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Title: Geoffrey Hamstead - A Novel
Author: Jarvis, Thomas Stinson
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 "Geoffrey Hamstead - A Novel" ***

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by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions
(www.canadiana.org))



                         GEOFFREY HAMPSTEAD

                             _A NOVEL_

                      BY THOMAS STINSON JARVIS


    Consider the work of God: for who can make
    that straight, which he hath made crooked?

    _Ecclesiastes vii, 13._


    NEW YORK
    D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

    1890

    COPYRIGHT, 1890,
    BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.



GEOFFREY HAMPSTEAD.



CHAPTER I.

                                I do not think
    So fair an outward, and such stuff within,
    Endows a man but he.

    _Cymbeline._


The Victoria Bank, Toronto, is on the corner of Bay and Front Streets,
where it overlooks a part of the harbor large enough to gladden the eyes
of the bank-clerks who are aquatic in their habits and have time to look
out of the windows. Young gentlemen in tattered and ink-stained coats,
but irreproachable in the matter of trousers and linen, had been known
to gaze longingly and wearily down toward that strip of shining water
when hard fate in the shape of bank duty apparently remained indifferent
to the fact that an interesting race was being rowed or sailed. This,
sometimes, was rather a bad thing for the race; for the Victoria Bank
had, immured within its cut stone and plate glass, some good specimens
of muscular gentility; and in contests of different kinds, the V. B. had
a way (discomforting to other banks) of producing winners. The amount of
muscle some of them could apply to a main-sheet was creditable, while,
as to rowing, there were few who did not cultivate a back and thigh
action which, if not productive of so much speed as Hanlan's, was
certainly, to the uninitiated, quite as pleasant to look upon; so that,
in sports generally, there was a decided call for the Vics.; not only
among men on account of their skill, but also in the ranks of a gentler
community whose interest in a contest seemed to be more personal than
sporting. The Vics. had adopted as their own a particular color, of
which they would wear at least a small spot on any "big day"; and, when
they were contesting, this color would be prevalent in gatherings of
those interested personally. And who would inquire the reasons for this
favoritism? "Reasons! explanations!--why are men so curious? Is it not
enough that those most competent to decide have decided? What will you?
Go to!" Indeed, the sex is very divine. It is a large part of their
divinity to be obscure.

Perhaps these young men danced with the ease and self-satisfaction of
dervishes. Perhaps their prowess was unconsciously admired by those who
formerly required defenders. But the most compelling reason, on this
important point, was that "ours" of the Victoria Bank had established
themselves socially as "quite the right sort" and "good form"--and thus
desirable to the Toronto maiden, and, if not so much so to her more
match-making mother, the fact that they were considered _chic_ provided
a feminine argument in their favor which had, as usual, the advantage of
being, from its vagueness, difficult to answer; so that the more
mercantile mother grew to consider that a "detrimental" who was _chic_
was not, after all, as bad as a "det." without leaven.

It has been said that bank-clerks are all the same; but, while admitting
that, in regard to their faultless trousers and immaculate linen, there
does exist a pleasing general resemblance, rather military, it must be
insisted that there are different sorts of them; that they are complete
in their way, and need not be idealized. The old barbaric love for
wonderful story-telling is still the harvest-ground of those who live
by the propagation of ideas, but must we always demand the unreal?

There was nothing unreal about Jack Cresswell. As he stood poring over
columns of figures in a great book, one glance at him was sufficient to
dispel all hope of mystery. He was inclosed in the usual box or
stall--quite large enough for him to stand up in, which was all he
required (sitting ruins trousers)--and his office coat was all a
bank-clerk could desire. The right armpit had "carried away," and the
left arm was merely attached to the body by a few ligaments--reminding
one of railway accidents. The right side of the front and the left arm
had been used for years as a pen-wiper. A metallic clasp for a patent
pencil was clinched through the left breast. The holes for the pockets
might be traced with care even at this epoch, but they had become so
merged in surrounding tears as to almost lose identity with the original
design.

The bank doors had been closed for some time, after three o'clock, on
this particular day in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and blank, and Jack Cresswell had been puzzling his brains over figures
with but poor success. Whether his head was dull, or whether it was
occupied by other things, it is hard to say--probably both; so, on
hearing Geoffrey Hampstead, the paying-teller, getting ready to go away,
he leaned over the partition and said, in an aggrieved tone:

"Look here, Geoffrey, I'm three cents out in my balance."

A strong, well-toned voice answered carelessly, "That is becoming a
pretty old story with you, Jack. You're always out. However, make
yourself comfortable, dear boy, as you will doubtless be at it a good
while." Then, as he put on his hat and sauntered away, Geoffrey added a
little more comfort. "If you really intend to bring it out right, you
had better arrange to guard the bank to-night. You can do both at once,
you know, and get your pay as well, while you work on comfortably till
morning."

"I'll tell you what I'll do. If you'll get these three cents right for
me, I'll stand the dinners."

"Much obliged. Mr. Hampstead has the pleasure of regretting. Prior
engagement. Has asked Mr. Maurice Rankin to dine with him at the club.
But perhaps, even without your handsome reward, we might get these
figures straightened out for you." Then, taking off his coat, "You had
better take a bite with us if we can finish this in time."

Geoffrey came up to the books and "took hold," while Jack, now in
re-established good humor, amused himself by keeping up a running fire
of comments. "Aha! me noble lord condescends to dine the poor legal
scribe. I wonder, now, what led you to ask Maurice Rankin to dine with
you. You can't make anything out of Morry. He hasn't got a cent in the
world, unless he got that police-court case. Not a red shekel has he,
and me noble lord asks him to dinner--which is the humor of it! Now, I
would like to know what you want with Rankin. You know you never do
anything without some motive. You see I know you pretty well. Gad! I
do."

Geoffrey was working away under this harangue, with one ear open, like a
telegraph operator, for Jack's remarks. He said: "Can not a fellow do a
decent thing once in a way without hearing from you?"

"Not you," cried Jack, "not you. I'll never believe you ever did a
decent thing in your life without some underground motive."

Geoffrey smiled over the books, where he was adding three columns of
figures at once, lost the addition, and had to begin at the bottom
again; and Jack, who thought that never man breathed like Geoffrey,
looked a little fondly and very admiringly at the way his friend's back
towered up from the waist to the massive shoulders--and smiled too.

Jack's smile was expansive and contagious. It lighted up the whole
man--some said the whole room--but never more brightly than when with
Hampstead. Geoffrey had a fascination for him, and his admiration had
reached such a climax after nearly two years' intercourse that he now
thought there was but little within the reach of man that Geoffrey could
not accomplish if he wished. It was not merely that he was good looking
and had an easy way with him and was in a general way a favorite--not
merely that he seemed to make more of Jack than of others. Hampstead had
a power of some kind about him that harnessed others besides Jack to his
chariot-wheels; and, much as Cresswell liked to exhibit Geoffrey's seamy
side to him when he thought he discovered flaws, he nevertheless had
admitted to an outsider that the reason he liked Hampstead was that he
was "such an altogether solid man--solid in his sports, solid in his
work, solid in his virtues, and, as to the other way--well, enough
said." But the chief reason lay in the great mental and bodily vigor
that nearly always emanated from Geoffrey, casting its spell, more or
less effectively, for good or evil. With most people it was impossible
to ignore his presence; and his figure was prepossessing from the
extraordinary power, grace, and capacity for speed which his every
movement interpreted.

It was his face that bothered observant loungers in the clubs. For
statuary, a sculptor could utilize it to represent the face of an angel
or a devil with equal facility--but no second-class devil or angel. Its
permanent expression was that which a man exhibits when exercising his
will-power. The tenacious long jaw had a squareness underneath it that
seemed to be in keeping with the length of the upper lip. The high, long
nose made its usual suggestions, two furrows between the thick eyebrows
could ordinarily be seen, and the protuberant bumps over the eyes gave
additional strength. The eyes were light blue or steel gray, according
to the lights or the humor he was in. An intellectual forehead, beveled
off under the low-growing hair, might suggest that the higher moral
aspirations would not so frequently call for the assistance of the
determination depicted in the face as would the other qualities shown in
the width and weight of head behind the ears.

But Jack did not believe what he said in his tirades, and his good-will
makes him lax in condemnation of things which in others he would have
denounced. What Geoffrey said or did, so far as Jack knew, met, at his
hands, with an easy indifference if culpable, and a kindling admiration
if apparently virtuous. The two had lived together for a long time, and
no one knew better than Geoffrey how trustworthy Jack was. Consequently,
he sometimes entered into little confidences concerning his experiences,
which he glossed over with a certain amount of excuse, so that the moral
laxity in them did not fully appear; and what with the intensity of his
speech, his word painting, and enthusiastic face, a greater stoic than
poor Jack might have caught the fire, and perhaps condoned the offense.

Jack thought he knew Hampstead pretty well.

On the other side, Hampstead, though keen at discerning character,
confessed to himself that Jack was the only person he could say he knew.



CHAPTER II.

     This fellow might be in's time a great buyer of land, with his
     statutes, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries.--_Hamlet._


As Jack expected, it did not take long for his friend Hampstead to show
where the mistake about the three cents lay; and then they sallied forth
for a little stroll on King Street before dinner.

They lived in adjoining chambers in the Tremaine Buildings on King
Street. The rooms had been intended for law offices, and were reached by
a broad flight of stairs leading up from the street below. Here they
were within five minutes' walk of their bank or the club at which they
generally took their meals. Hampstead had first taken these rooms
because they were in a manner so isolated in the throng of the city and
afforded an uncontrolled liberty of ingress and egress to young men
whose hours for retiring to rest were governed by no hard and fast
rules.

A widow named Priest lived somewhere about the top of the building, with
her son, who was known to the young gentlemen as Patsey. Mrs. Priest
made the beds, did the washing, attended to the fires, and was generally
useful. She also cleaned offices, even to the uttermost parts of the
great building, and altogether made a good thing of it; for besides the
remunerations derived in these ways she had her perquisites. For
instance, in the ten years of her careful guardianship of chambers and
offices in the building, she had never bought any coal or wood. She
possessed duplicate keys for each room in her charge, and thus having a
large number of places to pillage she levied on them all, according to
the amount of fuel she could safely carry away from each place without
its being missed. Young men who occupied chambers there never had to
give away or sell old clothes, because they were never found to be in
the way. She asked for them when she wanted to cut them down for Patsey,
because it would not do to have the owners recognize the cloth on him.
The clothes which she annexed as perquisites she sold.

Patsey was accustomed occasionally to go through the wardrobes of the
gentlemen with his mother, while she made the beds in the morning, and
he then chose the garments that most appealed to his artistic taste.
This interesting heir to Mrs. Priest's personal estate also had his
perquisites "unbeknownst to ma." He consumed a surprising amount of
tobacco for one so young, and might frequently be seen parading King
Street on a summer evening enjoying a cigar altogether beyond his years
and income. His clothes bore the pattern of the fashion in vogue three
or four years back; and, despite some changes brought about by the
scissors of Mrs. Priest, the material, which had been the best Toronto
could provide, still retained much of the glory that had captivated King
Street not so very long ago. Having finally declared war against
education in all its recognized branches, he generally took himself off
early in the day, and lounged about the docks, or derived an
indifferently good revenue from the sale of ferry-boat tickets to the
island; and in various other ways did Patsey provide himself with the
luxuries and enjoyments of a regular topsawyer.

In the immediate neighborhood of Mrs. Priest, at an altitude in the
building which has never been exactly ascertained, dwelt Mr. Maurice
Rankin, barrister-at-law and solicitor of the Supreme Court. He resided
in Chambers, No. 173 Tremaine Buildings, King Street, West, Toronto, and
certainly all this looked very legal and satisfactory on the
professional card which he had had printed. But the interior appearance
of the chambers was not calculated to inspire confidence in the
profession of the law as a kind nurse for aspiring merit; and as for
the approach to No. 173, it was so intricate and dark in its last few
flights of stairs, that none but a practiced foot could venture up or
down without a light, even in the day-time. The room occupied by Mr.
Rankin could never have been intended to be used as an office, or
perhaps anything else, and consequently the numbers of the rooms in the
buildings had not been carried up to the extraordinary elevation in
which No. 173 might now be found. Still, it seemed peculiar not to have
the number of one's chambers on one's card, if chambers should be
mentioned thereon, so he found that the rooms numbered below ended at
172, and then conscientiously marked "No. 173" on his own door with a
piece of white chalk. He also carefully printed his name, "Mr. Maurice
Rankin," on the cross-panel and added the letters "Q.C."--just to see
how the whole thing looked and assist ambition; but he hurriedly rubbed
The Q.C. out on hearing Mrs. Priest approach for one of her interminable
conversations from which there was seldom any escape. When Rankin first
came to Tremaine Buildings he lived in one of the lower rooms, now
occupied by Jack Cresswell, and not without some style and
comfort--taking his meals at the club, as our friends now did. His
father, who had been a well-known broker,--a widower--kept his horses,
and brought up his son in luxury. He then failed, after Maurice had
entered the Toronto University, and, unable to endure the break-up of
the results of his life's hard work, he died, leaving Maurice a few
hundred dollars that came to him out of the life-insurance.

It was with a view to economy that our legal friend came to live in the
Tremaine Buildings after leaving the university and articling himself as
a clerk in one of the leading law firms in the city, where he got paid
nothing. The more his little capital dwindled, the harder he worked.
Soon the first set of chambers were relinquished for a higher, cheaper
room, and the meals were taken per contract, by the week, at a cheap
hotel. Then he had to get some clothes, which further reduced the little
fund. So he took "a day's march nearer home," as he called it, and
removed his effects _au quatrième étage_, and from that _au
cinquième_--and so on and up. Regular meals at hotels now belonged to
the past. A second-hand coal-oil stove was purchased, together with a
few cheap plates and articles of cutlery; and here Rankin retired, when
hungry, with a bit of steak rolled up in rather unpleasant brown paper;
and after producing part of a loaf and a slab of butter on a plate, he
cooked a trifle of steak about the size of a flat-iron, and caroused.
This he called the feast of independence and the reward of merit.

Among his possessions could be found a wooden bed and bedding--clean,
but not springy--also a small deal table, and an old bureau with both
hind-legs gone. But the bureau stood up bravely when propped against the
wall. These were souvenirs of a transaction with a second-hand dealer.
In winter he set up an old coal-stove which had been abandoned in an
empty room in the building, and this proved of vast service, inasmuch as
the beef-steak and tea could be heated in the stove, thereby saving the
price of coal-oil. It will occur to the eagle-eyed reader that the price
of coal would more than exceed the price of coal-oil. On this point
Rankin did not converse. Although he started out with as high principles
of honor as the son of a stock-broker is expected to have, it must be
confessed that he did not at this time buy his coal. Therefore there was
a palpable economy in the use of the derelict stove--to say nothing of
its necessary warmth. No mention of coal was ever made between Rankin
and Mrs. Priest; but as Maurice rose in the world, intellectually and
residentially, Mrs. Priest saw that his monetary condition was depressed
in an inverse ratio, and being in many ways a well-intentioned woman,
she commenced bringing a pail of coal to his room every morning, which
generally served to keep the fire alight for twenty-four hours in
moderate weather. Maurice at first salved his conscience with the idea
that she was returning the coal she had "borrowed" from him during his
more palmy days. After the first winter, however, when he had suffered a
good deal from cold, his conscience became more elastic and communistic;
and ten o'clock P.M. generally saw him performing a solitary and gloomy
journey to unknown regions with a coal-scuttle in one hand and a wooden
pail in the other. Jack Cresswell had come across this coal-scuttle one
night in a distant corridor. He filled it with somebody else's coal and
came up with it to Rankin's room--his face beaming with enjoyment--and,
entering on tip-toe, whispered mysteriously the word "pickings." Then,
after walking around the room in the stealthy manner of the stage
villain who inspects the premises before "removing" the infant heir, he
dumped the scuttle on the floor and gasped, breathlessly, "A gift!"

Rankin put aside Byles on Bills and arose with dignity: "What say you,
henchman? Pickings? A gift? Ay, truly, a goodly pickings! Filched,
perchance, from the pursy coal-bins of monopoly?"

"Even so," was the reply, given with bated breath; and with his finger
to his lips, to imply that he was on a criminal adventure, Jack again
inspected the premises with much stealth and agility, and disappeared as
mysteriously as he had come. If Jack or Geoffrey ever saw anything lying
about the premises they thought would be of use to Rankin, there was a
nocturnal steal, and up it went to Rankin's room. This was sport.

In this way Rankin lived. With one idea set before him, he grappled with
the leather-covered books that came by ones and twos into his room,
until, when the great struggle came at his final examinations, he was
surprised to find he had come out so well, and quite charmed when he
returned from Osgoode Hall to his dreary room, a solicitor of the
Supreme Court and a barrister-at-law, with a light heart, and not a
single solitary cent in the wide world.



CHAPTER III.

    Frien'ship maks us a' mair happy,
      Frien'ship gies us a' delight;
    Frien'ship consecrates the drappie,
      Frien'ship brings us here to-night.

    ROBERT BURNS.


At the opening of this story, about six months had elapsed since Rankin
had been licensed to prey upon the public, and as yet he had not
despoiled it to any great extent. If he had kept body and soul together,
it was done in ways that are not enticing to young gentlemen who dream
of attacking the law single-handed.

An old lawyer named Bean had an office in the lower part of Tremaine
Buildings, and Maurice arranged with him to occupy one of the ancient
desks in his office, and, in consideration of answering all questions as
to the whereabouts of Mr. Bean, the privilege of office-room was given
to him rent-free. As Mr. Bean had no clients, and as Rankin never knew
where he was, this duty was a light one. He also had from Mr. Bean the
privilege of putting his name up on the door, and, of course, as
frequently and as alluringly along the passage and on the stairs as he
might think desirable. But it was set out very clearly in the agreement,
which Rankin carefully drew up and Bean pretended to revise, that Mr.
Rankin should not in any way interfere with the clients of Mr. Bean, and
that Mr. Bean should not in any way interfere with the clients of the
aforesaid Rankin.

Bean had a little money, which he seemed to spend exclusively in the
consumption of mixed drinks; and whatever else he did during the day,
besides expending his income in this way, certainly engrossed his
attention to a very large extent. When he looked into the office daily,
or, say, bi-weekly, it was only for a few moments--except when he fell
asleep in his chair.

It was after he had been five or six months with Mr. Bean that Geoffrey
Hampstead had asked Rankin to dinner. He locked up the office about five
o'clock, having closed the dampers in the stove (Bean supplied the
coal--a great relief) and putting the key in his pocket, he ascended to
No. 173 for a while, and then he came down to Hampstead's chambers,
where he found our two bank friends taking a glass of sherry and bitters
to give their appetites a tone, which was a very unnecessary proceeding.

"Hello, old man! How are you?" cried Hampstead in a hearty voice,
handing him a wine glass.

"Ah! How am I? Just so!" quoth Rankin, helping himself. "How should a
man be, who is on the high road to fortune?"

"He ought to be pretty chirpy, I should think," said Jack.

"Chirpy! That's the word. 'Chirpy' describes me. So does 'fit.' The
money is rolling in, gentlemen. Business is on the full upward boom, and
I feel particularly 'fit' to-day--also chirpy."

"Got a partnership?" inquired Geoffrey, with interest.

"I suppose you mean a partnership with Mr. Bean, and I answer
emphatically 'No.' I refer to _my own_ business, sir, and I have no
intention of taking Mr. Bean into partnership. Bean is dying for a
partnership with me. Sha'n't take Bean in. A client of mine came in
to-day--"

"Great Scott! you haven't got a client, have you?" cried Geoffrey,
starting from his chair.

"Don't interrupt me," said Mr. Rankin. "As I was saying," he added with
composure, "a client of mine--"

"No, no, Morry! This is too much. If you want us to believe you, give us
some particulars about this client--just as an evidence of good faith,
you know."

"The client you are so inquisitive about," said Rankin, with dignity,
"is a lady who has been, in a sense, prematurely widowed--"

"It's Mrs. Priest," said Jack, turning to Geoffrey. "He has been
defending her for stealing coal, sure as you're born!"

"The lady came to me," said Maurice, taking no notice of the
interruption, "about a month ago, apparently with a view to taking
proceedings for alimony--at least her statement suggested this--"

"By Jove, this is getting interesting!" said Jack.

"But on questioning the unfortunate woman as to her means, I found that
her funds were in a painfully low condition--in fact, at a disgustingly
low ebb, viewed from a professional standpoint. And I also found that
her husband had offered her four dollars a week, to be paid weekly, on
condition that he should never see her and that somebody else should
collect the money. The husband was evidently a bold, bad man to have
given rise to the outbursts of jealously which it pained me to listen
to, and the poor lady, forgetful of my presence, and with all the
ability of an ancient prophet, denounced two or three women both jointly
and severally. She then roused herself, and asked what I would charge to
collect her four dollars per week. This seemed to decide the alimony
suit in the negative, and from the fact that she was, not to put too
fine a point upon it, three parts drunk at the time, I thought it better
to say what I would do. So now I collect four dollars a week from her
husband and pay it over to her every Saturday, for which I deduct, each
time, the sum of twenty-five cents. There is a good deal of money to be
made in the practice of the law."

"What about the husband?" asked Jack, laughing.

"I believe that I was invited to-day to dine--at least I came with that
intention. Instead of talking any more, I would be better satisfied if
somebody produced so much as the photograph of a chicken--and after that
I will further to you unfold my tale."

Mr. Rankin slapped a waistcoat that appeared to be unduly slack about
the lower buttons.

They then repaired to the club, where, having but a small appetite
himself, and the representatives of bank distinguishing themselves more
than he could as trenchermen, Rankin kept the ball rolling by relating
his experiences as a barrister, which seemed to amuse his two friends.
These experiences, leading to police-court items and police-court
savages, brought up the question of "What is a savage?"--which
introduced the Fuegians, the wild natives of Queensland, the Mayalans,
and others, with whom Hampstead compared the lowest-class Irish. He had
profited by much travel and reading, and anthropology was a subject on
which he could be rather brilliant. To show how our civilization is a
mere veneer, he drew a comparison between savage and civilized fashions,
and brought out facts culled from many different peoples--not omitting
Schweinfurth's Monbuttoo women--as to the primitive nature of the
dress-improver. Then, somehow, the conversation got back to the police
court, and the question, "What is a criminal?" and they agreed that if
the harm done to others was one criterion of guilt, it seemed a pity
that some things--woman's gossip, for instance--went so frequently
unpunished.

"And I think," broke in Cresswell, after the subject had been well
thrashed, "that you two fellows are talking a good deal of what you know
very little about. After all your chatter, I think the point is right
here (and I put it in the old-fashioned way). If one does wrong he
violates his own appreciation of right, and his guilt can only be
measured by the way he tramples on his conscience, and as conscience
varies in almost every person, I think we had better give up wading into
abstractions and come down to the concrete--to the solid enjoyment of a
pipe." And Jack pushed back his chair.

"Then, according to you, Jack, a fellow with no conscience would in
human judgment have no guilt," laughed Hampstead.

"I don't believe there exists a sane man in the world without a
conscience," replied Jack, with his own optimism.

"I don't think I agree with you," said Rankin. "I feel sure there are
men who, if they ever had a conscience, have trained it into such
elasticity that they may be said to have none. Do you not think so,
Hampstead?"

"Really, I hardly know. I haven't thought much upon the subject, but I
think we ought, if we do possess any conscience ourselves, to give Jack
a chance to light his pipe."

They soon sauntered back to the Tremaine Buildings, where Jack sat down
at the piano and played to them. While Jack played on, Geoffrey seemed
interested in police-court items, but Rankin preferred listening to
Beethoven and Mozart to "talking shop." After they had sung some
sea-songs together and chatted over a glass of "something short," Rankin
said good-night and mounted to No. 173 on the invisible stairs with as
much activity as if daylight were assisting him.

Having lit his lamp, he soliloquized, as he attended to some faults in
his complexion before a small looking-glass, "So I have got another
client, I perceive. That dinner to-day was a fee--nothing else in the
world. I don't know now that I altogether like my new client. He
evidently didn't get what he wanted. Perhaps Jack was in the way. Now, I
wonder what the beggar _does_ want. Chances are I'll have another dinner
soon. Happy thought! make him keep on dining me _ad infinitum_!
Ornamental dinner! Pleasant change!"

Maurice undressed and walked up and down the room. "Perhaps I am all
wrong, though," said he. "I can't help liking him in many ways, and he's
chock-full of interesting information. How odd that he didn't know
anything about a fellow having no conscience. Hadn't thought over that
idea. Very likely! Gad! I could imagine him just such a one, now that I
have got suspicious. He has a bad eye when he doesn't look after it. It
doesn't always smile along with his mouth. I may be wrong, but I believe
there's something there that's not the clean wheat," and Maurice
ascended to the woolsack and disappeared for the night.



CHAPTER IV.

     How can I tell the feelings in a young lady's mind; the thoughts in
     a young gentleman's bosom? As Professor Owen takes a fragment of
     bone and builds a forgotten monster out of it, so the novelist puts
     this and that together: from the foot-prints finds the foot; from
     the foot, the brute who trod on it; ... traces this slimy reptile
     through the mud; ... prods down this butterfly with a pin.
     --THACKERAY (_The Newcomes_).


Hampstead did not get to sleep, after Rankin had retired, as early as he
expected. Jack Cresswell followed him into his bedroom and sat down, lit
another pipe, and then walked about, and seemed preoccupied, as he had
all the evening. Geoffrey did not speak to him at first, as this was an
unusual proceeding between the two, but, having got into bed and made
himself comfortable by bullying the pillows into the proper shape and
position, addressed his friend:

"Now, old man, unburden your mind. I know you want to tell me something,
but do not be surprised if you find me asleep before you get your second
wind. If you care for me, cut it short."

"Got a letter to-day," said Jack, "from her."

"Well, Jack, as you seem, with some eccentricity, to have only one
"her," of course I am interested. Your feelings in that quarter never
fail in their attraction. Pour into my devoted ear for the next five
minutes (not longer) a synopsis of your woes or joys. What is it you
want to-night? Congratulation or balm for wounds?"

"Oh, I don't wish to keep you awake," said Jack testily, rising, as if
to depart.

"Go on, sir. Go on, sir. Your story interests me."

Geoffrey assumed an attitude of attention. Jack smiled and sat down
again. He had no intention of going away. He had thought over his letter
all day, till at last a confidential friend seemed almost necessary.

"My letter comes from London. They've' returned from the Continent, and,
as they are now most likely on the sea, she'll be at home in about a
week." And Jack seemed in a high state of satisfaction.

"Well, well! I never saw a real goddess in my life," said Geoffrey. "And
there is no doubt about Miss Lindon being one, because I have listened
to you for two years, and now I know that she is what I have long wished
to see."

"It will give me the greatest pleasure to have you know her. I have
looked forward tremendously to that. Next to meeting her myself comes
the idea of we three being jolly good friends, and going around together
on little jamborees to concerts and that sort of thing. I haven't a
doubt but what we three will 'get on' amazingly."

"Playing gooseberry with success requires a clever person," said
Geoffrey. "I don't think I'm quite equal to the call for the tact and
loss of individuality which the position demands. However, dear boy, I
am quite aware that to introduce me to the lady of your heart as your
particular friend is the greatest compliment one fellow can pay
another--all things considered. Don't you think so? Oh, yes, I dare say
we will be a trio quite out of the common. But, if she is as pretty as
you say she is, I'll have to look at her, you know. Can't help looking
at a handsome woman, even if she were hedged in with as many
prohibitions as the royal family. You'll have to get accustomed to
_that_, of course."

"But that's the very reason why I want you to know her," said Jack, in
his whole-souled way. "I really often feel as if her beauty and
brightness and her power of pleasing many should not be altogether
monopolized by any one man. It would redouble my satisfaction if I
thought you admired her also." Jack stopped for a moment as he
considered that her power of "pleasing many" had been rather larger at
times than he had cared about. "It seems to me that she has enough of
these attractions for me, and some to spare for others."

Geoffrey smiled as he wondered if the girl herself thought she had
enough to spare for others besides Jack.

"Young man, your sentiments do you credit! It must make things much more
satisfactory to an engaged girl to understand that she is expected not
to neglect the outside world whenever she is able 'to tear herself
away,' as it were."

"I see you grinning to yourself under the bed-clothes," said Jack, who
rather winced at this. "I don't know that I ever asked her to distribute
herself more than she did. On the contrary, if you must have the
unvarnished truth, quite the reverse." Jack reddened as he ventilated
some of the truths which are generally suppressed. "The fact is, it was
rather the other way. I frequently have acted like a donkey when I
didn't get her undivided attention. You know girls often get accused of
flirting, and when one hears their own explanation, nothing seems
clearer, you know, than that there was no occasion for the row at all."

Geoffrey thought he did know, but said nothing.

"Two years, though, make changes, and having seen nothing of her for
such a long time, I feel as if one glimpse of her would repay me for all
the waiting. I should never have thought of our differences again if you
had not raked them up."

"Which I am sorry to have done," said Geoffrey. "No doubt, two years do
sometimes make a difference. I am sure you treat the _affaire_
sublimely, and, if she is equally generous in her thoughts of you, it
will be a unique thing to gaze upon both of you at once."

Jack took Geoffrey's remarks in good part, for he had got accustomed to
the cynical way the latter treated most things. It was _his way_, he
thought, and Geoffrey was "such an all-round good fellow, and all that
sort of thing, you know," that it was to be expected that he should have
"ways." Besides this, Jack had seen from time to time that, though very
ready to recognize sterling merit, Geoffrey had ability in detecting
humbug, and that he considered the optimist had too many chances against
him to make him valuable as a prophet. Thus, when he spoke in this way
of Nina Lindon, Jack supposed that his friend had his doubts, and, much
as he loved her, he stopped, like many another, and asked himself
whether she had such a generosity and nobility in her character as he
had supposed. This, he felt, was rather beneath him in one way, and
rather beyond him in another. When he looked for admirable traits, he
remembered several instances of good-natured impulse, and while the
graceful manner in which she had done these things rose before him, he
grew enthusiastic. Then he sought to call up for inspection the
qualities he took exception to. That she had seemed inconsiderate of his
feelings at times seemed true. There was, he thought, a frivolity about
her. He thought life had for him some few well-defined realities, and
that she had never seemed to quite grasp the true inwardness of his best
moments. But all was explained by her youth and the adulation paid to
her. And then the memory of her soft dark eyes and flute-like voice, the
various allurements of her vivacious manner and graceful figure,
produced an enthusiasm quite overwhelming. So he laughed at the defeat
of his impartiality, looked over at Geoffrey, who was peacefully snoring
by this time, and went away to his own room. But deep down in his heart
lay the shadow of a doubt which, with his instinctive courtesy, he never
approached even in an examination supposed to be a searching one. The
inspection of it seemed a sacrilege, and he put it from him.
Nevertheless, there had been times when Jack felt doubtful as to whether
Nina could be relied upon for absolute truth.

Joseph Lindon, the father of Nina, came from--no person seemed to know
where. He, or his family, might have come from the north of Ireland or
south of Scotland, or middle of England, or anywhere else, as far as any
one could judge by his face; and, as likely as not, his lineage was a
mixture of Scotch, Irish, English, or Dutch, which implanted in his
physiognomy that conglomeration of nationalities which now defies
classification, but seems to be evolving a type to be known as
distinctively Canadian. His accent was not Irish, Scotch, English, nor
Yankee. It was a collection of all four, which appeared separately at
odd times, and it was, in this way, Canadian.

His family records had not been kept, or Joseph would certainly have
produced them, if creditable. He had the appearance of a self-made man.
If want of a good education somewhat interfered with the completeness of
his social success, it certainly had not retarded him in business
circles. If he had swept out the store of his first employers, those
employers were now in their graves, and of those who knew his beginnings
in Toronto there were none with the temerity to remind him of them. Mr.
Lindon was not a man to be "sat upon." He had a bold front, a hard,
incisive voice, and a temper that, since he began to feel his monetary
oats, brooked no opposition. He might have been taken for a farmer,
except for the keenness of his eye and the fact that his clothes were
city made. These two differences, however, are of a comprehensive kind.

Mr. Lindon, early in life, had opened a small shop, and then enlarged
it. Having been successful, he sold out, and took to a kind of broker,
money-lending, and land business, and being one who devoted his whole
existence to the development of the main chance, with a deal of native
ability to assist him, the result was inevitable.

His entertainments gave satisfaction to those who thought they knew what
a good glass of wine was. Mr. Lindon himself did _not_. Few do. When
exhausted he took a little whisky. When he entertained, he sipped the
wine that an impecunious gentleman was paid to purchase for him,
regardless of cost. So, although there were those who turned up their
noses at Joseph Lindon while they swallowed him, there did not seem to
be any reluctance in going through the same motions with his wine.

The fact that he was able to, and did entertain to a large extent was of
itself sufficient in certain quarters to provoke a smile suggesting that
_the_ society in that city did not entertain. Some members had been
among the exclusives for a comparatively short time, and the early
occupation of their parents was still painfully within the memory of the
oldest inhabitant. A good many based their right on the fact that they
came "straight from England"--without further recommendation; while
others pawed the air like the heraldic lion because they had, or used to
have, a second cousin with a title in England.

But these good people were partly correct when they hinted that some old
families did not entertain much. Either there had been some scalawag in
the family who had wasted its substance, or else the respected family
had had a faculty for mortgaging and indorsing notes for friends in
those good old times which happily are not likely to return.

The consequence was that there was a good deal of satisfaction on both
sides. Joseph Lindon could pat his breeches pocket, figuratively, and,
not without reason, consider he had the best of it. Many a huge mortgage
at ruinous interest made by the first families, who never lived within
their means, had found its way to Lindon's office, and many an acre,
subsequently worth thousands of dollars, had been acquired by him in
satisfaction of the note he held against the family scalawag. During all
the times that these people had been "keeping up the name," as they
called it, Lindon had been salting down the hard cash, and if some of
his transactions were of the "shady" sort, he had, in dealing with some
of the patrician families, some pretty shady customers to look after.

But these transactions were in the old times, when Lindon was rolling up
his scores of thousands. All he had to do now was to attend the board
meetings of companies of which he was president, and to arrange his
large financial ventures in cold blood over his chop at the club with
those who waited for his consent with eager ears. If there were few
transactions in business circles that he was not conversant with, there
were still fewer affairs in his own domestic circle that he knew
anything about. It was his wife that had brought him into his social
position, such as it was; that is, his wife's wishes and his money.

Mrs. Lindon had been a pretty woman in her day, which, of course, had
lost its first freshness, and she was approaching that period when the
retrospect of a well-spent life is expected to be gratifying. Her
married life with Mr. Lindon had not been the gradual conquest of that
complete union which makes later years a climax and old age the harvest
of sweet memories in common, as marriage has been defined for us. On the
contrary, their married life had been a gradual acquisition of that
disunion which law and public opinion prevent from becoming complete.
The two had now established the semblance of a union--the system in
which the various pretenses of deep regard become so well defined by
long years of mutual make-believe, as to often encourage the married to
hope that it will be publicly supposed to be the glad culmination of
their courtship dreams.

Mrs. Lindon said of herself that she had been of a Lower Canadian
family, with some French name, prior to her marriage, and her story
seemed to suggest, in the absence of further particulars, that Mr.
Lindon had married her more for her family than her good looks. The
"looks" were pretty nearly gone, but the "family" was still within the
reach of a sufficiently fertile imagination, and so often had the
suggestion been made that of late years the idea had assumed a
definiteness in her mind which materially assisted her in holding her
own in the society in which she now floated. A natural untidiness in the
way she put on her expensive garments, which in a poorer woman would
have been called slatternly, and the dark, French prettiness which she
still showed traces of (and which was rather of the nurse-girl type)
combined to suggest that in reality she was the offspring of Irish and
French emigrants, "and steerage at that"--some of the first families
said--"decidedly steerage."

Mrs. Lindon was supremely her own mistress. This was not, perhaps, an
ultimate benefit to her, but, as she had nothing on earth to trouble
about, long years of idleness and indulgence in every whim had led her
to conjure up a grievance, which she nursed in her bosom, and on account
of it she excused herself for all shortcomings. This was that she was
left so much without the society of Mr. Lindon. Often, in the pauses
between the excitements she created for herself, tears of self-pity
would arise at the thought of her abandoned condition. The truth was
that she did not care anymore for Lindon than he did for her; but from
the fact that she really did desire to have a husband who would see
better the advantages of shining in society, the poor lady contrived to
convince herself that he had been greatly wanting in his duties to her
as a husband, that the affection was all on her side, and that that
affection was from year to year quietly repulsed. Their domestic bearing
toward each other was now that of a quiet neutrality. They always
addressed each other in public as "my dear," and, if either of them had
died, no doubt the bereaved one would have mourned in the usual way, on
the principle of "Nil de mortuis nisi _bunkum_."

It had not occurred to Mrs. Lindon that, if more time had been spent
with her daughter in fulfilling a mother's duties toward a young girl,
there would have been less need for extraneous assistance to aid her in
her passage through the world. Nina was fond of her mother, and it was
strange that the two did not see more of each other. Nina could be a
credit to her in any social gathering, and this made it all the more
strange. But Mrs. Lindon was forever gadding about to different
institutions, Bible-readings, and other little excitements of her own
(for which Nina had no marked liking), and she seemed rather more easy
in her mind when Nina was not with her. Perhaps Mr. Lindon was not
solely at fault concerning the coolness pervading the domestic
atmosphere.

The charitable institutions had been the salvation of Mrs. Lindon--that
is, in a mundane sense. When Joseph Lindon, with characteristic method,
came home one day and said, "My dear, I have bought the Ramsay mansion,
and now I am going to spend my money," Mrs. Lindon enjoyed a pleasure
exceeding anything she had known. That was a happy day for her! The
dream of her life was to be consummated! She immediately left the small
church which she had attended for years and changed her creed slightly
to take a good pew in a certain fashionable church. After this it was
merely a question of time and money, both of which were available to any
extent. She showed great interest in charities. She contributed humbly
but lavishly. The ladies of good position who go around with
subscription-books smiled in their hearts at seeing the old game going
on. They smiled and bled her profusely. They discussed Mrs. Lindon among
themselves--with care, of course, because they did not wish to appear to
have known her before. But as time wore on they thought she could be
bled to a much greater extent if she were induced to become "a worker in
the flock," which the good lady was quite willing to do. On being
approached by some of the leading spirits, she went first to a weekly
Bible-class, which she had previously been afraid to attend because the
audience was so select, and after this she showed such an interest in
various charities that she was soon placed upon committees. By ladies
with heads for real management on their shoulders she was led to
believe that they really could not do without her mental assistance, so
that at first when she was gravely consulted on a financial question and
asked for her advice she generally eased the tension on her mind by
writing a substantial check. This led her to believe that she had
something of the financier about her, and she even told her husband that
she was beginning to quite understand all about money matters, at which
Joseph smiled an ineffable smile.

She could have been used more advantageously if she had been kept out of
the desired circle for a couple of years longer, because she was ready
to pay any price for her admission. The good ladies made a slight
mistake in being too hasty to control the bottomless purse, because,
after she had got fairly installed, the purse was worked in several
other ways, and the ecclesiastical drain on it became reduced to an
ordinary amount. She gave a fair sum to each of the charities and
accepted the attentions of those whom the odor of money attracted,
without troubling herself in the slightest degree about the periodical
financial difficulties of the institutions.

Yet she never altogether relaxed her efforts in "working for the Lord,"
as she called it, in such good company. She acquired a taste for it that
never left her. She would take a couple of the "poor but honest" ladies
of good family with her, in her sumptuous barouche, to the "Incurables"
and other places. After a capital luncheon at her house they would visit
the "Home," and sometimes kiss the poor women there; and if the
strengthening sympathy and religious value of Mrs. Lindon's kiss did not
bind them to a life of virtue ever afterward they must indeed have been
lost--in every sense of the word.

Nina was not born for some time after Mr. and Mrs. Lindon had been
married. Her mother had kept her, when a child, very much in the dark as
to their antecedents, and, as the social position of the family had
been well established by Mrs. Lindon when Nina was very young, the girl
always had grown up with the idea that she was a lady; and in spite of a
few wants in her father and some doubts as to her mother's origin, she
came out into society with a fixed idea that she was "quite good enough
for the colonies," as she laughingly told her friends.

No pains or expense had been spared in her education. She had first gone
to the best Toronto school, and had "finished" at a boarding-school in
England. Jack Cresswell knew her when she was at school, where she
shared his heart with several others. When she emerged from the
educational chrysalis and floated for the first time down a society
ball-room Jack was after the butterfly hat-in-hand, as it were, and
never as yet had he given up the chase. Mr. Lindon knew nothing of
domestic affairs, but he had found Jack so frequently at his house that
he had begun to see that his ambitious plans for his daughter were
perhaps in danger of being frustrated, and so, having at that time to
send a man to England to float the shares of some company on the London
market, he decided to go himself, and one day, when Jack was dining
there, he rather paralyzed all, especially Jack, by instructing his wife
and daughter to be ready in a week for the journey.

The parting on Jack's part would have been tender if Nina had not been
in such exasperatingly high spirits--hilarity he found it quite
impossible to participate in or appreciate. He made her excuses to
himself, like the decent soul he was, although he really suffered a good
deal. He was an ardent youth, and for the week prior to departure he
received very little of the sympathy he hungered for, but he tried to
speak cheerfully as he held her hand in saying good-by.

"Well, now, you won't forget your promise, old lady, will you?" he said,
while he tried to photograph her in his mind as she stood bewitchingly
before him.

"What! and throw over the French count that proposed to me in London?"
she said archly. Jack muttered something under his breath that sounded
like hostility toward the French count.

She heard him, however, and said: "Certainly. So we will. It will kill
him, but you will rejoice. And I will come back and marry Jack. There!
isn't it nice of me to say that? Now, kiss me and say good-by!"

She withdrew, and held the porch door so that only her face appeared,
which Jack lightly touched with his lips, and then he went away
speechless. As he went he heard her singing:

    "And I'll come back to my own true love,
    Ten thousand miles away."

This sentiment, from one of his yachting songs, smoothed the ragged edge
of his feelings. He loved in an old-fashioned way, and in his ideas as
to carrying out the due formalities of a lover's leave-taking he was
conservative even to red-tapeism, and disappointment, tenderness, anger,
and hopelessness surged through his brain as they only can in that of a
young man.

There was further tragedy in that Jack, unable to sleep at night and
despondent in the morning, must needs go down to the boat to see her
"just once more" before she left. The gangways had been hauled in and
the paddle-wheels were beginning to move. Nina was standing inside the
lower-deck bulwarks and leaned across the water to shake hands, but the
distance was too great She was in aggressively high spirits, and said to
him, as he moved along the end of the wharf, keeping pace with the boat:

"Don't you remember what your pet authoress says?"

"No," said Jack, hoping that she would say something nice to him.

"She says that a first farewell may have pathos in it, but to come back
for a second lends an opening to comedy."

Her rippling laugh smote Jack cruelly. Then she tried to soften this by
smiling and waving her hand to him as the boat swept away. Jack raised
his hat stiffly in return, and wandered back to the bank with a head
that felt as if it would split.

And this was their parting two years ago.



CHAPTER V.

    Fair goes the dancing when the sitar's tuned;
    Tune us the sitar neither low nor high,
    And we will dance away the hearts of men.

    The string o'erstretched breaks, and music flies;
    The string o'erslack is dumb, and music dies;
    Tune us the sitar neither low nor high.

        _Nautch girls' song.--The Light of Asia._ ARNOLD.


Mr. Lindon did not remain long with his family on the trip which Mrs.
Lindon thought was only to last a month or two. On arriving in England,
he transacted his business in a short time, and then proposed a run on
the Continent. By degrees he took the family on to Rome, where they made
friends at the hotel and seemed contented to remain for a while. He then
pretended to have received a cablegram, and came home by the quickest
route, having got them fairly installed in a foreign country without
letting them suspect any coercion in the matter. Afterward he wrote to
say he wished Nina to see something of England and Scotland, and, the
proposal being agreeable to Mrs. Lindon, they accepted invitations from
people they had met to pay visits in different places, so that, together
with an art course in Paris and a musical course at Leipsic, they
wandered about until nearly two years had elapsed, when they suddenly
suspected that Mr. Lindon preferred that they should be away, upon which
they returned at once.

Whether Nina came back "in love" with Jack was a question as to which he
made many endeavors to satisfy himself. The ability to live up to the
verb "to love" in all its moods and tenses is so varied, and the outward
results of the inward grace are often so ephemeral that it would be
hazardous to say what particular person is sufficiently unselfish to
experience more than a gleam of a phase that calls for all the most
beautiful possibilities. It is not merely a jingle of words to say that
one who is not minded to be single should be single-minded.

Let us pass over the difficult point and take the young lady's statement
for what it was worth. She said, of herself, that she _was_ in love with
Jack. He had extracted this from her with much insistence, while she
aggravatingly asserted at the same time, that she only made the
admission "for a quiet life," leaving Jack far from any certainty of
possession that could lead to either indifference or comfort.

Two or three proposals of marriage which she had while away had
evidently not captured her, even if they had turned her head a little.
She had seen no person she liked better than Jack or else she would not,
perhaps, have come back in the way she did. The proposals, however, if
they ever had been made, served to turn Jack's daily existence into
alternations of hot and cold shower-baths. One day she would talk about
a Russian she had met in Paris. Then she solemnly gave the history of
her walks and talks with a naval officer in Rome, till Jack's brow was
damp with a cold exudation. But when it came to the delightful
appearance of Colonel Vere, and the devotion he showed when he took her
hand and asked her to share his estates, Jack said, with his teeth
clinched, that he had had enough of the whole business--and departed. He
then spent two days of very complete misery, barometer at 28°, until she
met him and laid her hand on his arm and said she was sorry; would he
stop being a cross boy? that she had only been teasing him, and all the
rest of it; while she looked out of her soft dark eyes in a way that
left no doubt in Jack's mind that he had behaved like a brute.

In this way the first week of her return had been consumed, and as yet
he had not felt that he could afford to divide her society with anybody.
What with the rich Russian, the naval officer, and Colonel Vere--what
with getting into agonies and getting out of them--it took him pretty
nearly all his time to try to straighten matters out. So Geoffrey's
introduction had not been mentioned further by him, except to Nina, who
was becoming curious to see Jack's particular friend and Admirable
Crichton. The opportunity for this meeting seemed about to offer itself
in the shape of an entertainment where all those who remained in Toronto
during the summer would collect--one of those warm gatherings where the
oft-tried case of _pleasure vs. perspiration_ results so frequently in
an undoubted verdict for the defendant.

The Dusenalls were among those wise enough to know that in summer they
could be cooler in Toronto, at their own residence, with every comfort
about them, than they could possibly be while stewing in an American
hotel or broiling on the sands of an American seaport. They objected to
spending large sums yearly in beautifying their grounds, merely to leave
the shady walks, cool arbors, and tinkling fountains for the enjoyment
of the gardeners' wives and children. In the thickness of their mansion
walls there was a power to resist the sun which no thin wooden hotel can
possess; therefore, in spite of a fashion which is somewhat dying out,
they remained in Toronto during the hot months, and amused themselves a
good deal on young Dusenall's yacht.

Their residence was well adapted for such a party as they were now
giving, and the guests were made to understand that in the afternoon
there would be a sort of garden-party, with lawn-tennis chiefly in view,
and at dark a substantial high tea--to wind up with dancing as long as
human nature could stand the strain; and if any had got too old or too
corpulent or too dignified to play tennis, they could hardly get too
much so to look on; or, if this lacked interest, they could walk about
the lawns and gardens and converse, or, if possible, make love; or
listen to a good military band while enjoying a harmless cigarette; and
if they liked none of these things they could never have been known by
the people of whom this account is given, and thus, perhaps, might as
well never have been born.

The men, of course, played in their flannels, which a few of them
afterward changed in Charley Dusenall's rooms when there was a
suspension of hostilities for toilets. Most of them went home to dinner
and appeared later on for the dancing. People came in afternoon-dress
and remained for tea and through the evening in that attire, or else
they dropped in at the usual time in evening-dress. It did not matter.
It was all a sort of "go-as-you-please." Some girls danced in their
light tennis dresses, and others had their maids come with ball dresses.
Of course the majority came late--especially the chaperons, the heavy
fathers, starchy bank-managers, and such learned counsel as scorned not
to view the giddy whirl nor to sample the cellars of the Dusenalls.

Mrs. Lindon arrived with her daughter late in the evening, when
everything was whirling. Jack had his name down for a couple of dances,
and a few more were bestowed upon eager aspirants, and then she had no
more to give away--so sorry!--card quite filled! She told dancing fibs
in a charming manner that seemed to take away half the pang of
disappointment. This was a field-day, and the discarded ones could
receive more notice on some other, smaller occasion.

To see Jack and Nina dancing together was to see two people completely
satisfied with themselves. As a dancer, Jack "fancied himself." He had
an eye for calculating distances and he had the courage of his opinions
when he proposed to dance through a small space. As for Nina, she was
the incarnation of a waltz. Her small feet seemed as quick as the pat of
a cat's paw. In watching her the idea of exertion never seemed to
present itself. There is a pleasure in the rhythmic pulsations of the
feet and in yielding to the sensuous strains of the music (which alone
seems to be the propelling power) that is more distinctly animal than a
good many of our other pleasures; and Nina was born to dance.

At the end of Jack's first dance with her, Geoffrey came idling through
the conservatory, and entered the ball-room close beside the place where
Mrs. Lindon was seated with several other mothers. As the last bars of
the waltz were expiring, Jack brought up at what he called "the
moorings" with all the easy swing and grace of a dancer who loves his
dance. The act of stopping seemed to divide the unity in trinity
existing between his partner, himself and the music, and it was
therefore to be regretted, and not to be done harshly, but lingeringly,
if it _must_ be done, while Nina, as he released her, came forward
toward her mother with her sleeveless arms still partly hanging in the
air, and with a pretty little trip and slide on the floor, as if she
could not get the "time" out of her feet. Her head was slightly thrown
back, the eyelids were drooped, and the lips were parted with a smile of
recognition for Mrs. Lindon, while her attitude showed the curves of her
small waist to advantage; so that the first glimpse of Nina that
Geoffrey received was not an unpleasant one. She seemed to be moving
naturally and carelessly. She was only endeavoring to make the other
mothers envious, when they compared her with their own daughters. Such
wiles were part of her nature. When feeling particularly vigorous,
almost every attitude of some people is a challenge--males with their
bravery, females with their graces--and, whatever changes the future may
develop in the predilections of woman, there may for a long time be some
left to acknowledge that for them a likable man is one who is able to
assert, in a refined way, sufficient primitive force to make submission
seem like conquest rather than choice.

Jack at once introduced Geoffrey--his face beaming while he did so. He
was so proud of Nina. He was so proud of Geoffrey. Nina was blushing at
having Hampstead witness her little by-play with her mother at the
conclusion of the dance--but not displeased withal. Jack thought he had
never seen her look so beautiful. And Geoffrey was such a strapper. Jack
surveyed them both with unbounded satisfaction. He slapped Hampstead on
the arm, and tightened the sleeve of his coat over his biceps, patting
the hard limb, and saying warmly: "Here's where the secret lies, Nina!
This is what takes the prizes."

"So you are Jonathan's David, are you?" said Nina, smiling, as they
talked together.

"Well, he patronizes me a good deal," said Geoffrey. "But don't you
think he looks as if he wished to find his next partner? Suppose we give
him a chance to do so; let us go off and discuss his moral character."

He went away with Nina on his arm, leaving Jack quite radiant to see
them both so friendly.

When they arrived in the long conservatory adjoining, Geoffrey held out
his hand for her card. He did not ask for it, except perhaps by a look.
Having possessed himself of it, he found five successive dances
vacant--evidently kept for some one, and he was bold enough suddenly to
conclude they had been kept for him. He looked at the card amused, and
as he scratched a long mark across all five, he drawled, "May I have the
pleasure of--some dances?" And then he mused aloud as he examined the
card, "Don't seem to be more than five. Humph! Too bad! But perhaps we
can manage a few more, Miss Lindon?"

Nina was accustomed to distribute her favors with a reluctant hand and
with a condescension peculiarly her own, and to hear suppliant voices
around her. She would be capricious, and loved her power. Even Jack did
not count upon continued sunshine, and took what he could get with some
thanksgivings. She was a presumptive heiress, and had not escaped the
inflation of the purse-proud. But, on the other hand, since her return
she had heard a good deal about the various perfections of his friend,
and how well he did everything; and from what her girl friends said, she
had gleaned that Geoffrey was more in demand than would be confessed. He
was not very desirable financially, perhaps, but hugely so because he
was sought after. This much would have been sufficient to have made her
amused rather than annoyed at his cool way of assuming that she would
devote herself to him for an unlimited time, but there was something
more about Geoffrey than mere fashion to account for his popularity, and
that was the peculiar influence of his presence upon those with whom he
conversed.

Thus Nina, if she came to the Dusenalls with the intention of having a
flirtation with Geoffrey, which the condition of her card and her
acquiescence to his demands confessed, had hit upon a person who was far
more than her match, for Hampstead's acquaintanceships were not much
governed by rule. As long as a girl diverted him and wished to amuse
herself he had no particular creed as to consequences, but merely made
it understood--verbally, at least--that there was nothing lasting about
the matter, and that it was merely for "the temporary mutual benefit and
improvement of both parties." This was a remnant of a code of
justification by which he endeavored to patch up his self-respect; but
nobody knew better than he that such phrases mean nothing to women who
are falling in love and intend to continue in love.

Underneath the careless tones with which he spoke to Nina there was an
earnestness and concentration that influenced her. As he gravely handed
back her card and caught and held her glance with an intensity in his
gray eyes and will-power in his face, she felt, for the first time with
any man, that she was not completely at her ease. When obeying the
warning impulses that formerly fulfilled the offices of thought women do
not often make a mistake. By these intuitions, sufficient at first for
self-protection, she knew there was willfulness and mastery in him, and
that if she would be true to Jack she should return to him. If change of
masters be hurtful to women, this was the time for her to remember about
the woman who hesitates. Geoffrey said, "Let us go in and have a dance,
Miss Lindon," and she rose with a nervous smile and glanced across to
the place where her mother was sitting. But Mrs. Lindon had never been a
tower of strength to her, or she might have gone to her. She had a
distinct feeling that this new acquaintance was more powerful in some
way than she had anticipated, and that everything was not all right with
Jack's interests, and she was at one of those moments when a woman's
ability to decide is so peculiarly the essence of her character,
circumstances, and teaching as fairly to indicate her general moral
level. Goethe tells us "to first understand"; but if we can not know the
extent of Geoffrey's influence, or how far her unknown French lineage
assisted temptation, we would better leave judgment alone. Geoffrey said
something in her ear about the music being delicious. She listened for a
moment and longed for a dance with him. Rubbish! only a dance, after
all! And the next moment she was circling through the ball-room with his
arm around her.

The band that played at the Dusenalls' was one that could be listened to
with pleasure. It was composed of bottle-nosed Germans who worked at
trades during the day and who played together generally for their own
amusement. In all they played they brought out the soul of the movement.
It was to one of the dreamiest of waltzes that Nina danced with
Geoffrey--one of those pieces where from softer cadences the air swells
into rapturous triumph, or sinks into despair, and wooes the dancer into
the most unintellectual and pleasant frame of mind--if the weather be
not too warm.

A cool night breeze was passing through the room, bringing with it the
fragrance of the dewey flowers outside, and carrying off the odor of
those nauseating tube-roses (which people _will_ wear), and replacing it
with a perfume more acceptable to gods and men--especially men.

If Jack "fancied himself" as a dancer, Geoffrey had a better right to do
so. His stature aided him also, and men with retreating chins were
rather inclined to give him the road. He had a set look about the lower
part of his face which in crowds was an advantage to him. It suggested
some _vis major_--perhaps a locomotive, which no one cares to encounter.

In two minutes after they had embarked on this hazardous voyage Nina had
but one idea, or rather she was conscious of a pervading sense of
pleasure, that ran away with her calmer self. No thought of anything
definite was with her, only a vague consciousness of turning and
floating, of being admired, of being impelled by music and by Geoffrey.
As the dance went on it seemed like some master power that led through
the mazes delightfully and resistlessly.

When the music ended, for they had never stopped, she sighed with
sorrow. It had been too short. She had yielded herself so completely to
its fascination that she seemed like one awakening from a dream. And
then her conscience smote her when she thought of Jack, and how in some
way she had enjoyed herself too much, and did not seem to be quite the
same girl that she had been half an hour before; but these thoughts left
her as they walked about and spoke a few words together. While circling
the long room she noticed Geoffrey bowing to a tall young lady whose
long white silk train swept behind her majestically. There was a respect
and gravity in his bow which Nina, with her quick observation, noticed.

"Who is that you are bowing to?" she asked.

"That is Miss Margaret Mackintosh."

"Oh, I think she is perfectly lovely," said Nina, as she looked back
admiringly.

"So do I," said Geoffrey.

Nina turned about now with curiosity, in order to meet her again. Miss
Mackintosh came down the room once more with a partner who was one of
the very young persons who now are the dancing men in Toronto--called
the "infants" by a lady (still unwon) who remembers when there were
marriageable men to be found dancing at parties. This detrimental with
Miss Mackintosh was having an enjoyable time of it. What with the beauty
of his partner, her stately figure, gracious manner, and the rapidity
with which she talked to him, the little man did not quite know where he
was, and he could do little else than turn occasionally and murmur
complete acquiescence in what she was saying, while he sometimes glanced
at her active face for a moment. In doing this, though, he would lose
the thread of her discourse, in consequence of his unfeigned admiration,
and, as he was straining every nerve to follow her quick ideas, this was
a risky thing to do. Once or twice, seeing him turn toward her so
attentively, she turned also and said, "Don't you think so?" and then
the little man would endeavor to mentally pull himself together, and
with some appearance of deep thought would again acquiesce with unction.
Certainly he thought he did think so--every time.

The close scrutiny of Hampstead and Nina did not seem to affect her as
she passed them with her face unlifted and earnest. She did not seem to
have any side eyes open to see who were regarding her. When the handsome
dress that had made such a cavern in her allowance money was trodden on,
she gathered it up with an active movement--not seeming to notice the
unpleasantness, nor for a moment abating the earnestness of her
conversation. Her idea seemed to be to prevent the dress from
interrupting her rather than to save it. One could see that, once on,
the dress was perhaps not thought of again, that it was not the main
part of her pleasure, but was lost in her endeavor to make herself
agreeable, and in this way to enjoy herself.

"I am sure she must have a very kind heart," said Nina, smiling.

"Why?" asked Geoffrey.

"Because she takes so much trouble over such a poor specimen of a man."

"Perhaps, as Douglas Jerrold said, she belongs to the Royal Humane
Society," added Geoffrey.

As Nina could not remember being acquainted with any Mr. Jerrold, the
remark lost some of its weight. The true inwardness of the old wit that
comes down to us in books is our knowledge of the reputation of the
joker.

"And does she dance well?" asked Nina.

"No," said Geoffrey, as he still looked after Miss Mackintosh with grave
and thoughtful eyes. "I don't think she has in her enough of what
Goethe calls the 'dæmonic element' of our nature to dance well."

"Not very complimentary, to those who can dance well," said Nina, archly
pointing to herself.

Geoffrey shrugged his shoulders, as he looked at his partner. "Some
people prefer the dæmonic element," said he. But he turned again from
the rose to the tall, white lily, who was once more approaching them,
with something of a melancholy idea in his mind that men like him ought
to confine themselves entirely to the rose, and not aspire above their
moral level. Margaret Mackintosh was the one person he revered. She was
the symbol to him of all that was good and pure. He had almost forgotten
what these words meant, but the presence of Margaret always
re-interpreted the lost language.

"And do you admire her very much?" Nina inquired.

"I admire her more than any person I ever saw."

Sooner or later, it would have gone hard with Geoffrey for making this
speech, if he had been any one else. But it occurred to Nina that he did
not care whether she took offense or not. He was leaning against the
wall, apparently oblivious, for the moment, to any of her ideas, charms,
or graces, but looking, withal, exceedingly handsome, and a thought came
to her which should not come to an engaged young lady. She made up her
mind that she would make him care for her a great deal and then would
snub him and marry Jack.

The music commenced again.

"Come now," said Nina, gayly, "and try a little more of the dæmonic
element."

Geoffrey turned to her quickly, and his face flushed as, to quote
Shakespeare's sonnet, "his bad angel fired his good one out." He saw in
her face her intention to subjugate him, and knew that he had
accidentally paved the way for this new foolish notion of hers by his
candid admiration of Miss Mackintosh.

"Have you any of it to spare?" said he, as his arm encircled her for the
dance.

No verbal answer was given, but they floated away among the dancers.
Here she forgot her slight feelings of resentment and retained only the
desire to attract him, without further wish to punish him afterward. A
few turns around the room, and she was in as much of a whirl as she had
been before. They danced throughout the music--almost without ceasing;
and when it ended she unconsciously leaned, upon his arm, as they
strolled off together, almost as if she were tired. The thought of how
she was acting came to her, only it came now as an intruder. A usurper
reigned with sovereign sway, and Right was quickly ousted on his
approach. A little while ago, and the power to decide, for Jack or
against him, was more evenly balanced; but now, how different! She was
wandering on with no other impulse than the indefinite wish to please
Geoffrey. If she had been a man, sophisms and excuses might have
occurred to her. But it was not her habit to analyze self much, and even
sophisms require _some_ thought.

They passed through the conservatory and out to the broad walk of
pressed gravel, where several couples were promenading. Here they walked
up and down once or twice in the cool breeze that seemed delicious after
the invisible dust of the ball-room. Nina was saying nothing, but
leaning on his arm, and it seemed to her that his low, deep tones
vibrated through her--as a sympathetic note sometimes makes glass
ring--as if in echo.

Geoffrey was pondering where all the pride and self-assertion had gone
to in this girl who now seemed so trustful and docile. Even her answers
seemed mechanical and vague, as if she were in some way bewildered.

Jack, in the mean time, was elbowing his way through a crowd, trying to
get one of his partners something to eat. He was the only person likely
to notice her absence, and this he did not do, and, as Geoffrey was down
for five dances, he knew no others would be looking for her. So he
walked on past the end of the terrace, and, descending some steps,
proceeded farther till they came to more steps leading down into a path
dark with overhanging trees. Nina hesitated, and said she was always
afraid to go among dark trees, but Geoffrey said, "Oh, I'll take care of
you." Then she thought it was pleasant to have an athlete for a
protector, and she glanced at his strong face and frame with confidence.
She no longer went with him as she had danced, with her mind in a whirl,
but peacefully and calmly, with no other thought than to be with him. He
took her hand as they descended the stairs, and, though she shrank a
little from a proceeding new to her, it seemed natural enough, and gave
her a sense of protection in the dark paths. It did not occur to her
that she could have done without it. She did not notice their silence.
Geoffrey, too, thought it pleasant enough in the balmy air without
conversation. He was interested by her beauty and her sudden partiality
for him.

At length he stopped in one of the distant paths as they came to a seat
between the trunks of two large trees. Here they sat down at opposite
sides of the seat, and Geoffrey leaned back against the tree beside him.
The leaves on the overhanging boughs quivered in the light of the moon,
and the delicate perfume in the air spoke of flower-beds near by. He
thought it extremely pleasant here, and he laid his head back against
the tree beside him to listen to the tinkling of the fountain and to
enjoy the scent-laden night air. An idea was still with him that this
was the girl Jack was engaged to, and he thought it would be as well to
keep that idea before him. He said to himself that he liked Jack, and
thought he was very considerate, under the circumstances, for his friend
when he took out a little silver case and suggested that he would like a
cigarette.

Nina did not answer him. She was in some phase of thought in which
cigarettes had no place, and only looked toward him slowly, as if she
had merely heard the sound of his voice and not the words. He selected
from the case one of those innocuous tubes of rice-paper and
prairie-grass, and, as he did so, the absent look on her face seemed
peculiar. With a fuse in one hand and the cigarette in the other, he
paused before striking a light, and they looked at each other for a
moment as he thought of stories he had read of one person's influence
over another. Like many, he had a general curiosity about strange phases
of mankind, and it occurred to him that Nina would make an interesting
subject for experiment. Presently he said, in resonant tones, deep and
musical:

"Do you like to be here, Nina?"

She did not seem to notice that he called her by this familiar name, but
she stood up and remained silently gazing at the moon through a break in
the foliage. Her beauty was sublimated by the white light, and, as
Geoffrey took a step towards her, he forgot about his cigarette, and,
taking both her hands in his, he repeated his question two or three
times before she answered. Then she turned impetuously.

"Oh, why do you make me do everything that is wrong? I should not be
here. I should never have spoken to you. I was afraid of you from the
first moment I saw you."

Geoffrey led her by one hand back to the seat.

"Now answer me. Do you like to be here--with me, Nina?"

She looked at the moon and at the ground and all about, but remained
mute and apparently pondering.

He had forgotten Jack now as well as the cigarette, and was rapidly
losing the remembrance that this was to be merely a scientific
experiment.

"Your silence makes me all the more impatient. I will know now. Do you
like to be here, Nina?"

A new earnestness in his tone thrilled her and made her tremble. She
turned with a sudden impulse, as if something had made her reckless:

"You are forcing me to answer you," she said vehemently, as she looked
at him with a constrained, though affectionate expression in her eyes.
"But I will tell you if I die for it. Oh, I am so wicked to say so, but
I must. You make me. Oh, now let us go into the house."

Geoffrey's generous intention to act rightly by Jack departed from him,
and for a moment he drew her toward him, saying that she must not care
too much for being there, "because, you know," he said, "this is only a
little flirtation, and is quite too good to last."

She seemed not to be listening to him, but to be thinking; and after a
moment she said, in long drawn out, sorrowful accents:

"Oh--poor--Jack!"

Something in the slow, melancholy way she said this, and the thought of
the poor place that Jack certainly held at the present time in her
affections, struck Geoffrey as irresistibly amusing, and he laughed
aloud in an unsympathetic way, which presented him to her in a new
light, and she sprang from him at once. Her emotion turned to anger as
she thought that the laugh had been derisive, and her blood boiled to
think he could bring her here to laugh at her after he had succeeded in
winning her so completely.

"Come into the house at once," she cried. "I can't go in alone even if I
knew the way."

Geoffrey rose and begged her pardon, assuring her that nothing but the
peculiarity of her remark had caused his laugh.

"I will not stay here another instant. If you don't come at once I'll
find my way alone." And she stamped her foot upon the ground.

Hampstead did not like to be stamped at, and his face altered. As long
as she had been facile and pleasing, a sense of duty toward her and Jack
had made him considerate. It had seemed to him while sitting there that
this girl was his; and the sense of possession had made him kind, but
now that she seemed to vex him unnecessarily it appeared to him like a
denial of his influence. The idea of the experiment suddenly returned,
together with a sense of power and a desire to compel submission which
displaced his wish to be considerate. He sat down on the seat again
facing her and said:

"I want you to come here." He motioned to the seat beside him.

"I won't go near you. I hate you! I'll run in by myself."

"You can not run away--because I wish you to come here."

Hampstead said this in a measured way, and his brow seemed to knot into
cords as he concentrated his will-power. His face bore an unpleasant
expression. A quarter of a minute passed and she stood trembling and
fascinated; and before another half-minute had elapsed she came very
slowly forward, and approached him with the expression of her face
changed into one of enervation. Her eyes were dilated, and her hands
hung loosely at her sides. Hampstead saw, with some consternation, that
she had become like something else, that she looked very like a
mad-woman. A shock went through him as he looked at her--not knowing how
the matter might terminate. He saw that she was mesmerized--an automaton
moved by his will only. The combined flirtation and experiment had gone
further than he had intended, and the result was startling--especially
as the possibility that she might not recover flashed through his mind.
The power he had been wielding (which receives much cheap ridicule from
very learned men who would fain deny what they can not explain) suddenly
seemed to him to be a devilish one, and he felt that he had done
something wrong. He had not intended it. An idea had seized him, and he
was merely concentrating a power which he unconsciously used almost
every hour of his life. He considered what ought to be done to bring her
back to a normal state. Not knowing anything better to do, he walked her
about quickly, speaking to her, a little sharply, so as to rouse her.

Then, by telling her to wake up, and by asking her simple questions and
requiring an answer, he succeeded in bringing her back to something like
her usual condition. When she quite knew where she was, she thought she
must have fainted. All her anger was gone, and Geoffrey, to give the
devil his due, felt sorry for her. It had been an interesting
episode--something quite new to him in a scientific way--but uncanny.
She still looked to him as if for protection, and she would have wept
had he not warned her how she would appear in the ball-room. "Oh, Mr.
Hampstead, you have treated me cruelly," she said. Geoffrey felt that
this was true enough.

"It was all my own fault, though. I do not blame you. You have taught me
a great deal to-night. I seem to know, somehow, your best and your
worst, and what a man can be."

She leaned upon his arm, partly from weakness and partly because she
felt that, good or bad, he was master, and that she liked to lean upon
him. The movement touched Geoffrey with compassion. Having nothing to
offer in return, it distressed him to notice her affection, which he
knew would only bring her unhappiness. He tried, therefore, to say
something to remove the impressions that had come to her.

"You speak of good and bad in me," he said quickly. "Now I think you are
so much in my confidence that I can trust you in what I am going to say.
Don't believe that there is any good in me. I tell you the truth now
because I am sorry that we have been so foolish to-night. There is no
good in me. It is all--the other thing."


Nina shuddered--feeling as if he had spoken the truth but that it was
already too late for her to listen to it.

He took her back into the house, smiling and pleasant to those about
him, as if nothing had occurred, and left her with Mrs. Lindon.

But he did not go to find Margaret Mackintosh again. He went home
somewhat excited, and smoked four or five pipes of tobacco. At first he
was regretful, for he knew he had been doing harm. He said he was a
whimsical fool. But after a couple of "night-caps" he began to think how
picturesque she had looked in the moonlight, and he afterward dropped
off into as dreamless and undisturbed a sleep as the most virtuous may
enjoy.



CHAPTER VI.

                                    For in her youth
    There is a prone and speechless dialect,
    Such as moves men; besides, she hath prosperous art,
    When she will play with reason and discourse,
    And well she can persuade.

                                      _Measure for Measure._


If anybody had stated that Geoffrey Hampstead was a scoundrel, he would
have had grounds for his opinion. As he did not attempt to palliate his
own misdeeds, nobody will do so for him. He repudiated the idea of being
led into wrong-doing, or driven into it by outside circumstances.
Whatever he did, he liked to do thoroughly, and of his own accord. When
Nature lavishes her gifts, much ability for both good and evil is
usually part of the general endowment; and, although, perhaps, if we
knew more, all wrong-doing would receive pity, Geoffrey possessed a
knowledge of results that tends to withdraw compassion. But he had
overstepped the mark when he had told Nina there was no good in him.
Even his own statement reminded him how few things there are about which
a sweeping assertion can be made with truth. He grew impatient to find
that so many people do not hold opinions--that their opinions hold them;
and when the good equalities of a person under discussion met with no
consideration he invariably spoke of them. He had a good word to say for
most people, and no lack of courage to say it, and thus he gave
impression of being fair-minded, which made men like him. He had the
compassion for the faulty which seems to appear more frequently in those
whose lives have been by no means without reproach than among the
strictest followers of religions which claim charity as their own. He
thought he realized that consciousness of virtue does not breed so much
true compassion as consciousness of sin; and a young clergyman of his
acquaintance found that his arguments as to the utility of sin in the
world were very shocking and difficult to answer.

Thus he alternated between good and evil, very much in the ordinary way,
with only these differences, that his good seemed more disinterested and
his evil more pronounced than with most people. The good which he did
was done without the bargaining hope of future compensation, and
therefore seemed more commendable. On the other hand, as he had almost
forgotten what the idea of hell was, he was not forced to brave those
consequences which, if some believe as they profess, must render their
deliberate wrong-doing almost heroic.

What should a man be called who had in him these combinations? Too good
to be either a Quilp or a Jonas Chuzzlewit, and much too bad to resemble
any of the spotless heroes of fiction. It will settle the matter with
those who are intolerant of distinctions and who do not examine into
mixtures of good and evil outside their own range of life to have it
understood and agreed that he was a thoroughpaced scoundrel. This will
place us all on a comfortable footing.

Some days after the Dusenalls' entertainment Geoffrey was strolling
along King Street when he caught sight of Margaret Mackintosh coming
along the street with quiet eyes observant. She walked with a long,
elastic step, which seemed to speak of the buoyancy of her heart.

Geoffrey walked slower, so that he might enjoy the beauty of her
carriage, and the charm of her presence as she recognized him. It seemed
to him that no one else could convey so much in a bow as she could. With
the graceful inclination of the head came the pleasure of recognition
and a quick intelligence that lighted up her face. It was the bow of a
princess, as we imagine it; not, it will be remembered, as Canada has
experienced it. A nobility and graciousness in her face and figure made
men feel that she had a right to condescend to them. Innocence was not
the chief characteristic of her face. However attractive, innocence is a
poetic name for ignorance--the ignorance which has been canonized by the
Romish faith, and has thus produced all the insipid virgins and heroines
of the old masters and writers. She did not show that pliable, ductile,
often pretty ignorance, supposedly sanctified by the name of innocence,
which has been the priestly ideal of beauty for at least nineteen
hundred years--perhaps always.

Hers was a good face, with a sweet, firm, generous mouth, possibly
passionate, and already marked by sympathetic suffering from such human
ills as she understood. She seemed to have nothing to hide, and she was
as free and open as the day, and as fresh as the dawn; and a large part
of the charm she had for all men lay in the fact that her self-respect
was so assured to her that she had forgotten all about it. She had none
of that primness which, is the outcome of an attempt to conceal the
fact, that knowledge of which one is ashamed is continually uppermost in
the mind.

As soon as her eye rested on Geoffrey, it lighted up with that marvelous
quickness which is the attribute of rapidly-thinking people. In a flash
her mind apparently possessed itself of all she had ever known of him.
Five or six little things to say came tumbling over each other to her
lips, as she held out her long gloved hand in greeting. Even Hampstead
felt that her quick approach, earnest manner, and the way she looked
straight at him almost disconcerted him; but he had thought to wait till
she spoke to him to see what she would say. And she thought he would
speak first, so a little pause occurred for an instant that would have
been slightly awkward had they not both been young and very good-looking
and much interested in each other.


"And how are you?" said she heartily, as they shook hands. The pause
might have continued as far as either of them cared. They were
self-possessed persons--these two.

"Oh, I am pretty well, thank you," said Geoffrey, without hastening to
continue the conversation.

"And particularly well you look. Never saw you look better," said
Margaret.

Geoffrey made a deep bow, extending the palms of his hands toward her
and downward in reverent Oriental pantomime, as one who should say:
"Your slave is humbly glad to please, and dusts your path with his
miserable body."

"And what brought you into town to-day?" said he, as he turned and
walked with her. "Not the giddy delight of walking on King Street, I
hope?"

"That was my only idea, I will confess. Home was dull, and I was tired
of reading. Mother was busy and father was away somewhere; so I came out
for a walk. Yes, King Street was my only hope. No, by the way--I had an
excuse. I have been looking for a house-maid. None to be had though."

"Don't find one," said Geoffrey. "Just come out every day to look for
one. I know several fellows who would hunt house-maids with you forever
if they got the chance."

"Ah! they never dare to say that to me. They might get snapped up. Yet
it is hard to only receive compliments by deputy, like this. Do they
intend that, after all, I shall die an old maid? And your banks friends
are such excellent _partis_! are they not?"

"They are," said Geoffrey. "At least, they would be if they had a house
to put a wife into--to say nothing of the maid."

"Talking of house-maids," said Margaret, "I just met Mrs.
whats-her-name--you know, the little American with the German name; and
she had just discharged one of her maids. She said to me, 'You know I
have just one breakfast--ice-cold water and a hot roll; sometimes a
pickle. Sarah said I'd kill myself, and in spite of everything I could
say she _would_ load the table with tea or coffee and stuff I don't
want. 'Last I got mad and I walked in with her wages up to date. I said,
'Sarah I guess we had better part. You don't fill the bill.' I told her
I would try and get Sarah myself, as I didn't object to her ideas in the
matter of breakfasts. I have been looking for her and wanting some nice
person to help me to find her. What are you doing this afternoon? Won't
you come and help me to find Sarah?" This, with a little pretense of
_implorando_.

"If you think I 'fill the bill' as 'a nice person' nothing would give me
greater pleasure. Sarah will be found. No, I have nothing in particular
on hand to-day. I was going to the gymnasium to have a fellow pummel me
with the gloves. I am certain I have received more headaches and
nose-bleedings in learning how to defend myself with my hands than one
would receive in being attacked a dozen times in earnest."

"Well, now would be a good time to stop taking further lessons," said
Margaret. "Why do you give yourself so much trouble?"

"Oh, for the exercise, I suppose, or the prestige of being a boxer.
Keeps one's person sacred, in a manner; and among young men serves to
give more weight to the expression of one's opinions. I think it is a
mistake, though, as far as I am concerned. Nature made me speedy on my
feet, and when the time comes I'll use her gift instead of the
artificial one."

"I have heard it said that it is much wiser for a gentleman to run from
a street fight than to stay in it--that the fact of his not using his
feet as a means of attack in a fight always places him at a
disadvantage. Could you not learn the manly art of kicking, as well?"

"What a murderous notion!" exclaimed Geoffrey. "I don't think that
branch of self-defense is taught in the schools. It reminds one of a
duel with axes. For my part, I think that hunting Sarah is much more
improving. That is, if one did not have blood-thirsty ideas put into his
head on the way."

And Margaret looked so gentle and pacific.

"I always think a very interesting subject like this should be thought
out carefully," said she, smiling.

If she could not talk well on all subjects, she was a boon to those who
could only talk on _one_--to those who resemble a ship with only one
sail to keep them going--slow to travel on, but capable of teaching
something, and not to be despised.

With her tall figure, classic face, and blonde hair, Margaret Mackintosh
was a vision; but when she came, with large-pupiled eyes, in quest of
knowledge, even grave and reverend seigniors were apt to forget the
information she asked for. University-degree young men, the most
superior of living creatures, soon understood that she sought for what
they had learned, and not for themselves; and this demeanor on her part,
while it tended to disturb the nice balance in which the weight of their
mental talents was accurately poised against that of their physical
fascinations, went to make friends and not lovers.

There was one person, however, to whose appearance she was not
indifferent; who always suggested to her the Apollo Belvedere, and gave
her an increased interest in the Homer of arts, whereas the vigorous
life, heroic resolve, and shapely perfection of the ancient hero meet
with but little response in women who exist with difficulty. She was
perhaps entitled, by a sort of natural right, to expect that a masculine
appearance should approach that grade of excellence of which she was
herself an example.

"Do you know," she continued, as they proceeded up Yonge Street, "just
before I met you I passed such a horrible young man, with long arms
reaching almost to his knees and a little face. He made me quite
uncomfortable. It's all very well to believe in our evolution as an
abstract idea; but an experience like this brings the conviction home to
one's mind altogether too vividly. It was quite a relief to meet you.
You always look so--in fact, so different from that sort of person,
don't you know?"

She nearly said he looked so like her Apollo, but did not.

Geoffrey smiled. "There are times when the idea seems against common
sense," said he, with a short glance at her.

"Ah! you intend that for me. But you are almost repeating father's
remark. You know he is a confirmed follower of the theory. A few days
ago he said that the only thing he had against you was that you upset
his studies. He says you ought to hire out to the special-creationists
to be used as their clinching argument. So you see what it is to be an
Ap--"

She stopped.

"Ah! you were going to say something severe, then," said Geoffrey. "Just
as well, though, to snub me sometimes. I don't mind it if nobody knows
of it. But, about your father? Do you assist him in his studies?"

"I don't know that I assist him much. He does the hardest part of the
work, and then has to explain it all to me. But I read to him a good
deal when his eyes trouble him. After procuring a new book on the
subject he never rests till he has exhausted it. We often worry through
it together, taking turns at the reading. We have just finished
Haeckel's last. We are wild about Haeckel."

"Yes, there is something very spiritual and orthodox about him," said
Geoffrey. "And now that you must have got about as far as you can at
present, how does the theory affect you?"

"Not at all, except to make me long to know more. If one could live to
be two hundred years old, would it not be delightful?" said Margaret,
looking far away up the street in front of her.

"But as to your religion?" asked Geoffrey. "Do you find that it makes
any difference?"

"I don't think I was ever a very religious person," she replied,
mistaking the word religious for 'churchy.' "I never was christened, nor
confirmed, nor taught my catechism, nor anything of that sort. Nobody
ever promised that I should renounce the devil and all his works, and
so--and so I suppose I never have."

She looked at Geoffrey with the round eyes of guilelessness, slightly
mirthful, as if, while deprecating this wretched state, she could still
enjoy life.

Her companion could scarcely look away from her. There was such a
combination of knowledge and purity and all-round goodness in her face
that it fascinated him and induced him to say gravely:

"Indeed, one might have almost supposed that you had enjoyed these
benefits from your earliest youth."

"No," she answered, "I have been neglected in church matters. Who knows?
Perhaps, if I had been different, father and I would never have been
such companions. I never remember his going to church, although he pays
his pew-rent for mother and me to go. He is afraid people would call him
an atheist, you know, and no man cares about being despised or looked
upon as peculiar in that way. He says that as long as he pays his
pew-rent the good people will let him alone. As for mother, I hardly
know what her belief is now. She is mildly contemptuous of evolution;
chiefly, I think, because she does not know, or care anything about it.
She says the creed she was brought up in is quite enough for her, and if
she can keep the dust _out_ of the house and contentment _in_ it she
will do more than most people and fullfil the whole duty of woman. I
don't think she likes to be cross-questioned about her particular
tenets, which really seem to be sufficient for her, except when she is
worried over a new phase of the old family lawsuit, and then she
oscillates between pugnacity and resignation. So you see I was left
pretty much to myself as to assuming any belief that I might care
about."

"And what belief did you come to care about?" he asked, feeling
interested.

"Well, father seems to think that the most dignified attitude of our
ignorance is a respectful silence; but, as you have asked which belief I
_care about_, I can answer frankly that I like best going to church and
saying my prayers. It is so much more pleasant and comfortable to try to
think our prayers are heard, for, as mother says, reason and logic are
poor outlets for emotion when the lawsuit goes wrong. With our
information as it is, our conclusions seem to depend on whether we have
or have not in us the spirit of research. They tell me in the churches
that, being unregenerate, my heart is desperately wicked, and, as I have
nothing but a little bad temper now and then to reproach myself with, I
do not agree with them. On the contrary, I always feel that my life
rather tends to lead me toward believing--or, at any rate, does not make
me prejudiced. I like to believe that God watches over and cares for us.
There being no proof or disproof of the matter, I would find it as
difficult, by way of reasoning, to altogether disbelieve as to
altogether believe."

"Then you make evolution a part of your religion?" asked Geoffrey.

Margaret had been brought up in an advanced latter-day school. All the
unrecognized passion within her had gone out in quest of knowledge,
which her father had taught her to regard as a source of quiet
happiness, or at least as comforting to the soul during the maturer
years as an intricate knowledge of crochet and quilt work. When she took
to her bosom the so-called dry-as-dust facts of science she clothed them
in a sort of spirituality. Even slipper-working for a married curate has
been known to stir the pulses, and, though she knew that when the
objects of our enthusiasm seem to glow it is unsafe to say whether the
glow is not merely the reflection of our own fervor, she regarded the
lately dug-up facts of science somewhat as if they were mines of
long-hidden coal, capable of use and possessed of intrinsic warmth. Her
face brightened with all the enthusiasm of a devotee as she answered
Geoffrey's question.

"Indeed, yes. The new knowledge seems like the backbone of my religion.
I often sit in church and think what a blessed privilege it is to be
permitted to know even as little as we do about God's plan of creation."

She joined her hands before her quickly as she walked along, forgetful
of all but the idea that enchained her. Her face showed the devotion
seen in some old pictures of early saints, but it was too capable and
animated to be the production of any of the old masters.

"Oh, it is grand to know even a little!" she exclaimed; "to think that
this is God's plan, and that bit by bit we are allowed to unravel it! Is
it not true that we acquire knowledge as we are able to receive it? Did
not the ruder people receive the simple laws which Moses learned in
Egypt? and did not Christianity expand those laws by teaching the
religion of sympathy? These are historical facts. Why, then, should we
not regard evolution as an advanced gospel, the gospel of the knowledge
of God's works, to bind us more closely to him from our admiration of
the excellence of his handiwork--as a father might show his growing son
how his business is carried on, and how beautiful things are made? Of
course, one may reply that all the discoveries do not show that there is
a God. Perhaps they don't; but I try to think they do. I never have been
able to find that verbal creeds do much toward making us what we are.
The gloomy distort Christ's life to prove the necessity for sorrow; the
joyous do just the opposite. The naturally cruel practice their cruelty
in the name of religion. Though all start with perhaps the same words on
their lips, each individual in reality makes his religion for himself
according to his nature. Look at the difference between Guiteau and
Florence Nightingale. They both had the same creeds."

Hampstead was silent.

"I know that my religion might not suffice for others, because it has no
terrors, but to me it is compelling. When I turn it all over more
minutely, the beauty of the thoughts seems to carry me away. Let those
whose brittle creeds are broken grope about in their gloom, if they
will. To me it is glorious first to try to understand things, and then
to praise God for his marvelous works."

Margaret grew more intense in her utterance as her subject grew upon
her. They had turned off on a quiet street some time before, so there
was nothing to interrupt her. As her earnestness gave weight to her
voice, the words came out more fervently and more melodiously. Both her
hands were raised, in an unconscious gesture, while the words welled
forth with a depth and force impossible to describe.

Geoffrey walked on in silence.

He thought of the passage, "I came not to call the righteous, but
sinners to repentance," and he wondered whether Christ would have
thought that such as Margaret stood in need of any further faith. The
shrine of Understanding was the only one she worshiped at, arguing, as
she did, that from a proper understanding and true wisdom followed all
the goodness of the Christ-life. He became conscious of a vague regret
within him that he had, as he thought, passed those impressionable
periods when a man's beliefs may be molded again. There was a distinct
longing to participate in the assurance and joy which any kind of fixed
faith is capable of producing. The Byronic temperament was not absent
from him. He was keenly susceptible to anything--either moral or
immoral--which called upon his ideality; and these ideas of Margaret's,
although he had thought of them before, seemed new to him.

"It seems strange," he said musingly, "to hear of some of the most
learned men of the day erecting an altar similar to that which Paul
found at Athens 'to the unknown God,' and to find them impelled to
worship something which they speak of as unknown and unknowable."

"And yet," she answered, "it is the work of some of these very men, and
their predecessors, that gives the light and life to the religion which
I, for one, find productive of comfort and enthusiasm. One can
understand the practicability of a heaven where a gradual acquisition of
the fullness of knowledge could be a joyful and everlasting occupation;
and I think a religion to fit us for such a heaven should, like the
Buddhist's, strive to increase our knowledge instead of endeavoring to
stifle it. What is there definitely held out as reward by religions to
make men improve? As far as I can see, there is nothing definite
promised, except in Buddhism perhaps, which men with active minds would
care to accept. But knowledge! knowledge! This is what may bring an
eternity of active happiness. Here is a vista as delightful as it is
boundless. Surely in this century, we have less cause to call God
altogether 'unknown' than had the men of Athens. In the light of
omniscience the difference may be slight indeed, but to us it is great.
I do hope," she added, "that what I have said does not offend any of
your own religious convictions."

"I have none," said Geoffrey simply; "and it is very good of you to tell
me so much about yourself. I have been wanting something of the kind.
You know Bulwer says, 'No moral can be more impressive than that which
shows how a man may become entangled in his own sophisms.' He says it is
better than a volume of homilies; and it is difficult sometimes, after a
course of reading mixed up with one's own vagaries, to judge as to one's
self or others from a sufficiently stable standpoint. You always seem to
give me an intuitive knowledge of what good really is, and to tell me
where I am in any moral fog."

They walked on together for some little distance further when Margaret
stopped and began to look up and down the street.

"Why, where are we?" she said. "What street is this?"

"I can not help you with the name of the street. I supposed we were
approaching the domicile of Sarah. We are now in St. John's Ward, I
think, and unless Sarah happens to be a colored person you are not
likely to find her in this neighborhood."

"Dear me," said Margaret, as she descended from considering the possible
occupations of the heavenly host to those usual in St. John's Ward, "I
have not an idea where we are. We must have come a long distance out of
our way. It is your fault for doing all the talking."

"On the contrary, Miss Margaret, I have been unable to get a word in
edgewise."

The search for Sarah was abandoned, and they wended their way toward
Margaret's home, the conversation passing to other subjects and to Nina
Lindon, whom they discussed in connection with the ball at the
Dusenalls'.

"They certainly seem very devoted, do they not?" said Margaret,
referring to Jack Cresswell also.

"Yes, their attachment for each other is quite idyllic," said Geoffrey,
lapsing into his cynical speech, "which is as it should be. I did not
see them much together, as I left early."

"I noticed your absence, at least I remembered afterward not having seen
you late in the evening, but, as you take such an interest in your
friend, you should have stayed longer, if only to see the very happy
expression on his face. You know she is spoken of as being the _belle_,
and certainly he ought to be proud of her, as the attention she
attracted was so very marked. I thought her appearance was charming.
They seemed to make an exception to the rule among lovers that one loves
and the other submits to be loved."

"I am glad to hear you say this," said Geoffrey, as he silently
reflected as to the cause of Nina's return to do her duty in a way that
would tend to ease her conscience. "Jack is worthy of the best of girls.
Have you ever called upon the Lindons?"

"No, not yet. But Mr. Cresswell spoke to me about Miss Lindon and said
he would like me to know her. So I said we would call. I am afraid,
however, that mother will complain at the length of her visiting list
being increased. She will have to be coaxed into this call to please
me."

"Jack cherishes an idea that Miss Lindon, he, and I will become a trio
of good friends," said Geoffrey. "Now, if anything could be done to make
it a quartette, if you would consent to make a fourth, Miss Margaret, I
am certain the new arrangement would be more satisfactory to all
parties, especially so to me considered as one of the trio. A
gooseberry's part is fraught with difficulties."

"The more the merrier, no doubt, in this case. Numbers will release you
from your responsibilities. I have myself two or three friends that
would make excellent additions to the quartette. There's Mr. Le Fevre,
of your bank, and also Mr.--"

"Ah, well!" said Geoffrey, interrupting. "Let us consider. I don't think
that it was contemplated to make a universal brotherhood of this
arrangement. If there are to be any more elected I should propose that
the male candidates should be balloted for by the male electors only,
and that additional lady members should be disposed of by their own sex
only. Let me see. In the event of a tie in voting, the matter might be
left to a general meeting to be convened for consultation and ice-cream,
and, if the candidate be thrown out by a majority, the proposer should
be obliged to pay the expenses incurred by the conclave."

"That seems a feasible method," said Margaret. "Although I tell you, if
we girls do not have the right men, there will be trouble. And now we
ought to name the new society. What do you say to calling it 'An
Association for the Propagation of Friendly Feeling among Themselves'?"

"Limited," added Geoffrey, thinking that the membership ought to be
restricted.

"Oh, limited, by all means," cried Margaret. "I should rather think so.
Limited in finances, brains, and everything else. And then the rules!
Politics and religion excluded, of course, as in any other club?"

"Well, I don't mind those so much as discussions of millinery and
dress-making. These should be vetoed at any general meeting."

"Excuse me. These are subjects that come under the head of art, and
ought to be permissible to any extent; but I do make strong objection to
the use of yachting terms and sporting language generally."

"Possibly you are right," said Geoffrey. "But Jack--poor Jack! he must
refer to starboard bulkheads and that sort of thing from time to time.
However, we will agree to each other's objections, but we must certainly
place an embargo upon saying ill-natured things about our neighbors--"

"Good heavens, man! Do you expect us to be dumb?" cried Margaret. "Very
well. It shall be so. We will call it the 'Dumb Improvement Company for
Learned Pantomime.'"

And thus they rattled on in their fanciful talk merrily
enough--interrupting each other and laughing over their own absurdities,
and sharpening their wits on each other, as only good friends can, until
Margaret's home was reached.

To Geoffrey it seemed to emphasize Margaret's youth and companionability
when, in following his changing moods, she could so readily make the
transition from the sublime to the ridiculous.



CHAPTER VII.

     ROSALIND. Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown more than
     your enemies.--_As You Like It._


In the few weeks following the entertainment of the Dusenalls, Hampstead
had not seen Nina. He felt he had been doing harm. The memory of that
which had occurred and a twinge or two at his unfaithfulness to his
friend Jack had made him avoid seeing her. But afterward, as fancy for
seeing her again came to him more persistently, he gradually reverted
to the old method of self-persuasion, that if she preferred Jack she
might have him. He said he did not intend to show "any just cause or
impediment" when Jack's marriage bans were published, and what the girl
might now take it into her head to do was no subject of anxiety to him.

She, in the mean time, had lost no time in improving her acquaintance
with Margaret after the calls had been exchanged. Margaret was not
peculiar in finding within her an argument in favor of one who evidently
sought her out, and the small amount of effusion on Nina's part was not
without some of its desired effect. Nina wished to be her particular
friend. She had perceived that a difference existed between them--a
something that Geoffrey seemed to admire; and she had the vague impulse
to form herself upon her.

Huxley explained table-turning by a simple experiment. He placed cards
underneath the hands of the people forming the charmed circle round the
table, and when they all "willed" that the table should move in a
particular direction the cards and hands moved in that direction, while
the table resisted the spirits and remained firm on its feet. In a
similar way, Nina's impulse to know Margaret and frame herself upon her
were all a process of unconscious self-deception which resembled the
illusions of unrecognized muscular movements. She had no fixed ideas
regarding Hampstead. Her actions were simply the result of his presence
in her thoughts. She moved toward him, distantly and vaguely, but
surely--somewhat as the card of a ship-compass, when it is spinning,
seems to have no fixed destination, though its ultimate direction is
certain.

She found it easy to bring the Dusenall girls to regard Margaret as
somebody worth cultivating. The family tree of the Dusenall's commenced
with the grandfather of the Misses Dusenall, who had got rich "out
West." On inquiry they found that Margaret's family tree dwarfed that of
any purely Canadian family into a mere shrub by comparison; and on
knowing her better they found her brightness and vivacity a great
addition to little dinners and lunches where conversational powers are
at a premium.

With plenty of money, no work, an army of servants, a large house and
grounds, a stable full of horses, and a good yacht, three or four young
people can with the assistance of their friends support life fairly
well. Lawn-tennis was their chief resource. Nina, being rather of the
Dudu type, was not wiry enough to play well, and Margaret had not
learned. She was strong and could run well, but this was not of much use
to her. When the ball came toward her through the air she seemed to
become more or less paralyzed. Between nervous anxiety to hit the ball
and inability to judge its distance, she usually ended in doing nothing,
and felt as if incurring contempt when involuntarily turning her back
upon it. If she did manage to make a hit, the ball generally had to be
found in the flower-beds far away on either side of the courts. In
cricketing parlance, she played to "cover point" or "square leg" with
much impartiality.

So these two generally looked on and made up for their want of skill in
dignity and in conversation among themselves and with the men too
languid to play. The wonder was that the marriageable young women liked
Margaret so well. With her long, symmetrical dress rustling over the
lawn and her lace-covered parasol occasionally hiding her dainty bonnet
and well-poised head, Margaret might have been regarded as an enemy and
labeled "dangerous," but the girls trusted her with their particular
young men, with a sort of knowledge that she did not want any of them,
even if the men themselves should prove volatile and recreant. After
all, what young girls chiefly seek "when all the world is young, lad,
and all the trees are green," is to have a good time and not be
interrupted in their whims. So Margaret, who was launching out into a
gayer life than she had led before, got on well enough, and the wonder
as to what girls who did nothing found to talk about was wearing off. If
she was not much improved in circles where general advantages seemed to
promise originality, it was no bad recreation sometimes to study the
exact minimum of intelligence that general advantages produced, and the
drives in the carriages and Nina's village-cart were agreeable. She was
partial to "hen-parties." Nina had one of these exclusive feasts where
perhaps the success of many a persistent climber of the social ladder
has been annihilated. It was a luncheon party. Of course the Dusenall
girls were there, and a number of others. Mrs. Lindon did not appear.
Nina was asked where she was, but she said she did not know. As she
never did seem to know, this was not considered peculiar.

On this day Margaret was evidently the particular guest, and she was
made much of by several girls whom she had not met before. It was worth
their while, for she was Nina's friend and Nina had such delicious
things--such a "perfect love" of a boudoir, all dadoes, and that sort of
thing, with high-art furniture for ornament and low-art furniture in
high-art colors for comfort, articles picked up in her traveling,
miniature bronzes of well-known statues, a carved tower of Pisa of
course, coral from Naples, mosaics from Florence, fancy glassware from
Venice--in fact a tourist could trace her whole journey on examining the
articles on exhibition. A French cook supplied the table with delectable
morsels which it were an insult to speak of as food. Altogether her home
was a pleasant resort for her acquaintances, and there were those
present who thought it not unwise to pay attention to any person whom
Nina made much of.

There were some who could have been lackadaisical and admiring nothing,
if the tone of the feast had been different, but Margaret was for
admiring everything and enjoying everything, and having a generally
noisy time and lots of fun. She was a wild thing when she got off in
this way, as she said, "on a little bend," and carried the others off
with her.

What concerns us was the talk about the bank games. Some difference of
opinion arose as to whether or not these were enjoyable. Not having been
satisfied with attention from the right quarter at previous bank games,
several showed aversion to them. Nina was looking forward with interest
to the coming events, and Margaret, when she heard that Geoffrey and
Jack and other friends were to compete in the contests, was keen to be a
spectator. Emily Dusenall remarked that Geoffrey Hampstead was said to
be a splendid runner, and that these games were the first he had taken
any part in at Toronto, as he had been away during last year's. It was
arranged that Nina and Margaret should go with the Dusenalls to the
games after some discussion as to whose carriage should be used. Nina
asserted that their carriage was brand new from England and entitled to
consideration, but the Dusenalls insisted that theirs was brand new,
too, and, more than that, the men had just been put into a new livery.
It was left to Margaret, who decided that she could not possibly go in
any carriage unless the men were in livery absolutely faultless.

Some days after this the carriage with the men of spotless livery rolled
vice-regally and softly into the great lacrosse grounds where the Bank
Athletic Sports were taking place. The large English carriage horses
pranced gently and discreetly as they heard the patter of their feet on
the springy turf, and they champed their shining bits and shook their
chains and threw flakes of foam about their harness as if they also, if
permitted, would willingly join in the sports. There was Margaret,
sitting erect, her eyes luminous with excitement. Inwardly she was
shrinking from the gaze of the spectators who were on every side, and as
usual she talked "against time," which was her outlet for nervousness in
public places. Mrs. Mackintosh had made her get a new dress for the
occasion, which fitted her to perfection, and Nina declared she looked
just like the Princess of Wales bowing from the carriage in the Row. The
two Dusenalls were sitting in the front seat. Nina sat beside Margaret.
Nina was looking particularly well. So beautiful they both were! And
such different types! Surely, if one did not disable a critical
stranger, the other would finish him.

The whole turn-out gave one a general impression of laces, French
gloves, essence of flowers, flower bonnets, lace-smothered parasols, and
beautiful women. There was also an air of wealth about it, which tended
to keep away the more reticent of Margaret's admirers. She knew men of
whose existence Society was not aware--men who were beginning--who lived
as they best could, and, as yet, were better provided with brains than
dress-coats. Moreover, the Dusenalls had a way of lolling back in their
carriage which they took to be an attitude capable of interpreting that
they were "to the manor born." There was a supercilious expression about
them, totally different from their appearance at Nina's luncheon, and
they had brought to perfection the art of seeing no person but the right
person. Consequently, it required more than a usual amount of confidence
in one's social position to approach their majesties. The wrong man
would get snubbed to a dead certainty.

After passing the long grand stand the carriage drew up in an
advantageous spot where they could see the termination of the mile
walking match. The volunteer band had brokenly ceased to play God save
the Queen on discovering that theirs was _not_ the vice-regal carriage,
and, in the field, Jack Cresswell was coming round the ring, with
several others apparently abreast of him, heeling and toeing it in fine
style. As they watched the contest, sympathy with Jack soon became
aroused. Margaret heard somebody say that this was the home-stretch.
Several young bank-clerks were standing about within earshot, and she
listened to what they were saying as if all they said was oracular.

"Gad! Jack's forging ahead," said one.

"Yes, but Brownlee of Molson's is after him. Bet you the cigars Brownlee
wins!"

This was too much for Margaret. She stood up in the carriage and,
without knowing it, slightly waved her parasol at Jack, not because he
would see her encouragement, but on general principles, because she felt
like doing so, regardless of what the finer feelings of the Dusenalls
might be. The walkers crossed the winning line, and it was difficult to
see who won. Margaret sat down again, her face lighted with excitement,
and said all in a breath:

"Was not that splendid? How they did get over the ground! What a pace
they went at! Poor Jack, how tired he must be! I do hope he won, Nina,"
and she laid her hand on Nina's tight-sleeved soft arm with emphasis.

The Dusenalls did not think there was much interest in a stupid
walking-match, and they thought standing up and waving one's parasol
rather bad form, so they were not enthusiastic.

Nina said softly: "Indeed, if you take so much interest in Jack I'll get
jealous."

While she said this her face began to color, and Margaret's reply was
interrupted by Geoffrey Hampstead's voice which announced welcome news.
He gave them all a sort of collective half-bow and shook hands with Nina
in a careless, friendly way.

"I come with glad tidings--as a sort of harbinger of spring, or Noah's
dove with an olive-branch--or something of the kind."

"Is your cigar the olive-branch? To represent the dove you should have
it in your mouth," said Nina. "Stop, I will give you an olive-branch, so
that you may look your part better."

She wished Geoffrey to know that she felt no anger for what had occurred
at the ball. Geoffrey saw the idea, and answered it understandingly as
she held out a sprig of mignonette.

"I suppose this token of peace can only be carried in my mouth," said
Geoffrey, throwing away his cigar.

"Certainly," said Nina, and her gloved fingers trembled slightly as she
put the olive-branch between his lips, saying "There! now you look
wonderfully like a dove."

Margaret was smiling at this small trifling, but her anxiety about the
walking-match was quite unabated. She said: "I do not see why you call
yourself a harbinger of spring or anything else unless you have
something to tell us. What is your good news? Has Mr. Cresswell won the
prize?"

"By about two inches," said Geoffrey. "I thought I might create an
indirect interest in myself, with Miss Lindon at least, by coming to
tell you of it." He wore a grave smile as he said this, which made Nina
blush.

"And so you did create an indirect interest in yourself," said Margaret.
"Now you can interest us on your own account. What are you going to
compete for to-day?"

Hampstead was clad in cricketing flannels--his coat buttoned up to the
neck.

"I entered for a good many things," said he, "in order that I might go
in for what I fancied when the time came. They are contesting now for
the high-pole jump. Perhaps we had better watch them, as they have
already begun to compete. I am anxious to see how they do it."

High leaping with the pole is worth watching if it be well done.
Margaret's interest increased with every trial of the men who were
competing, and she almost suffered when a "poler" did his best and
failed. One man incased in "tights" was doing well, and also a small
young fellow who had thrown off his coat, apparently in an impromptu
way, and was jumping in a pair of black trousers, which looked peculiar
and placed him at a disadvantage from their looseness. The others soon
dropped out of the contest, being unable to clear the long lath that was
always being put higher. These two had now to fight it out together.
They had both cleared the same height, and the next elevation of the
lath had caused them both to fail. Margaret was on her feet again in the
carriage, her face glowing as she watched every movement of the
"polers." Her sympathies were entirely with the funny little man in
black trousers. The other at length cleared the lath, amid applause. But
the little hero in black still held on and made his attempts gracefully.

"Oh," said Margaret, gazing straight before her, "I would give anything
in the world to see that circus-man beaten!"

"How much would you give, Miss Mackintosh?" said Geoffrey.

Margaret did not hear him.

"Oh, I want my little flying black angel to win. Is it impossible for
anybody to beat the enemy?" Then, turning excitedly to the girls, she
said hurriedly, "I could just love anybody who could beat the enemy."

"Does 'anybody' include me?" asked Geoffrey, laughing.

"Yes, yes," cried Margaret, catching at the idea. "Can you really defeat
him? Yes, indeed, I will devote myself forever to anybody who can beat
him. Have you a pole? Borrow one. Hurry away now, while you have a
chance." In her eagerness her words seemed to chase each other.

"Well--will you all love me?" inquired Geoffrey, with an aggravating
delay.

There was a shrill chorus of "Until death us do part" from the girls,
and Geoffrey skipped over a couple of benches and ran over to the
"polers," where he claimed the right to compete, as he had been entered
previously in due time for this contest. Strong objection was
immediately raised by the man in tights. The judges, after some
discussion, allowed Geoffrey to take part amid much protestation from
the members of the circus-man's bank.

Geoffrey took his pole from Jack Cresswell, who had competed on it
without success. It was a stout pole of some South American wood, and
very long. He threw off his coat, displaying a magnificent body in a
jersey of azure silk. After walking up to look at the lath he grasped
his pole and, making a long run, struck it into the ground and mounted
into the air. He had not risen very high when he saw that he had
miscalculated the distance; so he slid down his pole to the earth.
Derisive coughs were heard from different parts of the field, and
"Tights" looked at Geoffrey maliciously and laughed.

At the next rush that Geoffrey made, he sailed up into the air on his
pole like a great bird, and as he became almost poised in mid-air, he
went hand over hand up the stout pole. Then, by a trick that can not be
easily described, his legs and body launched out horizontally over the
lath, and throwing away his pole he dropped lightly on his feet without
disturbing anything.

"Tights" was furious, and he said something hot to Geoffrey, who,
however, did not reply.

A difficulty arose here because there were no more holes in the uprights
to place the pegs in to hold up the lath. Geoffrey was now even with the
enemy, but not ahead of him. So he asked the judges to place the lath
across the top of the uprights. This raised the lath a good fifteen
inches, and nobody supposed that it could be cleared.

There was something stormy about Hampstead when a man provoked him, and
"Tights" had been very unpleasant. He pointed to the almost absurd
elevation of the lath; his tones were short and exasperating as he
addressed his very savage rival:

"Now, my man, there's your chance to exhibit your form."

"Tights" refused to make any useless trial, but relieved the tension of
his feelings by forcing a bet of fifty dollars on Geoffrey that he could
not clear it himself.

The excitement was now considerable. Geoffrey took the offered bet,
pleased to be able to punish his antagonist further. But really the
whole thing was like child's-play to him. It seemed as if he could clear
anything his pole would reach. His hand-over-hand climbing was like
lightning, and he went over the lath, cricket trousers and all, with
quite as much ease as when it was in the lower position, and this amid a
wild burst of applause.

He then grabbed his coat and made for the dressing-room, to prepare for
the hurdle race, for which the bell was ringing.

When he ran out into the field again, after about a moment, he was clad
in tights of azure silk with long trunks of azure satin, and his feet
wore running shoes that fitted like a glove. No wonder girls raved about
him. So did the men. He was a grand picture, as beautiful as a god in
his celestial colors.

But there was work for him to do in the hurdle race. The best amateur
runners in Canada were to be with him in this race, and there is a field
for choice among Canadian bank athletes. They were to start from a
distant part of the grounds, run around the great oval, and finish close
to our carriage, where eager faces were hopeful for his success.
Geoffrey made a bad start--not having recovered after being once called
back. The first hurdle saw him over last, but between the jumps his
speed soon put him in the ruck. There is no race like the hurdle race
for excitement. At the fourth hurdle some one in front struck the bar,
which flew up just as Geoffrey rose to it. His legs hit it in the air
and he was launched forward, turned around, and sent head downward to
the ground. The thought that he might be killed went through many minds.
But those who thought so did not know that he could gallop over these
hurdles like a horse, lighting on his hands. No doubt it was a great
wrench for him, but he lit on his hands and was off again like the wind.

The fall had lost him his chance, he thought, but he went on with
desperation and pain, his head thrown back and his face set to win. It
was a long race, and five more hurdles had yet to be passed. The first
of these was knocked down so that in merely running through he gained
time by not having to jump, and he rapidly closed on those before him.
His speed between jumps was marvelous. His hair blew back in blonde
confusion, and he might well have been taken to represent some god of
whirlwinds, or an azure archangel on some flying mission. He hardly
seemed to touch the earth, and Margaret, who delighted in seeing men
manly and strong and fleet, felt her heart go out to him in a burst of
enthusiasm that became almost oppressive as the last hurdle was
approached.

There were now only two men ahead of him, and Geoffrey was so set on
winning that it seemed with him to be more a matter of mind than body. A
yell suddenly arose from all sides. One of the two first men struck the
last hurdle and went down, and Geoffrey, shooting far into the air in a
tremendous leap to clear the flying timber, passed the other man in the
last arrow-like rush, and dashed in an undoubted winner.

The enthusiasm for him was now unmingled. The sensation of horror that
many had felt on seeing him fall head downward during the race had given
way to a keen admiration for his plucky attempt to catch up with such
hopeless odds against him. There were old business men present whose
hearts had not moved so briskly since the last financial panic as when
the handicapped hero in azure leaped the last hurdle into glory. There
were men looking on whose figures would never be redeemed who, at the
moment, felt convinced that with a little training they could once more
run a good race--men whose livers were in a sad state and who certainly
forgot the holy inspiration before rising that night from their late
dinners. Surely if these old stagers could be thus moved, feminine
hearts might be excused. It was not necessary to know Geoffrey
personally to feel the contagious thrill that ran through the multitude
at the vision of his prowess. The impulse and the verdict of the large
crowd were so unanimous that no one could resist them.

As for Margaret, she was, alas, _standing on the seat_ by the time he
raced past the carriage--a fair, earnest vision, lost in the excitement
of the moment. With her gloved hands tightly closed and her arms braced
as if for running, she appeared from her attitude as if she, too, would
join in the race where her interest lay. The true woman in her was wild
for her friend to win. Geoffrey's appearance appealed to all her sense
of the beautiful. Knowledge of art led her to admire him--art of the
ancient and vigorous type. All the plaudits that moved the multitude
were caught up and echoed even more loudly within her. It was a
dangerous moment for a virgin heart. As Geoffrey managed to land himself
a winner against such desperate odds, she saw in his face, even before
he had won, a half supercilious look of triumph and mastery that she had
never seen there before. In a brief moment she caught a glimpse of the
indomitable will that with him knew no obstacles--a will shown in a face
of the ancient type, with gleaming eyes and dilated nostrils, heroic,
god-like, possibly cruel, but instinct with victory and resolve.

To her the triumph was undiluted. At the close of the race her lungs had
refused to work until he passed the winning line, and then her breath
came in a gasp, as she became conscious that her eyes were filled with
tears of sympathy.

With Nina it was different. That she was intensely interested is true.
Everybody was. But, instead of that whirl of sympathetic admiration
which Margaret felt, the strongest feeling she had was a desire that
Geoffrey would come to her first, would lay, as it were, his honors at
her feet--a wish suggesting the complacency with which the tigress
receives the victor after viewing with interest the combat.

When Geoffrey rejoined them half an hour afterward he was endeavoring to
conceal an unmistakable lameness resulting from striking the hurdle in
the race. He had had his leg bathed, which he afterward found had been
bleeding freely during the run, and had got into his flannels again. In
the mean time a small circle of admirers had grouped themselves about
the Dusenalls' carriage.

Jack had been in to see them for a moment with a hymn of praise for
Geoffrey on his lips, but Nina made him uncomfortable by treating him
distantly, and, although Margaret beamed on him, he departed soon after
Geoffrey's arrival, making an excuse of his committee-man's duties.

Geoffrey noticed that, on his reappearing among them, Margaret did not
address him, but left congratulations to Nina and the Dusenalls. In the
interval after the race she had suddenly begun to consider how great her
interest in Geoffrey was. She had known him for over a year. During that
time he had ever appeared at his best before her. It was so natural to
be civilized and gentle in her presence. And Margaret was not devoid of
romance, in spite of her prosaic studies. Her ideality was not checked
by them, but rather diverted into less ordinary channels, and she was as
likely as anybody else to be captivated by somebody who, besides other
qualities, could form a subject for her imaginative powers.
Nevertheless, in spite of this sometimes dangerous and always charming
ideality, she had acquired the habit of introspection which Mr.
Mackintosh had endeavored to cultivate in her. He told her that when she
fell in love she "would certainly know it." And it was the remembrance
of this sage remark that now caused her to be silent and thoughtful. She
was wondering whether she was going to fall in love with Geoffrey, and
what it would be like if she did do so, and if she could know any more
interest in him if it so turned out that she eventually became engaged
to him. Then she looked at Geoffrey, intending to be impartial and
judicial, and thought that his looks were not unpleasing, and that his
banter with Miss Dusenall was not at all slow to listen to. She was
pleased that he did not address her first. She felt that she might have
been in some way embarrassed. Sometimes he glanced at her, as if
carelessly, and yet she seemed to know that all his remarks were to
amuse her, and that he watched her without looking at her. She had never
thought of his doing this before.

Bad Margaret! Full of guilt!

Geoffrey was endeavoring to make the plainest Miss Dusenall fix the day
for their wedding, declaring that it was she who had promised to marry
him if he won at jumping with the pole, and that she alone had nerved
him for the struggle, and he went on arranging the matter with a
volubility and assurance which she would have resented in anybody else.
She had affected to belittle Geoffrey somewhat, not having been much
troubled with his attentions, and she was conscious now that this banter
on his part was detracting from her dignity. But what was she to do? The
man was the hero of the hour, and cared but little for her dignity and
mincing ways. She would have snubbed him, only that he carried all the
company on his side, and a would-be snub, when one's audience does not
appreciate it, returns upon one's self with boomerang violence. After
all, it was something to monopolize the most admired man in six thousand
people, even if he did make game of her and treat her, like a child.

As for Nina, she answered feebly the desultory remarks of several young
men who hung about the carriage, and she listened, while she looked at
the contests, to one sound only--to the sound of Geoffrey's voice. From
time to time she put in a word to the other girls which showed that she
heard everything he said. This sort of thing proved unsatisfactory to
the young men who sought to engage her attention. They soon moved off,
and then she gave herself up to the luxury of hearing Geoffrey speak. It
might have been, she thought, that all his gayety was merely to attract
Margaret, but none the less was his voice music to her. Poor Nina! She
would not look at him, for fear of betraying herself. She lay back in
the carriage and vainly tried to think of her duty to Jack. Then she
thought herself overtempted, not remembering the words:

    The devil tempts us not--'tis we tempt him,
      Beckoning his skill with opportunity.

This meeting, which to her was all bitter-sweet, to Geoffrey was
piquant. To make an impression on the woman he really respected by
addressing another he cared nothing about was somewhat amusing to him,
but to know that every word he said was being drunk in by a third woman
who was as attractive as love itself and who was engaged to be married
to another man added a flavor to the entertainment which, if not
altogether new, seemed, in the present case, to be mildly pungent.

After this Nina deceived herself less.



CHAPTER VIII.

            Come o'er the sea,
            Maiden with me,
    Mine through sunshine, storm, and snows.
            Seasons may roll,
            But the true soul
    Burns the same wherever it goes.

            Is not the sea
            Made for the free,
    Land for courts and chains alone?
            Here we are slaves;
            But on the waves
    Love and liberty's all our own.

    MOORE'S _Melodies._


Mr. Maurice Rankin was enjoying his summer vacation. Although the courts
were closed he still could be seen carrying his blue bag through the
street on his way to and from the police court and other places. It is
true that, for ordinary professional use, the bag might have been
abandoned, but how was he to know when a sprat might catch a whale?--to
say nothing of the bag's being so convenient for the secret and
non-committal transportation of those various and delectable viands that
found their way to his aerial abode at No. 173 Tremaine Buildings. He
was now provided by the law printers with pamphlet copies of the
decisions in different courts, and a few of these might always be found
in his bag. They served to fill out to the proper dimensions this badge
of a rank entitling him to the affix of esquire, and they had been well
oiled by parcels of butter or chops which, on warm days, tried to
lubricate this dry brain food as if for greater rapidity in the bolting
of it.

In this way he was passing his summer vacation. Many a time he thought
of his father's wealth before his failure and death. Where had those
thousands melted away to? Oh, for just one of the thousands to set him
on his feet! This perpetual grind, this endless seeking for work, with
no more hope in it than to be able to get even with his butcher's bill
at the end of the month! To see every person else go away for an outing
somewhere while he remained behind began to make him dispirited. The
buoyancy of his nature, which at first could take all his trials as a
joke, was beginning to wear off. After yielding himself to their
peculiar piquancy for six months, these jokes seemed to have lost their
first freshness, and he longed to get away somewhere for a little
change. The return, then, he thought, would be with renewed spirit.

While thinking over these matters his step homeward was tired and slow.
He was by no means robust, and his narrow face had grown more hatchety
than ever in the last few hot days. Hope deferred was beginning to tell
upon him, but a surprise awaited him.

Jack Cresswell and Charley Dusenall were walking at this time on the
other side of the street. They sighted Rankin going along gloomily,
with his nose on the ground, well dressed and neat as usual, but
weighted down, apparently with business, really with loneliness, law
reports, and lamb-chops.

They both pointed to him at once. Jack said, "The very man!" and Charlie
said, nodding assent, "Just as good as the next." Jack clapped Charley
on the back--"By Jove, I hope he will come! Do him all the good in the
world."

Charley was one of those happy-go-lucky, loose-living young men who have
companions as long as their money lasts, and who seem made of some
transmutable material which, when all things are favorable, shows some
suggestion of solidity, but, when acted upon by the acid of poverty,
degenerates into something like that parasitic substance remarkable for
its receptibility of liquids, called a sponge. He liked Rankin, although
he thought him a queer fish, and he would laugh with the others when
Rankin's quiet satire was pointed at himself, not knowing but that there
might be a joke somewhere, and not wishing to be out of it.

The two young men crossed the road and walked up to Rankin who was just
about to enter Tremaine Buildings. Charlie asked him to come on a
yachting cruise around Lake Ontario--to be ready in two days--that Jack
would tell him all about it, as he was in a hurry. He then made off,
without waiting for Maurice to reply.

Jack explained to Rankin that the yacht was to take out a party, with
the young ladies under the chaperonage of Mrs. Dusenall, that the two
Misses Dusenall, and Nina and Margaret were going, that he and Geoffrey
Hampstead and two or three of the yacht-club men would lend a hand to
work the craft, and that Rankin would be required to take the helm
during the dead calms. As Rankin listened he brightened up and looked
along the street in meditation.

"The business," he said thoughtfully, "will perish. Bean can't run my
business."

His large mouth spread over his face as he yielded himself to the warmth
of the sunny vista before him. Already he felt himself dancing over the
waves. Suddenly, as they stood at the entrance to Tremaine Buildings, he
caught Jack by the arm and whispered--so that clients, thronging the
streets might not overhear:

"The business," he whispered. "What about it?" He drew off at arm's
length and transfixed Jack with his eagle eye. Then, as if to typify his
sudden and reckless abandonment of all the great trusts reposed in him,
he slung the blue bag as far as he could up the stairs while he cried
that the business might "go to the devil."

"Correct," said Jack. "It will be all safe with him. You know he is the
father of lawyers. But I say, old chap, I am awfully glad you are coming
with us. You see, the old lady has to get those girls married off
somehow, and several fellows will go with us who are especially picked
out for the business. Then, of course, the Dusenall girls want
'backing,' and they thought Nina and I could certainly give them a lead.
And Nina would not go without Margaret. I rather think, too, that
Geoffrey would not go without Margaret. Wheels within wheels, you see.
Have you not got a lady-love, Morry, to bring along? No? Well, I tell
you, old man, I expect to enjoy myself. I've been round that lake a good
many times, but never with Nina."

Jack blushed as he admitted so much to his old friend, and after a pause
he went on, with a young man's facile change of thought, to talk about
the yacht.

"And we will just make her dance, and don't you forget it."

"But, my dear fellow, won't she object?"

"Object? No--likes it. She is coming out in a brand-new suit. Wait till
you see her. She'll be a dandy."

"I can quite believe that she will appear more beautiful than ever,"
said Maurice, rather mystified.

"She is as clean as a knife, clean as a knife. I tell you, Morry, her
shape just fills the eye. She--"

"Oh, yes, I understand. You are speaking of the yacht. I thought when
you said you would make her dance that you referred to Miss Lindon.
Excuse my ignorance of yachting terms. I know absolutely nothing about
them."

"Never mind, old man, you might easily make the mistake. Talking of
dancing now, I had a turn with her the other day and I will say this
much--that she can waltz and no mistake. You could steer her with one
finger."

"And shall we rig this spinnaker boom on her?" asked Rankin, with
interest. "What is a spinnaker boom? I have always wanted to know."

"Spinnaker on who? or what?" cried Jack, looking vexed. "Don't be an
ass, Rankin."

"My dear fellow--a thousand pardons--I certainly presumed you still
spoke of the yacht. It is perfectly impossible to understand which you
refer to."

"Well, perhaps it is," replied Jack; "I mix the two up in my speech just
as they are mixed up in my heart, and I love them both. So let us have a
glass of sherry to them in my room."

"I think," said Rankin, smiling, with his head on one side, "that to
prevent further confusion we ought to drink a glass to each love
separately, in order to discriminate sufficiently between the different
interests."

"Happy thought," said Jack. "And just like you robbers. Every interest
must be represented. Fees out of the estate, every time."

After gulping down the first glass of sherry in the American fashion,
they sat sipping the second as the Scotch and English do. It struck
Rankin as peculiar that Mr. Lindon allowed Nina to go off on this
yachting cruise when he must know that Jack would be on board. He asked
him how he accounted for his luck in this respect.

Jack said: "I can not explain it altogether to myself. The old boy sent
her off to Europe to get her away from me, and that little manoeuvre
was not successful in making her forget me. I think that now he has
washed his hands of the matter, and lets her do entirely as she
pleases--except as to matrimony. They don't converse together on the
subject of your humble servant. He is fond of Nina in his own way--when
his ambition is not at stake. One thing I feel sure of, that we might
wait till crack of doom before his consent to our marriage would be
obtained. I never knew such a man for sticking to his own opinion."

"But you could marry now and keep a house, in a small way," said Rankin.

"Too small a way for Nina. She knows no more of economy than a babe. No;
I may have been unwise, from a practical view, to fall in love with her,
but the affair must go on now; we will get married some way or other.
Perhaps the old boy will die. At any rate, although I have no doubt she
would go in for 'love in a cottage,' I don't think it would be right of
me to subject her to the loss of her carriage, servants, entertainments,
and gay existence generally. Of course she would be brave over it, but
the effort would be very hard upon the dear little woman."

When Jack thought of Nina his heart was apt to lose some of its
chronometer movement. He turned and began fumbling for his pipe.

Maurice wished to pull him together, as it were, and said, as he grasped
the decanter and filled the wine glasses again:

"Thank you; I don't mind if I do. Now I come to think of it, your first
proposed toast was the right one. For the next three weeks at least we
do not intend to separate the lady from the yacht. Why should we drink
them separately? Ho, ho! we will drink to them collectively!" He waved
his glass in the air. "Here's to The Lady and the Yacht considered as
one indivisible duo. May they be forever as entwined in our hearts as
they are incomprehensibly mixed up in our language!"

"Hear, hear!" cried Jack, with renewed spirit. "Drink hearty!" And then
he energetically poured out another, and said "Tiger!"--after which they
lit cigars and went out, feeling happy and much refreshed, while Rankin
quite forgot the blue bag and the contents thereof yielding rich juices
to the law-reports in the usual way.

About ten o'clock on the following Saturday morning valises were being
stowed away on board the yacht Ideal, and maidens fair and sailors free
were aglow with the excitement of departure. The yacht was swinging at
her anchor while the new cruising mainsail caused her to careen gently
as the wind alternately caught each side of the snowy canvas. A large
blue ensign at the peak was flapping in the breeze, impatient for the
start, while the main-sheet bound down and fettered the plunging and
restless sail. Lounging about the bows of the vessel were a number of
professional sailors with Ideal worked across the breasts of their stout
blue jerseys. The headsails were loosed and ready to go up, and the
patent windlass was cleared to wind up the anchor chain. Away aloft at
the topmast head the blue peter was promising more adventures and a new
enterprise, while grouped about the cockpit were our friends in varied
garb, some of whom nervously regarded the plunging mainsail which
refused to be quieted. Rankin was the last to come over the side, clad
in a dark-blue serge suit, provided at short notice by the
long-suffering Score. His leather portmanteau, lent by Jack, had
scarcely reached the deck before the blocks were hooked on and the gig
was hoisted in to the davits. Margaret, sitting on the bulwarks, with an
arm thrown round a backstay to steady her, was taking in all the
preparations with quiet ecstasy, her eyes following every movement aloft
and her lips softly parted with sense of invading pleasure.

Mrs. Dusenall was down in the after-cabin making herself more busy than
useful. Instead of leaving everything to the steward, the good woman was
unpacking several baskets which had found their way aft by mistake. In a
very clean locker devoted solely to charts she stowed away five or six
pies, wedging them, thoughtfully, with a sweet melon to keep them quiet.
Then she found that the seats at the side could be raised, and here she
placed a number of articles where they stood a good chance of slipping
under the floor and never being seen again. Fortunately for the party,
her pride in her work led her to point out what she had done to the
steward, who, speechless with dismay, hastily removed everything eatable
from her reach.

As the anchor left its weedy bed, the brass carronade split the air in
salute to the club and the blue ensign dipped also, while the headsail
clanked and rattled up the stay. There was nobody at the club house, but
the ladies thought that the ceremony of departure was effective.

Jack was at the wheel as she paid off on the starboard tack toward the
eastern channel, and Geoffrey and others were slacking off the
main-sheet when Rankin heard himself called by Jack, who said hurriedly:


"Morry, will you let go that lee-backstay?"

Maurice and Margaret left it immediately and stood aside. Jack forgot,
in the hurry of starting, that Rankin knew nothing of sailing, and
called louder to him again, pointing to the particular rope: "Let go
that lee-backstay."

"Who's touching your lee-backstay?" cried Morry indignantly.

The boom was now pressing strongly on the stay, while Jack, seeing his
mistake, leaned over and showed Rankin what to do. He at once cast off
the rope from the cleat, and, there being a great strain on it, the end
of it when loosed flew through his fingers so fast that it felt as if
red hot.

"Holy Moses!" cried he, blowing on his fingers, "that rope must have
been lying on the stove." He examined the rope again, and remarked that
it was quite cool now. The pretended innocence of the little man was
deceiving. The Honorable Marcus Travers Head, one of the rich intended
victims of the Dusenalls, leaned over to Jack and asked who and what
Rankin was.

"He's an original--that's what he is," said Jack, with some pride in his
friend, although Rankin's by-play was really very old.

"What! ain't he soft?" inquired the Hon. M. T., with surprise.

"About as soft as that brass cleat," said Jack shortly. "I say, old
Emptyhead, you just keep your eye open when he's around and you'll learn
something."

There was a murmur of "Ba-a Jeuve!" and the honorable gentleman regarded
Rankin in a new light.

The Ideal was a sloop of more than ordinary size, drawing about eight
feet of water without the small center-board, which she hardly required
for ordinary sailing. Her accommodations were excellent, and her
internal fittings were elegant, without being so wildly expensive as in
some of the American yachts. Her comparatively small draught of water
enabled her to enter the shallow ports on the lakes, and yet she was
modeled somewhat like a deep-draught boat, having some of her ballast
bolted to her keel, like the English yachts. Her cruising canvas was
bent on short spars, which relieved the crew in working her, but, even
with this reduction, her spread of canvas was very large, so that her
passage across the bay toward the lake was one of short duration.

To Margaret and Maurice the spirited start which they made was one of
unalloyed delight. For two such fresh souls "delight" is quite the
proper word. They crossed over to the weather side and sat on the
bulwarks, where they could command a view of the whole boat. It was a
treat for all hands to see their bright faces watching the man aloft
cast loose the working gaff-topsail. When they heard his voice in the
sky calling out "Hoist away," Morry waved his hand with _abandon_ and
called out also "Hoist away," as if he would hoist away and overboard
every care he knew of, and when the booming voice aloft cried "Sheet
home," it was as good as five dollars to see Margaret echo the word with
commanding gesture--only she called it "Sea foam," which made the
sailors turn their quids and snicker quietly among themselves. But when
the huge cream-colored jib-topsail went creaking musically up from the
bowsprit-end, filling and bellying and thundering away to leeward, and
growing larger and larger as it climbed to the topmast head, their
admiration knew no bounds. As the sail was trimmed down, they felt the
good ship get her "second wind," as it were, for the rush out of the
bay. It was as if sixteen galloping horses had been suddenly harnessed
to the boat, and Margaret fairly clapped her hands. Maurice called to
Jack approvingly:

"You said you would make her dance."

"She's going like a scalded pup," cried Jack poetically in reply, and he
held her down to it with the wheel, tenderly but firmly, as he thereby
felt the boat's pulse. When they came to the eastern channel Jack eased
her up so close to the end of the pier that Maurice involuntarily
retreated from the bulwarks for fear she would hit the corner. The
jib-topsail commenced to thunder as the yacht came nearer the wind, but
this was soon silenced, and half a dozen men on the main-sheet flattened
in the after-canvas as she passed between the crib-work at the sides of
the channel in a way that gave one a fair opportunity for judging her
speed.

A moment more and the Ideal was surging along the lake swells, as if she
intended to arrive "on time" at any place they pointed her for. The
main-sheet was paid out as Jack bore away to take the compass course for
Cobourg. This put the yacht nearly dead before the wind, and the pace
seemed to moderate. Charlie Dusenall then came on deck, after settling
his dunnage below and getting into his sailing clothes. Charlie had been
"making a night of it" previous to starting, and felt this morning
indisposed to exert himself. Jack and he had cruised together in all
weathers, and they were both good enough sailors to dispense with
pig-headed sailing-masters. Jack had sailed everything, from a
birch-bark canoe to a schooner of two hundred tons, and had never lost
his liking for a good deal of hard work on board a boat. As for his
garb, an old flannel shirt and trousers that greased masts could not
spoil were all that either he or Charlie ever wore. These, with the
yachting shoes, broad Scotch bonnet, belt, and sheath-knife, were found
sufficient, without any finical white jackets and blue anchors, and, if
not so fresh as they might have been, these garments certainly looked
like business.

Before young Dusenall put his head up the companion-way he knew exactly
where the boat was by noticing her motions while below. There was
something of the "old salt" in the way he understood how the yacht was
running without coming on deck to find out. Generally he could wake up
at night and tell you how the boat was sailing, and almost what canvas
she was carrying, without getting out of his berth. These things had
become a sort of second nature.

He was yawning as he hauled on a stout chain and dragged up from his
trousers pocket a silver watch about the size of a mud-turtle. Then he
looked at the wake through the long following waves and glanced rapidly
over the western horizon while he counted with his finger upon the face
of the enormous timepiece. "We will have to do better than this," he
said, after making a calculation, "if we wish to dance at the Arlington
to-night."

"They are just getting the spinnaker on deck," said Jack, nodding toward
the bows. "As you say, it won't do her any harm. This breeze will
flatten out at sundown, and walloping about in a dead calm all night is
no fun."

"What a time they take to get a sail set!" said Charlie impatiently, as
he looked at the sailors for a few moments. "I have a good mind to ask
some of you fellows to go forward and show them how."

"Oh, never mind," said Jack, "We are not racing, and hurrying them only
makes them sulky."

But Charlie's nerves were a little irritable to-day, and he swung
himself on deck and went forward. A long boom was lowered out over the
side and properly guyed; then a long line of sail, tied in stops, went
up and up to the topmast-head; the foot of it was hauled out to the end
of the boom; then there was a pull on a rope, and, as the wind broke
away the stops, hundreds of yards of sail spread out as if by magic to
the breeze, filling away forward like a huge three-cornered balloon, the
foot of which almost swept the surface of the water.

"Look at that for a sail, Nina," said Jack. "Now you'll see her git
right up and git."

When Jack was talking about yachts or sailing it was next to impossible
for him to speak in anything but a jargon of energetic slang and
metaphor picked up among the sailors, who, in their turn, picked up all
they could while ashore. He seemed to take a pleasure in throwing the
English grammar overboard. His heart warmed to sailors. He was fond of
their oddities and forcible unpolished similes; and when he sometimes
sought their society for a while, he was well received. When a man in
good clothes begins to talk sailing grammatically to lake-sailors they
seem to feel that he is not, as far as they can see, in any way up to
the mark. His want of accuracy in sailing vernacular attaches to his
whole character.

If Jack intended to say that the spinnaker would make the Ideal go fast,
he was right. She was traveling down the lake almost as fast as she
would go in a race with the same breeze. A long thin line of fine white
bubbles extending back over the tops of several blue waves showed where
her keel had divided the water and rubbed it into white powder as she
passed. Jack had no time for continued conversation now. He had to watch
his compass and the sails, the wind, and the land. He did not wish the
wake behind the vessel to look like a snake-fence from bad steering, and
to get either of the sails aback, while under such a pressure, would be
a pretty kettle of fish. He was enjoying himself. Some good Samaritan
handed him a pipe filled and lighted, and with his leg slung comfortably
over the shaft of the wheel, his pipe going, Nina in front of him, and
all his friends around him, he felt that the moment could hardly be
improved.

Some time after the buildings of Toronto had dwindled away to nothing,
and the thin spire of St. James's Cathedral had become a memory, the
steward announced that luncheon was ready. One of the hands relieved
Jack at the wheel, and all went below except Mrs. Dusenall, who was left
lying among cushions and pillows arranged comfortably on deck, where she
preferred to remain, as she was feeling the motion of the boat.

Luncheon was a movable feast on the Ideal--as liable to be shifted about
as the hands of a wayward clock. The cabin was prettily decorated with
flowers, and the table, weighted so as to remain always horizontal, was
covered with snowy linen and delicate glass, while a small conceit full
of cut flowers faced each of the guests. The steward and stewardess
buzzed about with bottles and plates, and any appetite that could not
have been tempted must have been in a bad way. The absence of that
apology for a chaperon, who was trying to enjoy the breezes overhead,
gave the repast an informality which the primness of the Misses Dusenall
soon failed to check, although at first their precise intonations and
carefully copied English accent did something to restrain undue hilarity
on the part of those who did not know them well.

The idea of being able to entertain in this style gave the Misses
Dusenall an inflation which at first showed itself in a conversation and
manner touchingly English. The average English maiden, though by nature
sufficiently insular in manner and speech, is taught to be more so. The
result is that among strangers she rarely seems quite certain of
herself, as if anxious lest she should wreck herself on a slip of the
tongue or the sounding of a false note. Her prudish manners and her
perfect knowledge of what not to say often suggest Swift's definition of
"a nice man." One trembles to think what effect the emancipation of
marriage will have upon some of these wildly innocent creatures. In
Canada, and especially in the United States, we are thankful to take
some things for granted, without the advertisement of a manner which
seems to say: "I am so awfully pure and carefully brought up, don't you
know."

The Misses Dusenall on this occasion soon found themselves in a minority
(not the minority of Matthew Arnold), and before leaving the table they
adopted some of that more genial manner and speech which, if slightly
faulty, we are satisfied to consider as "good enough for the colonies."

Maurice seemed to expand as the English fog gradually lifted. The aged
appearance that anxiety was giving him had disappeared. Amid the chatter
going on, in which it was difficult to get an innings, Jack Cresswell
seized a bottle of claret and called out that he proposed a toast.

"What? toasts at such an informal luncheon as this, Jack?" exclaimed
Propriety, with the accent somewhat worn off.

"What's the odds as long as you're happy and the 'rosy' is close at
hand?" said Jack. "Besides, this is a case of necessity--"

"I propose that we have a series of toasts," interrupted Charlie; who
was beginning to feel himself again. "With all their necessary
subdivisions," added Rankin, in his incisive little voice, which could
always make itself heard.

"There you are again, Rankin," cried Jack. "I proposed a toast with
Rankin two days ago, ladies, and, as I live by bread, he subdivided it
sixteen times."

Dusenall was calling for a bottle of Seltzer water.


"Never mind your soda," commanded Jack. "Soda can't do justice to this
toast. I propose this toast because I regard it as one of absolute
necessity--"

"They all are," called Maurice.

"Gentlemen, I must protest against my learned friend's interrup--"

"Go on, Jack. Don't protest. Propose. I am getting thirsty," cried
Hampstead's voice among a number of others.

"Well, gentlemen, am I to proceed or not? Have I the floor, or not?"

"That's just what he said after those sixteen horns," said Rankin,
addressing the party confidentially. "Only, then he did not 'have the
floor,' the floor had him."

His absurdity increased the hubbub, as Jack rapped on the table to
command attention.

"The toast I am about to propose is one of absolute neces--"

"Oh, my!" groaned Rankin, "give me something in the mean time." He
grasped a bottle, as if in desperation. "All right, now. Go on, Jack.
Don't mind me."

The orator went on, smiling:

"It is, as I think I have said before, one of absolute--"

Here the disturbance threatened to put an end to the proposed toast.

"Take a new deal."

"Got any more toasts like this?"

"Oh, I would like a smoke soon. Hurry up, Jack."

"Well, ladies and gentlemen," said Jack, banging on the table to quell
the tumult; "I will skip over the objectionable words, and propose that
we drink to the health of one who has been unable to be with us to-day,
and who needs our assistance; who perhaps at this moment is suffering
untold troubles far from our midst. Ladies and gentlemen, have you
charged your glasses?"

Answers of "Frequently."

"Well, then," said Jack, as he stood with a bottle in one hand and a
glass in the other, "I ask you to drink with me to the health of 'The
Chaperon,' who is nigh unto death."

All stood up, and were loudly echoing, "The Chaperon--nigh unto death!"
when a long hand came down the skylight overhead and a voice was heard
from on high, saying:

"Nothing of the kind. How dare you, you bad boy? Just put something into
my hand and I'll drink my own health. I don't need your assistance at
all."

Cheers broke out from the noisy gathering, and they all rushed on deck
to see Mrs. Dusenall drink her own health, which she bravely
accomplished.

They were a riotous lot. All the boat wanted was a policeman to keep
them in something more like order, for a small joke received too much
credit with them, and they laughed too easily.

Frenchman's Bay and Whitby were passed before they came up from lunch.
Oshawa could be seen far away on the shore, as the yacht buzzed along
with unabated speed. A speck on the horizon had risen up out of the sea
to be called Raby Head--the sand-bluff near Darlington. Small yellow and
green squares on the far-off brown uplands that rolled back from the
shores denoted that there were farms in that vicinity; dark-blue spots,
like feathery tufts, appeared here and there where the timber forests
had been left untouched, and among them small marks or lines of white
would occasionally appear where, on looking through the glasses, little
railway trains seemed to be toiling like ants across the landscape.

There was no ceremony to be observed, nor could it be seen that anybody
endeavored to keep up conversations which required any effort. The men,
lounging about on the white decks, seemed to smoke incessantly while
they watched the water hissing along the sides of the vessel, or lay on
their backs and watched the masthead racing with the white clouds down
the lake, and the girls, disposed on cushions, tried to read novels and
failed. The sudden change to the fresh breezes of the lake, and the long
but spirited rise and fall of the vessel made them soon doze away, or
else remain in that peaceful state of mind which does not require books
or masculine society or music, or anything else except a continuation of
things just as they are. Granby and Newcastle were mentioned as the
yacht passed by, but most of the party were drowsy, and few even raised
their heads to see what little could be seen. Port Hope created but
feeble interest, though the Gull Light, perched on the rocks far out in
the lake, appeared romantic and picturesque. It seemed like true
yachting to be approaching a strange lighthouse sitting like a white
seabird on the dangerous-looking reefs, where the waves could be seen
dashing up white and frothy.

Somewhere off Port Hope, about three or four miles away from the "Gull,"
one of the sailors had quietly remarked to the man at the wheel:

"We're a-goin' to run out of the wind."

Margaret was interested in this, wondering how the man knew. Far away in
front and to the eastward could be seen a white haze that obliterated
the horizon, and, as the yacht bore down to the Gull Light, one could
see that beyond a certain defined line stretching across the lake the
bright sparkle and blueness of the waves ceased, and, beyond, was a
white heaving surface of water, without a ripple on it to mark one
distance from another. It seemed strange that the wind blowing so
freshly directly toward this calm portion of the lake should not ruffle
it. The yacht went straight on before the wind at the same pace till she
crossed the dividing line and passed with her own velocity into the dead
air on the other side. The sails, out like wings, seemed at once to fill
on the wrong side, as if the breeze had come ahead, and this stopped her
headway. She soon came to a standstill. Every person at once
awoke--feeling some of that numbness experienced in railway trains when,
after running forty miles an hour for some time, the brakes are suddenly
put on.

For half an hour the yacht lay within pistol-shot of the dancing,
sparkling waves, where the breeze blew straight toward them, as far as
the mysterious dividing line, and then disappeared. The spinnaker was
taken in, and the yacht, regardless of the helm, "walloped" about in all
directions, as the swells, swashing against the bow, or pounding under
the counter, turned her around. This was unpleasant, and might last all
night, if "the calm beat back the wind," as the sailors say, so Charley
sent out the crew in the two boats, which were lowered from the davits,
to tow the yacht into Cobourg, now about three miles away. The
main-sheet was hauled flat aft to keep the main-boom quiet, and soon she
had steerage way on.

To insure fine weather at home one must take out an umbrella and a
water-proof. On the water, for a dead calm, sending the boats out to tow
the yacht is as good as a patent medicine. Before very long the topsail
seemed to have an inclination to fill on one side more than on the
other, so one boat was ordered back and a club-gaff-topsail used in
races was sent aloft to catch the breath moving in the upper air. This
sail had huge spars on it that set a sail reaching a good twenty-five
feet above the topmast head, and about the same distance out from the
end of the gaff. It was no child's-play getting it up, and the sailors'
chorus as they took each haul at the halyards attracted some attention.
Perhaps no amateur can quite successfully give that break in the voice
peculiar to a professional sailor when hauling heavily on a rope. And
then the interjections:

"O-ho! H'ister up."

"Oh-ho! Up she goes."

"O-ho! R-Raise the dead."

"Now-then-all-together-and-carry-away-the-mast, O-ho!" etc.

Some especial touches were put on to-day for the benefit of the ladies,
and when the man aloft wished those on deck to "sheet home" the big
topsail, the rascal looked down at Margaret and called "sea foam!" In
the forecastle she was called "Sea Foam" during the whole trip, not
because she wore a dress of cricketing flannel, but on account of her
former mistake in the words. To Rankin and some others who saw the
little joke, the idea seemed poetical and appropriate.


Not more than a breath of wind moved aloft--none at all below--but it
proved sufficient to send the yacht along, and about half-past six in
the evening they slipped in to an anchor at Cobourg, fired a gun, and
had dinner.



CHAPTER IX.

    Ah, what pleasant visions haunt me
        As I gaze upon the sea!
    All the old romantic legends,
        All my dreams, come back to me.

    Sails of silk and ropes of sendal,
        Such as gleam in ancient lore;
    And the singing of the sailors,
        And the answer from the shore.

    Till my soul is full of longing
        For the secret of the sea,
    And the heart of the great ocean
        Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

    LONGFELLOW.


Nothing tends to convince us of the element of chance in our lives more
than noticing the consequences of whims. We act and react upon each
other, after joining in a movement, till its origin is forgotten and
lost. A politician conceives a whim to dazzle a fighting people with a
war, and the circumstances of thousands are unexpectedly and
irretrievably altered. We map out our lives for ourselves, and propose
to adhere to the chart, but on considering the effects of chance, one's
life often seems like an island upheaved from the sea, on which the
soil, according to its character, fructifies or refuses the seeds that
birds and breezes accidentally bring.

Our yachting cruise seemed to be like this. One evening when Nina was
dining at the Dusenalls', Charley had proposed the trip in an idle sort
of way. Nina fastened on the idea, and during little talks with Mrs.
Dusenall, induced her to see that it might be advantageous for her
daughters to make a reality of the vague proposal.

In thus providing opportunity for sweet temptation, Nina was not
deceiving herself so much as formerly, and she knew that her feeling for
Geoffrey was deep and strong. But she would morally bind herself to the
rigging and sail on without trouble while she listened to the song as
well. Would not Jack be with her always to serve as a safeguard? Dear
Jack! So fond of Jack! Of course it would be all right. And then, to be
with Geoffrey all the time for two or three weeks! or, if not with him,
near enough to hear his voice! After all, she could not be any _more_ in
love with him than she was then. Where was the harm?

Margaret's presence on the yacht, if at times rather trying, would
certainly make an opening for excitement, and, on the whole, it would be
more comfortable to have both Geoffrey and Margaret on the yacht than to
leave them in Toronto together. This friendship between them--what did
it amount to? She had a desire to know all about it--as we painfully
pull the cot off a hurt finger, just to see how it looks.

For Geoffrey the trip promised to be interesting, and, having in the
early days examined Cupid's armory with some curiosity, he tried to
persuade himself that the archer's shafts were for him neither very keen
nor very formidable. As Davidge used to say, "too much familiarity
breeds despisery," and up to this time of his life it had not seemed
possible for him to care for any one very devotedly--not even himself.
Yet Margaret Mackintosh, he thought, was the one woman who could be
permanently trusted with his precious future. No one less valuable could
be the making of him. He agreed with the Frenchman in saying that "of
all heavy bodies, the heaviest is the woman we have ceased to love," and
he hoped when married to be able to feel some of that respect and trust
which make things different from the ordinary French experience. But
when he thought of Margaret as his wife the thought was vague, and not
so full of purpose as some of his other schemes. The mental picture of
Margaret sitting near him by the fireside keeping up a bright chatter,
or else playing Beethoven to him, the music sounding at its best through
the puff-puff of a contemplative pipe, had not altogether dulled his
appreciation of those pleasures of the chase, as he called them, over
which he had wasted so much of his time. Moreover, he felt that it was
altogether a toss-up whether she would accept him or not, and that he
did not appeal to her quite in the same way that he did to other women.
This threw his hand out. If he wished her to marry him at any time, he
thought he would have to put his best foot foremost, and tread lightly
where the way seemed so precarious. He knew that she liked him very much
as she would a work of art. It was a good thing to have a tall figure
and clean-cut limbs, but it seemed almost pathetic to be ranked, as it
were, with old china, no matter how full of soul the willow-pattern
might be.

Now that Nina had fairly commenced the yachting cruise, she could be
pleasant and jolly with Jack on board the boat, but when it came to
leaving the ball-room at the Arlington for a little promenade with him
on the verandas, the idea seemed slow and uninviting. After a dance,
Jack moved away with her, intending to saunter out through one of the
low windows.

"Don't you think it is pleasanter in here?" she said.

"Well, I find it a little warm here, don't you? Besides the moon is
shining outside, and we can get a fine view of the lake from the end of
the walk."

"But, my dear Jack, have we not been enjoying a fine view of the lake
all day? You see I don't want every person to think that we can not be
content unless we are mooning off together in some dark corner. It does
not look well; now, does it?"

Jack raised his eyebrows. "I did not think you were so very careful of
Mrs. Grundy. When did you turn over the new leaf? I suppose the idea did
not occur to you that being out with Geoffrey for two or three dances
might also excite comment."

Nina had already surveyed the lake to some extent during the evening
under pleasing auspices, but she did not like being reminded of it, and
answered hotly:

"How then, do you expect me to enjoy going to look at the lake again? I
have seen the lake three times already this evening, and no person has
made me feel that there was any great romance in the surroundings.
Surely you don't think that you would conjure up the romance, do you?"

"Evidently I would not be able to do that for you," said Jack slowly,
while he thought how different her feelings were from his own. It galled
him to have it placed before him how stale he had become to her. He
conquered his rising anger, and said:

"I am afraid that our engagement had become very prosaic to you."

"Horribly so," said Nina. "It all seems just as if we were married. Not
quite so bad, though, because I suppose I would then have to be civil.
What a bore! Fancy having to be civil continually!"

"I believe that a fair amount of civility is considered--"

"Oh, you need not tell me what our married life will be. I know all
about it. Mutual resignation and endearing nothings. Church on Sundays;
wash on Mondays. It will be respectable and meritorious and virtuous and
generally unbearable--"

"Hush, hush, Nina! Why do you talk in this strain? Why do you go out of
your way to say unkind things? I know you do not mean a quarter of what
you say. If I thought you did I--"

"Was I saying unkind things?" interrupted Nina. "I did not think of
their being unkind. It seems natural enough to look at things in this
way."

She was endeavoring now to neutralize her hasty words by softer tones,
and she only made matters worse. It is difficult to climb clear of the
consciousness of our own necessities when it envelops us like a fog,
obscuring the path. In some way a good deal of what she said to Jack now
seemed tinged with the wrong color, and out of the effort to be pleasant
had begun to grow a distaste for his presence. Much as she still liked
him, she always tried during this cruise to get into the boat or into
the party where Jack was not.

It had been his own proposal that she should see a good deal of
Hampstead, and so it never occurred to him to be jealous; and afterward
she became more crafty in blinding his eyes to the real cause of the
dissatisfaction she now expressed. While in Jack's presence her manner
toward Geoffrey was studiously off-hand and friendly. Whatever her
manner might be when they strolled off together, it was certain that an
understanding existed between the two to conceal from Jack whatever
interest they might have in one another. She was forced to think
continuously of Geoffrey so that every other train of thought sank into
insignificance, and was crowded out. A colder person, with temptation
infinitely less, would have done what was right and would have captured
the world's approbation. It would do harm to examine too closely the
natures of many saints of pious memory and to be obliged to paint out
their accustomed halo. If the convicted are ever more richly endowed
than the social arbiters, they are different and not understood, and
therefore judged. No sin is so great as that which we ourselves are not
tempted to commit. Ignorance either deifies or spits upon what can not
be understood. But, after all, we must have some standard, some social
tribunal; and social wrong, no matter how it is looked at, must be
prevented, no matter how well we understand that some are, as regards
social law, made crooked.

But let us hasten more slowly.

Sunday morning, strangely enough, followed the Saturday night which had
been spent at the Arlington. The daylight of Sunday followed about two
hours after the last man coaxed himself to his berth from the yacht's
deck and the tempting night. When all the others were fairly off in a
solid sleep, as if wound up for twenty-four hours, one individual
arrived at partial consciousness and wondered where he was. A sensation
of pleasure pervaded him. Something new and enjoyable lay before him,
but he could not make up his mind what it was. That he was not in 173
Tremaine Buildings seemed certain. If not there, where was he? To fully
consider the matter he sat up in his berth and gave his head a thump on
a beam overhead, which conveyed some intelligence to him. Then, lying
back on the pillow, he laughed and rubbed his poll. "A lubber's
mistake," quoth he; and then, after a little, "I wonder what it's like
outside?" A lanky figure in a long white garment was presently to be
seen stumbling up the companion-way, and a head appeared above the deck
with hair disheveled looking like a sleepy bird of prey. All around it
was so still that nothing could be heard but some one snoring down
below. The yacht lay with her anchor-chain nowhere--a thread would have
held her in position. The boats behind were lying motionless with their
bows under the yacht's counter, drawn up there by the weight of their
own painters lying in the water. Maurice gazed about the little
wharf-surrounded harbor with curiosity and artistic pleasure. It could
only have been this and the feeling of gladness in him that made him
interested in the lumber-piles and railway-derricks about him, but it
was all so new and strange to him. "Gad! to be off like this, on a
yacht, and to live on board, you know!" said he, talking to himself, as
he hoisted himself up by his arms and sat on the top of the sliding
hatchway. He moved away soon after sitting down, because of about half
an inch of cold dew on the hatch. This awakened him completely. He
walked gingerly toward the stern and looked at the blaze of red and gold
in the eastern sky where the sun was making a triumphal entry. Then he
walked to the bow and watched the light gild the masts of the
lumber-schooners and the fog-bank over the lake, and the carcass of a
drowned dog floating close at hand. He saw bits of the shore beyond the
town and wanted to go there. He wanted to inspect the little squat
lighthouse that shone in its reflected glory better than it ever shone
at night. Yes, he must see all these things. It was all fairyland to
him. The gig was carefully pulled alongside when, happy thought! a smoke
would be just the thing. The weird figure dived down for pipe, matches,
and "'baccy," and soon came up smiling. "Never knew anything so quiet
as this," he said, as he filled the pipe. The snore below seemed to be
the only note typical of the scene--not very musical, perhaps, but
eloquent and artistically correct.

He had not gone far in the gig when he came across the picturesque
drowned dog. Really it would be too bad to allow this to remain where it
was, even though gilded. The sun would get up higher, and then there
would be no poetry about it, but only plain dog. So he went back to the
deck and saw a boat-hook. That would do well enough to remove the
eyesore with, but how could he row and hold the boat-hook at the same
time? If he only had a bit of string, now, or a piece of rope! But these
articles are not to be found on a well-kept deck, and it would not be
right to wake up anybody. Happy thought! He took the pike-pole and rowed
rapidly toward the dog, and, as he passed it, dropped the oars and
grabbed the dog with the end of the pike-pole. His idea was that the
momentum of the boat would, by repeated efforts, remove the dog. But the
deceased was not to be coaxed in this way from the little harbor where
he had so peacefully floated for four weeks. So Maurice, after suffering
in the contest, went on board again. Still the snore below went on, and
still nobody got up to help him. He searched the deck for any part of
the rigging that would suit him, determined to cut away as much as he
wanted of whatever came first. Ah! the signal halyards! He soon had
about two hundred feet unrove, little recking of the man who had to
"shin up" to the topmast-head to reeve the line again. The dog must go.
That Margaret's eyes should not be insulted was so settled in his
chivalrous little head that--well, in fact, the dog would have to go,
and, if not by hook or by crook, he finally went lassoed a good two
hundred feet behind, Rankin rowing lustily.

After this object had been committed to the deep, a seagull came and
lighted on a floating plank to consider the situation, and gave a cry
that could be heard a vast distance. Maurice rowed out about half a mile
into the lake, and then could be seen a lithe figure diving in over the
side of the boat and disporting itself, which uttered cries like a
peacock when it came to the surface, and interested the lethargic
seagulls.

While he was doing this the fog bank slowly moved in from the lake and
enveloped him, so that he began to wonder where the shore was. He got
into the boat, without taking the trouble to don his garment, and rowed
toward the place where he thought the shore was. Half an hour's rowing
brought him back to some driftwood which he had noticed before, so he
gave up rowing in circles, put on the garment, settled himself in the
stern-sheets, and lit a pipe. The air was warm, and a gentle motion in
the lake rocked him comfortably, until a voice aroused him that might
have been a hundred yards or two miles off.

"Ahoy!" came over the water.

"Ahoy yourself," called Rankin.

Jack had got up, and, having missed the gig, had come to the end of the
wharf in his basswood canoe, which the Ideal also carried in this
cruise.

"By Jove," thought Jack, "I believe that's Morry out there in the fog;
he will never get back as long as he can not see the shore."

"Ahoy there," he called again.

"Ahoy yourself," came back in a tone of indifference.

"Where are you?"

"Never you mind."

"Who is out there with you?"

"The gulls," answered Maurice, as he smiled to himself.

Jack did not quite hear him. "The Gull?" thought he. "Surely not! Why,
he must be at least three miles off."

"Do you mean the Gull Light?" he called.

"Ya-as. What's the matter with you, any way?"

They were so far apart that their voices sounded to each other as if
they came through a telephone.

At this time the fog had lifted from Maurice, and he lay basking in the
sun, perfectly content with everything, while Jack, still enveloped in
fog, was feeling quite anxious about him. He paddled quickly back to the
yacht and got a pocket compass, and with this in the bottom of the canoe
steered sou'-sou'west until he got out of the fog, and discovered the
gig floating high up at the bow and low down aft, puffing smoke and
drifting up the lake before an easterly breeze and looking, in the
distance, rather like a steam-barge.

"Is that the costume you go cruising in?" asked Jack, as he drew near.

"This is the latest fashion, Mother Hubbard gown, don't you know!" said
Maurice, as he viewed his spindle calves with satisfaction. "Look at
that for a leg," he cried, as he waved a pipe-stem in the air. "No
discount on that leg."

"Nor anything else," growled Jack. "What do you mean by going off this
way with the ship's boats?"

"Not piracy, is it?" asked Morry.

"Don't know," said Jack, "but I am going to arrest you for being a
dissolute, naked vagrant, without visible means of support, and I shall
take you to the place whence you came and--"

"Bet you half a dollar you don't. I'm on the high seas, so 'get out of
me nar-east coorse,' or by the holy poker I'll sink you."


Jack came along to tie the gig's painter to his canoe and thus take it
into custody. Then a splashing match followed, during which Jack got
hold of the rope and began to paddle away. This was but a temporary
advantage. A wild figure leaped from the gig and lit on the gunwale of
the canoe, causing confusion in the enemy's fleet. Jack had just time to
grab his compass when he was shot out into the "drink," as if from a
catapult, and when he came to the surface he had to pick up his paddle,
while Morry swam back to the gig, proceeding to row about triumphantly,
having the enemy swamped and at his mercy. The overturned canoe would
barely float Jack, so Rankin made him beg for mercy and promise to make
him an eggnog when they reached the yacht. When on board again they
slept three hours before anybody thought of getting up.

As eight o'clock was striking in the town, these two children thought it
was time for everybody to be up. They were spoiling for some kind of
devilment. Geoffrey and Charley and others were already awake, and had
slipped into shirt and trousers to go away for a morning swim in the
lake.

Jack visited the sleepers with a yell. Mr. Lemons, another proposed
victim of the Dusenalls, still slept peacefully.

"Now, then, do get up!" cried Jack, in a tone of reproach.

"Wha's matter?"

"Get up," yelled Jack.

"Wha' for?"

"To wash yourself, man."

Suppressed laughter was heard from the ladies' cabins.

"Gor any washstands on board?" still half asleep, but sliding into an
old pair of sailing trousers.

"Washstands? Well, I never! Wouldn't a Turkish bath satisfy you? No,
sir! You'll dive off the end of the pier with the others."

"Not much. Gimme bucket an' piece soap."

"What! you won't wash yourself?" cried Jack, at the top of his voice.
"Oh, this is horrible! I say there, aft! you, fellows, come here! Lemons
says he won't wash himself."

At this four or five men ran in and pulled him on deck, where Charley
stood with a towel in his hand. No one would give Lemons a chance to
explain. They said, "See here, skipper, Lemons won't wash himself."

Charley's countenance assumed an expression of disgust. "Oh, the dirty
swab! Heave him overboard!"

Lemons broke away then and tried to climb the rigging, but he was caught
and carried back, two men at each limb, who showered reproach upon him.
The victim was as helpless as a babe in their hands, and was conscious
that the ladies had heard everything.

Charlie rapped on the admiralty skylight and asked for instructions. He
declared Lemons would not wash himself, and he asked what should be done
with him? In vain the victim cried that the whole thing was a plot. A
prompt answer came, with the sound of laughter, from the admiralty that
he was to go overboard. This was received with savage satisfaction, and,
after three swings backward and forward, Lemon's body was launched into
the air and disappeared under the water.

But Lemons did not come up again. In two or three seconds it occurred to
some one to ask whether Lemons could swim. They had taken it for granted
that he could. The thought came over them that perhaps by this time he
was gone forever. Without waiting further, Geoffrey dived off the
wall-sided yacht to grope along the bottom, which was only twelve feet
from the surface. He entered the water like a knife, and from the
bubbles that rose to the surface it could be seen that a thorough search
was being made. Each one took slightly different directions, and went
over the side, one after another, like mud-turtles off a log. Between
them all, the chance of his remaining drowned upon the bottom was small.
Several came up for air, and dived again in another place and met each
other below. There was no gamboling now. They were horrified, and looked
upon it as a matter of life or death. They dived again and again, until
one man came up bleeding at the nose and sick with exhaustion. Geoffrey
swam to help him to reach the yacht, when an explosion of laughter was
heard on the deck, and there was Lemons, with the laugh entirely on his
side. As soon as he had got underneath the surface he had dived deep,
and by swimming under water had come up under the counter, where he
waited till all were in the water, and then he came on deck.

Revenge was never more complete. Lemons was the hero of the hour. The
girls thought him splendid, and afterward the sight of eight pairs of
trousers and eight shirts drying on the main-boom seemed to do him good.

Charlie said they ought not to make a laundry clothes-horse of the yacht
on Sunday, and proposed to leave Cobourg. Mrs. Dusenall made a slight
demur to leaving on Sunday. Jack explained that if it blew hard from the
south they could not get out at all without a steam-tug from Port Hope.
This seemed a bore--to be locked up, willy-nilly, in harbor--so the
yacht was warped to the head of the east pier, where, catching the
breeze, she cleared the west pier and headed out into the lake. Outside
they found the wind pretty well ahead and increasing, but, with sails
flattened in, the Ideal lay down to it, and clawed up to windward in a
way that did their hearts good.

Some topsails were soon descried far away to windward, showing where two
other vessels were also beating down the lake. This gave them something
to try for, and when the topmast was housed and all made snug not a
great while elapsed before the hulls of the schooners became
occasionally visible. The sea was much higher and the motion greater
than on the previous day, but the breeze, being ahead, was more
refreshing, and nobody felt in danger of being ill after the first hour
out. They "came to" under the wooded rocks of Nicholas Island, put in a
couple of reefs, for comfort's sake, and "hove to" in calm water to take
lunch quietly.

After lunch, as the yacht paid off on a tack to the southward to weather
the Scotch Bonnet Lighthouse, they found, on leaving the shelter of the
island, a sea rolling outside large enough to satisfy any of them. One
hardly realizes from looking at a small atlas what a nice little jump of
a sea Ontario can produce in these parts. The hour lost in mollycoddling
for lunch under the island made a difference in the work the yacht had
to do. The two schooners, having received another long start, were
making good weather of it well to windward of the light, and, when on
the tops of waves, their hulls could be seen launching ahead in fine
style through the white crests. The yacht's rigging, as she soared to
the top of the wave, supplied a musical instrument for the wind to play
barbaric tunes upon, which to Jack and some others were inspiring. As
she swept down the breezy side of a conquered wave, her rigging sounded
a savage challenge to the next bottle-green-and-white mountain to come
on and be cut down.

Mrs. Dusenall went below and fell asleep in her berth, and some of the
others were lying about the after-cabin dozing over books. Nina and the
Dusenall girls lay on the sloping deck, propped against the
companion-hatch, where they could command the attention of several other
people who were sprawled about in the neighborhood of the wheel.
Margaret and Rankin persisted in climbing about the slanting decks,
changing their positions as new notions about the sailing of the vessel
came to them. They seemed so pleased with each other and with
everything--exchanging their private little jokes and relishing the odd
scraps culled from favorite authors that each brought out in the talk,
as old friends can. Maurice made love to her in the openest way--every
glance straight into her deep-sea eyes. Not possessing a muscle or a
figure, he wooed her with his wits and a certain virtuous boldness that
asserted his unmixed admiration and his quaint ideas with some force.
And she to him was partly motherly, chiefly sisterly, and partly
coquettish, like one who accepts the admiration of half a score before
her girlish fancies are gathered into the great egotism of the one who
shall reign thrice-crowned. Just look at Geoffrey now, as he nears this
schooner, steering the yacht as she comes up behind and to leeward of
the big vessel that majestically spurns the waves into half an acre of
foam. They tell him he can't weather her, that he'll have to bear away.
Now look at his muscular full neck and thick crisp curls. See his jaw
grow rigid and his eye flash as he calculates the weight of the wind and
the shape of the sea, the set of the sails, and the distances.
Obviously, a man to have his way. Objections do not affect him. See how
Margaret's eyes sweep quickly from the schooner back to Geoffrey, to
watch what he is doing. Why is it when they say he can't do it that it
never occurs to her that he won't? She looks at him open-eyed and
thoughtful, and thinks it is fine to carry the courage of one's opinions
to success, and she smiles as the yacht skillfully evades the main-boom
of the schooner and saws up on her windward side.

The sunrise that Maurice saw early in the morning was too sweet to be
wholesome. As the day wore on, the barometer grew unsteady. A leaden
scud came flying overhead, and the fellows began to wonder whether they
would have to thrash around Long Point all night. A good many opinions
were passed on the weather, which certainly did not look promising.
Margaret suggested that it would be more comfortable to go into port,
but was just as well pleased to hear that they had either to go about
forty miles further for a shelter or else run back to Cobourg. Presque
Isle was not spoken of, since it was too shallow and intricate to enter
safely at night. Lemons suggested that they should go back and anchor
under Nicholas Island, where they had lunched.

"Might as well look for needle in a hay-stack," said Charley. "It's
going to be as black as a pocket when daylight is gone. And if you did
get there it is no place to anchor on a night like this."

Jack did not say anything. He knew that Charley would go on to South
Bay, and he looked forward to another night of it round Long Point. The
only person who cared much what was done was Mr. Lemons. Towards evening
he began to think about the next meal.

"My dear skipper, how can you ever get a dinner cooked in such a sea as
this? The cook will never be able to prepare anything in such a
commotion," said he regretfully.

"Won't he!" exclaimed Charley decisively. "Just wait and see. My men
understand that they have to cook if the vessel never gets up off her
beam ends."

"What, you do not mean to say it will be all--" Mr. Lemons came and laid
his head on Charley's shoulder--"that it will be all just as it was
yesterday? Oh, say that it will. 'Stay me with flagons; comfort me with
apples.'"

"Get up--off me, you fat lump," cried Charley, pushing him away
vehemently. "I say that we will do better to-day, or we'll put the cook
in irons. I hate a measly fellow who gives in just when you want him. I
have sacked four stewards and six cooks about this very thing, and it is
a sore subject with me."

"De-lightful man," said Lemons, gazing rapturously at Charley.

"Rankin will tell you," said Jack. "He drew the papers. The whole thing
is down in black and white."

"True enough," said Maurice. "But I don't see how signing papers will
teach a man to cook on the side of a stove, when the ship is lying over
and pitching like this."

"No more do I," said Lemons anxiously.

"Why, man alive!" said Charley, "the whole stove works something like a
compass, don't-you-know. He has got it all swinging--slung in irons."

"That is far better than having the cook in irons," suggested Margaret.

"Oh!" said Mr. Lemons, as he gazed at the sky, "that remark appeals to
me. The lady is correct."

Then he arose and grasped Charley in a vice-like grip, for though fat he
was powerful. He pinned the skipper to the deck and sat upon him.

"Say, dearest," he cooed into his ear, "at about what hour will this
heavenly-repast be ready?"

"Pull him off--somebody!" groaned Charley. "I hate a man that has to be
thrown in the water to--" a thump on the back silenced him.

"May I convey your commands to the Minister of the Interior," asked his
tormentor.

"Oh, my ribs! Yes. Tell him to begin at it at once."

"I don't mind if I do," said Mr. Lemons sagaciously; and he disappeared
down the companion-way to interview the cook.

"Ain't he a brick?" said Charley, after Lemons had gone forward. "He's a
regular one-er, that chap! Give him his meals on time and he's the
gamest old sardine. By the way, let us have a sweepstake on the time we
drop anchor in South Bay."

"We haven't any money in these togs," said Geoffrey.

"Well, you'll all have to owe it, then. We'll imagine there's a quarter
apiece in the pool."

Margaret wanted to know what was to be done. It was explained that each
person had to write his name on a folded paper with the time he thought
anchor would be dropped in South Bay. The names were read out afterward.
They all, with two exceptions, ranged between one o'clock at night and
seven the next morning. The sea was running tremendously high and the
wind dead ahead. It was now seven o'clock in the evening and with some
thirty-five miles yet to beat to windward. What surprised them all was
that Jack had chosen ten o'clock and Charley half-past ten of the same
evening. They explained that they had based their ideas on the clouds.

"If you look carefully," said Jack, "you'll see that close to this lower
scud coming from the east, there is a lighter cloud flying out the south
and west."

"I wish, Jack, you had not come on this trip," said Charley. "I could
make lots of money if you were not on board."

Sure enough, the yacht began to point up nearer and nearer to her
course, soon after they spoke. Presently she lay her course, with the
sheet lightly started, mounting over the head seas like a race-horse,
and roaring straight into the oncoming walls of water till it seemed as
if her bowsprit would be whipped out. The wind kept veering till at last
they had a quarterly breeze driving them forcibly into the seas that had
been rising all day. Ordinarily they would have shortened sail to ease
the boat, but now that dinner was ordered for half-past nine o'clock,
they drove her through it in order that they might dine in calm water.

They raced past the revolving light on Long Point faster than they had
expected to pass it that night. The twenty-five miles run from here was
made in darkness and gloom. The boom was topped up to keep it out of the
water, and the peak of the reefed mainsail was dropped, as the
increasing gale threatened to bury the bows too much in the head seas.
Although early enough in the evening, everything around was, as Charley
had predicted, as black as a pocket. Now and then some rain drove over
them. Maurice and Margaret sat out together on deck, wrapped in heavy
coats, and watched what little they could see. The howling of the wind
and roaring of the black surges beneath them were new experiences. Close
to them was Jack, standing at the wheel, tooling her through. By the
binnacle-light his face, which was about all that could be seen, seemed
to be filled with a grave contentment that broke into a grim smile when
the boat surged into a wall of water that would have stopped a
bluff-bowed craft. Soon after dropping Long Point, he leaned over the
hatchway and called down to Charley, who was lying on his back on gay
cushions, smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper. "Got the Duck
Light, skip."

"All right, old boy. Wire in."

Dusenall turned over his newspaper, but did not take the trouble to come
on deck to investigate.

"Say!" he called.

"Hello."

"Won't she take the peak again? I've got a terrible twist on me for
dinner."

"No. Bare poles is more what she wants just now," said Jack.

"The deuce! Who's forrud?"

"Billy and Joe."

"All right. Must be damp for 'em up there."

"Can't see. Guess it's blue water to the knees, most of the time."

"Shouldn't wonder. Do 'em good."

After this jargon was finished, it did not take long to run down to the
False Duck Light. Here the double-reefed mainsail was "squatted" and the
fourth reef-pennant hauled down. The reefed staysail was taken in and
stowed; and under the peak of the mainsail they jibed over. Steering by
the compass, they then rounded to leeward of Timber Island and hauled
their wind into South Bay.

To put the Ideal over so far with so little canvas showing, it must have
been blowing a gale. They sped up into the bay close hauled, and "came
to" in about four fathoms. Down went the big anchor through the hissing
ripples to that best of holding-grounds, and the vessel, drifting back
as if for another wild run, suddenly fetched up with a grind on her iron
cable. The mad thing knew that unyielding grip, and swung around
submissively.



CHAPTER X.

    Full souls are double mirrors, making still
    An endless vista of fair things before,
    Repeating things behind.

    GEORGE ELIOT'S _Poems._


There is a want of primness in the manners and customs of my characters
which a reviewer might take exception to. To be sure he might with
effect criticise their making up a pool on Sunday. But the fact was that
nobody remembered it to be Sunday until Jack wanted to collect his
winnings after dinner. At this, Mrs. Dusenall held up her hands in high
disapproval. While out in the lake, in the worst part of the sea, she
had commenced to read her Bible, and had felt thankful to arrive in
shelter. Consequently she remembered the day.

"Surely, Charley, you have not been gambling on Sunday?" said she
reprovingly.

The girls looked guilty, with an expression of "Oh, haven't we been
bad?" on their faces.

Rankin endeavored to relieve the situation by explaining in many words
that the whole thing was a mere matter of form, and no more than an
expression of opinion as to the time the boat would reach the harbor,
because no money was put up--in fact, as the arrangement was made on
Sunday, the whole thing was illegal, and no money ever would be put up,
etc.

Jack kicked him under the table for arguing away his winnings, and
Margaret quoted at him:

                              "His tongue
    Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear
    The better reason, to perplex and dash
    Maturest counsels."

"Good," said Geoffrey. "Give him the rest of it, Miss Margaret. Rub it
in well."

Margaret continued, and with mirthful eyes declaimed at Maurice:

                              "For his thoughts were low;
    To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
    Timorous and slothful: and yet he pleas'd the ear,
    And with persuasive accent thus began."

This amused Margaret, because Maurice was such a decent little man. But
Geoffrey's enjoyment of it was different. Rankin felt that there was
growing in him an antagonism to Hampstead. He was afraid of him for her
sake--afraid she would learn to like him too much. At any other time
chaff would have found him invulnerable, but Geoffrey's amusement made
him redden.

"You seem to be well acquainted with the characteristics of Belial,
Hampstead," he said. "Margaret, your memory is excellent. Could you
favor us with the lines just preceding what you first quoted?"

Why should Margaret have blushed as she did so? She quoted:

                              "On th' other side up rose
    Belial, in act more graceful and humane;
    A fairer person lost not heaven; he seem'd
    For dignity compos'd and high exploit:
    But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
    Dropp'd manna," etc.

"Thank you," said Maurice. "You see the lines are intended to describe a
person far different from me in appearance. Hampstead, you observe, had
studied the passage. A coincidence, is it not?"

Soon they were all composing themselves for sleep. Margaret was
listening peacefully to the shrieking of the wind in the rigging as she
thought how every moment on board the yacht had been one of unclouded
enjoyment. An unconscious smile went over her face that would have been
pleasant to see. Then she thought of Geoffrey and smiled again. This
time she caught herself, and asked herself why? All day, since she had
watched Geoffrey steering the yacht beside the schooner in the lake, her
mind had been chanting two lines of poetry. When asked in the evening to
repeat the lines aloud she had blushed because it seemed like confessing
herself.

    A fairer person lost not heaven; he seemed
    For dignity composed and high exploit.

In her mind Geoffrey had become identified with these two lines. But
what had friend Maurice meant by saddling the context on him in that
malevolent way? Could he really have thought that Belial's character
was also Geoffrey's? She put away this idea as untenable. She was one of
those born in homes where the struggle for existence has not for
generations taught the household to be suspicious; with the innate
nobility that tends, whether rightly or wrongly, to think the best of
others; she was one of those whom men turn to with relief after the
cunning and suspicion of the business world, each feeling the assistance
it is to meet some one who is ready to take him at the valuation he
would like to be able justly to put upon himself.

When morning broke, there were eight or ten schooners to be seen on
different sides that had run in for shelter during the night. About six
o'clock Margaret crept out to satisfy her curiosity as to what kind of
place they were in. With only her head above the hatchway at the top of
the stairs leading up from the ladies' cabin she gazed about for some
time before she spied Maurice sitting on the counter with his back to
her, his feet dangling over the water while he watched the vessels.

She crept toward him and gave a cry close to his ear, to startle him.

"Don't make so much noise," said he, quite unstartled. "I don't like you
to call out like that in my ear." He added, perforce, as he looked at
her, "At least I don't like it when I can't see you."

"Don't tell stories, Morry. You know you would like me to do it at any
time."

"I would not, indeed," he asserted. "Come and sit down and keep quite
silent. Just when I was having such a happy, peaceful time you come and
spoil it all."

Margaret sat down on the rail and turned herself about so that she could
sit in the same position beside him. His helping hand still held hers as
they sat together. He was almost afraid to turn toward her, for fear he
would look too tenderly. She might go away if he did. His _rôle_ was to
bully her, and then she would never know how exquisite it was for him
to have her sit beside him.

"There, now! Sit perfectly quiet and don't say another word. Just look
around and enjoy yourself in a reasonable manner. I'm not going to have
my morning disarranged and my valuable reveries disturbed."

The wind had shifted to the northwest in the morning and had blown
itself out and down to a moderate breeze with a clearing sky, with
patches of blue and broken clouds overhead.

"Now listen to the chorus of the sailors as they get up their anchor.
Does it not seem a sweet and fitting overture to the whole oratorio of
the voyage before them? I have been watching the vessels go out, one by
one, for over an hour. I must say there are some uncommonly rude men
among the sweet singers we are listening to, and--and--" He stopped and
forgot to go on.

"And what?" cried Margaret peremptorily.

Maurice had lost himself in the contemplation of some locks of sunny
hair, that were flying in the breeze from Margaret's forehead, and the
graceful curve of her full neck as she looked away at the ships.

"Oh, yes. And that's Timber Island over there, covered with trees and
stamped out round like a breakfast bun, and that's the False Duck
Island, where we came in last night. The schooner sailing yonder is
going to take the channel between that white line of breakers and South
Bay Point running out there, and those huts you see nestling in the
trees far away on the main-land are fishermen's houses--"

He was not looking at any of these things, but was following out two
trains of thought in his active head while he talked against time. What
really absorbed him was Margaret's ear, and a sort of invisible down on
the back part of her cheek. He was thinking to himself that if five
dollars would purchase a kiss on that spot he would be content to see a
notice in the Gazette: "Maurice Rankin, failed: liabilities, $5.00."

Margaret was listening, gravely unconscious of being so much admired,
enjoying all he said, and feasting her eyes upon the distances, the
brilliant colors, and the fleeting shadows of the broken clouds upon the
water.

"Why, what a nice old chappie you are!" she exclaimed, giving his hand a
pat and taking hers away. "How did you manage to find out all about the
surroundings?"

"Been around boarding the different schooners lying at anchor. Examining
their papers, you know," said he grandly. "Went around in the canoe to
the first fellow--a coal vessel. A man appeared near the bow and looked
down at me as if I were a kind of fish swimming about. 'Heave-to, or
I'll sink you,' I said in the true old nautical style. He did not say a
word, but stooped down and did heave two, in fact three, pieces of coal
at me. I passed on, satisfied that his vessel needed no further
inspection. I was then attracted by the name of another schooner, on
whose stern was painted the legend 'Bark Swaller.'"

"What a strange name," said Margaret, as Maurice spelled it out.

"Well, it puzzled me a good deal, as I examined it closely, being in
doubt whether Barque Swallow was intended, or perhaps the name of some
German owner. At all events a sailor spied me paddling about under the
stern of the boat and regarded me with evident suspicion. I thought I
would deal more gently with this man than with the other fellow. 'Can
you tell me,' I asked, 'the name of that round island over there?' The
only answer I got was unsatisfactory. 'Sheer off,' said he, 'wid your
dirty dug-out.' This seemed rather rude, but I did not retaliate. I
thought I might go further and fare worse, so I endeavored to mollify
him. Perhaps, I thought, being up all night in hard weather had made
these sailors irritable.

"'Can you drink whisky?' I said--" Margaret was looking at Maurice with
a soft expression of interest and mirth. He was talking on in order that
he might continue to bask in the beauty of the face that looked straight
at him. But the strain for a moment was too great. For an instant he
slacked up his check-rein, and while he narrated his story he continued
in the same tone with: "(Believe me, my dear Margaret, you are looking
perfectly heavenly this morning) and the effect on this poor toiler of
the sea was, I assure you, quite wonderful." Rankin's tongue went
straight on, as if the parenthesis were part of the narrative. Margaret
saw that it was useless to speak, and resigned herself to listen again.
"Quite wonderful," he continued. "The fellow motioned to me to come to
the bow of the vessel, and when I got there he came over the bulwarks
and dropped like a monkey from one steel rope to another till he stood
on the bobstay chains."

"'Whist!' said he. 'Divil a word! Have you got it there?'

"'There is some on the yacht,' I said, 'and I want to ask you some
questions about this place. What island is that over there?'

"'Mother of Pathrick,' said he, 'an' did ye come down all the way in
your yacht and not know Timber Island when you'd see it?'

"He looked at me as if I was some strange being.

"'And where was ye last night, might I axe?'

"'Where we axe now,' I said.

"'Faith, it was a big head that brought you into the nursery here
before last night came on! More be-token, I have'nt had a dhry rag on me
for tin hours, and divil a sail we've got widout a shplit in it the size
of a shteam-tug. Bring it in a sody-bottle, darlint, and the Lord'll
love ye if ye don't spoil it. Whisht, love! You drink my health in the
sody and don't lave any in the bottle.'

"I came back and got him a soda-bottle of the genuine article, and while
he drank it the rapidity of his tongue was peculiar. 'So you have been
here before?' I asked.

"'Whisht, darlint! till the captain won't hear you. Been here before?
Begorra, this place has been a mine of goold to me many a time. For
siventeen days at a slap I've laid here in Dicimber at four dollars a
day, with nothin' to do but play checkers and sphlit wood for the shtove
and pray for a gale o' wind down the lake till shpring-time.'

"This eloquence continued until I thought he would certainly fall off
the bobstay.

"'Tell me, now,' he said, after I had got all the information I wanted,
'have ye a berth for an old salty aboard that craft?'

"I said we had not.

"'Faith, perhaps you're right. I kin see by the stow on yer mainsail and
by the nate way yer heads'ls is drag-gen' in the wather that you're born
and bled up to the sea and don't require no assistance.'

"With these sarcastic words he gave me his blessing, threw away the
bottle, and disappeared again over the bow."

"I gather from your remarks that your friend was of Hibernian origin,"
said Margaret. "Perhaps a good dynamiter spoiled. But we will speak of
him again. What I have been wanting for some time has been a trip in the
canoe to the beach over there. I want to walk over the sand bar and get
close to those great breakers rolling in on the shingle. Unhitch your
canoe-string and bring the canoe alongside."

"Unhitch your canoe-string!" repeated Rankin contemptuously. "You must
speak more nautically or I won't understand you."


"Well, what ought I to say?"

"Dunno. 'Cast adrift your towline' sounds well."

"It does, indeed," said Margaret, as Morry swung the light cockleshell
into position and she descended into it with care. "'Cast adrift your
towline' has a full, able-bodied seaman sort of sound; but it has not
the charm of mystery about it that some expressions have. Now 'athwart
your hawse' seems portentous in its meaning. I don't want to know what
it means. I would rather go on thinking of it as of the arm that handed
forth the sword Excalibur,' clothed in white samite--mystic, wonderful.'
Do you know I read all Clark Russell's sea stories, and drive through
all his sea-going technicalities with the greatest interest, although I
understand nothing about them. When he goes aloft on the main-boom and
brails up his foregaff-bobstay I go with him. Sometimes he describes how
small the deck below looks from the dizzy height when, poised upon the
capstan-bars, he furls the signal halyards that flap and fill away and
thunder in the gale; and then I see it all--"

"So do I, so do I!" cried Morry, as he paddled dexterously to the shore.
"You've got Clark Russell to a T. He goes on like that by the hour
together. I read every word, and the beauty of it is I always think I
understand. Why do we like his stories so much, I wonder?"

"One reason is because his heroes are manly men and have brave hearts,"
said Margaret confidently. "I think that is why they appeal to women; he
always arouses a sentiment of pity for the hero's misfortunes. Few women
can resist that." And Margaret, somewhat stirred, looked away over the
broad sea. Almost unconsciously there flashed before her the image of a
Greek god winning a foot-race under circumstances that aroused her
sympathy. Again she saw him steering a yacht, keen, strong, active,
determined, and calm amid excitement. A flush suffused her countenance,
and her eyes became soft and thoughtful as she gazed far away. Ah, these
rushes of blood to the head! How they kindle an unacknowledged idea into
activity! A moment and, like a flash, a latent, undeveloped instinct
becomes a living potent force to develop us. The admirer becomes a
lover, the plotter a criminal, and the religious man a fanatic.

When the canoe pushed its way through the rushes and beached itself upon
the soft sand the two jumped out and crossed over to the lake side,
where the heavy ground swells of the last night's gale were still
mounting high upon the shingle. The bar leading toward them from False
Duck Island was a seething expanse of white breakers, and over the lake
to the south and west, as far as the eye could reach in the now rarefied
atmosphere a tumbling mass of bright-green waters could be seen, which
grew blue in color at the sharply cut horizon. Not far off the "Bark
Swaller" was buffeting her way to the southward, toward Oswego, and
around the wooded island with the lighthouse on it, the mail steamer,
twelve hours detained, was getting a first taste of the open water.

It was a morning that made the two feel as if it were impossible to keep
still. The flat shingle, washed smooth by the high waves of the previous
night, was firm under foot as they walked and trotted along between the
wreckage and driftwood on one side and the highest wash of the hissing
water on the other. An occasional flight of small plover suggested the
wildness of the spot, and something of the spirit of these birds in
their curving and wheeling flight seemed to possess the two young
people--making them run and caper on the sands.

"You ought to be able to run a pretty good race," said Maurice,
glancing at the shapely figure of his companion.

"So I am," said Margaret, as she sprang up on a large piece of
driftwood. "I'll run you a race to that bush on the far point around the
little bay. Do you see it?"

"I see it," said Maurice. "Are you ready? Go!"

Margaret sprang down from the stump and was off like an arrow. Morry
thought it was only a sham and a pretense of hers, as he bounded off
beside her. He soon found his mistake, however, as his unaccustomed
muscles did their utmost to keep him abreast of the gliding figure in
the dark-blue skirt and jersey. They rounded the curve of the bay,
Maurice on the inside track. But this advantage did not give him a lead.
The distance to the winning point seemed fatal to his chances, but he
hung on, hoping his opponent would tire. Again he was mistaken.

"Come on, Morry! Don't be beaten by a woman."

Her voice, as she said this, seemed aggressively fresh, and the taunt
brought Rankin even with her again. He had no breath left to say
anything in reply as they came to a small indentation filled with water
where the shore curved in, making another little bay. Margaret ran
around it, but Maurice, as a last chance, splashed through it,
regardless of water up to his ankles. He gained about ten feet by this
subterfuge. A few gliding bounds, impossible to describe, and Margaret
was beside him again.

"That was a shabby advantage to take," she said as she passed his
panting form. "Now I'll show you how fast I _can_ run."

She left him then as he labored on. She floated away from him like a
thistle-blossom on the breeze. He forgot his defeat in his admiration of
that fleeting figure which he would have believed to move in the air had
he not seen marks in the sand made by toes of small shoes. He could
hardly comprehend how she could run away from him in this way. Yet there
was no wings attached to the lithe form before him. No wings, but a bit
of silk ankle which seemed far preferable.

Margaret stopped at the bush which was to be the winning post. Morry
then staggered in exhausted and threw himself sideways into the yielding
mass of the willow bush and fell out on the other side.

"Oh," he said, as he rolled over on his back with his head resting in
his hands, "wasn't that beautiful?"

"The race--yes, indeed, it was splendid."

"No, I don't mean the race. That was horrible. I mean to see you run."
(Gasp.)

Margaret's face was sparkling with excitement and color, while her bosom
rose and fell after her exertion.

"I can run fast, can I not?" Her arms were hanging demurely at her side
again. She could run, but she never seemed to be at all masculine.

"I never ran a race with a man before," she said, laughing.

"And never will run another with this individual," said Rankin. "Nothing
goes so fast as a train you have missed, just as it leaves the station,
and yet I have caught it sometimes. You can go faster than anything I
ever saw." (A breath.) "It is a good thing to know when one is beaten.
You will always be an uncatchable distance before me." (A sigh.)

"My shoes are full of sand," said Margaret ruefully, looking down at
them.

"Mine are full of water," said Maurice. He did not seem to care. He was
quite content to lie there and gaze at her without reservation. And,
with his heightened color and excitement, he actually appeared rather
good looking.

"I think the least you could do would be to offer to take the sand out
of my shoes," said Margaret.

"If I don't have to get up I could do it. I won't be able to get up for
about twenty minutes. But if you sit on that stump--so--I think I could
manage it."

Resting on one elbow, he unlaced the shoes, knocked the sand out of
them, and spent a long time over the operation. Then he wondered at
their small size, and measured them, sole to sole, with his own boots
while he chattered on, as usual, about nothing. Hers were not by any
means microscopic shoes, but they seemed so to him, and he regarded them
with some of the curiosity of the miners of Blue Dog Gulch, Nevada, when
a woman's boot appeared among them after their two years' isolation from
the interesting sex. There was something in the way he handled them that
spoke of exile--something that stirred the compassion one might feel on
seeing the monks of Man Saba tend their canaries.

The left shoe was put on with great care, and then he sat looking over
the lake for a while in silence before beginning with the second. It was
a long, well-chiseled foot, with high instep, and none of those knobs
which sometimes necessitate long dresses, and in men's boots take such a
beautiful polish. He pretended to brush some sand away, and then,
banding over, kissed the silk-covered instep, and received an admonitory
tap for his boldness.

"Fie, Morry! to kiss an unprotected lady's foot," said Margaret archly,
as she took the shoe from him and put it on herself. "You have insulted
me."

"Nay, Margaret, 'twas but the sign of my allegiance and fealty," said
he, looking up with what tried to be an off-hand manner. "It is the old
story," he said lightly; "the worship of the unattainable--the remnant,
perhaps, of our old nature worship. If you were not better acquainted
with the subject than I am, I could give you a discourse which would be,
I assure you, very instructive as to how we have always striven after
what we think to be good in the unattainable. We have been forbidden to
worship the sun or to appease the thunders and lightnings, and, one by
one, nearly all the objects of worship have been swept away, leaving a
world that now does not seem to know what to do with its acquired
instincts. One object is left, though, and I am inclined to think that
men are never more thoroughly admirable than when influenced by the
worship of the women who seem to them the best, that many thus come to
know the pricelessness of good and the despair of evil, with quite as
satisfactory practical results as any other creed could bring about."

"What, then, becomes of the search for the unattainable after marriage?"
asked Margaret practically.

"I imagine that the search would continue, that the greatest peace of
marriage is the consciousness of approaching good in being assisted to
live up to a woman's higher ideals. It seems as if the condition of
Milton's idyllic pair--'he for God only, she for God _in him_'--has but
little counterpart in real life, and that, in a thousand cases to one,
the morality of the wife is the main chance of the husband."

"I understand, then, that we are to be worshiped as a means toward the
improvement of our husbands. I was hoping," said Margaret smiling, "that
you were going to prove us to be real goddesses, worthy of devotion for
ourselves--without more."

"You are raising a well-worn question--as to what men worship when they
bow before a shrine. If you were the shrine, I should say generally the
shrine. At other times they worship that which the shrine suggests. What
I mean is, that it is a good thing for one to have a power with him
capable of improving all the good that is in him. For myself, the point
is somewhat wanting in interest, as I never expect to be able to put it
to a practical test."

"Not get married, Maurice? Why will you never get married?"

"I intended to have casually mentioned the reason a minute ago, only you
interrupted me just as I was coming to the interesting part."

"Then tell me now, and I won't interrupt."

"Well, you know I am like the small boys who want pie, and won't eat
anything if they don't get it," said he, striving to be prosaic. "I love
you far too well to make it possible for me to marry anybody else."

In spite of the assistance that pulling his hair gave him, as his head
lay back in his hands, his voice shook and his form stiffened out along
the sand in a way that told of struggle. Margaret was surprised, but she
hardly yet understood the matter enough to feel pained. She had not been
led to expect that men would first express their love while lying on
their backs.

"I thought I would tell you of it, as you would then know how
particularly well you could trust me--as your friend--a very faithful
one. You know, even in my present state, I would be full of hope, if
things were different, because the money is bound to come sooner or
later; but you, Margaret, I know, without your words, will never be
attainable--that the moon would be more easy for me to grasp."

Margaret was not often at a loss for a word, but now she knew not what
to say. It did not seem as if anything could be said. She essayed to
speak; but he stopped her.

"I know what you would say," he said. "They would be kind words in their
tone, full of sympathy, words that I love to hear--that I hear like
music in my ears when you are out of sight? You must, and I know you
will, forgive me for all these confessions," said he, smiling, "you
have made such a change come over my life. You have given me so much
happiness."

"I don't see how," said Margaret, not knowing what to say.

"No--you could hardly know why. If you knew what a different life I have
led from that of others you would understand better the real happiness
you have given me. My life of late years has been unlovely. I have not
had the soft influences of a home as it should be, but I have always
yearned for them."

The pretense of being off-hand in his manner had left him. He talked
disjointedly, and with effort. "You can not know what it is to feel
continually the want of affection. You have never hungered for the
luxury of being in some way cared for. But these weaknesses of mine will
not bore you, because you are kind. It will make my case plainer when I
tell you that for years--as long as I can remember--there never has been
a night that a longing for the presence of my parents has not come over
me. Until I saw you. Now you have come to fill the gap. Now I think of
you, and listen to your voice, and look at your face, and care for you.
You fill more places in my heart than you know of. You are father and
mother and all beside to me, and I shall go back to my dreary life
gladder for this experience, this love for you which will remain with me
always. Still, it is dreadful to look into a future of loneliness! Oh,
Margaret, it is dreadful to be always alone--always alone."

Margaret was watching the part of his face not covered with his cap as
his words were ground out haltingly, and she could see his lips twitch
as old memories mingled with his present emotions. As he proceeded she
saw from his simple words how deep-seated were his affections, and she
wondered at the way he had concealed his love for her. A great
compassion for him was welling up in her heart. As she listened to his
words, it came upon her what it might be to love deeply and then to
find that it only led to disappointment. She felt glad that she had
given him some happiness--glad when he said he could look forward more
cheerfully to going back to his hopeless existence. It was brave to
speak of it thus--asking nothing. But when he said it was dreadful to be
alone--always alone--his voice conveyed the idea of horror to her, and,
in a moment, without knowing exactly why, the tears were in her eyes,
and she was kneeling beside him on the sand asking what could be done,
and blaming herself for giving him trouble. Her touch upon his hand
thrilled him. He dared not remove his cap. He dared not look at her for
very fear of his happiness; but then he heard a half sob in her voice,
and that cured him. It would never do for her to be weeping. He had said
too much, he thought. He partly sat up, leaning upon his hand, and was
himself again. Margaret was looking at him (so beautiful with her dewy
eyes), with but one thought in her mind, which was how to be kind to
him, how to make up to him some of the care that his life had been shorn
of. It was all done in a moment. Margaret said tearfully, "Oh, what can
I do?" and Rankin's native quickness was present with him. He leaned
forward, inspired by a new thought, and said, "Kiss me," and Margaret,
knowing nothing but a great compassion for him, in which self was
entirely forgotten, said: "Indeed, I will, if you would care for that."



CHAPTER XI.

YACHTING ONLY.


Some hearts might have yearned to have been on board during the fishing
in Hay Bay, and to have enjoyed those evenings when the yacht anchored
in the twilight calm, beside rocky shores, or near waving banks of sedge
and rushes, where the whip-poor-will and bull frog supplied all the
necessary music. I abandon all that occurred at pretty Picton and
Belleville, but I must not forget the little episode that happened one
evening near Indian Point as the yacht was on her way to Kingston. A
fresh breeze had been blowing during the afternoon, and the two reefs,
taken in for comfort's sake, still remained in the mainsail, as no one
after dinner felt equal to the exertion of shaking them out. The wind
had almost died away as they approached Indian Point, and not far off,
on the other side of this long, narrow arm of the sea called the Bay of
Quinte, lay MacDonald's Cove, a snug little place for anchorage in any
kind of weather. A heavy bank of clouds was rapidly rising over the
hills in the west, and hastening up the sky to extinguish the bright
moon that had been making a fairy landscape of the bay and its
surroundings, and the barometer was falling rapidly.

This condition of affairs Jack reported to Charley, who was below with
several others having a little game in which the word "ante" seemed to
be used sometimes in a tone of reproach. Charles answered gayly, without
looking away from the game, that Jack had better get the yacht into the
Cove while there was wind to take her there, and Jack, who observed that
he was "seeing" and "raising" an antagonist for the fifth time on a pair
of fours, thought a man should not be disturbed at such a time, and went
on deck to shake out the reefs so as to drift into the Cove, if
possible, before the storm came on. But when in the middle of the bay
the wind gave out entirely. For half an hour the Ideal lay becalmed and
motionless. Oilskin suits and sou'westers were donned. Now fringes of
whitish scud, torn from the driving clouds, could be seen flying past
the bleared moon, and it seemed in the increasing darkness, while they
were waiting for the tumult, as if the shores around contracted, so as
to give the yacht no space for movement. Jack took the compass bearings
of the lighthouse, expecting soon to be in total darkness, and he had
both anchors prepared for instant use. The sails had been close-reefed,
but after being reefed they were lowered again so as to present nothing
but bare poles to the squall. The darkness came on and grew intense.
Between the rapidly increasing peals of thunder the squall could be
heard approaching, moaning over the hills in the west and down the bay
as if ravening for prey, while the lightning seemed to take a savage
delight in spearing the distant cliffs which, in the flashes, were
beautifully outlined in silhouette against an electric atmosphere. Still
the yacht lay motionless in the dead air difficult to breathe and
oppressive; and still Charley continued to "raise" and get "raised" in
the cheerfully lighted cabin, whence the laughter and the talk of the
game mingled strangely, in the ears of those on deck, with the sounds of
the coming tempest. Margaret, with her head out of the companion-way,
watched the scene with a nervousness that impending electrical storms
oppressed her with. Her quick eyes soon caught sight of something on the
water, not far off. A mystic line of white could be seen coming along
the surface. She asked what it was at a moment when the deadness and
blackness of the air seemed appalling, and the ear was filled with
strange swishing sounds. She never heard any answer. Another instant and
the yacht heeled over almost to the rail in that line of white water,
which the whips of the tornado had lashed into spume. Blinding sheets of
spray, picked up by the wind from the surface of water, flew over those
on deck, and instantly the lee scuppers were gushing with the rain and
spray which deluged the decks. Word was carried forward by a messenger
from the wheel to hoist a bit of headsail, and when this was
immediately done the yacht paid off before the squall, running easterly,
with all the furies after her. The darkness was so great that it was
impossible to see one's hand close to one's eyes. The thunderclaps near
at hand were rendered more terrific by the echoes from the hills, and
only while the lightning clothed the vessel in a spectral glare could
they see one another. Still the yacht sped on, while Jack jealously
watched the binnacle where the only guide was to be found. The Indian
Point light, though not far off, was completely blotted out by the rain,
which seemed to fall in solid masses, and even the lightning failed to
indicate the shores or otherwise reveal their position.

A wild career, such as they were now pursuing, must end somewhere, and
in the narrow rock-bound locality they were flying through, the chance
of keeping to the proper channel entirely by compass and chart did not
by any means amount to a certainty. Nor was anchoring in the middle of
the highway to be thought of, especially as some trading vessels were
known to be in the vicinity. The chance of being cut down by them was
too great. Jack felt that an error now might cause the loss of the
yacht. After calculating a variation of the compass in these parts, he
decided to run before the gale for a while and keep in the channel if
possible--hoping for a lull in the downfall of rain, so that his
whereabouts could be discovered.

A high chopping sea was driving the yacht on, while she scudded under
bare poles before the gale, and Jack had been for some little time
endeavoring to estimate their rate of speed when the deluge seemed to
abate partly and the glimmer of a light could be seen to the southward.
A sailor called out "There's Indian Point light." If it had been the
light he mentioned they would have had all they wanted. Jack feared
they had run past it, but, to make sure, he asked the sailors their
opinion. They all said they were certain it was Indian Point light. One
of them declared he had seen the lighthouse itself in one of the
flashes. So Jack had the peak of the mainsail partly hoisted and they
drew around to the southward, so as to anchor under the lee of the
lighthouse point. As the yacht came round sideways to the wind she lay
down to it and moved slowly and heavily through the short angry seas
that, hitting the side, threw spray all over her. Jack was feeling his
way carefully and slowly through the inky blackness of the night with
the lead-line going to show the depth of the water, when the lookout on
the bowsprit-end, after they had proceeded a considerable distance to
the south, suddenly cried "Breakers ahead!" and he tumbled inboard off
the bowsprit, as if he thought the boat about to strike at once. "Let
her go round, sir, for God's sake! We're right on the rocks."

Jack, back at the wheel, had not been able to get a glimpse of the
foaming rocks in the lightning which the man on the bowsprit had seen.
He despaired of the boat's going about, but he tried it. The high
chopping sea stopped the yacht at once. He knew it was asking too much
of her to come about with so little way on, and the canvas all in a bag,
so, as there was evidently no room to wear the ship, he had the big
anchor dropped. His intention was to come about by means of his anchor
and get out on the other tack into the channel and anywhere away from
the rocks and the breakers that could be heard above the tempest roaring
close to them on the port side. While the chain was being paid out, the
close-reefed mainsail was hoisted up to do its work properly. The storm
staysail was also hoisted and sheeted home on the port side to back her
head off from the land. As this was being done, the sailors paid out the
anchor-chain rapidly. To do so more quickly they carelessly threw it
off the winch and let it smoke through the hawse-pipe at its own pace.
But suddenly there came a check to it, which, in the darkness, could not
be accounted for. A bight or a knot in the chain had come up and got
jammed somewhere, and now it refused to run out. The Ideal immediately
straightened out the cable, and, at the moment, all the king's horses
and all the king's men would have been powerless to clear it. Jack came
forward, and with a lantern discovered how things were. "Never mind," he
thought. "If she will lie here for a while no harm will be done." In the
mean time, while the men were getting a tackle rigged to haul up a bit
of the chain, so as to obtain control of it again, the rain ceased to
fall, while the lightning, by which alone the men could see to work,
served only to make the succeeding darkness more profound.

The place they had sailed into was on the north shore of Amherst Island.
As Jack feared, the sailors had been wrong in thinking that the light
they saw was the one on Indian Point. It was a lantern on a schooner
which had gone ashore on the rocks close to where the Ideal now lay.

The worst of their anxiety was, however, yet to come. During a vivid
flash, after the rain had partly cleared away, a reef of rocks was
discovered a short distance off, trending out from the shore directly
behind the yacht. Jack had been lying with his hand on the cable to feel
whether the anchor was holding or not. He soon found that the yacht was
"dragging." The sails were lowered at once, and the second anchor was
left go, in the hope that it might catch hold when the first one had
dragged back far enough to allow the second to work.

With the rocks behind waiting for them, it was now a question of anchors
holding, or nothing--yacht or no yacht. Every moment as she pitched and
ducked and tossed against the driving seas and wind she dropped back
toward a black mass over which the waves broke savagely. The yacht was
literally locked up to the big anchor. They could neither haul up nor
pay out its cable, so that, until this was remedied by means of a tackle
(which takes some time in a jumping sea and darkness) sailing again was
impossible. Carefully they paid out chain enough for the second anchor
to do its work. Not till they were close to the rocks did they allow any
strain to come upon it. Then they took a turn on its chain and waited to
see how it would hold.

Feeling the cable, when there is nothing to hope for but that the hook
will do its work, is a quiet though anxious occupation. Jack waited for
the sensations in the hand which will often tell whether the anchor is
holding or not, and then rose, and in the moonlight which now began to
break through the clouds his face looked anxious. "Flat rock," he
muttered, "with a layer of mud on it."

By this time the men had got control of the big anchor's chain again and
had knocked the kink out of it. But there was no room now to slip cables
and sail off.

The rocks were too close. The idea struck him of winding in the first
anchor a bit--in the hope that it might catch in a crack in the rock, or
on a bowlder, before it got even with the second one.

This proved of no use, and the yacht was now approaching, stern-first,
the point or outward rock of the reef which stood up boldly in the
water. Only a few feet now separated this outside rock from the counter
of the yacht. In two minutes more the stem would be dashing itself into
matches.

Jack's brain, you may be sure, was on the keen lookout for expedients.
He had the mainsail hoisted and the staysail flattened down to the port
side--so as to back her head off. He hoped by this possibly to grind
off the rocks by his sails after striking, and by then slipping his
cables to get out into deep water before the stern was completely stove
in. But while this was being done the thought came into his mind whether
the stern might not clear the outer rock without hitting it. The
changeable gusts of wind had been swinging the yacht sidewise--first a
little one way and then a little the other. At the time he looked back
at the yacht, they were just about near enough to strike when the wind
shifted her a little toward the north, and for a moment the stern
pointed clear of the outer rock. His first idea was that the wind was
shifting permanently. But suddenly it came to him that this might be his
only chance. He did not wait to command others, but flew to the anchor
chains and threw off the coils. The yacht shot astern like the recoil of
a cannon. He threw the chains clear of the windlass so that the vessel
could dart backward without any check. It seemed a mad thing to do--to
let both anchors go overboard--but it was a madness which when
successful is called genius. It was genius to conceive and carry out the
idea in an instant, and single handed, too, as if he were the only one
on the boat, genius to know quickly enough exactly how the vessel would
act. Half a dozen seconds sufficed to throw off the chains, and then he
got back to the wheel, steering her as she went backward grazing her
paint only against the rock, while the chains rushed out like a
whirlwind over the bows. The staysail sheets had already been flattened
down on the port side and the yacht's head paid off fast on the port
tack, while Jack rapidly slacked the main sheet well off, and as she
gathered way and plunged out into the open channel, an understanding of
the quick idea that had saved the vessel trickled through the brains of
the hired men. Instead of climbing to the rocks from a sinking yacht, as
they expected to be doing at this moment, here they were heading out
into deep water again--with the old packet good as new.

Cresswell called to the mate to keep her "jogging around" till he spoke
to the owner about getting back the anchors, and then went below with
the other men of the party who had remained on deck throughout the
uncomfortable affair.

The workers on deck, who looked like submarine divers, slipped out of
their oil-skins and descended from the deck to the gay cabin below.
Charley still continued to "raise" and get "raised" with a pertinacity
which defied the elements. His game had had the effect of making his
mother and the others think, in spite of their tremors, that the danger
lay chiefly in their own minds, and, under the circumstances, Charley
had no easy time of it. He had listened to every sound, and knew a good
deal more about the proximity of the rocks, and the trouble generally,
than any one would have supposed.

He decided not to attempt to pick up the anchors that night, so they
beat back to MacDonald's Cove, where they entered, in the moonlight, and
made fast for the night to some trees beside a steep rocky shore.



CHAPTER XII.

    BASSANIO:   So may the outward shows be least themselves;
                The world is still deceived with ornament.
                In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
                But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
                Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
                What damméd error, but some sober brow
                Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
                Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?

           *       *       *       *       *

    SALARINO:   My wind, cooling my broth,
                Would blow me to an ague when I thought
                What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
                ... Should I go to church,
                And see the holy edifice of stone,
                And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks?

    _Merchant of Venice._


When approaching from the west among picturesque islands and past wooded
points of land, our old city of Kingston affords the traveler a pleasant
scene. Above the blue and green expanse of her spacious harbor, the
penitentiary with its high wall and surrounding turrets suggests the
Canadian justice we are proud of; and, further up, rises the asylum,
suggestive only of Canadian lunacy, for which we do not claim
pre-eminence, while beyond, some little spires and domes, sparkling in
the sun, are seen over the tops of some English-looking stone
residences, where the grassy lawns stretch down to the line of waves
breaking on the rocky shore. Further off one sees the vessel-masts along
the ship-yards and docks; here and there some small Martello forts try
to look formidable; large vessels cross and recross the harbor, while
others lie at anchor drying their sails; and beyond all, on the hill at
the back, rises the garrison walls, where--

    In spite of all temptation,
    Dynamite and annexation,

Canada is content, for the present at least, to see the English flag
instead of our own.

As our friends came on deck the next morning (Sunday) they were able to
enjoy this pleasant approach to Kingston. Mrs. Dusenall and others had
wished to attend church if possible in the limestone city, and an early
start had been made by the sailors long before the guests were awake.
The wind came lightly from the southward, which allowed them to pick up
the anchors without difficulty, and it took but a short time to sweep in
past the city and "come to" off the barrack's wharf, where a gun was
ceremoniously fired as the anchor was lowered from the catheads.

Mrs. Dusenall piped all hands for divine service. They came out of the
ark two by two and filed up the streets in that order until the church
was reached. The boys came out in "heavy marching order"--Sunday coats,
and all that sort of thing--which made a vast change from the
picturesque and rather buccaneer-like appearance they presented on the
yacht.

If a traveling circus had proceeded up the center aisle of the
attractively decorated edifice, no greater curiosity could have been
exhibited among the worshipers. Mrs. Dusenall had some of the imposing
mien of a drum-major as she led her gallant band to seats at the head of
the church, and Charley was justly proud of the fine appearance they
made. He had surveyed them all with pleasure while on the sidewalk
outside, and had paid the usher half a dollar to lead them all together
to front seats. Walk as lightly as they could, it was impossible in the
stillness of the church to prevent their entrance from sounding like
that of soldiery, and once the eyes of the worshipers rested on the
noble troop they became fixed there for some time. There was a ruddy,
bronzed look about the yachting men's faces which, innocent of limestone
dust tended to deny the almost aggressive respectability which good
tailoring and cruelty collars attempted to claim for them. In the hearts
of the fair Kingstonians who glanced toward them there arose visions of
lawn-tennis, boating, and buccaneer costumes suggested by that
remarkably able-bodied and healthy appearance which a fashionable walk,
bank trousers, and a gauzy umbrella may do much to modify but can not
obliterate. As for the male devotees, it was touching to mark their
interest in Margaret as she went up the aisle keeping step with the
shortened pace of the long-limbed Geoffrey. The clergyman was just
saying that the scriptures moved them in sundry places when all at once
he became a mere cipher to them. After their first thrill at the beauty
of her face, their eyes followed Margaret and that wonderful movement of
hers that made her, as with a well-ordered regiment, almost as dangerous
in the retreat as in the advance. But Nina came along close behind her,
and those who, though disabled, survived the first volley were
slaughtered to a man when the rich charms of her appearance won her a
triumph all her own. Jack, walking by her side, full of gravity but
happy, took in the situation with pride at her silent success. Then all
the others followed, and when they were installed in a body in the three
front pews, and after they had all bowed their heads and the gentlemen
had carefully perused the legend printed in their hats--"Lincoln Bennett
& Coy, Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London. Manufactured expressly for
Jas. H. Rogers, Toronto and Winnipeg"--they got their books open and
admitted that they had done things they ought not to have done and that
there was no health in them.

The interior of the church was a luxury to the eye in its mellow
coloring from stained-glass windows and carefully-arranged lights, and
in its banners, altar-cloths, embroidery, and church millinery
generally, it left little to be desired. The clergyman was a young
unmarried offspring of a high-church college who, with a lofty disregard
for general knowledge, had acquired a great deal of theology. He it was
who arranged that dim religious light about the altar and walled up a
neighboring window so that the burning of candles seemed to become
necessary. Never having been out of America, it was difficult to imagine
where he acquired the ultra-English pronunciation that had all those
flowing "ah" sounds which after a while make all words so pleasantly
alike in the high-pitched reading of prayers when, it may be inferred,
that word-meanings are perhaps of minor import. It seemed that he alone
was, from the holiness of his office, qualified to enter that mysterious
place at the head of the chancel where, with his back to the
congregation, at stated times he went through certain genuflexions and
other movements in which the general public did not participate further
than to admire the splendor of his back. The effect of the many
mysteries on some of the Kingston men was to keep them away from the
church. A few fathers of families and others came to please wives,
sweethearts, or clients, and in the cool, agreeable edifice enjoyed some
respectable slumber or watched the proceedings with mild curiosity or
had their ears filled either with good music or the agreeable sound of
the intoning.

The effect of the little mysteries on the well-to-do women of the church
(for it was no place for a poor man's family) was varied. On the
large-eyed, nervous, impressionable, and imaginative virgins--those who
could always be found ready in the days of human sacrifices--the
clergyman's mysteries and the exercise of the power of the Church, as
exhibited in the continual working of his strong will upon them, had of
course the usual results in enfeebling their judgment and in rendering
them very subservient. In the case of some unimaginative matrons and
more level-headed girls these attractions did not unfit them for
every-day life more than continual theatre-going, and they took a pride
in and enjoyed a sense of quasi-ownership in the man whom it tickled
their fancy to clothe in gorgeous raiment. To these solid,
pleasure-loving, good-natured women, whose religion was inextricably
mixed up with romance, the mysteries, sideshows, and formalities of
their splendid _protégé_ brought satisfaction; and in their social
gatherings they discussed the doings of their favorite much as a
syndicate of owners might, in the pride of ownership, discuss their
horse. It may be pleasing to be identified with the supernatural, but
one's self-respect must need all such compensations to allow one to
become a peg for admiring women to hang their embroidery on--to be
largely dependent upon their gratuities, subject to some of their
control, to put in, say, two fair days' work in seven, and spend the
rest in fiddle-faddle.

"There is but one God. What directly concerns you, my friends, is that
Mohammed _is his Prophet_--to interpret the supernatural for you." It
would be interesting to find out if there ever existed a religion,
savage or civilized, whose public proclamation did not contain a
qualifying clause to retain the power in the priests.

The sermon on this occasion was on the observance of the Sabbath. It
contained much church law and theology, and in quotations from different
saints who had lived at various periods during the dark ages, and whose
sayings did not seem to be chosen so much on account of their force as
for the weight given by the names of the saints themselves, which were
delivered _ore rotundo_. But it is doubtful whether the most erudite
quotation from obscure mediæval saints is capable of carrying much
conviction to the hearts of a Canadian audience, and Jack and Charley
had to be kicked into consciousness from an uneasy slumber.

From the saints the priest descended to Chicago, a transition which
awoke several. And he sought to illustrate the depravity of that city by
commenting upon the large facilities there provided for
Sabbath-breaking. He spoke of the street-cars he had seen there running
on that day, and of the suburban trains that carried thousands of
working-women and girls out of the city. He did not say that the cars
were chiefly drawn by steam-power, nor that these poor, jaded,
hollow-eyed girls worked harder in one day than he did in three weeks;
nor did he speak of the weak women's hard struggle for existence in the
life-consuming factories; nor of the freshness of the lake breezes in
the spots where the trains dropped thousands of their overworked
passengers.

Margaret Mackintosh had seen these dragged, dust-choked, narrow-chested,
smoke-dried girls, with all the bloom of youth gone from them, trying to
make their drawn faces smile as they go off together in their clean,
Sunday print dresses, too jaded for anything save rest and fresh air.
She knew that any man not devoid of the true essence of Christ might
almost weep in the fullness of his sympathy with them. But the young
priest convicted them of sacrilege, and did not say he was thankful for
being privileged to witness such a sight, or that Chicago existed to
shame the more priest-ridden cities of Canada.

When this story was concluded, Mrs. Dusenall, and many of her kind; and
the unimpressionable girls looked acquiescence, because the words were
backed by the Church, but their hearts went out to the poor sinners in
Chicago. Only with those who took their mental bias from the priest did
his words find solid resting-place. Geoffrey sat with an inmovable face,
impossible to read. His subsequent remark to Margaret, when she had
delivered her opinions about the matter, was, however, characteristic.
He said simply, as if deprecating her vehemence:

"The man must live, you know, and how is he to live if people go out of
town on Sunday." To Geoffrey a short time was sufficient to satisfy him
that the preacher ought to have lived in the days when mankind were
saturated with belief in miracle and looked for explanation of events
by miracle without dreaming of other explanation.

During the next five minutes the sermon rather wandered from the
subject, but fastened upon it again in an anecdote of an occurrence said
to have taken place at an American seaport town, during the preacher's
visit there.

Several young mechanics, instead of going to church one Sunday morning,
had engaged a yawl, and also the fishermen who owned it, to take them to
a village on the coast and back again. It appeared from the account that
for a day and a night the yawl had been blown away from the coast, and
then that the wind had changed, so as to drive it back again; and the
story of the voyage naturally found attentive listeners among our
yachting friends.

"All through that first terrible day, and all through the long, black
night they were tossed about among the giant billows of a most
tempestuous ocean. And what, dear friends, must have been the agony and
remorse of those misguided young men when they thus realized the results
of their deliberate breaking of the holy day. As they clung to the frail
vessel, which reeled to and fro beneath them like a drunken man, and
which now alone remained to possibly save them from a watery grave--as
they perceived the billows breaking in upon that devoted ship, insomuch
that it was covered with waves, what must have been their sensations?
And when the wind suddenly changed its direction and blew them with
terrible force back again toward the rocky coast, we can imagine how
earnestly they made their resolutions never again to transgress in this
way. Once more, after a while, they saw the land again, and as they came
closer they could discern the spires of those holy edifices which they
had abandoned for the sake of forbidden pleasures and in which they were
doomed never to hear the teachings of the Church again. There lay the
harbor before them, as if in mockery of all their attempts to reach it;
and while raised on high in the air, on the summit of some white,
mountainous billow, they could obtain a Pisgah-like view of those homes
they were destined never again to enter."

Jack was broad awake now and wondering why, with the wind dead after
them, the fishermen in charge of the boat could not make the harbor.

"Suddenly there came a great noise, which no doubt sounded like a death
knell in the hearts of the terrified and exhausted young men. It was
soon discovered that the mainsail of the ship had been blown away by the
fury of the tempest."

"Now what was their unhappy condition? How could they any longer strive
to reach the longed-for haven when the mainsail of the yawl was blown
away?"

Jack shifted in his seat uncomfortably at this point. He was saying to
himself: "Why not sneak in under a jib? Or even under bare poles? Or, if
the harbor was intricate, why not heave to under the mizzen and signal
for a tug?" Half a score of possibilities followed each other through
his brain, which in sailing matters worked quickly. He always inclined
from his early training to accept without question all that issued from
the pulpit; but this story bothered him. The instructor went on:

"Clearly there was now no hope for the devoted vessel. Even the anchor
was gone; the anchor of Hope, dear friends, was gone. The strong
trustworthy anchor (in which mariners place so great confidence that it
has become the type or symbol of Hope) was gone--washed overboard by the
temptuous waves."

Charley here received a kick under the seat from Jack whose face was now
filled with a blank incredulity, which showed that the influence of his
early training had departed from him.

In one way or another, the preacher succeeded in irritating some of the
Ideal's crew. He went on to say that the yawl was dashed to pieces on
the rocks, and that only one man--a fisherman--survived; from which he
drew the usual moral.

With three or four exceptions, our friends went out of church not as
good-humored as when they came in. Geoffrey alone seemed to have enjoyed
himself. His heart-felt cynicism pulled him through. He said aloud to
Mrs. Dusenall, when they were all together again, that he thought the
preacher's description of the perils of the deep was very beautiful.
(Dead silence from Jack and Charley). Mrs. Dusenall concurred with him,
and said it was wonderful how clergymen acquired so much general
knowledge.

Presently Charley, thoughtfully: "Say, Jack, what was the matter with
that boat, any way?"

"Blessed if I could find out," said Jack.

"Why! did you not hear? Her mainsail was gone," said Geoffrey gravely,
to draw Jack out.

"Well, who the deuce cares for a mains'l?" answered Jack, rising testily
to the bait. "The man does not know what he is--well, of course, he is a
clergyman, but then, you know--my stars! not make a port in broad
daylight with the wind dead aft! Perfectly impossible to miss it! And,
then the anchor--a fisherman's anchor!--washed overboard!"

Geoffrey persisted, more gravely, in a reproachful tone; "You don't mean
to say, Jack, that you doubt that what a clergyman says is true?"

The Misses Dusenall also looked at him very seriously.

Jack was a candid young man, and had his religious views fixed, as it
were, hereditarily. He looked at his boots, as if he would like to evade
the question; but, seeing no escape, he came out with his answer like
parting with his teeth.

"When the parson," he said with stolid determination, "goes in for
mediæval saints, I don't interfere. He can forge ahead and I won't try
to split his wind. But when he talks sailing he must talk sense. No,
sir! I do _not_ believe that story--and no Angel Gabriel would make me."

There was a force behind his tones of conviction which amused some of
his hearers.

"Jack Cresswell! You surprise me," said Geoffrey loftily.

After lunch the ladies went up into the city to visit some friends, and
the men were lying about under the awning, chatting, smoking, and
sipping claret.

"Well, there was one thing about that boat that caused the entire
disturbance," said Charley, sagaciously. "I've thought the whole thing
out; and I put down the trouble to the usual cause--and that is--whisky.
When the fishermen found there was liquor on board they 'steered for the
open sea,' and when they were all stark, staring, blind drunk they went
ashore."

"I fancy you have solved the difficulty," said Mr. Lemons. "The preacher
did not, somehow, seem to get hold of me. My notion is that he should
come down to your level and help you up--like those Arab chaps that lug
and butt you up the Pyramids--not stand at the top and order you to
climb."

"Just so," said Geoffrey. "A speaker must in some way make his listeners
feel at home with him, just as a novel, to sell well, must contain some
one touch of nature that makes the whole world kin. The sympathies must
be excited. In books accepted by gentle folk the "one touch" of
attractive and primitive nature is refined, and in this shape it is
called poetry--in this shape it creates vague and pleasant wonderings,
especially in the minds of those whose fancies are capable of no higher
intellectual flight. When we see that people so universally seek
productions in which nature is only more or less disguised, we seem to
understand man better."

"What are you trying to get at now?" asked Jack, with a smiling show of
impatience.

"Why," said Hampstead, "take the work of the sprightliest modern novel
writers--say, for instance, Besant and Rice. Deduct the fun from their
books and the shadowy plot, and what remains? A girl--a fresh, young,
innocent girl--who, with her beautiful face and figure, charms the
heart. She does not do much, and (with William Black) she says even
less; but the people in the book are all in love with her, and the
reader becomes, in a second-hand and imaginative way, in love with her
also. She is quiet, lady-like, and delicious; her surroundings assist in
creating an interest in her; but in the dawn and development of love
within her lies the chief interest of most readers. The mind
concentrates itself without effort when lured by any of our earlier
instincts. What we want is a definition as to what degree of careful
mental exertion is worthy of being dignified by the name of "thought,"
as distinguished from that sequence of ideas, without exertion, which is
sufficient in all animals for daily routine and the carrying out of
instinct."

"There are some of your ideas, Hampstead, which do not seem to promise
improvement to anybody," said Jack.

"And, for you, the worst thing about them is that they have a semblance
of truth," replied Hampstead.

"Sometimes--yes," admitted Jack. "But I would not excuse you because
they happened to be true. The only way I excuse you is because, after
your scientific mud-groveling, you sometimes point higher than others.
Are we to understand, then, that you object to novel reading on moral
grounds?"

"Don't be absurd. A novel may be all that it should be. I am stating
what I take to be facts, and I think it interesting to consider why we
enjoy what ladies call 'a good love-story.' You will notice that people
who adopt an over-ascetic and unnatural life and do not seek nature,
give up reading 'good love-stories.' Perhaps they vaguely realize that
the difference in the interest created by Black's insipid Yolande and
Byron's Don Juan is merely one of degree."

"Now, will you be so good as to say candidly what gain you or any one
else ever received from thinking in such channels as these?" inquired
Jack, with impatience.

"Certainly. It keeps me from transcendentalism--from being led off into
vanity--thoughts about my immortality--"

"Surely," interrupted Jack, "the aspirations of one's soul are
sufficient to convince us that we will live again."

"Jack, a man's soul is simply his power of imagining and desiring what
he hasn't got. Once a day, more or less, his soul imagines immortality.
The rest of the time it imagines his sweetheart. If a poet, his soul
combines the two. Or else it is the mighty dollar, or hunting, or
something else. Shall all his aspirations toward nature go for nothing?
His soul will conjure up his sweetheart nine thousand times for one
thought of his future state. Because he has acquired neither. If he had
acquired either, he would soon be quite as certain that there was
something still better in store for him. With our minds as active and
refined as they are, it would be quite impossible for men to do
otherwise than have their imaginings about souls and immortality. These
make no proof; the savage has none of them; and if they were proof,
whither do man's aspirations chiefly point? To earth or to heaven?"

"Well, I suppose your answer," said Jack, "is sufficient for yourself.
You study science, then, to persuade yourself that when you die you will
remain teetotally dead?"

"Rather to make myself content with a truth which is different from and
not so pleasant as that which we are taught in early life."

"For goodness' sake," cried Mr. Lemons, yawning, "pass the claret."



CHAPTER XIII.

    Visam Britannos hospitibus feros.

    HORACE, _Lib. 3, Carm. 4._


Mrs. Dusenall liked the visit to Kingston. She was proud of the
appearance her guests and family made at the church, and she thought of
going home and writing a book as prodigal of pretty woodcuts and
fascinating price-lists as those published by other gilded ladies. True,
she had with her no young children wherewith to awake interest in
foreign places by detailing what occurred in the ship's nursery; and
thus she might have been driven to say something about the foreign
places themselves, which, in a book of travels, are perhaps of secondary
importance when a whole gilded family may be studied in their
interesting retirement.

They kept a log on the Ideal, and each one had to take his or her turn
at keeping the account of the cruise posted up to date.

Some events on board or near the Ideal did not come under Mrs.
Dusenall's notice and did not appear in the log-book. Nobody flirted
with Mrs. Dusenall to make her experience exciting, and her book, if
written, would have been one long panorama of landscape interlarded with
the mildest of items. But compress your world even to the size of a
yacht, and there will be still more going on, in the same eternal way,
than any one person can observe, especially if that person happens to be
a chaperon.

The first evening among the islands was spent in different ways. Some
paddled about to explore or bathe. Flirtation of a mild type was
prevalent--interesting possibly to the parties concerned, and, as usual,
to themselves only. Toward dusk the gig was manned by the crew for the
transportation of Mrs. Dusenall and part of her suite across the river
through the islands to the hotels at Alexandria Bay on the American
shore. The hotel guests on the balconies and verandas were continuing to
enjoy or endure that eternal siesta which at these places seems to be
quite unbroken save at meal times, and the arrival of a number of very
presentable people in a handsome gig, rowed in the man-of-war style by
uniformed sailors and steered by a person with a gold-lace badge on his
cap, created a ripple of interest. Among those on the verandas engaged,
perhaps overtaxed, in the digestion of their dinners, not a few were
slightly interested by what they saw. In a group of a dozen or more a
gentleman behind a solitaire shirt-stud, worth a good year's salary for
a Victoria Bank clerk seemed to be speaking the thoughts of the party,
though his words came out chiefly as a form of soliloquy. He seemed to
be taking a sort of admiring inventory of the gig and its occupants as
it approached the landing wharf:

"Small sailor boy--standing in the bow--with a spear in his hand."

It was a boat-hook in the boy's hand, but it might have been a trident.

"He's real cunnin'--that boy--in his masquerade suit. Four sailors--also
in masquerade costume. And they can make her hump up the river,
sure's-yer-born. Now I wonder who those fellows are--in buttons--with
gold badges on their hats. Wonder what those badges might imply! Part of
the masquerade, I guess. But stylish--very."

Then, turning to a friend, he said:

"Cha'ley, those people are yachting round here."

At this discovery the exhausted-looking refugee from overwork in some
city addressed as "Cha'ley," whose face was lit up solely by a cigar,
answered slowly but decisively:

"Looks like it--very."

Then followed a quick mental calculation in the head of the gentleman
behind the solitaire, and, as the boat came alongside the landing, the
oars being handled with trained accuracy, he said:

"I wonder how many of those paid men they have on board. I like it. I
like the whole thing. I shall do it myself next summer. And right up to
the handle. Cha'ley, bet you half a dollar that those are first-class
gentlemen and ladies down there, and we ought to go down and _re_ceive
them."

"Why, certainly," said the other in grave, staccato tones, which seemed
to deny the exhaustion of his appearance by indicating some internal
strength. "James," he added in solemn self-reproach, "we should have
been down--on the landing--to assist the ladies from their canoe."

As they left the veranda several ladies called after them:

"Mr. Cowper, we would be pleased to have you bring the ladies up."

Mr. Cowper bowed with gravity, but did not say anything, as he was
preparing within him his form of self-introduction.

In a few moments Mr. Cowper and Mr. Withers met our party as they slowly
meandered up the ascent toward the hotel. Mr. Cowper, hat in hand, gave
them collectively a bow, which, if somewhat foreign in its nature, was
not without dignity, and he addressed them with unmistakable
hospitality, while Mr. Withers, by a flank movement, attacked the left
wing of the party, where he conducted a little reception of his own.

Mr. Cowper said, "How do you do, ladies and gentlemen?"

Mrs. Dusenall bowed and smiled, and the others, wondering what was
coming, bowed also as they caught Mr. Cowper's encompassing eye. "We
regret," he said, looking toward Geoffrey, to whom he was more
especially attracted on account of his cap-badge and greater stature.
"We regret, captain, that we did not notice your arrival in time to be
on the landing to assist the ladies from your canoe."

Geoffrey's smile only indicated his gratification and had no reference
to Mr. Cowper's new name for the yacht's gig.

"We are only guests in the hotel ourselves, but if we had known of your
coming some of us certainly would have been down to _re_ceive you in the
proper manner."

What "proper manner" of reception Mr. Cowper had in his head it is
difficult to say. His words showed Mrs. Dusenall, however, that he was
not the custom-house officer or the hotel-keeper, which relieved her of
some anxiety lest she should make a mistake. At a slight pause in his
flow of language she thanked him in her most reassuring accents, and
continued in those suave tones and with that perfect self-possession,
with which the English duchess, her head a little on one side and chin
upraised, has been supposed carelessly to assert her person, crown, and
dignity.

"I assure you," she said, "that we are only knocking about, as it were,
quite informally, from place to place in the yacht."

"Quite informally," echoed Geoffrey, who was enjoying Mrs. Dusenall.

She added: "So, of course, we could not think of allowing you to give
yourselves any trouble on our account."

In what pageantry Mrs. Dusenall proceeded when not traveling quite
informally Mr. Cowper did not give himself the trouble to consider. The
thought came to him that he might be entertaining an English duchess
unawares, but the succeeding consciousness that he could probably buy up
this duchess "and her whole masquerade" fortified him as with triple
brass.

"Madam," he said, with that distinctness and intensity with which
Americans convey the impression that they mean what they say, "if we
have neglected you and your friends at first, we will be pleased if you
will allow us now to try to make your visit attractive."

Mrs. Dusenall thought this was assuming a heavy responsibility.

"If you will come up on the pe-az-a, there are a number of real nice
ladies who would be most pleased to meet you."

Several of the party began to think that the cares of "knocking about
quite informally" were about to commence. But as there was no escape,
and all smiled pleasantly, and Mr. Cowper conversed as he and Mr.
Withers led them up to the "pe-az-a." He was gratified at the way they
responded to his endeavors; and perhaps he was not without a latent wish
to show his hotel friends how perfectly at home he was in "first-class
British society."

"There is always something going on here," he said; "and if there is
nothing on just now we will get up something real pleasant--or my name's
not Cowper."

This hint as to his identity was not thrown away, and as it seemed more
than likely that they were about to be entertained immediately by this
gentleman behind the solitaire headlight, it occurred to Geoffrey that
it would be as well for the party to know what his name was.

"Mr. Cowper, let me introduce you to Mrs. Dusenall."

This quickness on Geoffrey's part relieved Mr. Cowper from any
difficulty in mentioning his own name. Mrs. Dusenall then introduced him
in a general way to the remainder of the party. To Miss Dusenall it was
impossible for him to do more than bow, as she was chilling in her
demeanor. She had received, as has been hinted, that final distracting
finishing polish which an English school is expected to give, and she
sought to be so entirely English as not to know what cosmopolitan
courtesy was.

Margaret's face, however, gave Mr. Cowper encouragement and pleasure,
and, as he shook hands warmly with her, something in her appearance gave
a new spur to his hospitable intentions. The energy of a new nation
seemed bottled up within him, as he said to Margaret:

"If I can't get up something here to make you enjoy yourself, why--why
don't believe in me any more."

His evident but respectful admiration could only elicit a laugh and a
blush. It was impossible to resist Mr. Cowper in his energetic intention
to be host, and, in spite of his dazzling headlight, the national
generosity and forgetfulness of self were so apparent in him that
Margaret "took to him" in a way that mystified the other girls, who
regarded the headlight only as a warning beacon placed there by
Providence to preserve young ladies with an English boarding-school
finish from undesirable associations.

Mr. Cowper was what is called "self-made"--a word that in the States
conveys with it no implied slur--for the simple reason that there is not
the same necessity for it as in England. Speaking generally, an American
has a generous consideration for women and a largeness of character, or
rather an absence of smallness, not yet sufficiently recognized as
national characteristics. He is generally the same man after "making his
pile" as before--not always fully acquainted, perhaps, with social
veneer, but kind, keen, and generous to a fault. It would be an insult
to such a one to compare him with the "self-made" Englishman, whose rude
pretension of superiority to those poorer than himself, truckling
servility to rank and position, and ignorance of everything outside his
own business render him very unlovely.

"Now," said Mr. Cowper, when he had been introduced to them all. "Now,"
he said, "we're all solid. We will just step up-stairs, if you please."
He looked at them all pleasantly as he offered his arm to assist Mrs.
Dusenall's ascent. When they arrived on the veranda above, his idea was
that, in order to bring about the perfect concord he desired to see,
individual introductions were necessary. To Mrs. Dusenall he introduced
a large number of lean girls and stout women, ninety per cent of whom
said "pleased to meet you," and Mrs. Dusenall, appearing, with
surprising activity of countenance, to be freshly gratified at each
introduction, quite won their hearts.

But when Mr. Cowper commenced to introduce them all over again to
Margaret, that young person, not being afraid of women, rebelled, and,
touching his arm to stay his impetuous career, said: "Oh, no, it will
take too long. Let me do it." Then she turned to the company. "As Mr.
Cowper says, my name is Mackintosh," and she ducked them a sort of
old-fashioned courtesy. The company bowed--some smiling and some solemn
at her audacity. "And very much at your service," she added, as she
dipped again to the solemn ones--capturing them also. Then she turned to
the others. "And this is Miss Dusenall," and so-and-so, and so-and-so,
until they were all made known.

"And this is Morry," she said lastly, taking the little man by the
coat-sleeve. "Make your bow, Morry."

Rankin remained gazing on the ground until she shook him by the sleeve.
Then he took a swift, scared glance at the assembly, and said, "I'm
shy," and hid his head behind tall Margaret's shoulder. This absurdity
amused the American girls, and five or six of them, forgetting their
stiffness, crowded around to encourage him. A beaming matron came up to
Margaret and took her kindly by the elbows.

"I must kiss you, my dear. You did that so charmingly."

"Indeed, it's very kind of you to say so," replied Margaret, as she
received an affectionate salute. "Long introductions are so tiresome,
are they not?"

"They do take time, my dear," said the motherly person, as they sat down
together.

"Yes, time and introductions should be taken by the forelock," smiled
Margaret.

"Just what you did, my dear. I _do_ wish I had a daughter like you. Oh
my!" And the little woman's face grew long for a moment at some sad
recollection. An interesting episode of family sorrow would have been
confided to Margaret if they had not been interrupted by the arrival of
four tall young men, in company with Mr. Withers. The grave, worn-out
face of Mr. Withers had just a flicker in it as his strong
ratchet-spring voice addressed itself to our party:

"Mrs. Dusenall and friends, permit me to introduce to you the 'Little
Frauds.'"

The four tall young men bowed with the usual gravity, and then mixed
with the company. They wore untanned leather and canvas shoes, dark-blue
stockings, light-colored knickerbocker trousers, and leather belts.
Navy-blue flannel shirts, with white silk anchors on the broad collars,
completed their costume, with the exception of black neck-ties and stiff
white linen caps with horizontal leather peaks. Taken as a whole, their
costume was such a happy combination of a baseball player's and a
Pullman-car conductor's that the brain refused to believe in the
maritime occupation suggested by the white anchors.

Mr. Withers explained who they were.

"The Little Frauds," he said, "are a party of young men who live
together in a kind of small shanty on one of the neighboring islands.
Although the locality is picturesque, they do not live here during the
winter, but only migrate to these parts when--well, when I suppose no
other place will have them. They come here every year to enjoy the
solitude of a hermit-life. Here they withdraw themselves from their
fellow-man, and more especially their fellow-woman."

The gentlemen referred to were taking no manner of notice of Mr.
Withers, and in their chatter with the girls were not living up to their
character.

"The reason why they are called 'Little Frauds' has now almost ceased to
be handed down by the voice of tradition," continued Mr. Withers. "It is
not because they are intrinsically more deceptive than other men. No man
who had any deception in his nature would go round with a leg like this
without resorting to artifice to improve its shape."

Mr. Withers here picked up a blue-covered pipe-stem which served one of
the Frauds with the means of locomotion.

"That, ladies and gentlemen," said Mr. Withers, slowly, in the tone of a
lecturer, and poising the limb in his hand, "is essentially the leg of a
hermit. If for no other reason than to hide that leg from the public,
its owner, ladies, should become a hermit."

The leg here became instinct with life, and Mr. Withers suddenly stepped
back and gasped for breath. Then he explained further:

"Seeing that the origin of the name is now almost lost in obscurity, the
Little Frauds themselves have lately taken advantage of this fact,
ladies, to palm off upon the public a spurious version of the story.
They say, in fact, that because they systematically withdrew themselves
into a life of celibacy and retirement, and being, as they claim, very
desirable as husbands, this name was given to them as being frauds upon
the matrimonial market."

Somebody here called out: "Oh, dry up, Withers!"

Mr. Withers took a glass of champagne from one of the waiters passing
with a tray and did quite the reverse. He took two gulps, threw the rest
over the railing, and continued:

"One glance, ladies, at these people, who are really outcasts from
society, will satisfy you that their explanation of the term is as
palpably manufactured as the manuscripts of Mr. Shapira--"

"Mister who?" inquired a profane voice.

"Unaccustomed as they are to the usages of polite society, ladies, you
will excuse any utterances on their part that might seem intended to
interrupt my discourse. The real reason of this ridiculous name is as
follows--"

Here, a remarkably good-looking Fraud stood up before Mr. Withers and
obliterated him. He spoke in a voice something like a corn-craik:

"We commissioned Mr. Withers to speak to you, Mrs. Dusenall, and to your
party, on a topic of great interest to ourselves, but as the night is
likely to pass before Mr. Withers gets to the point, we will have to
dispense with his services."

Mr. Withers had already retired behind his cigar again, with the air of
a man who had acquitted himself pretty well.

The Frauds then begged leave to invite by word of mouth all our party to
a dance next evening on their island.

Mrs. Dusenall accepted for all, as she rose to go, suggesting, at the
same time, that perhaps some of her new friends, if they did not think
it too late, would accompany them across the water in the moonlight to
examine their yacht.

After some conversation, a number went with Mrs. Dusenall in the gig,
while Margaret and the rest of our party were ferried over by Frauds and
others in their long and comfortable row-boats.

Some more champagne was broached on the yacht, but Mr. Withers said he
remembered once, early in life, drinking some of the old rye whisky of
Canada, and that since then he had always sought for annexation with
that delightful country.

To the surprise of Mrs. Dusenall, both he and all the "Melican men" took
rye whisky, and ignored her champagne.

The dismay of Mr. Cowper on hearing that the yacht would depart on the
morning after the Frauds' dance was unfeigned. He said it "broke him all
up."

"Just when we were getting everything down solid for a little time
together," he said.

Mrs. Dusenall explained that the yacht was to take part in a race at
Toronto in a few days, and must be on hand to defend her previously won
laurels.

"Well, Mrs. Dusenall," said Mr. Cowper thoughtfully, "I have myself,
over there in the bay, a small smoke-grinder that--"

"A--what?" inquired Mrs. Dusenall.

"A steamboat, madame--a small steam-yacht. Nothing like this, of
course." He waved his hand airily as if he considered himself in a
floating palace. "But very comfortable, I do assure you. Now, if you are
going away so soon, the only thing I can do is to get you all to visit
the different islands round here in my steam-barge. I call her the old
roadster, madame, because she can't do her mile in better than three
minutes."

As this represented a speed of twenty miles an hour, Mrs. Dusenall said
it was fast enough for her. If he could have got a steamboat fast enough
to beat the best trotting record Mr. Cowper would have been content.

It was settled that at eleven o'clock next day the steamer should call
and take the whole party off to visit the islands; and he suggested
that, as there would be "a sandwich or something" on the boat, Mrs.
Dusenall need not think about a return to the Ideal for luncheon.

He then gravely addressed himself to the four Frauds and to Mr. Withers:

"Gentlemen, before we leave this elegant vessel, I wish to remind you
that no real old Canadian rye whisky will pass our lips again until such
a chance as this once more presents itself. Gentlemen, as this is the
last drink we will have to-night, we will, with Mrs. Dusenall's
permission, make ready our glasses, and we will dedicate and consecrate
this toast to the success of the Ideal and her delightful crew. Mrs.
Dusenall--ladies and gentlemen of the Ideal--this toast is not only to
celebrate our new acquaintance, which we hope may have in the future
more chances to ripen into intimacy (and which on our part will never be
forgotten), but we drink it also for another reason--for another less
worthy reason--and I can not disguise from you the fact that, to speak
plainly, _we like the liquor_. Madame, the gentlemen of the Ideal have
consented to come back with me now, to smoke just one cigar on the hotel
before we all retire for the night. Citizens of the United States,
Frauds, and others, as this is the last drink we are to have to-night,
we will drink the toast in silence."

The gravity of the Americans is a huge national sham, throwing into
relief their humor and sunshiny good-will, as in a picture a somber gray
background throws up the high lights.

In half an hour more all the men were back at the hotel with Mr.
Cowper; but, instead of pursuing the tranquil occupation of smoking a
cigar, as he proposed, they were led in and confronted with a banquet in
which the extensive resources of the hotel had been taxed to the utmost
Mr. Cowper called it the "little something to eat," as he pressed them
to come from the verandas into the hotel. But really it was a
magnificent affair, and, as Mr. Lemons, who was eloquent on the subject,
said, it was calculated to appeal to a man's most delicate
sensibilities.

We will not follow them any further on this evening. Mr. Cowper's idea
was to all have a good time together--banish stiffness, promote
intimacy, and to drive to the winds all cares. He certainly succeeded,
for at twelve o'clock there was not a "Mister" in the room for anybody.
At one o'clock it was "Jack, old man," and "Cowper, old chappie," all
round. At two o'clock the friendship on all sides was not only
hermetically sealed, but it promised to be eternal, and after that, it
was thought the night was a little dark for Charley Dusenall to return
with the others to the yacht, so he remained at the hotel till morning.



CHAPTER XIV.

    FERDINAND:... Full many a lady
    I have eyed with best regard; and many a time
    The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
    Brought my too diligent ear; for several virtues
    Have I liked several women; never any
    With so full a soul but some defect in her
    Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed,
    And put it to the foil; but you, O you
    So perfect and so peerless, are created
    Of every creature's best.

    _The Tempest._


The "old roadster" had a busy time of it the next morning preparing for
the visit to the islands. She was steaming up and down the river for a
long while before our friends knew it was time to get up. At eleven
o'clock she took on board the Canadians, and away they went--not at
"better" than twenty miles an hour, but pretty fast. Mr. Cowper's hint
that the Ideal was magnificent in its fittings had pleased the
Dusenalls. They thought he had been somewhat impressed by a swinging
chandelier over the cabin table. Mr. Cowper had examined this, found it
did not contain the last improvements, said it was splendid, and the
Dusenalls were pleased. But their pleasure was damped when they were led
into the main cabin of the "old roadster." The crimson silk-plush
cushions covering the divan around the apartment, into which they sank
somewhat heavily, did not at first afford them complete repose. The
window curtains and _portières_ throughout the vessel were all of thick
corded silk or silk plush. The walls and ceilings in the cabins were
simply a museum of the rarest woods, and in the main cabin was a little
tiled fireplace with brass dogs and andirons, its graceful curtains
reined in with chains. The cabins alone had cost a fortune, and the
Dusenalls were for once completely taken aback. Mrs. Dusenall did not
get her head over on one side _a la duchesse_ any more that day, and it
ended in her coming to the conclusion that Americans in their
hospitalities may frequently have no other motive than to give pleasure.
This could only be realized by Britons able to denationalize themselves
so far as to understand that there may be a life on earth which is not
alternate patronage and sponging. It is to be feared though that most of
them receive attentions from Americans only as that which should, in the
ordinary course of things, be forthcoming from a people blessed with a
proper power to appreciate those excellent qualities of head and heart
with which the visitor represents his incomparable nation.

Mr. Cowper did not do things by halves. As they sped about among the
many islands the strains of harps and violins came pleasantly from some
place about the boat where the musicians could not be seen. A number of
people from the hotels and islands were also among Mr. Cowper's guests,
and Mr. Withers, as a sort of aid-de-camp, assisted the host in bringing
everybody together and in seeing that the colored waiters with trays of
iced liquids did their duty. One room down below was reserved for the
inspection of "the boys," a room which had received a good deal of
personal attention and in which any drink known to the civilized world
could be procured. Mr. Withers confidentially invited our friends to
name anything liquid under the sun they fancied--from nectar to nitric
acid. For himself, he said that "that champagne and stuff" going round
on deck was not to his taste, and he had the deft-handed "barkeep" mix
one of his own cocktails. His own invention in this direction was
composed of eight or ten ingredients, and the Canadians were polite
enough to praise the mixture; but, afterward, when among themselves,
Jack's confession met with acquiescence when he said it seemed nothing
but hell-fire and bitters.

The long, narrow craft threaded its tortuous way like a smooth-gliding
fish through the little channels between the islands, passing up small
natural harbors or coming alongside a precipitous rock. They several
times disembarked to see how much art had assisted nature on the
different islands, and viewed the fishponds, summer houses, awnings, and
hammocks, and the taste displayed in the picturesque dwellings. Mr.
Cowper's assurances that the owners of the islands would not object to
be caught in any kind of occupation or garment were corroborated by the
warm welcomes extended to them. Such is the freedom of the American
citizen, that a good many of the islanders who heard Mr. Cowper was
having a picnic "guessed they'd go along, too." It was evidently
expected that they would do just as they liked, without being invited;
in fact, Mr. Cowper loudly objected in several cases, declaring he had
no provisions for them. "Never mind, old man, we're not proud. We'll
whack up with your last crust, and bring a pocket-flask for ourselves."

This seemed friendly.

Of course the lunch, which was found to be spread under a large marquee
on a distant island, was really another banquet. The hotel retinue had
been up all night preparing for it. The waiters, glass, table-linen,
flowers, and everything else showed what money could do in the way of
transformation scenes. The only fault about it was that it was too
magnificent for a picnic. It can not be a picnic when there is no chance
of eating sand with your game-pie, no chance of carrying pails of water
half a mile, no difficulty in keeping stray cows, dogs, and your own
feet out of the table-cloth spread upon the ground. And when the trip in
the steamer had ended and most of our crew were having a little doze on
the Ideal during the latter part of the afternoon, the curiosity which
Mr. Cowper had awakened was still at its height.

After dinner that evening, about eight o'clock, a pretty picture might
have been made of the Ideal, as she lay in the shadows, moored to a
well-wooded island where the rock banks seemed to dive perpendicularly
into blue fathomless depths. The party were taking their coffee in the
open air for greater coolness, and all had arrayed themselves for the
dance in the evening. The delicately shaded muslins and such thin
fabrics as the ladies wore blended pleasantly with the soft evening
after-glow that fell upon the rustling trees and running water. Seated
on the overhanging rocks beside the yacht, or perched up on the stowed
mainsail, they not only supplied soft color to the darkling evening
hues, but seemed to have a glow of their own, and reminded one of
Chinese lanterns lit before it is dark. This may have been only a fancy,
helped out by radiant faces and the slanting evening lights, but, even
if the simile fails, they were certainly prepared to shine as brightly
as they knew how at the ball later on.

The little basswood canoe, with its comfortable rugs and cushions, lay
beside the yacht, bobbing about in the evening breeze, and Margaret sat
dreamily watching its wayward movements.

"A penny for your thoughts?" asked somebody.

"I was thinking," answered Margaret, "that the canoe is the only craft
that ought to be allowed in these waters, and that the builders of
houses on these islands ought to realize that the only dwelling
artistically correct should be one that either copies or suggests the
wigwam. No one can come among these islands without wondering how long
the Indians lived here. All the Queen Anne architecture we have seen
to-day has seemed to me to be altogether misplaced."

"What you suggest could hardly be expected here," said Geoffrey,
"because, putting aside the difficulty of building a commodious house
which would still resemble a wigwam, there remains the old difficulty of
getting people to see in imagination what is not before them--the old
difficulty that gave us the madonnas, saints, and heroes as Dutch,
Italian, or English, according to the nationality of the painter. Of all
the pictures of Christ scattered over Europe, none that I have seen
could have been like a person living much in the open air of the Holy
Land. They will paint Joseph as brown as the air there will make
anybody, because it does not matter about Joseph, but the Christs are
always ideal."

"Still, I am sure something might be done to carry out my idea," said
Margaret, keeping to the subject. "Surely localities have the same right
to be illustrated according to their traditions that nations have to
expect that their heroes shall be painted so as to show their
nationality. No one would paint the Arab desert and leave out the squat
black tent, the horse, and all the other adjuncts of the Bedouin. Why,
then, build Queen Anne houses in a place where the mind refuses to think
of anything but the Indian?"

"Perhaps," said Hampstead, "the case here is unique. It is difficult to
find a parallel. But the same idea would present itself if one attempted
to build an English Church in the Moorish style instead of the Gothic or
something similar. I fancy that the subscribers would feel that the
traditions of their race and native land were not being properly
represented, as you say, in their architecture--that they would resent
an Oriental luxury of outline suggesting only Mohammed's luxurious
religion, and that nothing would suit them but the high, severe, and
moral aspect of their own race, religion, and churches. By the way, did
you ever consider how the moral altitude of each religion throughout the
world is indelibly stamped in the very shape of each one's houses of
worship. Begin at the whimsical absurdities of the Chinese, and come
westward to the monstrosities of India, then to the voluptuous domes of
the Moor and the less voluptuous domes of Constantinople, then to the
still less Oriental domes of Rome, then to the fortress-like rectangular
Norman, then to the lofty, refined, severe, upward-pointing Gothic of
Germany and England. Each church along the whole line, by its mere
external shape, will tell of the people and religion that built it
better than a host of words."

"If that be so, it would seem like retrograding in architecture to
suggest the Indian wigwam here," said Jack. "What do you say, Margaret?"

"I think that this is not a place where national aspirations in
monuments need be looked for. Its claims must always be on the side of
simple nature and the picturesque--a place for hard workers to
recuperate in, and, therefore, the poetry of all its early traditions
should in every way be protected and suggested."

"Of course, I suppose, Miss Margaret, the Indian you wish to immortalize
is John Fenimore Cooper's Indian, and that you have no reference to
Batoche half-breeds. Perhaps after a while we may see the genius of this
place suggested further, but I think the Americans have had too much
trouble in exterminating 'Lo, the poor Indian' to wish to be reminded of
his former existence, and that the savagery of Queen Anne is sufficient
for them. 'Lo' has, for them, no more poetry than a professional tramp.
Out West, you know, they read it 'Loathe the poor Indian.'"

"They don't loathe the poor Indian everywhere," said Rankin, as he
remembered an item about the dusky race. "You know our act forbidding
people to work on Sunday makes a provision for the unconverted heathen,
and says 'this act shall not apply to Indians.' Some time ago a man at
the Falls of Niagara was accustomed to run an elevator on Sunday to
carry tourists up and down the cliff to the Whirlpool Rapids. His
employés were prosecuted for carrying on their business on the Sabbath
day. When the following Sunday arrived, a quite civilized remnant of the
Tuscarora tribe were running the entire business at splendid profits,
and claimed, apparently with success, that the law could not touch
them."

While this desultory talk was going on, Margaret was still watching the
little canoe bobbing about on the water. Geoffrey said to her: "Those
rugs and cushions in the canoe look very inviting, do they not?"

Margaret nodded.

"I know what you are thinking about," he whispered. "You want to go away
in the canoe, and dream over the waters and glide about from island to
island and imagine yourself an Indian princess."

She nodded again brightly.

"Well, if my dress-coat will not interfere with your imagining me a
'great brave,' you might get your gloves, fan, and shawl, and we can go
for a sail, and come in later on at the dance. If the coat spoils me you
can think of me as John Smith, and of yourself as Pocahontas."

As Margaret nestled down into the cushions of the canoe, Geoffrey
stepped a little mast that carried a handkerchief of a sail, and,
getting in himself, gave a few vigorous strokes with the paddle, which
sent the craft flying from under the lee of the island. As the sail
filled and they skimmed away, he called out to Mrs. Dusenall that they
would go and see the people at the hotels, and would meet them at the
dance about nine o'clock. From the course taken by the butterfly of a
boat, which was in any direction except toward the hotels, this
explanatory statement appeared to be a mere transparency.

Nina's spirits sank to low ebb when she saw these two going off
together.

They sailed on for some distance in open water, and then, as the sail
proved unsatisfactory, Margaret took it down, and they commenced a
sinuous course among small islands. The dusk of the evening had still
some of the light of day in it, but the moon was already up and
endeavoring to assert her power. Everybody had given up wearing hats,
which had become unnecessary in such weather. As they glided about,
Geoffrey sometimes faced the current with long, silent strokes that gave
no idea of exertion foreign to the quiet charm of the scene, and at
other times the paddle dragged lazily through the water as he sat back
and allowed the canoe to drift along on the current close to the rocky
islands. They floated past breezy nooks where the ferns and mosses
filled the interstices between rocks and tree roots, where trees had
grown up misshapenly between the rocks, under wild creeping vines that
drooped from the overhanging boughs and swept the flowing water. Hardly
a word had been spoken since they left the yacht. For Margaret, there
was enough in the surroundings to keep her silent. She had yielded
herself to the full enjoyment of the balmy air and faint evening glows,
changing landscape, and sound of gurgling water. Her own appearance as
seen from the other end of the canoe did not tend to spoil the view. Her
happy face and graceful lines, and the full neck that tapered out of the
open-throated evening dress did not seem out of harmony with anything.
Reclining on one elbow against a cushioned thwart, she leaned forward
and altered the course of the light bark by giving a passing rock a
little push with her fan.

They were now passing a sort of natural harbor on the shore of one of
the islands. It had been formed by the displacement of a huge block of
granite from the side of the rock wall, and the roots and trunks of
trees had roofed it in.

Geoffrey pointed it out for inspection, and they landed lower down so
that they could walk back to a spot like that to which Shelley's
Rosalind and Helen came.

    To a stone seat beside a stream,
    O'er which the columned wood did frame
    A rootless temple, like a fane
    Where, ere new creeds could faith obtain,
    Man's early race once knelt beneath
    The overhanging Deity.

Here they rested, while Margaret, lost in the charm of the surroundings,
exclaimed:

"Could anything be more delightful than this?"

Geoffrey had always been conscious of something in Margaret's presence
which, seemingly without demand, exacted finer thought and led him to
some unknown region which other women did not suggest. When with her he
divined that it was by some such influence that men are separately
civilized, and that, with her, his own civilization was possible. Every
short-lived, ill-considered hope for the future seemed now so entangled
with her identity that her existence had become in some way necessary to
him. He had come to know this by discovering how unfeigned was the
earnestness with which he angled for her good opinion, and he was rather
puzzled to note his care lest "a word too much or a look too long" might
spoil his chances of arriving at some higher, happier life that her
presence assisted him vaguely to imagine. Nevertheless, so great was his
doubt as to his own character that all this seemed to him as if he must
be merely masquerading in sheep's clothing to gain her consideration,
and that it must in some way soon come to an end from his own sheer
inability to live up to it. All he knew was that this living up to an
ideal self was a civilizing process, and if he did not count upon its
permanency it certainly, he thought, did him no harm while it lasted.
"After all, was it not possible to continue in the upper air?"

While his thoughts were running in this channel, such a long pause
elapsed, that Margaret had forgotten what he was answering to when he
said decisively: "Yes. It is pleasant."

She looked around at him because his voice sounded as if he had been
weighing other things than the scenery in his head.

"Oh, it is more than pleasant," she said. "It is something never to
forget." Margaret looked away over earth, water, and sky, as if to point
them out to interpret her enthusiasm. Her range of view apparently did
not include Geoffrey. Perhaps he was to understand from this that he,
personally, had little or nothing to do with her pleasure. But a glimpse
of one idea suggested more serious thought, and the next moment she was
wondering how much he had to do with her present thorough content.

Geoffrey, who was watching her thoughts by noticing the half smile and
half blush that came to her face, felt his heart give a little bound. He
imagined he divined the presence of the thought that puzzled her, but he
answered in the off-hand way in which one deals with generalities.


"I believe, Miss Margaret, this whole trip provides you with great
happiness."

"I believe it does," said Margaret. To conceal a sense of consciousness
she uprooted a rush growing at the edge of the rock seat.

"Well, that is a great thing, to know when you are happy. Happiness is a
difficult thing to get at."

"Do you find it so hard to be happy?"

"I think I do," said Geoffrey. "That is, to be as much so as I would
like."

"You must be rather difficult to please."

"No doubt it is a mistake not to be happy all the time," replied
Geoffrey. "There is such a thing, however, as chasing happiness about
the world too long. She shakes her wings and does not return, and leaves
us nothing but not very exalting memories of times when we seem, as far
as we can recollect, to have been only momentarily happy."

"For me, I think that I could never forget a great happiness, that it
would light up my life and make it bearable no matter what the after
conditions might be," said Margaret thoughtfully.

"Just so," answered Geoffrey lightly. "There's the rub. How's a fellow
to cultivate a great happiness when he never can catch up to it. I don't
know of any path in which I have not sought for the jade, but I can look
back upon a life largely devoted to this chase and honestly say that
beyond a few gleams of poor triumph I never think of my existence except
as a period during which I have been forced to kill time."

"That is because you are not spiritually minded," said Margaret,
smiling.

"I suppose you mean consistently spiritually minded," said Geoffrey. "No
doubt some who live for an exalted hereafter may sometimes know what
actual joy is, but this can only approach continuity where one has great
imaginative ambition and weak primitive leanings. For most people the
chances of happiness in spirituality are not good. Happily, the savage
mind can not grasp the intended meaning of either the promised rewards
or punishments continually, if at all; and this inability saves them
from going mad. Of course the more men improve themselves the more they
may rejoice, both for themselves and their posterity, but mere varnished
savages like myself have a poor chance to gain happiness in consistent
spirituality. It is foolish to suppose that we are free agents. A high
morality and its own happiness are an heirloom--a desirable thing--which
our forefathers have constructed for us."

"I have sometimes thought," said Margaret, "that if happiness depends
upon one's goodness it is not necessarily that goodness which we are
taught to recognize as such. Goodness seems to be relative and quite
changeable among different people. Some of the best people under the Old
Testament would not shine as saints under the New Testament, yet the
older people were doubtless happy enough in their beliefs. Desirable
observances necessary to a Mohammedan's goodness are not made requisite
in any European faith, and yet our people are not unhappy on this
account. Nobody can doubt that pagan priests were, and are, completely
happy when weltering in the blood of their fellow-creatures, and, if it
be true that conscience is divinely implanted in all men, that under
divine guidance it is an infallible judge between good and evil, that
one may be happy when his conscience approves his actions, and that
therefore happiness comes from God, how is it that the pagan priest
while at such work is able to think himself holy and to rejoice in it
with clearest conscience? It would seem, from this, that there must be
different goodnesses diametrically opposed to each other which are
equally-pleasing to Him and equally productive of happiness to
individuals."

Geoffrey smiled at her, as they talked on in their usual random way, for
it seemed that she was capable of piecing her knowledge together in the
same sequence (or disorder) that he did himself. One is well-disposed
toward a mind whose processes are similar to one's own. He smiled, too,
at her attempts to reconcile facts with the idea of beneficence toward
individuals on the part Of the powers behind nature. For his part, he
had abandoned that attempt.

"I have a rule," he said, "which seems to me to explain a good deal,
namely, if a person can become persuaded that he is rendered better or
more spiritual by following out his natural desires, he is one of the
happiest of men. The pagan priest you mentioned was gratifying his
natural desires, his love of power and love of cruelty--which in
conjunction with his beliefs made him feel more godly. Mohammed built
his vast religion on the very corner-stone of this rule. Priests are
taught from the beginning to guard and increase the power of the Church.
This is their first great trust, and it becomes a passion. Their natural
love of power is utilized for this purpose. For this object, history
tells us that no human tie is too sacred to be torn asunder and trampled
on. Natural love of dominion in a man can be trained into such perfect
accord with the desired dominion of a priesthood that he may feel not
only happy but spiritually improved in carrying out anything his Church
requires him to do--no matter what that may be."

Geoffrey-stopped, as he noticed that Margaret shuddered. "You are
feeling cold," he said.

"No, I was only thinking of some of the priests' faces. They terrify me
so. I don't want to interrupt you, but what do you think makes them look
like that?"

Geoffrey shrugged his shoulders.

"I don't know," he answered. "Perhaps interpreting the supernatural has
with some of them a bad effect upon the countenance. All one can say is
that many of them bear in their faces what in other classes of men I
consider to be unmistakable signs that their greatest happiness consists
in something which must be concealed from the public." Hampstead spoke
with the tired smile of one who on an unpleasant subject thinks more
than he will say.

"Let us not speak of them. They make me think of Violet Keith, and all
that sort of thing. Go back to what you were saying. It seems to me that
the most refined and educated followers of different faiths do not gain
happiness in spirituality in the way you suggest. Your rule does not
seem to apply to them."

"I think it does," answered Geoffrey, with some of that abruptness which
in a man's argument with a woman seems to accept her as a worthy
antagonist from the fact that politeness is a trifle forgotten. "You
refer to men whose mental temperament is stronger in controlling their
daily life than any other influence--men with high heads, who seem made
of moral powers--ideality, conscientiousness, and all the rest of them.
They have got the heirloom I spoke of. They are gentle from their
family modification. These few, indeed, can, I imagine, be happy in
religion, for this reason. There has been in their families for many
generations a production of mental activity, which exists more easily in
company with a high morality than with satisfactions which would only
detract from it. With such men it may be said that their earlier nature
has partly changed into what the rule applies to equally well. With
ordinary social pressure and their own temperaments they would still,
even without religion, be what they are; because any other mode of life
does not sufficiently attract them. Their ancestors went through what we
are enduring now."

"But," said Margaret--and she continued to offer some objections,
chiefly to lead Geoffrey to talk on. However incomplete his reasoning
might be, his strong voice was becoming music to her. She did not wish
it to stop. Both her heart and her mind seemed impelled toward both him
and his way of thinking by the echo of the resonant tones which she
heard within herself. Being a woman, she found this pleasant. "But," she
said, "people who are most imperfect surely may have great happiness in
their faith?"

"At times. Yes," replied he. "But their happiness is temporary, and
necessarily alternates with an equal amount of misery. The loss of a
hope capable of giving joy must certainly bring despair in the same
proportion, inversely, as the hope was precious. All ordinary men with
any education alternate more or less between the enjoyment of the
energetic mental life and the duller following of earlier instincts, and
when, in the mental life, they allow themselves to delight in immaterial
hopes and visions, there is unhappiness when the brain refuses to
conjure up the vision, and most complete misery after there has occurred
that transition to their older natures which must at times supervene,
unless they possess the great moral heirloom, or perhaps a refining
bodily infirmity to assist them. Ah! this struggle after happiness has
been a long one. Solomon, and all who seek it in the way he did, find
their mistake. Pleasure without ideality is a paltry thing and leads to
disgust. Religion-makers have hovered about the idea contained in my
rule to make their creeds acceptable. In this idea Mohammed pleased
many. Happiness in spirituality can only be continuous for men when they
come to have faces like some passionless but tender-hearted women, and
still retain the wish to imagine themselves as something like gods."

Geoffrey paused.

"Go on," said Margaret, turning her eyes slowly from looking at the
running water without seeing it. She said very quietly: "Go on; I like
to hear you talk." The spell of his presence was upon her. There was the
soft look in her eyes of a woman who is beginning to find it pleasant to
be in some way compelled, and for a moment her tones, looks, and words
seemed to be all a part of a musical chord to interpret her response to
his influence. Geoffrey looked away. The time for trusting himself to
look into the eyes that seemed very sweet in their new softness had not
arrived. For the first time he felt certain that he had affected her
favorably. Almost involuntarily he took a couple of steps to the water's
edge and back again.

"What is there more to say?" said he, smiling. "We neither hope very
much nor fear very much nowadays. Men who have no scientific discovery
in view or who can not sufficiently idealize their lives gradually cease
expecting to be very happy. To men like myself religions are a more or
less developed form of delusion, bringing most people joy and despair
alternately and leading others to insanity. We know that religions
commenced in fear and in their later stages have been the result of a
seeking for happiness and consolation. To us the idea of immortality is
but a development of the inherent conceit we notice in the apes. We do
not allow ourselves the pleasing fantasy that because brain power
multiplies itself and evolves quickly we are to become as gods in the
future. If we do not hope much neither do we despair. Still, there is a
capacity for joy within us which sometimes seems to be cramped by the
level and unexciting mediocrity of existence. We do not readily forget
the beautiful hallucinations of our youth; and for most of us there
will, I imagine, as long as the pulses beat, be an occasional and too
frequent yearning for a joy able to lift us out of our humdrum selves."

Margaret felt a sort of sorrow for Geoffrey. Although he spoke lightly,
something in his last words struck a minor chord in her heart. "Your
words seem too sad," she said after a pause.

"I do not remember speaking sadly," said he.

"No; but to believe all this seems sad when we consider the joyful
prospects of others. You seem to put my vague ideas into coherent shape.
The things you have said seem to be correct, and yet" (here she looked
up brightly) "somehow they don't seem to exactly apply to me. I never
had strong hopes nor visions about immortality. They never seemed
necessary for my happiness. Small things please me. I am nearly always
fairly happy. Small things seem worth seeking and small pleasures worth
cultivating."

"Because you have not lived your life. Do you imagine that you will
always be content with small pleasures?" asked Geoffrey quickly as he
watched her thoughtful face.

Margaret suddenly felt constraint. After the many and long interviews
she had had with Geoffrey she had always come away feeling as if she had
learned something. What it was that she had learned might have been hard
for her to say. His conversation seemed to her to have a certain width
and scope about it, and to her he seemed to grasp generalities and
present them in his own condensed form; but she had been unconsciously
learning more than was contained in his conversation. His words
generally appealed in some way to her intellect; but tones of voice go
for a good deal. Perhaps in making love the chief use of words is first
to attract the attention of the other person. Perhaps they do not amount
to much and could be dispensed with entirely, for we see that a dozen
suitors may unsuccessfully plead their cause with a young woman in
similar words until some one appears with tones of voice to which she
vibrates. Perhaps it matters little what he says if he only continues to
speak--to make her vibrate. Certainly Cupid studied music before he ever
studied etymology. Hampstead had never said a word to her about love,
but the resonant tones, his concentration, and the magnetism of his
presence, were doing their work without any usual formulas.

The necessity of answering his question now brought the idea to her with
a rush that Geoffrey had taught her perhaps too much--that he had taught
her things different from what she thought she was learning--that the
simplicity of her life would never be quite the same again. She became
conscious of a movement in her pulses before unknown to her that made
her heart beat like a prisoned bird against its cage, that made her
whole being seem to strain forward toward an unknown joy which left all
the world behind it. In the whirl of feeling came the impulse to conceal
her face lest he should detect her thoughts, and she bent her head to
arrange her lace shawl, as if preparatory to going away. She looked off
over the water, so that she could answer more freely. Her answer came
haltingly.

"Something tells me," she said, "that the small pleasures I have known
will not always be enough for me." Then faster: "But, of course, all
young people feel like this now and then. I think our conversation has
excited me a little."

She arose, and walked a step or two, trying to quell the tumult within
her.

"We must be going. It is late," she said in a way that showed her
self-command.

Geoffrey arose also, to go away, and they walked to the higher ground.
Suddenly Margaret felt that for some reason she wished to remember the
appearance of this place for all her life, and she turned to view it
again. The moon was silvering the tracery of vines and foliage and the
surface of the twisting water, and giving dark-olive tones to the
shadowed underbrush close by. The large hotels could be seen through a
gap in the islands with their many lights twinkling in the distance; a
lighthouse, not far off, sent a red gleam twirling and twisting across
the current toward them, and a whip-poor-will was giving forth its
notes, while the waltz music from the far-away island floated dreamily
on the soft evening breeze. Geoffrey said nothing. He, too, was under
the influence of the scene. For once he was afraid to speak to a
woman--afraid to venture what he had to say--to win or lose all. He
thought it better to wait, and stood beside her almost trembling. But
Margaret had had no experience in dealing with the new feelings that
warred for mastery within her, and she showed one of her thoughts, as if
in soliloquy. She was too innocent. The vague pressures were too great
to allow her to be silent, and the words came forth with hasty fervor.

"No, no! You must be wrong when you say there is nothing in the world
worth living for?"

"No, not so," interrupted Geoffrey. "I did not say that. I said that
life, for many of us, was mediocre, because ideals were scarce and
imaginations did not find scope. But there is a better life--I know
there is--the better life of sympathy--of care--of joy--of love."

As she listened, each deep note that Geoffrey separately brought forth
filled her with an overwhelming gladness. When he spoke slowly of
sympathy, care, joy, and love, the words were freighted with the musical
notes of a strong man's passion, and they seemed to bring a new meaning
to her, one deeper than they had ever borne before.

                    Earth and heaven seemed one,
    Life a glad trembling on the outer edge
    Of unknown rapture.

What a transparent confession the love of a great nature may be suddenly
betrayed into! The tears welled up into Margaret's eyes, and, partly to
check the speech that moved her too strongly, and partly to steady
herself, and chiefly because she did not know what she was doing, she
laid her hand upon his arm.

He trembled as he tried to continue calmly with what he had been saying.
He did not move his arm or take her hand, but her touch was like
electricity.

"I know there is such a life--a perfect life--and that there might be
such a life for me, a life that more than exhausts my imagination to
conceive of. You were wrong in saying that I said--that is, I only
said--oh, I can't remember what I said--I only know that I worship you,
Margaret--that you are my heaven, my hereafter--the only good I
know--with power to make or mar, to raise me from myself and to gild the
whole world for me--"

Margaret put up her hand to stay the torrent of his utterance. She had
to. For, now that he gave rein to his wish, the forceful words seemed to
overwhelm her and seize and carry off her very soul. He took her hand
between both of his, and, still fearful lest she might give some reason
for sending him away, he pleaded for himself in low tones that seemed to
bring her heart upon her lips, and when he said: "Could you care for me
enough to let me love you always, Margaret?" she looked half away and
over the landscape to control her voice. Her tall, full figure rose,
like an Easter lily, from the folds of the lace shawl which had fallen
from her shoulders. Her eyes, dewy with overmuch gladness and wide with
new emotions, turned to Geoffrey's as she said, half aloud--as if
wondering within herself:

"It must be so, I suppose."

When she looked at him thus, Geoffrey was beyond speech. He drew her
nearer to him, touching her reverently. He did not know himself in the
fullness Of the moment. To find himself incoherent was new to him. She
was so peerless--such a vision of loveliness in the moonlight! The
thought that he now had a future before him--that soon she would be with
him for always--that soon they would be the comfort, the sympathy, the
cheer, and the joy of one another! It was all unspeakable.

Margaret placed both her hands upon his shoulder as he drew her nearer,
and, as she laid her cheek upon her wrists, she said again, as if still
wondering within herself:

"It must be so, I suppose. I did not know that I loved you, Geoffrey.
Oh, why are you so masterful?"

       *       *       *       *       *

A little while after this they approached the island, where the ball was
at its height, and it seemed to Margaret that all this illumination of
Chinese lanterns, ascending in curving lines to the tree tops--that all
the music, dancing, and gayety were part of the festival going on within
her. As Geoffrey strode into the ball-room with Margaret on his arm he
carried his head high. A man who appeared well in any garb, in evening
dress he looked superb. Some who saw him that night never forgot how he
seemed to typify the majesty of manhood, and how other people seemed
dwarfed to insignificance when Margaret and he entered. If only a
modified elasticity appeared in her step, the wonder was she did not
skip down the room on her toes. They went toward Mrs. Dusenall, who came
forward and took Margaret by the elbows and gave them a little shake.

"You naughty girl, how late you are! Dear child, how beautiful you look!
Where--?"

Some imp of roguery got into Margaret. She bent forward and whispered to
her motherly friend.

"Dear mother," she whispered, "we landed on an island, and Geoffrey
kissed me."

"Heavens!" cried Mrs. Dusenall, not knowing what to think. "Why--but of
course it's all right. Of course he did, my dear--he could not do
anything else--and so will I. And so you are engaged?"

At this Margaret tried to look grave and to shock Mrs. Dusenall again.

"I don't know. I don't think we got as far as saying anything about
that." Then, turning to Geoffrey, with simplicity, "Are we engaged?"

"Girl! are my words but as wind that you should mock me with their
emptiness? Come and let us dance, for it is advocated by the preacher."
And they danced.

When Nina had seen Mrs. Dusenall kiss Margaret on her late arrival, she
knew its meaning at once, and her heart sickened.

Pretty playthings seemed in some way rather degrading to Geoffrey that
night, and Nina was able to speak to him only for a moment, just before
all were going away. She then pretended to know nothing about the
engagement, and said, with cat-like sweetness:

"I thought you did not care for Margaret's dancing much? I see she must
have improved, as you have been with her all the evening."

Geoffrey answered gravely; "I believe you are right; there is a
difference. Yes, I did not think of it before, but, now you speak of it,
there does seem to have been an improvement in her dancing."

"Ah!" said Nina.

As Geoffrey paddled the canoe back to the yacht that night, or rather
morning, and the Yankee band had finished a complimentary God save the
Queen, and after the last cheer had been exchanged, Margaret said to him
in the darkness, just before they parted:

"If there were no more happiness to follow, Geoffrey, to-night would
last me all my life!"



CHAPTER XV.

    How like a younker, or a prodigal,
    The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
    Hugged and embraced by the wanton wind.
    How like the prodigal doth she return,
    With over-weathered ribs and ragged sails.
    Lean, rent, and beggared by the wanton wind.

    _Merchant of Venice._



Next morning the deck of the Ideal was all activity.

A strong northeasterly wind had sprung up, so that by a rare chance they
were able to sail up the current instead of employing a tug. Only the
paid hands and one or two others were on deck as they struggled up the
stream till near Clayton. Here the channels opened out, the current
seemed to ease up, and they got the wind continuously as she boiled up
to Kingston. The steward went ashore at the city, and there was a delay
while he was getting in more ice for the refrigerator, and poultry, and
other supplies. Then they went off again, flying before the wind, past
the wharves of Kingston toward Snake Island lying hull down and showing
nothing but its tree-tops.

Breakfast was very irregular that day--terribly so, the steward thought.
He was preparing breakfast at any and all times up to twelve o'clock,
and after that it was called luncheon. No troublesome bell awoke the
tired sleepers, no colored man came to take away their beds as on the
sleeping-cars. The dancers of the previous night tumbled up, more or
less thirsty, just when the spirit moved them, and, as all had a fair
quantum of sleep in this way, there were no bad tempers on board,
except--well, the steward knew enough to look pleasant.

It was a fine start they made. But it did not last long. During the
night the heavy water-laden atmosphere began to break up into low clouds
that went flying across the face of the moon, producing weird effects in
alternate light and darkness. They were soon close-hauled on a wind from
the southward, and before the port of Charlotte was reached they had a
long tussle with a stiff breeze from the west--topmast housed, two reefs
down, and the lee-scuppers busy.

At dawn, when they went into Charlotte, it was blowing a gale. Not a
Cape Horn gale, perhaps, but a good enough gale, and the water was
lively around the pier-heads. Several vessels could be seen up the lake,
running down to the harbor for shelter, and wallowing in the sea. So
they ran the yacht far up into the harbor between the piers, and made
fast as far away from the lake as they could get, to avoid being fouled
by incoming vessels, and to escape the heavy swell that found its way in
from outside. An hour after the sailing vessels had made the port the
mail-line steamer Eleusinian came yawing in, with some of her windows in
bad shape, and glad to get in out of the sea.

Next morning it was blowing harder than ever. Everything outside the
cabins was disagreeable. The water they floated in seemed to be
principally mud, and on land the mud seemed principally water. Some of
the adventurous waded through the mire to see the works for smelting
iron in the neighborhood. But the only thing resembling fun outside the
boat was trying to walk on the piers. Two figures, to which yellow
oilskin suits lent their usual grace, would support a third figure, clad
in a long water-proof, resembling a sausage. These three would make a
dash through the wind and seize a tall post or a spile for mooring
vessels, and here they would pause, hold on, and recover their lost
breath. Then, slanting into the wind, they would make a sort of tack,
partly to windward, till they reached the next spile, and so on, while
occasionally they would be deluged with the top of a wave. The fun of
this consisted in the endeavor to avoid being blown into the water.
Certainly the sausage could not have gone alone. After several hours in
the cabin the element of change in this exercise made it quite a
pastime. It cooled the blood and took away the fidgets, and, on
returning, made the cabins seem a pleasant shelter instead of a prison.

So far there had been no chance to leave the harbor for the purpose of
reaching Toronto. The wind was dead ahead from that quarter. Young
Dusenall was watching the weather continually, very anxious to get away
to be in time for the yacht race there on the 7th and 8th. He was over
at the steamboat hobnobbing with the captain of the Eleusinian, who was
also anxious to get on with his vessel. What with whisky and water,
nautical magic, and one thing or another between the two of them they
got the wind to go down suddenly about five o'clock that evening.
Charley came back in high good-humor. The captain had offered to tow the
Ideal behind the steamer to Toronto, and nothing but a long, rolling
sea, with no wind to speak of, could be noticed outside.

Jack did not like going to sea hitched up, Mazeppa-like, to a steamer,
and he had misgivings as to the weather. The leaden-colored clouds,
banked up in the west, were moving slowly down the lake like herded
elephants. They did not yet look pacific, and he feared that they would
make another stampede before the night was over. He declared it was only
looking for another place to blow from. Charley answered that the race
came off on the day after to-morrow, and, as they had to get to Toronto
somehow, why not behind the steamer? As Jack was unable to do any more
than say what he thought, he suggested "that, if the boat must go out in
this sort of way during bad weather, that the women had better take the
train home." The trip in the yacht promised to be unpleasant, but when
Mrs. Dusenall considered the long, dusty, and hot journey around the
western end of the lake she decided to "stick to the ship."

At seven o'clock in the evening they were flying out of port behind the
steamer at the end of a long hawser. A heavy dead swell was rolling
outside, and the way the Ideal got jerked from one wave to another boded
ill for the comfort of the passage. Charley hung on, however, thinking
that this was the worst of it and that the sea would go down.

The night grew very dark, and two hours afterward the gale commenced
again, and blew harder than before from the same quarter. Every time
they plunged hard into a wave the decks would be swept from stem to
stern, while a blinding spray covered everything. If they had cast off
at this time they could have sailed back to Charlotte in safety, but
Charley was bound to see Toronto, and held on.

Suddenly, in the wildness of the night, they heard a crack of breaking
timber, and the next moment the tall mast whipped back toward the stern
like a bending reed. A few anxious moments passed before those aft could
find out what had happened. In the darkness, and the further obscurity
caused by the flying water, the bowsprit had fouled the towline. The
bowstays had at once parted and, perhaps assisted by the recoil of the
mast, the bowsprit had snapped off, like a carrot, close to the stem.

This large piece of timber was now in the water, acting like a
battering-ram against the starboard bow, with the stowed staysail, and
all the head gear, attached to it. There was no use trying to clear away
the wreck by endeavoring to chop through all the wire rigging, chains,
forestays, bowsprit shrouds, bobstays, and running gear, all adrift in a
mass that would have taken a long time to cut away or disentangle, even
in daylight and calm water. Besides this, one could not see his hand
held before his face, except by lantern-light, and such was the
unnatural pitching of the yacht that it was almost impossible to stand
without holding on to something. Charley, who was steering, asked of one
of the English hands, who was carefully crawling aft to take the wheel,
"How's everything forward?" To Charley's mind the reply seemed to
epitomize things as the man touched his hat and answered respectfully,
"Gone to 'ell, sir." He spat on the watery deck, as he said this, while
a blast of wind and half a ton of water from the bows swept away so
effectually both the remark and the tobacco juice that Mr. Lemons could
not help absurdly thinking of the tears of Sterne's recording angel. The
sailor was very much disgusted at the condition of things, and both he
and his remark were so free from any appearance of timidity that the
Hon. M. T. Head felt like giving him five dollars. While on shore, the
honorable gentleman was accustomed to emphasize his language, but, in
the present crisis, no wild horses could have dragged from him a
questionable word.

Geoffrey's long arms and strength came in well that night. At the first
crack of the timber he slid out of his oil-skins for work, and his was
one of those cool heads that alone are of use at such a time. On a
sailing vessel the first effect of a bad accident in the night-time is
to paralyze thought. The danger and the damage are at first unknown. The
blackness of the night, the sounds of things smashing, the insecurity of
foothold, the screaming of the wind, and the tumbling of the waters, all
tend to kill that energy and concentration of thought which, to be
useful, must rise above these enervating influences.

Jack had had more experience than Geoffrey, and thus knew better what to
do. But Geoffrey, for his part, was "all there." When he was hanging
down over the side, and climbing about to get the floating, banging mass
of wreckage attached to the throat-halyards, the tops of the waves that
struck him were unable to wash him away, and when he had succeeded in
his efforts, the wreckage was hoisted bodily inboard.

The fellows at the wheel were momentarily expecting the mast to snap and
fall backward on their heads, as there was now no forestay on it. The
worst fault of the sloop-rig here became apparent. Unlike cutters,
sloops have no forestay leading from the masthead down to the stem, but
one leading only to the outer end of the bowsprit, and when the bowsprit
carries away, as it frequently does, the mast then has nothing but its
own strength to save it from snapping in a sudden recoil.

What made the plunging of the mast worse was that the lower-mast
backstays had both carried away at the deck, as also had the topmast
backstays, after pulling the head off the housed topmast. All this heavy
wire rigging, with its blocks, immediately became lost to sight. It was
streaming out aft on the gale from the masthead, together with every
other line that had a chance to get adrift. If a halyard got loose from
its belaying pin that night it was not seen again. It said good-by to
the deck and went to join the flying mass overhead, that afterward by
degrees wound itself round and round the topping-lifts and
peak-halyards, effectually preventing the hoisting of the mainsail. The
long and heavy main-boom, which had long since kicked its supporting
crutch overboard, was now lowered down to rest on the cabin-top, so as
to take the weight off the mast; and while the end of it dragged in the
boiling caldron behind the counter, the middle part of it rose and fell
with every pitch, in spite of endeavors to lash it down, until it seemed
that the cabin-top would certainly give way. Had the top caved in, the
chances of swamping were good.

Their power to sail by means of the canvas was now virtually gone.
Nothing was left for them but to follow the huge "smoke-grinding" mass
that yawed and pitched in front of them. One or two men were kept at the
stern of the steamer during this part of the night, to report any
signals of distress and to aid the yacht's steering by showing bright
lights. Near to these bright lights the figure of the captain could be
seen from time to time through the night, anxiously watching the lights
on the yacht, which told him that she still survived. Sometimes he was
apparently calling out to those on the yacht, but of course no sound
could be heard.

The ladies were in their cabins all this time, sorry enough that they
had not taken the railway home.

When the mast was stayed forward, by setting up the staysail-halyards,
etc., at the stem, there was nothing to do on deck but steer and keep
watch, and as nearly everything had been carried away except the whale
boat, Geoffrey went below for dry clothes and, feeling tired with his
hard work, took a nap in one of the bunks in the after-cabin. As the
sailors say, he "turned in all standing"--that is, with his clothes on.

The other men remained on deck. Most of them were drenched to the skin
and were becoming gradually colder in the driving spray and heavy
swashes of solid wave that swept the decks with clock-like regularity.
They thought it better to remain where they could at least swim for a
while if the yacht went down, and they preferred exposure to the idea of
being drowned like rats in the cabin.

After some time Geoffrey awoke, feeling that a soft warm hand was being
passed around his chin. He knew it was Margaret before he got his eyes
open. He peered at her for a moment without raising his head. She was
sitting on the seat outside, looking very despairing.

"Oh, Geoffrey," she said, "I think we are going to the bottom."

Geoffrey listened, with his eyes shut, and heard both pumps clanging
outside. Margaret thought he was going off to sleep again. She was very
frightened, and the fear seemed to draw her toward Geoffrey all the more
for protection. She put her hand half around his neck and urged him to
wake up.

"Oh, how can you go on sleeping at such a time? Do wake up, dear
Geoffrey. I tell you the yacht is sinking. We are all going to the
bottom. Do get up!"

Geoffrey was perfectly wide awake, but this was even pleasanter than
being waked by music, and her hand on his chin seemed like a caress.
With his eyes shut, he reproached her sleepily: "No, no, don't make me
get up. I like it. I like going to the bottom."

Margaret smiled through her fears. "But, Geoffrey, do look here! The
water has risen up over the cabin floor."

He got up then. Certainly, things did seem a little threatening. A
couple of corks were dancing about in the water upon the carpet quite
merrily. This meant a good deal. He heard that peculiar sound of rushing
water inside the boat which can be easily recognized when once heard.
Above the howling of wind and swash of waves, both pumps could be heard
working for all they were worth. The vessel was pitching terribly,
mercilessly dragged as she was from one wave to another, without having
time to ride them.

Geoffrey thought the time for bailing with the pails might be deferred
for a while. Without Margaret's knowledge he stuck a pen-knife into the
woodwork near the floor to define high-water mark, and thus detect any
increase in the leakage over the pumps. Then he devoted some time toward
endeavoring to calm Margaret's fears, chiefly by exhibiting a masterly
inaction in regard to the leak and in searching about for a lost pipe.
By the time he had found it and was enjoying a quiet smoke, reclining on
the cushions to make the motion seem easier, her fears began to weaken.
She did not at all object to the smoke of pipes, and Geoffrey's comfort
became contagious. Although the clanging of the pumps outside recalled
stories of shipwreck, she was, on the other hand, more influenced by the
easy-going indifference that he assumed. Twenty minutes passed in this
way, and then she felt sure that the danger was not so great as she had
thought. Geoffrey in the mean time was covertly watching his pen-knife,
that marked the rise or fall of the water in the boat. At the end of
half an hour he could see, from where he lay, that half the blade of the
knife was covered with water. So he knocked the ashes out of his pipe
and said he would go and see the boys on deck, and that Margaret had
better go and comfort the others in the ladies' cabins, and tell them it
was all right.

When Margaret had staggered away, Geoffrey's manner was not that of one
satisfied with his surroundings. He ripped up the carpet and the planks
underneath to get at the well, and then skipped up the companion-way in
the liveliest manner. When on deck, he made out Jack at the wheel.

"How's the well?" Jack cried, in the wind. "Did you sound it?"

Geoffrey had to roar to make himself heard above the gale and noise of
waters.

"Get your buckets!" he said; and Jack passed his order forward by a
messenger, who crawled along by the main-boom carefully, lest he should
go overboard in the pitching.

"Why, the pumps were gaining on the leak a while ago!" Jack said to
Geoffrey. "Did you examine the well?"

"There is no well left that I could see. It's all a lake on the cabin
floor. The leak gained on the pumps an inch in half an hour! I waited
and watched to make sure, and to quiet the women."

"Then it is only a question of time," said Jack. "The buckets and pumps
won't keep her afloat long. She is working the caulking out of her
seams, and that will get worse every moment."

There were no loiterers on board after that. They all "turned to" and
worked like machines. Even the steward and cook were on deck to take
their trick at the pumps. Five men in soaking trousers and shirts worked
five buckets in the cabin, heaving the water out of the companion-way.
Of these five, some dropped out from time to time exhausted, but the
others relieved them, and so kept the five buckets going as fast as they
could be worked. Some fell deadly sick with the heat, hard work, and
terrible pitching and driving motion of the boat, but nobody said a
word. If a man fell sick, he had something else to think of than his
comfort, and he staggered around as well as he could. From the
companion-way to the well, and from the well to the companion-way, for
two hours more they kept up the incessant toil. At first some had
attempted to be pleasant by saying it was easy to get water enough for
the whisky, and by making other light remarks. But now it was changed.
They said nothing on the exhausting and dreary round, but worked with
their teeth clinched--while the sweat poured off them as if they, too,
had started every seam and were leaking out their very lives.

Still the pitiless great mass of a steamer in front of the yacht plunged
and yawed and dragged them without mercy through the black waters, where
a huge surge could now be occasionally discerned sweeping its foaming
crest past the little yacht, which was gradually succumbing to the wild
forces about it.

Margaret was back again in the cabin now. She had wedged herself in,
with her back against the bunks, and one foot up against the table as a
prop to keep her in position. In one hand she held a bottle of brandy
and in the other a glass. And when a man fell out sick and exhausted she
attended to him. There was no water asked for. They took the brandy
"neat." She had succeeded in quieting the other women, and as they could
not hear the bailing in the after-cabin they were in happy ignorance of
the worst. Whatever fears she had had when the knowledge of danger first
came to her, she showed no sign of them now--but only a compassion for
the exhausted workers that heartened them up and did them good.

A third hour had nearly expired since they began to use the buckets, and
Margaret for a long time had been watching the water, in which the
bailers worked, gradually creeping up over their feet as they spent
themselves on a dreary round, to which the toil of Sisyphus was
satisfactory. The water was rising steadily in spite of their best
efforts to keep the boat afloat. Margaret had quietly made up her mind
that they would never see the land again. There did not seem to be any
chance left, and she was going, as men say, to "die game." Her courage
and cheering words inspired the others to endless exertions. She was
like a big sister to them all. At times she was hilarious and almost
boisterous, and when she waved the bottle in the air and declared that
there was no Scott Act on board, her conduct can not be defended.
Maurice Rankin tried to say he wished they could get a Scott Act on the
water, but the remark seemed to lack intrinsic energy, and he failed
from exhaustion to utter it.

Another half-hour passed, and while the men trudged through the
ever-deepening water Margaret experienced new thoughts whenever she
gazed at Geoffrey, who had worked almost incessantly. She looked at the
knotted cords on his arms and on his forehead, at the long tenacious jaw
set as she had seen it in the hurdle race, and she knew from the
swelling nostril and glittering eye that the idea of defeat in this
battle with the waters was one which he spurned from him. His clothes
were dripping with water. The neck-button of his shirt had carried away,
his trousers were rolled up at the bottom, and his face perspired freely
with the extraordinary strain, and yet in spite of his appearance she
felt as if she had never cared for him so much as when she now saw him.
On through the night she sat there doing her woman's part beside those
who fought with the water for their lives. She saw the treacherous enemy
gaining on them in spite of all their efforts, and in her heart felt
fully convinced that she could not have more than two hours to live.
The hot steam from men working frantically filled the cabin, the weaker
ones grew ill before her, and she looked after them without blenching.
Hers was no place for a toy woman. She was there to help all those about
to die; and to do this rightly, to force back her own nausea, and face
anxiety and death with a smile.

As for Geoffrey, life seemed sweet to him that night. For him, it was
Margaret or--nothing. To him, this facing of death did just one thing.
It raised the tiger in him. He had what Shakespeare and prize-fighters
call "gall," that indomitable courage which women worship hereditarily,
although better kinds of courage may exist.

Another long half-hour passed, and then Maurice fell over his bucket,
keel-up. He had fainted from exhaustion, and was dosed by Margaret in
the usual way, and after this he was set on his pins and sent on deck
for the lighter work at the pumps. After that, the paid hands, having in
some way purloined too much whisky, mutinied, and said they would be
blanketty-blanketted if they would sling another bucket.

The others went on as steadily as before, while the crew went forward to
wait sulkily for the end.

Jack and Charley then consulted as to what was best to be done. To hold
on in this way meant going to the bottom, without a shadow of doubt.
They had tried to signal to the steamer, to get her to slow up and take
all hands on board. But the watchers at the stern of the steamer had
been taken off to work at the steamer's pumps; for, as was afterward
found, she also was leaking badly and in a dangerous condition.

Ought they to cut the towline, throw out the inside ballast, and cut
away the mast to ease the straining at the seams? The wooden hull, minus
the inside ballast, might float in spite of the lead on the keel, which
was not very heavy, and in this way they might drift about until picked
up the next day. But the ballast was covered with water. They could not
get it out in time to save her. Yet the seas seemed somewhat lighter
than they had been. Would not the boat leak less while proceeding in an
ordinary way, instead of being dragged from wave to wave? No doubt it
would, but was it safe to let the steamer leave them? Ought they to cut
the towline, get up a bit of a sail, and endeavor to make the north
shore of the lake?

While duly weighing these things, Jack was making a rough calculation in
his head, as he took a look at the clock. Then he walked forward, took a
halyard in his hands, and embracing the plunging mast with his legs, he
swarmed up about twenty feet from the deck. Then, after a long look, he
suddenly slid down again, and running aft he called to the others, while
he pointed over the bows.


"Toronto Light, ahoy!"

"Holy sailor!" cried Charley in delight. "Are you sure of it?"

"Betcherlife!" said Jack. "Can't fool me on Toronto Light. Go and see
for yourself."

Charley climbed up and took a look. Then he went down into the
forecastle and told the men they would get no pay for the trip if they
did not help to bail the boat.

Seeing that not only life but good pay awaited them, they turned to
again and helped to keep the ship afloat.

In a few minutes more Jack called to Margaret to come on deck. When she
had ascended, she sat on the dripping cabin-top and watched a changing
scene, impossible to forget. Soon after she appeared, there came a
flicker in the air, as short as the pulling of a trigger, and all at
once she perceived that she began dimly to see the waves and the
pitching boat. It was like a revelation, like an experience of Dante's
Virgil, to see at last some of that hell of waters in which they had
struggled so long for existence.

As the first beginning of weird light, coming apparently from nowhere,
began to spread over the weary waste of heaving, tumbling, merciless
waters and to dilute the ink of the night, as if with only a memory of
day, a momentary chill went through Margaret, as she began to realize a
small part of what they had come through. But as the ragged sky in the
east paled faintly, rather than warmed, with an attempt at cheerfulness,
like the tired smile of a dying man, it sufficed, although so deficient
in warmth, to cheer her heart. The calm certainty of an almost immediate
death that had settled like a pall upon her was dispelled by rays of
hope that seemed to be identical with the invading rays of light. "Hope
comes from the east," she thought, as a ray from that quarter made the
atmosphere take another jump toward day, and as she fell into a tired
reverie she remembered, with a heart forced toward thanksgiving, those
other early glad tidings from the East. Worn out, she yielded to early
emotions, and thanked God for her deliverance. She arose and went
carefully along the deck, holding to the wet boom, until she reached the
mast, where she stopped and gazed at the black mass of the great steamer
still plunging and yawing and swinging through the waters, with its
lights looking yellow in the pale glimmer of dawn. After viewing the
disorder on decks she could form an idea of the work the men had had
during the darkness of the night.

But, oh, what a broken-nosed nightmare of a yacht it was, in the dreary
morning light, with all the dripping black-looking heap of wreckage
piled over the bows, the mast pitching back toward the stern with a
tangled mass of everything imaginable wound in a huge plait down the
lifts. In this draggle-tailed thing, with a boom lying on deck and
hanging over the counter and its canvas trailing in the water, Margaret
could not recognize the peerless swan that a short time ago poised
itself upon its pinions and swept so majestically out of Toronto Bay.

The water, at every mile traversed, now grew calmer as the gale came
partly off the land. Soon the pitching ended altogether. The opened
seams ceased to smile so invitingly to the death that lurks under every
boat's keel. The pumps and buckets had begun to gain upon the water in
the cabin, and by the time they had swept round the lighthouse and
reached the wharf the flooring had been replaced, while the pumps were
still clanging at intervals.

When they made fast to the dock a drawn and haggard group of men--a
drooping, speechless, and even ragged group of men--allowed themselves
to sleep. It did not matter where or how they slept. They just dropped
anywhere; and for five hours Nature had all she could do to restore
these men to a semblance of themselves.

     [Note.--If Captain Estes, of the Mail Line Steamer Abyssinian,
     should ever read this chapter, he will know a part of what took
     place at the other end of the hawser on the night of September
     5, 1872.]



CHAPTER XVI.

    What slender youth, bedewed with liquid odors,
    Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
        Pyrrha? For whom bindest thou
        In wreaths thy golden hair,
    Plain in its neatness? Oh, how oft shall he
    On faith, and changed gods, complain,
    To whom thou untried seemest fair?

    HORACE, _Lib. I, Ode 5._


A fine spring afternoon. A dark-eyed, well-dressed young lady with an
attractive figure descends from a street car near the Don Bridge. She
crosses the bridge leisurely and proceeds eastward along the Kingston
Road toward Scarborough. Whatever her destination may be, the time at
which she arrives is evidently of no consequence. She does "belong" down
Kingston Roadway. The street car dropped her there, and one may come a
long way for ten cents on street cars. From the uninterested way in
which she views the semi-rural surroundings one can see that she is
carelessly unfamiliar with the region.

A fine horse, with his glossy coat and harness shining in the sun, comes
along behind her at a rate that would not be justified in a crowded
thoroughfare. Behind the horse a stylish dog-cart bowls along with its
plate-glass lamps also shining in the sun. Between this spot and the
city of Kingston there is no man on the road handsomer than he who
drives the dog-cart. The lady looks pleased as she hears the trap coming
along; a flush rises to her cheeks and makes her eyes still brighter.
When the horse trots over the sod and stops beside the sidewalk her
surprise is so small that she does not even scream. On the contrary, she
proceeds, without speaking, to climb into the vehicle with an expression
on her face in which alarm has no place.

In some analogy with that mysterious law which rules that an elephant
shall not climb a tree, symmetrical people in fashionable dresses, whose
lines tend somewhat toward convexity, do not climb into a high dog-cart
with that ease which may compensate others for being long and lanky. A
middle-aged elder of the Established Kirk stands on his doorstep
directly opposite and looks pious. He says this is a meeting not of
chance but of design, and reproof is shown upon his face. The lady wears
Parisian boots, and the general expression of the middle-aged elder is
severe except where the eyes suggest weakness unlooked for in a face of
such high moral pitch. Once in, the young lady settles herself
comfortably and wraps about her dress the embroidered dust-linen as if
she were well accustomed to the situation. They drive off, and the
middle-aged elder shakes his head after them and says with renewed
personal conviction that the world is not what it ought to be.

The road is soft and smooth, and the horse saws his head up and down as
he steps out at a pace that makes him feel pleasantly disposed toward
country roads and inclined to travel faster than a gentlemanly,
civilized, by-law-regulated horse should desire. The young lady lays
aside her parasol, which is remarkable--a gay toy--and takes up a black
silk umbrella which is not remarkable but serviceable. The good-looking
man pulls out of his pocket a large brown veil rolled up in paper, and
she of the Parisian boots ties it quickly around a little skull-cap sort
of bonnet of black beads and lace. The veil is thrown around in such a
way that the folds of it can be pulled down over her face in an instant.
Here, also, the lady shows a deftness in assuming this head-gear that
argues prior practice, and when this is done she lays her hand on the
handsome man's arm and looks up at him radiantly, while the silk
umbrella shuts out a couple of farmer's wives.

"Doesn't it make me look hideous?" she says, referring to the veil.

"Yes, my dear, worse than ever," says the handsome man. His face is a
mixture of careless good-nature and quiet devil-may-care recklessness.
Perhaps there are women who never make men look spiritual. It is to be
hoped that the umbrella hides his disregard for appearances on the
public street and that the farmer's wives in the neighborhood are not
too observant.

"For goodness' sake, Geoffrey, _do_ behave better on the highway! What
will those women think?"

"Their curiosity will gnaw them cruelly, I fear. They are looking after
us yet. I can see them."

"Well, it is not fair to me to go on like that; besides I am terrified
all the time lest the people may find out who it is that wears the brown
veil about the country. I have heard four or five girls speaking about
it. It's the talk of the town."

"No fear about that, Nina. I don't think your name was ever mentioned in
connection with the veil, but, in case it might be, I drove out Helen
Broadwood and Janet Carruthers lately, and, in view of the dust flying,
I persuaded them to wear the brown veil. We drove all over the city and
down King Street several times. So now the brown veil is divided between
the two of them. It was not much trouble to devote a little time to this
object, and besides, you know, the old people give excellent dinners."

"That was nice of you to put it off on those girls and to take so much
trouble for me, but it can't last, Geoffrey, dear. We are sure to be
recognized some day. Helen and Janet will both say they were not on the
Indian road near the Humber the day we met the Joyces's wagonette, and
those girls are so stupid that people will believe them; and that bad
quarter of an hour when Millicent Hart rode behind us purposely to find
out who I was. That was a mean thing of her to do, but I paid her off. I
met her at Judge Lovell's the other night. It was a terrible party, but
I enjoyed it. I knew she expected to bring things to a climax with Mr.
Grover; she's _folle_ about that man. I monopolized him the whole
evening--in fact he came within an ace of proposing. Gracious, how that
girl hates me now!"

"I would not try paying her off too much, or she will think you have a
strong reason for doing so," said Geoffrey. "After all, her curiosity
did her no good. You managed the umbrella to a charm."

"The best thing you could do would be to have a linen duster for me to
wear--such as the American women travel in; then, as the veil covered my
head, I could discard the umbrella, and they would not recognize my
clothes."

In this way they rattled down to Scarborough, and then Geoffrey turned
off the highway through a gate and drove across a lot of wild land
covered with brushwood until he struck a sort of road through the forest
which had been chopped out for the purpose of hauling cordwood in the
winter. He followed this slowly, for it was rough wheeling. Then he
stopped, tied the horse, and Nina and he sauntered off through the woods
until they reached the edge of the high cliffs overlooking the lake.
This spot escaped even picnic parties, for it was almost inaccessible
except by the newly cut and unknown road. Solitude reigned where the
finest view in the neighborhood of Toronto could be had. They could look
along the narrow cliffs eastward as far as Raby Head. At their
feet--perhaps a hundred and fifty feet down--the blue-green waves lapped
the shore in the afternoon breeze, and on the horizon, across the thirty
or forty miles of fresh water, the south shore of the lake could be
dimly seen in a summer haze.

The winter had come and gone since we saw our friends last, and the
early spring was delicious in the warmth that hurried all nature into a
promise of maturity. Not much of importance had happened to any of them
since we last saw them. Jack was as devoted as ever, and Nina was not.
She tried to do what she could in the way of being pleasant to Jack, and
she went on with the affair partly because she had not sufficient
hardness of heart to break it off, and chiefly because Geoffrey told her
not to do so. He preferred that she should remain, in a nondescript way,
engaged to Jack.

Hampstead generally dined with the Mackintoshes on Sunday, and called in
the evening once or twice during the week. He also took Margaret for
drives in the afternoon--generally about the town. When this happened a
boy in buttons sat behind them and held the horse when they descended to
make calls together on Margaret's friends. This was pleasant for both of
them, and a beginning of the quiet domestic life which, after marriage,
Geoffrey intended to confine himself to, and he won good opinions among
Margaret's friends from the cheerful, pleasant, domesticated manner he
had with him when they dropped in together, in an off-hand, "engaged"
sort of way to make informal calls. And so far as Margaret could know he
seemed in every way entitled to the favorable opinions she created. All
his better, kinder nature was present at these times, and no one could
make himself more agreeable when he was, as he said of himself,
"building up a moral monument more lasting than brass."

But Geoffrey had his "days off," and then he was different. He smiled as
he thought that in cultivating a high moral tone it was well not to
overdo the thing at first; that two days out of the week would suffice
to keep him socially in the traces. He thought his "off" days frequently
made him prize Margaret all the more when he could turn with some relief
toward the one who embodied all that his imagination could picture in
the way of excellence. He despised himself and was complacent with
himself alternately, with a regularity in his inconsistencies which was
the only way (he would say, smiling) that he could call himself
consistent. If necessary, he would have admitted that he was bad; but to
himself he was fond of saying that he never tried to conceal from
himself when he was doing wrong; and, among men, he despised the many
"Bulstrodes" of existence who succeed in deceiving themselves by
falsities. He said that this openness with self seemed to have something
partly redeeming about it; perhaps only by comparison--that it possibly
ranked among the uncatalogued virtues, marked with a large note of
interrogation. He thought there were few brave enough to be quite honest
with themselves, and that there was always a chance for a man who
remained so; that the hopeless ones were chiefly those who, with or
without vice, have become liars to themselves; who, by mingling
uncontrolled weakness and professed religion, have lost the power to
properly adjust themselves.

This day of the drive to Scarborough was one of his "off" days. He found
a piquancy in these trips with him, because so many talked about her
beauty; and, as the majority of men do not have very high ideals
concerning feminine beauty, Nina was well adapted for extensive
conquest. No doubt she was very attractive, quite dazzling sometimes.
She was partly of the French type, perfect in its way, but not the
highest type; she was lady-like in her appearance, yet with the
slightest _soupçon_ of the nurse-girl. It amused him to hear men
discussing, even squabbling about her, especially after he had come from
a trip with the brown veil. If men had been more sober in the way they
regarded her, if her costumes had been less bewitching, he soon would
have become tired. But these incentives made him pleased with his
position, and he was wont to quote the illustrious Emerson in saying
that "greatly as he rejoiced in the victories of religion and morality,
it was not without satisfaction that he woke up in the morning and found
that the world, the flesh, and the devil still held their own, and died
hard." In other words, it pleased him that Nina existed to give
life--for the present--a little of that fillip which his nature seemed
to demand.

"What is a wise man? Well, sir, as times go, 'tis a man who knows
himself to be a fool, and hides the fact from his neighbor."

This was the only text upon which Geoffrey founded any claim to wisdom.

As they left the cliff and walked slowly back through the woods Nina was
leaning on his arm, and the happiness of her expression showed how
completely she could forget the duties which both abandoned in order to
meet in this way. But when they arrived at the dog-cart a change came
over her. The brown veil had to be tied on again. At many other times
she had done this placidly, as part of the masquerade. But to-day she
was not inclined to reason carefully. To-day the veil was a badge of
secrecy, a reminder of underhand dealings, a token that she must ever go
on being sly and double-faced with the public, that she must renounce
the idea of ever caring for Geoffrey in any open and acknowledged way.
To be sure, she had accepted this situation in its entirety when she
continued to yield to her own wishes by being so much with an engaged
man. But to be reasonable always, is uncommon. She resisted an
inclination to tear the veil to shreds. Something told her that
exhibitions of temper would not be very well received by her companion.
No matter how she treated Jack, was she not honest with Geoffrey? Did
she not risk her good name for him? And why should she have to mask her
face and hide it from the public? She--an heiress, who would inherit
such wealth--whose beauty made her a queen, to whom men were like
slaves!

The veil very nearly became altered in its condition as she thought of
these things, but she put it on, and smothered her wrath until they got
out upon the highway. Then she said, after a long silence: "Would it not
be as well to let Margaret wear this brown veil a few times, Geoffrey?
She has a right to drive about with you, and if people thought it was
only she, their curiosity might cease."

A farm-house cur came barking after the dog-cart just then, and
Geoffrey's anger expended itself partly on the dog, instead of being
embodied in a reply.

The whip descended so viciously through the air that a more careful
person might have seen that the suggestion had not improved his temper.

Except this, he gave no answer. She pressed the subject, although she
knew he was angry. "Don't you think, Geoffrey, that that would be a good
thing to do? It would quite remove curiosity, and would, in any case, be
only fair to me."

Now, if there was one thing Hampstead could not and would not endure, it
was to have a woman he amused himself with attempt to put herself on a
par with the one he reverenced. Margaret was about all that remained of
his conscience. She embodied all the good he knew. Every resolve and
hope of his future depended upon her. He could not as yet, he thought,
find it possible always to live as she would like; but in a calm way, so
controlled as to seem almost dispassionate, he worshiped her, as it
were, in the abstract.

His ideas concerning her were so rarefied that, in any other person, he
might have called them fanatical. He was bad, but he felt that he would
rather hang himself than allow so much as a breath to dim the fair
mirror of Margaret's name. At the very mention of her as wearing this
brown veil he grew pale with anger, and the barking cur got the benefit
of it, and at Nina's insistence his face and eyes grew like steel.

"Heavens above! Can't you let her name alone? Is it not enough for you
to raise the devil in me, without scheming to give her trouble? Do you
think I will allow her to step in and be blamed for what it was your
whim to go in for--risks and all?"

Nina was ready now to let the proposition drop, but she could not
refrain from adding: "She would not be blamed for very much if she were
blamed for all that has happened between us."

There was truth in what she said, but Geoffrey had looked upon these
meetings as anything but innocent. Argument on the point was
insufferable, and it only made him lash out worse, as he interrupted
her.

"Good God, Nina! you must be mad! Don't you see? Don't you understand?"

Nina waited a second while she thought over what he meant, and her blood
seemed to boil as she considered different things.

"Yes, I do understand. You need say no more," cried she, with her eyes
blazing. "You want me to realize that I am so much beneath her--that she
is so far above me--that, although I have done nothing much out of the
way, the imputation of her doing the same thing is a kind of death to
you. You go out of your way to try and hurt me--"

"No, no, Nina," said Geoffrey, controlling himself, "I do not want to
hurt your feelings. If we must continue speaking on this unpleasant
subject, I will explain."

"That will do, Geoffrey Hampstead," she exclaimed in a rage; "I don't
want to hear your explanation. I hate you and despise you! I have been a
fool myself, but you have been a greater one. I could have made a prince
of you. I was fool enough to do this, and now," here Nina tore the veil
off her head, and threw it on the road, "and now," she continued, as she
faced him with flashing eyes, "you will always remain nothing but a
miserable bank-clerk. Who are you that you should presume to insult me?
and who is she that she should be held over my head? I am as good in
every way as she is, and, if all that's said is true, I am a good deal
better."

Geoffrey listened silently to all she said, and to her blind imputation
against Margaret. Gazing in front of him with a look that boded ill, he
reduced the horse's pace to a walk, so that he need not watch his
driving, and turned to her, speaking slowly, his face cruel and his eyes
small and glittering.

"Listen! You have consciously played the devil with me ever since I knew
you. You have known from the first how you held me; you played your part
to perfection, and I liked it. It amused me. It made better things seem
sweeter after I left you. It is not easy to be very good all at once,
and you partly supplied me with the opposite. I don't blame you for it,
because I liked it, and I confess to encouraging you, but the fact
is--you sought me. Hush! Don't deny it! As women seek, you sought me. We
tacitly agreed to be untrue to every tie in order to meet continually,
and in a mild sort of way try to make life interesting. Did either of us
ever try by word or deed to improve the other? Certainly not. Nor did we
ever intend to do so. We taught each other nothing but scheming and
treachery. And you thought that you would make the devil so pleasing
that I could not do without him. This is the plain truth--in spite of
your sneer. Recollect, I don't mind what you say about me, but you have
undertaken to insult and lay schemes for somebody else, and that I'll
not forgive. For _that_, I say what I do, and I make you see your
position, when you, who have been a mass of treachery ever since you
were born, dare to compare yourself with--no matter who. I won't even
mention her name here. That's how I look upon this affair, if you insist
upon plain speech. Now we understand things."

It was a cruel, brutal tirade. Truth seems very brutal sometimes. He
began slowly, but as he went on, his tongue grew faster, until it was
like a mitrailleuse. Nina was bewildered. She had angered him
intentionally; but she had not known that on one subject he was a
fanatic, and thus liable to all the madness that fanaticism implies. She
said nothing, and Hampstead, with scarcely a pause, added, in a more
ordinary tone: "It will be unpleasant for us to drive any further
together. You are accustomed to driving. I'll walk."

He handed the reins to Nina and swung himself out without stopping the
horse. She took the reins in a half-dazed way and asked vaguely:

"What will I do with the horse when I get to the town?"

"Turn him adrift," said Geoffrey, over his shoulder, as he proceeded up
a cross-road, feeling that he never wished to see either her or the trap
again.

Nina stopped the horse to try to think. She could not think. His biting
words had driven all thought out of her. She only knew he was going away
from her forever. She looked after him, and saw him a hundred yards off
lighting a cigar with a fusee as he walked along. She called to him and
he turned. The country side was quiet, and he could hear her say, "Come
here!" He went back, and found her weeping. All she could say was "Get
in." Of course he got in, and they drove off up the cross-road so as to
meet no person until she calmed herself. After a while she sobbed out:

"Oh, you are cruel, Geoffrey. I may be a mass of treachery, but not to
you--not to you, Geoffrey. Having to put on the veil angered me. I have
been wicked. We have both been wicked. But you are so much worse than I
am. You know you are!"

As she said this it sounded partly true and partly whimsical, so she
tried to smile again. He could not endeavor to resist tears when he knew
that he had been unnecessarily harsh, and he was glad of the opportunity
to smile also and to smooth things over.

As a tacit confession that he was sorry for his violence, he took the
hand that lay beside him into his, and so they drove along toward the
city, each extending to the other a good deal of that fellow-feeling
which arises from community in guilt. Both felt that in tearing off the
mask for a while they had revealed to each other things which, being
confessed, left them with hardly a secret on either side, and if this
brought them more together, by making them more open with each other,
both felt that they now met upon a lower platform.



CHAPTER XVII.



     Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which
     he hath made crooked?--_Ecclesiastes_ vii, 13.


A few days after the disturbance in the dog-cart Geoffrey and Maurice
Rankin were dining, on a Sunday, with the Mackintoshes. After dinner a
walk was proposed, and Margaret went out with them, very spick-and-span
and charming in an old black silk "made over," and with a bright bunch
of common geraniums at her belt. She had invited the young lawyer partly
because he had seemed so distrustful of Geoffrey, and she wished to
bring the two more together, so that Maurice might see that he had
misjudged him. In the course of their walk Geoffrey asked, for want of
something better to say:

"How goes the law, Rankin? Things stirring?"

"Might be worse," replied Maurice. "By the way, Margaret, I forgot to
tell you Mr. Bean actually brought in a client the other day."

"Somebody he had been drinking with, I suppose," said Margaret, who had
heard of Mr. Bean.

"Right you are. They supported each other into the office, and before
Bean sank into his chair I was introduced by him as his 'jun'or
par'ner.'"

"Could not Mr. Bean do the same every day? Supply the office by bringing
up his friends when prepared to be lavish with money?"

"I'm afraid not. Bean would be always tipsy himself before the victim
was ready. Still, your idea is worth consideration. Of course nobody
would want law from Bean unless he were pretty far gone, and in this
case the poor old chap knew no more about what was wanted than the
inquirer."

"Had the client any money?" asked Geoffrey.

"Money? He was reeking with it. What he wanted, he said, was a quiet
lawyer. I told him that the quietness of our business was its strong
point, only equaled, in fact, by the unpleasant grave. Then it appeared
that he had come on a trip from the States with a carpet-bag full of
money which he said he had borrowed, and he wished, in effect, to know
whether the United States could take him back again, _vi et armis_. I
told him 'No,' and knocked ten dollars out of him before you could say
'knife.'"

"You might have made it fifty while you were about it," said Geoffrey.

"Well, you see, the man was not entirely sober, and, after all, ten
dollars a word is fair average pay. I never charge more than that."

"You mean that the unfortunate was too sober to be likely to pay any
more," said Margaret.

Maurice shrugged his shoulders in deprecation of this idea.

Said Geoffrey: "I often meet Mr. Bean on the street. He is a very idle
man; I know by the way he carries his pipe in his mouth."

"What has that to do with it?"

"Everything. He smokes with his pipe in the center of his mouth."

"Well?"

"Well, no one does that unless very old or very idle. Men get the habit
from smoking all day while sitting down or lounging. No one can walk
hurriedly with his pipe in that position; it would jar his front teeth
out. I have noticed that an active man invariably holds his pipe in the
side of his mouth, where he can grasp it firmly."

"Hampstead, you should have been a detective."

"Such is genius," said Margaret. "Geoffrey has any quantity of
unprofitable genius."

"That reminds me that I once heard my grandfather telling my father the
same thing, but it was not very correct about my father."

"Indeed! By the way, Geoffrey, if it is not an impertinent question for
your future wife to ask, who _was_ your grandfather?"

This ignorance on the part of an engaged girl made Maurice cackle.

"Who _is_ he, you mean. He is still alive, I think, and as old as the
hills."

"Dear me! How very strange that you never told me of his existence
before!"

"His existence is not a very interesting one to me--in fact, quite the
reverse; besides I don't think we have ever lacked a more interesting
topic, have we Margaret?"

"I imagine not," quoth Rankin dryly. Margaret stopped; she thought there
might be something "queer" about this grandfather that Geoffrey might
not care to speak about before a third person. She merely said,
therefore, intending to drop the matter gently:

"How very old the senior Mr. Hampstead must be?"

"Hampstead is only the family name. The old boy is Lord Warcote. I am a
sort of a Radical you know, Margaret, and the truth is I had a quarrel
with my family. Only for this, I might have gone into the matter
before."

"Never mind going into anything unpleasant. You told my father, of
course, that you were a son of Mr. Manson Hampstead, one of the old
families in Shropshire. And so you are. We will let it rest at that.
Family differences must always be disagreeable subjects. Let us talk
about something else."

"Now we are on the subject, I might as well tell you all about it.
First, I will secure Rankin's secrecy. Behold five cents! Mr. Rankin, I
retain you with this sum as my solicitor to advise when called upon
concerning the facts I am about to relate. You are bound now by your
professional creed not to divulge, are you not?"

"Drive on," said Maurice, "I'm an oyster."

"There is not a great deal to tell," said Geoffrey. "The unpleasant part
of it has always made me keep the story entirely to myself. When I came
to this continent I was in such a rage with everything and everybody
that I abandoned the chance of letters of introduction. Nobody here
knows who I am. I have worked my own way to the exalted position in
which you find me. A good while ago my father was in the English
diplomatic service, and he still retains, I believe, a responsible post
under the Government. Like a good many others, though, he was, although
clever, not always quite clever enough, and in one episode of his life,
in which I am interested, he failed to have things his own way. For ten
years he was in different parts of Russia, where his duties called him.
He had acquired such a profound knowledge of Russian and other languages
that these advantages, together with his other gifts, served to keep him
longer in a sort of exile for the simple reason that there were few, if
any, in the service who could carry out what was required as well as he
could himself. From his official duties and his pleasant manner he
became well known in Russian society, and he counted among his intimate
friends several of the nobility who possessed influence in the country.
After a long series of duties he and some young Russians, to whom
passports were almost unnecessary, used to make long trips through the
country in the mild seasons to shoot and fish. In this way some of the
young nobles rid themselves of _ennui_, and reverted by an easy
transition to the condition of their immediate ancestors. They had their
servants with them, and lived a life of conviviality and luxury even in
the wildest regions which they visited. When they entered a small town
on these journeyings they did pretty much what they liked, and nobody
dared to complain at the capital. If a small official provoked or
delayed them they horsewhipped him. In fact, what they delighted in was
going back to savagery and taking their luxuries with them, dashing over
the vast country on fleet horses, making a pandemonium whenever and
wherever they liked; in short, in giving full swing to their Tartar and
Kalmuck blood. On one occasion my father was feeling wearied to death
with red tape, but nobody was inclined at the time for another
expedition. He therefore obtained leave to go with a military detachment
to Semipalatinsk, from which town some prisoners had to be brought back
to St. Petersburg. There was little trouble in obtaining his permit,
especially as he had been partly over the road before. So he went with
his horses and servant as far as the railway would take him, and then
joined a band of fifty wild-looking Cossacks and set out. When within a
hundred and fifty versts from Semipalatinsk they encountered a warlike
band of about twenty-five well mounted Tartars returning from a
marauding expedition. They had several horses laden with booty, also
some female prisoners. It was the old story of one tribe of savages
pillaging another. The Cossacks were out in the wilderness. Although
supposed to be under discipline, they were one and all freebooters to
the backbone. Their captain, under pretense of seeing right done,
allowed an attack to be made by the Cossacks. They drove off the other
robbers, ransacked the booty, took what they wanted, and under color of
giving protection, took the women also, hoping to dispose of them
quietly as slaves at some town. These women were then mounted on several
of the pack-horses, and the Cossacks rode off on their journey, leaving
everything else on the plain for the other robbers to retake.

"My father had kept aloof from the disturbance. It was none of his
business. He sat on his horse and quietly laughed at the whole
transaction. He had become very Russian in a good many ways, and he
certainly knew what Cossacks were, and that any protest from him would
only be useless. It was simply a case of the biter bit. He joined the
party as they galloped on to make up for lost time.

"As for the women, it was now nothing to them that their captors had
changed. Early in the morning their village had been pillaged and their
defenders slain. It was all one to them, now. Slavery awaited them
wherever they went. So they sat their horses with their usual ease,
veiled their faces, and resigned themselves to their fate. But as the
afternoon wore on, the wily captain began to think that my father would
certainly see through the marauding escapade of his, and that it would
be unpleasant to hear about it again from the authorities, and so he
cast about him for the easiest way to deceive or propitiate him. That
evening, as my father was sitting in his _kibitka_, the curtain was
raised and the captain smilingly led in one of the captive slaves--a
woman of extraordinary beauty. And who do you think she was?"

Margaret turned pale. She grasped Geoffrey's arm, as her quick
intelligence divined what was coming.

"No, no," she said. "You are not going to tell me that?"

"Yes," said Geoffrey with a pinched expression on his face. "That is
just what I am going to tell you. That poor slave--that ignorant and
beautiful savage was my mother."

Margaret was thunderstruck. She did not comprehend how things stood, but
with a ready solicitude for him in a time of pain, she passed her hand
through his arm and drew herself closer to him, as they walked along.

As for Maurice, he ground his teeth as he witnessed Margaret's loving
solicitude. It was a relief to him to rasp out his dislike for Geoffrey
under his breath. "I always knew he was a wolf," he muttered to himself.

"You will see now," continued Geoffrey, "why I preferred not to be known
in this country. To be one of a family with a title in it did not
compensate me for being a thorough savage on my mother's side.

"But I will continue my story. The beauty of the woman attracted my
father. He spoke to her kindly in her own language and made her partake
of his dinner with him. He thought that in any case he could save her
from being sold into slavery by the Cossacks.

"These wild half-brothers of mine took it as a matter of course that my
father would be pleased with his acquisition, but they suggested _vodki_
and got it--so that my mother was in reality purchased from them for a
few bottles of whisky.

"They went on toward Semipalatinsk and got the prisoners. My father
intended to leave the woman at that town, but she wished to see the
White Czar and his great city, of which she had heard, and she begged so
hard to be taken back with him that he began to think he might as well
do so.

"The fact was that a whim seized him to see her dressed as a European,
and as they waited at Semipalatinsk for ten days before returning, he
had time to have garments made which were as near to the European styles
as he could suggest. It was evidently the clothes that decided the
matter. In her coarse native habiliments she was simply a savage to a
fastidious man, but when she was arrayed in a familiar looking dress
assisted by the soft silken fabrics of the East, he was bewitched. She
told him, on the journey back, how her father had always counted upon
having enough to live on for the rest of his life when she was sold to
the traders who purchased slaves for the harems at Constantinople.

"My father took her to St. Petersburg with him, where they lived for
three years together. Such a thing as marrying her never entered his
head. He simply lived like his friends. I never found out how much she
was received in society--no doubt she had all the society she
wanted--but I did hear from an old friend of my father, who spoke of her
with much respect, that her beauty created the greatest sensation in St.
Petersburg, and that when she went to the theatre the spectators were
all like astronomers at a transit of Venus. She made good use of her
time, however, and at the end of three years she could speak and write
English a little.

"At the end of three years from the time he met her, my father was
called back to England. He left her in his house in St. Petersburg with
all the money necessary, and came home. I think he intended to go back
to her when he got ready. But she settled that question by coming to
England herself. She could not bear the separation after three months of
waiting. Imagine the scene when she arrived! Lord and Lady Warcote were
having a dinner party, when in came my mother, as lovely as a dream, and
throwing her arms round my father she forgot her English and addressed
him fondly in the Tartar dialect.

"My father, for a moment, was paralyzed; but, in spite of the enervating
effect of this exotic's sudden appearance, he could not help feeling
proud of her when he saw how magnificent she was in her new Paris
costume, and it occurred to him that her wonderful beauty would carry
things off with a high hand for a while, until he could perhaps get her
back to Russia. She, however, after the moment in which she greeted him,
stood up to her full height, and glancing rapidly around the table at
all the speechless guests, recognized my grandfather from a photograph
she had seen. Lord Warcote was sitting--starchy and speechless--at the
end of the table.

"'Ah! zo! Oo are ze little faäzer!' And before he could say a word the
handsomest woman in England had kissed him, and had taken his hand and
patted it."

"Another brisk look around, and she recognized Lady Warcote in the same
way. She floated round the table to greet 'dear mutter.' But here she
saw she was making a mistake--that everything was not all right. Lady
Warcote was not so susceptible to female beauty as she might have been.
She arose from her chair, her face scarlet with anger, and motioned my
mother away.

"'Manson,' she said, addressing my father, 'is this woman your wife?'"

"My father had now recovered from his shock, and was laughing til the
tears ran down his face. My mother, seeing his merriment, took courage
again and said gayly:

"'Yes, yes! He have buy me--for one--two--tree bottle _vodki_.' She
counted the numbers on the tips of her fingers, her shapely hands
flashing with jewels. Then her laughter chimed merrily in with my
father's guffaw. She ran back to him, took his head in both her hands
and said, imitating a long-drawn tone of childish earnestness:

"'It was cheap--che-ap. I was wort' more dan _vodki_.'

"Lord Warcote had lived a fast life in his earlier days. After Nature
had allowed him a rare fling for sixty years she was beginning to
withdraw her powers, and my grandfather had become as religious as he
had been fast. The effect of my mother's presence upon him was to make
him suddenly young again, and although he soon assumed his new Puritan
gravity he could not keep his eyes off her. On a jury he would have
acquitted her of anything, and when she turned around imperiously and
told a servant to bring a chair, 'Good Lord!' he said, 'she's a Russian
princess!' and he jumped up like an old courtier to get the chair
himself. The more he heard of her story the more interested he became,
and when he had heard it all, nothing would suffice but an immediate
marriage. My father protested on several grounds, but his protests made
no difference to the old man. His will, he said, would be law until he
died, and even after he died, and, what with my mother's beauty, which
made him take what he understood to be a strong religious interest in
her behalf, and one thing and another, he got quite fanatical on the
point. He forgot himself several times, and swore he would cut father
off with nothing if he refused.

"The end of it was that they were married at once, and afterward I was
born. My poor mother had no intention of giving father trouble when she
came to England, neither did she wish in the slightest degree for a
formal marriage, the usefulness of which she did not understand. She
simply felt that she could not do without him. And I don't think he ever
regretted the step he was driven to. She had some failings, but she was
as true and loving to him as a woman could be, besides being, for a
short time, considered a miracle of beauty in London.

"I can only remember her dimly as going out riding with father. They say
her horsemanship was the most perfect thing ever seen in the hunting
field. It was the means of her death at last. The trouble was that she
did not know what fear was while on horseback. She thought a horse ought
to do anything. Father has told me that when they were out together a
freak would seize her suddenly, and away she would go across country for
miles--riding furiously, like her forefathers, waving her whip high in
the air for him to follow, and taking everything on the full fly. If her
horse could not get over anything he had to go through it. At last, one
day, an oak fence stopped her horse forever, and she was carried home
dead. I was three years old then."

Geoffrey paused.

The others remained silent. His strong magnetic voice, rendered more
powerful by the vehement way he interpreted the last part of the story
in his actions, impressed them. They were walking in the Queen's Park at
this time, and it did not matter that he was more than usually graphic.
When he spoke of the wild riding of the Tartars, he sprang forward full
of a bodily eloquence. For an instant, while poised upon his toes, his
cane waving high aloft, his head and shoulders thrown back in an ecstasy
of abandon, and his left hand outstretched as if holding the reins, he
seemed to electrify them, and to give them the whole scene as it
appeared in his own mind. Rankin shuddered. Involuntarily he gasped out:

"Hampstead! For God's sake, don't do that!"

"Why not?" said Geoffrey, as he resumed his place beside them, while the
wild flash died out of his eyes.

"Because no man could do it like that unless--because, in fact, you do
it too infernally well."

Rankin felt that Margaret must be suffering. It seemed to him that.
Geoffrey had really become a Tartar marauder for a moment. Perhaps he
had.

"Don't mind my saying this," Maurice added, with apology. "Really, I
could not help it."

Geoffrey laughed. Margaret was grave. Rankin strayed on a few steps in
advance, and Geoffrey, taking advantage of it, whispered quickly. "What
are you thinking of, Margaret?"

"I was thinking I saw a wild man," said Margaret truthfully. Then, to be
more pleasant, she added, "And I thought that if Tartar marauders were
all like you, Geoffrey, I would rather prefer them as a class."

Maurice, who was unconsciously _de trop_ at this moment, turned and
said:

"You have got me 'worked up' over your story, and now I demand to know
more. Do not say that 'the continuation of this story will be published
in the New York Ledger of the current year.' Go ahead."

"Anything more I have to tell," said Geoffrey, "only relates to myself."

"Never mind. For once you are interesting. Drive on."

"Well, where was I? Oh, yes! Well, my father married again six months
after my mother's death. He married a woman who had been a flame of his
in early youth, and who had developed a fine temper in her virgin
solitude. They had six children. I was packed off to school early, and
was kept there almost continually. After that I was sent away traveling
with a tutor, a sanctimonious fellow who urged me into all the devilment
the Continent could provide, so that he might really enjoy himself. Then
I came home and got rid of him. It was at this time that I first heard
from my father about my mother and my birth. The story did me no good. I
got morbid over it. Previously I had thought myself of the best blood in
England. We were entitled as of right to royal quarterings, and the new
intelligence struck all the peacock pride out of me. I felt like a burst
balloon. The only thing I cared about was to go to Russia and see the
place my mother came from. I got letters from my father to some of his
old friends at St. Petersburg, and with their influence found my way to
the very village my mother came from. Some of the villagers remembered
quite well the raid when my mother was carried off and how her
enterprising father had been killed. What made me wonder was where my
mother got her aristocratic beauty. Among the undiluted, pug-nosed,
bestial Tartars such beauty was impossible. I found, however, that my
mother's mother had also been a captive. No one knew where she came
from. Most likely from Circassia or Persia. The villagers at the time of
the raid were the remnants of a large predatory tribe that formerly used
to sally forth on long excursions covering many hundreds of miles. At
that time--the time of their strength--they lived almost entirely by
robbery, and their name was dreaded everywhere within a radius of five
hundred miles. I have always hoped that my mother's mother was of some
better race than the Tartar. There is no doubt, however, that my
mother's father was a full-blooded Tartar, though he may have had
straighter features than the generality of them. I found there a younger
brother of my mother. He was a wallowing, drunken, thieving pig, this
uncle of mine, but under the bloated look he had acquired from excesses,
one could trace straight and possibly handsome features. As the son
would most likely resemble his father, I can only infer that the father
was not so bad-looking as he might have been, and so, with one thing and
another, I came to understand the possibility of my mother's beauty.

"It may have been morbid of me. I should have left the matter alone, for
I believed in 'race' so much that my discoveries ground me into dust.
Nothing satisfied me, however, unless I went to the bottom of it. I
watched this uncle of mine for two or three weeks, and made a friend of
him, merely to see if I could trace in him any likeness to myself. I
made him drunk. I made him sober. I made him run and walk and ride.
Sometimes I thought I traced the likeness clearly, and then again I
changed my mind. I tried him in other ways, leaving in my quarters small
desirable objects partly concealed. They always disappeared. He stole
them with the regularity of clockwork. I can laugh over these matters
now, speaking of them for the first time in twelve years. At that time I
groaned over it, and still persevered in trying to find out what could
do me no good. I am so like my father that I could find no resemblance
in me to the Tartar uncle. But at last I got a 'sickener.' While talking
to him I noticed that he made his gestures pointing the two first
fingers; instead of all or only one finger. I watched his dirty hands
while he mumbled on, half drunk, and then I saw that for a pastime, as a
Western Yankee might whittle or pick his teeth, this man threw the third
and fourth fingers of his left hand out of joint and in again. He said
his father and also, he had heard, his grandfather could do this with
ease.

"An hour afterward, I think I must have been a good ten miles
off--flying back to civilized Russia, my servants after me, thinking I
was mad. Perhaps I was a little queer in the head at the time."

"What made you go off in that way?" asked Maurice, who did not see the
connection.

Geoffrey made no verbal reply, but he held out his left hand with the
two last fingers out of joint. Then he showed how easily he could put
them "in" and "out."

"None of my father's family can do this, but my mother could. Both my
mother and the pig of an uncle held out these two fingers in their
gestures, and curled the others up so, and I do the same. I can laugh
now, but it killed me at the time.

"I traveled all over the world before I came back to England. My
half-brothers were then pretty well grown up and were fully acquainted
with everything concerning my birth and my mother's history. My
step-mother hated me because I was the eldest son, and she poisoned her
children's minds against me. She sought out my old tutor, who, when paid
well, told her a lot of vile and untrue stories about me. With these she
tried to poison my father's mind also in regard to me. I was moody,
morbid, and restless. They looked at me as if I was some other kind of
creature, the son of a savage, and it galled me, for all my subsequent
travelings had never removed the sting of my birth. Some deplore
illegitimacy. Rubbish! Wrong selection, not want of a ceremony, is the
real sin that is visited unto the children.

"After my return home I could have died with more complacency than I
felt in living. Even my father seemed at last to be turned against me by
my step-mother. One day while we were at dinner my step-mother, who
possessed a fiend's temper, had a hot discussion with me about something
which I have forgotten. Words were not well chosen on either side, and
she flew into a tantrum. I remember saying at last: 'Madame, it would
take two or three keepers to keep you in order.' Everybody was against
me, of course, and when her own eldest son half arose and addressed me,
his remarks met with applause. What he said to me, in quiet scorn, was:

"'Our mother's temper may not be good, sir, but we don't find it
necessary to send a keeper with her to keep her from stealing.'

"I have since found out, in a roundabout way, that my beautiful mother
preferred to steal a thing out of a shop rather than pay for it. My
father had always looked at this weakness of hers as a most humorous
thing. Anything she did charmed him. Sometimes she would show him what
she had stolen, and it would be returned or paid for. However, at the
time that this was said to me at the table I did not know of these
facts. I arose, amid the derisive laughter that followed the 'good hit,'
and demanded of my father how he dared to allow my mother's name to be
insulted. I secretly felt at the time that the slur upon her honesty
might be well founded, but the possible truth of it made the insult all
the worse to me.

"This was the last straw. I felt myself growing wild. Father did not
look at me. He merely went on with his dinner, laughing quietly at the
old joke and at my discomfiture. He said: 'I can not see any insult,
when what Harry says is perfectly true--and a devilish good joke it
was.'

"I did not appreciate that joke. I was almost crazy at the time. My
father's laughter seemed the cruelest thing I had ever heard. I 'turned
to,' as Jack Cresswell would say, and cursed them all, individually and
collectively, and then took my hat and left the house, which I have
never seen since and never intend to see again."

"And what about the tutor that told the stories about you?" asked
Rankin.

"Aha, Maurice," continued Geoffrey, brightening up from painful
memories, "you have a noble mind for sequences. What about the tutor?
Just so, what about him?" and Geoffrey slapped Rankin on the back
heartily, as a pleasanter memory presented itself gratefully.

"I wish you would not strike me like that. I am thinking of going to
church to-night, unless disabled. What about your beastly tutor? For
goodness' sake, do drive on!"

"Oh, well, I can't tell you much about that, not just now. Of course,
the first thing I did was to pay him a call at his lodgings in London.
Your great mind saw that this was natural. That call was a relief. I
came out when it was finished and told somebody to look after him, and
then took passage for New York in a vessel that sailed from London on
the same day."

Margaret and Rankin smiled at the grim way in which he spoke about the
visit to the tutor.

"On arriving in New York I got a small position in a Wall Street
broker's office, and learned the business. From that I went, with the
assistance of their recommendation, into a bank. While in this bank I
fell in with some young fellows from Montreal, and afterward stayed with
them in Montreal during holidays. They wanted me to come to that city,
and I liked the English way of the Canadians, so I came. On entering the
Victoria Bank I got good recommendations from the one I had left. From
Montreal I was moved to the head office, and here I am."

There was much to render Margaret thoughtful in this story that Geoffrey
told. She was pleased to find that he belonged to the English nobility,
because it seemed to assist her opinion when, with the confidence of
love, she had placed him in a nobility such as she hoped could exist
among mankind. Otherwise, the fact that there was a title in his family
meant very little to her. Her own father's family would have declined
any title in England involving change of name. What did affect her as a
thinking woman, and one given to the study of natural history, was the
awful gap on the other side of the house. Following so closely upon the
assurance that he was well born, it was a cruel wrench. His interests
were hers now, and it seemed as if they suffered jointly--she, through
him. She felt that all this bound them more together, and she did her
best to appear unconscious and gay.

He looked at her when he had finished, and, behind their smiles, each
saw that the other was trying to make the best of things--that there was
something now between them to be feared, which might rise up in the
future and give them pain.



CHAPTER XVIII.

     Those aggressive impulses inherited from the pre-social
     state--those tendencies to seek self-satisfaction regardless of
     injury to other beings, which are essential to a predatory
     life, constitute an anti-social force, tending ever to cause
     conflict and eventual separation of citizens.--Herbert Spencer,
     _Synthetic Philosophy._


Nina Lindon had by no means given up the pulse-stirring and secret
drives with Geoffrey. The only thing she had given up was saying to
herself that in the future she would not go any more. The result of this
frequent yielding to inclination was that she was miserable enough when
away from him and not particularly contented when with him. Between her
and Margaret Mackintosh a coolness had arisen. Margaret was an
unsuspicious person, but her affections had developed her womanhood, and
in some mysterious way she had divined that Nina cared to be with
Geoffrey more than she would confess. There was no jealousy on
Margaret's side. She simply dropped Nina, and perhaps would have found
it hard to say on what grounds. In such matters women take their
impressions from such small occurrences that their dislikes often seem
more like instinct even to themselves.

As for Nina, she had liked Margaret only with her better self, and now
she had become conscious of a growing feeling of constraint when in her
presence. The increasing frigidity with which the taller beauty received
her seemed to afford ground for private dislike. She was unconfessedly
trying to bring herself to hate Margaret, and was on the lookout for a
reasonable cause to do so. To undermine a detested person treacherously
would be far more comfortable than undermining a friend. The difficulty
lay in being unable to hate sufficiently for the hate to become a
support.

Later on in June a ball was given at Government House. The usual rabble
was present. Margaret did not go, as her father happened to be ill at
the time. Nina was there in full force. Geoffrey appeared late in the
evening with several others who had been dining with him at the club. As
the host he had been observing the hospitalities, and it took several
dances to bring his guests down to the comfortable assurance that they
really had their sea-legs on. They looked all right and perhaps felt
better than they looked; but during the first waltz or two there seemed
to be unexpected irregularities in the floor that had to be treated with
care.

After a few dances, which Geoffrey found kept for him as usual, Nina and
he disappeared--also as usual. Nina was not among the dissolving views
who do nothing but dissolve. She was fond of her dancing as yet, and, as
a rule, only disappeared once in the course of the evening. This sounds
virtuous, but there is perhaps more safety in a plurality of
disappearances.

The next day she telegraphed to some friends in Montreal, from whom she
had a standing invitation, that she was coming to see them. They wired
back that they would be charmed to see her. Then she telegraphed again:
"Had arranged to stop at Brockville on my return from you, but have just
heard that they go away in ten days. Would it be all the same if I went
to you about Monday week?"

The answer came from Montreal: "That will suit us very well--though we
are disappointed. Mind you come." Then Nina wrote and posted to her
Montreal girl friend a note, in which she said: "If any letters should
come for me just keep them until I arrive. I will go to Brockville now."

Jack Cresswell saw her off by the evening train, bought her ticket to
Montreal, and secured her compartment in the sleeper. Her two large
valises were carried into the compartment. She said she preferred to
have her wearing apparel with her and not bother about baggage-checks.

When everything was settled in the compartment she said in a worried
nervous way to Jack: "And I suppose you will be wanting me to write to
you?"

"When you get a chance, Nina. It is not easy, sometimes, to get away, at
a friend's house, to write letters. Don't write till you feel like doing
so and get a good chance."

This was his kind, self-controlled way of taking her vexatious remarks.
But to-day it seemed as if kindness was what she least wished to receive
from him.


"If I waited till I wished to write to you I don't think I would ever
write again."

"You don't quite mean that, Nina. You are worried and anxious to-night.
It makes you unkind and fretful."

"Well, perhaps so," said Nina. "I think I danced too much last night.
And this stupid affair of ours worries me. I want a change, and I am
going to have it. No. I shall not write for at least ten days--perhaps
two weeks, and you had better think over the advisability of getting
somebody else to wear down to a shadow with a long engagement."

The bell was ringing for departure. Jack tried to make the best of it,
and to excuse her inconsiderate remarks. "Remember," she repeated, "I
shall not write for at least ten days, and you had better not write for
a week or so either. I want a complete change."

This was so very decisive that Jack could hardly repress a sigh as he
rose and said: "Well, good-by, old lady; I hope you will have a pleasant
visit."

As he lightly kissed her cheek she stood before him as inanimate as
marble. All at once it seemed dreadful to let him believe in her so
thoroughly. A feeling of kindness toward him came over her--a moment of
remorse--remorse for everything. The train was moving off now. She
suddenly put her arms round his neck and burst into tears. Then she
pushed him away. "Run quickly now and get off. Go at once--"

"But Nina, darling what _is_ the matter?"

"Never mind--run, or you'll be killed getting off. I'm only worried.
Good-by!" And she pushed him through the door.

Nina continued her passage to Montreal as far as Prescott, where she
left the train with her luggage, and crossed the St. Lawrence to
Ogdensburg.



CHAPTER XIX.

    E'en now, through thee, my worst seems less forlorn....


When Jack, with the agility of a railroad employé, landed on his feet
all right, he stood watching the disappearing train, annoyed,
disappointed, and mystified. He usually found moderate speech sufficient
for daily use, and as he walked back slowly toward his club, all he said
was: "Well, if all women are like Nina, I don't think I altogether
understand them!"

He felt lonely already, and for diversion bethought himself of turning
and going down to the Ideal to inspect the preparations for the race to
be sailed on the following day. There he met Charley Dusenall, and as
the yacht gently rose and fell on the slight swell coming in from the
lake, these two sat watching some of the racing spars floating alongside
and rolling about in the wavelets of the evening breeze, soaking
themselves tough for the coming contest.

"What's the matter with you?" said Charley, noticing how grumpy and
silent Jack was. "The old story, I suppose. Has Her Majesty gone back on
you again?"

Jack grunted assent.

"Only _pro tem._, though?" asked Charley.

"Oh yes, only _pro tem._, of course, but still--"

"I know. Deuced unpleasant. But, after all, what does it matter about a
woman or two when you have got a boat under you that can cut the
eye-teeth out of an equinoctial and make your soul dance the Highland
fling. Bah, chuck the whole thing up. Finish your grog and we'll have
another. Vive le joy, as we say in Paris."

Jack's face grew less long. "That's all very well, but--"

"Rubbish! you want to hug your melancholy to yourself. Rats! whistle it
down the wind. D'you think I don't know? Look at me! D'you think I
haven't been through the whole gamut--from Alpha to Omaha--with all the
hemidemisemiquavers thrown in? Lord, I have quavered whole nights. And I
say that le jew ne vaut pas the candle."

"You are quite Frenchy to-night," said Jack, brightening.

"I always get more or less Parisian after eight o'clock at night. Dull
as a country squire in the morning, though. Woke up awfully English, and
moral to-day. By the way, you had better sleep on board to-night, so as
to be ready in good time to-morrow. And don't be spoiling your nerves
with the blues. I want you to tool her through to-morrow, and get over
your megrims first. Remember this, that--

    Womankind more joy discovers
    Making fools than keeping lovers."

"Perhaps you are right," smiled Jack, getting up as if to shake himself
clear of his gloom. "And yet--

    To be wroth with one we love
    Doth work like madness in the brain."

"There isn't much the matter with you," said Charley, as he saw Jack
swing over the water and make a gymnastic tour round a backstay. And
when the second gun was fired the next morning, and the Ideal was
preening her feathers as she swept through a fleet of boats, there was
nothing very sad about Jack. When the huge club topsail, sitting flat as
a board, caused her to careen gently as she zipped through the
preliminary canter, and when in the race she drew out to windward,
eating up into the wind every chance slant, Charley was watching how
Jack's finger-tips gently felt the wheel, and how his eager eye took in
everything, from the luff of the topsail to the ripples on the water or
the furthest cloud, and he whispered in his ear: "What about Her Majesty
just now, old man?"

Jack was too intent on getting up into a favoring breath of air to
answer; but he tossed his head to signify that he was all right, and
fell to marveling that he had not thought of Nina for a full hour.

In spite of the yachting, however, it was difficult to keep from being
lonely at other times, especially at the chambers, because Geoffrey was
out of town, taking his summer vacation, and Jack was forced to fly from
the desolation in the city and pass most of his nights on the Ideal.
This, with the afternoon sailing and a daily bulletin sent to Nina,
addressed to Montreal, served to help him to pass away the time until
the return of Geoffrey, who was greeted, as it were, with open arms.
Their bachelor quarters were very homelike and comfortable. The
sitting-room and library, which they shared together, always seemed a
little lonely when either of them was absent.

Hampstead was pleased to get back to his luxurious arm-chair and
magazines. Jack's unsuspicious and welcoming face gave the place all the
restfulness of home after a period of more or less watchfulness against
detection. They stretched out their legs from the arm-chairs in which
they sat, and smoked and really enjoyed themselves in the old way among
their newspapers and books. After having settled in New York, when he
first came to America, Geoffrey had employed an old friend, on whose
secrecy he could rely, to call at his father's house in Shropshire and
procure for him all his old relics and curiosities. These the friend had
sent out to him. Every one of them recalled some more or less
interesting memory, and as they hung drying in the dust that Mrs. Priest
seldom attempted to remove they were like a tabular index of Geoffrey's
wanderings, on which he could cast his eyes at night and unconsciously
drop back into the past. There were whips, Tartar bridles, Arab pipes
and muskets, and old-fashioned firearms. No less than six cricket bats
proclaimed their nationality, as an offset against the stranger
trophies. There were foils and masks, boxing-gloves, fishing-rods,
snow-shoes, old swords, and any quantity of what Mrs. Priest called
"rotten old truck, only fit for a second-'and shop." Besides all this,
there were hanging shelves, covered with cups and other prizes that
Geoffrey and Jack had won in athletic contests. Even the ceiling was
made to do duty in exhibiting some lances and a central trophy composed
of Zulu assegais and Malay arrows and such things. These, with the large
bookcases of books, and, of course, Mrs. Priest, constituted their
Penates.

Here Geoffrey ensconced himself for several evenings after his return,
immersed in his books until long after Jack had knocked out his last
pipe and turned in. His manner of taking his holidays had been an
episode which was forgotten now if anything arose to divert him,
something for him to smile at, but powerless to distract his attention
from a good article in the Nineteenth Century.

But he did not visit Margaret for three or four days after his return.
When he saw her again, all his better nature came to the fore. He
delighted again in the quiet worship he felt for her now that he could
see more clearly the beauties of temperate life. "Now," he said, as he
stretched himself in his arm-chair one night, after having visited
Margaret earlier in the evening, "now, I will soon get married. With
Margaret, goodness will not only be practicable, but, I can imagine,
even enjoyable." Then, after a while, his mind recurred to his holidays,
which seemed to have been a long time ago. He yawned over the subject,
and thought it was time to go to bed. "Heigh-ho! I have exhausted the
devil and all his works now. He has got nothing more to offer me that I
care to accept. Now I have done with risks and worries. If I can only
get my money affairs straightened out I'll get married in September.
Federal stock is bound to rise, with the new changes in the bank, and
then I'll be all right. I'll just let Lewis have my horse and trap.
He'll give me more than I paid for them. The seven hundred will wipe out
a few things, and then if I can turn myself round again, I'll get
married at once."

For several days after this he saw Margaret; and the more he saw of her
the more he really longed for the life that seemed best. He was tired of
plot and counterplot. As one whose intellect was generally a discerning
one, when not clouded by exciting vagaries, he had had, all his life,
the idea of enjoying goodness for itself--at some time or other. And
entering Margaret's presence seemed like going to a pure spring fountain
from which he came away refreshed. She had the quick brain that could
skim off the best of his thought and whip it up and present it in a
changed and perhaps more pleasing form. Even the look of her hands, the
way she held up cut flowers, and delighted in their faintest odors (to
him quite imperceptible) showed how much keener and more refined her
sensibilities were than his own and made him marvel to find that in some
respects she lived in a world wherein it was a physical impossibility
for him to enter. As the days wore on in which he daily saw her, he
found himself making little sacrifices for her sake, and even practicing
a trifle of self-denial. He did things that he knew would please her,
and afterward he felt all the healthy glow and ability for virtue which
are the essences that gracious deeds distill. "Doing these things makes
me better," he said. "This moral happiness is a thing to be worked up. I
can not cultivate goodness in the abstract. I must have something
tangible--something to understand; and if good deeds pay me back in this
sort of way I may yet become, partly through my deeds, what she would
wish me to be."

Full of all this, while ruminating late one night, he took it into his
head to put it into verse, and he rather liked the simple lines.

TO MARGARET.

I.

        My Love! I would Love's true disciple be,
          That, 'neath the king of teachers' gracious art,
        Refined sense and thought might be to me
          The stepping-stones to lead me to thy heart;
        That thine own realm of peace I too might share.
          Where Nature's smallest things show much design
        To teach kind thoughts for all that breathe; and where,
          As music's laws compel by rule divine,
        Naught but obeying good gives joy and rest;
          Where thou can'st note the immaterial scent
        Of thought and thing, which we gross men at best
          Can hardly know, with senses often lent
        To heavy joys that leave us but to long
          For that unknown which makes thyself a song.



II.

        From gracious deeds exhale the perfumes rare
          Of active rest, glad care, and hopeful trust
        The soul snuffs these, well pleased, and seems to share,
          For once, a joy in concord with the dust.
        Thus simple deeds, through Love, make known th' unknown--
          That immaterial most substantial gain
        Which makes of earth a heaven all its own.
          And claims from spirit-land no sweeter reign.
        So, while I learn in thine own atmosphere
          To live, guard thou with patience all my ways,
        For chance compels when weakness rules, and fear
          Of self brings blackest night unto my days;
        E'en now, through thee, my worst seems less forlorn,
          And darkness breaks before the blushing morn.

He wondered that the word "soul" had as yet no synonym to express what
he meant without, as he said, "borrowing the language of superstition."
For this he claimed poetical license. He was amused at the similarity of
his verse to some kind of religious prayer or praise. "Perhaps," he
said, "all loves, when sufficiently refined, have only one
language--whether the aspirations be addressed to Chemosh or Dagon or
Mary or Jahveh, or to the woman who embodies all one knows of good. But
perhaps, more likely, the song that perfect love sings in the heart has
no possible language, but is part of 'the choir invisible whose music is
the gladness of the world,' and to which we have all been trying to put
words, in religions and poems.

"In twenty thousand years from now," he said, smiling, "archæologists
will be fighting over a discussion as to whether, in these early days,
any superstition still existed. Just before they come to blows over the
matter my sonnets will be found, produced, and deciphered, and there
will be rejoicing on one side to have it proved that at a certain time
Anno Domini (an era supposed to refer to one Abraham or Buddha) man
still claimed that a local god existed called 'Margaret,' who was
evidently worshiped with fervor.

"But certainly," he added, as he read the sonnet for the third time,
"their mistake will not be such a palpable one as that about the Song of
Solomon."



CHAPTER XX.

    Never but once to meet on earth again!
    She heard me as I fled--her eager tone
    Sank on my heart, and almost wove a chain
    Around my will to link it with her own,
    So that my stern resolve was almost gone.
    "I can not reach thee! whither dost thou fly?
    My steps are faint. Come back, thou dearest one!
    Return, ah me! return!"--The wind passed by
    On which those accents died, faint, far, and lingeringly.

    SHELLEY, _The Revolt of Islam._


After a prolonged visit in Montreal, Nina had been back in Toronto for a
short time, during which she had seen no one except Jack, whose two
visits she had rendered so unpleasant that he felt inclined to do
anything from _hara-kari_ to marrying somebody else.

At this time Geoffrey received a note one morning, addressed in Nina's
handwriting. He turned pale as he tore it open:

     "DEAR MR. HAMPSTEAD: I wish to see you for a moment this
     afternoon. If not too much trouble, would you call here at five
     o'clock?

     "Yours sincerely,

     "MOSSBANK, _Tuesday._

     "NINA LINDON."

There was nothing very exciting on the face of this line, nothing to
create wrath. Yet Geoffrey tore it into shreds as if it had struck him a
blow and was dangerous.

When he was shown into the drawing-room at Mossbank that afternoon, he
was stepping forward with courteous demeanor and a faint "company smile"
on his face, ready to look placidly and innocently upon any people who
might be calling at the time. He passed noiselessly over the thick
carpets toward the place where Nina was sitting, seeing quickly that
there was nobody else in the room, but aware that the servant was
probably at the door.

"How-de-do, Miss Lindon?" he said aloud, for the benefit of the
inquisitive. "So you have come back to Toronto at last?"

"Yes," said Nina, also with an engaging smile. "And how have you been
since I saw you last?" There was a charming inflection in her "company
voice" as she said these words. Then, raising her tone a little, she
said "Howard."

The servant outside the door took several steps in a circle on the
tesselated pavement of the hall to intimate that he approached from afar
and then appeared.

"Shut the door, please, Howard," said Nina softly. The man obliterated
himself.

As soon as they were alone the heavenly sweetness of the caller and the
called upon vanished. Geoffrey's face became grave and his eyes
penetrating. He went toward her and took her hand in an effort to be
kind, while he looked at her searchingly with a pale face. Nina looked
weary and anxious. Neither of them spoke for a while. As Geoffrey
regarded her, she turned to him beseechingly with both anxiety and
affection in her expression. What he interpreted from the unhappiness of
her visage was more than sufficient to disturb his equanimity. He got up
and walked silently and quickly twice backward and forward. During this
moment his mind apparently made itself up on some point finally, for, as
he sat down as abruptly as he had risen, the tension of his face gave
place to something more like nonchalance and kindness.

"You have something to tell me?" he said, in tones that endeavored to be
kind.

Nina's face--sad, sorrowful, and tearful--bent itself low that she might
hide it from his sight. "Yes," she managed to say at last, almost
inaudibly.

Geoffrey endeavored to assist her. "Don't say any more," said he. "Bad
news, I suppose?"

"The very worst," cried Nina, starting up, her eyes dilating wildly and
despairingly with a sudden accession of fear.

"Hush, hush!" said Geoffrey, laying his hand soothingly and kindly on
her arm. "You must not give way like that. You must control yourself. We
have both of us too much at stake to tell our story to every one who
likes to listen. Come and let us sit down and talk things over
sensibly."

She gave him a quick look, half reproach, as if to say, "It is easy for
_you_ to be calm." But she sat down beside him, holding his coat-sleeve
with both hands--hardly knowing what she did.

Hampstead leaned back, crossed his long legs in front of him, and
counted the eyelet holes in his boot. Then he took her hand, in order to
appear kind and to deal with the matter in an off-hand way.

"As Thackeray says, Nina, 'truly, friend, life is strewn with
orange-peel.' Now and then we get a bad tumble; but we always get up
again. And I don't think that we ought to allow ourselves to be counted
among those weak creatures who most complain of the strength of a
temptation that takes at least a year to work up. After all, there is no
denying Rochefoucauld's wisdom when he said: 'C'est une espèce de
bonheur de connaitre jusques à quel point on doit être malheureux.' I
have been in a good many worries one way or another, and I always got
out of them. We will get out of this one all right, so cheer up and take
heart."

"I don't see how," said Nina, turning her head away and feeling a sudden
hope. What was he going to say? Then she recollected that she had
lavished a small income on a dress especially for this interview.
Perhaps if he had an idea worth the hearing the dress might help it out.
She arose, as if absently, and walked to the side window and rested her
elbows against the sash in front of her. The attitude was graceful. As
she turned half over her shoulder to look back at him she could hardly
have appeared to better advantage. Her dress was really magnificent, and
it fitted a form that was ideal. In spite of his late resolutions,
Geoffrey was affected by the cunningly devised snare. A quick thought
came through his head, which he banished about as quickly as it came.

"Well, of course, there is only one thing to be done," said he
decisively, in a tone which told her that so far she had failed.

"What is that, dear Geoffrey? Do tell me, for I am very, very
miserable. And say it kindly, Geoffrey. Don't be too hard with me now."

As she said this she swept toward him. She sank down beside him and
kissed him, and looked up into his face. Again the thought came to him.
Here were riches. Here was a woman whose beauty was talked about in
every city in Canada, who could be his pride, who cared for him
despairingly. If he wished, this mansion and wealth could be his. The
delicate perfumes about her seemed to steal into his brain and affect
his thought.

An hour ago his resolves for himself had appeared so unchangeable that
they seemed of themselves to prop him up. And now he found himself
trying, with a brain that refused to assist him, to prop up his
resolutions, trying to remember what their best merits had been. One
glimmer of an idea was left in him--a purpose to preserve his fealty to
Margaret, and he thought that, if he could only get away for a moment to
think quietly, he might remember what the best points of his resolutions
had been. The perfumes, the beauty, the wealth, the liking he felt for
her, the duty he owed to her, and perhaps her concentration upon what
she desired--all conspired against him. But, with this part of an idea
left to him, he succeeded in being able slightly to turn his head away.

When she asked him again what was to be done there was an unreal
decisiveness in his voice as he said:

"Of course, the only thing to be done is for you to immediately marry
Jack."

She sprang from him as if he had stabbed her. She was furious with
disappointment.

"I will never marry Jack! What a dishonorable thing to propose!"

The idea of dishonor to Jack seemed, for the first time, quite an
argument. When the ethics of a matter can be utilized they suddenly seem
cogent.

"Very well," said Geoffrey, shrugging his shoulders and rising as if to
go away. "My idea was 'any port in a storm'--a poor idea, perhaps, and
certainly, as you say, entirely dishonorable, but still feasible. Of
course, if you have made up your mind not to marry him, we may as well
consider the interview as ended. I'm afraid I have nothing more to
suggest."

He did not intend to go away, but he held out his hand as if about to
say good-by. She stood half turned away trying to think. The idea of his
leaving her to her trouble dazed her. She was terrified to realize that
she would be without help.

"Oh, how cruel you are!"

She almost groaned as she spoke. She was in despair. She put her hands
to her head hopelessly, her eyes dilated with trouble.

"Don't go yet, Geoffrey." Then she tried to nerve herself for what she
had to say. After a pause: "Geoffrey, I can say things to you now, that
I could never have said before. I must speak to you fully before you go.
I must leave no stone unturned. There is no one to help me, so I must
look after myself in what must be said. I went away with you, Geoffrey,
because I loved you." She bit her lips to stay her tears and stopped to
regain a desperate fortitude. "I cared for you so much that being with
you seemed right--nay more, sacred. Oh, it drags me to the dust to speak
in this way! But I must. Does not my ruin give me a right to speak? The
question of a girl's reticence must be put away. I am forced to do the
best I can for myself. And now I say, will you stand by me?" Her head
drooped and her hands hung down by her side with shame at the position
she forced herself to take when she added: "Will you do me justice,
Geoffrey? Will you marry me?"

Hampstead was about to speak, but she knew at once that she had
asked too much, and she continued more quickly and more despairingly:
"Nay, I won't ask so much. I only ask you to take me away. I am
distracted. I don't know what to do. I will do anything. I will be
your slave. You need not marry me--only take me away and hide
me--somewhere--anywhere--for God's sake, Geoffrey, from my shame--from
my disgrace."

She was on her knees before him as she said these last words. If our
pleasure-loving acquaintance could have changed places with a
galley-slave at that moment he would have done so gladly.

The first thing he did was to endeavor to quiet the wildness of her
despair. To be surprised by any person with her on her knees before him
in an agony of tears would be a circumstance difficult to explain away.

As soon as he began to talk, it seemed to him a most dastardly thing to
sacrifice Margaret's life now to conceal his own wrong-doing. In the
light of this idea, Nina's wealth and beauty suddenly became tawdry.
Margaret's nobility and happiness suddenly seemed worth dying for. They
must not be wrecked in a moment of weakness. As if dispassionately, he
laid before Nina the history of their acquaintance, and also his 'other
obligations.' Really, it placed him in a very awkward, not to say
absurd, position. He wished to do what was right, but did not see his
way at all clear. The only way was to efface himself entirely, and
consider only what was due to others. Before the world he was engaged to
Margaret, and had been so all along. She had his word that he would
marry her. If it were only "his word" that had to be broken, that might
be done. But was the happiness of Margaret's life to be cast aside?
Which, of the two, was the more innocent--which, of the two, had the
better right or duty to bear the brunt of the disaster?

The way he effaced his own personality in this discourse was almost
picturesque. Justice blindfold, with impartial scales in her hand, was
nothing to him.

Nina said no word from beginning to end. All she heard in the discourse
was something to show her more and more that what she wished must be
given up. It was something to know that at least she had tried every
means in her power to move him--feeling that she had a helpless woman's
right to do so. And as the deep, kindly tones went on they calmed her
and gradually compelled her tacitly and wearily to accept his
suggestion, while his ingenuity showed her the sinuous path that lay
before her.

At the same time, in spite of all his arguments and her own resolutions,
she could not clearly see why she should be the one to suffer instead of
Margaret. Margaret had so much more strength of character to assist her.
The ability to bear up under sorrow and trouble was a virtue she was
ready to acknowledge to be weaker in herself than in others. The
confession of this weakness, through self-pity, seemed half a virtue,
even though only made to insist upon compensations.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next day, Jack called by appointment.

"I thought I would just send for you, Jack," said Nina, looking half
angry and half smiling. "I felt as if I wanted to give trouble to
somebody, and I thought you were the most available person."

"Go ahead, then, old lady. I can stand it. There is nothing a fellow may
not become accustomed to."

Jack seated himself in one of Nina's new easy-chairs which yielded to
his weight so luxuriously that he thought he would like to get one like
it. He felt the softness of the long arms of the chair, and then,
regaining his feet, turned it round.

"That's a nice chair, Nina. How much did it put the old man back?"

Nina looked at him inquiringly.

"Cost--you know. How much did it spoil the old man?"

"How do I know? He bought it in New York with a lot of things. Do you
suppose I keep an inventory of prices to assist me in conversation?"

"I wish you did. I'd like to get one. But I don't know. When we get
married you can hand it out the back gate to me, you know, and then
we'll be one chair ahead--and a good one, too."

"I do wish you would leave off referring to getting married," said Nina.
And then, "By the way, that is what I wanted to speak to you about--"

Jack smiled. "Be careful," he said. "Don't set me a bad example by
referring to the subject yourself."

"Well, I will, for a change. I have been making up my mind
to end this way of dragging on existence. This sort of
neither-one-thing-nor-the-other has got to end. It wearies me. I am not
half as strong as I was. I went away to pick up, and now I am no
better."

"And how do you propose to end it?" Jack was surprised at the decision
in her voice.

"I propose to break it off all together," said she firmly.

"Of course," said Jack, "there is no other alternative for you but
marriage."

Nina was startled at first by these words. But he had only spoken them
casually.

"Certainly. A break off or marriage are the only alternatives. Going on
like this is what I will not stand any longer."

Jack was shaking in his shoes for fear this was the last of him. He
controlled his anxiety, though, and shutting his eyes, he leaned back,
supinely, as if he knew that what he said did not matter much. She would
do as she liked--no question about that!

"I have, I think, at some previous time," said he, from the recesses of
the chair where he was calmly judicial with his eyes shut, "advocated
the desirability of marriage. I think I have mentioned the subject
before. Of course, this is only an opinion, and not entitled, perhaps,
to a great deal of weight."

Nina for the first time in her life was annoyed that Jack was not
sufficiently ardent. The unfortunate young man had had cold water thrown
over him too many times. He was getting wise. To-day he was keeping out
of range. Nina had been decidedly eccentric lately and might give him
his _congé_ at any moment. She was evidently in a queer mood still, and,
to-day, Jack would give her no chance to gird at him.

This well-trained care on his part bid fair to make things awkward. She
saw that it had become necessary to draw him out, and with this object
in view she asked carelessly, as if she had been absent-minded and had
not heard him:

"What did you say then, Jack?"

"I was merely hinting, delicately, as an outsider might, that, of the
two important alternatives, marriage seems to offer you a greater scope
for breaking up the _ennui_ of a single life that a mere change from one
form of single life to another."

Jack did not see the bait she was holding out. He would not rise to it.
Really, it was maddening to have to lead _Jack_ on. He had been "trained
down too fine."

"Well, for my part," she said laughingly, with her cheek laid against
the soft plush of the sofa, "I don't seem to care now which of the
alternatives is adopted."

Jack remained quiet when he heard this. Then he said coolly: "If I were
not a wise man, that speech of yours would unduly excite me. But you
said you wanted some one to annoy, and I won't give you a chance. If I
took the advantage of the possibilities in your words we would certainly
have a row. No, old lady, you are setting a trap for me, in order that
you may scold afterward. You like having a row with me, but you can't
have one to-day. 'Burnt child'--you know."

What could be more provoking than this. Nina, in spite of her troubles,
saw the absurdity of her position, and laughed into the plush. But her
patience was at an end. She sat upright again and said vehemently:

"Jack Cresswell, you are a born fool!"

He looked up himself, then, from the chair. There was an expression in
Nina's face that he had not seen for a long time--a consenting and kind
look in her eyes. He got up, slowly, without any haste, still doubtful
of the situation; and as he came toward her his breath grew shorter. "I
believe I am a fool, but I could not believe what I wished. Is it true,
Nina, that you will take me at last?"

"Listen! Come and sit down, boy, and behave yourself."

Jack obeyed mechanically.

She turned around to face him, while she commanded his obedience and
gave her directions with finger upraised, as if she were teaching a dog
to sit up.

"To-morrow you will call upon my father at his office and ask his
consent to our immediate marriage."

"Tell me to do something hard, Nina. I feel rather cooped up, just now.
I could spring over that chandelier. I don't mind tackling the old
man--that's nothing. Haven't you got some lions' dens that want looking
after?"

"You'll feel tired enough when you come out of father's den, I'll
warrant."

"I dare say. What if he refuses?"

"Jack," said Nina, "I am an heiress. I dictate to every man but my
father. I have always had my own way, and always mean to have it. So,
beware! But I don't care, now, whether he refuses or not. I have come to
the conclusion that it was this long engagement that worried me, and I
am going to end it in short order. I am getting as thin as a scarecrow.
My bones are coming through my dress." Nina felt the top of one superbly
rounded arm and declared she could feel her collar-bone coming through
in that improbable place. "No, I don't care whether he refuses or not. I
am going to marry you, Jack, before the end of the week."

Next day Jack found himself not quite so brave as he thought he would be
on entering Mr. Joseph Lindon's office. He was ushered into a rather
shabby little room, which the millionaire thought was quite good enough
for him. He took a pride in its shabbiness. Joseph Lindon, he said, did
not have to impress people with brass and Brussels. There was more solid
monetary credit in his threadbare carpet than in all the plate glass and
gilt of any other establishment in the city.

Cresswell paused on the threshold as he entered, and then, feeling glad
that nobody else was in the room, advanced toward Mr. Lindon. Lindon saw
him out of the corner of his eye as he came in, and a saturnine smile
relaxed his face while he completed a sentence in a letter which he was
writing.

"Good morning, Jack," he said briskly. "Come at last, have you?"

This was rather disconcerting, but Jack replied: "Yes, and you evidently
know why." He said this cheerfully and with considerable spirit, but Mr.
Lindon's next remark was a little chilling.

"Just so. I was afraid you would come some day. Let us cut it short, my
boy. I have a board meeting in ten minutes."

"Well, you know all I've got to say. Now, what do you say?"

This was a happy abruptness on Jack's part, and Lindon rather liked him
for it. It seemed business like. It seemed as if Jack thought too highly
of Mr. Lindon's sagacity to indulge in any persuasion or argument. He
lay back in his chair with an amused look.

"Why dammit, boy, she's not in love with you."

Jack shrugged his shoulders and smiled--as if that was point on which
modesty compelled him to be silent But his individuality asserted
itself.

"Is that all the objection?"

Evidently, abruptness and speaking to the point were preferred in this
office, and Jack was prepared to give the millionaire all the abruptness
he wanted.

"No," said Lindon. "Of course, that is not all. But I know, as a matter
of fact, that my daughter does not care a pin about you. Don't think I
have been making money all my life. I can tell when a woman is in love
as well as any man. I have watched Nina myself when you were with her,
and I tell you she does not care half enough for you to marry you."

"She says she does," said Jack, determined not to be browbeaten by this
man's force.

"I don't believe a word of it, if she does say so. I was afraid, at one
time, that she was going to make a goose of herself with you, and I
waltzed her off to the Continent. But after she came back I thoroughly
satisfied myself that she was in no danger, or else, my boy, you would
not have had the run of my house as you have had. Under the
circumstances, Jack, I was always glad to see you, since we came back
last, and hope to see you always, just the same. Quite apart, however,
from anything she may say or consent to, I have other plans for my
daughter. I have no son to carry on the name, but my daughter's marriage
will be a grand one. With her beauty and my money, she will make the
biggest match of the day. I did not start with much of a family myself,
but I can control family. When Nina marries, sir, she marries blood;
nothing less than a dook, sir,--nothing less than a dook will satisfy
me. And I'll have a dook, sir; mark my words!"

When his ambition was aroused, Mr. Lindon sometimes reverted to the more
marked vulgarity of forty years ago.

Jack arose. The interview was ended as far as he was concerned.

Lindon felt kindly toward him. He was one of the few young men who were
not overawed by his money and obsequious on account of his wine.

"Well, good-by," he said. "Don't let this make any interruption in your
visits to Mossbank. You'll always find a good glass of wine ready for
you with Joseph Lindon. I rather like you, Jack, and if you ever want
any backing, just let me know. But, my boy"--here Lindon regarded him as
kindly as his keen, business-loving face would allow, and he laid his
hand on his arm--"my lad, you must be careful. Remember what an old man
says--you're too honest to get along all through life without getting
put upon. You must try to see into things a little more. Just try and be
a little more suspicious. If you don't, somebody will 'go for you,' sure
as a gun."

Jack saw that this was intended kindly, and he took it quietly,
wondering if Joseph Lindon, while looking so uncommonly sober, could
have been indulging in a morning glass of wine. He went out, and Mr.
Lindon watched his free, manly bearing as he passed to the front door.

"If I had a son like that," he said warmly, "Nina could marry whom she
liked. That boy would be family enough for me. He would have enough of
the gentleman about him both for himself and his old father. Lord, if I
had a son like that I'd make a prince of him! I'd just give him blank
checks signed with my name. Darned if I wouldn't!"

To give a son unfilled signed checks seemed to be a culmination of
parental foolishness which would show his fondness more than anything
else he could do. Perhaps he was right.



CHAPTER XXI.

     Life is so complicated a game that the devices of skill are
     liable to be defeated at every turn by air-blown chances
     incalculable as the descent of thistledown.--GEORGE ELIOT'S
     _Romola_.


During Jack's visit to her father's office, Nina passed the time in
desultory shopping until she met him on King Street.

"I need not ask what your success was," said she, smiling, as she joined
him. "Your face shows that clearly enough."

"Nothing less than a dook," groaned Jack, good-humoredly. "He seems to
think they can be had at auction sales in England."

"I am glad he refused," said Nina, "because his consent would delay my
whims. We have done our duty in asking him, and now I am going to marry
you to-morrow, Jack."'

"To-morrow?"

"Yes, I am afraid, dear Jack, that if I allowed the marriage to be put
off till next week or longer you might change your mind." She gave Jack
a look that disturbed thought. Affection toward him on her part was
something so new that this, together with her startling announcement,
made it difficult for him accurately to distinguish his head from his
heels.

"But I can not leave the bank at a moment's notice."

"No; but you can get your holidays a week sooner. You were going to take
them in a week."

"Had we not better wait, then, for the week to expire?"

"Fiddlesticks! Don't you see that I want to give you a chance? What I am
_really_ afraid of is that I shall change my own mind. Father said only
yesterday he was thinking of taking me to England at once. If you don't
want to take your chances you can take your consequences instead."

It did not seem anything new or strange to Jack that she should give a
little stamp of her foot imperiously, and in all the willfulness of a
spoiled child determine suddenly upon carrying out a whim in spite of
any objections. And Jack needed no great force of argument to push him
on in this matter. His head was throbbing with excitement. To think of
the bank was habitual to him; but the wildness of the new move commended
itself to his young blood. The holidays were a mere matter of
arrangement, for the most part, between the clerks, and he thought he
saw his way to arranging for a fortnight's absence. "I'll make it all
right," he said, thinking aloud. "I will arrange it with Sappy."

Whether "Sappy" was the bank manager or a fellow-clerk did not at the
moment interest Nina.

"Why, Nina, I didn't know you were a person to go in for anything half
so wild. It suits me. It will be the spree of my life! But how have you
arranged everything? or have you arranged anything?"

"Oh, there is nothing very much to arrange. I know you can not leave the
bank finally without giving due notice. So we will just go off now and
get married, and when you come back, after a week or so, you can give
the usual notice and then we will go to California. If your brother
there wants you to go into the grape-farming he must know well enough
that you have better chances there than here in the bank, and if, after
all, the business there did not get on well, I dare say father will have
changed his mind by that time."

"And how will you account for your absence from home?"

"Nothing simpler," said she, with a sagacious toss of her head. "I am
just telegraphing to Sophronia B. Hopkins at Lockport, New York. You
remember Sophronia B., when she was with us? I have telegraphed that I
am coming to see her. She will answer to say 'Come along'; and then I
will put her off for a couple of weeks and tell her to keep any letters
forwarded for me from here until I come."

Jack was astonished. "I thought your head was only valuable as an
ornament," said he, with affectionate rudeness.

"I have never, with you, had occasion to use it before. To-morrow, at
half-past seven in the morning, you will take the train for Hamilton. I
will take the 9.30 and we will go through to Buffalo together, where we
will arrive about two o'clock, and then we can be married there and go
West. But we need not arrange anything more now. You will be at the
Campbells' to-night, and anything further can be spoken about there. Go
off now to the bank and get everything ready. And, by the way,
Jack"--here she held out her hand as if for good-by--while she asked,
with what seemed to Jack an almost unimaginable coquetry and beauty,
"you won't change your mind, dear Jack?" She gave him one glance from
under her sweeping eyelashes, and then she left him to grope his way to
the bank.

She thought, as she walked along, "I think I have read somewhere that
'whom the gods wish to take they first drive mad,' or something like
that. It is just as well, as Geoffrey suggested, to keep Jack slightly
insane to-day. It will prevent him from thinking my proposal strange.
Poor Jack! To-day he would give me his right arm as a present. How
shabbily I have treated him, and how well he has always behaved!"

About eleven on the following forenoon, Jack was waiting in the
dining-room of the Hamilton railway station, looking out through the
window to see Nina's train come in. He thought it better to escape
observation in this way. Nor did Nina indulge in looking out the window
of the Pullman. Everything had been fully arranged, and as the bridge
train moved out of the station, Jack left his obscure post of
observation and hastily passed through the crowd on the station and got
on board the "smoker" in front. When clear of Hamilton he made his way
back through the cars to the drawing-room car, where he found Nina, who
was beginning to look a little anxious for his arrival.

The train took nearly two hours to trundle along to the bridge. For a
time they talked together, but Nina was feeling the reaction of the
excitement of getting away. She had had a good deal to do, and she did
not feel that going away with Jack would prevent her from enjoying a
fairly comfortable nap in the large swinging arm-chairs. She soon dozed
off, and Jack, who was pleased to see her rest, walked to the end of the
car and back again to calm his nerves. This sort of thing was new to
him. He had a novel with him, but he could not read it. His "only books
were woman's looks" to-day. Other people's adventures seemed poor to him
just now, in comparison with his own.

While thus moving about restlessly he became a little interested in an
elderly gentleman, evidently a clergyman, who was sitting unobtrusively
behind a copy of the Detroit Church Herald. He passed this retiring
person several times, in loitering about, and then, seeing him with his
paper laid down beside him, stopped and said cheerfully:

"Got the car all to ourselves to-day."

"Yes," said the grave-looking person, with an American accent. "And
pleasant, too, on a warm day like this. It's worth the extra quarter to
get out from among the crying babies and orange-peel and come in here
and travel comfortably. Going far?"

"Only as far as Buffalo," said Jack, taking a seat beside him, for want
of anything better to do.

"That is where I reside."

"Ah, indeed!" said Jack. "You make Buffalo the scene of your official
duties?"

The other nodded. "I have been for a visit to Detroit, and now I am
going back to relieve my superior in the church, so that he may take a
holiday also. I think we clergy need a holiday as much as any other
people I ever saw. Do you know Buffalo at all?"

"Never was there in my life," said Jack.

"Humph! Well, it ain't a bad place, Buffalo, when you know the people
well. I have only been there five years, but I have found in our
congregation some real nice folks. Of course, mine is the Episcopal
Church, and I have generally found the Episcopalians, in my sojournings
in different places, to be the superior people of the locality."

From the compliment to the Episcopalians it was evident that the
clergyman had no doubt Jack belonged to that aristocratically inclined
sect, and Jack smiled at his friend's shrewdness, forgetting the fact
that "Church of England--mild, acquiescent, and gentlemanly"--was
written all over him, and that the cut of his clothes, the shape of his
whisker, the turn of his head when listening, and even the solidity of
his utility-first boots made it almost impossible for any person to
suppose he belonged to any other denomination.

"I have heard," Jack said, "that the Buffalo people, many of them, have
lots of money, and that they give freely to the churches. I suppose
money is an element in a congregation which gentlemen of your calling do
not object to?"

It seemed to Jack that the long gray eyes of the minister smiled at this
point more because he thought he was expected to smile than from any
sense of mirth. He was a grave man, who, behind a dignified reserve,
seemed capable of taking in a great deal at a glance.

"No one can deny the power of money," he said. "But, though there is a
good deal of it in St. James's Church, what with a paid choir, and the
church debt, and repairs, and the new organ, and the paying of my
superior in office, I can tell you there is not very much left for the
person who plays second fiddle, as one may say."

"Ah!" said Jack sympathetically.

"When a man has a wife and a growing family to support and bring up in a
large city, and prices away up, twelve hundred dollars a year don't go a
very great ways, young man, and if it were not for our perquisites some
of us would find it difficult to make both ends of the string meet
around the parcel we have got to carry."

Jack was becoming slightly interested in this man and was wondering what
his previous history was. He wondered that his new acquaintance had not
made more money than he seemed to possess. There was something behind
his grave immobility of countenance that suggested ability of some sort,
he did not know what. His slightly varying expressions of countenance
did not always seem to appear spontaneously, but to be placed there by a
directing intelligence that first considered what expression would be
the right one. It seemed like a peculiar mannerism which might in
another man be the result of a slightly sluggish brain.

They conversed with each other all the way to the bridge, and although
the dignified reserve of the clergyman never quite thawed out, Jack
began to rather like him and be interested in his large fund of
information about the United States and anecdotes of frontier life in
California, where as a youth he had had a varied experience.

Their baggage was examined by the customs officer on the American side
of the bridge, and the clergyman noticed a monogram in silver on Nina's
shopping-bag, "N. L.," and the initials "J. C." on Jack's valises, and
came to the conclusion from Jack's studied attentions to Nina when she
awoke that, if the young couple were not married yet, it was quite time
they were; and no doubt it entered the clerical mind that there might be
a marriage fee for himself to come out of the little acquaintance. In
view of this he renewed the conversation himself after the car went on
by the New York Central toward Buffalo. Jack introduced the Rev. Matthew
Simpson to Nina, and he made the short run to Buffalo still shorter with
amusing stories of clerical life, ending up with one about his own
marriage, which was not the less interesting on account of its being a
runaway match and the fact that he had never regretted it. Jack felt
that behind this elderly man's dignity there was a heart that understood
the world and knew what young people were. So he told a short story on
his account, which did not seem to surprise the reverend gentleman a
great deal, and it was arranged that he should perform the ceremony for
them at the hotel. On arriving in Buffalo they left their luggage at the
station, intending to go on to Cleveland at four o'clock. On the way up
Main Street, Mr. Simpson pointed out St. James's Church--a large
edifice, partly covered with ivy--and also showed the parsonage where he
lived. He urged them to wait and be married in the church, but Nina
shunned the publicity of it and pleaded their want of time.

Jack and Nina had some dinner at the Genesee House, while Mr. Simpson
got the marriage license ready. As luck would have it, Mr. Simpson
himself issued marriage licenses, which, as he explained, also assisted
him to eke out his small income; and as soon as they had had a hurried
lunch, they all retired to a private parlor and the marriage ceremony
was performed very quietly.

Two waiters were called in as witnesses, and it was arranged that on
their return to Buffalo in a few days, they could call at the parsonage
and then sign the church register, for which there was now no time
before the four o'clock train left for Cleveland. The license was
produced, filled out, and signed in due form, and on the large red seal
were stamped the words, "Matthew Simpson, Issuer of Marriage Licenses."
The presence of the stamp showed that he was a duly authorized person,
and satisfied Jack that in employing a chance acquaintance he was not
making any mistake.

They were glad when the ceremony was finished, and Jack was very
pleasant with Mr. Simpson. They all got into the cab again, and rattled
off toward the station. As they came near the parsonage of St. James's
Church, Mr. Simpson said he thought he would go as far as the suburbs
with them in their train to see how some people in the hospital were
getting on. He said he would get down, now, at the parsonage, because he
wished to take something with him to one of the patients, but that they
must not risk losing the train.

"I will take another cab and meet you at the train. It is not a matter
of much moment if I fail to catch it; but, Mr. Cresswell, if you get a
bottle of wine into the car (perhaps you will have time to get it at the
station), I will be pleased to drink Mrs. Cresswell's health."

"That's a capital idea," said Jack with spirit. "The wine will be
doubtful, perhaps, but that won't be my fault. And now," he added, as
the carriage stopped at the parsonage, "I want to leave with you your
fee, Mr. Simpson, and I hope you will not consider that it cancels our
indebtedness to you." Jack pulled out a roll of bills.

"Never mind, my dear young man," said Mr. Simpson heartily, "any time
will do. I will catch you at the station, and, if I don't, you can leave
it with me when you return here to sign the register."

Mr. Simpson got out, and Jack, finding he had only two five dollar
bills, the rest being all in fifties, was rather in a dilemma how to pay
Mr. Simpson twenty dollars for his fee.

"Here;" he said hurriedly, handing out a fifty, "you get this changed,
if you have time, on your way down. You may possibly miss us at the
station, and I can not hear of your waiting until we return."

"Very well," said Mr. Simpson, speaking as fast as his tongue would let
him, "I will have to take my chance, and, if I can not catch you, just
call in for the balance when you return. Don't lose a moment!" With a
wave of his hand and a direction to the driver, Mr. Simpson went
hurriedly up the parsonage steps, and the cab dashed off toward the
Michigan Southern depot.

Jack had time to purchase the wine, which ought to have been good,
judging from the price. Unfortunately, Mr. Simpson was too late to join
them. The train went off without him, and Jack and Nina drank his jolly
good health in half the bottle, and afterward the Pullman conductor
struggled successfully with the rest.

Altogether they were in high spirits, Jack especially, and Nina's
thankfulness for being safely married to one of the best of men made her
very amiable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. and Mrs. John Cresswell approached Buffalo again, from the West, at
the close of Jack's two weeks' holidays. They decided that it would be
better for Nina to go straight to Lockport on the train which connected
with the one on which they were traveling. There was nothing for Nina to
do in Buffalo but sign the register and get her marriage "lines" from
Mr. Simpson, and Jack could do this, they thought, without a delay on
her part to do so. To arrange about the register she had written her
name on a narrow slip of paper which Jack could paste in the book at the
parsonage. This they considered would suffice, and Nina went on to pay
her intended visit to Sophronia B. Hopkins. The run to Lockport occupied
only a short time, and then she went to her friend's house.

In the mean time Jack, who was not like the husband in Punch in that
stage of the honeymoon when the presence of a friend "or even an enemy"
would be a grateful change of companionship, walked up Main Street
smoking a cigar and trying to make the best of his sudden bereavement.
He said after the first ten minutes that he was infernally lonely, but
still the flavor of the cigar was from fair to middling. And, after all,
tobacco and quiet contemplation _have_ a place in life which can not be
altogether neglected, and they come in well again after a while, no
matter what may have caused their temporary banishment.

He strolled leisurely up to the parsonage and inquired for Mr. Simpson.
The maid-servant said he did not live there. Jack thought this was
strange.

"I mean the clergyman who has charge of the church alongside."

"Oh, yes, Mr. Toxham lives here. He is inside. Will you walk in?"

Jack was ushered into a clergyman's library, where a thin man with a
worn face was sitting. Jack bowed, introduced himself, and said he had
come here to see Mr. Matthew Simpson, "one of the associate clergymen in
St. James's Church close by."

"I do not think I know anybody by the name of Simpson," said the
clergyman. "My name is Toxham. I have no associate clergyman with me in
the neighboring church. My church is called St. Luke's, not St. James's.
I don't think there is any St. James's Church in Buffalo." Jack grasped
the back of the chair and unconsciously sat down to steady himself. A
horrible fear overwhelmed him. His face grew ashen in hue, and the
clergyman jumped up in a fright, thinking something was going to happen.

"It's all right," said Jack weakly. "Sit down, please. You have given me
a shock, and I feel as I never felt before. There, I am better now."

As he wiped away the cold perspiration that had started out in beads on
his forehead he related the facts as to his marriage to Mr. Toxham, who
was greatly shocked.

An idea occurred to him, and on looking through the city directory, as a
sort of last chance, he found the name "Matthew Simpson, issuer of
marriage licenses."

Jack started up, filled with wild and sudden hope. He got the address,
and dashed from the house before Mr. Toxham could give him a word of
advice. Arrived at the office of Matthew Simpson, he walked in and asked
for that gentleman.

"I am Matthew Simpson," said the man he spoke to.

Jack looked at him as if he had seven heads, feeling the same trembling
in the knees which he had felt when with Mr. Toxham. "Really," he
thought, "if this goes on I'll be a driveling idiot by nightfall."

"Did you issue a marriage license on, let me see, two weeks ago
to-morrow--on the 23d?"

"More than likely I did. Perhaps a good many on that day. You don't look
as if you wanted one yourself. Anything gone wrong? But you can have one
if you like. I do the biggest business in Buffalo. I sell more marriage
licenses than any two men between here and--"

"Turn up your books," interrupted Jack savagely. He was beginning to
wish to kill somebody.

"I always make a charge for a search," said the man cunningly, which was
not true.

"Well, damn it, I can pay you. Look lively now, or the police will do it
for me in five minutes, and put you where your frauds will be of no use
to you."

It was Mr. Simpson's turn to lose color now. He was one of the trustees
of a public institution in Buffalo, and people should be careful how
they talk too suddenly about police to trustees. The books were
produced, and Jack hurriedly looked over the list of the licenses sold
on the 23d of the last month, and was surprised to find that one had
been sold to himself. His age was entered and sworn to as fifty-five
years, and the license was to marry Nina Lindon, spinster, aged twenty
years. The addresses given were all Buffalo.

"There has been a great fraud done here," said Jack vehemently.

"All perfectly regular, my dear sir," said Mr. Simpson. "I remember the
circumstance well. Old party, called John Cresswell, came in, dressed
like a preacher, and wanted a license for himself. 'All right, my old
covey,' says I to myself; 'trust an old stager like you to pick up the
youngest and best.' So I perdooced the papers, which took about five
minutes to fill up. He took the oath, I sealed and stamped the license,
like this one here, and as soon as he got it he took out his purse and
there was nothing in it. His face fell about a quarter of a yard. 'My
goodness,' he says. 'I have come out without any money!' He then laid
down the license and rushed to the door, and then turned round and says,
quite distressed: 'I'll take a cab,' says he, 'and drive home and get
your money. They're all waiting at the church for the marriage to take
place, but, of course, you must be paid first.'"

"Well, I hated to see an old gent put about so, and his speaking about
'taking a cab' and coming from 'home' in such a natural, put-about sort
of way kinder made me think he was solid, and, like a dum fool, I slings
him the license and tells him to call in after the ceremony. He thanked
me, with what I should call Christian gratitude in his face. Yes, sir,
it was Christian gratitude, there, every time. And--would you believe
it?--the old boozer never showed up since!"

"Ha!" said Jack, who only heard the main facts of what Simpson was
saying. "Did you never see this old man before?" he added.

"Well, that is a funny thing about it. It seemed to me I knew the face.
That was one thing that made me trust him. I could not swear to it, but
I have a great mind for faces, and I believe I have, at some time or
other, sold the old coon a license before."

Jack thought this would account for the old man, while on the train,
giving the name Matthew Simpson, when he had the whole scheme quickly
arranged in his head. Still, it might be that he was in fact some
profligate, ruined clergyman, who played these confidence games to make
a livelihood. The license was issued in his and Nina's names, and,
although incorrect on its face and not paid for, might still, he
thought, be a legal license for him to claim a _bona-fide_ marriage
under. If the license was good enough, the next thing to do was to go
to the police office and find out what he could there. "The marriage
might be a good one still."

He threw down the price of the license for Mr. Simpson, and asked him to
be good enough to keep the papers in his possession carefully, as they
might be required afterward. He left Mr. Simpson rather mystified as to
the interest he took in the matter, and then, having still two hours
before train-time, he repaired to the police headquarters. There he
related in effect what had taken place to Superintendent Fox. Two or
three quiet-looking men were lounging about, seeming to take but little
interest in Jack's story. Detectives are not easily disturbed by that
which excites the victim who tells his unfortunate experience. These
fellows were smoking cigars, and they occasionally exchanged a low
sentence with each other in which Jack thought he heard the word
"Faro-Joseph." What that meant he did not know; but he described the
gentleman of dignified aspect, whom he had known on the train as Rev.
Matthew Simpson, and then he heard one of them mutter "Faro-Joseph"
again, while they nodded significantly.

One of the men, who had his boots on a desk in front of him, was
consulting his note-book. He then said:

"On the 23d of last month Faro-Joseph got off the train at the Central
Depot at two o'clock. On the 26th he left on the Michigan Southern at 10
P. M."

It dawned upon Jack that his clerical friend was called "Faro-Joseph" in
police circles.

"Why did you not warn me when you saw me in company with this man. He
got off the train with me at the the time you say. Surely I should have
had some word from you!"

"Well, gent, I tell you why. I was just about to arrest another man, and
in the crowd I did not see that you were with him. Don't remember ever
seeing you before. I might pass you twenty times and never know I had
seen you. You're not the kind we reaches out for. Now, I dare say,
unless a woman is of a fine figure--tall, possibly, or the kind of
figure you admire--chances are you don't see her at all. That is, you
could not tell afterward whether you had seen her or not. Same thing
here. You're not the kind we hunt."

Jack turned to the superintendent and asked him whether this man,
Faro-Joseph, was not really at one time a clergyman. The superintendent
smiled pityingly.

"Why, he only started the sky-pilot game during the last ten years, and
only takes it up occasionally. Though I believe it's his best holt. As a
Gospel-sharp he'll beat anybody out of their socks. He's immense on that
lay. What I call just perfect. He's all on the confidence ticket now and
the pasteboards. Has quite given up the heavy business. Why, sir, you
would forgive him most anything if you could see him handle card-board.
We pulled him for a 'vag.' one night about four months ago; and, just to
find out how he did things, I played a little game with him after we let
him go on promise to quit. We put the stakes about as low as they could
be put--five-cent ante, and twenty-five cent limit--just for the
experiment. Now, sir, you would be surprised. He cheated me from the
word 'go,' and I don't know yet how it was done. If he dealt the cards
he would get an all-fired hand himself, and if I dealt him nothing he'd
bluff me right up the chimney. For poker he has no match, I believe. All
I know about that game is that I lost three dollars in thirty minutes."

"Perhaps you have his record written down somewhere?" said Jack, feeling
sick at heart, and yet fascinated by the account of Faro-Joseph.

"Perhaps we have," said the superintendent, smiling toward one of the
loungers near by. "Just come in this way."

The superintendent opened a large case like a wardrobe, and began
flapping back a large number of thin flat wings that all worked on
separate hinges. These wings were covered with photographs of
criminals--a terrible collection of faces--and from one of them he took
a very fair likeness of our clerical friend in another dress. Pasted at
the back of the photograph was a folded paper containing a list in fine
writing of his known convictions and suspected offenses for a period of
over forty years. He had been burglar, counterfeiter, and forger, which
the superintendent called the 'heavy business' that he had given up.
Since those earlier days he had been train-gambler, confidence-man, and
sneak-thief.

There was nothing to be done. Faro-Joseph never had been a clergyman. To
put the law in force was out of the question for several reasons. Jack
got away to catch his train for Toronto and to think and think what it
would be best to do about Nina, and where and how they could get married
properly.



CHAPTER XXII.

                                      Spread no wings
    For sunward flight, thou soul with unplumed vans!
    Sweet is the lower air and safe, and known
    The homely levels.
    Dear is the love, I know, of wife and child;
    Pleasant the friends and pastimes of your years.
    Live--ye who must--such lives as live on these;
    Make golden stairways of your weakness; rise
    By daily sojourn with those fantasies
    To lovelier verities.

    (_Buddha's Sermon--The Light of Asia._)--ARNOLD.


Jack made another mistake in coming on to Toronto after finding out the
disastrous failure of his supposed marriage. If he had gone to Lockport
and found Nina at her friend's house, perhaps some arrangement could
have been made for their marriage in Buffalo on the following day. Mr.
Toxham, the clergyman on whom Jack called at the parsonage, had tried to
get his ear for advice on this subject. But, as mentioned before, when
Jack read the address of Matthew Simpson he immediately bolted out,
without waiting to listen to the suggestions which the clergyman tried
to make. If this idea occurred to Jack, there were reasons why he did
not act upon it. He was due at the bank the next morning, and regularity
at the bank was a cast-iron creed with him--the result of continually
subordinating his own wishes to that which the institution expected of
him. The clerk who was doing his work there would be leaving for his own
holidays on the following day, and Jack felt the pressure his duty
brought upon him. Again, how would it be possible, after finding where
Nina was staying in Lockport, to call at the house and take her away
from her friends almost before she had fairly arrived? Geoffrey would
have got over this difficulty. But he had the inventive mind which goes
on inventing in the presence of shock and surprise. Jack was not like
him on land. He had this ability only on a yacht during a sudden call
for alert intelligence. His nerve had not been educated to steadiness by
escapades on land, nor had he had experience in any trouble that
required much insight into consequences. The discovery that the woman
for whom he existed was not his wife seemed to prostrate and confuse
thought. He felt the need of counsel, and was afraid to trust his own
decision. If he could only get home and tell Geoffrey the whole
difficulty, he felt that matters could be mended.

He arrived in Toronto about ten o'clock at night feeling ill and faint,
having eaten nothing since a light breakfast thirteen hours before. He
dropped in at the club and took a sandwich and some spirits to make him
sleep. Then he went to his lodgings (Geoffrey was out somewhere), rolled
into bed, and slept the clock round till eight the next morning.

As he gradually awoke, thoroughly refreshed, there was a time during
which, although he seemed to himself to be awake, he had forgotten about
his supposed marriage. He was single John Cresswell again, with nothing
on his mind except to be at the bank "on time." So his troubles
presented themselves gently; first as only a sort of dream that he had
once been married to the love of his life--to Nina. When he fully awoke
he began to realize everything; but not as he realized it the night
before. Then, the case seemed almost hopeless. Now, his invigorated self
promised success in some way. He was glad he had not met Geoffrey the
night before. The morning confidence in himself made Geoffrey seem
unnecessary. Rubbing his sleepy eyes, he walked through the museum of a
sitting-room and into Hampstead's bedroom, where he fell upon that
sleeping gentleman and rudely shook him into consciousness.

"Hello, Jack! Got back?" growled Geoffrey as he awoke.

"Yes. You had better get up if you want to attend the bank to-day."

"All right," said Geoffrey, sitting up. "What sort of a time did you
have? Old people well?"

Jack was supposed to have been in Halifax, where his parents lived with
the other old English families there.

"Yes, I had a pretty good time," said Jack. "The old people are fine!"
he added, freshly. "How are things in the bank?"

Geoffrey then retired to his bath-room, and an intermittent conversation
about the bank and other matters went on for a few minutes during the
pauses created by cold water and splashing.

It was a relief to Jack that neither at breakfast nor afterward did
Geoffrey ask any more questions about his fortnight's holiday. Hampstead
knew better.

During the next six weeks Geoffrey was decidedly unsettled. "Federal"
went up as a matter of course, and he sold out with advantage. He
cleared five thousand dollars on this transaction, and had now a capital
of fifteen thousand dollars. He was rather lucky in his venture into the
stock market. His experience on Wall Street had given him a keen insight
into such matters, and he studied probabilities until his chances of
failure were reduced, keeping up a correspondence by telegraph and
letter with his old Wall Street employers who, in a friendly way, shared
with him some of their best knowledge.

Immediately after he had sold out "Federal" an American railway magnate
died. This man almost owned an American railway which was operating and
leasing a Canadian railway. No sooner was the death known than the stock
of the Canadian Railway took a tumble. For a moment public confidence in
it seemed to be lost. Now Geoffrey had studied chances as to this line.
He knew that it was one of the few Canadian railways that under fair
management was able to pay a periodical dividend--a small one at times,
perhaps, but always something. It did not go on for years without paying
a cent like some of the others. He had waited for this millionaire to
die in order to buy the largely depreciated stock. When the opportunity
arrived he bought on margin a very large quantity of it at a low figure.
But the trouble was that the public did not agree with him and the few
cool heads who tried to keep quiet, hold on, and wait till things
reinstated themselves. An ordinary man's chances in the stock market do
not depend upon his own sagacity more than does guessing at next week's
weather. Fortunes are lost, like lives, not from the threatened danger
but from panic. Bad rumors about the railway were afloat and the stock
continued to go down. Geoffrey hastily sold out his other stocks for
what he could get, and stuffed everything available into the widening
gap through which forces seemed to be entering to overwhelm him.

In the meantime while Nina was at Lockport, Jack had gone on quietly
with his work in the Victoria Bank. He had not given notice of his
intentions to leave that institution, because, after his return, he had
thought he would like to take more money than he had already saved to
California with him. His brother had written previously to say that he
ought to bring with him at least three thousand dollars, to put into the
business of grape-farming, and Jack thought if he could only hold on at
the bank, where he was fairly well paid, he might in a few months
complete the sum required. Already he had put away over twenty-five
hundred dollars, and it would not take long to save the balance.

Nina came back from Lockport blaming herself for her former unreasoning
infatuation for Geoffrey. Hers was a nature that had of necessity to
lavish its affection on something or somebody. If she could have given
this affection, or part of it, to her own mother it would have been a
valuable outlet in these later years. The confidences that ought to have
existed between them would then have been the first links to be sundered
when she sought Hampstead's society.

Unluckily Mrs. Lindon was not in every way perfect. While she had
continued to be "not weary in well doing," as she called it, her
daughter had been gradually commencing to consider how her duties and
social law might be evaded. While Mrs. Lindon visited the Haven and
listened to the stories of the women there which were always so
interesting to her, and while she expended her time in ways that her
gossip-loving nature sought, her daughter had been left the most
defenseless person imaginable.

The fact to be remarked was, that the same impulses which had led Nina
into wrong-doing previously were now becoming her greatest power for
good. For those who claim to distinguish the promptings that come from
Satan from those that come from Heaven, there is in nature a good deal
of irony. Nature is wonderfully kind to the pagan, considering his
disadvantages. When self has been abandoned for an inspiring object
there is no reason to think that the self-surrendered devoted Buddhist,
or the self-offered victim to Moloch, experiences, any less than the
Salvation Army captain, that deep, heart-felt, soul-set, almost ecstatic
gladness--that sensation of consecration and confidence--that internal
song which the New Testament so beautifully puts words to. It is a great
thing for a woman to be allowed to lavish her affection in a way
permitted by society, for few have enough strength of character to hold
up their heads when society frowns.

Nina was just such a woman as many whom her mother liked to converse
with at the Haven. They were poor and she was rich and well educated,
but she was neither better nor worse than the majority of them.
Nevertheless, from a social point of view, she was on the right track
now, apparently. From a social point of view, Mrs. John Cresswell with
society at her feet would not be at all the same person as Nina Lindon
disgraced. True, it would require subtlety and deception before she
could feel that she had re-established herself safely, but, as Hampstead
quoted, "some sorts of dirt serve to clarify," and to her it seemed the
only way feasible. She did not like painstaking subtlety any more than
other people. It gave her intense unrest. She looked gladly forward to
the time when she would leave Toronto with Jack for California, said she
longed with her whole heart for the necessity of deception to be over
and done with. She did not know--Jack had not told her--that their
supposed marriage was void, and she was following out the train of
thought that leads toward ultimate good. She was saddened and subdued,
wept bitter tears of contrition for her faults, and prayed with an
agonized mind for forgiveness and strength to carry her through what lay
before her.

The change in her was due to improved conditions under which her nature
became able to advance by woman's ordinary channels toward woman's
possible perfection. A great after-life might be opening before her.
Some time, probably, her father's wealth would be hers. After long years
of chastening remembrances of trouble, after years of the outflow toward
good of a heart that refused to be checked in its love, and would be
able from personal experience to understand, and thus lift up lovingly,
wounded souls, and with many of the perfections of a ripened womanhood,
we can imagine Nina as admirable among women, a power for good,
controlling through the heart rather than the intellect, as generous as
the sun.

But where will these beautiful possibilities be if her sin is found out?

Since her return Jack had not told Nina the terrible news which awaited
her. The secret on his mind made him uneasy in her presence. When he had
called once or twice in the afternoon he was very silent and even
depressed, but she considered that he had a good deal to think about,
and it was also a relief to her not to be expected to appear brilliantly
happy. What he thought was that after he had earned the rest of the
money he required they could get married at the first American town they
came to on their way to California. He could not bring himself to tell
her the truth, which would make her wretched in the mean time, and he
did not see why the real marriage should not be deferred until it was
more convenient for him to leave Canada. When Nina had spoken about
going away, he had evaded the topic, and she did not wish to press the
point. He explained his long periods of absence during this time by
several excuses. His secret weighed so heavily upon him that he dreaded
lest in a weak moment he might tell her. It was significant of the
change in Nina toward him that, during the time he was there, nothing
would induce her to sacrifice the restful moments to anybody. She would
sit beside him, talking quietly and restfully, holding his hand in hers,
or with her head upon his shoulder. Once, when he was leaving, all the
hope she now felt welled up within her as she said good-by. All that was
good and kind seemed to her to be personified in Jack, and it smote him
when she put her arms round his neck and, with a quiet yearning toward
good in her face, said:

"Good-by, Jack, dear husband!"

Jack's great heart was rent with pity and affection as he saw through
the gathering mists that calm, wondrous yearning look in her face that
afterward haunted him. He did not understand fully from what depths of
black anguish that look came, straining toward the light. But he knew
that he was not her husband, and he could see that when she called him
by this name she was uttering a word which to her was hallowed.

Another week now slipped by, and Geoffrey could not understand why Jack
had not gone to California. He called on Nina to ascertain how matters
stood. She received him standing in the middle of the room. To-day
Geoffrey closed the door behind him. It was the last time he ever
intended to be in this house, and so he did not care much what the
inquisitive door-opener might think.

There was no mark of special recognition on either side. He walked
quickly toward her, seeing, at one quick glance, that he was not
regarded as a friend.

"Why have you and Jack not gone yet to California?" he said, without
prelude.

"I don't know," she answered coldly, still standing and eyeing him with
aversion, as he also stood before her. "Has not Jack given any notice of
his intention to leave the bank?"

"I have not heard of any. You ought to know that better than I," said
Geoffrey. "By the way," he added, "you might as well sit down, Nina.
There is no use that I see in playing the tragedy queen." His voice
hardened her aversion to him.

"No," she said, her voice deep and full with resentment. "If I am always
allowed to choose, I will never sit down in your presence again. You
have come here to look after your own interests, and I have got to
listen to you, to learn from your lips your devil's cunning. You are
forced to tell me the proper plans, and I am forced to listen and act
upon them. Now go on and say what you have to say."

Hampstead nodded, and said simply: "Perhaps you are right. I don't know
that it is worth your while to take so much trouble, but I respect the
feeling which prompts it."

Nina looked angry.

"Don't think I say this unkindly. You, or rather your conditions, have
changed, and I merely wish to acknowledge the improvement. We will speak
very simply to each other to-day. Now, about California; it appears to
me that Jack does not intend to go there for a good while if allowed to
do as he likes. You must go at once. He very likely is wishing to make
more money before he leaves, but this won't do. He must go at once."

"I think," said Nina, "that there need be no further reason for your
seeing me again after this interview. You have always, lately, been
Jack's confidant. Send him to me this evening, and I will tell him to
consult with you. After that, you can arrange with him everything
necessary about our departure. He will need advice, perhaps, in many
ways, and then he can (here Nina's lip curled) benefit by your wisdom."

"I would not sneer too much at the wisdom if I were you. My devil's
cunning, as you are pleased to call it, has put you on the right track,
whatever its faults may be. It has stood us both in good stead this
time, and, if I did force you to marry Jack, you should not blame me for
that now, and I do not think you do."

He turned to move toward the door. He did not consider that he had any
right to say good-by, or anything else beyond what was absolutely
necessary. But his reference to Jack, in a way that seemed to speak of
his worth, aroused Nina; and this, together with the thought that she
would never again see this man who had treated her whole existence as a
plaything, induced her to speak again to him.

"Stop," she said. "I do indeed owe you something. You forced me to marry
Jack, out of your own selfishness, of course, but still I must thank you
for it. To my last hour I will thank you for that. Yes, I will even
thank you for more--for the careful way you have shown me my way from
out of my troubles. I think I am nearly done with anguish now. A little
more will come, no doubt, and after that, please God, whatever troubles
I endure will not be shameful. And now something tells me, Geoffrey,
that I shall never see you again. I can not let you go without saying
that I forgive you all. Some time, perhaps, you will be glad I said so.
You have been by turns cunning, selfish, wise, and loving to me. You
have also seemed--I don't know that you _were_, but you have
_seemed_--cruel to me; but I do not think, now that I look back upon
everything more calmly, that you have been unjust. No; a woman should
bear her part of the consequences of her own deeds. I am glad that
Margaret's happiness is still possible and that I did not drag anybody
down with me. The more I think of everything the less I blame you. You
will think I am getting wise to look at it in this way, but I never
could look at it like this until now."

Nina was speaking in a way that surprised Geoffrey. Sorrow had altered
her; dangers and changes were encompassing her. Though all love for him
was dead, the man whom she had once worshiped stood before her for the
last time. He, who had caused her more happiness and distress than any
other person ever could again, stood in silence taking his leave of
her--forever. Urged by hope, besieged by doubts and dangers, driven by
necessities, her mind had acquired an abnormal activity, and she seemed
all at once to be able to realize what it was to part from him for all
eternity and to become conscious while she stood there of a power to
rise in intelligence above everything surrounding her--above all the
clogging conditions of our existence--and to judge calmly, even
pityingly, of both herself and Geoffrey and of all the agonies and joys
that now seemed to have been so small and unnecessary. As she spoke the
whole of her life seemed spread out before her. She recollected, or
seemed to recollect, all the events of her life, and she remained a
moment gazing before her in a way that made her look almost unreal.

"I can see," she said slowly, in a calm, distinct voice, "everything
that has happened in my life; but all the rest is all a blank to me."

Geoffrey noticed that, with her clearness of vision into the past, she
evidently expected also to see something of the future and was startled
and surprised at seeing nothing. She continued looking before her, as if
unconscious of his presence, until she turned to him shuddering.

"Good-by, Geoffrey. I feel that something is going to happen in some
way, either to you or to me; I don't know how. I see things to-day
strangely, and there are other things I want to see and can not."

She looked at him with a look such as he had never seen in any one.

"You will never see me again, Geoffrey. I am certain of that. I pray
that God may be as good to you as I have been."

Geoffrey grew pale. Something convinced him that she spoke the truth and
that he never would see her again. There was something in her appearance
and in her words that made him shudder. A rarefied beauty had spread
over her; she seemed to be merely an intelligence, speaking from the
purity of some other realm. It seemed as if it were no human prompting
that urged her to the utterance of forebodings, and that her last words
were as sweet as they were terrible.

He tried to look at her kindly, to cheer her, but he saw that, for the
moment, the emotions of our ordinary life were totally apart from her
and that he had become nothing to her but a combination of
recollections.

He raised her hand to his lips, took a long look at her, and went his
way, leaving her standing in the middle of the room calmly watching his
retreat.

As Hampstead went back to the club he felt unstrung. He went in and
drank several glasses of brandy to brace himself. He had been drinking a
great deal during this excitement over his investments. At ordinary
times he did not care enough about liquor to try to make a pastime of
drinking. Now, there was a fever in his blood that seemed to demand a
still greater fever. He did not get drunk, because his individuality
seemed to assert itself over and above all he consumed. To-day, to add
to the depression he felt about his prospects (for ruin was staring him
in the face), the strange words of Nina--full of presentiment--her
uncanny, prophetess-like eyes, and the conviction that he had seen her
for the last time--all weighed upon him. Her last words to him haunted
him, and he drank heavily all the evening.

He told Jack he had called to see Nina in the afternoon, and that she
had expressed a wish to see him in the evening.

About eight o'clock Jack made his appearance at Mossbank. Mrs. Lindon
had dragged her unwilling husband off to a dinner somewhere, so that the
young people were not in anticipation of interruption.

Nina had got over the strange phase into which she had passed while
saying good-by to Geoffrey during the afternoon, and was doing her best
to appear natural and pleasant. After some conversation, she inquired
whether he had given the bank notice of his intention to leave. When he
said he had not, she let him know that she must leave Toronto at once,
and the first thing he did was to ejaculate: "O my God, and we not
married!"

Nina caught the words, and sprang toward him from the chair in which she
had been sitting.

They were a pitiable pair; with faces like ashes, confronting each
other.

"What did you say then, Jack? Tell me all--tell me quick, or you will
kill me!"

"Yes, it's true," groaned Jack. "I found out when I went back to Buffalo
that Simpson was only a blackleg criminal and no clergyman. We are no
more married than we ever were."

As Jack said this he had his head down; it was bowed with the misery he
felt. He dreaded to look at Nina. If he had looked, he would have seen
her lips grow almost blue and her eyes lose their sight. The next
moment, before he could catch her, she sank on the floor in shapeless,
inert confusion.

Jack did not wish to call for help. He seized a large ornamental fan of
peacock's feathers and fanned her vigorously.

She soon came to. But still lay for some time before she had strength to
rise. At last he assisted her to a sofa, where she reclined wearily
until able to go on with the conversation.

"Jack," she said, after a while, "if I don't get away from here in three
days I will go mad. Think, now! I can not help you much in the
arrangements to get away. You must arrange everything yourself. Just let
me know when to go, and I will look after myself and will meet you
somewhere--anywhere you propose. But I can not--I don't feel able to
assist you more than that. Stop! an idea strikes me! You can not arrange
everything yourself. There are always things that are apt to be
forgotten. You must get somebody to help you think out things. When we
go away I feel that it will be forever--at least, I felt so this
afternoon. You will have to arrange everything, so that there need be no
correspondence with Toronto any more."

"Yes," said Jack, "I think your advice is good. I have always relied on
Hampstead. If you did not mind my telling him the whole story, Nina, I
think his assistance would be invaluable."

"There is nothing that I dread his knowing," said Nina, as she buried
her face in the cushions. "He is a man of the world, and will know I am
innocent about our intended marriage. I thoroughly believe in his
power, not only to help you to arrange everything, but also to take the
secret with him to his grave."

"I am glad to hear you say so," said Jack. "I have always thought dear
old Geoffrey, in spite of a good many things I would like to see
changed, to be the finest all-round man I ever knew."

"Yes. Now go, Jack! I am too ill to talk a moment more. Simply tell me
when and how I am to go and I will go. As for arranging anything more,
my mind refuses to do it. Give me your arm to the foot of the stairs!
So. Good-night!"



CHAPTER XXIII.

    Mad, call I it; for to define true madness.
    What is't, but to be nothing else but mad?
    But let that go.

    _Hamlet._


After leaving Nina, Jack went to the club, where he found Geoffrey
playing pool with half a dozen others, whose demeanor well indicated the
number of times the lamp had been rubbed for the genius with the tray to
appear. Geoffrey seemed to be in good-humor, but he gave Jack the idea
of playing against time. He strode around the table rapidly as he took
his shots, as if not caring whether he won or lost. The only effect the
liquor seemed to have upon him was to make him grow fierce. Every
movement of his long frame was made with a quick nervous energy,
inspiriting enough to watch, but giving an impression of complete
unrest. He was playing to stave off waking nightmares. Thoughts of his
probable ruin on the following day came to him from time to time--like a
vision of a death's head. The others with him noticed nothing different
in him, but Jack, who was quietly smoking on one of the high seats near
by, saw that he was in a more reckless mood than he had ever seen him
before. He could not help smiling as his friend strode around the table
in his shirt-sleeves, playing with a force that was almost ferocity and
a haste apparently reckless but deadly in the precision that sense of
power, skill, and alcohol gave him. After a while, in a pause, he spoke
to Geoffrey, who at once divined that more trouble of some kind awaited
him.

When they arrived at their chambers, Jack told him briefly of the
journey with Nina for the purpose of getting married in Buffalo, and of
what Nina had just said.

Geoffrey nodded; he was waiting for the something new that would affect
himself--the something he was not prepared for.

"Is that all?" he asked sharply.

"No. That is not all," answered Jack gloomily.

"Go on, then."

"I don't feel as if I could go on," said Jack, not noticing the rough
tone in which he was commanded to proceed. "But I suppose I must. The
fact is, Geoffrey, I found out afterward that I was not married at all
to her, and I never let her know until to-night."

"Is she dead, then?"

Geoffrey looked at him with his brow lowered, his eyes glittering. He
felt like striking Jack.

"Gracious heavens, no! Why should she die?" cried Jack, startled from
his gloom.

"It's enough to kill her," said Geoffrey. His contempt for Jack assisted
the rage he felt against him. He had been drinking steadily all day, and
now could hardly restrain the violent fury that seethed in him. "Go on,
you infernal ass! Dribble it out. Go on."

"I see you feel for her, Geoffrey. I _am_ the biggest fool that ever was
allowed to live."

Then, with his face averted, he told Geoffrey the whole story of the
mistake in Buffalo. His listener watched him, with lips muttering, while
sometimes his teeth seemed to be bared and gleaming.

In this story, Geoffrey at first seemed to see a new danger to himself
and his future prospects. Then it occurred to him that the new
information did not much affect his own position. Two things seemed
certain. One was, that Joseph Lindon would spare no expense to find out
where Jack and Nina had gone and to be fully informed of everything that
happened. Secondly, that Nina could never be able to show any legal
marriage prior to the one now intended. This meant that Nina and Jack
could not return to Toronto. A vague idea went through Geoffrey's head
at this time.

When Jack had finished his story Geoffrey was calm in appearance. But
his eyes were half closed, which gave him a cunning look.

Then he talked with Jack, so as to impress upon his mind the fact that
it would be impossible for them ever to visit Canada again.

"Yes," said Jack. "Unless you come out to visit us you will never see us
again. I could never make it right with the Toronto people. I will never
again be able to return to Toronto; that's clear."

When he proposed to make arrangements as to the best ways and means of
leaving Toronto, Geoffrey said he must have time to think over
everything. It was late. It would be better to sleep, if possible, and
arrange things further to-morrow. They parted for the night, having
settled that Jack was to draw out his money at once.

On the next morning Geoffrey ascertained that he was ruined. The stock
that he held in the Canadian railway had gone down beyond redemption as
far as he was concerned. He had mortgaged everything he possessed,
raised money on indorsed notes, raised it in every shape and way within
his means, but he had been unable to tide over the depression. A further
call had been made for margins, and he had not another cent to fill the
gap and all his stock passed to other hands. He drank steadily all day
and even carried a flask with him into the office, which he soon
emptied. Hampstead was not by any means the same man now that he was
three weeks previously. He looked sufficiently like his right self to
escape a betrayal, but the liquor and the thought of his losses raged
within him, and all the time an idea was insinuating itself into his
frenzied brain. He had gone so far as carefully to consider many schemes
to avert his ruin which he would not have countenanced before. His
weakened judgment now placed Jack before him as one who conspired
against his peace. He cunningly concealed it, but to him the mere sight
of Jack was like a red flag to a bull. Just when all his plans were
demolished, all his hopes gone, his entire ruin an accomplished fact,
this fool came in to add fuel to the fire that burned him. In this way
he regarded his old friend.

While in this state and while at his work in the bank the next morning
he said to Jack, who occupied the next stall to him, that he had hit
upon the best way for him and Nina to depart. It would be better for
Jack to go away without giving any notice to the bank. The notice would
be of no use if he did so, because, if he must go away the next morning,
the notice would only raise inquiry. He told Jack to slip out and go
down to the docks and find if there would be any sailing vessels leaving
for American ports the next day. Jack could depart on a schooner; Nina
could make some excuse at home and follow him by steamer.

Jack liked this proposal. He would have one more sail on old Ontario
before he left it forever. He skipped out of the side door, and soon
found a vessel at Yonge Street wharf that would finish taking in its
cargo of fire-bricks and start for Oswego at noon the following day. He
tried to arrange with the mate to go as a passenger, but the captain was
going to take his wife with him on this trip, so Jack, if he wanted to
go, would be obliged to sleep in the forecastle. He did not mind this
much, and engaged to go "before the mast."

In the afternoon he told Nina about his intentions, and explained that
she could take the steamer to Oswego on the day after he left, so that
she would probably arrive there about the same time. He had drawn all
his money out of the bank and was now ready to go. Nina said she could
arrange about her own departure, and after they had made a few other
plans as to her course in case she got to Oswego first, Jack kissed her
and tried to cheer her from the depression in which she had sunk, and
then he departed.

All that day Geoffrey grew more moody and further from his right self.
To drown the recollections of his ruin and his other worries, he went on
drinking steadily. The thought came to him again and again that his
marriage with Margaret was now almost impossible. He knew that, as a
married man, he could never live on his bank salary alone, and the
capital to speculate with was entirely gone. What made him still more
frenzied was the fact that he knew that this stock he had bought was
bound to re-establish itself in a very short time. But, for the moment,
every person else had gone mad. He alone was sane. Public lunacy about
this stock had robbed him of his fifteen thousand dollars. He drank
still harder when he thought this, and although he did not get drunk,
he got what can be described vaguely as "queer," and the next stage of
his queerness was that he became convinced that the public had in a
manner robbed him, and that society owed him something. When a man's
brain is in this state, he is in a dangerous condition.

Jack wished heartily that they should dine together, as this was his
last evening in Toronto, but Geoffrey avoided doing so. He hated the
sight of Jack, but he carefully concealed the aversion which he felt. He
made an excuse and absented himself until nine or ten o'clock, and
during this time he wandered about the city and continued drinking. He
had not seen Margaret for over two weeks. Everything had been going
wrong with him. Besides his own losses, he would be heavily in debt to
the men who had "backed" his paper and who would have to pay for him.

Jack found him in their chambers when he returned for his last night at
the old rooms, and there they sat and talked things over. Geoffrey tried
to brace himself up for the conversation with a bottle of brandy which
he had just uncorked, but it was quite impossible for him to pretend to
be as cheerful as he wished.

Jack thought he was depressed, and said:

"I am sorry to see you in such bad spirits to-night, Geoffrey."

"Well, it's a bad business," said Hampstead, sententiously, looking
moodily at the floor. As this might mean anything, Jack thought that
Geoffrey was taking his departure to heart. He had every right to think
that Hampstead would miss him.

It was now getting late, and Jack arose and laid his hand on Geoffrey's
shoulder: "Don't be cut up, old man," he said; "I have been a fool, but
I am glad that I know it and am able to make things as right as they can
be made. I know you feel for Nina and me, but you will get some other
fellow to room with you and--"

During the conversation Hampstead had drunk a good deal of the brandy.
The kind words that Jack was speaking filled him with a fury which
lunatic cunning could scarcely conceal. The idea in his mind had been
settling itself into a resolve, and at this moment it did finally settle
itself. He shook Jack's hand off his shoulder as he arose, glared at him
for an instant, and then turned off to his bedroom. "Good night," he
said over his shoulder. "It's late. I'm off." Then he entered his
bedroom, shut the door, and bolted it.

As he went, Jack looked at his retreating form with tears standing in
his eyes.

"I never," he said, "saw Geoffrey show any emotion before. I never felt
quite sure whether he cared much about me until now. And now I know that
he does. I hate to see him so cut up about it; but it is comforting to
think, on going away, that he really liked me all this time."

Jack was a clean-souled fellow. He was one of those who, no matter how
uproarious or slangy they are, always give the idea that they are
gentlemen. With this nature a certain softness of heart must go. He
stood watching the door through which Geoffrey had passed, and he
thought drearily that never again would they have such good times
together, and that most likely they would never meet again. He thought
of Geoffrey's winning ways, of his prowess, of his strength, his
stature, his handsome face, and his devil-may-care manner. He thought of
their companionship, the incidents, and even dangers they had had
together. He thought of the way Geoffrey had done his work that night on
the yacht when returning from Charlotte. He stood thinking of all these
things with an aching heart. As he turned away sadly, his heart full of
grief at parting, he burst out with "Darned if I don't love that man,"
and he closed his door quickly, as if to shut out the world from
witnessing a weakness.

On the inner side of Geoffrey's bedroom door there was something else
going on, which represented a very different train of thought.

Geoffrey, after bolting his door, went to his dressing-case and took
from it a pair of scissors and a threaded needle. Then he took an old
waistcoat and cut the lining out of it. Then he took a second old
waistcoat and sewed the pieces of lining against the inside of it, and
also ran stitches down the middle of each piece after it was sewed on.
Thus he had a waistcoat with four long pockets on the inside--two on
each side of it, all open at the top.

When this was done he rolled into bed, where Nature hastened to restore
herself.

Before breakfast in the morning, Jack hailed a cab and took his two
valises to the Yacht Club beside the water's edge, and left them in his
locked cupboard there. He only intended to take this amount of luggage
with him. The rest of his things could come on when Geoffrey packed up
and forwarded his share of their joint museum and library. Geoffrey did
not turn up at breakfast. He breakfasted on a cup of strong coffee and
brandy at a restaurant, and went to the bank early.

Mr. St. George Le Mesurier Hector Northcote, commonly called "Sappy" in
the bank, was a younger son of a long-drawn-out race. He had been sent
out to make his fortune in the colonies, and he had progressed so far
toward affluence that, in eight years of "beastly servitude, you know,"
he had attained the proud position of discount clerk at the Victoria
Bank, and it did not seem probable that his abilities would be ever
recognized to any further extent. The great scope of his intelligence
was shown in the variety of wearing apparel he was able to choose, all
by himself, and he was the showman, the dude, the _incroyable_ of the
Victoria Bank. When he met a man for the first time he weighed him
according to the merits of the garments he wore. He met Geoffrey as he
came into the bank this morning.

"My deah fellah," he said, "where did you get that dreadful waistcoat?"

"None of your business, Sappy. You used to wear one yourself when they
were in fashion. I remember your rushing off to get one from the same
piece when you first saw this one."

Mr. St. George Le Mesurier Hector Northcote had a weak child's voice,
which he cultivated because it separated him from the common herd--most
effectually. It made all ordinary people wish to kick him every time he
opened his mouth. He liked to be thought to have ideas about art, and he
talked sweetly about the furniture of "ma mothah" (my mother.)

Geoffrey walked past this specimen with but little ceremony. The brandy
and coffee and another brandy without coffee had succeeded in putting
him into just the same state in which he had gone to bed on the previous
night. He could talk to any person and could do his work, but fumes of
alcohol and abandonment of recklessness had for a time driven out all
the morality he ever possessed; and where some ideas of justice had
generally reigned there flourished, in the fumes of the liquor which he
had drunk, noxious weedy outgrowths of a debased intelligence unchecked
by the self-respect of civilization. To-day, he was, to himself, the
victim of a public that had robbed him. Society owed him a debt.

They all went to work in the usual way. About a quarter-past eleven
o'clock Jack put his head to Geoffrey's wicket and they whispered
together:

Jack said, "Time for me to be off?"

"Yes, just leave everything as if you were coming back. If you put away
anything, or close the ledger, they may ask where you are before you get
fairly off. By the way, how are you carrying your money?"

"By Jove! I forgot that," said Jack, "or I might have made the package
smaller by exchanging for larger bills. It makes a terrible 'wollage' in
my pocket."

Geoffrey stepped back a moment and picked two American bills for
one-thousand dollars each from a package of fifty of them lying beside
him.

"Here," he said. "Take these two and pin them in the watch-pocket of
your waistcoat. Don't give me back your money here. Just run up to our
chambers and leave your two thousand under my bed-clothes. I don't want
any one to see you paying me the money here, or they will think I
connived at your going. I can get it during the afternoon and make my
cash all right."

Jack did not quite see the necessity of this, but he had not time to
think it out, and even if he had, he would have done what Geoffrey told
him.

"All right," he said, "thank you. That will make two 'one-thousands' and
seven 'one hundreds,' and the rest small, for immediate use."

"Very well. Go into the passage, now, and wait at the side door. I will
come out and say good-by to you."

Jack took his hat and sauntered out into the passage.

In a minute Geoffrey, with his hands in his pockets, strolled to the
side door.

"Good-by, Jack," he said hastily. "When your schooner sails past the
foot of Bay Street here, just get up on the counter and wave your
handkerchief so that I may see the last of you."

"All right, dear old man. I'll not forget to take my last look at the
old Vic, and to do as you say. I must run now, and leave the two
thousand in your bed, and then get on board. Good-by. God bless you!"

Geoffrey sauntered back to his stall and took a drain at a flask of
brandy to keep off the chill he felt for a moment, and to brace himself
up generally.

Jack hurried off to the chambers, counted out the two thousand dollars
which he had wished to get rid of, and after taking a last look at the
old rooms, he hurried to the Yacht Club. Here he put the valises into
his own skiff after changing his good clothes for the old sailing
clothes already described. Then, under an old soft-felt hat with holes
in the top, he rowed down to the schooner, threw his valises on board,
and climbed over the side. He let his skiff go adrift. He had no further
use for it. There were some stone-hookers at the neighboring dock. He
called to the men on one of them and said, "There's a boat for you!"
Then he dropped down the forecastle ladder with his luggage.

His arrival on board was none too early, for the covers were off the
sails and the tug was coming alongside to drag the vessel away from the
wharf, and start her on her way with the east wind blowing to take her
out of the bay. The tug was towing her toward the west channel as they
passed the different streets in front of the city. At Bay Street, Jack
left off helping to make canvas for a minute, and, running to the
counter, sprang up on the bulwarks and waved his handkerchief to
somebody who, he knew, was watching through the windows of the Victoria
Bank.

There was nothing to detain the schooner now. The wind was from the
east, and consequently dead ahead for the trip, but it was a good fresh
working breeze, and Geoffrey, when he saw how things looked on the
schooner, knew that it had fairly started on its passage to Oswego.

He glanced around him to make assurance doubly sure, and then he divided
the pile of forty-eight (formerly fifty) one-thousand-dollar bills into
four thin packages. These he slipped hurriedly into the four long
pockets which he had made in the waistcoat the previous night. He then
buttoned up the waistcoat, and from the even distribution of the bills
upon his person it was impossible to see any indication of their
presence.

When this was done and he had surveyed himself carefully, he took
another pull at the flask on general principles and proceeded to take
further steps. He might as well have left the liquor alone, because his
nerve, once he commenced operations, was like iron.

He banged about some drawers, as if he were looking for something, and
then called out:

"Jack?"

No answer.

"Jack?"

Still no answer.

The ledger-keeper from A to M, who occupied the stall beyond Jack's,
then growled out:

"What's the matter with you?"

"Where's Jack?"

"I don't know. He asked me to look after his ledger for a moment, and
then went out. He has been out for over an hour, and if the beggar
thinks I'm going to be skipping round to look up his confounded ledger
all day he's mistaken. I'll give him a piece of my mind when he comes
in."

"A to M" went on growling and sputtering, like a leaky shower-bath.

"That's all very well," said Geoffrey; "but you fellows are playing a
trick on me, and I don't scare worth a cent."

Everybody could hear this conversation. Geoffrey then stepped on a stool
and leaned over the partition, smiling, and seized the hard-working
receiving-teller by the hair.

"Come, you beggar, I tell you I don't scare. Just hand over the money.
Really, it's a very poor kind of a joke."

"What's a poor kind of a joke? Seizing me by the hair?"

Geoffrey looked at him smilingly, as if he did not believe him and still
thought there had been a plan to abstract the money and frighten him.

"Well, I don't care much personally; but that packet of fifty thousand
is gone, and if any fellow is playing the fool he had better bring it
back."

Several of the clerks now came round to his wicket. This sort of talk
sounds very unpleasant in a bank.

"Where did you leave the bills?" they asked.

"Right here," said Geoffrey, laying his hand on a little desk close
beside the wicket, opening into the box in which Jack had worked.

"Well, you had better report the thing at once," said several, who were
looking on with long faces.

"I shall, right straight," said Geoffrey energetically. His face bore an
admirable expression of consternation, checked by the _sang froid_ of an
innocent bank-clerk. He strode off into the manager's room.

"Excuse me for interrupting you, sir. I thought it was a hoax at first,
but it looks very much as if fifty thousand dollars had been taken from
my box."

"What, stolen!"

"Looks like it--very. If you would kindly step this way, sir, I will
explain what I know about it."

Geoffrey then showed the manager where the bills had been laid, and did
not profess to be able to tell anything more.

"Mr. Northcote, ring up the chief of police, and tell me when he is
there," said the manager. "Where is Mr. Cresswell?"

No answer.

"Does anybody know where Mr. Cresswell is?"

Ledger-keeper from A to M then said that Mr. Cresswell went out over an
hour ago, and had asked him to look after his ledger for five minutes.
Mr. Cresswell had not returned.

The manager walked into Jack's box and looked around him. Everything was
lying about as if he had just stopped working, and this, to the
manager's mind, seemed to give the thing a black look. It seemed as if
Jack, if he had made off with the money, had left things in this way as
a blind.

The telephone was ready now, and the manager requested the chief of
police to send a couple of his best detectives at once. Only one was
available at first. This man, Detective Dearborn, appeared in five
minutes, and was made acquainted with all the known circumstances. When
this was done, fully two hours had elapsed since Jack's departure, and
still he had not turned up.

Detective Dearborn was a man with large, usually mild, brown eyes. There
was nothing in the upper part of his face to be remarked except general
immobility of countenance. The lower part of his face, however, was
suggestive. His lower jaw protruded beyond the upper. Whether this means
anything in the human being may be doubted, but one involuntarily got
the idea that if this man once "took hold," nothing short of red-hot
irons would burn him off.

He took a careful, mild survey of the premises, listened to everything
that was said, remarked that the package could not have been taken from
the public passageway if left in the place indicated, looked over Jack's
abandoned stall, asked a few questions from the manager, and, like a
sensible man, came to the conclusion that Jack had taken the money.

He walked into the manager's room and asked him several questions about
Jack's habits and his usual pursuits. Geoffrey was called in to assist
at this. Yes, he could take the detective to Jack's room. Jack had no
habits that cost much money. "Had he been speculating at all?" Geoffrey
thought not, although some time ago Mr. Cresswell had said that he was
"in a little spec.," and hoped to make something. Did not know what the
"spec." was.

"May I ask," said Dearborn, "when you last spoke to Mr. Cresswell?"

"We spoke to each other for a minute just before he went out. He asked
me if I was going to the Dusenalls' 'shine' to-night. I said I was. Then
he spoke about several young ladies of our acquaintance, and other
things which had no reference to this matter."

"Was the lost money in the place you say at that time?"

"Yes. I remember having my hand on the packet while I spoke to him."

"May I ask if you at any time during the morning left your stall?"

"Yes, I did, once. I went out as far as the side door for an instant
shortly after Mr. Cresswell went out."

"What for?"

"Well," said Geoffrey, smiling, "I was thinking of boating this
afternoon, and I wanted to see how the sky promised for the afternoon."

The mild eyes looked at Geoffrey with uncomfortable mildness at this
answer. It might be all right, but Dearborn thought that this was the
first suspicious sound which he had heard.

"My young gentleman, I'll keep my eye on you," he thought. "That reply
did not sound quite right, and you seem a trifle too unconcerned."

Another detective arrived now, and he was detailed to inform the others
and to watch the railway stations and steamboats. Immediately afterward,
descriptions of Jack flew all over Canada to the many different points
of exit from the country. Had he tried to leave Canada by sail or
steamboat he would have been arrested to a certainty. Geoffrey laughed
in his sleeve as he thought of the way he had sent Jack off in a
schooner--a way that few people would dream of taking, and yet, perhaps,
the safest way of all, as schooners could not, in the ordinary course of
things, be watched by the detectives. But if the news got beyond police
circles that Jack had absconded with money, or if it should be
discovered in any way that he had gone on the schooner to Oswego--if
this were published--Joseph Lindon might become alarmed, and prevent his
daughter from going to Oswego also. Even the news of Jack's departure
for parts unknown might make him suspicious. With this in view he
immediately said to the manager and the detective:

"I would like to make a suggestion, if there be no objection."

"Certainly, Mr. Hampstead. We will be glad to listen to what you have to
say."

"Of course, I can not think that Mr. Cresswell took the money," said
Geoffrey. "But I think if complete secrecy were ordered, both in the
bank and elsewhere, while every endeavor was being made at discovery,
the detectives would have a better chance of success, on whatever theory
they may work. Possibly the money may be recovered before many hours are
over, and in that case the bank might wish to hush the matter up
quietly. Prematurely advertising a thing like this often does harm; and
there can be no question about the interests of the bank in the matter."

"I will act upon that suggestion at once," said the manager. "In the
mean time, you will go, please, with the detective and admit him to Mr.
Cresswell's rooms, and see what is to be seen there. I will give the
strictest orders that nothing of this is to be told outside by the
officials or police."

Orders were delivered to all the detectives to give no items to
newspaper reporters, and the chance of Nina's getting away on the
following morning seemed secured. Geoffrey laughed to himself as he
thought he had crushed the last adder that could appear to strike him.

He let Mr. Dearborn into Jack's room. Everything was in confusion.
Bureau drawers were lying open, and Jack's valises were gone. Dearborn
saw at a glance that Cresswell had fled, and he lost no time, but turned
on his heel immediately, thanked Hampstead, and rattled down-stairs.
Geoffrey first ascertained that he was really gone, and then went back,
took out the two thousand dollars that Jack had put under his
bed-clothes, and, hastily taking the forty-eight stolen bills from the
interior of his waistcoat, he stuffed the whole amount into an old
Wellington boot that was hanging on a nail in a closet. Out of Jack's
two thousand he put several bills in his pocket to pay for his evening's
amusements. He then returned to the bank. It will be seen that his
object in not taking this two thousand from Jack at the bank was that he
could not safely conceal such a large package on his person, and he
could not put it with his cash, because, in case his cash was examined,
it would be found to contain two thousand dollars too much, which would
cause inquiry.

The manager while brooding over the event, and asking questions, soon
found out that the missing bills had been all in one deposit. The
receiving teller had taken them in the day before. The item was looked
into and it was noted that this was a deposit of the Montreal Telegraph
Company. On inquiry it was found to be a balance due from the Western
Union Telegraph Company in the States for exchanges. The Montreal
Telegraph Company had received the money from New York by express, and
to guard against loss the Western Union had taken the precaution to
write by mail to the company at Toronto giving the number of each bill
in full, and saying that all the bills were those of the United States
National Bank at New York. In two hours, therefore, Dearborn was
supplied with the numbers of all the bills. Geoffrey was startled at
this turn of events. But he thought it did not matter much. He could
slip over to the States in a few months and get rid of the whole of the
money in different places.

While all this internal commotion was going on at the Victoria Bank,
Nina was paying a little visit to her father's office. She alighted from
an equipage every part of which, including coachman, footman, horses,
and liveries, had been imported from England. The coachman and footman
did not wear their hats on one side or cross their legs and talk affably
to each other as they seem to do in the American cities. Joseph Lindon
was, in effect, perfectly right when he said they were the "real
thing"--"first chop."

Nina swept through the outer office, looking more charming than ever.
After she had passed in, one of the clerks, called Moses, indulged in
the vulgar pantomime peculiar to clerks of low degree. He placed both
hands on his heart, gasped, and rolled back against the wall to indicate
that he was irretrievably smashed by her appearance.

Her father received her gladly.

"Ah!" he said, "you have condescended to pay me a visit, my fine lady!
It's money you're after. I can see it in your eye. Now, how much, my
dear, will this little visit cost me, I wonder? Just name your figure,
my dear, and strike it rather high." Mr. Lindon was in a remarkably
good humor.

"No, father, I did not come altogether for money. I came to know if I
could go over to Oswego for a week. Louisa Dallas, who stayed with us
last winter, wants me to go over."

"Certainly, my dear, you can do anything you please--in reason. I
thought the Dallases lived in Rochester?"

"So they did; but they have moved. Well, that is all right. Now, if you
have any money to throw away upon me I will try to do you credit with
it. Don't I always do you credit?"

"Credit? You are the handsomest girl I ever saw. Do me credit? Why, of
course, and always will. Come and kiss me, my dear. I declare you would
charm the heart of a wheel-barrow. Now, how much would you like this
morning? Strike it high, girl. Understand, you can have all the money
you want. You will go to Oswego and see your friends and have a good
time. Perhaps they won't have much money to throw away, but don't let
that stand in the way. Trot out the whole of them and set up the entire
business yourself. Take them all down to Watkin's Glen, or some place
else. There's nothing to do in Oswego. You can't spend half the money I
can give you. Why, dash it, I cleared fifty thousand dollars before
lunch-time to-day, and now how much will you have of it?"

"Well, there's a little bill at Murray's for odds and ends."


"How much?"

"Oh, five or six hundred, perhaps."

"Blow five or six hundred! Is that all the money you can spend? Of
course you are the best-dressed woman in town, but you must do better
than this. I tell you you have just got to sweep all these other women
away like flies before you. I'll clothe you in gold if you say the
word. Five or six hundred! Rubbish!"

He struck a bell, and the impressionable Moses appeared.

"How much will you have?" he said to Nina, smiling. He loved to try and
stagger her with his magnificence.

"I suppose Murray ought to be paid and a few other bills lying about."
Nina thought this would be a good chance for Jack, and she said to
herself she would strike it high.

"I suppose a thousand dollars would do," she said, rather timidly;
adding, "with Murray and all."

"Damn Murray and all!" cried Mr. Lindon, in a burst of good nature. "You
sha'n't pay any of them.--Moses, write Miss Lindon a check for a couple
of thousand, and bring it here."

While Moses wrote the check out, Lindon, with a display of affection he
rarely showed, drew Nina down upon his knee.

"How did you make so much money to-day, father?" she asked.

"Oh, you don't know anything about such matters. Yesterday I bought the
stock of a Canadian railway. At ten o'clock this morning it took a
sudden rise because I let people know I was buying. I got a lot of it
before I let them know, and then up she went, steadily, the whole
morning. At twelve o'clock I had made at least fifty thousand, and by
nightfall I may have made a hundred thousand. I don't know how it stands
just now, and I don't much care."

This was the identical stock Hampstead had been unable to retain. If he
could have held on a few hours longer he would have made more honestly
on this day than he had stolen at the same hour.

The check was signed and handed to Nina. She put it in her shopping-bag
and took her father's head between her hands and kissed his capable old
face with a warmth that surprised him a little. To her this was a final
good-by.

"You're a good old daddy to me," she said, feeling her heart rise at the
thought of leaving him forever. She ran off then to the door to conceal
her feelings.

"Just wait," he said, "till we go to England soon, and then I'll show
you what's what."

She made an effort to seem bright, and cast back at him a glance like
bright sun through mists, as she said:

"Of course--yes. We must not forget 'the dook.'"

She cashed the check with satisfaction, knowing that it took Jack a long
time to save two thousand dollars.

When she rolled down to the wharf the next day in the Lindon barouche,
the officials on the steamboat's deck were impressed with her
magnificence and beauty.

For most men, nothing could be more sweetly beautiful than her
appearance, as she went carefully along the gangway to the old
Eleusinian, and there was quite a competition between the old captain
and the young second officer as to who should show her more civility.



CHAPTER XXIV.

     Comprehensive talkers are apt to be tiresome when we are not
     athirst for information; but to be quite fair, we must admit
     that superior reticence is a good deal due to lack of matter.
     Speech is often barren; but silence also does not necessarily
     brood over a full nest.--GEORGE ELIOT--(_Felix Holt_).


It did not take Detective Dearborn long to find out that Jack had
engaged a cab early in the morning and had then removed some luggage
from his rooms. This confirmed him in the idea that the crime had been a
carefully planned one. But his trouble lay in not being able to find the
driver of the cab. This man had driven off somewhere on a trip that took
him apparently out of town, and Dearborn began to wonder whether Jack
had been driven to some neighboring town, so as to proceed in a less
conspicuous way by some railway.

Late at night, however, Jehu turned up at his own house very drunk. The
horses had brought him home without being driven. He had been down at
Leslieville all day, with some "sports," who were enjoying a
pigeon-shooting match at that place, and who had retained cabby at
regulation rates and all he could drink--a happy day for him. Dearborn
found he could tell him nothing about the occurrence of the morning of
the same day, or where he had gone with Jack's valises; so, perforce, he
had to let him sleep it off till morning.

The first rational account the detective could get out of him was at ten
o'clock on the morning following. He then found out why the valises had
not been seen at the railway stations, or at any of the usual points of
departure. The caretaker of the yacht club could only tell him, when he
called, that Mr. Cresswell had been at the club somewhere about noon the
day before, and had gone away in his boating-clothes, rowing east round
the head of the wharf close by.

"I must tell you," said Dearborn to the caretaker, "that Mr. Cresswell's
friends are alarmed at his absence and have sent me to look after him.
Would you know the boat he went in if you saw it?"

"Oh, yes. I handle it frequently, in one way and and another. I painted
it for him last spring."

"Well, if you don't mind making a dollar, I'd be glad if you would walk
along the docks and help me find it."

"Come along," said the caretaker. "There is nothing to do here, at this
hour, but watch the club-house, and I certainly can't make an extra
dollar doing that. We'll call it two dollars if I find the boat, seeing
as how I'm dragged off from duty."

"All right," said Dearborn, who had _carte blanche_ for expenses from
the bank.

They walked off together at a good pace.

"You say that none of the yachts left the harbor yesterday?"

"No. There they are, over there, every one of them."

"Well, what size was the skiff he went off in?"

"An ordinary fourteen-foot shooting-skiff. One of old Rennardson's. You
mind old Rennardson? He built a handy boat, did the old man."

"Could it cross the lake?"

"Well it could, perhaps, on six days in the week, in summer. Perhaps on
the seventh the best handling in the world wouldn't save her. But they
are a fine little boat, for all that I've crossed the bay myself in them
when there was an all-fired sea runnin'."

"Could it have crossed the lake yesterday?"

"I don't think Mr. Cresswell would be such a fool as to try. Perhaps he
could have done it if anybody could. But risks for nothing ain't his
style. Not but what he'll run his chances when the time comes. You
should have seen him bring in that Ideal last fall, in the race I sailed
with him. The wind sprung up heavy in the afternoon. Lord! it was a
sight to see that boat come in to the winnin' buoy with the mast hanging
over her bows like a Greek fruiter. You see, he had the wind dead after
him, blowin' heavy, and he'd piled rags on to her, wings and all, till
she was in a blind fury and goin' through it like a harpooned whale. The
owner was a-standing by him a-watchin' for everythin' to carry out of
her. 'Jack,' says he, 'she can't do it. The backstays won't do the
work.' 'Slack them up, then, four inches, and let the mast do its own
part of the work,' says Mr. Cresswell. And he kept on easin' backstays
to give fair play all round, till the mast was hangin' forward like a
cornstalk; but I'm dummed if he'd lift a rag on her till she passed the
gun. Perhaps you don't care for that sort of thing. I follered the sea
myself formerly. Lord! it was immense, that little sail! And thirty
seconds ain't a great deal to win on. Nothin' but bull-head grit would
ha' done it."

Mr. Dearborn was not much comforted by all this talk. Cresswell might
have crossed the lake in his skiff. Evidently he was a man who would do
it if he wished. They continued their search on every wharf and through
every boat-house, which occupied a good deal of time.

Suddenly, near Yonge Street wharf, the caretaker said: "Give us your two
dollars, mister. There's the skiff on the deck of the stone-hooker."

Inquiries soon showed that Jack had gone off on the schooner North Star
to Oswego, and then Mr. Dearborn began to look grave. The schooner had
got a long start. He was well acquainted with all different routes to
different places, and he finally decided to go on the Eleusinian by
water to Oswego. Possibly he might be able to come across the schooner
in the lake before she arrived at Oswego, and bribe the captain to land
him and his prisoner on Canadian soil, where his warrant would be good.
He had still half an hour to spare, so he dashed off in a cab to the
chief's office, and wired the Oswego police to arrest Jack, on the
arrival of the North Star, on the charge of bringing stolen money into
the States.

Of course, Dearborn knew he could not extradite Jack from Oswego for his
offense, but he thought that after being locked up the money could be
scared out of him, when he found that he could get a long sentence in
the States on the above charge, which Dearborn knew could be proved if
the stolen bills were found in his possession.

If Geoffrey had known what the able Mr. Dearborn had ferreted out, and
what his plans were, he would have felt more uneasy.

As the afternoon wore on, it was interesting to watch two very
unconcerned people at the bow of the upper deck of the Eleusinian. The
steamer was making excellent time--plowing into the eye of the wind with
all the power that had so nearly dragged the life out of the poor Ideal
in the preceding summer. Nina was sitting in an arm-chair, cushioned
into comfort by the assiduous second officer, who found that his duties
much required his presence in that portion of the boat where Nina
happened, to be. She was sitting, looking through the spyglasses from
time to time at every sail that hove in sight, and seeming disinclined
to leave the deck.

Mr. Dearborn was tempting providence by smoking a cigar close by. The
steamer went almost too fast to pitch much, but there was a decided rise
and fall at the bows. He noticed that the officer suggested to Nina that
by sitting further aft she would escape some of the motion, and that she
declined the change, saying she liked the breeze and was a good sailor.
Once they passed close to a vessel with three masts. Dearborn had
ascertained, before leaving, that the North Star had only two masts, so
he was not anxious. Nina, however, knew nothing about the rig of the
North Star, and she was up standing beside the bulwarks gazing intently
through the binoculars at the crew. She seemed disappointed when she
lowered the glasses, and Dearborn began to wonder whether this was "the
woman in the case." He afterward watched her as she attempted to read a
novel, and noticed that she continually stopped to scan the horizon.
Still, nearly every person does this, more or less, and his idea rather
waned again as he thought that this was quite too fine a person to
bother her head about a poor bank-clerk--such a man as he was hunting.
Mr. Dearborn, perhaps owing to the peculiar formation of his jaw,
generally lost all idea of the respectability of a man as soon as he got
on his trail. He might have the benefit of all doubts in his favor
until the warrant for his arrest was placed in Mr. Dearborn's hands.
After that, as a rule, the individual, whether acquitted or not at his
subsequent trial, took no high stand in Mr. Dearborn's mind. If
acquitted, it was only the result of lawyers' trickery; not on account
of innocence. Men who ought to know best say that if a prize-fighter
wishes to win he must actually hate his antagonist--must fight to really
kill him; and that only when he is entirely disabled is it time enough
to hope that he will not die. Mr. Dearborn, similarly, had that tenacity
of purpose that made every attempt at escape seem to double the
culprit's guilt, and in a hard capture this supplied him with that
"gall" which could meet and overcome the desperate courage of a man at
bay.

Soon another schooner loomed up in the moist air of the east wind, and,
when the hull was visible, Mr. Dearborn approached Nina and said:

"Would you oblige me, madame, by allowing me to look through your
glasses?"

"Certainly," said Nina; "they belong to the ship--not to me."

Dearborn took a long look at the approaching vessel. The North Star had
been described to him as having a peculiar cut-away bow, and the vessel
coming across their track had a perpendicular bow.

Nina then looked through the glasses intently, and for a moment they
stood beside each other.

"I wonder why all the vessels seem to be crossing our track, instead of
going in our direction," she said to quiet-looking Mr. Dearborn.

"I don't know much about sailing, miss. But I know that vessels can't
sail straight into the wind. They seesaw backward and forward, first one
way and then the other. How they get up against the wind I could never
understand. They are like lawyers, I think. They see a point ahead of
them, and they just beat about the bush till they get there. Some of
these things are hard to take in."

Nina smiled.

"A good many of these vessels," added Mr. Dearborn, while he watched his
fair companion, "are going to Oswego."

"Oh, indeed!" said Nina, unconsciously brightening.

"And the wind is ahead for that trip," said Dearborn.

"Is it?"

Nina had been round Lake Ontario in a yacht, and she had had an English
boarding-school finish. She could have told the general course of the
Ganges or the Hoang-ho, but she had no idea in what direction she was
going on her own lake to Oswego. In English schools Canada is a land not
worth learning about, and where hardly any person would live
voluntarily. People go about chiefly on snow-shoes, and it is easy in
most places to kill enough game for dinner from your own doorstep.

"Yes, it would take a sailing vessel a long time, I should think, to get
to Oswego."

"How long do you suppose?" asked Nina.

"I don't really know. It depends on the vessel. I suppose a smart yacht
could do it in a pretty short time. That Toronto yacht, the Ideal, I
suppose, could--"

"Oh, you know the Ideal?"

"No. She was pointed out to me once. They say she's a rare one to go,
and no mistake. That young fellow, Treadwell, that sails her--they say
he is one of the finest yachtsmen in Canada."

"Oh," said Nina, laughing and blushing. It was funny to hear this quiet
stranger praising Jack. She felt proud of his small glory.

"Yes," said Dearborn, rubbing his forehead, as if trying to recollect.
"That's his name--Treadwell. However, it does not matter."

"Not at all," said Nina. She was somewhat more on her guard now against
strangers since her experience with the Rev. Matthew Simpson. But
evidently this man did not even know Jack's name, and did not want to
know it for any reason.

Dearborn was hanging "off and on," as sailors say, thinking that if she
knew anything about this Cresswell she would perhaps give him a lead.
Not getting any lead, he muttered half aloud, by way of coming back to
the point:

"Treadwell--Treadwell--no--that's not the name." Then aloud. "It's
provoking when one can not remember a name, madame."

He then fell to muttering other similar sounding names, and Nina could
not refrain from smiling at his stupid, mild way of bothering himself
about what was clearly no use to him.

"Ah! I have it! What a relief it is to succeed in a little thing like
that! Cresswell. That's the name!"

The air of triumph on the mild-eyed man was amusing, and Nina laughed
softly to herself.

He turned from gazing over the water and saw her laughing. Then he
smiled, too, as if he wished to join in, if there was anything to laugh
at.

"You are amused, madame. Perhaps you know this gentleman quite well--and
are laughing at my stupidity?"

"I ought to," said Nina, unable to resist the temptation to paralyze
this well-behaved person of the middle classes. "I am his wife." And she
laughed heartily at her little joke.

If ever a man did get a surprise it was detective Dearborn. For a bare
instant, it threw him off his guard. He saw too much all at once. Here
was the woman who perhaps had all the $50,000 on her person. He tried to
show polite surprise and pleasure at the intelligence; but it was too
late. For an instant he had looked keen. Comparatively, Nina was
brighter nowadays. Danger and deception had sharpened her faculties. She
was thoughtless enough, certainly, to mention who she was; but she did
not see any reason why she should not. She might as well call herself
Mrs. Cresswell now as when she got to Oswego, where she would have to do
so. Mr. Dearborn had gone almost as far in self-betrayal. He longed for
a warrant to arrest her, and get the money from her, but he said in his
subdued, abstracted sort of way:

"How strange that is! No wonder you laugh! However, I said nothing
against him--quite the contrary--and that is always a comfort when we
feel we have been putting our foot in it. I was wondering, Mrs.
Cresswell, who you were. It seemed to me I had seen you on the street in
Toronto."

He spoke very politely. No one could take any exception to this tone.
Even when he made the following remark it did not seem very much more
than the ordinary growth of a chance conversation among travelers. He
added:

"Let me see--a? Your maiden name was--a?" He raised his eyebrows with
would-be polite inquiry; but it did not work. He had looked keen for the
tenth part of a second, and now he might as well go in and rest himself
for the remainder of the night.

Nina drooped her eyelids coldly.

"I do not know that that is a matter of any consequence."

She gave a little movement, as if she drew herself to herself, and she
leisurely returned the glasses to their case.

Mr. Dearborn saw he had got his _congé_, and he wanted to kill himself.
He felt rather awkward, and could not think of the right thing to say.

The writer of Happy Thoughts has not provided mankind with the best
reply to a snub that comes "straight from the shoulder." Even a
Chesterfield may be unequal to the occasion.

"I hope you will not think me inquisitive?" he said lamely.

"Not at all," said Nina quickly. She slightly inclined her head, without
looking at him, as she moved away to her chair--not wishing to appear
too abrupt.

She sat there wondering who this man was, and thinking she had been
foolish to say anything about herself. The evening came on chill, windy,
and foggy, and she grew strangely lonely. She had got the idea that this
man was watching her. It made her very nervous and wretched. She longed
for some strong friend to be with her--some one on whom she could rely.

Everything had conspired to depress her in the past few weeks. She had
now left her home and a kind father--never to return. She was out in the
world, with no one to look to but Jack. This would be a long night for
her, she thought. She was too nervous to go to sleep. She felt so tired
of all the unrest of her life. What would she not give to have all her
former chances back before her again! How she longed for the mental
peace she had known until lately. Oh, the fool she had been! the
wickedness of it all! How she had been forced from one thing to another
by the consequences of her fault! She was terribly wretched, poor girl,
as the evening wore on. She went to her cabin and undressed for bed. She
said her prayers kneeling on the damp carpet. She prayed for Jack's
safety and for her own, and for the man who assisted her to all her
misery. Still her despair and forlornness weighed upon her more and
more. The sense of being entirely alone, without any protection from a
nameless fear, which the idea of being watched all day by an unknown man
greatly increased; the terrible doubt about everything in the
future--all this culminated in an absolute terror. She lay in bed and
tried to pray again, and then an idea she acquired when a child came to
her, that prayers were unavailing unless said while kneeling on the hard
floor. In all her terror, the conviction of wickedness almost made her
faint, and to make things worse, she got those awful words into her
head, "the wages of sin is death," and she could not get them out.
Yielding to the idea that her prayers would be better if said kneeling,
she climbed out panic-stricken to the cold floor, which chilled her to
the bone, and terrified by the words ringing in her head she almost
shrieked aloud:


"O God, take those words away from me! O God, thou knowest I have
suffered! O God, I am terrified! I am alone. O God, protect me! Forgive
me all things, for I do repent."

Here she felt that if she prayed any more she would be hysterical and
beyond her own control. She crept back into bed; but all she could think
of until she dropped to sleep, exhausted, was, "The wages of sin is
death--The wages of sin--is _Death_."



CHAPTER XXV.

    BRUTUS:                     O that a man might know
                      The end of this day's business ere it come!
                      But it sufficeth that the day will end,
                      And then the end is known.

    _Julius Cæsar._


When Jack got on board the North Star he found that, although he had
shipped as working passenger, the wily mate had taken him as one of the
crew, with the intention, doubtless, of pocketing the wages which
otherwise would have gone to the sailor who would have been employed.
Several of the sailors were rather intoxicated, and the rest were just
getting over a spree. They came down into the forecastle just before
leaving, and seeing Jack there, whom they did not know, were very
silent. One of them at last said:

"Is every man here a Union man?"

Jack knew he was not, and that, being ignorant of secret signs, he would
perhaps be found out. He answered, "I don't belong to the Union."

The man who spoke first then, said sulkily: "That settles it; I'm going
ashore. The rules says that no member shall sail on a vessel if there is
any scab on board."

Jack understood from this, after a moment's thought, that this
expression must refer to one who did not avail himself of the healthy
privileges of the Sailors' Union.


He explained that he was only going as a passenger, and was not under
pay.

This seemed to make the matter satisfactory, and after the malcontent
quieted down they all got to work peacefully. It took them a long time
to get all the canvas set while the tug towed the vessel out of and
beyond the harbor.

Jack found he was no match for these men in the toil of making heavy
canvas. He felt like a child among them. The halyards were so large and
coarse to the touch, and after being exposed to the weather, their fiber
was like fine wire and ate into his hands painfully, although the
latter were well enough seasoned for yachting work. His hands almost
refused to hold the ropes when they had got thoroughly scalded in the
work, and by the time all the canvas was set he was ready to drop on the
deck with exhaustion.

He was on the mate's watch. This man saw that, although Jack was
physically inferior, his knowledge seemed all right. This puzzled the
sailors. He was dressed in clothes which had looked rough and plebeian
on the Ideal, but here he was far too well dressed. If there were tears
in his clothes and in his hat, there were no patches anywhere, and this
seemed to be, _prima facie_, a suspicious circumstance. He regretted
that his clothes were not down to the standard. After being reviled on
the yachts because they were so disreputable, he now felt that they were
so particularly aristocratic that he longed for the garments of a tramp.
He saw that if the sailors suspected that he was not one of themselves
by profession they would send him to Coventry for the rest of the trip.
This would be unpleasant, for as the men got sober they proved
good-humored fellows in their way, although full of cranks and queer
ideas.

At eight bells, on the first night, Jack came on deck in a long ulster,
which, although used for duck-shooting and sailing for five years since
it last saw King Street, was still painfully whole. The vessel was lying
over pretty well and thrashing through the waves in creditable style.
The watch just going off duty had "put it up" with the mate that Jack
should be sent aloft to stow the fore-gafftopsail.

They could not make Jack out. And when he went up the weather-rigging,
after slipping out of the ulster, every man on board except the captain
was covertly watching him--wondering how he would get through the task.
The topsail had been "clewed up" at the masthead--and was banging about
in the strong wind like a suspended Chinese lantern.

Suppose a person were to tie together the four corners of a new
drawing-room carpet, and were then to hoist it in this shape to the top
of a tall pine tree bending in the wind to an angle of thirty degrees.
Let him now climb up, and with a single long line master the banging
mass by winding the line tightly around it from the top down to the
bottom, and afterward secure the long bundle to the side of the tree. If
this be done, by way of experiment, while the seeker after knowledge
holds himself on as best he can by his legs, and performs the operation
on a black night entirely by the sense of touch he will understand part
of what our lake sailors have to do.

Jack, to say truly, had all he wanted. The sail was a new one. The
canvas and the bolt-ropes were so stiff as to almost defy his strength.
But he got it done and descended, tired enough. All hands were satisfied
that he knew a good deal, and yet they said they were sure he was "not
quite the clean wheat." The ulster had been very damaging.

The evening of the second day saw them still working down the lake, and
having had some favorable slants of wind they had got well on their way.
As Jack's watch went below at midnight, a fog had settled over the sea,
and he was glad to get down out of the cold, and have a comfortable
smoke before turning into his old camping blankets for the rest of his
four hours off.

By the light of a bad-smelling tin lamp nailed against the Samson-post,
and sitting on a locker beside one of the swinging anchor chains that
came down through the hawse pipe from the deck above into the fore-peak
under the man's feet, one of the sailors fell to telling one of his many
adventures on the lakes. There was no attempt at humor in this story. It
was a simple, artless tale of deadly peril, cold, exhaustion, and
privation on our inland sea. It was told with a terrible earnestness,
born of a realization of the awful anxiety that had stamped upon his
perfect memory every little detail that occurred.

This was an experience when, in the month of December, the schooner he
was then sailing on had been sent on a last trip from Oswego to Toronto.
They had almost got around the Lighthouse Point at Toronto, after a
desperately cold passage, when a gale struck them, and, not being able
to carry enough canvas to weather the point, they were thus driven down
the lake again with the sails either blown from the bolt-ropes or split
to ribbons, with the exception of a bit of the foresail, with which they
ran before the wind. To go to South Bay would probably mean being frozen
in all winter, and perhaps the loss of the ship, so the captain headed
for Oswego, hoping the snow and sleet would clear off to enable them to
see the harbor when they got there. On the way down a huge sea came over
the stern, stove in the cabin, and smashed the compasses.

"We hedn't kept no dead reckonin', an' we cudn't tell anyways how fast
we wus goin'. We just druv' on afore it for hours. Cudn't see more'n a
vessel's length anywheres for snow, and, as for ice, we wus makin' ice
on top of her like you'd think we wus a-loadin' ice from a elevator; we
wus just one of 'Greenland's icy mountings' gone adrift. Waal, the old
man guv it up at last, and acknowledged the corn right up and up. Says
he, 'Boys, she's a goner. We've druv' down below and past Oswego, and
that's the last of her.'"

"This looked pretty bad--fur the old man to collapse all up like this;
fur all on yer knows as well as I do that to get down below Oswego in a
westerly gale in December means that naathin' is goin' to survive but
the insurance. There's no harbors, ner shelter, ner lifeboats, ner
naathin'. Yer anchors are no more use to yer off that shore than a
busted postage-stamp. Thet's the time, boys, fur to jine the Salvation
Army and trample down Satan under yer feet and run her fur the shore and
pray to God for a soft spot and lots of power fer to drive her well up
into a farm.

"Waal, gents, the old man tuckered out, and went off to his cabin fur to
make it all solid with his 'eavenly parents, and two or three of us
chaps as hed been watchin' things pretty close come to the conclusion
thet we hedn't got below Oswego yet. So we all went in a body, as a kind
o' depitation from ourselves, and says us to the old man: 'Hev you guv
up the nevigation of this vessel? becus, ef yer hev, there's others here
as wud like to take a whack at playin' captain.'

"'All right,' says the old man from his knees (fur he was down gettin'
the prayers ready-made out of a book), 'I've guv her up,' says he; 'do
you jibe your fores'l and head her fur the sutherd and look out for a
soft spot. Yer kin do what yer likes with her.'

"So we jibes the fores'l then, just puttin' the wheel over and lettin'
the wind do the rest of it, fer there was six inches of ice on to the
sheets, and yer couldn't touch a line anywheres unless yer got in to it
with a axe. Waal, the old fores'l flickers across without carryin' away
naathin', and, just as we did this, another vessel heaves right across
the course we bed been a-driven' on. Our helm was over and the ship was
a-swingin' when we sighted her, or else we'd have cut her in two like a
bloomin' cowcumber. And then we seed our chance. That ere vessel was
goin' along, on the full kioodle, with every appearance of knowin' where
she was goin' to--which we didn't. 'Hooray!' says we, 'we ain't below
Oswego yet, and that vessel will show us the road. She's got the due
course from somewheres, and she's our only chance.'

"And we follered her. You can bet your Sunday pants we was everlastin'ly
right on her track. She was all we hed, boys, 'tween us and th' etarnal
never-endin' psalm. Death seemed like a awful cold passage that time,
boys! We wus all frost-bit and froze up ginerally; and clothes weren't
no better'n paper onto us."

"But she had a _leetle_ more fores'l onto her than we hed; and after a
while she begun to draw away from us. We hed naathin' left more to set
fer to catch up with her. We hollered to make her ease up, but she paid
no attention. Guess she didn't hear, or thought we hed our compasses all
right--which we hedn't. Waal, gents, it was a awful time. Our last
chance was disappearin' in the snow-storm, and there wus us left there,
'most froze to death, and not knowin' where to go. Yer cudn't see her,
thro' the snow, more'n two lengths ahead; and, when she got past that,
all yer cud see was the track of her keel in the water right under our
bows. Well, fellows, I got down furrud on the chains, and we 'stablished
a line o' signals from me along the rest of them to the man at the
wheel. If I once lost that tract in the water we wus done forever.
Sometimes I wus afeared I hed lost it, and then I got it again, and then
it seemed to grow weaker; and I thought a little pray to God would do no
harm. And I lifts up my hand--so--"

The man had left his seat and was crouching on the floor as he told this
part of the story. The words rolled out with a terrific energy as he
glared down at the floor, stooping in the attitude in which he had
watched the track in the water. The tones of his voice had a wild terror
in them that thrilled Jack to the very core, and made him feel as if he
could not breathe.

"And I lifts up me hand--so (and, gents, I wus lookin' at that streak in
the water. I want yer to understand I was a-lookin' at it). And I lifts
up me hand--so--and I says 'Holy Christ, don't let that vessel get off
no farderer--'"

The story was never finished.

A sound came to them that seemed to Jack to be only a continuation of
the horror of the story he had heard. A crash sounded through the ship
and they were all knocked off their seats into the fore-peak with a
sudden shock. They tumbled up on deck in a flash, and there they saw
that a great steamer had mounted partly on top of the schooner's
counter. The mainmast had gone over the side to leeward.

The schooner had been about to cross the steamer's course when they
first saw her lights in the fog, and, partly mistaking her direction,
the sailing captain had put his ship about. This brought the stern of
the schooner, as she swung in stays, directly in line with the course of
the steamer. The steamer's helm was put hard over, and the engines were
reversed, but not until within fifty feet of the schooner. The stern of
the schooner swung around as she turned to go off on the other tack, so
that, although the stem or cutwater of the steamer got past, the counter
of the schooner was struck and forced through the steamer's starboard
bow under the false sides. When they struck, the schooner's stern was
depressed in the seaway and the steamer's bow was high in the air, so
that the latter received a deadly blow which tore a hole about six feet
high by ten long in her bow. Both boats went ahead together, chiefly
owing to the momentum of the huge steamer. And for a moment the
steamer's false sides rested on what was left of the schooner's counter
on the port side.

A man leaning over from the upper deck of the steamer cried:

"What schooner is that?"

"Schooner North Star, of Toronto," was the reply.

The man vaulted over the bulwarks and slid actively down the sloping
side of the steamer to the deck of the schooner and looked around him.
No sooner had he done so than the motion of the waves parted the two
boats. The steamer ceased to move ahead. The forward canvas of the
schooner had caught the wind and she was beginning to pay off on the
port tack, the mainmast, mainsail, and rigging dragging in the water.

Jack, who was filled with helpless anxiety, then discovered that the
steamer was the Eleusinian. At the same moment he heard a shriek from
the bow of the steamer and there he saw Nina, her long hair driving
behind her, beckoning him to come to help her. The steamer, filling like
a broken bottle, had already taken one lurch preparatory to going down
and Jack yelled:

"Jump, Nina! Jump into the water and I will save you!"

But Nina, not knowing that the steamer was going down, had not the
courage to cast herself into the black heaving waves.

Jack saw this hesitation, and yelled to her again to jump. He made fast
the end of a coil of light line, and then sprang to the bulwarks to jump
overboard so that when he swam to the bows of the steamer Nina could
jump into the water near him.

He knew without looking that the schooner, with no after-canvas set,
could do nothing at present but fall off and drift away before the wind,
as she was now doing, and as her one yawl boat had been smashed to dust
in the collision, the only chance for Nina was for him to have a line in
his hand whereby to regain the schooner as it drifted off. It was a wild
moment for Jack, but his nerve was equal to the occasion. While he
belayed the end of the light line to a ring on the bulwarks, he called
to his mates on the schooner to let go everything and douse their
forward canvas.

It takes a long time even to read what had to be done. What Jack did was
done in a moment; but as he sprang to the bulwarks to vault over the
side, a strong pair of arms seized him from behind and held him like a
vice with his arms at his sides.

"Let me go," he cried, as he struggled in the grasp of a stranger.

"No, sir. You're wanted. I have had trouble enough to get you without
letting you drown yourself."

Jack struggled wildly; but the more frantic he became the more he roused
the detective to ferocity. He heaved forward to throw Dearborn over his
head; but the two fell together, crashing their heads upon the deck,
where they writhed convulsively.

The iron grip never relaxed. At last Jack, lifting Dearborn with him,
got on his feet and, seizing something on the bulwarks to hold himself
in position, he stopped his efforts to escape. "For God's sake," he
cried brokenly, "for Christ's sake, let me go! See, there she is! She is
going to be my wife!"

In his excitement Dearborn forgot that the woman on the steamer might
have the stolen money with her. To him Jack's jumping overboard promised
certain death and the loss of a prisoner.

As Jack tried to point to Nina, who was clasping the little flag-pole at
the bow of the steamer--a white figure in the surrounding gloom, waving
and apparently calling to him--he saw the steamer take a slow, sickening
lurch forward, and then a long lurch aft. The bows rose high in the air,
with that poor desolate figure clasping the flag-pole, and then the
Eleusinian slowly disappeared.

For an instant the bows remained above the surface while the air escaped
from the interior, and the last that could be seen was the white figure
clinging desperately to the little mast as if forsaken by all. No power
had answered her agonies of prayer for deliverance.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the strong man who had pinioned Jack saw the vessel go down, he
became aware that he was holding his culprit up rather than down. He
looked around at his face, and there saw a pair of staring eyes that
discerned nothing. He laid him on the deck then, and finally placed him
in the after-cabin on the floor. Jack did not regain consciousness. His
breathing returned only to allow a delirium to supervene. Dearborn and a
sailor had again to hold him, or he would have plunged over the
bulwarks, thinking the steamer had not yet sunk.

The captain's wife, who had been sleeping in the extra berth off the
after-cabin, had been crushed between the timbers when the collision
took place, and under the frantic orders of the captain the rest of the
crew were trying to extricate the screaming woman. The mate had been
disabled in the falling of the mainmast, so that no attempts were made
to save those who were left swimming when the Eleusinian went down, and
the schooner, under her forward canvas, sailed off, dragging her
wreckage after her, slowly, of course, but faster than any one could
swim. Thus no one was saved from the steamer except the detective, who
had not thought of saving his own life when he had dropped to the deck
of the schooner, but only of seizing Jack.

The mate was able, after a time, to give his directions while lying on
the deck. The wreckage was chopped away, and the vessel was brought
nearer the wind to raise the injured port quarter well above the waves
until canvas could be nailed over the gaping aperture. When this was
done they squared away before the wind, hoisted the center-board, and
made good time up the lake. They had a fair wind to Port Dalhousie--the
only place available for dockyards and refitting--where they arrived at
two o'clock in the day.

After raving in delirium until they arrived at Port Dalhousie, Jack fell
off then into a sleep, and when the Empress of India was ready to leave
at four o'clock for Toronto, Dearborn woke him up and found that his
consciousness seemed to have partly returned. The detective was pleased
that the disabled vessel had sought a Canadian port, where his warrant
for Jack's arrest was good. However, the prisoner made no resistance,
and at nine o'clock he was duly locked up at Toronto, having remained in
a sort of stupor from which nothing could arouse him.



CHAPTER XXVI.



    The time is out of joint;--O cursed spite.
    That I was ever born to set it right.

    _Hamlet._


As the afternoon wore on, on that day when the bank lost its $50,000,
Geoffrey Hampstead was back at his work as usual. He did not change his
waistcoat while at his rooms, because he thought this might be remarked.
He merely left the money there, and went back to his work as if nothing
had happened. The excitement among the clerks in the bank was feverish.
Geoffrey let them know what he and Dearborn had seen in Jack's room, and
that the confusion there clearly showed that he had gone off somewhere.
Most faces looked black at this, but there were several who, in spite of
the worst appearances, refused to believe in Jack's guilt. Geoffrey was
one of them. Geoffrey was quite broken down. Everybody felt sorry for
him. He had made a great friend of Jack, and every one could see that
the blow had almost prostrated him.

Toward the end of the afternoon he said to a couple of his friends: "I
wish you fellows would dine with me to-night. I feel as if I had to have
somebody with me."

These two did so. In the evening they picked up some more of the bank
men, and all repaired to Geoffrey's quarters. They saw he was drinking
heavily, and perhaps out of fellow-feeling for a man who had had a blow,
they also drank a good deal themselves, and lapsed into hilarity,
partly in order to draw Geoffrey out of his gloom.

At one o'clock the night was still young so far as they were concerned,
and the liquor in the rooms had run short. Geoffrey did not wish to be
left alone. The noise and foolishness of his friends diverted his
thoughts from more unpleasant subjects. When the wine ran out, he said
they must have some more. They said it would be impossible to get it;
but Geoffrey said Patsey Priest could procure it, and he rang on Mrs.
Priest's bell until Patsey appeared, looking like a disheveled monkey.
He was received with an ovation. Geoffrey gave him the money, and sent
him to a neighboring large hotel to get a case of champagne. When he
returned, having accomplished his errand, the young gentlemen were
enthusiastic over him. He was made to stand on a table and take an
affidavit on an album that he had brought the right change back. Then
some jackass said a collection must be taken up for Patsey, and he
headed the list with a dollar. Of course, everybody else gave a dollar
also, because this was such a fine idea. Mr. St. George Le Mesurier
Hector Northcote was delighted with Patsey. "Mr. Priest," he said, "you
are a gentleman and a man of finish; but it grieves me to notice that
your garments, although compatible with genius, do not, of themselves,
suggest that luxury which genius should command. Wait here for a moment;
you must be clad in costly raiment."

Mr. St. G. Le M. H. Northcote darted unsteadily, not to say lurched,
into Geoffrey's room, looking for that "very dreadful waistcoat" which
he had been pained to see Geoffrey wearing during the day. He found it
at once in a closet, and, wrapping it in among several trousers and
coats which he had selected at random, he came out again with the bundle
in his hand.

"What are you doing there with my clothes?" asked Geoffrey, rising
good-humoredly, but inwardly nervous, and going toward the bedroom as
Northcote came out.

"I am going to give them to a gentleman whose station in life is not
properly typified in his garb."

Geoffrey did not see the waistcoat lying inside one of the coats in the
bundle, and so he thought it better to humor the idea than run any
chances. He had taken off this objectionable article before going to
dinner, intending to come back and burn it when he had more time.

He took the bundle from Northcote and handed it to Patsey as he dragged
that individual to the door. "Here," he said. "Don't come down in rags
to my room again. Now, get out."

Patsey disappeared hurriedly through the door. He had his own opinion of
these young men who were so ready to pay for the pleasure of knocking
him about, and if he had been required to classify mammalia he would not
have applied the old name of _homo sapiens_ to any species to which they
belonged.

The next day, to kill time during the anxious hours, Geoffrey went out
yachting with Dusenall and several others. As the wind fell off, they
did not reach the moorings again until late in the evening, when they
dined at the club-house on the island, and slept on the Ideal instead of
going home. After an early breakfast the next morning they were rowed
across the bay, and Geoffrey reached the bank at the usual time.

In this way, having been away from town all night, he knew nothing of
the news that had spread like wildfire through certain circles on the
previous night, that Jack Cresswell had been arrested and brought to
Toronto. The first person whom he met at the door of the bank was the
omnipresent Detective Dearborn, who smiled and asked him what he thought
of the news.

"What news?" asked Geoffrey, his eyes growing small.

"Why, this," he replied, handing Geoffrey one of the morning papers,
which he had not yet seen. Geoffrey read the following, printed in very
large type, on the first page:

                     CLEVER CAPTURE!

    JACK CRESSWELL, THE VICTORIA BANK ROBBER ARRESTED!
     THE STOLEN $50,000 SUPPOSED TO BE NOW RECOVERED!
     EXCITING CHASE AND EXTRAORDINARY DETECTIVE WORK!
          A BULL'S-EYE FOR DETECTIVE DEARBORN!
 PRISONER CAPTURED DURING A COLLISION BETWEEN TWO VESSELS!
           WRECK OF THE STEAMER ELEUSINIAN!!
                  ALL ON BOARD LOST!!
               EXCEPT THE WILY DETECTIVE.
                  GREAT EXCITEMENT!!
            FURTHER DISCLOSURES ABOUT THE BANK!!!
    THE BLOATED ARISTOCRACY SHAKEN TO ITS FOUNDATIONS!!!!

Detective Dearborn, on his arrival in Toronto, was so certain of
convicting his prisoner that he threw the hungry newspaper reporters
some choice and tempting _morceaux_. And, from the little that he gave
them, they built up such an interesting and imaginative article that one
was forced to think of the scientific society described by Bret Harte,
when Mr. Brown--

                                      Reconstructed there.
    From those same bones an animal that was extremely rare.

Indeed, from the glowing colors in which the detective's chase was
painted, from the many allusions to Jack's high standing in society and
his terrible downfall, from a full description of Jack as being the
petted darling of all the unwise virgins of the upper ten, and from the
way that the name of Jack was familiarly bandied about, one necessarily
ended the article with a disbelief in any form of respectability,
especially in the upper classes, and with a profound conviction that
society generally was rotten to the core. The name "Jack" seemed now to
have a criminal sound about it, and reminded the reader of "Thimble-rig
Jack" and "Jack Sheppard," and other notorieties who have done much to
show that people called "Jack" should be regarded with suspicion.

Mr. Dearborn watched Geoffrey's face as he glanced over the newspaper.
Dearborn had a sort of an idea from all he could learn, that Jack had
had a longer head than his own to back him up, and, for reasons which
need not be mentioned now, he suspected that there was more than one in
this business.

However, Geoffrey knew that he was being watched, and his nerve was
still equal to the occasion. He turned white, as a matter of course--so
did everybody in the bank--and Dearborn got no points from his face.

Geoffrey handed him back the paper, and said commiseratingly: "Poor
Jack, he has dished himself, sure enough, this time."

Dearborn served him then with a subpoena to attend the hearing before
the police magistrate at an hour which was then striking, and Geoffrey
walked over to the police court with him.

Standing-room in the court that day was difficult to get. In the morning
well-worn _habitués_ of that interesting place easily sold the width of
their bodies on the floor for fifty cents.

Maurice Rankin had rushed off to see Jack in the morning. He knew
nothing about the evidence, but he felt that Jack was innocent. He found
his friend apparently in a sort of stupor, and was hardly recognized by
him.

"You must have the best lawyer I can get to defend you, Jack," he said.


No answer.

"Don't you intend to make any defense or have any assistance? I can get
you a splendid man in two minutes."

Jack shook his head slowly, and said, with an evident effort:

"No. I don't care."

Rankin did not know what to make of him; but, finally, he said:

"Well, if you won't have any person better, I will sit there, and if I
see my way to anything I'll perhaps say a word. You do not object to my
doing this, do you?" Jack's answer, or rather the motion of his head,
might have meant anything, but Rankin took it to mean assent.

At half-past nine, Jack was led from the cell outside to the court-room
by two policemen who seemed partly to support him.

A thrill ran through his old friends when they saw him. His face was
ghastly, and his jaw had dropped in an enervated way that gave him the
appearance of a man who had been fairly cornered and had "thrown up the
sponge" in despair. He had not been brushed or combed for two nights and
a day. He still wore his old, dirty sailing clothes. The sailor's
sheath-knife attached to his leather belt had been removed by the
police. His partial stupor was construed to be dogged sullenness, and it
assisted in giving every one a thoroughly bad impression as to his
innocence.

After he was placed in the dock he sat down and absently picked at some
blisters on his hands, until the magistrate spoke to him, and then the
policemen ordered him to stand up. When he stood thus, partly raised
above the spectators, his eyes were lusterless and stolid and he looked
vacantly in the direction of the magistrate.

"John Cresswell, it is charged against you that you did, on the 25th day
of August last, at the city of Toronto, in the county of York,
feloniously steal, take, and carry away fifty thousand dollars, the
property of the Victoria Bank of Canada," etc.

Rankin saw that Jack did not comprehend what was going on. He got up,
and was going to say something when the magistrate continued:

"Do you wish that the charge against you shall be tried by me or with a
jury at the next assizes, or by some other court of competent
jurisdiction?"

No answer.

The magistrate looked at Jack keenly. It struck him that the prisoner
had been imbibing and was not yet sober, and so he spoke louder, and in
a more explanatory and informal tone.

"You may be tried, if you like, on some other day, before the county
judge without a jury, or you may wait till the coming assizes and be
tried with a jury, or, if you consent to it, you may be tried here, now,
before me. Which do you wish to do?"

Still no answer.

Rankin considered. He knew nothing of the evidence, and thought it
impossible for Jack to be guilty. He did not wish to relinquish any
chances his friend might have with a jury, and he felt that Jack himself
ought to answer if he could. He went to him and said simply, for it was
so difficult to make him understand:

"Do you want to be tried now or afterward?"

Jack nodded his head, while he seemed to be trying to collect himself.

"You mean to be tried now?"

Jack looked a little brighter here, and said weakly:

"Certainly--why not?"

Detective Dearborn, had not been idle since his return; and all the
witnesses that the prosecution required were present.

His first witness was Geoffrey Hampstead. His evidence was looked upon
by the spectators as uninteresting, and merely for the sake of form.
Everybody knew what he had to say. He merely explained how the packet of
fifty bills belonging to the Victoria Bank had been put in a certain
place on the desk in his box at the bank, and that, he said, was all he
knew about it.

At this point, Jack leaned over the bar and said; with a stupid pleasure
in his face:

"Morry, there's old Geoffrey. I can see him. What's he talking about?
Say, if you get a chance, tell him I am awfully glad to see him again."

Rankin now became convinced that there was something the matter with
Jack's head, and he resolved to speak to the court to obtain a
postponement of the case when the present witness had given his
evidence.

It was also drawn from Geoffrey, by the county attorney, that the
prisoner alone had had access to the place where the money lay, that it
could not have been reached from the public hall-way, and that the
prisoner had gone out very soon after he had spoken to the witness--when
the money lay within his reach.

The crown prosecutor said he would ask the witness nothing more at
present, but would require him again.

Rankin then represented to the police magistrate that his client was too
ill to give him any instructions in the matter. The defendant was a
personal friend of his, and although willing to act for him, he was, as
yet, completely in the dark as to any of the facts, and in view of this
he deemed it only proper to request that the whole matter should be
postponed until he should be properly able to judge for himself.

The magistrate then asked, with something of a twinkle in his eye.

"What do you think is the matter with your client, Mr. Rankin?"

"It is hard for me, not being a doctor, to say," answered Rankin,
looking back thoughtfully toward Jack. "I think, however, that he is
suffering from some affection of the brain."

A horse-laugh was heard from some one among the "unwashed," and the
police strained their heads to see who made the noise. The old plea of
insanity seemed to be coming up once again, and one man in the crowd was
certainly amused.

The magistrate said: "I do not think there is any reason why I should
not go on hearing the evidence, now. I will note your objection, Mr.
Rankin, and I perceive that you may be in a rather awkward position,
perhaps, if you are in total ignorance of the facts."

Rankin was in a quandary. If he sat down and declined to cross-examine
the witnesses or act for the defendant in any way, Jack might be
convicted, and all chances for technical loopholes of escape might be
lost forever. There might, however, in this case, if the trial were
forced on, be a ground for some after proceedings on the claim that he
did not get fair play. On the other hand, cross-examination might
possibly break up the prosecution, if the evidence was weak or
unsatisfactory. He came to the conclusion that he would go on and
examine the witness and try to have it understood that he did so under
protest.

After partly explaining to the magistrate what he wished to do, he asked
Geoffrey a few questions--not seeing his way at all clearly, but just
for the general purpose of fishing until he elicited something that he
might use.

"You say that after the defendant spoke to you in the bank you heard him
go out through the side door. Where does that side door lead?"

"It leads into an empty hall, and then you go out of an outer side door
into the street."

"Is not this outer side door sometimes left open in hot weather?"

"Yes, I think it was open all that day."

"How are the partitions between the stalls or boxes of the different
clerks in the Victoria Bank constructed?"

"They are made rather high (about five feet six high) and they are built
of wood--black walnut, I think."

"Then, if the door of your box was closed you could not see who came in
or out of Mr. Cresswell's stall?"

"Only through the wicket between our boxes."

"How long after Mr. Cresswell went out did you notice that the money was
gone?"

"I can't quite remember. I was going on with my work with my back to the
money. It might have been from an hour to an hour and a half. I went out
to the side door myself for an instant, to see what the weather was
going to be in the afternoon. It was some time after I came back that I
found that the money was gone."

"Then, as far as you are able to tell, somebody might have come into Mr.
Cresswell's stall after he went out, and taken the money without your
knowing it?"

"Certainly. There was perhaps an hour and a half in which this could
have been done."

"This package of money, as it lay, could have been seen from the public
hall-way of the bank through your front wicket, could it not?"

"Yes."

"And it was perfectly possible for a person, after seeing the money in
this way, to go around and come in the side door, enter Mr. Cresswell's
box and take the money?"

"Yes, I have heard of as daring robberies as that."

"Or it would have been easy for any of the other bank officials to have
taken the money?"

"If they had wished to do so--yes."

"And it would have been possible for you, when you went to the side
door, to have handed the money to some one there ready to receive it?"

"Oh, yes," said Geoffrey, laughing; "I might have had a confederate
outside. I could have given a confederate about two hundred thousand
dollars that morning, I think."

"Thank you," said Rankin to Geoffrey, as he sat down.

Geoffrey saw what Rankin wanted, and he assisted him as far as he could
to open up any other possibilities to account for the disappearance of
the money.

The cabman who removed Jack's valises early in the morning was then
called. He identified Jack as the person who had engaged him. Had been
often engaged before by Mr. Cresswell. He also identified Jack's
valises, which were produced.

Rankin did not cross-examine this man. His evidence was brought in to
show that Jack's absconding was a carefully planned one--partly put into
action before the stealing of the money--and not the result of any hasty
impulse.

The caretaker of the yacht-club house was also called, for the same
object. He told what he knew, and was restrained with difficulty from
continually saying that he did not see anything suspicious about what he
saw. The caretaker was evidently partial to the prisoner.

Detective Dearborn then took the stand, and as he proceeded in his story
the interest grew intense. But when he mentioned meeting a young lady on
the steamboat, and getting into a conversation with her, Rankin arose
and said he had no doubt there were few ladies who could resist his
friend Detective Dearborn, but that he did not see what she had to do
with the case.

Then the county attorney jumped to his feet and contended that this
evidence was admissible to show that this woman was going to the same
place as the prisoner and had conspired with the prisoner to rob the
bank.

Rankin replied that there was no charge against the prisoner for
conspiracy, that the woman was not mentioned in the charge, and unless
it were shown that she was in some way connected with the prisoner in
the larceny evidence as to her conversations could not be received if
not spoken in the prisoner's presence.

Rankin had no idea who this woman was or what she had said. He only
choked off everything he could on general principles.

The magistrate refused to receive as evidence the conversation between
her and the detective. So Rankin made his point, not knowing how
valuable it was to his client.

Detective Dearborn was much chagrined at this. He thought that his
story, as an interesting narrative of detective life, was quite spoiled
by the omission, and he blurted out as a sort of "aside" to the
spectators:

"Well, any way, she said she was Cresswell's wife."

This remark created a sensation in court, as he anticipated. But the
magistrate rebuked him very sharply for it, saying: "I would have you
remember that the evidence of very zealous police officers is always
sufficiently open to suspicion. Showing more zeal than the law allows to
obtain a conviction does not improve your condition as a witness."

Although merited, this was a sore snub for the able detective, and it
seemed quite to take the heart out of him; but he afterward recovered
himself as he fell to describing what had occurred in the collision and
how he had got on board the North Star--the sole survivor from the
Eleusinian. In speaking of the arrest he did not say that he had
prevented Jack from saving the life dearest on earth to him. He gave the
truth a very unpleasant turn against the prisoner by saying that Jack
struggled violently to escape from the arrest and tried to throw
himself overboard. This, of course, gave all the impression that he was
ready to seek death rather than be captured. It gave a desperate aspect
to his conduct, and accorded well with his sullen appearance in the
court-room. Dearborn suppressed the fact that Jack had been delirious
and raving for twelve hours afterward, as this might explain his present
condition and cause delay. He had lost no opportunity of circulating the
suggestion that he was shamming insanity.

After he had briefly described his return to Toronto with his prisoner,
the crown attorney asked him:

"Did you find any articles upon his person?"

"Yes; I took this knife away from him."

"Ah, indeed!" said the crown attorney, taking the knife and examining
it. "Quite a murderous-looking weapon."

"Which will be found strapped to the back of every sailor that
breathes," interrupted Rankin indignantly. "I hope my learned friend
won't arrest his barber for using razors in his daily work."

"And what else did you find upon him?" asked the attorney, returning to
the case for want of good retort.

Detective Dearborn thought a sensation agreeable to himself would
certainly be made by his answer:

"Well," he said, with the _sang froid_ with which detectives delight to
make their best points, "I found on him two of the stolen
one-thousand-dollar bills--"

"Now, now, now!" cried Rankin, jumping to his feet in an instant. "You
can not possibly know that of your own knowledge. You are getting too
zealous again, Mr. Dearborn."

"Don't alarm yourself, my acute friend," said the crown attorney,
conscious that all the evidence he required was coming on afterward. "We
will prove the identity of the recovered bills to your most complete
satisfaction." Then, turning to the witness, he said: "Go on."


Dearborn, who had made the little stir he expected went on to explain
what the other moneys were that he had found on Jack, and described how
he found the bills pinned securely inside a watch-pocket of a waistcoat
that he wore underneath his outer shirt.

Rankin asked Dearborn only one question. There did not seem to be any
use in resisting the matter except on the one point which remained to be
proved.

"You do not pretend to identify these bills yourself?"

"No, sir, I don't. But we'll fix that all right for you," he said,
triumphantly, as he descended from the box.

The clerk in the Montreal Telegraph Company's office who compared the
numbers of the bills with the list of numbers sent from New York, then
identified the two recovered bills beyond any doubt. He also swore that
he personally deposited the package of bills with the receiving teller
of the Victoria Bank.

The receiving teller swore to having received such a package and having
handed it to Mr. Hampstead to be used in his department.

Geoffrey Hampstead was recalled, and acknowledged receiving such a
package from the other clerk. But what surprised everybody was that he
took up the recovered bills and swore positively that the stolen bills
were of a light-brown color, and not dark-green, like the ones found on
the prisoner.

Geoffrey had seen that the whole case depended on the identification of
these bills. If he could break the evidence of the other witnesses
sufficiently on this point, there might, he thought, be a chance of
having Jack liberated.

A peculiar thing happened here, which startled the dense mass of people
looking on.

The prisoner arose to his feet, and, taking hold of the railing to
steady himself, said in a rolling, hollow voice, while Geoffrey was
swearing that the stolen bills were of a light-brown color:

"Geoffrey, old man, don't tell any lies on my account. The bills were
all dark-green." Then he sat down again wearily.

If there was a man in the room who until now had still hoped that Jack
was innocent, his last clinging hope was dissipated by this speech.

A deep silence prevailed for an instant, as the conviction of his guilt
sank into every heart.

Some said it was just like Geoffrey to go up and try to swear his friend
off. They thought it was like him, inasmuch as it was a daring stroke
which was aimed at the root of the whole prosecution. Probably he lost
few friends among those who thought he had perjured himself for this
object. Those who did not think this, supposed he was mistaken in his
recollection as to the color of the bills. A small special edition of a
vulgar newspaper, issued an hour afterward, said:

"In this case of Regina _vs._ Cresswell, if Hampstead had been able to
shake the identification of these bills no doubt Regina would have 'got
left.'"

When Jack had returned to consciousness, at Port Dalhousie, it was only
partially. He looked at the detective dreamily when informed that he had
to go to Toronto. He felt desperately ill and weak, and thought of one
thing only--Nina's death. Even that he only realized faintly. Mentally
and bodily he was like a water-logged wreck that could be towed about
from place to place but was capable in itself of doing little more than
barely floating. When Rankin had spoken to him, before the trial, about
getting a lawyer, he was merely conscious of a slight annoyance that
disturbed the one weak current of his thought. When the magistrate had
addressed him in the court-room, the change from the dark cell to the
light room and the crowd of faces had nearly banished again the few rays
of intelligence which he possessed. He did not know what the magistrate
was saying. Vaguely conscious that there was some charge against him, he
was paralyzed by a death-like weakness which prevented his caring in the
slightest degree what happened. When Rankin spoke incisively to him, the
voice was familiar, and he was able to make an answer, and in the course
of the trial gleams of intelligence came to him. The vibrations of
Geoffrey's well-known voice aroused him with a half-thrill of pleasure,
and during the re-examination he had partly comprehended that there was
some charge against him about these bills, and he came to the conclusion
that as Geoffrey must have known the true color of the bills, he was
only telling an untruth for the purpose of getting him off. This was as
far as his intelligence climbed, and when he sat down again the exertion
proved too much for him, and his mind wandered.

Of course, after this terribly damaging remark, there was nothing left
for Rankin to cling to. Clearly, Jack knew all about the bills, and had
given up all hope of acquittal. The two other clerks were called to
contradict Geoffrey as to the color of the bills, and with that the case
for the prosecution closed.

Rankin said he was as yet unprepared with any evidence for the defense.
Evidence of previous good character could certainly be obtained in any
quantity from any person who had ever known the prisoner, and, in any
case, he should be allowed time to produce this evidence. He easily
showed a number of reasons why a postponement for a week should be
granted.

The magistrate shook his head, and then told John Cresswell to stand up.

Jack was partly hoisted up by a policeman. He stood holding on to the
bar in front of him with his head down, perhaps the most guilty looking
individual that had been in that dock for a month.

"John Cresswell, the evidence against you in this case leaves no shadow
of doubt in my mind that you are guilty of the offense charged. Your
counsel has requested a delay in order that your defense may be more
thoroughly gone into. I have watched your demeanor throughout the trial,
and, although a little doubtful at first, I have come to the conclusion
that you are shamming insanity. I saw you on several occasions look
perfectly intelligent, and your remarks show that you fully understand
the bearing of the case. I will therefore refuse to postpone the trial
further than three o'clock this afternoon. This will give your counsel
an opportunity to produce evidence of previous good character or any
other evidence that he may wish to bring forward. Forty-eight thousand
dollars of the stolen money are still missing, and, so far, I certainly
presume that you know where that large sum of money is secreted. Unless
the aspect of the case be changed by further evidence sentence will be
passed on you this afternoon, and I wish to tell you now that if, in the
mean time, you make restitution of the money, such action on your part
may materially affect the sentence I shall pass upon you."

The magistrate was going on to say: "I will adjourn the court now until
three o'clock," when he perceived that Jack, who was still standing, was
speaking to him and looking at him vacantly. What Jack said while his
head swayed about drunkenly was this:

"If you'll let me off this watch now I'll do double time to-morrow,
governor. I never was sea-sick before, but I must turn in for a while,
for I can't stand without holding on to something."

Nobody knew what to make of this except Detective Dearborn, who had
possessed all along the clew to his distressing condition. But what did
the detective care for his condition? John Cresswell was black with
guilt. The fact of his being "cut up" because, a woman got drowned did
not change his guilt. He and that deuced fine woman were partners in
this business, and forty-eight thousand had gone to the bottom of the
lake in her pocket The detective could not forgive himself for not
allowing Jack to try and save the girl. The girl herself was no object,
but it would have fetched things out beautifully as a culmination of
detective work to bring her back also--along with the money. Forty-eight
and two would make fifty, and if the bank could not afford to give away
one in consideration of getting back the forty-nine--Bah! he knew his
mad thirst to hold his prey had made him a fool.

Was it the formation of his jaw? They say a bull-dog is not the best
fighter, because he will not let go his first grip in order to take a
better one.

The court-room was empty in five minutes after the adjournment, and a
couple of the "Vics" followed Jack down-stairs. Rankin went down also
and was going to get Jack some stimulant, but he found the bank fellows
ahead of him. One of them had got a pint of "fizz," another had procured
from the neighboring restaurant some oysters and a small flask of
brandy.

These young men were beautiful in the matter of stand-up collars, their
linen was chaste, and extensive, and-their clothes ornamental, but they
could stick to a friend. The language of these young men, who showed
such a laxity in moral tone as to attempt to refresh an undoubted
criminal, was ordinarily almost too correct, but now they were profane.
Every one of them had been fond of Jack, and their sympathy was greater
than their self-control. For once they forgot to be respectable, and
were cursing to keep themselves from showing too much feeling--a phase
not uncommon.

Rankin saw Jack take some brandy and that afterward he was able to peck
at the oysters. Then he walked off to No. 173 Tremaine Buildings to
think out what had best be done and to have a solitary piece of bread
and butter, and perhaps a cup of tea, if Mrs. Priest's stove happened to
have a fire in it.



CHAPTER XXVII.

    So Justice, while she winks at crimes,
    Stumbles on innocence sometimes.

    _Hudibras._

     He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and
     will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.--HENRY
     WARD BEECHER.


About two o'clock on this day of the trial, when Geoffrey and all the
rest of the bank-clerks were hurrying through their work in order to get
out to attend the police court, Mr. Dearborn came in unexpectedly, and
talked to Hampstead for a while. He said that the prisoner Cresswell
was very ill, perhaps dying, and had begged him to go and bring Geoffrey
to see him--if only for a moment.

"All right," said Hampstead, "I'll speak to the manager about going, and
will then drop over with you."

He did so, and they walked to the police station together. They
descended into the basement, and Mr. Dearborn unlocked a cell which was
very dark inside.

"You'll find him in there," said the detective. "I'll have to keep the
door locked, of course, while you are with him."

Geoffrey entered, and the door was locked on the outside. He looked
around the cell, and then a fear struck him. He turned coolly to the
detective, who was still outside the bars, and said: "You have brought
me to the wrong cell. Cresswell is not in this one."

"Well, the fact is," said Mr. Dearborn, "a warrant was just now placed
in my hands for your arrest, and, as they say you are particularly good
both at running and the manly art, I thought a little stratagem might
work the thing in nice, quiet shape."

"Just so," said Hampstead, laughing. "Perhaps you are right. I don't
think you could catch me if I got started. Who issued the warrant, and
what is it about?"

"Here is the warrant. You are entitled to see it. An information was
laid, and that's all I know about it. You'll be called up in court in a
few minutes, and I must leave you now--to look after some other
business."

At three o'clock, when the court-room was packed almost to suffocation,
the magistrate mounted the bench, and Cresswell was brought up and
remanded until the next morning. The spectators were much disappointed
at not hearing the termination of the matter, but their interest revived
as they heard the magistrate say, "Bring in the other prisoner."

A dead silence followed, broken only by the measured tread of men's feet
in the corridor outside. The double doors opened, and there appeared
Geoffrey Hampstead handcuffed and accompanied by four huge policemen. In
ten minutes, any person in the court could easily sell his standing-room
at a dollar and a half a stand, or upward.

There was no hang-dog look about Geoffrey. His crest was high. It was
surprising to see how dignified a man could appear in handcuffs.
Suppressed indignation was so vividly stamped upon his face that all
gained the idea that the gentleman was suffering an outrage. As he
approached the dock, one of his guards laid his hand on his arm.
Hampstead stopped short and turned to the policeman as if he would eat
him:

"Take your hand off my arm!" he rasped out. The man did so in a hurry,
and the spectators were impressed by the incident.

A charge about the fifty thousand dollars was read out to Geoffrey,
similar to that in the Cresswell case. That he did, etc.--on, etc.--at,
etc.--feloniously, etc.--and all the rest of it.

Now Hampstead did not see how, when he was apparently innocent, and
another man practically convicted, he could possibly be thought guilty
also. The case against Cresswell had been so complete that it was
impossible for any one to doubt his guilt. Hampstead knew also that if
he were tried once now and acquitted, he never could be tried again for
the same offense. He had been fond of talking to Rankin about criminal
law, and on some points was better posted than most men. He did not know
whether Jack would be well enough to give evidence to-day, if at all,
and if, for want of proof or otherwise, the case against him failed now,
he would be safe forever. Jack might recover soon, and then the case
would be worse if he told all he knew. He did not engage a lawyer, as
this might seem as if he were doubtful and needed assistance. He was, he
thought, quite as well able to see loopholes of escape as a lawyer would
be, so long as they did not depend on technicalities. Altogether he had
decided, after his arrest and after careful thought, to take his trial
at once.

He elected to be tried before a police magistrate, said he was ready for
trial, and pleaded "not guilty."

About this time the manager of the Victoria Bank, who was very much
astonished and hurt at the proceedings taken against Geoffrey, leaned
over and asked the county attorney if he had much evidence against Mr.
Hampstead. The poor manager was beginning almost to doubt his own
honesty. Every person seemed guilty in this matter. As for Jack and
Hampstead, he would have previously been quite ready to have sworn to
his belief in their honesty.

"My dear sir," replied the county attorney, "I don't know anything about
it. Mr. Rankin came flying down in a cab, saw the prisoner Cresswell,
swore out a warrant, had Mr. Hampstead arrested, sent the detectives
flying about in all directions, and that's all I know about it. He is
running the entire show himself."

"Indeed!" said the manager. "I shall never be surprised at anything
again, after to-day."

Nobody knew but Rankin himself what was coming on. Several detectives
had had special work allotted to them, but this was all they knew, and
the small lawyer sat with apparent composure until it was time to call
his first witness.

Mr. St. George Le Mesurier Hector Northcote was the first witness
called, and his fashionable outfit created some amusement among the
"unwashed." Rankin, with a certain malignity, made him give his name in
full, which, together with his affected utterance, interested those who
were capable of smiling.

After some formal questions, Rankin unrolled a parcel, shook out a
waistcoat with a large pattern on it, and handed it to the witness.

"Did you ever see that waistcoat before?"

"Oh, yes. It belongs to Mr. Hampstead. At least it used to belong to
him."

"When did you see it last?"

"Up in his rooms a few evenings ago."

"That was the night of the day the fifty thousand dollars was stolen
from the bank?"

"Yes."

"What did you do with it then?"

"I took it out of his bedroom closet to give to a poor boy."

"Why did you do that?"

"I thought it was a kindness to Mr. Hampstead to take that very dreadful
waistcoat away from him. I took this and a number of other garments to
give to the boy."

"You were quite generous that night! Did Mr. Hampstead object?"

"Object? Oh, no! I should have said that he took them from me and gave
them to the boy himself."

"Now, why were you so generous with Mr. Hampstead's clothes, and why
should he consent to give them to the boy?"

This was getting painful for Sappy. His manager was standing, as he
said, plumb in front of him.

"Well, if I must tell unpleasant things," said Sappy, "the boy was sent
out that evening to get us a little wine, and I thought giving him that
waistcoat would be a satisfaction to all parties."

"You were perfectly right. You have given a great deal of satisfaction
to a great many people. So Mr. Hampstead was entertaining his friends
that night?"

"Yes. We dined with him at the club that evening, and adjourned
afterward to his rooms to have a little music."

"Ah! Just so. Seeing how pleasantly things had been going in the bank
that day, and that his particular friend Cresswell had decamped with
fifty thousand dollars, Mr. Hampstead was celebrating the occasion. Now,
I suppose that, taking in the cost of the dinners and the wine--or
rather, excuse me--the _music_, and all the rest of it, you got the
impression that Mr. Hampstead had a good deal of money that night?"

"That's none of your business," said Sappy, firing up. "Mr. Hampstead
spends his money like a gentleman. I suppose he did spend a good deal
that night, and generally does."

"Very good," said Rankin.

He then went on to ask questions about Hampstead's salary and his
probable expenses, but perhaps this was to kill time, for he kept
looking toward the door, as if he expected somebody to come in. Finally
he let poor Sappy depart in peace, after making him show beyond any
doubt that Geoffrey wore this waistcoat at the time of the theft at the
bank--that the garment was old fashioned, and that it had seemed
peculiar that Hampstead, a man of some fashion, should be wearing it.

Patsey Priest was now called, and he slunk in from an adjoining room, in
company with a policeman. He had a fixed impression in his mind that
Geoffrey was his prosecutor, and that he was going to be charged with
stealing liquors, cigars, tobacco, and clothes. He was prepared to prove
his innocence of all these crimes, but he trembled visibly. His mother
had put his oldest clothes upon him, as poverty, she thought, might
prove a good plea before the day was out. The difference between his
garments and those of the previous witness was striking. His skin, as
seen through the holes in his apparel, suggested how, by mere _laches_,
real estate could become personalty.

"Where were you on Wednesday night last, about one or two o'clock in the
evening?"

"I wus in Mr. 'Ampstead's rooms part of the time."

"Did you ever see that waistcoat before?"


"Yes, I did, and he gev it to me, so help me on fourteen Bibles, as I
kin prove by five or six gents right in front of me over there, and its
altogether wrong ye are fur to try and fix it on to a poor boy as has
to get his livin' honest and support his mother, and her a widder--"

"Stop, stop!" called Rankin. "Did you get this other waistcoat at the
same time?"

"Yes, I did, an' a lot more besides, an' I tuk them all up and gev them
to me mother just the same as I gives her all me wages and the hull of
the clothes an' more besides give me fur goin' round to the Rah-seen
House fur to buy the drinks--"

"That will do, that will do," interrupted Rankin. "You can go."

"Faith, I knew ye'd hev to discharge me, fur I'm as innercent as y'are
yerself."

Mrs. Priest was called.

She came in with more assurance now, as she had become convinced, from
seeing Hampstead in the dock and guarded by the police, that the matter
in question did not refer to her consumption of coal, or her legal right
to perquisites.

"Mrs. Priest, did you ever see that waistcoat before?" said Rankin.

"See it before! Didn't you take it out of me own hands not two hours
ago? What are ye after, man?"

Rankin explained, that the magistrate wished to know all about it.

"Well, I'll tell his lordship the hull story: Ye see, yer 'anor, the boy
gets the clothes from Mr. Geoffrey and brings them up to me last
Wednesday night begone and says they was give to him, an' the next day I
wus lookin' through them, and I thought I'd sell this weskit becas the
patthern is a thrifle large for a child, an' I puts me 'and into these
'ere pockets on the inside an' I pulls out a paper--"

"Stop! Is this the paper you found?"

"Yes, that's it; 'an I thought it might be of some use, as it hed
figures on it and writin'. An' I says to Mr. Renkin, when he come into
my room to-day fur to get a cup--"

"Never mind what I came in for," said Rankin, coloring.

"An' I says to Mr. Rankin, sez I, 'Is this paper any use, do you think,
to Mr. 'Ampstead.' An' he looks at it awful hard and sez, 'Where did yer
get it? An' then I ups and told him (for I wus quite innercent, and so
wus the boy) that I had got it out of the weskit--out of these 'ere
inside pockets. An' then I shows him that other weskit an' how the
lining of one weskit had been cut out and sewn onter the other--as
anybody can see as compares the two--an' I never saw any weskit with
four long pockets on the inside before, an' I wondered what they wus
fur.

"An' I hedn't got the words out of me mouth before Mr. Renkin turned as
white as the drippin' snow and says, 'My God!' an' he grabs the two
weskits widout me leave or license, an' also the paper, an' I thought
he'd break his neck down the stairs in the dark. An' that's all I know
about it until the cops brought me and the child here in the hack, after
we put on our best clothes fur to be decent to answer to the charge
before yer lordship; an' if that's all yer lordship wants ter know, I'd
like to axe yer lordship if there'll be anythin' comin' to me fur comin'
down here widout resistin' the cops?"

As Rankin finished with Mrs. Priest, the police magistrate reminded the
prisoner that he had the right to cross-examine the witness.

Hampstead smiled, and said he had no doubt all she said was true.

Rankin then read the marks on the piece of paper. It was a longish slip
of paper, about three inches wide, and had been cut off from a large
sheet of office letter-paper. There had been printing at the top of this
sheet when it was entire. On the piece cut off still remained the
printed words "Western Union." On the opposite side of the paper, which
seemed to have been used as a wrapper and fastened with a pin, were the
figures, in blue pencil, "$50,000," and, below, a direction or
memorandum: "For Mont. Teleg. Co'y. Toronto." These words had had a pen
passed through them.

The excitement caused by this evidence was increased when Hampstead
arose and requested to be allowed to withdraw his consent to be tried
before the magistrate.

"I see," he said, smiling, "that my friend Mr. Rankin has been led
astray by some facts which can be thoroughly well explained. But I must
have time and opportunity to get such evidence as I require."

The magistrate rather sternly replied that he had consented to his trial
to-day, and said he was ready for trial, and that the request for a
change would be refused. The trial must go on.

The Montreal Telegraph clerk was then called, and identified the wrapper
as the one that had been around the stolen fifty thousand dollars. He
had run his pen through the written words before depositing the money in
the Victoria Bank. He again identified by their numbers the two
one-thousand dollar bills found on Jack, and he was then told to stand
down until again required.

The receiving teller of the bank could not swear positively to the
wrapper. He remembered that there had been a paper around the bills with
blue writing on it, which he thought he had not removed when counting
the bills.

Rankin then requested the police to bring in John Cresswell.

Want of proper nourishment had had much to do with Jack's mental
weakness. Besides the exhaustion which he had suffered from, he had not,
until his friends looked after him, eaten or drunk anything for over
forty hours. He had neglected the food brought him by the police.

As the constable half supported him to the box, he was still a pitiable
object, in spite of the champagne the fellows had made him swallow. As
his bodily strength had come back under stimulant, his intellect had
returned also with proportional strength, which of course was not great.
His ideas as to what was going on were of the vaguest kind. He looked
surprised to see Geoffrey in custody, but smiled across the room to him
and nodded.

After he was sworn, Rankin asked him:

"You went away last Wednesday on a schooner called the North Star?"

"Yes."

"Did any person tell you to go in this way, instead of by steamer or
railway?"

"I think it was Geoffrey's suggestion at first. I had to go away on
private business. I think we arranged the manner of my going together."

"Did any person tell you to take your valises to the yacht club early on
Wednesday morning?"

"I think it was Hampstead's idea originally, and I thought it was a good
one."

"You wished to go away secretly?"

"Well, we discussed that point. I was going by rail, but Hampstead
thought the schooner was best."

"You evidently did everything he told you?"

"Certainly, I did," said Jack, as he smiled across to Geoffrey.
"Hampstead has the best head for management I know of."

"Quite so. No doubt about that! Now, since the accident to the boats in
the lake some bills were found upon you. Are those your bills?"
(producing them).

"Yes, they look like my bills. The seven one-hundred dollars I got
myself, and the two for one thousand each I got--" Jack stopped here and
looked troubled. He looked across at Geoffrey and remained silent. It
came to him for the first time that Hampstead was being charged with
something that had gone wrong in the bank about this money.

The magistrate said sharply "I wish to know where you got that money.
You will be good enough to answer without delay."

Jack looked worried. "My money was all in smallish bills, and either
Geoffrey or I (I forget which) suggested that I had better take these
two American one-thousand-dollar bills, as they would be smaller in my
pocket. He slipped these two out of a package of bills which I imagine
were all of the same denomination."

Rankin evidently was wishing to spin out the time, for he glanced at the
side door whenever it was opened.

He went on asking questions and showing that Geoffrey had been at the
bottom of everything, and in the mean time three men appeared in the
room, and one of them handed Rankin a parcel.

"During your trial this morning I think I heard you say that the bills
you saw on Hampstead's desk were all dark-green colored?"

"I think they were all the same color as these two. He ran his finger
over them as he drew these two out."

"I have some money here," said Rankin. "Does this package look anything
like the one you then saw?"

"I could not swear to it. It looks like it."

Even the magistrate was excited now. The news had flown through the
business part of the city that Geoffrey Hampstead had been arrested and
was on trial for stealing the fifty thousand dollars. The news stirred
men as if the post-office had been blown up with dynamite. The
court-room was jammed. When word had been passed outside that things
looked bad for Hampstead, as much as five dollars was paid by a broker
for standing room in the court. It had also become known that Maurice
Rankin had caused the arrest to be made himself, and that nobody but he
knew what could be proved. People thought at first that the bank
authorities were forcing the prosecution, and wondered that they had not
employed an older man. The fact that this young sprig, professionally
unknown, had assumed the entire responsibility himself, gave a greater
interest to the proceedings.

The magistrate leaned over his desk and asked quietly:

"What money is that you have there, Mr. Rankin?"

Maurice's naturally incisive voice sounded like a bell in the death-like
stillness of the court-room.

"These," he said, "are what I will prove to be the forty-eight
thousand-dollar bills stolen from the bank."

The pent-up excitement could be restrained no longer. A sound, half
cheer and half yell, filled the room.

Rankin had not been idle after he left Mrs. Priest that day. He first
went in a cab to Jack, and simply asked him if Geoffrey had worn the
large-patterned waistcoat on the day he went away. Jack remembered
hearing Sappy talking about his wearing it. Rankin then drove to the
Montreal Telegraph clerk, who identified the wrapper. Then he had the
warrant issued for Hampstead's arrest, and also subpoenas, which were
handed to different policemen for service, with instructions to bring
the witnesses with them if possible. The Priests, mother and son, he
secured by having a constable bring them in a cab. He then requested the
magistrate to hear the case at once.

He supposed, rightly enough, that Hampstead, on becoming aware that the
numbers of the stolen bills were all known would be afraid to pass any
of them, and would still have the money somewhere in his possession. So
he had three detectives sent with a search warrant to break in
Geoffrey's door and search for it. He thought it was by no means certain
that they would find the money, and he was anxious on this point, but he
knew that, even if he failed to secure a conviction against Hampstead,
he had at least sufficient evidence to render Jack's conviction
doubtful. In the case against Hampstead, Jack's evidence would be heard
in full, and Rankin felt satisfied that in some way it would explain
away the terribly damaging case that had been made out against him in
the morning.

The sudden shout in the court had been so full of sympathy for Jack and
admiration for Rankin's cleverness that for the first time in his
magisterial existence "His Worship" forgot to check it, and the call to
order by the police was of the weakest kind. All the bank-clerks of the
city were jammed into that room, and for a moment Jack's friends were
wild.

A few more questions were put to Jack, but only to improve his position
before the public as to the charge against himself.

"Are you aware that you have been made a victim of in a matter where the
Victoria Bank was robbed of fifty thousand dollars?"

"No," said Jack, looking dazed. "I am not."

"Are you aware that you were tried this morning for stealing that
money?"

"I seemed at times to know that something was wrong. Once I knew I was
charged with stealing something or other, but I did not know or care. I
must have been unconscious after the collision in the lake. The first
thing I knew of, they said we were at Port Dalhousie. We must have
sailed there with nothing drawing but the forward canvas, and that must
have taken a good while."

Jack was now allowed to stand down, but he was not removed from the
court-room.

To clear up Jack's record thoroughly, Rankin called Detective Dearborn
and, before the magistrate stopped the examination as being irrelevant,
he succeeded in showing that Jack had been delirious for twelve hours
after his arrest. The fact that Dearborn had not mentioned these
circumstances placed him in a rather bad light with the audience, while
it showed once again what a common habit it is with the police to
suppress and even distort facts in order to secure a conviction.

The telegraph clerk identified the recovered forty-eight bills, and the
receiving teller, gave the same evidence as in the Cresswell case, and
then the detective who found the money in Hampstead's room was called.

As soon as he heard his first words, Geoffrey knew what was coming and
rose to his feet and addressed the magistrate:

"I suppose, Your Worship, that it is not too late to withdraw my plea of
not guilty and at this late hour plead guilty. This will be my only
opportunity to cast a full light on this case, and, if I may be
permitted, I will do so."

The magistrate nodded. Geoffrey continued:

"Of course, it is perfectly clear that Cresswell is quite innocent. For
private reasons, in a matter that was entirely honorable to himself,
Cresswell wished to leave Canada. He was going through the States to
California, and did not intend to return, and would have resisted being
brought back to Canada. There was no law existing by which he could be
extradited. He could only be brought back by his own consent. From the
way I sent him on the schooner, his arrest before arriving in the United
States was in the highest degree improbable. If he had afterward been
arrested in the States I could have at once arranged to be sent by the
bank to persuade him to return. I had it all planned that he never
should return. He would have done as I told him. Even if he insisted on
coming back I then would be safe in the States. Of course, I did not
know that identification could be made of the bills--which could not
have been foreseen--and my object in giving him two of them was that
suspicion would rest temporarily on him, which might be necessary to
give me time to escape. As it turned out, if Cresswell had insisted on
returning to Canada he would be returning to certain conviction--part of
the identified money being found on him.

"So far I speak only of my intentions at the time of the theft. But I
hope no one will think I would allow my old friend Jack Cresswell to go
to jail under sentence for my misdeeds. To-night I intended to cross the
lake in a small boat and then telegraph to the bank where to find all
the money at my chambers. This, with a letter of explanation, would have
acquitted Jack. I had to save him--also myself, from imprisonment; but
there was another matter worth far more than the money to me which I
hoped to be able to eventually make right. If I had got away to-night
the bank would have had its money to-morrow.

"On the day before the theft I had lost all my twelve years' earnings
and profits in speculation. If I had been able to hold my stocks until
the evening of the theft I would have made over seventy-five thousand
dollars. For weeks during the excitement preceding my loss I had been
drinking a great deal, and when the chance came to recoup myself from
the bank I seemed to take the money almost as a matter of right."

As Geoffrey continued he was looking up out of the window, evidently
oblivious of the crowd about him, thinking the thing out, as if
confessing to himself.

"I know that without the liquor I never would have stolen, and that with
it I became--"

His face grew bitter as he thought of his thieving Tartar uncle and his
mother who could not be prevented from stealing. But he pulled himself
together and continued: "It would have been open to me to call men from
this gathering to give evidence as to my previous character, and I have
no hesitation in leaving this point in your hands if it will do anything
to shorten my sentence. On this ground only am I entitled to ask for
your consideration, and you will be doing a kindness if you will pass
sentence at once."

As Hampstead said these words he looked abstractedly around for the last
time upon the scores of former friends who now averted their faces.
There was no bravado in his appearance. He held himself erect, as he
always did, and his face was impenetrable. His eyes claimed acquaintance
with none who met his glance. Some smiled faintly, impressed as they
were with his bearing, but he seemed to look into them and past them, as
if saying to himself: "There's Brown, and there's Jones, and there's
Robinson, I wonder when I will ever see them again?"

There were men in that throng who knew, when Hampstead spoke of the
effects of the liquor on him, exactly what was meant, who knew from
personal experience that, if there is any devilish tendency in a man or
any hereditary predisposition to any kind of wrong-doing, alcohol will
bring it out, and these men could not refrain from some sympathy with
him who had partly explained his fall, and somehow there were none who
thought after Geoffrey's statement that he would have sacrificed Jack to
imprisonment under sentence.

The magistrate addressed him:

"Geoffrey Hampstead, I do not think there has been anything against your
character since you came to Toronto. That an intelligence such as yours
should have been prostituted to the uses to which you have put it is one
of the most melancholy things that ever came to my knowledge. I can not
think you belong to the criminal classes, and I would be glad to be out
of this matter altogether, because I feel how unable one may be to deal
for the best with a case like yours. It may be that if you were
liberated you would never risk your ruin again. I do not think you
would; but, in that case, this court might as well be closed and the
police disbanded. I am compelled to make your case exemplary, and I
sentence you to six years in the Kingston Penitentiary."

A dead silence followed, and then his former friends and acquaintances
began to go away. They went away quietly, not looking at each other.
There was something in the proceedings of the day that silenced them.
They had lost faith in one honest man and had found it again; and
another, on whom some nobility was stamped, they had seen condemned as a
convict. As they took their last look at the man whom they had often
envied and admired, they wished to escape observation. So many of them
were thinking how, at such a time in their lives, if things had not
luckily turned out as they did, they, too, might have fallen under some
kind of temptation, and they knew the sympathy that comes from secret
consciousness of what their own possibilities in guilt might have been.

Geoffrey received his sentence looking out of the window toward the blue
sky and the swallows that flew past. Every word that the magistrate had
said had in it the tone of a friend, which made it harder to bear. While
he heard it all vividly, he strained to keep his attention on the flying
swallows in order that he might not break down. Outside of that window,
and just in that direction, Margaret, the wife that never would be, was
waiting for him. The man's face was like ashes. Oh, the relief to have
dashed himself upon the floor when he thought of Margaret!

Yet he held out. He felt it would be better for him to be dead; but he
met his fate bravely, and now sought relief in another way. He caught
Rankin's eye, and motioned to him to come near.

With a face that was afraid to relax its tension, he said, with an
effort at something like his ordinary speech:

"Rankin, you forsook me sadly to-day, did you not? But I can still count
on you to do me a good turn--if only in return for to-day."

"Go on, Geoffrey. Yes, I have disliked you from the first. But now I
don't. You make people like you, no matter what you do. You take it like
a man. What do you want?"

Rankin could not command his countenance as Geoffrey could. Now that he
had accomplished the work of convicting him, it seemed terrible that one
who, with all his faults, appeared so manly a man, and so brave, should
be on his way to six years' darkness.

Geoffrey pulled him closer and whispered in his ear: "Go to Margaret--at
once--before she can read anything! Take a cab. Tell her all. Break it
to her. You can put it gently. Go to her now--let her know, fairly,
before you come away, that all my chances are gone--that she is
released--that I am nothing--now--but a dead man."

His head went down as the words were finished with a wild effort, and
his great frame shook convulsively for a moment. The thought of Margaret
killed him.

During the day, before his arrest, he had seen that he would have to
return at least part of the money to corroborate his story and to save
Jack. And he could not abscond with the balance, because that would mean
the loss of Margaret. By returning the money and saving himself from
imprisonment, he had hoped that eventually she would forgive him. And
now--

Maurice could not stand it. He said, hurriedly: "All right. I'll see you
to-morrow." And then he dashed off, out a side door, and into a cab. And
on the way to Margaret he wept like a child behind the carriage curtains
for the fate of the man whom he had convicted.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

                        Yea, it becomes a man
    To cherish memory, where he had delight,
    For kindness is the natural birth of kindness.
    Whose soul records not the great debt of joy,
    Is stamped forever an ignoble man.

    SOPHOCLES (_Ajax_).


As Rankin broke the news to Margaret--by degrees and very quietly--she
showed but little sign of feeling. Her face whitened and she moved
stiffly to the open window, where she could sit in the draught. As she
made Rankin tell her the whole story she simply grew stony, while she
sat with bloodless hands clinched together, as if she thus clutched at
her soul to save it from the madness of a terrible grief.

Suddenly she interrupted him.

"Dismiss your cab," she said. "I will walk back with you part of the
way."

When she turned toward him, the strained face was so white and the eyes
so wide and expressionless that he became afraid.

"Perhaps you would rather be alone," said he, doubtful about letting her
go into the street.

She seemed to divine what was in his mind, for she made him feel more at
ease by a gentler tone:

"Alone? No, no! Anything but that! The walk will do me good."

The cab was dismissed while she put on her hat, and as they walked
through the quiet streets toward the heart of the city, he went on with
all the particulars, which she seemed determined to hear. Several times
they met people who knew her and knew of her engagement to Hampstead,
and they were surprised to see her walking with--of all men--Maurice
Rankin. But she saw no one, gazing before her with the look which means
madness if the mind be not diverted. Suddenly, as they had to cross one
of the main arteries of the city, a sound fell upon Margaret's ear that
made her stop and grasp Rankin by the arm. Then the cry came again--from
a boy running toward them along the street:

"Special edition of the Evening News! All about Geoffrey Hampstead, the
bank robber!"

For a moment her grasp came near tearing a piece out of Rankin's arm.
But this was only when the blow struck her. She stopped the boy and
bought a paper. She gave him half a dollar and walked on.

"This will do to give them at home," she said simply. "I could not tell
them myself."

But the blow was too much for her. To hear the name of the man she
worshiped yelled through the streets as a bank robber's was more than
she felt able to bear. She must get home now. Another experience of this
kind, and something would happen.

"Good-by!" she said, as she stopped abruptly at the corner of a street.
Not a vestige of a tear had been seen in her eyes. "I will go home now.
You have been very kind. I forgive you for--"

She turned quickly, and Rankin stood and watched her as she passed
rapidly away.

       *       *       *       *       *

No. 173 Tremaine Buildings had become slightly better furnished since
the opening of this story. Between the time when he made the cruise in
the Ideal and the events recorded in the preceding chapters, Rankin had
contributed somewhat to his comforts in an inexpensive way. In order to
buy his coal, which he did now with much satisfaction, he had still to
practice the strictest economy. But he took some pleasure in his
solitary existence. From time to time he bought different kinds of
preserves sold in pressed-glass goblets and jugs of various sizes. After
the jam was consumed the prize in glassware would be washed by Mrs.
Priest and added to his collection, and there was a keen sense of humor
in him when he added each terrible utensil to his stock. "A poor
thing--but mine own!" he would quote, as he bowed to an imaginary
audience and pointed with apologetic pride to a hideous pressed-glass
butter-bolt.

In buying packages of dusty, doctored, and detestable tea he acquired
therewith a collection of gift-spoons of different sizes, and also
knives, forks, and plates, which, if not tending to develop a taste for
high art, were useful. At a certain "seven-cent store" he procured, for
the prevailing price, articles in tinware, the utility of which was out
of all proportion to the cost.

Thus, when he sat down of an evening and surveyed a packing-box filled
with several sacks of coal, all paid for; when he viewed the collection
of glassware, the "family plate," and the very desirable cutlery; when
he gazed with pride upon his seven-cent treasures and his curtains of
chintz at ten cents a mile; when he considered that all these were his
very own, his sense of having possessions made him less communistic and
more conservative. Primitively, a Conservative was a being who owned
something, just as Darwin's chimpanzee in the "Zoo," who discovered how
to break nuts with a stone and hid the stone, was a Tory; the other
monkeys who stole it were necessarily Reformers.

About ten o'clock on the evening of the trial Rankin was sitting among
his possessions sipping some "gift-spoon" tea. Around him were three
evening papers and two special editions. The "startling developments"
and "unexpected changes" which had "transpired" at the Victoria Bank had
made the special editions sell off like cheap peaches, and Rankin was
enjoying the weakness--pardonable in youth and not unknown to
maturity--of reading each paper's account of himself and the trial. They
spoke of his "acuteness" and "foresight," and commented on his being
the sole means of recovering the forty-eight thousand dollars. One paper
must have jumped at a conclusion when it called him "a well-known and
promising young lawyer--one of the rising men at the bar."

"The tide has turned," he said. "Twenty cents a day is not going to
cover my total expenses after this. I feel it in my bones that the money
will come pouring in now." He was mechanically filling a pipe when a rap
at the door recalled him from his dream. A tall Scotchman, whom Rankin
recognized as the messenger of the Victoria Bank, handed him a letter
and then felt around for the stairs in the darkness, and descended
backward, on his hands and knees, for fear of accidents.

A pleasing letter from the manager of the Victoria Bank inclosed one of
the recovered thousand-dollar bills.

Rankin sat down. "I shall never," he said, with an air of resolve,
"steal any more coal! And now I'll have a cigar, three for a quarter,
and blow the expense!"

Two weeks afterward there came to him a copy of a resolution passed by
the bank directors, together with a notification that they had arranged
with the bank solicitors, Messrs. Godlie, Lobbyer, Dertewercke, and
Toylor, to have him taken in as a junior partner.

       *       *       *       *       *

Immediately after Geoffrey was sentenced, Jack Cresswell was, of course,
discharged. A dozen hands were being held out to congratulate him, when
Detective Dearborn drew him through a side door into an empty room,
where they had a short talk about keeping the name of Nina Lindon from
the public, and then they departed together for Tremaine Buildings in a
cab, while the two valises in front looked, like their owner, none the
better for their vicissitudes. Dearborn felt that little could be said
to mend the trouble he had caused Jack, but he did all he could, and
there was certainly nothing hard-hearted in the care with which the
redoubtable detective assisted his former victim to bed. Mrs. Priest was
summoned, also a doctor. Jack was found to be worse than he thought, and
Patsey was ordered to remain within call in the next room, where he
consumed cigars at twelve dollars the hundred throughout the night.

The next day Mrs. Mackintosh and Margaret came down in a cab to Jack's
lonely quarters, and insisted upon his being moved to their house during
his illness. While unable to go home to his parents at Halifax he was
loath to give trouble to his friends, and made excuses, until he saw
that Margaret really wished him to come, and divined that his coming
might be a relief to her.

It was so. In the weeks that followed, whatever these two suffered in
the darkness and solitude of the nights, during the day-time they were
brave. The heart of each knew its own bitterness. In a short time Jack
found the comfort of speech in telling Margaret many things. Unavoidably
Geoffrey's name came up, for he was entangled in both their lives.
Little by little Jack's story came out, as he lay back weakly on his
couch, until, warmed by Margaret's sympathy, he told her all about Nina
and himself--so far as he knew the story--and in the presence of his
manifold troubles, and at the thought of his suffering when he
witnessed, as a captive, Nina's death, Margaret felt that she was in the
presence of one who had known even greater grief than her own. This was
good for her. After a while she was able to speak to Jack about
Geoffrey, and this brought them more and more together.

When he got well, his breach of duty in going away without notice was
overlooked, and he was taken back to his old post. There he worked on
as the years rolled by. Country managerships were offered to him, and
declined. He had nothing to make money for, and the only thing he really
enjoyed was Margaret's society, in which he would talk about Nina and
Geoffrey without restraint. For many years he remained ignorant that his
marriage with Nina was, after all, for New York State a valid one, since
marriage by simple contract, without religious ceremony, is sufficient
in that State. He never dreamed Geoffrey had been indirectly the cause
of his life's ruin, and always spoke of him as a man almost without
blame. However unreasonable, there are, among all the faulty emotions,
few more beautiful than a man's affection for a man. When it exists, it
is the least exacting attachment of his life.

Margaret listened to his superlatives about Geoffrey. She listened; but
as the years passed on she grew wiser. When walking in the open fields,
or perhaps beside the wide lake, an image would come to her in gladsome
colors, in matchless beauty--a Greek god with floating hair and full of
resolve and victory, and in her dreams she would see and talk with him,
and would find him grave and thoughtful and tender, and all that a man
could be. Then would come the rending of the heart. This was a thief who
had decoyed his friend, and, good or bad, was lost to her.

And thus time passed on. For two or three years she went nowhere. She
tried going into society, after Geoffrey's sentence, thinking to obtain
relief in change of thought, but the experiment was a failure. She found
that she had not the elasticity of temperament which can doff care and
don gayety as society demands. So she gave up the attempt for years, and
then went again only at her mother's solicitation. She said she had her
patients at the hospital, her studies with her father, her many books to
read, her long walks with Jack and Maurice Rankin, and what more did she
want?

She did not hear of Geoffrey. The six years of his imprisonment had
dragged themselves into the past, and she supposed he was free again, if
he had not died in the penitentiary. But nothing was heard of him, and
thus the time rolled on, while Margaret's mother secretly wept to see
her daughter's early bloom departing, while no hope of any happy married
life seemed possible to her.

Grave, pleasant, studious, thoughtful, as the years rolled by, she went
on with her hospital work. From the depths of the grief into which she
was plunged, she could discern some truths that might have remained
unknown if her life had continued sunny--just as at noonday from the
bottom of a deep pit or well the stars above us can be seen. To her the
bitterness of her life was medicinal. Speaking chemically, it was like
the acid of the unripe apple acting upon the starch in it to make a
sugar--thus to perfect a sweet maturity. She was one of the richly
endowed women in whom sensitiveness and strength combine peculiarly for
either superlative joy or sorrow, and hers was a grief which, for her,
nothing but tending the bed of sickness seemed to mitigate. Many a
bruised heart was healed, gladdened, and bewitched by the angel smile on
the sweet firm, full lips which could quiver with compassion. There are
some smiles, given for others, when grief has made thought for self
unbearable, which nothing but a descent into hell and glorious rising
again could produce.



CHAPTER XXIX.

                                This is peace!
    To conquer love of self and lust of life,
    To tear deep-rooted passion from the breast,
    To still the inward strife;
    For glory, to be lord of self;...
                    ... For countless wealth,
    To lay up lasting treasure
    Of perfect service rendered, duties done
    In charity, soft speech, and stainless days;

    These riches shall not fade away in life
    Nor any death dispraise.

    (_Buddha's Sermon.--The Light of Asia._) ARNOLD.


Geoffrey Hampstead had come out of the penitentiary with his former
hopes for life shattered. Margaret was lost to him. He came out without
a tie on earth--a living man from whom all previous reasons for
existence seemed to have been removed. For six years he had worked in
the penitentiary with all the energy that was in him, in order to keep
his thoughts from driving him mad. At one time all had been before him.
And now--Oh, the silent grinding of the teeth during the first two years
of it! After that he grew quieter and became able to regard his life
calmly. He learned how to suffer. To a large extent he ceased now to
think about himself. In the lowest depths of mental misery self died.
Then, for the first time in his life, he was able to realize the extent
of his wrongs to others. What now broke him down gradually was not, as
at first, the bitterness of his own lost hopes, but the thought that the
life of Margaret was wrecked--and by him, that the lives of others had
been wrecked--and by him. This was what the penitentiary now consisted
of. This was the penitentiary which would last for always.

When the period of his sentence had expired, he had gone to New York and
obtained work with his old employers on Wall Street. But his mind was
not in his occupation. With his energy, it was impossible to live with
no definite end in view. Why plod along on microscopic savings, like a
mere machine to be fed and to work? When mental anguish, for him the
worst whip of retribution, had made thought for self so unbearable that
at last it died, there arose in him, untarnished by selfishness, the
nobility which had always been occultly stamped upon him, and which in
prison enabled him to protect himself, as it were, against madness, and
to refuse to be unable to suffer--a nobility able to realize the
perfection of a life lived for others, which none can realize until
first thought for self has been in some way killed. Rightly or wrongly,
he had become convinced in years of anguished thought that with a
continually aching heart may coexist an internal gladness that arises
from the gift of self to others and makes the suffering not only
bearable but even desirable--that this was altogether a mental
phenomenon, such as memory, but one on which religions had been built,
and that it was capable of making a heaven of earth and leading one,
with the ecstasy of self-gift, even to crucifixion.

He determined to go to Paris to study medicine. For this, money was
required, and he conceived a plan for making a small fortune suddenly.
If he failed, what then? The world would lose a helper. His employers,
on being approached, saw that if proper contracts were made they were
sure to get their money back, and supplied him with all he required for
expenses.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Rankin, of the firm of Godlie, Dertewercke, Toylor, and Rankin, had,
for more than six years, shared with Jack Cresswell the old rooms
"_vice_ Hampstead, on active service." All Geoffrey's old relics had
been left untouched. He had sent word to have them sold, and Rankin, to
satisfy him, had let him think they were sold and that the money they
brought had been applied as directed. The money had been applied as
directed; but it had come out of Rankin's little bank account, and so,
until the time came when they could be handed over to Hampstead, the old
trophies remained where they were after being insured for a sum which,
for "old truck and rubbage only fit for a second-'and shop," seemed, to
Mrs. Priest, suspiciously large.

Rankin had received from a client the disposal of several passes on a
special train that was to take some railway officials and their families
to Niagara Falls to see the great swimmer, John Jackson, together with
his dog, endeavor to swim the Whirlpool Rapids. Half the world was
excited over this event, which had been advertised everywhere. While
dining with Jack at the Mackintoshes on the Sunday previous to the
event, Rankin proposed that Margaret should accompany Jack and him to
see the trial made.

Margaret hesitated, but Rankin said: "Oh, you know, as far as the fellow
himself is concerned, it will be hard to say how he is as he goes past.
You'll just see a head in the water for a moment, and then it will have
vanished down the river."

"I don't suppose there will be much to see if the water takes him past
at the rate of nineteen miles an hour," said Margaret.

"Just so. There won't be much to see. But we can have a pleasant day at
the falls and give the abused hack-men a chance. The 'special' will have
a number of ladies on board, and, if you like champagne, now's your
chance. What is a special train without champagne?"

"Well, what do you say, mother?" asked Margaret.

Mrs. Mackintosh, to give her daughter an acceptable change and to get
her out of her fixed ways, would have sent her to almost anything from
balloon ascension to a church lottery.

"Do as you wish, my dear. I think I would like you to go. I do not see
how it would be possible for a spectator to know whether the man was
suffering or not in those waters, and, as for his sacrificing his life,
why that is his own lookout. If he lives I suppose he will get well
paid, will he not, Mr. Rankin?"

"They expect he will make about twenty-five or thirty thousand dollars.
Arrangements have been made not only with the railways, but also with
the hotels for his commission on all profits, which will be paid to him
if he lives, or, if not, to his family. I don't know that it should be
necessarily looked upon as a suicidal speculation. I have examined the
water a good many times, and am by no means certain that his safe
passage is impossible, if he can keep on the surface and not get dragged
under where the water seems to shoot downward. If he gets through, or
even if he tries it and fails, he will prove himself as brave a man as
ever lived."

"I think I will go," said Margaret, brightening up with her old love for
daring. "It is not like going to a bullfight, and the excitement will be
intense."

So they went off on the special, and when they arrived at the rapids,
after descending the precipice in the hydraulic lift, they went along
the path to the platform where the photographs are taken. This place was
filled with seats, numbered and reserved, and Rankin's party were seated
in the front row. No less than a hundred thousand people were watching
the forces of the river at this time. They were noticing how the
precipices gradually converged as they approached the rapids, and how
apparent was the downward slope of the water as it rushed through the
narrowed gorge. They were noticing how the descending current struck
projections of fallen rock at the sides, causing back-waves to wash from
each bank diagonally across the main volume of the river, and make a
continual combat of waters in the middle of the stream. Here, the deep,
irresistible flow of the main current charges into the midst of the
battle raging between the lateral surges, and carries them off bodily,
while they continue to fight and tear at each other as far as one can
see down the river. It is a bewildering spectacle of immeasurable
forces, giving the idea of thousands of white horses driven madly into a
narrowing gorge, where, in the crush, hundreds are forced upward and
ride along on the backs of the others, plunging and flinging their white
crests high in the air and gnashing at each other as they go.

The worst spot of all is directly in front of the platform, where
Rankin's party was sitting. They waited until the time at which Jackson
was advertised to begin his swim, and then they grew impatient. Jack was
standing on a wooden parapet near at hand waiting until the swimmer
should appear around the bend far up the river, for they could not see
him take to the water from the place where they were.

All at once, before the rest of the people near him could see anything,
Jack called out: "There he is!" as he descried, with his sailor's eyes,
two black specks on the water far away, up above the bridges.

Jackson and his dog had jumped out of a boat in the middle of the river,
in the calm part half a mile up, and, as they swam down with the current
under the bridges, the dense mass of people there admired the easy grace
with which he swam, and remarked the whiteness of his skin. His dog, a
huge creature, half Great Dane and half Newfoundland, swam in front of
him, directed by his voice. Both of them could be seen to raise
themselves once or twice, so that they could get a better view of the
wild water in front of them. The dog recognized the danger, and for a
moment turned toward the shore and barked; but his master raised his
hand and directed him onward. Another moment, now, and the fight for
life began, for reaching the shore was as impossible as flying to the
moon.

The first back-wash that came to them was a small one, and they both
passed through it, each receiving the water in the face. The next wash
followed almost immediately, and they tried to swim over it, but it
turned both man and dog over on their sides and spread them out at full
length on the surface of the main current. The people on the suspension
bridge could see that both received a terrible blow. They both seemed to
dive under the next wave, and then the water became so turbulent and the
speed of their passage so great that it was impossible to give a minute
description of what happened.

Rankin's party and the multitude of spectators now watched what they
could see in breathless silence. At times, as the swimmers approached,
our party could see them hoisted in the air on the top of a wave, or
ridge or upheaval of water. Most of the time they were lost to sight in
the gulleys or, valleys, or else they were beneath the surface. It does
not take long to go a few hundred yards at nineteen miles an hour, and
in what scarcely seemed more than an instant the man, with the dog still
in front of him, had come near them. What Jack noticed was that as the
man here shook the water out of his eyes and raised himself, shoulders
out, by "treading water," his skin was almost scarlet. This, alone told
a tale of what he had gone through since the people on the bridges had
remarked the whiteness of his skin.

He was now almost opposite them, and his face, set desperately, turned,
during an instant in a quieter spot, toward the platform. Margaret gave
a piercing shriek, and fell back into Rankin's arms. At the next
half-moment a huge boiling mountain, foaming up against the current in
which the swimmer's body floated, struck him a terrible blow, and threw
the dog back on top of him. Both were engulfed. After a while the dog's
head appeared again, but Geoffrey Hampstead was overwhelmed in the
Bedlam of waters, whose foaming, raging madness battered out his life.


THE END.





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