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Title: The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 3, March, 1891
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 3, March, 1891" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

          _"Laden with Golden Grain"_

       *       *       *       *       *


                   EDITED BY
                CHARLES W. WOOD.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   VOLUME LI.

             _January to June, 1891._

       *       *       *       *       *

              RICHARD BENTLEY & SON,

       Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

              _All rights reserved._

              GREAT SAFFRON HILL, E.C.



  Chap. I. My Arrival at Deepley Walls                             Jan
       II. The Mistress of Deepley Walls                           Jan
      III. A Voyage of Discovery                                   Jan
       IV. Scarsdale Weir                                          Jan
        V. At Rose Cottage                                         Feb
       VI. The Growth of a Mystery                                 Feb
      VII. Exit Janet Hope                                         Feb
     VIII. By the Scotch Express                                   Feb
       IX. At "The Golden Griffin"                                 Mar
        X. The Stolen Manuscript                                   Mar
       XI. Bon Repos                                               Mar
      XII. The Amsterdam Edition of 1698                           Mar
     XIII. M. Platzoff's Secret--Captain Ducie's Translation of
           M. Paul Platzoff's MS                                   Mar
      XIV. Drashkil-Smoking                                        Apr
       XV. The Diamond                                             Apr
      XVI. Janet's Return                                          Apr
     XVII. Deepley Walls after Seven Years                         Apr
    XVIII. Janet in a New Character                                May
      XIX. The Dawn of Love                                        May
       XX. The Narrative of Sergeant Nicholas                      May
      XXI. Counsel taken with Mr. Madgin                           May
     XXII. Mr. Madgin at the Helm                                  Jun
    XXIII. Mr. Madgin's Secret Journey                             Jun
     XXIV. Enter Madgin Junior                                     Jun
      XXV. Madgin Junior's First Report                            Jun

       *       *       *       *       *


      Putting Them Up      Jan
      Playing Again        Feb
      Ringing at Midday    Mar
      Not Heard            Apr
      Silent for Ever      May

       *       *       *       *       *

      35 Illustrations     Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun

       *       *       *       *       *

About the Weather                                               Jun
Across the River. By HELEN M. BURNSIDE                          Apr
After Twenty Years. By ADA M. TROTTER                           Feb
A Memory. By GEORGE COTTERELL                                   Feb
A Modern Witch                                                  Jan
An April Folly. By GILBERT H. PAGE                              Apr
A Philanthropist. By ANGUS GREY                                 Jun
Aunt Phoebe's Heirlooms: An Experience in Hypnotism             Feb
A Social Debut                                                  Mar
A Song. By G.B. STUART                                          Jan
Enlightenment. By E. NESBIT                                     Feb
In a Bernese Valley. By ALEXANDER LAMONT                        Feb
Legend of an Ancient Minster. By JOHN GRÆME                     Mar
Longevity. By W.F. AINSWORTH, F.S.A.                            Apr
Mademoiselle Elise. By EDWARD FRANCIS                           Jun
Mediums and Mysteries. By NARISSA ROSAVO                        Feb
Miss Kate Marsden                                               Jan
My May Queen. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                    May
Old China                                                       Jun
On Letter-Writing. By A.H. JAPP, LL.D.                          May
Paul. By the Author of "Adonais, Q.C."                          May
"Proctorised"                                                   Apr
Rondeau. By E. NESBIT                                           Mar
Saint or Satan? By A. BERESFORD                                 Feb
Sappho. By MARY GREY                                            Mar
Serenade. By E. NESBIT                                          Jun
Sonnets. By JULIA KAVANAGH                       Jan, Feb, Apr, Jun
So Very Unattractive!                                           Jun
Spes. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                            Apr
Sweet Nancy. By JEANIE GWYNNE BETTANY                           May
The Church Garden. By CHRISTIAN BURKE                           May
The Only Son of his Mother. By LETITIA MCCLINTOCK               Mar
To my Soul. From the French of Victor Hugo                      Jun
Unexplained. By LETITIA MCCLINTOCK                              Apr
Who Was the Third Maid?                                         Jan
Winter in Absence                                               Feb

       *       *       *       *       *


Sonnets. By JULIA KAVANAGH                       Jan, Feb, Apr, Jun
A Song. By G.B. STUART                                          Jan
Enlightenment. By E. NESBIT                                     Feb
Winter in Absence                                               Feb
A Memory. By GEORGE COTTERELL                                   Feb
In a Bernese Valley. By ALEXANDER LAMONT                        Feb
Rondeau. By E. NESBIT                                           Mar
Spes. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                            Apr
Across the River. By HELEN M. BURNSIDE                          Apr
My May Queen. By JOHN JERVIS BERESFORD, M.A.                    May
The Church Garden. By CHRISTIAN BURKE                           May
Serenade. By E. NESBIT                                          Jun
To my Soul. From the French of Victor Hugo                      Jun
Old China                                                       Jun

       *       *       *       *       *


By M.L. Gow.

  "I advanced slowly up the room, stopped, and curtsied."

  "I saw and recognised the mysterious midnight visitor."

  "He came back in a few minutes, but so transformed in outward
    appearance that Ducie scarcely knew him."


  "Sister Agnes knelt for a few moments and bent her head in silent

  "He put his hand to his side, and motioned Mirpah to open the letter."

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustrations to "The Bretons at Home."



_MARCH, 1891._




Captain Edmund Ducie was one of the first to emerge from the wreck. He
crept out of the broken window of the crushed-up carriage, and shook
himself as a dog might have done. "Once more a narrow squeak for life,"
he said, half aloud. "If I had been worth ten thousand a-year, I should
infallibly have been smashed. Not being worth ten brass farthings, here
I am. What has become of my little Russian, I wonder?"

No groan or cry emanated from that portion of the broken carriage out of
which Captain Ducie had just crept. Could it be possible that Platzoff
was killed?

With considerable difficulty Ducie managed to wrench open the smashed
door. Then he called the Russian by name; but there was no answer. He
could discern nothing inside save a confused heap of rugs and minor
articles of luggage. Under these, enough in themselves to smother him,
Platzoff must be lying. One by one these articles were fished out of the
carriage, and thrown aside by Ducie. Last of all he came to Platzoff,
lying in a heap, white and insensible, as one already dead.

Putting forth all his great strength, Ducie lifted the senseless body
out of the carriage as carefully and tenderly as though it were that of
a new-born child. He then saw that the Russian was bleeding from an ugly
jagged wound at the back of his head. There was no trace of any other
outward hurt. A faint pulsation of the heart told that he was still

On looking round, Ducie saw that there was a large country tavern only a
few hundred yards from the scene of the accident. Towards this house,
which announced itself to the world under the title of "The Golden
Griffin," he now hastened with long measured strides, carrying the still
insensible Russian in his arms. In all, some half-dozen carriages had
come over the embankment. The shrieks and cries of the wounded
passengers were something appalling. Already the passengers in the fore
part of the train, who had escaped unhurt, together with the officials
and a few villagers who happened to be on the spot, were doing their
best to rescue these unfortunates from the terrible wreckage in which
they were entangled.

Captain Ducie was the first man from the accident to cross the threshold
of "The Golden Griffin." He demanded to be shown the best spare room in
the house. On the bed in this room he laid the body of the still
insensible Platzoff. His next act was to despatch a mounted messenger
for the nearest doctor. Then, having secured the services of a brisk,
steady-nerved chambermaid, he proceeded to dress the wound as well as
the means at his command would allow of--washing it, and cutting away
the hair, and, by means of some ice, which he was fortunate enough to
procure, succeeding in all but stopping the bleeding, which, to a man so
frail of body, so reduced in strength as Platzoff, would soon have been
fatal. A teaspoonful of brandy administered at brief intervals did its
part as a restorative, and some minutes before the doctor's arrival
Ducie had the satisfaction of seeing his patient's eyes open, and of
hearing him murmur faintly a few soft guttural words in some language
which the Captain judged to be his native Russ.

Platzoff had quite recovered his senses by the time the doctor arrived,
but was still too feeble to do more than whisper a few unconnected
words. There were many claimants this forenoon on the doctor's
attention, and the services required by Platzoff at his hands had to be
performed as expeditiously as possible.

"You must make up your mind to be a guest of 'The Golden Griffin' for at
least a week to come," he said, as he took up his hat preparatory to
going. "With quiet, and care, and a strict adherence to my instructions,
I daresay that by the end of that time you will be sufficiently
recovered to leave here for your own home. Humanly speaking, sir, you
owe your life to this gentleman," indicating Ducie. "But for his skill
and promptitude you would have been a dead man before I reached you."

Platzoff's thin white hand was extended feebly. Ducie took it in his
sinewy palms and pressed it gently. "You have this day done for me what
I can never forget," whispered the Russian, brokenly. Then he closed his
eyes, and seemed to sink off into a sleep of exhaustion.

Leaving strict injunctions with the chambermaid not to quit the room
till he should come back, Captain Ducie went downstairs with the
intention of revisiting the scene of the disaster. He called in at the
bar to obtain his favourite "thimbleful" of cognac, and there he found a
very agreeable landlady, with whom he got into conversation respecting
the accident. Some five minutes had passed thus when the chambermaid
came up to him. "If you please, sir, the foreign gentleman has woke up,
and is anxiously asking to see you."

With a shrug of the shoulders and a slight lowering of his black
eyebrows, Captain Ducie went back upstairs. Platzoff's eager eyes fixed
him as he entered the room. Ducie sat down close by the bed and said in
a kindly tone: "What is it? What can I do for you? Command me in any

"My servant--where is he? And--and my despatch box. Valuable papers. Try
to find it."

Ducie nodded and left the room. The inquiries he made soon elicited the
fact that Platzoff's servant had been even more severely injured than
his master, and was at that moment lying, more dead than alive, in a
little room upstairs. Slowly and musingly, with hands in pocket, Captain
Ducie then took his way towards the scene of the accident. "It may suit
my book very well to make friends with this Russian," he thought as he
went along. "He is no doubt very rich; and I am very poor. In us the two
extremes meet and form the perfect whole. He might serve my purposes in
more ways than one, and it is just as likely that his purposes might be
served by me: for a man like that must have purposes that want serving.
Nous verrons. Meanwhile, I am his obedient servant to command."

Captain Ducie, hunting about among the débris of the train, was not long
in finding the fragments of M. Platzoff's despatch box. Its contents
were scattered about. Ducie spent ten minutes in gathering together the
various letters and documents which it had contained. Then, with the
broken box under his arm and the papers in his hands, he went back to
the Russian.

He showed the papers one by one to Platzoff, who was strangely eager in
the matter. When Ducie held up the last of them, Platzoff groaned and
shut his eyes. "They are all there as far as I can judge," he murmured,
"except the most important one of all--a paper covered with figures, of
no use to anyone but myself. Oh, dear Captain Ducie! do please go once
more and try to find the one that is still missing. If I only knew that
it was burnt, or torn into fragments, I should not mind so much. But if
it were to fall into the hands of a scoundrel skilful enough to master
the secret which it contains, then I--"

He stopped with a scared look on his face, as though he had unwittingly
said more than he had intended.

"Pray don't trouble yourself with any explanations just now," said
Ducie. "You want the paper: that is enough. I will go and have a
thorough hunt for it."

Back went Ducie to the broken carriages and began to search more
carefully than before. "What can be the nature of the great secret, I
wonder, that is hidden between the Sibylline leaves I am in search of?
If what Platzoff's words implied be true, he who learns it is master of
the situation. Would that it were known to me!"

Slowly and carefully, inside and out of the carriage in which he and
Platzoff had travelled, Captain Ducie conducted his search. One by one
he again turned over the wraps and different articles of personal
luggage belonging to both of them, which had not yet been removed. The
first object that rewarded his search was a splendid diamond pin which
he remembered having seen in Platzoff's scarf. Ducie picked it up and
looked cautiously around. No one was regarding him. "Of the first water
and worth a hundred guineas at the very least," he muttered. Then he put
it in his waistcoat pocket and went on with his search.

A minute or two later, hidden away under one of the cushions of the
carriage, he found what he was looking for: a folded sheet of thick blue
paper covered with a complicated array of figures--that and nothing

Captain Ducie regarded the recovered treasure with a strange mixture of
feelings. His hands trembled slightly; his heart was beating more
quickly than usual; his eyes seemed to see and yet not to see the paper
in his hands. As one mazed and in deep doubt he stood.

His reverie was broken by the approach of some of the railway officials.
The cloud vanished from before his eyes, and he was his cool,
imperturbable self in a moment. Heading the long array of figures on the
parchment were a few lines of ordinary writing, written, however, not in
English, but Italian. These few lines Ducie now proceeded to read over
more attentively than he had done at the first glance. He was
sufficiently master of Italian to be able to translate them without much
difficulty. Translated they ran as under:--

                                                         "Bon Repos,


     "CARLO MIO,--In the Amsterdam edition of 1698 of _The Confessions
     of Parthenio the Mystic_ occur the passages given below. To your
     serious consideration, O friend of my heart, I recommend these
     words. To read them much patience is required. But they are
     freighted with wisdom, as you will discover long before you reach
     the end of them, and have a deep significance for that great cause
     to which the souls of both of us are knit by bonds which in this
     life can never be severed. When you read these lines, the hand that
     writes them will be cold in the grave. But Nature allows nothing to
     be lost, and somewhere in the wide universe the better part of me
     (the mystic EGO) will still exist; and if there be any truth in the
     doctrine of the affinity of souls, then shall you and I meet again
     elsewhere. Till that time shall come--Adieu!


                                "PAUL PLATZOFF."

Having carefully read these lines twice over, Captain Ducie refolded the
paper, put it away in an inner pocket, and buttoned his coat over it.
Then he took his way, deep in thought, back to "The Golden Griffin."

The Russian's eager eyes asked him: "What success?" before he could say
a word.

"I am sorry to say that I have not been able to find the paper," said
Captain Ducie in slow, deliberate tones. "I have found something
else--your diamond pin, which you appear to have lost out of your

Platzoff gazed at him with a sort of blank despair on his saffron face,
but a low moan was his only reply. Then he turned his face to the wall
and shut his eyes.

Captain Ducie was a patient man, and he waited without speaking for a
full hour. At the end of that time Platzoff turned, and held out a
feeble hand.

"Forgive me, my friend--if you will allow me to call you so," he said.
"I must seem horribly ungrateful after all the trouble I have put you
to, but I do not feel so. The loss of my MS. affected me so deeply for a
little while that I could think of nothing else. I shall get over it by

"If I remember rightly," remarked Ducie, "you said that the lost MS. was
merely a complicated array of figures. Of what possible value can it be
to anyone who may chance to find it?"

"Of no value whatever," answered Platzoff, "unless they who find it
should also be skilful enough to discover the key by which alone it can
be read; for, as I may now tell you, there is a hidden meaning in the
figures. The finders may or may not make that discovery, but how am I to
ascertain what is the fact either one way or the other? For want of such
knowledge my sense of security will be gone. I would almost prefer to
know for certain that the MS. had been read than be left in utter doubt
on the point. In the one case I should know what I had to contend
against, and could take proper precautionary measures; in the other, I
am left to do battle with a shadow that may or may not be able to work
me harm."

"Would possession of the information that is contained in the MS. enable
anyone to work you harm?"

"It would to this extent, that it would put them in possession of a
cherished secret, which--But why talk of these things? What is done
cannot be undone. I can only prepare myself for the worst."

"One moment," said Ducie. "I think that after the thorough search made
by me the chances are twenty to one against the MS. ever being found.
But granting that it does turn up, the finder of it will probably be
some ignorant navvie or incurious official, without either inclination
or ability to master the secret of the cipher."

       *       *       *       *       *

Ten days later M. Platzoff was sufficiently recovered to set out for Bon
Repos. At his earnest request Ducie had put off his own journey to stay
with him. At another time the ex-Captain might not have cared to spend
ten days at a forlorn country tavern, even with a rich Russian; but as
he often told himself he had "his book to make," and he probably looked
upon this as a necessary part of the process. Before they parted, it was
arranged that as soon as Ducie should return from Scotland he should go
and spend a month at Bon Repos. Then the two shook hands, and each went
his own way. As one day passed after another without bringing any
tidings of the lost MS., Platzoff's anxiety respecting it seemed to
lessen, and by the time he left "The Golden Griffin" he had apparently
ceased to trouble his mind any further in the matter.



Captain Edmund Ducie came of a good family. His people were people of
mark among the landed gentry of their county, and were well-to-do even
for their position. Although only a fourth son, his allowance had been a
very handsome one, both while at Cambridge and afterwards during the
early years of his life in the army. When of age, he had come into the
very nice little fortune, for a fourth son, of nine thousand pounds; and
it was known that there would be "something handsome" for him at his
father's death. He had a more than ordinary share of good looks; his
mind was tolerably cultivated, and afterwards enlarged by travel and
service in various parts of the world; in manners and address he was a
finished gentleman of the modern school. Yet all these advantages of
nature and fortune were in a great measure nullified and rendered of no
avail by reason of one fatal defect, of one black speck at the core. In
a word, Captain Ducie was a born gambler.

He had gambled when a child in the nursery, or had tried to gamble, for
cakes and toys. He had gambled when at school for coppers,
pocket-knives, and marbles. He had gambled when at the University, and
had felt the claws of the Children of Usury. He gambled away his nine
thousand pounds, or such remainder of it as had not been forestalled,
when he came of age. Later on, when in the army, and on home allowance
again, for his father would not let him starve, he had kept on gambling;
so that when, some five years later, his father died, and he dropped in
for the "something handsome," two-thirds of it had to be paid down on
the nail to make a free man of him again. On the remaining one-third he
contrived to keep afloat for a couple of years longer; then, after a
season of heavy losses, came the final crash, and Captain Ducie found
himself under the necessity of selling his commission, and of retiring
into private life.

From this date Captain Ducie was compelled to live by "bleeding" his
friends and connections. He was a great favourite among them, and they
rallied gallantly to his rescue. But Ducie still gambled; and the best
of friends, and the most indulgent of relatives, grew tired after a
time of seeing their cherished gold pieces slip heedlessly through the
fingers of the man whom it was intended that they should substantially
help, and be lost in the foul atmosphere of a gaming-house. One by one,
friend and relative dropped away from the doomed man, till none were
left. Little by little the tide of fortune ebbed away from his feet,
leaving him stranded high and dry on the cruel shore of impecuniosity,
hemmed in by a thousand debts, with the gaunt wolf of beggary staring
him in the face.

There was one point about Captain Ducie's gambling that redounded to his
credit. No one ever suspected him of cheating. His "run of luck" was so
uniformly bad, despite a brief fickle gleam of fortune now and again,
which seemed sent only to lure him on to deeper destruction; it was so
well known that he had spent two fortunes and alienated all his friends
through his passion for the green cloth, that it would have been the
height of absurdity to even suspect him of roguery. Indeed, "Ducie's
luck" was a proverbial phrase at the whist-tables of his club. He was
not a "turf" man, and had no knowledge of horses beyond that legitimate
knowledge which every soldier ought to have. His money had all been lost
either at cards or roulette. He was one of the most imperturbable of
gamblers. Whatever the varying chances of the game might be, no man ever
saw him either elated or depressed: he fought with his vizor down.

No man could be more aware of his one besetting weakness, nor of his
inability to conquer it, than was Captain Ducie. When he could no longer
muster five pounds to gamble with, he would gamble with five shillings.
There was a public-house in Southwark to which, poorly dressed, he
sometimes went when his funds were low. Here, unknown to the police, a
little quiet gambling for small stakes went on from night to night. But
however small might be the amount involved, there was the passion, the
excitement, the gambling contagion, precisely as at Homburg or Baden;
and these it was that made the very salt of Captain Ducie's life.

About six months before we made his acquaintance he had been compelled
to leave his pleasant suite of apartments in New Bond Street, and had,
since that time, been the tenant of a shabby bed-room in a shabby little
out-of-the-way street. When in town he took his meals at his club, and
to that address all letters and papers for him were sent. But of late
even the purlieus of his club had become dangerous ground. Round the
palatial portal duns seemed to hover and flit mysteriously, so that the
task of reaching the secure haven of the smoking-room was one of danger
and difficulty; while the return voyage to the shabby little bed-room in
the shabby little street could be accomplished in safety only by
frequent tacking and much skilful pilotage, to avoid running foul of
various rocks and quicksands by the way.

But now, after a six weeks' absence in Scotland, Captain Ducie felt
that for a day or two at least he was tolerably safe. He felt like an
old fox venturing into the open after the noise of the hunt has died
away in the distance, who knows that for a little while he is safe from
molestation. How delightful town looked, he thought, after the dull life
he had been leading at Stapleton. He had managed to screw another fifty
pounds out of Barnstake, and this very evening, the first of his return,
he would go to Tom Dawson's rooms and there refresh himself with a
little quiet faro or chicken-hazard: very quiet it must of necessity be,
unless he saw that it was going to turn out one of his lucky evenings,
in which case he would try to "put up" the table and finish with a
fortunate coup. But there was one little task that he had set himself to
do before going out for the evening, and he proceeded to consider it
over while discussing his cup of strong green tea and his strip of dry

To aid him in considering the matter he brought out of an inner pocket
the stolen manuscript of M. Platzoff.

While in Scotland, when shut up in his own room of a night, he had often
exhumed the MS., and had set himself seriously to the task of
deciphering it, only to acknowledge at the end of a terrible half-hour
that he was ignominiously beaten. Whereupon he would console himself by
saying that such a task was "not in his line," that his brains were not
of that pettifogging order which would allow of his sitting down with
the patience requisite to master the secret of the figures. To-night,
for the twentieth time, he brought out the MS. He again read the
prefatory note carefully over, although he could almost have said it by
heart, and once more his puzzled eyes ran over the complicated array of
figures, till at last, with an impatient "Pish!" he flung the MS. to the
other side of the table, and poured out for himself another cup of tea.

"I must send it to Bexell," he said to himself. "If anyone can make it
out, he can. And yet I don't like making another man as wise as myself
in such a matter. However, there is no help for it in the present case.
If I keep the MS. by me till doomsday I shall never succeed in making
out the meaning of those confounded figures."

When he had finished his tea he took out his writing desk and wrote as

     "MY DEAR BEXELL,--I have only just got back from Scotland after an
     absence of six weeks. I have brought with me a severe catarrh, a
     new plaid, a case of Mountain Dew, and a MS. written in cipher. The
     first and second of these articles I retain for my own use. Of the
     third I send you half-a-dozen bottles by way of sample: a judicious
     imbibition of the contents will be found to be a sovereign remedy
     for the Pip and other kindred disorders that owe their origin to a
     melancholy frame of mind. The fourth article on my list I send you
     bodily. It has been lent to me by a friend of mine who states that
     he found it in his muniment chest among a lot of old title deeds,
     leases, etc., the first time he waded through them after coming
     into possession of his property. Neither he nor any friend to whom
     he has shown it can make out its meaning, and I must confess to
     being myself one of the puzzled. My friend is very anxious to have
     it deciphered, as he thinks it may in some way relate to his
     property, or to some secret bit of family history with which it
     would be advisable that he should become acquainted. Anyhow, he
     gave it to me to bring to town, with a request that I should seek
     out someone clever in such things, and try to get it interpreted
     for him. Now I know of no one except yourself who is at all expert
     in such matters. You, I remember, used to take a delight that to me
     was inexplicable in deciphering those strange advertisements which
     now and again appear in the newspapers. Let me therefore ask of you
     to bring your old skill to bear in the present case, and if you can
     make me anything like a presentable translation to send back to my
     friend the laird, you will greatly oblige

                            "Your friend,

                                "E. DUCIE."

The MS. consisted of three or four sheets of deed-paper fastened
together at one corner with silk. The prefatory note was on the first
sheet. This first sheet Ducie cut away with his penknife and locked up
in his desk. The remaining sheets he sent to his friend Bexell, together
with the note which he had written.

Three days later Mr. Bexell returned the sheets with his reply. In order
properly to understand this reply it will be necessary to offer to the
reader's notice a specimen of the MS. The conclusion arrived at by Mr.
Bexell, and the mode by which he reached them, will then be more clearly

The following is a counterpart of the first few lines of the MS.:

253.12   59.25   14.5    96.14  158.49    1.29        465.1    28.53

  4        1       6      10       4       12            9       1
 16.36  151.18   58.7    14.29  368.1   209.18  43.11   1.31    1.1
  11       3                                             9       8
 29.6   186.9   204.11   86.19   43.16  348.14        196.29  203.5

   4       5       10      6       1       5             6       2
186.9     1.31   21.10  143.18  200.6    29.40        408.9    61.5

   5       9       4       8       3      12            11       4
209.11  496.1    24.24   28.59   69.39  391.10         60.13  200.1
   2       6       4       1      10      11             5       3

The following is Mr. Bexell's reply to his friend Captain Ducie:

     "MY DEAR DUCIE,--With this note you will receive back your
     confounded MS., but without a translation. I have spent a good deal
     of time and labour in trying to decipher it, and the conclusions at
     which I have arrived may be briefly laid before you.

     1. Each group of three sets of figures represents a word.

     2. Each group of two sets of figures--those with a line above and a
     line below--represents a letter only.

     3. Those letters put together from the point where the double line
     begins to the point where it ceases, make up a word.

     4. In the composition of this cryptogram _a book_ has been used as
     the basis on which to work.

     5. In every group of three sets of figures the first set represents
     the page of the book; the second, the number of the line on that
     page, probably counting from the top; the third the position in
     ordinary rotation of the word on that line. Thus you have the
     number of the page, the number of the line, and the number of the

     6. In the case of the interlined groups of two sets of figures, the
     first set represents the number of the page; the second set the
     number of the line, probably counting from the top, of which line
     the required letter will prove to be the initial one.

     7. The words thus spelled out by the interlined groups of double
     figures are, in all probability, proper names, or other uncommon
     words not to be found in their entirety in the book on which the
     cryptogram is based, and consequently requiring to be worked out
     letter by letter.

     8. The book in question is not a dictionary, nor any other work the
     words of which come in alphabetical rotation. It is probably some
     ordinary book, which the writer of the cryptogram and the person
     for whom it is written have agreed upon beforehand to make use of
     as a key. I have no means of judging whether the book in question
     is an English or a foreign one, but by it alone, whatever it may
     be, can the cryptogram be read.

     "Now, my dear Ducie, it would be wearisome for me to describe, and
     equally wearisome for you to read, the processes of reasoning by
     means of which the above deductions have been arrived at. But in
     order to satisfy you that my assumptions are not entirely fanciful
     or destitute of sober sense, I will describe to you, as briefly as
     may be, the process by means of which I have come to the conclusion
     that the book used as the basis of the cryptogram was not a
     dictionary or other work in which the words come in alphabetical
     rotation; and such a conclusion is very easy of proof.

     "In a document so lengthy as the MS. of your friend the Scotch
     laird there must of necessity be many repetitions of what may be
     called 'indispensable words'--words one or more of which are used
     in the composition of almost every long sentence. I allude to such
     words as _a_, _an_, _and_, _as_, _of_, _by_, _the_, _their_,
     _them_, _these_, _they_, _you_, _I_, _it_, etc. The first thing to
     do was to analyse the MS. and classify the different groups of
     figures for the purpose of ascertaining the number of repetitions
     of any one group. My analysis showed me that these repetitions were
     surprisingly few. Forty groups were repeated twice, fifteen three
     times, and nine groups four times. Now, according to my
     calculation, the MS. contains one thousand two hundred and
     eighty-three words. Out of those one thousand two hundred and
     eighty-three words there must have been more than the number of
     repetitions shown by my analysis, and not of one only, but of
     several of what I have called 'indispensable words.' Had a
     dictionary been made use of by the writer of the MS. all such
     repetitions would have been referred to one particular page, and to
     one particular line of that page: that is to say, in every case
     where a word repeated itself in the MS. the same group of numbers
     would in every case have been its _valeur_. As the repetitions were
     so few I could only conclude that some book of an ordinary kind had
     been made use of, and that the writer of the cryptogram had been
     sufficiently ingenious not to repeat his numbers very frequently in
     the case of 'indispensable words,' but had in the majority of cases
     given a fresh group of numbers at each repetition of such a word. I
     might, perhaps, go further and say that in the majority of cases
     where a group of figures is repeated such group refers to some word
     less frequently used than any of those specified above, and that
     one group was obliged to do duty on two or more occasions, simply
     because the writer was unable to find the word more than once in
     the book on which his cryptogram was based.

     "Having once arrived at the conclusion that some book had been used
     as the basis of the cryptogram, my next supposition that each group
     of three sets of numbers showed the page of the book, the number of
     the line from the top, and the position of the required word in
     that line, seemed at once borne out by an analysis of the figures
     themselves. Thus, taking the first set of figures in each group, I
     found that in no case did they run to a higher number than 500,
     which would seem to indicate that the basis-book was limited to
     that number of pages. The second set of figures ran to no higher
     number than 60, which would seem to limit the lines on each page to
     that number. The third set of figures in no case yielded a higher
     number than 12, which numerals, according to my theory, would
     indicate the maximum number of words in each line. Thus you have at
     once (if such information is of any use to you) a sort of a key to
     the size of the required volume.

     "I think I have now written enough, my dear Ducie, to afford you
     some idea of the method by means of which my conclusions have been
     arrived at. If you wish for further details I will supply them--but
     by word of mouth, an it be all the same to your honour; for this
     child detests letter-writing, and has taken a vow that if he reach
     the end of his present pen-and-ink venture in safety, he will never
     in time to come devote more than two pages of cream note to even
     the most exacting of friends: the sequitur of which is, that if you
     want to know more than is here set down you must give the writer a
     call, when you shall be talked to to your heart's content.

                            "Your exhausted friend,

                                "GEO. BEXELL."

Captain Ducie had too great a respect for the knowledge of his friend
Bexell in matters like the one under review to dream for one moment of
testing the validity of any of his conclusions. He accepted the whole of
them as final. Having got the conclusions themselves, he cared nothing
as to the processes by which they had been deduced: the details
interested him not at all. Consequently he kept out of the way of his
friend, being in truth considerably disgusted to find that, so far as he
was himself concerned, the affair had ended in a fiasco. He could not
look upon it in any other light. It was utterly out of the range of
probability that he should ever succeed in ascertaining on what
particular book the cryptogram was based, and no other knowledge was now
of the slightest avail. He was half inclined to send back the MS.
anonymously to Platzoff, as being of no further use to himself; but he
was restrained by the thought that there was just a faint chance that
the much-desired volume might turn up during his forthcoming visit to
Bon Repos--that even at the eleventh hour the key might be found.

He was terribly chagrined to think that the act of genteel petty
larceny, by which he had lowered himself more in his own eyes than he
would have cared to acknowledge, had been so absolutely barren of
results. That portion of his moral anatomy which he would have called
his conscience pricked him shrewdly now and again, but such pricks had
their origin in the fact of his knavery having been unsuccessful. Had
his wrong-doing won for him such a prize as he had fondly hoped to gain
by its means, Conscience would have let her rusted spear hang unheeded
on the wall, and beyond giving utterance now and then to a faint whisper
in the dead of night, would have troubled him not at all.

It was some time in the middle of the night, about a week after Bexell
had sent him back the papers, that he awoke suddenly and completely, and
there before him, as clearly as though it had been written in letters of
fire on the black wall, he saw the title of the wished-for book. It was
the book mentioned by Platzoff in his prefatory note: _The Confessions
of Parthenio the Mystic_. The knowledge had come to him like a
revelation. How stupid he must have been never to have thought of it
before! That night he slept no more.

Next morning he went to one of the most famous bookdealers in the
metropolis. The book inquired for by Ducie was not known to the man. But
that did not say that there was no such work in existence. Through his
agents at home and abroad inquiry should be made, and the result
communicated to Captain Ducie. Therewith the latter was obliged to
content himself. Three days later came a pressing note of invitation
from Platzoff.



On a certain fine morning towards the end of May, Captain Ducie took
train at Euston Square, and late the same afternoon was set down at
Windermere. A fly conveyed himself and his portmanteau to the edge of
the lake. Singling out one from the tiny fleet of pleasure boats always
to be found at the Bowness landing-stage, Captain Ducie seated himself
in the stern and lighted his cigar. The boatman's sinewy arms soon
pulled him out into the middle of the lake, when the head of the little
craft was set for Bon Repos.

The sun was dipping to the western hills. In his wake he had left a rack
of torn and fiery cloud, as though he had rent his garments in wrath and
cast them from him. Soft, grey mists and purple shadows were beginning
to strike upward from the vales, but on the great shoulders of
Fairfield, and on the scarred fronts of other giants further away, the
sunshine lingered lovingly. It was like the hand of Childhood caressing
the rugged brows of Age.

With that glorious panorama which crowns the head of the lake before his
eyes, with the rhythmic beat of the oars and the soft pulsing of the
water in his ears, with the blue smoke-rings of his cigar rising like
visible aspirations through the evening air, an unwonted peace, a soft
brooding quietude, began to settle down upon the Captain's world-worn
spirit; and through the stillness came a faint whisper, like his
mother's voice speaking from the far-off years of childhood, recalling
to his memory things once known, but too long forgotten; lessons too
long despised, but with a vital truth underlying them which he seemed
never to have realised till now. Suddenly the boat's keel grazed the
shingly strand, and there before him, half shrouded in the shadows of
evening, was Bon Repos.

A genuine north-country house, strong, rugged and homely-looking,
despite its Gallic cognomen. It was built of the rough grey stone of the
district, and roofed with large blue slates. It stood at the head of a
small lawn that sloped gently up from the lake. Immediately behind the
house a precipitous hill, covered with a thick growth of underwood and
young trees, swept upward to a considerable height. A narrow, winding
lane, the only carriage approach to the house, wound round the base of
this hill, and joined the high road a quarter of a mile away. The house
was only two stories high, but was large enough to have accommodated a
numerous and well-to-do family. The windows were all set in a framework
of plain stone, but on the lower floor some of them had been modernised,
the small, square, bluish panes having given place to polished plate
glass, of which two panes only were needed for each window. But this was
an innovation that had not spread far. The lawn was bordered with a
tasteful diversity of shrubs and flowers, while here and there the
tender fingers of some climbing plant seemed trying to smoothe away a
wrinkle in the rugged front of the old house.

Captain Ducie walked up the gravelled pathway that led from the lake to
the house, the boatman with his portmanteau bringing up the rear. Before
he could touch either bell or knocker, the door was noiselessly opened,
and a coloured servant, in a suit of plain black, greeted him with a
respectful bow.

"Captain Ducie, sir, if I am not misinformed?"

"I am Captain Ducie."

"Sir, you are expected. Your rooms are ready. Dinner will be served in
half-an-hour from now. My master will meet you when you come

The portmanteau having been brought in, and the boatman paid and
dismissed, said the coloured servant: "I will show you to your rooms, if
you will allow me to do so. The man appointed to wait upon you will
follow with your luggage in a minute or two."

He led the way, and Ducie followed in silence.

The tired Captain gave a sigh of relief and gratitude, and flung himself
into an easy-chair as the door closed behind his conductor. His two
rooms were _en suite_, and while as replete with comfort as the most
thorough-going Englishman need desire, had yet about them a touch of
lightness and elegance that smacked of a taste that had been educated on
the Continent, and was unfettered by insular prejudices.

"At Stapleton I had a loft that was hardly fit for a groom to sleep in;
here I have two rooms that a cardinal might feel proud to occupy. Vive
la Russie!"

M. Platzoff was waiting at the foot of the staircase when Ducie went
down. A cordial greeting passed between the two, and the host at once
led the way to the dining-room. Platzoff in his suit of black and white
cravat, with his cadaverous face, blue-black hair and chin-tuft, and the
elaborate curl on the top of his forehead, looked, at the first glance,
more like a ghastly undertaker's man than the host of an English country

But a second glance would have shown you his embroidered linen and the
flashing gems on his fingers; and you could not be long with him without
being made aware that you were in the company of a thorough man of the
world--of one who had travelled much and observed much; of one whose
correspondents kept him au courant with all the chief topics of the day.
He knew, and could tell you, the secret history of the last new opera;
how much had been paid for it, what it had cost to produce, and all
about the great green-room cabal against the new prima donna. He knew
what amount of originality could be safely claimed for the last new
drama that was taking the town by storm, and how many times the same
story had been hashed up before. He had read the last French novel of
any note, and could favour you with a few personal reminiscences of its
author not generally known. As regarded political knowledge--if all his
statements were to be trusted--he was informed as to much that was going
on behind the great drop-scene. He knew how the wires were pulled that
moved the puppets who danced in public, especially those wires which
were pulled in Paris, Vienna and St. Petersburg. Before Ducie had been
six hours at Bon Repos he knew more about political intrigues at home
and abroad than he had ever dreamt of in the whole course of his
previous life.

The dining-room at Bon Repos was a long low-ceilinged apartment,
panelled with black oak, and fitted up in a rich and sombre style that
was yet very different from the dull, heavy formality that obtains among
three-fourths of the dining-rooms in English country houses. Indeed,
throughout the appointments and fittings of Bon Repos there was a touch
of something Oriental grafted on to French taste, combined with a
thorough knowledge and appreciation of insular comfort. From the
dining-room windows a lovely stretch of the lake could be seen
glimmering in the starlight, and our two friends sat this evening over
their wine by the wide open sash, gazing out into the delicious night.
Behind them, in the room, two or three candles were burning in silver
sconces; but at the window they were sitting in that sort of half light
which seems exactly suited for confidential talk. Captain Ducie took
advantage of it after a time to ask his host a question which he would
perhaps have scarcely cared to put by broad daylight.

"Have you heard any news of your lost manuscript?"

"None whatever," answered Platzoff. "Neither do I expect, after this
lapse of time, to hear anything further concerning it. It has probably
never been found, or if found, has (as you suggested at 'The Golden
Griffin') fallen into the hands of someone too ignorant, or too
incurious, to master the secret of the cipher."

"It has been much in my thoughts since I saw you last," said Ducie. "Was
the MS. in your own writing, may I ask?"

"It was in my own writing," answered the Russian. "It was a confidential
communication intended for the eye of my dearest friend, and for his eye
only. It was unfinished when I lost it. I had been staying a few days at
one of your English spas when I joined you in the train on the day of
the accident. The MS., as far as it went, had all been written before I
left home; but I took it with me in my despatch-box, together with other
private papers, although I knew that I could not add a single line to it
while I should be from home. I have wished a thousand times since that I
had left it behind me."

"I have heard of people to whom cryptography is a favourite study," said
the Captain; "people who pride themselves on their ability to master the
most difficult cipher ever invented. Let us hope that your MS. has not
fallen into the hands of one of these clever individuals."

Platzoff shrugged his shoulders. "Let us hope so, indeed," he said.
"But I will not believe in any such untoward event. Too long a time has
elapsed since the loss for me not to have heard something respecting the
MS., had it been found by anyone who knew how to make use of it.
Besides, I would defy the most clever reader of cryptography to master
my MS. without--Ah, Bah! where's the use of talking about it? Should not
you like some tobacco? Daylight's last tint has vanished, and there is a
chill air sweeping down from the hills."

As they left the window, Platzoff added: "One of the most annoying
features connected with my loss arises from the fact that all my labour
will have to be gone through again--and very tedious work it is. I am
now engaged on a second MS., which is, as nearly as I can make it, a
copy of the first one; and it is a task which must be done by myself
alone. To have even one confidant would be to stultify the whole affair.
Another glass of claret, and then I will introduce you to my sanctum."

The coloured man who had opened the door for Captain Ducie had been in
and out of the dining-room several times. He was evidently a favourite
servant. Platzoff had addressed him as Cleon, and Ducie had now a
question or two to ask concerning him.

Cleon was a mulatto, tall, agile and strong. Not bad-looking by any
means, but carrying with him unmistakable traces of the negro blood in
his veins. His hair was that of a genuine African--crisp and black, and
was one mass of short curls; but except for a certain fulness of the
lips his features were of the ordinary Caucasian type. He wore no beard,
but a thin, straight line of black moustache. His complexion was yellow,
but a different yellow from that of his master--dusky, passionate,
lava-like; suggestive of fiery depths below. His eyes, too, glowed with
a smothered fire that seemed as if it might blaze out at any moment, and
there was in them an expression of snake-like treachery that made
Captain Ducie shudder involuntarily, as though he had seen some
loathsome reptile, the first time he looked steadily into their
half-veiled depths. One look into each other's eyes was sufficient for
both these men.

"Monsieur Cleon and I are born enemies, and he knows it as well as I
do," murmured Ducie to himself, after the first secret signal of
defiance had passed between the two. "Well, I never was afraid of any
man in my life, and I'm not going to begin by being afraid of a valet."
With that he shrugged his shoulders, and turned his back contemptuously
on the mulatto.

Cleon, in his suit of black and white tie, with his quiet, stealthy
movements and unobtrusive attentions, would have been pronounced good
style as a gentleman's gentleman in the grandest of Belgravian mansions.
Had he suddenly come into a fortune, and gone into society where his
antecedents were unknown, five-sixths of his male associates would have
pronounced him "a deuced gentlemanly fellow." The remaining one-sixth
might have held a somewhat different opinion.

"That coloured fellow seems to be a great favourite with you," remarked
Ducie, as Cleon left the room.

"And well he may be," answered Platzoff. "On two separate occasions I
owed my life to him. Once in South America, when a couple of brigands
had me at their mercy and were about to try the temper of their knives
on my throat. He potted them both one after the other. On the second
occasion he rescued me from a tiger in the jungle, who was desirous of
dining _à la Russe_. I have not made a favourite of Cleon without having
my reasons for so doing."

"He seems to me a shrewd fellow, and one who understands his business."

"Cleon is not destitute of ability. When I settled at Bon Repos I made
him major-domo of my small establishment, but he still retains his old
position as my body-servant. I offered long ago to release him; but he
will not allow any third person to come between himself and me, and I
should not feel comfortable under the attentions of anyone else."

Platzoff opened the door as he ceased speaking and led the way to the
smoking room.

As you lifted the curtain and went in, it was like passing at one step
from Europe to the East--from the banks of Windermere to the shores of
the Bosphorus. It was a circular apartment with a low cushioned divan
running completely round it, except where broken by the two doorways,
curtained with hangings of dark brown. The floor was an arabesque of
different-coloured tiles, covered here and there with a tiny square of
bright-hued Persian carpet. The walls were panelled with stamped leather
to the height of six feet from the ground; above the panelling they were
painted of a delicate cream colour with here and there a maxim or
apophthegm from the Koran, in the Arabic character, picked out in
different colours. From the ceiling a silver lamp swung on chains of
silver. In the centre of the room was a marble table on which were pipes
and hookahs, cigars and tobaccos of various kinds. Smaller tables were
placed here and there close to the divan for the convenience of smokers.

Platzoff having asked Ducie to excuse him for five minutes, passed
through the second doorway, and left the Captain to an undisturbed
survey of the room. He came back in a few minutes, but so transformed in
outward appearance that Ducie scarcely knew him. He had left the room in
the full evening costume of an English gentleman: he came back in the
turban and flowing robes of a follower of the Prophet. But however
comfortable his Eastern habit might be, M. Platzoff lacked the quiet
dignity and grave repose of your genuine Turkish gentleman.

"I am going to smoke one of these hookahs; let me recommend you to try
another," said Platzoff as he squatted himself cross-legged on the

He touched a tiny gong, and Cleon entered.

"Select a hookah for Monsieur Ducie, and prepare it."

So Cleon, having chosen a pipe, tipped it with a new amber mouthpiece,
charged the bowl with fragrant Turkish tobacco, handed the stem to
Ducie, and then applied the light. The same service was next performed
for his master. Then he withdrew, but only to reappear a minute or two
later with coffee served up in the Oriental fashion--black and strong,
without sugar or cream.

"This is one of my little smoke-nights," said Platzoff as soon as they
were alone. "Last night was one of my big smoke-nights."

"You speak a language I do not understand."

"I call those occasions on which I smoke opium my big smoke-nights."

"Can it be true that you are an opium smoker?" said Ducie.

"It can be and is quite true that I am addicted to that so-called
pernicious habit. To me it is one of the few good things this world has
to offer. Opium is the key that unlocks the golden gates of Dreamland.
To its disciples alone is revealed the true secret of subjective
happiness. But we will talk more of this at some future time."



Captain Ducie soon fell into the quiet routine of life at Bon Repos. It
was not distasteful to him. To a younger man it might have seemed to
lack variety, to have impinged too closely on the verge of dulness; but
Captain Ducie had reached that time of life when quiet pleasures please
the most, and when much can be forgiven the man who sets before you a
dinner worth eating. Not that Ducie had anything to forgive. Platzoff
had contracted a great liking for his guest, and his hospitality was of
that cordial quality which makes the object of it feel himself
thoroughly at home. Besides this, the Captain knew when he was well off,
and had no wish to exchange his present pleasant quarters, his rambles
across the hills, and his sailings on the lake, for his dingy bed-room
in town with the harassing, hunted down life of a man upon whom a dozen
writs are waiting to be served, and who can never feel certain that his
next day's dinner may not be eaten behind the locks and bars of a

Sometimes on horseback, sometimes on foot, sometimes accompanied by his
host, sometimes alone, Ducie explored the lovely country round Bon Repos
to his heart's content. Another source of pleasure and healthful
exercise he found in long solitary pulls up and down the lake in a tiny
skiff which had been set apart for his service. In the evening came
dinner and conversation with his host, with perhaps a game or two of
billiards to finish up the day.

Captain Ducie found no scope for the exercise of his gambling
proclivities at Bon Repos. Platzoff never touched card or dice. He
could handle a cue tolerably well, but beyond a half-crown game, Ducie
giving him ten points out of fifty, he could never be persuaded to
venture. If the Captain, when he went down to Bon Repos, had any
expectation of replenishing his pockets by means of faro and unlimited
loo, he was wretchedly mistaken. But whatever secret annoyance he might
feel, he was too much a man of the world to allow his host even to
suspect its existence.

Of society in the ordinary meaning of that word there was absolutely
none at Bon Repos. None of the neighbouring families by any chance ever
called on Platzoff. By no chance did Platzoff ever call on any of the
neighbouring families.

"They are too good for me, too orthodox, too strait-laced," exclaimed
the Russian one day in his quiet, jeering way. "Or it may be that I am
not good enough for them. Any way, we do not coalesce. Rather are we
like flint and steel, and eliminate a spark whenever we come in contact.
They look upon me as a pagan, and hold me in horror. I look upon
three-fourths of them as Pharisees, and hold them in contempt. Good
people there are among them no doubt; people whom it would be a pleasure
to know, but I have neither time, health, nor inclination for
conventional English visiting--for your ponderous style of hospitality.
I am quite sure that my ideas of men and manners would not coincide with
those of the quiet country ladies and gentlemen of these parts; while
theirs would seem to me terribly wearisome and jejune. Therefore, as I
take it, we are better apart."

By and by Ducie discovered that his host was not so entirely isolated
from the world as at first sight he appeared to be.

Occasional society there was of a certain kind, intermittent, coming and
going like birds of passage. One, or sometimes two visitors, of whose
arrival Ducie had heard no previous mention, would now and again put in
an appearance at the dinner-table, would pass one, or at the most two
nights at Bon Repos, and would then be seen no more, having gone as
mysteriously as they had come.

These visitors were always foreigners, now of one nationality, now of
another: and were always closeted privately with Platzoff for several
hours. In appearance some of them were strangely shabby and unkempt, in
a wild, un-English sort of fashion, while others among them seemed like
men to whom the good things of this world were no strangers. But
whatever their appearance, they were all treated by Platzoff as honoured
guests for whom nothing at his command was too good.

As a matter of course, they were all introduced to Captain Ducie, but
none of their names had been heard by him before--indeed, he had a dim
suspicion, gathered, he could not have told how, that the names by which
they were made known to him were in some cases fictitious ones, and
appropriated for that occasion only. But to the Captain that fact
mattered nothing. They were people whom he should never meet after
leaving Bon Repos, or if he did chance to meet them, whom he should
never recognise.

One other noticeable feature there was about these birds of passage.
They were all men of considerable intelligence--men who could talk
tersely and well on almost any topic that might chance to come uppermost
at table, or during the after-dinner smoke. Literature, art, science,
travel--on any or all of these subjects they had opinions to offer; but
one subject there was that seemed tabooed among them as by common
consent: that subject was politics. Captain Ducie saw and recognised the
fact, but as he himself was a man who cared nothing for politics of any
kind, and would have voted them a bore in general conversation, he was
by no means disposed to resent their extrusion from the table talk at
Bon Repos.

As to whom and what these strangers might be, no direct information was
vouchsafed by the Russian. Captain Ducie was left in a great measure to
draw his own conclusions. A certain conversation which he had one day
with his host seemed to throw some light on the matter. Ducie had been
asking Platzoff whether he did not sometimes regret having secluded
himself so entirely from the world; whether he did not long sometimes to
be in the great centres of humanity, in London or Paris, where alone
life's full flavour can be tasted.

"Whenever Bon Repos becomes Mal Repos," answered Platzoff--"whenever a
longing such as you speak of comes over me--and it does come
sometimes--then I flee away for a few weeks, to London oftener than
anywhere else--certainly not to Paris: that to me is forbidden ground.
By-and-by I come back to my nest among the hills, vowing there is no
place like it in the world's wide round. But even when I am here, I am
not so shut out from the world and its great interests as you seem to
imagine. I see History enacting itself before my eyes, and I cannot sit
by with averted face. I hear the grand chant of Liberty as the beautiful
goddess comes nearer and nearer and smites down one Oppressor after
another with her red right hand; and I cannot shut my ears. I have been
an actor in the great drama of Revolution ever since a lad of twelve. I
saw my father borne off in chains to Siberia, and heard my mother with
her dying breath curse the tyrant who had sent him there. Since that day
Conspiracy has been the very salt of my life. For it I have fought and
bled; for it I have suffered hunger, thirst, imprisonment, and dangers
unnumbered. Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg, are all places that I can
never hope to see again. For me to set foot in any one of the three
would be to run the risk of almost certain detection, and in my case
detection would mean hopeless incarceration for the poor remainder of my
days. To the world at large I may seem nothing but a simple country
gentleman, living a dull life in a spot remote from all stirring
interests. But I may tell you, sir (in strictest confidence, mind), that
although I stand a little aside from the noise and heat of the battle,
I work for it with heart and brain as busily, and to better purpose, let
us hope, than when I was a much younger man. I am still a conspirator,
and a conspirator I shall remain till Death taps me on the shoulder and
serves me with his last great writ of _habeas corpus_."

These words recurred to Ducie's memory a day or two later when he found
at the dinner-table two foreigners whom he had never seen before.

"Is it possible that these bearded gentlemen are also conspirators?"
asked the Captain of himself. "If so, their mode of life must be a very
uncomfortable one. It never seems to include the use of a razor, and
very sparingly that of comb and brush. I am glad that I have nothing to
do with what Platzoff calls _The Great Cause_."

But Captain Ducie was not a man to trouble himself with the affairs of
other people unless his own interests were in some way affected thereby.
M. Paul Platzoff might have been mixed up with all the plots in Europe
for anything the Captain cared: it was a mere question of taste, and he
never interfered with another man's tastes when they did not clash with
his own. Besides, in the present case, his attention was claimed by what
to him was a matter of far more serious interest. From day to day he was
anxiously waiting for news from the London bookseller who was making
inquiries on his behalf as to the possibility of obtaining a copy of
_The Confessions of Parthenio the Mystic_. Day passed after day till a
fortnight had gone, and still there came no line from the bookseller.

Ducie's impatience could no longer be restrained: he wrote, asking for
news. The third day brought a reply. The bookseller had at last heard of
a copy. It was in the library of a monastery in the Low Countries. The
coffers of the monastery needed replenishing; the abbot was willing to
part with the book, but the price of it would be a sum equivalent to
fifty guineas of English money. Such was the purport of the letter.

To Captain Ducie, just then, fifty guineas were a matter of serious
moment. For a full hour he debated with himself whether or no he should
order the book to be bought.

Supposing it duly purchased; supposing that it really proved to be the
key by which the secret of the Russian's MS. could be mastered; might
not the secret itself prove utterly worthless as far as he, Ducie, was
concerned? Might it not be merely a secret bearing on one of those
confounded political plots in which Platzoff was implicated--a matter of
moment no doubt to the writer, but of no earthly utility to anyone not
inoculated with such March-hare madness?

These were the questions that it behoved him to consider. At the end of
an hour he decided that the game was worth the candle: he would risk his
fifty guineas.

Taking one of Platzoff's horses, he rode without delay to the nearest
telegraph station. His message to the bookseller was as under:

"Buy the book, and send it down to me here by confidential messenger."

The next few day were days of suspense, of burning impatience. The
messenger arrived almost sooner than Ducie expected, bringing the book
with him. Ducie sighed as he signed the cheque for fifty guineas, with
ten pounds for expenses. That shabby calf-bound worm-eaten volume seemed
such a poor exchange for the precious slip of paper that had just left
his fingers. But what was done could not be undone, so he locked the
book away carefully in his desk and locked up his impatience with it
till nightfall.

He could not get away from Platzoff till close upon midnight. When he
got to his own room he bolted the door, and drew the curtains across the
windows, although he knew that it was impossible for anyone to spy on
him from without. Then he opened his desk, spread out the MS. before
him, and took up the volume. A calf-bound volume, with red edges, and
numbering five hundred pages. It was in English, and the title-page
stated it to be "_The Confessions of Parthenio the Mystic: A Romance_.
Translated from the Latin. With Annotations, and a Key to Sundrie Dark
Meanings. Imprinted at Amsterdam in the Year of Grace 1698." It was in
excellent condition.

Captain Ducie's eagerness to test his prize would not allow of more than
a very cursory inspection of the general contents of the volume. So far
as he could make out, it seemed to be a political satire veiled under
the transparent garb of an Eastern story. Parthenio was represented as a
holy man--a Spiritualist or Mystic--who had lived for many years in a
cave in one of the Arabian deserts. Commanded at length by what he calls
the "inner voice," he sets out on his travels to visit sundry courts and
kingdoms of the East. He returns after five years, and writes, for the
benefit of his disciples, an account of the chief things he has seen and
learned while on his travels. The courts of England, France and Spain,
under fictitious names, are the chief marks for his ponderous satire,
and some of the greatest men in the three kingdoms are lashed with his
most scurrilous abuse. Under any circumstances the book was not one that
Captain Ducie would have cared to wade through, and in the present case,
after dipping into a page here and there, and finding that it contained
nothing likely to interest him, he proceeded at once to the more serious
business of the evening.

The clocks of Bon Repos were striking midnight as Captain Ducie
proceeded to test the value of the first group of figures on the MS.,
according to the formula laid down for him by his friend Bexell.

The first group of figures was 253.12/4. Turning to page two hundred and
fifty-three of the Confessions, and counting from the top of that page,
he found that the fourth word of the twelfth line gave him _you_. The
second clump of figures was 59.25/1. The first word of the twenty-fifth
line of page fifty-nine gave him _will_. The third clump of figures gave
him _have_, and the fourth _gathered_. These four words, ranged in
order, read: _You will have gathered_. Such a sequence of words could
not arise from mere accident. When he had got thus far Ducie knew that
Platzoff's secret would soon be a secret no longer, that in a very
little while the heart of the mystery would be laid bare.

Encouraged by his success, Ducie went to work with renewed vigour, and
before the clock struck one he had completed the first sentence of the
MS., which ran as under:--

     _You will have gathered from the foregoing note, my dear Carlo,
     that I have something of importance to relate to you--something
     that I am desirous of keeping a secret from everyone but yourself._

As his friend Bexell surmised, Ducie found that the groups of figures
distinguished from the rest by two horizontal lines, one above and one
below, as thus 58.7 14.29 368.1 209.18 43.11, were the _valeurs_ of some
proper name or other word for which there was no equivalent in the book.
Such words had to be spelt out letter by letter in the same way that
complete words were picked out in other cases. Thus the marked figures
as above, when taken letter by letter, made up the word _Carlo_--a name
to which there was nothing similar in the Confessions.

It had been broad daylight for two hours before Captain Ducie grew tired
of his task and went to bed. He went on with it next night, and every
night till it was finished. It was a task that deepened in interest as
he proceeded with it. It grew upon him to such a degree that when near
the close he feigned illness, and kept his room for a whole day, so that
he might the sooner get it done.

If Captain Ducie had ever amused himself with trying to imagine the
nature of the secret which he had now succeeded in unravelling, the
reality must have been very different from his expectations. One
gigantic thought, whose coming made him breathless for a moment, took
possession of him, as a demon might have done, almost before he had
finished his task, dwarfing all other thoughts by its magnitude. It was
a thought that found relief in six words only:

"It must and shall be mine!"



"You will have gathered from the foregoing note, my dear Carlo, that I
have something of importance to relate to you; something that I am
desirous of keeping a secret from everyone but yourself. From the same
source you will have learned where to find the key by which alone the
lock of my secret can be opened.

"I was induced by two reasons to make use of _The Confessions of
Parthenio the Mystic_ as the basis of my cryptographic communication. In
the first place, each of us has in his possession a copy of the same
edition of that rare book, _viz._, the Amsterdam edition of 1698. In the
second place, there are not more than half-a-dozen copies of the same
work in England; so that if this document were by mischance to fall into
the hands of some person other than him for whom it is intended, such
person, even if sufficiently acute to guess at the means by which alone
the cryptogram can be read, would still find it a matter of some
difficulty to obtain possession of the requisite key.

"I address these lines to you, my dear Lampini, not because you and I
have been friends from youth, not because we have shared many dangers
and hardship together, not because we have both kept the same great
object in view throughout life; in fine, I do not address them to you as
a private individual, but in your official capacity as Secretary of the
Secret Society of San Marco.

"You know how deeply I have had the objects of the Society at heart ever
since, twenty-five years ago, I was deemed worthy of being made one of
the initiated. You know how earnestly I have striven to forward its
views both in England and abroad; that through my connection with it I
am _suspect_ at nearly every capital on the Continent--that I could not
enter some of them except at the risk of my life; that health, time,
money--all have been ungrudgingly given for the furtherance of the same
great end.

"Heaven knows I am not penning these lines in any self-gratulatory frame
of mind--I who write from this happy haven among the hills.
Self-gratulation would ill-become such as me. Where I have given gold,
others have given their blood. Where I have given time and labour,
others have undergone long and cruel imprisonments, have been separated
from all they loved on earth, and have seen the best years of their life
fade hopelessly out between the four walls of a living tomb. What are my
petty sacrifices to such as these?

"But not to everyone is granted the happiness of cementing a great cause
with his heart's blood. We must each work in the appointed way--some of
us in the full light of day; others in obscure corners, at work that can
never be seen, putting in the stones of the foundation painfully one by
one, but never destined to share in the glory of building the roof of
the edifice.

"Sometimes, in your letters to me, especially when those letters
contained any disheartening news, I have detected a tone of despondency,
a latent doubt as to whether the cause to which both of us are so firmly
bound was really progressing; whether it was not fighting against hope
to continue the battle any longer; whether it would not be wiser to
retreat to the few caves and fastnesses that were left us, and leaving
Liberty still languishing in chains, and Tyranny still rampant in the
high places of the world, to wage no longer a useless war against the
irresistible Fates. Happily, with you such moods were of the rarest: you
would have been more than mortal had not your soul at times sat in
sackcloth and ashes.

"Such seasons of doubt and gloom have come to me also; but I know that
in our secret hearts we both of us have felt that there was a
self-sustaining power, a latent vitality in our cause that nothing could
crush out utterly; that the more it was trampled on the more dangerous
it would become, and the faster it would spread. Certain great events
that have happened during the last twelve months have done more towards
the propagation of the ideas we have so much at heart than in our
wildest dreams we dare have hoped only three short years ago. Gravely
considering these things, it seems to me that the time cannot be far
distant when the contingent plan of operations as agreed upon by the
Central Committee two years ago, to which I gave in my adhesion on the
occasion of your last visit to Bon Repos, will have to replace the
scheme at present in operation, and will become the great lever in
carrying out the Society's policy in time to come.

"When the time shall be ripe, but one difficulty will stand in the way
of carrying out the proposed contingent plan. That difficulty will arise
from the fact that the Society's present expenses will then be trebled
or quadrupled, and that a vast accession to the funds at command of the
Committee for the time being will thus be imperatively necessitated. As
a step, as a something towards obviating whatever difficulty may arise
from lack of funds, I have devised to you, as Secretary of the Society,
the whole of my personal estate, amounting in the aggregate to close
upon fifteen thousand pounds. This property will not accrue to you till
my decease; but that event will happen no very long time hence. My will,
duly signed and witnessed, will be found in the hands of my lawyer.

"But it was not merely to advise you of this bequest that I have sought
such a roundabout mode of communication. I have a greater and a much
more important bequest to make to the Society, through you, its
accredited agent. I have in my possession a green DIAMOND, the estimated
value of which is a hundred and fifty thousand pounds. This precious gem
I shall leave to you, by you to be sold after my death, the proceeds of
the sale to be added to the other funded property of the Society of San

"The Diamond in question became mine during my travels in India many
years ago. I believe my estimate of its value to be a correct one.
Except my confidential servant, Cleon (whom you will remember), no one
is aware that I have in my possession a stone of such immense value. I
have never trusted it out of my own keeping, but have always retained
it by me, in a safe place, where I could lay my hands upon it at a
moment's notice. But not even to Cleon have I entrusted the secret of
the hiding-place, incorruptibly faithful as I believe him to be. It is a
secret locked in my own bosom alone.

"You will now understand why I have resorted to cryptography in bringing
these facts under your notice. It is intended that these lines shall not
be read by you till after my decease. Had I adopted the ordinary mode of
communicating with you, it seemed to me not impossible that some other
eye than the one for which it was intended might peruse this statement
before it reached you, and that through some foul play or underhand deed
the Diamond might never come into your possession.

"It only remains for me now to point out where and by what means the
Diamond may be found. It is hidden away in--"

       *       *       *       *       *

Here the MS., never completed, ended abruptly.

(_To be continued._)


    In vain we call to youth, "Return!"
    In vain to fires, "Waste not, yet burn!"
    In vain to all life's happy things,
    "Give the days song--give the hours wings!
    Let us lose naught--yet always learn!"

    The tongue must lose youth, as it sings--
    New knowledge still new sorrow brings:
    Oh, sweet lost youth, for which we yearn
                            In vain!
    But even this hour from which ye turn--
    Impatient--o'er its funeral urn
    Your soul with mad importunings
    Will cry, "Come back, lost hour!" So rings
    Ever the cry of those who yearn
                    In vain.



When the Akropolis at Athens bore its beautiful burden entire and
perfect, one miniature temple stood dedicated to wingless Victory, in
token that the city which had defied and driven back the barbarian
should never know defeat.

But only a few decades had passed away when that temple stood as a mute
and piteous witness that Athens had been laid low in the dust, and that
Victory, though she could never weave a garland for Hellenes who had
conquered Hellenes, was no longer a living power upon her chosen
citadel. By the eighteenth century the shrine had altogether
disappeared: the site only could be traced, and four slabs from its
frieze were discovered close at hand, built into the walls of a Turkish
powder magazine; but not another fragment could be found.

The descriptions of Pausanias and of one or two later travellers were
all that remained to tell us of the whole; of its details we might form
some faint conception from those frieze marbles, rescued by Lord Elgin
and now in the British museum.

But we are not left to restore the temple of wingless Victory in our
imagination merely, aided by description and by fragment. It stands
to-day almost complete except for its shattered sculptures, placed upon
its original site, and looking, among the ruins of the grander buildings
around it, like a beautiful child who gazes for the first time on sorrow
which it feels but cannot share. The blocks of marble taken from its
walls and columns had been embedded in a mass of masonry, and when
Greece was once more free, and all traces of Turkish occupation were
being cleared from the Akropolis, these were carefully put together with
the result that we have described.

Like this in part, but unhappily only in part, is the story of the poems
of Sappho. She wrote, as the architect planned, for all time. We have
one brief fragment, proud, but pathetic in its pride, that tells us she
knew she was meant not altogether to die:

     "I say that there will be remembrance of us hereafter,"

and again with lofty scorn she addresses some other woman:

     "But thou shalt lie dead, nor shall there ever be remembrance of
     thee then or in the time to come, for thou hast no share in the
     roses of Pieria; but thou shalt wander unseen even in the halls of
     Hades, flitting forth amid the shades of the dead."

The words sound in our ears with a melancholy close as we remember how
hopelessly lost is almost every one of those poems that all Hellas
loved and praised as long as the love and praise of Hellas was of any
worth. Remembrance among men was, to her, the Muses' crowning gift; that
which should distinguish her from ordinary mortals, even beyond the
grave, and grant her new life in death. But it was only for her songs'
sake that she cared to live; she looked for immortality only because she
felt that they were too fair to die.

It was almost by accident that the name of Sappho was first associated
with the slanders that have ever since clung round it.

By the close of the fourth century, B.C., Athenian comedy had
degenerated into brilliant and witty and scandalous farce, in many
essentials resembling the new Comedy of the Restoration in England. But
the vitiated Athenian palate required a seasoning which did not commend
itself to English taste; it was necessary that the shafts of the
writer's wit should strike some real and well-known personage.

Politics, which had furnished so many subjects and so many characters to
Aristophanes, were now a barren field, and public life at Athens in
those days was nothing if not political. Hence arose the practice of
introducing great names of bygone days into these comedies, in all kinds
of ridiculous and disgraceful surroundings.

There was a piquancy about these libels on the dead which we cannot
understand, but which we may contrast with the less dishonourable
process known to modern historians as "whitewashing." Just as Tiberius
and Henry VIII. have been rescued from the infamy of ages, and placed
among us upon pedestals of honour from which it will be difficult
hereafter wholly to dislodge them, many honoured names were taken by
these iconoclasts of the Middle Comedy and hurled down to such infamy as
they alone could bestow.

Sappho stood out prominently as the one supreme poetess of Hellas, and
the poets, if so they must be called, of the decline of Greek dramatic
art were never weary of loading her name with every most disgraceful
reproach they could invent. It is hardly worth while to discuss a
subject so often discussed with so little profit, or it would be easy to
show that these gentlemen, Ameipsias, Antiphanes, Diphilus, and the
rest, were indebted solely to their imagination for their facts.

It would be as fair to take the picture of Sokrates in the "Clouds" of
Aristophanes for a faithful representation of the philosopher as it
would be to take the Sappho of the comic stage for the true Sappho.
Indeed, it would be fairer; for the Sokrates of the "Clouds" is an
absurd caricature, but, like every good caricature, it bore some
resemblance to the original.

Aristophanes and his audience were familiar with the figure of Sokrates
as he went in and out amongst them; they knew his character and his
manner of life; and, though the poet ventured to pervert the teaching
and to ridicule the habits of a well-known citizen, he would not venture
to put before the people a representation in which there was not a grain
of truth.

But Sappho had been dead for two hundred years: the Athenian populace
knew little of her except that she had been great and that she had been
unhappy; and the descendants of the men who had thronged the theatre to
see the Oedipus of Sophokles, sickening with that strange disease which
makes the soul crave to batten on the fruits that are its poison, found
a rare feast furnished forth in the imaginary history of the one great
woman of their race.

The centuries went on, and Sappho came before the tribunal of the early
Christian Church.

The chief witnesses against her were these same comic poets, who were
themselves prisoners at the bar; and her judges, with the ruthless
impartiality of undiscriminating zeal, condemned the whole of her works,
as well as those of her accusers, to be destroyed in the flames.

Thus her works have almost totally perished: the fragments that are
extant give us only the faintest hints of the grace and sweetness that
we have for ever lost.

The mode of the preservation of these remains is half-pathetic,
half-grotesque. We have one complete poem and a considerable portion of
another; the rest are the merest fragments--now two or three lines, now
two or three words, often unintelligible without their context. We have
imitations and translations by Catullus and by Horace; but even Catullus
has conspicuously failed to reproduce her. As Mr. Swinburne has candidly
and very truly said: "No man can come close to her."

No; all that we possess of Sappho is gleaned from the dictionary, the
geography, the grammar and the archæological treatise; from a host of
worthy authors who are valued now chiefly for these quotations which
they have enshrined. Here a painful scholar of Alexandria has preserved
the phrase--

     "The golden sandalled dawn but now has (waked) me,"

to show how Sappho employed the adverb. Apollonius, to prove that the
Æolic dialect had a particular form for the genitive case of the first
personal pronoun, has treasured up two sad and significant utterances,

     "But thou forgettest me!"


     "Or else thou lovest another than me,"

The Æolic genitive has saved for us another of these sorrow-laden
sentences which Mr. Swinburne has amplified in some beautiful but too
wordy lines. Sappho only says

     "I am full weary of Gorgo."

--A few of these fragments tell us of the poet herself.

     "I have a daughter like golden flowers, Kleis my beloved, for whom
     (I would take) not all Sydia...."

and one beautiful line which we can recognise in the translation by

     "Like a child after its mother, I--"

The touches by which she has painted nature are so fine and delicate
that the only poet of our time who has a right to attempt to translate
them has declared it to be "the one impossible task." Our English does,
indeed, sound harsh and unmusical as we try to represent her words; yet
what a picture is here--

     "And round about the cold (stream) murmurs through the
     apple-orchards, and slumber is shed down from trembling leaves."

She makes us hear the wind upon the mountains falling on the oaks; she
makes us feel the sun's radiance and beauty, as it glows through her
verses; she makes us love with her the birds and the flowers that she
loved. She has a womanly pity not only for the dying doves when--

     "Their hearts grew cold and they dropped their wings,"

but for the hyacinth which the shepherds trample under foot upon the
hillside. The golden pulse growing on the shore, the roses, the garlands
of dill, are yet fragrant for us; we can even now catch the sweet tones
of the "Spring's angel," as she calls it, the nightingale that sang in
Lesbos ages and ages ago. One beautiful fragment has been woven with
another into a few perfect lines by Dante Gabriel Rossetti; but it shall
be given here as it stands. It describes a young, unwedded maiden:

     "As the sweet apple blushes on the end of the bough, the very end
     of the bough which the gatherers overlooked--nay, overlooked not,
     but could not reach."

The Ode to Aphrodite and the fragment to Anaktoria are too often found
in translations to be quoted here. Indeed, it is of but little use to
quote; for Sappho can be known only in her own language and by those who
will devote time to these inestimable fragments. Their beauty grows upon
us as we read; we catch in one the echo of a single tone, so sweet that
it needs no harmony; and again a few stray chords that haunt the ear and
fill us with an exquisite dissatisfaction; and yet again a grave and
stately measure such as her rebuke to Alkæus--

     "Had thy desire been for what was good or noble and had not thy
     tongue framed some evil speech, shame had not filled thine eyes--"




It was an animated scene; and one you only find in England. The stubble
of the cornfields looked pale and bleak in the departing autumn, the
wind was shaking down the withered leaves from the trees, whose thinning
branches told unmistakably of the rapidly-advancing winter. But the day
was bright after the night's frost, and the sun shone on the glowing
scarlet coats of the hunting men, and the hounds barked in every variety
of note and leaped with delight in the morning air. It was the first run
of the season, and the sportsmen were fast gathering at the appointed
spot--a field flanked by a grove of trees called Poachers' Copse.

Ten o'clock, the hour fixed for the throw-off, came and went, and still
Poachers' Copse was not relieved of its busy intruders. Many a gentleman
foxhunter glanced at his hunting-watch as the minutes passed, many a
burly farmer jerked his horse impatiently; while the grey-headed
huntsman cracked his long whip amongst his canine favourites and
promised them they should soon be on the scent. The delay was caused by
the non-arrival of the Master of the Hounds.

But now all eyes were directed to a certain quarter, and by the
brightened looks and renewed stir, it might be thought that he was
appearing. A stranger, sitting his horse well and quietly at the edge of
Poachers' Copse, watched the newcomers as they came into view. Foremost
of them rode an elderly gentleman in scarlet, and by his side a young
lady who might be a few years past twenty.

"Father and daughter, I'll vow," commented the stranger, noting that
both had the same well-carved features, the same defiant, haughty
expression, the same proud bearing. "What a grandly-handsome girl! And
he, I suppose, is the man we are waiting for. Is that the Master of the
Hounds?" he asked aloud of the horseman next him, who chanced to be
young Mr. Threpp.

"No, sir, that is Captain Monk," was the answer. "They are saying yonder
that he has brought word the Master is taken ill and cannot hunt
to-day"--which proved to be correct. The Master had been taken with
giddiness when about to mount his horse.

The stranger rode up to Captain Monk; judging him to be regarded--by the
way he was welcomed and the respect paid him--as the chief personage at
the meet, representing in a manner the Master. Lifting his hat, he
begged grace for having, being a stranger, come out, uninvited, to join
the field; adding that his name was Hamlyn and he was staying with Mr.
Peveril at Peacock's Range.

Captain Monk wheeled round at the address; his head had been turned
away. He saw a tall, dark man of about five-and-thirty years, so dark
and sunburnt as to suggest ideas of his having recently come from a
warmer climate. His hair was black, his eyes were dark brown, his
features and manner prepossessing, and he spoke as a man accustomed to
good society.

Captain Monk, lifting his hat in return, met him with cordiality. The
field was open to all, he said, but any friend of Peveril's would be
doubly welcome. Peveril himself was a muff, in so far as that he never

"Hearing there was to be a meet to-day, I could not resist the
temptation of joining it; it is many years since I had the opportunity,"
remarked the stranger.

There was not time for more, the hounds were throwing off. Away dashed
the Captain's steed, away dashed the stranger's, away dashed Miss
Monk's, the three keeping side by side.

Presently came a fence. Captain Monk leaped it and galloped onwards
after the other red-coats. Miss Eliza Monk would have leaped it next,
but her horse refused it; yet he was an old hunter and she a fearless
rider. The stranger was waiting to follow her. A touch of the angry Monk
temper assailed her and she forced her horse to the leap. He had a
temper also; he did not clear it, and horse and rider came down

In a trice Mr. Hamlyn was off his own steed and raising her. She was not
hurt, she said, when she could speak; a little shaken, a little
giddy--and she leaned against the fence. The refractory horse, unnoticed
for the moment, got upon his legs, took the fence of his own accord and
tore away after the field. Young Mr. Threpp, who had been in some
difficulty with his own steed, rode up now.

"Shall I ride back to the Hall and get the pony-carriage for you, Miss
Eliza?" asked the young man.

"Oh, dear, no," she replied, "thank you all the same. I would prefer to
walk home."

"Are you equal to the walk?" interposed the stranger.

"Quite. The walk will do away with this faintness. It is not the first
fall I have had."

The stranger whispered to young Mr. Threpp--who was as good-natured a
young fellow as ever lived. Would he consent to forego the sport that
day and lead his horse to Mr. Peveril's? If so, he would accompany the
young lady and give her the support of his arm.

So William Threpp rode off, leading Mr. Hamlyn's horse, and Miss Monk
accepted the stranger's arm. He told her a little about himself as they
walked along. It might not have been an ominous commencement, but
intimacies have grown sometimes out of a slighter introduction. Their
nearest way led past the Vicarage. Mr. Grame saw them from its windows
and came running out.

"Has any accident taken place?" he asked hurriedly. "I hope not."

Eliza Monk's face flushed. He had been Lucy's husband several months
now, but she could not yet suddenly meet him without a thrill of
emotion. Lucy ran out next; the pretty young wife for whom she had been
despised. Eliza answered Mr. Grame curtly, nodded to Lucy, and passed

"And, as I was telling you," continued Mr. Hamlyn, "when this property
was left to me in England, I made it a plea for throwing up my post in
India, and came home. I landed about six weeks ago, and have been since
busy in London with lawyers. Peveril, whom I knew in the days gone by,
wrote to invite me to come to him here on a week's visit, before he and
his wife leave for the South of France."

"They are going to winter there for Mrs. Peveril's health," observed
Eliza. "Peacock's Range, the place they live at, belongs to my cousin,
Harry Carradyne. Did I understand you to say that you were not an

"I was born in the West Indies. My family were English and had settled

"What a coincidence!" exclaimed Eliza Monk with a smile. "My mother was
a West Indian, and I was born there.--There's my home, Leet Hall!"

"A fine old place," cried Mr. Hamlyn, regarding the mansion before him.

"You may well say 'old,'" remarked the young lady. "It has been the
abode of the Monk family from generation to generation. For my part, I
sometimes half wish it would fall down that we might get away to a more
lively locality. Church Leet is a dead-alive place at best."

"We always want what we have not," laughed Mr. Hamlyn. "I would give all
I am worth to possess an ancestral home, no matter if it were grim and
gloomy. We who can boast of only modern wealth look upon these family
castles with an envy you have little idea of."

"If you possess modern wealth, you possess a very good and substantial
thing," she answered, echoing his laugh.--"Here comes my aunt, full of

Full of alarm also. Mrs. Carradyne stood on the terrace steps, asking if
there had been an accident.

"Not much of one, Aunt Emma. Saladin refused the fence at Ring Gap, and
we both came down together. This gentleman was so obliging as to forego
his day's sport and escort me home. Mr.--Mr. Hamlyn, I believe?" she
added. "My aunt, Mrs. Carradyne."

The stranger confirmed it. "Philip Hamlyn," he said to Mrs. Carradyne,
lifting his hat.

Gaining the hall-door with slow and gentle steps came a young man, whose
beautiful features were wasting more perceptibly day by day, and their
hectic growing of a deeper crimson. "What is amiss, Eliza?" he cried.
"Have you come to grief? Where's Saladin?"

"My brother," she said to Mr. Hamlyn.

Yes, it was indeed Hubert Monk. For he did not die of that run to the
church the past New Year's Eve. The death-like faint proved to be a
faint, nothing more. Nothing more _then_. But something else was
advancing with gradual steps: steps that seemed to be growing almost
perceptible now.

Now and again Hubert fainted in the same manner; his face taking a
death-like hue, the blue tinge surrounding his mouth. Captain Monk,
unable longer to shut his eyes to what might be impending, called in the
best medical advice that Worcestershire could afford; and the doctors
told him the truth--that Hubert's days were numbered.

To say that Captain Monk began at once to "set his house in order" would
not be quite the right expression, since it was not he himself who was
going to die. But he set his affairs straight as to the future, and
appointed another heir in his son's place--his nephew, Harry Carradyne.

Harry Carradyne, a brave young lieutenant, was then with his regiment in
some almost inaccessible fastness of the Indian Empire. Captain Monk
(not concealing his lamentation and the cruel grief it was to himself
personally) wrote word to him of the fiat concerning poor Hubert,
together with a peremptory order to sell out and return home as the
future heir. This was being accomplished, and Harry might now be
expected almost any day.

But it may as well be mentioned that Captain Monk, never given to be
confidential about himself or his affairs, told no one what he had done,
with one exception. Even Mrs. Carradyne was ignorant of the change in
her son's prospects and of his expected return. The one exception was
Hubert. Soon to lose him, Captain Monk made more of his son than he had
ever done, and seemed to like to talk with him.

"Harry will make a better master to succeed you than I should have made,
father," said Hubert, as they were slowly pacing home from the
parsonage, arm-in-arm, one dull November day, some little time after the
meet of the hounds, as recorded. It was surprising how often Captain
Monk would now encounter his son abroad, as if by accident, and give him
his arm home.

"What d'ye mean?" wrathfully responded the Captain, who never liked to
hear his own children disparaged, by themselves or by anyone else.

Hubert laughed a little. "Harry will look after things better than I
ever should. I was always given to laziness. Don't you remember,
father, when a little boy in the West Indies, you used to tell me I was
good for nothing but to bask in the heat?"

"I remember one thing, Hubert; and, strange to say, have remembered it
only lately. Things lie dormant in the memory for years, and then crop
up again. Upon getting home from one of my long voyages, your mother
greeted me with the news that your heart was weak; the doctor had told
her so. I gave the fellow a trimming for putting so ridiculous a notion
into her head--and it passed clean out of mine. I suppose he was right,

"Little doubt of that, father. I wonder I have lived so long."

"Nonsense!" exploded the Captain; "you may live on yet for years. I
don't know that I did not act foolishly in sending post-haste for Harry

Hubert smiled a sad smile. "You have done quite right, father; right in
all ways; be sure of that. Harry is one of the truest and best fellows
that ever lived: he will be a comfort to you when I am gone, and the
best of all successors later. Just--a--moment--father!"

"Why, what's the matter?" cried Captain Monk--for his son had suddenly
halted and stood with a rapidly-paling face and shortened breath,
pressing his hands to his side. "Here, lean on me, lad; lean on me."

It was a sudden faintness. Nothing very much, and it passed off in a
minute or two. Hubert made a brave attempt at smiling, and resumed his
way. But Captain Monk did not like it at all; he knew all these things
were but the beginning of the end. And that end, though not with actual
irreverence, he was resenting bitterly in his heart.

"Who's that coming out?" he asked, crossly, alluding to some figure
descending the steps of his house--for his sight was not what it used to

"It is Mr. Hamlyn," said Hubert.

"Oh--Hamlyn! He seems to be always coming in. I don't like that man
somehow, Hubert. Wonder what he's lagging in the neighbourhood for?"

Hubert Monk had an idea that he could have told. But he did not want to
draw down an explosion on his own head. Mr. Hamlyn came to meet them
with friendly smiles and hand-shakes. Hubert liked him; liked him very

Not only had Mr. Hamlyn prolonged his stay beyond the "day or two" he
had originally come for, but he evinced no intention of leaving. When
Mr. Peveril and his wife departed for the south, he made a proposal to
remain at Peacock's Range for a time as their tenant. And when the
astonished couple asked his reasons, he answered that he should like to
get a few runs with the hounds.


The November days glided by. The end of the month was approaching, and
still Philip Hamlyn stayed on, and was a very frequent visitor at Leet
Hall. Little doubt that Miss Monk was his attraction, and the parish
began to say so without reticence.

The parish was right. One fine, frosty morning Mr. Hamlyn sought an
interview with Captain Monk and laid before him his proposals for Eliza.

One might have thought by the tempestuous words showered down upon him
in answer that he had proposed to smother her. Reproaches, hot and fast,
were poured forth upon the suitor's unlucky head.

"Why, you are a stranger!" stormed the Captain; "you have not known her
a month! How dare you? It's not commonly decent."

Mr. Hamlyn quietly answered that he had known her long enough to love
her, and went on to say that he came of a good family, had plenty of
money, and could make a liberal settlement upon her.

"That you never will," said Captain Monk. "I should not like you for my
son-in-law," he continued candidly, calming down from his burst of
passion to the bounds of reason. "But there can be no question of it in
any way. Eliza is to become Lady Rivers."

Mr. Hamlyn opened his eyes in astonishment. "Lady Rivers!" he echoed.
"Do you speak of Sir Thomas Rivers?--that old man!"

"No, I do not, sir. Sir Thomas Rivers has one foot in the grave. I speak
of his eldest son. He wants her, and he shall have her."

"Pardon me, Captain, I--I do not think Miss Monk can know anything of
this. I am sure she did not last night. I come to you with her full
consent and approbation."

"I care nothing about that. My daughter is aware that any attempt to
oppose her will to mine would be utterly futile. Young Tom Rivers has
written to me to ask for her; I have accepted him, and I choose that she
shall accept him. She'll like it herself, too; it will be a good match."

"Young Tom Rivers is next door to a simpleton: he is not half-baked,"
retorted Mr. Hamlyn, his own temper getting up: "if I may judge by what
I've seen of him in the field."

"Tom Rivers is a favourite everywhere, let me tell you, sir. Eliza would
not refuse him for you."

"Perhaps, Captain Monk, you will converse with her upon this point?"

"I intend to give her my orders--if that's what you mean," returned the
Captain. "And now, sir, I think our discussion may terminate."

Mr. Hamlyn saw no use in prolonging it for the present. Captain Monk
bowed him out of the house and called his daughter into the room.

"Eliza," he began, scorning to beat about the bush, "I have received an
offer of marriage for you."

Miss Eliza blushed a little, not much: few things could make her do that
now. Once our blushes have been wasted, as hers were on Robert Grame,
their vivid freshness has faded for ever and aye. "The song has left the

"And I have accepted it," continued Captain Monk. "He would like the
wedding to be early in the year, so you may get your rattletraps in
order for it. Tell your aunt I will give her a blank cheque for the
cost, and she may fill it in."

"Thank you, papa."

"There's the letter; you can read it"--pushing one across the table to
her. "It came by special messenger last night, and I have sent my answer
this morning."

Eliza Monk glanced at the contents, which were written on rose-coloured
paper. For a moment she looked puzzled.

"Why, papa, this is from Tom Rivers! You cannot suppose I would marry
_him_! A silly boy, younger than I am! Tom Rivers is the greatest goose
I know."

"How dare you say so, Eliza?"

"Well, he is. Look at his note! Pink paper and a fancy edge!"

"Stuff! Rivers is young and inexperienced, but he'll grow older--he is a
very nice young fellow, and a capital fox-hunter. You'd be master and
mistress too--and that would suit your book, I take it. I want to have
you settled near me, see, Eliza--you are all I have left, or soon will

"But, papa--"

Captain Monk raised his hand for silence.

"You sent that man Hamlyn to me with a proposal for you. Eliza; you
_know_ that would not do. Hamlyn's property lies in the West Indies, his
home too, for all I know. He attempted to tell me that he would not take
you out there against my consent; but I know better, and what such
ante-nuptial promises are worth. It might end in your living there."

"No, no."

"What do you say 'no, no' for, like a parrot? Circumstances might compel
you. I do not like the man, besides."

"But why, papa?"

"I don't know; I have never liked him from the first. There! that's
enough. You must be my Lady Rivers. Poor old Tom is on his last legs."

"Papa, I never will."

"Listen, Eliza. I had one trouble with Katherine; I will not have
another with you. She defied me; she left my home rebelliously to enter
upon one of her own setting-up: what came of it? Did luck attend her? Do
you be more wise."

"Father," she said, moving a step forward with head uplifted; and the
resolute, haughty look which rendered their faces so much alike was very
conspicuous on hers, "do not let us oppose each other. Perhaps we can
each give way a little? I have promised to be the wife of Philip Hamlyn,
and that promise I will fulfil. You wish me to live near you: well, he
can take a place in this neighbourhood and settle down in it; and on my
part, I will promise you not to leave this country. He may have to go
from time to time to the West Indies; I will remain at home."

Captain Monk looked steadily at her before he answered. He marked the
stern, uncompromising expression, the strong will in the dark eyes and
in every feature, which no power, not even his, might unbend. He thought
of his elder daughter, now lying in her grave; he thought of his son, so
soon to be lying beside her; he did not care to be bereft of _all_ his
children, and for once in his hard life he attempted to conciliate.

"Hark to me, Eliza. Give up Hamlyn--I have said I don't like the man;
give up Tom Rivers also, an' you will. Remain at home with me until a
better suitor shall present himself, and Leet Hall and its broad lands
shall be yours."

She looked up in surprise. Leet Hall had always hitherto gone in the
male line; and, failing Hubert, it would be, or ought to be, Harry
Carradyne's. Though she knew not that any steps had already been taken
in that direction.

"Leet Hall?" she exclaimed.

"Leet Hall and its broad lands," repeated the Captain impatiently. "Give
up Mr. Hamlyn and it shall all be yours."

She remained for some moments in deep thought, her head bent, revolving
the offer. She was fond of pomp and power, as her father had ever been,
and the temptation to rule as sole domineering mistress in her
girlhood's home was great. But at that very instant the tall fine form
of Philip Hamlyn passed across a pathway in the distance, and she turned
from the temptation for ever. What little capability of loving had been
left to her after the advent of Robert Grame was given to Mr. Hamlyn.

"I cannot give him up," she said in low tones.

"What moonshine, Eliza! You are not a love-sick girl now."

The colour dyed her face painfully. Did her father suspect aught of the
past; of where her love _had_ been given--and rejected? The suspicion
only added fuel to the fire.

"I cannot give up Mr. Hamlyn," she reiterated.

"Then you will never inherit Leet Hall. No, nor aught else of mine."

"As you please, sir, about that."

"You set me at defiance, then!"

"I don't wish to do so, father; but I shall marry Mr. Hamlyn."

"At defiance," repeated the Captain, as she moved to escape from his
presence; "Katherine secretly, you openly. Better that I had never had
children. Look here, Eliza: let this matter remain in abeyance for six
or twelve months, things resting as they are. By that time you may have
come to your senses; or I (yes, I see you are ready to retort it) to
mine. If not--well, we shall only then be where we are."

"And that we should be," returned Eliza, doggedly. "Time will never
change either of us."

"But events may. Let it be so, child. Stay where you are for the
present, in your maiden home."

She shook her head in denial; not a line of her proud face giving way,
nor a curve of her decisive lips: and Captain Monk knew that he had
pleaded in vain. She would neither give up her marriage nor prolong the
period of its celebration.

What could be the secret of her obstinacy? Chiefly the impossibility of
tolerating opposition to her own indomitable will. It was her father's
will over again; his might be a very little softening with years and
trouble; not much. Had she been in desperate love with Hamlyn one could
have understood it, but she was not; at most it was but a passing fancy.
What says the poet? I daresay you all know the lines, and I know I have
quoted them times and again, they are so true:

    "Few hearts have never loved, but fewer still
    Have felt a second passion. _None_ a third.
    The first was living fire; the next a thrill;
    The weary heart can never more be stirred:
    Rely on it the song has left the bird."

Very, very true. Her passion for Robert Grame had been as living fire in
its wild intensity; it was but the shadow of a thrill that warmed her
heart for Philip Hamlyn. Possibly she mistook it in a degree; thought
more of it than it was. The feeling of gratification which arises from
flattered vanity deceives a woman's heart sometimes: and Mr. Hamlyn did
not conceal his rapturous admiration of her.

She held to her defiant course, and her father held to his. He did not
continue to say she should not marry; he had no power for that--and
perhaps he did not want her to make a moonlight escapade of it, as
Katherine had made. So the preparation for the wedding went on, Eliza
herself paying for the rattletraps, as they had been called; Captain
Monk avowed that he "washed his hands of it," and then held his peace.

Whether Mr. Hamlyn and his intended bride considered it best to get the
wedding over and done with, lest adverse fate, set afoot by the Captain,
should, after all, circumvent them, it is impossible to say, but the day
fixed was a speedy one. And if Captain Monk had deemed it "not decent"
in Mr. Hamlyn to propose for a young lady after only a month's
knowledge, what did he think of this? They were to be married on the
last day of the year.

Was it fixed upon in defiant mockery?--for, as the reader knows, it had
proved an ominous day more than once in the Monk family. But no,
defiance had no hand in that, simply adverse fate. The day originally
fixed by the happy couple was Christmas Eve: but Mr. Hamlyn, who had to
go to London about that time on business connected with his property,
found it impossible to get back for the day, or for some days after it.
He wrote to Eliza, asking that the day should be put off for a week, if
it made no essential difference, and fixed the last day in the year.
Eliza wrote word back that she would prefer that day; it gave more time
for preparation.

They were to be married in her own church, and by its Vicar. Great
marvel existed at the Captain's permitting this, but he said nothing.
Having washed his hands of the affair, he washed them for good: had the
bride been one of the laundry-maids in his household he could not have
taken less notice. A Miss Wilson was coming from a little distance to be
bridesmaid; and the bride and bridegroom would go off from the church
door. The question of a breakfast was never mooted: Captain Monk's
equable indifference might not have stood that.

"I shall wish them good-luck with all my heart--but I don't feel
altogether sure they'll have it!" bewailed poor Mrs. Carradyne in
private. "Eliza should have agreed to the delay proposed by her father."


Ring, ring, ring, broke forth the chimes on the frosty midday air. Not
midnight, you perceive, but midday, for the church clock had just given
forth its twelve strokes. Another round of the dial, and the old year
would have departed into the womb of the past.

Bowling along the smooth turnpike road which skirted the churchyard on
one side came a gig containing a gentleman; a tall, slender,
frank-looking young man, with a fair face and the pleasantest blue eyes
ever seen. He wore a white top-coat, the fashion then, and was driving
rapidly in the direction of Leet Hall; but when the chimes burst forth
he pulled up abruptly.

"Why, what in the world?--" he began--and then sat still listening to
the sweet strains of "The Bay of Biscay." The day, though in mid-winter,
was bright and beautiful, and the golden sunlight, shining from the
dark-blue sky, played on the young man's golden hair.

"Have they mistaken midday for midnight?" he continued, as the chimes
played out their tune and died away on the air. "What's the meaning of

He, Harry Carradyne, was not the only one to ask this. No human being in
and about Church Leet, save Captain Monk and they who executed his
orders, knew that he had decreed that the chimes should play that day
at midday. Why did he do it? What could his motive be? Surely not that
they should, by playing (according to Mrs. Carradyne's theory),
inaugurate ill-luck for Eliza! At the moment they began to play she was
coming out of church on Mr. Hamlyn's arm, having left her maiden name
behind her.

A few paces more, for he was driving gently on now, and Harry pulled up
again, in surprise, as before, for the front of the church was now in
view. Lots of spectators, gentle and simple, stood about, and a handsome
chariot, with four post horses and a great coat-of-arms emblazoned on
its panels, waited at the church gate.

"It must be a wedding!" decided Harry.

The next moment the chariot was in motion; was soon about to pass him,
the bride and bridegroom inside it. A very dark but good-looking man,
with an air of command in his face, he, but a stranger to Harry; she,
Eliza. She wore a grey silk dress, a white bonnet, with orange blossoms
and a veil, which was quite the fashionable wedding attire of the day.
Her head was turned, nodding its farewells yet to the crowd, and she did
not see her cousin as the chariot swept by.

"Dear me!" he exclaimed, mentally. "I wonder who she has married?"

Staying quietly where he was until the spectators should have dispersed,
whose way led them mostly in opposite directions, Harry next saw the
clerk come out of the church by the small vestry door, lock it and cross
over to the stile; which brought him out close to the gig.

"Why, my heart alive!" he exclaimed. "Is it Captain Carradyne?"

"That's near enough," said Harry, who knew the title was accorded him by
the rustic natives of Church Leet, as he bent down with his sunny smile
to shake the old clerk's hand. "You are hearty as ever, I see, John. And
so you have had a wedding here?"

"Ay, sir, there have been one in the church. I was not in my place,
though. The Captain, he ordered me to let the church go for once, and to
be ready up aloft in the belfry to set the chimes going at midday. As
chance had it, the party came out just at the same time; Miss Eliza was
a bit late in coming, ye see; so it may be said the chimes rang 'em out.
I guess the sound astonished the people above a bit, for nobody knew
they were going to play."

"But how was it all, Cale? Why should the Captain order them to chime at

John Cale shook his head. "I can't tell ye that rightly, Mr. Harry; the
Captain, as ye know, sir, never says why he does this or why he does
t'other. Young William Threpp, who had to be up there with me, thought
he must have ordered 'em to play in mockery--for he hates the marriage
like poison."

"Who is the bridegroom?"

"It's a Mr. Hamlyn, sir. A gentleman who is pretty nigh as haughty as
the Captain himself; but a pleasant-spoken, kindly man, as far as I've
seen: and a rich one, too."

"Why did Captain Monk object to him?"

"It's thought 'twas because he was a stranger to the place and has lived
over in the Indies; and he wanted Miss Eliza, so it's said, to have
young Tom Rivers. That's about it, I b'lieve, Mr. Harry."

Harry Carradyne drove away thoughtfully. At the foot of the slight
ascent leading to Leet Hall, one of the grooms happened to be standing.
Harry handed over to him the horse and gig, and went forward on foot.

"Bertie!" he called out. For he had seen Hubert before him, walking at a
snail's pace: the very slightest hill tried him now. The only one left
of the wedding-party, for the bridesmaid drove off from the church door.
Hubert turned at the call.

"Harry! Why, Harry!"

Hand locked in hand, they sat down on a bench beside the path; face
gazing into face. There had always been a likeness between them: in the
bright-coloured, waving hair, the blue eyes and the well-favoured
features. But Harry's face was redolent of youth and health; in the
other's might be read approaching death.

"You are very thin, Bertie; thinner even than I expected to see, you,"
broke from the traveller involuntarily.

"_You_ are looking well, at any rate," was Hubert's answer. "And I am so
glad you are come: I thought you might have been here a month ago."

"The voyage was unreasonably long; we had contrary winds almost from
port to port. I got on to Worcester yesterday, slept there, and hired a
horse and gig to bring me over this morning. What about Eliza's wedding,
Hubert? I was just in time to see her drive away. Cale, with whom I had
a word down yonder, says the master does not like it."

"He does not like it and would not countenance it: washed his hands of
it (as he told us) altogether."

"Any good reason for that?"

"Not particularly good, that I see. Somehow he disliked Hamlyn; and Tom
Rivers wanted Eliza, which would have pleased him greatly. But Eliza was
not without blame. My father gave way so far as to ask her to delay
things for a few months, not to marry in a hurry, and she would not. She
might have conceded as much as that."

"Did you ever know Eliza concede anything, Bertie?"

"Well, not often."

"Who gave her away?"

"I did: look at my gala toggery"--opening his overcoat. "He wanted to
forbid it. 'Don't hinder me, father,' I pleaded; 'it is the last
brotherly service I can ever render her.' And so," his tone changing to
lightness, "I have been and gone and done it."

Harry Carradyne understood. "Not the last, Hubert; don't say that. I
hope you will live to render her many another yet."

Hubert smiled faintly. "Look at me," he said in answer.

"Yes, I know; I see how you look. But you may take a turn yet."

"Ah, miracles are no longer wrought for us. Shall I surprise you very
much, cousin mine, if I say that were the offer made me of prolonged
life, I am not sure that I should accept it?"

"Not unless health were renewed with it; I can understand that. You have
had to endure suffering, Bertie."

"Ay. Pain, discomfort, fears, weariness. After working out their torment
upon me, they--why then they took a turn and opened out the vista of a

"A refuge?"

"The one sure Refuge offered by God to the sick and sorrowful, the weary
and heavy-laden--Himself. I found it. I found _Him_, and all His
wonderful mercy. It will not be long now, Harry, before I see Him face
to face. And here comes His true minister but for whom I might have
missed the way."

Harry turned his head, and saw, advancing up the drive, a good-looking
young clergyman. "Who is it?" he involuntarily cried.

"Your brother-in-law, Robert Grame. Lucy's husband."

It was not the fashion in those days for a bride's mother (or one acting
as her mother) to attend the bride to church; therefore Mrs. Carradyne,
following it, was spared risk of conflict with Captain Monk on that
score. She was in Eliza's room, assisting at the putting on of the
bridal robes (for we have to go back an hour or so) when a servant came
up to say that Mr. Hamlyn waited below. Rather wondering--for he was to
have driven straight to the church--Mrs. Carradyne went downstairs.

"Pardon me, dear Mrs. Carradyne," he said, as he shook hands, and she
had never seen him look so handsome, "I could not pass the house without
making one more effort to disarm Captain Monk's prejudices, and asking
for his blessing on us. Do you think he will consent to see me?"

Mrs. Carradyne felt sure he would not, and said so. But she sent Rimmer
to the library to ask the question. Mr. Hamlyn pencilled down a few
anxious words on paper, folded it, and put it into the man's hand.

No; it proved useless. Captain Monk was harder than adamant; he sent
Rimmer back with a flea in his ear, and the petition torn in two.

"I feared so," sighed Mrs. Carradyne. "He will not this morning see even

Mr. Hamlyn did not sigh in return; he spoke a cross, impatient word: he
had never been able to see reason in the Captain's dislike to him, and,
with a brief good-morning, went out to his carriage. But, remembering
something when crossing the hall, he came back.

"Forgive me, Mrs. Carradyne; I quite forgot that I have a note for you.
It is from Mrs. Peveril, I believe; it came to me this morning, enclosed
in a letter of her husband's."

"You have heard at last, then!"

"At last--as you observe. Though Peveril had nothing particular to write
about; I daresay he does not care for letter writing."

Slipping the note into her pocket, to be opened at leisure, Mrs.
Carradyne returned to the adorning of Eliza. Somehow, it was rather a
prolonged business--which made it late when the bride with her
bridesmaid and Hubert drove from the door.

Mrs. Carradyne remained in the room--to which Eliza was not to
return--putting this up, and that. The time slipped on, and it was close
upon twelve o'clock when she got back to the drawing-room. Captain Monk
was in it then, standing at the window; which he had thrown wide open.
To see more clearly the bridal party come out of the church, was the
thought that crossed Mrs. Carradyne's mind in her simplicity.

"I very much feared they would be late," she observed, sitting down near
her brother: and at that moment the church clock began to strike twelve.

"A good thing if they were _too_ late!" he answered. "Listen."

She supposed he wanted to count the strokes--what else could he be
listening to? And now, by the stir at the distant gates, she saw that
the bridal party had come out.

"Good heavens, what's that?" shrieked Mrs. Carradyne, starting from her

"The chimes," stoically replied the Captain. And he proceeded to hum
through the tune of "The Bay of Biscay," and beat a noiseless
accompaniment with his foot.

"_The Chimes_, Emma," he repeated, when the melody had finished itself
out. "I ordered them to be played. It's the last day of the old year,
you know."

Laughing slightly at her consternation, Captain Monk closed the window
and quitted the room. As Mrs. Carradyne took her handkerchief from her
pocket to pass it over her face, grown white with startled terror, the
note she had put there came out also, and fell on the carpet.

Picking it up, she stood at the window, gazing forth. Her sight was not
what it used to be; but she discerned the bride and bridegroom enter
their carriage and drive away; next she saw the bridesmaid get into the
carriage from the Hall, assisted by Hubert, and that drive off in its
turn. She saw the crowd disperse, this way and that; she even saw the
gig there, its occupant talking with John Cale. But she did not look at
him particularly; and she had not the slightest idea but that Harry was
in India.

And all that time an undercurrent of depression was running riot in her
heart. None knew with what a strange terror she had grown to dread the

She sat down now and opened Mrs. Peveril's note. It treated chiefly of
the utterly astounding ways that untravelled old lady was meeting with
in foreign parts. "If you will believe me," wrote she, "the girl that
waits on us wears carpet slippers down at heel, and a short cotton
jacket for best, and she puts the tea-tray before me with the handle of
the teapot turned to me and the spout standing outwards, and she comes
right into the bed-room of a morning with Charles's shaving-water
without knocking." But the one sentence that arrested Mrs. Carradyne's
attention above any other was the following: "I reckon that by this time
you have grown well acquainted with our esteemed young friend. He is a
good, kindly gentleman, and I'm sure never could have done anything to
deserve his wife's treatment of him."

"Can she mean Mr. Hamlyn?" debated Mrs. Carradyne, all sorts of ideas
leaping into her mind with a rush. "If not--what other 'esteemed friend'
can she allude to?--_she_, old herself, would call _him_ young. But Mr.
Hamlyn has not any wife. At least, had not until to-day."

She read the note over again. She sat with it open, buried in a reverie,
thinking no end of things, good and bad: and the conclusion she at last
came to was, that, with the unwonted exercise of letter-writing, poor
old Mrs. Peveril's head had grown confused.

"Well, Hubert, did it all go off well?" she questioned, as her nephew
entered the room, some sort of excitement on his wasted face. "I saw
them drive away."

"Yes, it went off well; there was no hitch anywhere," replied Hubert.
"But, Aunt Emma, I have brought a friend home with me. Guess who it is."

"Some lady or other who came to see the wedding," she returned. "I can't

"You never would, though I were to give you ten guesses; no, though je
vous donne en mille, as the French have it. What should you say to a
young man come all the way over seas from India? There, that's as good
as telling you, Aunt Emma. Guess now."

"Oh, Hubert!" clasping her trembling hands. "It cannot be Harry! What is

Harry brought his bright face into the room and was clasped in his
mother's arms. She could not understand it one bit, and fears assailed
her. Come home in _this_ unexpected manner! Had he left the army? What
had he done? _What_ had he done? Hubert laughed and told her then.

"He has done nothing wrong; everything that's good. He has sold out at
my father's request and left with honours--and is come home, the heir of
Leet Hall. I said all along it was a shame to keep you out of the plot,
Aunt Emma."

Well, it was glorious news for her. But, as if to tarnish its delight,
like an envious sprite of evil, deep down in her mind lay that other
news, just read--the ambiguous remark of old Mrs. Peveril's.


The walk on the old pier was pleasant enough in the morning sun. Though
yet but the first month in the year, the days were bright, the blue
skies without a cloud. Mr. and Mrs. Hamlyn had enjoyed the fine weather
at Cheltenham for a week or two; from that pretty place they had now
come to Brighton, reaching it the previous night.

"Oh, it is delightful!" exclaimed Eliza, gazing at the waves. She had
not seen the sea since she crossed it, a little girl, from the West
Indies. Those were not yet the days when all people, gentle and simple,
told one another that an autumn tour was essential to existence. "Look
at the sunbeams sparkling on the ripples and on the white sails of the
little boats! Philip, I should like to spend a month here."

"All right," replied Mr. Hamlyn.

They were staying at the Old Ship, a fashionable hotel then for ladies
as well as gentlemen, and had come out after breakfast; and they had the
pier nearly to themselves at that early hour. A yellow, gouty gentleman,
who looked as if he had quarrelled with his liver in some clime all fire
and cayenne, stood at the end leaning on his stick, alternately looking
at the sea and listlessly watching any advancing stragglers.

There came a sailor, swaying along, a rope in his hand; following him,
walked demurely three little girls in frocks and trousers, with their
French governess; then came two eye-glassed young men, dandyfied and
supercilious, who appeared to have more money than brains--and the
jaundiced man went into a gaping fit of lassitude.

Anyone else coming? Yes; a lady and gentleman arm-in-arm: quiet,
well-dressed, good-looking. As the invalid watched their approach, a
puzzled look of doubt and surprise rose to his countenance. Moving
forward a step or two on his gouty legs, he spoke.

"Can it be possible, Hamlyn, that we meet here?"

Even through his dark skin a red flush coursed into Mr. Hamlyn's face.
He was evidently very much surprised in his turn, if not startled.

"Captain Pratt!" he exclaimed.

"Major Pratt now," was the answer, as they shook hands. "That wretched
climate played the deuce with me, and they graciously gave me a step and
allowed me to retire upon it. The very deuce, I assure you, Philip. Beg
pardon, ma'am," he added seeing the lady look at him.

"My wife, Mrs. Hamlyn," spoke her husband.

Major Pratt contrived to lift his hat, and bow: which feat, what with
his gouty hands and his helpless legs and his great invalid stick, was a
work of time. "I saw your marriage in _The Times_, Hamlyn, and wondered
whether it could be you, or not: I didn't know, you see, that you were
over here. Wish you luck; and you also, ma'am. Hope it will turn out
more fortunate for you, Philip, than--"

"Where are you staying?" broke in Mr. Hamlyn, as if something were
frightening him.

"At some lodgings over yonder, where they fleece me," replied the Major.
"You should see the bill they've brought me in for last week. They've
made me eat four pounds of butter and five joints of meat, besides
poultry and pickles and a fruit pie! Why, I live mostly upon dry toast;
hardly dare touch an ounce of meat in a day. When I had 'em up before
me, the harpies, they laid it upon my servant's appetite--old Saul, you
know. _He_ answered them."

Mrs. Hamlyn laughed. "There are two articles that are very convenient,
as I have heard, to some of the lodging-house keepers: their lodgers'
servant, and their own cat."

"By Jove, ma'am, yes!" said the Major. "But I've given warning to this
lot where I am."

Saying au revoir to Major Pratt, Mr. Hamlyn walked down the pier again
with his wife. "Who is he, Philip?" she asked. "You seem to know him

"Very well. He is a sort of connection of mine, I believe," laughed Mr.
Hamlyn, "and I saw a good deal of him in India a few years back. He is
greatly changed. I hardly think I should have known him had he not
spoken. It's his liver, I suppose."

Leaving his wife at the hotel, Mr. Hamlyn went back again to Major
Pratt, much to the lonely Major's satisfaction, who was still leaning on
his substantial stick as he gazed at the water.

"The sight of you has brought back to my mind all that unhappy business,
Hamlyn," was his salutation. "I shall have a fit of the jaundice now, I
suppose! Here--let's sit down a bit."

"And the sight of you has brought it to mine," said Mr. Hamlyn, as he
complied. "I have been striving to drive it out of my remembrance."

"I know little about it," observed the Major. "She never wrote to me at
all afterwards, and you wrote me but two letters: the one announcing the
fact of her disgrace; the other, the calamity and the deaths."

"That is quite enough to know; don't ask me to go over the details to
you personally," said Mr. Hamlyn in a tone of passionate discomfort. "So
utterly repugnant to me is the remembrance altogether, that I have
never spoken of it--even to my present wife."

"Do you mean you've not told her you were once a married man?" cried
Major Pratt.

"No, I have not."

"Then you've shown a lack of judgment which I wouldn't have given you
credit for, my friend," declared the Major. "A man may whisper to his
girl any untoward news he pleases of his past life, and she'll forgive
and forget; aye, and worship him all the more for it, though it were the
having set fire to a church: but if he keeps it as a bonne bouchée to
drop out after marriage, when she has him fast and tight, she'll
curry-comb his hair for him in style. Believe that."

Mr. Hamlyn laughed.

"There never was a hidden skeleton between man and wife yet but it came
to light sooner or later," went on the Major. "If you are wise, you will
tell her at once, before somebody else does."

"What 'somebody?' Who is there here that knows it?"

"Why, as to 'here,' I know it, and nearly spoke of it before her, as you
must have heard; and my servant knows it. That's nothing, you'll say; we
can be quiet, now I have the cue: but you are always liable to meet with
people who knew you in those days, and who knew _her_. Take my advice,
Philip Hamlyn, and tell your wife. Go and do it now."

"I daresay you are right," said the younger man, awaking out of a
reverie. "Of the two evils it may be the lesser." And with lagging
steps, and eyes that seemed to have weights to them, he set out to walk
back to the Old Ship Hotel.




The English courage and constitution, for which Madame Hellard of the
Hôtel d'Europe professed so much admiration, carried us through the
ordeal of a sound drenching. Perhaps our escape was partly due to
firmness of will, which goes for much; perhaps in part to the dose of
strong waters added to the black coffee our loquacious but interesting
hostess at the little auberge by the river-side had brewed for us.

[Illustration: ST. POL DE LÉON.]

"Had we been to Roscoff?" she had asked us on that memorable afternoon,
when the clouds opened all their waterspouts and threatened the world
with a second deluge. And we had replied that we had not seen Roscoff,
but hoped to do so the following day, wind and weather permitting. Not
that we had to reach Roscoff by water; but the elements can make
themselves quite as disagreeable on land as at sea: and like the Marines
might take for their motto, PER MARE, PER TERRAM.

The next day wind and weather were not permitting. Madame Hellard
clasped her hands with a favourite and pathetic gesture that would melt
the hardest heart and dispose it to grant the most outrageous request.
She bemoaned our fate and the uncertainty of the Breton climate.

"Enfin!" she concluded, "the climate of la Petite Bretagne is very much
the same as that of la Grande Bretagne, from all I have heard. You must
be accustomed to these variations. When the Saxons came over and
settled here centuries and centuries ago, and peopled our little
country, they brought their weather with them. It has never changed.
Like the Breton temperament, it is founded upon a rock--though I often
wish it were a little more pliable and responsive. Changes are good
sometimes. I am not of those who think what is must always be best. If I
were in your Parliament--but you don't have ladies in your Parliament,
though they seem to have a footing everywhere else--I should be a
Liberal; without going too far, bien-intendu; I am all for progress, but
with moderation."

To-day there seemed no prospect of even moderately fine weather, and we
could only improve our time by cultivating the beauties of Morlaix under
weeping skies.

Its quaint old streets certainly have an unmistakable, an undying charm,
which seems to be in touch with all seasons. Blue skies will light them
up and cause them to stand out with almost a joyous air; the declining
sun will illumine their latticed panes with a fire and flame mysterious
with the weight of generations; strong lights and shadows will be thrown
by gables and deep recesses, and sculptured porches; by the "aprons"
that protect the carven beams, and the eaves that stand out so strongly
in outline against the background of the far-off sky. And if those skies
are sad and sorrowful, immediately the quaint houses put on all the
dignity of age: from every gable end, from every lattice, every niche
and grotesque, the rain trickles and falls, and they, too, you would
say, are weeping for their lost youth.

But they are too old to do that. It is not the very aged who weep for
their early days; they have forgotten what is now too far off to be
realised. They weep who stand upon the boundary line separating youth
from age; who at once look behind and beyond: look back with longing
upon the glow and romance which have not yet died out of the heart, and
forward into the future where romance can have no place, and nothing is
visible excepting what has been called the calmness and repose of old

    "There's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away,
      When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay;
    'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone which fades so fast,
      But the bloom of early youth is gone ere youth itself be past."

The reader will probably quote the remainder for himself; Byron never
wrote truer or sadder lines. And we all know of a great man in history
who, at eighty years old, turned to his friend and, pointing to a young
chimney-sweeper, exclaimed: "I would give my wealth, fame, coronet--all,
to be once more that boy's age, even if I must take his place!" One of
the saddest sentences, perhaps, that one of eighty could utter.

To-day every house was weeping. Even the women who kept the stalls in
the covered market-place dispensed their butter and poultry, their
fruit and flowers, with a melancholy air, and looked as if they had not
the courage to keep up the prices. Ladies and housekeepers wandered from
stall to stall followed by their maids, a few of whom wore picturesque
caps, conspicuous in their rarity: for even Breton stubbornness has
yielded very much, where, for once, it should have been firm as a rock,
and it is only in the remoter districts that costume is still general.
We were invited to many purchases as we looked around, and had we
yielded to all might have stocked Madame Hellard's larder to
overflowing: a very unnecessary attention, for the table is kept on the
most liberal principles.

It was really alarming to see the quantity that some of the Bretons
managed to appropriate in an incredibly short space of time at the table
d'hôte. H.C., who was accustomed to the æsthetic table of his aunt, Lady
Maria, more than once had to retire to his room, and recover his
composure, and wonder whether his own appetite would ever return to him.
And once or twice when I unfeelingly drew attention to an opposite
neighbour and wondered what Lady Maria would say to it, he could only
reply by a dismal groan which caused the opposite neighbour for a moment
to arrest his mission of destruction and stare.

On the second occasion that it happened he called up the head
waitress--they were all women who served in the room--and asked her if
the "Monsieur Anglais vis-à-vis" was not ill.

"He looks pale and thin," he added, feelingly, and might well think so,
placed in juxtaposition with himself, for he was large and round, with
cheeks, as Tony Lumpkin would have said, broad and red as a pulpit
cushion. It was simply cause and effect.

In his case, too, the cause was not confined to eating. Two bottles of
the white wine, supplied gratis in unlimited quantities at the table
d'hôte disappeared during the repast; and we began to think of Mr.
Weller senior, the tea-party, and the effect of the unlimited cups upon
Mr. Stiggins. "I come from Quimper," we heard the Breton say on one
occasion to his next-door neighbour, "and I think it the best town in
France, not excepting Paris. Where do you come from?"

"From Rouen," replied the neighbour, a far more refined specimen of
humanity, who spoke in quiet tones. "I am not a Breton."

"So much the worse for you," returned our modern Daniel Lambert
unceremoniously. "The French would beat the world, and the Bretons would
beat the French. Then I suppose you don't deal in horses?"

"No," with an amused smile. "I am only a humble architect." But we
discovered afterwards that he was celebrated all over France.
Travelling, no less than adversity, makes us acquainted with strange

The head waitress was a very interesting character, much older than the
other waitresses, whom she took under her wing with a species of
hen-like protection, keeping them well up to their duties, and rating
them soundly where they failed. She was a Bretonne, but of the better
type, with sharp, clearly-cut features, and eyes full of vivacity, that
seemed in all places at once. She wore list shoes, and would flit like a
phantom from one end of the room to the other, her cap-strings flying
behind her, directing, surveying all. Very independent, too, was she,
and evidently held certain of her guests in sovereign contempt.

"This terrible fair!" she would say, "which lasts three days, and gives
us no rest and no peace; and one or two of those terrible dealers, who
have a greater appetite than their own cattle, and would eat from six
o'clock until midnight, if one only let them! Monsieur Hellard loses
pretty well by some of them; I am sure of it!"

The lift which brought things up from the kitchen was at the end of the
room, and every now and then she would go to it, and in a shrill voice,
which seemed to penetrate to very far-off regions--Halls of Eblis or
caverns measureless to man--cry out "LÂ SUITE!" the _a_ very much
_circumflexed_ with true Breton pronunciation.

It was amusing, occasionally, when a certain dish was sent up that in
some way or other did not please her, to hear it sent down again in the
return lift accompanied by a reprimand that was very much to the point,
and was audible to the assembled room. The whole table on those
occasions would break into laughter, for her reprimand was always spiced
with inimitable humour, which penetrated even the impervious Breton

Then she would fly down the room with the dish returned to her
satisfaction, a suppressed smile lurking about the corners of her mouth,
and, addressing the table at large with a freedom that only the French
can assume without familiarity, exclaim: "It is not because some of you
give the chef too much to do, with your enormous capacities, that I am
going to allow him to neglect his work." And the table would laugh again
and applaud Catherine, the head waitress. For she was very capable and
therefore very popular, as ministering well to their wants. And the
Breton temperament is seldom sensitive.

She had her favourites, to whom she was devoted, making no secret of her
preference. We were amongst the fortunate, and soon fell into her good
graces. Woe betide anyone who attempted to appropriate our seats before
we entered; or a waitress who brought us the last remnants of a
dish--for nothing seemed to escape her observation. She was most
concerned about H.C.'s want of appetite and ethereal
appearance--certainly a startling contrast to some of her experiences.

[Illustration: CREISKER, ST. POL DE LÉON.]

"Monsieur hasn't the appetite of a lark," she complained to me one
morning. "Tell him that the Breton climate is as difficult to fight as
the Breton soldier; and if he does not eat, he will be washed away by
the rains. WHAT EYES!" she exclaimed; "quite the eyes of a poet. I am
sure monsieur is a poet. Have I not reason?"

Thus proving herself even more that an excellent waitress--a woman of

We have said that the day after our aquatic adventure at the little inn
by the river-side, "Au retour de la Pêche," the rain came down with
vengeance. There was no doubt about its energy; and this, at least, was
consoling. Nothing is more annoying than your uncertain morning, when
you don't know whether to start or stay at home. On these occasions,
whichever you do turns out a mistake.

But the following day our patience was rewarded by bright sunshine and
blue skies. "The very day for Roscoff," said Madame Hellard; "though I
cannot think why you are determined to pay it a visit. There is
absolutely nothing to see. It is a sad town, and its streets are given
over to melancholy. Of course, you will take St. Pol de Léon on your
way. It is equally quiet, and even less picturesque."

This was not very encouraging, but we have learned to beware of other
people's opinions: they often praise what is worthless, and pass over
delights and treasures in absolute silence.

So, remembering this, we entered the hotel omnibus with our sketching
materials and small cameras, and struggled up the hill to the railway
station and the level of the huge viaduct.

On our way we passed the abode of our refined and interesting
antiquarian. He was standing at his door, the same patient look upon his
beautiful face, the same resigned attitude. He caught sight of us and
woke up out of a reverie. His spirit always seemed taking some far-off

"Ces messieurs are not leaving?" he cried, for we passed slowly and
close to him. There was evidence of slight anxiety or disappointment in
his tone; the crucifix yet hung on his walls, and H.C.'s mind still
hovered in the balance.

"No," we replied. "We are going to Roscoff, and shall be back to-night."

"Roscoff? It is lovely," he said. "I know you will like it. But it is
very quiet, and only appeals to the artistic temperament. You will see
few shops there; no antiquarians; and the people are stupid. Still, the
place is remarkable."

The omnibus passed on and we were soon steaming away from Morlaix.

It was a desperately slow train. The surrounding country was not very
interesting, but the journey, fortunately, was short. As we passed the
celebrated St. Pol de Léon on the way, we decided to take it first.
Roscoff was the terminus, and appeared like the ends of the earth at the
very extreme point of land, jutting into the sea and looking out upon
the English Channel. If vision could have reached so far, we might have
seen the opposite English coast, and peered right into Plymouth Sound;
where, the last time that we climbed its heights straight from the
hospitality of a delightful cruise in a man-of-war, the band of the
Marine Artillery was ravishing all ears and discoursing sweet music in a
manner that few bands could rival.

We approached St. Pol de Léon, which may be described as an
ecclesiastical, almost a dead city. But how glorious and interesting
some of these dead cities are, with their silent streets and their
remnants of the past! The shadow of death seems upon them, and they
impress you with a mute eloquence more thrilling and effective than the
greatest oration ever listened to.

As we approached St. Pol, which lay half a mile or so from the railway,
its churches and towers were so disposed that the place looked like one
huge ecclesiastical building. These stood out with wonderful effect and
clearness against the background of the sky.

We left the station, and thought we might as well use the omnibus in
waiting. It was small and held about four passengers. As soon as we had
taken our seats two fat priests came up and entered. We felt rather
crowded, and, like the moping owl, resented the intrusion; but when
three stout ladies immediately followed, and looked appealingly at the
state of affairs, it was too much. We gave up our seats and walked; and
presently the omnibus passed us, one of the ladies having wedged herself
in by a miracle between the priests. It would take a yet greater miracle
to unpack them again. The driver looked round with a smile--he had
admitted us into the omnibus and released us--and, pointing to the roof
with his whip, humorously exclaimed: "Complêt!"

The towers and steeples of St. Pol de Léon raised themselves mightily in
front of us as we walked, beautiful and imposing. The town dates back to
the sixth century, and though once important, is now almost deserted.
Pol, or Paul, a monk, who, according to one tradition was Welsh,
according to another Cornish, went over to a neighbouring island about
the year 530 and there established a monastery. He became so famous for
his piety that a Breton king founded a bishopric at Léon, and presented
him with the mitre. The name of the town was then changed to St. Pol de
Léon. His successors were men distinguished for their goodness, and St.
Pol became one of the most famous ecclesiastical towns in Brittany.
Churches were built, monasteries and convents were founded.

In course of time its reputation for wealth excited the envy of the
Counts of Léon, and in 875 the Normans came down upon it, pillaged the
town and devastated the cathedral. It was one of those Counts of Léon
who so vigorously claimed his rights "de bris et d'épaves"--the laws of
flotsam and jetsam--esteeming priceless as diamonds certain rocks upon
which vessels were frequently wrecked. This law, rigorously enforced
through long ages, has now almost died out.

In the fourteenth century du Guesclin took possession of the town in
the name of Charles V., but the French garrison was put to the sword by
the barbarous Duke John IV. of Brittany in the year 1374. In 1590 the
inhabitants of the town joined a plot formed for their emancipation, and
the neighbouring villages rose up in insurrection against an army of
three hundred thousand men raised by the Convention. The rebels were
conquered after two disastrous battles--one within, the other without
the town--when an immense number of the peasants were slain.

Seeing it to-day, no one would imagine that it had once passed such
stirring times: had once been a place of importance, wealth, and envy.
Its streets are deserted, its houses grey and sad-looking. The place
seems lifeless. The shadows cast by the sun fall athwart the silent,
grass-grown streets, and have it all their own way. During our short
visit I do not think we met six people. Yet the town has seven thousand
inhabitants. Some we saw within their houses; and here and there the
sound of the loom broke the deadly silence, and in small cottages
pale-faced men bent laboriously over their shuttles. The looms were
large and seemed to take up two-thirds of the room, which was evidently
the living-room also. Many were furnished with large open cabinets or
wardrobes carved in Breton work, rough but genuine.

Passing up the long narrow street leading to the open and deserted
market-place, the Chapelle de Creisker rises before you with its
wonderful clock-tower that is still the pride of the town. The original
chapel, according to tradition, was founded by a young girl whom St.
Kirec, Archdeacon of Léon in the sixth century, had miraculously cured
of paralysis; but the greater part of the present chapel, including the
tower and spire, was built towards the end of the fourteenth century, by
John IV., Duke of Brittany. The porches are fifteenth century; the north
porch, in the Flamboyant style, being richly decorated with figures and
foliage deeply and elaborately carved. On the south side are six
magnificent windows, unfortunately not filled in with magnificent glass.
The interior possesses nothing remarkable, excepting its fine rose
window and the opposite east window, distinguished for their size and

The tower is its glory. It is richly ornamented, and surmounted by a
cornice so projecting that, until the eye becomes accustomed to it, the
slender tower beneath seems overweighted: an impression not quite lost
at a first visit. The light and graceful tower, two hundred and
sixty-three feet high, rises between the nave and the choir, upon four
arches sustained by four quadrangular pillars four yards wide, composed
of innumerable small columns almost resembling bundles of rods, in which
the arms of Jean Prégent, Chancellor of Brittany and Bishop of Léon in
1436, may be seen on the keystone of each arch. The upper tower, like
those of the cathedral, is pierced by narrow bays, supported on either
side by false bays. From the upper platform, with its four-leaved
balustrade, rises the beautiful open-work spire, somewhat resembling
that of St. Peter's at Caen, and flanked by four turrets. This tower is
said to have been built by an English architect, but there is no
authority for the tradition.

Proceeding onwards to the market-place, there rises the cathedral, far
better placed than many of the cathedrals abroad. It is one of the
remarkable buildings of Brittany, possessing certain distinguishing
features peculiar to the Breton churches.

The cathedral dates from three periods. A portion of the north transept
is Romanesque; the nave, west front, and towers date from the thirteenth
century and the commencement of the fourteenth; the interior, almost
entirely Gothic, and very striking, lost much of its beauty when
restored in 1866. It is two hundred and sixty feet long and fifty-two
feet high to the vaulting, the latter being attributed to William of
Rochefort, who was Bishop of Léon in 1349. The towers are very fine,
with central storeys pierced by lancet windows, like those of the
Creisker. The south transept has a fine circular window, with tracery
cut in granite.


The stalls, the chief beauty of the choir, are magnificently carved, and
date from 1512. The choir, completely surrounded by a stone screen, is
larger and more ornamented than the nave, and is surrounded by double
aisles, ending in a Lady Chapel possessing some good carved woodwork of
the sixteenth century.

The towers are almost equal in dimension but somewhat different in
design. One of them--the south tower--possesses a small lancet doorway
on the west side, called the Lepers' Doorway, where probably lepers
entered to attend mass in days gone by, remaining unseen and isolated
from the rest of the congregation. The south wall possesses a
magnificent rose window, above which is another window, called the
_Window of Excommunication_. The rose window is unfortunately filled
with modern glass, but one or two of the side windows are good. The
basin for holy-water, dating from the twelfth century, is said to have
been the tomb of Conan Mériadec, first of the Breton kings.

A small bell, said to have belonged to St. Pol, is kept in the church,
and on the day of the _Pardon_ of Léon (the chief fête of the year) is
carried up and down the nave and rung vigorously over the heads of the
faithful to preserve them from headache and ear-ache.

The best view of the interior is obtained by standing in the choir, as
near as possible to the tomb of St. Pol--distinguished by a black marble
slab immediately in front of the altar--and looking westward. The
long-drawn aisle is very fine; the stalls and decoration of the choir
stand out well, whilst the Early-Pointed arches on either side are
marked by beauty and refinement. The west end of the nave seems quite
far off and becomes almost dream-like.

Yet in some way the Cathedral of St. Pol de Léon left upon us a certain
feeling of disappointment. The interior did not seem equal to the
exterior; and as the church has been much praised at different times by
those capable of distinguishing the good in architecture, we attributed
this impression to the effect of its comparatively recent restoration.

Behind the cathedral is an old prebendal house, belonging to the
sixteenth century and possessing many interesting details. Beyond it
again was the small chapel of St. Joseph, attached to the convent of the
Ursuline nuns, founded in 1630. For St. Pol de Léon is still essentially
a religious and ecclesiastical town, living on its past glory and
reputation. Once immensely rich, it now impresses one with a feeling of
sadness and poverty.

One wonderful little glimpse we had of an earthly paradise.

Not far from the cathedral we had strayed into a garden, for the great
gates were open and the vision dazzled us. We had rarely seen such a
wealth of flowers. Large rose-trees, covered with blooms, outvied each
other in scenting the air with delicious perfume. Some of these trees or
bushes were many yards round. Immense rhododendrons also flourished.
Exquisite and graceful trees rose above them; the laburnum, no longer in
bloom, acacias, and the lovely pepper tree. Standing out from a wealth
of blossom and verdure was an old well, surmounted by some ancient and
picturesque ironwork. Beyond it was a yet more ancient and picturesque
house of grey stone, an equally venerable flight of steps leading up to
the front entrance. The house was large, and whatever it might be now,
must once have fulfilled some ecclesiastical purpose. It occupied the
whole length of the large garden, the remainder being closed in by high
walls. Opposite, to the right, uprose the Bishop's palace, and beyond it
the lovely towers and spires of the cathedral.

It was one of those rare scenes very seldom met with, which plunge one
at once out of the world into an Arcadia beautiful as dreamland. We
stood and gazed, silent with rapture and admiration; threw
conventionality to the winds, forgot that we had no right here, and
wandered about, inhaling the scent of the flowers, luxuriating in their
rich colours, feasting our eyes and senses on all the old-world beauty
of architecture by which we were surrounded; carrying our sight upwards
to the blue skies and wondering if we had not been transported to some
paradise beyond the veiling. It was a Garden of Eden.


Then suddenly at the open doorway of the house appeared a lady with a
wealth of white hair and a countenance full of the beauty of sweetness
and age. She was dignified, as became the owner of this fair domain, and
her rich robe rustled as she quietly descended the steps.

We now remembered ourselves and our intrusion, yet it was impossible to
retreat. We advanced bareheaded to make our humble apologies and sue for

The owner of this earthly paradise made us an elaborate curtsey that
surely she had learned at the Tuileries or Versailles in the bygone days
of an illustrious monarchy.

"Monsieur," she said, in a voice that was still full of melody, "do not
apologise; I see that you are strangers and foreigners, and you are
welcome. This garden might indeed entice anyone to enter. I have grown
old here, and my eyes are never tired of beholding the beauties of
Nature. In St. Pol we are favoured, you know, in possessing one of the
most fertile soils in France."

And then she bade us enter, with a politeness that yet sounded like a
command; and we obeyed and passed up the ancient steps into a
richly-panelled hall. Over the doorways hung boars' heads, shot by her
sons, Countess C---- for she told us her name--informed us, in the
forests of Brittany.

"They are great sportsmen," she added with a smile, "and you know we
Bretons do nothing by halves. Our sportsmen are fierce and strong in the
chase, and know nothing of the effeminate pastimes of those who live in
more southern latitudes."

Then, to do us honour, and because she thought it would interest us, she
showed us through some of the reception rooms, magnificent with tapestry
and carved oak and dark panelling, and family portraits of bygone
generations, when people were taken as shepherds and shepherdesses, and
the world was a real Arcadia; and everywhere were trophies of the chase.
And, conducting us up an ancient oak staircase to a large recess looking
to the back, there our dazzled vision saw another garden stretched out
before us, longer, broader, than the paradise in front, full of roses
and lilies, and a countless number of fruit trees.

"That is my orchard," she said; "but I must have flowers everywhere, and
so, all down the borders my lilies and roses scent the air; and there I
walk and try to make my old age beautiful and contented, as every old
age ought to be. My young days were passed at Court; my later years in
this quiet seclusion, out of the world. Alas! there is no more Court for
old or young."

Then again we descended into a salon so polished that you could trace
your features on the parquet flooring; a room that would have dignified
a monarch; a room where everything was old-fashioned and beautiful,
subdued and refined; and our hostess, pointing to lovely old chairs
covered with tapestry that had been worked a century-and-a-half ago,
touched a bell and insisted upon our refreshing ourselves with some wine
of the country and a cake peculiar to St. Pol de Léon. It is probable
that H.C.'s poetical eyes and ethereal countenance, whilst captivating
her heart, had suggested a dangerous delicacy of constitution. These
countenances, however, are deceptive; it is often your robust and florid
people who fail to reach more than the stage of early manhood.

In response to the bell there entered a Breton maid with cake and wine
on a silver tray. She was youthful and comely, and wore a picturesque
Breton cap with mysterious folds, the like of which we had seen neither
in Morlaix nor in St. Pol de Léon. As far as the latter town was
concerned it was not surprising, since we had met so few of the


The maid curtsied on entering, placed the tray upon the table, curtsied
again to her mistress, and withdrew. All was done in absolute silence:
the silence of a well-bred domestic and a perfectly organised household.
She moved as if her feet had been encased in down.

With her own fair and kindly hands, the Comtesse poured out the red and
sparkling liquid, and, breaking the cake, once more bade us welcome.

We would rather have been excused; such hospitality to strangers was so
rare, excepting in remote places where the customs of the primitive ages
still existed. But hospitality so gracefully and graciously offered had
to be met with graciousness and gratitude in return.

"The cake I offer you," she remarked, "is peculiar to St. Pol de Léon.
There is a tradition that it has come to us from the days of St. Pol
himself, and that the saintly monk-bishop made his daily meal of it. But
I feel very sure," she added with a smile, "that those early days of
fasting and penance never rejoiced in anything as refined and civilized
and as good as this."

And then for a little while we talked of Brittany and the Bretons; and
if we could have stayed longer we should have heard many an anecdote and
many an experience. But time and a due regard to politeness forbade a
"longer lingering," charming as were the old lady's manners and
conversation, delightful the atmosphere in which she lived. With mingled
stateliness and grace she accompanied us to the wonderful garden and
bade us farewell.

"This is your first visit to St. Pol," she said, as she gave us her hand
in the English fashion; "I hope it will not be your last. Remember that
if ever you come here again my doors will open to you, and a welcome
will await you. Only, let your next visit be a longer one. You see that
I speak with the freedom of age; and if you think me impulsive in thus
tendering hospitality to one hitherto unknown, I must answer that I have
lived in the world, and make no mistakes. I believe also in a certain
mental mesmerism, which rarely fails. When I saw you enter, something
told me that I might come to you. Fare you well!--Sans adieu!" she added
as we expressed our gratitude and bent over her hand with an earnest "Au

We went our way, both charmed into silence for a time. I felt that we
were thinking the same thoughts--rejoicing in our happy fortune in these
occasional meetings which flashed across the horizon of our lives and
disappeared, not without leaving behind them an abiding effect; an
earnest appreciation of human nature and the amount of leaven that must
exist in the world. We thought instinctively of Mdlle. Martin, the
little Receveuse des Postes de Retraite at Grâce: and of Mdlle. de
Pressensé at Villeneuve, who had welcomed us even as the Comtesse had
now done; and we felt that we were favoured.

Time was up, and we decided to make this our last impression of St. Pol
de Léon. We passed down the quiet streets, under the shadow of the
Creisker, out into the open country and the railway station. We were
just in time for the train to Roscoff, and in a very few minutes had
reached that little terminus.

Immediately we felt more out of the world than ever. There was something
so primitive about the station and its surroundings and the people who
hovered about, that this seemed a true _finis terre_. It was, however,
sufficiently civilized to boast of two omnibuses; curiously constructed
machines that, remembering our St. Pol experience, we did not enter. The
town was only a little way off, and its church steeple served us as

We passed a few modern houses near the station, which looked like a
settlement in the backwoods with the trees cut down, and then a short
open road led to the quiet streets.

Quiet indeed they were, with a look about them yet more old-world,
deadly and deserted even than St. Pol de Léon. The houses are nearly all
built of that grey _Kersanton_ stone, which has a cold and cheerless
tone full of melancholy; like some of the far away Scotch or Welsh
villages, where nature seems to have died out, no verdure is to be seen,
and the very hedges, that in softer climes bud and blossom and put forth
the promise of spring to make glad the heart of man, are replaced by dry
walls that have no beauty in them.

Yet at once we felt that there was a certain charm about Roscoff, and a
very marked individuality. Never yet, in Brittany, had we felt so out of
the world and removed from civilization. Its quaint houses are
substantial though small, and many of them still possess the old cellars
that open by large winged doors into the streets, where the poorer
people live an underground life resembling that of the moles. The
cellars go far back, and light never penetrates into their recesses.

Again, some of the houses had courtyards of quaint and interesting
architecture. One of them especially is worth visiting. A long narrow
passage leads you to a quaint yard with seven arches supported by
columns, with an upper gallery supported by more columns. It might have
formed part of a miniature cloister in days gone by.

On the way towards the church, we passed the chapel dedicated to St.
Ninian, of which nothing remains now but the bare enclosure and the
ancient and beautiful gateway. This, ruined as it is, is the most
interesting relic in Roscoff. It was here that Mary Queen of Scots
landed when only five years old, to be married to the Dauphin of France.
The form of her foot was cut out in the rock on which she first stepped,
but we failed to see it. Perhaps time and the effect of winds and waves
have worn it away. Footsteps disappear even on a stronger foundation
than the sands of time. The little chapel was built to commemorate her
landing, and its ruins are surrounded by a halo of sadness and romance.
Four days after her landing she was betrothed. But the happy careless
childhood was quickly to pass away; the "fevered life of a throne" was
most essentially to be hers; plot and counterplot were to embitter her
days; until at last, at the bidding of "great Elizabeth," those
wonderful eyes were to close for the last time upon the world, and that
lovely head was to be laid upon the block.

The sad history overshadows the little chapel in Roscoff as a halo; for
us overshadowed the whole town.

Adjoining the chapel still exists the house in which the child-queen
lodged on landing, also with a very interesting courtyard.

Looking down towards the church from this point, the houses wore a grey,
sad and deserted aspect. The church tower rises above them, quaint and
curious, in the Renaissance style. The interior is only remarkable for
some curious alabaster bas-reliefs, representing the Passion and the
Resurrection; an old tomb serving as _bénitier_, some ancient fonts, and
the clever sculpturing of a boat representing the arms of the town; a
device also found on the left front of the tower.

There is also a large ossuary in the corner of the small churchyard, now
disused. These ossuaries, or _reliquaires_, in the graveyards of
Brittany were built to carry out a curious and somewhat barbarous
custom. It was considered by "those of old time" to be paying deference
to the dead to dig up their coffins after a certain number of years, and
to place the skulls and bones in the ossuary, arranging them on shelves
and labelling them in a British Museum style so that all might gaze upon
them as they went by. This custom is still kept up in some places; for,
as we have said, the Bretons are a slow moving people in the way of
progress, and cling to their habits and customs as tenaciously as the
Medes and Persians did to their laws. They are not ambitious, and what
sufficed for the sires a generation or two ago suffices for the sons

But to us, the chief beauty of the town was its little port, with its
stone pier. The houses leading down to it are the quaintest in Roscoff,
of sixteenth century date, with many angles and gables. In one of them
lodged Charles Stuart, the Young Pretender, when he escaped after the
battle of Culloden, the quaintest and most interesting of all.

Looking back from the end of the jetty, it lies prominently before you,
together with the whole town, forming a group full of wonderful tone and
picturesque beauty. In the foreground are the vessels in the harbour,
with masts rising like a small forest, and flags gaily flying. The water
which plashes against the stone pier is the greenest, purest, most
translucent ever seen. It dazzled by its brilliancy and appeared to
"hold the light." Before us stretched the great Atlantic, to-day calm
and sleeping and reflecting the sun travelling homewards; but often
lashed to furious moods, which break madly over the pier, and send their
spray far over the houses. Few scenes in Brittany are more
characteristic and impressive than this little unknown town.

A narrow channel lies between Roscoff and L'Ile de Batz, which would
form a fine harbour of refuge if it were not for the strong currents for
ever running there. At high water the island is half submerged. It is
here that St. Pol first came from Cornwall, intending to live there the
remainder of his life; but, as we have seen, he was made Bishop of Léon,
and had to take up his abode in the larger town.

No tree of any height is to be seen here, but the tamarisk grows in
great abundance. All the men are sailors and pass their lives upon the
water, coming home merely to rest. The women cultivate the ground. The
church possesses, and preserves as its greatest treasure, a stole worn
by St. Pol. Tradition has it that when St. Pol landed, the island was a
prey to a fierce and fiery dragon, whom the monk conquered by throwing
his stole round the neck of the monster and commanding it to cast itself
into the sea; a command it instantly and amiably obeyed by rushing to
the top of a high rock and plunging for ever beneath the waves. The rock
is still called in Breton language Toul ar Sarpent, signifying Serpent's

[Illustration: ROSCOFF.]

Roscoff itself is extremely fertile; the deadly aspect of the little
town is not extended to the surrounding plains. The climate is much
influenced by the Gulf Stream, and the winters are temperate. Flowers
and vegetables grow here all the year round that in less favoured
districts are found only in summer. Like Provence in the far South,
Roscoff is famous for its primeurs, or early vegetables. If you go to
some of the great markets in Paris in the spring and notice certain
country people with large round hats, very primitive in appearance,
disposing of these vegetables, you may at once know them for Bretons
from Roscoff. You will not fall in love with them; they are plain,
honest, and stupid. We found the few people we spoke to in Roscoff quite
answering to this description, and could make nothing of them.

On our way back to the station we visited the great natural curiosity of
the place: a fig tree whose branches cover an area of nearly two hundred
square yards, supported by blocks of wood or by solid masonry built up
for the purpose. It yields an immense quantity of fruit, and would
shield a small army beneath its foliage. Its immense trunk is knotted
and twisted about in all directions; but the tree is full of life and
vigour, and probably without parallel in the world.

Soon after this, we were once more steaming towards Morlaix, our
head-quarters. As we passed St. Pol de Léon, its towers and steeples
stood out grandly in the gathering twilight. Before us there rose up the
vision of the aged Countess who had received and entertained us with so
much kindness and hospitality. It was not too much to say that we longed
to renew our experience, to pass not hours but days in that charmed and
charming abode, refined by everything that was old-world and artistic;
and to number our hostess amongst those friends whom time and chance,
silence and distance, riches or poverty, life or death, can never

We re-entered Morlaix with the shadows of night. Despising the omnibus,
we went down Jacob's Ladder, rejoicing and revelling in all the
old-world atmosphere about us, and on our way passed our Antiquarian. He
was still at his doorway, evidently watching for our arrival, and might
have been motionless as a wooden sentry ever since we had left him in
the morning.

The workshop was lighted up, and the old cabinets and the modern
wood-carving looked picturesque and beautiful in the lights and shadows
thrown by the lamps. The son, handsome as an Adonis, was bending over
some delicate carving that he was chiseling, flushed with the success of
his work, yet outwardly strangely quiet and gentle. The cherub we had
seen a morning or two ago at the doorstep ought now to have been in bed
and asleep. Instead of that he was perched upon a table, and with large,
wide-opened blue eyes was gazing with all the innocence and inquiry of
infancy into his father's face, as if he would there read the mystery of
life and creation, which the wondering gaze of early childhood seems for
ever asking.

It was a rare picture. The rift within the lute was out of sight
upstairs, and there was nothing to disturb the harmony of perfection.
The child saw us, and immediately held out his little arms with a
confiding gesture and a crow of delight that would have won over the
sternest misanthropist, as if he recognised us for old friends between
whom there existed a large amount of affection and an excellent
understanding. His father threw down his chisel, and catching him up in
his arms perched him upon his shoulder and ran him up and down the room,
while the little fellow shrieked with happiness. Then both disappeared
up the staircase, the child looking, in all his loveliness, as if he
would ask us to follow--a perfect representation of trust and
contentment, as he felt himself borne upwards, safe and secure from
danger, in the strong arms of his natural protector.

The old man turned to us with a sigh. Was he thinking of his own past
youth, when he, too, was once the principal actor in a counterpart
scene? Or of a day, which could not be very far off, when such a scene
as this and all earthly scenes must for him for ever pass away? Or of
the little rift within the lute? Who could tell?

"So, sirs, you are back once more," was all he remarked. "Have you seen
Roscoff? Was I not right in praising it?"

"You were, indeed," we replied. "It is full of indescribable beauty and
interest. Why is it so little known?"

"Because there are so few true artists in the world," he answered. "It
cannot appeal to any other temperament. Those who see things only with
the eyes and not with the soul, will never care for it. And so it has
made no noise in the world, and few visit it. Of those who do, probably
many think more of the wonderful fig tree than of the exquisite tone of
the houses, the charm of the little port, the matchless purity of the

We felt he was right. Then he pointed to the marvellous crucifix that
hung upon the wall, and seemed by its beauty and sacredness almost to
sanctify the room.

"Is it not a wonderful piece of art?" he cried, with quiet enthusiasm.
"If Michel Angelo had ever carved in ivory, I should say it was his
work. But be that as it may, it is the production of a great master."

We promised to return. There was something about the old man and his
surroundings which compelled one to do so. It was so rare to find three
generations of perfection, about whom there clung a charm indescribable
as the perfume that clings to the rose. We passed out into the night,
and our last look showed him standing in his quaint little territory,
thrown out in strong relief by the lamplight, gazing in rapt devotion
upon his treasures, all the religious fervour of the true Breton
temperament shining out of his spiritual face, thinking perhaps of the
"one far-off Divine event" that for him was growing so very near.


It is hoped that the following anecdote of the ways and customs of that
rare animal, the modest, diffident youth (soon, naturalists assure us,
to become as extinct in these islands as the Dodo), may afford a
moment's amusement to the superior young people who rule journalism,
politics, and life for us to-day.

Some ten years ago Mr. Edward Everett came up from the wilds of
Devonshire to study law with Braggart and Pushem, in Chancery Lane. He
was placed to board, by a prudent mother, with a quiet family in

That even quiet Bayswater families are not without their dangers
Everett's subsequent career may be taken as proof, but with this, at
present, I have nothing to do. I merely intend to give the history of
his début in society, although the title is one of which, after reading
the following pages, you may find reason to complain.

Everett had not been many weeks in London when he received, quite
unexpectedly, his first invitation to an evening party.

His mother's interest had procured it for him, and it came from Lady
Charlton, the wife of Sir Robert, the eminent Q.C. It was with no little
elation that he passed the card round the breakfast-table for the
benefit of Mrs. Browne and the girls. There stood Lady Charlton's name,
engraved in the centre, and his own, "Mr. Edward Everett," written up in
the left-hand corner; while the date, a Thursday in February, was as yet
too far ahead for him to have any inkling of the trepidation he was
presently to feel.

Everett, although nineteen, had never been to a real party before; in
the wilds of Devonshire one does not even require dress clothes;
therefore, after sending an acceptation in his best handwriting, his
first step was to go and get himself measured for an evening suit.

Now, Everett looked even younger than his age, and this is felt to be a
misfortune when one is still in one's teens. Later in life people appear
to bear it much better. He found himself feeling more than usually young
and insignificant on presenting himself to his tailor and stating his
requirements. Mr. Lucas condescended to him from the elevation of six
inches superior height and thirty years' seniority. He received
Everett's orders with toleration, and re-translated them with decision.
"Certainly, sir, I understand what you mean precisely. What you require
is this, that, or the other;" and the young gentleman found himself
meekly gathering views that never had emanated from his own bosom.
Nevertheless he took the most profound interest in the building up of
his suit, and constantly invented excuses to drop in upon Mr. Lucas and
see how the work was getting on.

Meanwhile, at home he, with the Browne girls, especially with Lily, the
youngest, often discussed the coming "At Home." Lily wondered what Lady
Charlton was like, if she had any daughters, whether there would be
dancing. Everett had never seen his hostess; thought, however, he had
heard there were daughters, but sincerely hoped they wouldn't dance;
for, although the Browne girls had taught him to waltz, he was conscious
he did them small credit as pupil.

"I'm sure it will be a splendid party!" cried Lily the enthusiastic.
"How I wish some good fairy would just transport me there in the middle
of the evening, so that I might have a peep at you in all your glory!"

"I wish with all my heart you were going too, Lil," said Everett; "I
shan't know a soul, I'm sure." And though he spoke in an airy,
matter-of-fact tone, qualms were beginning to shake his bosom as he
pictured himself thus launched alone on the tide of London society.

He began to count the days which yet remained to him of happy obscurity;
and as Time moves with inexorable footsteps, no matter how earnestly we
would hurry or delay him, so at length there remained but a week's
slender barrier between Everett and the fatal date. For while he would
not acknowledge it even yet to himself, all sense of pleasurable
anticipation had gradually given place to the most unmitigated condition
of fright.

Thus when he awoke on the actual Monday morning preceding the party, he
could not at first imagine to what cause he owed the burden of
oppression which immediately descended on his breast; just so used he to
feel as a boy when awaking to the consciousness of an impending visit to
the dentist. Then all at once he remembered that in four days more
Thursday night would have come, and his fate would be sealed.

He carried a sinking spirit to his legal studies all that day and the
next, and yet was somewhat cheered on returning home on the Tuesday
evening to find a parcel awaiting him from the tailor's. He experienced
real pleasure in putting on the new suit after dinner and going down to
exhibit himself to the girls in the drawing-room. It was delightful to
listen to their exclamations and their praise; to hear Lily declare,
"Oh, you do look nice, Ted! Splendacious! Doesn't it suit him well,

In that intoxicating moment, Everett felt he could hold his own in any
drawing-room in the land; nor could he help inwardly agreeing on
catching sight of himself in the chimney-glass that he did look
remarkably well in spite of a hairless lip and smooth young cheeks. He
mentally decided to get his hair cut, buy lavender gloves and Parma
violets, and casually inquire of Leslie, their "swell" man down at old
Braggart's, whether coloured silk socks were still considered "good

But when he donned those dress clothes for the second time, on the
Thursday night itself, he didn't feel half so happy. He suffered from
"fright" pains in his inside, and his fingers shook so, he spoilt a
dozen cravats in the tying. He got Lily to fix him one at last, and it
was she who found him a neat little cardboard box for his flowers, that
his overcoat might not crush them. For, as the night was fine, and
shillings scarce with him in those days, he intended walking to his

Of course he was ready much too soon, and spent a restless, not to say a
miserable hour in the Brownes' drawing-room, afraid of starting, yet
unable to settle down to anything. Then, when half-past nine struck,
seized with sudden terror lest he should be too late, he made most hasty
adieux and rushed from the house. Only to hear Lily's light foot-fall
immediately following him, and her little breathless cry of "Oh, Ted!
you've forgotten your latch-key."

"I wish to Heaven I was going to pass the evening quietly with you,
Lil!" sighed the poor youth, all his heart in his boots; but she begged
him not to be a goose, told him he would meet much nicer girls, and made
him promise to notice how they were all dressed, so as to describe the
frocks to her next day. Then she tripped back into the house, gave him a
final smile, the door closed, and there was nothing for Everett to do
but set off.

He has told me since what a dreadful walk that was. He can remember it
vividly across all the intervening years, and he declares that no
criminal on his way to the gallows could have suffered from more
agonising apprehensions. He pictured his reception in a thousand dismal
forms. He saw himself knocking at the door; the moment's suspense; the
servant facing him. What ought he to say? "Is Lady Charlton at home?"
But that was ridiculous, since he knew she was at home; should he then
walk straight in without a word? but what would the servant think? Or,
supposing--awful thought!--he had made a mistake in the date; supposing
this wasn't the night at all? He searched in his pockets for the card
with feverish eagerness, and remembered he had left it stuck in the
dining-room chimney glass.

His forehead grew damp with sweat, his hands clammy. He slackened his
speed. Why was he walking so fast? He would get there too soon: how
embarrassing to be the first arrival! Then he saw by the next baker's
shop it was on the stroke of ten, and terror lent him wings. How much
more embarrassing to arrive the last!

The Charltons lived in Harley Street, which he had no sooner reached
than he guessed that must be the house, mid-way down. For a stream of
light expanded wedge-wise from the door, which was flung open as a
carriage drew up to the kerbstone. Everett calculated he should arrive
precisely as the occupants were getting out. Better wait a couple of

Blessed respite! He crossed the road and loitered along in the shadow of
the opposite side. He examined the house from this point of vantage. It
was a blaze of light from top to bottom. The balcony on the drawing-room
floor had been roofed in with striped canvas. One of the red curtains
hanging from it was drawn aside; he caught glimpses of moving forms and
bright colours within.

He heard the long-drawn notes of a violin. The ever-opening hall-door
exhibited a brilliant interior, with numberless men-servants conspicuous
upon a scarlet background. Ladies in light wraps had entered the house
from the carriage, and other carriages arriving in quick succession had
disgorged other lovely beings. If the door closed for one instant it
sprang open the next at the sound of wheels.

"I'll walk to the top of the street," Everett determined, "cross over,
and then present myself." But as he again approached with courage
screwed to the sticking-place, a spruce hansom dashed up before him. Two
very "masher" young men sprang out. They stood for a moment laughing
together while one found the fare. The other glanced at Everett, and, as
it seemed to my too sensitive young friend, with a certain amusement.
"Is it possible that this little boy is coming to Lady Charlton's too?"
This at least is the meaning Everett read in an eye probably devoid of
any meaning at all. He felt he could not go in the company of these
gentlemen. He must wait now until they were admitted. So assuming as
unconscious an air as possible he stepped through the band of gaslight,
and was once more swallowed up in the friendly darkness beyond.

"I'll just walk once to the corner and back," said he; but, fresh
obstacle! when he returned, a servant with powdered head swaggered on
the threshold exchanging witticisms with the commissionaire keeping
order outside; and the crimson carpet laid down across the pavement was
fringed with loiterers at either edge, some of whom, as he drew near,
turned to look at him with an expectant air.

It was a moment of exquisite suffering. Should he go in? Should he pass
on? Only those, (and nowadays such are rare) who have themselves gone
through the agonies of shyness can appreciate the situation. As he
reached the full glare of the house-light, Everett's indecision was
visible in his face.

"Lady Charlton's, sir?" queried Jeames.

My poor Everett! His imbecility will scarcely be believed.

"Thanks--no--ah--er!" he stammered feebly; "I am looking for Mr.

Which was the first name that occurred to him, and he heard the men
chuckling together as he fled. After this he walked up and down the
long, accursed length of Harley Street, on the dark side of the way, no
less than seven mortal times; until, twice passing the same policeman,
his sapience began to eye the wild-faced youth with disfavour. Then he
made a tour, east, south, west, north, round the block in which Lady
Charlton's house stands, and so came round to the door once more.

Yet it was clearly impossible to present himself there now, after his
folly. It was also too late--or he thought it so. On the other hand, it
was too early to go home. Mrs. Browne had said she should not expect to
hear he was in before two or three. On this account he dared not return,
for never, never would he confess to her the depths of his cowardice! He
therefore continued street-walking with treadmill regularity, cold,
hungry, and deadly dull.

But when twelve was gone on the church clocks, he could endure it no
longer. He turned and slunk home. Delicately did he insert the key in
the door; most mouse-like did he creep in; and yet someone heard him.
Lily, with flying locks, looked over the balusters, and then ran
noiselessly down to the hall.

"Oh, Teddy, I couldn't go to bed for thinking of your party and how much
you must be enjoying yourself! But what is the matter? You look

Somehow Everett found himself telling her the whole story, and never
perhaps has humiliated mortal found a kinder little comforter. Far from
laughing at him, as he may have deserved, tears filled her pretty eyes
at the recital of his unfortunate evening, and no amount of petting was
deemed too much. She took him to the drawing-room, where she had
hitherto been sitting unplaiting her hair; stirred the fire into a
brighter blaze, wheeled him up the easiest couch, and, signal proof of
feminine heroism, braved the kitchen beetles to get him something to

What a delightful impromptu picnic she spread out upon the sofa! How
capital was the cold beef and pickles, the gruyère cheese, the bottled
beer! How they laughed and enjoyed themselves, always with due
consideration not to disturb the sleepers above. How Everett, with the
audacity born of the swing back of the pendulum, seized upon this
occasion to--

But no! I did not undertake to give further developments; these must
stand over to another time.



Fairchester Abbey is noted for the mixed character of its architecture.
Such a confused blending of styles is very rarely to be met with in any
of our English cathedrals. There is no such thing as uniformity and no
possibility of tracing out the original architect's plan; it has been so
altered by later builders.

The Norman pillars of the nave still remain, but they are surmounted by
a vaulted Gothic roof. The side aisles of the choir are also Norman, but
this heavier work is most beautifully screened from view and completely
panelled over with the light tracery of the later Perpendicular.

It is almost impossible to adequately describe the beauties of this
noble choir. The architect seems to have been inspired, in the face of
unusual difficulty, to preserve all that was beautiful in the work of
his predecessors, and to blend it in a marvellous manner with his more
perfect conceptions. There is nothing sombre or heavy about it. It is a
perfect network of tall, slender pillars and gauzy tracery, and at the
east end there is the finest window to be seen in this country,
harmonising in the colour of its glass with the rest of the building;
shedding, in the sun's rays, no gloomy, heavy colourings, but bright
golden, creamy white, and even pink tints, on the receptive freestone,
which, unlike marble, is not cold or forbidding, but naturally warm and
pleasing to the eye.

To conclude this brief description, we can choose no better words than
these: "Gloria soli Deo."

They occur on the roof of the choir at its junction with the nave, and
explain the unity and harmony which exists amidst all this diversity.
Each successive architect worked with this one object in view, the glory
of God alone, and so he did not ruthlessly destroy, but recognised the
same purpose in the work of his predecessors and endeavoured to blend
all into one harmonious whole, thus leaving for future ages a lesson
written in stone which churchmen of the present day would do well to

Early in the year 188--, I was appointed Precentor of this cathedral,
and in the course of duty was brought much in contact with Dr. F., the

It was my custom frequently, after service, to join him in the
organ-loft and to discuss various matters of interest connected with our
own church and the outside world. He was a most charming companion; a
first-rate organist and master of theory, and a man of large experience
and great general culture.

One morning, soon after my appointment, I joined Dr. F. with a special
purpose in view.

We had met to discuss the music for the approaching festival of Easter.
The Doctor was in his shirt-sleeves, standing in the interior of the
organ, covered with cobwebs and dirt, inspecting the woodwork, which was
getting into a very ruinous condition, and endeavouring to replace a
pipe which had fallen from its proper position so as to interfere with
many of its neighbours.

"Here's a nice state of things," said he, ruefully regarding his
surroundings. "If we don't have something done soon the whole organ will
fall to pieces; and I am so afraid, lest in re-modelling it, the tone of
these matchless diapasons will be affected. There is nothing like them
anywhere in England. We must have it done soon, however; I only hope we
may gain more than we lose."

It was indeed time something was done. The key-boards of the old organ
were yellow and uneven with age. They reminded one of steps hollowed by
the knees of pilgrims, they were so scooped out by the fingers of past
generations of organists. Its stops were of all shapes and sizes, and
their character was indicated by paper labels gummed underneath. It had
been built about the year 1670 by Renatus Harris and, although added to
on several occasions, the original work still remained. Being placed on
a screen between the nave and the choir, it occupied an unrivalled
position for sound.

After awhile Dr. F. succeeded in putting matters a little to rights and,
seated at the key-boards, proceeded to play upon the diapasons, the tone
of which he had so extolled. It would really be impossible to exaggerate
the solemnity, the richness, and the indescribable sadness of the sounds
which proceeded from them; one never hears anything like it in modern
organs. These have their advantages and their peculiar effects, but they
lack that mellowed richness of tone which seems an art belonging to the
builders of the past.

Presently the Doctor ceased, and producing a roll of music told me it
was a Service he was accustomed to have each Easter, and asked me to
listen and say what I thought of it.

It would be impossible for me to express in words the admiration I felt
on hearing it. It was a most masterly composition, and was moreover
entirely original and unlike the writing of any known composer. It
possessed an individuality which distinguished it from every other work
of a like nature. All one could say with certainty about it was that it
was not modern music. There was a simplicity and a severity about it
which stamped it unmistakably as belonging to an age anterior even to
Bach or Handel: modern writers employ more ornamentation and are not so
restricted in their harmonies; modern art sanctions a greater liberty, a
less simplicity of method, and a less rigid conformity to rule.

The movement which most impressed me was the Credo.

There was a certainty of conviction in its opening phrases pointing to
a real earnestness of purpose. It was as if the composer's faith had
successfully withstood all the doubts, anxieties, and conflicts of life.
It was the song of the victorious Christian who saw before him the prize
for which he had long and steadfastly contended. _He believed_; he did
more than that; he actually _realised_. It was the joy, not of
anticipation, but of actual possession, the consciousness of the Divine
life dwelling in the heart, cramped and hindered by its surroundings,
but destined to develop in the light of clearer and fuller knowledge.

As the story of the Incarnation and Passion was told, there crept over
the listener feelings of mingled sadness and thanksgiving: sadness at
the life of suffering and pain endured "For us men and for our
salvation," and thanksgiving for the Gift so freely bestowed. And then
Heaven and Earth combined to tell the story of the Resurrection morning,
and the strains of thankfulness and praise increased until it seemed as
if the writer had at length passed from Earth to Heaven, and was face to
face with the joys of the "Life Everlasting" which all the resources of
his art were powerless fully to express.

The music ceased, and I awoke as from a dream.

"You need not tell me your opinion," said the Doctor; "your face shows
it most unmistakably; you can form only a very faint idea of its
beauties without the voice parts. When you hear our choir sing it you
will say it is the most powerful sermon you have ever heard within these

"Who is the composer?" I asked excitedly, my curiosity thoroughly

"My dear fellow," replied Dr. F., "before telling its history, you must
see the proofs I have in my possession, for I shall have to relate one
of the most remarkable stories you have ever heard. So strange indeed
are the circumstances connected with that old Service that I have kept
them to myself, lest people should think me an eccentric musician. Our
late Dean knew part of them and witnessed some of the things I shall
tell you. The story will take some little time, but if you will come
across to my house you shall hear it and also see the proofs I hold in
my possession."


We went direct from the cathedral into the library of Dr. F.'s house,
where, without wasting any time, he produced a roll of manuscript and
gave it me to read.

It was tied up neatly with tape and enclosed in another sheet of paper,
which bore the date January, 1862, and a note in the Doctor's
handwriting stating that he had discovered it in an old chest in the
cathedral library.

The document itself was yellow with age and was headed:

     "Certain remarkable passages relating to the death of the late
     Ebenezer Jenkins, sometime organist of this cathedral, obiit April
     3, 1686; related by John Gibson, lay clerk."

Enclosed within it was also a fragment of music. Unrolling the
parchment, I proceeded to decipher with difficulty this narrative.

     "On the Wednesday evening before Easter, A.D. 1686, I, John Gibson,
     was called to the bedside of Master Jenkins.

     "He had manifested a wish to hold converse with me, and to see me
     concerning some matters in which we had both been engaged. He had
     suffered grievously for many days, and it was plain to all his
     friends that he had not long to tarry with us. A right skilful
     player upon the organ was Master Jenkins, and a man beloved of all.
     He had written much music for the Glory of God and the edification
     of his Church, wherein his life seemed mirrored, for his music
     appealed to men's hearts and led them to serve God, as did also the
     example of his blameless life and conversation among us. He had
     been busied for some time in the writing of a Service for Easter
     Day, in the which he designed to express the thoughts of his waning
     years. I had been privileged to hear some of these sweet strains,
     and do affirm that finer music hath never been written by any man
     in this realm of England. The Italians do make much boast of their
     skill in music, and doubtless in their use of counterpoints,
     fugues, and divers other devices they have hitherto excelled our
     nation; but I doubt if Palestrina himself could have written more
     excellent music, or have devised more cunning harmonies than those
     of Master Jenkins.

     "The work had of late been hindered by the pains of sickness, for
     the master's eyes were dim with age, and his hands could scarce
     hold pen; and so I, his most intimate friend, had on sundry
     occasions transcribed his thoughts as he related them.

     "On receiving his message I forthwith hastened to the presence of
     my friend, and was sore troubled to find him in so grievous a
     plight. It was plain to all beholders that his course was well-nigh
     run, for a great change had taken place even in the last few hours.

     "He revived somewhat on seeing me, and begged me at once to fetch
     paper and ink. 'I am going,' said he, 'to keep Easter in my Lord's
     Court; but ere I go, I fain would finish what hath been my life's
     work. Then shall I rest in peace.'

     "There was but little time, and so I made haste to fetch pen and
     paper, and waited for his words.

     "Never, I trow, hath music been written before at such a season as
     this. We were finishing the last movement--the Creed, and those
     words went direct to my heart as they had never done before. I
     could scarce refrain from weeping, but joy was mingled even with
     tears, for the light upon the master's face was not of earth, and
     there was a sound of triumph in his voice which told of conflict
     well-nigh ended and rest won.

     "We had come to the words 'I believe in the resurrection of the
     dead, and the life of the world to come.' For the moment, strength
     seemed to have returned and my pen could scarce keep pace with his
     thoughts, so rapid and so earnest were they. But the end was closer
     even than I had supposed, for just as we reached the word 'life,'
     the light suddenly failed from his face and he fell back. He smiled
     once, and whispered that word Life, and I saw that his soul had

     "In fulfilment of his last wishes I made diligent search for the
     remaining portions of this his work, but failed to find them, and
     can only suppose that they have been heedlessly destroyed. It would
     scarce have seemed right to imprint so small a fragment, and so I
     have deemed it wise to place it, with this narrative of its
     history, in the cathedral library.

     "Ere I close this narrative I must record certain strange passages
     which came under my notice and which are vouched for by Gregory
     Jowett, who likewise beheld them. They happened in this wise. On
     the year after Master Jenkins's death, on the same date and about
     the same hour, we were passing through the cathedral, having come
     from a practice of the singers, and Master Jowett remembered some
     music he had left by the side of the organ. He went up the stair
     leading to the claviers and I remained below.

     "Of a sudden he surprised me by rushing down, greatly affrighted,
     and affirmed that he had seen Master Jenkins sitting at the organ;
     whereupon I reassured him, and at length prevailed upon him to
     return with me. Then, indeed, did we both actually behold Master
     Jenkins, just as he had appeared in life, attired in somewhat
     sad-coloured raiment, playing upon the keys from which no sound
     proceeded. I was not one to be easily affrighted, and so advanced
     as if to greet him, when of a sudden the figure vanished.

     "We do both of us affirm the truth of this marvellous relation, and
     do here append our joint signatures, having made solemn affirmation
     upon oath, in the presence of Master Simpson, attorney, of this

                            "(_Signed_) JOHN GIBSON.

                                "GREGORY JOWETT.

     "Witnessed by me; Nicholas Simpson, Attorney-at-law, the 27th day
     of April, 1687."


The Doctor smiled at the perplexity which showed itself most
unmistakably in my face as I laid down the manuscript.

"Are you a believer in ghosts or apparitions?" said he.

"Theoretically but not practically," I replied. "They resolve
themselves, more or less, into a question of evidence; I would never
believe one man's word on the subject without further proof, because it
is always a fair solution of the difficulty to suppose him the victim of
a delusion. There are so many cases of mysterious appearances, however,
vouched for upon overwhelming evidence, that I am compelled to admit
their truth, at the same time believing they would be scientifically
explainable if we understood all the laws governing this world and could
more clearly distinguish between the spiritual and the material. There
is one thing usually noticeable about these appearances which, to my
mind, is very significant: they never actually do anything, they only
appear to do it and vanish away, leaving behind them no sign of their

"Are you prepared to accept that narrative as true?" said the Doctor.

"The balance of evidence compels me to accept it," I replied. "There
appears to be no motive for fraud; one could, of course, invent theories
to account for the apparition, but I am forced to believe, nevertheless,
that two highly trustworthy men did actually imagine that they saw the
organist's ghost. Whether they actually did so or not is another

"Very good," replied Dr. F. "Now will you believe me if I tell you still
more wonderful things which I myself have witnessed; and will you give
me credit for being a perfectly reliable witness? I only ask you to
believe; I, myself, cannot explain."

"My dear Doctor," I replied, "I shall receive anything you tell me with
great respect, for you are a most unlikely subject to ever be the victim
of a delusion."

At this the Doctor laughed and said: "Here goes, once and for ever, my
reputation for practical common-sense; henceforth, I suppose, you will
class me with musicians generally, who I know bear a character for
eccentricity. I will tell the tale, however, and you shall see I possess
proofs of its being no delusion, and can contradict your assertion that
ghosts never leave behind them traces of their presence.

"I put the old manuscript aside, intending, at some future time, to have
the Credo sung as a fragment. It would have been presumption on my part
to have completed the Service, so I left it, and being much occupied,
forgot all about it. Just about this time we decided to do away with
manual labour in blowing the organ, and substituted a small hydraulic
engine. I mention this because it has a bearing on what follows.

"To be as brief as possible. Just before Easter I was called away
suddenly on business for a day, and, on returning, was surprised at
receiving a visit from the Dean. He appeared annoyed, and complained
that his rest had been broken the previous night by someone playing the
organ quite into the small hours. He was surprised beyond measure on my
informing him of my absence from home. We tried to discover a solution
to the mystery, but failed. One day, however, I showed the Dean the old
manuscript in my possession, and was surprised to hear that he knew of a
tradition of the appearance, once a year, of the apparition. An old
verger, since dead, had declared several times that he had seen it; but,
being old and childish, no one took any notice of the story.

"Strange to say, the date when the ghost appeared was always the
same--the Wednesday before Easter. That was also the date mentioned in
the manuscript, and also the date when the organ was heard by the Dean.
We considered these facts of sufficient importance to warrant our making
further investigation; and decided, when the time came round again, to
go ourselves into the cathedral; meanwhile we kept our own counsel.

"The time soon passed on and the week before Easter again arrived, and
on the Wednesday evening, about 11.45, we entered the cathedral by the
transept door. The moon shone brightly and we easily found our way into
the nave; and sitting down, awaited the development of events. The
shadows cast by the moonlight were very weird and ghostly in their
effect; and had we been at all impressionable, we should doubtless have
wished ourselves back again. After remaining some time, however, we came
to the conclusion that we had come upon a foolish errand, and had just
risen to go, when an exquisite strain of very soft music came from the
organ. We listened spell-bound, rooted to the spot. The theme was
simple, almost Gregorian in its character, but handled in a most
masterly way. Such playing I had never before heard; it was the very
perfection of style.

"We were listening evidently to what was an opening prelude, for several
different subjects were introduced and only partially worked out.

"Several times I fancied a resemblance to the old Credo, and once
distinctly caught a well-known phrase; my doubts were soon solved,
however, for in a few moments we heard it in its entirety.

"You know how difficult it is to put one's impressions of music into
words; language never fully expresses them. Music can be easily
described in dry technical language, the language which deals in
'discords and their resolutions,' but that does not express its
influence upon ourselves. No language can do that, for it is an attempt
to fathom the infinite.

"As the varied harmonies echoed through the vaulted nave, flooding it
with a perfect sea of melody, it appeared as if we were listening to the
story of a man's life.

"There were the uncertain strains of youth, the shadowing forth of vague
possibilities, the expression of hope undimmed by disappointment. A
nameless undefined longing for greater liberty. The desire to be free
from the restraints of home, and to mingle with the busy world in all
the pride of early manhood. Soon the voyager puts off from the shore,
and at first all seems smooth and alluring. He drifts along the ocean of
life, wafted by favourable winds, delighting in each new pleasure. But
storm soon succeeds calm, as night follows day, and the young man is
soon encompassed with the sorrows and temptations of this life, battling
against evil habits, struggling to keep himself unspotted from the

    'Bella premunt hostilia
    Da robur, fer auxilium.'

"Youth passes on to middle age, there is now an earnestness of purpose
which at first was lacking. Material pleasures are losing their hold,
there are traces of another holy influence: two lives are joined in
happy union, leading and encouraging each other to high and noble
thoughts and actions. A sound of thankfulness and praise is heard, to be
followed only too soon by the strain which tells of mourning and
heaviness: one was taken, the other left to toil on alone. But still
there was a purpose in life, a work to be done, something to live for.
And with lamentation is blended hope.

"The years roll on and the spiritual more and more overshadows the
material. The little spark of the Divine life dwelling in the heart has
developed and permeated the whole being. The soul seems chained and
hampered by its surroundings. Like a bird it beats itself against its
prison walls, until at length it wings its way heavenward.

"And then that ancient hymn, which before had wedded itself in my
imagination to the music, pealed forth in all its grandeur, and I seemed
to hear the songs of men united to the purer strains of angelic music:

    'Uni trinoque Domino
    Sit sempiterna gloria
    Qui vitam sine termino
    Nobis donet in patria.'

"The music ceased and we awoke as from a dream, and, remembering why we
had come, rushed up to the organ loft, only to find it in perfect


In relating his experience in the cathedral, and in attempting to
describe the music he had heard, Dr. F. grew excited and even dramatic,
and his voice had quite a ring of triumph in it as he recited the "O
Salutaris"--to my mind, the grandest of all the old Latin hymns, lost
for many years to our Church, but at length restored in our native

He paused for a few moments to recover himself and then continued.

"On the morrow I resolved, if possible, to write from memory the
complete Service as we had heard it. During the day, being much
occupied, I was only able to jot down phrases which recurred to my
memory. The principal themes were well impressed upon my mind, and,
although my treatment of them was sure to differ in many ways from the
original, I felt more justified than formerly in attempting what seemed
rather a piece of presumption.

"After a fairly early dinner I settled down in my study about 6.30 p.m.,
determined to work right on until my task was finished.

"My success did not please me. Several times I rose and tried the score
over upon the piano. There was no doubt about it, the main ideas were
there, but still there was everything lacking. The whole affair was
weak, unworthy of my own reputation, and doubly unworthy of the great
writer who had written the Credo. Time after time I studied that
fragment, and strove to find out what it was that gave it such vigour
and force, but it was useless. That was undoubtedly the work of a great
genius, and everything I had written was nothing short of a libel upon
myself, strung together so as to be quite correct in harmony and
counterpoint, but full, nevertheless, of nothing but commonplaces.

"In thorough disgust I gave it up altogether, when suddenly I remembered
there was no Kyrie in the Service we had heard.

"A something prompted me to supply the want out of my own mind. All I
strove was to make the style blend with the Credo; in every other
respect it was perfectly original, and when finished gave me great cause
to be pleased with my own work.

"Looking at my watch I discovered it was fast getting on to midnight, so
I drew an arm-chair up to the fire and lighted a cigar. It was only
natural that my mind should be full of the music heard the previous
evening. I was no believer in the supernatural, and had unsparingly
ridiculed all ghost stories heard at various times. Now there was no
doubt: I had listened to music played by no earthly fingers. What could
it all mean? Why did the old man's ghost return to haunt the scene of
his former labours? Was it because he had left a solemn injunction which
had never been complied with? Was it because his life's purpose had been
left unfulfilled, and his last cherished wish had died with him?

"There was the solution, no doubt. And what a loss it was to the world;
only to think of so priceless a work being lost for ever!

"At this stage I was conscious of nodding, and waking up with a start,
endeavoured to pursue my train of thought. The fire was comfortable, and
my cigar was still alight; only a few moments more, and then bed. The
resolution was scarcely formed before my head dropped again and I was
fast asleep.

"How long I slept I know not; a sensation of coldness caused me to
awake, only to find the fire nearly out, my reading-lamp smouldering,
and the moon brightly shining into the room. Imagine, if you can, my
surprise, when, turning round, there, full in the light of the moon, was
a figure writing at my table. It was an old man dressed in old-fashioned
style, just like what was worn two hundred or more years ago. There was
the wig, the coat with square flaps, the shoes with silver
buckles--everything except the sword. The face could not be clearly
defined, but the figure was most distinct.

"My first sensations were, to say the least, peculiar. I was for the
moment frightened, and it was several moments before common sense
asserted itself. A feeling of intense curiosity soon overpowered all
sense of fear. Sitting in my chair I could hear the scratching of his
pen upon the paper. He wrote at a very rapid pace and seemed too intent
upon his labours to notice my presence. I waited for some time in
absolute stillness, but then, becoming weary of the situation,
endeavoured to attract his attention with a cough. He took no notice,
and so I arose and walked towards him.

"I am telling you the entire truth when I assure you I could find
nothing in that chair. I grasped nothing tangible, and the chair
appeared quite empty, while still the scratching of the pen continued;
and as I walked away from the window the apparition appeared as plain as
ever. Every line of the figure was clear as if in life. At last while I
watched, the sound of writing ceased, and the figure vanished from my
view, leaving the roll of manuscript just as it had been before I fell

"Rushing up to the mantelpiece I seized a box of matches, hurriedly
lighted a candle, and approached the desk, and there found the Service
written out in full in a strange handwriting. My own work was
obliterated, the pen drawn through it all with the exception of the
Kyrie, which was as I left it, save that the word Kyrie was written over
it in the strange handwriting. At the conclusion of the Service were
written these words: 'E.I. hoc fecit. R.I.P.'"

As the Doctor uttered these words, he went to the bookshelf and drew
down a book bound carefully in calf, which he opened and passed to me.
It was the original copy as he had found it, his own work crossed out
just as he had said, and the Service written in an altogether strange

"I took those letters, R.I.P., to impose a solemn obligation upon me,"
continued the Doctor. "The Service was at length restored, and I felt
sure that if it were used his soul would rest in peace. That is why we
have it here every Easter Sunday. It has become, in fact, quite a
tradition of the cathedral, which I hope no future organist will ever
depart from. The apparition has never since appeared, so I take it that
was evidently the wish expressed, and the reason why the old man's ghost
for so many years haunted the scene of his former labours."

       *       *       *       *       *

This story is finished. I leave it just as the Doctor related it. Do I
believe it? Undoubtedly I do, but all explanation I leave as impossible.
Perhaps some day we shall know better the relation existing between the
material world and the unknown. At present the subject is best left
alone. Facts we must accept, our imperfect knowledge prevents their




"Dear Mrs. Archer, be consoled; I promise to stand by Henry as if he
were my brother. Indeed, I look upon him quite as my brother, having no
near ties of my own."

"God bless you for the promise," said Mrs. Archer. "You are better to
Henry than any brother could be. Thy love is wonderful, passing the love
of woman."

Mrs. Archer, the widowed mother of an only child, was deeply imbued with
sacred lore. No great reader of general literature, she knew her Bible
from cover to cover, and was much in the habit of expressing herself in
Scriptural language. Her husband had been the Rector of a lonely parish
in Donegal, where for twenty-five years he had taught an unsophisticated
people, "letting his light shine," as his wife expressed it.

One recreation he had: the writing of a Commentary on the Epistle to the
Romans. While he was shut up in his study, little Henry, a mischievous,
wild urchin, had to be kept quiet. Here was field for the full exercise
of Mrs. Archer's ingenuity. As the boy's life went on, she gained an
able assistant in this loving labour, namely Malcolm McGregor, Henry's
school-friend. Malcolm and Henry were sent to Foyle College at the same
time. Mrs. Archer could hardly read for joy the day she expected her
darling home for his first vacation, accompanied by "the jolliest chap
in the school," whom he had begged leave to bring with him.

From the Rectory door the parents could watch the outside car coming
down the steep hill; King William, the Rector's old horse, slipping a
little, and two shabby, hair-covered trunks falling on his back, to be
recovered by Jack Dunn, the man-of-all-work, who could drive on

Which of the little black figures running on in front of the car was the
mother's treasure? Henry was up to as many pranks as ever, but now he
had a quiet friend to restrain him, and his mother and the parish were
very glad of it.

"Dear mistress, thon's a settled wee fellow, thon McGregor: he's the
quare wise guide for we'er ain wichel." Thus spoke Jack Dunn when the
holidays drew near an end. "Fleech him to come back."

"There is no need to urge him, Jack," replied his mistress, smiling; "he
is very anxious to visit us again."

"Weel-a-weel, ma'am, I never tould you how Master Henry blew up the
sexton wi' his crackers, twa nights afore he went to school--"

"Never, Jack!"

"Na, na! Jack wadna be for vexin' you an' his reverence. Master Henry
an' Mat, the herd, let off fireworks outside the sexton's door, an' him
an' the wife, an' the sisters an' the grannie jumpin' out o' their beds,
an' runnin' about the house, thinkin' the Judgment Day was come, an'
maybe that the Old Enemy was come for them--"

"Oh, Jack, hush; how terrible! Think what you are saying."

"Nae word o' lie, mistress. The sexton was in a quare rage, an' the
grannie lay for three weeks wi' the scare. It was hushed up becase there
isna a soul in the parish wad like to annoy his reverence. But
whist--not a word out o' your mouth! Our wean has got thon ither wee
comrade to steady him _now_."

McGregor did steady Henry. They fished Gartan Lough; they boated, they
shot over the mountains, they skated on the same lovely expanse of lake,
and they heard, in the marshes each Easter the whirring bleat of the
snipe. This was the history of school and college vacations for many
years. Then first love came--society was sought for; the neighbouring
clergy and their families came to Gartan Rectory; young couples wandered
blissfully in the fairest scenes in all the world. The friends loved the
same sweet maiden, and she deceived them both, and married a ponderous
rector, possessed of six hundred per annum, the very year they left old
Trinity! They were firmer friends than ever, yet that sweet false one
was never mentioned between them. In a reverently-veiled corner in each
heart, however, still dwelt a dear ideal which the false beloved had not
been able to destroy.

Then events crowded upon Mrs. Archer. The Rector died, and she left her
old home; and her son and his friend went into the army, Henry as sub.,
Malcolm as surgeon.

At the commencement of the story, Malcolm was assuring the mother that
he would stand by Henry in all dangers--under all circumstances

"You will hear of the 5th Fusiliers favourably, I am sure," said he
lightly, trying to calm her agitation.

"Henry is so rash and ardent," she returned.

"And I am a cool, quiet fellow, ma'am. Oh, you may trust me--I'll have
an eye to him."

"Will there be wars, Doctor dear, where you ones is goin'?" asked old
Jack Dunn, wistfully, as he polished the young gentlemen's boots for the
last time before their departure. The friends were smoking a last pipe
by the kitchen fire of the cottage where Mrs. Archer lived in her
husband's old parish, among the people who had loved him. Jack was
polishing the boots close to them, pausing every now and then to
exchange a word with his "wichel," whom he had nursed as an infant,
petted and scolded as a schoolboy, and shielded from punishment on
innumerable occasions. His "wichel" was now a huge young man, taller
than Dr. McGregor by four inches.

"Wha'll black them boots now?" said Jack in a sentimental tone. "Wha'll
put the richt polish on them? Some scatter-brained youngster, I'm
thinkin', that shouldna be trusted to handle boots like these anes."
Thus he spoke, making the hissing, purring noise with which he
accompanied his rubbing down of King William.

The friends smiled at each other. "That's hard work, Jack," remarked

"But are ye goin' to the wars, my wean? Doctor dear, tell me, will he be
fightin' them savage Indians?"

"We believe so, Jack. We are to join the 5th Fusiliers, and they are to
fight the warlike Hill Tribes, fine soldiers--tall, fine men they are,
we are told."

"Alase-a-nie! You'll nae be fightin' yoursel, Doctor?"

"No," smiled McGregor, "my duty will be to cure, not to kill."

"Then, man alive, ye'll hae an eye to Henry."

So the young men tore themselves away from the sobbing mother, and,
through her blinding tears, she watched them mount the steep road
leading to Letterkenny first and then to the outside world, where danger
must be faced and glory won. Her husband's loving people collected that
evening in her cottage garden to condole with her and offer their
roughly-expressed but heartfelt sympathy.

"Dinna be cryin' that way, mistress dear," said old Jack. "Sure thon's a
quare steady fellow, thon Doctor, an' he will hae an eye to Henry."

       *       *       *       *       *

It was November, 1888, when our troops were obliged to retreat from the
Black Mountain, and Mrs. Archer's son and his friend were among them.
Need it be recorded here how bravely Englishmen had fought, how
unmurmuringly they had endured the extremity of cold and fatigue? Their
Gourka allies had stood by them well; but the wild Hill Tribes, the
"fine soldiers" of whom McGregor had told Jack Dunn, were getting the
best of it, and we were forced to retreat. Many months had passed since
the two friends first saw the Black Mountain, compared with which the
mightiest highland in wild Donegal, land of mountains, was an anthill.
Dear Gartan Lough was as a drop of water in their eyes, their
snipe-haunted marshes as a potato garden, when they saw the gigantic
scale of Indian scenery. Henry had fought well in many a skirmish and
had escaped without a wound. Malcolm had used his surgical skill pretty
often, generally with good effect. He was beloved by officers and men
for his kindness of heart. Was there a letter to be written for any poor
fellow--a last message to be sent home, words of Christian hope to be
spoken, Dr. McGregor was called upon.

On the 4th of November, the first column began the retreat, the enemy
"sniping," as usual, and a party had to be sent out to clear the flank,
before the troops left camp. The retiring column then got carefully
along the Chaila Ridge as far as the Ghoraphir Point, where some of the
5th Fusiliers were placed with a battery of guns, and ordered to remain
until all were passed. The enemy, in force, followed the last regiment
and were steadily shelled from the battery. The guns were then sent down
and the men, firing volleys, followed the guns, only two companies being
left. Of these, Lieutenant Archer and ten men were told to stay as the
last band to cover the retreat, and the enemy made a determined attempt
to annihilate them. McGregor was with Henry and his ten. All the pluck
that ever animated hero inspired those twelve men. Each felt the honour
of being chosen for such a post. No time for words; no time for more
thoughts than one, namely, "England expects every man to do his duty."

But of course Malcolm McGregor had a thought underlying the thought of
duty to Queen and country; he remembered his promise to the widowed
mother: he must "have an eye to Henry!"

The path that led down the hill was a most difficult one, being winding
and very rocky. Above the soldiers rose a precipice, manned by parties
of the enemy, who harassed them incessantly by throwing fragments of
rock down upon their heads. These immense stones were hurled from a
height of fifty yards; but the companies wound round the mountain in
good order.

Last of all came Henry Archer and his ten men, attended by the Doctor.
Theirs was the chief post of honour and of peril. Henry's foot slipped;
he tried to recover himself, but in vain. Down he rolled with the loose
stones that had been hurled from above. McGregor stopped, and two of the
men with him; the other eight men pushed forward. Henry's leg was
broken; he could not move. Here was, indeed, an anxious dilemma.

"We must carry him, of course," said the surgeon. "You are the best man
of us three, Henderson; we'll hoist him on your back."

To stagger along such a path, bearing a heavy burden, was well-nigh
impossible, even for the stalwart soldier. Dark faces might have been
seen looking over the ridge, had they glanced upwards. They knew of the
presence of these foes by the falling of the rocks about their ears. The
peril of the situation demoralised the second soldier; he picked up his
rifle, which he had laid on the ground while he helped the surgeon to
lift Henry upon Henderson's back, and ran.

"Oh, Doctor dear, he's too weighty for me," groaned Henderson. "I canna
carry him anither foot o' the way; sure, sure he's the biggest man in
the regiment."

"Lay me down, Henderson, and save yourself; why should I sacrifice
_you_?" groaned the wounded man.

"I'll take him from you, man; quick, quick, help me to get him on my

"Why, Doctor, he's a bigger man nor you," said Henderson in his Ulster

"No matter. I'll carry him or die! He has fainted. He is a dead weight
now--but we leave this road together, or we stay here together."
Muttering the last words, Malcolm set out, and he carried him safely
over very rough ground, under a heavy shower of bullets and rockets, for
one hundred and fifty yards to where the nine men awaited them.

Malcolm's strength was now gone; but Henderson had recovered his powers
a little, and joining hands with him, they managed to carry Henry on to
the spot where the last company of the Fusiliers and a company of
Gourkas were forming, a sharp fire being kept up all the time on both

Neither of them expected to reach the company, as they told one another
in after days. Their sole expectation was to drop with their burden on
the stony path of Ghoraphir, and leave their bones among the wild hill

"McGregor, you have carried Archer all the way?--Incredible!" cried his
brother officers.

"Not I alone--Henderson helped. Let us improvise some kind of stretcher,
and get him on with us, men, for Heaven's sake."

A stretcher was obtained, and he was carried on, while the retreat
continued, the two companies alternately firing to keep back the enemy,
who pursued for three miles.

       *       *       *       *       *

Henry lay helpless in a bare room in the fort--a blessed haven of refuge
for the sick and wounded. Dr. McGregor had invalids in every room; his
whole time was occupied, and his ingenuity was taxed to make the poor
fellows somewhat comfortable.

"Another death, Doctor," said the officer in command one morning.

"Indeed, yes; it is that brave chap, Henderson, who helped me to bring
Archer in. Bronchitis has carried him off; a man of fine physique; a
fine young fellow, and a countryman of my own. The cold of this mountain
district is fearful. I can't keep my patients warm enough, all I can

"How is Archer? Will he pull through?"

"He is low to-day; but the limb is doing all right. There is more fever
than I like to see," and the surgeon, looking very grave, hurried away.

Not to neglect any duty, and yet to nurse his comrade as he ought to be
nursed was the problem our Jonathan had to solve.

Henry's fever ran high for several days, leaving him utterly weak. It
was midnight. The patient and his surgeon were alone; the latter
beginning to cherish a feeble hope, the former believing that he had
done with earthly things.

"You carried me on your back down Ghoraphir, old fellow," he said
faintly, stretching out a hand and arm that were dried up to skin and

"What of that, Henry? Keep quiet, I'd advise you."

"You took off your tunic and laid it over me on the stretcher. Henderson
told me that; and you might have caught your death of cold--"

"Hush, my good man; you are talking too much."

"You doctors are all tyrants. I _will_ speak, for I may not be able
again. Reach me that writing-case. Yes. Open it and take out the things.
The Bible--her own Bible--is for the mater, with my love. My meerschaum
is for Jack Dunn; and please tell them both that you looked after
me--you 'had an eye to Henry.'"

This with a smile. Then, as Malcolm took a photograph out of the
case--"Ah, you did not know I had it? Emmie gave it me that time when
she--well, well, they put a pressure upon her, and I had nothing to
marry on--a pauper, eh?"

"She liked you the best of us two, Henry."

"Ay, but she did not like me well enough. I dreamt of her yesterday, and
I quite forgive her. If you care to keep that photo., you can, and the
case, and gold pen and studs."

"Now, my chap, you just drink this, and hold your tongue. Please God,
you and I will _both_ see Gartan parish again; and you may tell mother
and Jack that I stood by you and looked after you, if you please. You're
mad angry with me this minute; but I'm shutting you up for your good."

       *       *       *       *       *

A time came, through the mercy of God, when the widow received her son
back again, with the friend who was now almost as dear to her, and when
tar barrels blazed on every hill around Gartan Lough.

Jack polished the boots that had travelled so far, the while tales of
adventure delighted his ear.

Henry talked the most, his quiet friend hearing him with pleasure.
Surgeon McGregor never realised that he was a hero; yet his deeds were
bruited abroad and became the talk of all that countryside.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 3, March, 1891" ***

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