriel Stanton it would have been me, 
wouldn't it ? You do like me a little, don't you? " 

It was impossible to keep him at a proper dis- 


" Like you ! not particularly. Why should I ? 
You are very troublesome and presumptuous." 

She could not deal with him as she did with 
Gabriel. To this young country doctor, ten years 
before I knew him and he had acquired wisdom, 
men and women were just men and women, no more 
and no less. He had fallen headlong in love with 
Margaret, and when he saw he had, as he said, no 
chance, he could not be brought to believe that 
Gabriel Stanton was not her lover. He was demon- 
stratively primitive, and many of his so-called medi- 
cal visits she spent in fighting his advances. He 
knew that what she had to give she was giving to 
Gabriel Stanton, because she told him so, made no 
secret of it, but was for ever asking " If it hadn't 
been for him? If you'd met me first? " One would 
have thought that Margaret, Gabriel's " fair pale 
Margaret," would have resented or at least tired of 
this rough persistent wooing, but if this were so 
there was nothing in her conduct to show it. 

She said or wrote to Gabriel Stanton : " the very 
thought of physical love is repugnant to me, 
horrible." Yet Peter kissed her hands, her feet, 
attempted her lips, made her fierce wild scenes. She 
called him a boy, but he was a year older than her- 
self. Gabriel brought her books and the most 
reverent worship, was mindful of her slightest wish. 
He hoped that one day she would be his wife, but 
scarcely dared to say it, since once she put the 


matter aside, almost imploringly, growing pale, 
seeming afraid. 

" Don't talk to me of marriage, not yet. How 
can you ? At least, wait ! " 

She spoke of her sensitiveness. But her sensitive- 
ness was as a mountain to a mist compared with his. 

She would tell him her most intimate thoughts, sit 
with him by dying fire or in gathering twilight, hold- 
ing herself aloof. If, because he was so different 
from Peter Kennedy, she did sometimes try her 
woman's wiles on him, she never moved him to 
depart from the programme or the principles she 
herself had laid down. 

Another Sunday evening, it was either the third 
or fourth of his coming, sitting in the lamplight, 
after dinner, in the music room, after a long enervat- 
ing day of mutual confidences and ever-growing 
intimacy, she tried to break through his defences. 
They had been talking of Nietzsche, not of his 
philosophy, but his life. She had been envying 
Nietzsche's devoted sister and her opportunities 
when, suddenly and disingenuously, she startled 
Gabriel by saying : 

" You are not a bit interested in what I am 
saying, you are thinking of something else all the 

" Of you . . . only of you ! " 

" Of the intellectual me or the physical me? Do 
I please you to-night ? " 


She nearly always wore grey, a ribbon or a flower, 
material or cut, diversified her wardrobe. To-night 
the grey material was the softest crepe de chine ; and 
she wore one pink rose in a blue belt. This treat- 
ment gave value to her blonde cendre hair and fair 
complexion, she gave the impression of a most 
delicate, slightly faded, yet modern miniature. 

" You always please me." 

" Please, or excite you ? " 

" My dear one ! " 

He was startled, thought she did not know what 
it was she was saying. His blood leaped, but he had 
it under control. What was growing perfectly be- 
tween them was love. She would soon be a free 

" I want to know. Sometimes I wonder if I 
were more beautiful ..." 

" You could not be more beautiful." 

" More like other women, or perhaps if you were 
more like other men ..." 

"There is no difference between me and other 
men," he answered quickly. And then although he 
thought she did not know what she was implying, or 
where the conversation might carry them, he went 
on even more steadily : " I want to carry out your 
wishes. If I had the privilege of telling you all that 
is in my heart ..." 

" I am admiring your self-control." 

It was true she hardly knew what was impelling 


her to this reckless mood. " My wishes ! What are 
my wishes? Sometimes one thing and sometimes 
another. To-night for instance ..." 

He was in the corner of the sofa, she on the high 
fender stool in the firelight. There were only oil 
lamps in the room, and she and the fireside shone 
more brightly than they. 

When she said softly, " To-night for instance," 
she got up ; her eyes seemed to challenge him. He 
rose too, and would have taken her in his arms, 
but that she resisted. 

" No, no, no, you don't really want to ... 
talking is enough for you." 

" You strange Margaret," he said tenderly. 

" I sometimes wonder if you care for me or only 
for my talk," she said with a nervous laugh. 

" If you only knew." His arms remained about 

" If I only knew ! " she exclaimed. " Tell me," 
she whispered coaxingly. 

" How I long for this waiting time to be at an 
end. To woo you, win you. You say anything 
approaching physical love is hateful and abhorrent 
to you. Yet, if I thought . . . Margaret!" 

She did not repel him, although his arms were 
around her. And now, reverently, softly, he sought 
and found her unreluctant lips. One of the lamps 
flickered and went out. His arms tightened about 
her ; she had not thought to be so happy in any man's 


arms. Her heart beat very fast and the blood in her 
pulses rose. 

" How much do you care for me ? " she whis- 
pered ; her voice trembled. 

" More than for life itself," he whispered back. 

"And I . . . I . . ." He felt her trembling 
in his arms as if with fear. He loved and hushed her 
with ineffable tenderness, his control keeping pace 
with his rising blood. " My love, my love, I will 
take care of you. Trust yourself to me. I love 
you perfectly, beloved." 

He had an exquisite sense of honour and a com- 
plete ignorance of womanhood. A flash of electric- 
ity from him and all would have been aflame. But 
she had said once that until the decree was made 
absolute she did not look upon herself as a free 

" My little brave one, beloved. It will not be 
always like this between us. Tell me that it will 
not. I count the days and hours. You will take 
me for your husband ? " 

She could feel the beating of his pulses, her cheek 
lay against his coat. But her heart slowed down a 
little. How steadfast he was and reliable, the soul 
of honour. But she was a woman, difficult to 
satisfy. She had wanted from him this evening, 
this moment, something of that she won so easily 
from Peter Kennedy. The temperament she denied 
was alight and clamorous. 


" Gabriel." 

" Heart of my innermost heart." 

" I am so lonely in this house." 

" Sweetheart." 

" So lonely ; it is haunted, I think. I can never 
sleep, I lie awake . . . for hours. Don't go" 

Her own words shook and shocked her. She was 
still and supine in his encompassing arm. There 
was perhaps a relaxation of his moral fineness, a 
faint disintegration. But of only a moment's dura- 
tion, and no man ever held a woman more rever- 
ently or more tenderly. 

" My wife that will be ... that will be soon. 
How I adore you." 

Their hands were interlocked, they felt the dear 
sweetness of each other's breath; their hearts were 
beating fast. 

Silence then, a long-drawn silence. 

" It is not long now. I am counting the days, 
the hours. You won't say again I disappoint you, 
will you? You will bear with me?" 

She clung closer to him. To-night he moved her 

" You really do love me ? " she whispered. 

" I want to take care of you always. My dear, 
darling, how good you are to let me love you ! One 
day I will be your husband ! I dare hardly say the 
words. Promise me ! " And again his lips sought 
hers. " Your husband and your lover ..." 


An extraordinary chill came upon her. She could 
not herself say what had happened, the effect, but 
never the cause. 

She disengaged herself from him. When he saw 
she wanted to go he made no effort to hold 

" It is very late, isn't it ? " He made no answer, 
and she repeated the question. " It's very late, isn't 

" I don't know." 

" I wish you would look." 

He took out his watch. 

" Barely ten. You are tired ? " 

" Yes, a little." 

" Margaret, you say you are lonely in this house, 
nervous. Would you feel better if I patrolled the 
garden, if you felt I was at hand? " 

" Oh, no, no. I didn't know what I was saying." 

All her mood had changed. 

" I must have forgotten Stevens and the other 

Then she moved away from him, over to the 
round table where the dead lamp still gave an 
occasional flicker. 

She tried it this way and that, but there was no 
flame, only flicker. 

" You always take me so seriously, misunder- 
stand me." 

He came near her again. 


" I don't think I misunderstand you," he said 

" I am sorry," she answered vaguely. " It was 
my fault." 

" Fault ! You have not a fault ! " 

" But now I want you to go." 

His eyes questioned and caressed her. 

" Until next week then." 

He took her in his arms, but her lips were cold, 
unresponsive, it was almost an apology she made : 

" I am really so tired." 

When he had gone, lying among the pillows on 
the sofa, she said to herself : 

" Greek roots ! He is supposed to be more learned 
in Greek roots than any one in England. But the 
root word of this he missed entirely. REACTION. 
That is the root word. I don't know what came over 
me. Why is he so unlike other men ? What if such 
a moment had come to me with Peter Kennedy ! " 

She smiled faintly all by herself in the firelight. 
How impossible it was that she should have played 
like this with Peter Kennedy. He moved her no 
more than a log of wood. Then she was suddenly 
ashamed, her cheeks dyed red in the darkness. 


SHE was surprised at what had happened to her, 
thought a great deal about it, magnifying or mini- 
mising it according to her mood. But in a way the 
incident drew her more definitely toward Gabriel 
Stanton. She began to admit she was in love with 
him, to do as he had bidden her, " let herself go." 
In imagination at least. Had she been a psychologi- 
cal instead of an epigrammatic novelist, she would 
have understood herself better. To me, writing her 
story at this headlong pace, it was nevertheless all 
quite clear. I had not to linger to find out why she 
did this or that, what spirit moved her. I knew all 
the time, for although none of my own novels ever 
had the success of " The Dangerous Age " I knew 
more about what the author wrote there than he did 
himself, much more. The Dangerous Age comes 
to a woman at all periods. With Margaret Capel it 
was seven years after her marriage and over six 
from the time when she had left her husband. She 
was impulsive, and for all her introspective egotism, 
most pitifully ignorant of herself and her emotional 
capacity. Fortunately Gabriel Stanton was almost 
as ignorant as she. But, at least after that Sunday 
evening, there was no more talk of friendship 



between them. There was coquetting on her side 
and some obtuseness on his. Rare flashes of under- 
standing as well, and on her part deepening feeling 
under a light and varying surface. 

She was rarely twice alike, often she merely 
acted, thinking of herself as a strange character in 
a drama. She was genuinely uncertain of herself. 
Her love flamed wild sometimes. Then she would 
pull herself up and remember that something like 
this she had felt once before, and it had proved a 
will o' the wisp over a bog. She wanted to walk 

" Supposing I am wrong again this time ? " she 
asked him once with wide eyes. 

" You are not. This is real. Trust me, trust 
yourself." She liked to nestle in the shelter of his 
arm, to feel his lips on her hair, to torment and 
adore him. The week-ends seemed very short; the 
week-days long. Week-days during which she was 
restless and excitable, and Peter Kennedy and his 
bag of tricks, medical tricks, often in request. She 
was very capricious with Peter, calling him ignorant, 
and a country yokel. As a companion he compared 
very badly with Gabriel. As an emotional machine 
he was easier to play upon. She spared him nothing, 
he was her whipping-boy. Watching him one 
noticed that he grew quieter, improved in many ways 
as she secured more and more mastery over him. 
When there were scenes now they were of her and 


not of his making. He was wax in her hands, plastic 
to her moulding. Sometimes she was sorry for him 
and a little ashamed of herself. Then she gave him 
a music lesson or lectured him gravely on his short- 
comings. But from first to last he was nothing to 
her but a stop-gap. His devotion had the smallest 
of reward. 

The weeks went by. Gabriel Stanton coming and 
going, staying always at the local hotel. Ever more 
secure in his position with her, but never taking 
advantage of it. 

" He is naturally of a cold nature," she argued. 
And once her confidant was Peter Kennedy and she 
compared the two of them. This was in early days, 
before her treatment of Peter had subdued him. 

" What's he afraid of ? " Peter asked brusquely. 

" Until the decree has been made absolute I am 
not free." 

" So what he is afraid of is the King's Proctor? " 

" Don't." 

" His precious respectability, the great house of 

" You take it all wrong, you don't understand. 
How should you ? " 

" Don't I? I wish I'd half his chances." 

" You are really not in the same category of men. 
It is banal I have never fully realised the value of 
a banal phrase before, but you are ' not fit to wipe the 
mud off his shoes.' " 


" Because I am a country doctor." 

" Because you are Peter Kennedy." 

She knew then how comparatively thick-skinned 
he was; that if he had some sense or senses in 
e.vcelsis, in others he was lacking, altogether lacking 
and unconscious. It is not paradoxical but plain that 
the more she saw of Gabriel Stanton the less heed 
she took of Peter Kennedy's freedom of speech and 
ways. The two men were as apart as the poles, that 
they both adored her proved nothing but her un- 
doubted charm. She was not quite looking forward, 
like Gabriel Stanton, through the " decree absolute " 
to marriage. She lived in the immediate present; 
in the Saturdays to Mondays when she tortured 
Gabriel Stanton and in a way was tortured by him. 
For she had never met so fine a brain, nor honour 
and simplicity so clean and clear, and she was up- 
borne by and with him. And the Tuesdays to Fri- 
days she had attacks or crises of the nerves and 
Kennedy alternately doctored and clumsily courted 

There came a time when she wrote and asked 
Gabriel to bring his sister next time he came, and 
that both of them should stay in the house with her, 
at Carbies. It was clear, if it had not been put into 
actual words, that they would marry as soon as she 
was free, and she thought it would please him that 
she should recognise the position. 


" I want to know her. Tell her I am a friend of 
yours who is interested in Christian Science, then 
she won't think it strange that I should invite her 
here." She was not frank enough to say " since 
she is to be my sister-in-law." . 

Gabriel, nevertheless, was translated when the 
letter came, and answered it rapturously. The invi- 
tation to his sister seemed to admit his footing, to 
make the future more definite and domestic. 

But if you want me to stay away I will stay away. 
Remember it is your wishes not mine that count. 
I tired you, perhaps? Did I tire you? God bless 

I can never tell you half that is in my heart. 
You are an angel of goodness, and I am on my knees 
before you all the time. I will tell Anne as little 
as possible until you give me permission, yet I am 
sure she must guess the rest. My voice alters when 
I speak of you, although I try to keep it even 
and calm. I went to her when I got your letter. 
" A friend of mine wants to know you." I began 
as absurdly as that. She looked at me in surprise, 
and I went on hurriedly, " She wants you to go 
down with me to her house in Pineland at the end 
of the week. . . ." 

"You have been there before?" she asked sus- 
piciously, sharply. " Is that where you have been 
each week lately ? " 

" Yes," I answered, priding myself that I did 
not go on to tell her each week I entered Paradise, 
lingered there a little while. She began to question, 
probe me. Were you old, young, beautiful; the 


questions poured forth. Somehow or other, in the 
end these questions froze and silenced me. I could 
not tell her, you were you! She would not have 
understood. Nor was I able to satisfy her com- 
pletely on any point. I could not describe you, felt 
myself stammering like a schoolboy over the colour 
of your hair, your eyes. How could I say to her 
' This sweet lady who invites you to make her ac- 
quaintance is just perfection, no more nor less; all 
compound of fire and dew, made composite and 
credible with genius " ? As for giving a description 
of you, it would need a poet and a painter working 
together, and in the end they would give up the 
task in despair. I did not tell Anne this. 

She is now reviewing her wardrobe. And I 
... I am reviewing nothing . . . past definite 
thought. Do you know that when I left you on 
Sunday I feared that I had vexed or disappointed 
you again? You seemed to me a little cold con- 
strained. Monday and Tuesday I have examined 
and cross-examined myself suffered. My whole 
life is yours but if I fail to please you! I was in 
a hotel in the country once, when a man was 
brought in from the football field, very badly hurt. 
His eyes were shut, his face agonised ; he moaned, 
for all his fortitude. There was a doctor in the 
crowd that accompanied him, who gave what 
seemed to me a strange order : " Put him in a hot 
bath, just as he is, don't delay a moment; don't 
wait to undress him." My own bath was just pre- 
pared and I proffered it. They lowered him in. 
He was a fine big fellow, but suffering beyond self- 
restraint. Within a minute of the water reaching 
him, clothes on and everything, he left off moaning. 


His face grew calm. " My God ! I am in heaven ! " 
he exclaimed. 

The relief must have been exquisite. I thought 
of the incident when your letter came, when I had 
submerged myself in it. I had forgotten it for 
years, but remembered it then. I too had passed 
in one moment from exquisite agony to a most 
wonderful calm. Dear love, how can I thank you! 
I am not going to try. Anne and I will come by 
the train arriving at Pineland at 4.52. I will not 
ask your kindness for her; I see you diffusing it. 
She will be grateful, and the form her gratitude 
will take will be the endeavour to convert you to 
Christian Science. My sweet darling, you will 
listen gravely, patiently. And I shall know it will 
be for me. I have done nothing to deserve you, 
am nothing, only your worshipper. Some day per- 
haps you will let me do something for you. Dear 
heart, I love you, love you, love you, however I 

G. S. 

Friday, Margaret decided it was better that she 
should entertain her guests alone. She had to learn 
the idiosyncrasies of this poor sister of her lover's, 
to acclimatise herself to a new atmosphere between 
herself and Gabriel. She invited Peter Kennedy to 
dine with them on Saturday, but bade him not to 
speak lightly of Christian Science. 

" What's the game ? " he asked her. 

" I think it is probably some form of mesmerism ; 
I don't quite know. Anyway Mr. Stanton's sister 


is an invalid and thinks Christian Science has re- 
lieved her. You are not to laugh at or argue with 

" I am to dine here and talk to her, I suppose, 
whilst you and that fellow ogle and make love to 
each other." She turned a cold shoulder to him. 

" I withdraw my invitation, you need not come 
at all." 

" Of course I shall come. And what is the name 
of the thing? Christian Science? I'll get it up. 
You know I'd do anything on earth you asked me, 
though you treat me like a dog." 

" At least you snatch an occasional bone," she 
smiled as he mumbled her hand. 

Margaret sent for Mary Baker Eddy's " Science 
and Health ; with a Key to the Scriptures," and spent 
the emptiest two hours she could remember in trying 
to master the viewpoint of the book, the essential 
dogma. Failing completely she flung it to Peter 
Kennedy, who read aloud to her sentence after 
sentence as illuminative as these : 

r ' Destructive electricity is not the offspring of 
infinite good.' Who the devil said it was? " 

" Hush, go on. There must be something more 
in it than that." He turned to the title-page, 
" ' Printed and published at Earlswood ' ? No, my 
mistake at Boston. ' Christian Science rationally 
explains that all other pathological methods are the 
fruits of human faith in matter, in the -working, not 


of spirit, but of the fleshly mind, which must yield 
to Science.' Don't knit your brows. What's the 
good of swotting at it? Let's say Abracadabra to 
her and see what happens." 

" What an indolent man you are. Is that the way 
you worked at your examination ? " 

" I qualified." 

" I suppose that was the height of your ambi- 

" You don't give a man much encouragement to 
be ambitious." 

" But this was before I knew you." 

" Don't you believe it. I never lived at all before 
you knew me." 

"Absurd boy!" 

" I'm getting on for thirty." 

" You can't expect me to remember it whilst you 
behave as if you were seventeen. Take the book 
up again, let us give it an honest trial." 

He read on obediently, and she listened with a real 
desire for instruction. Then all at once she put her 
fingers in her ears and called a halt. 

" That will do. Ring for tea, I can't listen to any 
more ..." 

He went on nevertheless : " ' Mind is not the 
author of Matter/ I say, this is jolly good. You 
can read it the other way too. 'Matter is not the 
author of mind. There is no matter . . . put 
matter under the foot of mind/ Put Mrs. Eddy 


under the foot of a militant suffragette. Oh ! I say 
. . . listen to this ..." 

" No, I won't, not to another word. Poor Ga- 
briel ..." He threw the book away. 

" Always that damned fellow ! " he said. 

When Friday came and the house had been swept 
and garnished Margaret drove to the station to 
receive her guests. The room prepared for Anne 
was on the same corridor as her own, facing south, 
and with a balcony. Margaret herself had seen to 
all the little details for her comfort. A big sofa 
and easy-chair, pen and ink and paper, the latest 
novel : flowers on the mantelpiece and dressing-table, 
a filled biscuit box, and small spirit stand. Then, 
more slowly, she had gone into the little suite pre- 
pared for Gabriel, bedroom and bathroom, no bal- 
cony, but a wide window. She only stayed a 
moment, she did not give a thought to his little 
comforts. She was out of the room again quickly. 

She arrived late at the station, and Gabriel was 
already on the platform; he never had the same 
happy certainty as the first time, nor knew how she 
would greet him. The first impression she had of 
Anne was of a little old woman, bent-backed, fussing 
about the luggage, about some bag after which she 
enquired repeatedly and excitedly, of whose safety 
she could not be assured until Gabriel produced it 
to her from among the others already on the plat- 


" Shall we go on and leave him to follow with the 
luggage ? " Margaret asked. 

" Oh, no, no, I couldn't think of moving until it 
is found. So tiresome ..." 

" I am sure you are tired after your journey." 

" I don't know what it is to be tired since I have 
taken up Christian Science. You know we are 
never tired unless we think we are," Anne said, 
when they were in the carriage, bowling along the 
good road toward the reddening glow of the sunset. 
Margaret and Gabriel, sitting opposite, but not fac- 
ing each other embarrassed, shy with the memory 
of their last parting, were glad of this interven- 
ing person who chattered of her non-fatigue, the 
essential bag, and the number of things she had had 
to see to before she left home. All the way from 
Pineland station to the crunching gravel path at 
Carbies Anne talked and they made a feint of listen- 
ing to her. The feeling between them was a great 
height. They were almost glad of her presence, of 
her fretting small talk. Margaret said afterwards 
she felt damp and deluged with it, properly subdued. 
" I felt as if I had come all out of curl," she told 
him. No wonder you speak so little, are reserved." 

" I am not reserved with you," he answered. 

" I think sometimes that you are." 

" There is not a corner or cranny of my mind I 
should not wish you to explore if it interested you," 
he replied passionately. 


All that evening Anne's volubility never failed. 
She was of the type of woman, domestic and fre- 
quent, who can talk for hours without succeeding in 
saying anything. Most of it seemed simultaneous! 
Anne Stanton, who was ten years older than Gabriel 
and had an idea that she " managed " him, prided 
herself also on her good social quality and capacity 
for carrying off a situation. She thought of this 
invitation and introduction to the young lady with 
whom her brother had evidently fallen in love as 
" a situation " and she felt herself of immense 
importance in it. Gabriel must have kept his secret 
better than he knew. She believed that he was seek- 
ing her opinion of his choice, that the decision, if 
there was to be a decision, rested with her. One 
must do her the justice to admit that she did not 
give a thought to any possible alteration in her own 
position. She had always lived with Gabriel, she 
knew he would not cast her off. Conscious of her 
adaptability she had already said to him on the way 

" I could live with anybody, any nice person, and, 
of course, since I have been so well everything is 
even easier. I do hope I shall like her. ..." 

She did like her, very much, Margaret saw to 
that, behaving exquisitely under the stimulus of 
Gabriel's worshipping eyes; listening as if she were 
absorbedly interested in a description of the par- 
ticular Healer who had Anne's case in hand. 


" At first you see I was quite strange to it, I 
didn't understand completely. Mr. Roope is a little 
deaf, but he says he hears as much as he wants to 
... so beautifully content and devout." 

" Has Mrs. Roope any defect? " Margaret got a 
word or two in edgeways before the end of the 
evening, her sense of humour helping her. 

" She has a sort of hysterical affection. She goes 
' Bupp, bupp,' like a turkey-cock and swells at the 
throat. At least that is what I thought, but I am 
very backward at present. Some one asked her the 
cause once, when I was there, and she said she had 
no such habit, the mistake was ours. It is all very 

" Are there any other members of the family? " 

" Her dear mother ! Such a nice creature, and 
quite a believer ; she has gall-stones." 


" Not really, you know, they pass with prayer. 
She looks ill, very ill sometimes, but of course that is 
another of my mistakes. I am having absent treat- 
ment now." 

" They know where you are ? " Gabriel asked, 
perhaps a little anxiously. 

" Oh ! dear, yes. I am never out of touch with 

After she had retired for the night, for notwith- 
standing her immunity from fatigue and pain, she 
retired early, explaining that she wanted to put her 


things in order, Gabriel lingered to tell Margaret 
again what an angel she was, and of his gratitude to 
her for the way she was receiving and making much 
of his sister. 

" I like doing it, she interests me. I suppose she 
really believes in it all." 

" I think so. You see her illness is partly nervous, 
partly her spine, but still to a certain extent, nervous. 
She is undoubtedly better since she had this hobby. 
The only thing that worries me is this family of 
whom she speaks, these Roopes. Of course they 
will get everything she has out of her, every penny. 
If it only stops at that ..." 

"You have seen them?" 

" Not yet. I hear the man is an emaciated idler, 
not over-clean, his wife has evidently a bad form of 
St. Vitus's dance. The woman leads them all, the 
old mother, all of them. I expect they live upon 
what she makes. I've heard a story or two . . . 
I had not realized about this absent treatment, that 
Anne tells them where she goes. You don't mind ? " 

"Why should I mind?" 

" She may have told them I come here ..." 

" Oh ! that ! I had forgotten." 

It was true, she had forgotten that she must walk 
circumspectly. She had spoken of and forgotten it. 
Now she remembered, because he reminded her; 
reddened and wished she had not invited Anne. 
Anne, with her undesirable acquaintances and me- 


andering talk, who would keep her and Gabriel com- 
pany on their walks and drives for the next two 

But Providence, or a broken chain in the sequence 
of the Roope Christian Science treatment, came to 
her aid. On Saturday Anne was prostrated with 

" She has never been able to bear a railway 

" Does she explain? " 

" I went in to see her. ' If only I had faith 
enough,' she moaned, and asked me to send Mrs. 
Roope a telegram. I persuaded her to five grains 
of aspirin, but I could see she felt very guilty about 
it. She will sleep until the afternoon." 

" We can leave her? " 

" Oh, yes ! I doubt if she will be well awake by 
dinner, certainly not before." 

" Let us get away from here, from Carbies and 
Pineland ..." 

" Right to the other side of the island. We could 
lunch at Ryde. I'll get a car." 

Nothing suited either of them so well today as a 
long silent drive. The car went too fast for them to 
talk. Retrospect or the comparison of notes was 
practically impossible. They sat side by side, smil- 
ing rarely, one at the other as the spring burst into 
life around them. The tall hedges were full of may 
blossom, with here and there a flowering currant, 


the trees wore their coronal of young green leaves, 
great clumps of primroses succeeded the yellow 
gorse of which they had tired, fields were already 
green with the autumn-sown corn, there was nothing 
to remind them of Carbies. For a long time the 
sea was out of sight. Never had they been happier 
together, for all they spoke so little. 

At Ryde he played the host to her, and she sat 
on the verandah whilst he went in to give his orders. 
A few ships were aride in the bay, but the scene was 
very different from what she had ever seen it 
before, in Regatta time, when it was gay with bunt- 
ing and familiar faces. Today they had it to them- 
selves, the hotel she only knew as overcrowded, and 
the view of the town, so strangely quiet. And excel- 
lent was the luncheon served to them. A lobster 
mayonnaise and a fillet steak, a pie of early goose- 
berries, which nevertheless Margaret declared were 
bottled. They spoke of other meals they had had 
together, of one in the British Museum in particular. 
On this occasion it pleased her to declare that boiled 
cod, not crimped, but flabby and served with luke- 
warm egg sauce, was the most ambrosial food she 

" I don't know when I enjoyed a meal so much," 
she said reflectively. 

r< You wrote and reproached me for it." His eyes 
caressed and forgave her for it. 



" You did indeed. I can produce your plaint in 
your own handwriting." 

" You don't mean to say you keep my let- 

" I would rather part with my Elzevirs." 

This was the only time they approached sentiment, 
approached and sheered off. There was something 
between them, in wait for them, at which at that 
moment neither wished to look. 

The sun sparkled on the waters, a boatload of 
smart young naval officers put off from a strange 
yacht in the bay. Gabriel and Margaret wished that 
their landing at the pier should synchronise with 
their own departure. Nothing was to break the 
unusualness of their solitude in this whilom crowded 
place. He showed his tenderness in the way he 
cloaked her, tucked the rugs about her, not in any 
spoken word. She felt it subtly about her, and 
glowed in it, most amazingly content. 

When they got back to Carbies, after having 
satisfied herself that her guest had recovered and 
would join them at dinner, she astonished her maid 
by demanding an evening toilette. She wore a gown 
of grey and silver brocade, very stiff and Eliza- 
bethan, a chain of uncut cabochon emeralds hung 
round her neck, and a stomacher of the same deco- 
rated her corsage. The mauve osprey upstanding in 
her hair was clasped by a similar encrusted jewel. 
She carried herself regally. Had she not come into 


her woman's Kingdom? Tonight she meant that 
he should see what he had won. 

It was a strange evening, nevertheless, and they 
were a strangely assorted quartette. There was a 
little glow of colour in Margaret's cheeks, such as 
Peter Kennedy had never seen there before, her eyes 
shone like stars, and she wore this regal toilette. 
Peter was introduced to Anne. Anne, yellowish and 
subdued after the migraine, dressed in brown taffeta, 
opening at the wizened throat to display a locket 
of seed pearls on a gold chain ; her brown toupee had 
slipped a little and discovered a few grey hairs, her 
hands, covered with inexpensive rings, showed claw- 
like and tremulous. Margaret's unringed hands, so 
pale and small, were like Japanese flowers. Peter 
had to take in Anne. Gabriel gave his arm to 
Margaret. The poverty of the dining-room furni- 
ture was out of the circle of the white spread table, 
where the suspended lamp shone on fine silver and 
glass. Flowers came constantly to Carbies from 
London. Tonight red roses scented the room; 
hothouse roses, blooming before their time, on 
long thornless stems. Margaret drew a vase toward 
her, exclaimed at the wealth of perfume. 

" I only hope they won't make your headache 

Anne tried to insist she had no headache. Peter 
advised a glass of champagne. She began to tell 
him something of her new-found panacea for all ills, 


but ceased upon finding he was what she called a 
" medical man," one of the enemies of their creed. 
Before the dinner had passed the soup stage he 
hardly made a pretence of listening to her. Both 
men were absorbed in this regal Margaret. All her 
graciousness was for Gabriel, but she found occasion 
now and again for a smile and a word for Peter. 
Poor Peter ! guest at this high feast where there was 
no food for him. But he made the most of the ma- 
terial provender, and proved fortunately to be an 
excellent trencherman. Otherwise Margaret's good 
cook had exerted herself in vain. For none of them 
had appetite but Peter; Margaret because she 
talked too much, and Gabriel because he could do 
nothing but listen; Anne because she was feeling 
the after-effects, and regretting she had yielded to 
the temptation of the aspirin. 

The men sat together but a short time after the 
ladies left them. They had one subject in common 
of which neither wished to speak. Gabriel smoked 
only a cigarette, Peter praised the port, which hap- 
pened to be exceptionally bad; the weather was a 
topic that drew blank. Fortunately they struck upon 
Pineland and its health-giving qualities, upon which 
both were enthusiastic. Peter Kennedy was in 
Gabriel's secret, but Gabriel had no intuition of 

" Mrs. Capel seems to have derived great benefit 
from her stay. Probably from your treatment also," 


he said courteously. His thoughts were so full of 
her; how could he speak of anything else? 

" I can't do much for her," Peter said gloomily. 
He had had the greater part of a bottle of cham- 
pagne, and the port on the top of it. " She doesn't 
do a thing I tell her. She doesn't care whether I'm 
dead or alive." 

" I am sure you are wrong," Gabriel reassured 
him earnestly. " She has, I am sure, the highest 
possible opinion of your skill. She carries out your 
regime as far as possible. You think she should 
rest more ? " 

" She should do nothing but rest." 

"But with an active mind?" 

" It is not only her mind that is active." 

" You mean the piano-playing, writing ..." 

" She ought just to vegetate. She has a weak 
heart, one of the valves ..." 

Gabriel rose hurriedly, it was not possible for him 
to listen to a description of his beloved's physical ail- 
ments. He was shocked with Peter for wishing to 
tell him, genuinely shocked. It was a breach of 
professional etiquette, of good manners. They 
arrived upstairs in the music room completely out 
of tune. 

" He wouldn't even listen when I told him how 
seedy you were, that you ought to be kept quiet. 
Selfish owl. You've been out with him all day." 

" I rested for half an hour before dinner. Do I 


look tired or washed out ? " She turned a radiant 
face to Peter for investigation. " I am going to 
play to you presently, when you will see if I am 
without power." 

"Power! Who said you were without that? 
You'd have power over the devil tonight." 

" Or over my eccentric physician." She smiled 
at him. " Have you been behaving yourself prettily 
downstairs ? " 

" I haven't told him what I think of him, if that's 
what you mean ! " 

"Will you play first?" she asked him. Peter 
Kennedy was a genuine music lover, and he played 
well, very much better since Margaret Capel had 
come to Pineland. He sang also, but this accom- 
plishment Margaret would never let him display. 
She had no use for a man's singing since James 
Capel had lured her with his love songs. 

Gabriel was talking to his sister whilst Margaret 
and Peter had this little conversation. He was 
persuading her to an early retreat. 

" Did you send my telegram to Mrs. Roope ? I 
am sure I am getting better, I have been thinking so 
all the evening. She must have been treating me." 

" I am sure, but are not the vibrations stronger 
between you if you are alone, if there is nothing to 
disturb your thoughts? ..." Even Gabriel 
Stanton could be disingenuous when the occasion 
demanded. She hesitated. 


" Wouldn't Mrs. Capel be offended ? One owes 
something to one's hostess. She has promised to 
play. You told me she played beautifully. I do 
think she is very sweet. But, Gabriel, have you 
thought of the flat? I shouldn't like to give it up. 
The gravel soil and air from the heath, and every- 
thing. Isn't she . . . isn't she ..." 

" A size too big for it ? " He finished her sen- 
tence for her. 

" Too grand, I meant." 

" Yes, too grand. Of course she is too grand." 
He turned to look at her. This time their eloquent 
eyes met. She indicated the piano stool to Peter 
Kennedy and came swiftly to the brother and sister. 

" Has he made you comfortable ? " She adjusted 
the pillows, and stole a glance at Gabriel. Whenever 
she looked at him it seemed that his eyes were upon 
her. They were extraordinarily conscious of each 
other, acting a little because Anne and Peter were 
there. Peter Kennedy, over on the music stool, 
struck a chord or two, as if to lure her back. 

" One can always listen better when one is com- 
fortable," she said to Anne. Then went over to 
the fender stool, where Gabriel joined her, after a 
moment's hesitation. 

" Isn't it too hot for you ? " she asked him inno- 

" It might have been," he answered, smiling, 
" only the fire is out." 


" Is it? " she turned to look. " I had not noticed 
it. Hush ! He is going to play the Berceuse. You 
haven't heard him before, have you ? He plays quite 

So they sat there together whilst Peter Kennedy 
played, and every now and then Anne said from the 

" How delicious ! Thank you ever so much. 
What was it ? I thought I knew the piece." 

Peter got up from the piano before Gabriel and 
Margaret had tired of sitting side by side on the 
fender stool, or Anne of ejaculating her little com- 
plimentary, grateful, or enquiring phrases. 

" I suppose you've had enough of it," he said 
abruptly to Margaret. 

" No, I haven't. You could have gone on for 
another hour." 

" I daresay." 

Gabriel thought his manner singularly abrupt, 
almost rude. This was only the second or third 
time he had met Margaret's medical attendant, and 
he was not at all favourably impressed by him. As 
for Peter : 

" Damned dry stick," he said to Margaret, when 
he had persuaded her to the redemption of her 
promise, and was leading her to the piano. 

" What a boor you really are, notwithstanding 
your playing," she answered calmly, adjusting the 


candles, the height of the piano stool, looking out 
some music. " I really thought you were going to 
behave well tonight. And not a word about Chris- 
tian Science," she chaffed him gently, " after all the 

She too tried a few chords. 

" I say, don't you play too long tonight. Don't 
you go overdoing it." Her chaff made no impres- 
sion upon him, he was used to it. But he was 
struck by some alteration or intensification of her 
brilliancy. How could he know the secret of it? 
The love of which he was capable gave him no key 
to the spell that was on those two tonight. 

Anne slipped off to bed presently, at Gabriel's 
whispered encouragement, and Margaret went on 
playing to the two men. Peter commented some- 
times, asked for this or the other, went over and 
stood by her side, turning over the music, sat down 
beside her now and again. Gabriel remained on the 
corner of the sofa Anne had vacated, and listened. 
Therefore it was Peter who caught her when she 
fell forward with a little sigh or moan, Peter who 
caught her up in his arms and strode over with her 
to the sofa. Gabriel would have taken her from 
him, but Peter issued impatient orders. 

" Open the window, pull the blind up, let us have 
as much air as possible. Ring for her maid, ring 
like blazes ... she has only fainted. Within a 
minute she was sitting up, radiantly white, but with 


shadows round her pale mouth and deep under her 

" It is nothing, it is only a touch of faintness. 
Not an attack. Gabriel, you were not frightened ? " 
she asked, and put out her hand to him. 

Peter said something inarticulate and got up from 
where he had been kneeling beside her. 

" I'll get you some brandy." 

" Shall I go? " Gabriel asked, but was holding her 

" No, no. You stay. Dr. Kennedy knows where 
it is." 

Gabriel knelt beside her now. 

" Were you frightened ? " she asked, still a little 

" Love, lover, sweet, my heart was shaken with 

" It is really nothing. We have had such a won- 
derful day I was trying to play it all to you. Then 
the glory spread, brightened, overwhelmed me ..." 


" Hush ! he is coming back. You won't believe 
anything he tells you ? " 

" Not if you tell me you are not really ill? Oh! 
my darling! I could not bear it if you were to 
suffer. Let me get some one else ..." 

Peter was back with the brandy, a measured dose, 
he brushed Gabriel aside as if now at least he had 
the mastery of the position. For all Gabriel's pre- 


occupation with Margaret, Dr. Kennedy managed 
to attract from him a wondering moment of atten- 
tion. Need he have knelt to administer the draught ? 
What was it he was murmuring ? Whatever it was 
Margaret was unwilling to hear. She leaned back, 
closing her eyes. When the maid came, torn reluc- 
tantly from her supper, she was able, nevertheless, to 
reassure her. 

" Nothing of consequence, Stevens, not an attack. 
I am going across to my bedroom. One of you will 
lend me an arm," they were both in readiness, " or 
both." She took an arm of one and an arm of the 
other, smiled in both their faces. " What a way to 
wind up our little evening ! You will have to forgive 
me, entertain each other." 

" I'll come in again and see you when you are 
comfortable," the doctor said, a little defiantly, 
Gabriel thought. 

" No, don't wait. Not on any account. Stevens 
knows everything to do for me. Show Mr. Stan- 
ton where the cigars are." 

They were not in good humour when they left her. 

" I don't smoke cigars," Gabriel said abruptly 
when Dr. Kennedy made a feint of carrying out her 
wishes. Peter shrugged his shoulders. 

" She told me to find them for you." 

" Has she had attacks like this before ? " Gabriel 
asked, after a pause. Peter answered gloomily : 

" And will again if she is allowed to overtire her- 


self by driving for hours in the sun, and then 
encouraged to sit through a long dinner, talking all 
the time." 

" She ought not to have played ? " Peter 
Kennedy threw himself on to the sofa, desecrating 
it, bringing an angry flush to Gabriel's brow. But 
when he groaned and said : 

" If one could only do anything for her! " 
Gabriel forgave him in that instant. Gabriel had 
lived all his life with an invalid. Attacks of hys- 
teria and faintness had been his daily menu for 

" But surely an attack of faintness is not very 
unusual or alarming ? My sister often faints ..." 
" She isn't Margaret Capel, is she ? " 
" You . . . you knew Mrs. Capel before she 
came to Carbies ? " 

" No, I didn't. But I know her now, don't I ? " 
Gabriel was silent. He had seen a great many 
doctors too, before the Christian Scientists had 
broken their influence, but such a one as this was 
new to him. Margaret was so sacred and special 
to him that he did not know what to think. But 
Peter gave him little time for thinking. He fixed 
a gloomy eye upon him and said : 

" A man's a man, you know, although he's noth- 
ing but a country practitioner." Gabriel was acutely 
annoyed, a little shocked, most supremely uncom- 


" But ought you to go on attending her ? " he got 

" I shan't do her any harm, shall I, because I am 
madly in love with her, because I could kiss the 
ground she walks on, because I'd give my life for 
hers and day?" Gabriel's face might have been 
carved. " She treats me like a dog. ..." 

Gabriel made a gesture of dissent, Margaret could 
not treat any one like a dog. 

" Oh, yes, she does, she says I'm not fit to wipe 
the mud off your shoes. ..." 

Then Margaret knew. He was a little stunned 
and taken by surprise to think Margaret knew her 
doctor was in love with her, knew and had kept him 
in attendance. But of course she was right, every- 
thing she did was right. She had not taken the 
matter seriously. 

" I suppose I'd better go." Peter dropped his feet 
to the ground, rose slowly. " She won't see me 
again if she says she won't. She's got her bromide. 
You might ring me up in the morning and tell me 
how she is, if she wants me to come round. That's 
not too much to ask, is it ? " he said savagely. 

" Not at all," Gabriel answered coldly. " I 
should of course do anything she wished." Peter 
paused a moment at the door. 

" I say, you're not going to try and put her off me, 
are you? Just because I've let myself go to you? " 

" I am not authorised to interfere in Mrs. Capel's 


affairs." Gabriel was quite himself again and very 

" But I understand you will be." 

" I would rather not discuss the future with you." 

" Then you do intend to try and out me ? " 

Gabriel was suddenly a little sorry for him, he 
looked so desperately miserable and anxious, and 
after all he, Peter Kennedy, was leaving the house. 
Gabriel was remaining, sleeping under the same roof. 

" I will see her maid if possible. You shall be 
called up if you are needed. Nothing but her well- 
being, her own wish will be thought of ... Any- 
way you shall have a report." 

" As her doctor she trusts me. I can ease her 
symptoms." It was almost a plea. " She need not 

" Of course you will be sent for. They have your 
telephone number? " 

Peter held out his hand. 

" Good-night. You're a good fellow. She is 
quite right. I suppose I ought not to have told 
you how it is with me . . . ? " 

" It is of no consequence," Gabriel answered, 
intending to be courteous. 


SUNDAY morning the church bells were chiming 
against the blue sky in the clear air. Both invalids 
were better. The reports Gabriel received whilst 
he sat over his solitary breakfast were to the effect 
that Miss Stanton had slept well and was without 
headache, she sent word also of her intention to go 
to church if it were possible. Stevens herself told 
him that Mrs. Capel would be coming down at 
eleven o'clock or half -past, having had an excellent 
night. He was not to stay in for her. 

" Can you tell me how far off is the nearest 
church ? " 

Stevens was fully informed on the matter. There 
were two almost within equal distance. 

" Not more than a quarter of an hour to twenty 
minutes away. The nearest is the 'ighest. ..." 
Stevens was a typical English maid, secretly devoted 
to her mistress, well up in her duties but with a 
perpetual grievance or list of grievances. " Not 
that I get there myself, not on Sunday mornings, 
since I've been here." 

Gabriel was sympathetic. Contempt, however, 
was thrown upon his suggestion of the afternoon. 



" Children's services and such-like, no thank 

As for the evenings Stevens said " they was 
mostly hymns." He detained her for a few minutes, 
for was she not Margaret's confidential maid, com- 
pensating her, too, for her lack of religious privi- 
leges. He told her to tell her mistress he would walk 
to church with his sister and then return, that he 
looked forward to seeing her if she were really 
better. Otherwise she was not to think of 

" She'll get up right enough. I'm to have her 
bath ready at 'alf-past ten." 

When Anne came down he walked with her over 
the commonland, bright with gorse and broom that 
lay between Carbies and the higher of the two 
churches, heard how Anne had lain awake and then 
how she had slept, sure of the intervention of 
Mrs. Roope. Her headache had completely disap- 

" You did send that telegram, didn't you? " 

Gabriel assured her that the telegram had been 
duly despatched. 

" She must have started on me at once. She is a 
good creature. I wish you were more sympathetic 
to it. You've never once been with me to a meet- 

" But I have not put anything in the way of your 


" Oh, yes ! I know how good you are. Which 
reminds me, Gabriel, about Mrs. Capel. We must 
talk things over when we get home. You must 
not do anything in a hurry. I heard about her 
fainting away last night. It is not only that she 
is a widow, and terribly delicate, her maid tells 
me, but she takes no care of herself, none at all. 
. . . What a rate you are walking at; I'm sure we 
have plenty of time, the bells are still going. I can't 
keep up with you." He slowed down. " As I was 
saying, I shouldn't like you to be more particular 
with her until we have talked things over together. 
Of course as far as her delicacy is concerned, we 
might persuade her to see Mrs. Roope." 

" I have already asked Mrs. Capel if she will do 
me the honour of becoming my wife," her brother 
said in a tone she found curious, peculiar, not at 
all like himself. 

" Oh, dear ! how tiresome ! You really are so 
impulsive. Of course I like her very much, very 
much indeed, but there are so many things to be 
thought of. How long has her husband been dead ? 
You know she is more than half an American, she 
told me so herself, and such strange things do hap- 
pen with American husbands." 

" Mrs. Capel divorced her husband ! " He spoke 
quickly, abruptly, hurrying her on toward the 
church, through the gate and up the path where a 
little stream of people was already before them, 


people carrying prayer-books, or holding by the 
hand a stiffly dressed unwilling child; one or two 
women with elderly husbands. 

Anne gave a little subdued scream when Gabriel 
told her that Mrs. Capel had divorced her husband, 
a little gasp. 

" Oh dear, oh dear ! " It was impossible to say 
more under the circumstances, she could not make 
a scene here. 

" You will be able to find your way back all 
right ? " he asked her. The bells were clashing now 
almost above their heads, clashing slowly to the 

" I'm sure I don't know whether I am standing 
on my head or my heels." 

" You will be all right when you are inside." 

" I haven't even got my smelling-salts with me, 
I promised to leave off carrying them." She was 
almost crying with agitation. 

" You will be all right," he said again. He waited 
until she had gone through the door, the little bent 
figure in its new coat and skirt and Victorian hat 
tied under the chin. Then he was free to return 
on swift feet to Carbies to await Margaret's coming. 
He walked so swiftly that although it had taken 
them twenty minutes to get there he was barely ten 
in coming back. He hurried faster when he saw 
there was a figure at the gate. 

" It is too fine to be indoors this morning. I 


am going down to the sea. I yearn for the sea this 
morning. Go up to the house, will you? Fetch a 
cushion or so. Then we can be luxurious." He 
executed his commission quickly, and when he came 
up to her again had not only a cushion but a rug 
on his arm. She said quickly : 

" What a wonderful morning ! Isn't it a God- 
given morning? " 

" All mornings are wonderful and God-given that 
bring me to you," he answered little less soberly, 
walking by her side. " Won't you lean a little on 
me, take my arm ? " 

"Do I look decrepit?" She laughed, walking 
on light feet. Spring was everywhere, in the soft 
air, and the throats of courting birds, in the breeze 
and both their hearts. They went down to the sea 
and he arranged the cushions against that very rock 
behind which I had once sat and heard them talk. 
She said now she must face the sea, the winds that 
blew from it. 

" Not too cold ? " he asked her. 

" Not too anything. You may sit on the rug too, 
there is a bit to spare for you. What book have 
you in your pocket? " 

" No book today. I carried Anne's prayer-book." 

"'Science and Health'?" 

She was full of merriment and laughter. 

" No ; the ordinary Church Service. There was 
nothing else available." 


" Oh, yes, there was. I sent for a copy of Mrs. 
Eddy's lucubrations." 


" Of course I did. I had to make myself ac- 
quainted with a subject on which I should be com- 
pelled to talk." 

" What a wonderful woman you are." 

" Not at all. If she had been a South Sea 
Islander I'd have welcomed her with shells or beads. 
Tell me, have I made a success? Will she give her 
consent ? " 

" Have you given yours, have you really given 
yours ? You have never said so in so many words." 

" Well, the implication must have been fairly 
obvious." The eyes she turned on him were full 
of happy laughter, almost girlish. Since yesterday 
she had had this new strange bloom of youth. 
" Don't tell me your sister has not guessed." 

" I told her." 

" You told her ! Well ! I never ! as Stevens 
would say. And you were pretending not to 

" I only said you had never put it into words. 
Say it now, Margaret, out here, this wonderful 

"What am I to say?" 

" Put your little hand in mine, your sweet flower 
of a hand." He took it. 

" Not a flower, a weed. See how brown they 


have got since I've been here." He kissed the weed 
or flower of her hand. 

" Say, ' Gabriel, you shall be my husband. I will 
marry you the very first day I am free ! ' Her 
brows knitted, she took her hand away a little 

" I am free. Why do you remind me ? " 

" Say, ' I will marry you on the last day in May, 
in six weeks from today.' " 

" May marriages are unlucky." 

" Ours could not be." 

" Oh, yes ! it could. I am a woman of moods." 

" Every one more lovely than the last." 

" Impatient and irritable." 

" You shall have no time to be impatient. Any- 
thing you want I will rush to obtain for you. If 
you are irritable I will soothe you." 

" And then I want hours to myself." 

" I'll wait outside your door, on the mat, to 
keep interruptions from you." 

" I want to write ... to play the piano, to rest 
a great deal." 

" Give me your odd half-hours." She gave him 
back her hand instead. 

"Let's pretend. We are to sail away into the 
unknown; to be happy ever afterwards. Where 
shall we go, Gabriel ? Can we have a yacht ? " 

" I am not rich." 

"Pretend you are. Where shall we go? To 


Greece, where every stone is hallowed ground to 
you. All the white new buildings shall be blotted 
out and you may turn your back on the 
museum . . ." 

" I shall only want to look at you." 

" No, on rocks and the blue ./Egean Sea. No, we 
won't go to Greece at all. You will be so learned, 
know so much more than I about everything. I 
shall feel small, insignificant." 

" Never. Bigger than the Pantheon." 

" We will go to Sicily instead, go down among 
the tombs." 

" I bar the tombs." 

" Contradicting me already. How dare you, 

So the time passed in happy fooling, but often 
their hands met, the under-currents between them 
ran swift and strong, deep too. Then it was time 
for lunch. It was Margaret who suggested they 
would be in time to meet Anne, walk up to the 
house with her. Nothing had been said about Dr. 
Kennedy. Gabriel had meant to broach the subject, 
only touch it lightly, suggest if she still needed 
medical attendance some one older, less interested 
might perhaps be advisable. 

But he never did broach the subject, it had been 
impossible on such a morning as this, she in such a 
mood, he in such accord with her. Anne, when they 
met her, dashed them both a little. She twittered 


away about the service and the sermon, but it was 
nervous and disjointed twitter, and her eyes were 
red. She responded awkwardly to all Margaret's 
kind speeches, her enquiries after her headache; 
she was even guilty of the heinous offence, heinous 
in her own eyes when she remembered it afterwards, 
of saying nothing of the other's faintness. Her 
landmarks had been swept away, the ground yawned 
under her feet. Divorce! She did not think she 
could live in the house with a divorced person. She 
knew that some clergymen would not even marry 
divorced people, nor give them the sacrament. She 
was miserably distressed, and longing to be at home. 
She felt she was assisting at something indecorous, 
if not worse; she thought she ought not to have 
waited for the sermon, she ought not to have left 
them so long alone together. All her mingled emo- 
tions made her feel ill again. She told Gabriel 
crossly that he was walking too fast. 

" Perhaps Mrs. Capel likes fast walking? Don't 
mind me if you do," she said to Margaret, " I 
can manage by myself." 

When they had adapted their pace to hers she 
was little better satisfied; querulous, and as Mar- 
garet had pictured her before they met. Luncheon 
was a miserable meal, or would have been but that 
nothing could have really damped the spirits of 
these other two. First Anne found herself in a 
draught, and then too hot. She never eat eggs, and 


explained about her digestion, the asparagus tops 
could not tempt her. A lobster mayonnaise was a 
fresh offence or disappointment. And she could 
not disguise her disapproval. After all she prided 
herself she did know something about housekeep- 

" I never give Gabriel eggs except for break- 

" I do hope I have not upset your liver." Mar- 
garet's eyes were full of laughter when she ques- 
tioned him. 

" In my young days, in my papa's house, nor for 
the matter of that in my uncle's either, did we ever 
have lobster salad except for a supper dish." 

Gabriel suggested gently that the whole art of 
eating had altered in England. 

" Cod and egg sauce," put in Margaret. 

" Nectar and ambrosia." 

" We never gave either of them," said poor hun- 
gry Anne. 

Fortunately a spatchcock with mushrooms was 
produced, and the mousse of jambon, although it 
seemed " odd," was very light. 

" Why didn't I have boiled mutton and rice pud- 
ding?" Margaret lamented in an aside to Gabriel 
when the omelette au rhum was most decisively de- 
clined. Cream cheese and gingerbread proved the 
last straw. Anne admitted it made her feel ill to 
see the others eat these in combination. 


" I should like to get back to town as early as 
possible this afternoon," she said. " I am sure I 
don't know what has come over me, I felt well be- 
fore I came. The place cannot agree with me. I 
hope you don't think me very rude, but if we can 
have a fly for the first train . . ." 

Gabriel was full of consternation and remon- 
strated with her. Margaret whispered to him it was 
better so. Nothing was to be gained by detaining 
her against her will. 

" We have next week . . ." 

" All the weeks," he whispered back. 

Margaret offered Stevens' services, but Anne 
said she preferred to pack for herself, then she knew 
just where everything was. The lovers had an 
hour to themselves whilst she was engaged in this 
congenial occupation. She reminded Gabriel that 
he too must put his things together, and he agreed. 
She thought this made matters safe. 

" Stevens will do them for you," Margaret said 
softly. He did not care how they were jumbled 
in, or what left behind, so that he secured this 
precious hour. 

" Something has upset her, it was not only the 
lunch," Margaret said sapiently. He did not wish 
to enlighten her. 

"Has she worried you, beloved one?" 

" Not very much, not as much as she ought to 
perhaps. I was selfish with her, left her too much 


alone. I shall know better another time. But at least 
we had yesterday afternoon, and this morning . . . 
oh! and part of the evening, too. Did I frighten 
you very much? " she asked him. 

" Before I had time to be frightened you smiled, 
something of your colour came back. Margaret, 
that reminds me. Do you mind if I suggest to you 
that if you were really seedy Dr. Kennedy is com- 
paratively a young man . . ." She laughed. 

" But look how devoted he is ! " 

" That is why." He spoke a little gravely, and 
she put her hand in his. 

" Jealous ! " Her voice was very soft. 

" The whole world loves you." 

" I don't love the whole world." And when she 
said this her voice was no longer only soft, it was 
tenderness itself. 

"Thank God!" He kissed her hand. 

But returned to his text as a man will. " No, 
I am not jealous. How could I be? You have 
honoured me, dowered me beyond all other men. 
But you are so precious, so supremely and unutter- 
ably precious. Margaret, my heart is suddenly 
shaken. Tell me again. You are not ill, not really 
ill? When this trying time is over, when I can be 
with you always . . ." 

"How about those hours I want to myself?" 
she interrupted. 

" When I can be within sound of you, taking care 


of you all the time, you will be well then? " Now 
she put a hand on his knee. " Your little fairy 
hand ! " he exclaimed, capturing it. 

" I want you to listen," she began. She did not 
know or believe herself that she was seriously ill, 
but remembered what Dr. Lansdowne had said and 
shivered over it a little. 

" Suppose I am really ill, that it is heart disease 
with me as the German doctors and Lansdowne told 
me? Not only heart weakness as the others 
say, would you be afraid? Do you think I ought 
not to ... to marry ? " 

" My darling, it is impossible, your beautiful 
vitality makes it impossible. But if it were true, 
incredibly true, then all the more reason that we 
should be married as quickly as possible. I must 
snatch you up, carry you away." There was an in- 
terlude. " You want petting . . ." He was a little 
awkward at it nevertheless, inexperienced. 

" Isn't there some great man you could see, and 
who would reassure you, some specialist?" 

" The Roopes ? " She laughed, and her short 
fit of seriousness was over. 

" I will find out who is the best man, the head 
of the profession. No one but the best is good 
enough for my Margaret. You will let me take 
you to him? " 

" Perhaps. When I come back to London ; if 
I am not well by then." 


" You like this place, don't you ? " he asked. 
" You don't think it is the place ? " 

" Pineland and Carbies? I am not sure. If I 
had not taken it for three months I believe I'd go 
back today or tomorrow. I ran away from you 
. . . and social guns. I'm armed now." He 
thanked her for that mutely. " Do you really love 
this ill-fixed house?" 

" How should I not ? But what does that mat- 
ter? Leave it empty if it doesn't suit you. There 
is Queen Anne's Gate." 

" I know, but we should never be alone." 

" Nothing matters but that you should be well, 
happy. I'd take my vacation now, stay down, only 
I want at least six weeks in June. I could not do 
with less than six weeks." And this time the inter- 
lude was longer, more silent. Margaret recovered 
herself first. 

" About Peter Kennedy. He really suits me bet- 
ter than any of the other doctors here. Lansdowne 
is a soft-soapy grinning pessimist, with an all-con- 
quering air. He tells you how ill you are as if it 
doesn't matter since he has warned you, and will 
come constantly to remind you. There is a Dr. 
Lushington who, I believe, knows more than all 
of them put together, but he is a delicate man him- 
self, overburdened with children, and cramped with 
small means. He gives me fresh heartache, I am 
so sorry for him all the time he is with me. Lans- 


downe and Lushington have each young partners 
or assistants, straight from London hospitals, smell- 
ing of iodoform, talking in abstruse medical or sur- 
gical terms, nosing for operations, as dogs for truf- 
fles. You don't want me to have any of these, do 

" I want you to do what you please, now and 

" Even if it pleases me that Peter Kennedy should 
medicine and make love to me ? " 

" Even that. Does he make love to you ? " 

"What did he tell you?" 

" That he adored you that you treated him like 
a dog." 

" He gives me amyl, bromide. He was only a 
country practitioner when I first knew him, with 
a gift for music, but not for diagnosis." 

"And now?" 

" He has done more reading, medical reading, 
since I have been here than in all his life before. 
Treatises on the heart; all that have ever been 
written. He is really studying, he intends to take a 
higher degree. In music s too, I have given him an 

Gabric/ was obviously, nevertheless, not quite 
satisfied, started a tentative " but," and would per- 
haps have enquired whether ultimately it would 
he for Peter Kennedy's good that she had done so 
much for him. Anne, however, intervened, coming 


down dressed for the journey, very agitated at 
finding the two together. She gave him no op- 
portunity for further conversation, monopolising 
the attention of the whole household, in searching 
for something she had mislaid, which it was event- 
ually decided had possibly been left in Hampstead ! 
Her conscience reproached her for her behaviour 
over lunch, and she found the cup of tea which 
Margaret pressed upon her before she left " de- 

" I do so much like this Chinese tea, ever so 
much better than the Indian. You remember, Ga- 
briel, don't you, that rough tea we used to have 
from Pounds? . . ." And she told a wholly ir- 
relevant anecdote of rival grocers and their wares. 

She betrayed altogether in the last ten minutes 
an uneasy semi-consciousness that her visit had not 
been a great success and talked quickly in belated 

" You've been so kind to me. I am afraid I have 
not responded as I ought. My silly headache, which 
of course I never exactly had . . . you know what 
I mean, don't you? And I did no credit to your 
beautiful lunch." 

Margaret succeeded in assuring her that she 
had behaved exactly as a guest should, whilst Ga- 
briel stood by silently. 

" I hope you will come again," she said, and Anne 
replied nervously, noncommittal. 


" That would be nice, wouldn't it ? But I am 
always so busy, and now that I have my treatment 
it is so much more difficult to get away . . ." 

A kiss was avoided. Margaret went to the hall 
door with them, but not to the station. Gabriel 
had asked her not to do so. 

" You ought to rest after yesterday." 

" Yes, of course she ought to rest," Anne cho- 
russed. There was a certain awkwardness in the 
farewells, somewhat mitigated by the luggage that 
occupied, so to speak, the foreground of the pic- 
ture. As they drove away Anne nodded her head, 
threw a kiss. But neither Margaret nor Gabriel 
was conscious of her condescension, only of how 
long it was from now until next Friday. 

" I am glad that is over," Anne said complacently, 
as the carriage turned through the gates. " It was 
very trying, very trying indeed. In many ways 
she is quite a nice person. But not suited to us, 
in our quiet lives. Divorced too! I thought there 
was something last night. So ... so overdressed 
and peculiar. I am glad I came down before things 
had gone any further . . ." 

"Further than what?" Gabriel asked her, wak- 
ing up, if a little slowly, to the position. " Mar- 
garet and I are to be married in about a month's 
time. You shall stay on in the flat if you wish. I 
think I shall be able to arrange . . . Have you 


thought about any one you would like to share it 
with you? " 

" Any one I should like ! Share it with me ? " 
She was very shrill and he hushed her, although 
there was no one to hear but the flyman, who 
flicked at the trotting horse and wheezed indif- 
ferently. They got to the station long before Anne 
had taken in the fact that Gabriel was telling her his 
intention, not asking her advice. In the train; 
after they got home ; and for many weary days she 
showed her unreasoning and ineffective opposition. 
It was not worth recording, or would not be but 
for the sympathetic interest taken by the Roopes, 
when Anne, reluctantly and under pressure, gave 
her brother's approaching marriage as a reason for 
her own impaired health, and the failure of their 
ministrations. Anne felt it her duty to tell them 
this, and Mrs. Roope no less hers to make further 
enquiries; the results being more far-reaching 
than either of them could have anticipated. James 
Capel was a relation of the Roopes and it was 
natural they should be interested in the wife who 
had so flagrantly divorced him. 

Ten days after Anne's unlucky visit to Carbies, 
Gabriel received a bewildering telegram. He had 
been down once in the interval, but had found it 
unnecessary to speak of Anne, her vagaries c? 
vapours. He stayed at Carbies because once having 
done so it seemed absurd that his room should re- 


main empty. The very contrast between this visit 
and the last accentuated its intimate charm. Anne 
was not there, and Peter Kennedy's services not 
being required, he had the good sense or taste to 
keep away. Margaret, closely questioned, admitted 
to having stayed a couple of days in bed, after the 
last week-end, admitted to weakness, but not ill- 

" I have always been like that ever since I was a 
child. What is called, I believe, ' a little delicate.' 
I get very easily over-tired. Then if I don't pull 
up and recuperate with bed and Benger, I get an 
attack of pain . . ." 

"Of pain! My poor darling!" 

" Unbearable. I mean 7 can't bear it. Gabriel, 
don't you think you are doing a very foolish thing, 
taking this half -broken life of mine? " 

" If only the time were here! " 

" Sometimes I think it will never come," she 
sighed. " I am clairvoyante in a way. I don't see 
myself in harbour." 

" Only three weeks more, then you shall be as 
clairvoyante as you like." He laughed happily, 
holding her to him. 

On this visit she seemed glad of his love, to de- 
pend upon and need him. He always had that for 
which to be glad. In truth that weakness of which 
she spoke, and which was the cause, or perhaps the 
effect, of two unmistakable heart attacks, had left 


her in the mood for Gabriel Stanton, his serious 
tenderness, and deep, almost overwhelming devo- 
tion. She was a whimsical, strange little creature, 
genius as she called herself, and for the moment had 
ceased to act. 

The weather changed, it rained almost continu- 
ously from Saturday night until Monday morning. 
They spent the time between the music room and 
the uncongenial dining-room where they had their 
meals. On the sofa, she lay practically in his arms, 
she sheltered there. She had been frightened by 
her own agitation and uncertainty; the attacks 
that followed. And now believed that all she 
needed was calm ; happy certainty ; Gabriel Stanton. 

" Don't make me care for you too much," she 
said on one of these days. " I want you to rest 
me, not to get excited over you, to keep calm." 

" I am here only for you to use. Think of me 
as refuge, sanctuary, what you will." 

" A sort of cathedral ? " 

" You may laugh at me. I like you to laugh at 
me. Why not as a cathedral, cool and restful ? " 

" Cool and restful," she repeated. " Yes, you 
are like that. But suppose I want to wander out- 
side, restless creature that I am; suppose nothing 
you do satisfies me ? " 

" I'll do more." 

"And after that?" 

" Always more." 


There were no scenes between them ; Gabriel was 
not the man for scenes, he was deeply happy, 
humbly happy, not knowing his own worth, much 
more careful of her than any woman could have 
been, and gentle beyond speech. Even in those days 
she wondered how it would be with her if she were 
well, robust, whether all these little cares would not 
irritate her, whether this was indeed the lover for 
her. There was something donnish and Oxonian 
about him. 

" I'm not sure I look upon you as a cathedral, 
whether it isn't more as a college." 

When he could not follow her he remained silent. 

" Think of me any way you want so long as you 
do think of me," he said, after a pause. 

" I thought you would say that." 

" Was it what you wanted me to say ? " 

" I only want to hear you say you adore me. 
You say it so nicely too." 

" Do I ? I don't know what I have done to de- 
serve you." 

" Just loved me," she said dreamily. 

" Any man would do that." 

" Not in the same way." 

" As long as my way pleases you I am the most 
fortunate of men." 

" Even if I never wrote another line? " 

"As if it mattered which way you express your- 
self, by writing or simply living." 


" Such love is enervating. Are you not ambitious 

" You've done enough." 

" I am capable of doing much better work." 

" You are capable of anything." 

" Except of that book on Staffordshire Pottery." 

" That was only to have been a stop-gap. You 
replaced that with me, darling that you are ! " 

"What will Sir George say when he knows?" 

" He will say ' Lucky fellow ' and envy me. Mar- 
garet, about how we shall live, and where ? " 

He told her again he was not rich. There was 
Anne, a certain portion of his income must be put 
aside for Anne. 

" You are quite rich enough. For the matter of 
that I have still my marriage settlement. Father 
would give me more if we needed it. James had 
thousands from him." 

Then they both coloured, she in shame that this 
ineffable James had ever called her wife. He, be- 
cause the idea that any of her comforts or luxuries 
should emanate from her father or from any one 
but himself was repellent to him. He would have 
talked ways and means, considered the advantages 
of house or flat, spoken of furniture, but that at 
first she was wayward and said it was unlucky to 
" count chickens before they were boiled, or was it 
a watched pot ? " She would only banter and say 
things that were without meaning or for which he 


could not find the meaning. Presumably, however, 
she allowed him to lead her back to the subject. 

" I have in my mind sometimes a little old house 
in Westminster, built in the seventeenth or eight- 
eenth century, with panelled walls and uneven floors. 
And hunting for furniture in old curiosity shops. 
It mustn't be earlier than the eighteenth century, by 
the way. Not too early in that; or my Stafford- 
shire won't look well. In the living-room with the 
eighteenth-century chintz I see all little rosebuds 
and green leaves. A few colour prints on the 

Gabriel had spoken of his collection of old prints. 
He said he would set about looking for the house 
at once. He told her there were a few such still 
standing, they were snapped up so eagerly. 

Soon, quite excitedly they were both planning, 
talking of old oak, James I. silver, William and 
Mary walnut. Of all their happy hours this I think 
was the happiest they ever spent. Their tastes were 
so congenial, Gabriel's knowledge so far beyond 
her own; the home they would build so essentially 
suited to them. There Margaret would write and 
play, hold something of a salon. He would see that 
all her surroundings were appropriate, dignified, 
congenial. She would be the centre of an ascend- 
ing chorus of admiration. He would, as it were, 
conduct the band. With adoring eyes he would 
watch her effects, temper this or straighten that, 


setting the stage and noting the audience ; all for her 

When they parted on that Sunday night they 
could scarcely tear themselves asunder. Three 
weeks seemed so long, so desperately long. Mar- 
garet, woman of moods, suddenly launched at him 
that they would have no honeymoon at all. He was 
to look for the house at once, to find it without 

" Then I'll come up and confirm ; set the painters 
to work, begin to look for things." 

Gabriel pleaded for his honeymoon. 

" But it will all be honeymoon." 

"I want you all to myself; for at least a little 
time. I won't be selfish, but for a little while, just 
you and I ..." 

He must have pleaded well, for though she made 
him no promise in words he knew she had an- 
swered " yes " by her eyes downcast, and breath 
that came a little quicker, by the clinging hands, 
by finding her in his arms, her undenying lips. 


ON Monday morning he went up to town with- 
out seeing her again. Tuesday he got that fateful 
telegram : 

Stevens seen man hanging about house, shabby 
peering man. Questioned cook. Sick with fear. 
Send back all my letters at once by special messen- 
ger. In panic. On no account come down or near 
me but letters urgent. 

Stevens had told her in the evening whilst put- 
ting her to bed. Stevens knew all about the case 
and was alert for possible complications. The 
shabby man had been under the observation of 
cook and housemaid. 

" And much satisfaction he got out of what they 
told him. Askin' questions an' peerin' about ! Cook 
told him off, said no one hadn't been stayin' here, 
an' if they had 'twas no business of his." 

Margaret, pale and stricken, asked if the man 
looked like . . . like a detective. 

" Lawyer's clerk more like, but I thought I'd 
best let you know." 

The news would have kept until the morning, but 
one could not expect a servant to take into con- 



sideration the effect her stories might have on Mar- 
garet's sensitiveness. She had no sleep at all. 
Sleepless and shaken she lay awake the whole night, 
conjuring up ghosts, chiefly the ghost or vision of 
James, coarse-mouthed, cruel, vindictive. The bare 
idea of the case being reopened made her shudder, 
she had been so tormented in court, her modesties 
outraged. She knew she could never, would never 
bear it again. If the dreadful choice were all that 
was left to her she would give up Gabriel. At the 
thought of giving up Gabriel it seemed there was 
nothing else for which she cared, nothing on 

She conjured up not only ghosts but absurdities. 
The shabby peering man would go to Hampstead, 
question Gabriel's silly sister, be shown letters. 
This was more than she could bear. On the last 
occasion letters of hers had been read in court ; love 
letters to James! She cringed in her bed at the 
remembrance of them. And what had she written 
to Gabriel? Not one word came back to her of 
anything she had written. At first she knew they 
had been laboured letters, laboured or literary. But 
since she had been down here, and Peter Kennedy, 
by sheer force of contrast, had taught her how much 
she could care for a really good and clever man, 
she had written with entire unrestraint, freely. 

She wrote that telegram to Gabriel Stanton at 
four o'clock in the morning, going down to the 


drawing-room for a telegram form in dressing- 
gown and slippers, her hair in two plaits, shivering 
with cold and apprehension. The house was full 
of eerie sounds; she heard pursuing feet. After 
she had secured the forms she rushed for the shelter 
of her room and the warmth of her bed ; cowering 
under the clothes, not able for a long time to do 
the task she had set herself. When she became 
sufficiently rested she took more time and care over 
the wording of her telegram to Gabriel than she 
might have done over a sonnet. She wanted to say 
just enough, not too much, not to bring him down, 
yet to make the matter urgent. Stevens was rung 
for at six o'clock for tea and perhaps sympathy. 

" Get me a cup of tea as quickly as you can, I've 
been awake the whole night. I want this telegram 
sent off as soon as the office opens, not later anyway 
than eight o'clock. Keep the house as quiet as you 
can. I shall try and sleep now." 

She slept until Gabriel's telegram came back. 

One of our own men coming with package by 

She met the train, looking pale and wretched. 
Stanton's man wore the familiar cap. She had been 
to the office two or three times about the pottery 
book, and he recognised her easily. 

" You have a parcel for me ? " 


" Mr. Gabriel said I was to tell you there was a 
letter inside." 

"A letter! But I thought ... oh, yes! Give 
it to me." 

" And I was to ask if there was an answer." 

" An answer, but I can't write here ! " 

" He didn't know you was meeting me. ' Go 
up to the house,' he said ; ' give it to her in her own 
hands. Ask if there is any answer.'' 

"Tell him . . . tell him I'll write," she said 

But as yet she had not read. What would he say, 
what comfort send her ? For all her wired definite- 
ness she wished he had come himself, had a mo- 
ment's disloyalty to him, thought he should have 
disregarded her wishes, rushed down, even if they 
had met only at the station. He need not have been 
so punctilious! 

She could not let the man go back until she had 
read and answered Gabriel's letter. She made him 
drive back with her to Carbies, seated on the box 
beside the driver. She held the precious package 
tight, but did not open it. For that she must be 

Stanton's man was handed over to the house- 
hold's care for lunch or tea. He was to go back by 
the 5.5. " Mr. Gabriel " had given him his in- 

Now she was at her writing-table and alone. 


The packet was sealed with sealing-wax. Inside 
there were all her own letters, and a closed en- 
velope superscribed in the dear familiar hand- 
writing. She tore it open. After she had read 
her lover's letter she had no more reproaches for 
him, vague or otherwise. 

My Own, my Beloved: 

Here are the letters. I could refuse you nothing, 
but to part from these has overwhelmed me, weak- 
ened me. I have turned coward. For it is all so 
unknown. I am in the dark, bewildered. Your 
wire was an awful shock. I am haunted with 
terror, the harder to bear because it came in the 
midst of all the sweet sacred thoughts and re- 
membrances of a wonderful week-end, of the things 
3 r ou said or allowed me to say which filled me with 
high hopes, promise of joy and happiness I dared 
hardly dwell upon. I don't know what has hap- 
pened. I only know you must not be alone and 
have forbidden me to come to you. Rescind your 
decision, I implore you. As I think and think with 
restless brain and heart my great ache and anxiety 
are that you are in trouble and that I am away and 
useless, just when I would give my soul for the 
chance of standing by you and with you in any 
need and for always. By all the remembrance of 
our happy hours, by all the new and sweet happi- 
ness you have given me, by all I yearn for in the 
future give me this chance. Let me come to you. 
To think of you suffering alone is maddening. 
Trust me, give me your trust, solemnly I swear not 
to fail you whatever may happen. It is of you 


only I am thinking. I can be strong for you, wise 
for you, and should thank God, both in pride and 
humbleness, for the chance to serve you; to serve 
you with reverence and love. Send for me. Tell 
me let me share all and always. 

Devotedly yours, 

G. S. 

She sat a long time with the letter in her hand, 
read it again and yet again. She forgot the night 
terrors, began to question herself. Of what had she 
been so frightened? What had Stevens told her? 
Only that a shabby man had questioned cook about 
their visitors. Now she wanted to analyse and 
sift the trouble, get to bedrock with it. She rang 
the bell and sent for the maids. They had singu- 
larly little to tell her ; summarised it came to this : 
A shabby man had hung about Carbies all Mon- 
day; cook had called him up to the back door 
and asked him what he was after " No good, I'll 
be bound," she told him. He had paid her 
a compliment and said that " with her in the 
kitchen it was no wonder men 'ung about." 
And after that they seemed to have had some- 
thing of a colloquy and cook had been asked 
if she walked out with anybody. " Like his nasty 
impidence," she commented, when telling the story 
to her mistress. " I up and told him whether I 
walked out with anybody or not I wasn't for the 
likes of him." 


It was not without question and cross-question 
Margaret elicited that this final snub was not given 
until after tea. Cook defended the invitation. 

" It's 'ard if in an establishment like this you 
can't offer a young man a cup of tea." She com- 
plained, not without waking a sympathetic echo in 
Margaret's own heart, that Pineland was that dull, 
not a bit o' life in it. Married men came round 
with the carts and a girl delivered the milk. 

" 'E was pleasant company enough till 'e started 
arskin' questions." 

Then it appeared it was Stevens who " gave him 
as good as he gave," asking him what it was he did 
want to know, and being satirical with him. The 
housemaid had chimed in with Stevens; there may 
have been some little feminine jealousy at the back 
of it. Cook was young and frivolous, the two 
others more sedate. Stevens and the housemaid 
must have set upon cook and her presumed admirer. 
In any case the young man was given his conge 
immediately after tea, before he had established a 
footing. Stevens' report had been exaggerated, 
Margaret's terror excessive and unreasonable. She 
dismissed the erring cook now with the mildest of 
rebukes, then set herself to write to Gabriel. The 
time was limited, since the man was returning by 
the 5.5. She heard later, by the way, that he quite 
replaced the stranger in the cook's facile affections. 
Stevens again was responsible for the statement that 


cook was " that light and talked away to any man." 
Contrasting with herself, Stevens, who " didn't 
'old with making herself cheap." 

Margaret wrote slowly, even if it were only a 
letter. She had to recall her mood, to analyse the 
panic. She was quite calm now. His letter seemed 
exaggerated beyond what the occasion or the tele- 
gram demanded. 


How good you are, and safe. Your letter calmed 
and comforted me. Panic ! no other word describes 
my condition at four o'clock this morning after a 
sleepless night. Servants' gossip was at the bot- 
tom of it. I have always wished for a dumb maid, 
but Stevens' tongue is hung on vibrating wires, 
never still. There was a man, it seems now he was 
a suitor of cook's! He did ask questions, but 
chiefly as to her hours off duty, whether she was 
already " walking out," an expression for an en- 
gagement on probation, I understand. He was an 
aspirant. I cannot write you a proper letter, my 
bad night has turned me into a wreck, a " beautiful 
ruin " as you would say. No, you wouldn't, you 
are too polite. You must take it then that all is 
well; except that your choice has fallen upon a 
woman easily unnerved. Was I so foolish after 
all? James is capable of any blackguardism, he 
would hate that I should be happy with you. He 
can no longer excuse his conduct to me, or my re- 
sentment of it on the plea that I am unlike other 
women. I know his mind so well ! " Women of 
genius have no sex," he said among other things 


to account for the failure of our married life. He 
can say so no longer. " Women of genius have 
no sex ! " It isn't true. Do you see me reddening 
as I write it? What about that little house in 
Westminster ? Have you written to all the agents ? 
Are you searching? Sunday night I was so happy. 
One large room there must be. Colour prints on 
the walls and chintz on the big sofas, my Stafford- 
shire everywhere, a shrine somewhere, central place 
for the musicians; cushions of all shades of roses, 
some a pale green. I can't see the carpets or cur- 
tains yet. I incline to dark green for both. No, 
I am not frivolous, only emotional. I think I shall 
alter when we are together, begin to develop and 
grow uniform in the hothouse of your love, under 
the forcing glass of your great regard. It is into 
that house, under that glass I want to creep, to be 
warmed through, to blossom. 

Picture me then as no longer unhappy or dis- 
tressed, although all day I have neither worked 
nor played. Your letter healed me ; take thanks for 
it therefore and come down Saturday as usual, with 
a plan of the house that is to be. (By the way, I 
must have dog stoves.) In a few days now I, or 
you, will tell my father and stepmother. The days 
crawl, each one emptier than the other, until the 
one that brings you. A rivierdici. 

She sent it, but not the old ones back. She 
wanted to read them again, it would be an occupa- 
tion for the evening. She would place them in 
order, together with his answers. She saw a story 
there. " The Love Tale of a Woman of Genius." 


After all, both she and Gabriel were of sufficient 
interest for the world to wish to read about them. 
( It was not until a few days later, by the way, that 
the title was altered, others tried, that the disin- 
genuous diary began, the MS. started.) 

She slept well that night and wrote him again in 
the morning, the most passionate love-letter of any 
of the series. Then she sent for Peter Kennedy. 
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday had to be got 
through. And then another week, and one other. 
And Safety, safety with Gabriel ! 

Peter came hot-foot like a starving animal. It 
was five days since he had seen her, and he looked 
worn and cadaverous. She gave him an intermit- 
tent pulse to count, told him she had had a sleep- 
less night, found herself restless, unnerved, told him 
no more. He was purely professional at first, 
brusquely uneasy about her, blaming her for all 
she had done and left undone, the tonic she had 
missed, the unrest to which she admitted. After 
that they found little more to say to each other, 
though Peter could not tear himself away. 

She talked best to Peter through the piano, as he 
to her. Even in these few weeks his playing had 
enormously improved. The whole man had altered. 
She had had more and different effect upon him 
than would have seemed possible at first. He had 
never been in love before, only known vulgar in- 
trigue, how to repel the glad-eye attentions of pro- 


vincial maidens to whom his size was an attraction, 
and his stupidity no deterrent. This was some- 
thing altogether different, and in a measure he had 
grown to meet it, become more ambitious and less 
demonstrative, perceptibly humbler. She knew he 
loved her but made light of it. He filled up the 
hours until Gabriel would come again. That was 
all. But less amusingly now that she had less 
difficulty in managing him. This mutual attrac- 
tion of music slurred over many weak places in 
their intercourse. 

Wednesday he sat through the afternoon, stayed 
on to dinner playing to her and listening. Thurs- 
day he paid her a professional visit in the morning, 
would have sounded her heart but that his stetho- 
scope was unsteady, and he heard his own heart- 
beats louder and more definitely than hers. Thurs- 
day evening he ran up on his bicycle to see if she 
was all right. There was more music, and for all 
his newly found self-restraint a scene at parting, a 
scene that troubled her because she could not hold 
herself guiltless in bringing it about, and Gabriel 
was in her mind now to the exclusion of any other 
man. Gabriel had won solidly that which at first 
was little more than an incitement, an inclina- 

Gabriel Stanton would not have made love to an- 
other man's fiancee. His standard was higher than 
her own, just as his scholarship was deeper and 


more profound. She was proud that he loved her, 
simpler and more sincere than she had ever been 

Tonight, when Peter Kennedy broke down, and 
cried at her feet and told her that his days were 
hell and all his nights sleepless, she was ashamed 
and distressed, much more repelled than attracted. 
She told him she would refuse to see him, that she 
would not have him at the house at all if he could 
not learn to behave himself. 

" You are a disgrace to your profession," she 
said crossly, knowing she was not blameless. 

" You do not really think so, do you ? " he asked. 
" I can't help being in love with you." 

" Yes, I do. You have given me a pain." 

When she said that and pressed both hands over 
her heart his whole attitude changed. It was true 
that under the influence of his love his skill had 
developed. Her lips grew pale and her eyes fright- 
ened. He made her lie down, loosened her dress, 
gave her restoratives. The pain had been but slight, 
and she recovered rapidly. 

" It was entirely your fault," she said when she 
was able to speak. " You know I can't bear any 
agitation or excitement." 

"The last you'll have through me, I swear it. 
You can trust me." 

" Until the first time the spirit moves you." She 
never had considered his feelings and did not pause 


to do so now. " You've no self-control. You dump 
your ungainly love upon me . . ." 

" And you throw it back in my face with both 
hands, as if it were mud. But you'll never have 
another chance, never . . ." 

She was a little sorry for him, and to show it 
reproached him more. 

" Why do you do it, then ? You know that, as 
far as I can be, I am engaged to Gabriel Stanton, 
that the moment the decree is made absolute we shall 
be married. Perhaps I ought not to have let you 
come so often . . ." 

" I fell in love with you the very first moment 
I saw you. If I'd never seen you again it would 
have been the same thing. And you've nothing to 
reproach yourself with. You've made a different 
man of me. I play better." 

" And your taste in music has improved." He 
looked so forlorn standing up and saying he played 
the piano better since he had known her, that she 
regretted the cruelty of her words. He had relieved 
her pain not once but many times. Instead of 
sending him away, as she had intended, she kept 
him with her until quite late. She let him tell her 
about himself ; and what a change his love for her 
had brought into his life, and there was nothing 
he would not do, nor sacrifice for her. He said, 
humbly enough, that he knew she could never, never 
have cared for such a man as himself. 


" Stanton has been to a public school and uni- 
versity, is no end of a swell at classics. I got what 
little education I have at St. Paul's and the London 
University, walked the hospitals and thought well 
of myself for doing it, that I was coming up in the 
world. My father was a country dentist. I've 
studied more, learnt more since you've been here 
than in all my student days. You've opened a new 
world to me. I didn't know there were women 
like you. After the girls I've met ! You were such 
a ... lady, and all that. You are so clever too, 
and satirical, I don't mind you being down on me. 
It isn't as if you were strong." 

She smiled and asked him whether her delicacy 
was an additional charm. 

" Well, yes, in a way it is. I can always bring 
you round. I want you to go on letting me be your 
doctor. You hardly had that pain a minute tonight. 
It is angina, you know, genuine angina pectoris, 
and I can do no end of things for it." 

" You don't mean I must always have these 
pains, that they will grow worse ? " She grew pale 
and he saw he had made a mistake, hastening to re- 
assure her. 

" You've only got to live quietly, take things 

" Oh, that will be all right. When I am mar- 
ried everything will be easy," she said almost 


placently. And then in plaintive explanation or 
apology added, " I bear pain so badly." 

" And I may go on doctoring you? " 

" I don't suppose I shall send to Pineland if I 
should feel not quite well," she answered seriously. 
" We are going to live in London." 

" I'll come up to London. There is no difficulty 
about that. I've started reading for my M.D. I 
can get back to my old hospital." She rallied him 
a little and then sent him away. 

" I shall expect to hear you are house physician 
when I return from my honeymoon ! " 

" May I come up in the morning ? I want to 
hear that attack has not recurred." 

" The morning is a long way off, the night has 
to be got through first." Suddenly she remembered 
her panic and had a faint recrudescence of fear. 
" I've so many things on my mind. I wish you 
could ensure me a good night." 

" But I can," he said eagerly. " I can easily." 

" And without after-effects? " 

" Without any bad after-effects." 

" The bromide ! but it always makes me feel dull 
and stupid." 


" I am frightened of veronal." 

" Adolin, paraldehyde, trional, a small injec- 
tion of morphia ? " 


" But it is so late. You would have to get any- 
thing from a chemist." 

" No, I shouldn't. I've got my case." 

"Your case!" 

" Yes." He showed it to her, full of strange 
little bottles and unknown drugs. She showed in- 
terest, asking what was this or the other, then 
changing her mind suddenly : 

" No, I won't try any experiments. I'll sleep, or 
I'll stay awake." 

"You don't trust me?" 

" Indeed I do, but I distrust drugs. Unless I am 
in pain, then I would take anything. Tell me, can 
you really always help me if I get into pain? 
Would you ? At any risk ? " 

" At any risk to myself, not at any risk to 
you. But we won't talk of pain, it mustn't hap- 

"But if it did?" she persisted. 

" Don't fear, I couldn't see you in pain." 

" Yet I've always heard and sometimes seen 
how callous doctors are." 

" But I'm not only a doctor . . ." 

" Hush ! I thought we had agreed you were. 
My very good and concerned doctor. Now you 
really must go. Yes, you can come up in the 

" You will take your bromide ? " 

"If I need it. Good-night!" 


Margaret slept well. But she heard from Stevens 
again next morning over her toilette that cook was 
not to be trusted, should be got rid of, that she 
was deceitful, had been seen, after all, with the 
shabby man from London. 

" She took her oath that she'd never mentioned 
you to him, you nor your visitors, only Dr. Ken- 
nedy who attends you. But I'd not believe her 
oath. A hat with feathers she had on, and a ring 
on her ringer when she went out with him. Such 
goings-on are not fit for a respectable Christian 
house, and so I told her." 

Margaret listened inattentively, and irritably. 
She did not want ever to think again of that shabby 
man or her own unreasoned fears. She bade the 
maid be silent, attend to her duties. Stevens sniffed 
and grumbled under her breath. Afterwards she 
asked if the doctor were coming up again this 


" He might want to sound you. You'd best have 
your Valenciennes slip." 

" Don't be so absurd." 

Nevertheless the query set her thinking of Peter 
Kennedy and his love for her. Desultory thinking 
connects itself naturally with a leisurely toilette. 
She was sorry for Peter and composed phrases for 
him, comforting noncommittal phrases. She 
thought it would do him good to get to London, his 


ideas wanted expanding, his provincialisms brushed 
off. She was under the impression she would do 
great things for Peter one day, let him into her 
circle; that salon she and Gabriel would hold. Her 
father should consult him, she would help him to 
build up a practice. 

When he came up, later on, she told him some- 
thing of her good intentions. They did not interest 
him very much, it was not service he wanted from 
her. He heard her night had been good, that she 
felt rested and better this morning. He had not 
been told what had disturbed the last one. They 
were sitting together in the drawing-room, doctor 
and patient, when the parlourmaid came in with 
a card. Margaret looked at it and laughed, passed 
it over to him. 

" That's Anne," she said. " Anne evidently 
thinks I am a hopeful subject." 

The card bore the name of " Mrs. Roope, Chris- 
tian Healer." 

" Stay and see her with me," she said to Peter. 
" It will be almost like a consultation, won't it ? 
.,' . . Yes," she told the parlourmaid, " I will see 
the lady. Let her come up. Now, Peter Kennedy, 
is opportunity to show your quality, your tact. I 
expect to be amused, I want to be amused." 

Peter was not loath to stay, whatever the excuse. 

Mrs. Roope, tall, and dressed something like a 
hospital nurse, in long flowing cloak and bonnet with 


veil, was ushered in, but delayed a little in her 
greeting, because that hysterical affection of the 
throat of which Anne had spoken, caught and held 
her, and at first she could only make uncanny 
noises, something between a hiccough and a bad 

" I've come to see you," she said not once but 
several times without getting any further. 

" Sit down," Margaret said good-naturedly. 
" This is my doctor. I would suggest you ask him 
to cure your affliction, only I understand you prefer 
your own methods." 

" There is nothing the matter with me," said the 
Christian Scientist with an unavoidable contortion. 

" So I see," said Margaret, her eyes sparkling 
with humour. 

" I would prefer that this interview should take 
place without witnesses." 

Margaret found that a little surprising, but even 
then she was not disturbed. There was no con- 
nection in her mind between Anne Stanton's healer 
and the shabby man who had wooed her cook. 

" I have no secrets from this gentleman," she 
answered, her eyes still laughing. " He has no 
prejudice against you irregular practitioners. You 
can decide together what is to be done for me. He 
is my present physician." 

" I had thought he was " bupp, bupp, explo- 
sion " your co-respondent," 


When she said that Peter Kennedy looked up. 
He tingled all over and his forehead flushed. He 
made a step forward and then stood still. His 
instinct told him here was an enemy, an enemy of 
Margaret's. He looked, too, at Margaret. 

" Your name is Gabriel Stanton." 

" My name is Peter Kennedy." 

Margaret's quick mind leapt to the truth, saw, 
and foresaw what was coming. She turned very 
pale, as if she had been struck. Peter Kennedy 
moved nearer to her. 

" Shall I turn her out? " he asked. 

Mrs. Roope fanned herself with her bonnet 
strings as if she had said nothing unusual. 

" You had better see me alone," she said, not 
menacingly but as if she had established her point. 
To save repetition the rest of her conversation 
can be recorded without the affliction that re- 
tarded it. 

" No," Margaret answered, her courage at low 
ebb. " Stay where you are," she said to Peter 

" You don't suppose I am going, do you ? " he 
asked. Mrs. Roope, after a glance, ignored 

" Perhaps you are not aware that you have been 
under observation for some time. My call on you 
is one of kindness, of kindness only. James Capel 
is my husband's cousin." 


At the name of James Capel Margaret gave a 
little low cry and Peter Kennedy sat down by her 
side, abruptly. 

" We heard you were being visited by Gabriel 
Stanton and a watch was set upon you. Your de- 
cree is not yet made absolute. It never will be now, 
if the King's Proctor is informed. James, I know, 
does not wish for a divorce from you." 

Margaret sat very still and speechless, any 
movement, she knew, might bring on that sickening 
pain. Peter too realised the position, although he 
had so little to guide him. 

" Answer her. Don't let her think you are afraid. 
It's blackmail she's after. I am sure of it," he 
whispered to his patient. Thus strengthened Mar- 
garet made an effort for self-control. Peter saw 
then that the fear was not as new to her as it was 
to him. 

" So it is you who have been having this house 
watched ? Is it perhaps your husband who has been 
making love to my cook ? " Since Peter Kennedy 
was here she would not show the cold fear at her 
heart. Mrs. Roope was not offended. She had 
been kicked out of too many houses by irate 
fathers, brothers, and husbands to be sensitive. 

" No, that is not my husband. The gentleman 
who has been here is my nephew. As for making 
love to your cook, I will not admit it. I suggested 
your maid." 


"If she had only sent her husband instead of 
coming herself. One can talk to a man." 

Peter might have been talking to himself. He 
had risen and now was walking about the room on 
soft-balled feet like a captive panther. 

" You don't know our religion, our creed. We 
have the true Christian spirit and desire to help 
others. The sensual cannot be made the mouthpiece 
of the spiritual. Sensuality palsies the right hand 
and causes the left to let go its divine grasp. That 
is why I interfere, for your own good as we are 
enjoined. Uncleanliness must lead to the body's 
hurt, in so far as it can be hurt. But mind and 
matter being one, what hurts the one will hurt the 

" You can cut the cackle and come to the horses," 
Peter interrupted rudely. He had summed up the 
situation and thought he might control it. To him 
it was obvious the woman was a common black- 
mailer, although she had formulated no terms. 
" You are making a great deal of the fact that Mr. 
Stanton has been down here two or three times. I 
suppose you know he is Mrs. Capel's publisher." 

" Do not interfere, young man. You are a mem- 
ber of a mendacious profession. I am not here to 
speak to you. I know Gabriel Stanton slept in the 
house," she said to Margaret. 

"What then? Show us your foul mind, if you 


" There is no mind . . ." 

" Oh ! damn your jargon. What have you come 
here for ? What do you want ? " He stopped 
opposite to her in his restless walking. There shot 
a gleam of avarice into her dull eye. 

"Is he your mouthpiece?" she asked Margaret, 
who nodded her assent. " I want nothing for my- 

"For whom, then?" 

" The labourer is worthy of his hire. . . . Our 
Church . . ." 

" You call it a church, do you ? And you are 
short of cash. There are not enough silly women, 
half-witted men. You want money . . ." 

" For the promulgation of our tenets." She in- 
terrupted. " Yes, we need money for that, for the 
regeneration of the world." 

" And to keep your own house going." 

" Your insults do not touch me. I am uplifted 
from them. Nothing touches the true believer." 

Margaret called him over to her and whis- 
pered : 

" Find out whether James knows anything of this 
or whether she is acting on her own; what she 
really wants. I can't talk to her." 

Mrs. Roope went on talking and spluttering out 

" Cannot you see that Mrs. Capel is ill? " he said 


The Christian Healer was quick to take the open- 
ing he gave her. 

" Sickness is a growth of error, springing from 
man's ignorance of Christian Science." 

"Oh! more rot rot rot, rot! Shut it! What 
we want to know is if there is any one in this but 
yourself. We don't admit a word of truth in your 
allegations. They are lies, and we have no doubt 
you know they are lies." 

" Mrs. Capel will make her own deductions. 
What have you to do with it, young man ? " 

" I'll tell you what I have to do with it. I am 
here to protect this lady." 

" Mr. Capel and his lawyer will understand." 

" That isn't what you came down here to say." 

" I knew that I should be guided. I prayed about 
it with my husband." 

" A pretty sight ! ' The Blackmailers' Prayer ! ' 
How it must have stank to Heaven ! And this fel- 
low here ? " 

" My nephew. An honourable young man, one 
of the believers." 

" He would be. What's the proverb? Bon sang 
ne pent pas mentir. Well, for the whole lot of you, 
your prayerful husband, your honourable nephew, 
and yourself ? " 

" What is it you are asking me? " 

" As you are here and not with James Capel it 
is fair to presume you've got your price. Mrs. Capel 


does not wish to argue or defend herself, she wants 
to be left alone. You don't know anything because 
there is nothing to know. But I daresay you could 
make mischief. What are you asking to keep your 
venomous mouth shut? There is no good beating 
about the bush or talking Christian Science. Come 
to the point. How much ? " 

" A thousand pounds ! " They were both star- 
tled, but Peter spoke first. 

" That be damned for a tale." A most unedify- 
ing dialogue ensued. Then Peter said, after a short 
whispered colloquy with Margaret : 

" She will give you a hundred pounds, no more 
and no less. Come, close, or leave it alone. A 
hundred pounds ! Take it or leave it." 

Margaret would have interrupted. " I said 
double," she whispered. He translated it quickly: 

" Not a farthing more, she says. She has made 
up her mind. Either that or clear out and do your 

Sarah Roope stood out for her price until she 
nearly exhausted his patience, would have ex- 
hausted it but that Margaret, terrified, kept urging 
and soothing him. Before the end Mrs. Roope 
said a word that justified him and he put his two 
hands on her shoulders. He made no point now of 
her being a woman. There are times when a man's 
brutality stands him in good stead, and this was 
one of such occasions. 


" Get out of that chair," he jerked it away from 
her. " Out of her presence. You'll deal with me, 
or not at all." 

He slid his hands from her shoulders to under 
her elbows : the noises she made in her throat were 
indescribable, but her actual resistance was small. 

" You are not to sit down in her presence." 

" I prefer to stand." 

" Nor stand either. Outside . . ." he bundled 
her towards the door, she tried to hold her ground, 
but he forced her along. " We've had nearly 
enough of you, very nearly enough. You wait out- 
side that door. I'll have a word with Mrs. Capel 
and give you your last chance." She bup ped out 
her remonstrance. 

" I came here to do her a service. As Mrs. Eddy 
writes : ' Light and darkness cannot mingle.' I 
must do as I am guided, and I said from the first 
we should go to James Capel. Husband and wife 
should never separate if there is no Christian de- 
mand for it." 

"Oh! goto hell!" 

He shut the door in her face and came back to 

" You'd better let me get rid of her for you. I 
shouldn't pay her a brass farthing." 

" I'd pay her anything, anything, rather than go 
through again what I went through before." She 
burst into tears. 


" Oh ! if that's the case . . ." he said indecisively. 

" Pay her what she wants." 

" I can get her down a good bit." He had no 
definite idea but to stop her 'tears, carry out her 
wishes. In a measure he acted cleverly, going 
backward and forward between dining and drawing- 
room negotiating terms. Mrs. Roope said she had 
no wish to expose Mrs. Capel, and repeated, " I 
came here to do her a kindness." 

In the end two hundred and fifty pounds was 
agreed upon, a hundred down and a hundred and 
fifty when the decree was made absolute, this latter 
represented by a post-dated cheque. Peter had to 
write the cheques himself, it was as much as Mar- 
garet could do to sign them. Her hands were shak- 
ing and her eyelids red, the sight swept away all 
his conventions. 

" You've got to go to bed and stay there," he told 
her when he came back to her finally. He forgot 
everything but that she looked terribly ill and ex- 
hausted, and that he was her physician. " You 
need not have a minute's more anxiety. I know the 
type. She has gone. She won't bother you again. 
She's taken her hundred pounds. That's a lot to 
the woman who makes her money by shillings. 
That absent treatment business is a pound a week at 
the outside. There's a limited number of fools who 
pay for isolated visits. Did you see her boots? 
They didn't look like affluence! and her cotton 


gloves! She will have another hundred and fifty 
if nothing comes out, if she keeps her mouth shut 
until the 3Oth of May. You are quite safe. Don't 
look so woebegone. I ... I can't bear it." 

He turned his back to her. 

"What will Gabriel say?" 

" The most priggish thing he can think of," he 
answered roughly. 

" He doesn't look at things in the same way you 

" Do you think I don't know his superiority ? " 

" Now you are angry, offended." 

" You've done the right thing. You are not in 
the health for any big annoyance." 

She was holding her side with both hands. 

" I believe the pain is coming on again." 

" Oh ; no, it isn't." But he moved nearer to her. 
No contradiction or denial warded off the attack. 
She bore it badly too, pulse and colour evidencing 
her collapse. Hurriedly and perhaps without suffi- 
cient thought he rang for Stevens, called for hot 
water, gave her her first injection of morphia. 

Stevens knew or guessed what had been going on, 
and took a gloomy view. Every one in the house 
knew of Mrs. Roope's visit. 

" It will be the death of her." 

" No, it won't," he said savagely. " You do what 
you are told." 

" I 'ope I know my duty," she replied primly. 


" I'm sure you do, but not the effect of a morphia 
injection," he retorted. 

He said Stevens knew nothing of the effect of a 
morphia injection, but he was not quite sure of it 
himself in those days and with such a patient. The 
immediate effect was instantaneous. Margaret 
grew easier, she smiled at him with her pale lips : 

" How wonderful," she said. He made her 
stay as she was for half an hour, then helped to 
carry her to bed. Stevens said she required no 
help in undressing her. 

" You are not to let her do a thing for herself, 
not to let her move. Give her iced milk, or milk 
and soda. . . ." 

The afternoon was not so satisfactory, there were 
disquieting symptoms, and not the sleep for which 
he hoped. He suggested Dr. Lansdowne, but she 
would not hear of him being sent for. When night 
fell he found it impossible to leave her. 

He walked up and down outside the house for a 
long time, only desisting when Margaret herself 
sent down a message that she heard his footsteps 
on the gravel and they disturbed her. The rest of 
the night he spent on the drawing-room sofa, run- 
ning upstairs to listen outside her bedroom door, 
now and then, to reassure himself. Tomorrow he 
knew Gabriel would be there and he would not be 
needed. But tonight she had no one but himself. 
Wild thoughts came to him in the dawn. What if 


Gabriel Stanton were not such a good fellow after 
all? What if he were put off by the thought of a 
scandal and figuring as a co-respondent ? He, Peter, 
would stick to her through thick and thin. She 
might turn to him, get to care. 

But he had not an ounce of real hope. He was 
as humble as Gabriel by now, and the nearer to 
being a true lover. 


MARGARET was not a very good subject for morphia. 
True it relieved her pain, set her mind at rest, or 
deadened her nerve centres for the time. But when 
the immediate effect wore off she was intolerably 
restless, and although the bromide tided her over 
the night, she drowsed through an exhausted morn- 
ing and woke to sickness and misery, to depression 
and a tendency towards tears. She was utterly 
unable to see her lover, she felt she could not face 
him, meet him, conceal or reveal what had hap- 
pened. Dr. Kennedy came up and she told him 
exactly how she felt. She told him also that 
he must go to the station in her stead. She said she 
was too broken, too ill. 

This unnerved and weakened Margaret distracted 
Peter, and he thought of every drug in the phar- 
macopoeia in the way of a pick-me-up. He said 
that of course he would go to the station, go any- 
where, do anything she asked him. But, he added 
gloomily, that he would probably blunder and make 
things worse. 

" He would ever so much rather hear it from 
you if it must be told him," he urged. " He'll 
guess you are ill when you are not at the station. 



He'll rush up here and see you and everything will 
be all right. He has only got to see you." 

Dr. Kennedy then begged her to go back to bed, 
but without effect. Fortunately the only drug to 
which he could ultimately persuade her was car- 
bonate of soda! That and a strong cup of coffee 
helped to revive her. Stevens had the qualities of 
her defects and insisted later upon beef tea. Mar- 
garet, although still looking ill, was really almost 
normal when four o'clock came bringing Gabriel. 
Her plan of Peter Kennedy meeting him mis- 
carried, and she need not have feared his anxiety 
when she was not at the station. Gabriel had caught 
an earlier train than usual. Ever since Tuesday his 
anxiety had been growing, notwithstanding her let- 
ters and reassurances. 

He was dismayed at seeing Dr. Kennedy's hat in 
the hall. Little more so than Margaret was when 
she heard the wheels of the car on the gravel and 
learnt from Peter, at the window, that Gabriel was 
in it. They were unprepared for each other when 
he walked in. Yet if Peter had not been there all 
might still have been well. It was Dr. Kennedy's 
instinct to stand between her and trouble, and his 
misfortune to stand between her and Gabriel 

"You are ill?" and 

" You are early? " came from each of them simul- 
taneously. If the doctor had slipped out of the 


room they would perhaps have found more to say. 
But he stayed and joined in that short dialogue, 
thinking he was meeting her wishes. 

" She has had an attack of angina, a pretty hot 
one at that. I gave her a morphia injection and it 
did not suit her. She is simply not fit for any emo- 
tion or excitement. As a matter of fact she ought 
not to be out of bed today." 

" Has my coming by an earlier train distressed 
you ? " Gabriel asked Margaret, perhaps a little 
coldly. Certainly not as he would have asked her 
had they been 'alone. Nor were matters improved 
when she answered faintly: 

" Tell him, Peter." 

Her lover wanted to hear nothing that Peter Ken- 
nedy might tell him. He was startled when she used 
his Christian name. He had a distaste at hearing 
his fiancee's health discussed, a sensitiveness not un- 
natural. From an older or more impersonal physi- 
cian he might have minded it less ; or from one who 
had not admitted to him, and gloried in the admis- 
sion, that he was in love with his patient. 

" I don't want to hear anything that Dr. Ken- 
nedy can tell me," was what he said, but it mis- 
represented his mind. It sounded sullen or ill- 
tempered, but was neither, only an inarticulate evi- 
dence of distress of mind. 

" Surely, Margaret, your news can wait . . ." 
This was added in a lower tone. But Margaret was 


beyond, and Peter Kennedy impervious to hint. 
The only thing that softened the situation to Ga- 
briel was that she made room for him on the sofa, 
by a gesture inviting him to seat himself there. Al- 
most he pretended not to see it, he felt rigid and 
uncompromising. Nevertheless, after a moment's 
hesitation, he found himself beside her, listening to 
Dr. Kennedy's unwelcome voice. 

" You knew, didn't you, that there had been a 
man hanging about the place, trying to get in- 
formation from the servants ? Margaret first heard 
of this last Tuesday. . . ." Gabriel missed the next 
sentence. That the fellow should speak of her as 
" Margaret " made him see red. When his vision 
cleared Peter was still talking. There had been 
some allusion to or description of cook's weakness, 
and the discursiveness was a fresh offence. 

" What she told him in her amorous moments 
we have no means of knowing, but that it included 
the information that you had stayed in the house 
there is not much reason to doubt. And down came 
this woman like a ton of bricks on Wednesday 
morning and flung a bomb on us in the shape of a 
demand for a thousand pounds." 

"What woman?" 

' The man's employer. She had set him on 
to it." 


" This blackmailing person." 


The " us " tightened Gabriel's thin lips and hard- 
ened his deep-set eyes. Had they been alone he 
might have remembered what Margaret must have 
suffered, what a dreadful thing this visit must have 
been to her. As it was, and for the moment, he 
thought of nothing but of Peter Kennedy's inter- 
vention, interference. 

" Why did you see her? " he asked Margaret. 

" I thought she came from Anne," she faltered. 

" From Anne ! " 

" She is the Christian Science woman," Peter 

And now indeed the full force of the blow struck 

" Mrs. Roope ? " he got out. 

" No other," Peter answered. " Crammed choke- 
full of extracts from Mrs. Eddy. James Capel is 
her husband's cousin. At least so she says. And 
that he never wanted to be divorced from his wife, 
and would welcome a chance of stopping the decree 
from being made absolute. She said the higher 
morality bade her go to him. ' Husband and wife 
should never separate if there is no Christian de- 
mand for it,' she quoted. But help toward the 
Christian Science Church, or movement, she would 
construe as ' a Christian demand.' She asked for 
a thousand pounds! Mrs. Capel," this time for 
some unknown reason he said " Mrs. Capel " and 
Gabriel heard better, " was quite overwhelmed, 


knocked to pieces by her impudence. That's when 
I came on the scene. I told the woman what I 
thought of her ; you may bet I didn't mince matters. 
And then I offered her a hundred . . ." 

Gabriel got up suddenly, abruptly, his face 

" You . . . you offered her a hundred pounds ? " 

" Well ! there was not a bit of good trying for 
less. It was a round sum." 

" You allowed Mrs. Capel to be blackmailed ! " 

" What would you have done? Of course I did." 

" It was disgraceful, indefensible." 

" Gabriel." She called him by his name, she 
wanted him to sit down by her, but he remained 
standing. " There was no time to send for any 
one, ask for advice . . ." 

" It was a case of ' your money or your life/ 
The woman put a pistol to our heads. ' Pay up or 
I'll take my tale to James Capel ' was the beginning 
and end of what she said. I got her down finally 
to 250.' 

" You gave the woman, this infamous, black- 
mailing person, 250? " 

" And cheap enough too. Wait a bit. I can 
guess what you are thinking. I'm not such a fool 
as you take me for. She only had a hundred in 
cash, the other is a post-dated cheque, not due until 
the decree is made absolute. Then I ran her out 
of the house." 


"Who wrote those cheques?" The flush deep- 
ened, Gabriel could hardly control his voice. 

" I wrote them and Mrs. Capel signed them. She 
was absolutely bowled over, it was as much as she 
could do to sign her name." 

Gabriel was beside himself or he would not have 
spoken as he did. 

" You did an infamous thing, sir, an infamous 
thing. You should have guarded this lady, since I 
was not here, sheltered her innocence. To allow 
oneself to be blackmailed is an admission of guilt. 
The way you sheltered her innocence was to advise 
her practically to admit guilt." He was choked with 

" Gabriel," she pleaded. 

" My dear," never had he spoken to her in such 
a way, he seemed hardly to remember she was 
there, " I acquit you entirely. You did not know 
what you were doing, could not be expected to 
know. But this fellow, this blackguard . . ." He 
actually advanced a step or two toward him, 
threateningly. " Her good name was at stake, mine 
as well as hers, was and is at stake." 

" And I saved it for you, for both of you. I've 
shut Mrs. Roope's mouth. You'll never hear a 
word more . . ." 

" Not hear more ? " Gabriel was deeply con- 
temptuous. " Did you ever know a blackmailer 


who was satisfied with the first blood? You have 
opened the door wide to her exactions . . ." 

" You are taking an entirely wrong view, you 
are prejudiced. Because you don't like me you 
blame me whether I am right or wrong." 

" You don't know the difference between right 
and wrong." 

" I wasn't going to have my patient upset," he 
said obstinately. 

" Gabriel, listen to me, hear me. Don't be so an- 
gry with Peter. / wanted the woman paid to keep 
quiet. I insisted upon her being paid." And then 
under her breath she said, "There is such a little 
time more." 

" There is all our lives," Gabriel answered in that 
deep outraged voice. " All our lives it will be a 
stain that money was paid. As if we had some- 
thing to conceal." 

His point of view was not theirs, neither Peter's 
nor Margaret's. They argued and protested, justi- 
fying themselves and each other. But it seemed to 
Gabriel there was no argument. When Margaret 
pleaded he had to listen, to hold himself in hand, 
to say as little as possible. Toward Peter Kennedy 
he was irreconcilable. " A man ought to have 
known," he said doggedly. 

" He wanted to ward off an attack." 

Dr. Kennedy went away ultimately, he had that 
amount of sense. By this time he was at least as 


antagonistic to Gabriel Stanton as Gabriel to 

" Stiff-necked blighter ! He'd talk ethics if she 
were dying. What does it matter whether it was 
right or wrong? Anyway, I got rid of the woman 
for her, set her mind at rest. I bet my way was as 
good as any he'd have found ! Now I suppose he'll 
argue her round until she looks upon me as the 
villain of the play." In which, as the sequel shows, 
he wronged his lady love. "Insufferable prig!" 
And with that and a few more muttered epithets 
he went off to endure a hideous few days, fearing 
for her all the time, in the hands of such a man as 
Gabriel Stanton, whom he deemed hard and self- 

But he need not have feared. The two men 
were poles apart in temperament, education, and 
environment. Circumstances aided in making 
them intolerant of each other. Their judgment 
was biased. Margaret saw them both more clearly 
than they saw each other. Her lover was the 
stronger, finer man, had the higher standard. And 
he was right, right this time, as always. Yet she 
thought sympathetically of the other and the 
weakness that led him to compromise. The Chris- 
tian Scientist should not have been paid, she should 
have been prosecuted. Margaret saw it now, she, 
too, had not seen it at the moment. She confessed 
herself a coward. 


" But our happiness was at stake, our whole hap- 
piness. In less than three weeks now . . ." 

Now that they were alone Gabriel could show his 
quality. The thing she had done was indefensible. 
And he had hardly a hope that it would achieve its 
object. He, himself, would not have done evil that 
good might come of it, submitted, admitted . . . 
the blood rushed to his face and he could not trust 
himself even to think of what had practically been 
admitted. But she had done it for love of him to 
secure their happiness together. What man but 
would be moved by such an admission, what lover ? 
He could not hold out against her, nor continue to 
express his doubts. 

" Must we talk any more about it ? I can't bear 
your reproaches. Gabriel, don't reproach me any 
more." She was nestling in the shelter of his arms. 
" You know why I did it. I wish you would be 

" My darling, I wish I could be. It was not your 
fault. I ought to have come down. You ought 
not to have been left alone, or with an unscrupulous 
person like this doctor." 

" Peter acted according to his lights. He did it 
for the best, he thought only of me." 

" His lights are darkness, his best outrageous. 
Never mind, I will not say another word, only you 
must promise me faithfully, swear to me that if you 
do hear any more of this woman, or of the circum- 


stance, from this or any other quarter, you will do 
nothing without consulting me, you will send for 
me at once . . ." 

Margaret promised, Margaret swore. 

" I want to lean upon your strength. I have so 
altered I don't know myself. Love has loosened, 
weakened me. I am no longer as I was, proud, self- 
reliant. Gabriel, don't let me be sorry that I love 
you. I am startled by myself, by this new self. 
What have you done to me? Is this what love 
means weakness? " 

When she said she needed to lean upon his 
strength his heart ran like water to her. When 
she pleaded to him for forgiveness because she had 
allowed herself to be blackmailed rather than de- 
lay their happiness together, his tenderness over- 
flowed and flooded the rock of his logic, of his 
clear judgment. His arms tightened about her. 

" I ought to have come to you whether you said 
yes or no. I knew you were in trouble." 

" Not any longer." She nestled to him. 

" God knows . . ." 

He thrust aside his misgivings later and gave 
himself up to soothing and nursing her. Peter 
Kennedy need have had no fear, but then of course 
this was a Gabriel Stanton he did not know. 

Gabriel would not hear of Margaret coming 
down to dinner nor into the drawing-room. She 
was to stay on the sofa in the music room, to have 


her dinner served to her there. He said he would 
carve for her, not be ten minutes away. 

" All this trouble has made me forget that I have 
something to tell you. No, no ! Not now, not until 
you have rested." 

" I can't wait, I can't wait. Tell me now, at once. 
But I know. I know by your face. It is about 
our little house. You have seen a house our 

" Not until after dinner. I must not tell you any- 
thing until you have rested, had something to eat. 
You have been too agitated. Dear love, you have 
been through so much. Yes, I have seen the house 
that seems to have been built for us. Don't urge 
me to tell you now. This has been the first cloud 
that has come between us. It will never happen 
again. You will keep nothing from me." 

" Haven't I promised ? Sworn ? " 

" Sweetheart ! " And as he held her she whis- 
pered : 

" You will never be angry with me again ? " 

" I was not angry with you. How could I be ? " 

She smiled. She was quite happy again now, and 

" It looked like anger." 

" You focussed it wrongly," he answered. 

After they had dined; she on her sofa from a 
tray he supervised and sent up to her, he in solitary 


state in the dining-room, hurrying through the food 
that had no flavour to him in her absence: he told 
her about the little house in Westminster that he 
had seen, and that seemed to fit all their require- 
ments. It was very early eighteenth-century, every 
brick of it had been laid before Robert Adam and 
his brother went to Portland Place, the walls were 
panelled and the mantelpieces untouched. They 
were of carved wood in the drawing-room, painted 
alabaster in the library and bedrooms, marble in the 
dining-room only. It was almost within the pre- 
cincts of the Abbey and there was a tiny courtyard 
or garden. Margaret immediately envisaged it tiled 
and Dutch. Gabriel left it stone and defended his 
opinion. There was a lead figure with the pretence 
of a fountain. 

" I could hardly believe my good luck when first 
I saw the place. I saw you there at once. It was 
just as you had described, as we had hoped for, 
unique and perfect in its way, a real home. It needs 
very careful furnishing, nothing must be large, nor 
handsome, nor on an elaborate scale. I shall find 
out the history, when it was built and for whom. 
A clergy house, I think." 

She was full of enthusiasm and pressed for de- 
tail. Gabriel had to admit he did not know how it 
was lit, nor if electric light had been installed. He 
fancied not. Then there was the question of bath- 
room. Here too there was a lapse in his memory. 


But that there was space for one he was sure. There 
was a powder room off the drawing-room. 

" In a clergy house? " 

" I am not sure it was a clergy house." 

" Or that there is a powder room ! " 

" It may have been meant for books.' Anyway, 
there is one like it on the next floor." 

"Where a bath could be put?" 

" Yes, I think so. I am not sure. You will have 
to see it yourself. Nurse yourself for a few days 
and then come up." 

" For a few days ! That is good. Why, I am 
all right now, tonight. There, feel my pulse." She 
put her hand in his and he held it; her hand, not 
her pulse. 

"Isn't it quite calm?" 

" I don't know ... 7 am not." 

" I shall go up with you on Monday morning, or 
by the next train." 

He argued with her, tried to dissuade her, said 
she was still pale, fatigued. But the words had 
no effect. She said that he was too careful of her, 
and he replied that it was impossible. 

" When a man has been given a treasure into his 
keeping . . ." She hushed him. 

They were very happy tonight. Gabriel may still 
have had a misgiving. He knew money ought never 
to have been paid as blackmail. That the trouble 
should have come through Anne, Anne and her 


mad religion, was more than painful to him. But 
true to promise he said no further word. He had 
Margaret's promise that if anything more was heard 
he would be advised, sent for. 

When he went back to the hotel that night he com- 
forted himself with that, tried to think that nothing 
further would be heard. Peter Kennedy's name 
had not been mentioned again between them. He 
meant to persuade her, use all his influence that she 
should select another doctor. That would be for 
another time. Tonight she needed only care. 

He had taken no real alarm at her delicate looks, 
he had lived all his life with an invalid. As for 
Margaret, there were times when she was quite 
well, in exuberant health and spirits. She was 
under the spell of her nerves, excitable, she had the 
artistic temperament in excelsis. So he thought, 
and although he felt no uneasiness he was full of 
consideration. Before he had left her tonight, at 
ten o'clock for instance, and notwithstanding she 
wished him to stay, he begged her to rest late in 
the morning, said he would be quite content to sit 
downstairs and await her coming, to read or only 
sit still and think of her. She urged the complete- 
ness of her recovery, but he persisted in treating 
her as an invalid. 

; ' You are an invalid tonight, my poor little in- 
valid, you must go to bed early. Tomorrow you 
are to be convalescent, and we will go down to the 


sea, walk, or drive. I will wrap you up and take 
care of you. Monday . . ." 

" Monday I have quite decided to go up to town." 

" We shall see how you are. I am not going to 
allow you to take any risks." 

Such a different Gabriel Stanton from the one 
Peter Kennedy knew! One would have thought 
there was not a hard spot in him. Margaret was 
sure of it ... almost sure. 

The morphia that had failed her last night put 
out its latent power and helped her through this 
one. The dreams that came to her were all pleasant, 
tinged with romance, filled with brocade and 
patches, with fair women and gallant men in pow- 
der and knee-breeches. No man was more gallant 
than hers. She saw Gabriel that night idealised, 
as King's man and soldier, poet, lover, on the stairs 
of that house of romance. 

The next day was superb, spring merging into 
summer, a soft breeze, blue sky flecked with white, 
sea that fell on the shore with convoluted waves, 
foam-edged, but without force. Everything in 
Nature was fresh and renewed, not calm, but with a 
bursting undergrowth, and one would have thought 
Margaret had never been ill. She laughed and even 
lilted into light song when Gabriel feared the 
piano for her. Her eyes were filled with love and 
laughter, and her skin seemed to have upon it a 
new and childish bloom, lightly tinged with rose, 


clear pale and exquisite. Today one would have 
said she was more child than woman, and that life 
had hardly touched her. Not touched to soil. Yet 
beneath her lightness now and again Gabriel 
glimpsed a shadow, or a silence, rare and quickly 
passing. This he placed to his own failure of tem- 
per yesterday, and set himself to assuage it. He 
felt deeply that he was responsible for her happi- 
ness. As she said, she had altered greatly since 
they first met. In a way she had grown younger. 
This was not her first passion, but it was her first 
surrender. That there was an unknown in him, 
an uncompromising rectitude, had as it were but- 
tressed her love. She had pride in him now and 
pride in her love for him. For the first and only 
time in her life self was in the background. He 
was her lover and was soon to be her husband. 
Today they hardly held each other's hand, or kissed. 
Margaret held herself lightly aloof from him and 
his delicacy understood and responded. Their hour 
was so near. There had been different vibrations 
and uneasy moments between them, but now they 
had grown steady in love. 

Margaret went up to town with Gabriel on Mon- 
day. She forgot all about Peter Kennedy eating 
his heart out and wondering just how harsh and 
dogmatic Gabriel Stanton was being with her. 
They were going first to see the house. 

" I must show it you myself." 


" We must see it together first." 

They were agreed about that. Afterwards Mar- 
garet had decided to go alone to Queen Anne's 
Gate and make full confession. She had wired, an- 
nouncing herself for lunch, asking that they should 
be alone. Then, later on in the day, Gabriel was 
to see her father. In a fortnight they could be 
married. Neither of them contemplated delay. The 
marriage was to be of the quietest possible descrip- 
tion. She no longer insisted upon the yacht. Ga- 
briel should arrange their honeymoon. They were 
not to go abroad at all, there were places in Eng- 
land, historic, quite unknown to her where he meant 
to take her. The main point was that they would 
be together . . . alone. 

The first part of the programme was carried 
out. The house more than fulfilled expectations. 
They found in it a thousand new and unexpected 
beauties ; leaded windows and eaves with gargoyles, 
a flagged path to the kitchen with grass growing 
between the flags, a green patine on the Pan, which 
Margaret declared was the central figure in her 
group of musicians. Enlarged and piping solitary, 
but the same figure; an almost miraculous coinci- 
dence. A momentary fright she had lest it was all 
too good to be true, lest some one had forestalled 
them, would forestall them even as they stood here 
talking, mentally placing print and pottery, car- 
peting the irregular steps and slanting floors. That 


was Gabriel's moment of triumph. He had been so 
sure, he felt he knew her taste sufficiently that he 
need not hesitate. The day he had seen the house 
he had secured it. Nothing but formalities re- 
mained to be concluded. She praised him for his 
promptitude and he wore her praise proudly, as if 
it had been the Victoria Cross. A spasm of doubt 
may have crossed her mind as to whether her father 
and stepmother would view it with the same eyes, 
or would point out the lack of later-day luxuries or 
necessities; light, baths, sanitation. Gabriel said 
everything could be added, they had but to be care- 
ful not to interfere with the main features of the 
little place, not to disturb its amenities. Margaret 
was insistent that nothing at all should be done. 

" We don't want glaring electric light. We shall 
use wax candles ..." He put her into a cab be- 
fore the important matter was decided. Privately 
he thought one bath at least was desirable, but he 
found himself unable to argue with her. Not just 
now, not at this minute when they came out of the 
home they would make together. Such a home as 
it would mean ! 

Mrs. Rysam was less reticent and Margaret per- 
suadable, but that came later. Her father and 
stepmother were alone to lunch as she had asked 
them. And she broke her news without delay. She 
was going to marry Gabriel Stanton. There fol- 
lowed exclamation and surprise, but in the end a 


real satisfaction. The house of Stanton was 
a great one. More than a hundred years had gone 
to its upbuilding. Sir George was the doyen of the 
profession of publisher. He was the fifth of his line. 
Gabriel, although a cousin, was his partner and 
would be his successor. And he himself was a man 
of mark. He had edited, or was editing the Union 
Classics, and had contributed valuable matter to the 
Compendium on which the whole strength of the 
house had been employed for the last fifteen years, 
and which had already Royal recognition in the 
shape of the baronetcy conferred on the head of 
the firm. 

"Of course it should have been given to Ga- 
briel," Margaret said when she had explained or 
reminded them of his position. Naturally she 
thought this. They consoled her by predicting a 
similar honour for him in the future. Margaret 
said she did not care one way or the other. She 
did not unbare her heart, but she gave them more 
than a glimpse of it. That this time she was marry- 
ing wisely and that happiness awaited her was suffi- 
cient for them. Edgar B. looked forward to seeing 
Gabriel and telling him so. He promised himself 
that he would find a way of forwarding that happi- 
ness he foresaw for her. Giving was his self-expres- 
sion. Already before lunch was over he was think- 
ing of settlements. Mrs. Rysam, a little disappointed 
about the wedding, which Margaret insisted was to 


be of the quietest description, was compensated by 
talk about the house. Margaret might arrange, but 
her stepmother made up her mind that she would 
superintend the improvements. Then there were 
clothes. However quiet the wedding might be a 
trousseau was essential. From the time the divorce 
had been decided upon until now Margaret had 
had no heart for clothes. Her wardrobe was at the 
lowest possible ebb. Father and stepmother agreed 
she was to grudge herself nothing. And there was 
no time to lose, this very afternoon they must start 
purchasing, also installing workmen in The Close, 
for so the little house was named. A tremendous 
programme. Margaret of course must not go back to 
Pineland, but must stay at Queen Anne's Gate for 
the fortnight that was to elapse before the wedding. 
Margaret demurred at this, but thought it best to 
avoid argument. It was not that she had grown 
fond of Pineland, or that Carbies suited her any 
better than it did. But the atmosphere of Queen 
Anne's Gate was not a romantic one, and her mood 
was attuned to romance. Father and stepmother 
were material. Mr. Rysam gave her a cheque for 
five hundred pounds and told her to fit herself out 
properly. Mrs. Rysam promised house linen. Mar- 
garet could not but be grateful although the one 
spoke too much and shrilly, and the other too little 
and to the point. 

"What is his income?" Edgar B. asked. 


" That's what I've got to learn and see what's to 
be added to it to make you really comfortable." 

" We shall want so little, Gabriel doesn't care a 
bit about money," Margaret put in hastily. 

" I daresay not." 

" And neither do I," she was quick to add. 
Edgar B. with a twinkle in his eye suggested she 
might not care for money but she liked what money 
could buy. He was less original than most Ameri- 
cans in his expressions, but unvaryingly true to type 
in his outlook. 

What an afternoon they had, Margaret and her 
stepmother ! The big car took them to Westminster 
and the West End and back again. They were mak- 
ing appointments, purchasing wildly, discussing end- 
lessly. Or so it seemed to Margaret, who, exhila- 
rated at first, became conscious towards the end of 
the day of nothing but an overmastering fatigue. 
She had ordered several dozens of underwear, tea- 
gowns, dressing-gowns, whitewash, a china bath, 
and electric lights ! They appeared and disappeared 
incongruously in her bewildered brain. She had 
protected her panels, yet yielded to the necessity for 
drains. Her head was in a whirl and Gabriel him- 
self temporarily eclipsed. Her stepmother was in- 
defatigable, the greater the rush the greater her 
enjoyment. She would even have started furnishing 
but that Margaret was firm in refusing to visit 
either of the emporiums she suggested. 


" Gabriel and I have our own ideas, we know 
exactly what we want. The glib fluency of the 
shopmen takes my breath away." 

Mrs. Rysam urged their expert knowledge. 
Whatever her private opinion of the house, its 
size or position, she fell in easily with Margaret's 

" You must not risk making any mistake. 
Messrs. Rye & Gilgat or Maturin's, that place in 
Albemarle Street, they all have experts who have 
the periods at their fingers' ends. You've only got 
to tell them the year, and they'll set to work and get 
you chintzes and brocades and everything suitable 
from a coal scuttle to a cabinet. . . ." 

Margaret, however, although over-tired, was not 
to be persuaded to put herself and her little house 
unreservedly into any one's hands. She was not 
capable of effort, only of resistance. Tea at Rum- 
pelmayer's was an interregnum and not a rest. 
More clothes became a nightmare, she begged to be 
taken home, was alarmed when Mrs. Rysam offered 
to go on alone, and begged her to desist. When the 
car took them back to Queen Anne's Gate, Gabriel 
had already left after a most satisfactory interview 
with her father. Edgar B., seeing his daughter's 
exhaustion and pallor, had the grace not to insist 
on explaining the word " satisfactory." He in- 
sisted instead that she should rest, sleep till dinner- 
time. The inexhaustible stepmother heard that 


Gabriel had been pleased with everything Mar- 
garet's father had suggested. He would settle 
house and furniture, make provision for the future. 
Whatever was done for Margaret or her children 
was to be done for her alone, he wanted nothing 
but the dear privilege of caring for her. Edgar 
appreciated his attitude and it did not make him 
feel less liberal. 

" And the house ? How about this house they've 
seen in Westminster? Is it good enough? big 
enough? He said it was a little house, but why so 

" They are just dead set on it. Small or large 
you won't get them to look at another. It's just 
something out of the way and quaint, such as Mar- 
garet would go crazy on. No bathroom, no drains, 
but a paved courtyard and a lead figure ..." 

" Well, well ! each man to his taste, and woman 
too. She knows what she wants, that's one thing. 
She made a mistake last time and it has cost her 
eight years' suffering. She's made none this time 
and everything has come right. He's a fine fellow, 
this Gabriel Stanton, a white man all through. One 
might have wished him a few years younger, he said 
that himself. He's going on for forty." 

" What's forty ! Margaret is twenty-eight, her- 

" Well ! bless her, there's a lifetime of happiness 
before her and I'll gild it." 


" The drawing-room will take a grand piano." 

" That's good." 

" And I've settled to give her the house linen 

" No place for a car, I suppose. In an out-of-the- 
way place like that she'll need a car." 

So they planned for her; having suffered in her 
suffering and eclipse, and eager now to make up to 
her for them, as indeed they had always been. Only 
in the bitter past it proved difficult because her 
sensitiveness had baffled them. It was that which 
had kept her bound so long. All that could be done 
had been done, to arrange a divorce via lawyers 
through Edgar B/s cheque-book. But James Capel, 
when it came to the end, proved that he cared less 
for money than for limelight, and had defended the 
suit recklessly with the help of an unscrupulous 
attorney. The nightmare of the case was soon 
over, but the shadow of it had darkened many of 
their days. This wedding was really the end and 
would put the coping stone on their content. 

Neither Edgar B. nor his wife heard anything 
of the attempt at blackmail. Gabriel, of course, did 
not tell them. Margaret, strange as it may sound, 
had forgotten all about it! Something had given 
an impetus to her feeling for Gabriel : and now it 
was at its flood tide. She had written once, " Men 
do not love good women, they have a high opinion 
of them." She would not have written it now, she 


herself had found goodness lovable. Gabriel Stan- 
ton was a better man than she had ever met. He 
was totally unlike an American, and had scruples 
even about making money. 

Her father and he, discoursing one evening upon 
commercial morality, she found that they spoke 
different languages, and could arrive at no under- 
standing. But she discovered in herself a linguistic 
gift and so saw through her father's subtlety into 
Gabriel's simplicity. She knew then that the man 
who enthralled her was the type of which she had 
read with interest, and written with enthusiasm, 
but never before encountered. An English gentle- 
man ! With this in her consciousness she could per- 
mit herself to revel in all his other attractions, his 
lean vigour and easy movements, shapely hands and 
deep-set eyes under the thin straight brows. His 
mouth was an inflexible line when his face was in 
repose. When he smiled at her the asceticism 
vanished. He smiled at her very often in these 
strange full days. The days hurried past, there was 
little time for private conversation, an orgy of buy- 
ing held them. 

Margaret, yielding to pressure and inclination, 
stayed on and on until the week passed and the next 
one was broken in upon. Now it was Tuesday and 
there was only one more week. One more week! 
Sometimes it seemed incredible. Always it seemed 
as if the sun was shining and the light growing more 


intense, blinding. She moved toward it unsteadily. 
This semi-American atmosphere into which she and 
her lover had become absorbed was an atmosphere 
of hustle, kaleidoscopic, shifting. 

"If they had only given me time to think I 
should have known that the clothes and the house- 
linen, the carpets and curtains, the piano and the 
choice of a car, could all wait until we came back, 
could wait even after that. But they tear along and 
carry us after them in a whirlwind of tempestuous 
good-nature," Margaret said ruefully in the five 
minutes they secured together before dinner that 
Tuesday evening. 

" You are doing too much, exhausting your 
energy, using up your strength. And we have not 
found time for even one prowl after old furniture 
in our own way, that we spoke of at Carbies." 

" They are spoiling the house with the talk 
of preserving it. To-day Father told me it 
was absolutely necessary the floors should be 
levelled ..." 

" I know. And he wants the kitchen concreted. 
Some wretched person with the lips of a day- 
labourer and the soul of an iconoclast told him the 
place was swarming with rats . . ." 

" We wanted to hear mysterious noises behind 
the wainscot." 

They were half -laughing, but there was an under- 
current of seriousness in their complaining. They 


and their house were caught in the torpedo-netting 
of the parental Rysams' strong common sense. 
Confronted and caught they had to admit there was 
little glamour in rats and none at all in black beetles. 
Still . . . concrete! To yield to it was weakness, 
to deny it, folly. 

" I have lost sight of logic and forgotten how to 
argue. There is nothing for it but to run away 
again. Gabriel, I have quite made up my mind. 
Tomorrow, I am going back to Carbies. There 
are things to settle up there, arrange. Stevens is 
coming back with me, and we are going before 
anybody is up. Every day I have said that I must 
go, and each time Father and Mother have an- 
swered breathlessly that it was impossible, inter- 
posed the most cogent arguments. Now I am going 
without telling them." 

" I am sure there is nothing else to be done. And 
stay until next week. Let me come down Satur- 
day. We need quiet. I feel as if I had been in a 
machine room the last few days." 

" ' All day the wheels keep turning,' ' she 

" Yes, that expresses it perfectly. Run away 
and let me run after you. Saturday afternoon and 
Sunday we will be on the beach, listen to the sea, 
and forget the use of speech." 

" The use and abuse of speech. I'll wear my 
oldest clothes. No! I won't. You shall have a 


treat. I really have some most exquisite things. 
I'll take them all down ; change every hour or two, 
give you a private view ..." 

" You are lovely in everything you wear. You 
need never trouble to change. Think what a 
fatigue it will be. I want you to rest." 

" How serious you are ! I was not in earnest, 
not quite in earnest. But I can't wait to show you 
a teagown, all lacy and transparent, made of chiffon 
and mist . . ." 

"Grey mist?" 

" Yes." 

" I love you in grey." 

She laughed : 

" You have had no opportunity of loving me in 
any other colour. Not indoors at least. But you 
will. I could not have a one-coloured trousseau. 
I've a wonderful beige walking-dress; one in blue 
serge, lined with chiffon . . ." 

" Tell me of your wedding-dress. Only a week 
today . . ." Before she had told him her step- 
mother bustled in, her arms full of parcels that 
Margaret must unpack, investigate, try on imme- 
diately after dinner, or before. Dinner could wait. 
Margaret had already been tried on and tried on 
until her head swam. She yielded again and Ga- 
briel and her father waited for dinner. 

Nothing was as they had planned it. So, al- 
though they were too happy to complain, and too 


grateful to resent what was being done for them, 
the scheme that Margaret should return to Carbies 
without again announcing her intention was hur- 
riedly confirmed between them and carried out. 

This time Margaret did not complain that the 
place was remote, the garden desolate, the furni- 
ture ill-sorted and ill-suited. She was glad to find 
herself anchored as it were in a quiet back-water, 
out of the hurly-burly, able to hear herself breathe. 
Wednesday she spent in resting, dreaming. She 
went to bed early. 

Thursday found her at her writing-desk, sorting, 
re-sorting, reading those early letters of hers, and 
of his; recapturing a mood. She recognised that 
in those early days she had not been quite genuine, 
that her letters did not ring as true as his. She saw 
there was a literary quality in them that detracted 
from their value. Yet, taking herself seriously, 
as always, and remembering the Brownings, she 
put them all in orderly sequence, made attempts 
at a title, in the event of their ever being published, 
wrote up her disingenuous diary. All that day, all 
Thursday and part of Friday, she rediscovered her 
fine style, her gift "of phrase. The thing that held 
her was her own wonderful and beautiful love 
story. And it was of that she wrote. She knew 
she would make her mark upon the literature of 
the nineteenth century, had no doubt of it at all. 


She had done much already. She rated highly her 
three or four novels, her two plays. Unhappiness 
had dulled her gift, but today she felt how won- 
drously it would be revived. There are epigrams 
among her MS. notes. 

" All his life he had kept his emotions soldered 
up in tin boxes, now he was surprised that they 
were like little fish, compressed and without life." 
This was tried in half a dozen ways but never 
seemed to please her. 

" Happiness, true happiness, holds the senses 
in solution, it requires matrimony to diffuse 

It seemed extraordinary now that she should 
have found content in these futilities. But it was 
nevertheless true. She came down to Carbies on 
Wednesday and it was Friday before she even re- 
membered Peter Kennedy's existence, and that it 
would be only polite to let him know she was here, 
greatly improved in health, on the eve of marriage. 
Friday morning she telephoned for him. When he 
came she was sitting at her writing-table, with that 
inner radiance about her of which he spoke so 
often, her soft lips in smiling curves, her eyes 

Peter had known she was there, known it since 
the hour she came. He had bad news for her and 
would not hurry to tell her, not now, when she had 
sent for him. In the presence of that radiance he 


found it difficult to speak. He could not bear to 
think it would be blurred or obscured. If the cruel- 
lest of necessities had not impelled him he would 
have kept silence for always. 


" ARE you glad to see me ? " 

" I am not sure," was an answer she under- 


" I know you have been down here since Wednes- 

" You knew it ! Then why didn't you come and 
see me? You are very inattentive." 

" I knew you would send if you wanted me." 
Now he looked at her with surprised, almost grudg- 
ing admiration. " Your change has agreed with 
you ; you look thundering well." 

' Thundering ! What an absurdly incongruous 
word. Never mind, I always knew you were no 
stylist. Yes, I am quite well, although from morn- 
ing till night I did almost everything you told me 
not to do. I was in a whirl of excitement, tiring 
and overtiring myself all the time." 

" I suppose I was wrong then. It seems you 
need excitement." He spoke with less interest than 
he usually gave to her, almost perfunctorily, but 
she noticed no difference and went on : 

"The fact is I have found the elixir of life. 


There is such a thing, the old necromancers knew 
more than we. The elixir is happiness." 

" You have been so happy? " 

She leaned back in her chair, her eyes sought not 
him but the horizon. The window was open and 
the air was scented with the coming summer, with 
the fecund beauty of growing things. 

" So happy," she repeated. " Incredibly happy. 
And only on the threshold . . ." Then she looked 
away from the sky and toward him, smiled. 

" Peter, Peter Kennedy, you are not to be sour 
nor gloomy, you are to be happy too, to rejoice 
with me. You say you love me." He drew a long 

" You will never know how much." 

" Then be glad with me. My health has revived, 
my youth has come back, my wasted devastated 
youth. I am a girl again with this added glory of 
womanhood. Am I hurting you? I don't want 
to hurt you, I only want you to understand, I can 
speak freely, for you always knew I was not for 
you. Would you like me to be uncertain, delicate, 
despondent? Surely not." 

" I want you to be happy," he said unevenly. 

" Add to it a little." She held out her hand to 
him. " Stay and have tea with me. Afterwards 
we will go up to the music room, I will give you a 
last lesson. Have you been practising? Peter, are 
you glad or sorry that we ever met ? I don't think I 


have harmed you. You admit I roused your am- 
bition, and surely your music has improved, not 
only in execution, but your musical taste. Do you 
remember the first time you played and sang to me ? 
' Put Me Among the Girls ! ' was the name of the 
masterpiece you rolled out. I put my fingers to my 
ears, but afterwards you played without singing, 
and you listened to me without fidgetting. Peter, 
you won't play ' Put Me Among the Girls ' this 
afternoon, will you? What will you play to me 
when tea is over and we go upstairs? " 

Peter Kennedy, with that strange uneasiness or 
lambent agony in his eyes, eyes that all the time 
avoided hers, answered: 

" I shall play you Beethoven's ' Adieu.' ' 

" Poor Peter ! " she said softly. 

She thought he was unhappy because he loved 
and was losing her, because she was going to be 
married next week and could not disguise that the 
crown of life was coming to her. She was very 
sweet to him all that afternoon, and sorry for him, 
fed him with little cress sandwiches and pretty 
speeches, spoke to him of his talents and pressed 
him to practise assiduously, make himself master 
of the classical musicians. She really thought she 
was elevating him and was conscious of how well 
she talked. 

' Then as to your profession, I am sure you 
have a gift. No one who has ever attended me 


has done me more good. I want you to take your 
profession very, very seriously. If it is true that 
you have the gift of healing and the gift of music, 
and I think it is, you will not be unhappy, nor 
lonely long." 

And the poor fellow, who was really thinking 
all that time of the bad news and how to break it, 
listened to her, hearing only half she said. He did 
not know how to break his news, that was the truth, 
yet dared not leave it unbroken. 

" When is Mr. Stanton coming down ? " he asked 

" Why do you dwell upon it ? You have this 
afternoon, make the best of the time. I should like 
to think you were glad, not sorry we met." 

He broke into crude and confused speech then 
and told her all she had meant to him, what new 
views of life she had given to him. 

" You have been a perfect revelation to me. I 
had not dreamed a woman could be so sweet . . ." 
And then, stammeringly, he thanked her for every- 
thing. He was a little overcome because he was 
not sure this happiness of hers was going to last, 
that it would not be almost immediately eclipsed. 
He really did love her and in the best way, would 
have secured her happiness at the expense of his 
own, would have sacrificed everything he held dear 
to save her from what he feared was inevitable. 
He was miserably undecided, and could not throw 


off his depression. Not, as Margaret thought, be- 
cause of his jealousy of Gabriel and ungratified 
love, but because he feared the wedding might never 
take place. He eat a great many hot cakes and 
sandwiches, drank two cups of tea. Afterwards 
in the music room he played Beethoven, and listened 
when she replied with Chopin. Or if he did not 
listen the pretence he made was good enough to 
satisfy her. She was secretly flattered, elated, at 
the effect she had produced, a little sorry for him, 
a little sentimental. " Why should a heart have 
been there in the way of a fair woman's foot ? " she 
quoted to herself. 

She sent him away before dinner. She had 
promised Gabriel she would keep early hours, rest, 
and rest, and rest until he came down on Saturday, 
and she meant to keep her promise. She gave Dr. 
Kennedy both her hands in farewell. 

" I wish you did not look so woebegone. Say 
you are glad I am happy." 

" Oh, my God ! " he lost himself then, kissing 
the hands she gave him, speaking wildly. "If the 
fellow were not such a prig, if only your happiness 
would last . . ." 

She drew her hands away, angry or offended. 

" Last ! of course it will last. Hush ! don't say 
anything unworthy of you. Don't make me dis- 
appointed. I don't want to think I have made a 


With something very like a groan he made a 
precipitate retreat. He could not tell her what he 
had come here to say, to consult her about, he would 
have to write, or wait until Stanton was there. He 
wanted her to have one more good night. He loved 
her radiance. She wronged him if she thought he 
was jealous of her happiness, or of Gabriel Stanton, 
although he wished so desperately and so ignorantly 
that her lover had been other than he was. 

Margaret had her uninterrupted night, her last 
happy night. Peter Kennedy turned and tossed, 
and tossed and turned on his narrow bed, the sheets 
grew hot and crumpled and the pillow iron-hard, 
making his head ache. Towards morning he left 
his bed, abandoning his pursuit of the sleep that 
had played him false, and went for a long tramp. 
At six o'clock, the sun barely risen and the sea 
cold in a retreating tide, he tried a swim. At eight 
o'clock he was nevertheless no better, and no worse 
than he had been the day before, and the day before 
that. He breakfasted on husks ; the bacon and eggs 
tasted little better. Then he read Mrs. Roope's 
letter for about the twentieth time and wished he 
had the doctoring of her ! 

Dear Dr. Kennedy: 

I am sorry to say that since I last saw you 
additional facts have come to my knowledge which 
in fairness to the purity which is part of the higher 
life I cannot ignore. That Mr. Gabriel Stanton 


had been visiting my cousin's wife during the six 
months in which she should have been penitently 
contemplating the errors and misdemeanours of 
her past, her failure in true wifeliness, I knew. 
That you had been passing many hours daily with 
her, and at unseemly hours, have also slept in her 
house, has only now come to my knowledge. I 
am nauseated by this looseness. Marriage should 
improve the human species, becoming a barrier 
against vice. This has not been so with the wife 
of my husband's cousin. As Mrs. Eddy so truly 
says " the joy of intercourse becomes the jest of 
sin." I return you the cheque you gave me and 
which becomes due next Wednesday. If neither 
you nor Mrs. Capel has any argument to advance 
that would cause me to alter my opinion I am con- 
strained to lay the facts in my possession before 
the King's Proctor. Two co-respondents make the 
case more complicated, but my duty more simple. 
Yours without any spiritual arrogance but con- 
scious of rectitude, 


" Damn her ! " He had said it often, but it never 
forwarded matters. Time pressed, and he had done 
nothing, or almost nothing. He had received the 
letter Wednesday. On Friday before going up to 
Carbies he had wired, " Am consulting Mrs. C. 
wait result." 

The early morning post came late to Pineland. 
Dr. Kennedy had to wait until nine o'clock for his 
letters. As he anticipated on Saturday morning 


there was another letter from the follower of Mrs. 

Dear Dr. Kennedy: 

It is my duty to let you know that I have an 
appointment with James Capel's lawyer for Mon- 
day the 29th inst. 

In desperation he wired back, " Name terms, 
Kennedy," and paid reply. There were a few pa- 
tients he was bound to see. The time had to be 
got through somehow. But at twelve o'clock he 
started for Carbies. Margaret had not expected 
to see him again. She had said good-bye to him, 
to the whole incident. Her " consciousness of recti- 
tude," as far as Peter Kennedy was concerned, was 
as complete as Mrs. Roope's. She had found him 
little better than a country yokel, and now saw him 
with a future before him, a future she still vaguely 
meant to forward only vaguely. Definitely all 
her thoughts were with Gabriel and the hours they 
would pass together. She was meeting him at the 
station at three o'clock. She remembered the first 
time she had met him at Pineland station, and 
smiled at the remembrance. He might cut himself 
shaving with impunity now, and the shape of his 
hat or his coat mattered not one jot. 

Not expecting Peter Kennedy, but Gabriel Stan- 
ton, she was already arrayed in one of her trous- 
seau dresses, a simple walking-costume of blue 


serge, a shirt of fine cambric, and was spending a 
happy hour trying on hat after hat to decide not 
only which was most suitable but which was the 
most becoming. Hearing wheels on the gravel she 
looked out of the window. Seeing Peter she al- 
most made up her mind not to go down. She had 
just decided on a toque of pansies . . . she might 
try the effect on Peter. She was a little disingenu- 
ous with herself, vanity was the real motive, al- 
though she sought for another as she went down- 

Peter was in the drawing-room, staring vacantly 
out of the window. He never noticed her new 
clothes. She saw that in his eyes, and it quenched 
any welcome there might have been in hers. It was 
her expression he answered with his impulsive: 

" I had to come ! " 

"Had you?" 

" You mustn't be satirical," he said desperately. 
" Or be what you like, what does it matter ? I'd 
rather have shot myself than come to you with such 
news . . ." Her sudden pallor shook him. " You 
can guess of course." 

" No, I can't." 

" That blasted woman ! " 

" Go on." 

" She has written again. Sit down." She sank 
into the easy-chair. All her radiance was quenched, 


she looked piteous, pitiable. He could not look at 

" I came up here yesterday afternoon, meaning 
to tell you. You were so damned happy I couldn't 
get it out." 

" So damned happy ! " she repeated after him, 
and the words were strange on her white lips, 
her laugh was stranger still and made him feel 

" You haven't got to take it like that ; we'll find 
a way out. I suppose, after all, it's only a question 
of money . . ." 

" I cannot give her more money." 

" I've got some. I can get more. You know 
I haven't a thing in the world you are not welcome 
to, you've made a man of me." 

" It is not because I haven't the money to give 
her." She spoke in a strange voice, it seemed to 
have shrunk somehow, there was no volume in it, 
it was small and colourless. 

" I don't know how much she wants. I have 
wired her and paid a reply. I daresay her answer is 
there by now. I'll phone and ask if you like." 

"What's the use?" 

" Well, we'd better know." 

" He said that is what would happen. That she 
would come again and yet again." She was taking 
things even worse than he expected. " He will 
never give in to her, never . . ." She collapsed 


fitfully, like an electric lamp with a broken wire. 
" Everything is over, everything." 

" I don't see that." 

She went on in that small colourless voice : 

" I know. We don't see things the way Gabriel 
does. I promised to tell him, to consult him if she 
came again." 

He hesitated, even stammered a little before he 
answered : 

"He ... he had better not be told of this." 

She laughed again, that little incongruous hope- 
less laugh. 

" I haven't any choice, I promised him." 

"Promised him what?" 

" To let him know if she came back again, if I 
heard anything more about it." 

" This isn't exactly ' it.' " This is a fresh start 
altogether. I suppose you know how I hate what 
I am saying. The position can't be faced, it's got 
to be dodged. It's not only Gabriel Stanton she's 
got hold of . . ." 

He did not want to go on, and she found some 
strange groundless hope in his hesitation. 

" Not Gabriel Stanton ? " she asked, and there 
seemed more tone in her voice, more interest. She 
leaned forward. 

" Perhaps you'd like to see her letter." He gave 
it to her, then without a word went over to the 
other window, turned his face away from her. 


There was a long silence. Margaret's face was 
aflame, but her heart felt like ice. Peter Kennedy 
to be dragged in, to have to defend herself from 
such a charge ! And Gabriel yet to be told ! She 
covered her eyes, but was conscious presently that 
the man was standing beside her, speaking. 

" Margaret ! " His voice was as unhappy as 
hers, his face ravaged. " It is not my fault. I'd 
give my life it hadn't happened. That night you 
had the heart attack I did stay for hours, prowled 
about . . . then slept on the drawing-room sofa. 
Margaret ..." 

"Oh! hush! hush!" 

" You must listen, we must think what is best 
to be done," he said desperately. " Let me go up 
to London and see her. I'm sure I can manage 
something. It's not . . . it's not as if there were 
anything in it." His tactlessness was innate, he 
meant so well but blundered hopelessly, even putting 
a hand on her knee in the intensity of his sympathy. 
She shook it off as if he had been the most ob- 
noxious of insects. " Let me go up and see her," 
he pleaded. " Authorise me to act. May I see if 
there is an answer to my telegram? I sent it a 
little before nine. May I telephone ? " 

" Do what you like." 

"You loathe me." 

" I wish you had never been born." 

He was gone ten minutes ... a quarter of an 


hour perhaps. When he came back she had slipped 
on to the couch, was lying in a huddled-up position. 
For a moment, one awful moment, he thought she 
was dead, but when he lifted her he saw she had 
only fainted. He laid her very gently on the sofa 
and rang for help, glad of her momentary uncon- 
sciousness. He knew what he intended to do now, 
and to what he must try to persuade her. Stevens 
came and said, unsympathetically enough : 

" She's drored her stays too tight. I told her so 
this morning." But she worked about her effectively 
and presently she struggled back, seeming to have 
forgotten for the moment what had stricken her. 

" Have I had another heart attack ? " she asked 

" No." 

" I told you you were lacing too tight. I knew 
what would happen with these new stays and 
things." She actually smiled at Stevens, a wan 
little smile. 

" I feel rather seedy still." 

Peter took the cushion from her, made her lie 
flat. Then she said in a puzzled way, her mind 
working slowly: 

" Something happened ? " 

There was little time to be lost and he answered 
awkwardly, abruptly: 

" I brought you bad news." 

She shut her eyes and lay still thinking that over. 


She opened them and saw his working face and 
anxious eyes. 

" About Mrs. Roope," he reminded her. They 
were alone, the impeccable Stevens had gone for a 
hot-water bottle. 

" What is it exactly ? Tell me all over again. 
I am feeling rather stupid. I thought we had set- 
tled and finished with her ? " 

" She has reopened the matter, dragged me in." 
She remembered now, and the flush in his face was 
reflected in hers. " But it is only a question of 
money. I've got her terms." 

" We must not give her money. Gabriel 
says . . ." 

He would not let her speak, interrupting her 
hurriedly, continuing to speak without pause. 

" The sum isn't impossible. As a matter of fact 
I can find it myself, or almost the whole amount. 
Then there's Lansdowne, he's really not half a 
bad fellow when you know him. And he's as rich 
as Croesus, he would gladly lend it to me." 

" No. Nonsense ! Don't be absurd." She was 
thinking, he could see that she was thinking whilst 
she spoke. 

" It's my affair as much as yours," he pleaded. 
" There is my practice to consider." 

She almost smiled : 

" Then you actually have a practice ? " 

" I'm going to have. Quite a big one too. 


Haven't you told me so? " He was glad to get the 
talk down for one moment to another level. " It 
would be awfully bad for me if anything came out. 
I am only thinking of myself. I want to settle with 
her once for all." 

Her faint had weakened her, she was just re- 
covering from it. Physically she was more com- 
fortable, mentally less alert, and satisfied it should 
be so. 

" Perhaps I took it too tragically ? " she said 
slowly. " Perhaps as you say, in a way, it is your 

He answered her eagerly. 

" That's right. My affair, and nothing to do with 
your promise to him. Then you'll leave it in my 
hands . . ." 

" You go so fast," she complained. 

" The time is so short ; she can't have anything 
else up her sleeve. I funked telling you, I've left it 
so late." He showed more delicacy than one would 
have given him credit for and stumbled over the 
next sentences. " He would hate to think of me in 
this connection. You'd hate to tell him. Just give 
me leave to settle with her. I'll dash up to town." 

" How much does she want ? " 

" Five hundred. I can find the money." 

" Nonsense ; it isn't the money. I wish I knew 
what I ought to do," she said indecisively. " If 
only I hadn't promised . . ." 


" This is nothing to do with what you promised 
. . . this is a different thing altogether." 

He was sophistical and insistent and she was 
weak, allowed herself to be persuaded. The money 
of course must be her affair, she could not allow him 
to be out of pocket. 

They disputed about this and he had more argu- 
ments to bring forward. These she brushed aside 
impatiently. If the money was to be paid she would 
pay it, could afford it better than he. 

" I'm sure I am doing wrong," she repeated 
when she wrote out the cheque, blotted and gave it 
to him. 

" He'll never know. No one will ever know." 

Peter Kennedy was only glad she had yielded. 
He had, of course, no thought of himself in the 
matter. Why should he? In losing her he lost 
everything that mattered, that really mattered. And 
he had never had a chance, not an earthly chance. 
He believed her happiness was only to be secured 
by this marriage, and he dreaded the effect upon 
her health of any disappointment or prolonged 
anxiety. " Once you are married it doesn't matter 
a hang what she says or does," he said gloomily 
or consolingly when she had given him the 

" Suppose . . . suppose . . . Gabriel were to get to 
know ? " she asked with distended eyes. Some re- 
assurance she found for herself after Peter Ken- 


nedy had gone, taking with him the cheque that was 
the price of her deliverance. 

Would Gabriel be so inflexible, seeing what was 
at stake? The last fortnight in a way had drawn 
them so- much closer to each other. They must live 
together in that house within the Sanctuary at West- 
minster. Must. Oh ! if only life .would stand still 
until next Wednesday! The next hour or two 
crushed heavily over her. She knew she had done 
wrong, that she had promised and broken her 
promise. No sophistry really helped her. But, 
whatever happened, she must have this afternoon 
and a long Sunday, alone with him, growing more 
necessary to him. Finally she succeeded in con- 
vincing herself that he would never know, or that 
he would forgive her when he did know, at the 
right time, when the time came to tell him. 

She forced herself to a pretence at lunch. Then 
went slowly upstairs to complete her interrupted 
toilette. Looking in the glass now she saw a pale 
and distraught face that ill-fitted the pansy toque. 
She changed into something darker, more suitable, 
with a cock's feather. All her desire was that Ga- 
briel should be pleased with her appearance, to give 
Gabriel pleasure. 

" I haven't any rouge, have I, Stevens ? " 

" I should 'ope not." 

" I don't want Mr. Stanton to find me looking 


" You look well enough, considering. He won't 
notice nothing. The carriage is here." Stevens 
gave her gloves and a handkerchief. 

Now she was bowling along the quiet country 
road, on the way to meet him. The sky was as blue, 
the air as sweet as she had anticipated. On the sur- 
face she was all throbbing expectation. She was 
going to meet her lover, nothing had come between 
them, could come between them. 

But in her subconsciousness she was suffering 
acutely. It seemed she must faint again when the 
train drew in and she saw him on the platform, but 
the feeling passed. Never had she seen him look so 
completely happy. There was no hint or sugges- 
tion of austerity about him, or asceticism. The 
porter swung his bag to the coachman. Gabriel 
took his place beside her in the carriage. A greet- 
ing passed between them, only a smile of mutual 
understanding, content. Nothing had happened 
since they parted, she told herself passionately, else 
he had not looked so happy, so content. 

" We'll drop the bag at the hotel, if you don't 

" Like we did the first time you came," Mar- 
garet answered. His hand lay near hers and he 
pressed it, keeping it in his. 

"We might have tea there, on that iron table, 
as we did that day," he said. 


" And hear the sea, watch the waves," she mur- 
mured in response. 

" You like me better than you did that day." 

" I know you better." She found it difficult to 

" Everything is better now," he said with a sigh 
of satisfaction. It was twenty minutes' drive from 
the station to the hotel. He was telling her of an 
old oak bureau he had seen, of the way the work- 
men were progressing, of a Spode dinner service 
George was going to give them. Once when they 
were between green hedges in a green solitude, he 
raised the hand he held to his lips and said : 

" Only three days more." 

She was in a dream from which she had no wish 
to wake. 

" You don't usually wear a veil, do you ? " he 
asked. " There is something different about you 
today . . ." 

" It is my new trousseau," she answered, not 
without inward agitation, but lightly withal. " The 
latest fashion. Don't you like it ? " Now they had 
left the sheltering hedges and were within sight of 
the white painted hostelry. 

" The hat and dress and everything are lovely. 
But your own loveliness is obscured by the veil. 
It makes you look ethereal; I cannot see you so 
clearly through it. Beloved, you are quite well, 
are you not ? " There was a note of sudden anxiety 


in his voice. " It is the veil, isn't it? You are not 
pale ? " She shook her head. 

" No, it is the veil." They pulled up at the door 
of the hotel. There was another fly there, but 
empty, the horse with a nose-bag, feeding, the 
coachman not on the box. 

" The carriage is to wait. You can take the bag 
up to my room," he said to the porter. Then turned 
to help Margaret. 

" Send out tea for two as quickly as you can. 
The table is not occupied, is it ? " 

"There is a lady walking about," the man said. 
" I don't know as she 'as ordered tea. She's been 
here some time, seems to be waiting for some one." 

" Oh ! we don't want any one but ourselves," 
Margaret exclaimed, still with that breathless 
strange agitation. 

" I'll see to that, milady." He touched his cap. 

When they walked down the path to where, on 
the terrace overlooking the sea, the iron table and 
two chairs awaited them, Margaret said reminis- 
cently : 

" I sat and waited for you here whilst you saw 
your room, washed your hands . . ." 

" And today I cannot leave you even to wash my 

The deep tenderness in his voice penetrated, 
shook her heart. He remembered what they had 
for tea last time, and ordered it again when the 


waiter came to them: Strawberry jam in a little 
glass dish, clotted cream, brown and white bread 
and butter. " The sea is calmer than it was on that 
day," he said when the waiter went to execute the 

" The sky is not less blue," Margaret answered, 
and it seemed as if they were talking in symbols. 

" How wonderful it all is ! " That was his ex- 
clamation, not hers. She was unusually silent, but 
was glad of the tea when it came, ministering to him 
and spreading the jam on the bread and butter. 

" Let me do it." 

" No," she answered. When she drew her veil 
up a little way to drink her tea one could see that 
her lips were a little tremulous, not as pink as usual. 
Gabriel, however, was too supremely happy and con- 
tent to notice anything. He poured out all his news, 
all that had happened since she left, little things, 
chiefly details of paper and paint and the protection 
of their property from her father and stepmother's 
destructive generosity. 

" It will be all right. I had a chat with Travers." 
Travers was the foreman of the painters. " He will 
do nothing but with direct orders from us. 
The concrete in the basement won't affect the gen- 
eral appearance, we can put back the old boards over 
it. But I think that might be a mistake although 
the boards are very interesting, about four times 
as thick as the modern ones, worm or rat eaten 


through. They will make the pipes for the bath as 
little obtrusive as possible. The electric wire cas- 
ings will go behind the ceiling mouldings. They 
are not really mouldings, but carved wood, fallen 
to pieces in many places. But I am having them 
replaced. Margaret, are you listening?" 

She had been. But some one had come out of 
the hotel. Far off as they were she heard that tur- 
key gobble and impedimented speech. 

" You can tell Dr. Kennedy that I would not 
wait any longer. Tell him I have gone straight up 
to Carbies. I shall see Mrs. Capel." 

" The lady from Carbies is here, ma'am; having 
tea on the terrace, that's her carriage." 

Gabriel had not heard, he was so intent on Mar- 
garet and his news. The sea was breaking on the 
shingle, and to that sound, so agreeable to him, he 
was also listening idly, in the intervals of his talk. 
The strange voice in the distance escaped him. The 
familiar impediment was not familiar to him. Mar- 
garet was cold in the innermost centre of her un- 
evenly beating heart. 

" Are you listening ? " he asked her, and the face 
she turned on him was white through the obscuring 

" I am listening, Gabriel." 

" I will go down and speak to her," Mrs. Roope 
was saying to the waiter. " No, you need not go 
in advance," 


Margaret's heart stood still, the space of a sec- 
ond, and then thundered on, irregularly. She had 
no plan ready, her quick brain was numbed. 

"Mrs. Capel!" 

Gabriel looked up and saw a tall woman con- 
spicuously dressed as nun or nursing sister, in 
blue flowing cloak and bonnet. A woman with ir- 
regular features, large nose and coarse complexion. 
When she had said " Mrs. Capel " Margaret 
cringed, a shiver went through her, she seemed to 
shrink into the corner of the chair. " You know 
me. I wrote to Dr. Kennedy Wednesday and the 
letter required an immediate answer. Now I've 
come for it." 

" He went up to London to see you," she got out. 

" I shall have to be sure you are telling me the 

" You can ask at the station." 

Gabriel looked from one to the other perplexedly. 
But his perplexity was of short duration, the turkey 
gobble and St. Vitus twist it was impossible to 
mistake. He intervened sharply: 

:< You are Mrs. Roope, my sister's so-called 
' healer.' When Mrs. Capel assures you of anything 
you have not to doubt it." He spoke haughtily. 
" Why are you here ? " 

" You know that well enough, Gabriel Stanton." 

" This is the woman who blackmailed you ? " 
The " yes " seemed wrung from her unwillingly. 


His voice was low and tender when he questioned 
Margaret, quite a different voice to the one in which 
he spoke again to the Christian Scientist. 

" How dare you present yourself again ? You 
ought to have been given in charge the first time. 
Are you aware that blackmailing is a criminal 
offence ? " 

" I am aware of everything I wish. If you care 
for publicity my motive can stand the light of day." 

" You ought to be in gaol." 

" It would not harm me. There is no sensation 
in matter." 

" You would be able to test your faith." 

" Are you sure of yours ? " 

Margaret caught hold of his sleeve: 

" Don't bandy words with her, Gabriel. She 
says things without meaning. Let her go. I will 
send her away." She got up and spoke quickly. 
" Dr. Kennedy has gone up to town to see you. 
To . . . take you what you asked. When he does 
not find you in London he will come straight back 
here. They will have told him, I suppose, where 
you have gone? He has the money with him." 

" What are you saying, Margaret ? " Gabriel 
rose too, stood beside her. 

" Wait a minute. Leave me alone, I have to make 
her understand." 

Margaret was in an agony of anxiety that the 
woman should know her claims had been met, that 


she should say nothing more before Gabriel. She 
did not realise what she was admitting, did not see 
the change in his face, the petrifaction. 

" Why don't you go up to his house, wait for him 
there ? " Then she said to Gabriel quickly and un- 
convincingly : 

" This is Dr. Kennedy's affair. It was Dr. Ken- 
nedy for whom you were asking, wasn't it? " Mrs. 
Roope's cunning was equal to the occasion. 

" It is Dr. Kennedy I have got to see," she said 

"If he misses you in London he will get back 
as quickly as possible." Margaret's strained anx- 
iety was easy to read. Afterwards Gabriel fol- 
lowed her, as she moved quickly toward the hotel. 

" What has she got to do with Dr. Kennedy or 
he with her ? " he asked then. Margaret spoke 
hastily : 

" She sent back the post-dated cheque. It is all 
settled only they missed each other. Peter went 
up to town to find her and she misunderstood and 
came after him. He has the other cheque with 

She was purposely incoherent, meaning him to 
misunderstand, hoping against hope that he would 
show no curiosity. Mrs. Roope came after them, 
planted herself heavily in their path. 

" I'll give him until the last train." 

" Telephone to your own house and you will find 


he has been there," Margaret said desperately. 
" Let me pass." 

" You may go." 

" Insolence ! " But Margaret hurried on and he 
could not let her go alone. 

" I will go into the drawing-room. Get the car- 
riage up. We mustn't stay here ..." She spoke 

" You are not frightened of her ? " He hardly 
knew what to think, that Margaret was concealing 
anything from him was unbelievable, unbearable. 

" Frightened ? No. But I want to be away from 
her presence, vicinity. She makes me feel ill . . ." 

Margaret thought the danger was averted, or 
would be if she could get away without any more 
explanation. She had obscured the issue. Peter 
Kennedy would come back and pay all that was 
asked. Gabriel would never know that it was the 
second and not the first attempt at blackmailing 
from which they were suffering. But she under- 
rated his intelligence, he was not at all so easily 
put off. He got the carriage round and put her in 
it, enwrapping her with the same care as always. 
He was very silent, however, as they drove home- 
ward and his expression was inscrutable. She ques- 
tioned his face but without result, put out her hand 
and he held it. 

" We are not still thinking of Mrs. Roope, 


" Have you seen her since I was here last ? " he 

" Not until she came up to us this afternoon." 
She was glad to be able to answer that truthfully, 
breathed more freely. 

" Nor heard from her ? " 

" Nor heard from her." 

" How did you know Dr. Kennedy had gone up 
to town to see her? " 

" He told me so this morning. I ... I advised 
him to go." 

" Was this morning the first time you saw 

" No, I saw him yesterday. Am I under cross- 
examination ? " She tried to smile, speak lightly, 
but Gabriel sat up by her side without response. 
His face was set in harsh lines. She loved him 
greatly but feared him a little too, and put forth 
her powers, talking lightly and of light things. He 
came back to the subject and persisted : 

" Why did she send back the post-dated cheque ? 
Had she another given her?" 

" I ... I suppose so." 


" I don't like the way you are talking to me." 
She pouted, and he relapsed into silence. 

When they got back to Carbies she said she must 
go up and change her dress. She was very shaken 
by his attitude: she thought his self-control hid 


incredulity or anger, found herself unable to face 

He detained her a moment, pleaded with 

" Margaret, if there is anything behind this . . . 
anything you want to tell me . . ." She escaped 
from his detaining arm. 

" I don't like my word doubted." 

" You have not given me your word. This is 
not a second attempt, is it? Why did she force 
herself upon you? I shall see Kennedy myself to- 
morrow, find out what is going on." 

" Why should there be anything going on? You 
are conjuring up ghosts . . ." Then she weakened, 
changed. " Gabriel, don't be so hard, so unlike 
yourself. I don't know what has come over 

He put his arms about her and spoke hoarsely: 

" My darling, my more than treasure. I can't 
doubt you, and yet I am riven with doubt. For- 
give me, but how can you forgive me if I am 
wrong? Tell me again, tell me once and for al- 
ways that nothing has been going on of which I 
have been kept in ignorance, that you would not, 
could not have broken your word to me. You look 
ill, scared ... I know now that from the moment 
I came you have not been yourself, your beautiful 
candid self. Margaret, crown of my life, sweet- 
heart; darling, speak, tell me. Is there anything I 


ought to know ? " He spoke with ineffable tender- 

He was bending over her, holding her, her heart 
beat against his heart; she would have answered 
had she been able. But when her words came they 
were no answer to his. 

" Darling, how strange you are ! There is cer- 
tainly nothing you ought to know. Let me go and 
get my things off. How strange that you should 
doubt me, that you should rather believe that dread- 
ful woman. I have never seen her since you were 
down here last, nor heard from her. . . ." 

Her cheeks flamed and were hidden against his 
coat, she hated her own disingenuousness. It had 
been difficult to tell him, now it was impossible. 
" Let me go." 

He released her and she went over to the looking- 
glass, adjusted her veil. She had burnt her boats, 
now there was nothing for it but denial and more 
denial. Thoughts went in and out of her aching 
head like forked lightning. He would never know. 
Peter would arrange, Peter would manage. It was 
a dreadful thing she had done, dreadful. But she 
had been driven to it. If the time would come over 
again . . . but time never does come over again. 
She must play her part and play it boldly. She was 
trembling inside, but outwardly he saw her preen- 
ing herself before the glass as she talked to 


" I think we have had enough of Mrs. Roope. 
You haven't half admired my frock. I have a great 
mind not to wear my new teagown tonight. I 
should resent it being ignored. We ought to go 
out again until dinner, the afternoon is lovely. I 
can't sit on the beach in this, but I need only slip 
on an old skirt. Shall I put on another skirt? Do 
you feel in the humour for the beach? I've a 
thousand questions to ask you. I seem to have been 
down here by myself for an age. I have actually 
started a book ! What do you say to that ? I want 
to tell you about it. What has been decided about 
the door-plates? What did the parents say when 
they heard I'd fled?" 

" I didn't see them until the next day." 

" Had they recovered ? " 

" They were resigned. I promised to bring you 
back with me on Monday." 

"And now you don't want to?" 

" How can you say that ? " 

" Did I say it ? My mood is frivolous, you 
mustn't take me too seriously. The beach . . . 
you haven't answered about the beach. Perhaps 
you'd rather walk. I don't mind adventuring this 
skirt if we walk." 

" You are not too tired ? " 

" How conventional ! " 

Something had come between them, some sum- 
mer cloud or thunderstorm. Try as they would 


during the remainder of the day they could not 
break through or see each other as clearly as be- 
fore. Margaret talked frivolously, or seriously, 
rallied, jested with him. He struggled to keep up 
with her, to take his tone from hers, to be natural. 
But both of them were acutely aware of failure, of 
artificiality. The walk, the dinner, the short 
evening failed to better the situation. When they 
bade each other good-night he made one more 

"You find it impossible to forgive me?" 
" There is nothing I would not forgive you. 
That's the essential difference between us," she 
answered lightly. 

" There is no essential difference; don't say 

" The day has been something of a failure, don't 
you think? But then so was the day when you 
cut yourself shaving." She maintained the flippant 
tone. " That came right. Perhaps tomorrow when 
we meet we shall find each other wholly adorable 
again." She would not be serious, was light, 
frivolous to the last. " Good-night. Don't paint 
devils, don't see ghosts. Tomorrow everything 
may be as before. Kiss me good-night. Sleep 
well ! " He kissed her, hesitated, kept her in the 
shelter of his arms : 

" Margaret . . ." She freed herself : 

" No. I know that tone. It means more ques- 


tions. You ought to have lived in the time of the 
Spanish Inquisition. Don't you wish you could 
put me on the rack? There is a touch of the in- 
quisitor about you. I never noticed it before . . . 


MARGARET slept ill that night. Round and round 
in her unhappy mind swirled the irrefutable fact 
that she had lied to her lover, and that he knew she 
had lied. Broken her promise, her oath; and he 
knew that she was forsworn. She passionately de- 
sired his respect; in all things he had been on his 
knees before her. If he were no longer there she 
would find the change of attitude difficult to en- 
dure. Yet in the watches of the night she clung to 
the hope that he could know nothing definitely. 
He might suspect or divine, but he could not know. 
She counted on Peter Kennedy, trusted that when 
the five hundred pounds were paid the woman would 
be satisfied, would go quietly away, that nothing 
more would ever be heard of her. 

Wednesday next they were to be married. She 
told herself that if she had lost anything she would 
regain it then. Perhaps she would tell him, but 
not until after she had re-won him. She knew her 
power. If, too, she distrusted it, sensing something 
in him incorruptible and granite-hard, she took 
faint and feverish consolation by reminding herself 
that it was night-time, when all troubles look their 
worst. She resolutely refused to consider the per- 



manent loss of that which she now knew she valued 
more than life itself. The possibility intruded, 
but she would not look. 

In short snatches of troubled sleep she lived 
again through the scenes of the afternoon, saw him 
doubt, heard him question, gave flippant answers. 
In oases of wakefulness she felt his arms about her, 
and the restrained kisses that were like vows; con- 
jured up thrilled moments when she knew how well 
he loved her. She began to dread those nightmare 
sleeps, and to force herself to keep awake. At four 
o'clock she consoled herself that it would soon be 
daylight. At five o'clock, after a desperate short 
nightmare of estrangement from which she awoke, 
quick-pulsed and pallid, she got up and put on a 
dressing-gown, drew up the blind, and opened wide 
the window. She watched the slow dawn and in 
the darkness heard the breakers on the stony beach. 
Nature calmed and quieted her. She began to 
think her fears had been foolish, to believe that she 
had not only played for safety but secured it, that 
the coming day would bring her the Gabriel she 
knew best, the humble and adoring lover. She pic- 
tured their coming together, his dear smile and re- 
stored confidence. He would have forgotten yes- 
terday. The dawn she was watching illumined 
and lightened the sky. Soon the sun would rise 
grandly, already his place was roseate-hued. " Red 
sky in the morning is the shepherd's warning," runs 


the old proverb. But Margaret had never heard, 
or had forgotten it. To her the roseate dawn was 
all promise. The day before them should be ex- 
quisite as yesterday, and weld them with its warmth. 
She would withhold nothing from him, nothing of 
her love. Then peace would fall between them? 
and the renewal of love ? At six o'clock she pulled 
down the blinds and went back to bed again, where 
for two hours she slept dreamlessly. Stevens woke 
her with the inevitable tea. 

"It can't be morning yet? It is hardly light." 
She struggled with her drowsiness. " I don't hear 
rain, do I?" 

" There's no saying what you hear, but it's 
raining sure enough, a miserable morning for 

" May ! But it is nearly June ! " 

" I'm not gainsaying the calendar." 

" Pull up the blind." 

A short time before she had gazed on a roseate 
dawn, now rain was driving pitilessly across the 
landscape, and all the sky was grey. No longer 
could she hear the breakers on the shore. All she 
heard was the rain. Stevens shut the window. 

" You'd best not be getting up early. There's 
nothing to get up for on a morning like this. It's 
not as if you was in the habit of going to church." 
Margaret was conscious of depression. Stevens's 
grumbling kept it at bay, and she detained her on 


one excuse or another; tried to extract humour 
from her habitual dissatisfaction. 

" It will be like this all day, you see if it isn't. 
The rain is coming down straight, too, and the 
smoke's blowing all ways." She changed the sub- 
ject abruptly, as maids will, intent on her duties. 
" I'll have to be getting out your clothes. What do 
you think you'll wear? " 

" I meant to try my new whipcord." 

" With the wheat-ear hat ! What's the good of 
that if you won't have a chance of going out?" 

" One of my new tea-gowns, then ? " 

" I never did hold with tea-gowns in the morn- 
ing," Stevens answered lugubriously. " I suppose 
Mr. Stanton will be coming over. Not but what 
he'll get wet through." 

" I shouldn't be surprised if he came all the same." 
Margaret smiled, and the omniscient maid reflected 
the smile, if a little sourly. 

" There's never no saying. There's that tele- 
phone going. Another mistake, I suppose. I wish 
I'd the drilling of them girls. Oh ! I'm coming, I'm 
coming ! " she cried out to the insensitive instru- 
ment. " Don't you attempt to get up till I come 
back. You're going to have a fire to dress by; 
calendar or no calendar, it's as cold as winter." 

Margaret watched the rain driving in wind gusts 
against the window until Stevens came back. Some- 
how the rain seemed to have altered everything, 


she felt the fatigue of her broken night, the irrita- 
bility of her frayed nerves. 

" It's that there Dr. Kennedy. He wants to 
know how soon he may come over. He says he's 
got something to tell you. * All the fat's in the 
fire,' he said. ' Am I to tell her that? ' I arst him. 
' Tell her anything you like,' he answered, ' but find 
out how soon I can see her.' Very arbitrary he was 
and impatient, as if I'd nothing to do but give and 
take his messages." 

" Tell him I'm just getting up. I can be ready in 
half an hour." 

"I shall tell him nothing of the sort. Half an 
hour, indeed, with your bath and everything, and 
no breakfast, and the fire not yet lit. Nor one 
of the rooms done, I shouldn't think ..." 

" Tell him I'll see him in half an hour," Mar- 
garet persisted. " Now go away, that's a good 
woman, and do as you are told. Don't stand there 
arguing, or I'll answer the telephone myself." She 
put one foot out of bed as if to be as good as her 
word, and Stevens, grumbling and astonished, went 
to do her bidding. 

Half an hour seemed too long for Margaret. 
What had Peter Kennedy to tell her? Had he met 
or seen Mrs. Roope? " All the fat was in the fire." 
What fat, what fire? The phrase foreshadowed 
comedy and not tragedy. But that was nothing 
for Peter Kennedy, who was in continual need of 


editing, who had not the gift of expression nor the 
capacity of appropriate words. She scrambled in 
and out of her bath, to Stevens's indignation, never 
waiting for the room to be warmed. She was im- 
patient about her hair, would not sit still to have 
it properly brushed, but took the long strands in 
her own hands and " twisted them up anyhow." 
Stevens's description of the whole toilette would 
have been sorry reading in a dress magazine or 
ladies' paper. 

" Give me anything," she says, " anything. 
What does it matter? He'll be here any minute 
now. The old dressing-gown, or a shirt and skirt. 
Whichever is quickest. What a slowcoach you're 

" Slowcoach ! She called me a slowcoach, and 
from first to last it hadn't been twenty minutes." 

Margaret, sufficiently dressed, but without hav- 
ing breakfasted, very pale and impatient, was at 
the window of the music room when Peter came up 
the gravel path in his noisy motor, flung in the clutch 
with a grating sound, pulled the machine to a stand- 
still. There was no ceremony about showing him 
up. He was in the room before she had collected 
herself. He, too, was pale, his chin unshaved, his 
eyes a little wild; looking as if he, also, had not 

"You've heard what happened?" he began, ab- 
ruptly. ..." No, of course you haven't, how could 


you? What a fool I am! There's been a hell 
of a hullabaloo. That's why I telephoned, rushed 
up. You know that she-cat came down here ? " He 
had difficulty in explaining his errand. 

" Yes. I saw her, she waited for you at the 
hotel. Go on, what next?" 

" I didn't get back until after nine o'clock. And 
then I found her waiting for me. The servants did 
not know what to make of her; they told me they 
couldn't understand what she said, so I suppose she 
talked Christian Science. Fortunately I'd got the 
cheque with me. I had not been able to change it, 
the London banks were all closed. She took it 
like a bird. Not without some of the jargon and 
hope that I'd mend my ways, give up prescribing 
drugs. You know the sort of thing. I thought 
I'd got through, that it was all over. The cheque 
was dated Saturday, she would be able to cash it 
first thing Monday morning. It was as good as 
money directly the banks opened. I never dreamt 
of them meeting." 

"Who?" asked Margaret, with pale lips. She 
knew well enough, although she asked and waited 
for an answer. 

" She and Gabriel Stanton. It seems she was too 
late for the last train and had to put up at the 
hotel ..." 

"At the King's Arms?" 

" Yes. He met her there, or rather she forced 


herself on him. God knows what she had in her 
mind. Pure mischief, I suspect, though of course 
it may have been propaganda. It seems he came 
in about ten o'clock and went on to the terrace to 
smoke or to look at the sea. She followed him there, 
tackled him about his sister or his soul." 

" How do you know all this ? " 

" Let me tell the story my own way. He met 
her full-face so to speak, wanted to know exactly 
what she was doing in this part of the world. Per- 
haps she didn't know she was giving away the show. 
Perhaps she didn't know he wasn't exactly in our 
confidence. There is no use thinking the worst of 

" She knew what she was doing, that she was 
coming between us." Margaret spoke in a low 
voice, a voice of desperate certainty and hopeless- 

" Well, that doesn't matter one way or another, 
what her intentions were, I mean. I don't know 
myself what had happened between you and him. 
Although of course I spotted quick enough he'd 
had some sort of shock. ..." 

" Then you have seen him ! " 

" I was coming to that. After his interview with 
her he came straight to me." 

" To you ! But it was already night ! " 

" I'd gone to bed, but he rang the night bell, rang 
and rang again. I didn't know who it was when I 


shouted through the tube that I'd come down, that 
I shouldn't be half a minute. When I let him in 
I thought he was a ghost. I was quite staggered, 
he seemed all frozen up, stiff. Just for a moment 
it flashed across me that he'd come from you, that 
you were ill, needed me. But he did not give me 
time to say the wrong things. ' Mrs. Roope has 
just left me/ he began. ' The devil she has/ was 
all I could find to answer. I was quite taken aback. 
I needn't go over it all word by word, it wasn't 
very pleasant. He accused me of compromising you, 
seemed to think I'd done it on purpose, had some 
nefarious motive. I was in the dark about how 
much he knew, and that handicapped me. I swore 
you knew nothing about it, and he said haughtily 
that I was to leave your name out of the conversa- 
tion. And now I'm coming to the point. Why I 
am here at all. It seems she tried to rush him for 
a bit more, and he, well practically told her to go 
to blazes, said he should stop the cheque, prosecute 
her. He seemed to think I was trying to save my- 
self at your expense. ASS ! He is going up this 
morning to see his lawyer, he wants an information 
laid at Scotland Yard. He says the Christian 
Science people are practically living on blackmail, 
getting hold of family secrets or skeletons. And 
he's not going to stand for it. I did all I knew to 
persuade him to let well alone. We nearly came to 
blows, only he was so damned dignified. I said I 


believed it would break you up if there was another 
scandal. ' I have no doubt that Mrs. Capel will 
see the matter in the same light that I do,' he said 
in the stiffest of all his stiff ways." Peter Kennedy 
paused. He had another word to say, but he said 
it awkwardly, with an immense effort, and after a 

" He'll come up here this morning and tackle you. 
You don't care a curse if I'm dead or alive, I know 
that. But if . . . if he drives you too far . . . 
well, you know I'd lay down my life for you. He 
says I've no principle, and as far as you're con- 
cerned that's true enough. I'd say black was white, 
I'd steal or starve to give you pleasure, save you 
pain. That's what I've come to say, to put myself 
at your service." She put up her hand, motioned 
him to silence. All this time he had been standing 
up, now he flung himself into a chair, brushed his 
hand across his forehead. " I hardly know what 
I'm saying, I haven't slept a wink." 

" You were saying you would do anything for 

" I meant that right enough." 

Without any preparation, for until now she had 
listened apparently calmly, she broke into a sudden 
storm of tears. He got up again and went and 
stood beside her. 

" I can't live without him," she said. " I can't 
live without him," she repeated weakly. 


" Oh, I say, you know ..." But he had noth- 
ing to say. The sniffing Stevens, disapproval 
strongly marked upon her countenance, here 
brought in a tray with coffee and rolls. Margaret, 
recovering herself with an effort, motioned her to 
set it down. 

" You ought to make her take it," Stevens said 
to Dr. Kennedy indignantly, " disturbing her be- 
fore she's breakfasted. She's had nothing inside 
her lips." He was glad of the interruption. 

" You stay and back me up, then." Together 
they persuaded or forced her to the coffee, she 
could not eat, and was impatient that Stevens and 
the tray should go away. Her outburst was over, 
but she was pitiably shaken. 

" He'll come round, all right," Peter said awk- 
wardly, when they were alone again. She looked at 
him with fear in her eyes : 

"Do you really think so?" 

"Who wouldn't?" 

" You don't think he would go up to London 
without seeing me? " 

" Not likely." 

She spoke again presently. In the interval Peter 
conjured up the image of Gabriel Stanton, speak- 
ing to her as he had to him, refusing compromise, 
harshly unapproachable, rigid. 

" I could never go through what I went through 


" You shan't." 

"What could you do?" 

" I'll find some way ... a medical certificate ! " 

" The shame of it ! " She covered her face with 
her hands. 

" It won't happen. She's had her money. He 
may have rubbed her up the wrong way, but after 
all she has nothing to gain by interfering." 

"If only I had told him myself! If only I 
hadn't lied to him!" 

Peter, desperately miserable, walked about the 
room, interjecting a word now and again, trying 
to inspirit her. 

" You had better go," she said to him in the end. 
" It's nearly ten o'clock. If he is coming up at 
all he will be here soon." 

" Of course he is coming up. How can I leave 
you like this ? " he answered wildly. " Can't I do 
anything, say anything, see him for you?" Mar- 
garet showed the pale simulacrum of a smile. 

" That was my idea, once before, wasn't it? No, 
you can't see him for me." 

"I can't do anything?" 

" I'm not sure." 

She spoke slowly, hesitatingly. In truth she 
did not know how she was to bear what she 
saw before her. Not marriage, safety, happiness, 
was to be hers, only humiliation. Death was prefer- 


able, a thousand times preferable. She was im- 
pulsive and leaped to this conclusion. 

"Can't I do anything?" he said again. 

" Peter, Peter Kennedy, you say you would do 
anything, anything, for me. I wonder what you 
mean by it. ... How much or how little? " 

" Lay down my life." 

" Or risk it ? There must be a way, you must 
know a way of ... of shortening things. I 
could not go through it all again . . . not now. 
If the worst came to the worst, if I can't make 
him listen to reason, if he won't forgive or under- 
stand. If I have to face the court again, my father 
and stepmother to know of my . . . my impru- 
dence, all the horrors to be repeated. To have to 
stand up and deny ... be cross-examined. About 
you as well as him ..." 

Again she hid her face. Then, after a pause in 
which she saw her life befouled, and Gabriel Stan- 
ton as her judge or executioner, she lifted a strained 
and desperate face. " You would find a way to 
end it?" 

She waited for his answer. 

" I don't know what you mean." 

" Yes, you do. If it became unbearable. Life 
no longer a gift, but leprous ..." 

" It isn't as if you had done anything," he ex- 


" I've promised and broken my promise, lied, 
deceived him. It was only to secure his happiness, 
mine . . . ours . . . But if he takes it differ- 
ently, and must have publicity . . ." 

" I don't believe you could go through it," he 
said gloomily. " One of those heart attacks of 
yours might come on." 

" You know the pain is intolerable." 

" That amyl helps you." 

" Not much." 

" Morphia." 

" Was a failure last time. Peter, think, won't 
you think ? Couldn't you give me anything ? Isn't 
there any drug? You are fond of drugs, learned 
in them. Isn't there any drug that would put me out 
of my misery? " 

He listened and she pressed him. 

" Think, think." 

" Of course there are drugs." 

" But the drug." 

" There's hyoscine ..." 

"Tell me the effect of that?" 

" It depends how it is given . . . what it is 
given for." 

" For f orgetf ulness ? " 

" A quarter of a grain injection." 

"And, and ..." 

" Nothing, nothingness." 

"If you love me, Peter . . . You say you 


love me . . . If the worst came to the worst, 
you will help me through . . . ? " 

" Don't." 

" I must. ... I want your promise." 

"What is the good of promising? I couldn't 
do it." 

" You said you could die for me." 

" It isn't my death you are asking. Unless I 
should be hanged ! " 

" You can safeguard yourself." 

" You will never ask me." 

"But if I did?" 

"Oh, God knows!" 

"If I not only asked but implored? Give me 
this hope, this promise. // I come to the end of 
my tether, can bear no more; then ask you for re- 
lease, the great release . . . ? " 

" My hand would drop off." 

" Lose your hand." 

" My heart would fail." 

" Other men have done such things for the 
woman they love." 

" It won't come to that." 

" But if it did . . . ? " 

She pressed him, pressed him so hard that in the 
end he yielded, gave her the promise she asked. His 
night had been sleepless, he had been without break- 
fast. He scarcely knew what he was saying, only 
that he could not say " No " to her. And that when 


he said " Yes," she took his hand in hers a mo- 
ment, his reluctant hand, and laid her cheek against 

" Dear friend," she said tenderly, " you give 
me courage." 

When he went away she looked happier, or at 
least quieter. He cursed himself for a fool when 
he got into the car. But still against his hand he 
felt the softness of her cheek and the fear of un- 
manly tears made him exceed the speed limit. 

Margaret, left alone, calculated her resources 
and for all her whilom amazing vanity found them 
poor and wanting. What would Gabriel say to her 
this morning, how could she answer him? If he 
truly loved her and she pointed out to him, proved 
to him that their marriage, their happiness, need not 
be postponed, would he listen? She saw herself 
persuading him, but remembered that her father in 
many an argument had failed in making him admit 
that there was more than one standard of ethics, 
of right conduct. If he truly loved her! In this 
black moment she could doubt it. For unlike 
Peter Kennedy he would put honour before her 

Gabriel, her lover, came late, on slow reluctant 
feet. He loved her no less, although he knew she 
had deceived him, kept things back from him, com- 
plicated, perhaps, both their lives by her action. He 
knew her motives also, that it was because she 


loved him. He had no harsh judgment, only an 
overwhelming pang of tenderness. He, too, had 
faced the immediate future. He knew there 
must be no marriage whilst this thing hung over 
and menaced them. Yet to take her into his own 
keeping, guard and cherish her, was a desire sharp 
as a sword is sharp, and too poignant for words. 
He thought she would understand him. But more 
definitely perhaps he feared her opposition. The 
fear had slowed his feet. She did not know her 
lover when she dreaded his reproaches. When he 
came into the music room this grey, wet morning, 
he saw that she looked ill, but hardly guessed that 
she was apprehensive, and of him. He bent over 
her hands, kissed her hands, held them against his 

" My dear, my dear." Her mercurial spirits rose 
at a bound. 

" I thought you would reproach me." 

" My poor darling ! " 

" I wish I had told you." 

" Never mind that now." 

" But that was the worst of everything. You 
don't know how I have reproached myself." 

" You must not." 

"You have not left off caring for me, then?" 

" I never cared for you so much." 

" Why do you look so grave, so serious ? " 

Her heart was shaking as she questioned him. 


In his tenderness there was something different, 
something inflexible. 

" My darling," he said again. 

" That means . . . ? " 

" I am going to ask you to let me stop that 

" No." 

" Fortunately it is Sunday. We have the day 
before us. I am going up by the two-o'clock. I've 
sent my bag down to the station. I've already been 
on to my lawyer by telephone and he will see me 
at his private house this afternoon. In my opinion 
we have nothing at all to fear. The King's Proctor 
will not move on such evidence as she has to offer, 
she has overreached herself. We ought to have 
her in gaol by tomorrow night." 

"In gaol!" 

" That is where she should be. She frightened 
you . . . she shall go to gaol for it. Margaret, 
will you write to your bankers ... let me 
write ..." 

" No ! " she said again. 

" Sweetheart ! " and he caressed her. 

" No. Gabriel, listen to me. I am overwhelmed 
because I broke my promise to you, was not candid. 
But though I am overwhelmed and unhappy ..." 

" I will not let you be unhappy . . ." 

She brushed that aside and went on : 

" I am not sorry for what I have done. There 


is not a word of truth in what she says. As you 
say, I have admitted guilt, being innocent. Gabriel, 
I was innocent before, but racked, tortured to prove 
it. Here I have only paid five hundred pounds. 
Oh, Heaven! give me words, the power to show 
you. I am pleading with you for my life. For 
my life, Gabriel . . . ours. Let the cheque go 
through, give her another if necessary, and yet 
another. I don't mind buying my happiness." She 
pleaded wildly. 

" Hush! Hush! " He hushed her on his breast, 
held her to him. 

" Dear love ..." She wept, and the tortures 
of which she spoke were his. " If only I might 
yield to you." 

" What is it stops you ? Obstinacy, self-right- 
eousness ..." 

"If it were either would I not yield now, now, 
with your dear head upon my breast ? " She was 
sobbing there. " Dear love, you unman me." His 
breathing was irregular. " Listen, you unman me, 
you weaken me. We were both looking forward, 
and must still be able to look forward. And back- 
ward, too. Not stain our name, more than our 
name, our own personal honour. Margaret, we 
are clean, there must be no one who can say, 
' Had they been innocent, would they have paid to 
hide it ? ' And this fresh charge, this fresh and accusation ! And you would accept all, ad- 


mit all ! My dear, my dear, it must not be, we have 
not only ourselves to consider." 

" Not only ourselves ! " He held her closer, 
whispered in her ear. 

She had heard him discuss commercial morality 
with her father, had seen into both their souls; 
learnt her lover's creed. One must not best a fel- 
lowman, fool though he might be, nor take advan- 
tage of his need nor ignorance. She had learnt that 
there were such things as undue percentage of profit, 
although no man might know what that profit was. 
" Child's talk," her father had called it, and told 
him Wall Street would collapse in a day if his 
tenets were to hold good. Margaret had been proud 
of him then, although secretly her reason had failed 
to support him, for it is hard to upset the teaching 
of a lifetime. To her, it seemed there were con- 
ventions, but common sense or convenience might 
override them. In this particular instance why 
should she not submit to blackmail, paying for 
the freedom she needed? But he could not be 
brought to see eye to eye with her in this. She used 
all the power that was in her to prove to him that 
there is no sharp line of demarcation between right 
and wrong, that one can steer a middle course. 

The short morning went by whilst she argued. 
She put forth all her powers, and in the end, quite 
suddenly, became conscious that she had not moved 
him in the least, that as he thought when he came 


into the room, so he thought now. He used the 
same words, the same hopeless unarguable words. 
" Being innocent we cannot put in this plea of 
guilty." She would neither listen nor talk any more, 
but lay as a wrestler, who, after battling again and 
again until the whistle blew and the respite came, 
feels both shoulders touching the ground, and sud- 
denly, without appeal, admits defeat. 

When Gabriel wrote the letter to the bank stop- 
ping the cheque that was to be paid to Mrs. Roope 
on the morrow, she signed it silently. When he 
asked her to authorise him to see her father if nec- 
essary, to allow either or both of them to act for 
her, she acquiesced in the same way. She was 
quite spent and exhausted. 

" I will let you know everything we do, every step 
we take." 

" I don't want to hear." She accepted his 
caresses without returning them, she had no capac- 
ity left for any emotion. 

Then, after he had gone, for there was no time 
to spare and he must not miss his train, she re- 
mained immobile for a time, the panorama of the 
future unfolding before her exhausted brain. What 
a panorama it was! She was familiar with every 
sickening scene that passed before her. Lawyer's 
office, documents going to and fro, delay and yet 
more delay. Appeal to Judge in Chambers, and 
from Judge in Chambers, interrogatories and yet 


more interrogatories, demands for further particu- 
lars, the further particulars questioned; Counsel's 
opinion, the case set down for hearing, adjourn- 
ments and yet further adjournments. 

At last the Court. Speeches. And then, stand- 
ing behind the rail in the witness-box, the cynosure 
of all eyes, she saw herself as in the stocks, for all 
to pelt with mud . . . herself, her wretched, cow- 
ering self! Gabriel said they were clean people; 
she and he were clean. So far they were, but they 
would be pelted with mud nevertheless; perhaps all 
the more because their cleanliness would make so 
tempting a target. The judge would find the mud- 
flinging entertaining, would interpolate facetious 
remarks. The Christian Science element would 
give him opportunity. The court would be crowded 
to suffocation. She felt the closeness and the musty 
air, arid felt her heart contract . . . but not ex- 
pand. That slight cramp woke her from her dread- 
ful dream, but woke her to terror. Such a warning 
she had had before. She was able, however, to ring 
for help. Stevens came running and began to ad- 
minister all the domestic remedies, rating her at 
the same time for having " brought it on herself," 
grumbling and reminding her of all her impru- 

" No breakfast, and lunch not up yet ; I never did 
see such goin's-on." 

She had the sense, however, in the midst of her 


grumbling to send for the doctor, and before the 
pain was at its height he was in the room. The 
bitter-sweet smell of the amyl told him what had 
been already done. What little more he could do 
brought her no relief. He took out the case he 
always carried, hesitated, and chose a small bottle. 

" Get me some hot water," he said, to Stevens. 

"Morphia?" she gasped. 

" Yes." 

" Put it away." 

" Because it failed once is no reason it should 
fail again." 

" I'm in ... I'm in ... agony." 

" I know." 

" And there's no hope." 

" Oh, yes, you'll get through this." 

" I don't want to ... only not to suffer. Re- 
member, you promised." He pretended not to hear, 
busying himself about her. 

" He has gone. I've stopped the cheque. Pe- 
ter ..." The pain rose, her voice with it, then col- 
lapsed; it was dreadful to see her. 

" Help me . . . give me the hyoscine," she said 
faintly. His hand shook, his face was ashen. " I 
can't bear this . . . you promised." The agony 
broke over her again. He poured down brandy, but 
it might have been water. His heart was wrung, 
and drops of perspiration formed upon his forehead. 
She pleaded to him in that faint voice, then was 


past pleading, and could only suffer, then began 
again : 

" Pity me. Do something ... let me go; help 
me . . ." 

One has to recollect that he loved her, that he 
knew her heart was diseased, that there would be 
other such attacks. Also that Gabriel Stanton, as 
he feared, had proved inflexible. There would be 
no wedding and inevitable publicity. Then she 
cried to him again. And Stevens took up the bur- 
den of her cry. 

" For the Lord's sake give her something, give 
her what she's asking for. Human nature can't 
bear no more . . . look at her." Stevens was 
moved, as any woman would be, or man, either, by 
such suffering. 

" Your promise ! " were words that were wrung 
through her dry lips. Her tortured eyes raked and 
racked him. 

" I . . .1 can't," was all the answer. 

" If you care, if you ever cared. Your miserable 
weakness. Oh, if I only had a man about me ! " 
She turned away from him for ease and he could 
hardly hear her. In the next paroxysm he lifted 
her gently on to the floor, placed a pillow under her 
head. He whispered to her, but she repelled him, 
entreated her, but she would not listen. All the 
time the pain went on. '' You promised," were 
not words, but a moan. 


Desperately he took the cachet from the wrong 
bottle, melted it, filled his needle. When he bade 
Stevens roll up her sleeve, she smiled on him, 
actually smiled. 

"Dear Peter! How right I was to trust 
you ! . . . " Her voice trailed. The change in her 
face was almost miraculous, the writhing body re- 
laxed. She sighed. Almost it seemed as if the 
colour came back to her lips, to her tortured face. 
" Dear, good Peter," were her last words, a message 
he stooped to hear. 

" Thank the Lord," said Stevens piously, " she's 
getting easier." She was still lying on the floor, a 
pillow under her head, and they watched her silently. 

"Shall I lift her back?" 

" No, leave her a few minutes." He had the sense 
to add, " The morphia doesn't usually act so 
quickly." Stevens had seen him give her morphia 
before in the same way, with the same preliminaries. 
He had saved her, he must save himself. He was 
conscious now of nothing but gladness. He had 
feared his strength, but his strength had been equal 
to her need. She was out of pain. Nothing else 
mattered. She was out of pain, he had promised 
her and been equal to his promise. He was no 
Gabriel Stanton to argue and deny, deny and argue. 
He wiped his needle carefully, put it away. Then 
a cry from Stevens roused him, brought him quickly 
to her side. 


"She's gone. Oh, dear! Oh, dear! She's 
gone ! " He lifted her up, laid her on the sofa, the 
smile was still on her face, she looked asleep. But 
Stevens was there and he had to dissimulate. 

" She is unconscious. Get on to the telephone. 
Ask Dr. Lansdowne to come over." 

Then he made a feint of trying remedies. 
Strychnine, more amyl, more brandy, artificial res- 
piration. He was glad, glad, glad, exulting as the 
moments went on. He thanked God that she was 
at rest. " He giveth His beloved sleep" He called 
her beloved, whispered it in her ear when Stevens 
was summoning that useless help. He had sealed 
her to him, she was his woman now, and for ever. 
No self-righteous iceberg could hold and deny 

" Sleep well, beloved," he whispered. " Sleep 
well. Smile on me, smile your thanks." 

He recovered himself with an immense, an in- 
credible effort. He wanted to laugh, to exult, to 
call on the world to see his work, what he had done 
for her, how peaceful she was, and happy. He was 
as near madness as a sane man could be, but by 
the time his partner came he composed his face 
and spoke with professional gravity: 

" I am afraid you are too late." 

Dr. Lansdowne, hurrying in, wore his habitual 

" I always knew it would end like this. Didn't 


I tell you so? An aneurism. I diagnosed it a 
long time ago." He had even forgotten his diag- 
nosis. " I suppose you've tried ... so and so?" 
He recapitulated the remedies. Stevens, stunned 
by the calamity, but not so far as to make her for- 
get to pull down the blinds, listened and realised 
Dr. Kennedy had left nothing undone. 

" I suppose there will have to be an inquest? " 

" An inquest ! My dear fellow. An inquest! 
What for? I have seen her and diagnosed, prog- 
nosed. You have attended her for weeks under my 
direction. Unless her family wish it, it is quite 
unnecessary. I shall be most pleased to give a 
death certificate. You have informed the relatives, 
of course ? " 

" Not yet." 

Stevens emitted one dry sob which represented 
her entire emotional capacity, and hastened to ring 
up Queen Anne's Gate. Dr. Lansdowne began to 
talk directly she left them alone. He told his silent 
colleague of an eructation that troubled him after 
meals, and of a faint tendency to gout. Then cast 
a perfunctory glance at the sofa. 

" Pretty woman ! " he said. " All that money, 

Peter, suddenly, inexplicably unable to stand, 
sank on his knees by the sofa, hid his face in her 
dress. Dr. Lansdowne said. " God bless my soul ! " 
Peter broke into tears like a girl. 


" Come, come, this will never do. Pull yourself 
together, or I shall think ... I shan't know what 
to think ..." 

Peter recovered himself as quickly as he had 
collapsed, rose to his feet. 

" It was so sudden," he said apologetically. " I 
was unprepared ..." 

" I could have told you exactly what would hap- 
pen. The case could hardly have ended any other 

He said a few kind words about himself and his 
skill as a diagnostician. Peter listened meekly, and 
was rewarded by the offer of a lift home. " You 
can come up again later, when the family has ar- 
rived, they will be sure to want to know about her 
last moments . . . Or I might come myself, tell 
them I foresaw it . . " 


I WOKE up suddenly. A minute ago I had seen 
Peter Kennedy kneeling by the sofa, his head against 
Margaret's dress. He had looked young, little more 
than a boy. Now he was by my side, bending over 
me. There was grey in his hair, lines about his 

" You've grown grey," was the first thing I said, 
feebly enough I've no doubt, and he did not seem 
to hear me. " My arm aches. How could you 
do it?" 

"Do what?" 

" She was so young, so impetuous, everything 
might have come right ..." 

" She is wandering," he said. I hardly knew to 
whom he spoke, but felt the necessity of protest. 

" I'm not wandering. Is Ella there ? " 

" Of course I am. Is there anything you want ? " 
She came over to me. 

" I needn't write any more, need I ? I'm so tired." 
Ella looked at him as if for instructions, or guid- 
ance, and he answered soothingly, as one speaks to 
a child or an invalid: 

" No, no, certainly not. You need not write un- 



til you feel inclined. She has been dreaming," he 

It did not seem worth while to contradict him 
again. I was not wide-awake yet, but swayed on 
the borderland between dreams and reality. Three 
people were in the dusk of the well-known room. 
They disentangled themselves gradually; Nurse 
Benham, Dr. Kennedy, Ella in the easy-chair, Mar- 
garet's easy-chair. It was evening and I heard Dr. 
Kennedy say that I was better, stronger, that he 
did not think it necessary to give me a morphia in- 

"Or hyoscine." 

I am sure I said that, although no one answered 
me, and it was as if the words had dissolved in 
the twilight of the room. Incidentally I may say I 
never had an injection of morphia since that even- 
ing. I knew how easy it was to make a mistake with 
drugs. So many vials look alike in that small 
valise doctors carry. I was either cunning or clever 
that night in rejecting it. Afterwards it was only 
necessary to be courageous. 

I found it difficult in those first few twilight days 
of recovering consciousness to separate this Dr. 
Kennedy who came in and out of my bedroom from 
that other Dr. Kennedy, little more than a boy, 
who had wept by the woman he released, the 
authoress whose story I had just written. And my 
feelings towards him fluctuated considerably. My 


convalescence was very slow and difficult, and I 
often thought of the solution Margaret Capel had 
found, sometimes enviously, at others with a shud- 
dering fear. At these times I could not bear that 
Dr. Kennedy should touch me, his hand on my 
pulse gave me an inward shiver. At others I looked 
upon him with the deepest interest, wondering if 
he would do as much for me as he had done for 
her, if his kindness had this meaning. For he was 
kind to me, very kind, and at the beck and call of 
my household by night and day. Ella sent for him 
if my temperature registered half a point higher or 
lower than she anticipated, any symptom or change 
of symptom was sufficient to send him a peremptory 
message, that he never disregarded. Ella, I could 
tell, still suspected us of being in love with each 
other, and she dressed me up for his visits. Lacy 
underwear, soft chiffony tea-gowns, silken hose and 
satin or velvet shoes diverted my weakness into 
happier channel and kept her in her right milieu. 

Then, not all at once, but gradually and almost 
incredibly the whole circumstances changed. Dr. 
Kennedy came one day full of excitement to tell 
us that a new treatment had been found for my 
illness. Five hundred cases had been treated, of 
which over four hundred had been cured, the rest 
ameliorated. Of course we were sceptical. Other 
consultants were called in and, not having suggested 
the treatment, damned it wholeheartedly. One or 


two grudgingly admitted a certain therapeutic value 
in selected cases, but were sure that mine was not 
one of them! The medical world is as difficult to 
persuade to adventure as an old maid in a provin- 
cial town. My own tame general practitioner, 
whom I had previously credited with some slight 
intelligence, was moved to write to Dr. Kennedy 
urging him vehemently to forbear. He was for- 
tunate enough to give his reasons, and for me at 
least they proved conclusive! 

On the 27th of May I took my first dose of 
thirty grains of iodide of potassium and spent the 
rest of the day washing it down with glasses of 
chlorine water masked with lemon. I was still the 
complete invalid, going rapidly downhill; on a water 
bed, spoon-fed, and reluctantly docile in Benham's 
hard, yet capable hands. On the 2/th of June I 
was walking about the house. By the 27th of July 
I had put on seventeen pounds in weight and had 
no longer any doubt of the result. I had found the 
dosage at first both nauseous and nauseating. Now 
I drank it off as if it had been champagne. Hope 
effervesced in every glass. The desire to work 
came back, but without the old irritability. Ella, 
before she left, said I was more like myself than I 
had been for years. Dr. Kennedy had unearthed 
this new treatment and she extolled him, notwith- 
standing her old prejudices, admitted it was to him 
we owed my restoration, yet never ceased to rally 


me and comment on the power of love. I agreed 
with her in that, knowing hers had saved me even 
before the drug began to act. It was for her hand I 
had groped in the darkest hour of all. Even now I 
remember her passionate avowal that she would 
not let me die, my more weakly passionate response 
that I could not leave her lonely in the world. Now 
we said rude things to each other, as sisters will, 
with an intense sense of happiness and absence of 
emotion. I criticised Tommy's handwriting, and 
she retorted that at least she saw it regularly. 
Whilst as for Dennis . . . 

But there was no agony there now to be assuaged. 
My boy was on his way home and the words he 
had written, the cable that he had sent when he 
heard of my illness, lay near my heart, too sacred 
to show her. I let her think I had not heard from 
him. Closer even than a sister lies the tie between 
son and mother. Not perhaps between her and her 
rough Tommy, her fair Violet, but between me and 
my Dennis, my wild erratic genius, who could 
nevertheless pen me those words . . . who could 
send me the sweetest love letter that has ever been 

But this has nothing to do with me and Dr. Peter 
Kennedy, and the curious position between us. For 
a long time after I began to get well it seemed we 
were like two wary wrestlers, watching for a hold. 
Only that sometimes he seemed to drop all reserves, 


to make an extraordinary rapprochement. I might 
flush, call myself a fool, remember my age, but 
at these times it would really appear as if Ella had 
some reason in her madness, as if he had some per- 
sonal interest in me. At these times I found him 
nervous, excitable, utterly unlike his professional 
self. As for me I had to preserve my equanimity, 
ignore or rebuff without disturbing my equilibrium. 
I was fully employed in nursing my new-found 
strength, swallowing perpetually milk and eggs, 
lying for hours on an invalid carriage amid the fad- 
ing gorse, reconstructing, rebuilding, making vows. 
I had been granted a respite, if not a reprieve, and 
had to prove my worthiness. The desire for work 
grew irresistible. When I asked for leave he com- 
bated me, combated me strenuously. 

" You are not strong enough, not nearly strong 
enough. You have built up no reserve. You must 
put on another stone at least before you can con- 
sider yourself out of the wood." 

" I won't begin anything new, but that story, the 
story I wrote in water ..." I watched him when 
I said this. I saw his colour rise and his lips trem- 

" Oh, yes. I had forgotten about that." But I 
saw he had not forgotten. " You never saw your 
midnight visitor again? " he asked me with an at- 
tempt at carelessness " Margaret Capel. Do you 
remember, in the early days of your illness how 


often you spoke of her, how she haunted you?" 
He spoke lightly, but there was anxiety in his voice, 
and Fear . . . was it Fear I saw in his eyes, or 
indecision ? " Since you have begun to get better 
you have never mentioned her name. You were 
going to write her life . . ."he went on. 

" And death," I answered to see what he would 
say. We were feinting now, getting closer. 

' You know she died of heart disease," he asked 
quickly. " There was an inquest ..." 

" I saw her die," I answered, not very coolly 
or conclusively. His face was very strange and 
haggard, and I felt sorry for him. 

" How strange and vivid dreams can be. Mor- 
phia dreams especially," he replied, rather ques- 
tioningly than assertively. 

" I thought you agreed mine were not dreams ? " 

"Did I? When was that?" 

" When you brought me their letters, told me 
I was foredoomed to write her story. Hers and 
his. I can't think why you did." 

"Did I say that?" 

" More than once. I suppose you thought I was 
not going to get better." He did not answer that 
except with his rising colour and confusion, and I 
saw now I had hit upon the truth. " I wonder you 
gave me the iodide," I said thoughtfully. 

" I suppose now you think me capable of every 
crime in the calendar? " 


That brought us to close quarters, and I took up 
the challenge. 

" No, I don't. Your hand was forced." Then 
I added, I admit more cruelly : " Have you ever 
done it again ? " 

He had been sitting by my couch in the garden; a 
basket-work chair stood there always for him. 
Now he got up abruptly, walked away a few steps. 
I watched him, then thought of my question, a dozen 
others rising in my mind. It was eleven years since 
Margaret Capel died and a jury of twelve good men 
and true had found that heart disease had been the 
cause of death. There had been a rumour of sui- 
cide, and, in society, some talk of cause. Absurd 
enough, but, as Ella had reminded me, very preva- 
lent and widespread. The rising young authoress 
was supposed to have been in love with an eminent 
politician. His wife died shortly before she started 
the long-delayed divorce proceedings against James 
Capel, and this gave colour to the rumour. It was 
hazarded that he had made it clear to her that re- 
marriage was not in his mind. Few people knew 
of the real state of affairs. Gabriel Stanton shut 
that close mouth of his and told no one. I won- 
dered about Gabriel Stanton, but more about Peter 
Kennedy, who had walked away from me when I 
spoke. What had happened to him in these eleven 
years? Into what manner of man had he grown? 
He came back presently, sat down again by my 


couch, spoke abruptly as if there had been no 

" You want to know whether I have ever done 
for anybody what I did for Margaret Capel? " 

" Yes, that is what I asked you." 

" Will you believe me when I tell you? " 

" Perhaps. Why did you first encourage me to 
write Margaret Capel's life and then try and pre- 
vent my doing it? " 

" You won't believe me when I tell you." 

" Probably not." 

" I wanted to know whether she had forgiven 
me, whether she was still glad. When you told me 
you saw and spoke to her ..." 

" It was almost before that, if I remember 

" It may have been. Do you remember I said 
you were a reincarnation? The first time I came 
in and saw you sitting there, at her writing-table, 
in her writing-chair, I thought of you as a reincar- 

The light in his eyes was rather fitful, strange. 

" I was right, wasn't I, Margaret ? " He put a 
hand on my knee. I remembered how she had flung 
it off under similar circumstances. I let it lie there. 
Why not? 

" My name is Jane." It came back to me that I 
had said this to him once before. 

" You don't care for me at all ? " 


" I am glad you thought of the intensive iodide 
treatment. It has its advantages over hyoscine." 

" You have not changed ? " 

" I would rather like you to remember this is 
the twentieth century." 

He sighed and took his hand off my knee, drew 
it across his forehead. 

" You don't know what the last few months have 
meant to me, coming up here again, every day or 
twice a day, taking care of you, giving you back 
those letters, knowing you knew ..." 

" You had not the temptation to rid yourself of 
me again?" 

" You have grown so cold. I suppose you would 
not look at the idea of marrying me ? " 

" You suppose quite correctly," I answered, 
thinking of Ella, and what a score this would 
be to her. 

" It would make everything so right. I have 
been thinking of this ever since you began to get 
better, before, too. You will always be delicate, 
need a certain amount of care. No one could give 
it to you as well as I. Why not ? I have almost the 
best practice in Pineland, and I deserve it, too. 
I've worked hard in these eleven years. I've given 
an honest scientific trial to every new treatment. 
I've saved scores of lives ..." 

" Your own in jeopardy all the time." 

" She asked me to do it, begged me to do it . . . " 


He spoke wildly. " Gabriel Stanton was inflex- 
ible, the marriage was to be postponed whilst Mrs. 
Roope was prosecuted, or the case fought out in 
the Law Courts. And every little anxiety or ex- 
citement set her poor heart beating . . . put her 
in pain . . . jeopardised her life. I'd do it again 
tomorrow. I don't care who knows. You'll have 
to tell if you want to. If you married me you 
couldn't give evidence against me . . ." 

His smile startled me; it was strange, cunning. 
It seemed to say, " See how clever I am, I have 
thought of everything." 

" There, I have had that in my .mind ever since 
you began to be better." 

" It was not because you have fallen in love with 
me, then?" I scoffed. 

" When you are Margaret, I love you ... I 
adore you." The whole secret flashed on me then, 
flashed through his strange perfervid eyes. We 
were in full view of a curious housemaid at a win- 
dow, but he kneeled down by my couch, as he had 
kneeled by Margaret's. 

" You are Margaret. Tell me the truth. There 
is no other fellow now. You always said if it were 
not for Gabriel Stanton . . ." 

I quieted him with difficulty. I saw what was the 
matter. Of course I ought to have seen it before, 
but vanity and Ella obscured the truth. The poor 
fellow's mind was unhinged. For years he had 


brooded and brooded, yet worked magnificently at 
his profession, worked at making amends. The 
place and I had brought out the latent mischief. 
Now he implored me to marry him, to show him I 
was glad he had carried out my wishes. 

" Your heart is now quite well ... I have 
sounded it over and over again. You will never 
have a return of those pains. Margaret ..." 

I got rid of him that day as quickly as possible, 
not answering yes or no definitely, marking time, 
soothing him disingenuously. Before the next day 
was at its meridian I had hurriedly left Carbies. 
Left Pineland, all the strange absorbing story, and 
this poor obsessed doctor. I left a letter for him, the 
most difficult piece of prose I have ever written. I 
was writing to a madman to persuade him he was 
sane ! I gave urgent reasons for being in London, 
added a few lines, that I hoped he would under- 
stand, about having abandoned my intention of 
turning my morphia dreams into "copy"; tried to 
convey to him that he had nothing to fear from 
me ... 

I never had an answer to my letter. I parried 
Ella's raillery, resumed my old life. But I could 
not forget my country practitioner nor what I owed 
him. A peculiar tenderness lingered. However I 
might try to disguise names and places he would 
read through the lines. It was difficult to say what 
would be the effect on his mind and I would not take 


the risk. I held over my story as long as I was 
able, even wrote another meantime. But three 
months ago I became a free woman. I read in the 
obituary column of my morning paper that Peter 
Kennedy, M.D., F.R.C.S., of Pineland, Isle of 
Wight, had died from the effects of a motor acci- 

The obituary notices were very handsome and 
raised him from the obscurity of a mere country 
practitioner. It mentioned the distinguished per- 
sons he had had under his care. The late Margaret 
Capel, for instance. But not myself! I suspected 
Dr. Lansdowne of having sent the notices to the 
press, his name occurred in all of them, the part- 
nership was bugled. 

Peter Kennedy died well. He was driving his 
car quickly on an urgent night call. Some strange 
cur frisked into the road and to avoid it he swerved 
suddenly. Death must have been instantaneous. I 
was glad that he died without pain. I had rather 
he was alive today, although my story had remained 
for ever unwritten. So few people have ever cared 
for me. Had I chosen I do believe his reincarnation 
theory would have held. And I should have had 
at least one lover to oppose to Ella's many!