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Title: A Girl of the North - A Story of London and Canada
Author: Jones, Susan Morrow
Language: English
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                          A GIRL OF THE NORTH



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                      A GIRL OF
                      THE NORTH

                              _A STORY OF_
                              _LONDON AND CANADA_

                                   BY
                             HELEN MILECETE
                  AUTHOR OF “A DETACHED PIRATE,” ETC.



                             SECOND EDITION



                                 LONDON
                          GREENING & CO., LTD.
                20 CECIL COURT, CHARING CROSS ROAD, W.C.
                                  1900
                        [_All rights reserved_]



                           Table of Contents

                          Chapter One
                          Chapter Two
                          Chapter Three
                          Chapter Four
                          Chapter Five
                          Chapter Six
                          Chapter Seven
                          Chapter Eight
                          Chapter Nine
                          Chapter Ten
                          Chapter Eleven
                          Chapter Twelve
                          Chapter Thirteen
                          Chapter Fourteen
                          Chapter Fifteen
                          Chapter Sixteen
                          Chapter Seventeen
                          Chapter Eighteen
                          Chapter Nineteen
                          Chapter Twenty
                          Chapter Twenty-One
                          Chapter Twenty-Two
                          Chapter Twenty-Three



                          A GIRL OF THE NORTH



                               CHAPTER I


THE world called it failure: he called it success, and the thought
evolved itself into happiness for a time.

George Archer was a man of unusual talent and power. He had translated
the most recent book by a celebrated Danish naturalist, besides which he
had acquired some fame as a naturalist on his own account; and the small
world of men, who trouble about such things, mentioned his name with a
certain amount of respect as that of one to whom mysteries are revealed.

He was rich. He had travelled all over the world. At last, wishing to go
to Canada, the idea of writing a book on the different varieties of
Canadian fish came to him with the charm of inspiration, of freedom, and
of novelty.

He was singularly unpractical, and given to great enthusiasms.

The glamour of Canada fell upon him; he was fascinated by the long cold
winter, with its tempests and swinging winds, its drifting snow, and the
endless battle with the princes and powers of the air: by the spring,
too, with its force when all the brooks ran and overflowed with the
melting of the snow in the hot sun, and the glorious long, light,
glowing days, when everything broke into life with suddenness. After
this came a gorgeous summer, with hot vibrating days, which brought
magnificent flowers into blossom; and then autumn with its Indian summer
and stillness—a sort of grey stillness, as if the dear dead came back
for a space. The wind died then, and there was only a movement of the
air laden with sweetness as it passed over blueberry barrens and lonely
stretches of black, still lakes, which possessed the charm of the
unknown, the fascination of the forest crowded with moose and bears.
George Archer loved the country with its colouring of triumph—trees,
sky, and water, all shared in the same glory.

When he came out, he brought letters to various people in Canada, and he
collected many important facts for his piscatorial work during his first
summer—in the autumn he met Naomi Fontaine, one quarter French, more
than a quarter English (her enemies added one half Indian). Archer loved
her and married her.

They settled down in an old house, which he rebuilt and made more than
comfortable. It stood near an arm of the sea, about two miles from a
town called Musquodobit, and in the middle of woods, of salmon rivers,
and lakes.

They were happy—perfectly, gloriously happy. They made no plans for the
future. To-day was theirs; they loved it, and for three years their
happiness lasted. Then Naomi died of pneumonia, and left him alone with
their daughter Launa.

Mr. Archer stayed at Musquodobit, for he had no desire to return to
England, his relations having received the news of his marriage with
certain questions—was Naomi a native? Their idea of natives was hazy,
and ran to wild orgies, cannabalism, and no clothing. Had she any
relations? George said she was a Roman Catholic and a Canadian, then the
letters grew fewer and fewer. Archer did not remember his people. He
loved his life; the freedom of it enthralled him. He fished and hunted
at the same time he pursued the research about bones, which brought him
many letters, much contradiction, and labour.

He could not bear to leave the land which Naomi had loved, whilst
dwelling there without her was misery and torment, and yet he loved it
too. That land exercises an indescribable fascination over
impressionable folk; its intenseness, its wild beauty and passion, the
rapid, boiling rivers full of fish, and the quiet, still lakes; the
grandeur of the granite rocks, the hills, and vast forests of pine, fir,
and maple; and, above all, the turbulent rapture and stormy joy of the
sea, crashing against the iron-bound coast. Archer’s home was situated
about one hundred yards from the shore. The bay was well sheltered, and
two miles below lay the open sea. It was near enough to be within reach
when Archer wearied of the calm of the bay; and near enough for them to
hear it surge, moan, and roar at times, and to be always in sun and
storm—altogether loveable.

Launa Archer was an ugly baby. When her mother died she was a year old,
and soon became intelligent enough to interest her father. He was often
away, and left her in charge of her nurse Eliza, who loved her; and the
child grew from babyhood into a sprite of mischief, always cheerful,
always laughing, often naughty, and fond of forgiving Eliza, with much
kindness and bounteousness, when she reproved her.

Mr. Archer’s house, “Solitude,” was a large building, with an appearance
of care and comfort. There were neighbours three and four miles away.
But he cared little for them while Naomi lived, and less after her
death. So Launa grew from infancy into childhood alone. She played with
the dogs, and in summer let them run among the long grass, which was for
hay, and which their wild bounding did not improve. How she loved to see
them tearing through it and chasing each other. And then she spent days
by the brook, sailing boats and paddling and splashing. Many mighty
fleets she launched, which sailed away and never came back, drifting
down the current to the sea. She played with the big white daisies in
the pasture, and gathered them with huge yellow buttercups. She dabbled
in the salt water, and ran up and down the beach, while the dogs hunted
the kingfishers and yapped in vain at the crows. It was a heavenly life
for a child—lonely never, solitary, perhaps, for she had but frequent
glimpses of her father, who journeyed north, south, east, and west,
seeking many things, principally forgetfulness, or rather a memory that
should revive no pain.



                               CHAPTER II


WHEN Launa Archer was ten years old her father realised that she must be
taught; so he went forth to seek a governess.

Mr. Archer had grown into a silent man, as is often very naturally the
case with men who spend much of their lives in the woods. But Launa
found him an excellent companion, full of knowledge about all the beasts
of the field and fowls of the air, and able to tell wonderful stories of
“Ring, the king’s son,” Norwegian fairy stories, and Indian legends.
Archer found the governess problem hard to solve. For once in his life
he distrusted his own inclinations, and asked advice of Mrs. Butler, the
wife of one of his neighbours. She had no children, but she longed to be
consulted about Launa, on the principle that childless women know most
about children. Mrs. Butler disapproved of Launa, for she was shy, had
retired under the table during one of Mrs. Butler’s visitations, and
refused to come forth until the lady had left, giving as an excuse that
Mrs. Butler shook hands too much and too often.

Mrs. Butler grew voluble, and George Archer somewhat distressed. She
strongly advised school; indeed, it was her war-cry. School would endow
Launa with lady-like habits. Her listener frowned. School would give her
pleasant companionship, and a knowledge of all those things which it was
necessary for young ladies to acquire.

“Is not curiosity, the hereditary tendency of Mother Eve strongly
inherent in all women?” asked Mr. Archer. “Launa will learn for
herself.”

“Yes, perhaps,” vaguely murmured Mrs. Butler. “Still, if I were you I
would send her to school.”

George Archer immediately became conscious of many things he did not
want his Launa to become or to learn. She would either be miserable at
school or dislike “Solitude” on her return thither; either result would
be disagreeable. He wanted Launa to remain natural; consequently he did
not advertise for a governess. He had an idea he might meet a suitable
teacher. Mrs. Butler told him that in all probability he would marry
such a paragon as he desired, and he smiled without contradicting her.

He visited his friends at Baltimore, New York, and Halifax, which was
near where he lived, and in New York he found what he sought. Her name
was Black; she was a German-American. Her age was thirty, though her
face suggested forty and her figure twenty. When she played the piano
Archer almost worshipped her talent. He had found the long-looked-for
solace—in the music he saw Naomi; they were together again. And
whenever Miss Black played he seemed to lose himself in a heavenly
dream. If she could teach the wild little lady at “Solitude” to play!
Miss Black could row and paddle; she had read, and did read; she could
walk far, and play tennis. She was full of intelligence, and her German
was good.

It seemed to the perplexed parent that the day of the millennium was
about to dawn when he went, home with this trophy. If the dogs and Launa
liked her then he could dare to be content.

Launa had never known anyone she did not like except Mrs. Butler, who
reciprocated the feeling. The idea of a governess had no dreaded
associations for her; a companion was her greatest desire. Eliza had
grown too fat to climb fences and to go out in the canoe—a form of
pleasure she dreaded and detested, for Eliza could not swim, nor would
she learn.

Miss Black—Launa christened her “Whitey”—was a success. When Mrs.
Butler heard of her she said the world would talk, but when she saw
Whitey’s livid face and weather-beaten countenance, she wanted to know
what her history was, and talked about Mr. Archer’s lonely and
defenceless situation as though he were a castle facing north-east.

The dogs loved Miss Black; her sitting-room was always a haven of refuge
when they were wet and tired, also when Launa had steeplechases and
Fatsey, an old dog, would not and could not jump over a broomstick three
feet from the ground, then, he too, sought sanctuary with Whitey.

Whitey taught Launa music, and the child worked earnestly, undismayed by
the drudgery, with the hope of some day being able to play like her
teacher, and her reward always came in the form of freedom for a while.
With Whitey, she read many books, stories, history, and poetry. And as
Miss Black had travelled far and wide she made all she taught
interesting.

This odd couple were very happy together. In the winter they snowshoed,
going for long tramps through the woods. They were frequently out in
stormy weather, for Miss Black loved the wind as much as Launa did, and
the wild turmoil of snow and tempest attracted them both. They explored
the whole surrounding country together. Miss Black and Launa were also
very fond of wandering to the far away lakes—the big black lakes with
long shadows and deep reflections of trees and rocks—lakes whose
solitude and silence filled one with a sort of apprehension, that
whispered of horrors, past or to come—the ghosts of dead braves might
wander there as a foretaste of the happy hunting ground. The hills were
high and steep, covered with brushwood which was very thick, and at
intervals there were rocks and holes that made climbing perilous, but
Launa and Miss Black did not mind difficulties. On one occasion Mr.
Archer took them to camp out for a week and to fish. How they loved it!
The queer smell of the wood smoke, the joy of cooking in the ashes, and
the talk round the fire in the twilight before bedtime, when the stars
came out and the moon hung half-way up in the sky, while the firelight
threw shadows all around, making the white birch trees look ghostly in
the dim light, while in the distance the little stream rushed on to the
sea.



                              CHAPTER III


WHEN Launa, who had a queer, passionate temper, a horror of restraint of
any kind, and a great dislike to being disappointed or thwarted, was
fifteen, she was tall, and slight, all arms and legs, with long thin
fingers, and well-shaped feet. Her skin was tanned, with a tinge of red
in her cheeks, her eyes were brown, as was her hair. She could paddle,
and walk on snowshoes like an Indian, her voice had a low soft richness
in it that reminded Mr. Archer of a squaw—which made him wonder whether
there had been Indian blood in Naomi or not?

But Launa had a stronger look than her mother; she was less of the
dainty French girl, and she possessed a greater desire to rise, to
achieve something, possessing a less sublime acquiescence in fate or
destiny than Naomi, who had been sweeter, more yielding, and fulfilling
Mr. Archer’s preconceived, primeval idea of a woman. Sometimes he feared
for his daughter, and that curious belief in herself, which she
displayed with a half-expressed idea, that she would be able to command
fate, an early sign of her masterful independence.

“When I am big,” Launa said to her father one day, “I shall write a book
about the woods and the Indians; no one writes about them, or seems to
know how.”

Her father smiled.

“You must learn to keep still.”

“The arranging and selecting of ideas must be difficult,” she said, “and
I always come to grief over commas. I love full stops, but Whitey says
my sentences are jerky. It must be difficult to disguise one’s mood when
writing books, to write when one is tired or weary; I could not do it.”

“You will perhaps be glad to do it some day.” Then changing the subject,
he said, “I am going to the Reserve to-day, will you come?”

“What time shall we go?”

“At three,” he answered.

Launa rushed off to order tea to take with them, as well as some tea and
sugar for presents to the Indians.

They drove about six miles to the Reserve. It was a desolate piece of
country, and lay along the side of a large lake, from which ran a little
trout stream. The Indians lived in cottages, poorly built shanties, and
they welcomed the Archers with joy. There was an old grandmother, a
terrible old person in a red flannel bed-jacket, a very short skirt, and
a short pipe, which she smoked with fervour. Her grey hair hung down on
both sides of her brown face, and she waved her long thin fingers as she
related tales of her magic cures, for she was a doctor and made herb
decoctions for anyone who was ailing. She talked in a low mysterious
voice.

“I give him little medicine, yer know,” she said, with a leer and a
drawl, nodding her funny old head with an air of confidence in her
listener’s understanding and belief.

Miss Black was afraid of her, and always felt sure that Mrs. Andrew
would not be too good to omit mixing poison with her medicine, if she
considered it desirable the sick person should not recover.

Launa listened to the old grandmother’s stories with rapt attention,
until Andrew, the witch’s husband, came to say he had lighted a fire by
the lake, and that Abram had launched his canoe to take Launa in it
after tea.

Andrew and Launa caught some trout, which they cooked at the wood fire,
and Launa made tea. She presented Mrs. Andrew with a large parcel of it
to that lady’s joy, though she merely grunted her thanks, and then
offered Launa a cup out of her own tea-pot. But as the Indians seldom or
never empty the tea-pot (they consider it a waste to throw away the old
leaves, and keep on adding a few new ones, which they let boil to get
their full flavour), Launa knew better than to drink it. It was, in
truth, a deadly concoction.

Abram pushed his canoe into the water, and taking a paddle in one hand
started with a little run and then jumped into the end of the canoe,
which shot out into the middle of the lake. It was a wonderful jump, and
Launa never tired of seeing it.

“There is no one who can do that as Abram does,” she said with
admiration. “He is splendid, isn’t he, Andrew? Abram, Abram!” called
Launa. “Take me up to the end of the lake!”

He brought the canoe in again, and she took her paddle and knelt in the
bow. They went off together, her firm figure, with its graceful arm
movement, erect, muscular, and supple. Oh! the joy of those days! The
joy of living and of doing! The rapid, firm strokes, and the movement!

                 *        *        *        *        *

Launa paid her visit to the opera house in New York, whither her father
took her with Miss Black for a winter, and then her dreams were
realised. She heard the “Nibelungenlied,” “The Meistersinger,”
“Tannhauser,” besides selections from “Parsifal”; she also attended
numerous concerts. Music took the place of her out-of-door life, and she
became so absorbed in it that she only occasionally missed and regretted
her former wanderings. It was as if she had experienced its wonderful
power for the first time, and drank from a cup of intoxicating
sweetness.

She went to dances, and discovered that men found her attractive, and
naturally she soon learned how to make herself agreeable. At the same
time she realised that most men love a woman for her bodily charm.

“Men are very animalish, Whitey,” said Launa one day, after having made
a successful appearance at an evening reception.

Miss Black gasped. She had ignored the existence of men as lovers,
except in history and in books, while teaching Launa.

“All men are not alike,” she said vaguely.

“No, of course not. Father is perfect. Few men are like him.”

When they returned to “Solitude,” Launa worked with renewed ardour, and
practised with joy—she wanted to play well. She read all sorts of
books, and after a course of lectures on Greek literature, she turned
with avidity to Plato, to Epictetus. Of German books she read many; to
Miss Black’s regret she had outgrown Marlitt. For a woman who could do
things, who did not fear storm or rain, Miss Black was singularly afraid
of the knowledge of good and evil. Evil belonged especially to the poor
and low, and to men, who gave it up when they put on dress-clothes, and
were in the society of ladies—the humanising influence of ladies! A
dress suit was the veneer that completely covered the brute-beast in a
man.

About this time Launa turned affectionately to her father. She found him
sympathetic, for he understood her, and he never gasped.

“You remind me of your mother,” he said one day to her.

“Tell me about her,” she said, flushing with pleasure.

“She was very sweet—how can I tell you? I loved her; half of me, the
best, the happy half died with her; it was as if I were killed. . . .
And we were so happy.”

“It was terrible,” said Launa. “Life, father, seems sometimes to be
horribly, terribly sad.” She said this with the air of one who has made
a new discovery, and it amused her father.

“Why is it?” she asked.

“I do not know.”

“And what is the good?”

He did not answer.

It dawned upon the small world round “Solitude” that Launa was
attractive, and so the inhabitants came to visit and to criticise. They
all went to Quebec, and they stayed several nights at different houses,
where she enjoyed herself, and where she was admired—especially at one
of the balls she attended.

Among all the men she met, English as well as Canadian, for there was a
garrison in Halifax, a man named Paul Harvey interested her most. He was
a Canadian, who possessed a place about twenty miles from “Solitude.” He
was tall and dark. His skin was tanned from the out-of-door life he led;
he had a peculiarly high forehead, and high cheek bones, and his body
had the lithe look common to men who spend their lives in doing, and who
are never troubled with superfluous flesh. His keen eyes glanced into
one’s inner consciousness, and seemed hard, until he smiled. He walked
with the Indian stride, which is quick and quiet. Of course he could
ride, and he had the strong capable hands of a man who has been brought
up to do things, and who could do them well. Paul Harvey and Launa soon
became firm friends, for they understood each other. They loved the same
things; the witchery of the woods, of the canoe, and of the sea was real
and tangible to them both, and he loved music, as did she. In the long
spring days they often met, and he was full of admiration for this girl,
who was so strong and so fearless.

George Archer frequently invited Paul to “Solitude,” without the least
idea of encouraging any feeling on Paul’s part for Launa, who in her
father’s eyes was still a child; that any man should think of her as a
possible wife never occurred to him, but then Archer’s idea of a wife
(the other man’s wife) was a submissive woman, and Launa was not that.

One day in May Mr. Archer had gone to Chezettcook to fish, and Launa was
anxious to pay him a visit. Paul expressed himself desirous of driving
her down to the river which her father owned.

So the two left “Solitude” at two o’clock on a still day, very sultry
and hot; a haze lay thick over the land, and the sun shone red with a
lurid glare, for the haze was the smoke of fires in the woods.

They drove along very rapidly, not talking much, though occasionally
Paul would look at her and she at him, and they smiled with a sense of
well-being and mutual bliss.

“I think,” said Paul at last, “that the Bible makes a mistake when it
says, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’; it should be love.”

“Oh, Paul,” she exclaimed. “The smoke! it is getting so thick.”

Paul was holding his head down.

“Shall we turn back? The fire is crossing the road in front of us. I am
afraid we can’t get through it.”

He turned his horse quickly.

“Launa, it seems as if it were cutting us off.”

They were in a winding road, a crosscut. He started Micmac at a gallop.
If the fire were before them! There was a long hill to climb.

The trap swayed and jolted, for the road was bad. They were tearing
along; the wind was behind them, and they could hear the crackle which
was getting nearer, rising to a hideous roar. A river crossed the road
below the hill—had they time to get to it?

Paul wrapped the rug round his companion, put it over her head, and
covered her mouth.

“Keep it tight,” he exclaimed, “and sit still.”

Then he began to use his whip, having tied his own handkerchief over his
mouth. Micmac was going more slowly in spite of the whip; it seemed as
if he were terrified and paralysed by the pursuing fiend.

“You are not afraid,” said Paul with difficulty, through his
handkerchief.

“No,” gasped Launa, “not with you.”

He put his hand on her shoulder.

“Keep your mouth well covered; the fire is before us. We must go through
it.”

On, on they tore; the smoke almost choked her. It was so terribly thick
that Paul could not see Micmac, though his eyes burnt, and he kept them
open with difficulty. Then the flames ran up a dead pine tree in front
of him, and shed a lurid light through the smoke. The heat was intense;
he shut his smarting eyes, and trusted Micmac would keep the road.

“Oh, if the bridge—a wooden bridge—were not down!” “Were not down!”
repeated itself; “Were not down!”

They were in the midst of the fire now; the roaring was tremendous, and
the trees were flaming and crackling on all sides. Paul covered his eyes
with one hand, and used the whip with the other. It was like the finish
of a race, a race for life, down the hill at a gallop. But the bridge?
It had already caught, and the wood was smoking, when Micmac stopped
with a jerk, and Paul jumped out and took hold of him.

“You must, old boy, you must,” he murmured. “Once over we are pretty
safe. Good horse, good horse!”

The trembling Micmac refused again; the bridge was hot, and frightened
him. Then he went at it with a rush, with Paul still at his head,
half-running, half-dragged by the horse. The river was wide, and the
wind was from the north, blowing the fire down on them over the road,
but not across the stream in the direction in which they were going.

Paul got into the trap quickly, and Micmac galloped on and on and on
until, though the smoke was still thick, they were safe. At last Paul
pulled up, and looked back. The road along which they had come was a
sheet of flame, and he shuddered as he thought of what might have
happened. There were so many pine trees to burn, and to fall burning,
while the side of the river on which they were was covered with alder
bushes and rocks, and the wind, too, was blowing that way.

“Now!” he gasped hoarsely, for his throat was dry and parched. “Now!”

And Launa threw off her rug. Paul was black, his face was flaming and
smutty, his cap had blown off, and his hair stood on end. Her rug was
singed. Micmac had a burn, where a piece of wood had fallen on him, and
he was trembling when Launa got out and patted him, talking while she
did it.

“My darling,” murmured Paul, going up to her, “you are safe; you behaved
like an angel.”

He looked at his hands and did not touch her.

“So did Micmac. Look at him, and you—you are burnt, your hands are
sore. Oh, I am so sorry! Do, do drive back to ‘Solitude,’ and—and—”

“Yes?”

“Oh, drive back!” she said.

They took a short cut across a half made road, and so got behind the
fire. Paul talked very little, and she not at all, though she heard “My
darling” over and over again, and wondered.

Paul stayed at “Solitude,” and after dinner Launa, Whitey, and he sat on
the veranda and watched the fire, still burning in the distance. The
whole sky was in a blaze, but luckily the wind was dying down. They
could see the flames running from tree to tree; they could hear the
roar, but they were quite safe, for the water was between them. In the
dark, Paul silently, secretly took her hand, and they talked to Miss
Black of the annual regatta, and of Canadian ferns. A few stars blazed
high up in the sky, the others were dimmed by the lurid glow, and the
aspen tree quivered in the dying breeze, while the waves of the incoming
tide tapped the boats gently below.

Launa felt in that state of happiness, which says, “_Last, last, last._”

                 *        *        *        *        *

The annual regatta came off that year in July. Everyone knows the St.
Aspenquid Regatta. There were the usual boat races, and excitements and
innocent fooleries; but the best of all was the canoe race for the
championship of Canada. Paul Harvey had entered for it with his friend
Jack Howston.

Before the start they both came to the steam launch, from which Launa
was viewing the races. Harvey, with his strong half-brown, half-white
arms bare above his elbows, looked like work. After a word or two with
Launa, as she leaned down to him, they paddled away to the start. She
heard the pistol shot and the hoarse murmur of the crowd, proclaiming
the race had begun. Far away in the distance the brown canoes could be
seen; Launa watched breathlessly as they came nearer. The paddles
flashed in the sun and on the gleaming dancing water. To Launa, the
long, strong, slow strokes with the absence of haste was maddening; she
stood, not daring to move, watching the white forms as they came nearer,
nearer, the iron muscles in each man showing up as he paddled on and on.
Paul’s canoe was third in the contest.

“Third,” announced Launa. Her voice sounded level, she was just able to
hide her apprehension lest he might fail, and her longing for his
success, which, nevertheless, made her desirous of burying her face in
her hands until the race was over. Her hostess, Mrs. Montmorency, stood
near her, serene, alert, and slight, enjoying her successful party with
a little interest in the races, and a little curiosity as to Launa’s
attitude towards Paul Harvey.

The men ahead were doing their utmost; in the second canoe, too, they
were working hard; but the men in the dark canoe seemed to be dead,
dull—what was it?

The crowd shouted “St. John, St. John!” for the canoe owned by that town
was in front. Disappointment was in the cry. But suddenly the third
canoe gave a spring; it shot forward with a leap, and a bound, and a
swirl through the water, and then on and on. The two men were working,
straining. They passed the second canoe, and the finish was near; the
strong sinews under the arms of the two men showed up clearly. Had they
waited too long? . . . On they crept, and at last with a final, splendid
rush—oh, the ease of it, the seeming lack of effort—the brown canoe
shot ahead of the other. They had won, won. Amid shrieks, cheers, and
waving of handkerchiefs the heroes, the winners paddled away to change.

Launa had been on the verge of tears, caused by excitement, fear,
apprehension, and heaven knows what besides. She was unable to drink her
tea because of a lump in her throat. Paul paddled alone over to her, and
climbed on board the _Lethe_.

“You’ve won,” she said. “I am very glad.”

“And so am I—glad. I am more than glad. It means good luck; it means I
shall win my heart’s desire; it means—” he almost said “You.”

Launa did not answer; she gave him her hand as if they had met for the
first time, and he held it longer than a man does when saying, “How do
you do?” It was like an involuntary childish caress.

He stayed with her until it was time for the single canoe race, for
which he was acting umpire. She was sweet, with a delightful
unexpectedness which fascinated him, as did her varying good looks, her
firm, lithe body.

“I wish they had a ladies’ canoe race,” he said. “You would enter for
it, would you not?”

“Oh yes.”

“They will certainly have one next year, and you will win.”

Launa laughed.

“I must go,” he said with regret. “But I shall soon come back.”

“We shall leave soon now,” said Mrs. Montmorency. “Will you come and
dine at Paradise to-morrow, Paul? We are going over there, and shall
drive home by moonlight. Perhaps you will come and meet us?”

“Thank you,” he replied. “I will.”

Then he got into his canoe, and Launa watched him paddle away with slow
strokes—regretful strokes they seemed to her. His paddling was so
unlike that of the other men, so strong, and his body swayed to the
motion. Mrs. Montmorency brought up a Mr. Evans and introduced him to
Launa. He was a young Englishman, with a respect for the institutions of
his country, a love for his dinner, and for pretty women.

He began by asking whether Launa considered Miss Montmorency pretty, and
whether she liked Wagner. His theories were that a man can tell a
woman’s character most quickly from her ideas on the subject of other
women, as well as from the music she affects.

Near them sat Mr. Archer and the hostess talking. Launa heard a word
here and there as she listened to Mr. Evans’ agreeable remarks, and then
she heard her father say:

“Harvey is a fool or worse. The Indians will not stand it. Peter Joe
came to me about it; he says he would kill him, only that he is sure he
would be hanged for it.”

“You think they will take some quiet revenge,” said Mrs. Montmorency,
“and more deadly.”

“Yes, I do.”

“In their mind a child constitutes marriage?”

“If its father does not want to marry anyone else,” he answered. “They
will be satisfied if he lets things alone, but he won’t.”

“He does want to marry?”

“I think so. Money will considerably improve his house, and pay off some
of the mortgages; he will, I expect, take a wife with money.”

“It is terrible, and such a pity. I always liked Mr. Harvey for his
mother’s sake, and I have ever made him welcome.”

“I advised him to marry her—the squaw,” said Mr. Archer. “It will
finish him socially, but in other ways it will make a man of him. Harvey
is—”

Here they walked away to the bow of the _Lethe_, and Launa’s companion
talked on, and she answered him.

She impressed him with her interest, her air of being fascinated by him,
and all the while she was in torment. Harvey had held her hand! She took
off her pale tan suede glove and threw it into the water. It burnt her;
her hands felt hot.

Her quick action puzzled Mr. Evans.

“Miss Archer, your glove! Is it a challenge? Do you mean me to go after
it?”

“No, no,” she answered. “I hate it; I do not want it. Oh, we are going.”

The _Lethe_ had steam up, and was puffing and moving slowly.

“I am so glad. It is very hot. How cool the air is.”

They passed Paul in his canoe. He waved his hand to Launa, who was
staring into the water, and appeared absorbed in the depths or in her
companion.



                               CHAPTER IV


THAT night Launa could not sleep. She was so angry with Paul Harvey and
with herself; she loathed herself. Her ideas of men and their passions
were those of a young girl, to whom passion is unknown, to whom men
appear as gods. She considered a man must love a woman by whom he has a
child. Love, love! Paul was the father of a squaw’s child—of a squaw’s
child; it reiterated in her brain until she almost writhed with anguish.
She had thought of him as always her own. The shame of it! And worse
than shame, the pain, because she would have to give him up. Oh, to get
home! To be able to wander about alone! Away on the big barrens where
she could move as she liked, and tire herself out. Their wind-laden
sweetness would revive her, their vastness would bring peace; she was so
tired of the life away from “Solitude.” She forgot how much joy hope had
always given to her. She had hoped. The past tense is easily conjugated
once, but to live in the past for ever, to regret for ever is torment,
death-like torment. She resolved not to regret, not to suffer, and so
she read Carlyle until daylight.

Next day Mrs. Montmorency’s party drove to Paradise. There were
wonderful beech woods in which to walk. Paul met them there. His first
look was for Launa; she was standing talking to two men, and he joined
them and waited with patience, until at last he asked her to go for a
walk.

“No, thank you,” she said. “I am too tired to walk.”

“I want to show you the trees. Come into the wood and sit down, you can
rest there.”

“Well, I will walk,” she answered.

She looked at him with an involuntary air of appeal. She was not afraid
of him, she assured herself, only afraid of herself. Some day he might
tell her things, ask her questions, and she, through weakmindedness,
might answer. They started to walk, and she still meditated. Why should
she think he cared for her? Ah yes, and why did she want him to care?
These questions opened an endless vista of ideas and feelings before
her. She felt indifferent for the moment, as no doubt he did.

“The view is lovely,” she exclaimed at last. “Let us go to the village.”

“What are you thinking about?” he asked, coming nearer and looking at
her.

“Of many things. I think in heaven I should miss the sweetness of the
air which is here.”

“So should I.”

They walked down the road past a cluster of Indian cottages. A young
squaw with a baby in her arms sat in front of one of them. Launa looked
at her and at the child; its hair was more curly, and not quite so black
as the long, straight locks of Indian children.

“What a queer baby!” she exclaimed.

She looked at her companion. He was digging with his stick in the red
clay of the road; his eyes were hidden; a red flush mounted to his
forehead, and he was singularly embarrassed. She turned away and walked
slowly on, followed by him in silence.

“What is that noise?” she said.

They heard a sound like a moan quite near them, and it grew louder;
something—some animal—was suffering intensely.

“Look!” she cried.

In a ditch by the roadside lay a horse, thin, so thin that his bones
seemed as if they would come through his skin. A few children clustered
round, throwing stones at it at intervals and poking it with sticks.
Blood slowly oozed from a wound in its head, and its poor body was
covered with sores.

“Do something,” she said, and her voice quivered with the horror of it.
“Can’t we put it out of its misery? Whose horse is it?”

Paul had driven away the children, and gone close to it.

“Someone has half shot it; it must be in torture.”

“Go and borrow a rifle,” she said. “I will stay here and keep away those
little fiends. Do go.”

“You are not afraid?”

“Afraid? No, only so sorry. What horrible, unavailing suffering! Go, and
be quick.”

He walked briskly away, and she strolled up and down. The children came
near to stare at her, but they ceased to torment the horse. She could
not bear its eyes; they seemed to beg of her to kill it, and she could
do nothing. She clasped her hands together with such force that they
hurt her as she longed and longed for Paul’s return. It began to grow
dusk. She had forgotten tea, and the rest of the party—would they be
looking for her, and imagining all sorts of things? Meanwhile the
horse’s moans grew louder; the young squaw with the baby came slowly
down the road—the baby was crying.

Launa asked if she knew who owned the horse.

“A man named Morris, who lives down the road four miles away. He turned
him out to die; he is too old to work or eat.”

The baby wailed.

“Your child is ill,” said Launa.

“Yes,” grunted the girl, who was so young and almost pretty; “my
grandmother cursed him.”

“Cursed him?”

“Because of his father, he—”

“Oh,” interrupted the other, “will Paul never come? If he would only be
quick.”

She could not bear these revelations. The moans of the horse and the
shrill misery of the child were torturing her.

Someone suddenly threw a stone from behind the shelter of a spruce tree;
it struck the horse, which gave a sharp scream. In the distance Launa
heard footsteps. She ran down the road. It was Paul.

“I am so glad you have come,” she said breathlessly, quickly. “Hurry.
Did you get a rifle?”

“Are you _glad_?” his voice changed. “Yes, I have it.”

“The horse is suffering so terribly.”

He looked at her with a certain wistfulness which was unusual.

He is going to tell me he is sorry for _that_, she thought, remembering
the squaw and the child who had come near them.

“Go, go and put him out of his misery,” she said, with quick anger and
excitement. “There is so much torture, so much suffering for animals,
women, and children. Oh, God! it is awful!”

He turned and saw the Indian girl.

“You,” he said merely, but with bitterness, almost hatred, in his tone.
“Go away.”

“You are a brute,” said Launa, “to talk to her in that way. What has she
done? Go and kill the horse.”

“Not until you are further away,” he said, with gentleness. “He may, and
probably will, scream. That woman is not fit for you to talk to or to
touch.”

For one moment Launa felt afraid, and she wanted to ask him to come with
her down the road out of earshot, away from it all. The twilight was
growing dense. The horse would scream; ugh! how horrible the suffering!
There were witches abroad in the night—witches of selfishness, of pain,
of terror. She wanted Paul to put his arms round her, to kiss her, even
with the girl near with his child in her arms. She felt degraded, and
yet loath to let him leave her, until she remembered the horse.

“Come with me,” said Paul, and he took her hand and led her down the
road. “There is a big rock here. You will wait for me? Sit down and I
will wrap your cloak round you; you are cold.”

Her teeth chattered with apprehension as he walked firmly back. She
listened with her fingers in her ears, hearing only the thump of her
heart beating. One, two sharp reports and a sort of checked scream told
her it was over before he came back.

They walked quickly to the hotel, where the rest of the party were
waiting dinner. They were curious as well as hungry, and anxious to hear
the result of all this wood walking. They discovered nothing; neither
Launa nor Paul appeared happy, or at ease. He ate his dinner with
indifference; she ate nothing, and felt as if all her body, beginning
with her teeth, was beyond her control.

Before they left to drive home he said:—

“You misunderstood me to-night. I want to tell you about that squaw.”

“I know it. Do not tell me.”

“You are angry with me because of her. I could not help it.”

“I despise a man who could not help it,” she answered. “I am sorry for
her and for you. You could shoot the horse.”

“You are angry about her?” he asked again.

“I am outraged, not merely angry. Why,” she continued suddenly, “should
there be one law for me and one for her? I could not bear anyone who
treated her claim as nothing. She will belong to you, be one of you—”
she paused.

“I would never treat her claim as of no value,” he said quickly, “but—”

“You will never come again to me,” she said.

Had she said too much? Would he understand? She continued:

“Do not explain. Be careful—they may think of revenge.”

“That is enough. And so it is good-bye? Good-bye, then.”

Mrs. Montmorency took Launa home with her in the brougham. They talked
about clothes, while Launa remembered the queer dark evening, the
half-pretty Indian girl, and heard the wailing sobs of her baby, and
then she saw Paul’s face full of anger. Love was there, hatred as well,
as he said, “Go away,” to the girl. She shuddered, and he thought her
angry—simply angry—good that he could think she felt so slight an
emotion. Women are angry every day with their maids, and their
dressmakers, and their rivals, and it leaves no impression, not even a
wrinkle; there remains no ache whatever, unless it be weariness.

“I _love_ crepon,” she said to Mrs. Montmorency. “It is so soft and
graceful.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

Paul Harvey did not go again to “Solitude.” Miss Black lamented his
absence loudly. From inquiries she made she learned that he had gone
away to the Restigouche with some Englishmen to fish.

Launa took up shorthand as a sedative, and worked with great diligence.
But she learned nothing. However, as neither her father nor Miss Black
was aware of this, because of their utter ignorance of shorthand, its
failure as an attainable subject caused no surprise to them.

Mr. Archer went to New York, and then Launa frequently took long
wandering walks—over stretches of rocky country with narrow, gloomy,
cuttings full of granite boulders, where there were caves.

One day she went, in her canoe, up a stream, until she reached a chain
of lakes where she could paddle on and on—far away into space—where
the stillness was maddening yet restful.

The peace of autumn, of approaching death, lay on the woods. The maples,
with their gorgeous colouring, shone and flamed in the bright sun; the
birches were yellow, almost gold, in the brilliant light; occasionally a
leaf fell slowly, it reminded Launa of a ghost of the end; there was
dread in the creeping slowness, as of the invincible, powerful march of
a quiet enemy. The breeze sprung up gently, it rippled the water, and
stirred the tall pine trees slowly with a rhythmic movement, and the sun
began to sink. She gazed again and again at the warm rapturous
colouring, the triumph of the trees at the end of their summer life, for
the leaves have a glorious finish, and then she turned her canoe round
and paddled swiftly back to “Solitude.”

Everything there was in confusion; Miss Black had been taken suddenly
ill. She was still unconscious, and they had sent for the doctor, who
arrived only to tell them she was dead.

Launa did not know her father’s address. Miss Black’s relations were
merely cousins, to whom her death and funeral were matters of
indifference.

So Launa stayed alone with the dead woman weeping tears of sorrow—some
tears were for the loss of companionship, some for the love and never
ceasing care. The idea of a funeral was terrible to her; death meant
earth and creepy things. At last Mr. Archer got his telegram, and came
home.

Launa felt as if the end had come to her. Death, the intruder, had
entered into her life; he was a powerful enemy, and hitherto she had
only regarded him as a sleeping brother.

Mr. Archer’s grief was not perfunctory, he grieved honestly and really.
Miss Black was his friend—if any longing for a nearer and perhaps
dearer connection (the dearness thereof is wont to depart when the
nearness is an accomplished fact) had ever crossed his mind, it had
crossed only and never taken root. The constancy of man is more
frequently attributable to circumstances than to everlasting love.

Mr. Archer observed that Launa had grown different—older, more absorbed
in something, more sympathetic. Always a child of deep emotions, she had
developed into a woman. But because her heart was not navigable to
floundering old women, the world near “Solitude” called her cold,
unfeeling, and indifferent.

Her father regretted this alteration. She had been a child, but
apparently death had stepped in and changed her.

He studied her gravely and with attention. “Solitude” was dreary.
Launa’s admirers grew weary of vain visits, of fruitless attempts to see
her, and they ceased to come. They said she was in love with an unknown
man; they had to account for her refusal to see them, and pique and
vanity suggested this solution.

After a long, cold winter, spring was beginning. All life was breaking
out again. The world was glad, triumphant, new, and Mr. George Archer’s
mind turned to England. Launa must go there for change of scene and air,
so they left Canada on the first of May.

Launa and Paul had never met since the memorable day he had shot the
horse. Mr. Archer casually mentioned that Paul was in Montreal. Launa
had a burning desire to hear tidings of him, but she repressed it; she
pushed it back, back, back in her mind, far away into those cupboards
everyone has, and keeps locked and sealed always, by sheer force of
will.



                               CHAPTER V


THE long streak of smoke from the steamer’s funnel lay black on the calm
sea; the strong throb of the engines sounded like the measure of a waltz
to Launa. She sat on deck every day after the first woe of sea-sickness
was over, and felt utterly and completely miserable. She wanted to go
back again, for the ache of unconquered pain remained in her heart. She
gave herself a little shake and tried to make herself agreeable to a
young man who was returning to England to be married. He told her
happily that the engines were playing the “Wedding March”; to her it was
a hateful discord, with the refrain of a waltz to which she had danced
with Paul. The young man hummed Mendelssohn, and she heard Paul’s voice,
and fancied his kisses on the warm cheek of the squaw.

“When I am married I would rather have the ‘Dead March in Saul’ played
than that,” said Launa at last.

The triumphant whistler gazed incredulously at her. He found her
irresponsive, so he left her alone, and went to get a whisky and soda.
No doubt the poor girl was feeling sick. She would not argue about
anticipation and realisation, or time and love. She seemed so cold. He
could imagine her sailing on through life alone. She evidently did not
care for men; anyhow she did not encourage him.

Launa was occupied with her thoughts. She was trying to seal up her life
as if it were a book and could be put away. The long, uneventful days
were good for reflection, but they were trying and full of remorse and
regret.

“I am young,” she said to herself; “only nineteen, and I will forget,”
said her mind, “and I wish for Paul,” said her heart, which was like the
ship’s engines—an essential part of movement and life.

“Hearts,” she said to the young man with anticipations, when he
returned, “are only necessary to one’s being as the engines are to a
steamer.”

She considered herself very wise.

“You are so young,” he answered, wondering why she should mention her
heart.

Just then Mr. Archer appeared at the companion door to breathe the air.
He was writing a paper on the intestines of salmon and grayling. The
young man turned to him and said:

“Miss Archer compares our hearts to the engines.”

“A very good way,” murmured the father.

The young man left them and went to play poker; they were an unsuitable
pair. Mr. Archer came over to Launa, who turned quickly to him.

“Father, I heard you talking to Mrs. Montmorency that day on the
_Lethe_—about Mr. Harvey—was it true?”

Mr. Archer frowned.

“What did you hear?”

“Something about—a squaw and a child.”

“It was quite true about the squaw and the child,” he answered slowly.

“Ah!” she exclaimed with a little gasp. “Then a man can think of two
women at the same time.”

Then he turned and looked at her.

“Men are very brutal.”

“You said he was thinking of marriage?”

“He is.”

She turned her face away from him, for his kind, penetrating look hurt
her, and just then she needed him to be cross to her.

“Why do you ask me these questions, child?”

“Because it seemed so strange to me—I could not understand him.”

“Merely strange and not brutal? Nothing to you? Well, you hardly knew
him, Launa.”

“Nothing to me,” she repeated, and her father returned to his writing.

The young man with anticipations saw his departure, and hastened to talk
to Launa. He was singularly anxious to realise the pleasure of Miss
Archer’s society; she was quite original.

“You look pale,” he said, with solicitude.

“Do I?”

“And worried. As if someone were dead.”

“Some one is dead.”

“Relations of yours? Cheer up. Wait until you get to London.”

“And then?”

“Then? Oh, you can have a good time. You can have the best of good times
in London—the very best—and forget everything disagreeable, too. I
give you my word, it is just like morphia. When I am in a hole, and feel
down on my luck, I go to town.”

“Is that the fog? I think I should not like the after effect of
morphia.”

“Fog?” he asked. “No, it isn’t fog, and yet it is fog, too; it deadens
the brain. When someone threw me over, you bet I felt bad. I went up to
town and forgot for a week. I did, really.”

“A week! It lost its effect in a week, so quickly?”

“Well, she wrote then and forgave me, and _I_ hadn’t done anything
wrong; _she_ flirted. But she took me back, and I just licked her
boots.”

“But suppose she had not taken you back?”

“Then I should have lived and forgotten her; I’m hanged if I wouldn’t,”
he said, with energy. “Life does it.”

“Life?—you mean time.”

“I mean living it down.”

“But suppose you could not forget? Suppose you were so fond that you
thought of her always?”

“I would forget. I mean—Well, I couldn’t, you know,” he said, and
laughed. “Now I’ve got her, you see, and don’t need to try. I do not
mind telling you—you seem so interested, and are so sympathetic
to-day—that I only forgot her when it was noisy and all that. But when
I was alone and quiet—at night, you know—I was miserable. You have
nothing like that to worry you, Miss Archer? It is very kind of you to
take so much interest in my trouble. You won’t think of your relations
when you get to town. Are they in Canada?”

“Yes.”

“And one died—a girl, I suppose? And the others want to interfere with
you; they want you to be dull because they are? Relations always do
that. Now, I have an aunt—she’s a caution; she thinks I ought not to
marry. But I would not stand that. Have you any aunts in town?”

“No. My father has a cousin; Mrs. Carden is her name.”

“She won’t bother you, I expect. You are lucky. Your father adores you.
You have plenty of money, and are young. My Aunt Maria is a—Oh, the
very deuce.”

Here he launched forth into anecdotes of his relations, and Launa
murmured a polite accompaniment to his reminiscences until the bell rang
for dinner.

“We’ll meet after dinner, won’t we, and finish our talk? It’s very
jolly,” he said. “You have such a nice voice, too.”

“You have done me a great deal of good,” she answered. “Time is all one
wants.”

“And life, amusement, and love,” he added softly, with a glance at her,
which, considering the state of his feelings for another lady, was
unnecessarily kind.

“Leave out love,” she answered. “I am hungry.”

On deck after dinner when he looked for her she was not to be seen, so
he concluded she was tired and had gone to bed, wherefore he played
poker.

But Launa was not tired. She had hidden from him. His talks about his
Aunt Maria had no interest for her, except when she regarded them as a
narcotic, and then his musings were soothing. That evening she wanted to
think and to be alone.

Her father had insisted on her drinking champagne at dinner. Mr. Archer
said a voyage was exhausting, and he looked weary. He had not recovered
from the surprise which his daughter’s questions had produced. Were they
caused merely by curiosity—the curiosity of an ignorant girl—or by
interest? Curiosity is merely an inheritance from Eve; interest is the
first instinct towards a man when a woman loves him or is going to love
him.

“Launa must drink champagne to-night,” he decided. “And soon we shall be
in London. But why did she ask those curious questions?”

Launa took some cushions and rugs and went forward behind the boats. The
steamer was surging on, the wind was rising, and the waves were breaking
below with big white heads of foam. She began to think; she drew a
picture of it all for herself in her mind and called herself a fool.
Suppose Paul were there on the steamer, suppose he came to her with love
in his eyes, and he were hers for the time—and that was it, that was
what hurt—for the time, perhaps only for a time. Would she be willing
to take him at the price of another woman’s shame? And to know and to
remember what was between her and him, like a bar, or a hand—the warm
soft hand of a woman! No, it was over. She would shut up the book. Paul
was dead, her Paul, the Paul she loved—she would think of him as she
did of her dead mother—sometimes. But her mother was with the angels,
and Paul was alive. She shivered a little; it was cold and damp, and the
swirl of the waves as the steamer rushed through them was cruel.

She resolved to begin again, to rub out the writing of the first episode
of life—such a new book to her—and to make the page ready for London
and fresh impressions.

When the Archers arrived in London they took a flat near the Thames
Embankment, and Launa revelled in new clothes, music, and horses. Her
father soon had many friends. His wee world was exciting itself about
the question of bones of fish, and he flung himself with ardour into the
controversy.

After some days of continual absence on his part, and loneliness on
Launa’s, she went to him and said:—

“I want to know some women. I love nice women. Don’t you know some?”

He looked surprised.

“There is your cousin, Lavinia Carden; she lives in town. I will take
you to see her. Her husband is dead; poor man, he never was happy. He
yearned for the country and for pigs—Lavinia only appreciated bacon,
and would not live out of Bayswater. A month at the seaside was all poor
Carden got in the way of country.”

“I shall not like her.”

“She will give you good advice, Launa,” he said, laughing. “You don’t
like that.”

Mrs. Carden lived in a semi-detached house, beyond Bayswater, far from
the region of the fashionable, in the heart of cheap villadom, where
twelve pennies had to make a little over a shilling. Endeavouring to
save a farthing on one’s rolls or one’s fire-lighters is an absorbing
occupation, and it seems to have most interest for those to whom it is
immaterial whether they do save their farthing or not. Mrs. Carden had
one son. When he was at home she saw what she considered life—an
occasional visit to the theatre, or a dull dinner party, both reached
with due propriety in a four-wheeler.

Mrs. Carden was a selfish woman, with a firm belief in her own opinions,
and her own importance; anyone who contradicted her or disagreed with
her was at once a detestable person. Her affection for her son was
expressed in long letters, and the frequent use of “dearest.” But her
love was variable, and when he was at home he disturbed her breakfasts,
while her nights were made feverish by his late hours, which kept the
hall gas a-light until sometimes past twelve o’clock. Her servants
assumed a more frivolous demeanour on his arrival, and it seemed to her
that while their caps were coquettishly crooked and smart, her stiff
house became sometimes slightly untidy.

Charlie Carden was in a line regiment stationed at Malta, with one
hundred and fifty pounds a year besides his pay. His mother wondered why
he never became dashing, or soldier-like, or anything of a hero, with a
sprinkling from the pepper-pot of wickedness—to possess this is the
bounden duty of every man when he puts on a red coat or a sword. Carden
remained dull, and his mother almost despised him; he was not even
selfish, nor did he bully her.

George Archer and Lavinia Carden were second cousins, she was the only
relation left whom he had known as a boy. His recollections of her were
hazy. In these she figured as a muslin-fichued, sandy-haired girl, in
whose face piety and cruelty struggled for mastery; now she parted her
hair deliberately in the middle, and indulged in them both. In her youth
she had regarded George as a possible husband, and, not loving him, had
forgotten him, therefore when reminded of his existence she felt angry
with him. Was it not his fault that she had married a man whose only
inclinations were to have a farmyard, against which she had had to
struggle all her life?

The day before the Archers went to 52 Lancaster Road a note was sent to
Lavinia to prepare her for their visit. Mrs. Carden therefore left off
her cap for the afternoon, braving the smile of her parlourmaid with the
fortitude of a widow who has given up hope of a second marriage, and who
suddenly finds the wonderful idea returning with unwonted
sweetness—brought back to her by the visit of a man who was long ago
considered a possibility. His fondness for a walk from church on Sunday
evenings with her had more than proclaimed this fact. She forgot he had
a daughter, and that it was five and twenty years since they had met.

The outside of Lavinia’s house was grey. Inside her drawing-room
suggested the past and dust, which was constantly being removed; its
mark was on the carpet, the walls and the furniture. Only the red blinds
shed a little cheerful light, which the drab curtains chastened and
subdued.

Mrs. Carden began by relating reminiscences of the family, and then
pitied George Archer for his long residence among Colonists. He
explained that his residence was quite voluntary, and that he regarded
it as the happiest period of his life.

“Did you think my father was obliged to live in Canada whether he liked
it or not?” asked Launa; “that he was suffering an unwilling exile?”

“Not exactly that,” said Mrs. Carden. “Where are you staying?”

When she heard of the flat, and contemplated Launa’s boots and dress,
she murmured to herself, “Money.”

“George, sometimes when you are busy I should be so glad to take care of
Launa; I would take her to—” She paused. Where could she take Launa?
“We might go to the Zoo.”

“Thank you very much,” said Launa politely. She did not press Mrs.
Carden to name the day for this expedition; she was not favourably
impressed by her relative.

“You will come and dine with us, Mrs. Carden,” said Launa.

“Call me Lavinia,” said Mrs. Carden.

“Come any evening next week; which one will suit you?” asked Mr. Archer.

“Next Thursday,” answered Lavinia.

Then they talked of Mr. Archer’s old home, and looked at photographs of
the whole of the family.

“Those happy days,” murmured Mrs. Carden, not without an uneasy feeling
that her hair was growing thin at the parting; besides, she began to
feel cold without her cap.

They drank weak tea, and Lavinia asked Launa her impressions of England.

“I think London is perfectly delightful,” she answered. “I don’t like
the horses much. You use bearing reins. The river is quite perfect, and
so different from ours. And yet sometimes I long for a stretch of rocky
country, for more freedom. But the music and the life are so
interesting. Yes, I love London.”

“Horses, river, life,” repeated Mrs. Carden.

A horse to her was a vehicle of locomotion, like an engine; it conveyed
her to the station or to a party. Some deluded beings owned horses; she
preferred hers hired, with no responsibility as to legs or grooms.

“You love boating and freedom,” remarked Mrs. Carden. “They are both
often dangerous.”

“In this country, yes—where freedom frequently ends in trespassing,”
answered Launa.

“Or worse—the loss of one’s reputation,” Lavinia said with decision.

Then she turned to George and told him anecdotes. She conversed rapidly
and loudly; when she was a girl her family had told her she was arch.

When they rose to go she said: “George, my dear son will be at home in a
few days. May I bring him to dine? Launa, he is your cousin.”

“Do bring him,” said Mr. Archer; “Launa will be glad to see him, I
know.”

What a name—Launa! reflected Lavinia after their departure. What a
fatality there is in our annexing the Colonies! Still, there is money
behind the girl, and she is young.

By which reflection we may infer that Mrs. Carden thought of her son in
connection with the money and Launa.

The Archers went home in a hansom.

“You call her a woman, daddy; now I call her a fossil,” said Launa. “She
is not the sort of woman friend I need. I want a living woman—not one
who has existed on husks until she withers everyone who goes near her.”

“She is a type,” he answered vacantly.

“She is an imitation. Show me some one who is brave—who has or knows
life.”

“Would you like Mrs. Phillips to come and see you? She is Sir John
Blomfield’s daughter, a widow and young. She wants to know you.”

“I am doubtful, not whether she will like me,” with sublime conceit,
“but whether I shall like her.”

“You must try her,” he laughed.

His daughter amused him with her odd ideas.

However, when Mrs. Phillips did come, Launa approved of her.

All this time Launa was learning. She was filled with a desire to know
and see more; people and life were so interesting. It was like a new
play. She noticed how differently her father, herself, and the others
were affected by it, and the noise was soothing, even at times
deadening.

Launa found Mrs. Phillips entertaining. She explained some of the parts
in this vast human drama. She found Miss Archer absurdly young in many
of her notions, and absurdly old in others.

“I want to see everything,” said Launa, “and to live myself. It is
terrible to feel oneself growing old. It will soon be over, and I
haven’t done what I meant to do.”

Mrs. Phillips laughed.

“Go on. What did you mean to do?”

“I should like,” said Launa, “to be happy.”

“So should we all. Tell me more.”

“I want to play a little first, and then—to make the world a little
brighter for someone.”

“If I were you, I would simply play myself and leave the others alone.
Playing is real and not difficult. Once you begin to mix other people in
your life, with your or their happiness depending on you, you will
probably be very miserable.”

The admiration of one woman for another is sincere when it is felt when
with her, and not merely expressed to a man.

Mrs. Phillips admired Launa for her youth, for her length of limb, and
for her slight, graceful body and her warm brown skin. Launa’s mind was
attractive. She made friends quickly; she seemed very adaptable;
everyone interested her. Some men adored her as they had done at
Musquodobit. To others, with a taste for sensuality, she was an
indefinite slight girl, while to the few she was wholly desirable—madly
desirable. Of course to the crowd she was just a girl.

Music exercised all its old fascination for her. She practised with
diligence, and she listened greedily. It transported her to “Solitude,”
to the wild sea there, to the rivers and lakes, the life which she loved
and missed, which life and Paul she strove every day to forget. And in
music she was with him. It was a dream life—she lived in it. Paul was
dead to her, but for all that he existed sometimes. She was stared at in
her canoe on the river, her paddling was so strong and vigorous, her
body so lithe, her arms so round and firm as she took long, almost
masculine, strokes, and nowhere did she miss Paul so much as she did
there.



                               CHAPTER VI


THE Cardens both went to dinner.

Captain Carden was a nondescript. He might have been attractive if he
had ever appeared interested. He was tall, fair, with grey eyes, and
very ugly hands, which were forced into notice because of his constant
endeavour to hide them. Launa regarded mother and son with curiosity,
for they were English and new, and reminded her of the characters in
Trollope’s novels. Neither Charlie Carden nor his mother appeared to
have found much to interest them in this world. They were ignorant as
well as superior, and gloried in knowing nothing, unlike Mrs. Phillips’s
friends, who were anxious to know everything, and to impress outsiders
with their knowledge.

The Archers talked first about the opera. Mrs. Carden’s ideas of it were
limited to “Pinafore” as new and “Martha” as old. German opera and
Wagner were nothing to her, nor did she care about books.

Captain Carden talked about horses to Launa, who gathered that he
fancied his own opinion as well as his own horses and prowess.

Mrs. Carden thought George should ask her to take the head of the table;
she considered Launa too young. She was disappointed when she found the
table was round.

Mrs. Phillips and Mr. Herbert were the other guests. Mr. Herbert was an
ugly, short man, with a square face, and a stubbly black moustache. He
was a journalist—besides which he was clever. Shortly he was going to
Canada to write articles for some papers on the country and its
resources.

“You are going to write to me, too,” said Mrs. Phillips.

“Yes,” he replied, with a glance, full of—what?

Launa saw it; here was a man and a woman who clearly were of moment to
each other. Launa was so absolutely ignorant of men; she knew only one
man, and she tried to forget him. She had believed in them all as a
class, and in their chivalrous respect for women—indefinite women—and
in their everlasting love for one particular woman at last, but her
belief was tottering.

That all men were brave she believed, too, it was part, an essential
part, of her idea of a man, as all women are lovely and good. Of course
she knew women existed with protruding teeth, who have no attraction,
but men do not _love_ them. Mrs. Carden she classed among them.

Captain Carden talked to her with assiduity. He told her he found London
dull.

“I hate the people; they are so difficult to know. I have called over
and over again on the Huntingdons. You know who he is? Lord Huntingdon
in the War Office. And I go often to the club for billiards, but no one
is friendly, and society is very difficult to get into.”

“But do you not go in for something? Don’t you ride, or row, or play
golf? I think all men should care for things of that sort, even for
making love.”

“I never make love; that means marriage, and I have no money.”

“Do you ride?” she asked, feeling perfectly indifferent as to his reply.
“All soldiers do.”

This conversation was so profoundly insipid.

“Sometimes; but I hate it. I am always afraid of falling off. I go in
for it because the regiment would not think much of me if I didn’t. But
I hope I have not bored you,” with a sudden change of tone. “We are
cousins, you know, and it is so funny how intimate I can be with you;
there are so few women I like, or with whom I can be confidential.”

Launa ate an almond with deliberation.

“Perhaps some day you will come for a drive with me. I might hire a safe
horse.”

“Oh, no, thank you. Please do not trouble, I do not like safe horses.”

Mr. Archer turned to Captain Carden and asked about Malta, and Launa
watched Mrs. Phillips, who was talking very little, while Mr. Herbert’s
conversation was incessant. His air was persuasive, his eyes eager,
ardent, full of desire.

At ten the Cardens departed. Charley Carden had time to assure Launa
again that she was the only woman with whom he could be confidential.
Mrs. Phillips was to stay the night. Launa and she had bedrooms
adjoining, with a door of communication. They both put on
dressing-gowns, and Lily Phillips went into Launa’s room.

“You are not sleepy, are you? Shall we talk?”

“Sit here,” said Launa, “in this comfortable chair.”

There was a small fire.

“I am always cold,” said Launa. “I love a fire.”

“What do you think of Mr. Herbert?”

“I think him clever, and he evidently likes you.”

“Yes, he is clever. But tell me, Launa, are you modern?”

“In what way?”

“Would you ask a man who loved you if he had a past? Would you object to
it if he had?”

“If a past were a present I would object. Can’t men be without past? Is
there always a woman they have loved first?”

She seemed to hear the wailing of a child and the rustling of the trees,
and to feel the fresh breeze. She shuddered. Mrs. Phillips observed the
shudder and the look.

“I do not object. Men are different; they are coarse. They like
kissing—indiscriminate kissing.”

Launa laughed, and said, “Go on.”

“If I love a man I shall not care what he has—past, present, anything,
if he loves me. I would like one man to really love me.”

“You have been married,” suggested Launa.

“But not loved. My husband was nice; we never quarrelled, but we never
made it up. Nice men do not love women; they ask us to marry them, to be
mothers to their children. Devils love us and often leave us.”

For some time there was silence.

“You like Mr. Herbert?” again asked Mrs. Phillips.

“He wants to marry you,” said Launa.

“He thinks he does. I am afraid of marriage. I am four-and-twenty and I
feel fifty; he is thirty and seems twenty.”

“If I were a man,” said Launa, “I would love you. You are not merely
beautiful; you are more—not only attractive, you will never grow old.”

“Thank you, dear,” said Mrs. Phillips; “that is a compliment.”

Mrs. Phillips was small and slight; her hair was a very dark brown, her
lips were red, her eyes large and dark blue. Her mouth was the most
beautiful part of her face. Her fascination was great; men loved her,
went mad over her, and loved her still. She was not good-tempered; a man
would never have chosen her for his friend merely. She was variable; not
the least of her attraction was that men never could tell how she would
treat them. Some women lose their power by their variableness; Mrs.
Phillips gained hers. She was cold, yet she could have been passionately
fond; but she worshipped self-control, and considered a man ceases to
care for a woman when once he is sure of her.

“I shall marry him,” she said. “I think I shall. He is not poor, but I
shall never live with him.”

“Why not? What will you do?”

“Though he cares for me, he will grow tired of marriage, and so shall I.
The accessibility of a wife is so dull. I shall live in my own flat, and
he can keep his rooms. Our marriage notice in all the papers will be
followed by a week’s honeymoon, and then he can go back to his work, and
I can play. He must love me better for not being sure of me at
breakfast, weary of me at dinner, and asleep in the drawing-room at
night. All the attraction of the—” she paused—“of the others will be
mine. I shall be his wife. We can entertain, and he will be sure of me.”

“Do men always grow tired of us?” asked Launa, “even if or when they
love us?”

“Not always tired, but secure. If they were merely tired, they would let
us alone. They cease to desire to please us; we belong to them. Ah, my
dear, love! do men love us? Yes, they love us, but do they love one
woman?”

Launa’s clock struck twelve.

“I must go to bed,” said Lily Phillips. “I shall not kiss you. Women
should never kiss each other. Good-night.”

“Good-night,” repeated Launa.

“That Carden man will want to marry you, Launa. Beware of them both. He
is a worm, and has awful legs!”

A few nights after this, Mrs. Phillips took Launa to a ball given by
some bachelors—eligible, delightful young men—whose reputation for
wickedness was wholly obliterated by their fortunes or the want thereof.

Captain Carden was there. He had procured his invitation with great
difficulty. The mother of one bachelor had cause for gratitude towards
him. Her son was in his regiment, and when his reputation promised to
become inconveniently large, Captain Carden for once used his wits,
saved him from the consequences thereof, and the family felt they owed
Captain Carden something. Mrs. Carden rejoiced. She thanked Providence
for having delivered the sons of the enemy into her hand, and piously
glanced at the ceiling (where a brass chandelier hung, symbolic of the
worship of light, also brass) when Charlie related his success. He
disliked Mrs. Phillips. She circumvented him by introducing several men
to Launa before Captain Carden could demand more dances than he had a
right to expect. But then she could give him only two.

“Mr. George will amuse you, dear,” said Mrs. Phillips to Launa. “He is
clever, and will tell you about his books.”

Mr. George appeared young, and looked not more than two-and-twenty. He
was tall, with a pink and white skin, yellow hair, and an infantile
smile. He seemed to have vacated the pinafores of the nursery only the
day before; but this was not the case, for he had really left them long
ago, and he was thirty years old. He told Miss Archer he was writing a
book.

“About what? Is it a novel?” she asked.

“About Beginnings,” he replied; “they are so neglected. Everyone writes
about Pasts and Probable Futures, but Beginnings are so interesting. The
first love-making is a joy, afterwards it palls. The Beginning—the
doubt of how she will take it, and how one can make it—is rapture.”

“You think there is joy in uncertainty?” she said.

“I do,” he replied.

“But when men love, they—”

George interrupted her.

“Dear Miss Archer, I have taken to you at once. I notice you do not use
that detestable expression ‘in love.’ This is our Beginning. You were
saying—?”

“I was going to say, when men love they are never happy until they
discover whether she loves them in return; uncertainty gives them no
joy.”

“It does, they _think_ it does not. That is just what I want to
illustrate; when a man does know it, and she does love him, then he
marries her, he is certain of her. He may become resigned, but he is not
happy, and then—”

“Yes, and then?”

“He is forever dissatisfied.”

“I thought women only were dissatisfied.”

“Men are, too,” said Mr. George; “I want to show the unhappiness of
certainty. I know it.”

“This is our dance, Launa,” said Captain Carden, standing before her and
endeavouring to show his proprietorship.

She did not rise. She looked at him and resented his calling her “Launa”
as he did. He was not her friend. She disliked him. His jerky manner and
his shifty eyes repelled her.

“Launa,” murmured Mr. George, “your name? and it was surely not given by
your godfathers and godmothers?”

“Our dance,” said Captain Carden again.

“I will tell you about my name,” she said, “by and by.”

The band was playing a waltz. In spite of herself she felt gay,
inspirited. To Captain Carden it was as all other waltzes. He was tired
of dancing with young ladies who bored him, and equally weary of ladies
who plainly showed they thought him not worthy of a look or a word.

Launa came as a change and a relief. She had intense vitality and
energy; a waltz always affected her; it made her glad or sad. She loved
the music, the motion, and she looked so desirable.

Captain Carden was not sure whether she was beautiful or not. He wanted
to hear someone else say it; he distrusted his own opinion; he had no
self-confidence. She was eligible, virtue of virtues; he was a man, she
a woman, and as such glad to get him. Did a woman ever refuse a man with
his advantages? Never.

Dancing gave Launa more colour. She waltzed several times round the room
with him. He danced badly, and held her too close. They stopped. Her
hair was ruffled. She stood near him, and he longed to possess her, to
own her, to kiss her until she was breathless. His eyes shone as he
looked at her. How he would reform her. She would long for his words;
she would yearn for his caresses.

“Isn’t that a reviving waltz?” she asked.

“Yes,” he replied almost impulsively.

Her presence was reviving, not the music. After this she danced with Mr.
George, and explained her captivating name to him. He said he adored it.

“As a Beginning,” she suggested.

“Yes,” he answered instantly.

Then he asked leave to call upon her father to explain his recently
published book of Proverbs. He offered to bring a copy with him, and she
accepted his offer, for he greatly amused her.

She met another man, called Wainbridge. He also expressed his intention
of calling at Victoria Mansions. He called himself a musician, though he
did not play any instrument; she promised to play for him.

“He will be Lord Wainbridge some day,” said Mrs. Phillips, as they drove
home together. “His uncle has no children by this wife. If she were to
die!” Lily Phillips shuddered, “there is another, a young woman with
sons.”

“He must be a beast,” said Launa.

“No, not necessarily, only a victim to circumstances, and she is very
pretty. I think Mr. Wainbridge knows her. Lady Wainbridge is a horror;
she is a Plymouth sister, and wears bombazine always, and a front. She
was only evangelical when he married her, and he considered she
possessed the possibilities of the good wife, and he expected an heir.
He has suffered intensely.”

“Rubbish,” said Launa, “the other woman suffers.”

“You may be sure he has settled all he can on her,” said Lily Phillips,
“for I suppose she does suffer, principally because she is not his wife.
I often wish I knew her. I wonder if she feels wicked. It would be
interesting to know any one living on a volcano, as she does. His wife
might die, he might marry a young and innocent girl. Men like their
wives to be ignorant of their vices and peculiar passions until after
marriage—then—Well, good-night. It was a very cheery ball. You liked
it?”

“Immensely,” answered Launa.

“You are very young, Launa. You think men love once. You would not care
for a man who could love you and kiss another woman?”

“He could not love me then.”

“My dear, men are different. There is passion and love, and not always
felt for the same woman. Love and passion last; passion alone—Bah! it
is nothing.”

“Nothing,” repeated Launa.

“It is an impulse; it goes, and they love you again.”

Some days after the ball they were all at tea at Mrs. Phillips’s—Mr.
Wainbridge, Launa, Mr. George, and others. The two men had already
called on Mr. Archer, and had been invited to dine.

“I want above all things in the world,” said Launa slowly, “to drive a
hansom, to sit up high and see the world.”

“I bet you five pounds you can’t,” said Mr. George. “I beg your pardon.
But I am sure you can’t.”

She laughed. “I will.”

“How will you climb up?” asked Mrs. Phillips.

“Easily. I will do it at night.”

“And drive me,” Mr. George said. “I will pay you. Don’t overcharge.”

“Take me too,” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“You may both come,” answered Launa gaily.

“You must all dine here to-morrow night,” said Lily Phillips. “Launa,
make your arrangements, and get it over.”

It was after dinner. Launa and Mr. George had been delightful. Mr.
Wainbridge was suffering from his feelings for her; he could not be
frivolous. The carriage came for Miss Archer, who sent it away.

“Come,” she said. “Good-night, Lily, I am going to drive. Jacobs got me
a hansom, and has arranged it all for me. Do hurry,” she said to Mr.
George. “I feel so excited.”

She put on a long driving coat, a little cap, and a very large silk
handkerchief, which went round her neck, and covered the lower part of
her face completely.

Mrs. Phillips came out to the door.

“We can’t start here,” said Launa; “the hansom is in a narrow street
close by.”

They found it waiting just round the corner.

“Get in quickly,” she said.

“I won’t,” said Mr. Wainbridge, “until you are up. Don’t do it. I wish
you wouldn’t.”

“Rubbish,” she replied. “I am going by the back streets. I know the way,
so does the mare. I am driving Nell, you know.”

She climbed up and arranged the rugs.

“It is splendid, it gives one such a grip. Let her go.”

They dashed off with a clatter. The mare evidently was pulling.

“I never thought she would do it,” said Mr. George.

“I wish to Heaven she had not tried,” said the other.

“Get out, then,” said Mr. George. “Shall I stop her?”

“No! If she is killed, I’ll be killed too!”

Mr. George laughed quietly with intense enjoyment. They drove through
dark streets. Launa had been coached by Jacobs which way to go. In one
place where it was brightly lighted there was a public-house and a
policeman. She drove slowly. Mr. Wainbridge glanced with apprehension at
the stalwart supporter of law.

Then they turned a corner, and stopped in front of Victoria Mansions.
Jacobs was waiting. Launa got down.

“It was perfectly celestial,” she said. “I never enjoyed anything so
much in my life.”

“Nor I,” said Mr. George, “though I owe you five pounds. There is
something romantic in being driven by a woman, and that woman you, and
you drive so well. I am callous when I remember that five pounds, though
I was alarmed about you.”

“Of course I would not take it,” she said.

Mr. Wainbridge looked white. He helped her to take off her coat.

“You will never do it again,” he said. “Promise—never.”

She laughed softly.

“I shall do it perhaps if I want to.”

“Only with me.”

The tone was beseeching.

“No, no, with anyone I choose.”

After they left, Launa went into her father’s work-room.

“I drove to-night,” she said. “Mr. George and Mr. Wainbridge came in the
hansom, and I drove it.”

“You drove a hansom cab?”

“Yes, I feel very proud, so don’t tell me I ought not to be.”

“You should be ashamed, and I must scold you.”

“Ah, no. You are a dear.”

“Was it a successful party? You like Mrs. Phillips?”

“I like her very much. . . . Do men love women—often?”

Her father looked at her, but it was evidently a problem question, not
as it affected herself, but others.

“Yes,” he replied.

“They talk so much about it.”

“I suppose so. You have . . . no theories, no experience, I suppose?”

“No, I think a man in love must be rather a bore. Good-night, I am very
sleepy.”

“Don’t drive any more hansoms, Launa.”

“Very well, father, I won’t.”



                              CHAPTER VII


MR. ARCHER had gone on a trip to Norway.

Mrs. Phillips was at Marlow with some friends, Mr. Herbert was there
also.

Mrs. Phillips had written to Launa telling her the new shirts were
becoming and the new punt a success. From this Launa gathered that Mr.
Herbert, as well as the punt, was agreeable. Lily had too much
experience to give in to his supplications at once, or to agree with him
that love was of any avail in life. She said marriage rhymed with
carriage very properly, and love with nothing. Besides, she was aware
that after a woman has said “I love you” frequently there is nothing
left to say.

Launa was all alone.

This particular afternoon she had arrayed herself in a wonderful
tea-gown—a combination of Greece and Paris with flashes of audacity
thrown in, green and cream and gold—it was loose where it is pretty to
be loose, and tight where it showed the curves of her figure.

She was playing to herself—Chopin and Wagner. Her wrists had gained in
strength, her tone in volume, and her mind—that, too, had gained in
experience and insight. The world was opening to her—undreamt of
possibilities intruded sometimes—but Lily’s ideas of taking the goods
the gods give to-day while never thinking of to-morrow, were attractive.
Yet Launa could not forget Paul; in her heart she believed in the future
“Goldene Zeit” which _must_ come.

It was impossible for her to realise that she could not command
fate—destiny. She had assumed the command once, that day with Paul, and
now she regretted it. She could not write to him; everything was against
that, and if he were to come over, as she often hoped he would, how much
better would it be? The Indian girl came between them. She knew her
father would never consent to any marriage between herself and Paul.
Launa had cultivated an ideal of women’s behaviour to other women; they
should always support the wronged woman, even when it means losing a
hearts desire. Until it meant losing her own heart’s desire she had
derived much joy from this theory, now she realised that no one can be
happy on a theory.

She played a Chopin study: relentless fate—a chilling, creeping fiend
of Impossibility—went through it, which mocked the delusive sound of
far-away joy and happiness somewhere—the indefinite somewhere.

She heard a faint rustle of a _portière_ behind her, but she played on.
When it was over she put her head in her hands, then let her hands fall
with a crash upon the keys. The sound expressed her feelings, the
discord was a relief.

“How do you do?” said some one softly behind her.

She started and turned round to see Mr. Wainbridge. There were tears in
her eyes enough to soften them as she looked up at him. She did not rise
hurriedly, or look startled as the majority of women would have done,
but held out her hand, which he took.

“Shall I go away?” he asked. He admired every detail of her appearance,
and the look in her eyes surprised him. “You would like to be alone and
I cannot bear to leave you,” he said slowly, while still holding her
hand.

His expression and intonation were not lost on her—they meant power in
herself; he could not leave her; and the desire of power comes after
love in the aspirations of some women.

“No, stay,” she said. “Sit down.”

He chose a chair near her and the silence was restful—most women
consider it fatal. He had begun to compare her with other women.

“You heard my discord?”

“I heard it,” he replied.

“And interpreted it?”

“No, I cannot say that.”

“I will play to you,” she said, rising with a quick litheness which
reminded him of a serpent.

She played Liszt’s arrangement of Mendelssohn’s “Auf Flügeln des
Gesanges.”

“Thank you; I have enjoyed it intensely,” he said, when she had
finished. “‘Thank you’ is poor—it cannot express my meaning. You play
magnificently.”

“I am glad you think so,” she replied. “When you came I was wishing I
could do nothing. You understand? To acquiesce is happiness if one knows
no better.”

“But if one does know? Believe me, acquiescence is misery. The wings of
song carried you somewhere far away?”

“How do you know?” she asked suddenly. “To fight, to be, and to do, are
the best.”

“Like our childish friend the verb; you have left out to suffer,” he
suggested softly.

She laughed, and he felt baffled.

“Let us go and have tea.”

“On the principle of feed a man when he bores you,” Mr. Wainbridge said
with irritation.

“No, not at all. I love my tea, and it will be cold. Tell me first how
you like my music-room? It is my own particular abode; you were admitted
by mistake.”

“May I be admitted again?”

“Perhaps—tell me about my room?”

He had forgotten to look at the surroundings. The room was long, and
rather high—the walls were a dull rich cream colour; quantities of
flowers were arranged everywhere, principally irises with their long
leaves, in immense dull brown jars. Standing near the piano was a
eucalyptus tree, its dull grey-green leaves hung over Launa. Green,
brown, and cream were the colours in the room, with red here and
there—the warm red of autumn leaves.

“The room suits you,” he replied.

Mr. Wainbridge found personal conversation was over with the change of
room. She talked of the last new book, and of bicycling. He made himself
agreeable. He was a prudent young man, and well received everywhere;
plain daughters of dukes and marquises were glad to talk to him—he was
a Possibility; there was a doubt owing to his uncle and the Plymouth
Sister. There was a legend about Mr. Wainbridge that he once had loved
someone of the lower classes—the someone was indefinite—it was
supposed she had died or married. Some people gave Mr. Wainbridge credit
for the virtue of forsaking her.

They had finished tea when Mr. George was announced. He had a large book
with him. It was his own book of proverbs, and he brought it to present
to Launa.

“Precept is better than example,” he began. “Don’t you think so,
Wainbridge? I always have set a good example, but—”

“Mrs. Carden,” said the maid, and the rest of Mr. George’s sentence was
lost in the rustle of that lady’s entrance.

She was arrayed principally in bugles. She looked war-like, and as if
she might suddenly sound the call to battle on one of her ornaments.

Launa introduced the men to her. Mrs. Carden accepted tea, and observed
that George was away.

“I am here,” whispered Mr. George softly. “Does she want me?”

Launa frowned at him.

“Yes,” she replied; “he is in Norway. I heard from him to-day.”

“I am sure Mrs. Carden will agree with me,” said Mr. George agreeably,
“about proverbs. Precept _is_ better than example. Miss Launa, your
father plainly thinks so. He is away enjoying himself. He sets you a bad
example, but his precepts are excellent. My edition of the proverbs is
so convincing.”

Mrs. Carden gazed at him, her cake in her hand half-way to her mouth,
which was open.

“Is it really precept is better than example? Did Solomon say it? I only
know his proverbs. I brought my son up on them.”

She was rather at sea as to Mr. George’s position, he seemed so
self-assured and so moral. Could he be the head of a new sect, or the
editor of a paper?

“Solomon says, ‘The lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb,’” said
Mrs. Carden. “He is a very wise man.”

“That is not a mere precept,” said Mr. Wainbridge softly. “He said it
from experience.”

“Solomon’s example was variable,” said George.

“But he was very wise,” observed Mrs. Carden.

“Very,” said George solemnly. “Precept is better than example.”

“What?” she asked, “surely you have made a mistake, and the true version
is ‘example is better than precept.’”

She wore an air of triumph, and glanced proudly round her.

“Mr. George is writing a book,” said Launa, “on proverbs. He is—”

“Correcting the faults of the world,” said Mr. George, humbly.

“A necessary task,” said Mrs. Carden, “in these degenerate days. Mr.
M^{c}Carthy, who preaches at St. Luke’s, Launa (I advise you to go and
hear him), is a son of Dr. Willis, in the faith—”

“What a good name. I did not know that was what they called it,” said
Mr. George softly; “but add in love—in faith and love.”

“Miss Archer was playing to me,” said Mr. Wainbridge. “Have you heard
her?”

He addressed his question to Mrs. Carden, who appeared perturbed.

“No. I am sure she can play. But I dislike music excessively. I played
myself once; and my son has a flute. I find it disturbing.”

“There is so much wind needed for the flute,” said Mr. George. “It is an
instrument which reminds one of a hurricane.”

“I love a penny whistle,” said Launa. “I can play ‘Honey, my honey,’ on
mine.”

“Play it now,” said Mr. George. “Please, Miss Archer. I really cannot
call you Miss Archer any longer. Miss Launa is so much prettier; and
Launa is the prettiest name in the world.”

“You may call me Launa if you like. I never was called Miss Archer as
much as I have been since I came to England. I will play the penny
whistle for you some day. Mrs. Carden would not like it now.”

“Pray do not mind me; I must go. I am always at home at half-past five;
I dine at six. I came, my dear Launa, to ask you to come and spend a few
quiet days with me while your father is away. Charlie is also away.”

“Thank you. It is very kind of you to think of me,” replied Launa. “I
cannot come and stay, for I promised my father I would not leave the
flat just now. You see all our servants are new, and he would not like
me to leave them alone.”

“How terrible if they danced in your music room,” said Mr. Wainbridge,
with a smile.

“Terrible,” said Launa.

“There is no reason why we should not dance there,” observed Mr. George.
“Example! precept! Let us dance.”

“I think, Launa, it would be much better for you to come to the shelter
of an English home, during the time of your father’s absence. It is not
proper for you to remain here alone.”

“I prefer a Canadian shelter,” said Launa, with sweetness.

“Are you having music lessons, dear Launa?” asked Mrs. Carden. “And have
you taken up any serious study, yet?”

“I go to Herr Winderthal’s twice a week and play for him, and with him.
He has two other men for the violin and the ’cello; we play trios and
quartettes. You know the quartette with ‘Die Forelle,’ motif by
Schubert?”

“Alone?” inquired Mrs. Carden, with apprehension.

“Alone? No. Three people play in a trio, and four in a quartette,” said
Launa.

Mr. George laughed, and said:—

“No one will listen to me. And I do so want to explain my proverb to
you, Miss Launa. You see, if a woman has a brutal temper she does
absolutely as she likes, and never sets an example; her precepts are
obeyed, she has a good time, the best; and you see a saint whose example
is quite heavenly, does any one imitate her? No, they only make her do
more, work harder, and set a better example. Then they admire her.”

“You have met that woman?” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“Several of them,” said the other.

“Good-bye,” began Mrs. Carden. “I am disappointed in you, Launa.”

Launa did not inquire the reason of her disappointment, but shook hands
with her, accompanying her to the door, followed by the two men.

“Come to me when you are in difficulties,” said Mrs. Carden. “Your
housemaids—”

She waved her parasol as the lift bore her down, and went home in a
state of agitation; for in the future Launa would have great
possessions, and the Carden exchequer was low. Could it be that the
young man with the proverbs had discovered this? That he would desire
Launa?

She resolved to invite herself to lunch with Launa the next Sunday, and
to make Charlie call the day of his return.



                              CHAPTER VIII


MRS. CARDEN drove home in a hansom, a strange and unusual extravagance.
At Launa’s she had been bewildered—the conversation was so difficult to
understand, so full of proverbs and of Solomon.

In the hansom Mrs. Carden would think well. She turned the situation
over in her mind and stopped at a telegraph office to send Charlie a
telegram. He was fishing with some uninteresting cousins in Kent. Mrs.
Carden sent for her friend and confidante, Miss Sims. Miss Sims had been
fat, she now was thin, and weighed only seven stone—she gloried in thin
arms and a scraggy neck, and told everybody about herself in a sad
voice. It is better to be poor and lean than poor and fat, the rich ask
one to dine more frequently.

Mrs. Carden told her lean friend as much of the subject as was necessary
for her to know.

Mrs. Carden’s principles were good—on principle. She was firmly
persuaded that Charlie was deeply, virginly in love with Launa, and that
Launa was wandering—was being attracted by strange men who talked of
books and pianos with intimacy, and of proverbs. At first she had an
idea that Mr. George was a leader of some kind. From the sheltered
seclusion of beyond Bayswater she had read the papers, and had heard
that at one fashionable church the clergyman lectured on dress in the
pulpit, while his wife wore a becoming cassock in the chancel. Miss Sims
and Mrs. Carden took counsel together, and the result thereof was that
Charlie loved Launa, and Launa must see the advantage of such affection.

Mrs. Carden sent Launa a post-card, saying she would go to lunch the
next Sunday at two o’clock. If Launa was obliged to go out, she must
leave lunch for her relative, and empty rooms—Mrs. Carden adored rooms
without their owners.

Mrs. Phillips was still staying at Marlow; Mr. Herbert, too, was there.
She was in the uncomfortable situation of indecision; he in an equally
uncomfortable one. He had made up his mind, but a solitary mind which
has determined on its own course of action is weariness, because for
happiness it requires the acquiescence of the other person, and Lily
would not agree that what would make him happy would necessarily make
her so.

Her doubt had not spoiled her appetite, the arrangement of her neckties,
nor any one of those details to which a well-dressed woman is always
attentive, but it did spoil the sunshine and the river; the wind in the
rushes made her shiver, and the backwaters were lonely and too
convenient for episodes. The locks and people were delightful; the
puffing of steam launches was a sound of joy. She took to rowing, and
suffered tortures afterwards from stiff arms and a stiffer back. When
she did not row, Mr. Herbert did; she sat in the stern and discoursed to
him, and he enjoyed her conversation. The boat was delightful: it was
quite cranky, and neither person dared to move about; conversation with
three yards between them must be of the day and not of the feelings, or
if feelings are mentioned, one means those delightful, unexplainable
sensations which are merely useful as subjects of conversation, and do
not agitate one sufficiently to make one uncomfortable.

At the end of a month Mrs. Phillips went up to Paddington. Mr. Herbert
accompanied her; they sat in opposite corners of the carriage, and she
read the _Lady’s Pictorial_ while he smoked. At Paddington they parted,
and she drove to Victoria Mansions to stay with Launa.

Mr. Wainbridge was there, and they were having tea. Mrs. Phillips found
it cool and restful, and the sensation of being not the first and only
woman was novel and possessed a reposeful charm. They were arguing about
music, and the room was full of flowers.

When Launa received Mrs. Carden’s post-card she threw it to her friend
Lily.

“There,” she said.

Mrs. Phillips groaned.

“I cannot endure that woman. Who are you having to lunch as well?”

“Mr. Herbert, Mr. Wainbridge, you and I.”

“Shall I ask papa? He is so cheerful.”

“Do, if you think he will not be bored.”

“My dear, he admires you immensely.”

Sir John Bloomfield was a cheerful old gentleman; he took this world as
it treated him, and that was well. He had been married twice. The second
lady, Lily’s stepmother, had money, and did not live long. She had taken
life seriously, and it killed her. Sir John’s curly hair was white, and
also his moustache; he wore his hat with a gentle incline to one side of
his head. It gave him a rakish air of joviality; he affected the society
of young married women, all except his daughters—he took no interest in
either of them. He came to lunch on Sunday, fresh from a stroll with a
delightful young woman, after an hour’s contemplation of the smartest
bonnets in church, and having listened to the cleverest preacher in
London, whose sermons lasted ten minutes only. He was a brilliant man.

They were all in the drawing-room when Mrs. Carden rustled in.

Sir John attached himself to Launa as he objected to elderly ladies,
because they were so apt to take it for granted that his opinions were
like theirs—middle-aged—and Sir John was quite modern.

At lunch Mrs. Carden sat between Mr. Herbert and Sir John, who devoted
himself to Launa. There was another reason to account for his youthful
air—he had not the gluttonous enjoyment of food the middle-aged and old
acquire.

Mr. Herbert was absorbed in his lunch. Mrs. Carden began to talk. She
was hungry, but the waves of Sir John’s anecdotes threatened to engulf
her and to reduce her to silence.

She talked of music halls and of morality. In those days both were
subjects of conversation and of argument.

“I hate morality,” said Launa. “It means nothing. It is only a name.
Maud is so fond of talking of it. Maud is very vulgar.”

Mrs. Carden pushed away her plate with impatience. She ate the pudding
afterwards, for it was excellent. She was horrified.

Sir John helped himself to cream with deliberation. Mr. Wainbridge
looked at Launa. Mrs. Phillips saw the look and interpreted it.

“My dear Miss Archer,” said Sir John, “the world is very hard; its rules
are firm and not easily broken.”

“I do not agree with you,” said Mrs. Carden. “They are broken with
impunity very easily.”

“Probably you do not agree with me,” said Sir John. “I haven’t tried to
break any. I do not speak from experience.”

“The world does not mind its rules being broken,” said Mrs. Phillips.
“It minds only when it discovers the hole and is obliged to notice it.”

“There are saints to whom the good people would not, could not speak,”
said Sir John.

“Purity and morality are often mistaken,” said Launa, “by the world. It
is unjust, and justice is cruelty.”

“It is law,” observed Mr. Wainbridge, with a sigh.

“Law and the promises,” said Sir John.

“Prophets,” corrected Mrs. Carden.

“Promises are interesting,” he continued, talking rapidly because he
knew he had made a mistake. “A man should always keep a promise.”

“No,” said Launa.

“Yes,” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“I would rather hear the truth,” said Launa, “even if it hurt. One
moment’s pain would be better than days of regret.”

Mrs. Carden shook her head and waved her hands. Pantomime was her only
resource.

Sir John assumed his spritely air.

“We are too sad; we are discussing such uninteresting subjects. No man
ever breaks a promise to such charming ladies as there are here. Lily,
tell us about your river adventures.”

“Ask Jack.”

Mr. Herbert smiled.

“We went out in the boat every day—Lily rowed occasionally and I rowed
frequently. We disagreed on various subjects every day, on the marriage
question and on—on—”

“On what?” said Launa.

“On that—”

They laughed together.

“What is ‘that’?” said Mrs. Carden.

“A preposition,” answered Mr. Herbert shortly.

“Oh, no,” said Lily, “it’s a pronoun.”

“‘That’ is an adverb,” said Mrs. Carden. “Launa, I shall tell Maud that
you called her—vulgar.”

“Oh! do.”

“Women always tell,” said Mr. Herbert. “I told a woman something once
and she told. She—”

“I am not a woman,” said Mrs. Carden, “who carries tales.”

“But you are going to tell someone what Miss Archer said of her,”
observed Mr. Herbert. “Men don’t do that.”

“Ah!”

“Nobody tells, really.”

“_I_ did not tell, Jack,” said Mrs. Phillips.

“Tell us now,” said Sir John. “If you get the credit of telling we may
as well derive some amusement from the story. Miss Archer, what do men
usually tell you.”

“Different things. They do not confide in me. I am not sympathetic
enough.”

“Are you not?” inquired Mr. Wainbridge. “I think you are. I should love
to confide in you.”

He looked again at her, so did Mr. Herbert, and Lily observing both
looks concerned herself with Mr. Herbert’s, which was one of
admiration—developing admiration.

It was then that marriage with him appeared desirable, or rather the
owning of him would be pleasant. Mrs. Phillips imagined her wedding and
the wedding dress! He could admire another woman!

They got up from the table, and Mrs. Phillips stayed with the men to
smoke. After his cigarette Sir John went to the Club. Mrs. Carden seated
herself on a sofa and demanded a footstool, then when Launa announced an
engagement for the afternoon, Lavinia arose and took her departure.
Launa and Mr. Wainbridge drove off in a hansom.

“Do you think they are really going to hear music?” asked Mr. Herbert,
when Lily and he were alone.

“Why not?”

“Because it is so hot, and because _I_ would much rather talk to you
here, so I naturally suppose every other man would rather talk to the
woman he loves than listen to any music. I have made up my mind to marry
you in a month.”

She smiled enigmatically.

“Very well. You know my bargain. I cannot live with my sister; she
swamps me. Her mind and her life are like a bog. It is dull living
alone; you would provide an element of excitement.”

“You say marriage is not love. Is it exciting?” he asked.

“A husband should be reviving,” she answered, “and should endeavour to
be—a lover—always.”

Mr. Herbert came over to her.

“I shall always be your lover.”

“And you agree to my conditions?”

“You are to keep your rooms; I am to keep mine. Is that it?”

“Yes. What else?”

“We are seldom to have breakfast together.”

“Very seldom,” she answered.

“After our honeymoon?”

“After our—after that—yes,” she said.

“But dinner always.”

“Dinner often,” she corrected.

“Take off your rings,” he said.

Mrs. Phillips frowned.

“You are too commanding.”

“Please.”

“You do it,” and she held out her hand.

He gravely pulled off first one with two large turquoises—he had given
it to her—next a small one with a diamond, then her wedding ring which
he put in his pocket, and replaced it with one almost exactly like it.

“With my body I thee worship,” he said, and he added a ring with three
large sapphires in a light gold setting. The stones were set high and
they shone.

“You do not wear his ring now.”

“How beautiful the stones are,” she answered.

“I have always been jealous of that ring,” he said.

“Have you? ‘Jealousy is as cruel as the grave,’ saith Solomon. Do not be
cruel.”

“I could not be anything with you but kind,” he replied, with a sort of
unsteadiness, for though she was not lovely she was alluring,
fascinating. He could have followed her away from everything, through
disasters and fire without feeling it, until she left him.

“The honeymoon was invented for Adam and Eve before the Fall,” she said
slowly, “and before the appearance of the serpent. Is there necessarily
a serpent now?”

“You spoil everything by analysing it,” he replied. “You should look on
things as a whole, and not dissect them; that is one of your own maxims.
You told it to me when I asked of what your new hat was made. You said
it was a whole and a creation.”

“But honeymoons are not wholes, nor are emotions. Everything is largely
constituted of them.”

“They are moments. Live for one moment.”

“It passes so quickly,” she said, and sighed.

“Then, in a month,” he suggested, with an outward air of boldness,
though inwardly he was doubtful and quaking, “you will marry me.”

“In a month! How soon!”

“How far away. Where shall we go for our tour?”

“Not to Paris. I hate Paris.”

“Shall we stay in London?”

“No, no! How commonplace! We shall live in London. Suggest something
new.”

“Shall we go into the country? To the real country, where there are
nightingales and roses?”

She sang softly:

        “The nightingale in fervent song
        Doth woo the rose the whole night long.”

“Rubinstein, isn’t it?” he asked. “Well, will you come?”

“Yes, it is risky, but I will for once hear the nightingales and feel
young again.”

“I love you.”

“Do you? Love—it is so old, so new, so impossible.”

“For always,” he said, not answering her, only following the train of
thought in his own mind.

“No, not for always,” she said sadly, “Love me really for a week, a day,
a year—while the nightingales sing. I would rather have a man’s whole
love for _one_ day, than his toleration for years, his agreeable
acceptation of my presence.”

“A man usually loves his wife.”

“Does he? Does he? You know that is rubbish. You love me now, and you
think you will always. A wife is associated with a man’s disagreeable
pleasures, his duty dinners, his dull breakfasts. When he goes to dine
at his Colonel’s, or with the man who has influence, and runs the
papers, she goes and bores him too. If you were compelled to take the
other man’s wife out to dinner you would appreciate the attributes of
your own when you returned to her.”

“A man loves his future wife before matrimony. But, Lily, afterwards I
think it is your own fault.”

“Mine?” she exclaimed. “Mine—you forget—you—”

“Dearest, I did not mean you. I meant indefinite woman. It will never be
your fault.”

She looked at him.

“You apologised in time—I was haughty. Sit there, near, but not too
near me.”

He seated himself in a little chair.

“That chair will break. Sit somewhere else.”

“To return to the subject of matrimony,” she said.

“Of breakfast.”

“A woman lets her husband see too much of her, and know too much about
her. She frequently looks ugly. Oh, Dr. Jaegar, thou art answerable for
much woe! Breakfast is a disturbing meal, for we sometimes are weary at
breakfast and—you may have yours alone.”

“I would like it better with you.”

“That is it,” she exclaimed. “Now you would. Soon you would not. You
must make a man do without what he loves, to keep his love. Men are so
unreasonable.”

“Do you believe in anyone, Lily?”

“No. Yes, I do.”

“Tell me,” he asked eagerly, “in whom do you believe?”

“In myself.”



                               CHAPTER IX


LAUNA and Mr. Wainbridge drove to the concert—a private one—where Herr
Donau was going to play the piano for his hostess—Lady Blake, Launa,
and a friend.

The day was hot, terribly so. The heat rose from the ground, the houses,
and the pavement; it struck one like a fiery draught from a furnace.
Launa and Mr. Wainbridge were silent; they knew each other well enough
to be so. He was pondering. Though he found her interesting he did not
agree with her at all about many things, but therein lay her power of
attracting him, for she did not care whether she did or not. She did not
pretend this as many women do, when men always are aware of it.

“I am hot,” she said.

“And you look cool.”

“I am wishing to be where I could hear the river ripple, and hear the
sound of the water as it curls over the rocks. I wish I could see the
big lake where it widens, where the pines and the maples grow. Oh, the
smell of the wind there!”

“Why won’t you come and sit in the park instead of going to hear Donau?”

“Because I can imagine myself in that far-off land when Donau is
playing,” she answered. “I can shut my eyes and feel the wind; I see the
water just rippled and then still. In the park it is civilised and hot;
the trees are beautiful, but not like those I love. The grass is green,
but the wind is parching, and it is town-laden; it is—” She stopped.
“Who is that?”

He started at the tone of her voice. It was full of apprehension, of a
sort of cold joy, as if she had fought, and was glad to be beaten.

He asked, “Where?”

“I thought I saw someone—someone I knew—someone—Oh, I want to stop,
to get out. It is stifling here.”

“There are so many people,” he replied. “I did not notice anyone. Was it
a woman? We are nearly there now. Do not get out.”

“No—never mind. It was imagination. I thought I saw—it could not have
been really.”

“Ah,” he said, “imagination is deceiving and becoming. You have grown
most beautifully flushed. You are very good to look at, Miss Archer.”

“You must talk to Lady Blake,” said Launa. “I am tired.”

The room into which they were shown was dark, cool, and flower-scented.
Lady Blake was dressed in black. She was a woman men loved for an hour,
a dance, or a day. Sir Godfrey Blake had married her after a short
acquaintance. Immediately afterwards he went into Parliament, and now
sat out all the debates, and was seldom at home. Men pitied her, women
shook their heads, while she loudly lamented a cold husband, and was
consoled by other men.

“We have been waiting for you,” she said. “Herr Donau is ready to
begin.”

She gloried in her riches, and she was musical, though in the days of
her poverty she had not been. Shilling seats and deprivations did not
suit her; but to be able to pay the most expensive successful pianist in
London for a whole afternoon to play to her and one or two chosen ones,
what a triumph! That was success. And if she did not enjoy the music she
did derive great satisfaction from saying, “Donau played for us on
Sunday; he played marvellously. Of course we paid him.”

“Miss Archer’s imagination has been causing her to see people—a
person,” said Mr. Wainbridge, as he shook hands with Lady Blake.

He wanted to see Launa grow red again, as well as to discover who she
thought she had seen.

She laughed.

“Was it a ghost?” asked Lady Blake.

She looked uncomfortable. She had some ghosts behind her—a brother and
sister who were poor, and who lived at Clapham. They worked, and she
ignored them.

“A ghost!” repeated Wainbridge. “Do you believe in ghosts, Miss Archer?”

“Do I? Souls of the dead! I wish I could see them.”

“Don’t!” exclaimed Lady Blake. I believe in premonitory warnings. You
did not see me walking, did you, Miss Archer? I _hope_ not.”

“No, I only saw an old friend—an old Canadian friend. But it was only
in fancy, for the next moment it was gone.”

There was a slight pause when she said “it was gone.” Mr. Wainbridge
noticed she used “it.”

Lady Blake said “Oh” sadly, and then continued: “Premonitory warnings
are so interesting. Was the friend an old, I mean an ancient grey-headed
friend, or only old as regards the time of friendship? Was it a woman?”

“It was a spirit,” said Launa.

“You will hear of a death,” said Lady Blake with solemnity.

“It is already dead,” replied Launa.

“To you?” asked Mr. Wainbridge.

“Are we not going to hear Herr Donau play?” inquired Launa. “You have
not forgotten you are to play the Waldstein Sonata for me?” she said to
Herr Donau.

“I have not forgotten. Shall I begin?”

“Do,” said Lady Blake, seating herself in a chair covered with
cream-coloured material.

Her black dress, yellow hair, and white skin had an ideal, an arranged
background. Ideals have to be well arranged, otherwise they are
deficient. Launa sat in a dim corner; Mr. Wainbridge chose a chair from
which he could observe her.

She was listening intently; she had often played the Waldstein to Paul,
and she wanted to see how Donau would play the octave run. Through it
all she could think of Paul. Had she really seen him? No, he was not in
England. Could he be dead? . . . Donau played the run beautifully. . . .
Could Paul be dead? Donau played the octaves with one hand—glïssando.
Wonderful! Launa glanced round her; no one appeared to have noticed.
Lady Blake was keeping time with her head and her foot. Time in the
Waldstein! Launa felt a great wave of longing, of desire for the woods,
lakes, and the vastness of the real forest, and for the air. Oh! that
air! Keen sometimes, sweet, full of the smell of wild flowers, of the
pine woods—and where was Paul?

The Waldstein went on and on. To her it meant spring days, movement,
hope, but not in the overcrowded old land. To the others it meant
different things—music always does—and Launa’s mind returned to the
impression of the afternoon. It could not have been Paul alive that she
had seen? Could it be that he was dead, and because she loved him, he
came to her? Did she love him? She heard the wailing of the Indian
child. But if Paul were dead, he was hers—hers—hers—

Her thoughts were interrupted by the ceasing of the piano and the
compliments of Lady Blake and Mr. Wainbridge.

“You were asleep,” said Mr. Wainbridge to Launa.

“No. My thoughts were wandering.”

“With more spirits?”

“Mr. Wainbridge, come here,” said Lady Blake. “Come and see this; it is
by Herr Donau. Play it, do, Herr Donau, and then Miss Archer has
promised to play ‘Warum.’”

“There is a history in that,” said Launa, when the great man had
finished. “There is an unravelled thread in it.”

“Ah, yes,” he said, “there is. You have understanding, Miss Archer.”

“And now, will you play ‘Warum?’” asked Lady Blake.

“To hear Miss Archer play ‘Warum’ is one of the world’s desires,” said
Mr. Wainbridge, “because you puzzle it—the world, I mean.”

She did not answer. Lady Blake rehearsed speeches to all her dear and
jealous friends while the music lasted. She would say “Donau and Miss
Archer played for us during a whole afternoon.” She _had_ triumphed.

Launa drove home alone. Mr. Wainbridge to his regret had an engagement.
He said good-bye to her with sorrow, while she was indifferent. There
was something in the spirit theory after all.

Mrs. Phillips and Mr. Herbert were still sitting at Victoria Mansions.
She had changed her dress for a tea-gown and invited him to dinner. The
evening was hot. Launa dressed in white and went to the music-room.
Conversation did not appeal to her. She began to play, to work hard at
an impossible sonata. The hard work was taking away her weariness, the
feeling of misery and longing when the door was opened and Captain
Carden came in.

“I did not let your maid announce me. I wanted to surprise you, Launa,”
he said, advancing with an air of expectation. “She said you were not at
home, but I heard the piano, and I knew you would see me.”

He held out his hand.

“I will finish this page,” she said, not taking the hand thus affably
extended, and playing on.

Captain Carden seated himself near and stared at her. She could feel his
eyes taking her in, all over, gloating over her, but she finished and
sat on the music-stool, turning herself round until she faced him.

“Your mother was here to lunch.”

“Yes, Launa, she told me so.”

“Did you want to see me particularly?” she asked. “I suppose you did,
because I said ‘not at home.’ I am very tired and in a musical mood.”

He smiled languidly and leaned back.

“You don’t mean that, Launa.”

His detestable habit of repeating her name irritated her. She looked at
him.

“Why do you never call me Charlie? We are relations.”

“Are we?” she asked.

“Yes. That is one reason why I came, and then my mother asked me to come
and see you. She and I are both worried. Mother thinks—”

“Do think yourself; you remind me of Uriah Heep.”

“My mother thinks,” he continued with a sort of leer, “that you are
lonely. She fears the friends you have, the contamination of their talk
about no morals—she says—”

Launa got up.

“You will either go away or else you will talk of something else. Speak
for yourself, pray. I do not care what your mother thinks.”

Captain Carden looked at her.

“Don’t get cross. You know I am in love with you, and I want to marry
you. It will be such an advantage to you, an unknown Canadian, to marry
into a good old English family, and to be well looked after.”

She was silent, first from surprise, then from anger. It was as if the
words would not come rapidly enough.

“Thank you,” she said. “I decline your insulting offer. Now will you
go?”

“Now, Launa, you know it is the best thing you can do. I am really in
love with you. You will have some of your own money settled on you, of
course, and you will have an excellent position and be thought a great
deal of as my wife.”

“I will never be your wife,” she answered. “_Never._”

“All girls want to marry; you do. They all do. I like a girl who
pretends to be backward, but this is enough, Launa. Give in now, you
know how I love you, you—”

Launa’s cheeks were blazing, she got up and rang the bell violently. He
followed, unseen by her, until she felt his arm on her waist; his face
was detestably close, his eyes staring into hers, glaring like an
animal’s, and his breath was hot against her face. She gave him one firm
push; she had not paddled so much in vain; her arms were very strong,
and he did not expect it. He staggered across the room, upsetting a
little table and breaking some china ornaments which fell with a crash
as he sprawled on the floor. Just then the maid opened the door, and Mr.
Wainbridge walked in.

“Curtis, show Captain Carden out,” said Launa, apparently with calm
indifference.

She looked very tall, slight, and angry, as she stood waiting. Captain
Carden gathered himself together with a sheepish look, and advanced
towards her.

“Good-bye, Launa.”

“Go,” she said.

“Launa, say good-bye.”

And as the door closed she threw herself into a big chair and laughed.
Captain Carden heard it as he left the flat and detected nothing but
ridicule in it. Mr. Wainbridge went over to her; he saw she would have
cried had she not laughed, and that her nerves were all unstrung.

“Why didn’t you tell me to kick him out? He deserved it.”

“Why didn’t you do it?”

She put her hands over her face, and began to sob. He stroked her hair
gently, tenderly, and she liked it.

“I am an idiot! I am an idiot!” she said at last.

“What did he do?”

“How did you come? You were dining at the Grays’, I thought you said?”

“I came because I wanted to see you.”

She dried her eyes and leaned back in her chair and looked out at the
night, feeling the curious rest of exhaustion. The greyness of twilight
crept into the room, it was peaceful though still sultry. He took her
hand and said:

“I am glad I came.”

“So am I,” she said, cheerfully. Her mood had changed. “You saved me
from unknown bother. He was most impertinent.”

In the other room Mrs. Phillips was becoming impatient. She was hungry.
At tea-time Herbert’s conversation engrossed her, and now where was
dinner?

She was also anxious to create a sensation, to surprise Launa and
everyone by telling of her speedy marriage, which was to take place in
one month exactly. And so she went into the music-room.

“Has that awful Carden man gone? I am so hungry, Launa dear. Do say you
are hungry too, Mr. Wainbridge. I am going to be married in a month.”

She sighed.

“No wonder, then, that you are hungry,” said Mr. Wainbridge, “with that
awful prospect you need restoratives of all sorts.”

“Lucky Mr. Herbert,” said Launa. “I congratulate him.”

“How nice of you,” said Mrs. Phillips. “I feared you might be small
minded enough to congratulate me. He is in the drawing-room—starving
too.”

“Let us go, then, to dinner,” said Launa. “Mr. Herbert, you are so
lucky.”

“That is good of you,” he answered.

“Merely decent of her,” said Mrs. Phillips. “She knows my worth.”

“How are the spirits?” asked Wainbridge, as Launa and he followed the
other two into the dining-room.

“Good. Look at my eyes. Are they red?”

“They are beautiful.”

He took her hand for one moment; it was an involuntary caress.

And they drank to the perfect happiness of Mrs. Phillips and Mr.
Herbert.



                               CHAPTER X


THE wedding was over. Mrs. Phillips had become Mrs. Herbert. The
accounts were in all the papers, the guests were mentioned, and the
bride’s attire was described. She wore mauve, a bonnet, and what was not
mentioned, a nervous air. The known dangers of matrimony are worse in
anticipation, and more true, than the maiden bride’s assurance of
eternal bliss.

“Miss Archer, an American beauty,” said the Chronicler, “accompanied her
to the altar, and handed her a smelling-bottle.”

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert departed amid no rice and no old slippers. Lily
would not have them. They went to hear the nightingales, and to remember
Rubinstein’s song:

        “The nightingale with fervent song
        Doth woo the rose the whole night long.”

For one whole week the weather was glorious and unchangeable.

Launa was alone in Victoria Mansions. Mr. George visited her with
frequency, and so did Mr. Wainbridge.

Mr. George often came in the morning.

“I am at my worst early, Launa,” he said, “and then I long for strong
measures. You are a strong measure. Your name is so perfect, I could not
spoil it with a Miss,” he added apologetically.

All the old women would have called her a bold Canadian had they not
remembered her money and success. England conquered and annexed her
Colonies; do not their maidens annex her young men?

Launa missed her father; between them there was a perfect relationship;
their minds were in tune; she was so certain of his love and care that
she feared no diminution thereof. He wrote to her often, and she thought
of shutting up the flat and going to join him.

On Lily’s wedding day, Mr. Wainbridge told her he was obliged to travel
with his uncle for six weeks. The uncle, Lord Wainbridge, had just
constructed a novel; it contained a pinch of all the crazes of the day,
and was clever, but not moral. Lord Wainbridge became uneasy, and Lady
Wainbridge rampant with rage (designated in this case Christian
solicitude about his fall) when she read it. She said the want of morals
was his own. She said many things which he did not mind when she only
gave utterance to them; but he feared ridicule as he feared nothing
else; she said he would be laughed at, so he fled to his nephew, who
always had sympathy for him.

Launa received the tidings of Mr. Wainbridge’s departure with
indifference, though she did feel it. And he decided that her lack of
vanity was her one fault. She really appeared as if she did not care
whether she attracted him or not. But she thought very much about him.
His interest in her was pleasant. It was more. It was necessary to her,
as much as anything can be necessary over which we have no control, and
without which we must live if it is withdrawn.

The day of his last visit they spent in reading, when he would have much
rather talked. But she had a new book.

“How queer it is that the charm of so few poems lasts,” she said. “What
I loved at sixteen I loathe now, and I suppose what I love now I shall
hate at thirty-five.”

“We change. You do not love a comic song when your heart aches.”

“I have no heart.”

“Because I said that, you think I meant your heart,” he replied. “I did
not.”

“Your own then?”

“Perhaps. Do you believe we are responsible for evil?”

“I do not know. Are we responsible for what we cannot help? I could not
condemn any one but myself. The existence of evil is true, but how
horrible! And how it spoils our lives.”

“Spoils our lives,” he repeated. “You are quite right! Tell me, can a
man or a woman love two people at once? Is it possible to love evil and
good?”

Launa grew pale.

“No one can _love_ evil.”

“You are right,” he said, with triumph. “It is not love then. To do
right, one should love something, _someone_.”

“Yes,” she half whispered, “love someone, even if they are beyond one’s
reach.”

“You have comforted me. I must say good-bye, now. No, I will see you
once again, to-night. In six weeks I shall come back, and I shall be
glad—glad. What shall you be?”

She did not answer, but stood up and walked across the room to look at a
photograph. She would never go back to Canada, _never_.

“Where did you get that photograph?” he asked. “Is it new? Who is it?”

It was Paul. She had kept it locked up until now.

“It is no one you know. It is only a picture which reminds me of evil.”

“Take it down—shall I?”

“No, no,” she said sharply. “We are terribly in earnest,” she added, and
gave a little laugh.

She went to the window and looked out. The lights were flashing, and the
roar of the city came up to her.

“Good-bye,” he said, taking her hand. “Good-bye—_Behüt dich Gott_.”

That night Launa went to a dance, which lasted until three in the
morning. She wore pink, and looked beautiful. The lust for slaughter,
for conquest, for admiration entered into her. She could not love any
man, she assured herself, while she knew that she thought only of Paul.
But she possessed power. She could _hurt_, and for that one night she
gloried in it. This was what the man on the steamer had meant; this was
deadening; this was life and din; there was no time to think.

Mr. Wainbridge was there; she gave him one dance only, and he was angry,
though he rejoiced when Mr. George said to him:—

“Launa is miserable. Her eyes are unhappy; she is feeling something.”

She had expressed herself as yearning for Norway, and that was all; but
Mr. Wainbridge thought she wanted him.

The next morning she slept until it was late; she was very tired; When
her letters were brought to her she did not open them. She lazily drank
her tea and looked at the post-marks, wondering from whom they were. She
sent a wire to her father, saying she would like to join him at once.

While she was dressing her maid brought her a telegram. It might be
about her new dress, or Lady Blake’s picnic, or the concert at which she
was to play.

This was what she read:—

                   “Your father accidentally shot. Dying.
               Come.

                                             “STEVENS.”

Stevens was a friend who had joined her father.

Launa looked at it; dying—not _dead_. She drank her tea. It was, it
must be some detestable, horrible dream.

By twelve o’clock her boxes were packed; and Launa and her maid started
on their long, almost useless, journey. To sit still and wait was
impossible, it was like watching for someone who never came. The train
tore along, and the trees seemed to wave their branches like hungry,
relentless demons, as if they would clutch all men; the sea was cruel,
and the steamer outrageously slow.

And Launa was too late.

                 *        *        *        *        *

After an absence of one week she came back to London, crushed, weary,
and heart-sick. Her life seemed to be over. She had seen him again, but
he was dead. There was nothing she could do, it was all over. If only
she had Paul! She could have screamed with the torture of fate. She
realised the disappointment of life, that nothing could be as it had
been. A new life might come to her, but she could never gather the old
one together again. Perhaps some day she would be reminded of the past
when she had forgotten. To be reminded it is necessary to have
forgotten. But now she suffered—now she wanted everything she had not.
She felt the torture of the vain longing for the impossible; a blister
on her body would have been a relief; there was one on her soul. She
wished she had told her father about Paul; she wished she could forget
Paul; she wished he were there with her, and then she resolved again to
forget him.

She wrote to Mr. Wainbridge and told him of her terrible trouble. It was
a relief to pour out her mind to someone who understood, and to whom she
could say mad things—whether he sympathised or not she did not care.

She was rich, and inundated with letters of sympathy. Each writer
considered herself the one consoler Launa required. Men do not write
that kind of letter; they merely leave cards.

Mrs. Carden sent pages of lamentation and exhortation, interspersed with
demands for one interview, just one, with her dearest Launa.

Lily Herbert came up to town for the day. She was sorry for Launa when
she could remember to be so. It was with great difficulty she could
disguise the cheerful grin her countenance had assumed since her
marriage. She could not understand Launa’s abandonment to grief. If Sir
John had died Lily would have wept, when reflecting on her lonely
position, and then have smiled over the patterns of new mourning.

Launa remained dumb to her and with her; Lily realised at last, with a
certain sort of awe, that Launa was stricken; that she was full of
sorrow which was not easily ended, and that she could not bear attempts
at consolation, which were merely, and only could be, attempts. Who can
raise the dead? Launa passed through the lonely dark valley of
nevermore—of hunger for one face, for one word, which is so intense as
to be torture, and to which was added the desire for the presence of a
man whom she felt was unfaithful to her. Could _she_ bear another man’s
kisses? How could he then kiss another woman?

To stay in London was impossible for her, and so she chose to go to a
little village in Derbyshire which her father had loved as a boy. The
Black Country, with its barren moors and lonely stonewalled hills,
attracted her; the warm valleys full of bracken and alder bushes,
through which the rushing mountain streams tore, had a wild beauty and a
lulling power. It was very lonely and bleak. She could walk for miles
without seeing anyone, and the people she did meet were for the most
part only villagers. Much as she longed to see “Solitude” again, she
felt the impossibility of going there.

During all these long, long days of sorrow and direful longing, Mr.
Wainbridge wrote to her. Almost every day a letter came, and she began
to look for them and to answer them. At first she had only sent him
scrawls, but he had gradually drifted into an intimate—a most intimate
friend.

She often re-read his letters, and there was more in them than the
actual words said. She gave him credit for an intuition which he did not
possess. He loved her, and he divined that she did not love him; she
could almost love him for that. Women usually love men for imaginary
qualities. She thought him brave and pure; she fancied he loved what she
did, instead of which he loved her. _Her_ personality made life
interesting; _her_ playing made music an everlasting joy.

The day after she was settled at Fair View she had a long letter from
him in answer to her first coherent one.

                                          “SCHWEITZERHOF, LUCERNE,
                                                  “_July 3rd_.

    “At last! I was so glad to get your letter this morning. First,
    I am going to thank you from my heart for telling me everything,
    and please remember that I can never be bored by anything that
    concerns you. Just believe that, and you will trust me, and I
    may be able to help you with my sympathy at any rate. Dear, I do
    sympathise, and it is as if the trouble were my own. I can dimly
    guess what a terrible loss you have had, and I know that your
    relationship with him was a perfect one. I am so sorry that the
    letters I have written since I left London have been so selfish
    and full of my own feelings, while you are in such grief;
    forgive them. I should love to hear that the knowledge of my
    sympathy and care is something to you. I need not tell you that
    I would spare no trouble and no thought if I could help you in
    the smallest degree, or if I could save you one ounce of care or
    pain. I know the hardness of it appals you. Can I say or do
    anything to make you happier?

    “I have just been reading for the tenth time ‘Andrea del Sarto.’
    It is wonderful; but how he longed for a soul in his wife, and
    yet he loved her for her beauty, and she—‘again the cousin’s
    whistle.’ It is so sad, but how could she love him when she did
    not understand him? And I suppose it bored her to sit by the
    window with him while he talked to her, and all the time she was
    listening for the cousin’s whistle, and wishing her husband
    would begin to paint again. Surely ‘a man’s reach does always
    exceed his grasp.’ If it did not, we should not want a Heaven at
    all. Browning knew things, didn’t he?

    “We are not coming back for some weeks yet, and it makes me sad,
    for I long to hear your voice again. I love your voice.—

    “Yours,

                                                        “C. H. W.”

A course of these letters was very comforting. To be necessary to
someone is what many women are obliged to be, instead of being loved.

The days were long and full of pain. She did not grow accustomed to it.
The wound was as open and sore as at first. It was a relief to be alone,
and to be allowed to be sorrowful. There was no peace, no joy anywhere.



                               CHAPTER XI


LILY HERBERT as Lily Phillips had realised the importance of keeping her
husband’s love, not his toleration. Mr. Phillips had been affectionate
always, and she had tolerated him. She remembered it all; she had been
so relieved and glad when he was away from her, his kisses nauseated
her.

With Herbert life was joy, and, had she not firmly believed it could not
last, real happiness would have been hers.

Their honeymoon had lasted for three weeks, three weeks of absolute
happiness, tempered only by her husband’s reflections of sorrow for
Launa—for he admired Launa. Lily did likewise, and she feared her, too.
Lily wondered whether she was to be the one who cared most; in all
marriages one cares more than the other. She had always felt a contempt
for women who show they care while their husbands seem indifferent. She
blamed them; they were no longer desirable to their husbands; they were
within reach. Someone must lead, so she took it: fear lest he should
change or grow tired lent terror to all her ideas and movements.

They were staying in Surrey. The house was small, with a garden which
was a bower of roses, with beautiful lawns and large cedar trees. They
lived out of doors. Mr. Herbert did not work, and she took to
embroidery. He told her she looked absolutely lovely when she sewed.

She laughed.

“There is something syren-like about you,” he said. “You will never grow
old; you could not become unattractive.”

“Thank you.”

“Is that all—is that all you are going to say to me, only thank you?”

“All,” she said.

He came over by her.

“Your hands are so beautiful. I would like to live like this always.”

“It would not be always June and warm,” she said.

“I love you, love you absolutely—what can change it?”

“What?” she repeated, even while she feared. “Don’t ask, you will spoil
it.”

“You never—will not often let me kiss you. Why is it?”

“I hate kissing.”

“I will kiss you,” he said masterfully. “You are mine, mine, mine. You
are an enchantress, a witch. When I am with you, or away from you, I
think of nothing but you. My life is all you.”

He took her in his arms gently. She remembered with a shudder those
horrible embraces of her first marriage. He kissed her lips, those warm
red lips which were one of her chief beauties; but it was all done so
gently.

“You were afraid of me,” he said. “Heavens! here is someone coming to
call.”

“And you have crushed my blouse,” she said reproachfully.

It was Lady Blake.

“How are you both?” she asked, as she rustled towards them, pretty,
smiling, and glancing from one to the other.

“Very happy,” said Mr. Herbert. “The nightingales are still singing.”

“Ah,” said Lady Blake, as she seated herself in his chair, and accepted
a cushion from him. “Happy—there is something subdued about happiness.
I want you to come and stay with me.”

“When is your uncle coming home?” Lily said to her husband.

“In a week,” he replied.

“In a week then,” said Mrs. Herbert, “we would like to come to you.”

After Lady Blake left he said:

“And now it is over.”

“Not over,” she answered, “just beginning. We stay at Blake House for
two weeks, and then papa wants us.”

Mr. Herbert acquiesced. He had given in to her conditions, and he knew
what she did not or pretended not to believe, that he loved her with all
his soul. He would go with cheerfulness to Lady Blake’s, anything to
prolong the honeymoon, and he hoped Lily would forget her proposed
arrangement when they returned to town. That oblivion might descend on
her mind he prayed!

After their visits they went back to London.

They arrived one morning about twelve, and drove to her flat in Sloane
Street, he had his luggage sent to his rooms which were two streets
further on.

“I think we might take a larger flat,” he suggested. “It would be
cheaper and less trouble.”

She laughed and answered:

“By and by. You remember our bargain? We are not to grow tired like
other people or to see too much of each other—enough of each other.”

“And so one of us is to be always miserable,” he said.

“Isn’t it better?” she asked. “Isn’t anything better than for either of
us to be tired?”

There were tears in her eyes.

“No, my beloved, it is not better. Will you not think it over? Will
you—” he held her hand. “We are so happy, we shall be always. It will
last, I swear it will—”

The cab stopped and she got out.

She gave herself a little shake as she went up in the lift. How
perilously near giving in she had been! What would it be to her to lose
the lover? A husband is a poor exchange. No, she would be firm.

The little flat looked very pretty, there were flowers everywhere. Her
two maids welcomed her with smiles and blushes. Lunch was ready.

Mrs. Herbert went to take off her hat. Her own room was decorated with
white flowers; it was a dear little white and green room.

“I should like to wash my hands,” said her husband meekly.

“Yes, you may. I will show you my room. Now that we are married I can
show you everything. There is a delightful sensation of freedom as well
as of bondage in matrimony.”

She took him into her room and left him there.

“That is my spare room,” she said, and pointed to a door. “It will be
your room when I ask you to stay here.”

“There is something unusually novel in being asked to stay with one’s
wife. It is as if you had me on approval.”

“Don’t say that,” she suggested. “No, you belong to me now.”

“I wish I did. You are like the angel with the drawn sword at the gate
of the Garden of Eden. He was not placed there until after Eve had eaten
the apple. I suppose I have had a bite of my apple.”

“You are anticipating. You are borrowing trouble. Wash your hands and
come to lunch.”

He looked into the next room. It was yellow and white, and dainty and
fresh. A row of his boots would disfigure it. His bachelor quarters
seemed so dull in comparison. The faint smell of violets came from her
clothes, he used her hair brush, and looked at her shoes lingeringly.

They ate their lunch and smoked afterwards.

“This is lovely!” he said, with a sigh.

“And how unlike matrimony. The average husband likes to use his
authority at first, and says he will have the pictures altered, and he
cannot sleep in a bed which runs from east to west, or from north to
south or—”

He looked at her rather sadly.

“You are not an average wife, and I am little more than a bachelor even
now.”

“You are a very nice one.”

“Will you come and see my abode? You have seen my sitting-room, but Mrs.
Grant has it all done up, and so you must pay me a visit.”

“Do you remember one day when I went to have tea with you, and Mrs.
Carson disappointed us? How terrified I was that someone might see me,
though you told the minion to say you were out. Every time the bell rang
I thought it was a man who would force his way in; do you remember?”

“Do I not remember? Put on your hat.”

“I will change my dress. You will wait?”

“For ever,” with a smile and a glance.

So far they both felt matrimony a success; desire had not failed. When
would it?

Joy was clouded by apprehension in her mind; in his there was no doubt,
no fear. He knew himself better than she did. They walked together to
his rooms. He showed her all over them. His housekeeper, Mrs. Grant,
welcomed her. She too had arranged flowers in plenty.

“How will you have this room furnished?” he asked, as he threw open the
door. It was a large room, the best one in a set of four. It had been
his work-room, but he had given it up for another, and a dark one.

“This is to be your room when you come to stay.”

She smiled. There was a touch of genius in his suggestion—more a touch
of impropriety—which appealed to her.

“You will ask me to stay?”

“Sometimes,” he replied. “Not too often, lest you grow weary of me and
find fault with the housekeeping.”

“Pale pink would be pretty for the room decorations, and also be
becoming. I would come more frequently if it were becoming.” She turned
to look at his pictures. “Oh! here is a photograph of Launa. She gave it
to you?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“She is beautiful, and what a queer girl! I had no idea her father’s
death would make her so wretched. She was perfectly crushed. She behaved
as if he were her lover.”

“He was very fond of her.”

“He was devoted to her. I cannot quite make her out. She is—there is a
history somewhere. I did not know she had given you her photograph. I
suppose she gave them to everyone. She did not keep them only for people
she cared for. I am glad,” she said suddenly, “that I have enough money
to do without yours.”

“I can give you presents.”

“And ask me to stay.”

“For always. I ask you now,” he said. “I beg you. Will you stay always
with me? Not in these rooms, but we can have one flat together.”

“You promised,” she answered, with a slightly unsteady voice. “You
promised—don’t.”

To remind a man of his promise when he wants to break it, frequently
means the woman would not mind if he did, and if he insists she will
give in. It betrays weakness. He put his arms round her and said
nothing, but he gave no orders for the immediate furnishing of one large
flat. Her experiment should be tried. He had no desire or intention of
forcing her to give in nor of being master; just then she would have
liked him to be master, but how can a man know these things?

They went back to her rooms for dinner. She put on a creamy gown trimmed
with lace; he gave her some pale pink roses and fastened them on. He
never forgot her flowers.

In the evening they sat in the big window and looked out at the moon—it
rose, a big round shining moon. They were silent. At last she said:

“The stars are larger than the moon, but how faint beside it. The moon
is nearer.”

“That is what one feels sometimes,” he answered. “One loves the stars,
but the moon is nearer.”

“Yes, it is nearer. Would you feel so? Am I the moon or a star? Of what
are you thinking?”

“Of you.”

“Of me. Think of something nice.”

“You are not nice. You are original, and that is never nice. How lonely
I shall be to-night!”

“And I.”

Here Mr. George walked in.

“I have come,” he said, “to condole with you both on being married.”

“How kind of you!” said Lily.

“And to ask you, Mrs. Herbert, whether the bird in the hand is worth two
in the bush? There were two in your bush. Do gratify my desire—my
ardent desire—for information.”

“I will,” she replied. “First I must give you some coffee and ask you to
look at the moon.”

“Moon,” repeated Mr. George. “There are many moons; this is the old
moon, not your kind, and this one is lovely. Was your moon full of
honey?”

“No,” replied Mr. Herbert, lighting a cigarette, “ours was without
anything sickly or monotonous.”

“Or satiating?”

“Exactly,” answered Mr. Herbert.

“Tell me now, Mrs. Herbert, about the bush. Is it not better to have two
in the bush than the bird in your hand?”

“Are you asking merely as a journalist, Mr. George? Or do you honestly
desire information?”

“I desire honest information and information honestly.”

“Two in the bush,” she repeated.

“Sir Ralph and Mr. Buxton,” suggested the inquirer softly. “Perhaps you
prefer the bird in your hand as well as the two in the bush, for they
are still there. They have returned to town, and are looking more
cheerful than they appeared at your wedding. If you remember, they left
that festive scene early, before your departure for the desert of
matrimony.”

“The bird in the hand is enough for me,” said Lily, “enough now.”

“Ah!” said her husband, with an air of abstraction, “now.”

“Yes, now,” she said defiantly.

“Now,” repeated Mr. George, with exaggerated emphasis. “Why are we all
talking of now? Tell me about Launa, Mrs. Herbert? Where is she?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Herbert, “where is she?”

“I will make you both a present of her address,” said Lily. “She will
not see you; you can both write volumes to her, and you, Mr. George,
will at once rush by the night or the morning train to see her.”

“No, time and distance will merely mellow her affection for me. I am
very fond of her, too fond, for I love her.”

“Dear me,” said Lily. “In what way do you love her? Hopelessly, madly,
platonically, or matrimonially?”

“Not matrimonially, because I could never tire of her; not platonically,
platonic people are too clever and enjoy their experiences too much to
be indifferent, but they never want to kiss each other. I might—”

“These are revelations,” said Mr. Herbert.

“Go on,” commanded Lily.

“I can’t. Launa is perfect. I fear she does not love me. When I call her
Launa, her eyelids never quiver. Did you ever quiver, Mrs. Herbert?”

“Never.”

“You are intellectual. I am going to write a book and call it
‘Marriage.’ There will be various assortments in it. Platonic matrimony
is interesting.”

“Very,” said Lily.

She went away to get the address for him.

“Wainbridge is very fond of Miss Archer,” said George, when he was alone
with Herbert.

“She looked ill when I last saw her. I am going to write to her.”

“Tell her—”

“Tell her what?” asked Lily, returning as he spoke.

“That we are perfectly, indefinitely happy.”

“How unlucky of you, Jack. You never should boast about happiness. It
will go. How dreadful of you. I know something will go wrong.”

“You have no nerve,” said Mr. Herbert.

“These connubial differences so early in your matrimonial career are
most embarrassing,” said Mr. George. “Later you will seldom or never
differ, or differ altogether. Thus do the early quarrels of husband and
wife evolve themselves. I must go.”

“Shall we ever become indifferent?” she asked. “Shall we ever grow old
and cold and—?”

“Grey,” interrupted Herbert. “The moon will change and not shine.”

They gazed at each other as if appalled by their remarks.

“Anyway the moon does not shine solely for you,” said Mr. George.
“Farewell.”

Mr. Herbert accompanied him to the door, and when he came back to her,
Lily said:

“Good-night, you must go home.”

“It is so late for me to be out, and I want to stay with you.”

“No. You must go,” she said.

“May I come to breakfast?”

“At a quarter-past nine.”

“Good-night, my darling, my—good-night.”

He lingered. He was loath to go, and she almost said, “Stay, never go;”
but she did not say it, and so he left her.

She missed him. He had gone away indifferently, and had not seemed to
mind. She had ordered a special breakfast for him next day. Where had he
gone after leaving her? The moon and the star comparison returned to her
mind. Then she wrote to Sir Ralph Egerton, telling him to come to see
her. Had Jack borne their first parting with indifference?

It was part of the plan that the wife should not worry whether her
husband suffered indifference or any other malady. Worry causes
sleepless nights and wrinkles. Mrs. Herbert went to bed, but the moon
shone in and she could not sleep. She hoped he could not; nor did he.



                              CHAPTER XII


MRS. HERBERT was at home. Her drawing-room had been crowded. Sir Ralph
Egerton had paid his first visit, and was more admiring, more devoted
than ever. Lily had increased in value in his eyes now that another man
had appropriated her. Her desirability was greater because she was out
of reach.

Lily was looking particularly well. Sir Ralph had brought her a wedding
present and an invitation to go to the play with him. The guests had all
left, and he had not succeeded in persuading her to come when Mr.
Wainbridge came in, followed by Mr. Herbert.

“Sir Ralph wants me to go to the theatre to-night,” she said, turning to
her husband. “You are not asked.”

“I shall be delighted if you will come,” said Sir Ralph politely.

“I cannot,” answered Mr. Herbert. “You have forgotten your engagement,
Lily, to come with me.”

“So I have. Sir Ralph, will you dine here to-morrow night and we can go
somewhere? I won’t ask you, dear,” she said to her husband, “for you
would not be amused.”

“Many thanks, I will come at eight to-morrow,” said Sir Ralph.
“Good-bye.”

“Tell me about yourself,” said Lily to Mr. Wainbridge. “How are you?”

Mr. Herbert left them alone.

“I am very well. I want you to help me.”

“To help you?”

“Will you try to get Miss Archer to come back to town? I cannot go to
Derbyshire to see her.”

“You want to see her?”

“Very much.”

“I will do what I can. You want to marry her?”

“Perhaps.”

“Marriage is not peace—not always.”

“It is better than separation and distance,” he replied. “Where are you
and your husband going?”

“Out—to the opera and then to supper somewhere.”

After he went away Lily wrote to Launa and then dressed and went out
with her husband. They were so happy when they were together, and his
absences, ordered by herself, were so trying—he was kind and strong,
moreover he loved her. How terrible if he were to forget, to grow cold!
She hardened her heart—her way was the best. She forgot that a day
comes when passion must grow cooler; then it is that friendship seasoned
by passion takes its place, and makes life rest and sweetness. She was
torn with jealousy lest he might care for some other woman, for if he
were to, he would not settle down to the dull, assured matrimonial
existence when he grew used to her, and probably seek amusement
elsewhere. This was her way of keeping his love. She let him see her
seldom, not often alone. He heard of her flirtations from herself. She
loved him absolutely, and she feared the force of her love might cause
his to grow cold, therefore she kept him at a distance and hungered for
a sign, for a caress from him, while she never betrayed her feelings.

The next day Launa received the following letter. She was starting for a
long walk when it came, and read it on the way.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    “MY DEAREST LAUNA,—How are you? We are longing to see you. Do
    come to London. Are you not coming for your music? Mr.
    Wainbridge was here to-day. He is much concerned, dear, that you
    do not come back to town. He fears you may be going to Canada to
    leave us all. Jack is most anxious to see you too. We are still
    happy, madly, gloriously, interruptedly happy. Interruptions are
    salutary—they add joy to the everydayness of life. Dear Launa,
    _do_ come back soon.

                                                 “Thine as ever,
                                                           “L. H.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

Launa went across the moor to the “Cat and Fiddle.” Only by long walks
could she kill the restlessness which overcame her. She was longing to
hear some music again, and Lily’s letter arrived at exactly the very
best time for Mr. Wainbridge.

Mr. Wainbridge wrote almost every day. He sent her books, music, and
flowers. He tried to induce her to come to town. He told her that he
loved her with a love of the soul, that his one longing was to comfort
her, to endeavour to make up for the grief and despair of the past. She
thought of him with interest. He possessed the glamour of a lover for
her without any of the disadvantages of being enamoured herself. This
was an affection of the mind—a soul-love that he felt for her; it
lulled her into security. She resolved to leave in a week for London,
there to begin her music again.

As she walked home across the moor, she thought of the days at
“Solitude” with her father—she felt old and sad. Work only was left;
her aspirations on first coming to London seemed the foolish yearnings
of a child for the moon. She would _do_ something—play, work, and
forget with her heart and soul, and also she _would_ care for some
person. This unsatisfied longing for the woods, for her father and the
old life must be crushed, and speedily. How easy it was to label her
longings! She did not add the desire for one word from Paul to them, and
yet that was the greatest one of all. Lily’s suggestion that she might
intend to go to Canada again filled her with loathing. How could she
face “Solitude”?

And so she and her maid journeyed to Victoria Mansions. Lily came to
welcome her, and expressed herself as being enchanted with life, though
really Jack and she were starting on an unsatisfactory wild-goose chase.
Occasionally they had a day together—sometimes he merely came to dine
when she was having a party. Sir Ralph spent many and long days with
her; they went about together, and Jack waited. He had a firm belief in
his own future with her. She would tire of this life and be glad to
rest, and know he would care always.

When Launa had set her house in order, and had the piano tuned, she
began to take music lessons again.

Mr. Wainbridge came at once to see her. She wanted to take up their
friendship where they had left it before their letter-writing; he had
added the letters, the wishes and imaginings of their separation to it.
At first this intentional game of cross-purposes amused him. She would
not understand what any one might have seen.

She wanted friendship, only bounded by all the old opinions, with
love-making confined to books. There was a grey shadow between her and
love-making. Mr. Wainbridge saw it and was patient.

About this time Launa met the Coopers. Mrs. Cooper was a relic as well
as a relict—her one daughter Sylvia was of the present day. They were
very poor, and Sylvia worked very hard.

Mrs. Cooper knew how to dress in silk or satin, decorated with lace; but
to adapt herself to serge was quite beyond her capabilities. She was a
woman who could only order a dinner of an era which is passing away.
Clear soup, turbot, or cod-fish, with thick sauce, roast beef, a heavy
pudding, plum or cabinet—no savoury—and for dessert candied fruit and
oranges. Dainty dinners and economy were unknown to her. Sylvia did the
housekeeping, and Mrs. Cooper wept. Her husband had been angelic, with a
decided turn for unpunctuality, which is the prerogative of angels. This
was a daily cross to his wife, and her husband bore her revilings with a
saintly and irritating fortitude. Sylvia Cooper was pretty. She was
small and pale, with browny green eyes and brown hair. She met Mr.
George at Victoria Mansions; he had vainly tried to get introduced to
her. He went to the editor of the _Signal_, the new paper which was to
be the signal for every one’s opinions—lords and ladies, ballet girls,
actresses and actors, all wrote for it; only managers did not write for
it, and they disliked it. The notoriety the publication of opinions
brought was not always agreeable.

Mr. George thought of interviewing Miss Cooper, as she sang in the
chorus of the newest and most dull opera.

The editor of the _Signal_ said if she were pretty he would have her
photograph, and if she had broken any of the commandments, he would
allow the interview to be published.

Mr. George said she was pretty, and as for the commandments, Miss Cooper
looked as if she had never heard of them. So he started for the Fulham
Road, where she lived.

First he saw Mrs. Cooper. She received him with the graciousness his
clothes and boots deserved. When he explained his errand she gasped with
horror.

Fortunately at this moment Sylvia entered and the tragic situation
ended. Mr. George asked questions and obtained her photograph for the
paper.

“I will not repeat any of the opinions you confide in me,” he said. “If
I did, and you said you preferred fine days to rainy ones, you would see
in all the papers that Miss Cooper owns to a fondness for fine days, but
she need not imagine that Heaven will be gracious to _her_ at the
expense of the farmers.”

“Or cab drivers,” said Sylvia. “Showery weather must be their harvest
time. Still no paper will notice my opinions. Why did you come to
interview me? I am nobody.”

“I want to get your ideas on chorus work.”

“Yes? Well, you shall have them by and by. We need not talk of my
feelings or of my preferences—but will you have some tea?”

He owned to being a friend of Launa’s and a cousin of Sir Anthony
Howard’s. Mrs. Cooper forgave everything then, and found his visit of
over an hour too short. As soon as he left he drove to Victoria
Mansions.

Launa had just come in. She had lunched at the Herberts’. Mr. Wainbridge
as usual was with her.

“You will never guess where I have been,” said Mr. George, with
complacency, accepting a third cup of tea. Launa’s tea was always good;
at Sylvia’s there was no cream. “I suppose,” he reflected, “there are
lives without cream.”

“Tell me where you have been.”

“Interviewing Miss Cooper for the _Signal_, and here is her photograph.”

“Not really,” said Launa, with interest. “How naughty of you when I
refused to introduce you to her, for I do not approve of you.”

“Now, Miss Launa, you are real mean, as you Yankees say.”

“I am a Canadian.”

“I know it. Haven’t I kept your secret? Did I ever tell Mr. Wainbridge
how you fell violently in love with me and told me so, and how you would
hold my hand? And how I did stroke yours? I was obliged to that night of
the Fulton’s ball. The night you cried—you had just been dancing with
Mr. Wainbridge—you said you were tired—you said—”

“It is nothing new for Miss Archer to be tired,” interrupted Mr.
Wainbridge. “Did she see a ghost? She saw one, I remember, on a Sunday
afternoon.”

“And you are base,” said Launa. “I will not invite you to any of my
parties to meet Sylvia. You have thus betrayed my tenderest feelings and
my tears. For what paper was your interview?”

“The _Signal_, I told you. Now, don’t roll your eyes, Launa; you are not
shocked, I know. What could I do? You see you would not introduce me to
her; Wainbridge said he could not; Mrs. Herbert is so much married _à la
mode_, that I, a young and innocent young man, cannot risk my slender
reputation in her company. Then I thought of the _Signal_. Their leave
was easily procured; they have no intention of paying me, and they will
publish her photograph some day. Her mother was alarmed when she heard
why I had come. I trotted out my cousin, Sir Anthony, and you, Launa. We
had tea, and I am going again soon; perhaps they may come with me some
Sunday afternoon somewhere.”

“Indefinite,” said Mr. Wainbridge, “but convincing of your affection for
her. Take care.”

“Tell me about Sylvia,” said Mr. George. “Wainbridge, you know her well.
Isn’t there a story attached to her?”

“Yes.”

“Tell us,” said Launa. “Do.”

“When the Coopers were well off, only two years ago, Sylvia met Lord
Fairmouth. He is in Africa, or somewhere.”

“Go on,” said Launa.

“You are quite safe, I know; but that young ruffian, will he tell?”

“Tell,” repeated Mr. George. “I long to kick you down the stairs, Mr.
Wainbridge. Go on.”

“Sylvia did not know he was married, and they met every day. He loved
her. His wife was a woman who—”

“Who belonged to every and any man as well as to him,” suggested Mr.
George.

“Sylvia, then,” continued Mr. Wainbridge, “was very religious. She did
not believe in marriage after divorce. Fairmouth could easily have got
rid of his wife; but Sylvia was firm, so he left her and then went away.
She probably sent him.”

“How terrible!” said Launa. “Could they not have met sometimes? Might
not his love have been a comfort to her?”

“Moralists say not,” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“Such love cannot be real,” said Launa. “I used to think love was
immortal.”

“It would be immortal,” said Mr. George. “Too pure for this earth.”

The two men looked at her.

“Almost thou persuadest me that such things can be,” said Mr. George.

“I have learned such a lot,” she said, “in London. Love is marriage and
an end.”

“I am not going to murmur marriage to Sylvia,” said Mr. George. “I have
left it out altogether in my new book, the difficulty was to dispose of
my man and woman. I overcame that by saying, ‘The end is the usual one.’
To return to Sylvia. I am not afraid of a breach of promise, but
nowadays marriage is labelled a ‘question,’ and the reviewers are so
tired of it; they are all married. I fear I must leave you now, Miss
Launa. Good-bye.”

“Be a good boy! Don’t chase the cat or—Good-bye.”

“Suppose you were situated as they were,” said Mr. Wainbridge, “would
you have sent him away? Would you have been afraid?”

“Afraid?” she repeated, with a contempt for fear. “No, I would have
loved him—forever and ever. Why, because a man is bound to a vile
woman, need he make the woman he loves vile because he loves her, or
because he is bound?”

She looked at him, flushed with excitement, and doing battle for truth,
and he realised that to some women love does not mean temptation because
they are usually ignorant—at first. It would be difficult to explain
this to Launa.

“I know not,” he whispered.

“I often wish,” she said, half to herself, “that we knew more of what
will happen after death, if we were only told—should we try more? There
is such temptation to become lethargic—to drown remembrance in the
waters of Lethe.”

“You have no temptation. Do you want a reward? That is the lowest type
of religion.”

“I do not want crowns, and vast seas of gold have no charm for me. Do
you not suppose that Sylvia often wonders whether she will meet and know
the man she loves again?”

“Certainly she does, and she will see him and know him here. He won’t be
able to stay away.”

“You don’t believe in a future anywhere?”

“I believe in another world,” he said, “in another life where a verdict
of temporary insanity as regards the foolishness of man’s doings in this
life will be given with frequency. Most of us are not responsible for
what we do. You know if a man or a woman kills his or herself the jury
usually call it suicide while temporarily insane. Many of us commit
self-murder for this life, but, in the eyes of the higher jury, if it
exist at all, we are temporarily insane.”

“Don’t say if it exist; it must, else it were never worth one’s while to
give up anything.”

“Is giving up worth it? Is it?” he asked. “Why not take all one can get?
it is little enough. I love you,” he added softly, and put one arm round
her.

“Don’t,” she said sharply, “_don’t_; I cannot bear being touched.”

“You love me?”

“No, I love no one. I like you, we are friends. You like what I do. You
must not spoil it by loving me.”

“What did George mean when he said you had cried one night after dancing
with me?”

“I cannot tell you.”

“I did not offend you?”

“No; oh, no. It had nothing to do with you personally. Can’t we be as we
were?”

“I have always loved you. I long to help and comfort you, to make you
happy. Do you think that impossible?”

“Why ask inconvenient questions?”

“Is it inconvenient? My dearest, I did not mean it.”

“Because she cares for me she was afraid happiness was never coming,” he
thought.

A man always attributes a woman’s refusing to tell him how much she
cares to her being too shy to talk of it; never to her not caring
enough. “Yet does she care?” he wondered. That he might still doubt, and
not be obliged to think of settlements and the wedding ring was
satisfactory, it left an element of uncertainty in their relations; he
could dare to be tender, yet not too loving. Men marry because there is
nothing else to do, he thought. They know all about their future wives,
their affection is returned, it is satiating—there is nothing new.

Ten minutes afterwards Launa was singing Darkey songs for him, and
laughing as if her quest for happiness were over—successfully.

As he bade her good-bye, she gave him her hand.

“Is that all?”

“Yes; all. Next time I shall not shake hands, between friends it is
unnecessary.”

“I can wait.”

“Do,” she replied. “You could not well do anything else.”

He could not feel sure that it was time even to think a wedding ring
would ever be required.



                              CHAPTER XIII


LONDON and December—fogs and fires—cosy rooms and misery, side by
side.

Lily came to breakfast, and found her husband waiting with her letters.

“Good-morning,” she said politely.

“Bad-morning,” returned he morosely.

“Why have you come? I said neither of us was to disturb the other when
either was ill.”

“I am not ill. I have arrived because you chose me for better, for
worse, and now you let me have my breakfast alone. I hate breakfast, and
I love you. You do not greet me with joy.”

He came over to put his arm round her.

“After breakfast. It is too early for anything except tea.”

“That cup which does not inebriate. I wish to Heaven it would or could
inebriate you. You might be less cold, less—”

“Married.”

“You speak as though you expected this—as though this phase of ours is
not new to you. Is it a phase?”

“I do not know. I fear—oh, Jack, why is it?”

This cry for information was at least human.

“It is this detestable flat system. Let us go and live in a house—with
stairs,” said Jack.

She laughed.

“How amusing. The stairs would not make me—or you—different.”

“I am tired of being alone.”

“I thought you were going to say of being married. Loneliness is the
philosopher’s joy.”

“I am a man, not a philosopher.”

“And my husband.”

“Yes, your husband.”

“Why do you sigh?”

“Did I sigh?”

“Have some more tea.”

“I will. I do feel cheered. Perhaps if I stayed here all day, and you
made tea for me, I should feel contented.”

“You have not yet told me why you came.”

“Hans Breitmann gib ein barty. Where is that barty now?”

“Who is going to ‘gib ein barty’?”

“I am,” he replied.

“Am I to be invited?”

“If you are good.”

“I am always good. I am not always happy.”

“And the pious books say, if you were the one you would be the other.
Bertie’s play is to come off on the 16th. He has got me a box. You want
to see it?”

“Yes. It is said to be clever.”

“Bertie isn’t,” said Herbert.

“He did not write it, Miss Fisher did. She will get half the profits.
But who are the ‘barty’?”

“You and I, Sylvia, George, Wainbridge, and Launa.”

“Too respectable, married and dull. We are to do wedded felicity, while
they seek to imitate us. They are known to be desirous of so doing.”

“Who else can I ask?”

“Sir Ralph, Lady Hastings. Leave out Launa and Mr. Wainbridge. Sylvia
and Mr. George will do, if she can come. She is still moon-struck, or
lord-struck, or virtue-struck. Why did she send him away? She will never
marry Mr. George.”

“I thought Launa was your friend?”

“So she is.”

“I do not advise anyone to marry, do you? It is an uncertain,
disquieting bondage, even our way.”

“Even our way,” she repeated.

Jack thought he detected a sign of disappointment in her acquiescence.
It is all very well to abuse oneself while seeking contradiction, but to
have one’s husband call the joy of matrimony uncertain—that brings
uneasiness into the mind of the wife.

Lily ate some toast, and felt disappointed. He did not love her more
because of her inaccessibility.

“You will come to see the play with me? We shall have supper at the
Savoy.”

“Very well. You will ask Sir Ralph and Lady Hastings?”

“I think not.”

“Sir Ralph is very fond of me.”

“So am I.”

“Are you? I want to sit next to him at supper.”

“You can sit by me, dear.”

“Why not call me ‘my love’? That is what a husband usually calls his
wife, ‘my love’—it is a sort of mockery—‘my love’ when it is dead and
gone.”

“My love is not dead nor gone.”

“Yet you will not please me about Sir Ralph. If we gave up this
detestable flat system, the inviting and arranging of parties would be
left to me, my lord.”

“You may ask all the people you like, dear. You may give a ball, if you
will, only live in a house with stairs.”

“Not yet, dear.”

“I must go now, and leave you. Every time I leave you it grows harder.
Why must it be?”

“I will come to your party on the 16th, and I will bring Sir Ralph.”

“I do not want him.”

“Yes, you do. Did you get my gloves?”

“They will come to-day. Good-bye.”

Quickly he put his arm round her and rapidly kissed her.

“There!”

“Go home,” she replied. “Matrimonial endearments thus early in the
morning are unusual and uncomfortable.”

Then she sat down and read her letters.

“He won’t ask Sir Ralph,” she thought. “Shall I go? I am tired of Sir
Ralph, and Jack never bores me.”

She ordered her husband’s favourite pudding for lunch, and arranged the
flowers, but he did not come. He was afraid of wearying her, and sat in
his rooms, wanting to go to what he called the Haven, but not daring. A
drawn sword hovered over his Paradise. After lunch Lily wrote to him.

                 *        *        *        *        *

    “MY DEAREST,—You thought me a cold brute this morning, I know.
    Can’t you understand how it is? I am so terribly afraid of your
    ceasing to care that I seem so indifferent? Marriage we all know
    does not increase love. And I feel that if I were once to show
    you how much I love you you would change. Your love would grow
    less; we cannot stand still; and I am trying to control fate, to
    hold you and to keep you forever. I know that my power over you
    would vanish if you were sure of me, and if we were to settle
    down in a house with stairs, you would soon regard me as an
    article of furniture—necessary perhaps to your comfort, but to
    be easily replaced if broken. You are such a husband now; that
    is what I resent, and you are too fond of coming to breakfast;
    why are you not my lover still? If I were your mistress you
    would come and dine with me, and we should be perfectly happy.
    You would not dream of inquiring what men or man had called, and
    the duration of each visit; you must make love to me as you used
    to do and trust me absolutely. I am yours—I think of you
    always, not sometimes but _always_, and I hunger for your
    presence, for your touch. But I could not bear your toleration,
    and I loathe the husband attitude you sometimes assume. Do you
    do it because you fear to weary me with your caresses? I think
    so, but you are wrong. I love you, love you. What a fool I am!—

    “Yours,

                                                              “L.”

After writing this she went to call on her husband’s aunts. They as
usual reduced her to a state of irritability, and she walked home full
of reflections upon boredom. This was rapidly dispersed by Sir Ralph,
who was waiting for her with a new book. Tea restored her mind to its
normal balance, and conversation, with a cigarette, brought back her
belief in herself. That morning she had been singularly near leaning on
Jack. Sir Ralph amused her, he was so easily hurt, and in such open
bondage to her. While talking with him, the impossibility of a _grande
passion_ in these days manifested itself to her. She got up and went to
her writing-table—in a drawer was her letter to Jack. She had intended
to send it to him after dinner; it would have brought him to her at
once. For one night anyway she would have experienced exquisite
happiness. She shut her eyes, remembering the perfect joy; it was almost
pain to think of her love for him. Then she hurriedly tore up the
letter, and burned it.

“It is strange how many phases one’s mind goes through in a day,” she
said.

Her letter burned quickly and curled up, as if the flames hurt it, and
it was in pain. She moved uneasily, for it almost hurt her.

“This morning I was different.”

“Were you?” asked Sir Ralph. “My mind never changes. I am always the
same.”

“How very dull! I am never the same. Are you asked to the party of my
lord and master on the 16th?”

“No.”

“You have heard nothing of it?”

“Not yet. I wanted you to come with me to see the new ballet on the
16th. I came to ask you. Now, I suppose, you will not come.”

“I know not. Shall I not? Yes, I will come—alone!”

“Alone! So much the better, and to supper afterwards at the Savoy?”

“Yes.”

“Good. You will wear?”

“Black.”

“I will send you some flowers.”

“The advantages of matrimony are supreme. I am enjoying it immensely.”

“Really? I should have thought it might be dull for you.”

“Oh, no; not with all of you to amuse me.”

After he left she dressed and went to a party, where she met him again.
It was a cheerful entertainment, without any dull people to ask
questions. Mrs. Herbert found several ladies took much interest in her
affairs, and in her husband’s whereabouts. They did not ask such
questions twice, but it annoyed her to know of what they thought. They
blamed Jack. As a husband he ought to look after that young woman.

For the next few days, Mrs. Herbert avoided being alone with her
husband. She invited him to lunch when other people were present, and he
did not enjoy it, though he comforted himself by thinking of the 16th.
Mr. Herbert made arrangements for his wife to stay all night at his
abode, and found himself strung up to a pitch of joyful expectation.

In those days of waiting, her mood was uncertain, morose, absurd, and
cross at intervals. Mr. Herbert waited for his day of reckoning; he
intended to settle all things on that eventful night, to have all or
nothing.

They were at the theatre watching the new play. Launa, Sylvia, Mr.
George, and Mr. Wainbridge. Mr. Herbert was watching for Lily. She was
often late.

A note was brought to him; he opened it with indifference, which did not
last. His wife had sent it as she drove off with Sir Ralph to see the
ballet.

Mr. Herbert left the theatre and walked up and down outside, mad with
rage and heartache. Fool, fool, that he had been; to love her, to trust
her. She had killed love and trust, he assured himself; while all the
time he knew she had not, that was the greatest torture.

Mrs. Herbert and Sir Ralph had a box at the Grosvenor. Her dress was
most becoming, which is the wine that maketh glad the heart of woman;
but, strange to say, she could not forget her husband. It is usually so
easy to forget.

She planned a breakfast party next day. Jack would come to take her out;
she loved a cockney day with him, when they travelled first-class and
called it cockney. There was skating, they would go together; and she
would forgive him with effect and solemnity.

“Herbert’s party comprises Miss Archer as the only lady,” said Mrs.
Herbert. “Well, she is beautiful.”

“He thinks so.”

“And so do I,” she replied. “Launa alone, how odd!”

“Why? I am very liberal; I cannot see why Launa and your husband should
not have a party as you and I are doing.”

“We are old friends.”

“Yes. Are we anything else? We are old friends.”

“And they are new ones.”

“The length of time makes no difference,” he said. “I could love a new
friend in a week better than an old friend in a year.”

“How true!”

How glad I am, she reflected, that Jack and I have two flats. If we were
in one small space to-night we should quarrel.

She went home feeling sad. Would Jack be waiting for her? A few strong
words, a few strong kisses, and where would her philosophy have been?
Repentance would have replaced it.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The weather was very cold. Near Polton there was a lake, on which the
skating was good. Launa and Lily had arranged to meet at Paddington, and
go down there for a few days. Launa waited an hour for Lily, and then
went without her.

The Polton Arms was a celebrated hotel, because the landlady was a
celebrated cook. Launa took her maid, and resolved to stay and skate
without Mrs. Herbert. Mr. Wainbridge did not know her address.

The luxury of solitude for a short space was pleasant to her, and the
landlady had known her father. Launa spent all the day on the lake; the
days were wonderfully clear and cold, and the air and the motion were as
new life to her.

One day when she came back to the Polton Arms, and entered the big warm
hall, in which burned a wood fire, Mr. Wainbridge came forward and took
her hand.

“How are you?” he asked.

“Surprised, and well.”

“I have come to see you. I could not get on any longer without you.”

“How did you discover me? Come and have tea now.”

Her sitting-room was very pleasant, the usual hotel adornments had
vanished. There was peace; and they sat and talked until it was time to
dress for dinner.

“Propriety,” said Launa, “demands that you should dine downstairs, and I
in my sitting-room alone; but the claims of propriety are not imperious.
We will dine together.”

Wainbridge felt perfectly happy, perfectly content; Launa was feeling
soothed and lulled by the sensation that someone cared excessively for
her. It was so desolate to be always alone, and she wanted someone to
take care of her.

For the rest of the week they met every day, and spent it together
skating. As Mr. Wainbridge could not waltz on skates she taught him.

“This is a sort of honeymoon,” he said.

“Without any bother. Honeymoons are troublesome.”

“That depends on the moon and the honey. I like it in the comb.”

One day they were just starting for the lake when they met Captain
Carden. Launa bowed to him, and did not appear uncomfortable at what he
considered an inopportune meeting for her. Captain Carden went back to
town that night, and told Mr. George, whom he met, that Launa was
staying at Polton with Mr. Wainbridge.

“They are staying together,” he said. “How lucky for her she is not
married, for I saw them.”

Mr. George promptly remarked that unless Captain Carden wanted kicking,
he had better go, which he did.

The Cardens still felt a tender interest, an endless curiosity about
Launa. They regretted her fall from grace, and Mrs. Carden felt with
sorrow that she had wandered far from the safe haven of her protection;
but when Charlie told her Launa was with Mr. Wainbridge, then did she
mingle tears and rejoicings.

“We shall get her yet,” he said at last. “When no one else will know
her, she will be glad to be Mrs. Carden.”

“A Mrs. Carden whom no one will know,” said his mother. “How terrible!”

“But her money,” he suggested.

They were drinking tea together—a pale, straw-coloured liquid. For once
Mr. Carden had not grumbled; for the present they were united. The maid
announced, “Mr. Harvey.”

Mrs. Carden rose and bowed. Mr. Harvey advanced with the self-possession
of a Somebody, and the assurance of an American.

“I must apologise,” he said, “for troubling you. I came to get Miss
Archer’s address. Her father once gave me yours as the means of finding
him in town. I am a friend of theirs, and live near them in Canada.”

“Launa’s address?” repeated Carden.

“Address,” echoed his mother. “Please sit down.”

“Her address,” replied Harvey.

“Launa was in the country,” said Mrs. Carden. “She lives at Victoria
Mansions, but I am sorry to say she is a very odd girl. She loves the
world.”

“It is beautiful,” said the Canadian. “Then she has not changed.”

“Beautiful, is it?” observed Mrs. Carden.

“If you will kindly give me her exact address, I will not trouble you
any further.”

Mrs. Carden went to her writing-table and wrote it. As she handed it to
him she said:

“Are you her relation or her guardian? I believe my cousin married a
Canadian.”

“I am not her guardian.”

“We—my son and I—are much worried about her. He met her down at
Polton. She was staying there, and so was a man called Mr. Wainbridge.”

Here she paused for exclamations.

“Well?” said Paul.

“Not well,” said Mrs. Carden. “It is very wrong of Launa to stay at an
hotel with a man—with—a—man. Do you understand?”

“No,” replied Paul. “Not what you mean me to understand.”

“They frequently had their meals together.”

“Quite right.”

“My son is in love with Miss Archer. He is as careful about her
reputation as about his own.”

“He had better be,” answered Paul. “He should have held his tongue, and
not have invented vile stories.”

Then he went away. Captain Carden immediately became furious, because
Harvey had said he had invented stories.

Paul had been in London a week. He was determined to find Launa, to make
her love him. It was only that one day she had been different. Her
words, her look had been as if he were an outcast, a glance of loathing
she had thrown at him. He remembered it always, but he loved her, longed
for her intensely; and now he was determined to know what she had meant
when she said she felt outraged. He had no reason to suppose she could
care for him. Indeed, her absence from Canada, her rebuke the day after
he had shot the horse, all showed that she did not love him. Yet she had
not always seemed to hate him. Love and hate are closely connected, and
he would know what she really felt, because he could not live without
her. He had tried the North-West big game shooting; he had rushed madly
about, and cried for madder music, stronger wine to help him forget; and
through it all she was there.

Now these detestable people said untrue things about her; nevertheless
he shuddered slightly as he remembered what they had insinuated.

He drove back to the Metropolis and walked past Victoria Mansions. Then
he went in. He saw her name on the doorpost, and boldly marched up the
stairs, disdaining the porter’s suggestion of the lift. Outside her door
he could hear her playing and singing:

        “Long is it I have loved thee,
        Thee shall I love alway,
                    My dearest;
        Long is it I have loved thee,
        Thee shall I love alway.”

It was a Canadian song, he knew it well. He whistled it softly as he
went down the stairs. Outside it was cold and beginning to rain. He did
not feel it.

        “Long is it I have loved thee.”



                              CHAPTER XIV


CAPTAIN CARDEN found himself in an unusual and delightful situation: he
had something to say, and that something interested various people.
Launa had attracted a certain amount of attention, from the British
matron upwards, but being a Canadian, which, after all, is as bad as
being an American, all things were expected of her, and being rich, all
things were forgiven her. She had appropriated young men, but seemed to
prefer quality to quantity.

Since her father’s death, she had lived in great seclusion. The world
gave her no credit for it, it was the seclusion, no doubt, of one who is
well amused. People talked uncertainly to her about art and music, for
it was rumoured that she was composing, and in truth she was working and
having lessons from Herr Donau.

Captain Carden had never forgiven her laugh that night. Ridicule to this
gallant son of Mars was torture. He sallied forth garnished with
importance, and carrying a full card-case to call on his many friends.
He went first to Lady Blake’s. He had murmured to many people, “Have you
heard about Miss Archer?”

He had no cause to think that Lady Blake would receive him with rapture,
but his news would interest her.

Lady Blake was at home. She was alone and hating it, so she welcomed
Captain Carden with joy. Her last party had been a failure. Mr.
Wainbridge had plainly taken no interest in her latest quarrel with her
husband, and Herr Donau talked of nothing but Miss Archer’s wonderful
execution. Captain Carden was a man, and as such, available for
conquest, and she welcomed him as a relief to her feelings.

They talked of the weather, of the opera, and finally he mentioned
Launa.

“Is there no other girl in London? Must you all talk of her?”

“Why?” he asked. “Have you heard?”

“Heard what? Tell me,” she said.

“I thought you knew. I really cannot tell you.”

“I never would believe anything about another woman, it is so cruel to
one’s own self—so low, I think. Unless, of course, it were absolutely
true, and then I should feel sorry.”

She uttered her words with a sublime air of pity.

“Yes; I know you would. Still, some women—”

“Some women?”

“Are queer.”

“Are they?” she inquired.

“Free—strange in their ideas of propriety. Miss Archer is, I think.”

“We all know that Canadians are free. Canada is not exactly a
Republic—not a Monarchy. The country has no institutions, and that must
affect the women—don’t you think so?”

She had the sweetest, most appealing way of saying “don’t you think so,”
with an accent on the “don’t” and on the “you” which men and old women
found very attractive.

“There is an atmosphere of a wigwam and the wilderness about them, that
is the reason men like them—before they marry them.”

“They skate so well, too,” he said. “Have you been skating? I spent a
day or two at Polton. I met Miss Archer with Mr. Wainbridge, and they
were staying together at the inn. She skates splendidly.”

He then said “Good-bye,” and left her considering the subject and all
its various possibilities. Launa and Mr. Wainbridge together at the same
hotel. There is only one way in which a man and a woman can be staying
together at an hotel. Either they are married or they ought to be. She
laughed and told her next visitor.

Captain Carden then went to see Mrs. Herbert. Sir Ralph, Mr. George, and
various other men were there, and two women.

Captain Carden, quietly but sorrowfully, related his story to Mrs.
Herbert.

“Miss Archer and Mr. Wainbridge!” she repeated, “alone at the inn. Well,
what matter? If they like to be foolish, why shouldn’t they? It sounds
very terrible; but if I were you, Captain Carden, I would not repeat it.
Let it go. Believe me, the path of a reformer is a difficult one, and
reformation is uninteresting, especially if it is impossible. Good-bye,”
she added. “I am sorry you have to go.”

Sir Ralph and Mr. George stayed after everyone had left, and talked.

Mrs. Herbert did not believe Captain Carden’s story, at least not in the
way he wanted her to; but she was jealous of Launa, and rather glad to
hear anything to her discredit. She turned to Mr. George, and asked:

“How is your Proverb book?”

“Not progressing very rapidly,” he answered. “I have taken to
interviewing. I find it more amusing.”

“Whom do you interview?”

“Young and interesting women—the women of the future.”

“Is it true what they are saying of Launa?” she asked.

“What do they say?”

“That she and Mr. Wainbridge were alone at Polton together at the hotel
there.”

“Well?”

“That is all. You must acknowledge that if a girl stays with a man at a
country hotel—”

“A country hotel! Is that bad?” he interrupted. “The town is always
respectable. I understand. What a pity they had not stayed at the Grand
or the Metropole. I am so glad I live in town. Aren’t you, Egerton?”

“Rubbish,” she replied. “You misunderstand me.”

“Not at all. Tell me more,” said George.

“I am worried about Launa. Her reputation will suffer.”

Sir Ralph rose and said:

“Good-bye—to-morrow at ten.”

He hated the mere idea of moral reflections.

“Has Launa a reputation yet?” asked George. “A woman must be talked
about for three seasons, and have four married men in love with her.
That is a reputation. It is eating your cake and having it too, and you
are endeavouring to do that.”

“What do you mean?”

“You tell me what they say of Launa. They say far worse of you. They say
Sir Ralph lives here—not that you stay in the same hotel—by accident,
simultaneously—which happened to her. They say that Buxton and Sir
Ralph are partners, and that Herbert is useful. It is like the women in
the Bible, you remember? ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own
apparel, only let us be called by thy name.’ Herbert gives the name.”

“You had better go,” she said. “You are a coward to say all these things
to a woman. You would not dare say them if I were a man, or if Jack were
here.”

“No; but he seldom is here, and he is useful as a shelter. I would not
have said this if you had not made me angry about Launa. She is one of
the best women I ever knew.”

“Your experience then is limited.”

“Good-bye. You live in too large a glass-house to throw stones, unless
you are absolutely reckless and desire the smashing of your own roof.”

With this he left her, and she sat and thought it all over. She was very
angry with Mr. George, and yet she laughed. She felt so absolutely sure
of herself, and knew her husband was the one man in the world she loved.
These others were merely to keep herself from thinking—they were to her
what embroidery is to some women. Why should people talk of her? And Mr.
George—what a brute he was!

What she hardly dared acknowledge to herself was her husband’s daily
increasing indifference. He had been away since the 16th, and he had not
told her where he was going.

Was he often with Launa? Jealousy, a raging, burning hatred of the woman
who was liked so much, filled her mind, and she stamped her foot with
rage. Then she wanted to cry. To feel herself powerless, to know herself
mistaken, both were new emotions, both were uncomfortably true and
horrible.

Marriage, she reflected, was always a failure; to keep one’s husband as
a lover is impossible. At this moment Mr. Herbert came in.

“You!” she exclaimed, with mixed feelings of pleasure and surprise.

“You are alone?”

“How do you do?” she said. She always remembered the observances of
polite society. “I am alone. Look behind the curtain or under the sofa
if you think I have a man hidden anywhere.”

She resisted an impulse which said, “Speak, say you love him.” He looked
in one of his critical moods, so she summoned all her energies to her
aid and crushed away any feeling she possessed.

“I am very well,” he answered. He looked tired. “I am going to Cairo
to-night to do some writing for the _Signal_.”

“You are going . . . and I?”

“You will stay here,” he answered, with cheerful unconcern. “You have
all you want.”

“All—Jack! don’t go. They say—I will even live in a house with
stairs.”

“You have heard! What have you heard?”

She got up and came near him.

“I shall miss you terribly.”

“You want me to stay?”

“Yes, I do want you to stay with me, or I will go with you.”

“This is only a mood—to show your own power. When I come back, in six
months, then we shall see.”

“Six months? And I am to wait. No, thank you. You will have lost me for
ever then. Oh! you are cruel.”

“You are mistaken; I am not cruel. We have tried our experiment, and it
has failed for me—for you, perhaps it is what you wanted. It will be
all the better for you if I am not here. They—the all-powerful—will
say less about you, if you are decently careful. Have you seen anything
of Launa? Perhaps you will be good to her.”

“To Launa? What is she to you?”

“My friend. You cannot understand that. I—”

“A man is never the friend of a woman.”

“You have no friends then?”

“I—I am different. Why should I console her for your departure? Is she
broken-hearted?”

“No,” he replied. “Why will you misunderstand me?”

“Isn’t it enough for her to have Mr. Wainbridge, and to stay at hotels
with him alone.”

“Take care what you say, and what you insinuate. Launa is perfectly
innocent, she never stayed at an hotel—that is, lived with Mr.
Wainbridge as you suggest. Someone may have seen them dining together.
You dine with men sometimes. But I must go now.”

She walked up and down in front of him. She was like a panther, with the
same quick, nervous, gliding steps, and she was raging. She wore a
tea-gown; he had once admired it. The light accentuated her piercing
eyes, her mocking red lips.

“I shall not come to you until you send for me,” he said.

“And I shall never send for you. Marriage is a mistake. You believe all
they say of me. I have never kissed any man but you, I did love you, I
might love you if—”

“Your virtue in not kissing men is wonderful, but they may kiss you. I
believe nothing about you, nor in your love for me, nor for anyone.”

“Daily life is so absorbing, the fine dust sifts in and deadens all
feeling,” she said sadly.

“Does it? Well, now I must say good-bye.”

He took her hand.

“I trust you always. I cannot stay in this way. It is best for me to go
and to forget.”

And so he left her.

She threw herself down on her sofa and buried her face in the cushions.
“Best to go and to forget—to go and to forget.” This was the reward of
a Regenerator of Matrimony.

That night Mrs. Herbert went to a dance. The waltzes all seemed to be
played to the measure of a train—every minute took him further away—in
intervals, when she was not talking, she composed letters which she
never sent, and she hated herself for having let him go. Where was her
power? Had she lost it?

She tried to use it on Sir Ralph, and the result more than justified her
expectations.

“You deserve a good scolding,” said Mr. George, when he asked for a
dance and she refused to give it to him. “You are eating your cake now.
I hope it is bitter. Jack has gone.”

Sir Ralph went home with her, but he did not go in, as she shook hands
by the lift and thanked him in an absent-minded, perfunctory way. Then
she went to her room and wept.

She was a fool. It was all too horrible. The next morning life was not
worth living, it was black and dreary. Excitement and Sir Ralph were all
she had left. She was jealous of the unknown, of Jack’s gladstone bag,
and of his boots, of everything; and then she remembered Launa, and she
was jealous of her. It was quite delightful to find a person to hurt,
someone tangible at whom to throw speeches. Mrs. Herbert resolved to
rise early, and go to see Launa.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Meanwhile Captain Carden’s remarks and suggestions had an effect. Mr.
Wainbridge noticed it—men looked coldly or with a certain amount of
curiosity at him—some women turned the other way, others were
interested. He did not realise the meaning of this, until Mr. George
brought it before him. Mr. George was by no means one of the crowd. He
knew Launa well; it was doubtful whether she had refused him or not. He
adored Sylvia now. He frequented Launa’s abode, scolded her when she
appeared weary, and forbade her to sit up late. By this time people said
that Miss Archer and Mr. Wainbridge had spent a week in Paris together,
as Mr. and Mrs. Claude.

Mr. Wainbridge heard this tale in silence, and at the end he expressed
himself as anxious to horsewhip the whole town. Mr. George reminded him
that the town is large, and chiefly composed of women.

“Damn them,” said Mr. Wainbridge, briefly but expressively.

“That relieves your feelings,” said Mr. George, “and is of no other
avail. You must be accepted or refused by Launa sooner than you meant to
be.”

“But she will not do either—and if she hears or guesses—she will be
hard to manage. Don’t you suppose I would have married her long ago, if
she would have had me?”

“You have been prolonging the joys of uncertainty—an engagement is an
uncertain certainty—marriage is a certain uncertainty. It has claims,
sure and everlasting I know, but they are unattractive.”

Launa was rearranging her books when Mr. Wainbridge called to see her
after this conversation.

“I feel particularly depressed to-day,” she said, “so I am clearing up.
That will produce a halo of virtue. I have tidied my work basket, and
arranged my music. Now I will play to you.”

She went to the piano and began to play. It was something strong and
full of power—urging, urging what seems to be the search for
happiness—on and on—like life—it went full of longings and regrets,
until suddenly a clear still melody rang out, the Never Never country at
last.

Mr. Wainbridge went over to her. The music thrilled him.

“How beautifully you play!”

He looked down at her. She was young, strong, beautiful, and a wild
feeling for her swept over him; all the love and passion that was in the
music seemed to be one with him. He loved her, loved her, loved her, and
he had kept it down. It had never held full sway; not until this day had
he felt quite powerless to control himself. She must be his. The longing
of weeks and days engulfed him, and he tried to speak.

“Dearest—Launa. I love you. God forgive me, I love you more than my
soul.”

He fell on his knees beside her, his head in his hands.

“Don’t,” she said, “don’t,” putting out her hand. There was aversion in
her voice.

“What, don’t love you? That is impossible. I beg you, I pray you to give
me your love. Trust me, help me.”

“My love. Oh! love—what is it? Listen, I cannot tell you what I
feel. . . . I do not love you. I am at peace when I am with you—I trust
you; that is all.”

“And you will always.” He took her hand and kissed it. “My beautiful
lady, you are mine, _mine_. How can I be glad enough?”

“Don’t be . . . anything.”

“Do you love me?”

“I trust you. I do not want you to kiss me.”

He laughed a little.

“What is love?” she asked.

“Madness.”

“Peace,” she replied.

“Yes, peace. Oh! my dearest, with you, peace.”

He rose from her side. She let her hands go over the keys, playing
snatches of things. The prelude to tea appeared, the table and the
cloth.

Mr. Wainbridge walked to the window, and Launa was playing “Warum.” “Das
bange bittere Warum,” with its ceaseless unanswered questions. It was
one of the things she had always played and felt she had not understood.
Through what a century of emotions she had gone, and “Warum” brought her
back. She understood it now as she never had done before.

She had been drifting down a rapid quiet stream, hurrying past the old
landmarks, soothed by the swift dark water, lulled by its swirl, and
rush, comforted by Mr. Wainbridge’s care of her and for her. Now she was
out on the sea, the broad sea of love, with its indefiniteness. She had
awakened with a start to find herself there; to know that he loved her
and wanted to marry her, and she also knew that to turn back was
impossible.

“I am so happy, my darling,” he said, turning round as he spoke. “I have
loved you for so long, and I have feared.”

“Feared what?”

“I feared you. That you did not care, and you do not care as I do.”

“No,” she replied; “I do not, I cannot care as you do. Why is it? I want
to, and I want to remember only you. Only I can’t, I can’t.”

“You do not want to remember the old life?”

“I want to forget everything, everyone. Listen, I must tell you—I don’t
want to marry you, because I cannot bear it, because I’ve once loved—”
she stopped; he waited—“I once loved someone else. I think he is dead
to me—but I know if he were to call me I would go, even if I married
you and he came. I have forgotten him sometimes, but it all comes back
again and again.”

“I will make you love me—he is dead; he will never come. You will marry
me, you will? Promise—you can’t draw back now.”

“I promise to marry you? I cannot forget so soon—”

“You promise?”

“Yes. Now you will have tea?”

“Mrs. Herbert,” said the maid.

“How are you?” cried Launa, with joy. An interruption just then was most
convenient. “You have not been here for so long.”

Mr. Wainbridge could have borne a longer absence with philosophy. He
gave Mrs. Herbert one glance, and looked again. She was looking handsome
and flushed, yet the emotion which plainly affected her savoured not of
joy nor of peace.

“I have not been here since you—how long is it since you were away?”
said Mrs. Herbert. “Did you enjoy yourself? What were you doing?
Skating?”

“It seems so long ago,” said Launa. “To-day has been so warm. Who could
believe we have ever skated?”

“Yes, who?” inquired Mrs. Herbert. “The ice has gone, and the
skate-marks are melted; there is no track on the water.”

“I hear Herbert has gone to Cairo,” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“Has he?” asked Launa. “How horrible for you.”

It is a wife’s duty to feel horribly something at her husband’s
departure for Egypt or Hong-Kong, and Launa expressed the proper
sympathy in her voice.

“He did not tell you?” asked Mrs. Herbert.

“No,” answered Launa.

“He did,” said Mrs. Herbert, with some excitement.

She had refused tea.

There was silence. Mr. Wainbridge glanced at Launa. His look infuriated
Mrs. Herbert, whose anger threatened to become quite beyond her power of
control.

“I came to-day, Launa, to tell you that I will no longer know you. You
have poisoned my husband’s mind against me, and a girl who goes to the
country and stays alone there with a man, under his name, as his—well,
I leave the name to you.”

Mr. Wainbridge jumped up. Launa grew scarlet—bright, flaming red, up,
up, into her hair. Mrs. Herbert was mad with anger; she wanted a whip,
to hear it lashed, to make a noise with it, and hurt somebody. She
clenched her hands violently.

“Miss Archer has just promised to be my wife,” said Mr. Wainbridge, “and
she would prefer you left us. As for me, I hope you will never come into
her house again; you certainly never shall enter mine.”

He rang the bell.

“Bah!” said Mrs. Herbert. “Virtue is not always triumphant. You made him
love you—you took him from me!”

“Open the door for Mrs. Herbert,” said Mr. Wainbridge to the maid.

Mrs. Herbert rose.

“Your announcement is rather late. You may as well marry her—now.”

“What does she mean?” asked Launa, in a bewildered way. She had risen
and stood in front of Mr. Wainbridge, her eyes on his face. “Do they say
things about me? Do they?”

He did not answer her question. He had nothing to say.

Launa heard a step and turned round quickly to see if Mrs. Herbert were
returning.

“Paul! Paul!” she cried. There was joy in her voice which Mr. Wainbridge
had never heard in it before. “Oh, Paul!” She moved quickly towards him
and gave him her hand. “I am so glad, so glad. When did you come? Why
did you not come long ago?”

Mr. Wainbridge inspected Paul Harvey during this crisis. He was brown,
strong, and lithe; standing by him Mr. Wainbridge appeared weak,
effeminate.

“This is Mr. Wainbridge,” said Launa.

She wished him just then at Cairo or anywhere else.

“How do you do?” said both men.

“Miss Archer has just promised to marry me.”

He wore an air of ownership and went nearer Launa. There was a slight
degree of defiance in his attitude.

“I congratulate you,” said Paul; “you are very lucky. The most fortunate
of men.”

“Sit down,” said Launa, with a smile at Paul which Mr. Wainbridge
endeavoured to imagine was merely kind. Launa assured herself that hers
was the smile of a married woman to some brother of whom she is fond.
“Tell me about home, about ‘Solitude,’ about the canoe, and the rivers.”

They talked, while Mr. Wainbridge listened, not uninterested, but
surprised. Launa was new, different. Paul had introduced another element
into the game—an element of doubt.

“But I shall win,” thought Mr. Wainbridge; “she has promised.”

“I have known Paul for years,” said Launa, turning to Mr. Wainbridge, as
if to explain the situation, and he knows all about the land I dwelt in
and my old home.”

This explanation was as much for Paul as for Mr. Wainbridge, and also
for herself. She was convinced now of good reasons for her joy.

The returned traveller’s welcome was delightful to Paul more than he had
dared hope for, less than that for which he longed, though to be
received as the friend of the family was not his only aspiration. It was
the stone instead of the bread, the hand of fellowship instead of the
kiss of passion. He left Mr. Wainbridge with Launa, no doubt waiting for
his kiss. Paul winced at the idea, and he was dining with the Canadian
Commissioner.

But Mr. Wainbridge did not kiss Launa—he left her alone. She threw
herself down on the sofa. The idea of marriage had appealed to her as a
narcotic. Paul’s coming had changed it into a scourge. He was here;
perhaps the girl was dead! She flushed with joy, then hid her face with
shame. Perhaps he did not love her, had never loved her, and she
belonged to Mr. Wainbridge. Paul had found her—and it was too late.



                               CHAPTER XV


THE winter passed quickly—spring came, a soft, slow, gentle coming.
Paul Harvey was a constant visitor at Victoria Mansions.

Sometimes he was there when Mr. Wainbridge was not, and then that was a
“white day.”

Mr. Wainbridge found Paul’s appreciation of Launa gave life a zest—it
added uncertainty and attractiveness, though _he_ intended to win. A man
can appropriate another man’s wife for walks and talks with much greater
ease than he can the girl the other man is going to marry. But Mr.
Wainbridge was enduring an amount of worry and annoyance about his
uncle’s affairs, and he was not free, while Paul was. Mr. Wainbridge
never connected him with the someone Launa had loved—was he not dead?
Had she not implied as much, more than once?

Paul had promised to remain in England until Launa’s marriage; the
indefinite prolongation was therefore borne by him with a placid
demeanour. He also had been requested to give her away—there is a
certain amount of excitement in giving “this woman to this man,” when
longing to keep her oneself, a form of death on the battlefield. Paul
liked it as well as a man can like anything he dreads and detests, and
yet with the feeling that he would not like another man to do it.

The April day was lovely. Paul was at Victoria Mansions, ready to do
what Launa wanted, hoping Mr. Wainbridge might not come.

“I want to go out,” she said; “to go far away, where I can paddle and
see the catkins on the trees and listen to the sound of the river. I
cannot stay at home and practise or do anything. I must go out.”

“‘Let me taste the old immortal indolence of life once more,’” he
quoted.

“Come,” she said.

“Where?”

“Anywhere.”

They drove to Paddington, and then went by train.

The river was looking lovely—ruffled and irregular—the trees wore a
wind-swept fluffy look. The grass was fresh and green; it was spring,
and all was new.

“This is glorious,” she said, as she paddled up the stream.

The movements of her lithe body were beautiful to him—to her the motion
and spring of the canoe were splendid, as it answered every stroke and
went through the rippling water with a hiss and a rush.

“The lift of the long red swan,” he said.

“Don’t,” she replied. “How he loved it! How he loved that life!”

“And will you never come back to it?”

“I do not know. Afterwards, perhaps—yet no, never.”

“The Indians miss you. Mrs. Abram and Mrs. John often ask me about you.
In the winter there is no one to be good to them.”

“I sent them money and blankets,” she answered. “I did all I could.”

“They want _you_. Mrs. Andrew gave me a charm to bring you back. ‘A
little medicine yer know—a love potion of herbs.’”

She laughed.

“Is life here successful?” he asked. “Do you like it?”

“Yes, for some things I do. I came full of plans, and I have learned and
worked. Now I am going to be married.”

“You have, then, been successful?”

“I have learned that life is cruel.”

“To you?”

“They, my friends, believed evil of me. Did you hear it?”

“I heard it.”

“And believed?”

“Don’t ask me such questions,” he replied. “You know I could not believe
them. I think you—well, I think you the purest, best woman in the
world.”

“That is not what you were going to say. You began and you changed it.”

“You were cruel once, but you are the one woman—for me.”

“Tell me about the lakes and the woods; I long to see them, to feel the
air, and to smell the pines,” she said quietly.

They paddled on and on, sometimes talking; and it seemed like a
triumphal journey into a far-away world, with the sun and the rippling
water, glorious movement and peace, and, above all, it was perfect
because they were alone together, and away from the rest of the world.

Paul made no pretence to himself of not knowing why he was happy and why
he was miserable—happy while with Launa, miserable when away from
her—while the knowledge that she belonged to someone else was always
obtruding itself.

And Launa? To her Paul meant the old life (so she assured herself with
great frequency), her father, the Indians, the woods—everything she
loved. She was glad to have Paul with her. It was a good ending to the
chapter of singleness. And though perhaps it was not quite as she would
have liked to have planned things, perhaps all would be for the best.
The present was full of joy, the future—she could not bear to think of
it—would be blank.

“How long have you been in England?” she inquired at last.

It was odd she had never asked this question before.

“I spent two months here in the summer, then I had to go home. My
cousin, Jim Harvey—you remember him?”

“I never heard of him.”

“I thought you knew all about him. He got himself mixed up in some row
with the Indians, and so I went back. There was an Indian girl, too; he
should have married her.”

“And his name was Harvey?”

“Yes, Jim Harvey. He has married the girl. The worst of it is she is far
too good for him, and he will lead her a terrible life; but I suppose it
is best. You saw her once at that picnic at Paradise that night I shot
the horse. Do you remember?”

“I remember. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought you knew. I thought that was what you meant—”

“No,” she answered. “I meant—never mind now what I meant.”

She put down her paddle.

“I am tired. You can paddle back,” she said wearily. “It is time to go
home. Sylvia is coming to dinner, and so is Mr. George.”

She was kneeling in the bow with her back to him.

“Launa, will you move? You will be more comfortable if you do, and I
will keep her steady,” he said. “We shall soon get back.”

“I cannot move, I am so tired.”

She almost gave a sob. Suddenly she felt impotent and weary. His
explanation had made it worse, and she ached with the hopelessness of it
all.

He paddled into the bank, got out, and pulled the canoe in sideways;
then he arranged the cushions for her in the middle.

“Now, get out while I hold the canoe, and sit there where I can see you.
Light of my eyes,” he added in a whisper, but she heard it.

He gave her a hand, put a rug over her, and asked:

“Are you comfy?”

But she could not speak, and they started again.

The lift and sweep of the paddle, and the smooth regularity thereof,
were soothing.

“Oh, the sorrow of the world!” she said. “It is unavailing. The awful
mistakes, the terrible partings—it is too dreadful. When did you come
back to London?”

“In December.”

“Why did you not come to see me before—in the summer?”

“Because I did not know your address—is that reason enough?—and I was
rather afraid of you. I could not come.”

“Sylvia is my only woman friend.”

“You imagine that.”

“I do not imagine it; but I do not care.”

At dinner that night they were an uneven number.

“We must all go in together,” said Launa. “Sylvia, come with me.”

She put her hand on Sylvia’s arm and they went first.

Mr. Wainbridge came last; he wore depression ostentatiously until after
the soup, and asked if they believed in ghosts.

“In ghosts,” inquired Mr. George. “In some ghosts. Do you believe in
them?”

“Launa does,” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“I wish I could,” she answered.

“Did you ever see one?” asked Paul.

“One Sunday—it was a hot Sunday in July,” related Mr. Wainbridge, “we
were going to Lady Blake’s, and Launa said she saw one.”

“One what?” asked Paul.

“One ghost.”

“What did she do?”

“She said it was dead. Are ghosts ‘it’?” inquired Mr. Wainbridge.

“When people die they become ‘it,’” said Mr. George. “They cannot—do
not love. A man or a woman is neuter when love is over—when it is
impossible.”

“They are maligning you, Launa,” said Sylvia, with a smile. A poet had
written lines on her smile and called it divine. “Contradict them.”

“I did see a ghost,” she answered.

“Ghosts are indigestion,” said Mr. George slowly. “Have you read the new
book, Miss Cooper?”

“Whose new book?”

“It is by an unknown author who writes of the love of a married man for
some other woman. We know so much now, everyone writes of life’s
miseries; if they would only write of happiness.”

“How wrong for a man to love the other woman,” said Sylvia.

“Wrong,” repeated Mr. George; “not at all; how unavoidable!”

“What happened?”

“Nothing.”

“How did they end it or begin it?” asked Sylvia.

“I hate a man who does nothing,” said Launa. “Love is either a secondary
consideration or the passion of a moment to them. We are merely
adjuncts—minor adjuncts.”

“Chromatic scales,” said Mr. George.

Paul ate his dinner with resolution. Launa was flushed—no doubt by the
breeze on the river, and it was very becoming. She was not a minor
adjunct.

Sylvia had grown grey looking.

She pushed away her plate quickly, and when Launa with her was leaving
the room, Launa said:

“Do not hurry into us. We are so happy together and have so much to
say.”

The men talked with indifference. They were anxious to go to the
drawing-room. Mr. George at last said impatiently:

“Come on. I am tired of sport.”

With a conversation thereupon had they concealed their anxiety to be
gone. Sport is absorbing.

In the drawing-room Sylvia, Paul Harvey, and Mr. George entertained each
other.

Launa sat by the window and was talked to by Mr. Wainbridge.

“Paul and Sylvia. Paul and Sylvia. Paul and Sylvia,” sounded with
dreadful monotony in her brain. She went to the piano and played
“Warum.”

“How you have changed!” said Mr. Wainbridge. “Sometimes I feel as if I
did not know you.”

“Are you tired of me?”

“Launa darling! tired—no, never. You are more uncertain in your
moods—you are more fascinating. I never know what you will do next.
To-day has been long without you.”

“Women take an age to learn that game killing would have no attraction
for men if the game walked up to be killed willingly.”

“Where have you been to-day, my dearest?” he asked, taking no notice of
her speech.

“On the river with Paul. And you?”

“I have been very busy and worried.”

“I am sorry. Worry is detestable.”

“Yes,” he replied, “and never ending.”

“Your aunt is still odd?”

“Very odd. She is terrible sometimes. Talk of to-morrow, dear.”

“I am going to see Sylvia.”

Mr. Wainbridge looked at her.

“Did you mind what I said about the ghosts? There are none between you
and me?”

“Ghosts? no, none.”

“And so I may not come here to-morrow?”

“No. The next day you may.”

Paul spent the evening talking to Sylvia. He left early. Mr. George and
she were alone.

“Why are you so silent?” he asked at last.

“Am I? I was thinking.”

“Of what I said at dinner?”

“What did you say?”

“Now you are offended.”

“I am very fond of dark blue serge,” said Sylvia, “very, and it is so
becoming.”

“What has that to do with what I said at dinner?”

“How can I tell what you said at dinner? Did you know I have a sister,
Mr. George? She lives in Eaton Square and is very respectable, which
means she does not work for her living, and is never in an omnibus after
four. I seldom visit her; the Square and her surroundings satisfy her.”

“And you told me this?” asked Mr. George.

“To interest you.”

“I see, I understand,” he answered.

                 *        *        *        *        *

“We need not decide yet what we shall do,” said Lady Blake.

“Nor do it,” said Mrs. Herbert. “I hate doing things.”

“Still it is necessary for someone to take notice of Miss Archer’s
behaviour, now that she is engaged to Mr. Wainbridge.”

“They do not talk of being married,” said Lily, with a laugh.

Lady Blake was having tea with her, it was hot and June. They were both
dressed in crepon and muslin. Lady Blake’s hat was a flower garden.

Mrs. Herbert looked bored. The heat was excessive, and she was weary.

Jack wrote to her occasionally, but he did not return, and she was tired
of Sir Ralph. Other people were also afflicted in the same way, and Mrs.
Herbert was often left out where before she had been first.

Women said her first husband had been an angel, and died to continue
one, and her second went to Cairo.

Sir Ralph was beginning to take too much for granted, and he had no
mind—pink books and papers of a light and airy kind were his
literature. Mrs. Herbert had been intellectual when desirous of
attracting Jack, and, after her long acquaintance with Sir Ralph, she
told him that old families are becoming ignorant and corrupt.

“Have you seen Launa’s voyageur?” asked Lady Blake.

“Who is he? Have I seen him?”

“An indefinite relation of hers. Have you read the _Signal_ this week? I
have not.”

“Here it is. Look at it now.”

“Listen, listen,” said Lady Blake. “‘At the Duchess of Oldharris’ small
evening party Miss Archer looked particularly well in white and black.
She delighted everyone with her playing of ‘Warum.’ She has been in
mourning for some time for her father, and has been much missed by
society!’”

Lady Blake put down the paper with slow concern.

“The Duchess of Oldharris, the _Duchess_,” she said. “My musical party
next week! When does your husband return?”

“I do not know.”

“Soon? I cannot think that it is good for you—or for him—to stay away
so long.”

“Probably not,” said Lily. “Do you always do what is good for you? I
have no doubt Cairo disagrees with him intensely.”

“I would go out to him if I were you,” said Lady Blake. “Your honeymoon
was in that Surrey garden. How blissful it was that day I called upon
you, but how short a time it lasted! You were sewing; you never sew now.
Not even a little shirt like Becky Sharp.”

“The days are no longer perfect, as they were during my honeymoon,” said
Mrs. Herbert, “though it is June.”

“You must have been misinformed,” said Lady Blake.

“Oh, no, it was June, I assure you. One does not forget that.”

“I mean about Launa. The Duchess is so particular, and it happened so
long ago. Good-bye, dear.”

She rustled away to call at the House for her husband.

Next day Launa received an invitation for the musical party—she was
even asked to play. She refused that honour.



                              CHAPTER XVI


SYLVIA had become necessary to Launa, who had at first used her as a
screen, for Mr. Wainbridge was there always, and with Sylvia present
naturally there were no demonstrations.

Paul made his appearance only a degree less frequently—Launa did not
mind being alone with him. He was waiting in London for her wedding day,
for which no date was appointed, and Paul was not anxious to arrange
this.

Sylvia talked to Paul when Mr. Wainbridge was in possession, and it
occurred to Launa that Sylvia was very attractive—probably Paul thought
this also.

In these days Launa felt that meditation and thought were unprofitable;
she turned to Sylvia for something, not for protection, but for
companionship. Sylvia was restless, Launa was restless also; the days
were unsatisfactory if one hour were unoccupied. A day of inaction was
Launa’s present idea of torment. Sylvia and she agreed on this subject.

One night Launa had come in very tired; too tired to eat. She drank some
chocolate, and sat in the music-room.

Mr. Wainbridge appeared. It was late, and he had been at his uncle’s.
The room was full of poppies; the heavy odour was oppressive, and the
flowers were falling—slowly, slowly they tumbled down every few
minutes.

“They are the ghosts of the past,” said Launa at last, as one or two
flowers fell simultaneously, and yet as it were with reluctance. “Do you
hear the slow sound they make as they fall? I am very tired.”

“Your tea-gown is like moonlight, and you look divine.”

“And unearthly? I would rather be human.”

“You are lovely.”

“Tell me something new,” she replied, with a laugh of confidence, and a
look—“something that I do not already know.”

“What have you been doing to-day?” he asked, feeling the commonplace
safe.

“I went with Sylvia to see a woman who is dying—and yet it is not
certain she will die—to die is peace.”

“She was suffering. Why did you go, dearest? It is not fit for you to
see such things.”

“That is the cry of the whole world,” she replied, getting up and moving
the flowers near her. “Why go? Why see it? Peace, peace, and there is no
peace.”

“You cannot help her.”

“You are right, I am powerless, and I have promised to send her jelly.
Ridiculous! Jelly!”

“Who is she?”

“Her name was Bertram. She was once pretty and sang well. Sylvia knew
her. Some man made love to her, and promised her the usual things. She
left her work for him, and because of him, and he left her alone. She
has starved, frozen, and been half-murdered, yet she lives.”

“I cannot help thinking, dear, that it was her fault, too. A woman does
not—should not yield.”

“A woman wants to love and to be loved. . . . Then,” she added, “I could
never love a man who would promise and never keep it.”

“To promise,” he repeated. “What is a promise? It is an impossibility. I
promise to love someone for ever. You will some day—may it be
soon?—promise to cleave to me only. I cease to love someone—the
promise is broken. I am not responsible. Who is? You promised me once
you would not go out alone when it is dark, and you do not keep it.”

“What is love? When I cannot keep my promise of cleaving to you, will
you blame me? You say the keeping of promises is impossible. I never
promised to love you.”

“_Blame_ you? No. You love me—do you love me?—and women, thank God,
are mostly constant.”

“Thank God,” she repeated.

She did not answer his question—to seek to acquire information was most
simple.

“Love is all things—the joy of life—the sting of death,” he said.

“Friendship is a joy, too. It is like autumn after the midsummer heat is
over. Do you not know the peace and stillness of a clear autumn day?
There is a blue sky, and merely a suspicion of cold in the air. You know
the air on a lake coming over a long sweep of country.”

She paused.

“There is a chill about autumn—a suspicion of indifference.”

“No, no,” she answered quickly. “What is the most perfect relationship
in this world? Which is the happiest?”

“Who can tell? To me it is you; to you it is—I wish I could feel sure
the stone of happiness you seek for is my love.”

She did not answer immediately.

“The stone of happiness when one finds it is still a stone. How can a
stone bring happiness?”

“Your ring—to see the sapphire brings me happiness,” he answered.

He felt of late an intangible something between them—as if he were
fighting with the powers of the air, with unknown forces—would he win,
or they? The dead are quiet for ever, and yet something seemed to come
between him and Launa. Do the dead watch over those they love? Mr.
Wainbridge shivered; he was sometimes superstitious.

Paul was not an acquiescent lover, and since his day in the canoe with
Launa he had pondered long and frequently. Was she happy? No; nor was
he.

One afternoon when with her, like an inspiration it came to him that he
was master. He would not give in, he loved her; love was power, and she
did not love Mr. Wainbridge, of that he was sure.

Launa was alone.

They talked for some moments, the conversation was led by her to
Newfoundland, but he took no interest in that.

“When are you going to be married?” he asked.

“When? I know not. Talk of something else.”

“I will talk about you. It is of no use for you to change the subject. I
love you, love you, and you are mine. You have no right to marry anyone
but me. You belong to me.”

Paul was as a god, knowing not merely good and evil, but love and light.

“It is my kisses you will long and hunger for, my arms which should be
round you, not his.”

He looked at her. She had started when he began.

“His never are,” she said, while she longed to ask how he knew this, but
she felt to acknowledge he knew was to acknowledge him right.

“You won’t let him now, but his arms will be round you. There is no
escape from them once you are married. Think how you will feel when he
is with you always, and you can never get away. You will see my face
when his is close to you, you will feel—”

“Paul! Paul!”

“You would like to say, ‘Why persecutest thou me?’ They say girls often
marry from ignorance and wish they had not. Launa, you will not be
ignorant. Without love marriage is a loathsome Hell; with it, darling,
it is Heaven. Such a Heaven! You are mine, as much mine as if five
priests had read hundreds of words over us. Give him up! give him up!”

“I wish I could die, knowing you love me.”

“I would rather see you dead than his wife.”

“Paul, I love you.”

She held out her hands.

“My darling; my darling. How I love you. And you will give him up?”

She stood still, her eyes raised to his; hers were full of trouble, his
full of love. He would face the world and count the loss of all things
nothing for her. His was a love worth having, and he was brave and true,
worthy of love. He came nearer. He had not touched her.

“Come to me, Launa.”

She turned and let him fold her in his arms, such strong arms.

“You take away my individuality. You are a brute, Paul. Let me look into
your eyes; they are true. It is your eyes I see when I talk to him, your
voice I hear, your kisses I feel. . . . Paul, don’t tempt me. I have
degraded myself enough. Leave me—go. I am wicked, I am wrong.”

“Tempt you? My God, Launa! Am I not tempted?”

“When you hold me I am strong. A woman loves a man who has a strong arm
for her.”

He bent down and kissed her face, then her lips, a long, long kiss.

“Launa, can you marry any other man? Be true, dear.”

“Sit down, Paul, by me. Let me hold your hand. I feel so weak and so
afraid. And when you have gone and I am alone with him. . . . You know I
love you. . . . But I have promised myself to him. I cannot break my
word. I can ask him to give me up. I will do that.”

“You must tell him you cannot marry him. Why should one man insist on
making three people miserable? For he will not be happy. I shall not
leave you now until you have promised to marry me. I kiss you, I hold
you, I take you.”

He lifted her in his arms and carried her to a sofa.

He put pillows under her head and knelt beside her.

“You cannot get up. I will not let you go—you must rest.”

“Paul!”

He kissed her.

“Launa, if you could know, could guess how I hunger for you. How I dream
of you and long for you until the day is a long dreary reality, and
night is life when I see you and hear your voice—gentle and soft—I
love your voice. In my dreams I hold you in my arms.”

“Paul, you forget that I have promised. I have given myself to him.”

“You mean?”

“My word to him. How can I take it back?”

“Easily; by not keeping it.”

They both laughed, and so Mr. Wainbridge found them when he entered the
room.

“Is Launa ill?” he asked, in well-bred tones of surprise.

She felt she hated him; his upper lip was too long, his manner too
unctuous, and his shoulders were so round.

He glanced from Paul to Launa, and it seemed to him as if his appearance
were just what was required to turn the scale in his own favour. She sat
up. Paul put a cushion behind her and kissed her hand. Mr. Wainbridge
advanced with disapproval and another cushion, which Launa refused with
mild gratitude.

The men glared at each other. Mr. Wainbridge was uneasy, Paul
triumphant.

“Shall I stay, Launa?” said Paul.

“No; I have a headache,” she said.

Paul left the room, and Mr. Wainbridge waited in silence.

“I hope you are better,” he said, at last.

“I have something to tell you.”

“I don’t want to hear it.”

“You must hear it.”

“Look here, Launa, I know what you are going to say. You are going to
say . . . what you will regret. Something about Mr. Harvey. I mean to
marry you; you have promised. That is all.”

“You do not consider me responsible for my feelings; you have said it.”

“For your feelings, no; but for your promises, yes.”

“Suppose I have changed?”

“Suppose you never felt what you promised; suppose it was merely a
refuge from loneliness, from—”

“Well, suppose it was,” she answered. “But I never promised to feel
anything—simply to marry you.”

“What do you want me to do now?” he asked.

“I want you to set me free.”

“Never, never. To do that would be ruin for me.”

They faced each other; she was excited, flushed—with a new look of a
half-born, half-understood joy. He was sullen.

“Why—tell me why? You could not hold me to my bargain—unwillingly.”

“It would be ruin for me to release you. My uncle would cut me
off—leave me nothing, and give me nothing, if you or I break off our
engagement. He has heard several things about me—things which—well, I
have told you enough. Darling, you would not, you could not ruin me. I
love you so intensely. Think of my life, my prospects, without you!”

“To live without me.”

“What could I do?”

The joy had left her face—the flush was gone. She was pale, and her
face looked haggard.

“Go, go. I will not ruin your prospects and devastate your life—go. But
you must leave me alone now. Yes, I hate you.”

He went to his Club. On the way he meditated writing a novel or a
play—his inventive powers were so great. He had impressed Launa—she
believed him. He had constructed the first chapter when he reached his
Club.

Launa went for a long drive.

Paul was defeated. That night he received this note.

                    “We have made a mistake, you and I.
                Forget it. It is too late. Remember only
                your promise to stay until my wedding.

                                                  “L.”



                              CHAPTER XVII


LADY BLAKE had started evening receptions, and once a fortnight she was
at home. She had some idea of founding a _salon_, but her ignorance of
the necessary steps was appalling. She thought it would have something
to do with school-books and asking questions on abstruse subjects.

Launa went frequently, and took Sylvia with her, who was now second
leading lady in the new play “Some Cabbages and a Weed.” The interview
in the _Signal_ had been of much assistance to her career. Formerly she
had an existence—now she had a career. Mr. George devoted himself to
her. This evening they met at Lady Blake’s. Launa was quickly surrounded
by her friends, by her enemies, and people who could be either, had they
known her. She was charming—the self-possession of a duchess, combined
with the amiability and cleverness of the unknown woman wishing to be
successful.

Mr. George was amusing them by relating the triumphs of the interviewer.

He had been the one to hear the aims and aspirations of the newest “Lady
Temperance Lecturer.”

“Is she a Lady Temperance Lecturer?” he asked, “or a Temperance Lady
Lecturer? The last way sounds as if one might suspect her of imbibing,
and a Lady Temperance Lecturer does not sound—well, is nice the word?
Women like that word; it expresses untold things to them, daintinesses
and pretty undergarments. To a man it means a woman does not bore him.
He does not call his best beloved ‘nice’ merely—angels are not nice.”

“Tell me about the Temperate Lady,” said Launa.

“I think Temperate Lady Lecturer would be a good name,” said Sylvia.
“She might have an idea when to stop.”

“It was late,” said Mr. George, “when I interviewed her. She had been
lecturing. Her window blinds were not down, and the moon shone in. There
appeared to be much temperance in her mansion. We observed the moon with
attention and in silence. After she had told me several details of her
own life, ‘There is no water in the moon,’ she said, with a solemn air,
‘and nothing to drink. _The people in the moon have nothing to drink._’
This whole sentence was in the largest of italics. I suggested that our
best astronomers are in doubt as to the fact of human beings living in
the moon. ‘Such a beautifully mountainous world,’ she said, ‘must be
inhabited. Think of their Switzerland and of their Himalayas! They never
have typhoid, for there is no water.’

“‘No drinks,’ I said. ‘Nothing to drink,’ she replied. ‘Not even the sea
to bathe in, to picnic by in summer,’ I suggested. I won’t publish it
all. I asked if the moon were fruitful, and she said, ‘Undoubtedly.’
Then I replied, ‘They are obliged to drink their brandy raw. If it is
fruitful there must be grapes, if grapes, brandy’—you see the
connection? ‘There is no water to make brandy,’ she observed. ‘Pardon
me,’ I said, ‘you do not require water to make brandy only to dilute it,
if you have temperance yearnings.’ She gasped, and I left her.”

“How glad she must have been,” said Launa, moving as she spoke to talk
to Mr. Wainbridge’s cousin.

The rooms were becoming empty. Sylvia, Launa, Mr. Wainbridge, and Mr.
George were standing together. The Member for Hackney joined Launa. He
had developed an affection, nay, an inclination towards her. He was too
cold for affection; he admired her.

The Under-Secretary for the Home Department came up behind them.

“Bolton, have you heard?” he asked, and kept his eyes fixed on Launa. He
might have kept his information to himself had not Mr. Bolton been
occupied with her.

“What?” asked the Member for Hackney. He did not desire to know anything
further. His interest in the Colonies, as exemplified by Launa, was
absorbing.

She smiled at the Under-Secretary, who wondered if Mr. Bolton would
leave her when he heard the news.

“There has been a skirmish somewhere in Africa, and Fairmouth is, the
telegram says, dead. You are Lord Fairmouth. I thought you would like to
hear it.”

He waited. Sylvia gave a sort of moan and put out her hands.

“I loved him,” she said.

The Member for Hackney started, and Launa said:

“Miss Cooper and I must go home. Mr. George, will you give her your arm?
Hugh, you will get us our carriage?”

Mr. Bolton stayed by Launa; the Under-Secretary had vanished.

“So that is the girl,” he said; “I have heard of her. That was somewhat
dramatic. May I not be of some use to you, Miss Archer? Shall I take you
to Lady Blake? You will want to say good-night to her.”

He offered her his arm, and they found the hostess. Launa apologised for
Sylvia. The Member for Hackney said she looked quite pale. Lady Blake
suggested sal volatile, and expressed her great concern.

“I will come and see you to-morrow,” said the Member for Hackney, as he
held Launa’s hand at parting. “I am much interested in the Colonies and
in the New World.”

Mr. George stared after their carriage, then he lighted a cigarette. Mr.
Wainbridge had disappeared.

“She has a blister on now,” said Mr. George, “I wonder if it will ever
heal.”

Mr. Bolton nodded and said:

“Miss Archer is engaged to Mr. Wainbridge?”

“Yes,” replied George.

They walked away together.

                 *        *        *        *        *

“Sylvia, don’t try to talk,” said Launa, as they drove home.

“Let me alone,” she moaned. “I am a fool to break down. You cannot tell
what a joy it has been to me to feel to be sure of his love. It was all
I had—all—”

Launa left her alone, after giving her a brandy and soda.

Fortunately “Some Cabbages and a Weed” was over, and the theatre shut
up. It would open with a new play in September. Sylvia had her part to
study and could rest, but not with her mother.

Mrs. Cooper could not have believed her daughter was in trouble—trouble
which she should not share. A mother’s heart is the resting and the
confiding-place for her daughter. She forgot a mother’s tongue often
prevents confidences. She would have labelled her daughter “lost” had
she known.

Launa had decided on taking a house by the river—a cottage with drains
and hot water, as well as roses!

Mrs. Cooper and Sylvia would come too. Launa hoped Mr. Bolton would not
talk of this accident and betray Sylvia. She waited with apprehension
for the morrow and the Member for Hackney.

Sylvia besought her to find out the circumstances.

“Find out if he is dead. How he died: when and where. Oh, God! It is
torture! Torture! Find out all about him.”

Mr. Wainbridge, Mr. George, and Paul came next day. Launa dispatched
them for particulars. There was nothing in the paper. Mr. Wainbridge
went to the Club, Mr. George to his newspaper, and Paul to the High
Commissioner for Canada. This was his first meeting with Launa since
their day of confession. He asked for no further explanation and she
gave none.

He returned in an hour. The High Commissioner had been gracious. It was
said that Paul knew too much about him to allow of his being anything
else. There were episodes; the lady was happily married, and the
Commissioner was High. The news was confirmed—Lord Fairmouth was dead.

“I must tell her,” said Launa.

Paul went down to the cottage to inspect it and to order it to be
immediately prepared for them.

In all this they had quite forgotten Mrs. Cooper.

The Member for Hackney arrived before tea. His business engagements were
many, but he was in need of refreshment.

He found Launa in the music-room. He took her hand with sympathy. He
knew how to express his emotion with the ease of a ladies’ doctor. Some
people said he had no real emotions, only fictitious ones.

“What a charming room!” he said, as he viewed it and her with
admiration. He changed his tone as he added, “How is she to-day?”

“Broken-hearted.”

“Ah! In what way?” His experience had not provided him with any symptoms
of such a thing. “The defeat of a measure,” he began, when Launa
interrupted him.

“Oh, Mr. Bolton, does anyone know? Did the other man tell of what
happened last night?”

Fear of discovery is a woman’s broken heart, he made a note of it, while
he answered:

“No one knows. You may be quite sure of that. I arranged it with my
friend. You may tell Miss Cooper I am glad I can set her—mind at rest.”

He meant at first to say heart.

“She does not care, she does not think of that,” she answered. “She has
not seen him for six months . . . she loves him, he loved her . . . she
made him leave her.”

“Really!”

“It is terrible to hear her. She does not cry, she merely moans. . . .
You will have some tea?”

“I would like some tea,” he answered. “I am very tired.”

He felt much refreshed. Miss Archer had discrimination, and evidently
was a good housekeeper.

“You stay in town for some time?” he asked. “Miss Archer, are you not
the hansom girl? Mr. George told me about it, I remember. It applies to
you both with and without a ‘d’.”

She smiled, and did not thank him.

“I have taken a house at Shelton, and as Miss Cooper is so wretched I
intend to take her there.”

“She is related to you?”

“No; I am sorry for her. She is my friend.”

“Ah, that is better. Will you not be sorry for me? I, too, am alone, and
sometimes lonely.”

She had never associated any frivolity with the Member for Hackney. He
was one of those mysterious men who assisted in the governing of the
country, and as such beyond much emotion. She looked at him.

“Do you need my sorrow?”

“I want it.”

“We often want what we do not need. I want more tea, it is not good for
me, I do not need it.”

“Can I do anything to help you?”

“If you would. I had forgotten Mrs. Cooper, her mother. You could
interview her for me. She may hear Sylvia is ill. I do not want her to
come to see her daughter. Mrs. Cooper would believe you. She is an old
lady who believes in a man’s opinion.”

“‘Man was made in the image of God.’ She believes it still?”

“Yes,” said Launa, “and she accepts with thankfulness ideas from any
man.”

“If she were a young woman this might be attractive and new. I will go
to see this Adamite. What must I say?”

“Be indefinite.”

“Headache and weariness for disease; absolute quiet and rest for the
remedies,” he replied. “I quite understand. May I come again? Above all
I would like to be with you at Shelton.”

“Do come. I should be so glad.”

“I could wish you would not—could not express it so easily. Where does
this lady live?”

“In the Fulham Road.”

He sighed. The prospect of the long drive did not cheer him.

“You will take my brougham. I have ordered it for you.”

“Thank you,” he replied, and let his glance say more.

The Colonies were interesting. It was the year of new fishery
arrangements with America and France. The Member for Hackney made a
point of knowing all about them. He intended to ask Launa for
information; he felt singularly elated at the prospect of seeing her
again.

He was not particularly fond of fishing nor of bills, but information on
all subjects was acceptable to him. He prided himself on knowing the
views of the people for whom he was legislating.



                             CHAPTER XVIII


SHELTON cannot be described; it lay along the river, near heavenly back
waters, where reeds rustled, and the rushes sighed softly, and it was
within reach of the woods.

They all went there, each one hiding their real feelings from the
others, except Mrs. Cooper. Her feelings were described by the word
blissful; she derived much satisfaction from the donning of her best
dress every day. It was made of silk; in her youth a lady was dressed in
nothing but silk. Driving every day with a footman, and having a maid to
button her boots, completed her happiness. She never noticed her
daughter’s depression. Sylvia had recovered. She was more silent, just
as good-looking, and Mr. George hovered about her with sympathy in his
eye and with sorrowful attentions.

Mr. Wainbridge, Paul, and the Member for Hackney each felt the
inhabitants of the cottage were under his special protection, and each
one frowned at the frequent visits of the others.

Paul had received and accepted his invitation before he had told Launa
to give up Mr. Wainbridge, and he came to Shelton. All was not yet lost.
Mr. Wainbridge was obviously nervous. Launa looked unhappy. To her life
in the country was a relief. Of late the strain on her mind had been
trying. Paul’s presence was a comfort to her, with an underlying feeling
of torture, of the intolerableness of fate, life, destiny.

Mr. Wainbridge made continual demands on her feelings—demands which
sometimes were hard, impossible to fulfil, especially that she should
love him.

He was quite aware that he frequently asked for the impossible and
obtruded himself in a way which was foolish, and before Paul he was
often reckless. A mad joy because of his possession of Launa filled his
mind, for he knew a mad anguish filled the breast of Paul Harvey.

To Launa Mr. Bolton was like an invigorating breeze after a hot day. He
knew that she was appropriated. He expected scars from an intimacy with
her, but they were worth it. He was waiting for news from Africa before
formally becoming Lord Fairmouth. Meanwhile he forgot ambition and
wandered about the fields with her, looking for mushrooms which he never
saw, because he found her so much more delightful. She was original and
charming, her voice was soft and low. Had it a sound of sadness or of
joy? One day one thing, the next another. What was she—heart-whole,
heart-divided, or only a woman without a heart?

Mr. Bolton found some amusement from the comedy—or was it a
tragedy?—that was being played. He had no fear for his own emotions:
they were pretty much the same as those possessed by the other two, and
he kept them under excellent control. He sometimes wondered if ambition
had any part in Miss Archer’s plans. Would he, as Lord Fairmouth, have
any chance? He enjoyed most of her society. Mr. Wainbridge’s visits were
uncertain, and whenever Paul and Mr. Bolton were there, Paul took Sylvia
out in the canoe.

Mrs. Cooper fortunately discovered an ancient enemy living four miles
away, and she drove with frequency and glory, because of the footman, to
discuss the past and its joys. The enemy’s joys were present ones.
Together they found argument unconvincing and therefore agreeable.

                 *        *        *        *        *

It was Sunday.

They were all walking across the fields coming from church. Launa and
Mr. Bolton were first; Mr. Wainbridge had been detained by his uncle at
the church door. He caught up to Mrs. Cooper, who insisted on discussing
the sermon—which was on “Eternal Damnation.”

The preacher was staying at the Court—Lord Wainbridge’s place—and was
specially favoured by her ladyship, who had nodded with frequency and
approval at each point to which he gave utterance, and which she
considered reduced her husband to ashes here, and to flames hereafter.
In her theology there was nothing so quiet and peaceful as ashes
afterwards. But Lord Wainbridge had not observed these signs of
approval. He regarded his nephew with attention, and Miss Archer with
admiration. He looked at his wife—a faded unhealthy specimen of an
aristocratic worn-out family, in black bombazine and a dowdy bonnet, and
he thought of the other woman and of Launa. He observed her intently;
her head well carried, and her hair well dressed, her pretty soft
throat—he could not see her face, but she was certainly desirable, and
he had never met her. So he stopped his nephew on his way to join Miss
Archer, and suggested that Hugh should come over to the Court that
afternoon.

Mr. Wainbridge listened to Mrs. Cooper’s remarks in silence. He did not
care about the sermon, but he did care for Launa’s society, and she
would spend the afternoon with Mr. Bolton or Mr. Harvey. He regretted he
had not refused his uncle’s invitation, but that gentleman had appeared
so sad, so old, and Lady Wainbridge sniffed with such depressing
regularity, that to have refused would have been cruel.

“I dislike that church,” said Launa to Mr. Bolton. “It already makes me
feel as if religion were contemptible and as if it were merely useful to
occupy old women. I am sorry I went to it to-day.”

“It would be very wrong and very radical of you to neglect your own
church. A good Conservative always supports the institutions of his
country,” he said.

“That is the good of being women,” she answered, looking at him with a
mixture of friendship and mischief. “We are not allowed to vote, and we
need not be a Conservative or anything, and as for the institutions of
the country, I am not sure that I like them, or even know what they
are.”

“Marriage is one.”

“With or without love? For love is not an institution.”

“Sometimes; well, you know as well as I do that we can get on without
love.”

“Love,” said Launa, “is _the_ thing in life, it is—”

“What do you love?”

“Whom? What? I love life and movement—the wind and the sea. The being
alive to-day is joy. Look at the grass, the river, the water! If I could
only be at ‘Solitude,’ to smell the air as it comes across that sweep of
woods!”

“To smell it alone?”

“Alone,” she replied.

“You arrange life on a basis of love.” He laughed. “It is not always
fine. In winter the wind is cold and it shrieks unpleasantly; it is not
warm like love—real love—and then there is success. Not to-day, nor
to-morrow, but in a month or a year you would, I think, grow weary of
your paradise alone.”

“Why did you laugh?”

“At myself and your basis of love.”

His philosophy kept him amused, because he was aware of his own
foolishness. If there was a certain amount of pain in the laughter no
one noticed it. The others caught up to them.

“I do not like that preacher,” said Mrs. Cooper.

“He is one of my aunt’s favourites,” answered Mr. Wainbridge. “She says
his descriptions of hell are so reviving for the sinner.”

“So is lunch,” said Launa, “and I am hungry.”

After lunch Mr. Wainbridge followed Launa to her own sitting-room. He
intended to conduct a parting. Emotions brighten the desert of life.

He put his arms round her.

“I like your necktie and your pin,” she said.

“I will give you the pin.”

He took it out and handed it to her.

“Here, dearest.”

“Now go and sit there. It is too hot for—”

“You never kiss me or let me kiss you.”

“I hate kissing—indiscriminate kissing.”

“You will not always hate it,” he answered. “I must go, I want to settle
things with my uncle. You will accept their invitation to stay there?”

He found it best to forget the day she had asked him to set her free.
She remembered it and his confession always.

“Not yet. I could not leave here until Mrs. Cooper and Sylvia go.”

“You will have me with you there all day—it will be perfect.”

“Nothing is perfect,” she answered. “You will be back—when?”

“After dinner. How I wish I could stay here now, but my uncle is so
lonely. Good-bye.”

He put his arms round her gently and she let him—he stifled her, while
he protected her. To suffer any embrace was unusual for her. He was
still, glad to hold her. She was sorry he was leaving her; with him
near, certain things were impossible—he was an anchor. But there was
the rest of the afternoon and Paul.

“Institutions are good sometimes,” she said.

“That is obscure to me. Good-bye.”

And Launa sang a little song to herself:

        “Love light come, light go,
        Love light come, light go.”

As it was the fashion to observe love critically, with unbelief, she
would do it too.

Paul came in at the window. He had a book in his hand.

“I am lonely,” he said. “May I stay? I never see you alone now, Launa.”

“Are the others all right? We will talk about the war. Where is Mrs.
Cooper?”

“They are all asleep, Sylvia too. Bolton is writing letters, answering
the bundle he got this morning. Wainbridge, thank Heaven, has gone to
see his uncle.”

“Probably to arrange about our marriage.”

She seated herself opposite him and said this rather defiantly. She
wanted to remember Mr. Wainbridge and her marriage.

“You are not married yet. . . . To-day is ours.”

“What shall we do now? You and I?”

“You and I,” he repeated, with joy. “Talk. Be glad we are together.”

“And can talk—about Canada.”

“Yes, about Canada,” he replied. “The products or the people?”

“The people,” she answered slowly.

“We will talk of the women.”

“Yes,” she said.

“About you, for you are a woman.”

“I wish I were not.”

“Why?”

“Because—because men have so much the best of it. . . . Do men like
independent women? No, men like them clinging. What does a clinging
woman do?”

“I don’t take the faintest interest in inscrutable women,” he replied.
“Come out and sit among the pine trees and think of ‘Solitude’ and the
lake—”

“And forget everything except _now_ which is ours?” she said.

“Come then—come.”



                              CHAPTER XIX


THE Court, the ancestral home of the Wainbridges, was purchased by the
present owner’s father (with the furniture and the portraits) from a
family whose possessions consisted of a very ancient title and many
debts. Common sense was not included in their inheritance. That they
could ever live with a plain cook and a house-parlourmaid and pay their
debts never occurred to them.

The Court was built in a circular shape, with what Lady Wainbridge
called “heathen pillars,” and a long flight of steps led up to the door.
The gardens were beautiful and the flowers took prizes at shows. The
house was dreary and not clean. The servants were celebrated for their
piety, therefore other virtues were not required; most of them were
“reclaimed.”

Lord Wainbridge was in the garden when his nephew arrived. Lady
Wainbridge considered fresh air on Sunday a sin, except what little was
imbibed when going to and from church in a brougham at eleven o’clock.
She held a “Gospel Reunion” in the drawing-room after lunch, which her
husband refused to attend.

For some time the two men admired the roses; they were late ones, and a
new kind.

“I did not come to see Miss Archer,” said the elder man, “because you
never asked me to do so. You made no formal announcement of your
engagement to me.”

“Launa has been in mourning for her father. Nothing is settled—yet.”

“It will be soon? I am tired of this life,” said Lord Wainbridge. “I
want to be free. I am going to make this place over to you, Hugh.”

His nephew started.

“To me? I cannot express my sense of your goodness to me.”

“Get married soon,” answered his uncle; “when there is an heir I shall
feel happy. Your aunt dislikes the Court, and after you marry I shall
not feel the need of being even respectable. I can live as I like.”

“You are too good to me. I cannot tell you what I feel.”

He felt his thanks were poor, stilted, and feeble, but he did not know
how to express himself better.

“I should like to come and see Miss Archer.”

“Call her Launa,” said his nephew. . . . “You believe in marriage?”

“I believe in yours, of course, and in my own—we all believe in what
is. Marriage exists—is it a failure? For individuals sometimes, for the
many—no, I suppose not, for they still marry. You will be happy.”

“I hope so.”

“I admired Miss Archer—she is a living girl. Your aunt will also go to
see her—I believe this week is a week of solitude and seclusion with
your aunt, but afterwards she will go. You must prepare Miss Archer for
some disagreeableness and loud prayers. Your aunt is afflicted in that
way on these interesting occasions.”

“Yes,” said the other.

“I should like to have Launa here to stay for a few days; but I fear she
might not be very happy. What is your opinion?”

“I will tell her. I am sure she will be grateful to you for all your
kindness to us both, but—she is uncertain, and aunt Jane’s remarks
might affect her.”

“Uncertain! She loves you? I felt sure when I saw her that it was love.
Why is she uncertain?”

“I do not know . . . perhaps I am wrong. Girls often are . . . odd.”

“Sometimes I have hoped you would marry someone with a title, but I like
that girl. I received the announcement of your engagement with
indifference—it seemed to be only the binding of another man; but
now—”

“You wish my marriage to take place soon? You feel as if it would leave
you freer—”

“It would make you happier, and me also. I should not be backward about
settlements.”

“My aunt may die, and you probably will marry again—”

Lord Wainbridge shook his head.

“No. I shall settle two thousand a year on Miss Archer. She has money,
also, I understand?”

“You really desire my marriage?”

“Certainly.”

“Then I will arrange it as quickly as possible.”

“And I may come and see Launa?”

“My dear uncle, do not ask if you may. I am so grateful, more than
grateful to you. I hope, and I am sure Launa will feel as I do, that you
will make a second home with us.”

And so they parted.

For some days after his conversation with his uncle Mr. Wainbridge found
that solitary discourse with his beloved was impossible. She eluded him,
and his news grew stale and lost its power of delighting him. Launa had
killed his triumph. She let him kiss her forehead sometimes, but they
had no twilight walks and no talks.

Any reminder of their approaching marriage was received by her in
silence, and he discovered that whereas formerly his love for a woman
always cooled at the idea of the approach of matrimony—his
pre-matrimonial love was but a star which paled before the heat and
light of the rising hymeneal sun. _Now_ his love was the sun, hot sun,
which dried up and withered everything; it made his life one intense
longing for her. His passion mastered him; everything was subservient to
it. He was possessed by one idea, and longed to marry her and soon. He
wanted her for his own—absolutely—body and soul. She did not love as
he loved; he would kiss her into it—kiss her to know nothing but his
love for her. Oh, God, that it should take so long, and need so much
patience!

If Launa were only alone! There were Harvey and Bolton—and Paul he
feared most of all. He was a prey to uncomfortably apprehensive
thoughts, and all day long he had to talk of the garden or of croquet,
while the sun of desire was burning him up, and the days were a
weariness.

One day Launa was writing letters.

He came in.

“Allein,” he quoted, “zum ersten mal allein.”

She rose hurriedly and glanced at the door which he had shut. It was
raining; the windows were closed.

“I am seriously thinking of looking after my affairs in Canada. It would
be a long journey,” she said.

“In Canada?” he repeated. “What about your promise to me? Our marriage?”

“I thought you had forgotten about marriage. It is some time since we
talked of love—we have talked very little about marriage.”

She undid her scent bottle on her chatelaine.

“Dearest,” he murmured, taking her hand while his heart beat
tumultuously. He thought she was jealous, even though he knew she did
not love him as he loved her, yet he believed, with the invincible
belief of man, that she could be jealous of him. “You must not go to
Canada alone. We will go there on our honeymoon!”

This proposition, sweet as it appeared to him, evidently did not raise
any feeling of exhilaration in her.

“Canada is too far away for a honeymoon. You would have nothing to do
there.”

“We will go to Paris.”

“Very well,” she replied.

Her calmness maddened him.

“Launa, darling, try to love me. I care for you so much; you are all the
world to me. I love you—I love you!”

He took her in his arms, and it had all the appearance of a passionate,
willing embrace. Paul was just going to open the window to come in.
Launa did not see him—he turned round and walked away, and Mr.
Wainbridge let her go.

“Don’t do that,” she said. “I hate it, loathe it, and if it were not for
you and my pity—my pity, do you hear? I would . . . Sit there and talk
rationally. I am a cold stone. I hate love-making, and you are going to
be my husband. Have you forgotten the conversation you and I had at
Victoria Mansions?”

He sat down by her, and did not answer her question. Instead, he told
her all that Lord Wainbridge had said.

“Darling! my beloved! May I tell him it will be soon? Our marriage.”

“Soon?” she repeated drawing away her hand. . . . “I am so lonely, and
you are no help. I wish I had someone to help me.”

“Let me.”

“You can’t; don’t you see that? Well, no matter. Will you wait until
after lunch—until this evening? Then I will give you an answer.”

“My uncle is anxious to know you. He has been so good to us. We will
repay him by being good to him. He needs it.”

“I know; I know.”

“Have you seen the _Times_?” asked the Member for Hackney, advancing
with assurance and sitting down. The _Times_, he knew, was in the
drawing-room; he had just put it down. He had also seen Paul Harvey’s
face as he passed the window. Mr. Bolton had no particular feeling for
Paul except that of wishing him out of the way. Harvey’s countenance
looked as if he meant to go—somewhere. Such a resolution could only
portend various developments with Mr. Wainbridge.

Mr. Bolton had just heard and seen in the _Times_, that he was beyond
all doubt Lord Fairmouth.

Miss Cooper had hay fever for two days; no doubt this was due to the
second crop of hay having just been cut. Her mother explained this at
great length. Sylvia suffered intensely, and her eyes were very red.
Everyone pitied her, and she stayed all day in her room; Mrs. Cooper
could not stay with her for long, because hay fever is infectious.

“Poor Fairmouth is really dead,” said the Member for Hackney.

“And you are Lord Fairmouth now,” said Launa slowly.

She was thinking of something else; but it appeared to him as if her
meditations were about him and his good fortune.

“Yes,” he replied.

Mr. Wainbridge left the room. The house was very quiet. He looked for
Paul, but he could not find him. Paul had gone away in the canoe.

Mr. Wainbridge, therefore, was obliged to control the irresistible
desire to confide in Paul, and in him only. Paul took such an interest
in Launa, so did Lord Fairmouth, but Mr. Wainbridge did not fear him.

It was after dinner, during which meal Mrs. Cooper again discussed hay
fever, and the depression consequent thereupon. Mr. Wainbridge was very
silent. Lord Fairmouth recommended eucalyptus, and Launa looked pale,
even anxious. Paul and the canoe had not returned, and it was growing
dark, with a strong wind from the north-east. After dinner she was very
restless and wandered about, then she began to play the piano.

Lord Fairmouth went away to write, and Mrs. Cooper retired to bed. She
had old-fashioned ideas as to lovers, and regarded them as something
almost indecent, requiring constant and frequent privacy.

Launa played on. The wind was shrieking, and then roaring through the
tree tops. At last it gave a sudden scream and a yell. She jumped up,
and her hands fell on the keys with a crash. A door banged, and a gust
of wind clamoured against the window and howled outside.

“Where is Paul?”

She had been playing a Chopin study—number XI.

“Chopin is sometimes hysterical,” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“Here I am, Launa,” and Paul came in. “You were frightened. The wind is
making a tremendous noise. When I opened the front door it was howling
and shrieking, and nearly blew the lamps out.”

He took both her hands, and held them firmly. Her colour had come back,
and she breathed quickly. There was a pause. Mr. Wainbridge strolled
across the room.

“Launa, now is the time to tell Harvey your decision. When shall we be
married?”

Paul let her hands go.

“When?” he asked. “Before I return to Canada? I am going soon.”

“In September,” said Mr. Wainbridge.

“Yes,” said Launa. “Paul, you have not forgotten your promise. You will
give me away?”

Mr. Wainbridge gave a sigh of relieved tension. He had dreaded something
different. The wind and the _étude_ had affected his nerves also.

After he retired to his bed that night he remembered that Launa had said
she was going to Canada. Paul had said so too. Had there been anything
in this mutual resolve to go to Canada. Would he have lost her? The
possibility—nay, the certainty—of this showed him his proposal for
their marriage was only just in time. Her indifference was not the least
of her attractions for him.

In two days Lord Wainbridge came to see her. They talked of the weather
and of marriage, both of them changeable varieties, and of absorbing
interest.

Lord Fairmouth went up to town, and as he went he remembered the
Fisheries. Launa and he had talked very little about them. He had left
the House of Commons, and she was going to be married.



                               CHAPTER XX


MRS. HERBERT was unhappy. She clothed herself with discrimination, and
drove frequently with Sir Ralph. She had given up her reputation, and
cared nothing for what people thought or said, and they said all they
could say. The subject of the behaviour of a woman whose husband is
away, and who is continually (they said always) with another man, is
inexhaustible. Sir Ralph was kind to her. His was the kindness of
stupidity, and he did not mind her being very silent.

She despised herself. It would have been brave of her to have sent him
away. Sir Ralph never kissed her, and he seldom stayed later than eleven
o’clock. No one knew this, nor would they have believed it if she said
so.

Lily bore the cold and indifferent greetings of her friends with an
absence of notice which could only be attributed to guilt.

It was September. Mrs. Herbert was in town, with occasional days at the
sea. She preferred to remain at her flat. Sir Ralph thought she stayed
because town was empty, therefore a constant recognition of him and of
her, when together, by their mutual friends was impossible, and they
could meet in peace and in half secret.

This was not Mrs. Herbert’s real reason. She was waiting for her
husband. She was always expecting him, always hoping that he might come
back, and very often she seemed to hear his step on the stairs, to hear
the click of his latch-key, and that was all. She feared to be away for
long; he would perhaps come, and not finding her waiting would imagine
things. She tolerated Sir Ralph while she slightly despised him. Love
always bored her; he had told her he loved her. She had replied that
love was a detail. He might love her if he liked; it kept him from
mischief, no doubt.

“And you?” he asked.

“Oh, me! From suicide, perhaps.”

The day was fine. Mrs. Herbert put on her newest dress to drive and
lunch and dine with Sir Ralph somewhere out of town.

“Have you seen the papers?” he asked, when they had shaken hands, and he
had not kept the resolution, which he made every day, of kissing her. It
was easy to resolve when he came up in the lift.

“I never read them in the morning. In the evening I do—advertisements
and everything. Tell me the news.”

“Perhaps it would be as well for you not to drive to-day. . . . It would
not look well for one’s future wife to be seen even while there is any
uncertainty. It would look as if you had no respect for the world’s
arrangements. I will stay here with you. You may do as you like, but it
is as well to respect etiquette.”

“What are you talking about? Tell me. Who is your future wife? Is she a
nun?”

Sir Ralph handed her the _Morning Post_.

“Read that.”

“‘Yacht gone down of Mr. Blakeley’s,’” she read. “Well? What has that to
do with me? ‘All hands lost, and the names of the passengers.’”

“Read them! Read them!” he said.

And she read:

“Blakeley and his wife—together—lucky souls. Mrs. Grey, I never liked
her. John Colquhoun—Herbert!—Herbert! What!” she exclaimed. “Jack—it
can’t be—is it true? Jack. . . . God! it is cruel, cruel, and I have
waited—waited, believing he would come—believing, and he was only
cruising about with Mrs. Grey. Go away,” she said, with sudden energy
and anger. “Go now. I hate you, hate you, hate you! It is for you that
he thinks I have given him up; fool—as if I would or could. Now, it is
forever—why is it? Why is it? I must hurt something!” She picked up a
yellow vase full of sweet peas, and threw it away from her. It crashed
against the brass fender. “Jack loathed that vase, now it is broken—but
the sweet peas are spilt. Help me to pick up the flowers—do help me.
They look so red—they are bruised and half-dead—they seem human—they
suffer. They are Jack’s favourite flower. Go! go—why don’t you go?”

“I cannot bear to leave you. Lily, think of me—a little—think of—”

“Leave me. Go now, and never come back.”

She threw herself down on the floor, crushing her fresh dress and
knocking down another vase, which broke. She lay there and could not
cry—could only moan, long shuddering moans of sorrow. Alone,
alone—always now, and forever, and he never would know that she had
loved him—loved him! If only she had written to him!

                 *        *        *        *        *

Launa was busy with her clothes, and people were giving her teaspoons.

Paul had gone to Germany. He would return in time for her wedding. Hugh
Wainbridge and Lord Wainbridge, who liked his future niece very much,
had her all to themselves. Lady Wainbridge sent her volumes of sermons
and books on the disappointments of the marriage state.

“I suppose it is wretched,” said Launa; “but people seem to bear it
fairly well after a time.”

“I could,” said her lover, “with you. Don’t believe all you read in my
aunt’s books.”

“Thank you,” she replied gaily.

They were alone in the music-room. The piano had vases of flowers, and a
strip—a beautiful deadening strip—of velvet upon it. Launa’s piano had
hitherto been bare.

Matrimony and music—more often matrimony and discord. She did not play
very much, only little things for Lord Wainbridge; Chopin and ghosts
went together.

“How do you like my dress?” she asked.

Mr. Wainbridge inspected her critically.

“It is too black,” he said.

It fell in long straight folds made of some soft black material. It was
becoming and yet dreary, like the robe of a sister of charity.

“It suits you; but you look like a widow.”

“Death,” she said; “how unlucky of you to say that! I dreamed of a
coffin last night—my own—and I was getting in and out of it to see if
it fitted.”

“Dearest, you and I shall always be together.”

“Always?” she repeated, with a little shiver, as if some ghost of the
past was near, “always.”

Already his mind did not answer hers. She did not want him always.

“It was a horrid dream. It frightened me.”

“You will never be frightened with me. Have you heard about Herbert?”

“I have heard nothing about him.”

“He was yachting with Blakeley in the Mediterranean, and the yacht went
down. They were all drowned.”

“All? Mr. Herbert too?”

“Yes.”

“How terrible! I am so sorry for Lily, and I liked him very much. What
will she do? She loves him, I am sure of that. It is terrible.”

“Darling you feel for all women. But for her—she has Sir Ralph.”

“Yes, but she does not love him. I must go to her. I may as well go
now.”

“Now? It is tea-time.”

“Well, why not? With her it is probably no time, simply a long, dreary
future through which she must exist. I will change my dress; ring for
tea, and then you can come with me—in a hansom.”

“Mrs. Herbert has said vile things about you and me. She said you
were—”

“I know. But now she is in trouble, and I am sorry for her. I can forget
what she has said. She was once my friend, and so I will go to her.”

She dressed quickly, and they drove to Mrs. Herbert’s.

Launa did not ask whether Lily would see her. She sent him away and went
in alone. A bewildered maid, whose eyes were red with weeping, led the
way to the drawing-room.

Mrs. Herbert lay, face downwards, on the big sofa. She had stayed on the
floor until the maids lifted her on to it.

In her mind was a galloping medley of thoughts and regrets, of
ungratified desires; a repetition of words she had not said, and now
could never say, hurried through her brain with torturing reiteration.

Launa kneeled by her.

“I have come to you to try and comfort you.”

Mrs. Herbert moaned—and then started.

“You! you! Oh Launa, I am so wretched. He is dead—dead without knowing
how I love him. . . . He will never know. Is it really you, Launa? I was
a brute to you; I was jealous of you. Can you forgive me? I am alone,
alone. I thought he was fond of you.”

“He used to talk of you,” said Launa.

“Help me!” said the other. “It is all over.”

For some days Launa stayed with her. Lily was more than miserable; she
was crushed, and could not bear to be alone.

There was so much inaction, none of those details which have to be
fulfilled when anyone dies at home, no work was to be done except the
purchasing of black, no beautiful flowers to arrange, no farewell look,
painful, yet a comfort, for in the last sleep the wayfarer appears at
peace. There was nothing, only a dumb hideous sorrow and remorse,
endless torment, weary reflection on a dreadful past, which she would
have blotted out if she could, and the tears of repentance wash away
nothing.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Some days had passed since the dreadful tidings.

Mrs. Herbert went exhausted to bed, and Launa left her to go home.

Hugh Wainbridge had come to fetch her, and stayed until after tea. Launa
was resting when Sylvia came in.

She wandered about the room touching everything until Launa said:

“Sit down, Sylvia, unless you desire to be slain.”

Sylvia obediently sat down.

She had grown morose and variable. She no longer took an interest in Mr.
George and his frivolities, and she worked very hard.

Launa talked a little about Lily.

“I know,” said Sylvia, “that she is miserable now, and yet I envy her.
They were together for a time, he loved her and she loved him. She can
remember it all. What is the use of goodness? Good women live and die
without knowing love, mad real love. Men marry them, but—why didn’t I
do as he wanted me to do? He loved me, he asked me over and over again
to belong to him absolutely, and I refused. He promised to settle all he
had on me, and no one need have known. I loved him—how I do still love
him! I thought I was doing right, and I believed that God would reward
us—us mind—I _believed_ that. I was sure that together we should be
rewarded. He would never have died if I had gone, and people could have
called me bad, but I would have been gloriously happy with him.”

“It is awful,” said Launa, “the apparent futility of all things.”

“I have never lived, never had any life, nor joy, nothing except empty
applause at the theatre. . . . I am so wretched, so wretched. I will go
to see Mrs. Herbert and tell her I envy her. He has held her in his
arms, he has kissed her, and I ache for the touch of those arms I shall
never feel, I hunger for the kisses I shall never have.”

“Ah, never,” said Launa softly.

Sylvia continued:

“I shall be sorry to-morrow when I remember all I have said. You are
lucky, you are happy, and I—She is better off; I wish I had had her
chances—if I had lived with him he would never have left me. Will he
ever know how I love him? Will he, Launa? Say something. Don’t stare at
me. Will he? Do you believe it?”

“Many waters cannot quench love, nor death, nor parting, nor marriage,
nor anything.”

“No,” said Sylvia, “nor marriage. He was married to a devil. A
reputation never brought a woman comfort. You never say to yourself ‘I
am respectable!’ You do not feel as if respectability were a new frock
in which to rejoice. Would you, Launa, have received me if I had
been—what would my label be?”

“There are no men, there is no man, who is worthy of a woman giving up
everything for him.”

“There is love, love, love. I will go to see Mrs. Herbert to-morrow. It
is so easy to call men unworthy, but life is dreary when one tries to be
good.”



                              CHAPTER XXI


LILY HERBERT had accepted her fate—one must, no matter how rebellious
the heart may be. The days were long and black and endless; the nights
were worse, and full of spectres. The path of life behind her shone with
the brilliancy of past happiness, which is often imaginary; before her
the path was dark, with the gloom of hopelessness and despair.

Sylvia’s sympathy was a light to her. They frequently talked about
Launa. How happy she was! How fortunate! Loved by the gods and by men.
The love of men they put last; it was first in both their minds. The
love of the gods is death, the love of man life. They had both wilfully
thrown it away.

“Once he told me I should live with him as his sister,” said Sylvia. “I
hated him for it. I would have been his mistress, but not his sister. He
was too good, and I was willing to risk all for him. He gave me credit
for so much goodness.”

“Why did you not try it?” asked Lily. “Men do not care for the brotherly
pose very long. Their resolutions are momentary.”

Sylvia looked at her. _Then_ she had felt sure men mean what they say
after they have said it, as well as while they are saying it—she had
changed her mind now.

“I see,” she replied, “and it is too late.”

There was a pause for some moments. Each woman was thinking of those
things which usually intrude only at night, and which we push into their
corner and avoid contemplating as much as possible.

“Launa is an angel,” said Lily. “She has been so good to me.”

“She has never loved any one,” said Sylvia.

“She would probably have married the other man for money, if she had,”
said Lily.

“Her well-regulated affection for Mr. Wainbridge is like her engagement
ring. A diamond between two sapphires—neat and even. Have you ever seen
my locket?”

“No. I cannot help thinking, Sylvia, he meant to come back. He sent me a
present on my birthday, a little locket of pearls. He would not have
sent pearls if he thought me—bad—would he? Oh, Sylvia, how lovely!”

Sylvia had unbuttoned her dress and pulled out a locket. It was an opal
in the shape of a heart, surrounded by diamonds. It gleamed and glowed
with an unearthly radiance. It seemed a living thing emitting sparks of
fire.

“How lovely!” repeated Lily.

Sylvia hid it again.

“It knew when he was dying, and grew so dull and pale. Now it burns
brighter than ever.”

Then they parted. Sylvia went to the theatre, Lily sat by the fire. The
day was cold and dark. She had cocoa instead of dinner, that was an
ordeal she could not face alone. She sat and thought; she shut her eyes
until she imagined he was there, she could almost feel his kisses, till
a shuddering sob of the cold reality recalled her mind to the present.
About nine o’clock her parlourmaid came in and told her Captain Carden
wished to see her on important business.

“Very well,” said Lily, “I will see him.”

She disliked him—indifferently—and regarded a visit from him as she
would one from the cabinet-maker or the plumber, so he was admitted,
when to Mr. George or Sir Ralph she would have said “Not at home.”

Captain Carden’s face was red, he appeared excited.

“I have good news,” he said. “You dislike Launa almost as much as I do?”

“No, no, Launa and I are friends. She is one of the noblest women I have
ever met.”

“You have changed. Would you not be glad to hear something which will
give her trouble, which will be a blow to her? Women often are glad when
such things happen.”

“What do you mean?”

“If you are telling me the truth I will not tell you what I mean. Are
you not trying to deceive me by a pretence of virtue and friendship with
Launa? _You_ are slightly under a cloud now, will _she_ know what gloom
means soon?”

“Why?”

“I shall not tell you. I am waiting until—what day is she to be married
to Wainbridge? On which day are they to be joined together, and never
put asunder by man? When he can kiss her, touch her, and hold her—that
is what men do.”

“Go away. Go at once, you have had too much to drink.”

“You do not want to hear? You do not—?”

“No; go!”

Left alone, Mrs. Herbert thought it all over. Captain Carden was mad
with rage and jealousy.

Reflection during the night watches made her write to him, asking him to
tea, and mentioning that she had changed her mind.

Captain Carden came. He spent the afternoon with her, and left in a rage
because he had not been invited to Launa’s wedding on the 25th. He sent
her a present—a chain supposed to possess power against the evil eye.

After this Carden visited Mrs. Herbert frequently. Launa spent the time
in receiving presents, and trying on dresses, and in suffering the
embraces of her future lord, who had grown more ardent and more reckless
in his love-making. Paul came back from Norway, and Mr. George ordered a
new frock-coat, and admired Sylvia more fervently in black than in any
colour. He went every available night to see her act, and wished for
Sunday evening performances in London, for on that evening they seldom
met, and he had not the satisfaction of gazing at her. Launa announced
her intention of going, soon after her marriage, to Norway, where her
father was buried.

Mr. Wainbridge was jealous—jealous of the dead man.

He agreed to go. He reminded himself when he promised that he was merely
a lover—when the promise was to be carried out he would be a husband.
There is a difference between the doings of lovers and husbands; few
people—especially women—realise this beforehand.

It was the twenty-sixth of October, and very cold. Launa had been for a
long walk; the suspicion of frost was quite Canadian and exhilarating
while it wearied her. She was staying at Shelton.

It was barely six. She was reading. She heard a carriage drive up and
wondered who it could be.

The door opened, and announced by the new butler—Launa always had
maids, but with the prospect of a husband she had engaged a butler—Mrs.
Herbert and Captain Carden walked in.

The former looked very handsome; her face was unusually pink; her crape
bonnet and long veil thrown back suited her.

“Lily!” said Launa, “how kind of you! I am so very glad to see you. You
will stay, of course.”

She avoided Captain Carden’s hand.

“How are you?” he asked. “Well, I hope?”

Launa had turned to Lily, and did not answer his inquiries.

“Where is—where are the others?” asked Lily.

“Are you alone already?” added Captain Carden.

Mr. Wainbridge came in and greeted them with a bored air.

“I have come on business,” said Captain Carden stiffly.

“And you, Lily, have come to stay,” said Launa.

“If you will have me I shall be very glad to stay.”

“I may as well tell you the object of my visit,” said Carden, with
importance. “Mrs. Wainbridge, I—”

“Stop!” said Launa.

“Never mind,” said Lily, taking hold of her hand and almost crushing it.
“Let him say what he has to say, and then go.”

“I did not tell you before, because I have always wanted to remind you
of one day at Victoria Mansions—the day you turned me out. I loved you,
and now I am quite willing to marry you, even after the disgrace of
having lived for some days as this man’s mistress, for Wainbridge is
married.”

A strange and awful silence settled on them. Mr. Wainbridge’s lips were
parted, and trembled slightly as he made an effort to speak. Captain
Carden looked supremely triumphant, and continued:

“I have proofs here. His wife lives in Edinburgh; he married her
legally. You, Launa, are—what are you?”

“Not married, thank God; not married.”

Turning, she saw Paul behind her.

“Paul!” she cried, “help me!”

Paul remembered that this was the third time that she had turned to him
in an uncertain situation. Was this the lucky time?

“Launa,” he said, “come away. Let me settle this for you.”

He was already her protector, and they both felt it.

“I must hear it all,” she answered.

“He has two children,” said Captain Carden. “One a son. Your child,
Launa—”

“Stop,” interrupted Wainbridge. “If you insult Miss Archer again I shall
kick you.”

“Miss Archer!” repeated Carden, with a laugh. “You give in very
quickly—you acknowledge she has no right to your name.”

“Nor has she. We are not married.”

“Of course not,” said Captain Carden, with a laugh.

“No, not married!” said Launa.

“The 30th was to be the wedding day,” said Sylvia.

“Damn you,” shouted Carden, turning to Lily. “And you knew!”

“Yes. I have won.”

“Take the proofs. I don’t want them.” He threw down a bundle of letters
and turned away. “Oh, that I had succeeded! That you, Launa, were shamed
in the sight of all men and all women. When a man trusts a woman she
always betrays him! Beaten by five days. Think of it—by five days.”

He rushed from the room like a whirlwind—if he had succeeded, and
brought shame to a woman and guilt to a man, he would have faced them
all bravely. The women followed him—Launa still stood by Paul, who held
her hand. She even returned the pressure of his fingers. Mr. Wainbridge
went towards her, and Paul left the room.

“Good-bye, Launa,” said Mr. Wainbridge. “Good-bye. I suppose it is all
over; I suppose you could not forget.”

“Forget. Do not say what I never can forget.”

“And yet women have faced the Divorce Court for a man they love.”

“When a woman loves; but when she pities—no. I told you once—”

“I am not married to her,” he continued, with what he considered much
passion. “You know I do not believe in marriage as a binding ceremony.
Love only is binding. I went with her to a priest, and we signed our
names. How can a priest—a mortal man—marry men and women for
eternity?”

“Great Heaven!” said Launa, “and I meant to marry you. Thank God, I
escaped.” Her piety would not have been so excessive had she loved him.
“You would not have believed in your marriage with me?”

“No; but I had settled all I have or will have upon you by your name and
on your children—I love you, but I see it is all over. . . .
Good-bye. . . . Launa, my darling, wish me well.”

“I pray for that woman who is your wife, and I rejoice that I escaped. I
thank Heaven—you told me lies, you wanted my pity, you—”

“Heaven had but little to do with this. Carden was the ruling spirit.”

“Go!” said Launa; “go before I say all I want to.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

The new butler helped him on with his overcoat—he had listened at the
key-hole, and Mr. Wainbridge would be a lord some day. He was a
religious man, and remembered the chief butler and Joseph, but no
quotation occurred to him which would apply to the situation; besides,
he was a good servant and knew his place.

Mr. Wainbridge had the satisfaction of driving away in the trap which
had brought Captain Carden to Shelton—therefore Carden would have to
walk to the station and miss his train—unless Launa had out her horses
for him. The reflections of Mr. Wainbridge during his journey to
Paddington were unpleasant. There was his uncle to face, and he must
make explanations to him.

Nothing was so disquieting as Launa’s cry for help to Paul. Why Paul?
Why not to Sylvia or Lily or anyone? And the sound of relief in her
voice—relief—was there joy? She had never loved him; if she had, she
would have loved him married or dead. She was the sort of woman who does
not—who cannot change. Therefore if she had loved him she could have
risked all for him.

His only consolation was Carden’s walk in the dark to the station, and
journey by a slow train at 1 A.M. to town. Carden would swear; it
stopped at every station.



                              CHAPTER XXII


PAUL consigned his beloved to Mrs. Herbert and went up to town. Mrs.
Cooper and Sylvia were useless. The former wept over the disgrace and
made speeches beginning with “if”—the latter said “everyone was
unfortunate and miserable.” Paul felt as if everyone were happy,
beginning with himself and including Launa. Her cry to him had not been
the cry of disappointment and sorrow; it had been what? He could not
define it. Relief was too mild, joy too great a name.

Mr. Wainbridge found a certain amount of awkwardness in the interview
with his uncle, which had to take place at once on account of the
approaching marriage, which was now broken off. It was so difficult to
explain what had transpired and to do it with a due regard for his own
feelings.

Lord Wainbridge expressed much disappointment at his nephew’s engagement
being broken off. He had received an announcement thereof by telegraph.

“Why! why! why!” he exclaimed. “My temper is very much upset to-day.
Your aunt is most trying.”

“We have disagreed about settlements,” said the nephew.

“Damn settlements. That is rubbish. What else?”

“There is,” said his nephew slowly, “only one insurmountable barrier and
she knows it.”

“Well? Can’t you do away with it?”

“I am married already.”

“Married? What a fool! You mean that you have had an establishment which
you will give up now, of course, and she will not forgive this. She will
naturally in time. Things will come right, do not be alarmed.”

“No, this will never come right for I am really married.”

“Yet you love Launa, and you meant to marry her and to live with her as
your wife?”

“Yes.”

“To commit bigamy—in spite of the insurmountable barrier?”

“Yes,” replied Wainbridge.

His uncle stared at him aghast. Admiration, blended with contempt,
showed in his countenance—admiration for the audacity of the plan,
contempt for its failure.

“I thought, when I did think,” said the nephew, “that if we were once
married, if she were only bound to me by indissoluble ties, she could
not leave me, and if at any time she heard rumours, well, she would have
kept quiet about it. The other woman does not know my name.”

“It is dreadful,” said Lord Wainbridge. “Now there is no heir and your
aunt—” he sighed. “I wish you had not told me. I should have preferred
your being reticent with me. It is most unfortunate. I wish I did not
know it.”

His was the hopeless lament of the aged.

“How old you are,” thought his nephew, who was more than sorry; but he
did not groan—that was of no avail.

“There is an heir,” he said.

“You are a greater fool than I thought you. What will you tell your
aunt?”

“Nothing—or the settlement story? which you prefer.”

He regretted being found out. His god had been the fear of discovery; he
worshipped it, and to it he had made many sacrifices. But it was all
over.

“He is quiet, and bears it well,” thought Lord Wainbridge; but then we
should always bear the result of our own wrong-doing with philosophy. No
one—Lord Wainbridge least of all—would have pitied him had he not
endured it with patience. Inwardly Hugh Wainbridge was raging—raging
with a wild longing to possess Launa—to have held her in his arms
alone, while she was his—to have kissed the life and breath out of her.
It was intolerable to think that it was over, that she was not his, and
never would be. All through his own stupidity, which he cursed, he felt
a mad wild beast, just an animal longing to kill anyone in his way, and
to possess the one object of his passion. How he wished he had not told
his uncle. Lord Wainbridge was so disappointed.

Mr. Wainbridge sat and meditated on the unsatisfactoriness, the
dreariness of all things. His one desire was withheld from him, the
desire which now threatened to become madness. He was hardly aware of
his uncle’s departure—he seemed to see Launa with a smile of triumph,
of victory, on her face, and he could not get to her; she eluded him.
How he loved her!—loved her, would, _must_ have her.

Paul wrote to Launa; then he waited and did not go down to see her, much
as he longed to do so.

One afternoon he met Sylvia alone. She greeted him with joy. She looked
different.

“You look wicked,” he said; and she laughed.

“When are you going to Launa? Go soon. One woman may as well think she
is going to be happy in this world. As for me, I have learned that there
is no happiness anywhere. I have vanquished my illusions.”

“How is Launa?”

“Alone down there in this dreary weather,” she replied. “She sent us all
away—got rid of us very cleverly, even of Mrs. Herbert, and is there by
herself.”

“Where are you going?” asked Paul.

“Home—I am wretched. I am so lonely and so weary of—virtue. I think it
is very dull. My thoughts annoy me, and they continue so incessantly.”

“Come and have some tea with me,” he said.

For he was glad to be able to talk to her. He could not well rush down
to Shelton at five o’clock, and he doubted the expediency of doing so.

“Launa took it quietly,” said Sylvia, as she drank her tea. “After we
were alone she was so different—so _glad_. I rejoice when I remember
how she said, ‘Paul!’ Did you hear the sound in her voice when she
called you?—as if she could not be relieved and grateful enough. I am
thinking of marriage—serious, uncomfortable marriage myself.”

“You are? I thought—”

“You thought me broken-hearted. So I am; I am wretched—tired of
waiting, of longing, and of thinking what a fool I have been. He loved
me, and it is too late. I long for love until I feel nearly mad, so I am
going to marry. I shall be bound, tied up, and there will be no escape,
and so I must feel peaceful.”

“You will not.”

“Ah, but I shall. Why did I not go with him? Why did I not love him
while I could?”

                 *        *        *        *        *

“Who are you going to marry?”

“A man who knows it all. I am not going to deceive him. He says the
heart of a woman cannot remain in a man’s grave for ever. But . . . when
he is with me I see . . . the other. It is ghastly.”

“So I should think, and it will be worse. Don’t do it, Sylvia. You will
regret it always.”

“No, I think you are mistaken. Let us talk of Launa.”

That night Paul wrote to her. He waited with impatience for her answer.

When it came, she said she was leaving for Canada and the letter was
posted at Liverpool.



                             CHAPTER XXIII


LAUNA’S first feeling was relief, relief—so intense, so endless, that
she felt buoyant, joyful, secure. But after some days she felt shame.
What had Hugh Wainbridge thought of her? What could a man think of a
woman whom he could propose to wrong so terribly? And what had Paul
thought of her? Why did he not come?

Why should she think he cared still? She had no reason to think so.
Doubt, misery, and loneliness, became torturing demons; in action she
saw the only relief possible, and then she remembered Canada,
“Solitude,” the woods, the shore. Paul despised her, she was sure; she
would go away, go home.

The penetrating depressing autumn mist was slowly making its way over
the land, it was almost rain, it was so thick, and far more wetting. The
river was shrouded in a white ghostly mantle. She thought of the keen
air at “Solitude,” of the clear sky, and of the shore with the far-away
landscape, mysterious and, always to her, enticing. And then of the
storms, howling, fierce, and powerful, like the terrible force and
presence of an unseen mighty power, the devastating Great Spirit of the
North who, for five months of the year, reigns supreme, who is real,
tangible, brutal, unlike the horrible slowness of this climate.

“Solitude” was empty, Launa cabled to the gardener’s wife who inhabited
a lodge, and who once had been housekeeper.

When Paul got her letter, she and her maid were out on the Atlantic,
rapidly going farther away.

Launa was beginning to forget the Wainbridge incident, though at first
her anger had seemed unending.

The weather became very cold as they neared Halifax. The big blue
harbour, with its white-capped waves and white-covered shores, was home.
The drifting bits of ice were gaily rushing on, tossed by the waves, the
tide, and the wash of the big steamer. The decks and rigging were
covered with ice, the sea had swept the ship, and, after sweeping it,
the frost demon bound everything in his cold arms. She wondered how she
had existed so long in that grey land without sun. The sky looked higher
and more deeply blue.

“Solitude” was quite ready for her, huge fires blazed everywhere, old
servants had come back. She drove ten miles from the nearest station,
how the sleigh runners creaked, and the bells rang clear, a big yellow
moon was up before she arrived; everything was so strong, so intense, so
cold.

“Solitude” was lonely. She spent the greater part of the days out of
doors. She was young, and the horribleness of Mr. Wainbridge’s behaviour
became dimmer. She had only been angry, how would she have felt if she
had loved him?

After a week of driving and snowshoeing she got out her toboggan.

The land from “Solitude” to the Bay sloped down for about half a mile,
and then the Bay was frozen, the ice covered with snow, and she could
toboggan straight across it. The crust of the snow was very hard. The
toboggan started slowly, then went faster, faster, little bits of crisp
snow flew in her face, the air whistled past her as she rushed along,
the pace became swifter,—it was glorious: the sun, the air, and the
clear blue sky were life-giving as she tore on. The toboggan bounded
over the rough blocks of ice on the edge of the Bay which were broken by
the tide. On the flat stretch of ice it began to move more slowly and
then stopped. It was splendid. She spent all the afternoon at it; the
thermometer was ten below zero, but it was so still and sunny that she
could not feel cold.

It was snowing hard and blowing from the north-east; the view from
“Solitude” was dim, whirling snow hurled by the wind, little drifting
eddies of snow curled round the top of the drifts already forming
quickly.

Launa started on snowshoes. The wind knocked her about and she staggered
before it. She waited in the shelter of the porch until the fury of the
blast seemed to have swept past, then she went on again. The snow was
loose, and the walking, even on snowshoes, very heavy. She struggled to
the little post-office, though there was no need for this, for they
would have sent up her letters; the one she wanted was not there. She
wandered on in the storm to pass the time hoping to grow very tired. The
road was gone, it had disappeared in a level plain of snow, only like
black specks occasional stones showed up in the walls. The snow drifted
and whirled, and the wind was so keen and cold, like knives, with a
stinging burning sensation. The snow made its way under her big fur
collar and chilled her neck and face though she was so hot.

Suddenly she saw a dark figure coming nearer. It was a man.
“Good-night,” she said as they passed. She doubted if he could hear, the
wind crashed by them, it roared over their heads and howled behind them.

The man turned, and with two steps towards her, said:

“Launa, darling!”

He put his arms round her, and then walked on her snowshoes, nearly
knocking her over, and Launa lay in his arms; her feet were most
uncomfortable, one snowshoe was on its side.

“Paul!” she gasped.

His thick blanket coat against her mouth prevented conversation.

“Come back to ‘Solitude,’” he said; “it is too cold and too stormy for
you to be out.”

He took her hand, and they trudged on for the greater part of the way in
silence; it was too windy to talk, and neither knew when the other spoke
unless their heads were close together.

At “Solitude” Paul undid her snowshoes and his own, then they went into
the hall, all bright with a huge fire and flowers. Paul put his arms
round her and kissed her. She was covered with snow.

“I must go. Let me go, Paul; you will stay. There are things you can put
on in the dressing-room; but I must get them for you. I want to tell you
about him.”

“I don’t want to know anything. He was a beast; you are mine now. I am
not wet, Launa; you have forgotten the snow is dry. Even Mrs. Grundy
could not turn a man out on a dark night, with the thermometer at zero
and a gale blowing.”

When she came down he was waiting. He came towards her. She loved him,
he loved her; was there anything in the world she needed now?

He put his arms round her.

“You have forgiven me?” he said, and he kissed her.

“Paul, you won’t hate me?”

“Probably I shall. Tell me why?”

“Well, you know I do not like—much kissing.”

“I have observed that with regret, or rather I hear you say it with
sorrow; for since I came I have kissed you several times and you—”

“Yes,” she interrupted, “but do you not think we had better be careful?
It might get—common, we might grow accustomed to it, and not—like it
as much.”

Paul laughed.

“Oh, Launa!”

“Tell me how you got here?” she asked. They were sitting by the
tea-table. “The roads are blocked, and it snowed all night as well as
to-day.”

“Changing the subject rapidly was always one of your accomplishments.
Kissing and roads—I see the connection to you.”

“Paul!”

“I started to drive,” he answered. “At last we stuck in a drift near
Montague’s; so I came on snowshoes.”

“It was a dreadful tramp.”

“It was the best I ever had—with you at the end of it. I wonder if you
will ever know? How soon will you marry me? I cannot stay at ‘Solitude,’
and fifteen miles is too far apart for you and me.”

“You never came back! You never wrote to me at ‘Shelton.’ I thought you
did not care—that you despised me, and thought me a beast.”

“And you? You were going to marry someone else. I tried to stop you—”

“I believe I was going to run away the day of the wedding,” she said.
“Wasn’t it ghastly?”

“Awful,” he said briefly. “Sylvia has promised to marry the Member for
Hackney. Did she write to you?”

“No. She will marry Lord Fairmouth? Ugh! how can she? Is it true?”

“You will marry me soon,” he said. “And we will go—where shall we go?”

“We shall stay here until the spring, and then go up to the North,” she
answered. “I am glad we are ‘born Canadian.’ Aren’t you?”

And Paul kissed her.

                                THE END.

               _Printed by Cowan & Co., Limited, Perth._



                      MR. BART KENNEDY’S NEW BOOK,

                            =A MAN ADRIFT,=

             _BEING SOME LEAVES FROM A NOMAD’S PORTFOLIO_,

                           =By BART KENNEDY,=

       _Author of “The Wandering Romanoff,” “Darab’s Wine Cup,”_
                               _&c., &c._
           Crown 8vo, Art Cloth, Gilt, Top Edge Gilt, =6/-=.
                     _A few early Press Opinions_:—

=DAILY TELEGRAPH.=—“It is vivid and strong, touched with that
picturesque, vigorous fancy with which intellect illuminates and
interprets the life of action. . . . Mr. Bart Kennedy has talent of a
strong order: He shows it clearly in this latest book, in the strength
with which he puts these scenes before us, in his power of conveying his
impressions, and his picturesque point of view. No one can read this
tramp’s reminiscences without adding to his knowledge of human nature,
and to his comprehension of a somewhat unknown walk of life.”

=ACADEMY.=—“The rough-and-ready, unvarnished, straightforward narrative
of a rover about the World, living from hand to mouth, getting down on
his luck, running strange risks, and meeting picturesque wastrels.”

=SCOTSMAN.=—“The book is fascinating, and is written with a force which
seems born of sincerity, without any sensationalism. It cannot fail to
interest readers.”

=MORNING LEADER.=—“The record of an adventurous life, when well told,
always appeals to the imagination and sympathy of the reader, and ‘A Man
Adrift’ is such a record. Presumably the adventures are real; they have
all the vividness of reality at all events, and one follows the
hardships and wanderings of the narrator with keen interest. . . . Mr.
Kennedy is to be congratulated on his ‘Man Adrift.’”

=TO-DAY.=—“I have discovered in ‘A Man Adrift’ one of the most
remarkable autobiographies ever penned. There is on every one of the
incidents the stamp of reality. There does not appear to be a page of
fiction in the book, and in his devil-may-care language the author
secures the effect of absolute truth.”

=UNIVERSE.=—“This is really one of the best books we have had the
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what he is writing about, and the whole is so beautifully written, that
as the reader scans the pages the various scenes treated of are brought
in a vivid manner before the mind.”

=REVIEW OF THE WEEK.=—“Each chapter is vivid with actuality. The book
is interesting by reason of its absolute sincerity, and the strange
quaint phases of life in out-of-the-way places, with which it deals. Mr.
Kennedy’s style is peculiarly his own, and we are not prepared to
contest its effectiveness. His story of the power of the human eye in
obtaining a free lunch is altogether admirable. This is a book which
should be widely read, and few will lay it down before the last page has
been scanned.”


      GREENING & CO., Limited, 20 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road,
                              London, W.C.



                         ==TWO SMART STORIES.==

                          =MY LADY RUBY - - -=

                                 —AND—

                         =- - - JOHN BASILEON=

                            CHIEF OF POLICE,

                         =By G. F. MONKSHOOD,=

          _Author of “Rudyard Kipling: The Man and His Work,”_
                      _“Woman and the Wits,” &c._
                Crown 8vo, Cloth, Top Edge Gilt, =2/6=.

=OUTLOOK.=—“Good work in which the influence of Mr. Saltus is
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illustrates the enormous power of woman to excite and obsess man—an old
theme, but an inexhaustible one.”

=SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH.=—“A good half-crown’s worth of smart clever
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=ST. PAUL’S.=—“The dialogue in ‘My Lady Ruby’ is crisp and distinctly
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=ST. JAMES’ BUDGET.=—“‘My Lady Ruby’ is a dainty trifle, of the genre
made familiar by Anthony Hope, wittily and gracefully told. . . . ‘John
Basileon’ is a lurid story in which the senses run riot, and in one of
the chapters, ‘The Glory of the God of Sex,’ we have a phrase suggestive
of the outlook on life of practically all the characters engaged.”

=WOMAN’S WEEKLY.=—“‘My Lady Ruby,’ by Mr. G. F. Monkshood, whose work
on Rudyard Kipling was so much appreciated, is a dainty little study of
a pair of lovers; the other story, ‘John Basileon,’ shows the author has
several styles, and while a less pleasant theme has a strength that one
cannot but admire.”

=LIVERPOOL REVIEW.=—“‘My Lady Ruby’ is a little love story told in an
extremely unconventional fashion. Between the same covers is a short
lurid story of passion called ‘John Basileon,’ in which the moralities
are discussed in a very free and easy, and not altogether commendable,
style. Still Mr. Monkshood can write.”

=MONITOR.=—“‘My Lady Ruby’ is charming, and as witty as she is
charming. . . . ‘John Basileon’ evinces imagination and subtlety of a
highly vivid and intense quality. The note of the book is modern, but of
a modernity far removed from that of the term understood by the French
Symbolists and the English Degenerates. Messrs. Greening & Co. are to be
congratulated on a publication which is likely to arouse considerable
attention in those literary circles from which approbation is praise
indeed.”

=NORTH BRITISH DAILY MAIL.=—“The titular story—one of two—displays a
lightness of touch and a deftness of construction that make its perusal
a source of keen mental stimulation, while the wit of its dialogue and
the gentle and kindly humour that permeates the whole of it serve to
increase and intensify the intellectual exhilaration, which every
cultured man who reads it, must feel. . . . The second tale, ‘John
Basileon,’ is of a different stamp. The language is strong, and its
suggestion ever stronger, and it displays a real power over the
emotional states, and an insight into the psychology of a man’s love,
seldom arrived at by writers of Fiction.”


                   AT ALL BOOKSELLERS AND LIBRARIES.

      GREENING & CO., Limited, 20 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road,
                              London, W.C.



                         _BOOKS WORTH READING_

                          BEING A LIST OF THE

                   =New and Forthcoming Publications=

                                   OF

                          GREENING & CO., LTD.

                         20 Cecil Court
                             Charing Cross Road

                  _OCTOBER 1899_          LONDON, W.C.
                     GENERAL LITERATURE, CRITICISM,
                              POETRY, ETC.

_=English Writers of To-Day=_:
Being a Series of Monographs on living Authors. Each volume is written
by a competent authority, and each subject is treated in an
appreciative, yet critical, manner. The following are the first volumes
in the Series:—

_=Rudyard Kipling.=_ The Man and His Work. Being an attempt at an
“Appreciation.” By G. F. MONKSHOOD, Author of “Woman and The Wits,” “My
Lady Ruby,” etc. Containing a portrait of Mr Kipling and an autograph
letter to the author in facsimile. Second Impression. Crown 8vo,
buckram, gilt lettered, top edge gilt, 5s. nett.

=Daily Telegraph.=—“He writes fluently, and he has genuine enthusiasm
for his subject, and an intimate acquaintance with his work. Moreover,
the book has been submitted to Mr Kipling, whose characteristic letter
to the author is set forth on the preface. . . . Of Kipling’s heroes Mr
Monkshood has a thorough understanding, and his remarks on them are
worth quoting” (extract follows).

=Globe.=—“It has at the basis of it both knowledge and
enthusiasm—knowledge of the works estimated and enthusiasm for them.
This book may be accepted as a generous exposition of Mr Kipling’s
merits as a writer. We can well believe that it will have many
interested and approving readers.”

=Scotsman.=—“This well-informed volume is plainly sincere. It is
thoroughly well studied, and takes pains to answer all the questions
that are usually put about Mr Kipling. The writer’s enthusiasm carries
both himself and his reader along in the most agreeable style. One way
and another his book is full of interest, and those who wish to talk
about Kipling will find it invaluable, while the thousands of his
admirers will read it through with delighted enthusiasm.”

                VOLUMES OF E.W.O.T. (=In preparation.=)

_=Thomas Hardy.=_ By W. L. COURTNEY.

_=George Meredith.=_ By WALTER JERROLD.

_=Bret Harte.=_ By T. EDGAR PEMBERTON.

_=Richard Le Gallienne.=_ By C. RANGER GULL.

_=Arthur Wing Pinero.=_ By HAMILTON FYFFE.

_=W. E. Henley=_, and the “NATIONAL OBSERVER” Group. By GEORGE GAMBLE.

_=The Parnassian School in English=_ POETRY. (ANDREW LANG, EDMUND GOSSE
and ROBERT BRIDGES.) By Sir GEORGE DOUGLAS.

_=Algernon Charles Swinburne.=_ By G. F. MONKSHOOD.

_=Realistic Writers of To-day.=_ By JUSTIN HANNAFORD.



_=The Wheel of Life.=_ A Few Memories and Recollections (de omnibus
rebus). By CLEMENT SCOTT, Author of “Madonna Mia,” “Poppyland,” etc.
With Portrait of the Author from the celebrated Painting by J. MORDECAI.
Third Edition. Crown 8vo, crimson buckram, gilt lettered, gilt top, 2s.

=Weekly Sun= (T. P. O’Connor) says:—A Book of the Week—“I have found
this slight and unpretentious little volume bright, interesting reading.
I have read nearly every line with pleasure.”

=Illustrated London News.=—“The story Mr Scott has to tell is full of
varied interest, and is presented with warmth and buoyancy.”

=Punch.=—“What pleasant memories does not Clement Scott’s little book,
‘The Wheel of Life,’ revive! The writer’s memory is good, his style
easy, and above all, which is a great thing for reminiscences, chatty.”

=Referee.=—GEORGE R. SIMS (Dagonet) says:—Deeply interesting are these
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picked up ‘The Wheel of Life’ at one in the morning, after a hard
night’s work, and flung myself, weary and worn, into an easy-chair, to
glance at it while I smoked my last pipe. As I read, all my weariness
departed, for I was young and light-hearted once again, and the friends
of my young manhood had come trooping back from the shadows to make a
merry night of it once more in London town. And when I put the book
down, having read it from cover to cover, it was ‘past three o’clock and
a windy morning.’”

_=A Trip to Paradoxia=_, and other Humours of the Hour. Being
Contemporary Pictures of Social Fact and Political Fiction. By T. H. S.
ESCOTT, Author of “Personal Forces of the Period,” “Social
Transformation of the Victorian Age,” “Platform, Press, Politics, and
Play,” Etc. Crown 8vo, art cloth. Gilt, 5s. nett.

=Standard.=—“A book which is amusing from cover to cover. Bright
epigrams abound in Mr Escott’s satirical pictures of the modern
world. . . . Those who know the inner aspects of politics and society
will, undoubtedly, be the first to recognise the skill and adroitness
with which he strikes at the weak places in a world of intrigue and
fashion. . . . There is a great deal of very clever sword-play in Mr
Escott’s description of Dum-Dum (London), the capital of Paradoxia
(England).”

=Court Circular.=—“It is brilliantly written, and will afford keen
enjoyment to the discriminating taste. Its satire is keen-edged, but
good-humoured enough to hurt no one; and its wit and (may me say?) its
impudence should cause a run on it at the libraries.”

=M. A. P.=—“A sparkling piece of political and social satire. Mr Escott
besprinkles his pages with biting epigram and humorous innuendo. It is a
most amusing book.”

=Athenæum.=—“He constantly suggests real episodes and real persons.
There are a good many rather pretty epigrams scattered through Mr
Escott’s pages.”

=Scotsman.=—“A bright, witty, and amusing volume, which will entertain
everybody who takes it up.”

=Newcastle Leader.=—“Messrs Greening are fortunate in being the
publishers of a volume so humorous, so dexterous, written with such
knowledge of men and affairs, and with such solidity and power of style
as Mr T. H. S. Escott’s ‘A Trip to Paradoxia.’”

=Public Opinion.=—“Mr T. H. S. Escott throws abundant humour blended
with pungent sarcasm into his work, making his pictures very agreeable
reading to all but the victim he has selected, and whose weaknesses he
so skilfully lays bare. But the very clever manner in which the writer
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_=People, Plays, and Places.=_ Being the Second Series of “The Wheel of
Life,” Memories and Recollections of “People” I have met, “Plays” I have
seen, and “Places” I have visited. By CLEMENT SCOTT, Author of “The
Stage of Yesterday and The Stage of To-day,” “Pictures of the World,”
“Thirty Years at the Play.” Crown 8vo, cloth gilt. (In preparation.) 5s.

“_=Sisters by the Sea.=_” Seaside and Country Sketches. By CLEMENT
SCOTT, Author of “Blossom Land,” “Amongst the Apple Orchards,” Etc.
Frontispiece and Vignette designed by GEORGE POWNALL. Long 12mo,
attractively bound in cloth, 1s.

=Observer.=—“The little book is bright and readable, and will come like
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chair, stool, or counter.”

=Sheffield Telegraph.=—“Bright, breezy, and altogether readable. . . .
East Anglia, Nelson’s Land, etc., etc., are all dealt with, and touched
lightly and daintily, as becomes a booklet meant to be slipped in the
pocket and read easily to the pleasing accompaniment of the waves lazily
lapping on the shingle by the shore.”

=Dundee Advertiser.=—“It is all delightful, and almost as good as a
holiday. The city clerk, the jaded shopman, the weary milliner, the
pessimistic dyspeptic, should each read the book. It will bring a
suggestion of sea breezes, the plash of waves, and all the accessories
of a holiday by the sea.”

_=Some Famous Hamlets.=_ (SARAH BERNHARDT, HENRY IRVING, BEERBOHM TREE,
WILSON BARRETT and FORBES ROBERTSON.) By CLEMENT SCOTT. Illustrated with
portraits. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

_=Some Bible Stories Retold.=_ By “A CHURCHMAN.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s.
6d.

_=Bye-Ways of Crime.=_ With some Stories from the Black Museum. By R. J.
POWER-BERREY. Profusely Illustrated. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

=Outlook.=—“Decidedly you should read Mr Power-Berrey’s interesting
book, taking laugh and shudder as they come.”

=Sheffield Independent.=—“We do not remember to have ever seen a more
popularly-written summary of the methods of thieves than this bright and
chatty volume. It is the work of a writer who evidently has a most
intimate knowledge of the criminal classes, and who can carry on a plain
narrative briskly and forcibly. The book fascinates by its freshness and
unusualness.”

=Literature.=—“It contains many interesting stories and new
observations on the _modus operandi_ of swindlers.”

=Scotsman.=—“A most interesting account of the dodges adopted by
various criminals in effecting their purposes. The reader will find much
that is instructive within its pages.”

=Liverpool Review.=—“This is no fanciful production, but a clear,
dispassionate revelation of the dodges of the professional criminal.
Illustrated by numerous pen and ink sketches, Mr Power-Berrey’s
excellent work is useful as well as interesting, for it will certainly
not assist the common pilferer to have all his little tricks made public
property in this lucid and easily rememberable style.”

_=The Art of Elocution=_ and Public Speaking. By ROSS FERGUSON. With an
Introduction by GEO. ALEXANDER. Dedicated by permission to Miss ELLEN
TERRY. Second Edition. Crown 8vo, strongly bound in cloth, 1s.

=Australian Mail.=—“A useful little book. We can strongly recommend it
to the chairmen of public companies.”

=Stage.=—“A carefully composed treatise, obviously written by one as
having authority. Students will find it of great service.”

=People’s Friend.=—“Contains many valuable hints, and deals with every
branch of the elocutionist’s art in a lucid and intelligible manner.”

=Literary World.=—“The essentials of elocution are dealt with in a
thoroughly capable and practical way. The chapter on public speaking is
particularly satisfactory.”

=Madame.=—“The work is pleasingly thorough. The instructions are most
interesting, and are lucidly expressed, physiological details are
carefully, yet not redundantly, dwelt on, so that the intending student
may have some very real and definite idea of what he is learning about,
and many valuable hints may be gleaned from the chapters on
‘Articulation and Modulation.’ Not only for actors and orators will this
little book be found of great service, but everyone may find pleasure
and profit in reading it.”

_=The Path of the Soul.=_ Being Essays on Continental Art and
Literature. By S. C. de SOISSONS, Author of “A Parisian in America,”
etc. Illustrated with portraits, etc. Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 10s. 6d.

_=A History of Nursery Rhymes.=_ By =Percy B. Green=. This
interesting Book is the result of many years research among nursery
folklore of all nations, and traces the origin of nursery-rhymes from
the earliest times. Crown 8vo, cloth, 4s.

_=The Year Book of the Stage.=_ Being an annual record of criticisms of
all the important productions of the English Stage, with copious Index
and complete Casts of each Play recorded. A useful compilation for
students of the Drama. About 260 pages, strongly bound in cloth, 3s. 6d.

_=In Quaint East Anglia.=_ Descriptive Sketches. By T. WEST CARNIE.
Illustrated by W. S. ROGERS. Long 12mo, cloth, 1s.

=Observer.=—“That East Anglia exercises a very potent spell over those
who once come under its influence is proved by the case of George
Borrow, and all who share in the fascination will delight in this
brightly written, companionable little volume.”

=Birmingham Argus.=—“Interesting matter entertainingly told.”

=Glasgow Herald.=—“Mr Carnie’s book is thoroughly charming.”

=Literature.=—“An æsthetic volume as pleasant to read as to look at.”

=Guardian.=—“Just the kind of book that would help a tourist in Norfolk
and Suffolk to see what ought to be seen with the proper measure of
enjoyment.”

=Graphic.=—“It is a prettily got up and readable little book.”

=Saturday Review.=—“Will be welcomed by all who have come under the
charm of East Anglia.”

_=A Man Adrift.=_ Being Leaves from a Nomad’s Portfolio. By BART
KENNEDY, Author of “Darab’s Wine-Cup,” “The Wandering Romanoff,” etc.
This very entertaining book is a narrative of adventures in all parts of
the world. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=Woman and the Wits.=_ Epigrams on Woman, Love, and Beauty. Collected
and edited by G. F. MONKSHOOD, Author of “Rudyard Kipling: The Man and
His Work,” “Lady Ruby,” etc. Small 8vo, cloth gilt extra, gilt edges,
3s. 6d. nett. Paper boards, rough edges, 2s. 6d. nett.

_=Weeds and Flowers.=_ Poems by =William Luther Longstaff=,
Author of “Passion and Reflection.” Crown 8vo, art cloth, gilt extra,
gilt top, 2s. 6d. nett.

=Sun.=—“Mr Longstaff has real fire and passion in all of his work. He
has a graceful touch and a tuneful ear. There is exquisite melody in his
metre.”

=Echo.=—“The poetry of passion is no rarity to-day, yet scarcely since
the date of Philip Bourke Marston’s ‘Song Tide’ has such an arresting
and whole-hearted example of this class of poetry been issued by any
English author as the volume which Mr William Luther Longstaff entitles
‘Weeds and Flowers.’ Passion, tumultuous and unabashed, sensuous rapture
openly flaunting its shame, love in maddest surrender risking all,
daring all, these are the dominant motives of Mr Longstaff’s muse. So
wild is the rush of his emotion—all storm and fire and blood—to such
white heat does he forge his burning phrases, so subtly varied are the
constantly recurring expressions of love’s ecstasy, its despair, its
bereavement, its appetite, its scorn, so happy sometimes are the
unexpected metrical changes and experiments herein adopted, that the
younger poet might suggest discreet comparisons with the earlier
Swinburne.”

=Morning Herald.=—“The book contains _real_ poetry. There is always
thought and force in the work. ‘At the Gate’ is not merely Swinburnian
in metre; in all things it might well have come from that poet’s pen.”


                    =Greening’s Masterpiece Library=

_=Vathek.=_ An Eastern Romance. By GEO. BECKFORD. Edited with an
Introduction by JUSTIN HANNAFORD. Full-page illustrations by W. S.
ROGERS. Crown 8vo, art cloth, gilt, 3s 6d. A superb edition of this most
interesting and fascinating story.

_=Asmodeus;=_ or, The Devil on Two Sticks. An Illustrated Edition of the
Celebrated Novel by LE SAGE, Author of “Gil Blas.” Edited by JUSTIN
HANNAFORD. Crown 8vo, 5s.

_=Ringan Githaize.=_ A Tale of the Covenanters. By JOHN GALT. Edited
with an Introduction by Sir =George Douglas=. Crown 8vo, 5s.

_=Rasselas=_, Prince of Abyssinia. A Tale of Adventure. By Dr JOHNSON.
Edited with an Introduction by =Justin Hannaford=. Full-page
illustrations by W. S. ROGERS. Crown 8vo, 5s.

_=The Epicurean.=_ A Tale of Mystery and Adventure. By THOMAS MOORE.
Edited with an Introduction by =Justin Hannaford=.
Illustrated. 8vo, art cloth, 3s. 6d.

    _Several well known and popular works by great writers are in
    active preparation for this artistic series of masterpieces._


                           =POPULAR FICTION=
                        NOVELS AT SIX SHILLINGS

_=An Obscure Apostle.=_ A Powerful and Dramatic Tale, translated from
the Polish of Mdme. ORZESZKO by S. C. de SOISSONS. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=A Son of Africa.=_ A Tale of Marvellous Adventures. By ANNA, COMTESSE
DE BRÉMONT, Author of “The Gentleman Digger,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=Mora=:_ One Woman’s History. An interesting novel by T. W. SPEIGHT,
Author of “The Crime in the Wood,” “The Mysteries of Heron Dyke,” etc.
Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=A Girl of the North.=_ A Tale of London and Canada. By HELEN MILICITE.
Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=Ashes Tell no Tales.=_ A Novel. By Mrs =Albert S.
Bradshaw=, Author of “The Gates of Temptation,” “False Gods,”
“Wife or Slave,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=Such is the Law.=_ An Interesting Story by =Marie M.
Sadleir=, Author of “An Uncanny Girl,” “In Lightest London,” etc.
Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=Fetters of Fire.=_ A Dramatic Tale. By =Compton Reade=,
Author of “Hard Lines,” “Under which King,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=A Virtue of Necessity.=_ A Powerful Novel. By HERBERT ADAMS. Crown
8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=A Cry in the Night.=_ An exciting Detective Story. By ARNOLD
GOLSWORTHY, Author of “Death and the Woman,” “Hands in the Darkness,”
etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

_=A Social Upheaval.=_ An Unconventional Dramatic Satirical Tale. By
ISIDORE G. ASCHER, Author of “An Odd Man’s Story,” “The Doom of
Destiny,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 6s.

=Scotsman.=—“The plot is bold, even to audacity; its development is
always interesting, picturesque, and, towards the close, deeply
pathetic; and the purpose and method of the writer are alike admirable.”

=Eastern Morning News.=—“It is a clever book, splendidly written, and
striking in its wonderful power, and keeping the reader
interested. . . . The author has not failed in his effort to prove the
case. The awful truth of its pages is borne home upon us as we read
chapter after chapter. The book should have a good effect in certain
quarters. One of the best features is the dividing line drawn most
plainly between Socialism and Anarchism. To its author we tender our
thanks, and predict a large sale.”

=Daily Telegraph.=—“The hero is an interesting dreamer, absorbed in his
schemes, which are his one weakness. To women, save when they can
further the good of his cause, he is obdurate; in business, strong,
energetic, and powerful. He is shown to us as the man with a master mind
and one absorbing delusion, and as such is a pathetic figure. No one can
dispute the prodigality and liveliness of the author’s imagination; his
plot teems with striking incidents.”

=Vanity Fair.=—“The story tells itself very clearly in three hundred
pages of very pleasant and entertaining reading. The men and women we
meet are not the men and women we really come across in this world. So
much the better for us. But we are delighted to read about them, for all
that; and we prophesy success for Mr Ascher’s book, particularly as he
has taken the precaution of telling us that he is ‘only in fun.’”

=Aberdeen Free Press.=—“A story in which there is not a dull page, nay,
not even a dull line. The characters are well drawn, the incidents are
novel and often astounding, and the language has a terseness and
briskness that gives a character of vivacity to the story, so that the
reader is never tired going on unravelling the tangled meshes of the
intricate plot until he comes to the end. ‘A Social Upheaval’ is,
indeed, a rattling good book.”

_=A New Tale of The Terror.=_ A Powerful and Dramatic Story of the
French Revolution. By the Author of “The Hypocrite” and “Miss
Malevolent.” (In preparation.) Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.


                           =POPULAR FICTION=
                 NOVELS AT THREE SHILLINGS AND SIXPENCE

_=Shams!=_ A Social Satire. By ——? This is a remarkable and
interesting story of Modern Life in London Society. It is a powerful
work, written with striking vividness. The plot is fascinating, the
incidents exciting, and the dialogue epigrammatic and brilliant. “Shams”
is written by one of the most popular novelists of the day. Crown 8vo,
art cloth, gilt, 3s. 6d.

_=Miss Malevolent.=_ A Realistic Study. By the Author of “The
Hypocrite.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

_=A Comedy of Temptation=_; or, The Amateur Fiend. A Tale by TRISTRAM
COUTTS, Author of “The Pottle Papers,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

_=The Weird Well.=_ A Tale of To-day. By Mrs ALEC M^{C}MILLAN, Author of
“The Evolution of Daphne,” “So Runs my Dream,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth,
3s. 6d.

_=Loroastro.=_ An Historical Romance. By =Creswick J.
Thompson=, Author of “Poison Romance and Poison Mysteries,” “The
Mystery and Romance of Alchemy and Pharmacy,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s.
6d.

_=The Temptation of Edith Watson.=_ By SYDNEY HALL. Crown 8vo, cloth,
3s. 6d.

_=The Gentleman Digger.=_ Realistic Pictures of Life in Johannesburg, By
ANNA, COMTESSE DE BRÉMONT, Author of “A Son of Africa,” etc. New
Edition, revised to date, with a new Preface. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

_=The Sword of Fate.=_ An Interesting Novel. By HENRY HERMAN, Author of
“Eagle Joe,” “Scarlet Fortune,” etc., and Joint Author of the “Silver
King,” “Claudian.” Crown 8vo, art cloth, 3s. 6d.

=Vanity Fair.=—“The hand that wrote the ‘Silver King’ has by no means
lost its cunning in painting broad effects of light and shadow. The
description of life in Broadmoor is, we fancy, done from actual
observation. It is quite new.” And the critic of =Black and White= sums
it up pithily as “a story which holds our attention and interests us
right from the first chapter. The book is as exciting as even a story of
sensation has any need to be.” Speaking of the scene of Mr Herman’s
drama, the beautiful county of Devonshire, where the greater part of the
story takes place, the =Manchester Courier= says: “The author’s
descriptive powers vividly portray the lovely spots by the winding
Tamar, while the rich dialect of the district is so faithfully
reproduced as to become not the least feature of an exciting tale.”

=The Weekly Mercury.=—“Mr Henry Herman has carefully studied the little
weaknesses of the great army of readers. Like a celebrated and much
advertised medicine, he invariably ‘touches the spot,’ and hence the
popularity of his works. His latest novel, ‘The Sword of Fate,’ contains
all the essentials of a popular story. It is well written, sufficiently
dramatic, full of life and incident, and above all, right triumphs over
wrong. We must, too, congratulate the author upon the omission of all
that is disagreeable or likely to offend the susceptibilities of the
most delicate minded. It is a clean and healthy novel, a credit to the
writer, and a pleasure to the reader. . . . These are quite capable of
affording anyone a pleasant evening’s reading, a remark which does not
apply to the great majority of the modern novels.”

_=Seven Nights with Satan.=_ A Novel. By =J. L. Owen=, Author
of “The Great Jekyll Diamond.” Cover designed by W. S. ROGERS. Crown
8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

=St James’s Gazette.=—“We have read the book from start to finish with
unflagging interest—an interest, by the way, which derives nothing from
the ‘spice,’ for though its title may be suggestive of Zolaism, there is
not a single passage which is open to objection. The literary style is
good.”

=Truth.=—“I much prefer the ghastly story ‘Seven Nights with Satan,’ a
very clever study of degeneration.”

=London Morning.=—“The story told is a powerful one, evidently based
upon close personal knowledge of the events, places, and persons which
figure in it. A tragic note pervades it, but still there is lightness
and wit in its manner which makes the book a very fascinating as well as
eventful volume.”

=Public Opinion.=—“Mr J. L. Owen has given a title to his work which
will cause many conjectures as to the nature of the story. Now, if we
divulged what were the seven nights, we should be doing the author
anything but a service—in fact, we should be giving the whole thing
away; therefore, we will only state that the work is cleverly conceived,
and carried out with great literary ability. There are numerous flashes
of originality that lift the author above ordinary commonplace.”

_=The Green Passion.=_ The Study of a Jealous Soul. A Powerful Novel. By
ANTHONY P. VERT. Cover designed by ALFRED PRAGA. Crown 8vo, art cloth,
3s. 6d.

Mr. DOUGLAS SLADEN in =The Queen=.—“A remarkably clever book. . . .
There is no disputing the ability with which the writer handles her
subject. I say _her_ subject, because the minuteness of the touches, and
the odd, forcible style in which this book is written, point to it being
the work of a female hand. The book is an eminently readable one, and it
is never dull for a minute.”

=Daily Telegraph.=—“It is a study of one of the worst passions which
can ruin a life-time and mar all human happiness—one of the worst, not
because it is necessarily the strongest, but because of its singular
effect in altering the complexion of things, transforming love into
suspicion, and filling its victim with a petulant and unreasonable
madness. All this Anthony Vert understands, and can describe with very
uncommon power. The soul of a jealous woman is analysed with artistic
completeness, and proved to be the petty, intolerant, half-insane thing
it really is. . . . The plot is well conceived, and well carried out.
Anthony Vert may be congratulated on having written a very clever
novel.”

=The Monitor.=—“A wonderful piece of writing. The only modern parallel
we can find is supplied in Mr F. C. Philip’s ‘As in a Looking Glass.’”

=World.=—“As the study of a jealous soul, ‘The Green Passion’ is a
success, and psychological students will be delighted with it. . . . The
tragedy which forms the _dénouement_ to this story is of such a nature
as to preclude our doing more than remotely alluding to it, for he (or
is it she?) has portrayed an ‘exceedingly risky situation.’”

=Whitehall Review.=—“In ‘The Green Passion’ the author traces with much
ability, and not a little analytical insight, the progress of jealousy
in the breast of a woman who is born with a very ‘intense,’ although not
a very deep, nature. . . . There is in Mr Vert’s work a certain tendency
towards realism which has its due effect in making his characters real.
They are no loosely-built fancies of the journalistic brain, but
portraits—almost snapshot portraits—of men and women of to-day.”

_=Outrageous Fortune.=_ Being the Confessions of Evelyn Gray, Hospital
Nurse. A story founded on fact, proving that truth is stranger than
fiction. (In preparation.) Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

_=The Dolomite Cavern.=_ An Exciting Tale of Adventure. By W. PATRICK
KELLY, Author of “Schoolboys Three,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

=Daily Telegraph.=—“Lovers of the sensational in fiction will find
abundance of congenial entertainment in Mr W. P. Kelly’s new story. In
the way of accessories to startling situations all is fish that comes to
this ingenious author’s net. The wonders of primitive nature, the
marvels of latter-day science, the extravagances of human passion—all
these he dexterously uses for the purpose of involving his hero in
perilous scrapes from which he no less dexterously extricates him by
expedients which, however far-fetched they may appear to the
unimaginative, are certainly not lacking in originality of device, or
cleverness of construction. . . . This is a specimen incident—those
which succeed it derive their special interest from the action of
Rontgen rays, subterranean torrents, and devastating inundations. The
book is very readable throughout, and ends happily. What more can the
average novel reader wish for in holiday time?”

=Observer.=—“A story full of exciting adventure.”

=Saturday Review.=—“The plot is ingenious, and the style pleasant.”

=Literature.=—“‘The Dolomite Cavern’ has the great merit of being very
well written. The plot is sensational and improbable enough, but with
the aid of the author’s bright literary manner it carries us on
agreeably until the last chapter.”

=Critic.=—“It is a sensational novel with a dash of pseudo-scientific
interest about it which is well calculated to attract the public. It is,
moreover, well written and vigorous.”

=Manchester Guardian.=—“Mr Kelly’s fluent, rapid style makes his story
of mysteries readable and amusing. His Irish servant, one of the
principal characters, speaks a genuine Irish dialect—almost as rare in
fiction as the imitation is common.”

=St James’s Budget.=—“Truly thrilling and dramatic, Mr Kelly’s book is
a cleverly written and absorbing romance. It concludes with a tremendous
scene, in which a life-and-death struggle with a madman in the midst of
a raging flood is the leading feature.”

_=Madonna Mia=_, and other Stories. By =Clement Scott=,
Author of “Poppyland,” “The Wheel of Life,” “The Fate of Fenella,”
“Blossomland,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

=Punch.=—“‘Madonna Mia’ is genuinely interesting. All the stories are
good; you are ‘Scott free’ to pick ’em where you like.” (The Baron de B.
W.)

=Weekly Sun.=—“Shows Mr Scott’s sturdy character painting and love of
picturesque adventure.”

=Weekly Dispatch.=—“The book is characteristic of the work of its
author—bright, brilliant, informing, and entertaining, and without a
dull sentence in it.”

=St James’s Gazette.=—“Full of grace and sentiment. The tales have each
their individuality and interest, and we can recommend the whole as
healthy refreshment for the idle or weary brain.”

=Pelican.=—“Full of living, breathing, human interest. Few writers
possess the gift of bringing actual existence to their characters as
does Mr Scott, and in the pages of his newest book you shall find tears
and smiles, and all the emotions skilfully arranged and put in true
literary fashion.”

=World.=—“Clement Scott is nothing if not sympathetic, and every one of
the ten stories is not only thoroughly readable, but is instinct with
sentiment; for Mr Scott still retains a wonderful enthusiasm, usually
the attribute of youth. ‘Drifting’ is a very fresh and convincing
narrative, founded, we understand, upon truth, and containing within a
small compass the materials for a very stirring drama. ‘A Cross of
Heather,’ too, is a charming romance, told with real pathos and
feeling.”

_=The Shadow on The Manse.=_ A Tale of Religion and the Stage. By
CAMPBELL RAE-BROWN, Author of “The Resurrection of His Grace,”
“Kissing-Cup’s Race,” etc. Crown 8vo, art cloth, gilt, 3s. 6d.

_=The Lady of the Leopard.=_ A Powerful and Fascinating Novel. By CHAS.
L’EPINE, Author of “The Devil in a Domino.” Crown 8vo, art cloth, 3s.
6d.

=Public Opinion.=—“A remarkable book. . . . We are plunged into a
delicious and tantalising romance; incident follows incident like a
panorama of exciting pictures. Fertility of imagination is everywhere
apparent, and the _dénouement_ is artfully concealed till it bursts upon
the reader with a suddenness that fairly takes away his breath.”

=Liverpool Mercury.=—“Lovers of the marvellous will enjoy it, for it is
cleverly and dramatically written.”

=Dundee Advertiser.=—“Written with dramatic force and vigour.”

=North British Advertiser.=—“This is a weird and strange story that
interests and fascinates the reader, with its occult fancies and
marvellous experiences. . . . It may be added, in conclusion, that it is
a book well worth reading, and will easily bear a second perusal.”

=Liverpool Post.=—“A very skilfully constructed story, mysterious and
strange, with a natural explanation suggested of all the mystery which
does not spoil one’s enjoyment (here follows analysis of plot). This is
the bare outline of the story up to a certain point; it is impossible to
convey adequately an idea of the awe-inspiring characteristics of the
story. Readers can safely be recommended to turn to the book itself.”


                           =POPULAR FICTION=
                           HALF-CROWN NOVELS

_=In Monte Carlo.=_ A Tale by HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ, Author of “Quo Vadis,”
“With Fire and Sword,” etc., etc. Translated by S. C. de SOISSONS. Crown
8vo, art cloth, with a new Portrait of the Author, 2s. 6d.

_=The Tragedy of The Lady Palmist.=_ By W. LUTHER LONGSTAFF, Author of
“Weeds and Flowers,” etc. An exciting tale, descriptive of the
“Behind-the-Scenes of the Palmist’s Bohemia.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

_=My Lady Ruby, and Basileon, Chief of Police=_. Two stories by G. F.
MONKSHOOD, Author of “Nightshades,” “Rudyard Kipling: The Man and His
Work,” “Woman and The Wits,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

_=The Hypocrite.=_ A Modern Realistic Novel of Oxford and London Life.
Fourth Impression. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

    ⁂ _This book has been “boycotted” by Messrs Mudie and Messrs W.
    H. Smith & Son as being “unfit to circulate in their libraries,”
    yet it has been praised by the press as being “a powerful sermon
    and a moral book.”_

=Daily Telegraph.=—“A book by an anonymous author always arouses a
certain inquiry, and when the book is clever and original the interest
becomes keen, and conjecture is rife, endowing the most unlikely people
with authorship. . . . It is very brilliant, very forcible, very
sad. . . . It is perfect in its way, in style clear, sharp and forcible,
the dialogue epigrammatic and sparkling. . . . Enough has been said to
show that ‘The Hypocrite’ is a striking and powerful piece of work, and
that its author has established his claim to be considered a writer of
originality and brilliance.”

=Daily Graphic.=—“A very moral book.”

=Court Circular.=—“The work is decidedly clever, full of ready wit,
sparkling epigram, and cutting sarcasm.”

=Echo.=—“The story is thoroughly interesting, the wit and epigram of
the writing are not to be denied, and altogether ‘The Hypocrite’ is so
brilliant that it can only be fittingly compared with ‘The Green
Carnation’ or ‘The Babe B.A.’”

=Liverpool Courier.=—“A genuinely clever book. Furthermore, it is a
book with a wholesome moral vividly enforced.”

=Lady.=—“Whoever the author may be, he has the right literary method,
his work is absolutely realistic, his style is fluent and distinctive,
and he has the rare faculty of gripping the reader’s attention at the
outset and retaining it to the very last. . . . ‘The Hypocrite’ is
something more than a remarkable novel—it is, in effect, a sermon,
conveying a definite message to those who have the wit to understand
it.”

=Morning Post.=—“It is entitled to be regarded as one of the clever
books of the day. The writer shows artistic perception. He maintains
throughout an atmosphere perfectly in harmony with the idea that has
suggested his work.”

_=The Wandering Romanoff.=_ A Romance. By BART KENNEDY, Author of “A Man
Adrift,” “Darab’s Wine-Cup,” etc. New and Cheaper Edition, crown 8vo,
cloth, 2s. 6d.

_=Dona Rufina.=_ A Nineteenth Century Romance. Being a Story of Carlist
Conspiracy. By HEBER DANIELS, Author of “Our Tenants.” Second Edition.
Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

=Bookman.=—“A highly emotional, cleverly written story.”

=Lady.=—“A thrilling romance with a mediæval atmosphere, although the
scene is laid in the Cotswolds in the year of grace 1898. The story is
well constructed, and is a good example of the widely imaginative type
of fiction that is so eagerly devoured by young people nowadays.”

=Lloyd’s.=—“The author has woven a clever story out of strange
materials. . . . The interest of the book only ceases when the end is
reached.”

=Society.=—“Altogether a very intelligible and interesting story of
intrigue and love. The author has put some excellent work into the
book.”

=Eastern Morning News.=—“Readers will be fascinated by the stirring
scenes, the swiftly moving panorama, the enacted tragedies, the wild,
passionate, lawless loves depicted in the most sensational manner in
this volume.”

=Englishman= (Calcutta).—“It is a lurid tale of Spanish plotters. . . .
Around this central figure the author weaves an effective story with
more than considerable skill. He has achieved a brilliant success with
the character of Rufina; it is a masterpiece in its own way, and
invested with freshness, grace, and a magnetic personality.”

_=Lord Jimmy.=_ A Story of Music-Hall Life. By GEORGE MARTYN. Crown 8vo,
cloth, 2s. 6d.

=Outlook.=—“The book is both humorous and dramatic.”

=Pelican.=—“It is amusing and interesting—two very good qualities for
a novel to possess.”

=Sheffield Telegraph.=—“The book is vivaciously written, several of the
characters being human enough to look like studies from life.”

=Aberdeen Free Press.=—“The characters are skilfully depicted, and the
whole book is amusing and interesting.”

=Glasgow Citizen.=—“‘Decidedly clever’ will be the verdict of the
reader on closing this book.”

=Vanity Fair.=—“The author has a peculiar knowledge of the ‘Halls’ and
those who frequent them; and especially, as it seems to us, of those
Jewish persons who sometimes run them. And he has made good use of his
knowledge here. But there is more than this in the book; for ‘George
Martyn’ has considerable descriptive talent. His account, for instance,
of the fight between the hero and the butcher is quite good. The story
is straightforward, convincing, and full of human nature and promise.”

_=The Lady of Criswold.=_ A Sensational Story. By LEONARD OUTRAM. Crown
8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

=North British Advertiser.=—“A thrilling tale of love and madness.”

=Whitehall Review.=—“No one can complain of lack of sensation, it is
full of startling episodes. The characters are drawn with a rapid and
vigorous touch. The interest is well maintained.”

=Court Circular.=—“It reminds us forcibly of a story in real life that
engrossed public attention many years ago. Whether this was in the
author’s mind we cannot say, but the book is deeply interesting, the
characters well and strongly drawn, and we doubt not this tale will
fascinate many a reader.”

=London Morning.=—“The story is cleverly constructed, is full of
incident with more than a dash of tragedy, and holds the attention of
the reader to the close. Dealing with modern life of the higher class,
Mr Outram’s story is consistent, and though it aims at romantic effect,
is not strained or overdrawn.”

=Church Gazette.=—“We can heartily recommend ‘The Lady of Criswold.’
One likes to meet now and again a book which forsakes the eternal sex
question, or the hair-splitting discussion of ethical or psychological
problems, and treats us to simpler and more satisfying fare. . . . There
are several good hours’ reading in the book, and plenty of excitement of
the dramatic order. Another good point is that it is healthy in tone.”

_=The Gates of Temptation.=_ A Natural Novel by Mrs ALBERT S. BRADSHAW,
Author of “False Gods,” “Wife or Slave,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

=Weekly Dispatch.=—“This is a story full of power and pathos, the
strong dramatic interest of which is sustained from the opening chapter
to the close.”

=Midland Mail.=—“The characters are vividly drawn. There are many
pleasant and painful incidents in the book, which is interesting from
beginning to end.”

=London Morning.=—“Mrs Albert Bradshaw has done such uniformly good
work that we have grown to expect much from her. Her latest book is one
which will enhance her reputation, and equally please new and old
readers of her novels. It is called ‘The Gates of Temptation,’ and
professes to be a natural novel. The story told is one of deep interest.
There is no veneer in its presentation, no artificiality about it.”

=Aberdeen Free Press.=—“Mrs Bradshaw has written several good novels,
and the outstanding feature of all of them has been her skilful
development of plot, and her tasteful, pleasing style. In connection
with the present story we are able to amply reiterate those praises. The
plot again is well developed and logically carried out, while the
language used by the authoress is always happy and well chosen, and
never commonplace. . . . The story is a very powerful one indeed, and
may be highly commended as a piece of painstaking fiction of the very
highest kind.”

_=The Resurrection of His Grace.=_ Being the very candid Confessions of
the Honourable BERTIE BEAUCLERC. A Sporting Novel. By CAMPBELL
RAE-BROWN, Author of “Richard Barlow,” “Kissing Cup’s Race,” etc. Second
Impression. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

=Gentlewoman.=—“Fantastic and impossible, but at the same time
amusing. . . . The whole story is strongly dramatic.”

=Saturday Review.=—“A grotesquely improbable story, but readers of
sporting novels will find much amusement in it.”

=Scotsman.=—“The book is lightly and briskly written throughout. Its
pleasant cynicism is always entertaining.”

=Star.=—“An ingeniously horrible story with a diabolically clever
plot.”

=St James’s Budget.=—“A sporting romance which is indisputably cleverly
written. . . . The book is full of interesting items of sporting life
which are fascinating to lovers of the turf.”

=Edinburgh Evening News.=—“It has certainly an audacious idea for its
central motive. . . . This bright idea is handled with no little skill,
and the interest is kept up breathlessly until the tragic end of the
experiment. The whole story has a racy flavour of the turf.”

=Sporting life.=—“The character of the heartless roué, who tells his
story, is very well sustained, and the rich _parvenu_, Peter Drewitt,
the owner of the favourite that is very nearly nobbled by the
unscrupulous Beauclerc, is cleverly drawn. Altogether it is an exciting
and an uncommon tale, and is quite correct in all the sporting details.”

_=Anna Marsden’s Experiment.=_ An interesting Novel. By ELLEN WILLIAMS.
Crown 8vo, art cloth, 2s. 6d.

=Outlook.=—“A good story cleverly told and worked out.”

=Echo.=—“A very natural and interesting tale is carefully set forth in
Ellen Williams’ clever little book.”

=Western Morning News.=—“It is a smartly written and deeply interesting
story, well out of the beaten track of novelists.”

=Literary World.=—“The story is well told. . . . Four racy chapters
take us thus far, and seven lively ones follow.”

=Public Opinion.=—“From this point the interest in the story is such
that there is no putting the book down till the _dénouement_ is reached.
The writing is smart, clever, and telling.”

=Critic.=—“A powerful story, unconventional as regards both subject and
treatment. [Here the reviewer analyses the plot.] This situation is
handled with extraordinary delicacy and skill, and the book is an
admirable study of repressed emotions.”

=Monitor.=—“Miss Williams has here seized on an original concept, and
given it fitting presentation. The ‘experiment’ is a novel one, and its
working out is a deft piece of writing. The psychology of the work is
faultless, and this study of a beautiful temperament, in a crude frame,
has with it the verity of deep observation and acute insight. . . . We
await with considerable confidence Miss Williams’ next venture.”

=Sheffield Independent.=—“The writer has treated a delicate and unusual
situation with delicacy and originality. The heroine’s character is
drawn with firmness and clearness, and the whole story is vivid and
picturesque. . . . The history of the experiment is exceedingly well
told. Keen insight into character, and cleverness in its delineation, as
well as shrewd observation and intense sympathy, mark the writer’s work,
while the style is terse and clear, and the management of trying scenes
extremely good.”

_=Darab’s Wine-Cup=_, and other Powerful and Vividly-Written Stories. By
BART KENNEDY, Author of “The Wandering Romanoff,” etc. New and cheaper
Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

=Aberdeen Free Press.=—“Will be welcomed as something fresh in the
world of fiction.”

=St James’s Budget.=—“A volume characteristic of the author’s splendid
powers.”

=M. A. P.=—“Mr Kennedy writes powerfully, and can grip the reader’s
imagination, or whirl it off into the strangest domains of glamour and
romance at will. . . . There is a future for this clever young man from
Tipperary. He will do great things.”

=Outlook.=—“Mr Bart Kennedy is a young writer of singular imaginative
gifts, and a style as individual as Mr Kipling’s.”

=Weekly Dispatch.=—“The author has exceptional gifts, a strong and
powerful individuality, a facile pen, rich imagination, and constructive
ability of a high order. This volume ought to find a place on every
library shelf.”

=Critic.=—“Of a highly imaginative order, and distinctly out of the
ordinary run. . . . The author has a remarkable talent for imaginative
and dramatic presentation. He sets before himself a higher standard of
achievement than most young writers of fiction.”

=Cork Herald.=—“Gracefully written, easy and attractive in diction and
style, the stories are as choice a collection as we have happened on for
a long time. They are clever; they are varied; they are fascinating. We
admit them into the sacred circle of the most beautiful that have been
told by the most sympathetic and skilled writers. . . . Mr Kennedy has a
style, and that is rare enough nowadays—as refreshing as it is rare.”

“_=Fame, the Fiddler.=_” A Story of Literary and Theatrical Life. By S.
J. ADAIR FITZ-GERALD. Crown 8vo, cloth, new and cheaper edition, 2s. 6d.

=Graphic.=—“The volume will please and amuse numberless people.”

=Pall Mall Gazette.=—“A pleasant, cheery story. Displays a rich vein of
robust imagination.”

=Sun.=—“Interesting all through, and the inclination is towards
finishing it at one sitting.”

=Scotsman.=—“An amusing and entertaining story of Bohemian life in
London.”

=Standard.=—“There are many pleasant pages in ‘Fame, the Fiddler,’
which reminds us of ‘Trilby,’ with its pictures of Bohemian life, and
its happy-go-lucky group of good-hearted, generous scribblers, artists,
and playwrights. Some of the characters are so true to life that it is
impossible not to recognise them. Among the best incidents in the volume
must be mentioned the production of Pryor’s play, and the account of
poor Jimmy Lambert’s death, which is as moving an incident as we have
read for a long time. Altogether, ‘Fame, the Fiddler’ is a very human
book, and an amusing one as well.”

=Catholic Times.=—“We read the volume through, and at the conclusion
marvelled at the wonderful knowledge of life the author displays. For
although the whole work is written in a light, humorous vein, underneath
this current of humour there is really an astonishing amount of wisdom,
and wisdom that is not displayed every day. . . . It is a vivid
description of times gay and melancholy, that occur in many lives. Mr
Fitz-Gerald has done his work well, so well that we loitered on many
pages, and closed the book finally with a feeling that it is a faithful
history of the journalist, the author, the theatrical individual, and
the man who ekes out a living by playing the _rôle_ of all three.”


                           =CHEAPER FICTION=

_=Pelican Tails.=_ A Collection of smart, up-to-date Tales of Modern
Life, written, edited and selected by FRANK M. BOYD (Editor of “The
Pelican.”) One of the most popular and entertaining volumes of short
stories that has ever been published. An ideal companion for a railway
journey or a spare hour or two. Crown 8vo, picture wrapper designed and
drawn by W. S. ROGERS, 1s. (In active preparation.)

_=The Devil in a Domino.=_ A Psychological Mystery. By CHAS. L’EPINE,
Author of “The Lady of the Leopard,” “Miracle Plays,” etc. Cover
designed by C. H. BEAUVAIS. Long 12mo, cloth, 1s.

=Truth.=—“The story is written with remarkable literary skill, and,
notwithstanding its gruesomeness, is undeniably fascinating.”

=Sketch.=—“It is a well-written story. An admirable literary style,
natural and concise construction, succeed in compelling the reader’s
attention through every line. We hope to welcome the author again,
working on a larger scene.”

=Star.=—“May be guaranteed to disturb your night’s rest. It is a
gruesome, ghastly, blood-curdling, hair-erecting, sleep-murdering piece
of work, with a thrill on every page. Read it.”

=Sunday Chronicle.=—“A very clever study by ‘Charles L’Epine,’ who
should by his style be an accomplished author not unknown in other ranks
of literature. Beyond comparison it is the strongest shilling shocker we
have read for many a day. The author has succeeded in heaping horror
upon horror until one’s blood is curdled.”

_=That Fascinating Widow=_, and other Frivolous and Fantastic Tales, for
River, Road and Rail. By =S. J. Adair Fitz-Gerald=. Long
12mo, cloth, 1s.

=The Scotsman.=—“The widow is a charmingly wicked person. The stories
are well written, with a pleasant humour of a farcical sort; they are
never dull.”

=Whitehall Review.=—“Written with all the dash and ease which Mr
Fitz-Gerald has accustomed us to in his journalistic work. There is a
breezy, invigorating style about this little book which will make it a
favourite on the bookstalls.”

=Glasgow Herald.=—“Nonsense, genial harmless nonsense, to which the
most captious and morose of readers will find it difficult to refuse the
tribute of a broad smile, even if he can so far restrain himself as not
to burst out into genuine laughter.”

=The Referee.=—“Another little humorous book is ‘That Fascinating
Widow,’ by Mr S. J. Adair Fitz-Gerald, who can be very funny when he
tries. The story which gives the title to the book would make a capital
farce. ‘The Blue-blooded Coster’ is an amusing piece of buffoonery.”

=The Globe.=—“The author, Mr S. J. Adair Fitz-Gerald, has already shown
himself to be the possessor of a store of humour, on which he has again
drawn for the furnishing of the little volume he has just put together.
Among the tales included are several which might be suitable for reading
or recitation, and none which are dull. Mr Fitz-Gerald frankly addresses
to that portion of the public which desires nothing so much as to be
amused, and likes even its amusements in small doses. Such a public will
entertain itself very pleasantly with Mr Fitz-Gerald’s lively tales, and
will probably name as its favourites those titled ‘Pure Cussedness,’
‘Splidgings’ First Baby,’ and ‘The Blue-blooded Coster.’”

_=Shadows.=_ A Series of Side Lights on Modern Society. By ERNEST
MARTIN. (Dedicated to Sir Henry Irving.) Crown 8vo, art cloth, gilt
tops, 2s.

=Phoœnix.=—“‘Shadows’ is a very clever work.”

=Western Mercury.=—“Clever sketches, intensely dramatic, original and
forceful, based on scenes from actual life, and narrated with much
skill.”

=Weekly Times.=—“A series of pictures sketched with considerable power.
The last one, ‘Hell in Paradise,’ is terrible in the probable truth of
conception.”

=Northern Figaro.=—“Mr Martin’s descriptive paragraphs are coached in
trenchant, convincing language, without a superfluous word sandwiched in
anywhere. . . . ‘Shadows’ may be read with much profit, and will give
more than a superficial insight into various phases of society life and
manners.”

_=Death and the Woman.=_ A Powerful Tale. By ARNOLD GOLSWORTHY. Picture
cover drawn by =Sydney H. Syme=. Crown 8vo, 1s.

=Scotsman.=—“A cleverly constructed story about a murder and a gang of
diamond robbers. . . . The tale never has to go far without a strong
situation. It is a capital book for a railway journey.”

=Star.=—“A good shilling’s worth of highly coloured sensationalism.
Those readers who want a good melodramatic story smartly told, Mr
Golsworthy’s latest effort will suit down to the ground.”

=Literary World.=—“We do not remember having read a book that possessed
the quality of _grip_ in a greater degree than is the case with ‘Death
and the Woman.’ . . . Every page of every chapter develops the interest,
which culminates in one of the most sensational _dénouements_ it has
been our lot to read. The flavour of actuality is not destroyed by any
incredible incident; it is the inevitable thing that always happens.
‘Death and the Woman’ will supply to the brim the need of those in
search of a holding drama of modern London life.”

_=The Fellow-Passengers.=_ A Mystery and its Solution. A Detective
Story. By RIVINGTON PYKE, Author of “The Man who Disappeared.” Long
12mo, cloth, 1s.

=Whitehall Review.=—“Those who love a mystery with plenty of ‘go,’ and
a story which is not devoid of a certain amount of realism, cannot do
better than pick up ‘Fellow-Passengers.’ The characters are real men and
women, and not the sentimental and artificial puppets to which we have
been so long accustomed by our sensationalists. The book is brightly
written, and of detective stories it is the best I have read lately.”

=Weekly Dispatch.=—“If you want a diverting story of realism, bordering
upon actuality, you cannot do better than take up this bright,
vivacious, dramatic volume. It will interest you from first page to
last.”

=Catholic Times.=—“This is a well-written story, with a good plot and
plenty of incident. From cover to cover there is not a dull page, and
the interest keeps up to the end.”

=Glasgow News.=—“It is a thriller. . . . The sort of book one cannot
help finishing at a sitting, not merely because it is short, but because
it rivets. . . . The author uses his materials with great ingenuity, his
plot is cleverly devised, and he very effectively works up to a striking
_dénouement_.”


                    =Illustrated Books for Children=

_=Nonsense Numbers and Jocular Jingles=_ =For Funny Little
Folk=. Written by DRUID GRAYL, with full-page Illustrations by
WALTER J. MORGAN. 4to, cloth boards, 5s.

_=The Grand Panjandrum=_, and other fanciful Fairy Tales for the
youthful of all Ages, Climes and Times. By =S. J. Adair
Fitz-Gerald=, Author of “The Zankiwank and the Bletherwitch,” “The
Wonders of the Secret Cavern,” “The Mighty Toltec,” etc. Many full-page
and smaller Illustrations by GUSTAVE DARRÉ. Second Edition. Square 8vo,
art cloth, gilt, 3s. 6d.

=Truth.=—“A decided acquisition to the children’s library.”

=Ladles’ Pictorial.=—“Quite one of the brightest of the season’s gift
books.”

=Spectator.=—“Well provided with fun and fancy.”

=Morning Post.=—“Bright and thoroughly amusing. It will please all
children. The pictures are excellent.”

=Echo.=—“Of the pile (of children’s books) before us, Mr Adair
Fitz-Gerald’s ‘Grand Panjandrum’ is the cleverest. Mr Fitz-Gerald needs
no introduction to the nursery of these days.”

=Times.=—“Very fanciful.”

=Church News.=—“This is one of the most delightful books of nonsense we
have read since we welcomed ‘The Wallypug of Why.’”

=Scotsman.=—“Will make the eyes of readers open wide with wonder and
delight.”

=Lloyd’s.=—“Will amuse all children lucky enough to get this neat and
pretty volume.”

=Pall Mall Gazette.=—“A charming little book. Simply written, and
therefore to be comprehended of the youthful mind. It will be popular,
for the writer has a power of pleasing which is rare.”

=Literary World.=—“A handsomely bound, mouth-watering, in every way
up-to-date volume, written especially for and on behalf of the toddler
or the newly breeched.”

=People.=—“A delightful story for children, something in the style of
‘Alice in Wonderland,’ but also having some flavour of Kingsley’s ‘Water
Babies.’”

=Sun.=—“Good fairy stories are a source of everlasting joy and delight.
Mr Adair Fitz-Gerald breaks fresh ground and writes pleasantly. . . .
The book has the added advantage of being charmingly illustrated in
colour by Gustave Darré.”

=Nottingham Guardian.=—“It is a merry book, and should keep the nursery
in a good humour for hours. It is artistically got up, the illustrations
by Mr Gustave Darré being of a high order of merit.”

=Manchester Courier.=—“It should prove a great favourite with young
people, being written by one who evidently takes the utmost interest in
them and their ways. The full-page illustrations are very pretty.”

=Weekly Sun.=—“Mr Adair Fitz-Gerald is a well-known writer of fairy
stories and humorous books for the young. ‘The Grand Panjandrum’ is just
the sort of book to please youngsters of all ages, being full of
pleasant imaginings, and introducing its readers to a host of curious
people.”


                      =Greening’s Humorous Books=

_=The Pillypingle Pastorals.=_ A Series of Amusing Rustic Tales and
Sketches. By DRUID GRAYL. Profusely Illustrated by WALTER J. MORGAN.
Crown 8vo, art cloth, 3s. 6d.

_=The Pottle Papers.=_ Written by TRISTRAM COUTTS, Author of “A Comedy
of Temptation.” Illustrated by =L. Raven Hill=. Fourth
Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.

=THE POTTLE PAPERS=, the fourth edition of which is just ready, is a
really funny book written by Saul Smiff, and illustrated by Mr L. Raven
Hill. “Anyone who wants a good laugh should get “The Pottle Papers,”
says the =Sheffield Daily Telegraph=. “They are very droll reading for
an idle afternoon, or picking up at any time when ‘down in the dumps.’
They are very brief and very bright, and it is impossible for anyone
with the slightest sense of humour to read the book without bursting
into ‘the loud guffaw’ which does not always ‘bespeak the empty mind.’”
The =Pall Mall Gazette= says it contains “Plenty of boisterous humour of
the Max Adeler kind . . . humour that is genuine and spontaneous. The
author, for all his antics, has a good deal more in him than the average
buffoon. There is, for example, a very clever and subtle strain of
feeling running through the comedy in ‘The Love that Burned’—a rather
striking bit of work. Mr Raven Hill’s illustrations are as amusing as
they always are.” The =St James’s Budget= accorded this book a very long
notice, and reproduced some of the pictures. The reviewer said: “Who
says the sense of humour is dead when we have ‘The Pottle Papers’? We
can put the book down with the feeling that we have spent a very
enjoyable hour and laughed immoderately. ‘The Pottle Papers’ will be in
everybody’s hands before long.” H.R.H. the Prince of Wales honoured the
author by accepting a copy of his book; and the =Court Circular=
remarked: “The Prince of Wales has accepted a copy of Saul Smiff’s
delightfully merry book, ‘The Pottle Papers.’ The Prince is sure to
enjoy Raven Hill’s clever sketches.” This funniest of funny books is
published at 2s. 6d., strongly bound in cloth.

_=Dan Leno, Hys Booke.=_ A volume of Frivolities: Autobiographical,
Historical, Philosophical, Anecdotal and Nonsensical. Written by DAN
LENO. Profusely illustrated by Sidney H. Sime, Frank Chesworth, W. S.
Rogers, Gustave Darré, Alfred Bryan and Dan Leno. Fifth Edition,
containing a New Chapter, and an Appreciation of Dan Leno, written by
Clement Scott. Crown 8vo, art cloth, gilt edges, 2s. Popular Edition,
sewed, picture cover, 1s.

=DAN LENO, HYS BOOKE=, is, says the =Liverpool Review=, “the funniest
publication since ‘Three Men in a Boat.’ In this autobiographical
masterpiece the inimitable King of Comedians tells his life story in a
style that would make a shrimp laugh.” This enormously successful book
of genuine and spontaneous humour has been received with a complete
chorus of complimentary criticisms and pleasing “Press” praise and
approval. Here are a few reviewers’ remarks: “Bombshells of
fun.”—=Scotsman.= “One long laugh from start to finish.”—=Lloyd’s.=
“Full of exuberant and harmless fun.”—=Globe.= “A deliciously humorous
volume.”—=English Illustrated Magazine.= “The fun is fast and
furious.”—=Catholic Times.= “It is very funny.”—=St Paul’s.= These are
a few opinions taken at random from hundreds of notices. Says the =Daily
News= (Hull): “The funniest book we have read for some time. You must
perforce scream with huge delight at the dry sayings and writings of the
funny little man who has actually killed people with his patter and his
antics. Page after page of genuine fun is reeled off by the great little
man.”

_=Bachelor Ballads=_ and other Lazy Lyrics. By HARRY A. SPURR, Author of
“A Cockney in Arcadia.” With Fifty Illustrations by JOHN HASSALL. Crown
8vo, art cloth, 3s. 6d.

_=The Pottle’s Progress.=_ Being the Further Adventures of Mr and Mrs
Pottle. By TRISTRAM COUTTS, Author of “The Pottle Papers,” etc. Crown
8vo, 3s. 6d. (In preparation.)


                             =Guides, Etc.=

_=London.=_ A Handy Guide for the Visitor, Sportsman and Naturalist. By
J. W. CUNDALL. Including an Article on “Literary Restaurants,” by
CLEMENT SCOTT. Numerous Illustrations. Second Year of Publication. Long
12mo, cloth, 6d.

=Vanity Fair.=—“A capital little guide book. No bulky volume this, but
a handy booklet full of pithy information on all the most important
subjects connected with our great city.”

=Outlook.=—“A handy booklet, more tasteful than one is accustomed to.”

=Pelican.=—“As full of useful and entertaining information as is an egg
of meat.”

=Bookman.=—“A very lively and readable little guide.”

=To-day.=—“One of the best guide books for visitors to London. It is a
model of lucidity and informativeness, and the profuse illustrations are
admirably executed.”

=Glasgow Herald.=—“A useful little work for those who have no desire to
wade through many pages of information before getting what they want.”

_=America Abroad.=_ A Handy Guide for Americans in England. Edited by J.
W. CUNDALL. With numerous Illustrations. Ninth Year of Publication. 6d.

_=In Quaint East Anglia.=_ Descriptive Sketches. By T. WEST CARNIE.
Illustrated by W. S. ROGERS. Long 12mo, cloth, 1s. (_See page 5._)

“_=Sisters by the Sea.=_” Seaside and Country Sketches. By CLEMENT
SCOTT, Author of “Blossom Land,” “Amongst the Apple Orchards,” Etc.
Frontispiece and Vignette designed by GEORGE POWNALL. Long 12mo,
attractively bound in cloth, 1s. (_See page 3._)

                       A BOOK OF GREAT INTEREST.
           AT ALL BOOKSELLERS AND LIBRARIES. SECOND EDITION.
                           =RUDYARD KIPLING:=
                         THE MAN AND HIS WORK.

        Being an Attempt at Appreciation.    By G. F. MONKSHOOD.
       With a Portrait of Mr Kipling, and an Autograph Letter to
                        the Author in facsimile.
           _Crown 8vo, crimson buckram, gilt top, 5/- nett._
                      A FEW OF MANY PRESS OPINIONS

=Daily Telegraph.=—(Mr W. L. COURTNEY in “Books of the Day.”)—“He
writes fluently, and has genuine enthusiasm for his subject, and an
intimate acquaintance with his work. Moreover, his book has been
submitted to Mr Kipling, whose characteristic letter to the author is
set forth in the Preface. . . . Of Mr Kipling’s heroes Mr Monkshood has
a thorough understanding, and his remarks on them are worth quoting.”
(Here follows a long extract.)

=Scotsman.=—“This well-informed volume . . . is plainly sincere. It is
thoroughly well studied, and takes pains to answer all the questions
that are usually put about Mr Kipling. The writer’s enthusiasm carries
both himself and his reader along in the most agreeable style. . . . One
way and another, his book is full of interest; those who wish to talk
about Mr Kipling will find it invaluable, while the thousands of his
admirers will read it through with delighted sympathy.”

=Western Daily Press.=—“A very praiseworthy attempt, and by a writer
imbued with a fervent esteem for his subject. . . . This valuation of
the work of our most virile Empire author should hold the attention of
those who have well studied the subject and can appreciate accordingly.”

=Sun.=—“The author has carefully compiled a lot of most interesting
matter, which he has edited with care and conscientiousness, and the
result is a volume which every lover of Kipling can read with pleasure.”

=Spectator.=—“It is very readable. It tells us some things which we
might not otherwise have known, and puts together in a convenient form
many things which are of common knowledge.”

=Outlook.=—“Something more than an attempt at appreciation. . . . Mr
Monkshood has written what all the young men at home and abroad who
treasure Mr Kipling’s writings think, but have not expressed. The volume
is a striking testimony to the hold which work that is clean and sane
and virile has upon the rising generation. And for this we cannot be
sufficiently thankful.”

=Globe.=—“It has at the basis both knowledge and enthusiasm—knowledge
of the works estimated and enthusiasm for them. . . . This book may be
accepted as a generous exposition of Mr Kipling’s merits as a writer. We
can well believe that it will have many interested and approving
readers.”

=Irish Times.=—“A well-thought-out and earnest appreciation of the
great writer and his works.”

=Academy.=—“The book should give its subject pleasure, for Mr Monkshood
is very keen and cordial. His criticisms have some shrewdness too. Here
is a passage . . .” (Long quotation follows.)

=Sunday Times.=—“Sure to attract much attention. In it we are given a
sketch of Mr Kipling’s career and the story of his various works, along
with some sane and balanced criticism. . . . The book is written
brightly, thoughtfully, and informingly.”

=Bookseller.=—“It is acute in perception, and sympathetic to the verge
of worship, with just as much criticism as will allow that the hero has
his limitations. . . . Mr Monkshood’s well-informed and well-written
critique possesses undoubted ability and attraction.”

=Yorkshire Herald.=—“This work, which is highly appreciative, will be
received with enthusiasm. . . . From this point the biography becomes
even more interesting. . . . The author deals at length with Kipling’s
works, and with sufficient forcefulness and originality to hold the
reader’s attention throughout. The biography has undoubted merit and
will be largely read.”


            20 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, W.C.



                           TRANSCRIBER NOTES


Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in punctuation have been maintained.

A cover and Table of Contents was created for this eBook.

[The end of _A Girl of the North: A Story of London and Canada_, Helen
Milecete (Susan Morrow Jones).]





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